Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Market Update- 98 Real Estate Group

There have been some big changes since the January newsletter. To start with, the weather has gone from freezing to absolutely beautiful. There have been some nice crowds here enjoying the beach. I’ve heard multiple business owners make the comment that on a few of the weekends it’s looked like the 4th of July did 10 years ago. That’s a very good sign for “the season” and every rental company I’ve talked to has told me it’s looking like a great year for them. I hope you have been able to come and enjoy some of the awesome weather and beautiful beaches. The fish have shown up as well and lots of Spanish mackerel has been caught along with some huge cobia.

98 Real Estate Group is up and running and is by far more than a small startup company. I’d like to thank everyone that has helped us get off to such a great start. After being open barely a month, we have 82 properties ( either listed or under contract totaling over $17,000,000 in sales and 6 of the hardest working agents in the area with offices in Mexico Beach and Cape San Blas. We aren’t just listing property; last week we had 5 closings. The locations varied from a canal front home in Mexico Beach, a first tier lot on Indian Pass, a home in Port St. Joe on Long Avenue, and two lots in Park Point on Cape San Blas. Just yesterday, we closed a WindMark Beach waterfront lot yesterday so it’s clear that our momentum is strong. We have another 10 properties under contract scheduled to close by April 15th! I will be surprised if we don’t finish as the top company for the area in 2011, currently we’re #2. I’ve continued to be very fortunate and able to work with a number of great buyers and sellers. I love my job due to the people I work with are wonderful people and fun to get to know. I had the 2 highest sales from Mexico Beach to WindMark in 2010 and currently have the 2 highest sales in 2011; both of which were listed with 98 Real Estate Group. Come by and see us at one of our office locations, below is our Mexico Beach Office and a picture from last week of the beach.

It would be easier to tell you where we aren’t advertising than where we are. We launched a great website that features the easiest search features available with the ability to see the different beach camera views in Mexico Beach. You can learn even more about us and find out about some of the top deals first by checking us out on facebook. We are also the proud sponsors of the 2011 Ling Ding. This is a fishing tournament that hasn’t been held in years that was a favorite time for many people. The fishing is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in April and should be a lot of fun. There are a number of people and groups that have helped to bring the tournament back. It should be a lot of fun, starting with a kickoff party at Mango Marley’s on April 2nd, another get together at Reagan’s Oyster Bar on the 9th, and a final celebration on the last day of the weigh-in on April 30th at Marquardt’s/Mexico Beach Marina with free BBQ, smoked fish, and refreshments. I’m on the tournament committee so feel free to contact me for details and you can see more at our website and The Ling Ding’s Facebook page.
How’s the market? It’s busy. Remember more property sold in 2010 than any year since 2005 and that with the market stalling for a few months during the huge scare related to the oil spill. 2011 has started off even busier that 2010. There have been 86 sales this year vs. 67 for the same time period last year- One thing is certain, there are a lot of buyers looking for a great deal on houses/townhouses/condos. We’re really running low on “good” deals.

I had an investor come in this week wanting a list of all the single family houses/townhouses/condos etc that have been foreclosed on and are on the Market from Mexico Beach to WindMark Beach. It was a short list of 6 with nothing standing out as a steal. Then he wanted all the foreclosed residences on the market in Highland View, Port St. Joe, Oak Grove, and Jones Homestead. That list totaled only 4 listings. We next viewed the Cape San Blas/Indian Pass market which only resulted in 7 choices. Here’s a link to see them all:

I’m hearing more and more and starting to think myself that the majority of the best deals at least for single family homes may be in the past. The one thing that you can still find a good deal on pretty easily is an interior vacant lot. There are 55 vacant lots listed as foreclosures and many are selling for 10%-20% of what they were purchased for during the height of the market. There are also a number of good deals on non-foreclosures. It’s a very good time to look at vacant property and there are even some banks lending on lots again with only 25% down. Gulf front and gulf view foreclosures and short sales aren’t nearly as common though as the interior lots a few blocks from the beach. I can certainly find you a good deal on a house, but the average time it’s taking to find a buyer a deal they are happy with is getting to be over 3 months.

What are the best deals on the market? For the area from Mexico Beach to WindMark, check out I put 20 new listings on for the Top 25 and Top 15 Lots in the past 2 days. Here’s what’s standing out for Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas. PSJ Deals: Cape and Indian Pass Deals:

Do I have any concerns? Yes, appraisals have become a major problem. There are new appraisal guidelines and the banks can’t choose the specific appraiser that they use anymore. The local banks seem to only use local appraisers and these guys are very knowledgeable in the area and know what they are doing. The big problem is occurring when people are using banks from outside of the area. These banks are calling an appraisal management company that then assigns them an appraiser. The appraiser is usually someone that no local Realtor has heard of and may be from Panama City or Tallahassee. It seems they do their appraisal from the internet and they don’t seem to understand coastal property in this area very well. Recently, I had one appraisal report where there was only a $10,000 adjustment for land value when they used a sold property almost a mile from the beach and the one being purchased was 1 house off the beach. To give you an idea of the coastal knowledge these out of town appraisers posses, one thought Mexico Beach was in Gulf County. If you do need an appraisal and can choose who to use, Matt Terry, owner of North Florida Appraisal Group is great to work with. His cell is 850-227-6478.

It’s looking like another great weekend and I hope I’ll have enough free time to go and enjoy the Air Show at Tyndall. I hope that you are able to come and enjoy this beautiful place. I also hope FSU can win their game tonight. Here’s a couple pictures I got at the last air show.

Have a great weekend,
Zach Childs
Broker/Owner- 98 Real Estate Group
Cell: 850-819-0833