Why Isn’t My House Selling – Destin Florida

 

I was recently asked to review an expired Destin Florida listing. The home seller was dismayed that hardly anyone had looked at his Destin Florida house during his previous listing period. It was well priced, so that wasn’t the issue. I read through the old MLS (Multiple Listing Service) description and it was bland and generic. “Immaculate”, “must see”, and “motivated” were some of the terms used. How did that make the house stand out?

When writing an MLS description (with the help of a well-worn thesaurus) one thing I focus on is the uniqueness of a property. Here are some questions to give the description a little wow factor and ideas to tickle your creative brain – “imagine” how someone would “live” in the house. Alternatively, how does the “house” live? What are the home seller’s favorite features? What makes it unique? Of course, you can use the words “beautiful” and “lovely”, but why is the house so?  Does it have an enormous deck, pergola, and hot tub in the backyard meant for sinking into each evening while being lulled by the wind in the trees? Is the kitchen edgy with its mirrored backsplash reflecting the host’s good taste? When entering the home, are your eyes teased to seek little architectural delights, like built-in wall niches?  Property descriptions in the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors’ system are limited to just 800 characters in the main field.  Some agents ramble on filling up entire supplements.  You have to do that in a few cases, but normally, it’s not a good idea. Why? Because the internet is filled with syndications of MLS house listings sent to hundreds of websites and a potential home buyer is scanning thousands of listings. The message must get the point across fast.

Further analyzing the expired Destin listing, I noticed the biggest flaw of all. In the public remarks, it said “easy show”.  That is a Realtor term, not a consumer-oriented term.  And to the contrary, it was not easy to show. There was no lockbox, the listing broker stated he must accompany all showings and it reiterated “appointment only”. (The last is redundant because most listings shown in Destin are by appointment anyway.)  What does that mean to a buyer’s agent? That the house is not easy to show at all.  Picture this scenario – you are a buyer’s real estate agent and you receive a call from someone coming to Destin for one day to look at homes.  This particular home is in the buyer’s price range and matches her desired square footage, room count and year built. The issue is there are also 15 other homes that may be suitable. Given the time frame, the buyer’s agent can select eight homes to show.  Guess what? This house won’t be on the list. Why? Because it’s not easy to show!

There are myriad reasons why houses don’t sell.  Price, marketing and availability are three.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Lot 5 Warwick Drive JUST SOLD in Shalimar Florida 32579

Lot 5 Warwick Drive, Shalimar Florida just sold in less than 60 days.  Finding residential building lots is not so easy in Fort Walton Beach Florida or Shalimar, especially for lots this size.  Lot 5 Warwick Drive was almost three-quarters of an acre with dimensions of 75 x 400 feet. Located across the street from Chula Vista Bayou and enjoying the neighborhood park, boat launch and swimming area at Longwood/Poquito Bayou Park, this parcel was very attractive for either building a grand home or perhaps even splitting the lot to have a rear piece. The Poquito Bayou lot was located close to Eglin Air Force Base and also a short commute to Hurlburt Field, VPS airport and Niceville Florida.

Lot 5 Warwick Drive, Shalimar Florida sold for $155,000.

How may I help you?

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

The Magic Number in Selling Your Home

What is your property worth? How much do you want for it? Those are two very different things. Even in the strong market in and around Destin Florida, sellers often overprice their homes, condos and lots when selling.  They do this for various reasons, for the same reasons that occur in every market.  Here is a laundry list of reasons for overpricing:

  1. The seller “needs” a certain amount of money to pay off other things, such as personal loans, cars, mortgages on other real property, or to buy a new home valued at “x”.
  2. The seller feels the property is worth what they originally paid plus the actual cost of any improvements they made plus holding period profit, plus any capital gains they must pay (if it’s an investment property or they’ve held it for a short period of time).
  3. The seller has a “magic” number.  For example, “We need to sell for $500,000, or $200,000, or $2,000,000, etc.”. There is a dream number where they can do all the things they wish financially and have leftover. It has no basis in reality. It cannot be a variation of their magic number, for example, “$190,000″ or $487,000”.
  4. The seller feels his property is worth what the neighbor’s sold for or more, because his is better.

The value of a property is not what we “need”, what we “wish”, how much we “need to pay for other things”, what our “right return is”, or a “magic number”. Those are common lines of reasoning for overpricing a property. The market tells us what it’s worth. If the market feels a property is overpriced, there will be no offers, or offers will be far lower than list price. Historically, the closer a property is priced to where it should sell, the more it will sell for, the closer to the original list price and in a shorter period of time.

What is the definition of market value?  According to Fannie Mae, “market value is the most probable price that a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus”. How can you get true market value? First, start with a market analysis by your trusted real estate agent. Do not rely on often erroneous automatic valuation systems, such as Zillow and Trulia, whose sites cannot fine tune differences between comparable properties. Then, once on the market, realize that the market itself will be giving you feedback.  Here are the clues that you are overpriced – no one is looking at your property, or many are looking but you get no offers, or you get very low offers. Remember pricing a house, condo or lot is an art, not a science. If you are getting clues from the market that your list price is too high, lower it.

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

My Latest Zillow Review – and “She Speaks Italian”!

My most recent Zillow review brings on the smiles! Thank you, Kate and family, for allowing me to help you sell your Bluewater Bay property!

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

 

SOLD in the CAR – Lakeview Condo #3, Miramar Beach Florida!

I wrote the offer in the car. This is not a plug for the Verizon wifi hub, not exactly.  I decided to take a few days off (not really) and accompany my husband on a business trip to Cincinnati.  Always working on these Hubby trips while he’s doing his thing, I usually exercise in the hotel gym in the morning, then work on my PC all day, until he gets back. You see, most of my clients are out-of-state sellers, so my communication with them is by phone, email or text, but rarely in person.  My Surface Book PC is the best I’ve ever had, but it didn’t have built-in wifi. I went to Verizon a few days before the trip and bought the Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack. It cost about $50, plus the monthly fee of $10.  They ended up changing my plan, so added the Ellipsis and included my iPad wifi for a total of $10 per month for both!

Anyway, back to the story. As we were driving home to Destin, I received a call from a former client. She said her good friend wanted to buy the condo he was renting and did not have a Realtor representing him.  That would become “me”. I called the kind gentleman and we wrote his offer while I drove back home (I mean while my Hubby drove) on my computer in the car.  The counter offer came back swiftly. It was accepted!

So, did I have guilt about taking a few days off? Not exactly!

SOLD – Lakeview Condo #3, Miramar Beach Florida.

What do you need to buy or sell?

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Presenting the Winner of Miss Navarre High School

I sponsored the winner of Miss Navarre High School! Isabella Dominitz is a 15-year-old sophomore. Even before she won, I knew she was a star! She is beautiful, intelligent, poised, and well-spoken.

“I’m taking all honors and advanced placement classes, and I’m studying to become a computer scientist. For my future I hope to impact the world and continue to work hard so I can help provide for my family and the rest of the world. I’m on the golf team. I also am President of the Interact Club and have earned 121 hours of volunteer hours as a sophomore.” – Isabella

I’m not at all surprised that she won. Congratulations, Isabella! Your award is well-deserved.

Isabella Dominitz Miss Navarre High School 2018

Coming Soon! Listings along the Emerald Coast

Spring is heating up on the Emerald Coast! I will have several new offerings for you in the coming weeks. Here is a teaser:

  1. Turn Key Business in Mary Esther Florida, with inventory, owner training, business name and commercial condo storefront with shop.
  2. Two townhomes on Airport Run in Destin Florida with garages.
  3. New subdivision in Freeport Florida offering lots or custom built homes, starting in the $30’s for lots and $200’s for homes, off Highway 331.
  4. Poquito Bayou area lot – almost three-quarter acre, priced under $200,000.
  5. Randall Roberts Road home for sale in Emerald Village, completely remodeled.
  6. Top floor condo on Okaloosa Island, never rented, pristine condition.
  7. Inlet Beach home east of Seaside.

What do you need to sell?

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Short Sale Sellers – May I Help You?

Do you think short sales are over on the Emerald Coast of Florida? They are not. In the last twelve months, I’ve helped sellers from Sandestin, Destin, Miramar Beach, Florida to Navarre, Niceville, Crestview and more short sale their homes or investment properties, with prices ranging from $100,000 to almost $1,000,000!  The market has recovered, but not completely. Many homeowners are still experiencing mortgage rate re-sets where their mortgage payments increase, relocation for employment, business failure, military PCS from Eglin AFB or Hurlburt Field, loss of rental income, divorce, job loss, etc. These hardships make paying their mortgages difficult or impossible, and their home’s value has not increased sufficiently to cover their first or second mortgage balances should they pursue a traditional sale. In these cases, short sale is still an option. Lenders are somewhat easier to work with than in years past, but not always. It depends on your particular situation.

Don’t stick your head in the sand if you’ve been receiving calls and notices from your mortgage lender because you are behind on your payments.  You may be able to recover, save your credit and avoid foreclosure through short sale. I recently helped a couple who had about a $100,000 in credit card debt that they had built up to pay a mortgage they could no longer afford.  They hired an attorney to help them with their debt consolidation and he suggested they also short sale their house. They were surprised and delighted that I got their house sold quickly and their Nationstar – Mr. Cooper short sale approved in 14 days!  If you have missed mortgage payments already, be wary of parties who contact you with “built-in” investors to buy your home after discovering Lis Pendens notices in public records. Always check with a legal professional before proceeding, as some of these are scams.

Here is a “Thank you” I recently received from one of my Niceville Florida short sale sellers:

“Wendy, I want to say how thankful I am for how hard you fought for me. You’re AMAZING and I’m so grateful for you.”

To discuss your particular situation to see if short sale or VA Compromise Sale could help you, give me a call or send me an email, and consult with your attorney. I’ll be happy to give you my honest opinion.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

www.shortsales-emeraldcoast.com

www.rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

So You Found a “For Sale By Owner” and You Want an Agent to Write Your Offer?

I’ve recently been asked to write an offer for a buyer purchasing a For Sale by Owner property. The buyer found the property and wonders why a fee for such a service shouldn’t be rock bottom.  If you think just writing an offer for someone is easy, take a look at the following list of required items involved in this task by the real estate agent:

  1. Verify ownership of the property
  2. Verify legal description and parcel id.
  3. Make introduction to seller
  4. Obtain property disclosure, survey, lead addenda, etc. from seller and present to buyer, answering or researching buyer questions
  5. Ensure buyer’s desired offer terms are specified, such as offer price, earnest money, personal property included in purchase,  choice of title agent, closing cost assignment (who pays for what), closing date, inspection dates, etc.
  6. Ensure appropriate addenda are included, such as condo rider, insurance cost limits, VA addendum, FHA addendum, etc.
  7. Explain offer process and forms required to buyer, as well as timeline, financing options, municipal contacts etc.
  8. Put buyer in touch with lenders
  9. Send offer to seller
  10. Describe offer to seller
  11. Discuss offer with seller
  12. Construct seller counter-offer and provide to buyer, explaining all to buyer
  13. Negotiate offer presenting terms from buyer to seller and seller to buyer, finding solutions to come to meeting of the minds
  14. Spend hours on telephone, email and text answering questions from both buyer and seller
  15. Providing recommendations to both buyer and seller regarding inspectors, repair people
  16. Ensure finalized contract is sent to title agent
  17. Follow up on inspections for both seller and buyer, such as home inspection, termite/wood destroying infestation inspection, feasibility study, septic inspection, survey, appraisal for lender, provision for condo document review, coastal construction zone line disclosure, buyer pre-closing walk-through, etc.
  18. Ensure repairs are made if required as specified in contract and re-inspections take place if necessary, arranging and explaining all to buyer and seller
  19. Negotiate issues such as changed seller move-out date, buyer appraisal low, etc. explaining all via phone, email or text
  20. Ensure title agent arranges closing and accommodate both buyer and seller
  21. Assume liability for errors in contract for both buyer and seller
  22. Assume liability in transaction follow up for both buyer and seller
  23. Assumar liability for whatever else can go wrong (for both buyer and seller)

Sometimes, the above tasks may be brief or easy, but often they are lengthy and can be complex.  Because a real estate agent has not found the property, driven the buyer around nor actually listed the home for sale, it does not mean that the tasks involved in just “writing” an offer can be diminished in their importance nor regarded as insignificant.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Emerald Coast Water Damage Prevention Checklist – Courtesy Niceville Insurance Agency

I recently sold a fixer-upper house on 30A in South Walton, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, in the Beach Highland subdivision. One of the reasons it needed work was due to water damage from a washing machine hose break.  The sellers of this 30A vacation home had turned the water on prior to their visit by calling South Walton Utilities two days before their arrival. When they got into Santa Rosa Beach, they found their 30A home flooded on much of the first floor because the washing machine hose had broken.  The floor was permanently warped, and they were horrified! Well, just recently, my favorite local Emerald Coast of Florida homeowners insurance agent, Travis Wieland of Niceville Insurance Agency, mailed me a fabulous informational pamphlet on Water Damage Prevention.  He said I could share it with my readers. Maybe this will help you in the future!

  1. Roof Leaks – Have a professional inspection annually. Request a detailed inspection report that includes the condition of the flashing, roof covering, parapets and drainage system. Ensure downspouts are free of debris.
  2. Washing Machines – Turn supply valves off when not in use, when leaving for extended periods of time (This is a great idea!!). Only operate washing machine while someone is home. Inspect water supply line hoses once a year for cracks, kinks or blisters. Consider replacing standard hoses with reinforced braided stainless steel ones.
  3. Plumbing Supply & Drains – Pay attention to your water bill. A significant increase could indicate a leak. Disconnect garden hoses when freeze warnings are issued and turn off outside faucets (freezes don’t happen often on the Emerald Coast, but it did snow here a few years ago!) Visually inspect plumbing pipes (drain and supply lines) annually, look for condensation around the pipes or an obvious leak and corrosion.
  4. Toilets– After flushing until the fill valve has finished refilling the bowl.  Inspect the flushing mechanism inside the toilet every six months. Replace the flapper or fill valve assembly if you notice intermittent or constant tank refilling when the toilet is not in use (it sounds like a ghost – who hasn’t heard that?) Operate the valve to make sure the water supply will shut off. Replace supply lines with reinforced braided stainless steel hoses.
  5. Water Heaters – Have professional plumbing inspection at least once every two years, and annually once the warranty has expired. The rod will eventually corrode and leave the tank vulnerable to damage.
  6. Sinks – Inspect plumbing beneath sinks every six months. Locate the water shut-off valve. Inspect the valve every six months to make sure water supply will still shut off. Have valve replaced if needed.

To keep your home protected from water damage, follow this advice. I’ve heard stories from others returning home from vacations to find floors and walls damaged from leaks! For your local homeowner insurance needs on the Emerald Coast of Florida, I always recommend Travis Wieland of Niceville Insurance at 850-729-2131 or email [email protected]!

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.