All posts by Brad Dohack

Wonderful Fort Myers People

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A Real Estate career calls to mind a couple of phrases.  “No man is an island” is one and the other is “It takes a village.”  I say this as I contemplate the business card exchange and End to the Recession party hosted the other night by Jennifer Basey.  Jennifer is an Edward Jones representative and in addition to being knowledgeable and conscientious, sincerely works for the well being of her customers and the community as a whole.  It was great to mingle with old friends and meet new ones as well.

There is never enough time to talk to everyone but I would be remiss if I did not mention just a few.  First there is Jenn Moss, the one that keeps the office ticking, followed by Janet Noack CPA of Noack and Mitchell, Dale, Heather, and Paul Christie of Action Coach, Dennis Pouliot of Atkinson & Associates, Eric and Karina Borgia of Eric M. Borgia, PA, and Ingred Molina from Primary Residential Mortgage Inc.  Not there but gracious enough to meet at 8:00 am was Chris Black from Winged Title Co.  It is an honor and privilege to work in a community with people that are so supportive.

Finding the Perfect Fort Myers FL Home

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Finding the perfect Fort Myers FL Home can be a difficult task.  After all none of us have unlimited budgets and unlimited resources for finding that home.  We come into the process at a particular time and work with the resources at our disposal to maximize our opportunity.

I suggest that the better you prepare the better you will fare in the end.  Take the time to list your priorities.  They can be as varied as the day is long.  No two people value the same thing.  For one person the golf course is the first consideration and then come home attributes.  For another the school district is first and for yet another the home itself is priority number one.

The more clearly you define your priorities to your agent the more enjoyable your experience will be and the better your chances for landing  the perfect home.  Obviously part of the process is seeing homes first hand and reconciling our desires with reality. If your criteria are well defined you can quickly adjust to market realities.  We have all seen the home 15 feet from the freeway and wondered why anyone would buy that home.  The answer is that a price was put on that negative asset and the home was discounted to a point where it provided value to the purchaser.  This is an extreme case but every home buyer goes through the same process.  Perhaps the counters are not granite or the closet is not as large as we would like.

In the end the home must meet as many criteria as possible while still meeting your budget constraints.  I believe that a home is what we make of it.  Find the best home you can then make it your own and you will have many years of fond memories.

Why Real Estate Agents Hate Short Sales

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I recently attended a Real Estate Trade Show.  There was a common thread in conversation.  “I hate short sales”.  While we all long for the good old days when buyers had rights (no AS IS contracts) and rising real estate values assured order in our world the simple reality is that at least for now this is not the case.  Anyone who has purchased Ft Myers FL Homes in the past five years and finds that they need to sell for any reason is upside down.  It is impossible to dispute that the market assumptions in effect then are much different now.

Unemployment in 2005 hovered around 3% and everyone was making money.  In 2009 Lee County posts 13% unemployment and many have been on the rosters for so long that they no longer are considered in the calculations.  Today we hear daily about government employees, long considered guaranteed jobs, losing their positions.  Construction jobs have all but dried up.  The result of all this hardship for many homeowners is the inability to keep up with mortgage payments.  Even homeowners with traditional equities of 20% and more find themselves upside down when property values plunge by 50%.  In the end the only way out is a Short Sale.

The key ingredient to any short sale is a purchaser.  Agents find purchasers then submit their contract along with required paperwork to a bank that is overwhelmed only to have it turned down and thus the process begins anew.  We solve that problem by stepping in and purchasing the property directly.  We are able to negotiate with the guarantee to the bank and to the homeowner that if an agreement is reached the deal will transact.  We then find buyers who are able to fix their purchase price and close with certainty in a reasonable time frame.

Clearly this is not a pleasant situation for anyone.  Having to give up a home is emotionally taxing and nobody does it without turmoil.  We are committed to taking as much stress out of the process as we possibly can by doing all negotiating and then closing the deals allowing our homeowners to turn the page and begin anew.

Fort Myers MLS

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With the abundance of amazing deals that are entering our market, being able to search the Fort Myers MLS is a critical tool for buyers.    We’ve decided to include this tool in our website by simply clicking the Search MLS tab at the top.  We will say that there isn’t a shortage of other services out there that allow you to do similar searches, but we’ve made a conscious decision to allow you to search without giving us your contact information.  We are here to be a great resource for you and want you to know that we are available for you to utilize us to help you find the perfect property in Fort Myers.

You see, most people start their search for Fort Myers FL Homes online first and then pick an agent.  Our goal is to make this experience as pleasant as possible for you.  If it means that you would rather not search the Fort Myers MLS yourself, we’ll take care of it.  The best deals found on the MLS come and go quickly.  It’s like a blowout sale.  If you don’t act quickly, the bargain item will go to someone else.  Same hold true for real estate.  As always, feel free to navigate around the website and contact us when you are ready for us to start doing the work for you.  Have a blessed day.

Investment Properties Fort Myers FL – So You Think You Are Ready?

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So you think you are ready to jump in and buy that Fort Myers FL home.  You have 9 days to come to sunny Fort Myers, relax, soak up some sun, and oh yea buy a vacation home.  As crazy as this sounds to some, my wife would just shake her head and say here we go again.  It is hard to admit but sometimes her reasoning is just better than mine.  Fortunately, we live in an age where making this work scenario is not impossible.

Thanks to the amazing internet investment properties in Fort Myers FL are purchased regularly by investors who never step foot in them.  Do I recommend this?  Yes, but only in rare situations.  If you have worked with an agent several times in the past and have good rapport then it is possible to succeed in this manner.  If on the other hand you are seeking a home that will be your personal residence I would certainly encourage you to be personally active.

A house must feel like a home.  While a picture is worth a 1000 words, nothing takes the place of walking the property and the home.  This being said the process does not need to consume your vacation.  The amount of information available on the internet is nearly limitless and coupled with an agent that knows the area and is comfortable with the technology available today the process can certainly be taken from drudgery to invigorating.

I have experienced lazy agents who think nothing of wasting their clients’ time.  They haphazardly assemble a list of properties that they have not viewed and begin an aimless day of trudging through property after property.  Would you spend time touring countless Chevrolet dealers if what you really wanted was a Mercedes?  Why would you?  While it the price of the Chevrolet is appealing, in the end you will not be happy with it.

As an agent, I am responsible for knowing the area and what it has to offer.  I am in and out of homes in every price range and every community and combined with your communication can steer you to a home that will please you.  The market is dynamic right now.  It is driven by foreclosure and short sale homes that are undeniable bargains.  We have all heard the used car salesman’s line, “ act now or this one will be gone”.  For lower end homes I am happy to tell you that this is indeed the case.  Higher priced homes are not moving quite as fast right now but the bargains are being snapped up in every category.  My advice is, “do your homework before you arrive and be ready to commit.”

I have witnessed the disappointment associated with delayed decisions that ends in losing the perfect home.  Define your budget and expectations and share them openly with your agent.  Allow him to familiarize you with communities, HOA associations and fees, and individual homes so that the process of home buying can be enjoyable and your vacation can be a vacation.  Hope to see you in sunny Florida soon.

Take a Break! Bonefish Grill Fort Myers

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For the most part these pages are filled with facts and advice pertaining to Fort Myers FL Homes for sale.  Once in a while though, everyone needs to take a break.  What is more enjoyable than a night out for dinner or cocktails or both?  I spent more than 30 years as a restaurant owner dedicating my life to providing that enjoyment to others so I have a very real appreciation for the dedication it takes to offer first rate dining with consistency. 

My hat is off to Butch Murray at Bonefish Grill in Fort Myers.  My wife and I dine there bonefish grill fort myersregularly and we are always impressed.  The staff is meticulously trained and knowledgeable and delivers quality food and service without fail.  All of this is in addition to the spectacular atmosphere which is refined but comfortable.  Bang Bang Shrimp is mandatory so arrive hungry and be ready to be wowed.  Honorable mention goes to Leroy Selmon’s for their spectacular wings.  More on that later.  Enjoy!!

Clock is Ticking

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First time home buyers are finding that time is running out for them to claim their “First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit”.  The market is governed these days by either foreclosures or short sales.  With prices being influenced by these stressed properties few if any homes are available on traditional listings.  What results is the necessity to negotiate with banks for approvals.  This process is riddled with problems and leads to frustrated buyers.  It is not uncommon to bid above asking price, wait a month for a response then find out that they have lost to a cash buyer offering less money.  The first time buyer is even more susceptible since their financing is leveraged and generally less secure.

clock

For those still looking for the perfect Fort Myers FL home and a tax credit, perseverance and a little luck are going to be needed.  If you fall into this category I encourage you to act without delay.  This tax credit is unprecedented and I am convinced that many people that are counting on it will be disappointed when time runs out before the purchase is completed.

Don’t Allow Your Home to End Up in Foreclosure

By | Foreclosure Advice, Short Sale Info | No Comments

The reasons that homes end up in foreclosure are many.  Many Ft Myers FL homes were purchased under economic assumptions that no longer apply. While I understand the causes I also see the devastating affects that Foreclosure has on a person’s ability to build a new and better future.  I am no attorney but I will offer some observations in the hope that it can help prevent unnecessary hardship.  Most people who realize they can no longer afford to pay their mortgage just quit.  This begins a process which snowballs and eventually becomes too large to fix and leads to eviction and financial ruin.

What I recommend is seeking out professional assistance as soon as the problem is recognized or maybe more accurately anticipated.  Here are the first questions you will have to answer.

  • Can the house be sold for enough to pay off what you owe on it?
  • Do you have the means to solve this situation on your own?  Do you have money sitting in a bank account or equity in another property that you can use to catch up or pay off the mortgage?
  • Do you insist on staying in the home even if a solution is found?

If you the answer to any of these questions is yes then you need to implement a plan to resolve the problem according to your means.  If on the other hand you answer no, then do not delay.  Call us or another professional immediately.  Many agents try to manage this process on their own and quite frankly transactions often fail as a result.  We are experts at listing and selling real estate.  We are not attorneys or bank negotiators.  Our approach is very different.  We begin with a dedication to helping you, our client.  The first order of business is to evaluate your individual situation and determine a course of action that will work for you specifically.  Every case is different.  Assuming that short selling your Ft Myers FL Home is indicated we bring in a professional team consisting of professional negotiators, attorneys and clerical staff who work with people like yourself to relieve them of the burden that an unaffordable mortgage creates and at the same time minimize credit consequences.  We do all this at no cost to you.

The short sale process requires a buyer.  No bank is going to negotiate a settlement unless there is a buyer in place.  While our team of professionals are working on negotiations with the bank we are working to put a buyer in place so that the process is rapid and seamless.   Quite simply, this is the best system currently available.  Please do not delay.  Start your journey today to a better life.

Best Option to Get Out of Your Home NOW

By | Short Sale Info | One Comment

There is a Better Way

The current state of the economy has created havoc for homeowners and banks alike. Many Ft Myers FL Homes were purchased in light of the financial conditions of the time. Rapidly rising property values and increases in equityhouse short sale were a given. If anything was to go wrong wages were high and job security was not a question.

My, how things change. These fundamental beliefs have all been turned upside down resulting in the current chaos in home ownership. Leading the way is unprecedented unemployment and underemployment which has made it impossible for many to keep their mortgages current. The flood of toxic debt has left financial institutions reeling and unable to meet the flood requests for mediation. Realtors have been willing to step up and work to mediate short sales with lenders but each lender has different requirements and processes and as a result success is questionable at best. The whole time homeowners slip further and further into a hole that leads to either foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Out of dedication to my clients I had to find a better way. What I have found is a specialty team of experts in this process. They have assembled negotiators, attorneys, investors and counselors who not only navigate and mediate this complicated process in a fast and efficient manner but they do it with the homeowner’s interest in mind, working to settle in a way that preserves to the best degree possible, the client’s credit. An integral part of the process is finding a buyer. While the mediators are working with you, we go to work finding a buyer to make the process work. This joint effort bringing buyer, mediator, and agent together has tremendous results.
If you are upside down on your mortgage and cannot fulfill your obligation this is the best and fastest method I have seen to resolve it. I encourage you not to delay. The mental anguish that accompanies the financial stress inherent in this is overwhelming and tears families apart. You must take action. Please call me and begin the process toward a new and better life.

Should You Buy a Home or a Neighborhood?

By | Market Report | One Comment

When considering a new home purchase, what should carry more weight the actual home or the neighborhood that surrounds it?  There are Ft Myers FL homes for sale in every setting imaginable.  When considering options the inevitable decision will have to be made.  Do you settle for less house in a more desirable setting or visa versa.  I suppose that the answer to this depends on each buyer’s priorities but myFort Myers FL Neighborhood advice would be to select based on neighborhood.

Our homes are much more than a roof over our head and a place to sleep.  We “LIVE” in our homes.  The community that we choose to live in determines who our neighbors are, who our friends are, and in many instances who our kids grow up with.  I suggest that it is one of the most important decisions we make.  Above and beyond this, purely from an investment perspective, the neighborhood determines future value.  Always choose the neighborhood with the most integrity that falls within your budget even if it means somewhat less home for the money.  In the long run you will find that the value of your home will be much more secure.

Retirement Homes in Fort Myers

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CONSIDER MOVING UP

Florida retirement residents have in a sense been held hostage for years.  Florida has several inducements encouraging retirees to establish residence.  First and foremost is warm weather.  That speaks for itself.  Next is the absence of state income tax.  And finally there is the “Homestead’ exemption on property taxes.  This is the topic on which this article will be focused.

Full time Florida residents are eligible to declare “Homestead” on their full time residence.  The impact of this is that the first $50,000.00 of appraised value is exempt from property tax.  In addition property taxes cannot be raised more than 3% in any given year.  For longtime residents this sizeable tax benefit made trading up very difficult.  On top of the additional property investment purchasers were faced with increased property taxes for the remainder of their life.  This is no longer the case.  Thanks to the passage of Amendment 10 this benefit can now be transferred to a new residence.

PORTABILITY: Currently, property owners with a homestead exemption receive a benefit known as Amendment 10 or Save Our Homes cap. This Save Our Homes benefit works by limiting the increase of the assessed value of a home to a maximum of 3% regardless of any increase in market value. Under the new law, homeowners will be allowed to transfer this benefit to the next homestead property. This is called portability or a portable cap.  Qualified applicants are now able to transfer (or port) this Save Our Homes benefit up to $500,000, whether they are buying a more expensive or less expensive home.

Homestead property owners will be able to transfer their Save Our Homes benefit (up to $500,000) to a new homestead property within two years of giving up their previous homestead. If the market value of the new homestead is more than the previous home’s market value, the entire Save Our Home benefit can be transferred up to $500,000; if the new homestead has a lower market value, the amount of the accumulated benefit that may be transferred is proportional to the value of the new homestead property.

Obviously the most important consideration in moving up is the cost of that upgrade.   I will use hypothetical examples based in reality.  Let’s consider a property that 3 years ago was worth $300,000.00 and the considered upgrade was $500,000.00 or an increased cost of $200,000.00.  Now let’s assume that values have declined by 40%.  The current residence is now worth only $180,000.00.  The common response is “I won’t accept this lower value”, “I will wait until the market recovers.”  The numbers however bear out a different scenario.  To make the same upgrade now would only cost $120,000.00.  This completely ignores other favorable factors.

  • Portability allows property tax benefits to transfer to the new residence
  • Establishing the new property at reduced values keeps the base low.
  • Current values for Fort Myers, FL real estate are so low that investment makes sense for long term appreciation.

The facts all indicate that this is indeed a unique opportunity to upgrade and at the same time make a long term investment that is sure to grow over time.  The purchase of a principal residence creates quality of life and is a solid secure long term investment.  These favorable conditions will not last.  Investors around the world have jumped off the fence and on to this opportunity.  Real estate transactions have set records for the last three months in a row and records indicate that more than 60% of these transactions have been cash deals.  Nobody has a crystal ball but there is solid evidence that we have reached bottom and recovery is underway.  I encourage you to act and take advantage of this anomaly in the market.

Home Owners Associations – Outrageous or Justifiable?

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When shopping Ft Myers FL homes for sale one of the first questions is single family or Condominium?  For many the answer is simple.  One is clearly right and the other is wrong.  Families with young children for instance find the condominium situation to be very difficult.  For those, however, who are considering the pros and cons, the issue often arises that condominium fees are generally much higher that subdivision HOA fees.  First let me point out that in both cases the fees directly pay for benefits and services.  Generally they are controlled by a board of trustees comprised of members of the community who seek to provide the most benefit for the least money possible.  Condominium fees out of necessity cover a number of items which are generally not covered in subdivisions.  Each association is different but I will list the most common.money

  • Exterior building maintenance
  • Insurance for the structure
  • All grounds maintenance

Items that are common to both might be:

  • Street lighting
  • Common facilities maintenance (pools, work out facilities, playgrounds, etc.)
  • Basic Cable Television

These fees vary dramatically from one development to another.  Generally they correspond directly with the amenities offered but other factors such as the size of the development have a very real impact.  When shopping Ft Myers FL Homes for sale my first advice is always to establish a budget which includes all of these items.  Next consider what level of amenities you will likely be able to afford and shop within those guidelines.  It is not uncommon to run across people that say that they want resort style amenities which commonly have a monthly price tag of $600.00 to $700.00 but who only have a total budget (including mortgage payment) of $1,000.00 per month.

Whenever buying a condominium, the sale is contingent upon review of the condominium documents.  Always review these carefully and pay particular attention to the operating statement and the roster of delinquent fees.  Current conditions have left many associations in difficult positions and you want to make sure that you are not buying into a nightmare scenario that will require assessments to be levied.  There are many developments out there that are viable and offer a carefree lifestyle.  This is an important part of the service we provide.  Our job is to present you with all the information which should help you to make informed, good decisions about the living situation that is right for you.

First Time Home Buyers in Fort Myers

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It is the age of the stimulus.

The government – in an effort to jump start the economy – has instituted a number of programs most of which have fallen short of the intended purpose.  The foreclosure nightmare has created an unprecedented number of Fort Myers FL homes for sale at historically low prices and one of the most generous programs offered to the general public is the “First Time Home Buyer Program”.  This program offers 8% of the purchase price of a home up to $100,000.00 or $8,000.00 in the way of an income tax credit to first time home buyers.  This program is somewhat narrow in focus, and in many ways falls short of accomplishing its intended purpose, but if you fall within the designated criteria you cannot afford to let this pass you by.  Essentially the government is stepping up and making your down payment through a dollar for dollar tax credit.

The bottom line is that Fort Myers FL homes are being purchased at bargain prices with minimal or no down payment.  In order to assure that you qualify however it is recommended that contracts are submitted and accepted by the end of September so that banks can complete paperwork before the November 30th deadline.

This is an incredible opportunity for first time home buyers to begin building net worth and a bright future.

9.6% Increase in New Home Sales???

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I’m not sure if many of you have seen the news about new home sales in July. You can see in this article from Florida Realtors.org that new home sales were up 9.6% in July.  Where is the justification for this? Existing inventory of Fort Myers, FL homes  make this very difficult for me to believe…at least in this market. With the constant flow of foreclosed and distressed homes hitting the market it takes a dedicated soul to justify new construction. I say this much to the disgust of those who earn their living in that industry and I long for the day when it is no longer the case. I myself have built new custom homes and enjoy the process of creativity and personalization but when there is immediately available inventory in every price category at 30 to 50% of the cost of new construction it just makes no sense. Even for the individual that owns property outright, the undertaking is daunting and costly.

Local government, in an effort to recuperate lost tax revenues passed legislation nearly tripling impact fees. Way to spur the development we so desperately need! My advice is simple. Take advantage of this unique buying opportunity. Define the area that you wish to live in and task me with finding a home that meets your needs. Take advantage of this unique market opportunity. It cannot and will not last.

First Time Home Buyer Assistance

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Time is Running out for First Time Home Buyers

OK – so you have heard about the “First Time Home Buyer” assistance program that the federal government has offered and you have wondered if maybe you would be eligible. Well there is only one way to find out and that is for you to apply. The reality is that there are plenty of Fort Myers, FL homes for sale that are priced to take advantage of this but time is running out. If you have questions I encourage you to call me and allow me to work with you directly but I have located a video that does a very good job of outlining the program. Just watch the video below.


In summary, this program is unprecedented and very easy to qualify. I have seen many cases where owning one of these homes is actually less costly than renting and it gives you an opportunity to build equity and a bright future. DO NOT WASTE ANY MORE PRECIOUS TIME. CALL ME AND APPLY!

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