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I sell Sarasota Florida real estate and have a pretty good pulse of the market and the buyers mentality. As a Realtor I speak with potential home buyers almost daily and am fortunate to hear what they know and what they are thinking. Many of them are simply misinformed and come to town with these misconceptions in their head. Here are 5 of them:

1) There are no home buyers in Sarasota, Florida

Real estate markets change from month to month. That is the nature of the beasts. Some months have strong sales while other months are weak. In Sarasota county for October 2010 there were 569 closed sales and 882 pending sales. Compare to 4 years closed sales today are 94% higher and pending sales are 123% higher. Compared to 3 years ago closed sales are 49% higher today while pending sales are 94% higher. Homes and condos are selling.

Myth – Nothing is selling in Sarasota – UNTRUE

2) Expect 30-50% off of list price

I love this one and bring it up to potential home buyers before we start looking at properties. Many buyers come to town thinking that they can just cut the price of the property in half and buy it for that. On average, in Sarasota county homes and condos are selling at 95% of the last asking price. Sellers usually have a 5-10% cushion in their price.

Myth – I will get 30-50% off of the asking price – UNTRUE

3) The number of properties for sale is at an all time high

Sarasota county currently has roughly 6,900 properties for sale. However, keep in mind that the county is pretty large and includes Nokomis, Osprey, Venice and North Port. Many people want to purchase on the north end of the county where Longboat Key, Siesta Key, Lido Key, Casey Key and Bird Key are located. If this is your area of interest then you have far less than 6,900 properties to choose from.

Sarasota real estate listings have dropping dramatically over the last 4 years. In October 2006 there were over 12,000 properties for sale. With nearly 7,000 properties for sale Sarasota inventory levels are down 44%.

Myth – The number of homes and condos for sale are near an all time high – UNTRUE

4) Banks are not lending

Lending needed to change. The real estate market overheated due to crazy demand from buyers who could not actually afford the property. From 2003 to 2005 a bank would lend you money on a home if you could fog a mirror. That is what caused the bubble.

However, people can still get a mortgage to buy property. Many of my clients pay cash however a few of them get financing. You just have to prove the ability to pay the mortgage.

Myth – No banks are lending – UNTRUE

5) There are tons of foreclosures and short sale on the beach

As a whole, the Sarasota Florida real estate market is made up of 40-45% distressed sales with 75% of those sales under $250,000. The luxury segment of the market or the properties close to the beach have been less affected the real estate downtown. Strong property owner with no mortgages don’t drop their prices as quickly as the lower end of the market. On Longboat Key, there have been over 1,300 transactions since January 1, 2007. Only 69 of those sales, or 5 percent, were considered distressed. On Bird Key, up until October 2010 there have been 22 transactions with only 2 of those sales considered distressed.

Myth – There are plenty of beachfront foreclosures and short sales – UNTRUE

These buyer misconceptions are prevalent. Make no mistake that buyers still have the leverage in Sarasota, Florida. However, the leverage is decreasing every day. Eventually, Sarasota will be in a balanced market.

Curt McGurt – Sarasota FL Real Estate expert

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