Is Now a Good Time to Become a Landlord?

I’ve been a Landlord for several years. I wish it was a positive and profitable endeavor but that really isn’t true. For the most part, we have found some great tenants but just one bad tenant and horrific experience can make you wish you never bought that investment house – especially when you are just breaking even on a property. That just doesn’t make sense.

So here we are at the tail end of 2010 with real estate prices as low as 2002 and 2003 prices; it just may be the opportunity most investors are looking for. No one becomes a Landlord because it’s fun or because they have nothing else to do. It either happens by default (can’t sell a home) or because the investor sees a financial gain at their fingertips.

Well, the financial gain of being a Landlord may just have arrived. The prices of condos and small homes in the Tampa Bay area have come down so significantly that it is making good sense to buy one of these now and rent it out. Take this example. If you buy a condo or a home for around $50,000, you can most likely expect to get $700 to $800 a month in rent. At that amount, payback with expenses could occur in less than 10 years. Whether you pay cash or you finance the loan, cash sitting in the bank today will never give you that return.

With interest rates and property prices very low, depending on your situation, it might make sense for you to become a Landlord. If we can help you find an investment property in Tampa Bay, please let us know.

Not Quite a Winter Wonderland

If you’re living in Florida, it could be a sunny Christmas. In the Tampa Bay Area we are wearing shorts and sunglasses, while our northern friends are already experiencing freezing temperatures and blizzards. It may not be a white Christmas, but it’s a great time of year to keep the doors open, invite friends and family over and drink eggnog. And if we’re lucky, it may drop down to the high 50’s at night, so we can throw on an artificial log and enjoy the ambiance! But while we may not be able to break out the sled, or build a snowman, there are wonderful things to do around town to get out and enjoy the cooler weather. There are many great holiday events such as boat parades at many of the local marina’s, arts and craft festivals, family holiday gatherings such as the Olde Fashioned Christmas in Dunedin or breakfast with Santa Clause in Safety Harbor. If you want to see snow, but don’t want to have it all season, Clearwater and Seminole have snow shipped in for a snowfield wonderland complete with sledding and snowball fights!

So when you’re not out shopping for the perfect holiday gift and fighting the crowds at one of our many fantastic shopping venue’s, get out and enjoy some of the great outdoor traditions. And watch out for the increase in traffic. Many people are flocking to Florida to avoid shoveling snow. And who can blame them…with temperatures in the 70’s during the day, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

When James Thorner Speaks, People Listen

James Thorner writes for the St. Petersburg Times about real estate or “(un)real estate” as he calls it. I guess that means he normally takes a negative spin on real estate or Realtors maybe. Whatever the case, he actually reports some good news today on homes in Tampa Bay in the newspaper.

There’s no secret to those of us in the industry that home sales have been rising. He says, “homes sales have risen every month since August”. But when WE try to tell our customers that – especially those from out of town – they think we are telling stories. The truth is, we have been slammed with homebuyers (mostly looking for bargains) since the day after Christmas 2008. So, thank you James for telling your readers what we have been trying to communicate!

Real Estate sales in 2009 are significantly higher than 2008. So much so that it appears home prices are beginning to stabilize. James Thorner agrees. “From February to April, prices of homes sold conventionally those unencumbered by foreclosure or mortgage defaults – stopped dropping. Prices have actually inched up in some places in those three months.” This fact can help lead us into a price stabilization period.

Additionally, it used to be that only Bank Owned properties were getting multiple offers here in Tampa Bay. Now, we are seeing multiple offers (or backup offers) on our short sales as well. For the most part, Real Estate agents hate to show listings that are labeled “active with contract” in the MLS but somehow, those that are offered as a short sale are an exception to that rule. We have multiple offers on most of our short sale listings. Why? Probably because they are such a great deal! Why not wait and see if you can get lucky on a 2/2/2 condo that sold in 2005 for $216,000 and now is being offered for $95,000? To take this one step further, we think some of these great deals are about to be history.

And, what’s really nice is that non-short sale homes that are priced well are becoming even more attractive to those that don’t want to wait, so they are selling faster.

James tells an interesting story that Pinellas and Pasco County will enjoy a market rebound later this year. We hope he is right. Read the full story here: Hints of good news on homes

Are You a Buyer Sitting on the Fence?

Many people are just sitting on the fence out there waiting, pondering, doodling and noodling about whether or not to buy a home. Oh they want to buy alright – but they are wondering if now is the time or should they wait a little longer. We understand that some people may be having a hard time deciding, after all, they are not in the business and have limited access to forecasts and current numbers. Plus, with all the media doom and gloom about foreclosures and the economy, no wonder people are afraid to move forward. The reality though, in my opinion, and as evidenced by the stats below is that if buyers continue to sit on the fence, they may miss out on some opportunities that currently exist in this rock bottom market.

Here’s the latest from the National Association of Realtors, published today 11/24/08:

For the second month in a row, Florida’s existing home sales rose in October, with Florida Realtors® reporting a 15 percent increase in activity in the year-to-year comparison; last month’s sales of existing condos statewide increased 5 percent in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR).

A total of 10,443 existing homes sold statewide last month, up 15 percent over the 9,118 homes sold in October 2007, according to FAR. Florida Realtors also reported higher statewide existing home and existing condo sales in September compared to the year-ago levels.

Market conditions continue to range widely, according to the latest housing outlook from NAR. “A pattern of sharply higher sales in areas with large price declines is well established,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Affordability conditions have consistently been a major factor in driving sales. Historically during recessions, buyers have responded to incentives and it’s important for government to keep that in the forefront of housing stimulus decisions.”

In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 2,956 units sold statewide compared to 2,805 sold in October 2007 for a 5 percent increase. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $147,600; in October 2007 it was $192,300 for a 23 percent decrease. In the latest data available at press time, NAR reported the national median existing condo price was $199,400 in September 2008.

There are some incredible deals flying past my desk right now. That’s the good news. The bad news for those buyers still sitting and waiting is that these good deals are going quickly. It’s great news for the sellers and for Realtors who want to sell homes in Tampa Bay, so don’t hesitate too long. Take advantage of this good news.

Tampa Bay Real Estate Leaders!

The 2007 numbers have confirmed that The Lipply Real Estate Group is ranked among the top 15 Reatlors in the entire Pinellas Suncoast area – out of hundreds – maybe thousands of other professionals. The first half of the year 2008 is better yet. We are proud to be among the leaders in real estate in Florida. Being in one of the top positions doesn’t just “happen”. It takes a lot of hard work, excellent exposure, and a consistent high level of customer service. We are top producers and will work hard to earn your trust. Don’t risk your real estate transaction to anyone else!

The Lipply Real Estate Team is an experienced group within Remax Realtec Group consisting of all full-time, licensed real estate agents serving your real estate needs throughout Tampa Bay Florida in Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and Hernando County. Why work with one real estate agent when you can have a team on your side? We are proud to be members of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Robert Lipply, Joe Gibbons, Thomas Towns, Michael Madson, Arlene Colecchia
Lipply Group

Visit us at Tampa Bay Real Estate.

June 08 Exciting Mortgage News

Hot off the press from David Hoyt of Advantage Mortgage! Dave reports that both Fannie and Freddie have announced that they will re-instate 95% owner occupied loans for the Tampa Bay area. The declining markets had caused them to reduce their maximum loan to values 5% for all loans, effectively making 90% the lowest Fannie or Freddie you could get. Now, buyers can apply for 95%.

This exciting news is effective immediately and should help attract additional buyers to this market which is what we need right now. If you have been waiting to buy a home this summer, now is the time!

These loans are for good buyers with decent credit scores who plan to occupy their homes. Debt ratio should be less than 45%. 95% loans apply to any single family property type dwelling.

For more information or to get pre-qualified, call or email us today.