Fall 2016 Newsletter






was the headline from a Realtor.com release this past  June, 2016……..1st place was Miami, 5th was Orlando…. and TAMPA BAY was 7th!… exceeding even the most enthusiastic expectations of real estate professionals in the global arena.

One such professional group is the Pinellas International Council, which operates under the umbrella of the Pinellas Realtor Organization.  I am honored to be a small part of this organization, among the handful of excellent Directors who volunteer time and talent and share the experience and wisdom of many collective years in the real estate profession.  

The PIC mission is to promote our area to other global real estate organizations and put Pinellas on the global map for meaningful investment and cultural exchange..  We strive to generate worldwide recognition of our beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida, our unmatched location and access,  our opportunities for home, vacation, retirement, investment, business growth, recreation, sports, beaches, sharing our vibrant and culturally diverse community….  

PIC promotes awareness,  understanding and recognition through our global networks. These goals are being achieved, as confirmed by that mid year Realtor.com survey, through educational programs, conventions, cultural exchange events, and  professional interaction and cooperation with and  among real estate professionals around the world.   PIC  consists of approximately 12 volunteer and  nominated directors and chair persons, PRO staff, and several hundred Realtor members and Affiliates  who expand our own  business  opportunities and resources globally to benefit the consumer as well as our Realtor association  It is in exhibiting high professional standards among our peers, that we generate positive economic and cultural impact for the communities we serve.

This November the annual National Association of Realtors Convention will be held  in Orlando.  Our Pinellas International Council will be there, especially on Global Day to connect and  interact with our peers from across the globe.   Meanwhile our PIC has just received Platinum, the Global Achievement Award of the National Association of Realtors, an honor awarded  only a handful of like associations throughout the USA, for the second year in a row!…. this year under the Chairmanship of Phil Riek, Future Home Realty… in recognition of the Council’s continued  creation of global opportunities for our members and our Realtor Association, and the dedicated implementation of our goal to put Pinellas on the global real estate map.

As member of the Board of Directors of the Pinellas International Council, I assumed Chair of the Cultural Awareness Committee of PIC about 5 years ago.  Our Mission is to  promote  understanding of other cultures and to inter-relate with all other PIC committees in an effort to enhance  the PIC experience as a whole, to generate engagement and awareness,  and promote international networking opportunities between our members and other global organizations.  This committee has established outreach efforts to maintain recognition of PIC as a community of global real estate professionals within the diverse global community of Tampa Bay, and to further international relationship development among our members.

Many accomplished Realtor members are part of the Pinellas International Council.   Some build on this focus by pursuing  NAR’s (National Association of Realtors) CIPS Certification,  joining an inspiring network of professionals around the world.  These Real Estate Professionals who have attained the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Certification, and Trans National Certified (TRC), are adept at guiding global real estate investors, either foreign nationals entering our country to purchase a property, or U.S. citizens wishing to buy or sell property abroad.  We are part of a unique global network of real estate professionals who share resources and business ethics, who achieve  specialized training on critical aspects of the international transaction, including  regional market and cultural differences,  variations in business practice and types of ownership,  who partner with other professionals to assure smooth closing procedures, and proper education for the consumer regarding issues such as fluctuating  exchange rates, international tax treaties, IRS issues, taking title properly….

We are able to provide an exclusive level of service, knowledge, resources and expertise to all our  consumers, sellers and buyers …whether it’s our  next door neighbor Stanley, looking for a vacation home in Costa Rica, or Antoine over in France  who wants to buy an investment condo on St. Pete Beach.

The recent count of CIPS designated real estate professionals totaled  just over  2800 worldwide,  in 40 different countries including the USA.  It is a very elite group.

The PROFILE OF INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITY IN U.S. RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE  published by the National Association of Realtors  in July reported an increase in price of U.S. real estate, together with the depreciation of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar, made foreign investment  in U.S. real estate quite a bit more expensive than the year ended June 2015.    The median sale price of an existing home became  45% pricier for Venezuelans,  24% pricier for Brazilians, and at least eight other countries including China and Canada saw a double- digit increase measured in their country’s currency.

Yet foreign buyers continued to purchase move  residential properties than in the previous 12 month period.   Foreign buyers typically purchase more expensive properties, the year ended July 2016 the median purchase price was  $277,380.  Overall foreign buyers most commonly purchased a home priced between $250,000 and $500,000 while 10 percent paid over $1 Million or more.

Exactly half of all international transactions were all cash purchases in the mid year 2015/2016 time frame, predominantly made by non-resident foreign buyers from Canada, China and the United Kingdom.

Five states accounted for over half of the total residential property purchases made by foreign nationals, Florida representing an  overwhelming 22%; California, 15%; Texas, 10%; Arizona, 4%; New  York, 4%.

According to this survey, the National Association of Realtors  also notes a 50% increase in the number of Realtors who report  working with U.S citizens to purchase property outside of our country….. topped by Mexico, then Costa Rica, Philippines, Colombia and Canada.    The majority, 87%  of these, planned to use the property as a vacation home or residential rental unit.

Trends in Investment and Vacation Home Buying is highly significant for local markets.     2015 was  the second highest level of vacation home sales since 2006, a level largely propelled by baby boomers’ demand for vacation homes.  Furthermore, according to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, “the expanding pool of buyers amidst a dwindling number of bargain-priced properties led to tighter  supply and fewer sales, causing the price of the vacation home to rise.”  The median vacation home price nationwide was $192,000,  an increase of  28% in 2015.   

RSPS, Resort and Second Home Property Specialist, is a designation of  expertise in the vacation and second home marketplace, especially effective training where vacation and second home purchases represent a high percentage of market activity.   We stay abreast of issues that can specifically affect the buying decisions of these buyers, while helping them  attain and balance vacation, short term and long term investment goals.

Selling a Lifestyle, Specializing In You…For over 100 years Florida has been a top vacation market in our nation.  Today visitors come from around the nation and around the world, to enjoy the natural beauty, recreation, many amenities and lifestyle our State offers.  And every year a significant number of those visitors decide to buy a vacation home, to invest in property in our communities. U.S citizens and foreign nationals alike search the globe for retirement destinations, vacation/second homes, and investment properties.

Are you looking for your own vacation home?… there’s no better place than the Tampa Bay area.  How about a second home or vacation retreat along  our Gulf Beaches or beautiful downtown St. Petersburg?  The market is tight, search here in real time:


(Beaches, Tierra Verde, St. Petersburg)

Please visit my Website, www.GulfToGlobalRealEstate.com, to research the market trends in any area of Pinellas County, in real time,  to locate the home of your dreams, or to find  the perfect property for your investment goals.


Pinellas County Real Estate Statistics for August 2016  just released by David Bennett, President and CEO of the Pinellas Realtor Organization:  As we transition into Fall the market continues to heat up with New Listings for Single Family reported at a 15.9% increase August 2016 over last year, and new Townhome/condo Listings up 10.8%.  The Median Sale Price for Single Family was up a staggering 22.4% at $222,000 this August, versus $181,399 last August. Median Sale Price for the Townhome/Condo segment was down 4.8% from last year, at $128,950 for August 2016 versus $135,500 for August 2015.

The number of Closed Sales for Single Family August 2016, year-over-year, was up 5.9%, and Closed Sales for the Townhome/Condo segment were up 12.6%.  Dollar Volume for Single Family was $356.5 million in August 2016, an exciting 27.1% increase from $280.4 million in August 2015. Dollar Volume for Townhome/Condo was $146.6 million in August 2016, up 12.7% from $130.1 million in August 2015.

Months Supply of Inventory for Single Family continues to reflect a seller’s market, with inventory down 8.3% year-over-year, with a 3.3 month supply this August, as compared to a 3.6 month supply in August 2015. Months Supply of Inventory for Townhome/Condo was unchanged year-over-year, with 3.9 months in both August 2016 and August 2015.  Active listings for August 2016 Single Family and Townhome/Condo combined were 6,648, down 1.5% from 6,749 in August 2015.

Representing more than 7,000 members, the Pinellas Realtor® Organization is one of the Tampa Bay area’s largest professional trade associations. The organization advances and promotes the real estate profession through professional development programs, government affairs, and political advocacy and maintains a high standard of conduct by real estate professionals through professional standards training and administration.

If you look around your neighborhood you’ll probably notice most seasoned sellers list their property with a Realtor. Even in a “Sellers’ Market.” Pricing, predicting, presentation, problem solving, processing…peace of mind. It takes a professional.

A. HIRE A REALTOR. You won’t be sorry.

As a prospective seller, it’s wise to interview a number of real estate professionals in your market to determine your best “fit.” You are choosing your available point person, who is going to be with you beginning to end. Consider references, overall reputation, expertise, connections, community and global engagement. Be sure to discuss the hands-on management and services you expect. It’s important you participate in this groundwork, review the professional’s networks, her proposals for exposure and her/his marketing plan offered, and iscussthe program best suited to your specific needs and goals.

And meanwhile, keep in mind one very basic key to success…Share with your agent all the things you love most about your home, details and insight you’d like her/him to share with consumers. Then from that very moment on, think of your property as a product instead of your home.

This is the art of selling.

Don’t put your property on the market until you’re ready to sell. Then be educated to sell. Selling property properly means get professional, non-subjective advice, especially if it’s your home. If the owner isn’t ready to let go, buyers will know and the house will likely sit. And don’t “test” the market. You will fail.

B. PRICE PROPERLY. Your key to success.

A seasoned Realtor can help you target the perfect pricing position for your property in any current marketplace. Pricing a property for the most successful sale is not only a science, based on what actual statistics tell you, it is also an art, a perception that the professional Realtor develops over years of experience, added to the intimate study of your home real estate market, its histories and the relative sales climate at any given point in time.

There is often a spread between the original offering/list price and the price where the property actually sells…Alert!: the narrower this spread, the more successful your sale. Be sure to analyze, and disregard fabricated or manipulated data.

Time on the market must be factored into your pricing decision. It’s proven today, just as it was before we had computers and fax machines and cell phones, the longer a property sits, the lower the sales price.

Also a proven statistic, no matter the market trends, up or down, the further above the actual market activity your initial list price, the longer it will sit. That’s the basis for the advice given by Bryan Robertson, co-founder and managing broker of Catarra Real Estate, Inman.com 8/2/2016…”6 Things That Help A Home Sell Faster.”… who says, “in most markets, the best strategy to attract the most buyers is to price just a bit low.”

In my experience, you will lose nothing by determining the savvy pricing position…Before you begin.

Today’s buyer has all manner of access to statistics and histories and trends, viable or not, and while of  course,buyers seek to pay as little as possible, they essentially want a fair deal. When it comes to buying their first, or their fifth, home, they are largely willing to step up to the price that can be supported by professional and reasonable analysis of what the market will, or should bear. In other words, be prepared, and demand your agent be prepared to provide this in writing to a prospective buyer and/or his agent.

In addition to these guldelines, I’ll repeat a segment of my previous discussion referencing a 5/1/2016 article that appeared in Inman.com, professional on-line real estate journal…by Joseph A. Rand, a managing partner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate…

6 BIG MISTAKES sellers make in pricing their property.
1. Biggest mistake, pricing to what has not sold rather than what WAS sold.

When I was a new Realtor the saying went like this, “Price a little high, and a little low…” given a stable market, you can successfully price a little higher than what just sold, but also price it lower than what is currently offered for sale, i.e. the competition. Don’t worry that a neighbor might sell for more than you. If he is priced way higher, focus on your goal. That competitor will not likely sell sooner, certainly not for more..

2. Overvaluing the amenities.

What is important to one owner may not be important to another, or even preferred, such as granite countertops and high end fixtures and appliances. No two women like the same kitchen. Even a pool may be a drawback, perhaps for an out-of-town owner who doesn’t prefer the added maintenance and liability, or a family with an infant who are concerned about family safety.

3. Reflecting improvements you’ve made dollar for dollar in the list price for your home. Buyers may not appreciate the improvements you’ve made along the way as much as you did when you paid for them. It’s often difficult for a home seller to recognize when his cherished improvements and decor seem out-dated, even ill-advised, to the prospective buyer. In any event, we all know a car or a couch never brings the same price 5 minutes off the lot or the showroom floor. A buyer will not, cannot sincerely appreciate your personal clutter, nor even perhaps your financial investment. None of this will weigh so much as your clean, manicured, professional presentation.

4. Pricing with your next home purchase needs in mind.

Buyers won’t care what you need to net for your next purchase..

5. Pricing according to on line computer estimates, Zestimates, automated valuation models. These sites are available everywhere, even on some agents’ websites (!), fun tools to “see where you are today”… But these are macro-level, at-a-glance unwarrantable valuations that no one, even the people who create them, believes to be accurate enough or substantive enough to be dependable indicators of where a property is properly placed on the market. A good buyer, one who will pay the price, will seek professional guidance and expertise. You as a Seller, should, too.

An example given by Mr. Rand: www.inman.com/2015/02/23/have-a-problem-with-zestimate-more-avmsare-  coming-your-way “For homes with Zestimates of , say, $400K, only half those homes are going to sell inside a range of about $368K to $432K. The other half is worth more or less than that range.” What if an agent knocks on your door and suggests you list your home in a range of $368k to $432K, then adds he’s confident you have a 50% chance of selling it in that range…? That’s essentially what you get with these valuation models.

6. Ignoring feedback and traffic indicators.

Really look at the actual, not manipulated, listing to selling to time ratios when you price your property. AND once you have listed your property on the active market, stay engaged. Listen to what the market is telling you: listen to what buyers are saying and feedback from showing agents, watch the traffic patterns, on-site and on-line, keep up with what your neighboring competitors are doing, and find out what your prospective buyers bought instead of buying your property.

Your agent should be prepared, in writing, to help you make an informed decision about pricing your property. Then your agent will be kind, your agent will be understanding, and ultimately your agent will do his or her best job to continuously counsel you and to ensure you’re not still sitting in your home six months later, along with  he other Un Solds. There are Un-Solds in any market.

C. PREPARE AND PRESENT your property for sale…Ready, Set, Go…

Again, think of this property as a product to sell, not your home. You won’t live there any more, someone else will. And the best odds of finding your buyer sooner rather than later is to de-personalize it, and show your buyer a palette (s)he can use to imagine himself living there, not you.

1. Curb appeal…first impressions, the initial determination of what your home is like inside…yes? Clean the yard, manicure, get rid of obstacles that detract from this in any way. Re-mulching, new grass, new plants can add color and appeal without costing a fortune. Keep a realistic budget, don’t replace the driveway unless it’s a major irreparable detraction. You’re providing a snapshot, a first impression to bring that buyer back, or to stay with him while he visits inside.

2. ‘Clean clean clean,’ says Bryan Robertson, and I can’t agree more. Be very sensitive to this, it’s above all the major feeling that will weigh in with prospective buyers. Not only clean, make it sparkling…which of course denotes attention to that sort of detail, and gives a prospective buyer peace of mind. You want the buyer to know you think well of your home, not just what you have in it. This can surpass the countertop upgrade you couldn’t afford, and it costs the seller virtually nothing beyond time and detergent and polish.

3. Repair/remodel. Small improvements go a long way… details such as fresh trim at doors, baseboard, crown molding, cabinet handles, fresh paint (neutral shades only!…such as warm white), and get rid of the wall paper… Cleaning and making sure all lighting fixtures are in working order is a big plus. You can step up another level…to new or continuous (all rooms matching) flooring, new windows…all of these items can significantly brighten and improve the look of your home and help your home sell faster, thus for more. Attention to such items can also likely increase the return on dollar spent.The next step might be appliance upgrades, but basic attention to major mechanical items, indicating your home is well maintained, will likely win you more points with a buyer.

Substantial interior upgrades such as bathrooms and kitchens, for the purpose of selling faster or for more, are ill-advised, not only for potential dollar return on your investment, but also for the time, not to mention unexpected hurdles, it will likely take to complete. And after all, second-guessing what your buyer will prefer is very risky…especially with kitchen and master bath arrangements.

4. De-cluttering and staging.  You don’t need to have a huge budget to be staging savvy. Staging can mean professional, really upscale designers, or it can translate to de-cluttering, de-personalizing, and/or “styling” a house. Less is more. De-cluttering is top of the list…which may mean renting a pod or storeroom, removing a couple of pieces of furniture from each room. Whether you hire someone, or you and friends and your agent are the staging sages, do it before you put your property up for sale. It will sell faster, for more. It may take a trained “third” eye to transform a space to suit the latest trend in home buyer wants and needs, but often someone besides the owner, a friend perhaps, can help pin-point where attention is most warranted. Re-styling a home may be as simple as neutralizing, reorganizing and redistributing some pieces you already own, with the idea of drawing attention away from what detracts…or screams… and putting focus on what is spatially positive, what has general appeal. Perhaps you might create a focal point in a room with a piece of furniture that suggests how the buyer might use the room. But then give your buyer prospects the space they need to visualize and to engage.


Proper pricing is crucial, but the price a buyer offers is driven by cleaning, preparing, presentation (staging/ styling)… and of course, bringing your public in. Traffic is generated by professional marketing, unique to your property, your product, and to proper market exposure..

Once your home is ready to go on the active market, your Realtor can assure your photography, your brochures/ flyers, are attractive, and your marketing material is thoughtful, relevant, informative, and demonstrates pride of ownership for a new owner. The expert marketing representative has not only the resources, but all so the resourcefulness, the know-how to focus attention aggressively while in good taste, with the most beneficial and effective results.

A savvy real estate agent is equipped to hook you into all manner of networks, local and global, to expansively and properly expose your property for sale. All of us who are MLS and PRO members are syndicated on nearly a thousand on-line websites, and many of us are professionally linked through our certifications and designations and associated with countless other professional networks to assure you enjoy maximum exposure for your product, both in your own backyard, and across the globe.

Here is a do-it-yourself market analysis… Click On This Link… Find out what your property is really worth…in real time.


You will land on a designated page on my website which allows you to search homes in your neighborhood that are for sale, under contract, and closed/sold over recent months. Real time. Linked directly into our Multiple Listing Service.

Now you’ve taken the first basic step toward determining what is actually going on in the real estate market in your neighborhood..

Then call me.

You’ll be glad you did.



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