Prepping Your Property for Purchasers in Naples, FL

Getting ready to sell your home? Feeling a bit queasy and overwhelmed?  No clue where to start?  Well then, you’ve landed on the right blog because I’m here to help you!  Last January I posted a two part series about this and in case you missed it, here’s  Part I http://www.ruthbethem.com/blog/preparing-your-home-for-sale-part-one/2011/01/18/ and Part II  http://www.ruthbethem.com/blog/preparing-your-home-for-sale-part-two/2011/01/19/ .
Sellers can become overwhelmed with such a daunting task and will put off doing small tasks that can greatly improve it for minimal costs.  It is a know fact that properties that are well prepared and priced correctly for the market sell at a greater rate and a higher price than those of their competitors that are ill prepared for today’s buyer.  As a service to my sellers, once the home is listed and they have committed to my services, I take whatever time is necessary to conduct a walk-thru of the property, consult with the seller and together as a team, create a list of the “must do’s” to stay on top of the curve so that the money is in their pocket at a faster rate than their neighbors.  Please visit my website Testimonial page for sellers that I have worked with in the preparation of their property  http://www.ruthbethem.com/testimonial.htm
More times than not, I’m finding that I’m showing property to my buyer clients that can still put that “shocked look” on my face.  You know, more like the “deer in the headlights” look.  Sellers that not only didn’t do the small things that can drastically create a great showing experience, but they won’t even pick up the strewn clothes on the floor, the days-old food on the counter or just remove clutter or put the dishes in the dishwasher.  I just can’t say it often enough but I’m proven right every time (wow! what a great feeling) when working with buyers.  They will zero in on the property that has looked like somebody cared about their home.  The old thoughts are still true today:  if a seller can’t pick up clothes and perform daily maintenance for their own comfort, what chances are there that they cared enough to conduct good maintenance on their “systems.”  Buyers are savvy and don’t think just because you think you hit the target with the price that it is your ticket to a closing.
There is a new business in town, http://www.homereviv.com/index.htm that has created their company based on the knowledge that not many real estate agents will provide this in-home consultation service.  They definitely did their market research as it is a greatly needed service for home sellers.  Now, don’t misunderstand my intentions, I’m not bashing my colleagues as there are some really great agents in this town that care enough to provide this service.  Unfortunately, not that many.  Hence, the need for this company.  However, if you LIST WITH ME, I can save you the cost for a professional contractor to come in, as well as a guarantee that I will show you how the creature comforts add an emotional value that is priceless.  For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Naples Real Estate merging with the Green Flash

What does the Naples real estate market and the infamous green flash have in common?  Proof that good news travels fast and for your viewing pleasure, we have a nice selection of gulf front properties available in which to enjoy our many sunsets.  Our real estate company, Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. hit the $1 billion in real estate sales on November 4.  That makes it 7 out of our last 8 years we’ve achieved this goal.   So now, let me tie this into the green flash.  Not too many people have heard of this atmospheric event outside the Florida state lines, at least that’s the way it used to be, just like our hidden gem on the sea.   However, like our real estate market in Naples, good news always travels fast.  I hadn’t given the green flash too much thought as of late, but a few days ago, I had a reporter from one of the area’s magazines call requesting more information on this phenomenon as my name came up as a source for the information.  Not necessarily what one wants to be known for but ok, I’m game.  Real estate agents are always excited to hear that someone wants to use our expertise in the field of real estate and well, I’m never too shy to give my opinion.  The mind does some strange flashing in just a few short nanoseconds of all the possibilities that we can share with the public;  stats, percentages, market momentum, up markets, multiple offers, etc.  You get it. Fab Clean carpet cleaning company based in Sutton, Surrey were our definete favorites for the job.  Real estate stuff.  Information on the green flash was certainly not what I was expecting but I tried nonetheless to accommodate the requests.  Driving and cell phone talking has never been my strong suit but I think I gave her all she needed.  But when I got back to my office, I decided to revisit this information I had posted on my website a few years back and began to think that maybe this was something I needed to share with my readership.  So, let me introduce you to a phenomenal, elusive, atmospheric event known as the green flash available on my website at www.RuthBethem.com Here’s the direct url for it  http://www.ruthbethem.com/GreenFlash.htm I sure hope you get the chance to visit us in Florida in hopes of chasing the ever-elusive green flash.  It is a rare club of which there are few members that have experienced it, but that doesn’t deter any of us from always chasing it.  For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Real Estate Nightmare on Elm Street – Part Two

#6:  Stigmatized Properties. Since it’s Halloween time, it would be fun to talk about ghosts from era’s past or hellish happenings that would scare even Freddy Krueger out of his perpetual bad mood, but, on this site, well, in the state of Florida anyway, it is not a requirement to disclose deaths by any means or that the property was occupied by someone with HIV/AIDS.  Read more about it at http://www.ehow.com/list_7200280_florida-laws-stigmatized-property.html #7:  Annoying neighbors. Now, I could really delve into this but digression never accomplishes too much, so let me just be brief on this issue.  Walk around the preferred neighborhood you’re dreaming of moving into and just talk to the neighbors.  It’s the best way to determine if there’s problems with homeowners that don’t comply with noise or pet ordinances, or just plain have “issues” that you know you couldn’t dream of living next to.  With that in mind, there’s no perfect neighborhood and no perfect neighbor.  Knowing ahead of time where those shortcomings are will at least give you time to formulate a plan where you can live and coexist peacefully. #8:  Homeowner’s Associations and Deed Restrictions. Assuming you’ve closed on your lovely new digs and to celebrate, you threw a huge party, with you, of course, as the Big Party Man.  The next morning, you wake up flat on your back and are wondering why creatures with long pink necks and silly little faces are staring down at you.   Chances are, your party was a huge success.  However, a pack of pink flamingos in many communities that are governed by an association probably won’t allow these little darlings in too big a quantity, and frankly, that’s not a bad thing (remember property value here).  Did you review your Homeowner’s Documents before you put that ink to paper?  Probably not.  It is of huge significance that you review them to ensure there is nothing in there that would prevent you from full use and enjoyment of your new home prior to moving in day.  Don’t assume anything.  These are strict covenants and are very difficult to try to get changed.  Even if you think those flamingos add a certain “Je ne sais quoi” I’d bet you a dinner at Chops that your neighbors, and most importantly, your HOA, won’t. #9:  We’re all flawed. And so are properties, seen or unseen.  No matter how quick you want to close, never, ever, EVER, contract a property without exercising your right to a home inspection.  If you missed my blog posting on this, check it out http://www.ruthbethem.com/blog/speedy-home-buying-part-2/2010/10/09/ It’s like that shiny new car that is screaming your name and you only take it out for a test drive and never check under the hood.  With a prospective property, you better check not only under the “hood” but over it and in it.  That little beauty may look like your perfect dream home but it could be nothing more than a huge hand that will suck every cent out of your pockets.  #10: Show me the Money! You get to the closing table and you’re told, after depleting your entire savings account for escrow deposits, that you’ll need more money to close, of which you A: have none and B: proceed to have a meltdown.  No need.  That’s why you have an agent and a mortgage broker to review the statement with you to help you decipher where the increase has occurred and why.  This is another great reason why the government has mandated big changes that came into effect in January of 2010.  You’ll receive your HUD-1 statement prior to closing for your review with line item entries so you can look for legitimate costs, errors or any loan terms that may have been misrepresented.  This is a great opportunity for you to understand each and every costs that you can compare to your original loan estimate that was given to you by your lender.  Remember, there may have just been a mistake or even a typo and your advocates (your lender and agent) are there to assist you.  Save the meltdown for when the kids decide to “crayon” your recently painted living room walls.   That’s it for now, but if you want a dream transaction instead of a nightmare, please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545 for further information or questions on Naples Florida real estate.


Real Estate Nightmare on Elm Street – Part One

Ever feel like your real estate experience is like watching a horror flick, in slo-mo?  Well it’s a club with many members, so I’m here to review just a few top pitfalls and what you can do to overcome them.  #1: Short Sale buying. Totally a misnomer!  In other countries, Canada for example, a short sale is just as it says and everyone is happy.  No banks to drag it out, no third parties charging fees, just happy buyers and sellers.  In the United States however, I think it should be named Prolonged Purchases so that everyone is clear about the process.  But, that’s just me!  If you have no other goals other than one specific property, and, you’re ready, able and willing to wait upwards of months and months (the longest one I’ve heard of is now in it’s 13th month) to close (maybe) then a short sale is the process for you.  However, should you want to be snuggled on your couch in your dream home in let’s say 45 days or so, stick with the traditional sale.  There’s a lot of sellers out there that are ready, willing and able to make a transaction work:  seek them.   #2:  Financing.  Because of the current state of our country’s banking system and the issues that created a downfall in the housing markets, a recovering real estate market in Naples has been the bright side for many buyers.  Financing:  not so much.  Interest rates are at a historical low and whether they inch up or not is anyone’s guess.  If you’re an international buyer, it’s better to pay cash.  Financing can be done, but not easily with most requiring at least 30-50% down.  If you’re an American buyer, be prepared for a rigorous process.  Stay on top of your lender and if you feel at any time they’ve dropped the ball, do not hesitate to move forward with another preferred lender.  Before you start looking for homes, interview three lenders that have been referred to you by family, friends and coworkers that had a personal experience with them that can vouch for their performance.   #3: Gruesome agents.  So, you want to get to the closing table but before you can do that, you’ve got to list your property.  Personally, I’ve received listings in the past simply due to the default of some really bad agents (and I’ve thanked them, it would be rude otherwise).  I’ve seen agents that have a listing and don’t get it into the MLS for three to four weeks, others, make promises that are like unfulfilled prophecies.  There’s those that never even get a lockbox on the door and then there’s those special agents that have never seen the likes of a photograph (http://www.ruthbethem.com/blog/real-estate-professional-photos/2010/10/12/ )  Make sure you always get referrals and/or testimonials from other clients that have used the services of the agent and please interview three of them.  This is most people’s biggest investment, why leave it to those with unproven results.  And remember, if they sound too good to be true, it generally means they are.  #4: No, it’s not the Munsters, it’s the Squatters.  An ever growing problem due to our economy with thousand losing their homes to foreclosure, some will take up unwelcomed residency in vacant homes.  While there may never be a problem with this for some homeowners, others have found they can’t get them to vacate without investing a lot of time and money/court costs.  If you own a non-primary home, spend the few extra dollars a month for a home watch service to go in & ensure all is well with the systems, and most importantly, that “uninvited guests” don’t make your home, their home.  #5:  You want me to go in there?! Years ago, when I worked for a real estate company that conducted “herd tours” and by that I mean everyone loads up into many vans and drops in on the new listings for the week, picking and prodding and playing the game “Name that smell.”  I generally scored high, not too sure what that says about me, although my husband says my sense of smell could easily replace the myriad of airport security dogs.  I’d be a lot cheaper to feed too, most nights anyway!  Your dream home may not be the best presented on the tour your agent takes you on, but try to get beyond the smells and realize it’s just temporary.  Look at the bones (no Halloween pun intended) of the property and if you’re willing to put sweat equity into it, you’ll most likely never remember “the smells” later on.  Use your visualization skills to overcome less than tasteful wallpaper, paint, furnishing, decorations etc, even the carpet or window coverings.  They can all be overcome.  Yes, the home with the best curb appeal will get you through the door and ideally, it’s best to have a home that’s for sale to be well kept and odor free.  That’s just not reality for every home.  If you know smells bother you, bring along a small can of air freshener to get you through your time there if you want to spend any amount of time in the home to visualize your furniture and your life in “your home.”   Check out tomorrow’s blog for Part Two on Real Estate Nightmare on Elm Street.  For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Park Shore Residential Lot For Sale in Naples, Florida

Park Shore residential lot for sale in Naples,Florida
Park Shore residential lot for sale in Naples,Florida

Build your dream home on this beautiful quarter acre residential BUILDING LOT in the much sought-after Park Shore of Naples, FL.  This home lot is within walking distance to Venetian Village where you can enjoy boutique shopping with styles from chic casual to simply elegant.  Highlighted scheduled social events throughout the year such as the famous Boat Parade have made Venetian Village a must-stop spot. Set in the true Italian waterfront style, take advantage of eating alfresco with forever views from the upper deck on Bayside’s terrace overlooking Venetian Bay.  The sugar white sands of the beach at Horizon Way are just a few minute’s drive from your slice of paradise.  Just “around the corner” are the Waterside Shops offering valet parking, personal shopping and current trend fashion shows where there’s something in their event calendar to satisfy every family member. For those especially fond of the cultural arts, tickets to the Naples Philharmonic, lovingly known as “The Phil” by Neapolitans, offers a plethora of selections from orchestra to the arias, ballet to the Blues, there’s always something to entertain yourself with at The Phil.   Right next door is the visual arts center, the Naples Museum of Art, displaying world-class paintings, sculpture, drawings and other art forms and just about a mile north is the much anticipated Mercato. An experience of inviting streetscapes combined with upscale shopping, fine dining and the ever popular Silverspot Theatre, where you can dine and take your cocktail into the theatre with you while your reserved, leather seats are awaiting you.  Luxury doesn’t stop there: head a mile down the road and you’ll find the Ritz-Carlton at the beach with world-class amenities and the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort within 1/2 mile of the Mercato in the other direction, taking full advantage of the breathtaking beauty of the Paradise coast.  There’s also world class galleries, shopping and eateries at the 5th Ave and the 3rd Street shopping district awaiting your arrival in Olde Naples.  Don’t wait any longer, Naples is recovered and we’re on are way to a stable market.  Currently, there are only 8 vacant lots available in all of Park Shore, the Moorings and Coquina Sands under $1m.  Lot size is 125x117x83x100 and is .27 acre zoned for R1-10A with a building potential of up to 7,500-8,000 s.f. of living with a maximum of 30ft building height.

Please direct inquiries to Ruth Bethem toll-free at 877-777-7545 or email direct to ruth@ruthbethem.com.