Martin Luther King, rest in peace my brother. (rerun)

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

Free at last!!!Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King day. Where do I begin to write a post about this? First, I need to let you know that I grew up in the deep south as a son of a Lutheran Pastor. My formative years were the early sixties and during this time I lived all over Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina. Racism was alive and well in the little towns I grew up in. I can remember marching with MLK in Foley Alabama and the "good ole boys" throwing things at us and calling us names. The fact that we were white made their hatred towards us even worse. We were traitors and N……. lovers. I think I was 8 or 9 years old at the time. I couldn't understand what we were doing "wrong". It was just a parade.

I remember living in Saluda S.C. and going to the movie house on the weekends. It always struck me as strange that the "blackies" had to sit in the balcony. They wouldn't even let "them" in the theater until all us white folks were already in and seated. I can remember looking up and waving at my friend J.B. J.B. lived not to far from me and we use to play football and stuff together. J.B. wasn't his name but it was what we called him. It stood for Jet Black. He didn't seem to mind and I thought he liked it. I now know, he probably didn't. I know it used to bother him when we would stop at the store after playing ball and they wouldn't let him in. I would have to go get his Mountain Dew and peanuts for him. But we were just kids. We didn't care, we just wanted to play and have fun. J.B. and his sister, Rosa Lee, were the only blacks in my school. Rosa was a big girl. Very quiet and very smart. She always sat in the back of the class by herself and I would make an effort to be nice to her. I liked her. I think she was afraid to talk to me though because she would never say anything. Just minded her own business. I've never forgotten about Rosa Lee and wonder what became of her and J.B.

Our schools were integrated before my sixth year started. I remember it being a really big deal for the adults. The kids didn't really seem to care. We all played football together and had a lot of fun. Of course we had to get on separate buses on the way home. Maybe it was just because we lived on the opposite sides of the tracks. I'm not sure.

I also remember coming out of Church, one Sunday morning, when I was about 11 or 12, and there were Church members passing out flyers. They were really dedicated and made sure everyone got one. They were flyers for the KKK rally that was taking place out in the fields that night. I guess we had quite a few clansman in our Church. Even at 12 years old this disturbed me quite a bit. My friends and I snuck out that night and headed out to this rally. When you are 12, curiosity over comes you, and some things you just have to do. I remember the five of us crawling through the woods following the lights until we came to the edge of a field. It was very scary. The field was full of people in white robes and hoods and they were singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" and other songs we sang on Sunday and they had 3 crosses a blaze. The lights we followed were these crosses being burned. We laid there listening and watching for about 10 minutes or so and then we glanced up at each other, stood up and ran. We ran and ran and ran. We never talked about that night again. I've always wondered if crosses were the only thing being burned that night. I doubt it.

When I turned 16 I quit going to Church. I stayed away from the Church for 30 years. Now as I go to the Methodists Church on Sunday, where we have five black members out of about 300, I realize, it's not the Church, it's the people that are evil. In the town where we now live, Dundee, Fl population 4,000, we still have a "blackie" town. Racism, is very much alive and well, in our town and through out the world. Will it ever change? I don't know. But I can pray that it does. I can respect people, for who they are, not what color they are. I can correct people when they start making racist remarks. I can choose not to associate with racists. Racism makes my stomach churn.

So what does any of this have to do with Real Estate? Everything my friends. Everything. Because of MLW we now have the "Civil Rights Act of 1964" and the "Voting Rights Act of 1965". Because of MLK, the healing has begun. We have a very long way to go but the journey has started.

MLK was a man of peace. He was non-violent and proved that it doesn't take force to win a battle. MLK was a hero. His speech "I have a dream" is a masterpiece and regarded as one of the finest speeches in American oratory.

So there you have it folks, my meager attempt at honoring a great man, through my experiences, seen through the eyes of a child. Take a few minutes tomorrow and say a prayer for our Country and my heroes Martin Luther King, J.B. and Rosa Lee.

Martin Luther King, rest in peace my brother.

***The picture is from a school contest and is: First Prize co-winner, Rachel Waychunas, grade 5, Sayen Elementary School, Hamilton Ma.

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

Do you live in your market area? Does it matter?

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

View from my new office!!!Do you live in your market area? I don't. And here's why. When TLW and I first opened Tutas Towne Realty, Inc back in 1998 we did live in Poinciana(my market). We actually moved to Poinciana back in 1995 and worked for a very small real estate company located right in Poinciana.

When we opened up our own company we decided to have it as a home based business. It worked pretty well since the house we lived in at the time was an old model home and the garage had already been converted to an office. This became the home of Tutas Towne Realty.

It worked very well for a few years but as our business grew our privacy diminished. It got to the point where folks would knock on our door at all hours of the day and night wanting me to conduct business. Our privacy was taken from us.

I never have been a REALTOR® that works 24/7. I have a very strict schedule. I answer my phone, or return calls promptly, from 8am to 8pm seven days a week. I rarely take appointments before 10am or after 4pm, Monday thru Saturday. I will book a Sunday appointment but only if it's a very good listing and only if there is no other convenient time for the Seller.

Personally, I feel being available 24/7 weakens our professionalism. I'm very good at what I do but I'm also not on call 24/7. I work by appointment only. I'm just too busy to be available at a moment's notice. If there are folks that require an agent that jumps when they say jump well…….then I won't be able to work with them. It's best my potential customers know this up front.

OK, let me get back on topic here. Anyway, we moved out of Poinciana in 2001. And when we moved we changed our business's address and registration to a PO Box so no one could find us unless we gave them directions. It was the best thing we have done in a long time. No more Sunday afternoon knocks on the door!! We took our privacy back!!! Yippee!!

There is a REALTOR®, in Poinciana, who advertises that they are the only REALTOR® who owns, lives and works in Poinciana. First, this is far from being true as I know many REALTORS® that have lived in Poinciana for years. Secondly, I'm not sure why this is supposed to make a difference.

Even though I no longer live in Poinciana, I have been selling property there for almost 14 years. I have seen Poinciana grow from a small neighborhood to a booming community of almost 67,000 people. I've helped hundreds of Sellers and Buyers with their real estate needs. And not ONCE has anyone ever had a problem with me not living in Poinciana. Nor do they care that I work from my home. Trying to use these things as a negative against me, as some do, is an effort in futility.

The consumer is very smart. They want to hire someone who can get the job done. None of that other stuff matters in the least.

OK so maybe I have a little bug in my hiney today. Sorry about that. I just needed to get this out there. Pest control anyone?

***The photo is my new office. Hey someone has to do it!!!

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

Now is a great time to buy Real Estate! Or is it?

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

Hi folks. Yesterday I received an email from my local REALTOR® Association (OSCAR). In it was a plea request, from our new Association President, asking all REALTORS® to place a one liner in all our ads stating “Now is a great time to buy real estate!” Our Association has also started an ad campaign with this same theme. Here is a sample ad.

I guess the reasoning behind this is that if we all aggressively market “Now is a great time to buy real estate!” we can overcome the negative media and change the real estate market in Osceola County. According to our new president, “The most important thing I feel that our Association can do to help our members this year is to help put money in your pockets.”

Here’s the quote from our President:

“Now is a great time to buy real estate! I am asking for all REALTORS® and Brokers to join us in this campaign. There is so much negative media it would be hard for our Association to be able to battle this on its own. I am asking each and every one of you, that in any ad that you place, please put a one liner that says something about it being a great time to buy real estate, or a statistic about the interest rates, or any education that you feel will help the consumer realize that the market is not so bad. If all of our brokerages and Affiliate members make this a business practice in 2008, I believe that we can change the marketplace in Osceola County.”

Now folks, I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. I certainly don’t agree that things are as bad as the media portrays but I’m having a hard time getting my head around “Now is a great time to buy real estate!”

I’m a very optimistic person but I’m also a realist. I also know that the consumer is very smart. My success has been achieved by being 100% honest with folks. I believe in giving them the facts and letting them make their own decisions.

Is this request, from our Association, an attempt to manipulate the market? Is it less than truthful? Should we be telling folks “Now is a great time to buy real estate” when in fact, values are still declining? What if I told someone this and they bought based on, “Now is a great time to buy real estate” only to find out three years later, when they need to sell, that their property’s value has declined?

Am I over thinking this? Should I just jump on the bandwagon and start running optimistic ads just so I can “put more money in my pocket”?

Why do I feel uncomfortable about this? What am I missing? Please help me out here.

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

A Very Brief History of Poinciana Fl.

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

htp://www.poincianaproperties.comHi folks. Since I’m always writing about Real Estate in Poinciana Fl I thought I best tell you a little a bit about Poinciana today.

Did you know Poinciana Fl is right smack dab in the center of Florida? It’s also the second fastest growing PUD(planned unit development) in the Country. Poinciana is 90 minutes to the East coast (Melbourne-Space Coast) and 90 minutes to the West coast (Clearwater-Tamp Bay).

If you haven’t heard of Poinciana before maybe it’s because it’s not a town or a city. In fact it’s actually a part of Kissimmee. Kissimmee is just a little south of Orlando and about 15 minutes to Disney World.

Poinciana has a population of approximately 67,000 people and encompasses two counties. The north side is in Osceola county and the south side is in Polk county.

Poinciana was plotted out as a master planned community in the 1960s. At that time the developer was a company called General Development(GDC) Corporation. You may have heard of them from the Florida land scams in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It is my understanding that sometime in the early ‘70s Poinciana was purchase by Gulf American Land Corporation(GAL) another company notorious for land scams.

In 1973 the first homes were built in Poinciana. At this time, Poinciana was a retirement destination and homes were built around the Poinciana Golf and Racquet Club. There was only a one lane road to get into Poinciana which was miles from anything. It was literally in the middle of the boonies.

Poinciana, over the next few years, grew to a small population of 2,000 to 3,000 people. There was the country club, a small farm store and miles and miles of roads. Not much happened in Poinciana until the mid ‘80s when GAL went bankrupt and out of this, Avatar Holdings, the current developer was born. The next 10 years or so Poinciana just sat with an occasional home being sold.

When I started selling in Poinciana back in 1994 there were still only about 8,000 people. So it took 20 years to reach 8,000 and only 14 more to reach 67,000!!! We have room for more than 200,000.

OK, I’m done boring you for now. If you want to read about the history of Florida real estate check out this white paper by J. Bruce Cummings Jr. from the Florida Appraisal Institute. It’s an excellent read from Indians to “filling in” Miami to land scams and more.

Also, check out my new listing in Poinciana(below). Where else can you find a 6 bedroom 3 bath home with a pool for less than $250,000!!! Want to buy it?

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

Short sales. It’s not only up to the Lender.

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

This is the third part of my series on short sales. As way of disclosure, I am NOT an expert on short sales, I am using this series as a way for me to think through the process and hopefully become better prepared to help some Sellers who may qualify for a short sale.

A short sale can be a very complicated transaction. Not only are we negotiating with the Lender but there is another entity who may be involved as well….the Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Company. Most Buyers, that did not put at least 20% down when they purchased their property, were required to purchase PMI for the benefit of the Lender.

PMI protects the Lender for loses usually up to 20% of the loan amount. So, they have a say so in whether or not a short sale is accepted.

I am in the process of negotiating a short sale right now where I am actually negotiating with the PMI Company instead of the Lender. This is a first for me but so far it seems to be going well. The lady I am dealing with has been very helpful and she is the one that is handling the negotiations with the Lender. Have you ever done this before?

I’m very anxious to see how this plays out. Brian Brady wrote a very good post about this a few months ago titled A Realtor’s guide to PMI and Short Sales”. Give it quick read.

Anyway, the point of this post is to make you aware of the fact that a short sale is a lot more complicated than just getting the Lender to agree to a price. The Lender is looking at the bottom line. If the short sale does not NET them more than a foreclosure then it ain’t happening.

When meeting with potential Sellers you need to find out if they have PMI. If they do, then do the math. Brian is better at that than I am so if you haven’t already….go read his post.

OK that’s it for today. These are my thoughts. What are yours?

Other posts in the series:

A “short sale” is an option NOT an entitlement!

Becoming a better “short sale” expert. A series by Broker Bryant.

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

Becoming a better "short sale" expert. A series by Broker Bryant

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

I’ve been spending a lot of time this week thinking about short sales. My market, Poinciana FL, is going to have a bunch of them this next year so I figure it’s time to brush up on my short sale skills to see what I can do to help some folks out.

The first thing I have decided is that I’m going to be very picky with who I work with. My last post touched on that a little. The percentage of getting short sales closed is very, very low. I hear 25% to 30%, if you’re lucky.

My goal is to up that number substantially. If I can’t close better than 1 in 4, well…..I have better things to do with my time. My target is to close 3 in 4.

So, with that in mind, I will be doing a series of posts sharing my thought process as I try to figure this out. Your suggestions are welcomed.

Here is a rough outline of my thoughts thus far:

  • The Seller has to have a legitimate hardship.
  • The Seller has to be motivated to work with me and the Lender in providing all the documentation we’ll need to get the job done.
  • The Seller will need to provide me with full financial information prior to me placing the property on the market i.e. 2 years tax returns, bank statements etc.
  • I will need a signed “authorization to release info” letter and a hardship letter at time of listing.
  • The Seller will need to sign a disclosure stating that I have suggested they seek legal advice and that they understand the negative ramifications of being granted a short sale.
  • And finally, I want to make sure the Seller did NOT purchase the property in a fraudulent manner.

Folks, this last one is very, very important and the one I want to expand upon today. Over the last few years there were many homes purchased using stated income, low doc loans. There were also many homes purchased as “second homes” that were in fact not second homes but properties bought to flip.

Sellers need to understand that even though they didn’t have to prove their income when purchasing the home they WILL have to prove it in order to apply for a short sale. If they lied on their initial loan application this can be opening up a big ole’ can of worms.

What is the Lender going to say when the Seller provides a tax return for when they bought the property and it doesn’t match up with what they “stated” on their application? Have you thought about that? Have you been counseling your potential Sellers about this? If not, you need to start. These folks do NOT qualify for a short sale and could very well be opening themselves up to a fraud investigation by applying for one. They don’t need a REALTOR® they need an Attorney.

My point is, a short sale is not for everyone. As REALTORS® we need to do our due diligence prior to taking on a short sale listing. If we can be smart in our approach, to working with short sales, we can surely do better than a 25%-30% closing percentage. I know I plan to.

OK, so that’s it for today. Did I give you any food thought? Do you have any suggestions for me? Let’s think this through together. I want to do this right so please help if you can.

First post in the series:

A “short sale” is an option, NOT an entitlement!

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

A "short sale" is an option NOT an entitlement!!

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

Call Broker Bryant today!!

“Short sale”. The new buzz word. We’ve all heard it:

  • I owe more than my house is worth and I WANT to move. I’ll just ask the lender for a short sale.”
  • “I don’t want to live here anymore and I need to do a short sale.”
  • “I want to take a new job up North but I just bought my house last year. I need to do a short sale.”
  • “I’m tired of making these payments and want something smaller. I need to do a short sale.”
  • “I quit making payments because my lender said once I was behind 60 days I could do a short sale.”
  • “I NEED………blah, blah, blah!!!!!”

Folks did you notice all of the “I” in these statements? What is wrong with people today? What happened to personal responsibilty?

As REALTORS® we need to start counseling people properly. The folks in these above scenarios DO NOT qualify for a short sale. They need to honor their obligations. As a group we need to quit saturating the market with “short sales” because folks feel they are entitled to one.

A “short sale” is for folks that are experiencing financial difficulties and who cannot afford to keep their house. It is NOT for someone who just feels like moving.

Now having said that, these folks may very well apply for a short sale and it may be granted BUT it is flat out wrong!!

The real estate market is experiencing enough difficulties without REALTORS® automatically playing the “short sale” card just to get a listing. You need to look these folks in the eye and say “Sorry, I can’t help you. Short sales are for folks facing legitimate financial difficulties. NOT for folks that just want to move.”

A “short sale” is great option for folks who are in dire straights. It is NOT an entitlement. Use it but don’t abuse it.

OK…..that’s all I have to say about that. For now. What say you?

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

Taking my Broker glasses off and looking at Poinciana FL.

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

Buy in Poinciana today!!! 

Folks, as you know, normally when I write about the market in Poinciana FL, I am always telling you guys how sales are down 60%, values are down 30% and basically how my market is in dire straights. Well today, I want to look at Poinciana from a different perspective.

Instead of looking at Poinciana through the eyes of a Real Estate Broker, I want to take a minute to look at Poinciana from the perspective of someone looking to move to Central FL.

Here are some stats that will help put Poinciana in a better perspective.

In January of 2006 there were 57,730 people that called Poinciana home. In November of 2007 there were 69,548. That’s an increase of roughly 12,000 or a tad over a 20% INCREASE in population in a 2 year period.

In January of 2006 there were 15,503 single family dwellings in Poinciana. In November of 2007 there were 18,683. Again, roughly a 20% INCREASE. That’s over 3,000 new construction homes in a 2 year period. An average of 130 per month.

During this same period there were approximately 1,900 resale homes sold. For an average of 82 per month.

Out of 18,683 homes in Poinciana only about 1,500 are currently on the market. That’s roughly 8%. Roughly 500 sold this year. That’s right at a 2.7% of total homes!!!

What all this means is, Poinciana is a vibrant, rapidly growing community. We have an average of 500 people a month moving into Poinciana. More than 92% of the folks that own a home in Poinciana are staying put.

Folks, if you are looking for affordable housing in a fast growing, self contained community then now may be a good time to check out Poinciana FL. Watch this little video show. Where else can you find a beautiful 1600 sq ft home on a Golf Course for less than $175,000!!

Come on down to Tutas Towne!!! I’ll be waiting for you.

http://buypoinciana.comPoinciana video tourssearch central florida homes

***Data was compiled from the Mid-Florida Regional MLS and the box score from the Poinciana Pioneer. Data includes Poinciana neighborhoods and Solivita.

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

Year End Market Report For Poinciana Fl

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


















































































DOWN 27%





DOWN 33%








Comments from Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc

OK folks, I broke this analysis down to month by month in order to give you a true picture of what is going on in Poinciana Fl. Yearly averages will not work in a declining market. As you can see, the market in Poinciana is in dire straights. Properties ARE selling but they have to be priced below recent sales and they have to be in very good condition.

There are currently 1,065 active listings (single family homes) in the Poinciana neighborhoods. This does not include Solivita, Lake Marion Golf Resorts, Cypress Woods, For Sale by Owner properties or properties listed with non-MLS members.

With an average of 35 sales per month we have a 30 month supply of inventory. What that means is, it would take 2.5 years to sell current inventory if no other properties were placed on the market. The absorption rate is right over 3%. That means 3% of the homes on the market are selling every month.

The MEDIAN sales price, in the chart above, means that half the properties sold for less and half sold for more than this amount. For example, in December there were 38 sales. 19 of these sold for less than $150,750.

Values are steadily declining and are down 27%-33% thus far, for an average decline of 30%. This means a house worth $200,000 in January is now worth approximately $140,000.

So where do we go from here? That’s a good question and I truly wish I had a crystal ball so I could give you a precise answer. But I don’t. But I can make an educated guess based on my 14 years experience with selling hundreds of properties in Poinciana Fl. So here goes.

Unfortunately, prices still need to come down about 10% to 15%. Once this happens inventory should start decreasing. Less inventory and lower prices will help us get back on track. I would be very surprised if this happens in 2008.

2008 is going to be a year of adjustment. Poinciana has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the State. It’s my opinion that foreclosures are on the rise and Poinciana, especially the Polk county side, specifically Village 7, is going to be hit very hard. These foreclosures will drag our values down even further.

The average and the median sales price was $130,000 in 2004. That’s where we are headed and that’s where the market will start to balance out.

OK, that’s it. I hope this helped give you some insight on the market in Poinciana Fl. Any questions?

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

Selling the cost instead of the service.

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

Hi folks. Today I want to write a little bit about ABMs(Alternative Business Models) or “Discounters” as they are commonly called, not by me but by themselves and many others. Personally, I think we need to drop the term “Discounter” since real estate commissions are ALWAYS negotiable. I prefer the term ABMs.

First, I want to mention that I have NO problem with ABMs. In fact, I think the consumer should have options when it comes to who to hire and how much to pay. I welcome ALL business models and have done many transactions with folks that choose to work for an ABM.

There are many ABMs that provide very good service just as there are many “traditional” offices that do not.

I am NOT a fan of the old cliché, “you get what you pay for”. I do not believe that to be true. It’s too much of a blanket statement and certainly does not apply in many cases.

BUT……here’s my problem. I know many ABMs that will argue with you that they provide just as much service as a “traditional” brokerage only at less cost to the consumer. I agree that in some instances this is a true statement.

However, if this statement is true, then why “pitch” the discount instead of the service provided?

Here are examples lifted directly from the web sites of two national franchises:

  • Created 30 years ago, the xxxxxxx model was the pioneer for providing an alternative to the dated 6% commission structure, something that had virtually gone uncontested for years in a market overrun by a monopoly of traditional brokerage firms. (bolding is mine)
  • We discovered that by CHARGING LESS, more sellers choose our company. This gives us the opportunity to offer more homes for sale, which of course helps to attract more buyers. We can afford to make less per sale since we sell so many more homes. In other words, VOLUME! Everyone benefits at xxxxxxxx. (bolding is theirs)

In the first ad they are basically selling their business by “cutting down” traditional brokerages. In fact, they are calling traditional brokerages a monopoly and out dated. Why? Is their service not good enough to stand alone?

The second ad is doing nothing more than selling the “discount”. An astute consumer would also see that they are taking listings in “volume” in order to use them as “bait” for Buyers. Why advertise that way?

My question is, why not advertise the service provided and what you bring to the transaction and then use the “discount” as the icing on the cake?

Maybe I’m missing something here but these ads sound very negative to me. They are attempting to sell the cost before they have sold the service. In my World, that won’t work. So what am I missing?

Copyright © 2007 Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings | 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.