April 24, 2011. End of Season, beginning of busy
I just finished reading the morning paper sitting on my back porch overlooking Jay Cee Park and the Caloosahatchee River. There was a sunrise service in the park this morning, along with a light breeze and a temperature of 69 degrees. This is a favorite time of year here for year round residents. Most Snow Birds have left, and the roads, golf courses, and beaches are not as crowded. The weather is much more predictable and our favorite restaurants can be reclaimed. High Season is marked on each end by two holidays: Thanksgiving and Easter.
Easter should be the end of a busy real estate selling season, but quite honestly , I do not see things slowing down this year as it has in years past. Yes, it was a very busty selling season. March, for us, at least, was the busiest month we have ever had. April will be almost as strong. But this summer we will be busy because of some of the following points.
· The foreclosure docket is loosening up. The banks and the Feds have settled many of the issues that slowed down the foreclosure. This will give Market America Realty Group a larger inventory of bank managed assets.
· Prices are starting to go up. When prices go up buyers see this as a sign that they will continue up, and a signal to buy now.
· While prices in our market are starting to inch up, we are still a cornucopia of bargain homes. Three bedroom home with pool, under $100,000? Come on down. Condos for under $200,000? Unheard of globally.
· We will be marketing Globally. We have already had our first exhibition in Canada, and in May we begin in the Far East. Folks, waterfront condos here in Florida at $200/sf are ONE FIFTH the price of a lesser condo in the Far East. Think Global. Foreigners look at our market and are thrilled with the prices. They will buy and hold 7 to 10 years and rent just to cover carrying costs. Our website has special pages now for Canadian and for Chinese buyers.
· Commercial Opportunities have finally hit. The banks are now releasing many of the commercial opportunities that htye have kept on their books. I’m looking at empty bank buildings, office parks, and hotels as well as subdivided entitled land. Opportunities are being sold for a fraction of their debt. Projects like Tarpon Point just went back to the bank, and other stalled developments will be reworked this summer.
· Time to build? We have met with customers lately that have not found the house they want WHERE they want it. They are looking for smaller homes closer to the existing population. Energy efficient homes. Building will start again – on a much smaller scale, but this is great news for the local economy.
· Reformation of our Commercial Group. I have set up a separate commercial division again in response to all the opportunities that are on our plate. The new office address is 2143 First Street.
· This Summer we will add two new offices and expand our Lehigh. (By the way, Lehigh Acres has grown twice since we opened in November. We will double again on Lee Boulevard – same address, but more space with in-house lending and title service,) We also have added another 2000 sf downtown on First street.
By the way , Gail and took Friday off and spent the day with our two ten year old grandkids. We visited Gatorama – a Gator farm in Palmdale that has been there since 1957. I highly recommend it for those that want to see a piece of old Florida – and a few gators.
Let me go from old Florida to and Old Blog – here is one of my favorites from when the two grandkids were preschoolers:
LESSONS FROM A DINOSAUR EGG
Lessons come from many places and at any time. I would like to share with you a few that I learned yesterday. Yesterday the weather was fit for a postcard. I left the office at lunch time to go to The Bell Tower to pick up some tailoring I was having done on a new suit I recently purchased at Jos. Banks. First I walked through Saks Fifth Avenue to see if I could bump into my daughter Nicole and invite her to lunch. She runs the visual department there. We had a tardily served, but delicious lunch at what used to be called Dragonfly (Maybe the new owners need to work on their branding. I have no idea what the new name is, or even if there is one). I asked Nicole if it was OK to pick up her son Adi from preschool and take him home for the evening so he could spend the night with Gail and I and his cousin Jacob.
I finally got home with Adi about an hour later. When we were last in Chicago, Gail purchased two gifts for Adi and Jacob at the Field Museum; essentially an egg the size of a large mango. If you know anything about preschool boys, you know that they know more about dinosaurs than Fred Flintstone ever did. They are absolutely fascinated by them. When Gail came home after picking up Jacob at his preschool she presented both boys with these eggs. These are cleverly designed. They come in a box with two very simple tools; a digging stick about three inches long and a similarly sized brush. The idea is the child becomes a Paleontologist. He must excavate a dinosaur from this brown Plaster of Paris egg. They do this with this large toothpick and brush.
Our two budding paleontologists spent one and one half hour excavating while I watched and listened. The only other thing I have EVER seen them do for that long a period of time is sleep. They picked, they brushed. They compared progress. They very slowly saw a small dinosaur emerge. The suspense and the promise of success kept them glued to their tasks.
Once they finally got them out and washed them in the pool water, you would think they found the Hope Diamond.
This is lesson number ONE. When you have to work very hard to achieve something, it is worth more. If Gail had simply handed the boys two baby plastic dinosaurs, there would be no other value associated with the toys; no interest, no personal investment, no long term bond and no memories.
This leads us to lesson TWO. People pay for added value and are happy to do it. I know Gail paid almost ten dollars apiece for these dinosaur eggs. This was essentially a two cent plastic dinosaur, wrapped in five cents of plaster in a ten cent box.
THREE. The marketers of this wonderful toy knew that it isn’t about the dinosaur. It is about the whole experience. In fact, I know that as anxious as the boys were to finish the task and see the results, they were disappointed when the experience came to an end.
FOUR. This is one you know that I live by and is how I opened this column: Lessons come from many places and at any time.
© Copyright 2011 Gregg A. Fous All Right Reserved