When to call the listing agent….never

A real estate transaction anywhere is an expensive proposition. Buyers and sellers rely heavily on a real estate professional for advice and to ensure they are making an informed decision. Florida is a transactional brokerage state which allows a Realtor to remain legally neutral and actually can assist both parties on the same transaction. It’s typically not a great idea because a sellers goal is typically to obtain the highest selling price while a buyers goal is to get the seller down to the best possible purchase price. Having one person assist both parties frankly doesn’t make sense.


The value of a home is determined by many factors; the size of the home, the age of the home, the size and characteristics of the lot, the quality of construction, the features of the home and other factors all play a role. Comparable sales of similar homes in close proximity helps provide guidelines for current value. How well the home is marketed and will show when toured by prospective buyers is a huge factor. Buyer and seller motivation are both key factors. Understanding the relationship of all this information and how it plays into the strategy a well represented buyer, or seller, may take can make a very significant difference in what a property ultimately sells for.

Let’s look at home sales in the Jupiter Farms neighborhood in 2017. More that 200 homes closed and it would be hard to find a Jupiter neighborhood with as many different home and lot styles, quality and sizes as we find here. Sales prices ranged from $180,000 all the way up to well over a million dollars. There were homes that were brand new and some that were built almost 60 years ago. The smallest home sold last year in Jupiter Farms had only 204 square feet and the largest over 5,000 square feet. Lot sizes and locations offer almost as much differences as the homes.

One thing is certain and evaluating everything that comes together to determine true market value is not as simple as it may look in a neighborhood like Jupiter Farms. If a buyer and seller are represented by the same person one party, or both, isn’t going to do as well as they could have. Let’s look at last year’s sales in Jupiter Farms of concrete block homes built after 1995 with a minimum of 2,500 square feet and a lot size under 1.5 acres. The lowest sales price was $130 per square foot while the highest sales price came in at $245 per square foot. Paradise Sharks knows both homes very well as we represented the seller on the highest price sale and we represented the buyer on the lowest price sale.

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When Paradise Sharks was working with our buyer that purchased the home for $130 per square foot our goal was to get them the very best price. It was our job. The subject home had been on the market for over 6 months. Its list price had been lowered 8 times and almost 20% from its original price of $674,900. Now, priced at $549,900 and we were able to further negotiate, sensing the time was right with a seller who had seen enough. Our buyer paid $497,000, or $177,900, below the homes original list price. You see, we were working with a buyer and our obligation was to find them the best house at the lowest price. They ended up paying $130 per square foot and we were quite pleased. Ask yourself how we could also be working with the seller as their broker and be effective in acting in our clients best interests. We couldn’t.

Just down the street, we had recently worked with a seller and our obligation in that case was to get them the highest price. We studied the market, knew the house was going to show amazingly well, because the client understood the importance of presentation and staging. We brought in our ace photographers and marketing team and put it on the market at $599,000 late one Friday afternoon. Our marketing was well received and we had 3 showings on Saturday. Each presented an offer and we had a little bidding war. Early Sunday morning our client accepted an offer of $615,000 or $245 per square foot. Later, we fielded two calls from the Palm Beach County Property Appraisers office as they were surprised, at not only the price, but the sale well above list price. Now, ask yourself how could we have worked with the buyer on this transaction and also be effective in getting our clients the highest price for their home. We couldn’t.

There is no way that a professional Realtor can effectively help a buyer get the lowest price and a seller get the highest price on the same transaction. It’s impossible. If you are getting ready to do real estate, of any kind, you need to have goals and a broker who is working in your best interest. Seeing a home advertised and calling the broker who is representing the seller is the worst mistake you could ever make. Period. Calling the listing agent just does not make sense if you really are looking to negotiate your best deal.

Paradise Sharks firmly believes in ensuring are clients are well informed. We don’t want to sell them, we want to educate them. If we can ever help educate you about anything real estate, please feel free to contact us anytime at tom@paradisesharks.com or 561.308.0175.



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Jupiter home sales jump 14%

Jupiter home sales, and those throughout the Northern Palm Beaches, are up 14% from where they stood 30 days ago. A nice move indeed, but somewhat expected. After all, we are in the middle of the strongest home buying season we will see all year.

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Interest rates have moved higher, but leveled off over the past month after a fairly steep climb. Options for home buyers in the Jupiter area have been improving, but are still far below year ago levels. Over the past month, inventory levels in the Northern Palm Beaches are down slightly and today sit about 11.5% behind 2017 numbers. Unfortunately, for those out looking for the perfect opportunity, the number of homes available for sale will, in all likelihood, continue to dwindle over the next 6 months.

Sales have not been fantastic this year, but so far in March are showing a bit of spunk. In fact, in Paradise Sharks March 1st market update we informed you that even though sales jumped in February by 18.5% pending home sales on March 1st were down 30% from what we have seen in recent years. But, over the first half of March, pending home sales in the area are up 9.6%, which again is a very nice spike, and a bit higher than expectations. Last year, over the same period pending home sales were up 7.9%. In 2016 they were up 4.1%. So, March to date has been a great month especially with interest rates rising and poor inventory.

What about prices. With sales (demand) pushing higher and inventory levels (supply) questionable one would expect pricing pressure to be to the upside. As of March 1st, median single family home prices in the Northern Palm Beaches were up for three straight months to $465,000 and so far this month are up about another $5,000. Getting very close to the 12 year highs we hit back in September. All time record highs are in sight. Median condo prices are reported each month by Paradise Sharks and are still about a week away from final numbers but watch for them to be up again to new 12 year highs. Still a ways to go before we are talking new all time records but prices have been pushing higher across the board.

The national economic news remains positive and while there is still way too much negative attitude out there, the stock market continues to react well to employment numbers and the growth we have been seeing. Stay tuned, pay attention and if doing anything real estate seek knowledge. Interview, ask questions and make informed decisions. If Paradise Sharks can ever be help in any way please feel free to contact us at tom@paradisesharks.com or 561.308.0175.


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If you want to sell a Jupiter single family home you better have it listed quickly or you may miss the boat

If you are thinking about selling your Jupiter single family home, the time to stop thinking and get acting is now. The reason is simple, if you believe historical trends. Year after year, there is one month that stands out when we look at the sales of single family homes in this seaside village.

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June invariably leads the pack when counting the number of single family closings each year by month. Once again in 2017 it was the busiest month for closings in Jupiter with over 13% of all sales for the year. To find a year when June wasn’t the busiest closing month for single family home sales in Jupiter you would have to go all the way back to 2011. The odds are high that this year more single family home sales in Jupiter will close in June than any other month. Last year, once June passed you by, closings dropped well over 30% in July and then continued dropping for months. In September 2017 sales of Jupiter single family homes were about 1/2 of what we enjoyed in June. You do not want to miss June if you have a Jupiter single family home to sell.

So here we are on March 4th, why do we get going now if the big sales month is still 3 months away. First, it is going to take you a little time to schedule interviews with real estate brokers. Then to take their advice on staging, decluttering, scheduling photos and the clock keeps ticking. Then you still need to get the brokers marketing machine working to find a buyer who is willing, ready and able to pay your price.

68% of Jupiter single family home sales closed with loans last year so it takes between 30 and 45 days between going to contract and the actual closing. We see a few go quicker but with required association approvals that is fairly rare. With association approval, inspections and potential loan underwriting it all takes time. Once you add these time lines together you will see that someone who is thinking about selling a single family home today in Jupiter had better get moving if they want to hit the historical hot spot of this market.

So if you are thinking about selling a Jupiter single family home you need to get moving. Remember to interview at least three real estate brokers and ask a lot of questions. Find out what they are going to charge you and what their marketing plans will look like. Ask questions and find someone you trust with what is a big financial decision. If you want to walk away with the best price the time is perfect for you to do just that.

If your home is anywhere in Palm Beach or Martin County Paradise Sharks would be honored to be on your interview list. We never charge our clients over 5% and are happy to show you our track record. Contact us anytime at tom@paradisesharks.com or 561.308.0175.


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Disappointing Jupiter real estate season

March 1st is a very important date when it comes to Jupiter real estate. The “season” is half over and real estate professionals should be beaming from ear to ear. But if you look around and really ask it’s just not so this year.

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Sure, pending home sales are up for three straight months, up 18.5% during February. On the surface, these look like pretty good numbers. In reality, pending home sales in the Northern Palm Beaches are the lowest they have been on March 1st for many, many years. They are 30% lower than numbers we have seen in previous years so while they have been increasing the Jupiter real estate market is looking tired.

Inventory concerns are not getting better. As of March 1st, the number of homes available for sale in Jupiter, and the surrounding communities, is up for the 2nd straight month, but when you start digging into the numbers they are bad. Once again, they are at the worst levels we have seen for many years. Compared to previous years they are down by as much as 15%. But the bigger problem is, between now and August, the odds of any increase in the number of homes available for sale is somewhere between very slim and none. The odds are very high that over the next 5 to 7 months inventory levels will fall lower and lower. Buyers will have even fewer options.

With pending sales rising and inventory levels so poor one would think pricing pressure would be to the upside. However, the median single family home price in the Jupiter area is lower than it was 8 months ago. Median condo prices are virtually unchanged over the past 10 months. One would hope, we would see higher prices heading our way but so far it just isn’t happening. Many sellers are priced ahead of the market, hoping that inventory starved buyers, will be happy to chase their over priced homes. In most cases they are very disappointed.

At this moment, there are 432 single family homes on the market in Jupiter and 10.6% of them have lowered their list prices over the past week or so. No doubt about it, buyers are in charge of this market. Jupiter real estate is not looking as strong as it should on March 1st.

Looking forward, our new Fed chief made comments that rocked the financial markets on Tuesday. He is appearing before Congress again later today and it certainly looks like we should all be bracing for higher interest rates ahead. Paradise Sharks keeps a very close eye on sales of million dollar homes as they are extremely important to the “mood” of the market. Last year, they sold at record levels. During January, they broke another record. Too soon to count final February numbers but they are not at a level that gives us goose bumps.

Word on the street is the economy is booming, employment is at record levels and the stock market seemingly has stabilized from that couple weeks of extreme volatility. Keep in mind that every property is different and plays by an entirely different set of rules. Over the past two weeks sales have fallen in places like Juno Beach and Palm Beach Gardens while in the Village of Tequesta they have jumped 25%. Pay attention to the numbers as they are always telling a story and that story is always changing. The key to real estate is being educated and if Paradise Sharks can ever be of help in any way please feel free to contact us at tom@paradisesharks.com or 561.308.0175. Not only will we educate you but we will also save you money. It’s what we do.


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The Palm Beaches – living in paradise

Living in Paradise. The Palm Beaches. The essence of the good life. Sunshine, palm trees, beaches, golf courses, world class dining, unique boutiques, the list goes on and on. Throughout the world everyone knows about South Florida and it means so many different things to just about everyone who one day dreams of their own slice of paradise.


The amazing thing is you do not have to be a millionaire to enjoy your own home in the sun. During 2017 more than 32,000 properties have sold through the real estate community in Palm Beach County. Sales prices that start under $10,000 and go all the way up to $50 million dollars and beyond. The point is there is a place for everyone with a dream and a well designed game plan to get there.

Stretching from Boca Raton to Jupiter, Palm Beach County is home to well over a million people and a multitude of lifestyles. Many of our residents never step on the sandy beaches while others never miss a day dipping their toes in the water. Surfers who never would think about picking up a set of golf clubs. Golfers who would never dream of kayaking up the Loxahatchee River. Those who rarely leave the confines of their gated communities to those who wouldn’t even consider living in a community encumbered by a homeowners association.

How does one begin to find that perfect home in which to laugh, entertain, cry and experience life to its very fullest? The answer is not an easy one and mistakes in real estate can be very expensive, especially in South Florida where home prices have been know to move both up and down with crazy, wild swings. It is easy to find price moves of 30% in some market segments in a single year. Both up and down.

Find a home that will not stretch your pocketbook too thin in a location where you will find the lifestyle you are looking for. It really is that simple. If you love the beach you probably do not want to live in Wellington. If it is an equestrian lifestyle you are seeking you aren’t going to find it along Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. But if you love to walk and hate to drive that would be one location you must consider. If your passion is deep fishing there are only four inlets in Palm Beach County that link the Intracoastal Waterway to where you want to spend your time. Location, lifestyle, budget.

The key is education and information. We live in a world where it’s easy to find if you know where to look. It’s your life and you deserve the best so if your dream is warm ocean breezes along the coast in Palm Beach County then start your research. Knowledge is power and at the end of the rainbow the perfect seaside home is waiting for you to cross the threshold and start living, South Florida style. Your style.

Paradise Sharks loves educated clients and serves buyers, and sellers, throughout Palm Beach County. If we can ever be of help in making your dreams of paradise come true, reach out to us anytime at tom@paradisesharks.com or 561.308.0175 for a complimentary consultation.


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February starts with strong home sales for the Jupiter area

Season is here. The beaches are busy. The hottest restaurants are jammed and there are plenty of smiles as one travels around the Northern Palm Beaches. The weather is spectacular and it’s the time of year when pending home sales are supposed to surge. With interest rates up for the 6th straight week, to the highest levels we have seen in 4 years, and a stock market that has been on a wild two week roller coaster ride you have to realize that economic factors are going to play a huge role in this years’ real estate market.

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So far, pending home sales in the Jupiter area, appear unaffected by these outside influences. As of February 15th, pending home sales in the area are up by an exceptionally strong 36% over the past month. That is among the strongest increases we have ever seen and a sign that people are indeed buying homes. The number of homes currently under contract in the Jupiter area is slightly ahead of year ago numbers.

However, median prices of both condominiums and single family homes are essentially unchanged over the past 9 months. Single family home prices are up significantly for the 3rd straight month but that rise follows on the heels of an equally significant 3 month slide between August and October of last year. We do anticipate the strong increases in pending home sales will be pushing prices a bit higher, but right now not by anything that looks like a surprising amount.

Inventory levels have risen for the 5th straight month, but remain a full 11% below where they stood one year ago. Looking at historical patterns, we are at a place when we expect inventory levels to hold steady at best, but are more likely to fall in the weeks and months ahead. Still, many sellers are priced too high and over the past week, 7% of all Jupiter single family home sellers have reduced their list prices. If we could get one thing clear in every sellers’ mind before listing their home, it is that over pricing a new listing is usually about the worse mistake you can make. Period and exclamation point.

There is also a huge disconnect in what type of home is selling and what types of homes are available. Consider that over the past 12 months, the median sales price of a single family home in Jupiter is $480,000, which is a substantial number. Not only is a median sales price at this level extremely high for anywhere in Florida, it is among the highest in the United States. But guess what the average list price of a home in Jupiter is at this moment? $789,000 or a full 64% above the median sales price. That, my friends, is a huge disconnect and a real problem in a market where inventory and affordability are key concerns.

We are also very concerned how the new tax laws will effect sales at the upper end of this market with tax bills above $10,000 no longer tax deductible. In this market, that is almost 50% of all sales. Ask around, and dig a little deeper, and you will find that yes sales have been steady but we are not seeing any great amount of euphoria it today’s market. Buyers must be very well positioned to act immediately on the best new opportunities, under the $500,000 level, as they will go fast if the sellers have a realistic marketing and pricing strategy. Those sellers that do not understand the metrics surrounding their property and keep close tabs on where this market is heading may be more than a bit disappointed.

Paradise Sharks cannot stress enough, the need for both buyers and sellers in this market to be fully educated and making informed decisions. The risks are high in a market that has the ability to move with exceptional speed. Don’t go it alone, or with an inexperienced broker, and by all means if we can ever answer any of your questions please feel free to contact us at tom@paradisesharks.com or 561.308.0175.


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