When a Stuart FL Home goes Searching for its Identity: Comparables

When a Stuart FL Home goes Searching for its Identity: Comparables


There are two kinds of situations that homeowners looking at Stuart FL comparables run into:

  1. THE SIMPLE COMPS: Your Stuart FL home is part of an area that’s more uniform than not, in a neighborhood where there are a sufficient number of similar houses to have produced several sales recently. Your street may not be part of a literal development with models that have near-duplicate floor plans—but the area is, in general, homogenous. When it comes to selling your Stuart FL home, you’re in luck!
  2. THE NOT-SO-SIMPLE COMPS: AKA, the incomparable situation. Your Martin County home is one of a kind, almost totally unlike any other in the neighborhood (two bedrooms, six-and-a-half baths) or unlike any other in any neighborhood (who else has a swimming pool built into the attic?). All right, maybe your house isn’t quite that weirdly incomparable, but it’s still the case that no similar home has sold within a 5-mile radius within the last year or two. When it comes to selling your Stuart FL home, you may still be in luck—but not because of ‘the comps’!

When your property falls into the first category, one whole part of your selling situation becomes a piece of cake because of the comparables. Stuart FL comparables from previous sales make the ultimate, convincing case that your home has at least $X value, because the market says so. In writing. Real people have plunked down their hard-earned dollars as proof. Even better, real banks have backed them up with their also very real dollars. It’s all verifiable in the public records.

When your property falls into the second category, in terms of the comparables for Stuart FL, it really doesn’t matter if you have the most attractive house or the best bells and whistles and bathroom renovations that will take a buyer’s breath away. If no other home within a reasonable distance has sold with a reasonable period (say, six months) that are close to the same size as yours, or if none has anything like similar features, you and your Realtor® are going to be pretty much on your own even settling on a listing price. Here’s a few lesser known reasons why paying attention to comparables is important when selling your home.

  • Unique amenities won’t always guarantee a higher comparable value. If the amenities are unusual for Martin County, it might make it that much more difficult to find enough comparables in your area to come up with a listing price.
  • School districts factor heavily into value. You might have grumbled about paying school taxes if you aren’t sending your own children off to school, but the quality of the school district has a large influence on comparables.
  • Scarcity of housing inventory in your neighborhood can be either an advantage or disadvantage. It’s a plus if the housing inventory is low due to high demand (there will be enough recent sales information to set an accurate listing price). It’s a negative if scarcity occurs because no one is buying nearby homes—and appraisers will find it more difficult to place a value on the property.

It’s my job to get your home the best offers in the shortest amount of time for either category of Martin County comparables. Give me a call—regardless of which one yours falls into, we’ll discuss how we can produce results that are truly incomparable!

When a Stuart FL Home goes Searching for its Identity: Comparables

Spacious Coral Point Pool Home Open House

Spacious Coral Point Pool Home Open House

OPEN HOUSE, May 19, Tuesday 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
3450 SE Kubin Ave, Stuart, FL
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$ Click for current price
3 BATHROOMS (3 full)
3231 Square Feet
Enjoy this gorgeous and spacious 3 (possibly 4) bedroom home in the Coral Point community of Rocky Point in Stuart, FL.  Live large in this open floor plan home that has two large master bedroom suites and an office/den. Enjoy the Florida weather in your own private pool and lanai off the great room and kitchen. And, the kitchen, right from the food Channel, with a center island cooktop and copper hooded draft, granite countertops, convection oven, wine rack, recessed lighting and more.  The living area features abundant room for entertaining along with a wet bar. The upstairs master bedroom suite and office both feature large screened balconies. The large lot is located next to common areas and greatly increases the privacy and green space surrounding the home.  As a bonus, there’s a day dock and fishing pier available just a few steps away.
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Stuart FL Foreclosure Hunters Continue to Draw National Competitors

 Stuart FL Foreclosure Hunters Continue to Draw National Competitors

stuart fl foreclosures

You would think the outside competition for Stuart FL foreclosure bargains might have up and disappeared by now…but no! As The Wall Street Journal described it the other week, the shrinking number of foreclosure opportunities hasn’t driven Wall Street’s professional investors completely out of the market. But new techniques are altering their approach.

Local Stuart FL foreclosure investors have had to worry about a previous incursion by big national private equity investment firms. In the aftermath of the real estate bust, sales of distressed properties assumed an ever-larger proportion of real estate activity. National firms seized on the growing supply of cheap foreclosed homes as a ‘sure-thing’ trade for investment firms backed by money from private equity companies who wanted ‘in’ on real estate.

Wall Street knew full well that depressed real estate prices were a temporary phenomenon. They would swoop down, buy foreclosures en masse, rent them out, and wait for the bounce-back. Your Stuart FL foreclosure investors suddenly had to worry about bargain-hunting by the national firms, instead of just the usual local competitors. It took agility and cash to compete with some very deep pockets. Even where they weren’t active, their impact was felt.

But by last summer, the New York Times was headlining “Investors Who Bought Foreclosed Homes in Bulk Look to Sell.” Where, at the height of the foreclosure onslaught, a full 50% of home purchases was made up of foreclosures and short sales, by this February, the percentage had retreated to barely 11%. Companies like Waypoint Real Estate Group began quietly shopping for buyers as they took their profits and tiptoed away…

So could Stuart FL foreclosure investors breathe a sigh of relief, knowing the big boys had carted off their wheel barrows full of cash? You’d think so, but not so fast! The WSJ article describes a new phenomenon from outside. “Racing to Buy Homes Sight Unseen” was the headline. Enter the speed-based investors!

Just as trading firms had developed systems that made equity trading a competition between banks of computers trip-wired to trade at the speed of light, a milder phenomenon is emerging in foreclosure investing. According to the Journal, one example is the investment trust executive who no longer goes to public auctions to find buys. It described a recent morning in which it took him seven minutes to bid on a Georgia home “he had never seen.” He uses a quantitative data analysis program as a way to accelerate searches for the “dwindling supply of available homes that can be transformed into rental properties.” In other words, some of the big buyers are finding ways to stay in the market.

But Stuart FL foreclosure investors don’t really need to throw up their hands. Although the data analysis programs are getting better, local knowledge and on-site evaluations should continue to give sharp Stuart FL investors the kind of fine edge that national data maps and renovation cost generalizations can never quite match. It’s like the difference between a perfectly-engineered robotic customer service system…and a knowledgeable human: no contest.

Stuart FL foreclosures may be less omnipresent, but without question they continue to represent great investment potential—and not just for the national investment firms. If you’ve ever thought you would like to hear more about today’s opportunities, call me for an on-the-ground analysis!

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Will Stuart FL Real Estate Reflect Trend to Downsizer Nation?

Will Stuart FL Real Estate Reflect Trend to Downsizer Nation?

You would think that smaller homes would be skyrocketing in popularity right about now. Statistics show that the average number of people in American households is shrinking. Practicality would seem to dictate that a trend toward downsizing should be underway, with significant implications for Florida real estate.


It’s no exaggeration to say that for as long as many Americans can remember, bigger has always been better. In terms of sheer floor space, the average American home increased from 1,900 square feet in 1993 to 2,400 two decades later. The reasons may have been both practical and psychological: for those who grew up in cramped quarters, space was the missing element—so elbow room and privacy became the essence of a desirable home. This was evident in our recent Stuart FL real estate ads, where spaciousness was emphasized wherever possible, from the photographs to listing copy.

In fact, it seems that the baby boomer generation hasn’t given up their fondness for abundant living space—at least not in droves. At least not yet.

A recent AARP real estate survey found that 84% of the boomers expressed unflinching preference for continuing to live in their current digs for as long as possible. That might make sense, at least according to the arithmetic you can deduce from a 2013 Census survey. It found that a large-scale move toward downsizing doesn’t usually begin in earnest until the Head of Household reaches age 75. The most senior members of the boomer generation were born after 1945—so that won’t happen for a while.

Still, there are stirrings to suggest that some have started to rethink ‘Bigger is Better.’ Instead of defining themselves by real estate square footage, they’re beginning to prospect for smaller solutions. It’s entirely possible that Downsizer Nation might be just around the corner!

The logic is certainly there. Many downsizers do so in answer to what emerges as a more or less unavoidable lifestyle decision. Empty-nesters no longer have children at home, and begin to find themselves cleaning, fixing, heating and cooling substantially empty space. Some may hanker to start some serious globe-trotting—meaning they’ll spend less time at home (ergo, even emptier space). Still others find their lives are more outdoor-focused than before.

The reality of the time, energy, and money that goes into maintaining a 5-bedroom home with multiple levels can begin to trump its “EREF” (Elbow Room Enjoyment Factor). There’s the cleaning, keeping interiors and furniture fresh, maintaining windows, furnaces, fans. Then there are the outdoor areas to consider. Mowing, raking, shoveling…for some, the enjoyment of that part of the outdoors can gradually generate more tedium than enjoyment. It can push some residents into new appreciation for a Stuart FL real estate solution that simply requires less to do.

Whether your family is expanding—or beginning to seriously contemplate the reverse—I hope you will give me a call. I’ll be able to show you many appealing properties from the current crop of Stuart FL real estate offerings!

Will Stuart FL Real Estate Reflect Trend to Downsizer Nation?

Balance Stuart Rental Income with Solid Budgeting

 Balance Stuart Rental Income with Solid Budgeting

 rental property

Owning a Stuart rental property owes its popularity to the distinctive financial attributes it offers investors. Like a dividend-producing stock, it’s a holding that stands to produce a regular income stream. It’s also a real asset in the truest sense of the word—one with solid collateral value. For adroit Stuart rental property investors, it’s also an asset that can build value over time.

When it comes to quantifying a Stuart rental property’s income-producing potential, after an investor has estimated the projected rental stream, there follows a less sunny exercise: expenses need to be taken into account. If a Stuart professional management service is going to be part of the equation, they will supply reliable budget parameters. If you will be managing the property yourself, doing a thorough job of nailing down this—the management budget—is as crucial to coming up an accurate bottom line as was projecting income.

Unless you are prepared to be at the beck and call of your renters 24/7, it’s a good idea to budget funds for a skilled general maintenance person. The ideal candidate can deal with a myriad of issues, from electricity outages to clogged garbage disposals. If the Stuart rental property is an apartment building or set of condos, it’s often a good idea for the maintenance pro to be kept on retainer. For single-property rentals, this handyman (or gal) can usually be hired on a job-by-job basis.

Specifics for every Stuart property differ, but it’s generally considered prudent to reserve between 10%-15% of gross rental income for maintenance and repairs. This part of your budget includes remuneration for your maintenance person. Getting a rental home back to status quo isn’t always easy—especially because it’s in both the landlord’s and renters’ interest to place a premium on speedy rehabilitation. That’s not cheap!

There are also two words that belong in any rental property management budget: property insurance. The right formula may include a sizeable deductible number (you’ve already budgeted an ample reserve for lesser emergencies), but it’s also vital to take into account the possibility of any large and unexpected emergencies that you or your maintenance person can’t handle alone. It may be common business wisdom, but over large parts of the country, this past harsh winter once again demonstrated the wisdom of the practice. Tenants are encouraged to insure their own property, both inside and outside the rental property, but the landlord’s policy should cover repairs to the entire structure, any small sheds on the property, landscaping damage, and the like.

This is the traditional time of year when many of the most promising investment properties go on the market. If you are looking to the future—a future that includes owning a lucrative Stuart rental property—now is the time to start looking…and to give me a call!