Category Archives: General Real Estate

It’s Still a Great time to Buy or Sell….

After three years of relatively stable first quarter closings, home sales for Naples, FL Q1 – 2014 posted a 13% increase.  Sales between $2 million and $5 million remained brisk, (101 closings) posting the highest number of closings in this segment (for any quarter) since Q2 2005, when there were 117 closings.  Average closed price for the first quarter increased 19% over prior year, driven by the large number of sales over $2 million.  However, both average and median sales price remains 32% below their highs for the quarter in Q1 2007.

Sales above $2 million posted a 66% gain in the number of sales and an increase in volume of 74% over Q1 2013.  Median price in this segment remained stable at approximately the same level as 2013, while median price in the overall market rose 7%. 

Properties priced below $250,000 continue to be absorbed quickly and distress sales are shrinking, now down to 14% of the inventory (down from 19% one year ago.)

For information on Naples Real Estate please call me, Frank Petras at (239) 595-2221 or visit www.FrankPetras.com.

As a REALTOR in Naples, Florida with a very impressive international client list, I am known for my incomparable market knowledge, exceptional customer service, superior negotiating skills, high-end global targeted marketing and tremendous results.  I have an unrivaled reputation as a luxury property specialist. I have earned local and national recognition for marketing and selling multimillion dollar luxury waterfront and golf course estates and other fine properties in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the surrounding areas.

Voted Best Real Estate Agent in Client Satisfaction in Southwest Florida – Gulfshore Life Magazine

John R. Woods’ Emerald and Platinum Circles of Excellence

Realty Alliance Leading Residential Real Estate Sales Professional in North America

Appointed to Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate

Awarded Million Dollar Guild Recognition by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing

The Inside Track to the Best Deals on the Home Market

No matter what you are buying, everyone wants a good deal.  For the past few years the housing market has been inundated in great deals more commonly known as “foreclosures.”  What we are now finding is that most all of the foreclosures are no longer the best deals in the market.  Fannie Mae reps are saying that they expect to get OVER market value for their homes because of the public’s perception of the value of a foreclosure.

hot dealsThe key to a great deal is finding the deal immediately and getting to it before anyone else.  The best deals are gone in the first 24 hours on the market.  Most investors don’t even visit the property because it’s all about the numbers; if it makes financial sense than they strike quickly.

Can you find a good deal on Realtor.com, Trulia or Zillow?  The difficulty with these sites and others is that they take almost 5 days to update with the local MLS.  We find that on Trulia, only 42% of the homes listed are actually available.  Some have gone pending, some withdrawn or expired and some just flat out are not on the market.  It’s a great place to start your initial search, but once you are serious about buying a home, people should hire an expert in the field of real estate.

Here is a link to an article written about Zillow and Trulia and the accuracy here.

http://www.findnapleshouses.com/blog/post/CPVLZZZV8T097TX1/trulia-and-zillow-inaccuracies-under-fir/

If you’re looking to buy an investment property, you can trust me to find it quickly and negotiate the best price. When buying an extraordinary home you deserve extraordinary service.  Please call me, Frank Petras, 239-595-2221.

As a REALTOR in Naples, Florida with a very impressive international client list, I am known for my incomparable market knowledge, exceptional customer service, superior negotiating skills, high-end global targeted marketing and tremendous results. I have an unrivaled reputation as a luxury property specialist. I have earned local and national recognition for marketing and selling multimillion dollar luxury waterfront and golf course estates and other fine properties in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the surrounding areas.

Voted Best Real Estate Agent in Client Satisfaction in Southwest Florida – Gulfshore Life Magazine

John R. Woods’ Emerald and Platinum Circles of Excellence

Realty Alliance Leading Residential Real Estate Sales Professional in North America

Appointed to Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate

Awarded Million Dollar Guild Recognition by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing

Things Borrowers Should Do to Land the Best Mortgage

Given the changing mortgage landscape, here are things borrowers can do to get the best deal:

The first thing you need to do is check your credit score.  You can do it for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.  You can check your credit score at MyFico.com for $19.95.  Anyone with scores below 620 will find it very difficult to qualify for a mortgage; borrowers with scores over 740 qualify for the best rates.  A 20-point improvement can make a difference in the rate you get according to David Stein, chief operating officer of Residential Home Funding in Parsippany, N.J.

mortgage applicationAvoid borrowing to buy a car or other big-ticket item in the months before you apply for a mortgage.

Pay down your debt as best you can.

Be ready to offer up a lot of paperwork to document your income, debts and assets.  Borrowers need to show one month’s worth of pay stubs, two months of bank statements and two years of tax returns, according to Stein.

Make the time to shop around; find the lender with the best rate.

Get preapproved: Even before you start looking for a house, you should get preapproved for a mortgage.  This will make you a stronger buyer, because sellers will know you have the financing in place to move forward.  Stick to your budget and buy what you can afford, comfortably!

Understand what the different loans are.

The standard loan offers a fixed interest rate for 30 years vs. an arm that adjusts after a period of time.  Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) offer a fixed rate for, typically, the first five or seven years; after that, the rates can rise every year.  In exchange for accepting the risk that interest rates will rise, borrowers get a lower initial rate on ARMs

Decide length of loan: Fifteen-year loans are more popular with refinancing homeowners than they are with first-time homebuyers because many buyers can’t afford the higher monthly payments.  The reward for those higher payments is that over time, you’ll pay much less in interest by shortening the life of the loan.  And 15-year mortgages come with lower rates.

Lock in your rate: Once you’ve found a good rate, consider locking it in, which you can usually do for no cost, or for a fee that is refunded at closing.  It’s not worth betting that rates will fall before you close on the house.  Do not try to guess what mortgage rates will be.  They tend to rise quicker than they fall.

When you’re looking for an extraordinary home, you deserve extraordinary service.  For the best advice on getting a fair and reliable home appraisal, please call me, Frank Petras, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, at (239) 595-2221 or online at www.FrankPetras.com.

As a REALTOR in Naples, Florida with a very impressive international client list, I am known for my incomparable market knowledge, exceptional customer service, superior negotiating skills, high-end global targeted marketing and tremendous results.  I have an unrivaled reputation as a luxury property specialist. I have earned local and national recognition for marketing and selling multimillion dollar luxury waterfront and golf course estates and other fine properties in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the surrounding areas.

Source: 2013 The Record (NJ)

Voted Best Real Estate Agent in Client Satisfaction in Southwest Florida – Gulfshore Life Magazine

John R. Woods’ Emerald and Platinum Circles of Excellence

Realty Alliance Leading Residential Real Estate Sales Professional in North America

Appointed to Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate

Awarded Million Dollar Guild Recognition by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing

Home Construction; Applications for New Homes Rise in September

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS) for September 2013 found that mortgage applications for new home purchases in Florida, rose both month-to-month and year-to-year.  Compared with August 2013, applications rose 1.6 percent.  Compared with September 2012, applications rose 10.7 percent.

constructionBy product type, conventional loans composed 68.4 percent of U.S. loan applications, FHA loans made up 16.6 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.1 percent and VA loans made up 13.9 percent.  The average loan size of new homes increased from $284,392 in August to $289,650 in September.

In comparison, applications for new home purchase in the U.S. decreased by 1 percent relative to the previous month, though the numbers aren’t adjusted to compensate for seasonal variations.

MBA estimates that sales of new single-family homes were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 459,000 in September 2013.  On an unadjusted basis, the MBA estimates that there were 36,000 new home sales in September 2013. Even though the mortgage rate declined nationally, the percentage of all-cash home sales led to the increased estimate.

When you’re looking to build an extraordinary home, you deserve extraordinary service.  For the best advice on new home builders and communities in Southwest Florida, please call me, Frank Petras, at (239) 595-2221 or online at www.FrankPetras.com.

As a REALTOR in Naples, Florida with a very impressive international client list, I am known for my incomparable market knowledge, exceptional customer service, superior negotiating skills, high-end global targeted marketing and tremendous results. I have an unrivaled reputation as a luxury property specialist. I have earned local and national recognition for marketing and selling multimillion dollar luxury waterfront and golf course estates and other fine properties in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the surrounding areas.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

Voted Best Real Estate Agent in Client Satisfaction in Southwest Florida – Gulfshore Life Magazine

John R. Woods’ Emerald and Platinum Circles of Excellence

Realty Alliance Leading Residential Real Estate Sales Professional in North America

Appointed to Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate

Awarded Million Dollar Guild Recognition by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HOME APPRAISAL

Banks are reportedly losing favor of mortgage pre-approvals, which are often viewed as an important first step in the home buying process.

appraisalWhy are preapprovals losing favor, particularly as competition has been heating up in many housing markets?

Some banks say that they’re holding off on the preapproval until they see the home appraisal.  Until then, they prefer a prequalification, which tells borrowers the average size of loan they can qualify for based on stated income and based on an average of mortgage rates.  It’s not as formal as a commitment for a loan; preapprovals are usually binding for two to three months.

Mortgage preapprovals are a written commitment from lenders outlining the loan amount and interest rate that homebuyers qualify for.  They give buyers an indication of how much they can afford on their home purchase, as well as show sellers their commitment to purchase.

But last year, only 29,912 preapprovals resulted in mortgages from the top 25 mortgage lenders – down from 101,626 in 2007, according to the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council.  Preapprovals accounted for 4 percent of the purchase mortgages that lenders originated last year, and preapprovals did not precede any of the mortgages issued to homebuyers by 14 of the 25 largest lenders last year, according to the council.

“The popularity of preapprovals is quite low,” says Mike Lyon, vice president of mortgage operations at Quicken Loans.  Quicken loans’ preapprovals are down 43 percent from 2007.

Some banks, such as Bank of America and Chase, say they’re doing more pre-qualifications than pre-approvals. Chase, for example, says it gives buyers a “conditional approval” that usually lasts 90 days, but it does not provide a written commitment. Chase says it often waits to give a written commitment until after verifying borrowers’ income, employment and the home’s appraisal.  Bank of America also says it waits to approve a buyer until a home is appraised and the borrowers’ finances are fully reviewed.

When you’re looking for an extraordinary home, you deserve extraordinary service.  For the best advice on getting a fair and reliable home appraisal, please call me, Frank Petras, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, at (239) 595-2221 or online at www.FrankPetras.com.

As a REALTOR in Naples, Florida with a very impressive international client list, I am known for my incomparable market knowledge, exceptional customer service, superior negotiating skills, high-end global targeted marketing and tremendous results. I have an unrivaled reputation as a luxury property specialist. I have earned local and national recognition for marketing and selling multimillion dollar luxury waterfront and golf course estates and other fine properties in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the surrounding areas.

Source: “Banks Abandon Mortgage Preapprovals,” Market Watch (OCT 2013)

Voted Best Real Estate Agent in Client Satisfaction in Southwest Florida – Gulfshore Life Magazine

John R. Woods’ Emerald and Platinum Circles of Excellence

Realty Alliance Leading Residential Real Estate Sales Professional in North America

Appointed to Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate

Awarded Million Dollar Guild Recognition by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing

Rum Row and Gin Lane in Exclusive Port Royal

What is one to think about a place with street names like Rum Row or Gin Lane?  Well, don’t let the names scare you away…Port Royal is known the world over for its elegance and fabulous estates.  Rum Row Back yard

Port Royal is located in downtown Naples, Florida bordered by Gordon Pass to the south, Naples Bay to the east, the Gulf of Mexico to the west, and Aqualane Shores to the north.  This is a boater’s paradise.

rum row HousePort Royal is the crown jewel of Naples, FL.  Port Royals history began in 1956 with homes selling for an unbelievable price of $11,200, but now the privilege to live in this part of Naples will cost you millions of dollars.  Many of the homes have been renovated or torn down and replaced with large elegant estates.

Most of the 500 estates in Port Royal are directly on the beach or the bay and are close to exclusive restaurants and boutiques; one does not have to travel far for five star shopping and dining.  Residents have VIP membership to the notable and private Port Royal Club which limits membership to residents only and is one of the world’s most luxurious private clubs.  The Club offers formal and informal dining, 425 feet of white, sandy beachfront, Olympic-sized heated swimming pool, recently renovated tennis center and resort style service.

Live the most exclusive lifestyle in the world as a Port Royal resident!

My background in luxury real estate is just what you need to navigate the well-heeled streets of Port Royal: I always enjoy the opportunity to explore this area with my customers.  For any questions you may have about this area of Naples, please call me, Frank Petras, at (239) 595-2221 or visit www.FrankPetras.com.

As a REALTOR in Naples, Florida with a very impressive international client list, I am known for my incomparable market knowledge, exceptional customer service, superior negotiating skills, high-end global targeted marketing and tremendous results.  I have an unrivaled reputation as a luxury property specialist.  I have earned local and national recognition for marketing and selling multimillion dollar luxury waterfront and golf course estates and other fine properties in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the surrounding areas.

Voted Best Real Estate Agent in Client Satisfaction in Southwest Florida – Gulfshore Life Magazine

John R. Woods’ Emerald and Platinum Circles of Excellence

Realty Alliance Leading Residential Real Estate Sales Professional in North America

Appointed to Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate

Awarded Million Dollar Guild Recognition by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing

What Does Dodd-Frank Mean to You?

One of the major pieces of the Dodd-Frank Act was to implement a new, consumer protection regulatory body.  That new, additional regulator, is called the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, or the CFPB.  Effective 01/01/2014, the CFPB rules begin to take effect.

money symbolI won’t bore you with lots of details but, as you can imagine, a new Regulatory body, piled on top of the other ones, will only drive up rates and costs, especially after reading some of the initial releases from the CFPB.   Additionally, one of the other areas of focus is to limit the maximum debt-to-income ratios because they feel they’re currently too high, thus contributing to default rates.

Here’s what they’re looking at:

 No more than a 43% debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.  We are currently seeing up to 55% debt ratios getting approvals from the government’s automated underwriting system (AUS), although most lenders limit their approvals to 45-50%.

We’re at 49.99% and, with very good compensating factors, can go a little higher.  They “claim” that there will be a 7-year phase-in period but we also know that HUD has ordered a review and modification of their AUS to adjust as their internal review feels is appropriate.  What that means is that, even though the CFPB “claims” the new, maximum DTI rules won’t change for another 7-years, they will change soon; we just don’t know when or by how much.

I have also mentioned before that the Federal Government has told us that they’ll reduce the QE program next year (Quantitative Easing-which is the government spending over a trillion $$$ to artificially keep interest rates down).  We are also hearing fears of inflation or, for those of us who were around in the late 70’s into the very early ‘80’s, Stag-flation.  All of these factors point to higher costs and rates for Mortgage loans starting as early as December 2013, as well as a tightening on what debt ratios we’ll be allowed to approve.

The time to buy is right now!  All the factors point to higher rates and less flexibility so buyers need to get off the fence and buy a home fast if they want to avoid higher rates and costs.

If you are thinking about buying a home now and need some guidance, please call me, Frank Petras, at (239) 595-2221 or visit www.FrankPetras.com.

As a REALTOR in Naples, Florida with a very impressive international client list, I am known for my incomparable market knowledge, exceptional customer service, superior negotiating skills, high-end global targeted marketing and tremendous results.  I have an unrivaled reputation as a luxury property specialist.  I have earned local and national recognition for marketing and selling multimillion dollar luxury waterfront and golf course estates and other fine properties in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the surrounding areas.

Voted Best Real Estate Agent in Client Satisfaction in Southwest Florida – Gulfshore Life Magazine

John R. Woods’ Emerald and Platinum Circles of Excellence

Realty Alliance Leading Residential Real Estate Sales Professional in North America

Appointed to Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate

Awarded Million Dollar Guild Recognition by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing

Up to the Minute Real Estate News that Matters

summer 2013

Florida’s housing market continued its positive trend in August with increased closed sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and a stable supply of homes for sale, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“Both sales and prices demonstrate that Florida’s housing market is growing and continuing to gain strength,” says 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando.  “The growth in jobs and other positive signs are putting buyers at ease with how the economy is progressing.  At the same time, prices are encouraging sellers to get off the fence and helping to ease inventory pressures.

The story is the same in Naples; as the saying goes “This town is on Fire.”

On September 1, 2013, available inventory in the combined Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero market stands at 4,932 units (2,422 single family homes and 2,510 condominiums).  This represents a 4.9 month supply based on the number of closings in the past 12 months.

The supply of single family homes and condominiums for sale decreased 20% from September 1, 2012 (6,162 to 4,932) and the average list price as of September 1, 2013 is $748,255.

  • YTD the number of closed sales for sales greater than $1,000,000 is up 25% over 2012 (718 versus 575); volume increased 21%.
  • The number of closed sales in August 2013 is the highest for the month since 2005.

Buyers and sellers can both benefit from this market, just ask me how.  Please call me, Frank Petras, at (239) 595-2221 or visit www.FrankPetras.com.

As a REALTOR in Naples, Florida with a very impressive international client list, I am known for my incomparable market knowledge, exceptional customer service, superior negotiating skills, high-end global targeted marketing and tremendous results.  I have an unrivaled reputation as a luxury property specialist.  I have earned local and national recognition for marketing and selling multimillion dollar luxury waterfront and golf course estates and other fine properties in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the surrounding areas.

Voted Best Real Estate Agent in Client Satisfaction in Southwest Florida – Gulfshore Life Magazine

John R. Woods’ Emerald and Platinum Circles of Excellence

Realty Alliance Leading Residential Real Estate Sales Professional in North America

Appointed to Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate

Awarded Million Dollar Guild Recognition by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing

Florida; What Goes Around Comes Around

You know the old saying “work hard, play hard?”  Well, according to Area Development Magazine Florida is a great place to work and play.  That is refreshing good news for a state that has been on many other not so noteworthy lists as of late.  It’s a big turnaround for Florida who ranks No. 1 for Renewed Consideration Post-Recession by Area Development Magazine.

Gov. Rick Scott touted the award, noting that the state received another one earlier this year – a Silver Shovel Award from Area Development.

Area Development Magazine is a national trade publication that recognizes economic development around the country.  The editors surveyed a select group of location experts who work directly with a national client base.  They were asked to pick their top five state choices in 14 site selection categories.

Florida also ranked among the best states in these categories:

• No. 2 for Access to Capital & Project Funding
• No. 3 for Most Diverse Labor Pool
• No. 5 for Overall Business Climate
• No. 5 for Corporate Tax Environment
• No. 5 for Leading Work Force Development Programs

So if you like to work hard, and play hard, Florida is the state for you!  For all of your real estate questions, please call me, Frank Petras, at (239) 595-2221 or visit www.FrankPetras.com.

As a REALTOR in Naples, Florida with a very impressive international client list, I am known for my incomparable market knowledge, exceptional customer service, superior negotiating skills, high-end global targeted marketing and tremendous results.  I have an unrivaled reputation as a luxury property specialist.  I have earned local and national recognition for marketing and selling multimillion dollar luxury waterfront and golf course estates and other fine properties in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the surrounding areas.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

Voted Best Real Estate Agent in Client Satisfaction in Southwest Florida – Gulfshore Life Magazine

John R. Woods’ Emerald and Platinum Circles of Excellence

Realty Alliance Leading Residential Real Estate Sales Professional in North America

Appointed to Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate

Awarded Million Dollar Guild Recognition by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing

Paul Benson & EBL; Building a Better Tomorrow in Naples and Bonita Springs

This is an interesting story of one man’s successful journey through the past few years in the real estate industry; he has the courage and wisdom to know that Southwest Florida will always be a great place to live and invest.

EBL projectPaul Benson, a former executive with Disney Imagineering who helped rebuild Tomorrowland, started a company specializing in condo construction in Naples during the most painful days of the real estate collapse in 2009.  A California construction engineer by training, Benson moved to Naples in 1998 after stints at Disney World in Orlando drew him to Florida.

Benson began work in Florida building condos, first with Bovis Construction and then with Kraft Construction in Naples.  Both firms were powerhouses in the condo boom of the last decade.  By the time the real estate crash hit Florida, Benson was working for West Bay Club Development Corp. in Estero, owned by Lehman Brothers.  We all know what happened in the financial crisis of 2008, so pretty soon Benson was fixing “distressed” condos for Lehman.

Benson quickly earned a reputation for his skill at turning around some spectacular projects, such as Canyon Ranch in Miami. “We’ve done over 300 units at Canyon Ranch and never failed to meet a closing,” Benson says. As Benson’s reputation grew, he formed EBL Construction with business partner Michael Hawkins, also an alumnus of West Bay Club.

EBL, named after the first initials of Benson’s three children, recently opened a showroom and office in Naples in May and the firm has 15 employees and two consultants.  “We wanted to showcase what we could do,” Benson says.  “I’m bidding on jobs over here.”  EBL is usually hired as the construction manager on a project.  “Your project is our office,” Benson says.

Because of his construction connections, subcontractors were reassured when they came to work on properties in financial distress.  “People were scared to come on the job because they worried they wouldn’t get paid,” Benson says.  As they built out and sold distressed condos, Benson and Hawkins decided to expand their firm and buy a Naples interior-design firm that specialized in luxury European building products that they renamed EBL Interiors.

Now that the recovery is firmly taking hold in Southwest Florida, Benson says he recently formed EBL Holdings and acquired a one-acre parcel in the historic district of Bonita Springs.  “We’re looking at doing some kind of mixed-use project,” he says, reluctant to discuss plans in detail.

I for one cannot wait to see what Benson builds in Bonita Springs and I plan to watch EBL as they grow and help make Naples and Bonita a more exciting and beautiful place to live.  If you would like to live in SW Florida, please call me, Frank Petras, at (239) 595-2221 or visit www.FrankPetras.com.

As a REALTOR in Naples, Florida with a very impressive international client list, I am known for my incomparable market knowledge, exceptional customer service, superior negotiating skills, high-end global targeted marketing and tremendous results.  I have an unrivaled reputation as a luxury property specialist.  I have earned local and national recognition for marketing and selling multimillion dollar luxury waterfront and golf course estates and other fine properties in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the surrounding areas.

See more at: http://www.businessobserverfl.com/section/detail/condo-recovery/#sthash.owoPlI4R.dpuf

Source: 2013 Business Observer, Jean Gruss, Editor Lee/Collier County

Voted Best Real Estate Agent in Client Satisfaction in Southwest Florida – Gulfshore Life Magazine

John R. Woods’ Emerald and Platinum Circles of Excellence

Realty Alliance Leading Residential Real Estate Sales Professional in North America

Appointed to Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate

Awarded Million Dollar Guild Recognition by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing