It’s Raining in California. How I reigned in CaliGal!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 So, today I placed a home on the market, from a consumer who has been reading my ActiveRain Blog for a couple of months. CaliGal has been living out in California since September 2006 and Mr. CaliGal has been stuck in Poinciana Fl. trying to sell their home. About 2 weeks ago CaliGal e-mailed me to see if I could help them out. Their home had been listed on the market since August 2006 with another REALTOR® but unfortunately they were not able to get it sold. CaliGal had done a GOOGLE search a couple of months ago and lo and behold she found me.

Well, since then, she has been reading my ActiveRain blog regularly, she came to the conclusion that I was the man for the job. Anyway today we finally had a chance to meet. She flew back to Florida last night to spend a few days with her husband and to see about getting their home back on the market. It's the first time they have been together since she went to California last September, so needless to say, we need to get their house sold. We got along great. From reading my Blog so often, CaliGal, knew what I was going to say before I even had a chance to say it. It was awesome.

She knew, before I opened my mouth, "that I wasn't there to tell them what their home was worth but I was there to tell them what we needed to do to get it sold." She knew all about "Range Pricing" and how it works. CaliGal knew all about my website, she knew market conditions and how values are declining and how many homes are on the market. She knew everything. She was prepared. She had done her homework. She had read my Blog.

Now folks, this was not a unique experience. I have already placed three homes on the market, in the last 30 days, that were direct results of ActiveRain and the consumer reading my Blog. These Sellers are armed with the right information and they are ready to sell.

What have I done that is special? Nothing. I just write about what I know and my everyday experiences in Real Estate. I tell it like it is. I don't hold anything back and I don't keep things from the consumer. And believe me, it's really appreciated. They want to know. They want the facts. And they don't want to be sold.

So, CaliGal, this post is for you. My goal is to get your house sold as quickly as possible so you and your hubby can be reunited. Have a safe trip back to California. You are in good hands now and I will get this property sold. By the way, here's a link to the visual tour I have just done on your house.


So what do you think? Is ActiveRain great or what?


My market ain’t purdy!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 I'm curious, how are things going in your market area? I was doing a little research on my market, Poinciana Fl, this morning and discovered that sales are down 59% from same period last year (Jan 1-Apr 24). Last year, this period, there were 360 closings, this year 137. That's a pretty drastic change. There are also currently 1,734 active listings in my two zip codes. So, if you do the math, there is more than two years worth of inventory in Poinciana! Also, our 2 largest builders, Avatar (the developer) and Maronda Homes have just slashed their prices by approximately 15% over the last 30 days.

So folks, it ain't a purdy picture. Now, fortunately for me, my numbers are about the same as they were last year. I've had 12 closings and I have 22 active listings. I'm still on tract to have 40 closings, this year, which is always my target. I must say though, it has been very difficult to keep my business on tract. Pricing has been the key. Values are declining rapidly and I really have to be picky on what listings I take. I'm fortunate that I get a lot of calls so I am able to turn down listings where I can't get the price right. For me, increased inventory is very important in this market.

The part I don't like is all the folks that I can't help due to high mortgage balances. Some are in dire straights and not being able to help them is a bummer. But what can I do? It doesn't make any sense to list a property I can't sell. It waste my time and money and it gives Sellers "false hope". Unless they really need to sell, they need to wait.

I predict it's going to get worse before it gets better. There's just too much inventory and too many Investor owned properties that are clogging up the market.

What I see happening is property values continuing to drop and inventory continuing to rise. With the shake up in the sub-prime market more folks are not able to purchase and will be needing rentals. Once prices drop another 10% or so, hopefully, Investors will get back in to the market and start buying homes to rent out. More people needing to rent will eventually cause an increase in rents. Higher rents and lower property values will open up the Investor market. This will cause a decrease in inventory and that should start leveling things out some. The million dollar question is….How long will this take? My guess is a couple of years.

So there you have it, Broker Bryant's brief analysis and prediction of market conditions in Poinciana Fl. How are things in your market?

Buyers in Poinciana Fl are shooting blanks!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 Are Buyers, in your area, having a hard time pulling the trigger? Are they shooting blanks? They certainly are in Poinciana Fl. I guess they just have too many properties to choose from. There are currently about 1,750 homes on the market in Poinciana and only about 50 a month are selling. In fact, as of this morning, there are only 77 pending listings!!! That's pitiful.

Needless to say, getting an offer, on one of my listings, is a rare occasion. Yesterday, I was fortunate to get a real good one. A decent purchase offer with the Buyer putting $100,000 down. Better yet, they weren't asking the Seller for anything. Now folks, in my market, we don't see these very often. Normally it's 100% financing with the Seller paying all the closing costs. I was excited!

So, I called my Seller and drove right over to go over the offer with them. I kind of thought they would be excited too. They are a couple of months behind on payments and this was the 1st offer we have had in eight months. The offer was for $218,000 on a $239,000 listing. A little low but not bad.

Well, the Seller was not excited at all. Actually that's an understatement. You've all heard it, "I'm not giving my house away!!!" Anyway, as usual I let them blow off a little steam and then sat down and went over market data with them and showed them the reality of the market. I do this every week with my Sellers but they have very short memories when it comes to market reality. I do understand. Selling a house is very stressful and when you have financial stress on top of it can break a man. But it's my job to lay it out there for them and make sure they have the right information to help with their decision.

After about 90 minutes the Seller finally came around and we prepared a very good counter offer that we felt would be accepted. They weren't jumping up and down with joy but would be able to live with the deal if it was accepted. I got everything signed and initialed and left to go back to my office to Email the counter to the Buyer's REALTOR®.

Folks, wouldn't you know it, as soon as I got about 5 minutes down the road, the other REALTOR® called, to let me know the Buyer had decided to withdraw the offer! I hate it when that happens. It seems they have a cousin, who's a REALTOR® down in south Florida, who had suggested to them that they go look at homes in his area before deciding on Poinciana. Oh man, my Sellers were heartbroken. They were so close to being free of their financial hardship. Now we are back to square one.

I really feel for these folks. We've done everything we can to get their house sold but houses are just not selling. So we're going to do another price reduction. Folks, I'm having a difficult time figuring out this market, it's been quite the challenge. Fortunately, I like a good challenge, it makes succeeding so much sweeter. I just wish my Sellers didn't have to go through this. So how are things in your neck of the woods?

Broker Bryant image compliments of Lenn Harley. Thanks Lenn!!

All content copyright © 2007 – Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

But I’m representing the transaction. NOT!!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

I have heard that so many times, I thought I best try and clarify, what being a “Transaction Broker” means. In Florida all Realtors are presumed to be “Transaction Brokers” unless disclosed differently. Personally, I think this was a great change in how we as Realtors are able to “represent” our customers. There I said it “represent our customers.” Yes, folks “Transaction Brokerage” IS a type of representation.

This seems to be the biggest misunderstanding amongst Realtors and the general public alike. Let me repeat it again, so all Florida Realtors that are reading this post will get it, “Transaction Brokerage” is a type of representation to our customers. AND. You are NOT representing the transaction, EVER.

A “Transaction Brokerage Relationship” is a limited form of representation. With limited liability(for Realtor and customer) and limited confidentiality. You can be a “Transaction Broker” for either Seller or Buyer or BOTH. If you are a “Transaction Broker” for both parties it cannot be to the detriment of either party. A Seller or Buyer is your customer, not a client, EVER.

Also, if you take a listing as a “Transaction Broker” you are able and expected to represent your customer’s interest. If the Buyer has a Realtor, you are not in any way representing that Buyer or the Transaction. Your duties are to your Seller. If the Buyer’s Realtor is working for his Buyer as a “TB” his duty is to look out for his Buyer’s interest. NOT THE TRANSACTION. Sorry for being so repetitive with this but I’m so tired of hearing from Realtors that they are representing the transaction. We are supposed to be professionals. Understanding your relationship with your customer or client is essential if you are going to do your job properly.

Here are some links if you need additional information.

So in summary:

1. “Transaction Broker” is a type of representation, albeit limited.

2. You do not represent the transaction. EVER

3. Your Buyer or Seller is a customer, not a client.

4. Unless you have a Single Agent relationship you are a Realtor, associate, salesperson, broker or broker associate not an Agent.

5. All State laws vary when it comes to “Agency.” This post relates to Florida law.

Poinciana Fl is numero uno baby!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 Hi folks. I'm writing this post today to bring you guys a dose of "feel good about your market" stuff. So if you are feeling down and your market is beating you up, sit back, relax and have yourself a little read. It will make you feel better I'm sure. Unless of course you are one of my Sellers. In that case….sorry…but it is what it is.

Our local major paper, the Orlando Sentinel, has been running a series on foreclosures and how they affect the market in Central Fl. There's a link below to the article that ran this past Monday. The Sellers, who are the feature of the article, are my Sellers in Poinciana. Some of you guys may know them as "The Lovely's". I'm briefly in the article as well. Anyway, here's the link, check it out.

Here are a couple of excerpts from the series:

"Only 924 homes were sold in September by Orlando Realtors in their core market, the fewest re-sales since January 1999. By comparison, sales in September 2005 — near the market's record-setting peak — totaled 2,964. A year ago, 2,054 homes changed hands in the core market, which consists mainly of Orange and Seminole counties but includes some deals in surrounding counties"

"South Poinciana is home to the worst-hit ZIP code in Central Florida — 34759 — where nearly 300 homeowners have defaulted on their mortgages so far this year"

Hey….do you see up there where it states: "South Poinciana is home to the worst-hit ZIP code in Central Florida" Isn't that cool? My market is numero uno baby!!!! Hey if you have to be something you might as well be number 1. We don't do things half-ass in Poinciana!

My market encompasses two zip codes. The worse, South Poinciana, is 34759 and has 386 homes in some stage of default (at least 3 payments behind), foreclosure or auction. North Poinciana, zip code 34758, has 307.

Currently there are 1673 active listings (single family) homes in these two zip codes. That's actually down about 50 listings from last month. Most of those properties have been removed from the market. I withdrew 9 listings myself. In September we had 32 closings TOTAL! September 2006 there were 102. So we are holding steady at about a 60% decrease in sales for the year. Year to date there have been 480 sales. Last year same period 1184. So again holding steady at around 60% decrease. Now if I were to extrapolate out the sales for this year we may hit 575. That means our absorption rate (amount of time needed to sale existing inventory) in Poinciana is about 3 years.

Folks, Tutas Towne Realty, Inc (me) is having our 4th best year out of 14 years in business. So I'm here to tell you that no matter how bad your market is you CAN not only survive it but do pretty darn well if you keep motivated and keep moving forward. Hang in there my friends. Do your best. Be honest with your Sellers. That's really all we can do. Things will get better, just not anytime soon.

OK, that's it. Can anyone out there beat these numbers? My opinion is that Poinciana Fl is the worse market in the country right now. Any one able to prove me wrong? PLEASE!!!!! Someone make my day. If not, I hope I made yours. Oops! Got to run….my shift at Wal-Mart starts at five. Or not!!!

****All data is from Realtytrac, The Orlando Sentinel and the MFRMLS and of course Broker Bryant.

All content copyright © 2007 – Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

Broker Bryant is fishing for dollars!!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Damn it's hot!!!!This week I was contacted by a REALTOR® and asked to Broker her company. It's a husband and wife team who have been in Real Estate, in Florida, for about six months but own their own company. They need a "rent a broker" to qualify their corporation. The offer made to me was a percentage of gross commissions.

I have to say, I am actively searching for additional income streams for 2008, so the thought of brokering this company does appeal to me.

In Florida, I can have multiple licenses and Broker as many companies as I want. In fact, as some of you may know, I am the Broker for my younger brother's company, Garden Views Realty, Inc, that specializes in Disney Vacation Club re-sales. This is a good fit since his business is completely different from mine and of course, he's my bro!

The company I was asked to Broker is about 75 miles from my market so, even though their focus is residential re-sales, they would not be in competition with me.

However, TLW and I have decided to take a pass this time. After doing our research and doing the math we decided the risk was greater than the reward. They seemed like nice folks but their particular business plan doesn't make sense to me if we are getting paid a percentage of gross commission. For one, even though they have quite a few listings, they haven't had ANY closings!

Their business model is to take listings for a flat fee of $500 plus ½ percent commission at time of closing. Not much money there. And they rebate 50% of the selling side commission! Not much money there either.

Now folks, if you read my blog, you know I have NO problem with alternative business models(ABMs). I truly believe everyone should be free to run their business the way they choose and I also firmly believe the consumer should have choices.

BUT… this more difficult market I just don't see how a "start up" using this commission model is going to survive. I understand how the "flat fee" listing model works but to team it with a 50% Buyer rebate just sounds like a recipe for failure.

Anyway, I am looking for business opportunities. If you have anything I may be interested in please feel free to pop me an e-mail. Broker Bryant is fishing for dollars!

*** The picture was taken yesterday by me. It's a hay bale snowman!!!

Copyright © 2007 Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings | All Rights Reserved

Pricing and negotiating "short sales" in Poinciana FL.

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Hi folks. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about short sales. As way of disclosure, I want to mention, that I am NOT an expert on short sales. However, I am an experienced Broker in Florida and do have short sale knowledge. I just prefer to not handle many of them.

But….I want to see if I can help when it comes to working with Sellers of short sales. How to price the property properly and how to negotiate the deal.

First, if you are a Seller facing foreclosure, a short sale could be a viable solution for you and the Lender. Seek the advice of an Attorney and an experienced REALTOR®.

My market, Poinciana FL, is saturated with short sale listings. Some will be successful but many more will not.

The key to being successful is pricing and negotiating.

When meeting with a Seller, who may be a candidate for a short sale, it is imperative that the property is priced right. When I say “priced right” I mean as close to market value as possible at a price that will get the property under contract quickly.

One of the problems I see in my market is that short sales are priced way to low. It seems like listing brokers are just picking a number out of the clear blue sky and placing the property on the market. While they may generate a lot of activity, these deals, more than likely, will not close. Plus they are doing the Sellers a major injustice. The Seller will either be foreclosed on or end up with a huge deficiency judgment against them. Not to mention the possibility of owing good ole’ Uncle Sam some money.

Pricing a short sale should be just like pricing any other property. You are looking for a price that will sell the property in a reasonable amount of time and at a reasonable price. The fact that the property is a short sale, requiring 3rd party approval, is nothing more than a negative market condition.

If the true market value of the property, if not a short sale, is $200,000, then what you should be doing is taking this figure and making an “adjustment” for the “negative market condition(short sale)”. Depending on your market it could be a 10% to 20% downward adjustment. Let’s say that your market is showing you that short sells are selling for 20% below a normal sale of similar properties. That means that this property should sell for $160,000. So maybe you price at $165,000 or $169,000 depending on your area’s sales price to list price ratio.

Now you have a property that is priced right AND you have a very good chance of getting the Lender to agree to the short sale if you bring them a CONTRACT at $160,000.

OK so here’s the second step. Negotiating the deal. Notice up there where I bolded CONTRACT. This is important. Many REALTORS® are submitting OFFERS to the Lenders for approval. This is wrong and will limit your ability to get the short sale accepted.

A short sale requires 3rd party approval of the CONTRACT not the offer. What this means is the Buyer and the Seller should be negotiating the deal as they normally would. Once they have agreed on a price, hopefully as close to the $160,000 possible, they sign the contract and the deal goes pending, subject to 3rd party approval. The 3rd party approval is nothing more than a contingency and should have an end date on it. It’s no different than inspections, loan approval etc., except that it is a Seller contingency. It is a contingency that needs to be removed or it will expire with time.

Once the deal is signed, by all parties, you are now in a position to submit the short sale package to the Lender. Then the wait begins.

It’s important to remember that, if you are working for the Seller, your goal is to get them as much as you can for the property in a reasonable amount of time. By doing this you are limiting their liability created by the “short” and you are giving them a good chance to avoid a foreclosure by presenting a fair contract to the Lender.

So, if you are inclined to handle some sort sales. Do it right. I know short sale is the “buzz” word right now but as professionals we need to understand what we are doing. There’s a lot more to it than just throwing it out there and hoping it sticks. If that is what you are doing then you are harming the consumer and need to stop. I hope this post helps. If there are any short sale experts out there that feel this info is incorrect please let me know. I’m trying to learn as much as I can. Thanks.

More articles on short sales by Broker Bryant.

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Copyright © 2008 | All Rights Reserved

Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker
***The content of this blog is solely my opinion***

How about some fish, a show and some land?

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Land SharksOK, you'll like this one. I've recently been communicating with a Seller that wants to list and sell a couple of vacant building lots in Poinciana. The lot market in Poinciana has pretty much dried up since most of the builders moved out of the area last year.

During the peak of the market, 2005, a building lot in Poinciana would fetch about $60,000 to $70,000. These were incredible prices since as recently as 2002 you could find lots in the $5,000 to $7,000 range. Sure wish I would have bought about 50 of those…but nooooooooo…….I'm an idiot!!!!

This guy's lots are now worth about $30,000 each, assuming we could even find a Buyer. Anyway, he sent me an email asking if I heard of a company…..let's call them….Surf and Turf, Inc.

I picked this name because one of their marketing techniques is bringing Buyers and Sellers together through promotional Dinner Shows. Have a piece of fish, watch a show and buy a lot. Does this work? I don't know.

What I do know is that they are NOT licensed agents. They are in fact, a Nationwide Advertising and Marketing company that specializes in vacant land.

And…..Why spend thousands on realtors with rock solid contracts that don't allow you to sell? Especially when….The real estate market across the country is better than it's ever been. Anytime is a good time to sell!

Those are their words….not mine.

Now folks, I'm a firm believer in free enterprise. If it works…..go for it. BUT….here's my problem with these types of "Marketing Companies". Actually let me just tell you what they told my lot guy.

"We will sell your lot's in 90 days for $120,000 each. All you need to do is cut us a check for $1,897.00!!!"

Where did they get that $120,000 figure from? My guess is they pulled it out of their arse!! But hey, what do they care? It's all about the upfront fee. IF….this Seller were not already well informed, by me, he could have very easily wasted $1,897.00. AND…..may have believed his $60,000 worth of Real Estate was actually worth $240,000!!! Incredible.

So folks, be careful out there. Do your research before hiring a "Marketing Company" instead of a REALTOR®. If not, you may very well be buying dinner and a show for a lot of "Buyers". I do hear the fish is excellent though? What say you?

****Image courtesy of TLW and ROAR! Productions.

Sell Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Agent

Copyright © 2008 | All Rights Reserved

Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker
***The content of this blog is solely my opinion*** 

Selling and Failing in Poinciana FL Real Estate!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

My batting average is .600!!!Hi folks, earlier this week there was a discussion over at Agent Genius about REALTORS® only selling about 20% of their listings. The post was actually about Real Estate Shows but, as blog posts tend to do, the discussion got off topic. Anyway, I’m not sure where this percentage came from but let’s go with it since it doesn’t really matter for the sake of this post. 

This post is about listing brokers not selling all of their listings and Barry Cunningham, from Real Estate Radio USA, arguing, mentioning that he sells 100% of his properties. He was dumbfounded that we as REALTOR(S) don’t have a 100% success rate. Maybe he would have been happy with 75%, I just don’t know. 

I want to explore this topic a little further in this post. As a little background, it’s important to understand, that Barry IS a real estate professional, he’s just not licensed. He is a principle to the transaction. He buys houses and sells houses BUT he is either the owner or has an ownership interest in the property that he is selling. I’ll get back to this later. 

For now, I want to share my percentages for the last 3 years. 

In 2005 I closed on 88% of my listings. Out of the other 12% NONE were listed with another company after I withdrew them. They were all taken off of the market. Some I re-listed and sold later. Some were rented out and a few of the Sellers just had a change of plans. 

In 2006 my percentage dropped to 54%. 21% of my listings were re-listed with another company. 25% were taken off the market. Most were rented and 1 was foreclosed on. This year was the beginning of the market decline for Poinciana and it took a while for Sellers to accept it. Sellers were antsy. 

In 2007 it got worse. I only sold 40% of my listings. In fairness, to me, some of these are still on the market. Only 9% were listed with another company. 51% were removed from the market. Most were rented, some are just waiting and unfortunately, there were a few that were foreclosed on. 

My average success rate for this 3 year period is 61%. BUT…only 10% of my listings were listed with another company after they left me. 29% were withdrawn for other reasons and will be back with me in the future. The reality is 90% of my sellers were/are happy with my service. So stats can be deceiving if not analyzed properly. Do you know your stats? 

Now let’s talk about Barry’s 100% success rate. Barry is an Investor. He sells 100% of his properties because he only buys properties he knows he can sell. That makes sense and I agree with it completely. I’ve sold 3 of my properties this year so I too have a 100% success rate although on a much smaller scale. The reason Barry sold his and the reason I sold mine is because we are the ones making the selling decisions. 

As REALTORS® we don’t have that luxury. We have to depend on our customer/clients taking our advice. And, as we all know, some do and some don’t. AND… to make it even more difficult, they change their minds often. 

For example, I’ve had two of my Sellers, lose deals this year over a few thousand bucks. They had great Buyers with what I thought were acceptable offers, based on earlier conversations with my Sellers, however, when it got right down to it they decided to negotiate further and the Buyers walked. In both cases, I told my Sellers the Buyers would walk if they countered and they did.

If these were my properties I would have accepted the offers and moved on to the next deal. BUT…..they weren’t my properties and I didn’t have the authority to make those decisions. Will I eventually sell them? One I will and one I may not, as they have now placed themselves in a short sale situation. 

So what Barry does is different from what we do, not much, but in the one area that matters most…..decision making. 

One thing I do agree with Barry on……a 20% success rate is terrible!!! I hope mine is never that low, but it’s possible, if my market keeps sliding downward. 

What are your thoughts?

It’s Time To Invest In Poinciana Florida Real Estate.

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Call me!!!

Hi folks. If you are looking to purchase single family homes, that will cash flow, the time is right. The homes below would rent in the $600 to $650 per month range. With 20% to 30% down each would have a positive cash flow of approximately $100 to $150 per month. There are currently 65 properties on the market in Poinciana Florida for $75,000 or less. Most of these are 3 bedroom 2 bath homes with about 1200 sq ft. 

Check it out: 

Buy me!!!


3 bedrooms 2 baths with 1088 sq ft of living area built in 2000. Last sold in August of 2005 for $163,500. It is currently back owned and is being offered by First Service Realty, Inc at $44,900!!!



Buy me 2!


3 bedrooms 2 baths with 1750 sq ft of living area built in 2006. Last sold in February of 2006, brand new, for $198,300. It is currently bank owned and is being offered by First Service Realty, Inc at $63,500.



Buy me 3!


4 bedrooms 2 baths with 1410 sq ft of living area and a pool built in 1986. Last sold in December 2006 for $182,000. It is currently bank owned and is being offered by Goodwin Realty & Associates at $64,900.


***These properties are not listed by Tutas Towne Realty, Inc but are a sampling of available homes per the Mid-Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service.


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Copyright © 2008 | All Rights Reserved 


About us

I am a licensed real estate Broker in the state of Florida. My opinions on real estate have been formed from my experiences and 15 years of working in the business. My opinions are in line with Florida Real Estate laws and the REALTOR(R) Code of Ethics. Your State’s laws may differ. So do your own homework before implementing any of my business practices into your business.