Clearwater Homes and Condos – Are There Any Exceptional Deals Left?

I want to discuss with you what I’ve seen recently about really good deals in houses, condos and townhouses but first let’s take a look at the local sales statistics from October and the ongoing trends.

Last month’s sale were down about 10% from September and 20% from last October.  Since last October was the month before the initial tax credit ended it would make sense that the numbers were higher then.  I don’t know why there was a drop from September to October this year, but one possibility is the problems with the foreclosure paperwork from banks which put a temporary halt to many foreclosure sales.

The trend that I’ve been noticing, though, has continued.  Even with October’s sales being down, they were from 8-15% above where they were in 2007 and 2008 which was prior to the tax credit going into effect.  This still appears to show that there has been a continuing, gradual recovery in the market since December 2008 and we’ll keep watching the statistics to see if this trend continues.

Now let’s talk about the exceptional deals.  There are still some great deals out there but I’m not seeing as many as I used to.  First let me cover the categories these fall into and then I’ll tell you about some I’ve noticed in the last several weeks.

I’d say they fall into 3 categories:  foreclosures, short sales and regular sales.

Foreclosures can be risky because they can often be in bad condition and can have hidden problems.  But at the same time they are usually the ones with the rock-bottom prices.  It’s riskier because the bank isn’t going to be disclosing any problems with the property, in most cases, and some can be a real mess.  If you are a contractor or can get remodeling work done inexpensively, then they may be something to consider even if they are in rough shape.  But unless you find one that is in pretty good condition except for some cosmetic work, you should be very cautious.

The other problem with foreclosures is the recent brouhaha about the faulty paperwork.  This seems to be starting to straighten out but I still would advise you to consult with an attorney to make sure that you are not getting yourself into something that will be a problem down the road.

Short sales can either be great or horrible.  The key is knowing which it is before you get too far.

The horrible ones are the ones that take 6 months or more to hear back from the bank and then they either reject the short sale or reject your offer and want an unrealistic price; or you wait for months only to find out they accepted another offer.

The great ones are the ones where you’re getting a great value and the process moves quickly.  Typically these are ones where the bank has already done a lot of the short sale process on a previous offer or, even better, where the bank very recently approved the short sale and the price but the buyer hadn’t waited and the property has just come back on the market.

Sometimes you can tell this from the information in the description but that is not always the case.  Sometimes I can see information in the field with information just for realtors and sometimes I can look up the history for that property and tell from that, so if there isn’t anything in the description then you can always ask me to see if there is other information elsewhere.

The easiest of the three types is normally the regular sale.  I call it regular sale even though there may be some unusual circumstances, like being an estate sale or a relocation, but basically this just means that it is not a foreclosure or a short sale requiring bank approval.

Some of my clients were fortunate enough to find a situation where the sellers had to sell quickly for one reason or another and were able to negotiate a great deal for themselves.  Just this month I came across a house for sale in a very nice golf community in Dunedin with a view of the golf course out the back.  The location of the house is great but the house needs a lot of updating and it seems that this is an estate sale which would explain the low pricing and need for updating.  The listing agent has told me twice that the current owner wants to sell this quickly and there is no outstanding loans so I know about how much they want and based on what houses in that neighborhood sell for this is a very good deal for someone who is willing to do the updating needed.

I also came across a newer, 3 bedroom 3 bathroom townhouse for sale in Tarpon Springs that is in good condition and is a bank-owned sale at $100,000.

I also found a townhouse in good condition in Dunedin with a boat slip for under $180,000.

Then there’s the 1 bedroom 1 bathroom condo on Clearwater Beach just 2 blocks from the beach that is listed at $99,900.

Now you’ll have a feel for the kind of great deals that are still available.  There’s also a special ‘deals’ section of my blog where I enter brief information on ones I find when I come across them in the MLS.  I’ve also set it up so you can get email notifications any time I add any new deals and if you want to know how to do that let me know.

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