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Crane Island Now Open for Sales on Florida’s Amelia Island

Amelia Island, FL – Crane Island has officially begun sales for its 72-acre master planned community, located on northeast Florida’s Amelia Island – consistently rated among the top island destinations in North America. With panoramic coastal views, The Range at Crane Island is first new development on Amelia Island with deep-water access to the Intracoastal Waterway in 15 years. It is also the island’s last waterfront land available for new home construction with boat access, making Crane Island a rare opportunity to own part of Amelia’s enviable island lifestyle. The gated community will include 110 homesites starting from $300,000.
 
“Crane Island offers a magnificent natural setting and is ideally situated at the heart of Amelia Island, making it arguably one of the most desirable properties available on the Eastern seaboard today,” said Vann Simmons, Director of Sales for Crane Island. “Here you can enjoy the benefits of your investment while living in one of the world’s top vacation destinations.”
 
Developed by long-time Amelia Island residents Saad Wallan and Jack B. Healan, Jr., Crane Island is designed as a low-impact development with minimal disturbance to the natural environment. Graced by spectacular old-growth trees and undisturbed lands, Crane Island offers homesites with stunning views of water, protected marshes and a manicured park. The developers aim to create a small, but vibrant neighborhood that is surrounded by an extensive waterfront park. “It’s the perfect locale for socializing, relaxing, and creating memories to last a lifetime,” said Healan. “And with quick access to the Intracoastal Waterway and Nassau Sound, it’s ideal for enjoying life on the water.”
 
The development will also include a private clubhouse, day dock, pool and walking paths. In addition, residents will have the opportunity for exclusive membership at Amelia Island Club, which includes privileges at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation for world class golf, spa, dining, tennis, beach service and more.
 
Crane Island features beautiful wooded lots for custom homes, as well as a limited number of builder residences. Builders for the development will include Rutenberg Homes, Pineapple Corporation and Lendy Homes. 
 
Crane Island Sales Team expects final sales to close by the end of summer with new home builds to begin this fall. For more information about Crane Island or real estate opportunities, visit www.CraneIsland.com or call 904-432-8390.
 

Four Changes Reshaping the Real Estate Industry

Four Changes Reshaping the Real Estate IndustryIn the last 30 years, we’ve seen how commercial real estate slowly changes. The industry has transformed into an institutional asset class with global portfolios belonging to top-tier company owners and venture capitalists. A few decades ago institutional investors didn’t believe that investing in real estate was profitable enough. However, an increase in global commercial real estate and new investment structures has made them change their minds. At this point, real estate has 10% of institutional investing portfolios, with profit range of $6.7 trillion. And yet, we haven’t seen much evolution in trading strategies.

A lot of people have already embraced technology. Some are quite familiar with mobility, cloud computing, and big data. CRE (commercial real estate) on the other hand, is still using 20-year old technology and old-fashioned platforms to store information. The good news is, everything’s changing; slowly but steady. Older systems are crashing and new CRE tech enterprises are starting to make people understand that there is a lot of benefit in tech-oriented real estate. In 2015, about $90 million were put into technology-oriented commercial real estate companies. Regarding upcoming changes realtors, buyers and sellers should know about, we should mention the following:

1. Increased competition
A brand new level of rivalry and competition is altering the way people recruit, fundraise and invest in CRE. A huge capital influx caused by volatility and low interest rate has triggered an increase in demand. Prices for CRE properties are reaching historical levels, thus making competition become fiercer than ever. There is a lot of buzz happening in fundraising as well. Investors are only looking for firms that render the best yields, not to mention that limited partners are focusing more on visibility and more advanced tools. We’re currently witnessing a talent war, and as commercial real estate keeps growing in complexity the new generation of real estate leaders will be compelled to develop a new set of skills in order to attain success and compete in the modern work environment.

2. Increased demand for access to real time data
Analytics and data are currently going through a budge in expectations. Even though commercial real estate has always been driven by hard data, it’s somehow unattainable to assess and aggregate that information at a scale from spreadsheet and ERP systems. Crafting detailed portfolio insight demands teams of skilled analysts and hours of gathered data aggregation. Brokerages and commercial owners must find a way to harness market data and real time portfolio to succeed. The best way they can get leverage is performing more efficient operations, reducing portfolio risk and making better decisions.

3. Increased mobility
Commercial real estate is an industry ruled by mobile. Leasing agents are used to spending over half of their time doing work out in the field. However, some of them don’t have mobile support pre-installed for their business. Industry experts are starting to ask themselves why CRE doesn’t have dedicated mobile technology, particularly since additional industries are enjoying tech support for many years now. To see mobile tools aimed at brokers, buyers and owners, one must have a closer look at the residential real estate sector. Why is CRE still deprived of advanced technology, and when we will see more than enterprises active in this domain? Fortunately, in the past two years we’ve seen some notable changes happening. A wave of apps targeting commercial real estate has emerged, thus enabling CRE professionals to run their business remotely.

4. Tech consumerization
As advanced technology is becoming an important part of our daily existence, it’s safe to assume that apps can make our lives easier. Whether crafted for a business or a consumer, there is no doubt that difficult software that takes months to implement will vanish. Software that is sensible is no longer an exception, but a necessity. Current commercial real estate software platforms were created over 20 years ago, and that’s pretty obvious. They just can’t live up to the expectations of the consumer; CRE needs to understand that new technological tools are better, and that they can deliver simplicity and elegant user experiences.

There’s no doubt about it – the real estate industry is changing, and thanks to advanced technology we’ll probably see a lot of new innovations piling up in the next 5 years or so.

Author Bio: William Taylor is the writer of this article. He is a regular contributor at many sites and mainly focuses on business related topics. He also writes for a site http://www.propertyturkey.com/ offering property for sale in Turkey.

How to select a manager for your residential property

Are you an investor interested in acquiring residential property, but don’t have time in your busy schedule to manage all of it yourself? Are you a landlord who needs some help in managing affairs dealing with your tenants? The solution is to find a property manager – someone who will solely take care of all the affairs dealing with your estate and give you more time to deal with other projects. The property manager will also increase and even sustain the value of the investments you have in real estate. Once you have a property manager, the issue of searching for and appropriately placing eligible tenants will no longer be yours to worry about, the property manager will deal with this business to your satisfaction. Finding the right person to take care of your valued investment is very important; here are some tips to consider.

1. Hire someone experienced.
It is important that you do your research on different property managers and even have a meeting with some, so that you can evaluate the level of expertise. Asking how many years the property manager has managed residential properties can give you an idea of how qualified the manager is to handle the task at hand.

2. Find a manager that is knowledgeable about the local market.
A manager that knows the local market well will be able to bring in clients that live in the surrounding areas. Since he knows the local people, he is able to introduce your property in a way that will meet the needs of the potential tenants.

3. Select a manager that has a reliable system.
All the dealings of the property need to be recorded. A good manager should have a program that will safely record and save all the records that deal with the estate. The program should also be able to monitor all the businesses that surround the property, which will give you a sense of security since you can easily retrieve the records if need be.

4. Make sure the manager has accounting skills.
Apart from attracting clients, the manager should be well equipped as far as accounting skills are concerned. Find a manager that is well trained in matters relating to finance and economy, so as to make sure that the financial data in your property is dealt with in the highest form of professionalism and integrity.

5. The property manager should have good customer service.
Your tenants will not only remain on your property because it offers them living conditions that are impeccable, but the customer service also plays a big role. The property manager should be able to relate with your tenants in a way that shows respect and concern for the tenants’ experience in the premises.

6. The property manager should be great in marketing.
To make sure that your property will not be occupied by a tenant who destroys facilities and equipment, the property manager should be able to run background checks on the tenant. The manager also has the right to ask for renter history to make sure that all the tenants on your property are qualified and will give you no trouble at all.

Contributed by Thomas Sujain

Amelia Oaks, A New Neighborhood in Fernandina Beach

Amelia Oaks, A New Neighborhood in Fernandina BeachLocated on one of Florida’s premier island resort locations, Amelia Oaks is a new, exclusive and gated community of single family homes being built on Amelia Island, Florida. With just a short walk to the beach, dining, or shopping, your new neighborhood borders the Egan’s Creek Greenway Conservation, permitting you to enjoy some of the best scenery Florida has to offer.

Amelia Island boasts 13 miles of white sandy beaches, distinctive restaurants, excellent schools, a plethora of music and art festivals, 117 holes of world-class golf, fishing, kayaking, boating, maritime forests, marshlands and fascinating shopping.

Your private entrance to the Egan’s Creek Greenway invites you to explore over 300 protected acres of networked trails for walking or bicycling. Bring your camera to capture natural vegetation and wildlife including a variety of birds, bobcats, alligators, river otter, deer, rabbits, raccoons, opossums and more.

With her natural deep water access, this small barrier island is rich in colorful history. Fort Clinch, on the north end of the island, sits at the entrance of the St. Marys River, a location often occupied by a variety of military troops since 1736. A critical shipping port, Amelia Island has been under the rule of eight different flags and her international heritage left some not so glamorous tales of intriguing battles, unsavory characters, buried treasure, and of course, Pirates. Downtown Fernandina Beach is a seaside Victorian village architecturally famous for the pre-20th century homes built in the Silk Stocking district, an area found in the National Register of Historic Places.

Amelia Oaks is designed to be a private enclave combining the best of traditional Florida with the latest in building technology in just 40 ENERGY STAR Certified Homes built to standards well above most other homes on the market today.

Select a creek side lot on the Greenway, a parkside lot along the internal park and ponds, or a lot that abuts the Greenway. Then, customize one of four base models to make it your own 2-story, coastal style home with a natural gas fireplace, front and rear covered porches, private back yards, an elevator option, and much more. You’ll find the best standards are included in the homes of this close-knit community such as granite counters, stainless steel appliances, hardwoord floors, and cement board siding.

The Amelia Oaks community, located off of Sadler Road in Fernandina Beach, includes a club house, swimming pool, and plenty of greenspace. There are two beautiful ponds home to beneficial wildlife including turtles, fish and visiting birds. You will find ample off street parking for entertaining, and your tastefully designed landscape is professionally maintained.

amelia-oaks-team-new-homes-amelia-islandMeet the Team
John Hawley, the builder, has over 43 years of experience, including extensive education, in all phases of development and building construction. His experience includes residential and commercial properties, land purchases, governmental approvals, and financing.

The Massey family has been involved in coastal Florida real estate projects for over 20 years. Joe Massey knows the real estate process, from beginning to end, inside and out. His lovely wife, Kathy, is an expert at helping you reach your real estate goals. She truly works for YOU in a professional and confidential manner.

Daughter Kasey Massey Moteiro has been surrounded by the real estate business since she was a kid, and when she graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University with a Bachelors Degree in Management & Entrepreneurship in 2013, it was only natural for her to join the family business.

Michael Smith has been an embedded member of the Amelia Island community for nearly a decade. His vast knowledge of the area will help you connect within the community. Michael currently serves as a board member of Rendezvous Film, Music and Gaming Festival; Arts Alive Nassau; and the Big Brother/Big Sister Program.

Need more information? Please give any one of them a call at (904) 610-5008 and see what Island Living in the Tradition of Old Florida is all about.

Pictured L to R: Michael Smith, Kathy Massey, John Hawley, Kasey Moteiro, and Jim Drotos (not pictured is Joe Massey)

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The Current State of Real Estate

The Current State of Real EstateYou may have heard on your local TV news that the housing market in the country is picking up. Supporting that conclusion is the number of for-sale signs that have been sprouting in the neighborhoods around you, many with a home warranty offer. Zillow, the well-known real-estate website, offers some hard numbers on the current state of real estate.

It reveals that, as of April 2015, the median home value in the USA is $178,400, which is an increase of 3.9 percent over the past year. Values are predicted to go up by 2.6 percent in the coming year. These numbers relate to the values of all homes in the country, whether they are on the market or are not for sale.

Helping to push up prices is the median rent list price of $1,529 per month, or $1.12 per square foot. Rents across the country have been increasing in fits and spurts since a low of $1,210 on December 2010. At the current rental costs, it takes only 1.8 years before buying a home gives a greater financial advantage than renting.

Zillow also reveals that the median sale price of a home in the USA is $206,936, which equals $124 per square foot. This is an increase over the April 2014 median of about $173,000. (The website had no data on the median list price.)

When compared to other industries the housing market is doing quite well (car loans have seen a rise in missed payments recently.) The USA market is considered quite healthy with only 16.9 percent of homes having negative equity and 6.3 percent of homeowners being delinquent on their mortgages. The rate of foreclosures per 10,000 is 3.0. A home spends an average of 116 days on Zillow before being sold.

Sellers
CNN reports that for sellers, the top five cities with the fastest moving housing markets are all located in California. San Francisco ranks first, even though its median asking price of $1,099,000 is one of the highest in the nation. Only 26 percent of homes here remain on sale after two months as of April 2015. This is very similar to the April 2014 amount of 28 percent. Helping to support the fast sales and high prices is the low amount of construction because of stringent building regulations and hilly topography.

The other top cities and their percentages for sale after two months include San Jose and Oakland with 30 percent each, San Diego with 33 percent and Orange County with 41 percent.

For sellers competing in these hot markets, pricing the home correctly based on current comps can be the key to a fast sale. Staging a home to look spacious and modern is almost a necessity to stand out from among the competition. A housing warranty can remove any doubts from a buyers’ mind about potential defects in the property they are about to purchase.

Buyers
For buyers the best housing markets have homes staying for sale longer, allowing for more bargaining and price cuts. CNN reports that the top five markets for those looking for a home are Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Providence, Rhode Island. In these cities, homes typically sell for 4 percent less than the average list price and stay on the market for 43 days longer than in the top sellers markets. These cities usually have growth slowdowns and don’t experience booms in jobs for energy and technology.

Relying on the services of their own real estate agent can give buyers the advantage. A home inspection is a necessary contingent to ensure that a potential purchase is not hiding a costly repair. Requesting a housing warranty that is paid for by the seller can cover any problems that may appear after closing.

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How to Rent Your Property Quickly in a Modern World

How to Rent Your Property Quickly in a Modern WorldThe modern world is characterized with high levels investment in real estate; probably for being the safest, easiest and return assured investment option. This has even been made easier with the growth of real estate industry, which apart from building the own property and selling or renting out, they also seek to connect those who are selling or renting out their property with the consumers.

What this means is that if you’re new in the industry as a property owners and seeks to rent it out, you should warm up a very stiff competition from like-minded individuals and real estate firms. Nevertheless, with these tips below you should be able to rent out your property quickly in a modern world.

How to rent your property quickly in a modern world
• Location: The location of your property plays a big role in determining how fast you find a renter. For instance, if your property is situated somewhere along the street that experience a lot of traffic, you’re bound to receive a lot of calls or visits from interested parties. However, if it’s situated at a dead end, the opposite is true. You’ll be lucky to see a few cars drive every day. The more your property is exposed to people, the better your chances of renting it out quickly.

• Make it attractive: Prepare your property to rent the same way you’d prepare a property to sell in. Renters equally value the same benefits or amenities that buyers seek. Thus, make your rental property inviting. This involves making repairs that you’ve been ignoring, painting the walls, removing unnecessary clutter, thoroughly cleaning the carpets, and ensuring the lawn and flowers are trimmed, and cleaning the balcony and pavements.

Advertise your property: According to various researches, most property buyers start their search online. The same applies for renters. Post the property on community specific websites such as national websites and Craigslist and on the local newspaper’s website. Use social media accounts to market your property. The more people know about your property, the higher your chances of getting a renter quickly.

• Screen potential candidates: Apart from simply finding a renter fast for your property, you’ll want to find a good tenant. To achieve this, you’ll need to check three basic areas: the client’s criminal record, credit history and past tenant behavior. To do this effectively and able to protect your assets, consider hiring a property management firm or, on the other hand, hire an objective third-party to help you with that.

have-an-open-house• Have an open house: Having an open house day will enable potential renters to view your property without the pressure or tension that comes with meeting you individually. Advertise the open day in your local newspapers, local newspapers’ websites and your website. Have your Realtor promote the open house day on his company’s website.

• Set competitive rates: Ultimately, the monthly rent charge will play a huge role in determining how fast you rent out your property. Before deciding on the monthly rent charge, conduct a little research to find out the rent charged on comparable rents within your community. The best way to do this is through the internet. Does your monthly rent include utilities and pool or lawn maintenance? If not, does it include a washer or dryer and kitchen appliances? Put all these factors into consideration, and then set a competitive monthly fee.

• Rent with fairness: Every potential renter that you come across must be treated with utmost respect. In addition, there are laws that protect renters in case they feel the property owner is treating them unfairly. For instance, the Federal Fair Housing Act. It identifies 7 protected classes: sex, religion, race, national origin, ancestry, disability, and familial status. Good relationship with your clients will paint a good picture of you to the other people or community, thereby helping you find a renter quickly.

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How to Rent Your Property Quickly in a Modern World

Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Tips for First Time Home BuyersOne of the biggest investments people make in life is the purchase of a home. When it comes to the decision of buying a home or property that you will own for 10 years (or more), it pays to have as much information as possible before finalizing your purchase.

For first-time homebuyers, this decision can be even more daunting. Choices, prices, interest rates, location, amenities — these can all become overwhelming and can lead to buyers making a rash decision on the first home they see or never making a decision at all. We asked William Gary Allen, a long-time real estate developer, for his advice to first-time homebuyers on making their first home purchase as stress-free as possible:

Get informed on the rules if you’re buying in a deed-restricted development.
-Experienced homebuyers know that surprises can pop up after they’ve bought their home, so they’re likely to get detailed information before making a purchase. First-time buyers, however, may be in a hurry to make a purchase or simply not know which questions to ask. This can be a costly mistake down the road. Always ask the developers and builders for information on any deed-restrictions within the community.

According to Mr. Allen, “If you buy an existing house, you already know what you’re getting. But if you’re buying a lot, find out who the builder is; see if there are architectural reviews that would protect you from having your property harmed by what’s being built next door.”

You’ll also want to know what you are allowed to do with your home. We’re reminded of a story of a homeowner who tried placing a large, custom-built playhouse in his backyard. While the playhouse was not an eyesore, it did not match the existing construction in the neighborhood and could be seen from other people’s yards. The homeowner had to have the house removed and created unnecessary tension in the neighborhood.

Bottom line: Always find out what can and cannot be done by homeowners in your prospective neighborhood.

What amenities are going to be available to homeowners?
Amenities such as recreation centers, walking and jogging trails, and parks are important to many new homeowners. The trend toward including family amenities is something that runs through all demographics.

First-time homebuyers interested in a new community that’s still under development should find out the list of amenities that are to be built and a timeline for their completion. “Whether you are buying a house or a lot, you want to know as much about the project as you can,” said Mr. Allen.

Bottom line: Know what amenities your community will have and when they will be available to residents if they’re not yet built.

Avoid “analysis paralysis.”
The sheer number of decisions to make and amount of information available to new buyers can be overwhelming. Be careful not to create extra stress for yourself when making these decisions.

There is no doubt that a home purchase is a big decision, but too much information can be a bad thing. You should set a few, perhaps three to five, major points of interest you are looking for in a home and use that to narrow down your choices. Understand that you may have to compromise on one thing or another, but if you find a house that meets 80 percent of your major points then you just may have the best home for you.

Information overload doesn’t only apply to homes and amenities; it’s not uncommon for homebuyers to shop around for the best deals and interest rates, as they should. But the amount of time spent trying to save a quarter of a percentage point could be better spent elsewhere, and would certainly be less stressful.

Bottom line: Recognize when good enough is enough and stop there.

DIY home searches and purchases are not the best idea for first time buyers.
Buying a home on the “do-it-yourself” plan can save you some money on the purchase, but in reality, first time homebuyers should avoid that route to home buying. A reputable real estate agent is more than just someone who finds you listings. They assist with all the legal paperwork, scheduling the viewings, planning for inspections (if you’re buying an existing house), and they also understand what prices the market will bear better than the average person.

All of this means they are a key part of the homebuying process. Ask around and meet with a few agents to get a feel for their personality and whether you think you can work with them. They will be your best friend in the home search process.

Bottom line: Do not go it alone, especially if it’s your first experience with home buying.

Get pre-qualified for a loan.
The days of easy loans are over, and that’s a good thing for everyone involved in the real estate market. So it’s crucial that buyers get pre-qualified for a loan before they even think of making offers on lots or houses.

A seller (or his or her listing agent) will no longer accept an offer without assurance that the buyer is qualified to purchase. A letter from your lending institution stating you are qualified for financing is what most sellers (and their agents) are looking for. You do not want to lose your dream home because you didn’t get pre-qualified.

Bottom line: Know what your bank will be willing to allow you to finance and get the lender’s letter stating you are pre-qualified.

Being knowledgeable about your local real estate market and understanding your wants, needs, and what you’re qualified to purchase will make the search for a new home or property much easier. Follow these tips when making your first house purchase for peace of mind and you will soon be enjoying your cozy new home.

About William Gary AllenAbout William Gary Allen
William Gary Allen has more than four decades of experience as a developer of luxury, custom-home communities. In addition to his real estate development knowledge, he is known for his philanthropy and support of higher education in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.

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2 Florida Properties are a Fisherman’s delight

two-palatka-propertiesTwo pieces of deep water access properties are for sale just north of Palatka, off of Hwy 17 in Bostwick, Florida, and you won’t believe how low the prices are!

Whether you are looking for an affordable starter home, a retirement home you can pay cash for or a fishing retreat – one of these properties – both with rentable and ready to move-in mobile homes, may be perfect for your next investment property.

far-sideHome #1
Property Type: Waterfront
Architecture Type: Mobile
Year Built: 1985
Price: $39,800
Lot Size: .63 acre
Bedrooms: 2 rooms
Bathrooms: 1 bath

Looking for a waterfront home just 42 feet from a deep water canal directly to the St. Johns River and only minutes down the street from the public boat ramp? This is one of the most affordable waterfront properties in the area.

Built in 1985, this neat, two bedroom mobile home has central heating and air, and the kitchen has a breakfast bar and walk-in pantry. Connected to public water utilities, the third bedroom has been converted to a spacious laundry room but could be returned to its original design. The 38′ front screened porch overlooks the partially fenced yard and paved roadway.

This is a great weekend getaway or even a permanent home. On .6 acre high and dry lot. Check it out; you’ll be hard pressed to beat the asking price of $39,800.

Palatka-property1

image- little-lot-deep-water-accessHome #2

Property Type: Waterfront
Architecture Type: Mobile
Year Built: 1972
Price: $38,800
Lot Size: .17 acre(s)
Bedrooms: 2 rooms
Bathrooms: 2 rooms
Carport

Take a look at this great St. Johns getaway or permanent residence. With 59’ on the canal and direct access to the St. John’s River, this affordably priced mobile home may be just perfect for you.

The cute 2 bedroom, 2 bath home is on .17 acre lot and has central heating and air, with a new heat strip in 2011.

There is a 40 ft. attached carport on a concrete slab and a canal side storage shed. Just a mile down the road, you have the option to use the public boat ramp and dock, or leave your boat in the canal at the rear of the home. You’ll be sure to enjoy the most fantastic fishing, shrimping, crabbing and boating around. Best canal front price around.

Palatka, Florida

The properties are listed with Margaret Zahner of Coldwell Banker in Palatka, Florida. Take a look at one, or make an offer of both!
Phone: 386-336-1263
E-mail: margaret@margaretzahner.com

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Las Vegas Gambles on the Economy

Las Vegas Real Estate under great pressure

For some reason ( I haven’t been able to put my finger on the why), I always check with Las Vegas as a thermometer of the state of the economy and today I ran into a notice that the Stallion Mountain Golf Club in east Las Vegas had been sold for $3.8 million to Ohio-based Tartan Golf Management. Now, I’m not a golfer, but I have some knowledge of real estate pricing and when I read that this 18-hole, par-72 championship golf course with amenities, only 7 miles from the famous Las Vegas Strip, was bought in 2006 by a group of investors for $24.5 million, but then first foreclosed on in 2008 by the Community Bank of Nevada, which bank then in turn was closed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2009 for insolvency, I was wondering about the real meaning of fair value. The broker involved in the recent sale actually claimed that the $3.9 million reflected Fair Value. Well in my book that calculates that today’s value of that property is only 16% of the price it was valued at in 2006, not taking any inflation into consideration.

So now my question is: If Las Vegas real estate, having been at the center of economic excess in the boom years, shows an 84% drop in real value since 2006, have we really hit bottom?

An old doctor friend of mine who sold his practice and retired in his mid forties in favor of traveling with everything he owned in a back pack (besides of course a sizable bank account) once told me that the real value of a house was determined by the circumstance that if the owner would have to sell before the next plane ride out a day later. Desperation is a powerful force.

Collier Int’l National Golf Course Brokerage team, the golf course broker, tried an auction in August of 2009; there were no takers, and that again makes me wonder why on earth, in a city where in 2008 you easily paid $225/$250 for a round of golf, golf courses should go bankrupt. Do the math: 20,000 rounds of golf pay for the purchase price. Of course it is not that simple, but here are some other details pertaining to this golf course. Situated on a 204-acre site on E. Flamingo Road, Stallion Mountain is located within a 2,600-home, guard-gated community. I would call that a captive audience if there ever was one, assuming that most people live on a golf course because they love to play the game.  Furthermore, the property includes a 37,500-square-foot clubhouse with full-service kitchen and restaurant, a second 18,000-square-foot clubhouse and a 16-acre practice facility. On top of that, besides the course’s championship-quality layout and being only 15 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, they have a water contract with a nearby sewage treatment plant, that gives the facility a hugely competitive advantage because water in the desert is expensive.

Am I safe in assuming that some nimwits with too much money, made too easily, decided that it would be prestigious to own a golfcourse, without knowing the first thing about how to run it.

In any case, it is much clearer now, at least to me, how OMNI could buy The Amelia Island Plantation for $69 million; I say it again desperation is a powerful force, especially when mismanagement has pulled all the cashflow away.

Just for economic history I checked a bit further into Las Vegas’ real estate and found among many other examples this 2 story, 4 bdr/2-1/2 bath home for rent at $995 a month long term. No extras. It is then that you realize that we’re a long way from what some would interpret as the economy having stabilized.

How to Dig Yourself Out When You are Underwater

How to Dig Yourself Out When You are Underwater

How to Dig Out When You are Underwater

We hear it every day how homeowners are now “underwater” – simply meaning they owe more then their home is now worth. Surely the lender did not loan more money then the home appraised for. But we continue to see more and more homeowners sinking deeper and deeper. So how did all this happen?

As I look at the Real Estate market it is clear to me that it is unemployment that is driving the foreclosure market. As homeowners are unable to pay their mortgages and fall into default on the loan, the lender starts the foreclosing process. The home is either auctioned off at the court house for a low price or the bank will sell it as a “short sale”, meaning they will take less then is owed. OK, so far we’ve get the picture, what does that have to do with your home?

The value of Real Estate is based on previous sales in the area. If your neighbor happens to fall victim to foreclosure and their property sold at a very low price, guess what just happened to your property? It is now worth less because of that sale. It doesn’t take many of these short sales to bring the value of your property to an “underwater” level.

It’s like being on a merry go round that doesn’t stop, with each revolution we sink deeper and deeper. So what is the answer? First we have to stop the foreclosures. As long as foreclosures continue then the water above your head will get deeper. A complete restructure of the value of real estate would do the trick, if the banks would go along with it, which in my opinion they would not. Creating jobs and putting everyone to work so they can once again pay their mortgage payments, that is the best answer, but won’t happen for a long time to come, in my opinion. You see, it takes new business start ups and existing business expansion to create jobs. Main street has always been the heart and soul of employment, and always will be.

I wish I had an absolute answer, but I don’t. We are living in some very strange times and history is being made with each passing day. It’s sad to think our elected leaders can’t see the hand writing on the wall and figure out what you and I already know. Until that happens our homes will be worth a fraction of what we owe on them, until then… get a longer snorkel.

Advice for Bad Neighborly Behavior

Advice for Bad Neighborly BehaviorThe National Association of Realtors has a website, HouseLogic.com. This is a free source of information to help you make smart decisions about your home in areas like home improvement, maintenance, insurance and more.

We received the following article from them just in time for Halloween where they have listed some of the craziest, creepiest and grossest neighbor behavior, and provides some valuable advice for managing neighbor-on-neighbor disputes.

“Next week, children all across America will be knocking on neighbors’ doors chirping “Trick or treat!” and skipping back home with hoards of candy. But we don’t all have neighbors like Mr. Rogers. Every home comes with a community; people you live with all year round. For Halloween, HouseLogic presents a few horror stories of bad neighbor behavior—and offers some practical advice.”

The Chicken Coup

It started Sept. 21, when a chicken-owner from Tyler, Texas, saw his neighbor’s dog carrying off one of his chickens—and it ended with gun shots, reported the local NBC affiliate KETK. According to investigators, the first bullet came from the chicken owner’s gun when he attempted to rescue his hen. But the dog’s owner returned fire, sparking a brief but scary shootout that brought the cops onto the scene. Thankfully, no one was hurt—though there’s no report on the fate of the stolen chicken.

Neighborly Tip: While the chicken owner was technically operating within his rights, we wouldn’t advise using a gun to solve the problem. If you feel you, your pets, or your children are in danger from a loose neighborhood dog, try using dog pepper spray or ultrasonic dog repellent—a much more humane and much less dangerous defense.

The Neighbor Who ‘Borrowed’ the Car

Last November, a Jacksonville, FL, woman found her neighbor dead in his home and then found a way to profit from the situation, local news reported. The 33-year-old woman didn’t report the death to the authorities. Instead she chose to “borrow” a few things from her deceased neighbor: his checkbook, his credit cards, and his car. But the authorities caught up with her before long, and she was arrested and charged with fraud and burglary.

Neighborly Tip: Most identity thieves don’t wait for such an “opportunity.” These steps, provided by the Federal Trade Commission, can help you protect yourself against identity theft.

The Dog-Napper

Neighbors in an Ohio suburb had been feuding for two years when one of them kidnapped the other’s dog and took it to a local shelter, says a local report. The culprit told kennel staff he had found the dog running around some railroad tracks. When the dog’s owners asked, the neighbor denied any involvement. But after finding their pup in a shelter, they contacted the police with their suspicions.

It wasn’t long before the vengeful dog-napping plan was uncovered. The dog-napper was arrested, sentenced to a month in jail, and ordered not to have contact with his neighbors.

Neighborly Tip: His frustration isn’t entirely unreasonable. A loose dog could be dangerous, or end up hurt if it runs in the path of a car. But a call to Animal Control would have been a better solution. Ohio (like most states) has a leash law, which states that a dog must be leashed and controlled by its owner or keeper at all times, except during recreational hunting.

The ‘Unauthorized’ Neighbor

For the former Alaskan Governor, Republican Sarah Palin, being in the spotlight is nothing new. But when writer Joe McGinniss, who happened to be researching his unauthorized biography about her, moved into her neighbor’s house in May, it was a little too close for comfort.

Palin posted an acerbic message on Facebook condemning the move, and erected an 8-foot fence around her property to thwart any “peeping.” In early September, McGinniss moved back home to finish the book, but maintains that Palin herself was the inappropriate party, saying her reaction to his presence was out of line, bordering on harassment.

Neighborly Tip: Whether you’re in Palin’s shoes or McGinniss’, neighborhood harassment laws do exist. They vary from state to state, and it’s important to make sure you know what constitutes harassment in yours.

Reign of Terror

It sounds like the plot of a horror movie, but it’s true. In 2006, the residents of Bottomley, West Yorkshire, England, were the victims of a 16-month rampage by an angry neighbor, the BBC reported. The perpetrator played loud choral music about rape and pillage, damaged vehicles, set booby traps, and littered the road with dead animals, dog feces and nails.

Eventually the judge slapped the accused with an anti-social behavior order (basically a restraining order here in the States). The woman filed for an appeal in 2008, but was denied and fined £200,000 for breaching the order on two occasions.

Neighborly Tip: It’s unclear exactly what initially set her off, but before you go off the deep end and do something you’ll regret, take more reasonable, legal steps. You don’t have to take abuse, either. Get your HOA (Homeowner’s Association) or the city involved if you feel you’re being threatened.

The Fence Offense

Even celebrities get a little nasty when it comes to their properties. But none took things quite as far as the infamous 2004 fence feud between actor Jim Belushi and former Catwoman Julie Newmar.

It started simply enough: Belushi wanted to make the fence around his property higher for more privacy. But Newmar, who had spent decades caring for her prized rose garden, wasn’t having it. She argued the higher fence robbed her plants of sunlight. Years of both public and private griping followed. Belushi accused Newmar of tearing down his fence and egging his house. Newmar accused Belushi of being such a noisy neighbor she had to use air traffic controllers’ earmuffs.

Belushi sued Newmar for $4 million for harassment, defamation, and vandalism. The two eventually reached a compromise through mediation, settling the lawsuit. Later Belushi had Newmar on his sitcom According to Jim, in which she played, you guessed it, his grumpy neighbor “Julie”.

Neighborly Tip: Before letting things get so bad that you find yourself getting slapped with a lawsuit, try mediation first. HouseLogic’s guide to mediation gives you a step-by-step process of how to handle an issue with a neighbor before it gets out of hand.

Prudential Chaplin Williams Pro-Active on Local Real Estate Recovery

The Down Town Real Estate Force

With the opening of a brand new downtown location, local Real Estate company PRUDENTIAL CHAPLIN WILLIAMS REALTY underwrites its optimistic stance for an upswing in the local real estate market. The Company is currently the number one real estate company in closed sales for 2010, as per its press release.

The office, located at 402 Centre St., in the same building as the Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) is the third office location for Prudential Chaplin Williams in Nassau County, with the original office still on the southside of Amelia Island on the First Coast Highway and another one in Yulee on A1A/State Rd. 200
Of the 38 real estate professionals currently associated with the company, Carolyn Cherry, Carolyn Lockhart, Julie McCracken, Lila Keim , Mark Walker, and the Werling Team consisting of Karen and Paul Werling, Julianna Miller, Nick Burke, and Paul & Decie Wetherhill, will be working out of the prestigious downtown location.

History

Prudential Chaplin Williams brokers, Dee Chaplin and Hugh Williams became partners in 1998 and established Chaplin Williams Realty, Inc. on Amelia Island. In 2004 the property rental division was established which specializes in long term rentals in Nassau County. As the area grew in national and international awareness Dee and Hugh purchased the franchise name of Prudential for worldwide recognition and exposure. Both brokers continue to be very active and hands on in the community and the field of real estate.

In 2007, Dee Chaplin was president of the Amelia Island Nassau County Board of Realtors while Hugh was President of the Multiple Listing Service. Dee is past president of the Board of the Restoration Foundation and still retains membership. Her family owns the only residence left on Centre Street. The fountain in front of the Court House in Downtown was dedicated to the memory of Pat Williams, Hugh’s mother, erected for all the time and energy she spent on stewarding causes of the Historic District.

The roots and involvement of the Prudential team members with the island and the town of Fernandina Beach goes way back tot the days before real estate booms (and busts) and knowing the underlying values of an island community is paramount to successful real estate transactions.
All agents and brokers in the Prudential team acknowledge this by continuing to be a moving part of our community. Dee is slated to return as the 2011 President of the Board of Realtors and many of the Chaplin Williams agents are a part of the Board and committee chairs to better continue to lead the real estate industry in our community, aside from serving in many local charities and service clubs.

Gold in Real Estate, ready for the picking

Invest 1/3-1/3-1/3, gold, cash and real estate. You'll be fine.

There is still GOLD  in them thar hills neighbor!!!!!  No, I don’t mean gold in the form of nuggets, I”m talking about Real Estate.  I know, a few of you are thinking I’ve lost it for sure this time, but hang with me here for a minute.  I’ve been watching the market very closely and I’ve got to tell you there are some super buys on this Island right now, not likely to be found again anytime soon. Because let’s face the reality here, land on a island is and will always be scarce.

I was checking the number of homes available under $100,000 and for the first time in many years they’re many to choose from.  OK, so how does this turn into the “G” word?  Well let’s think about this for a moment.  Even in these bleak economic times, (oops, I did it again, talking bleak instead of positive, sorry I was just raised to tell the truth), people are still going to need a place to live.  Now what do you think would rent faster, a $2000 monthly rental or a $800 – $900 a month rental?  Of course reality is that there are more people looking for the lesser amount then the higher one.

Let’s say you bought one of these properties for seventy five thousand, your monthly payment would be somewhere around $400, at a rate of 5.5%.  If you rented this property for $900 a month you would be in a positive cash flow right from the start. This is not the “G” we are looking for though.  You now have a property, on Amelia Island, a bicycle ride to one of the most beautiful beaches on the east coast.  You rent the property out for a couple of years, and hopefully these economic times will turn, (sorry, I guess I did it again) and all of a sudden you find your property has increased in value two or three times; not a bad return for a seventy five thousand investment. I know I know I’m preaching bubble again, but darn it like I said before, land on an island is scarce and there comes a time not too long from now that all those people that left the sunshine state in search for….what I don’t know? Jobs, probably. There comes a time they will come back to live the good life with sun, sand and sea. That’s just the way it is.

Another approach would be to purchase the property for cash and then add your profit to it and sell it under owner financing.  You now become the bank and enjoy the interest.  When you sell the property and you are holding the note, repairs, taxes and insurance have just flown out the window and you are left to enjoy the rewards.

Folks if you are looking for a safe place to invest, and I don’t think it’s on Wall Street, unless you’ve got more guts then I have, start considering real estate again.  Yes, there is still gold to be made and the opportunity is right in front of us.  Sometimes we are looking so hard for opportunities we fail to see what is within arms’ reach.  Drop us a note if you would like a free list of the properties available within your investment range, you may be shocked.

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Real Estate in the Eye of the Storm

The question is stones or rocks. Prices are still falling.

There are now new fears in the world of economics.  Falling home prices continue and that is causing a lot of uneasiness among some economists.  It is simply amazing to me how these topics, in the news, and presented to the American public come and go.  The spins that are put onto them and how the back peddling starts when predictions don’t go the way they were predicted.  I remember just a week or two ago, the evening news and the news papers telling me that the housing market is back.  It was telling everyone to take a deep breath and enjoy this bit of great economic news.  It was also reported that home prices were again on the upswing.

Now there are fears that the housing crisis is not over and that there could be a “double dip” as values continue to fall.  A double dip?  There can only be a double dip if we truly hit bottom and were rebounding, which we haven’t.  In my opinion this recession is still ongoing, getting deeper and the key to all of it is housing.  Real Estate values continue to drop and as long as that is happening it is fueling the recession even more.

Today in the Florida Times Union it was telling how property values have created a tremendous fall in property taxes which has led to a short fall in city and county budgets.  The city of Jacksonville had a tax revenue of $61.18 billion in 08, now their tax revenue is down to $55.43 billion, a short fall of over $5.6 billion.

I have only one question? Didn’t local governments see this coming until now?  When you have a budget short fall there are only two ways to balance it, increase revenues or decrease expenses.  It seems decreasing expenses is something that is foreign to local leaders though, they all try to keep the status quo.

We have not seen the bottom of Real Estate yet, believe me there is more to come.  You and I have talked about this in the past.  The values of commercial properties is getting ready to take another fall in values.  There will be more foreclosures and defaults on loans, banks will do what they seem to do best, tighten even more on lending which will continue to choke businesses to the point of default and closing.  This will only lead to more foreclosures and higher unemployment.  We must remember one important aspect of this entire mess; these same banks just three years ago were throwing money around like drunken sailors in a bar.  Now all of a sudden they have all put on their stern, frowned faces and all but put signs up that says no lending, to anyone for any reason.  How quickly they circled the wagons.

We will all see changes in our local and state governments, if not this year then next year for sure. Nassau County’s Clerk of the Court cut 11% out of his budget and is widely “attacked” for doing the inevitable. Yes, I am saying this economic crisis is far from over and will be around for a long time to come.  I really hope I’m wrong on this one though but I do agree with my friend Dr. Ramakers, our publisher, that we’re in the big eye of the hurricane. We fought the credit crisis with massive bailouts and now we’re facing the currency crisis of too much government debt on the other side of the eye-wall.

Media Spins on Real Estate

There's only grey between black and white

It always amazes me how quickly the news media will pull out their “paint by number” kits and attempt to make us believe things that may at best be just a little skewed.  The housing market is still in shambles and if we listen to the news media we would have to wonder if what we are experiencing is perhaps just a figment of our imagination.  I read an article this morning talking about how strong the real estate market is rebounding here in NE Florida.  I only have one question, where in NE Florida are they pulling their data from?

I look at actual data on sales all the time and I don’t see a positive turn around, in fact things are about as status quo as they can be.  Sales here in Nassau county are still very low.  The only buyers we are seeing are true bottom feeders who are looking for one thing, that bottom basement price tag.  If we look at FHA and HUD foreclosures and how fast they are selling then this proves our point.  I have several properties listed in rural areas of the county.  They are listing between 80K and 100K.  There are a couple of HUD foreclosures on the market, like kind properties priced in the 50K range, now let’s think about this for a moment.  Which one would you buy?  Of course the lowest price one will go first, just common sense.

Now for our ongoing problem.  As these properties sell, we are continuing to lose value in our own properties, which may ultimately result in foreclosure and thus another rock bottom sale and more value lost resulting in more foreclosures.  It feels indeed like a dog who is simply chasing his tail while drilling himself into the hole, there is no end to it.  In order to put a stop to this downward spiral, most properties will either have to fall to foreclosures or there will have to be some public-private 3-way “bail out” of negative equity agreement, that will eliminate the under water portion of mortgages providing a level price point on properties.  Until then the dog keeps chasing their tails and the media will edge them on.