Saturday, October 31st, 2009 – Turn Your Clocks BACK!

daylight-savings-timeWhew – we finally get to have an extra hour of sleep! I’ve been waiting for this since I “lost” an hour of sleep in the spring! Everyone has a different opinion of  daylight savings time. Some people love the “spring” clock where we have dark mornings and long days and others like to wake up with the sun and don’t mind an “early” evening.

I live on the St. John’s river in Ortega and we have SPECTACULAR sunsets — I need to get my camera out and snap some photos. The deep oranges and pinkssunset that are created as the sun sets over the river are nothing short of majestic. Feel free to stop by and watch the sun set with me sometime – and bring your camera! 

How about you? Do you like the “spring” schedule or the “fall” schedule? Let me know what your preferences are — I’d love to know.

Thanks for reading – please join me next time for another adventure in Avondale, Ortega and Riverside by subscribing to my blog.

THREE IN LESS THAN 30 Days – Another super quick sale!

5005 Arapahoe Avenue Three in less than 30 days. Another house, this time in Ortega, has sold in less than 30 days after being put on the market.

I first wrote about a house at 4266 Longfellow Street that sold after only 21 days on the market and then yesterday, Iwrote about a house that went under contract in only 21 days at 1252 Windsor Place.

Today, a darling little white brick cottage in Ortega at 5005 Arapahoe Avenue went under contract after only 17 days on the market. Let me say that again. The house went under contract in only 17 Days!! It’s been a  long time since properties have sold this fast! 

To see the full details of the property located at 5005 Arapahoe Avenue, click here.

To see a list of properties under $550K that present great values, click here.

Thanks for reading! Don’t miss a thing that’s going on in Avondale, Ortega and Riverside by subscribing to my blog. I look forward to having you share my adventures in this great part of Jacksonville.

GONE IN A DAY – Again!

1252 Windsor PlaceA few days ago, I wrote a post about a house in Ortega on Longfellow Street that sold in a day — well, 21 days to be exact, and in this market, that certainly feels like a day! Sales that happen that fast are few and far between.

 This morning, I found another house that went under contract almost immediately (21 days) after being listed. Located at 1252 Windsor Place, this is a 1927 renovated home with a pool at the end of a quiet cul de sac in Avondale. It has 3BR, 2.5BA in about 2,600 square feet. Designed by Marsh and Saxelbye, this home features mediterrean architecture with a new tile roof and detached two car garage with bonus room above garage.1252 windsor pool The list price was $499K and was priced at about $191 per square foot. As soon as it closes, I’ll write a post to let you know what the selling price was.

I emailed this house the day it was listed to a customer who’s looking in the Avondale area but since they have a home to sell, they weren’t in a position to secure this great deal.

Thanks for reading!  If you’re thinking of buying or selling in Avondale, Ortega or Riverside, be sure to subscribe to our blog so that you get the hottest news as it happens!

An Interesting Perspective

grandfatherMy former neighbor in Coral Gables, FL was an older British gentleman who loved to come over and talk real estate. “What’s my house worth today,” he would chuckle as I opened the front door to let him in. That was, of course, back in the days when house prices were going up almost daily.

I suppose if I were to greet him at the door today, he might still say “what’s my house worth today,” but probably with more of a grimace than a chuckle. Actually, knowing Patrick, he wouldn’t have grimaced and I can tell you why.

Over the course of the eight years that we lived next door to each other, we had many of these conversations but one thing that Patrick said still rings in my ears today. It was one of those “pearls of wisdom” that perhaps we should all consider embracing.

Patrick said, “when we were coming along, we were THRILLED if we sold our house at the end of our mortgage term for the same price that we paid for it — that meant that we had essentially lived in our houses for FREE. At the end of our mortgages, we got our money back”!

We might all be well served to stop obsessing about the values of our homes (unless you NEED to sell which is another story altogether) and hope that by the end of our mortgage term we’ll sell our homes for what we paid for them. I kind of like that idea — what about you?

Thanks for reading – I hope you’ll join me for my next real estate adventure!

Monday Morning Market Report – Week Ending 10/25/2009

oak street saleAn important sale closed this week in Avondale. A lovely two story brick home at 3244 Oak Street with 4br,3.5ba, 2,960 square feet, a brand new two car garage and a 70 x 125 lot, sold for $550K  after having been on the market for more than a year and a half! It was an important sale because there have been so few sales above $500K in 2009.

The house was purchased for $725K in May 2006. The owners then spent $125K in renovations which included the construction of a brand new two car garage.

They listed the house for sale at $829K in February 2008 (already less than they had in it) and then watched the market fall. By the time this listing was over a year later, the price of the house had dropped to $$699K.

It was re-listed with a different realtor at $679K and was quickly dropped to $649K, then $624K and then finally to $599K. Within 30 days of dropping to $599K, the house was under contract and then sold last week for $550K.

When the price of the house got dropped to $599K, it hit what we realtors call the “sweet spot” where anyone and everyone can clearly see that this house offered a tremendous value. Often, a house can lie dormant month after month with little showing activity and few calls, but once it hits the “sweet spot” the phone starts to ring off the hook and offers start coming.

So, the moral of the story is, price your house aggressively from the beginning or you run the risk of trailing the market down as this house did.

The market stats for this week were:

week ending oct. 25thNEW LISTINGS:    8       To see all of the new listings for the week, click here
CLOSED SALES:     5      To see the list of closed sales for the week, click here
PENDING SALES :   3   To see the list of pending sales for the week, click here
PRICE REDUCTIONS:     21     To see the Full List of Price Reductions, Click Here

The big news of the week from the sales stats is: 1) A dramatic DECREASE in the number of new listings 2) A dramatic INCREASE in the number of closed sales and a Dramatic INCREASE in the number of price reductions. If we keep going like this, then a recovery can’t be far around the corner! This is what we want to see, less listings (inventory), more closings and more price reductions!

Perhaps due to the sale of the property I discussed above, there has been a dramatic price reduction on another great house on Oak Street. It’s now a short sale and priced at only $599K. Located at 3546 Oak Street, this is another classic two story brick colonial within walking distance to the shoppes of Avondale and features 3,475 SF on a 105 x 93 SF lot. It has 4BR and 3.5 baths.

This house was sold for $577K in December of 2004 and then the current owners paid $775K for it in June 2007. The original asking price on this house was $697K ($75K less than they paid for it in June 2009). We’ll see very soon if this price reflects a “sweet spot” and if it goes under contract soon. I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll join me next week for another Monday Morning Market Update!

Riverside and Avondale Faring Better Than Ortega

arrow going upI pulled up an interesting set of statistics from the MLS today. It was a year over year comparison showing the difference of where we are today versus this time last year.

Riverside and Avondale have has substantial increases in the number of homes sold and in Ortega, there has been a decrease.

 This year there have been a total of 39 homes sold in Riverside versus 32 last year. This represents a 21% INCREASE from this time last year.

Avondale has had an 11% INCREASE in the number of homes sold. Last year at this time, there had been 81 homes sold and we’ve already had 90 sell so far this year — representing an 11% increase.

Ortega, on the other hand, has had FEWER sales this year than last. Last year there had been 48 sales by this time and so far only 41 have sold representing a 14% decrease in the number of homes sold.

An interesting side note is that the number of listings (properties available for sale) has also increased substantially over the last year. For example, in Riverside, there were only 35 listings this time last year and now there are 75. In Avondale last year, there were 113 properties for sale and this year there are 197! So… with the giant increases in the number of listings for sale, it stands to reason that there have also been more sales as a result!

If you’d like to have more information about the Avondale, Ortega or Riverside neighborhoods, please give us a call — we specialize in this area and would like to help you find a new home here!

Open House Attendance Way Up!

3 balls with a smileyGood News! We had an open house today at two of our listings today. One at 1837 Ingleside Avenue and another at 4834 Arapahoe Avenue and they were busy!

Back when the market was strong, attendance at open house was strong too. The market was bustling with activity. Buyers were out looking for a house to buy, sellers were out looking to see what the competition was and realtors were out looking for a house for their customers.

Then, the market stopped. Over the last year at our open houses, we’ve been lucky to have one or two people stop by but they were probably just walking by with their dog — certainly not making a deliberate point to come and see this particular house.  The level of traffic we had today (and over the last few weeks as well) indicates that the market is beginning to “buzz” again.  We don’t know if it’s pent up demand or the fact that people always have had to (and will continue to need to) move around but there is definately a new energy around our open houses lately.

Several of the people who came by today would be perfect buyers for these houses. One couple has children in a school nearby, others have just relocated here from another state (and they’ve sold their house!), another is in a house that they feel is too small and yet another has just had a baby and is looking for a larger home. So, all in all, there were lots of potential prospects.

So, the message is good. The people are out looking again. We hope that lookers will become buyers and that this could be the beginning of something good. I’ll keep you posted!

Gone in a Day…Well, Almost

4266 LongfellowIt has been a LONG time since a property was sold almost the day it was listed. In fact, it’s been a VERY LONG TIME since properties were selling shortly after they were listed. Just yesterday, however, a home in Ortega sold after having been on the market for only 21 days.

Listed on 9/17/09, the home has 3BR/2BA in 1,631 SF on a 50 x 125 SF lot. The house had a big two car garage and a really beautifully updated master bathroom. The house is located in Ortega which is a quick commute to downtown or the Naval Air Station just down the street. The house sold for cash — no financing involved and the selling price was about $145 per square foot. Click here to see a list of other homes in the area from $100 – $300K.  Thanks for reading – join me again next time for another adventure in Avondale, Ortega or Riverside!

New Listing on Great Street in Avondale!

frontSometimes a really great deal comes along and, if you happen to be one of my lucky readers, you’ll be among the first to know about it!

This week we listed a little bungalow on what many consider to be one of Avondale’s best streets, Richmond Street. The property is directly across the street from the river (3629 Richmond Street), there is very little traffic here and it’s a real neighborhood where the people are super friendly.

Although the house looks cute from the street, it does have serious issues and we priced it for land value.  The lot is large at 73 x 130 and the asking price is $359K.

The house has mostly aluminum windows and a large portion of it is concrete block neither of which are historic features. Because the house is located in a historic district, however, it may or may not be able to be torn down. One of the biggest issues is that the house is pushed up against the very back of the lot line leaving zero backyard.

 I received the following list from the director of RAP (Riverside Avondale Preservation) that details the criteria that will be considered as part of the demolition evaluation.

307.106 (n)   In considering an application for certificate of appropriateness for demolition, the Commission shall consider the applicable Historic District Design Regulations, if any, and the following additional criteria:

(1)   The historic or architectural significance of the building or structure;

(2)   The importance of the building or structure to the ambiance of the historic district;

(3)   The difficulty or the impossibility of reproducing such a building or structure because of its design, texture, material, detail or unique location;

(4)   Whether the building or structure is one of the last remaining examples of its kind in the neighborhood, the County or the region;

(5)   Whether there are definite plans for reuse of the property if the proposed demolition is carried out, and what effect of those plans on the character of the surrounding area would be;

(6)   The difficulty or the impossibility of saving the building or structure from collapse;

(7)   Whether the building or structure is capable of earning reasonable economic return on its value;

(8)   Whether there are other feasible alternatives to demolition;

(9)   Whether the property no longer contributes to an historic district or no longer has significance as an historic, architectural or archaeological landmark; and

(10)   Whether it would be undue economic hardship to deny the property owner the right to demolish the building or structure.

We feel that the house meets many of these criteria but the potential buyer of this property will either need to wait to see what happens with the current owner’s demolition permit or take on the task themselves. It is being sold as-is meaning no repairs will be made. 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for another adventure in Avondale, Ortega or Riverside! See you next time!

Monday Morning Market Report – Week Ending 10/18/2009

week ending Oct 18th graph

The statistics for the week ending October 18th, 2009 appear startling at first glance but after a second look, I discovered something important.  Out of the 19 New Listings, 6 were in one condo building located at 2064 Herschel  Street. That accounts for 31% of this week’s new listings. Pending sales are also WAY UP from last week.

New Listings – 19
Price Reductions – 8
Pending Sales – 6
Closed Sales – 2

So while it seems that there were LOTS of new listings this week (which technically there were)  when you know that a developer re-listed so many units all at once, it gives you a different persepctive.

The Chelsea Lofts were built in 2007 around the same time as 1661 Riverside. Both buildings are loft style units and were attempts to ride the wave of the re-developement of the Riverside shopping district and the urban market with exposed duct work, concrete floors, open floor plans (very few walls) and tall ceilings. The saying goes that “timing is everything” and clearly, the Chelsea Lofts was a victim of bad timing.  Just as the building neared completion, the decline of the real estate market had begun. The units have been re-listed by a new realtor but at the same price as the previous listing. They are bank approved short sale which means that the agonizing wait that you often experience with short sales is not necessary and closings can be immediate. If you’d like to see one of these units, please let me know!

There is one new listing that I think deserves special attention. Located at 2764 Myra Street, this NEW construction bungalow was built by RADO (Riverside Avondale Development Organization) and is priced at only $138K or $$104 per square foot. This home is part of the Head Start to Home Ownership Program and there are income limits for buyers for this house. Attached are the income guidelines for the RADO program. If you know someone in need of a home who isn’t a high wage earner, this seems like an incredible opportunity!

gallagher living roomOn the other end of the spectrum, there is a very beautiful hougallagher back porchse located close to Timuquana Country Club at 5509 Fair Lane Drive. The house appears to be a “ranch” from the outside, but step through the front door and you are greeted by the most amazing soaring ceilings and huge fireplace. It’s really dramatic. The house is nearly 4,000 SF and on nearly an acre of land that also has lovely outdoor entertaining areas.  Walk across the street to play golf, tennis or swim in the gorgeous riverside swimming pool – membership to the club is required! The house is priced at $1,295,000.

There were two foreclosures listed this week:
2866  Sydney Street priced at $194,900 (MLS # 506199) – Darling Bungalow with some nice updates
969 Cherry Street priced at $169,900 (MLS # 506178) – Haven’t seen this one inside. I did drive by and it appears to need a good bit of work.

That’s the news for this Monday – thanks for reading. Join me for another Avondale, Ortega or Riverside adventure and keep up with what’s going on in our great neighborhood by subscribing to our blog!