What is that flowering blue shrub?

I have posted before about a great bedding plant for south Florida called Ruellia.  Not Dwarf Ruellia.  The dwarf variety is harder to grown and isn't nearly as lush.
It's hard to get a good picture of them since they are always waving in the breeze.  Ruellia makes a great bedding plant, is easy to grow, free of pests and starts from cuttings.  Give it a try.

And be sure to visit: http://www.coastalfloridarealestate.net/ and www.youtube.com/richardsites then send along to your friends.

Tiger Woods' yacht, new pictures. Jack too.

OK, for those of you who are big TW fans, I took these yesterday.  Enjoy then send to your friends.

Or maybe Jack N's yacht right across the water.

Oh well, if you can hit a golf ball better than anyone in the world you can own a ship like one of these.  In between Jack and Tiger live several dozen nomadic sailboat residents who have the same view of the same water but live for free.  Looking for a home in this area?  I have lived here 22 years and can show you the best values and some great opportunities.  Contact me at 561-762-4073 or if you want to search the MLS yourself go to www.coastalflrealestate.com.

Tabebuia trees ready to bloom again

Jupiter is a great place to live.  One of the reasons is that we enjoy a sub-tropical climate and we can have some special plants and trees around.  Each spring, we are treated to about one week of spectacular blooms on the tabebuia trees in the area. Now, these should not be confused with the cassia tree which also have yellow flowers.  These trees are much larger with interesting bark.

These trees are so incredible, what could I write that would add to the picture above?  I just thought you might like to know what they are called.  Enjoy them, they only last about a week or two!

Thinking of moving to this area?  You can see all Jupiter homes for sale at Coastal Florida Real Estate.  Every home and every picture is listed there in real time.  No other site has any more or more current information.

Real Estate Alphabet soup...What the........?
























What in the world does all this mean? As I look through the real estate section of the local paper, I wonder what all this alphabet soup after an agent's name really means.

The most common one is Lifetime Member of the Million Dollar Club. In an area where so many homes are selling for $ 1,000,000 plus, is this significant?

Even your doctor or lawyer don't lay on the praise of themselves this thick. They usually just say Board Certified. There's an old saying, "Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back".

So what is all this about? I decided to find out. So, I attended a class hyping one of these designations. What I found was an offering of training that costs a couple of hundred bucks. Now, this designation was for skills that any agent would surely have especially since almost all have come from previous corporate backgrounds. Real estate is seldom a first career unless you join your mom or dad in the business.

So here's my question: What good is a list of designations if nobody knows what they mean? If you see a certificate that says "Board Certified in Cardiac Surgery" or something like this, it would make you more confident. But what does a string of letters really mean?

Choose your agent like you choose your doctor since you will be deeply involved on a highly emotional issue. And look for a successful business background.

If you are looking for a home in this area, use the fastest MLS results available by visiting my website at Coastal Florida Real Estate or 561-762-4073.

Check your listing-Critical but often overlooked

When I started in the real estate business, I was fortunate enough to be trained by one of our top local agents. One of the steps we took as a team was to make sure the client OK'd the listing as it appeared in the Regional Multiple Listing Service.

As mentioned in previous posts, the MLS Listing is derived from information input into appropriate fields by the listing agent or another company representative. Some of these fields are required, others are optional. But, the MLS database does not have any way of verifying the information or cross-checking it.

For example, the MLS does not know if zip code 33469 is in Jupiter or Tequesta. Neither does a buyer doing a search from their computer hundreds of miles away. Remember, around 85% of buyers start their search on the Internet before contacting an agent. Or another example the MLS does not know that a home centrally located on Philadelphia Drive in Jupiter, 33458 is not in the Town of Jupiter but is in the county. So, the data entered into these fields is ALL people looking for a home, either by themselves or using an agent, have to use and it's ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL THAT IT IS CORRECT.

How do you make sure it is right? Simple, ask the owner to check it!

When listing a home, as soon as it is input into the MLS, I email a copy to the owner and ask them to check EVERYTHING. Remember, this is the only information buyers can go by. And we try to take advantage of every data field provided as well as the Addenda at the bottom.

OK, I hear it now, is this attention to detail really necessary? As I have said before on my PAST SALES web page, it usually takes only a 1% improvement in your value proposition to buyers to make a sale. I'm not saying a 1% reduction in price, but in the value proposition. People buy for value, not price.

Or course, price and value are the opposite ends of the see-saw. Lower the price, drive the value up.

I often ask sellers who are having trouble getting offers, if they think their house would sell at $ 100,000 to which they answer, "Of course". How about $ 200,000? "Sure". So, the correct price is somewhere between $ 200,000 and the current listing price. We just have to balance the see-saw. And this is done by asking the owner to check and verify the information in the MLS.

So here's today's lessons for sellers: If you haven't seen your listing or don't have a copy of it, call your agent today and ask for it. Check every detail. Then, go online and search for your home. You may be very surprised at what you find.

I posted about about a seller whose home had been on the market for 500 days without selling. After talking with me, he decided to re-list with the first agent and the house is still sitting 150 days later. Maybe the fact that the house is listed in the wrong city is hindering the sale? Maybe he should have checked the MLS.

Find out more at http://www.coastalflrealestate.com and www.youtube.com/richardsites.

Can a turkey help you sell your house? Or check the listing!

Recently, I posted a piece asking if a moose could help you sell your house. And I posted another piece on checking your MLS listing for accuracy and going online to see how others are viewing your home. Now let's ask: Can a turkey help you sell your house?

A couple of years back, I took over the sale of a home in Jupiter Farms which had been on the market for months with no offers. They asked me to help with the sale since I had sold their friend's house in 4 days to the first buyer who saw it. (I should note that the sellers of that house took copious notes when I told them what to do to sell it and spent several days prepping the house before we offered it for sale).

So, I met with the new prospective sellers and we went to their family computer to see how the house appeared online to look for glaring problems. We visited Realtor.com and then to the photos. There to our surprise among the only 5 pictures of the house was a picture of their pet turkey.

Now, I don't know what the psychological impact of a turkey is on the buyers, but I took the picture of the bird out, shot new pictures in the afternoon when the light was more favorable to the house, fertilized the grass so it was very green and had an offer at nearly full price in just 35 more days.

Enough said. Check your listing in the MLS.

Automatic Notification...how it works

As technology progresses, I continue to be fascinated with the way people interact with it. For example, recently a woman asked me for the name of a a good restaurant for dinner. As I explained my choice, she used her iPhone to pull up restaurants in the area but failed to find my pick in the list. When I described it, she and her husband said that it sounded perfect....but it wasn't on her phone. So I said if you can make one right turn and drive 2 miles you will be there....but it wasn't on her phone. Her husband listened as I said, "Go to the stop sign, turn right and go 2 miles"...but it wasn't on her phone. So she said, "It's not on my phone, I'll have to do a search". Undaunted, I said, "If you can go to the stop sign and turn right, you'll be there".

Nevertheless, she did a search.

Why am I telling you this? Because sometimes people to use technology beyond the point of making things easy, they just like to play with buttons and screens. That's why people use a phone to text when they could call.

As a Realtor, I've found that people would rather search through the MLS themselves than let a computer do the work for them. And they jump from website to website, scouring through the same information in different formats, establishing new accounts, creating new passwords, logging in, getting on email lists from agents, hoping that they can find something that has been overlooked by the computer. Or maybe I'm wrong and they just don't know what they want so looking at pictures may help. In any event, if you want to let the computer do the work for you, here's how it works.

Every property listed in our Regional Multiple Listing Service is input by entering data into each field provided, some required and others optional. (Please read my other post Check Your Listing for details on this critical step). Therefore, once a property is in the MLS, you can automate a search to watch for properties that meet predesignated criteria...assuming the listing agent input the data correctly. (Please read my other post Check Your Listing for details on this critical step).

So, if you don't get a thrill from clicking your mouse or would rather watch TV, visit with your spouse, play with your kids, play golf, sleep, work, wash the car or anything else, you can have the computer monitor the MLS for you using Automatic Notification. The link to set this up in on my HOME page at http://www.coastalfloridarealestate.net/.

Basically, you just load in the criteria of the properties you want to search for (such as size, bedrooms, baths, pool Y/N, price, etc.), the computer searches and sends you all the initial matches (which could be hundreds if the search is not specific enough). From that point on, any time one of the search criteria changes and meets what you have asked for, you receive an email.

You can be notified immediately, once a day, once a week or whenever you want. It puts control in your hands.
You can still get a mouse-clicking thrill by going through the choices sent to you, but you don't have to do all the heavy lifting. On the other hand....

If you still want to do it all yourself, I have provided 3 options on my HOME page for you to access the info. To borrow a line from Home Depot: "You can do it, we can help".

Take the money, forget the short sale

As the deadline approaches for the expiration of the Home Buyers Credit, do you find yourself still messing around with a short sale? A short sale is like fool's gold.

I talk to agents every day and the stories surrounding short sales are nothing if not frustrating and tedious. Forget running an agent into the ground with a short sale, you, the buyer, should be excited when moving into a new home and if there was ever a way to dissipate that excitement it's by getting yourself wrapped around the axle with a short sale.

It's funny how the media portrays the short sale and foreclosure market as a cornacopia of great deals. Sure, there are some below market situations out there, but unless you are a professional investor or "flipper", its really not an avenue you should pursue. Trust me. Here's my take.

Get out this week, NOW, and find yourself a great house that you are excited about. CALL AN AGENT TODAY and get a house under contract that will close in time to take advantage of the credit. $ 8,000 can go a long way toward making it the dream home you have always wanted.

If you are looking for a home in Jupiter, remember all the homes are no more than 20 minutes from the beach! If you are looking in Tequesta you might only be 5-10 minutes away. If you are not sure where to start, go back to my HOME page on http://www.coastalfloridarealestate.net/.

At the top I offer you 3 ways to search for your perfect place in the sun. Or, let the computer do the work for you while you are at work, play just doing something else. An email will be sent to you within 10 minutes of any change in the MLS that meets your needs. Then, all you have to do is look through the choices sent to you. It's that easy. Automatic notification can be set up on the HOME page as well.

Or you can take a look at www.youtube.com/richardsites.  Enjoy then send along to your friends.

Time for the beach!

The weather here is getting absolutely perfect for the beach.  Highs are right around 80 with few clouds and low humidity.

Here's the view looking south toward the Juno Beach Pier.

The is view from under the pier.

Or maybe you would like to take the kids to Dubois Park on Jupiter Inlet.

Or maybe just a good book.

You can start finding your place in the sun on my website: http://www.coastalfloridarealestate.net/
or take a  look at www.youtube.com/richardsites then send along to your friends.

Brown pelican at Jupiter Inlet

When I was at the Jupiter Inlet, it was a little cool, with sprinkles and a strong wind.  These pelicans decided to take the day off from fishing and ride it out on the south pier.

You can see more of  the Jupiter Inlet on my You Tube Channel: www.youtube.com/richardsites
Enjoy then send along to your friends.  Also visit me on my web site: http://www.coastalfloridarealestate.net/

Jet ski in the Jupiter Inlet

We have had so much rain this winter that the water management folks have opened the C-18 canal to drain some of it off.  When they do, it flows out the Jupiter Inlet and makes for great wave jumping on a jet ski.  Take a look at these shots.

Does this look like a great place to live??  YOU BET IT IS!  Come on down.  If you are looking for a home between Stuart and West Palm Beach, I can show you all homes listed by all brokers.  Just contact me at rsites@bellsouth.net or on Skype at rsites.  Or if you still like the personal touch, call me at 561-762-4073.  You can also visit me at www.youtube.com/richardsites.  Want to search yourself?  Just go to Coastal Florida Real Estate.  Richard Sites, Realtor and long time Jupiter resident.

Take this Jack Frost

In January, we experienced extremely cold temperatures day after day.  Cold for Jupiter, that is.  In fact, we had the coldest winter in 30 years.  When the frost was coming, we picked all the tomatoes and peppers so we had to start all over again in February.  Anyway, we are catching back up.  We have tons of peppers and tomatoes again, some small eggplants and collards.  The papayas also have small fruit on them.

Anyway, here is an example of what the garden is producing now.

Confusion Corner in Stuart

In Stuart, a city to the north of Hobe Sound and Jupiter/Tequesta, there is a small traffic circle where several roads converge at oblique angles to one another.  The residents have named it Confusion Corner.  Recently while in Stuart I had to drive through the area and stuck the camera out the window.  The picture below is what was captured.

Four cars all going different directions.  Government planning at its best.

What's selling in Jupiter and Tequesta?

For the month of April, there have been 98 sales in Jupiter and Tequesta. The average selling price is $ 336,112 but the median sale price is $ 205,500. I have commented before on why there is such a disparity between the two prices.

The median time on the market is now 147 days with the longest period being 867 days and the shortest just 19. Interesting though, the 867 days was a small condo under 1,000 square feet in size.

The maximum selling price was $ 3,137,500.

As for types, 23 were condos and the rest single family homes and townhouses. And only 23 homes were built after 2000.

To find out more about the Jupiter/Tequesta real estate market, visit my website at: http://www.coastalfloridarealestate.net/  Enjoy then send along to your friends.

Kill the messenger that will fix the problem!

A study by the California Association of Realtors shows a decrease in the number of consumers who say they would use the same real estate agent again to 22 percent in 2009 from 79 percent in 2004. When asked why they would not retain their previous agent, 64 percent said their homes languished on the market and 51 percent were upset that their house fetched less than they had expected.

The study findings show that sellers with unrealistic expectations blame their agents when a transaction does not go as planned, but agents often are indeed at fault for failing to inform sellers about current market realities when it comes to pricing and financing. See my blog postings on this.

In the short term, agents can expect consumers to prefer working with individual agents, believing that a large brokerage cannot provide the personal response and service they so desire. Agents also need to drum up the courage to turn down overpriced listings that likely will not sell. See my blog postings on this issue.

Over the long term, Realtors must focus on skill, hard work, and the use of technology to provide personal service and deliver the information of most interest to clients. Moreover, agents should immediately respond to calls and e-mails, listen to their prospect’s wants and needs, and make good on their requests.

I have posted before that picking the right agent is just like picking the right doctor. In these turbulent times, a professional "bedside manner" is critical. And this survey demonstrates why professional pricing help is also so critical. You, the seller, are not in the business and have emotional ties that will cloud your ability to price the home to sell. The last 3 homes I have sold have only averaged 4 weeks on the market.

Also visit http://www.coastalfloridarealestate.net/ and www.youtube.com/richardsites then pass along to your friends.

Massive foreclosure backlog in Palm Beach County

I came across this picture today of the foreclosure office in the Palm Beach County Clerk's office and just had to share it with you.  Despite tripling the number of employees who handle foreclosures, and scanning a feverish 30,000 case pages into the computer every day, staff can't keep up with what amounted to about 2,500 foreclosures each month last year. (In all of 2005, there were 3,049 foreclosures in the county).

This year, the Florida State Courts Administration is requesting $9.6 million from the state to hire more judges and speed the backlog of foreclosures through the system. The administration estimates there are about 500,000 foreclosure cases pending statewide, including 55,000 in Palm Beach County, and 13,750 in Martin and St. Lucie counties combined.

You can read the whole article at: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/money/real-estate/as-pbc-foreclosure-paperwork-piles-up-so-does-521201.html

Take a peek at www.youtube.com/richardsites  and my real estate website at http://www.coastalfloridarealestate.net/  then send along to your friends.

Foreclosures touch all income levels

A report released today by Florida Realtors, formerly the Florida Association of Realtors, found the state’s foreclosure crisis is not just a burden for low-income families.
About 23 percent of foreclosures reviewed in the study were of homes owned by families making an annual income of between $50,000 and $75,000. Another 20 percent were of homes of families bringing in $100,000 or more annually.

“Floridians of all incomes and social backgrounds have felt the effects of the foreclosure crisis,” said John Sebree, Florida Realtors vice president of public policy, in a press release. “By looking to the root causes of foreclosures among individuals and families who have actually experienced it, Florida Realtors lead the way in the fight to restore confidence in real estate and get homeowners back on their feet.”

You can read the whole story at http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/realtime/2010/04/06/about-20-percent-of-florida-foreclosures-are-of-homes-with-annual-incomes-of-100000-or-more-according-to-report/ but what it really boils down to is this. If you are trying to sell, you must understand the relationship between the foreclosure market and your home. Call me for an appointment to discuss how we can get your home sold in this turbulent market. And take a minute to visit me on the web at http://www.coastalfloridarealestate.net/ or www.youtube.com/richardsites then send along to your friends.

First Time Home Buyer Credits

The Internal Revenue Service released new statistics today on how many people have cashed in on the first-time home buyer tax credit through February 20. Nationwide, nearly 1.8 million people have earned $12.6 billion in tax credits.

In Florida, 128,517 people have filed for the credit, which is good for housing contracts signed before April 30 and closed before June 30. So far, Floridians have cased in on $936 million in savings on home purchases.

Some current home owners are eligible for up to a $6,500 tax credit.  California had the highest sum of tax credits claimed at $1.4 million from 202,998 people.

Check out: http://www.coastalfloridarealestate.net/

Mortgage interest deduction threatened

President Obama released his budget proposal this afternoon. The Administration’s FY 2011 budget has again recommended, as did the FY 2010 budget, that the value of the mortgage interest deduction for upper income taxpayers be limited to the 28% bracket. NAR is 100% opposed to the provision that modifies the Mortgage Interest Deduction and is prepared to use its formidable array of resources against its enactment.

As currently drafted, the plan changes the Mortgage Interest Deduction by reducing the amount of mortgage deductibility on families earning over $250,000 (AGI), and on single tax payers earning over $200,000 (AGI). This proposed change in the Mortgage Interest Deduction will result in further erosion of home prices and home values.

You should be aware of this at election time.   http://www.coastalfloridarealestate.net/


Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of placement of things to enhance the flow of "vital life energy" known as Qi. Practitioners believe that rooms, buildings and all environments can be arranged and ordered in a way that maximizes the flow of Qi resulting in an improvement in life quality.

There is also a school of thought that says rearranging your home according to Feng Shui principals will cause it to sell faster. Staging is absolutely mandatory but I don't buy into Feng Shui. Unless you are targeting Chinese buyers.

I do subscribe to a spotlessly clean house, good traffic flow, fresh paint, crisp landscaping with new mulch, flowers, bright lights, soft music, no clutter, no pet smells, curb appeal, no dead insects on the window sill, no torn screens, easy access, no sellers or their agents on the property when showing, no trashed teen rooms, no stuffed animal heads on the wall, no personal pictures on the wall (unless you have one with you shaking hands with the President), very few books on the shelf, no cooking smells.... I think you get the drift. Maybe some of these things coincide with Feng Shui and that's good. But I think you will have better success selling your house if you rearrange your furniture and not your energy flow.

Jupiter homes for sale can all benefit from the above list of items to inhance saleability.  I'm not buying into the Feng Shui idea, but I do buy into doing the things that have been shown to sell houses.  Another idea floating around is that of burying a certain statue in your yard....upside down no less.  And recently, I know of a couple who, after their home was on the market for 2 years, buried the statue and sold their home.  Now they are believers.  You can't prove cause and effect by me though.

Looking to Jupiter real estate?  Unlike many Realtors, I have lived here 21 years and can show you the best values and locations.  Contact me at rsites@bellsouth.net or on Skype at rsites.  Of course, there is still the phone...561-762-4073.

Richard Sites, Realtor

Can a moose help you sell your house?

Several years ago, I stopped by an open house to take a peek, (just like you I visit open houses), and began talking with the owner. He was convinced he could sell the house himself so he bought into a "No Commission" program where someone was going to Help Him Sell. However, that "help" will cost you a fee of $ 5,700 upfront. But he still had no offers.

Upon entering the house, which was very clean, I found the master's recliner positioned in front of the TV, remote at the ready, but over the chair on the wall was a mounted moose head. Now, I don't know if you have ever come face to face with a moose...but they are gigantic. When they are in your living room they are even bigger. There was no way you could appreciate the house without being overwhelmed by the moose.

Short ending to the story: House did not sell...$ 5,700 out the window (although he did not pay a "commission") and later he listed it with a Realtor who sold it.

Moral: A Realtor can be more help when selling your house than a moose!  Hire a Realtor!

If you are looking for a home in this area, unlike many agents I have lived here 21 years and can show you the best values and locations.  You can contact me, Richard Sites, at rsites@bellsouth.net or on Skype at rsites.