How to succeed in the new seller’s housing market.

Some of my clients from other parts of the country and from across the Atlantic, where the housing markets haven’t recovered yet from the recession, come to Florida expecting to go bargain hunting.

But they are in for a rude awakening. They find a house they like, want to put down an offer and find themselves fifth or sixth in line among multiple offers. As buyers, they discover out quickly that in Sarasota, they’re no longer in the power position. The reason? Not enough homes for the demand.

As Sarasota goes, so goes the nation!

Sarasota may have been the first market in the United States to tank when the housing bubble burst, leading the plunge into real estate chaos and economic recession. But it has also recovered earlier, along with other parts of the country, notably Alaska, Washington State, Arizona and other cities in Florida – Miami, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, which have become hot markets again.

In June, the number of homes listed for sale nationwide dropped 24% compared with the previous year. Inventory in Sarasota has been low here for months now. Good properties, priced right, get snapped up in days with multiple offers from five to fifteen buyers not at all unusual. Prices are inching up, too, and there are even occasional bidding wars. Add it all up, and it spells “seller’s market.”

The good news is that people continue to want to buy. According to the National Association of Realtors, the number of contracts signed in May was 13% higher than a year ago with every region in the country reporting increases in sales.

But with rising demand and lack of suitable inventory, buyers are no longer in the driver’s seat.

What does that mean for buyers in the Sarasota area?  

If you’re looking for a particular spot, it’s not as easy to find property, especially in the most popular neighborhoods. That’s definitely true for good houses priced under $250,000.

Until new construction catches up with demand, shopping for a home will be more like a hunt than the walk in the park it has been.

What should buyers do in the new seller’s market?

Pre-qualification vs. pre-approval. Don’t bother with the first, which is only an estimate on how much you can borrow. With sellers concerned about deals falling through, they want more certainty. Get pre-approved for a loan based on your credit, income and assets, and you’ll be in a better position to bargain.

Get with a veteran realtor who knows the market. In a competitive market, it’s crucial to have a pro on your side who’s experienced, knows the local scene inside and out, and is experienced in multiple-offer deals. That way you can be sure that a home is reasonably priced and advise you on what to offer.

Make a good, clean, straightforward offer. If you want to wait to sell your current home first, for example, you’re not likely to come out ahead in a bidding war.

Remember, if you get into the game, there are still very good buys to be had. With interest rates at historic lows, and prices considerably lower than during frenzy years, this is still a great time to get excellent value for your money. Just don’t expect bargain basement sales, and be prepared to move fast in the face of the competition.


Murray Realty – Why you should choose us?

We have a few major factors on our side;

–    we have specialized in buying, selling and building on Longboat Key, Lido Key, Sarasota and  Bird Key since 1995. We have built and remodeled 21 homes on Bird Key alone and are currently building 2 new construction custom homes on the key, reflecting our draw to investors or potential building clients. All lots that have not been improved or rebuilt are seen as a potential tear down and rebuild, and clients come to us for that advice and expertise. We can also offer a potential client remodeling ideas and costs, which broadens your customer base.

–    There are many foreign buyers entering the Sarasota market at the moment, especially Europeans. We have just completed a days  shooting of our other listing, by a German production crew filming a home show airing in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Our UK connections have brought many European buyers into Sarasota over the years.

–    We have an affiliation with Savills and Country Life in the UK, the leading real estate agent and publication for estate homes and feature on their website. This generates a lot of referrals.

–    We are on all current media websites including, Facebook etc, we have an interactive search facility on the website that draws a lot of traffic. We publish regular e-blasts promoting our listings and send out a targeted monthly blog to over 3000 addresses.

–    We update you weekly on traffic, showings and market trends in order to ensure you remain advised on the status.

–    We believe that being a small company, we are able to act and react swiftly and give the personal service that high end custom homes require. We are Bird Key and Longboat Key specialists….this is our patch… and we have good relationships with all of the realtors in town that sell Bird Key, Longboat Key and waterfront property, meaning that all local realtors are aware of our listings and have complete access and knowledge to the attributes of the house. The MLS today means that all posted houses are available to buyers via the internet. Then converting an interested party to a sale, is what we do best.

–    We believe in and take good photography as these photos sell the houses to internet clients. We perform area caravans, showing local realtors and hold open houses on Sundays.

In conclusion, as a small but experienced company, concentrating on a small geography, and having the added bonus of our construction company and contacts, we believe that we offer the best service available for your property.

Hopefully this helps. If it sounds like a hard sell, it is, because we believe in what we do and are successful at doing it.