Archive for January, 2010

St. Augustine Homes for Sale: Announcing EPIC Listings for Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (

St. Augustine Team Realty is proud to announce that it has designated certain listings EPIC Listings for Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  When St. Augustine Team Realty sells an EPIC Listing it will donate a portion of its gross commission to EPIC Community Services and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of St. Johns County. 

EPIC is a local non-profit orginization offering professional counseling and mentoring programs with a primary focus on the prevention and treatment of substance abuse disorders.  EPIC was started in 1971 and administers Big Brothers/Big Sisters along with many other mentoring and counseling programs.  EPIC stands for Education Prevention Intervention and Counseling.  

You can check out all the great EPIC Listings by clicking here.  If you’d like to find out more about EPIC itself, visit the EPIC webpage.

If you’d like to have your property listed as an EPIC Listing, please contact Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327 or at

Why EPIC and Big Brothers/Big Sisters?  I volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of St. Johns County, and that I’ve been a member of the Board since 2005.  The relationship I have with my “little” has been incredibly rewarding, sometimes incredibly frustrating, but always worthwhile and its absolutely provided growth for both of us.

Please help us sell these listings so we can generate more $$$ for an already worthy program!

St. Augustine Homes for Sale: 3 Bullsh*t Upgrades.

Monday, January 25th, 2010

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (

On my personal website this morning I did a post on 5 must-have upgrades for newer homes…some I agree with, some are complete bullsh*t.  Hope you enjoy it!

St. Augustine Homes for Sale: Two New Listings on Ardmore and Mackenzie at the Meadows.

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (

We have two great new listings to brag about in The Meadows of St. Augustine (part of World Golf Village):

864 Mackenzie Circle is a three-bedroom, two-bath home with an extra den/office.  The garage is even heated and cooled!  This was one of the original model homes in the Meadows and is a great deal at just $164,000.

1114 Ardmore Street is three-bedroom, two-bath home with a fireplace and sits on a lot back to a nature preserve. This is a wonderful property and is great deal at just $159,000! 

These listing is so new we don’t even have photos or virtual tours on the website yet!

Homes for Sale in St. Augustine: A New Real Estate Designation…the WRE

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (

You have sometimes seen Realtors with a list of alphabet soup behind their name (CRS, GRI, etc.).  Well, we got a new real estate designation, the WRE.

WRE stands for Worst Real estate agent Ever

I earned my WRE designation back in 2004 during the land boom.  I had multiple offers come in on the same property on the same day, one was financed and the other was cash.  The cash deal was for significantly less.  I allowed a Reator I knew to basically lobby me into convincing the seller to take the financed deal.  Hell, I was convinced myself.

So what happened?  The seller accepted the financed offer.  The buyer walked away the very next day.  The cash buyer was p*ssed and bought something else.  That deal still haunts me six years later. 

What did it teach me?  Always, always, ALWAYS take cash.  And to my knowledge, I haven’t earned the WRE designation since.

Here are some more WRE recipients I’ve dealt with:

Back in the Flagler Estates land boom of 2005 prices went from $5,000/$8,000 a lot to over $30,000 lot in about eight weeks.  For some reason I had about 20% of the available listings at the time and I was cleaning up.  An agent from one of the Century-21s in Flagler Beach brought an offer in from his mother for one of my lots, which my seller accepted…somewhere around $20,000 if I recall.  Well, at some point during the transaction the buyer wanted to move the closing date back…both the seller and the buyer have to agree to move a closing date back in writing for it to happen.*  But the agent didn’t request anything in writing, he just said he was going to call the title company to do it.  I said, one, my seller hadn’t agreed to it, and two, the title company didn’t have any authority to move the date.

So the original closing date came and went and the buyer didn’t show.  So I called my seller…remember this was a rising market…and said we didn’t close on the property but I think I can sell it for more.  I made one phone call and sold it for $9,000 more.  As soon as the ink was dry on the new deal I called the C-21 agent to let him know he no longer had a lot for his mother.  He was incensed and no amount of explaining of simple contract protocol would suffice.

The next day I faxed the official cancellation in writing.  He’d already disappeared from his office, whereabouts unknown.  Here’s your WRE, dude.

Back during the same period I was selling a house in the Mandarin section of Jacksonville.  An agent brought me an offer which my sellers accepted.  What I didn’t know is that, at some point during the process, this agent’s buyer found a home he liked better so he was looking for a way to break the deal. 

Usually if the sale of a home comes undone it will do so at the time of inspection…and that’s okay, because if a buyer isn’t 100% willing to buy it’s better to say our goodbyes and get the home back on the market fast before we lose too much marketing time.  Still, we were somehow far enough along in the process that the appraisal had already been done. 

Well, when the agent decided she was going to break the deal on behalf of the buyer, she told us that the seller was going to pay for the appraisal (about $300).  Apparently she told her buyer that he wouldn’t be responsible for the cost of the appraisal if the deal didn’t go through.  So she forged a copy of the contract so that it looked as if the seller were responsible for the cost of the appraisal.

Maybe she didn’t keep great records.  Maybe she only ever kept the most recent copy of any contract.  But I keep every version of a contract, from begining to end.  And  I explained to her that by looking at the different versions that this pretty much looked like fraud to me.  I assume she paid for the appraisal.  Here’s your WRE, lady.

*When a closing date is moved back, the Emily Post way to handle things is to decide on a new date, and then get the seller and the buyer to sign off on it in writing.  Occassionally, however, a transaction will go “wild,” that is, go past its closing date without signatures.  This usually happens when the bank/lender doesn’t send the loan package in time for closing.  In some cases, the two parties will sign off on a new closing date, especially if it looks like the delay might be more than a week.  In most cases, however, the delay is only a day or over a weekend, the buyer still wants to buy and the seller still wants to sell, and everybody just comes back the next day and does the closing.  The Realtors involved can strongly suggest that a new date is signed off on (to protect both parties), but have no power to compel either party to do so.

Homes for Sale in St. Augustine: Buyers Can Make a Low Offer!

Monday, January 18th, 2010

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (

I just did a post on my personl site about Buyers Taking Destiny into Their Own Hands and Making a Low Offer.  I hope you enjoy it!

Condos for Sale in St. Augustine: Price Reductions @ Condqistador, Spyglass & Anastasia Island Townhomes, + New @ Atlantic East

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (

The View from Atlantic East 201

The View from Atlantic East 201

We have three great price reductions this week on condos + a new unit at Atlantic East:

Spyglass 14, 8200 A1A South, is a tr-level, Ocean View condo with an attached tw0-car garage.  Garages are pretty rare for beach condos and it presents a real opportunity for someone.  The unit boasts an elegant spiral staircase, upper and lower entries, balcony, and is just steps from the pool and beach!

43 Veronese Court at Conquistador Condos is a light-and-bright ground floor, single-story flat located directly on the Intracoastal waterway.  The views here are not to be believed…you can watch the boats sail by while sitting on your patio or even while making dinner in the kitchen.  With a price at just $119,900 it won’t last long! 

825 Anastasia C-16 at Anastasia Island Townhomes sits in the shadow of the St. Augustine Lighthouse, just minutes from the beach, Historic District, shopping and restaurants.  The views here are amazing as well…I was doing my rounds before dawn the other morning and a crescent moon was rising over the lighthouse…you can’t get that anywhere else.  This 3-bedroom unit includes a deep, one-car attached garage.

Atlantic East #201, 6170 A1A South is the rarest of the rare in St. Augustine condos: a 3-bedroom, single-story flat, direct Ocean Front, served by an elevator.  You will never have to climb stairs here, but you would…it’s that nice.  The unit includes a kitchen with granite counters, stainless appliances, wine chiller and wet bar, large and open living areas, and expansive views of the ocean.  This unit is upscale and posh, with a price to justify the elegance at $565,000.

Condos for Sale in St. Augustine: Help May be on the Way

Monday, January 11th, 2010

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (

The credit market on condos is nearly at a standstill, but I just did a post on my personal website that help may be on the way from Fannie Mae.  I hope you enjoy it!

St. Augustine Homes for Sale: New Special Deals Section

Friday, January 8th, 2010

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (

Special deals, money-saving coupons, listing specials for sellers, free home warranties, etc., do they really exist in Real Estate?  Yes they do!  We have a new section at the website devoted just to those things

Will we have specials running all the time?  No.  So bookmark the page and check back often!

St. Augustine’s Oakbrook Subdivision: Two Great Homes for Sale

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (

We currently have two great homes in Oakbrook right now: 808 White Eagle Circle and 3449 Kings Road South.

If you don’t know anything about Oakbrook, here’s the skinny.  All lots in Oakbrook are at least a half-acre.  That means you aren’t on top of your neighbor, and your neighbor isn’t on top of you.  Oakbrook has a homeowners association and the homes tend to be upscale, which means it’s a nice looking community that stays nice looking.  As a bonus the community includes a clubhouse, an unheated pool, tennis, basketball courts, baseball diamond, and playground (the playground has practically two acres to itself), all included in the $60 a month HOA fee. That’s right, just $60 a month…you won’t find a better deal anywhere!

808 White Eagle Circle, St. Augustine

808 White Eagle Circle, St. Augustine

Full of character, charm and elegance, 808 White Eagle Circle is an easy home to to fall in love with!

One of Oakbrook’s original three model homes, this property boasts an open floor plan that will still suit traditional tastes, all on a half-acre lot. A large kitchen flows into a breakfast nook overlooking a spacious backyard. The master includes marble flooring and a walk-in closet, stand up shower and garden bath. The home has vaulted ceilings throughout, as well as a fireplace and screened patio.

808 White Eagle Circle encompasses 1,782 square feet with a two-car side entry garage. This home is priced at just $219,990!

3449 Kings Road South (pictured below) boasts 1,716 square feet and concrete block contsruction. 

It’s a very nice 3 bedroom, 2 bath, with lots and lots of room for big furniture all on a half acre lot. Nestled amongst mature trees and tucked away from the road, this property offers large tile, upgraded appliances (incl washer and dryer) and an eat-in kitchen. The large screened porch helps to make the most of the Florida weather & lifestyle. There’s an irrigation system and plenty of room for a pool outside. Low association fees and good community ameneties (pool, tennis, clubhouse) make Oakbrook a popular neighborhood. No CDD fees.

3449 Kings Rd South, St. Augustine, Florida

3449 Kings Rd South, St. Augustine, Florida

3449 Kings Road south is priced at just $239,000.

Click on either image for more information, virtual tours and larger photos of each home.

St. Augustine Homes for Sale: The Strange Places I’ve Done Real Estate Deals

Monday, January 4th, 2010

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (

Being a real estate broker means you have a pretty felxible schedule.  It also means never taking a true vacation. I just did a post on my personal site on The Strangest Places I’ve Done a Real Estate Deal.  I hope you enjoy it!