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  • Where Are House Prices Headed in 2012?

    9:15 am on January 19, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , , , , second home buyers, ,   Filed under: Agent information, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Housing Market, investment, Median Sales Price, pricing, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info, Supply and Demand, The Housing Market

    by The KCM Crew on January 18, 2012

    There is no shortage of opinions as to where home prices are headed in 2012. From Clear Capital’s expectation that prices will show a ‘slight uptick’ this year to Fitch’s projection that prices ‘will fall another 13 percent’, there seems to be no consensus as to where real estate values are headed. How can there be such a disparity of opinion among industry experts? Prices are determined by the relationship between supply and demand and there are many unanswered questions regarding both of these components.

    Questions about Demand

    Will this be the year that the 5.9 million adults between the ages of 25 and 34 that are still living with their parents decide to purchase a home of their own?

    With mortgage payments lower than rent payments in the majority of the country, will first time buyers finally decide it makes more financial sense to buy rather than rent?

    Will the baby boomers take advantage of the great deals available and start purchasing vacation and retirement homes?

    Will investors continue to purchase large quantities of distressed properties?

    Will hedge funds negotiate a deal with the banks for bulk purchases of foreclosures?

    Questions about Supply

    Will 2012 be the year that builders again increase inventories of newly constructed homes?

    Will baby boomers put their primary residences up for sale and relocate to their retirement destinations?

    Will 2012 be the year that the shadow inventory of foreclosures finally makes its way to market?

    If prices depreciate, it will force more homes into a negative equity situation. Will this create another surge in short sales and foreclosures?

    Will the government put together a plan to convert large numbers of foreclosures into rental properties?

    Bottom Line

    With so many unanswered questions regarding both the demand for housing and supply of properties, it is very difficult to determine where prices will be at the end of the year. We suggest you contact a local real estate professional to help you determine where values are headed in your area.

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  • Luxury and Vacation Homes Are Selling

    9:06 am on September 15, 2011 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , second home buyers, ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Luxury, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info, Vacation

    by The KCM Crew on September 12, 2011

    It has been a trying time for most segments of the real estate industry. However, two areas that are showing improvement are the luxury home and vacation home markets. It seems that people in these segments are again beginning to purchase.

    Vacation Homes

    Last week Market Watch published an article discussing the vacation home market. Dan White, president of Daniel A. White & Associates, a wealth-management firm in the Philadelphia area, was quoted in the article.

    “A lot of people are worried about the [stock] market today because of the volatility and the fact we could be going into a double-dip recession. They’re looking for other avenues. Real estate, if we’re not at the bottom [in prices], people think we’re pretty darn close.”

    The article also explained some purchasers are seeing this as an opportunity to buy a vacation/retirement home:

    “Some baby boomers are seizing an opportunity to get a deal on a vacation home they can enjoy now but that’s also a home that eventually will become their primary residence when they retire.”

    Luxury Homes

    Along with the vacation home market, the luxury market has also made a comeback. HousingWirereported on the luxury market last month:

    “In the nation’s top 20 markets, million-dollar property sales rose 18% in 2010 with a 21% increase in California, said Laurie Moore-Moore, CEO of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, a Dallas-based firm…

    In Miami, 517 properties sold for $2 million or more during the first seven months of 2011, up nearly 16% from a year earlier.”

    Bottom Line

    If you are in a position to move-up to the home of your dreams or have been thinking about a vacation home for the family, now might be the time to make the move.

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  • Vacation Home Sales Surge Higher

    9:18 am on March 29, 2011 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , second home buyers, , single family homes   Filed under: Buyer Info, Condominiums, Consumer news and advice, Retirement, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info

    By Mike Colpitts

    RISMEDIA, March 26, 2011—In a sign that the housing market is finally making a major move in a positive direction, vacation home markets—some of the most battered in the real estate downturn—are making a surge higher in many of the hardest hit areas of the nation. Condominium sales in Hawaii and Florida are surging higher even as some potential buyers remain hesitant about the economy. (More …)

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  • Florida: Inviting, delighting Anna Maria Island

    11:37 am on December 6, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , second home buyers,   Filed under: Anna Maria Island, Buyer Info, Communities, Second Home Buyers, The Gulf Islands

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 – Life With Lisa by Lisa M. Ruth, The Washington Times

    Anna Maria Island, Fl., 

    In our hectic, tense, sometimes even unpleasant lives, Anna Maria Island is an oasis. 

    Although the island is only seven miles long, it has an expansive heart.  It is a place where entrepreneurs value hand-cut, hundred-year-old logs and historic chimneys over bank accounts. Where real estate developer’s brag about friends and tropical plantings rather than profits, and world-class restaurateurs retain a sense of humor and whimsy.  Resort managers sincerely overextend themselves to calm nervous brides and exclusive galleries welcome elderly women who visit daily to listen to the music and talk. 

    Aerial view of Anna Maria Island. Photo credit: Bradenton Area CVB.

    In the City of Anna Maria, there are no mailboxes – residents walk to the post office to get their mail, and there are no chain restaurants or stores on the island.  Largess and generosity are the norm, whether you are a resident, a first-time visitor, or a repeat traveler.  Everyone is embraced on Anna Maria.

    This amazing culture is only half the appeal of the island.  

    Located on Florida’s west coast, only 1 hour from Tampa International Airport, Anna Maria boasts some of the most pristine beaches in the world.  Beautiful white sand meets clear aqua water, and it’s all clean. 

    Without the shadow of boring fast food looming over the skyline, small, individual establishments flourish and create high quality, interesting food. Restaurants are plentiful and extraordinary, from wonderful breakfast quiche to juicy hamburgers to perfect bouillabaisse. 

     There is also limitless opportunity in the “things to do” category.  Water sports include kayaking, sailing, boating, parasailing, and jet skiing, you can fish in some of the best fishing waters in the world, walk on the beach, ride bicycles, visit museums, attend dog costume contests, or large art festivals. 

    Visitors enjoy an abundance of water sports, such as paddle boarding, around Anna Maria.

    Shopping ranges from the usual beach-goer fare to eclectic and interesting. Where else can you find specialty olive oils and bulk herbs and a mural of Elvis as a saint within a few blocks of each other? 

    There are no go-karts, water slides, roller coasters, or extreme sports on the island.  No drive through fast food or cookie-cutter restaurant chains. 

    Anna Maria Island begs one to ask, “Who needs the mundane when you can have the extraordinary?”  Residents and visitors alike celebrate breathtaking sunsets with cheers and bell ringing.  Every day.  Out loud.  They talk to each other and smile and enjoy the day.

    From sitting on white sand beaches, to dining at the finest of white tablecloth restaurants, there is plenty to do at Anna Maria Island. 

    Although it lacks noise and bluster there no shortage of activities.  Foremost, there’s the beach.  It’s hard to be bored when you can spend the day frolicking in the water and the sand, finding shells and body surfing, or reading a book and relaxing.  Anna Maria also has a full-calendar of special events, including a major art festival (Arts Hop) and the always popular Bayfest, as well as several other festivals and parades throughout the year. 

    White beaches of Anna Maria.

    Anna Maria’s location, on the Gulf and the Bay, lend themselves to other water sports.  It has some of the best fishing in the world, and you can fish on the shore, from a boat, or from the beach.  The three Anna Maria piers, the Bridge Street Pier, the Rod & Reel Pier, and the City of Anna Maria Pier, are generally filled with anglers fishing and talking and spending the day.  Many private companies rent boats for half or full day fishing trips, shore fishing or deep-sea fishing.  You can also parasail, jetski, or tube.

    Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures has kayak trips for all skill levels allowing for solo or multiple guided tours including the South Lido Mangrove Tunnels, the Myakka River, the Siesta Key/Turtle Beach, the Longboat Key, the Anna Maria Island, the Egmont Key, the Fisheating Creek , the Rainbow Springs, the Cabbage Key, and the Cayo Costa tour. 

    Tour guides are Master Naturalists and avid kayakers, expertly narrating while pointing out flora and fauna and explaining the history of the location. 

    While all the tours are beautiful, the South Lido Mangrove Tunnels are a unique activity well suited for all ages.  The two-and-a-half-hour trip starts in Little Sarasota Bay, where kayakers are likely to see manatee, dolphin, pelicans, herons, and osprey, as well as other wildlife. 

    It then loops around to the South Lido Mangrove Tunnels, which originally were “mosquito ditches” dug in the 1950s to eliminate standing water which were breeding pools for mosquitoes.  The efforts were abandoned, but they created several “tunnels” through the red mangroves, where kayakers can see the complex root systems of the plants and the animals who live in the tunnels. 

    The tour is relaxing and quiet, a true up-close encounter with nature.  Because there is little currant, it is a perfect family kayak trip in an exclusive location.

    The easiest, best way to see all the island has to offer is by bike.  If you didn’t bring your own, you can visit Beach Bums Bike Rentals, where Diane and Lauren will happily rent you bike, Go-Pets, three-wheeled bikes, surrey bikes, or golf carts. 

    They also rent kayaks and baby equipment.  Diane and Lauren will also point you in the direction of interesting destinations and give you advice about what to see and where to go.  The island-colored store is conveniently located downtown and is a great place to start your tour of Anna Maria.

    Anna Maria oozes charm and elegance and embraces its history even as it moves forward. 

    Change is evolutionary, not revolutionary, and it does happen, even in this protected enclave.  Part of that evolution includes newer shops aimed at meeting the needs of residents and tourists.  The downtown area recently benefited from a redevelopment project that maintained the cultural identify of Anna Maria while upgrading the shops and implementing “green” policies. 

    That effort highlights high-quality, interesting businesses, such as Kelly Karry’s Anna Maria Olive Oil Company.  You can also head back to Ginny’s and Jean E’s, where you can find a huge selection of gifts, or go toward the pier for more downtown shops.  Most stores have a beachy/nautical theme, and there are several excellent T-shirt shops where you can pick up Anna Maria souvenirs.

    Anna Maria Olive Oil Company.

    The Anna Maria Island Historical Society hosts a wonderful museum that includes three buildings, the museum itself, the Belle Haven Cracker Cottage, and the original City Jail.  The building narrates Anna Maria’s history in displays, photos, and historical items.  

    Director Betty Yanger had in-depth knowledge of the history of the island, as well as current day happenings, and is exuberant in sharing information.  Guests can walk through Belle Haven Cracker Cottage, famous for falling off the City Pier where it was originally built, and view the house the way it was originally set up with numerous period items. 

    As an added bonus, the historic society bakes fresh bread on certain days of the week.

    Just a few doors down from the historic museum is the Studio on Gulf and Pine, the cultural art center on Anna Maria.  Owner Rhea Chiles and curator Tommy Fagan have created an outstanding center, with artist exhibits from across the spectrum, classes, and lectures. 

    The breathtaking 8×12 “Myakka Fork” by Jake Fernandez invites guests to gaze literally for hours at the 24-panel wood mural, depicting the natural Florida landscape.  The surface of the wood blocks is uneven, reflecting light differently from every angle, giving it a sense of being alive. 

    Many of the other artists in the gallery, such as Ann Abgott, are local, and all the art is original.  Tommy Fagan has several bells on display in the gallery, which he makes from old dive tanks.  The former blacksmith heats the tanks to just the right temperature to create the perfect sound, making the pieces both beautiful and audibly pleasant. 

    The 5,000-foot gallery includes not only some of the best art on the island, but also one of the best sound systems on the island.  Tommy welcomes residents and visitors to stop in, enjoy the art, talk, listen to the music and relax.  The studio is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1pm to 5pm.

    Anna Maria is truly one of the last great unspoiled family vacation spots, welcoming, warm, and wonderful. 

    “People on Anna Maria are genuinely happy because they want to be here, whether they are residents or visitors,” says Bert Schaefer of Ginny’s and Jane E’s.  She adds, “I do see some sad people here — they are the ones at our Internet Café printing out boarding passes to go home…I feel so sad for them…they always look miserable.”

    To fully enjoy Anna Maria, you have to downshift.  There’s no room for frantic or exasperated.  Relax.  You’re in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with some of the nicest people in the world.  Take a minute to enjoy.

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  • On the Chopping Block: How Mortgage Deduction Will Affect the Real Estate Industry

    8:46 am on December 1, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , , , second home buyers,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Credit, economy, Income Tax, mortgage, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info

    By Alan J. Heavens

    RISMEDIA, December 1, 2010—(MCT)—Long considered a key ingredient of American homeownership, the income-tax deduction for mortgage interest is now on the menu of the commission looking for ways to trim the federal deficit. Among the $3.8 trillion in debt-cutting options being considered by National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is a scaled-down tax deduction eliminating second homes, mortgages of more than $500,000, and home-equity loans.

    Reaction to even the hint of a change came quickly—and stridently.

    “For a battered housing industry, which is struggling with a 21 percent unemployment rate among construction workers, this is absolutely the worst time to be considering changes,” said National Association of Home Builders President Bob Jones.

    Diminishing or ending the deduction “would exert further downward pressure on home prices, leaving more homeowners with mortgages larger than the value of their property and fueling even more foreclosures,” he said. (More …)

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  • Communities can age gracefully

    10:25 am on October 28, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , second home buyers,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Communities, People, Sarasota, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info

    By Ted C. Fishman

    For the past three years, I have been traveling in Asia, Europe and the U.S. to get a glimpse at a world population that is growing ever older. Before long, throughout the developed world, there will be more people over age 50 than there are under 15. This has never happened before.Older people, more than any other group, have borne the brunt of an increasingly mobile world where jobs and money move ever more speedily around a globe. Older workers don’t move or find new opportunities as swiftly as companies and capital do. Yet, one of the most hopeful and surprising trends in our rapidly aging world is the reassertion by communities of the qualities that make them uniquely attractive and less vulnerable to the tides that gut them of young people and leave older people to endure economic decline.

    In my travels, two American communities — industrial Rockford, Ill., and Sunbelt Sarasota, Fla. — offered contrasting views today of how a growing sense of place might figure in our older future to come.

    As in other challenged industrial cities, Rockford’s leaders face a local economy that often communicates to people in their 50s and older that they are past their use-by dates. Blame global competition. It moves many jobs abroad and spurs automation, which also destroys jobs for industrial workers. Nearly everywhere I go in Rockford, I meet former factory workers who feel they were urged to take early retirement or otherwise pressured out of their jobs too early. The local big box stores, and other employers that see the value of seasoned workers, suit them up for jobs. Few pay nearly the salaries the workers earned in their former gigs.

    Young move away

    One of the biggest complaints in town is that Rockford’s best-educated young people leave for the big urban metropolises, or go to select smaller places that are considered cool. Rockford is not cool. But it is trying.

    The city’s mayor was elected as a political novice at age 35 on a promise to make the city look and feel young again. His plan mirrors the ambitions of aging industrial cities across America. The schemes challenge the notion that economic fortune depends on how well a person, firm or place serves a wired, flat world. Instead, it argues for the creation of exhilarating places that have their own unique, attractive character that cannot be replicated in China or Brazil or wherever jobs might migrate to. A prime goal is to attract the young professionals and creative types who possess the generative juice to kick-start new economic activity. Cafes, river walks, cultural events and incentives for inventive businesses to fill in the decimated downtown are all part of Rockford’s plan.

     Ironically, one of Rockford’s great recent victories is the luring of a giant Chinese solar panel manufacturer to town. It didn’t want Rockford’s wooded paths or cafes. It wanted its Midwestern workers.

    What’s more, the niche that is best attracting new young professionals and creating jobs is the health care sector. It did not need local officialdom to help it grow. The needs of the growing numbers of elderly in the region took care of that. The hospitals are now the second largest employer in town. Older Rockford might not be the enemy of its rejuvenation; it might be the engine.

    Cool and old?

    Can a place get cool by getting old? That’s the idea in Sarasota, where one household in two is home to someone over 65. While the zeitgeist in Rockford makes people in their 50s feel old, in Sarasota someone 50, or 60, is a kid. Sarasota is flush with new not-for-profit organizations because retirees there crave new projects and start charities. The local Ringling cultural complex, which includes a circus museum, busies 700 older volunteers.

    There is so much going on in Sarasota to promote, and profit from, keeping older people engaged, active and healthy that one local civic organization touts the region as a kind of Silicon Valley for aging. It sounds paradoxical, but Sarasota’s critical mass of firms serving the older market produce a steady stream of innovation — in business models, services and technology — all with the needs and desires of late-life consumers in mind. Firms that pioneer innovative senior housing in Sarasota, for example, replicate it elsewhere.

    Unsurprisingly, one particularly competitive field is health care, the kind older people need and the kind they don’t, but spend for nonetheless. Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Health Care System is the second largest hospital in Florida. Some 1,300 doctors work in the area, a disproportionately high number for a population of 50,000. Highway 41 running past the main hospital is the kind of loosely zoned strip that other cities fill with car dealerships, but in Sarasota it’s a stretch of pharmacies, clinics and quasi-medical white-coat practices, most with big billboards.

    Health care is certainly a potent force in bringing outside money, what economists call “export” revenue, to town. It comes mainly in the form of federal Medicare funds. Specialties that rely on customers who pay their own way also flourish.

    Looking for a chiropractor, for prolotherapy or for a mesotherapy weight loss center? Highway 41 is the place. None of those businesses is relocating to cool or low-cost foreign climes. For them, Sarasota’s aging population has made it the best place to be. Even as Florida retirement communities go boom and bust, for Sarasota, being the community that best serves its older population gives it a vitality and stability other communities might well envy. And learn from.

    Ted C. Fishman is the author of the new book Shock of Gray: The Aging of the World’s Population and How it Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival, and Nation Against Nation. He also is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.

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  • 6 Reasons Why It’s Smart to Buy a Vacation Rental Home Now

    8:47 am on October 26, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , , , second home buyers   Filed under: Agent information, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Interest Rates, investment, Second Home Buyers

    RISMEDIA, October 22, 2010—Lately, you’ve been thinking a lot about investing strategies. You have a small nest egg that needs to grow, but frankly you don’t trust the stock market. And while real estate has been somewhat of a rocky road in recent years, it’s still a solid long-term investment strategy—and clearly we’re in a buyer’s market. But you aren’t really interested in being a landlord. So what can you do?

    Christine Karpinski has a suggestion: Purchase a vacation home and rent it out to travelers. (More …)

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  • If HE Says It Is Time To Buy a Home, BUY A HOME!

    11:42 am on October 5, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , , second home buyers   Filed under: Agent information, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, economy, Interest Rates, Second Home Buyers

    by The KCM Crew on October 5, 2010

    “If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own one home, buy another one. And if you own two homes, buy a third and lend your relatives the money to buy one.”

    – John Paulson 9/27/2010

    WOW! That’s a powerful statement. (More …)

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  • A Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Savvy Second Homeowners

    9:56 am on September 30, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , second home buyers   Filed under: Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Home owner information, Second Home Buyers

    RISMEDIA, September 29, 2010—It’s one thing to examine your property with an eye toward pleasing your guests, but smart second homeowners realize the value of regular preventive maintenance as well. Even if your guests don’t notice, say, a leaky roof, it’s likely to cause bigger, more expensive problems down the road. After you’ve done your end-of-season audit, plan a second working weekend aimed at protecting your investment. Based on the “stitch in time saves nine” theory, Christine Karpinski, director of Owner Community for and author of How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner, 2nd Edition: The Complete Guide to Buy, Manage, Furnish, Rent, Maintain and Advertise Your Vacation Rental Investment offers the following recommendations to protect your investment: (More …)

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  • Second-home market offers first-rate deals for boomers

    12:29 pm on September 27, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , , , second home buyers, , ,   Filed under: Agent information, Baby Boomers, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, economy, investment, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info, The Economy, The Housing Market, Web Stats - 2010

    By Eugene L. Meyer, U.S. News & World Report

    3:49 p.m. CDT, September 23, 2010

    The housing market reflects a paradox of the current economy: Though some baby boomers are struggling to prevent their primary residences from sliding into foreclosure, others are realizing their dream of purchasing a vacation getaway.

    Many people “still have a lot of money that sits on the sidelines waiting,” said Michael Saunders, a Sarasota, Fla., broker active in the second-home market. “I think the wait is over for them. Anywhere you look, you are going to find prices we haven’t seen since 2001,” largely because of foreclosures and short sales of homes for less than what’s owed on them. (More …)

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