With Terry Story, a 30-year veteran with Keller Williams located in Boca Raton, FL
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Steve spoke with Terry Story, a 30-year veteran at Keller Williams. During this week’s Real Estate Roundup, Terry and Steve talked about a serious cyber attack, the ebb and flow of the housing market, and how, recently, it’s started to soften. They also discussed why it’s so important to have a will.
A Softening Of The Market
The share of homes sold at or above listed price dropped to 31% in March, from a peak that was around 40%. Many agents were pricing a little lower in order to get multiple offers. The market has continued to retract, to soften, since March which is a sign of the shift to more of a buyers’ market. However, less than being about a buyers’ market or sellers’ market, it depends on the price range you’re looking at.
Price Range And Inventory
In South Florida, where Terry works, one million and over is the luxury market for home prices, a market that has seen a definite softening. Depending on exactly where in town the home is, for homes priced under $500,000 it’s still looking like a sellers’ market. Under $300,000? That is decidedly a sellers’ market, as it has seen the lowest amount of softening, due in large part to it being the more affordable price range.
One characteristic of the current housing market is low inventory. People just aren’t putting their homes up for sale. This is particularly the case in the under $500,000 price range, where it seems many people aren’t willing to give up their homes. This means it’s more difficult to find a good buy in this price range, which ultimately hands the power to the seller.
The Issue Of Condominiums
Selling condominiums is a totally different beast. It requires an entire set of documents, a stack of documents that, if we’re entirely honest, are pretty boring. But they are important and can cause some hangups if not handled properly. In the state of Florida, for example, buyers have three days to review all of the documentation from the date that the seller provides it. It’s really important for agents to make sure that all the documentation is delivered as soon as possible so that the buyer can have a full three days to review.
Your best bet as a seller is to purchase a new set of documents from the condo association to be sure that all the proper documents are included. Any new amendments, all the fine print, everything needs to be there. If not, the buyer can end up backing out even after a deal has been arranged. If even a single item or page is missing, the buyer’s lawyer or legal representative has grounds to have the deal canceled.
Ordinarily, a seller has two business days to respond to a buyer’s offer. Things can get a little complicated here, too. Try to keep things simple by putting an agreed upon date in writing in the contract.
Property In Estates
In the unfortunate event that someone passes away—for example, a parent—in some states, the heirs would not be granted the property unless a valid will exists.
What happens if the deceased doesn’t have a will? Terry related a personal example:
“I just lost a cousin who had a house up in a different state, the state of Maine. He was 61 years old, he passed away, no will, lots of assets. In the state of Maine, it reverts back to the parents. So, fortunately, in this case, it’s going back to the parents and it’s being handled.” But in many other states, the situation is much messier. If the deceased doesn’t have a will, the property and any other assets—without any legal document specifying who the assets go to—goes back to the state, and the state, rather than a relative or trustee, handles things.
The bottom line? It’s critically important to have a will, especially if you have an estate of any considerable size. Cost can be an issue, but there are plenty of online sites where a will can be drawn up for a reasonable fee. All you do is fill in the blanks.
If you’d like to learn more about buying or selling a home, or about real estate in general, check out Keller Williams.
Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily United Capital. Interviewee is not a representative of United Capital. Investing involves risk and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. Content provided is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered tax, legal, investment advice. Please contact your tax, legal, financial professional with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. The information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. All data are driven from publicly available information and has not been independently verified by United Capital.
Steve Pomeranz: It’s time for Real Estate Roundup. This is the time every single week we get together with noted real estate agent Terry Story. Terry’s a 30-year veteran with Keller Williams, located in Boca Raton, Florida. Welcome back to the show, Terry.
Terry Story: Thanks for having me, Steve.
Steve Pomeranz: So, are homes still selling above the listed price? About a year ago, we were talking about the market seemed really hot-
Terry Story: Multiple offers.
Steve Pomeranz: You were actually talking about maybe pricing it a little bit lower, so you could get multiple offers and you would end up actually selling it for more than you want.
Terry Story: That’s right.
Steve Pomeranz: Is that still going on?
Terry Story: It is, but not to the degree that we had seen it. As a matter of fact, the share of homes sold at or above the list price dropped to 31% in March. That was about the same back in 2000-2001.
Steve Pomeranz: It’s kind of normal, more normal, but, so a third?
Terry Story: Yeah, and the peak was 40%, so we’re retracting back a little bit. So, what does this all mean? It basically is saying that we’re seeing a shift, another sign of a shift in the market, that’s all.
Steve Pomeranz: And the shift is?
Terry Story: The shift is that the prices and the appreciation are deaccelerating.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay, that’s a word for a diplomat, you know, or for a government official, deaccelerating.
Terry Story: Deaccelerating.
Steve Pomeranz: You are either accelerating-
Terry Story: Or deaccelerating, right? It’s better than saying going down.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, well, that’s exactly my point.
Terry Story: Right, I know, I know. So, yes, we’re just-
Steve Pomeranz: Things are slowing down a bit.
Terry Story: Things are slowing down a little bit.
Steve Pomeranz: Home prices are starting to fall at all? Are you noticing a little softness?
Terry Story: A little softness, yep, yep.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay, well, that’s good for buyers.
Terry Story: But the market is still very strong, so don’t-
Steve Pomeranz: Is it a buyer’s or seller’s market at this point?
Terry Story: It really is price range, Steve.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay, tell me about the price range.
Terry Story: So, basically, depending on your market place. Here in South Florida, over a million, that’s the luxury market, that’s definitely softer. If you’re under, well, depending on where in the town you are, but under 500, it’s still a seller’s market or definitely under $300,000.
Steve Pomeranz: It’s hard to find … Is it hard to find good properties in that 300?
Terry Story: It is, and we actually have … The issue that we’re experiencing is just low levels of inventory.
Steve Pomeranz: Still?
Terry Story: We’re not seeing the sellers put their homes up for sale.
Steve Pomeranz: Under the 500, but I guess over the million they are.
Terry Story: Over the million, yeah, you can get a good buy.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay. Also, Chicago and Miami had the lowest share of homes that sold at or above their list price. Chicago is only 21% and Miami was only 14%, sold above their list price, so I think that says quite a bit.
Terry Story: Yep, sure does.
Steve Pomeranz: All right, looking at condos and the condo documents, there’s nothing more boring than condo documents. Nobody really reads them, but the point is that as a seller, and this is the key to this, you are required to deliver all of the documents, every single page. Take us through that.
Terry Story: So, basically, and this is the state of Florida, we have three days for a buyer to review them, from the time that you give them to them. So, as a seller, it’s very important that you hand over those documents ASAP, so that they can have their three days to review. I strongly recommend that if you are a seller that you purchase a new set from the association, so that you know that you are giving them 100% of all the documents that are included.
Steve Pomeranz: No pages missing, all the new amendments and things like that.
Terry Story: Exactly, because I will tell you a personal story. Many years ago, a buyer wanted to back out of a deal. An attorney went through, looked through all the pages and discovered there was one amendment missing. Based on those grounds, well, this wasn’t 100%.
Steve Pomeranz: Well, so how much time does a buyer then have to back out if they feel that they haven’t received all the documents?
Terry Story: Well, they have three days to review them. To be honest, I don’t remember all the details in that specific case. Just know that there’s opportunity for your deal to fall apart if they don’t have all the documents.
Steve Pomeranz: I mean, the buyer can cancel right at up till closing-
Terry Story: Right, if it’s not complete.
Steve Pomeranz: If it’s not complete. I mean, that’s a really big deal because the buyer may want out, they may be looking for a reason to get out, and here’s a simple one. Oh, you left out three pages for some reason.
Terry Story: Right.
Steve Pomeranz: They can use that and they can quit and there’s no recourse.
Terry Story: Because you didn’t them … They didn’t have the three days to review the whole entire document because three documents were missing, or three pages, or what have you.
Steve Pomeranz: So, if I made an offer to a seller, how much time do they have before they can respond to me and accept my offer?
Terry Story: Yes, that’s always good. In the contract, it says a date or a time, a seller has until two business days, whatever the buyer writes in there. So, here’s where it gets hairy. People don’t understand, in our Florida contracts, you have to respond as a seller during that time frame. It doesn’t mean you have to have negotiated the whole thing out in those two days. So, without getting into all the details because it gets really, really complicated, the important part is, when you’re negotiating, when you’re all done, and you all are in agreement that the effective date is such and such, put that in writing. I would even put it in the contract. All parties acknowledge that the effective date to this contract is … Because if somebody initials a contract, and you’re technically out of the time period there, an attorney could argue that this is an ineffective contract because it wasn’t executed in a timely manner.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay.
Terry Story: So, that’s what’s really important.
Steve Pomeranz: Dot your I’s, cross your T’s, in other words.
Terry Story: Exactly.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, okay. Very good, so let’s talk about one last thing and that is, in the unfortunate situation where someone passes away, let’s say a parent and a sibling or child has to then try to get their property to be dispensed with.
Terry Story: Right.
Steve Pomeranz: What happens if they don’t have a will? What experience have you had in that area?
Terry Story: Well, personal experience, I just lost a cousin who had a house up in a different state, the state of Maine. He was 61 years old, he passed away, no will, lots of assets. In the state of Maine, it reverts back to the parents. So, fortunately, in this case, it’s going back to the parents, and it’s being handled. I believe, and I’m not a lawyer, but in the state of Florida, without a will, it goes to the state.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.
Terry Story: That’s messy.
Steve Pomeranz: Yes, and time-
Terry Story: And time consuming. So, if you own real estate, any assets for that matter, you can have a simple will. Doesn’t even have to be complicated, but have a will. You don’t want the state to be making decisions as to what you want to do with your property.
Steve Pomeranz: I think that’s the best advice you can just give. Just get a will. I mean, if you really can’t afford one, there’s online sites you can get them very cheaply, just fill in the blanks. Have a will because really it can be quite a mess if you do not.
Terry Story: That’s right.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay. My guest Terry Story, as always, a 30-year veteran with Keller Williams, located in Boca Raton, Florida and she can be found at terrystory.com. Thanks, Terry.
Terry Story: Thanks for having me, Steve.