Archive for February, 2010

St. Augustine Homes for Sale: The End of the Buyer’s Market is Nigh

Friday, February 26th, 2010

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

A few months back I wrote a post saying the Moon May be Finally Setting on the Buyer’s Market. I believe that more now than ever.


Aside from an inventory in residential single-family homes that is steadily decreasing, it’s amatuerland out there in Buyersville and it feels soooooo normal market.

The last few years Buyers have been steely-eyed gunfighters.  They make an offer, it’s either accepted or rejected, or countered, and whether the deal goes or doesn’t go is based on rational things like price and terms.

But now the chechakos are into the mix, the same as at the height of the boom market when a buyer once made a decision to skip signing a document in order to play bingo, and lost a house because of it. 

Is it rational to reject a house because it has strawberry colored curtains in the breakfast nook?  No…you can change the curtains!  Is it rational to reject a home because you have to pay the first year’s insurance on it at closing?  No…you have to do that for every home!  Is it rational to make an offer on a home on the beach, and then cancel it because you have to buy flood insurance?  No…that big, blue body of water out the front door might be an early indication that you will need flood insurance! 

So the amatuers are out there, bless their hearts, and it feels normal again. 

So, to recap:

  • If you don’t like the color of the walls or curtains, you can paint or buy  new curtains.
  • If you finance a home you will generally pay one full year’s worth of insurance upfront, and then an additional three months to fund the insurance escrow account.
  • If you don’t want to buy flood insurance, don’t look at beach properties.  True, there are some out there that don’t require it, but the vast majority do require it.  Find out before you look.

The next question is how soon will it be before the Sellers start going to crazyland?  We will know for sure when Seller From New York Threatens to Kill $250,000 Sale Over $1,325 Title Insurance Charge.  It has happened.  It will happen again.

St. Augustine Homes for Sale: Avoid the Contractor Rip Off

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

by Sean Hess (, broker and manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (

I just did a post on my personal site about how to avoid getting ripped off when you employ a contractor.  I hope you enjoy it!

Condos for Sale in St. Augustine: You Want a View? We Got Your View Right Here!

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

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

Sitting here watching Olympic curling from Vancouver, it occurred to me that there might be a few people from the colder climates who might love a beachside condo in a warm climate, or one with a view of our historic lighthouse, or one where they can watch the boats sail by on the intracoastal.  We’ve got some pretty amazing properties here…BTW, they are all what we call “EPIC Listings,” in that a sale of one of these will also benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters of sunny and warm St. Augustine. 

You can view all these condos right now on our EPIC Listings Page at

St. Augustine Ocean Front Condos

Atlantic East #201 (6170 A1A South). $565,000. Direct Oceanfront and posh, posh, posh! This romantic and elegant 3-bedroom corner flat boasts fireplace, wetbar, tiled balcony/patio, and breathtaking views of the ocean. Large, open living area with wood floors, carpeted dining area, and gourmet kitchen with granite counters and stainless appliances. This building is serviced by an elevator so no worries about climbing stairs. The community includes pool, private beach access.

The Beach at Sea Place in St. Augustine

The Beach at Sea Place in St. Augustine

Sea Place #11206 (1733 Sea Fair).

$409,500. With over $22,000 in rental bookings over a calendar year, this rarely available DIRECT OCEANFRONT townhome at Sea Place is a money maker! Watch the sunrise with breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean from two balconies. The beach is just steps away via a private walkover. Sea Place includes 2 pools, tennis, racquetball, and a clubhouse. Sold fully furnished, this unit includes everything you need to move in or to rent, including all appliances.


St. Augustine Ocean View Condos

Summerhouse Unit 320 (8550 A1A South). $349,900. The ocean views from every room of this townhome will leave your friends and family impressed! Relax on the balcony or just enjoy the spacious living areas, tastefully decorated and fully furnished inside with bonus views of the Intracoastal from the kitchen. Outside enjoy the 25 acre grounds with easy beach access, plenty of green space for kids to run, and four heated pools.

Spyglass Unit 14 + GARAGE (8200 A1A South). $299,000. If a beach, salt water and peace is what you crave then you’ve come to the right place. This wonderful condo at the ocean includes ocean and Intracoastal views, a spacious living area, comfortable bedrooms, and the soothing sounds of the surf just steps away. This tri-level condo will be your getaway in St. Augustine for years to come. This home even includes a 2-car tandem garage for parking and/or storage. Even the pool is just steps away…who could ask for more!

Ocean Villas Unit 12 (850 A1A Beach Blvd). $289,017. Enjoy spectacular ocean views in this immaculate townhouse condo! The two ocean view balconies are the true highlights for owners and guests. The dining area is ready for casual or more formal dining. Generous seating space is provided in the living area for you to relax. The open floor plan includes a spacious master bedroom with his and her closets. Beach access is provided via a private walkover or just relax by the pool. Sold fully furnished with all appliances so you can move right in!

Sea Place Unit 14254 (1733 Sea Fair). $289,000. The beach and pool are just steps away, but you’ll step away without paying a hefty ocean front price! Sea Place includes a private and gated beach walkover, tennis, racquetball, a clubhouse and two pools. This unit is sold fully furnished, and includes everything you need to move in or to rent, including all appliances. Good ocean views from two patio/balconies, especially at the top level. Everything is in top notch shape so move right in!

St. Augustine Ocean Front Community

95 Village Del Lago (Ocean Gallery). $249,900. This 2-bedroom/2-bath condo is sold fully furnished and could be a great rental investment in popular Ocean Gallery. Situated close by the village pool (indoor/outdoor heated pool with spa), this condo is a corner unit in great condition with a screened porch overlooking the popular Del Lago lagoon. Great amenities in this condo complex included heated indoor and outdoor pool, hot tub, exercise room, clubhouse, tennis, racquetball, playground, and private beach access. Ocean Gallery is a gated community with 24hr. security.

St. Augustine Lighthouse View Condos

 Anastasia Townhomes Unit C-16 + GARAGE (825 Anastasia Blvd). $129,900. Not a short sale! Not a rehab! No work to do at all just move right in! And what a location…just minutes to the beaches and with a view of the historic St. Augustine Lighthouse! At $71 a square foot compare it to ANYTHING else. This 3 bedroom townhome is in great condition, & includes a one-car garage, computer area, and all appliances. There is a screened porch and upstairs balcony.

St. Augustine Intracoastal (ICW) Front Condos

A sailboat moored at Conquistador Condos in St. Augustine, Florida.

A sailboat moored at Conquistador Condos in St. Augustine, Florida.

43 Veronese Court (Conquistador Condos).

$119,900. Intracoastal front condo…an amazing view…watch the boats sail by! In wonderful condition with all appliances. Community pier on the Intracoastal Waterway. Clubhouse and playground is a short distance away. Heated pool & tennis on grounds. First floor convenience. Majestic oak trees. Enjoy the serene and peaceful view. Ready for IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY!

St. Augustine ICW Front Community

38 Tarragona Court (Conquistador Condos). $79,990. Easy living! This comfortable 2nd floor corner unit is in wonderful condition with all appliances (the refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove are new and have never been used). The living areas and kitchen are completely tiled, with new carpet in both bedrooms. There is a community pier on the Intracoastal Waterway, a clubhouse and a playground just a short distance away. Heated pool & tennis on grounds. This unit is move-in ready for immediate occupancy.

Last of all, don’t forget St. Augustine Team Realty is offering its full-service listing package to First Responders/Law Enforcement/Emergency Room Staff/Lifeguards/Fire/EMT’s, etc., right now for just 4.5% (a savings of $3000 on the average sale).  But you have to list with us by or before February 28th.  Having spent some time in the ER this week with a wayward 3-year old, I can’t say it enough…thanks for all you do, we love you!

St. Augustine Homes for Sale: Don’t You Dare Let that Rookie Agent Call You “Client.”

Monday, February 15th, 2010

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

First of all, don’t forget St. Augustine Team Realty is offering its full-service listing package to First Responders/Law Enforcement/EMT’s, etc., right now for just 4.5% (a savings of $3000 on the average sale).  But you have to list with us by or before February 28th.  Thanks for all you do, First Responders, we love you!

I just did a post for my personal website on what to do when your Rookie Real Estate Agent calls you “Client.” SLAP…wait, don’t slap him, just give him the what-for.  Read the post to see why, and I hope you enjoy it!

St. Augustine Homes for Sale: A Valentine Listing Special for our First Responders, We Love You!

Friday, February 12th, 2010

from the Staff of St. Augustine Team Realty (

A Valentine for our First Responders!

To our First Responders, Police, Fire, Paramedics, Emergency Room Nurses and Physicians, EMTs, and Ambulance Drivers:

When human beings get tired, get angry, or just get plain exuberant, you’re there to pick us up, patch us up, and yes, even rough us up (a little).  Well, in appreciation of that this Valentines Day St. Augustine Team Realty is offering its full-service listing package to you for just 4.5%, a savings of $3000 on the average sale!  But you have to list with us by or before February 28th.  Thanks for all you do, we love you!

Is anyone else eliglble? Yes: Fish and Wildlife Officers, Corrections Officers, Border Patrol, Military Police or SAR in the U.S. Armed Forces and Coast Guard, National Park Rangers, and our beloved local Lifeguards, in short, anyone who puts themselves in harm’s way for the public.

Who is not eliglble: people who play the above on television.  Except for Ponch and John from “ChiPs” (we always loved Ponch and John).  And maybe Pamela Anderson from “Baywatch,“ she can rescue us over and over again.

To find out more you can call St. Augustine Team’s Sean at (904) 386-8327, Ron at (904) 501-2424, Kate at (904) 377-2276, or Suzie at (904) 521-2603.

Note, short sales not eligible for this rate…call us to find out why (hint: it has to do with the banks that hold the loans on a short sale).

St. Augustine Homes for Sale: Spamtastic New Advertising

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

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

Having a blog and doing so much of our communication via e-mail, we are constantly battling spam.  Spam about cheap credit fixes, bulk REO investing, overseas prescription drugs…the list goes on an on.

Then I thought, “Wait, a minute, I’m going about this all wrong.”  These spammers, they’re successful aren’t they?  Maybe our advertising could use some tweaks spam-style.

Here’s some of our current ad copy for our three sales plans:

With three sales plans, flexible pricing, and multiple marketing options we have something to fit every seller’s needs.  Our plans start at 4.0% (1.5%/2.5% split), a savings of $4000 off of the average local home sale.  All three of our plans include full support from contract to closing, including helping you negotiate the offer, arranging financing, and monitoring surveys, inspections and title work. Best of all, all of our listings are backed by the Easy Exit Guarantee, which means there is no cost to cancel the listing at any time prior to offer. We also offer special, reduced rates for widows or widowers, and for orphans who are age 25 or under. Please contact us to find out more.”


Now, here’s the some new copy I came up with, with a nod to my spammer friends:

“As St. Augustine housing experts, we from been using interweb for a sustained fix conditions and know how to harness the enormous power of interweb and go off it into a Cash machine.

“We also provide the cheapest commission prices on the market. Numberless competitors see fit order 2x or temperate 3x and a lot of the opportunity 5x what we charge you.

“But we believe in providing gigantic service at a low affordable rate.

“The whole something of purchasing St. Augustine housing is because it is a cheaper variant to buying housing. So we aim to support that contemplating in mind and outfit you with the cheapest housing rate possible.

“Not just do we cause the greatest prices but our turnaround occasion for your closing is super fast. We intention take your closing done ahead of you know it.”

I beta tested this on my personal website last week and the response was overwhelming:

Xex, a spammer from Malaysia wrote:

“I admit, I have not been on this website in a long time… but it was another enjoy to see It is such great topic and avoided by so many, even professionals. I thank you to advice making people more informed of possible problems.”

(This got us a listing as well, but instead of taking the usual real estate commission, Xex wanted to pay us will stolen credit card numbers and generic viagara. Instead we insisted on payment in regular currency, and he agreed to pay us 5000 malaysian ringets, which must be worth a lot.  These spammers have an economy all thier own…you have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool us!) gushed:

“This is a serious blog and I like reading it every morning recriminate you
suitable sharing it!  Show one’s gratitude you as a service to the wonderful information.”

And Sergie, a payday loan spammer from Moscow said:

“I enjoyed the article and thanks recompense posting such valuable inside story after all of us to rack up, I drop up it both advantageous and educational and I method to stockpile from it as again as I can.”

As you can see, a little outside the box spam thinking can do wonders in real estate.


St. Augustine Homes For Sale: $10,000 Reduction on Big Beach Home in Turtle Shores!

Monday, February 8th, 2010

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

I am up early this morning to write about a $10,000 price reduction on one of the most beautiful homes we have: 168 Turtle Bay Lane in Turtle Shores, now just $389,990.  If you don’t know anything about Turtle Shores, or this home in particular, you can read all the gushing I do about it in a post I did for my personal site even earlier this morning.  It’s a big house in a wonderful location, and close to the beach.

Image of beach taken from the Turtl Shores walkover.

Image of beach taken from the Turtle Shores walkover.

St. Augustine Land for Sale: St. Augustine Beach Property just Six Lots from the Beach!

Friday, February 5th, 2010

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

We have a GREAT new vacant land listing at St. Augustine Beach.  This lot at 12 2nd Street is 45 x100 and sits just six lots away from the beach.  Side setbacks are 10 feet on each side, which means you can go 25-feet wide and up to three stories up.  $154,900.  Call Kate at (904) 377-2276 for more details!

12 2nd Street, St. Augustine Beach

12 2nd Street, St. Augustine Beach

St. Augustine Homes for Sale: Strictly Speaking, the Need for Realtors

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

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

Every once in awhile I get down, but then I think, “You know, you’ll always have a job.”

Albeit one of the strangest jobs on earth.

Think about it, if you could just jump online and buy a house you wouldn’t need a Realtor.  Heck, you may actually be able to just jump online and just buy a house.

But that’s just when the fun starts.

I recently had a guy call me who wanted to list his house for sale.  He owed more than it was worth.  He was facing foreclosure in100 days. And he argued about the price, and the terms, and all sorts of stuff on a state-approved, fill-in-the-blanks, listing agreement.  So I got up and walked away. Literally walked away.  Maybe some other Realtor was able to talk the guy in from Crazyland.

This was an extreme example from over a listing contract, but it’s not unique situation in real estate.  It seems that in every real estate transaction, at least one of the parties involved visits Crazyland somewhere along the way.

People refuse to sign paperwork…and you can pull just about any reason out of the sky for why they refuse.  I once saw people lose a house because they chose going to bingo over signing some required paperwork.  But most of the time, a Realtor steps in an cajoles them into signing before all is lost.

Other times seller’s fail to disclose about a house.  I once had some sellers lie bald-face to buyers about termite damage in a house.  When it was discovered, guess who had to sooth the feelings of the offended party and keep the deal together?  Mr. Realtor.  And while this is another extreme example, this is what Realtors do all the time during transactions…because every time it comes down to repairs or inspections someone feels like they got slighted.

Is a pattern emerging here?  

If there is you can call it human nature.

People lie because they think telling the truth will cost them money in a home sale.  Usually it ends up costing them money and it always takes a Realtor to iron things out. 

The first thing people ask when they sign a purchase agreement for a home is, “how do I get my money back if…”  (the question is always open ended).  In other words, they’re already thinking of backing out before they’ve even made an offer.  It takes a Realtor to help them understand what they are doing, what the attendant consequences are if they fail (or the sellers fail) to carry through with their commitment, and to deliver that offer in the most adroit way to the other party.  And there’s always more paperwork after the first offer…

So even though I’m the business of selling a staple product (food and clothing being the other two), I owe my job to human nature. 

And it really helps me appreciate the sane people!

Tips for Kids Sake is Tuesday Night, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Biggest Yearly Fundraiser!

Monday, February 1st, 2010

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

Tips for Kids Sake is Big Brothers/Big Sisters of St. Johns County biggest fundraiser of the year.  This year 16 restaurants and over 150 celebrity waiters are participating.  It is being held tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 2nd) from 6-8pm.

Kate and I will be dining at Raintree Tuesday night in support of Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  If you can’t join us there click here for a complete list of restaurants and celebrity waiters.