| Wednesday, October 26, 2005
| A Shoreline (Increasingly) Edged in Condos
|Living In Spencer Estates, the Bronx
Robert Caplin/The New York Times
Condos being built at the Sunset Cove complex in the Spencer Estates section of the Bronx.
By CLAIRE WILSON
Published: October 23, 2005
DAN HENDERSON loves sitting on the patio of his new waterfront condominium in the Spencer Estates neighborhood of the Bronx. When guests come, he points out all the landmarks around Eastchester Bay, from Pelham Bay Park and City Island down around to the Throgs Neck Bridge.
When he is alone gazing out over the bay, he isn't wondering how this "big Throgs Neck boy," as he describes himself, landed in such a beautiful spot. He's wondering, he said, "where are the striped bass hiding so when I go out tomorrow I will be able to find them?"
The life-long fisherman and boat owner, who is a retired carpenter, and his wife, Judith, a retired school secretary, are among many newcomers to a cluster of condo complexes dotting the shore in Spencer Estates, a small enclave dominated by one- and two-family homes nestled between Pelham Bay Park and the Country Club section.
More on this article...
More on Preconstruction Condos in Myrtle Beach
More on Condos - Investing in Real Estate - 1031 Tax Exchange
Labels: condos, preconstruction
|posted by Jan Chilton @ 7:28 AM
| Sunday, October 23, 2005
| AFFORDABLE Myrtle Beach Condos For Sale
Instead of writing a professional press release about this new project, I've decided to just write my own personal opinion to spread the news.
Myrtle Beach "proper" (as versus North Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas) is a long stretch of beach...from about 82nd Ave North, down to 1st Ave, all the way to 27th Ave South. That's about 100 blocks. They estimate 8 blocks to a mile, so that's about 12-13 miles of beach and condos.
The more residential, and more expensive part of Myrtle Beach real estate is on the north end... from 32nd Ave North on up. It's not necessarily any better...just has always been considered the rich section.
The Pavilion area is located around 9th Ave North, for about 5 blocks either way. That's always been the most run-down section, although they are renovating it as fast as land can be bought and condos can be put up. Now the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk has added a lot to the area as well. The last I heard, they were going to move the Pavilion out on the bypass and that whole area would be condos eventually.
Anyway, it's always been a little less expensive on the south side of the pavilion...
The biggest and best of the developers in Myrtle Beach, Strand Capital Groups, has taken on the renovation of a "village" known as Sea Mist Resort, which is just a little south of the Pavilion area. The Sea Mist starts on Ocean Blvd at 11th Ave South and goes for 4 blocks south, and also includes 3 rows back. It's a HUGE development, and has always had everything from the oceanfront tower motel rooms to cottages, going clear back to Hwy 17. It has the area's largest waterpark, all kinds of pools, spas, lazy rivers, stores, restaurants -- you name it. It's the closest thing to an "all inclusive" resort that we have.
Sea Mist has thousands of loyal vacationers...generations have stayed there and wouldn't stay anywhere else. It's uncrowded, but close to everything. You can do beach, pool, store, and dinner without driving anywhere. It's been there, and immensely popular, since I was a kid.
Now they are going high-rise. This development will probably be the biggest, the fanciest, and the most sought-after place in Myrtle Beach in the next few years. They are doing the renovation through PUD, which is approved by the city for the betterment of the public. It will add things of beauty, like public parks, extra- nicer parking, traffic control, safety measures, and all types of things that will make Myrtle Beach an even better place to live and vacation in.
The renovation of Oceanfront Condos in Myrtle Beach, such as Sea Mist, begins with 2 oceanfront hotel towers, the Driftwood and the Tides Buildings. They will be converted into efficiency condos, completely upgraded, and made like new. THIS is what I want to bring to everyone's attention. Because they are studio apartments, these units are being priced between $109,000 and $199,000 FOR OCEANFRONT. There is no other resort in Myrtle Beach that is priced this low, and anyone who can afford a second home can afford this.
I'm familiar with almost everything in both North Myrtle and Myrtle, and I have yet to see anything that I would get this excited over. Anyone who wants to invest in Myrtle Beach preconstruction real estate but can't afford the $500,000 PLUS price of an oceanfront condo should look into this. When they are gone, I will bet anything that there will never be another investment resort with prices like this.
The Sea Mist condos are going to go fast. They are selling in conjunction with a new preconstruction condo tower that is also "angled oceanfront", called the New Oasis. These luxury condos will also be perfect for everyone that loves the area and the project, and prefers larger units.
The entire 12 acre project will be renovated as an ongoing thing, brand new top-of-the-line pools, indoor pools, fitness centers, lazy rivers, and everything else will eventually be a part of this fantastic resort. The Sea Mist is a once in a lifetime opportunity for people like me, who aren't multi-millionaires.
Can you tell I'm excited? :-)
|posted by Jan Chilton @ 5:25 PM
| Saturday, October 22, 2005
| 1031 Exchange Information
|For those lucky investors that wisely bought a preconstruction condo a year or so ago, or if you are soon to realize a profit from any kind of real estate transaction, it may be very smart to find out about your tax liabilities and investigate doing a 1031 tax exchange .
This is another area that the folks at the Myrtle Beach Condo Store have expertise in. David O'Connell can advise and set up a Tenants in Common program or self directed IRA and save you on capital gains taxes in a big way.
Below is the information on 1031 exchanges from the IRS.org website. I urge anyone who has realized a large profit from preconstruction investing to look into this.
Fill out the contact form on the Myrtle Beach Condo Store website and mention 1031 exchange in the comments section.
Generally, if you exchange business or investment property solely for business or investment property of a like kind, no gain or loss is recognized under Internal Revenue Code Section 1031.
If, as part of the exchange, you also receive other (not like-kind) property or money, gain is recognized to the extent of the other property and money received, but a loss is not recognized.
Section 1031 does not apply to exchanges of inventory, stocks, bonds, notes, other securities or evidence of indebtedness, or certain other assets.
Like-Kind Property Properties are of like kind if they are of the same nature or character, even if they differ in grade or quality. Personal properties of a like class are like-kind properties. However, livestock of different sexes are not like-kind properties.
Also, personal property used predominantly in the United States and personal property used predominantly outside the United States are not like-kind properties.
Real properties generally are of like kind, regardless of whether the properties are improved or unimproved. However, real property in the United States and real property outside the United States are not like-kind properties.
Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets (PDF)
Form 8824, Like-Kind Exchanges (PDF)
Labels: 1031 Tax Exchange
|posted by Jan Chilton @ 3:59 PM
| Thursday, October 20, 2005
| Special report: Boom or bubble?
|Wednesday, October 19, 2005
By PRASHANT GOPAL
Houman Sarmasti took up a new hobby a few years ago: flipping real estate.
Sarmasti began putting down deposits on condos and town houses before they were built and then cashed them out as their value appreciated. The 33-year-old electronics distributor says he has pocketed more than $160,000 by buying and quickly reselling homes in Teaneck, Edgewater and Cocoa Beach, Fla.
He recently put a deposit on a $399,000 condo at the planned Grand Cascades Lodge condo-hotel, part of the Crystal Springs golf resort in Sussex County. Sarmasti isn't sure whether he'll flip the new condo or keep it as a weekend retreat, but he's confident things will work out fine.
"I don't see how you can lose money," he says. "You might not gain a lot, but I don't think you can lose, especially the way real estate is going."
That faith in real estate values has convinced an ever-growing number of homeowners that one home is just not enough. And this surge in second-home purchases is helping to pace the real estate boom, while raising concerns about a bubble nearing the bursting point.
More than one-third of all American homes purchased in 2004 were for investment or vacation purposes, according to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors.
And buyers are increasingly taking on debt for the properties. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who has warned of "froth in certain housing markets," noted last month that "mortgage originations for second-home purchases rose from 7 percent of total purchase originations in 2000 to twice that at the end of last year."
There is evidence the trend is especially strong in New Jersey, with its wealth and vacation destinations. In Atlantic and Cape May counties, about 38 percent of mortgages this year were for second homes, according to LoanPerformance, a subsidiary of First American Real Estate Solutions. Only Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Naples, Fla., have a higher percentage of second mortgages, the company says.....MORE
Myrtle Beach condos for sale
Labels: new condos, real estate bubble, second homes, vacation real estate
|posted by Jan Chilton @ 3:38 AM
| Friday, October 14, 2005
| Real Estate SEO tips
|I got an email from a realtor that I exchanged links with the other day and answered it. It was a pretty good Q & A, so I thought I might post it here.
From: A Realtor
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 8:14 AM
Subject: RE: My Realtor® agent site links to your site
First off I sincerely appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to share your knowledge with a total stranger. I would be more than happy to exchange home page links with you.
If I could quickly ask you a few more questions you may be able to steer me in the right direction.
Here is a list of things I am trying now to promote my site. Please tell me if they are a waste of time.
1.Generating XML sitemaps and submitting them to google weekly
Excellent, except you don't need to "submit" them. That's what RSS and XML do automatically.
2. Using web position4 to optimize my site for certain keywords and to track my performance
Would not use any kind of software at all. It's against the TOS of all search engines.
3. Just starting to use RSS Feeds to display my listings for newsreaders.
4. Thinking about writing real estate blogs or using a real estate message board on my site.
The very best thing you can do is a real estate blog. See mine...
5. Reciprocal linking with every large directory I can find like Reals.com and Realestateabc.com etc...
6. Linking to a handful of top 100 lists
I've not seen any that helped or were very good PR. Only good if they are permanent.
7. Paying a few local web directories for animated gif links www.directory.com www.another-directory.com I doubt if any graphic link does you much good. Maybe a little if you be sure to use Alt text with keywords. Probably a waste unless it's for advertising and not SEO.
8. Paying realtor.com to be able to "enhance" our listings (add more photos and text)
Again, be sure it's not a redirected link. Check the PR of the page your link is on. That said, Realtor.com is a very highly popular website, so for advertising potential, it might be worth alot. I don't advise my customers to do it, but many do. I don't advise against it if the links are done right. I think REALS.com and most of its affiliate sites are the best directory links, and they are free. There are some other excellent free real estate directories out there, too.
9. Submitting to every free search engine I can find.
Directory maybe...search engine, I wouldn't. See above.
Is google still using PR links? Where can you find out your PR Rating.
Download the Google Toolbar from Google site and you can see the PR of every site in your browser. Yes, links are just as important as ever with Google, if that's what your question is.
I've been using Alexa to get a general feel for how well my competitors are doing. Are there any other methods you would recommend for tracking both your progress and that of your competitors?
I don't use Alexa nor track progress. When it shows, it shows...and I cheer...:-)
Thank you for the suggestions. It is difficult learning all of this from scratch, never knowing if the things I read on the web from various sources will actually help promote my site or are a waste of time. One last question, how much should I expect to pay a good real estate SEO and how often will they have to update the site?
I have been paid as much as $10,000 on one site that wanted me bad enough. Thank God I was able to do the job! It was a scary few weeks. I wouldn't take full payment until it was done, either. A good average might be about $1000-5000, depending on whether they do the site from scratch or just go over yours for you or your webmaster to make the changes.
There are not very many (if any) good real estate SEO companies per se. There are a several outstanding SEO companies that don't necessarily specialize in real estate. They can do an excellent job, but some still use interior link pages and charge an ongoing fee to obtain hundreds of links. Getting a company to optimize your text is a good idea. Getting an SEO copywriter is even a better idea. The links you should either do yourself or even better, do press releases, post on forums, write articles, and other ways of getting your links out there. Be sure to get on Google and Yahoo LOCAL listings.
I do not recommend interior links pages for real estate site optimization any more. That's just my personal opinion, as I see pages full of links being downgraded by Google every day. Yahoo despises large numbers of links, too. You can check the PR of the page your site would be on, but it's just as likely to be dropped to near nothing in the next update. The best thing to do other than what I mentioned above is to contact fellow realtors and create a referral network.
That way it serves you both ways. Most web-savvy realtors are now doing this.
It doesn't hurt to have SOME interior page links, but I wouldn't waste my time and money having an SEO company to do them. I don't even create links pages on my new sites. Haven't for over a year.
Make sure your titles use the correct keyphrases, research WHICH keyphrases to use for your city/area, and make sure each individual page has it's own metatags.
Newsflash for Newbies: Google does NOT count Metatags except for the title and possibly the description tag. Yahoo is the only one that does, as far as I know.
Hope this is good information for those who might ask the same questions....:-)
Most of my stuff is about Myrtle Beach Condos. Pay attention to the links in this blog. That's why blogs are so good!
Labels: myrtle beach real estate, real estate marketing, real estate SEO
|posted by Jan Chilton @ 12:58 AM
| Saturday, October 08, 2005
| Preconstruction Boom Creates Statistics Problems in Myrtle Beach
|For once I have decided to list my own rant about things that I see, being exposed to realtors and real estate people day in and day out.
I'm not a realtor, agent, broker, seller, or even a buyer. I just do websites and real estate marketing and SEO advice, mostly to real estate agents.
In the Myrtle Beach real estate market right now, there are as many as 15 condo resorts going up at the same time. It takes about 2 years from sales release to closing, and there are numerous ones in different stages right now. I may be underestimating. Maybe there are 25-30 or even more that are either "reserved" or being purchased right now.
On average there might be 300 units in each building...usually 1, 2 or 3 bedroom units both on oceanfront and on the sides. Most often they will be furnished, so they'll all basically look alike.
Just to simplify, lets say out of the 300 there are 50 of each kind...(1 bedroom oceanfront, 1 bedroom oceanview, etc) So 50 of them are identical in most cases.
When a nice project is released, an company like New Resorts LLC in North Myrtle Beach can often sell them out in less than a week. It varies according to the project, location, and whether it's a new preconstruction or a hotel conversion. New construction often sells faster, although to me, a hotel conversion is the better deal...even though the units may be smaller.
Personally, (and I was a tourist for 30 years before I was a resident in Myrtle Beach) I think most vacationers are most interested in the location and the amenities...not whether their rooms have 400 sq ft or 700 sq ft. After all, they aren't going to live in them...just stay there for a week or less. Granted, if you are among those lucky enough to be able to afford to buy an oceanfront condo in a grand resort for your own personal enjoyment, then it matters. But even with that scenario, I've seen the majority of the owners still be more concerned with that rental income than they are with their family being less cramped for a week. Seldom do THEY stay more than a week at the time either...so it's all the same.
Again, I think a hotel conversion in Myrtle Beach is the best investment. My opinion. Take it for what it's worth. Find out what the rental income is on a one bedroom in Coral Beach Resort after it's converted, as versus a one bedroom in Avista Resort in Ocean Drive. Not a completely fair comparison due to their locations...but I'll bet there won't be alot of difference. Coral Beach units are 200K plus. Avista is probably 400K plus right now.
Anyway, back to my original subject...the way the condos are being built right now....
If there are even 10 resorts going up at the same time and they have 300 units, then that is 3000 condos that are for sale...or DOES IT?
A recent article in The Sun News, Condos Crowd Listings, drew quite a bit of attention from the people I know who are presently investing in preconstruction.
More condominiums are for sale on the Grand Strand than at any
time in the past 10 years, according to the Multiple Listing
The increased supply was caused in part by a slowdown in
the frenzied condo market, leaving condos on the market longer, Realtors and
A clampdown by the Coastal Carolinas Association of
Realtors two months ago on agents who weren't entering listings also played a
role. Officials say that problem has been resolved, increasing the number of
properties on the service.
"A clampdown by the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors two months ago on agents who weren't entering listings also played a role." NO KIDDING!
Real estate investors are a breed apart. I know quite a few of them now. With preconstruction investing, it's not who you are or how much money you have, but who you know. The ones who do this do it for a living. They talk amongst themselves. They have made close friends with the largest developers. I would say that often over half of the best units in a preconstruction project are sold over the phone and on paper for 3 months before the project is even made public.
So now lets estimate that there are actually only 1500 of these units that will actually be offered to Joe Blow who casually looks in the MLS to see what's for sale this week.
But wait...maybe not. The internet is the hottest commodity to real estate sales that exists right now. I haven't seen the numbers lately, but MY OWN OPINION would be that a good 70% of all homes and investment properties are sold right now at least in part from internet exposure. I would even say in this area it could be as high as 80%. I deal with most of the most important real estate websites in the area, and I've seen several small Myrtle Beach condo rental companies become multi-million dollar real estate sales machines because of their website.
The many smaller investors out there have not formed a relationship with a developer...they don't even know the developers in a particular area. But what they have done is to get on the mailing list of this same top preconstruction marketing company (New Resorts) and every time a project is released, emails are shot out immediately announcing it, and notifying this group of its upcoming availability. I would estimate that another 50 units per project are reserved and no longer available from this method...again in only a day or two after release or sometimes BEFORE release. So there goes another 500 units. We're down to 1000. We've got 10 projects, so that's 100 units per project left, and maybe 6 kinds of rooms mixed in that. So let's estimate 17 units of each type per resort that are actually ON the market as it's being actively released.
Our local Board of Realtors just raised a stink and are demanding that preconstruction developers or marketers list all the units, INDIVIDUALLY in the MLS listings, every time they have a new project. That means listing the amenities, square footage, all the details on 3000 units at any given time. That also means maintaining them...removing the ones that are sold out of those individual listings. If they are sold prior to release, then they need to be listed and then marked sold and removed. It represents hours and hours of computer work, and a virtual paperwork nightmare. They are actually FINING the sales companies everytime they don't list a project. Some are reacting by withdrawing their membership to the local board...and I can't blame them a bit. It's a ridiculous situation...all so they can write articles about "bubbles" and spout statistics about prices escalating and foreclosures being emminent. Enter John Stossell on 20/20 or 60 Minutes or whatever show he's on, who tells all the masses that REAL ESTATE AGENTS are driving up costs of homes now. Utter crap.
Check a Myrtle Beach MLS listing for a condo right now and all you see are pages and pages of duplicate entries. The BOR is telling the world there are 3000 new condos for sale right now in Myrtle Beach. There's probably not 1/3 of that available. Joe Blow gets tired of trying to search for a condo by digging through 5 pages of the same thing. He may miss out on a nice investment condo. Nothing is accomplished, and nobody is helped except the BOR, and they may publish inflammatory statistics and dire warnings of impending markets crashing.
Yes, Virginia, there IS a bubble...and it's an AIR BUBBLE in the minds of the ones who set the rules and publish this kind of stuff.
Meanwhile, the investors are doing just fine, the developers are doing just fine, the public is getting scared to take advantage of the opportunity to make really good profits, and the agents are left to deal with the problem.
And to back up my rant, the Board of Realtors in Miami, which is 25 times the size of our Myrtle Beach market, has FORBIDDEN agents from listing preconstruction projects. Why? Because of exactly what I've talked about here.
Again, this is just my under-educated opinion. Take it for what it's worth. I can say this with pretty good authority. Articles like this one in the newspaper and on tv are half the problem. They can create a "bubble" almost by themselves just from insisting or even insinuating that there is one.
Though sales of older condos and houses have slowed in Myrtle Beach, preconstruction and new resorts are as strong as ever, and internet marketing is part of the equation...a big part. I truly believe that Myrtle Beach has the best investment real estate in the nation right now.
Labels: myrtle beach condos, myrtle beach real estate
|posted by Jan Chilton @ 2:02 PM
| Sunday, October 02, 2005
| Speculators, residents gamble on Vegas housing boom
|By Jerry Hirsch
Los Angeles Times
LAS VEGAS - The boom in high-rise condo projects in this city's canyon of casinos known as the Strip has spawned its own new status symbol - the celebrity resident.
About 8,000 condominium units are under construction or about to start, according to SalesTraq, a Las Vegas real estate information company. It's a building explosion fueled in part by speculators in the torrid real estate market here and the desire of buyers from California and Asia to own a piece of Sin City's action.
But like everything Vegas does, this building bonanza comes with an extra helping of glitz: Developers are using Hollywood stars to make their projects stand out from the more than 100 residential skyscrapers proposed for Las Vegas.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire have purchased units at the Panorama Towers complex. Jessica Simpson has reserved a unit at Palms Place, the 50-story high-rise planned at the Palms Hotel and Casino. Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson has snagged a spot at the Icon Las Vegas.
"I am sure these celebrities are getting very good deals," said Peter Dennehy, senior vice president of Sullivan Group Real Estate Advisors in San Diego. "It is a marketing thing. People want to live near the stars."
But some analysts wonder if the market will be left with a Las Vegas-size hangover in the form of a real estate bubble fueled by the large number of speculators - estimated to be as high as 40 percent - who never intend to live in the units they are buying.
The high-rise condo market has proved to be particularly sensitive to market gyrations, said Delores Conway, a University of Southern California real estate economist.
Las Vegas isn't the only town that is going vertical. High-rise living, a long-standing tradition in New York, has spread to the likes of Boston, Denver, Miami, San Francisco and Kansas City, Mo. At least half a dozen new Southern California condo towers are planned for the Los Angeles area.
The Myrtle Beach area also is wrestling with a desire by developers to raise height limits on condo towers. ( Myrtle Beach condos for sale )
Nationally, the number of condominium and town home development construction starts jumped 38 percent to 120,000 last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And that came on top of a 23 percent gain in the previous year.
"Cities across the United States are booming with these projects and many of the developments are quite spectacular," said Max Neiman, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.
With so many high-end properties on the drawing board, it's easy for a development to get lost in the crowd. That's where the celebrities come in, assuming the real estate equivalent of a walk-on role: Most aren't investors in projects, but their presence gives condo buyers the hope of an occasional star sighting near the mailboxes.
Don't expect anything so crass as celebrity advertising endorsements; Vegas developers prefer the subtle approach, placing tidbits in gossip columns and prominently displaying celeb glamour shots in sales offices.
"It makes a building cool and hip," said Dennehy, the real estate consultant. "You always want to sell lifestyle when you are selling condo projects like these."
Even in Las Vegas, once one of the more affordable real estate markets, no one considers these condos to be inexpensive housing.
A 972-square-foot one-bedroom unit at Icon Las Vegas, the future Reggie Jackson hangout that Related Cos. is building, starts north of $600,000.
Janine Hogg, a San Francisco Bay Area transplant who owns a smoothie shop in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin, has placed down payments on four condos in three projects and is considering purchasing a fifth.
"Real estate investments are my retirement strategy," Hogg said. "Hopefully I am not gauging the market wrong."
Las Vegas real estate analyst John Restrepo estimates that speculators such as Hogg make up as much as 40 percent of the market. This has prompted some of the projects to limit purchases to one per person and to require buyers to close escrow before allowing a unit to be resold.
The number of investors in the Las Vegas condo market should be a matter of concern to both developers and other buyers, said Conway of USC.
"Las Vegas prices are not going to go up forever," she said, "and when the market shifts, a percentage of speculators like that is enough to change the price of all the units in the building."
Speculators tend to liquidate their positions quickly if their investments are losing money or aren't producing the expected returns, Conway said, sending prices tumbling.
But some real estate experts say the unique nature of the Las Vegas market helps insulate it from the type of steep downturn seen in other markets.
The city is running out of developable land, and people continue to pour into the region, said Steve Bottfeld, an analyst with the local research company Marketing Solutions.
The Las Vegas metropolitan area had a population of 1 million in 1997, and that's expected to double by 2007, he said.
Moreover, with 38 million visitors annually, the city remains one of the nation's top vacation destinations and will maintain its attraction for second-home buyers, Bottfeld said.
Finally, no one expects all the projects on the books to get built.
"There's not enough skilled labor in this town to build even half of what has been proposed," said Richard Lee, a vice president in the Las Vegas office of First American Title Co.
See a fabulous new condo resort in the Turks and Caicos real estate market.
|posted by Jan Chilton @ 6:43 PM