This article addresses the general trends today in the real estate market with some attention to retirees trends of cashing out and moving to Florida for their retirement. I contacted Kay Kroll of Palm Beach County, Florida who has been in the real estate business since 1978. She has sold real estate in Florida. Over the past decade she has devoted her attention to real estate auctions.
I initially met Kay Kroll when she placed an ad for an assistant in the local paper. She was a project manager for a resort development auction in Montana. The auction was comprised of improved lots and a home overlooking a lake.
The real estate auction is a device wherein a developer hires an auction company to provide marketing and sales of land and homes. In the auction the marketing and sales team worked literally seven days per week for over two months to prepare for the final auction which took place at a local hotel. The auction had some reserved bid lots as well as no reserve lots for sale.
The purpose of this auction and many auctions is to provide the developer with sufficient capital to move on. In this case the developer had spent a significant amount of his own capital to improve the land; roads, some wells, and grading. Some of the lots had been on the market for a long time and had not sold. The auction provided a means to recapture the developer’s investment and move on to another project.
The benefit to the buyer at an auction is the remarkably reduced price of the no reserve lots. There were more than 10 lots which sold no reserve for a fraction of the initial sales price. Overall, the real estate auction provides opportunity for serious buyers and can be a life saver for dormant sales in a real estate development.
This interview took place on March 11, 2007.
MAS: Kay, How long have you been a licensed real estate broker?
Kay: I have been a licensed real estate broker in Florida since 1983. Prior to that date I was a real estate agent beginning in 1978.
MAS: In today’s real estate market do you find Florida a good place for people to retire?
Kay: There are parts of Florida I can suggest, but the biggest hinder in Florida’s real estate market is increased property taxes and in some areas home owner’s insurance has doubled since the hurricanedevastation of the past several years. I would suggest most people cashing out and moving to Florida visit the Central and North Central part of Florida. These areas are least prone to hurricane activity. Thus, the insurance for these areas is more reasonable than other hurricane prone areas of the state.
MAS: Is there any particular development you might suggest the public take a look before buying into Florida?
Kay: There are some great developments in the North Central area, one that comes to mind is the Villages in Lady Lake. This retirement, resort development provides amenities like club houses, golf, social networks and good values in homes. It also provides carefree living with the bulk of the maintenance of the property cared for by the home owner’s association.
MAS: If you were going to suggest to the public what to look for in a real estate agent or broker, what would it be?
Kay: The most important ingredient, to find some who is being straight with you. Someone with integrity who will listen to what you need. The real estate professional pre-qualifies you for what you can afford. Then the work begins to find you the best fit given your needs and what you can afford. The work is extensive and can involve weeks of searches until you are satisfied. An agent has access through a network of other agents and the MLS listings to provide you with a range of choices.
MAS: What goes into an actual sale of property.
Kay: A real estate professional follows the seller or buyer from start to finish. This means the job is not done until the property is sold. In fact, the real estate professional is not entitled to their fee unless there is a sale. An agent or broker can scout around and provide all the leg work and if there is no sale, he or she receives nothing for the work. At the close of a sale, I always send a house warming gift.
MAS: What about lots you see for sale in advertisement and on Ebay?
Kay: Any buyer in this situation must do their homework. You may see an ad that advertises lots for sale at low prices and then find out the lot is located in some obscure place in another state. If it is too good to be true, chances are it is too good to be true.
MAS: What is the median price range for Florida?
Kay: That has to be determined in the various regions of Florida. For example the median price range for homes selling in Palm Beach County change daily. Some factors that are contributing to price fluctuations is that some retirees are looking at Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Some of the rapid appreciation in some Florida counties is not as robust as it was previously.
MAS: What advice would you give to a prospective buyer in dealing with a real estate broker or agent?
Kay: Loyalty works both ways. A prospective buyer needs to work with the real estate professional. The same is true of a seller working with a real estate professional. After a real estate professional has expended a significant amount of work on behalf of the buyer or the seller it is frustrating when the buyer decides to go out on their own and make an offer on a property.
If a buyer finds a “For Sale By Owner,” property the buyer can still have the agent they have been working with negotiate the best price. You can have a transaction agent who can represent the buyer or seller. If the sale is finalized then the commission is paid. If there is no sale, no commission is paid. A real estate professional is essentially selling their time, knowledge and expertise in the real estate field.
MAS: If there is a developer or individual who would like more information about your services or further information about auctions, where can they reach you?
Kay: I am a licensed real estate broker residing in Palm Beach County. Anyone can contact me at 561 793-9681. I have conducted real estate auctions in numerous states. Recent auctions were in Michigan, North Carolina, Missouri, Idaho, Montana, South Carolina, Belize and California. The location of the property is not important. I work effectively with various local real estate agents throughout the country. Prospective clients are developers and individual property owners. Anyone seriously interested in real estate should give me a call.