Archive for the ‘Naples Homes For Sale’ Category

NAPLES AREA OVERALL MEDIAN HOME PRICES INCREASE 17% in 2012

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Disregarding the boom years of 2004 and 2005, 2012 represented historically the best year in the history closed sales in the Naples area real estate numbers. Buyer’s are no longer sitting on the side lines but are actively seeking buying opportunities before pricing increases really hit the market.

Overall pending sales increased 6%, from 10,070 pending sales in 2011 to 10,683 pending sales in 2012. Overall inventory decreased by 13% from 7581 in 2011 to 6557 in 2012 according to the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR).

However, according to Jack McCabe, a real estate analyst based in Deerfield Beach, prices are nowhere near 50% of where they were before the market decline.

So, Buyers be alert for opportunities.

The Naples’ ‘market’ should be considered to consist of Naples / Bonita and areas of Estero. The Ft. Myers / Cape Coral / Lehigh Acres and Punta Gorda areas are an entirely different market place and are way behind the Naples market in their recovery.

What is the current status of new construction in the Naples FL real estate market?

Friday, August 31st, 2012

The Naples Florida Real Estate Marketplace when it comes to new construction buying opportunities is back on track.  Naples and Bonita Springs Florida are unique when it comes to upscale, gated communities with full amenity packages to include golf courses and tennis complexes.  I use the term upscale which is most certainly not intended to be taken lightly.   New construction pricing will start in the high $100′s with no topside price range which can run in to the millions.

What is the current status of new construction today?  For the 1st time since the housing market crash of 2007, residential building permits in the city of Naples are on pace to meet or surpass pre-recession numbers.  To meet this additional work load, the city’s building department is adding four positions.

For all general purposes, Naples and Bonita as we know it today, did not exist for all practical purposes 50 years ago.  Naples and Bonita Springs is a young, vibrant community with MANY ‘things to do’ at all time of the year.  Having lived here for almost 20 years, I can honestly tell you that it is a fabulous place to live at any stage of one’s life time.

Retirement in the Naples, FL Real Estate Market

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Type A Retiree Concerns.

I wish I could tell you how many times a Type A Individual looking for a major residence in the Naples / SW Florida real estate market and who is about to retire will express their concern as to how they are going to keep busy in retirement. They have been so busy for years. They have been tied to a professional work schedule; they have worked long hours from dawn into late at night. My standard reply is that while I sincerely understand their concern, they will ultimately be very surprised when they look back after their first year ‘out of the office’!! When I see them a year out and ask them how they are doing, their standard reply seems to be that ‘I am so busy, I don’t have time to do the things I really want to do’! What a great problem to have!!

Such as? Many are still very active on corporate boards or consulting within their specialty fields. There are those who find time to volunteer for countless opportunities. Examples might be … SCORE where many can provide invaluable business insight to start up local start up enterprises; Florida Gulf Coast University, more commonly referred to as FGCU has opportunities for the professionally trained to lend their knowledge whether as a teacher or tutor with the same opportunities with Edison Community College or Hodges University; I have several friends who deliver meals-on-wheels or work at a local hospice and wouldn’t even consider not showing up for ‘work’; there are literally hundreds of volunteer organizations who give back to the community. Did you have time to do so when you were a professional? Most likely not. Then there are the challenges of playing golf or tennis for fun and believe me, it is a lot of fun. Remember that 9 AM meeting on the 10th floor where there was the constant strain and pressure to make decisions that affected a lot of other people? Now your 9 AM meeting is on court # 2 or the 1st tee and it is a ‘meeting’ that most really look forward to … several times a week!! There are those days when I frequently will play 2 – 3 sets of tennis as well as 18 holes of golf and it sure beats the dickens out of a 9 AM business meeting? Remember those books that you didn’t have time to read? Now there’s time! What about those late afternoon meetings when you finally got home after 8 PM and the family is already in to their evening activities and you still have work to do. Not now! Now, you might become Chef D’ Cuisine of your own castle and your wife is more than happy to relinquish the task. You get to make the dinner choices even if it is to go out for dinner!! The Naples and Bonita areas offer an abundance of cultural activities from the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts to various art associations and theater productions. Naples and Bonita is a very happening place to live.

You may still set an alarm clock even in retirement but it will be because the next day is full of things you want to do rather than schedules which must be met. How many times in one’s professional life does one live in a particular locale because their job demands they live there. This time, you get to pick where you want to live rather than someone telling you where you are going to live.

I can specifically describe my decision as to why I decided to move to SW Florida in 1993. I had reached a time in my professional career whereby I needed to find a new way of making a good living. I had sold my company and it was time to move on. I was 53 and it was in 1993. To my way of thinking, it did not make sense to start a new career in metropolitan New York City and then turn around and move somewhere in retirement. My option was to move somewhere where I could spend the rest of my life and not have to go through the process of moving again and making new friends in 10 – 15 years. I opted to move to SW Florida where I preferred Florida Green rather than Desert Brown. I made one major mistake: I wish I had done it sooner!!! It was the best decision I ever made.

I could go on. But, you will just have to experience this yourself!! WHAT A LIFE … and someone has to do it !!!!!!

Recommended Professionals for the Home Buying Process in Naples

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

There are many people involved in your home buying process in Naples Florida. It can be a bit overwhelming keeping who’s who and what they do in the process of purchasing a home straight.

The real estate agent it with your throughout the process. Larry Halpin helps you find the right home and manages the process of putting in an offer and negotiating the sale. They are essential to the process and they know the market and all the paperwork and inspections that need to be completed.

Although in Bonita Springs and Estero it’s best to start the loan application before you see an agent, But once you’ve found a home a mortgage broker or lender is necessary. Their job is to shop around and find you the best loan.

Before you get a loan you need to have an appraiser look at the home. Some people hire their own appraisers to make sure they get the best deal. An appraiser determines the exact value of your home.

Before buying a home you should have it inspected. A home inspector evaluates all major components of the home to make sure you know if anything is unsafe.

A closing agent is a neutral third party agent who helps with the home purchase agreement. Other important people in the home buying process are real estate attorney, tax professional and an insurance agent.

This seems like a lot of people involved, but they are all experts in their field to help you get through the home buying process as smoothly as possible. Don’t try to go it alone.

Things your Naples Florida Listing Needs

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Photos and the description of your house are very important to getting the home to sell quickly. You want to capture the audience and make them want to know more about the house.

Highlight unseen amenities mention the oversized garage or the amazing views. You want to draw people into the house with more than just the number of bedrooms.
Be specific. Mention exactly which updates you’ve done. Like brand new counter tops. Use brand names for appliances. Mention the newly resurfaced pools or the walk in closets.

Use the right adjectives. You are trying to peak the interest of a buyer, but too many fluff words can have the opposite affect. Be honest about the house and describe it correctly, but don’t stretch the truth. The buyers will be disappointed when they see the house in person.

It doesn’t matter if your home is in Naples, Bonita Springs or Estero. If you are honest in the description and use the correct adjectives your home will sell quicker.

Tips for Your Walk-Through before Closing in Naples, Florida

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Before you sign on closing day, you want to make sure you walk through the house and note all potential problems. Although you are very excited about new home and moving in you need to complete this important step. Go slow and calmly through the walk through, do not rush this step. You may regret it later.

Schedule enough time for your walk through, at least 30 minutes if not more. You are going through a house with a fine toothed comb and need to be as detailed as possible for the home inspection. If you can schedule your walk through 24 hours in advance that’s best. So if a problem arises, there will be time to fix them before the closing meeting.

Turn on and off all appliances and lights. Just to make sure that everything you need to work, works. This few tips will help you have a painless closing day and then you can enjoy your new home in Naples, Bonita Springs or Estero.

THIS SEASONED REALTOR’S DESCRIPTION OF LIFE IN SW FLORIDA

Monday, May 14th, 2012

After growing up in Cedar Rapids, IA and graduating from the University of Iowa, I spent 35 years in medical sales, 16 of which were invested in my own small medical supply company. I learned the IMPORTANCE of concentrated personalized service. I strongly believe that the customer may not always be right but I do my best to make sure that the customer makes the right decision from their vantage point.

My Dad died too early, way too early, to enjoy the comforts of a Florida lifestyle. He died in the early 60s. My Mom remarried about 7 years later. Almost immediately Mom and Henry started spending the majority of their time in Naples. Wow, that was in the early 70s … 40 years ago from when I am writing this Blog. Compared to today’s environment, Naples practically didn’t exist back then. I would come down for a 5 day visit which was all the time I could spend away from a small one-man company.

I have seen Naples grow from a quiet out-of-the-way fabulous location on the Florida Gulf to the (relatively speaking) quiet FABULOUS cosmopolitan center that it is today. The city fathers have endeavored to protect and maintain the green spaces / small town environment that existed then and still exists today compared to the East Coast of Florida. In my opinion, it is just a different world over there.

The metropolitan Naples area in today’s mindset really consists of Naples / Bonita Springs and Estero. North of Estero, you start to get in to Ft. Myers. The ‘Naples market’ and the Ft. Myers market while they are kissing cousins in geographical proximity, are very different in their composition. The same can be said when one compares the Naples market with the Sarasota area. While the fine residents who live in Sarasota won’t tell you, it is a known fact that during the winter months, there is a moving weather line as one moves north of Ft. Myers toward Sarasota that above that line, there can be noticeable differences in winter temperatures. There is a quiet joke that people who purchased in Sarasota, purchased before they took the time to venture further South. We thank those (not-so) wise Sarasotians!!

I personally made one major mistake when I moved full time to Naples in 1993. It is the same mistake which many have made before me as well as the same mistake that many more will make in the future. I sure wish I had moved here sooner!! One might surmise that I admit to this mistake due to significant increase in property values over the years and I would admit to this being true. However, the real reason is that the quality of life in general in SW Florida is so superior to other areas where I have lived. A couple of years ago, I took my step father to see his neurologist. We got in to this type of conversation and he said that when he sees patients who have lived here for some time compared to patients who live in … that climate up north (!!), the typical resident who lives in SW Florida is just in far better condition and has a younger outlook. They are more active … so saith the MD!

To what does he contribute this feeling? One would be the weather. I could tell you how great the weather is but you probably wouldn’t believe me. I can’t tell you how often I hear the objection from someone who lives in those other places up North (!!), … ‘how can you live in SW Florida during the Summer; it must be terribly hot and humid. Bull roar!! It almost never gets above 94 in the summer and when it gets in to the August – September months, which is our rainy season, it will typically rain like hell in the afternoon for about 20 minutes, after which the Sun comes out and the rain water soaks through the sandy soil and it is back to business as usual. I can tell you that Summer temperatures in Cedar Rapids, St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus … Pgh, Philly, NY, Boston, Baltimore, DC, etc. all have average temperatures higher than the Naples’ average and that includes humidity. I should also include the Plainfield / Westfield area of NJ where I lived for some 35 years. Don’t believe me? Come on down!!

The weather is so fabulous that almost all activity is OUTDOORS unless one plays bridge or MahJongg, neither of which I play!! Over the years, most, but not all, of my Buyers are looking for a community where they can play golf and / or tennis. All are friendly games at all levels of activity. My wife is a really competitive bridge player and she wished I would play. Before we met, she played tennis and no golf. Now, she plays a lot of golf and little tennis. She really gets excited when she breaks 100. It wasn’t but a couple weeks ago she had a ‘career round’ scoring a 90. She was excited for 3 days. The next time she went out and it was business as usual!! What I really enjoy is watching someone who is a beginner at either golf or tennis … who will start to take lessons and really work to improve. They may not ever get to be ‘good’ but they can feel the improvement they make and they want to play every day.

So in general, PEOPLE, LIVING IN SW FLORIDA ARE REALLY ACTIVE and this keeps people young and certainly not sedentary!!

And what are other area activity options? Let me input here that I have had so many conversations with ‘Type A’ executives considering a move to the Naples area in which they express their concern … I have always been so busy that I am worried how I will handle ‘retirement’. My retort is … ‘see you in a year’. A year later, when I encounter the same person … I ask the obvious question to which they always reply … I am so busy I don’t know where the time goes!! Hooray !! And it is so true!!

What are other activities??

The Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts offers world class culture (entertainment) (www.thephil.org) almost year around. You can attend the Symphony, The Pops, Miami Ballet, … you can go to concerts of unlimited genre from country & western to Johnny Mathis or Broadway Theater.

There is a significant artist colony which has grown very quickly. There are at least 5 nationally ranked juried art shows particularly in season (Christmas through Easter). The number of art galleries is significant. Both Collier County and Bonita Springs have art associations with all sorts of classes for every artistic level. I can personally attest to this fact.

There is more retail square footage per capita in Collier County than any other area in the country. At least that is what the Chamber of Commerce says!! I use to be a little worried when my wife would tell me she is going shopping. However, I have learned that my wife, while being a very serious ‘shopper’, is always looking for a very good bargain! It is a real challenge for the local retail businesses because they have to make their living within a 4 month span and the sales volume really slows down the remaining 8 months.

There is a thriving sport fishing market. I went fishing in late April (2012) with 15 other hard-nosed fisherman. I hadn’t been fishing in years due to a bad inner ear! Real fishermen would not take me fishing unless they were having trouble finding ‘bait’!! But it was fun! There were 6 of us on our boat with the final score for the day being Fish 6 – Fisherman 0!! We caught nada! Nothing!! But it was fun anyway. It was just one of those days when the fish took a vacation.

FGCU’s official name is Florida Gulf Coast University. It didn’t exist 14 years ago. Now, there are some 14,000 students!! Judy and I spend a lot of time on campus. No we don’t go to class. But in 14 short years, FGCU is a major NCAA Division I participant in men’s and women’s basketball with the 2011-2012 women’s team actually making it in to the Big Dance. The same applies to both respective soccer teams. The women’s softball team is ranked nationally as well and did qualify for the NCAA tourney. Both tennis teams have shown remarkable improvement with new coaches. We attend several concerts each year at the FGCU Bower School of Music. FGCU is certainly a happening place for the students AND the locals. And as a local wanting to go to the various events, the price is certainly very reasonable.

The beach … aaaah !! THE BEACH !! How could I forget the beach? It is one of the primary reasons people move to the Naples area. The beach is made up of soft, fine, white sand contrary to what you would find on the East Coast. The Gulf of Mexico is far quieter than the Atlantic. What more can I say other than … THE NAPLES AREA BEACH IS ONE OF THE MAJOR REASONS PEOPLE LOVE TO COME TO NAPLES!!

Frequently, questions come up as to the frequency of hurricanes. This is an easy question to discuss. Certainly there is the possibility of a hurricane blowing through town. Does it happen? Yes. Does it happen with regularity? NO, not to the Naples area!! Most of the big storms come off the coast of Africa. As they reach the Caribbean Islands, the storm pathways will either veer north and swing up the eastern seaboard targeting the GA, SC, NC and DE coastlines. Or, the storms will head out in to the Gulf of Mexico and zero in on Central America or swing north and hit land somewhere between Galveston and the FL panhandle. Rarely do they come across the FL peninsula to the Naples area. When they do, the real damage is to vegetation such has the enormous banyan trees which have a small root base compared to beautiful but enormously heavy top foliage. What about damage to residential structures? You have to keep in mind that 50 years ago, for all general purposes, Naples almost did not exist. As a result, the major structures are far more stable than structures built ‘years ago’. Almost without exception, structures built in SW Florida in the last 40 years were built with cement block and tile roofs which meet ‘code’. The only damage, most times, to any structure will be to manufactured homes.

Let’s not forget one of the major past times … eating. NAPLES (which includes Bonita Springs and Estero) IS A HUGE EAT-OUT ENVIRONMENT. Yes, you can attend dozens of cooking classes at any number of retail establishments and cook at home. But ‘what’s for dinner, honey’ will likely have you eating out. You can spend a fortune or you can be as economical as you want to be. Particularly after the end of Season, the food emporiums suddenly start offering really good 2 for 1 bargains and include a bottle of wine. You almost can’t afford to stay home.

I have a couple of final parting inputs based on my experiences of living in this fabulous environment for almost 20 years.

Yes, this is a destination Rest & Retirement location. You would think this is a salt & pepper (color of one’s hair!) environment. That it is an older more staid personality make-up. WRONG !! Contrary to thinking that SW Florida would be made up of older folks, the average age in Collier County is roughly 42 for men and 44 for women. When you go to the beach or golf course … or tennis courts during the day, you don’t find 42 or 44; you are more likely to find 60 – 70 or 80+ and then think … hey! that Halpin Realtor was off his mark. But if you think about this for a moment, you would quickly realize that the younger set during the day IS WORKING!! Oh, that’s right … there has to be a work force to provide the many services required to support the ‘environment’! When you should go out for dinner, you would quickly realize that the population make up is evenly split along amongst all chronological ages.

And think about this for a moment: Anyone older than you are … IS STILL REALLY YOUNG!! That thought generally makes people stop and think.

The population in the Naples area is typically Midwestern / Indiana / Ohio / Upper NY State / New England. And let’s not forget the many Canadians, Europeans and friends from South America. Because, as the saying goes, no one is from ‘here’, you find yourself wearing a name tag when you go to Happy Hour as an example. Why? Because you may not remember the name of the couple you met last year or more currently, the name of the guy / gal you played golf with earlier in the day. Name tags make it far more comfortable to intermingle and not have to worry about having to remember the other names! This is an extraordinary friendly … look you in the eye … environment. Believe me when I say that it is really easy to make new friends in my town!! The general consensus could care less whether you are here as a snow bird or as a full time resident … whether you own one house … or more! If someone asks you where you live or what part of the community you live in, they are asking just to be friendly as opposed to being ‘uppity’. I have rarely encountered a situation where people were status conscious. This is the West coast of Florida after all!!

And that makes up my couple of thoughts on the subject!!! It comes from the heart.

Tips for a Painless Closing in Naples

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

As much as we’d like it to be a closing isn’t just signing the dotted line and the house is yours. Here are a few tips to help prevent your closing from being a disaster.
Communicate with all parties involved. Ask questions to understand the process and make sure everything know what needs to happen to help your closing in Florida go smoothly. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, your real estate agent is there to help you through this.

Know that human errors happen and prepare for them. You may just have to roll with them. There are many people involved in the closing process. The more people involved the more likely there is for Human error, but the more you prepare for it the better off you’ll be. Review the load documents in advance to help catch problems before the end of the process. If you review the loan documents you will also know how much money you need to bring to closing.

Take closing day off. If all goes well you could be done in 30 minutes, but plan for worst case scenario and hope for the best.

Expect the unexpected. Watch for typos in all documents. Check the numbers, a simple typo could hurt you if you don’t catch it before you sign the documents. If you schedule your appointment early in the day, if something needs to be changed on your loan there will be enough time to complete the change that day.

Following these tips and talking to your real estate agent Larry Halpin will help you have a smooth closing in Naples, Bonita Springs, or Estero.

What Happens After Signing?

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

WHAT HAPPENS TO AN OFFER TO BUY REAL ESTATE AFTER THE BUYER SIGNS ON THE DOTTED LINE?

In the Naples / Bonita / Estero real estate market place, there are somewhere in the range of 6000 Realtors. In Downing-Frye Realty’s two offices, we have somewhere just south of 600 agents. In a booming market place such as 2005, this number grows substantially as individuals get their license and suddenly become experts. And then as the market changes direction, these same individuals fall by the wayside as they can’t afford to stay in the business. Currently (2nd quarter 2012), the market is turning upward from a ‘bottom’ and becoming extraordinarily active. This will most likely mean that in the coming months / year, more people will be taking the test to qualify as licensed Realtors.

Make sure that when you enter the real estate market place, you choose a Realtor who has been in the business for several years and has the experience necessary to know how to be of valuable assistance to you. It is not simply a matter of being able to work the MLS software. If you are reading this blog, you already know how to use the MLS system because you have been experimenting most likely with the system on-line through this website or one of my friendly competitors. It takes a lot of experience before a new Realtor is comfortable knowing the various pros and cons of the many communities in our market place as well as being knowledgeable when it comes to the mounds of forms which are necessary to complete a transaction. In this age of data processing, the real estate gods never learned the meaning of a paperless society!

When buyer’s come to the table, they need to be sure they know what’s happening to their offers once they have signed on the dotted line. It is a fair question to ask of whomever is helping you write the offer, whether it is your attorney or your estate agent. I can count on one hand the number of Buyers who ask the question as to what happens to the paperwork. How is it being delivered; does your Realtor know anything about the seller; have there been other offers?

I can tell you that the majority of buyers rarely ask for details. To whom is the offer being presented? How is it being delivered? Does your agent know anything about the seller; has the seller’s agent recently received offers? It happens more often that one might admit but there are some Realtors out there who will simply fax or email an offer without any other form of communication with the other Realtor. It has happened that an inexperienced agent might drop off a contract at an office without directing the offer to the listing agent. Little did the enthusiastic buyers realize that while they’ve mustered the courage and signed on the dotted line only to have their offer get rolled up and essentially tied to a balloon and released into the great blue yonder!!

If you’re a buyer who is making an offer to purchase real estate, here are a few more questions you need to ask:
Ask if your agent has spoken with the listing agent prior to preparing an offer to find out important information such as which closing dates could benefit the seller or to ask for property disclosures. Property Disclosures? When I purchased my first house in the mid 60s, there were no disclosures and the contract formats typically protected only the seller. These days in SW Florida, the contract formats are written to protect both the buyer and seller equally and there are a ton of disclosures particularly if that property is within a gated community. You did review the disclosures first, right? Good, that means you signed them and send them back with the offer.

Get a copy of your contract and a list of important time frames, response times for both parties involved in the contract, escrow deposit dates and home inspection deadlines.

Ask for some sort of acknowledgement from your real estate agent that the offer was actually presented and is now in the hands of the seller, the seller’s real estate agent or their legal counsel for due consideration. Whether it’s simply an acknowledgement of a conversation about the contract or an email response receipt to make sure the seller’s side knows you’ve placed an offer.

What happens to an offer after signing it? It’s a fair question to ask of whomever is helping you write the offer, whether it’s your attorney or your real estate agent. If your attorney is involved they’re generally concerned with making sure you’re legally protected. They’ll also track specific time frames after the contract is executed and advise you of action items required on your part that involve inspections, applying for mortgages, etc.

If nobody knew the offer was coming, whether it’s via email, fax or pony express, valuable time is tick, tick, ticking away. This is where sellers really learn to really appreciate that 24-hour response time they’ve been given. They especially enjoy it when they live in a different time zone or on a different continent or if there are multiple parties involved who need to be consulted before an agreement or counter offer can be made.

Instruct your agent to ask to be notified immediately if your offer becomes involved a multiple offer situation.

The key here is for you to make sure you are working with an experienced Realtor and not a newbie!! A good Realtor is not an order-taker.
 

8 Ways to Upset Real Estate Agents in Naples

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Although your Naples real estate agent stands to make a commission off of you that doesn’t mean you can take them for granted. Don’t act like you know it all because you searched the internet. The agent has been in the business for a long time and knows more about real estate than you do. Trust them.
Don’t waste the agent’s time. If you don’t have a set list of agreed upon wants and needs, you need to resolve that issues before the agent can help. Your agent isn’t trying to sabotage you either. The agent is there to help you through the difficult task of buying a home, but don’t make them your parents.
See the inside of houses, even if the curbside isn’t the most appealing. There is a reason the agent picked this house for you. The reason lies inside. Don’t think you can get a better deal. The agent is working for you and wants to get you the best deal.