Friday, May 27, 2011

It's Summer and There's Lots to Do- Market Update‏

Happy Memorial Day weekend,

Summer is here and so are the people that love to visit. The sense of optimism continues and we’ve added a number of nice amenities and new businesses since last year. We’re still your small and quiet coastal area, but it’s nice to see the additional activities and services available to those that visit the area. As more people visit and like the area, a percentage of them will buy and help raise prices. I’m showing around a number of people now that fell in love with the area during their first visit this Spring. Don’t worry, there aren’t any huge changes and Mexico Beach and Cape San Blas still don’t have red lights. There have been 157 sales this year which is keeping 2011 on pace to have 10%-15% more sales in 2011 than any any year since 2005. There are an additional 70 properties currently under contract. More good news for those wanting prices to go up is that inventory is being reduced at steady rate. Today, there are almost 200 less properties listed than there were a year ago and over 500 less than there were 3 years ago.

The new sidewalk that now takes you from one end of Mexico Beach to the other has been a great addition. I’d like to thank the city council for sticking to their plan and bringing this to the community despite all of the objections over this project. Everyone I’ve talked to loves it and first time visitors can’t believe it hasn’t always been here. The City of Port St. Joe constructed a very nice gazebo next to City Hall. The construction of a very well laid out kayak park/volleyball court/recreational area at Salinas Park and a new fire station is also complete at Cape San Blas. These are all great additions that are making this area more attractive and visitor friendly.

Two of the biggest additions of new businesses that you will notice are the new beach version of Dollar General in St. Joe Beach and the relocated/expansion of CVS in Port St. Joe.

What are the best deals right now? As we are running out of foreclosures, more and more sellers are trying short sales and pricing their property at great prices. They are called “short” because the sellers owe more than their asking price and their proceeds will fall short of what their bank is owed. Sometimes the seller is required to pay part of the difference and sometimes the bank will take the whole loss. If a bank feels that a foreclosure is the only other option, they are usually more willing to work with a seller on a short sale. Short sales can be very tricky and often frustrating for both the buyer and seller. I’ve got a number of buyers that won’t look at short sales because of all the obstacles associated with them and how long it usually takes to get answers. I’ve got a number of other buyers that have jumped through all of the hoops and ended up purchasing awesome deals.

Once a seller decides to try a short sale, they really need an offer from a qualified buyer to see if the bank will work with them or not. One of my former #1 picks on was a short sale right across from the dedicated beach that was reduced from $429,000 to $220,000. This was not my listing and $220,000 was an awesome price. I had multiple people offering the asking price and more. There were near 10 offers in that I knew of and the seller ended up countering everyone way over asking price. It ended up closing 103 days later for $107,000 over the asking price. That was still a very good price. The banks that are working with the sellers will order an appraisal during the short sale process. They will give the buyers a good deal, but will not sale for substantially less than the current appraised value. I’ve never seen them take more that 15% less than the appraised value. That’s about as much as I’ve seen a foreclosure sell for under asking price as well. I wouldn’t say to pass on a short sale if it’s a great deal, just be prepared for some extra waiting and uncertainty. was just updated with the best deals for the Mexico Beach to WindMark Area and I’ve now starting adding the top 5 best deals in Port St. Joe on the Top 25. Remember that you can always find all of the foreclosures and short sales on including a page for my other site, Here are some of the other best deals for Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas.

Cape San Blas and Port St. Joe Residential Deals:

I’m excited about all of the new businesses that have opened this year and the others that have upgraded to larger locations. Two restaurants, not pictured, are also scheduled to open very soon. It’s nice to see the commercial market getting active and healthier again. Some of the new businesses opened include: a sunset tour boat, women’s clothing/bathing suit store, a dive store, golf cart sales, bike rentals, interior decorating, a shaved ice/hot dog stand, and an ice cream/frozen yogurt store. It will be nice to have all of these services and products available and give the area a more “beachy” feel.

98 Real Estate Group that opened this year is rolling along well and we’ve had 32 closings as of May 24th. I’ve closed 17 personally and have 7 more under contract. The “Ling Ding Fishing Tournament” that we hosted in April ended up with 61 boats. With the proceeds earned, the tournament was able to donate $1,500 to the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association and have a reef named after this year’s tournament. We also donated $1,000 to the Forgotten Coast Warrior Weekend. This event is associated with another great fishing tournament called The Bluewater Outrigger Charity Classic. I’m very proud that we’ve teamed with Big Fish Construction and will be one of 10 teams taking a veteran that was wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq fishing out for a special tournament for the veterans on June 3rd. The whole weekend should be a lot of fun with a free concert featuring Julie Roberts on Saturday night. Below is a 70 plus lb wahoo caught by one of the veterans that had lost both legs in combat.
I’m here to help however I can. If you’re curious about what your property is worth or are thinking about selling, now is the time, as summer is upon us. If you’re looking to buy, I need to know what you’re looking for so that I can help you find it. This link will show you some remarks that people I have worked with in the past had about their experiences working with me.

Take care,

Zach Childs
Broker/Owner 98 Real Estate Group
Cell: 850-819-0833
Fax: 888-382-9608

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