Is This Another Real Estate Bubble?

Two questions need to be answered when multiple offers, bidding wars, tight inventory, and Realtors buying properties become the norm.

We have been seeing strong demand and rising prices for the last three years. The real estate market in Southwest Florida was decimated during the real estate crash, so it is not only reasonable, but also smart, to be alert for signs of danger. Values dropped by over fifty percent from the boom prices of 2005 to the depths of despair in 2011.

Many have been asking if the bidding wars we are seeing are leading to another bubble. Multiple offers are a sign of strong demand, which we definitely have.

There is one irrefutable sign when prices are not sustainable. I will get to that in a moment, first you need to know the two most important questions to ask:

  1. Who?
  2. Why?

Who is buying real estate, and why are they buying it? If you pay attention to the answers, you will have a good grasp on the overall health of the real estate market.

During an eight month period of 2014, over half of the agents in my office bought real estate. Now, we have a small office, still you had six agents buy property in a short period of time. Is that a warning sign?

It could be. The first wave of foreclosures during the crash was heavily populated with agent owned properties. I cover that in more depth in my upcoming book, Real Estate CSI: Controversy, Secrets, Insight. A real estate agent exposes dangers and dirty tricks that cost you money.

The second question determines if that is cause for alarm. Why? Answer: We all bought real estate to own it. None of those purchases was for a flip, or an attempt to get into the chain of title for profit. We all wanted to own the properties we bought.

That is a strong indicator of healthy market growth ahead.

During the boom, everyone was buying real estate. Anyone who could fog a mirror was clamoring to grab the next property available, and many times contracts were selling multiple times before the first closing even took place. Properties weren’t even changing hands. Just the contract to purchase was being sold at a profit to someone else.

Who? Everyone.

Why? For fast money. They didn’t want to own the property; they only wanted to get their name on a contract that could be sold tomorrow for more money.

The most important sign among the many:

When “everyone” is buying, but few actually want to own it, that is a bad sign.

So who is buying real estate today, besides half of our office? Baby boomers; early retirees; investors; snowbirds; first time buyers; move up buyers; people who love Florida and want to enjoy it for more than a couple of weeks a year; and the occasional flipper.

These are good people to see spending their money in the marketplace, and a sign that bodes well for the future.

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (coming soon)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat Home search

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat LinkedIn

https://www.zillow.com/reviews/write/?s=X1-ZUyz3incawqo7d_93ahq Zillow

BOOM! Yes, that was my head exploding!

Warning: Informative Rant regarding Zillow-Trulia

This is why the public needs to be careful of the sources they use to make important decisions!

Things that make your head explode!

The DMV at Secretary of State office; Trulia; Zillow; getting “help” from a government agency.

Let’s just grab one of these, and let ‘er rip!

(For the record, I wanted to type the whole thing in BOLD CAPS!!)

I just sent Trulia a message not to renew my PRO subscription. And followed up with a phone call, because they plan on billing me again in just two days, and I want to make sure it doesn’t happen. So, what do they try to do?

Sell me advertising!

I have had profiles on Zillow and Trulia for @ 9 years, have been a full-time Realtor for over 20 years, and still Trulia only credits me with one sale.

Ever.

Total career high of… one!

Zillow was hardly any better: they had me credited with a career high of two (2) sales! So I started manually entering sales into Zillow. You would be shocked at the number of homes that are not in the Zillow system at all.

Our previous home: 100 years old, 2 blocks to downtown, 3 blocks to city hall and neither Zillow nor Trulia have it in the database as a home I can claim a sale on. Really?

I sort of understand some of the properties I sold in gated waterfront communities that they may not be able to access easily. Wait! Those homes are all deeded properties readily available on the county website, so why can these data-mining behemoths not locate the information?

Not even a zestimate for 412 Michigan Ave in South Haven, Michigan. Interesting. It’s not that zestimates have any bearing on reality, it is that so many people THINK the information they are getting online is trustworthy, and it is NOT!

So, today the Trulia rep told me what I needed to do is pay for advertising in my chosen zip codes, and buyers and sellers will then see my profile. I explained that my profile makes it look as if I am a useless slug that can’t sell anything (including my own house!) and I am NOT interested in paying them to send people to my profile for proof that I am worthless after 20 years in the business!

Boom!

How many times will my head explode and I continue on?!!?

Zillow bought Trulia this year, so they now are merging their faulty databases. The rep today said that I will likely see issues with my profile during the merger.

Not likely to get any worse for me, is it?

She confirmed My Florida Regional MLS feeds into Trulia, so the information should be automatically updated. That was after I explained that our MLS goes from Fort Meyers, north to Tampa, east through Kissimmee to the Atlantic Ocean. It is a big MLS! Not the Podunk system she assumed wasn’t feeding into Trulia.

So why, after 9 years, can’t they get it right? Or even close? They could credit me with a couple hundred of my sales and I probably would never even look to see if they were all there. Maybe even 100 would keep me from looking.

But only ONE?!?! I might notice that!

Several times through the years Trulia has said they will fix the feed to my profile. And I have even added some of my sales manually. But, time and time again, this is what I get. The rep said she has hundreds of Realtors in Florida who don’t have issues with their feed.

What makes me so special?

My recent sales range from a $90,000 condo downtown to a $3 Million bay front manse on an idyllic Florida island. I have worked the listing side, the buyer side, and even one with both sides. Trulia even sent me updates on my listings (that sold within days at full price or higher with multiple offers). How can they not at least have the properties they were emailing me about!?!?

Don’t get me started on the agent ratings, recommendations and testimonials! That is a whole other ball of… wax!

So here is my open letter to Trulia, and it will suffice if someone from Zillow would also like to take a look:

I do not want to renew my PRO subscription, that I have had for eight months. I have not gotten any leads from it. The only branding I will get from this is negative! I have had profiles on Zillow and Trulia for @ 9 years, have been a full-time Realtor for over 20 years, and still Trulia only credits me with one sale.

I have recommendations, but no ratings because the customers filled them out before ratings were a feature. I can’t remember if it is Trulia or Zillow, but at least one told me I have the old version of profile, and if I move to the new one I will lose the testimonials that I already have. Great.

Trulia was more useful to me when the blog and Q&A were being utilized. Now, I just don’t see the value of it.

Trulia-Zillow, surely you are working on cross-populating ratings and testimonials, right? Oh well, I’m not paying to see how it turns out.

Please let me know what additional information you need to set up my NON-renewal request.

Rant over. I feel better. Hopefully you are now better informed, and this is a win/win!

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Jim Sweat – Helping Buyers & Sellers Choose Wisely Since 1995 ™

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (coming 2015)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat Home search

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat LinkedIn

https://www.zillow.com/reviews/write/?s=X1-ZUyz3incawqo7d_93ahq Zillow

Local Realtor offers to pay you so they win next time! Coastal Living ranked Venice America’s Second-Happiest Seaside Town 2015.

Local Realtor offers to pay you so they win next time! Coastal Living ranked Venice America’s Second-Happiest Seaside Town 2015..

Local Realtor offers to pay you so they win next time! Coastal Living ranked Venice America’s Second-Happiest Seaside Town 2015.

Second place?

Civic duty requires me to man-up and make this offer: I will pay you so we win next time!

Rude jerks and stupid people are a real bummer, and definitely can affect the happiness of others. To win first place, all we have to do is replace jerks with happy people. It won’t be fun or easy, but someone has to step up and get this done! I guess that someone is me.

This is the plan to hit number one: I will essentially pay you to leave!

If you are rude, a jerk, or just plain stupid: contact me immediately and I will get your home sold quickly, for top dollar so you can move to an area that appreciates you! Don’t spend time surrounded by happy people who don’t value your fine qualities! Make the move now to join your fellow grumblers and live the miserable life you envision!

I am even willing to offer an incentive to get the job done: A one percent discount on the commission, which we shall call the “1% Bye Bye Bonus”.

You do not have to prove you are a rude jerk or stupid! Just contact me and say you qualify for the Bye Bye Bonus, and it will be applied!

Historically, my customers and clients are smart and happy people. I will make an exception for you, but we will need to have some guidelines in place for me to work with you.

  1. The property will be priced correctly. It isn’t smart to overprice a home (remember you do not have to prove you are stupid).
  2. You will be nice to me (again, you don’t have to prove you are a jerk, I will take your word for it).
  3. You will receive two warnings. The 3rd time you are rude or disrespectful to me, the buyer will be awarded the full 1% Bye Bye Bonus.
  4. You will follow my recommendations (I have been doing this as a full-time, licensed real estate professional for over 20 years; my experience trumps yours).
  5. Half of the Bye Bye Bonus goes to the buyer (We want you to be glad you are leaving, and the buyer to be glad they are moving here!)
  6. Buyer may be disqualified from receiving the bonus if it is determined, in agents’ sole discretion, that buyer may not contribute to the happiness of the neighborhood.
  7. We will market your property as qualifying for the 1% Bye Bye Bonus, complete with rude and/or stupid statements from you. This will verify to the public that I have done my part in making us all happier when you leave!

This is the link for the Coastal Living story:

http://www.coastalliving.com/travel/top-10/2015-americas-happiest-seaside-towns/hst-venice-florida

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (coming 2015)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat Home search

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat LinkedIn

https://www.zillow.com/reviews/write/?s=X1-ZUyz3incawqo7d_93ahq Zillow

How Many Million Dollar Homes Sell Every Day in the Tri-county Region of Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte?

How secure is it to purchase a high-end home in this southwest Florida area? Let’s take a quick look at two of our local islands, and then the numbers for each county.

In the last 12 months, there have been 25 closed sales on Casey Key. All but three of them were for over a million dollars. The average sale price was $2.62M, the median was over $2M.

Fifty three single family homes, on Siesta Key, over $1M, on the waterfront sold in the last 12 months (more than one per week). Average sale price was almost $2.6M; with the median at $1.8M.

When I expand the criteria to all sales on Siesta Key for $1M or more, there are six with accepted offers, averaging almost $2.4M asking price; seven are pending with average list price of $2.15M; and 78 sales have closed, with an average selling price of $2.25M. That is 1.5 sales per week, pretty strong demand for million dollar homes on just one barrier island in Sarasota County!

When I proceed to pull the statistics for all of Sarasota County, it confirms that there is a robust market in the $1M and up price range.

Thirty one homes are active with contract (accepted offers in place) with an average list price of $1.72M. Seventy five homes are pending, with an average list price over $2.3M.

395 homes have sold for over a million dollars in the last 365 days in Sarasota County! More than one per day, with an average sales price over $1.9M. The average days on market is 183 in this price range, so it may be a stretch to call it “brisk”, but 395 closed sales is certainly proof of a strong and healthy demand for high end homes in the Sarasota area!

Manatee County has five homes AWC – active with contract, averaging $1.8M; eighteen are pending, averaging $1.74M; one hundred twenty three (123) homes have sold averaging over $1.5M.

Charlotte County is smaller and has six high end homes with accepted offers (AWC) that average $1.59M; ten are pending sales averaging $1.64M; twenty homes have sold with an average sales price of $1.57M.

Total sales for million dollar homes in the Tri-county region are 538; average is almost 1.5 sales per day. So, how secure should someone feel about buying a high end home in Sarasota County, Manatee County, or Charlotte County?

Five hundred thirty eight sales indicate a lot of millionaires are interested enough in our area to put some serious money into real estate here.

Here are some additional things to think about.

Even though the experts were wrong about how quickly interest rates would go up, they will eventually rise beyond the historic lows we have been enjoying. A boost to our area is that property values have been increasing in most of the country, and that will allow many folks who were waiting to regain their equity, to sell up north and move to Florida.

Thousands of baby boomers retire every day, and many of them have spent their entire lives dreaming about owning a home in Florida so they can escape the cold that makes their bones ache!

It isn’t just homes that are selling. When you follow the money, you end up in the Tri-county region.

Last month, Publix paid more than $17 million dollars for the shopping center at University Parkway and Market Street in Lakewood Ranch. In the past year, it also acquired centers in Sarasota, Parrish, Englewood and Port Charlotte.

Publix is just one company that is expanding in the region. A lot of big names are investing heavily in SW Florida. The UTC Mall is the only mall that opened in all of the US last year. Many other big names have either just come to the area, or expanded in the last few years. I am working on an updated list of businesses that have opened commercial locations recently.

I feel good confirming that there is such an active high end residential market, on top of the massive investment regional and national companies are making in our area. This all bodes well for the future, and proves that a lot of smart money is flowing directly into the Sarasota County region.

Follow the money, it leads to Sarasota!

Sales data compiled from the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing System for 3-18-2014 to 3-18-2015.

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (coming 2015)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat Home search

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat LinkedIn

https://www.zillow.com/reviews/write/?s=X1-ZUyz3incawqo7d_93ahq Zillow

Nearly extinct a few years ago, I found several in Sarasota. Here are two videos

Two videos below.

A few years ago, you couldn’t find one anywhere in the state of Florida, but they are making a prolific comeback in the Sarasota area!

I was down by the Sarasota Bayfront Park, by Marina Jack’s and whipped out my camera phone. There were several nesting near the base of the Ringling Causeway Bridge and others dispersed along the bayfront.

Interesting creatures. They build temporary nests. Temporary because the larger and more elaborate the nest becomes, the more people are attracted to it. Eventually, they just move to another location to start building again. It is pretty easy to tell from the videos exactly where they are currently located, if you want to go see them yourself.

Just stay back away from the nest, there are temporary fences put up to reduce the chances of people getting too close.

Sarasota has a rich and healthy environment that should continue to draw more in as time passes.

Enjoy the videos and let me know what you think.

If you know anyone who would like to make this wonderful habitat their own home, I work Sarasota county, Manatee county and Charlotte county.

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (available 2015)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat Home search

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat LinkedIn

http://www.trulia.com/profile/jimsweat Trulia

https://www.zillow.com/reviews/write/?s=X1-ZUyz3incawqo7d_93ahq Zillow

What is the Gulf Shore Lifestyle? Who is Jim Sweat? Why Should You Care?

Gulf Shore Lifestyle

Stunning sunsets ~ shimmering waters ~ and world-famous, sun-kissed sugar sand beaches.

Championship golf ~ fine dining ~ shopping ~ the fine arts ~ boating ~ fishing ~ hiking ~ biking ~

festivals year round ~ and nature trails galore.

Southwest Florida holds the key for your family to enjoy the rewarding moments of life.

Dreams do come true in the prestigious “Gulf Shore Lifestyle” ~ realize your dream now!

Jim Sweat understands the unique features that make your home a haven and offers you personal service from highly trained professionals, guiding you to a lifetime of pleasant memories.

Take the first step.

Call Jim Sweat for a personal consultation.

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS & INSIGHT (coming soon)

I am publishing an insider’s look at the world of real estate, exposing dangers and dirty tricks that cost you money.

Previously a broker/owner in Michigan, now focused on buyers and sellers in Sarasota, Charlotte and Manatee Counties along Florida’s beautiful Gulf coast. Specialties and advanced training in Residential Listings and Sales; Luxury Homes; Distressed Properties (Foreclosures & Short Sales) and Buyer Representation.

Buying or Selling? Hire a professional to represent you! Buyers want the right home at the right price. Sellers want top market value, in the shortest amount of time, and with the least amount of hassle. Jim Sweat has over 20 years of results-proven experience to help you accomplish your goals and bring about a successful closing.

You have to be careful where you vacation – it can change your life! We were only here for a week the first time we visited the Venice-Sarasota area of Florida. A few months later, we sold our real estate company & our house in South Haven, Michigan and made this beautiful location our home!

To serve you better, Jim has earned numerous designations through his commitment and dedication.

Specialties:

  • ABR – Accredited Buyer Representative
  • CRS- Certified Residential Specialist
  • GRI- Graduate Realtor Institute
  • CDPE- Certified Distressed Property Expert
  • e-PRO- Certified Internet Professional
  • ILHM- Institute for Luxury Home Marketing Member
  • Educational Achievement Award Recipient
  • Residential Sales Council Member

Serving buyers, sellers and investors since 1995. I have worked for national franchises and local independent offices, including the brokerage we owned in South Haven, Michigan. We sold the company, and our home, in 2006 to move to Florida.

You want an agent who is focused on you, your sale and your goals.

My focus is on you.

There are thousands of Realtors in the local area all clamoring for your attention. But your move isn’t about me or them.

It’s about You.

Your Life, Your Goals.

I am here to help you evaluate your situation; determine the best course of action; and implement the strategies to achieve your goals of buying and selling in the shortest amount of time, with the least frustration, and the most net profit in your pocket.

I am industrious, innovative and hands-on; utilizing the best of today’s technology and good old-fashioned customer service.

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (coming soon)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat Home search

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat LinkedIn

https://www.zillow.com/reviews/write/?s=X1-ZUyz3incawqo7d_93ahq Zillow

Can you believe what I found when I searched “Jim Sweat” online?

Online search reveals “Segal’s Law” scenario.

Wow!

This is a problem for me, other Realtors, and our clients.

Segal’s law is an adage that states:

“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

It refers to the pitfalls of having too much potentially conflicting information when making a decision.

The same thing happens on the internet. I just searched my own name, something I have to do from time to time because I am in a very public business.

The results showed that I have been in the real estate business for 4, 8, 9, 17 or 20 years. Quite a spread.

My production during that time is even more interesting: I have sold 1, 2, 43, or a vague “hundreds of homes” during my entire career.

When you go online to get answers, you want good information. Admittedly, many of the websites I found myself on I have never heard of before, but I did only look at the ones that had my “actual info” and not one of the dozens of other Jim Sweats out there.

Let’s be smart about this. To sort through all of the garbage online and get the real scoop, let’s just look at the best websites.

Is it safe to assume that the top two sites would have the best information? I am talking the two with the most monthly visitors; the largest dollar valuations; publicly traded companies that dominate all of the others for real estate search. This should give us the most accurate, up to date information available, right? They even state that they update their information regularly.

Zillow and Trulia (who are in the process of merging, subject to government approval) are the dominate players in real estate search, and they do not have my information correct. Not even close.

Yes, they have my 20 years right, but Zillow had me completing only two (2) sales during my entire career, and Trulia had me down for just one (1)!

I am in the process of getting those things updated, so the numbers should be different by the time you look for yourself. But, let’s get real! I have had a profile on each of these sites for over five years! How long does it take to “update regularly”?!?

So, is the problem that I have not paid them to make my information accurate? Possibly. I have called them and they tell me they will update my information and it will begin to fill in. But I didn’t pay them, and nothing changed. Trulia says I don’t have any reviews, but there are seven on the site. However, I don’t have any ratings because the reviews were added by folks before the ratings featured existed.

Millions of people go to these sites every month. I would like to ignore them, because the information is factually-challenged, but I can’t do that when most of my potential customers are on these sites.

What about all of the websites I have never even heard of?

See my blog: Real Estate Misinformation and Extortion for more details on the extortion that takes place. https://jimsweat.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/real-estate-misinformation-and-extortion/

Thousands of companies’ business models can be summed up simply “Get money from agents”.

I used to try to keep my info updated on real estate sites, but there is no way to keep up.

The public is going to get a LOT of bad information when they go online. There is no alternative.

Be careful, folks! There is a wealth of information, and misinformation, available online. Find someone trustworthy to help you make sense of it all. It could mean thousands of dollars in your pocket!

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (available 2015)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat Home search

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat LinkedIn

http://www.trulia.com/profile/jimsweat Trulia

https://www.zillow.com/reviews/write/?s=X1-ZUyz3incawqo7d_93ahq Zillow

Would you help protect a friend from a predator?

Don’t worry. I am not going to ask you to risk your life by intervening in a physical assault.

But I am serious – you have friends who are in danger at this very moment and need your help.

The problem is: you don’t know who they are. They suffer in silence.

Every day, hundreds of predators in your region gather the ammunition to attack victims. I have recently come across some more of their simple tools, and am reminded that the danger is real.

I am asking you to help me get the word out.

What is a predator? Throughout nature, the stronger prey on the weaker.

When a pride of lions approaches a herd of zebras, who is the most likely victim of the day? The smallest, weakest, youngest or injured zebra is going to become a part of the food chain.

A similar thing happens in the oceans, and in the air. The strong overpower the weak, and life goes on for the victors.

There are many examples of humans preying on others. The type of predator I am talking about today is the “sinvestor” (those willing to lie, cheat and steal; preferably from someone desperate and defenseless) who is searching for the distressed homeowners who are easy to take advantage of.

Before you think “None of my friends are distressed” let me assure you of this: unless you are a hermit, you know people who are distressed. But unless they are trying out for a “reality” show, they aren’t broadcasting the details.

In fact, folks are in danger of being victimized long before there are outward signs of trouble. Most of them suffer in silence, hoping for a miracle.

Enter the knight in shining armor, with a dark heart. Holding out hope while taking the little they have left. The folks who least can afford it are the most at risk.

There are dozens of scenarios that can create a situation of financial distress. The most common are a death or divorce; job loss; health challenges; a forced move; investment losses; or outliving savings in retirement. During the housing crash, many mortgages reset to higher interest rates, and the payments doubled at a time when selling wasn’t an option because values were plummeting and buyers were sitting on the sidelines.

While the numbers of foreclosures and pre-foreclosures have dropped significantly, there are still thousands of homeowners going through that process today, in every region of every state.

They all have options, but most are too confused or scared to seek them out. They are also afraid to answer the phone, open their mail, or respond to a knock on the door.

Why so much fear?

Because they are bombarded all day long with promises, threats, and lies. Sinvestors, scammers, attorneys, bill collectors, real estate agents and the banks they owe money to are filling their voicemail and postal mailboxes with messages of all types.

How can they tell the good guys from the bad? Which promises are just the openings to a scam? Should they trust the guy with the fancy letterhead and the fancy car, or are those warning signs? Will the guy with the magic marker sign on the corner really pay them more than anyone else for their home?

It can be too much to think about, which is why so many don’t make any progress in the right direction. They just hunker down and wait. In silence. Time is money, and they are losing both.

These phrases don’t seem dangerous, do they?

“I pay top dollar for the homes I buy.”

“I am serious about closing on your house quickly.”

“I’ll buy your house, just as it is.”

“Don’t worry about realtor commissions; you won’t have to pay any.”

They seem like the answer to a prayer, if you need to sell your home quickly, for the most money, and without having to make any repairs.

That is why these are the top four power phrases taught by a real estate investment guru who claims to have tens of thousands of students. Every one of those students is hoping to find your friends before anyone else gets a chance to fleece them.

Why do I use such strong words? Well, here are some quotes from the gurus marketing piece, looking for more wanna-be investors to sell his high end training program to.

The sellers I’m talking about aren’t the ones you see on the MLS listing their homes.

They’re not the homeowners who will sell to you on the condition you pay what THEY want.

And they’re not the sellers who respond to the typical and tired “I Buy Houses” postcards or websites.

The sellers I’m talking about are the pirate’s gold.

The sellers that NO ONE else knows about…or how to reach. The ones who are drop dead desperate to hand you the keys to their homes in the blink of an eye.

THIS is what I mean when I say ‘ultra-motivated’…the ONLY homeowner you should EVER buy a house from. Buying from anyone else can cost you a FORTUNE.

These nice homes have HUGE back-end profits built into them. Why? Because the nice folks and families I bought them from were SUPER MOTIVATED to get rid of them. Which means I picked them up for a steal.

I don’t want to hear any excuses for not doing what it takes (which ain’t much) to attract the PRIMO SELLERS in your market that are willing to sell you their home at a smokin’ discount.

This training is not for whiners.

This training is not for people who make excuses.

And it’s not for people who waste 9 months doing nothing and thinking they have to get all their pretty little ducks in a row first so they can feel good about calling themselves an ‘investor.’

Well, isn’t that precious? Can’t you just feel the love and concern?

That is why I need your help getting this information out to others. 

The training doesn’t seem congruent with the four phrases of comfort the homeowner is going to hear, does it?

Here is why those four phrases are so effective.

  • “I am serious about closing on your house quickly.” When the wolf is at the door, folks need help, fast!
  • “I’ll buy your house, just as it is.” Distressed sellers don’t have the funds to fix the home up before selling, so this seems like a blessing.
  • “I pay top dollar for the homes I buy.” Well, it seems like he may have a different definition of this than the desperate homeowner who thinks this means no one else will pay any more than this guy will.
  • “Don’t worry about realtor commissions; you won’t have to pay any.” He laughs about this one, because the “perceived savings” actually costs these sellers money. Lots of it. In many states, a Realtor would be found negligent if they allowed the seller to accept the type of offer these guys will bring to the table. To receive full market value requires full market exposure. Remember, this trainer is talking about finding sellers before anyone else does, so there is no competitive offer, and nowhere near full market value to the sellers!

I have an e-book in the works that is designed to help distressed homeowners in their time of need. It is essentially an excerpt out of the book I have been working on getting published, and I want to publish the main book first. But I will come up with a solution to get the information folks need as soon as they contact me.

I’m trying to keep this post from growing to the size of a book chapter. I go into a lot more detail in the upcoming book, such as:

  • The three people you must talk to before you make any decisions
  • The 14 options you have when facing foreclosure
  • How the different options affect your credit score and employment
  • Why Doing Nothing is the Second Worst Choice You Can Make

Folks have options, and they need to know what they are. Being conned out of their home by a smooth-talking “professional nice guy” is not the best way to go!

Every week, hundreds of gurus teach thousands of students how to find the financially weak and convince them to make bad decisions.

Please, share this with your social media connections so the warning can get out.

All I can do is attempt to get the word out that many times IT IS A WOLF at the door! Folks need to be careful about who they consult when their home and their future are at stake.

I can’t stress enough that you need good legal and tax advice. Laws vary from state to state; you must obtain counsel that understands the legal consequences in your state. Especially because the “rules” are changing so frequently, information that was relevant a while back could be bad advice today.

You also need a good real estate agent who understands the options and works well with the other professionals to bring about a successful closing. That is what allows the financial and emotional healing to begin.

I will interview agents for you in your area if you are not sure who to call. Email me with your location. I will confirm some details with you, and will tap into my database of agents with the necessary skills.

That offer is good for all situations, not just distressed sales. If you don’t have an agent in your area, or are moving to a new location, keep this in mind.

I am a member of several national and international networks of real estate professionals who have advanced training in various segments of the business. I can help you find a top agent you will be comfortable working with, based on your specific situation.

I am also able to refer to agents who work with all of the major franchises as well as independent offices. Because I work for an independent office, I am not restricted as to who I am allowed to recommend in other parts of the country.

If someone has entrusted you with the details of their situation, private message them or email them the link. Please don’t call them out online! Fear of public humiliation is a big part of what immobilizes folks from taking any action. It is a shame because this is a time when they need to be making good decisions, quickly!

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (available 2015)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat Home search

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat LinkedIn

http://www.trulia.com/profile/jimsweat Trulia

https://www.zillow.com/reviews/write/?s=X1-ZUyz3incawqo7d_93ahq Zillow

Real Estate Misinformation and Extortion

Your money is at stake here.

Our lives are entangled with the internet.

But, can you trust the websites you rely on?

Entire industries have evolved because of the internet, but does that mean you can believe the information you find, even on your favorite “reliable” websites?

Is it wise to depend on the biggest, most well-known websites when you need good information to make decisions about your largest asset?

Your home is likely that asset, and bad decisions could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

Value estimates are notoriously incorrect, and that is a topic for another day.

Agent rankings can also cost you, and hundreds of websites promise to help you choose the best agent, but behind the scenes it can get pretty ugly.

Real Estate Misinformation and Extortion

Thousands of companies’ business models can be summed up simply “Get money from agents”.

What if you couldn’t actually trust the websites that claim to be giving you great information?

If agents can “pay for placement” does that influence how reliable the rankings are?

Are customer reviews a better indicator than computerized or “professional” recommendations?

I don’t have all of the answers, I am just going to give you a bit of my personal experience with the top websites, and encourage you to ask good questions and tread carefully.

Many real estate agents lose their minds when you mention Zillow. Why? Here are some responses:

  • “The Zestimates are way too high!” (Or way too low);
  • “The listings people call about don’t exist!”
  • “I get calls from Zillow all the time! No, not customers: salespeople. Trying to sell me leads, ads, upgraded profiles and websites. All they want is my money, money, money!”

I have been a full-time, licensed real estate professional since 1995. I set up my free profile on Zillow, the largest real estate website, 7 years ago. So what is my personal experience? First, I can relate to the above issues. But the “Ratings and Reviews” is even more interesting to me, because after all these years, Zillow still hasn’t figured out how to obtain my past sales data. They show that I have completed two sales. Total. In twenty years. Wow! I am a beast!

I actually have more reviews than I do past sales. Fortunately I am “Five Star Rated” by my past customers and clients!

These sites are very popular, but they are not very accurate! While Zillow has me with a total of two, Trulia has me currently listed as having completed only one (1) sale during my entire twenty year career! This is from the number one, and number two real estate websites (who are currently merging to become a super-sized gorilla).

So, is the problem that I have not paid them to make my information accurate? Possibly. I have called them and they tell me they will update my information and it will begin to fill in, but I didn’t pay them, and nothing changed. There is a free option to load my past sales into the system, and I will have to work on that angle.

Trulia says I don’t have any reviews, but there are seven on the site. However, I don’t have any ratings because the reviews were added by folks before the ratings featured existed.

Millions of people go to these sites every month. I would like to ignore them, because the information is factually-challenged, but I can’t do that when most of my potential customers are on these sites.

There is a big plus to not having sales on these sites: the extortion sites are not yet gunning for me! Yes, there are real estate sites that will do ANYTHING, legal or otherwise, to get money from agents. The most notorious will simply give you a bad rating, and then send you an email alert that you have a bad rating. Because they are generous and upstanding (cough, cough) you are given the opportunity to have the information “updated” for a fee.

When enough complaints come in, a court case is threatened. This may quench one fiery dart, but hundreds of new websites pop up regularly to “get money from agents!”

One website that is frequently mentioned in the Realtor discussion groups as promoting misinformation is still in the “flattery” stages with me. They have me ranked as a “top listing agent” in a town that I have never had a listing in. Or even a sale. They suggested that I pay to promote my status, but haven’t gotten ugly with me yet. Probably because Trulia and Zillow show I only sell one home every ten or twenty years.

I am a bit concerned that I will rank higher on the “extortion index” if I get more of my sales listed on the primary sites. I have had hundreds of sales in my career, so these fiends could decide that I am a better target as time passes.

However, the multiple listing systems have changed in both of the markets I have worked. It may be hard to validate past sales on websites when the MLS says they can’t pull the data themselves from the previous system. Hmmm….

Oh well. I will still get calls and emails from all of these companies every week. And the occasional inquiry from a live person about a listing they saw online. Realtors hate these calls because it perpetuates a credibility problem.

Picture this common scenario:

Someone calls asking for details, or to see a new listing they just found online. The agent looks it up and tells them it sold months ago, or is not actually a listing at all.

The caller repeats, “I just found it today as a listing online.” The agent responds, “It is just a public notice that the owners have fallen behind on their mortgage. The property is not for sale, and the bank won’t actually own it through foreclosure for several months (or years here in Florida).”

Who is the public going to believe? The information provided by a famous, publicly-traded website with a market capitalization of Billions (with a “B”!) of dollars; or some unknown real estate agent who happened to answer his phone when they were calling around for more details?

Be careful, folks! There is a wealth of information, and misinformation, available online. Find someone trustworthy to help you make sense of it all. It could mean thousands of dollars in your pocket!

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (available 2015)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat Home search

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat LinkedIn

http://www.trulia.com/profile/jimsweat Trulia

https://www.zillow.com/reviews/write/?s=X1-ZUyz3incawqo7d_93ahq Zillow