Just Sayin’

Posted on 06/04/2014. Filed under: Fun Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , |

I am starting this site up again to tell the world as well as those in SW Florida that never leave their house, great events, places and things to do in sunny SW Florida.

Let’s start with a funny look at some words and their meanings to us Floridians!

(Click the pic) Enjoy!

Lifestyle Matters

Lifestyle Matters

Mike Cathell,
Broker/Owner, Investment Property Consultant
Real Estate Services of SWFL, LLC

Cell:  (239) 770-6250   Fax:  (239) 220-5508
Email:  InvestSWFL@gmail.com
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Selling houses to Baby Boomers as easy as X, Y, Z or is it? – Part 2

Posted on 01/16/2010. Filed under: Baby Boomers | Tags: , , , , , , |

Lifestyle Matters

Lifestyle Matters

Just knowing the differences between each generation should help you market to these very unique groups.  But I am going to add some “secrets” you can’t afford to ignore.  Most of the first time buyers (about 75%) are in Gen X or Gen Y but these groups are distinct.  Gen Xer”s are putting off marriage and families while gen Yer’s have 2.3 children.  What do yo do with that .3 child at the playground?  Gen Y couples might be more interested in single family homes.  Condos and townhomes may be the better answer for Gen X.

Reaching this group requires new marketing techniques.  Neither group likes newspapers.  The only magazines they enjoy show fun and active lifestyles.  Your ads need to show pictures of young singles and families enjoying the lifestyle specific to your area.  For Baby Boomers, concentrate on pictures of couples buying vacation homes or downsizing their home.

Social network sites are heavily populated by these generations.  The key word here is “Social”.  Treat Facebook, Twitter and the rest like any other social get together.   Engage in conversations with other people with like interests. Don’t spend time trying to sell a product or your accomplishments.  Instead be the likeable, social person who happens to be the local expert on real estate.  Gen X and Gen Y in particular, like to get to know the “real” person with whom they are going to do business.

Location, location, location – still true.  Today’s buyers want quality lifestyle in a quality neighborhood.  What constitutes a quality neighborhood?  Convenience!  Convenience to work, family and friends.  Quality of the schools was very high in importance to young families.  Family and friend time is considered a high priority. Lastly, what type of lifestyle is offered to the new homeowners?  All of these conversations should take place before showing your buyer a new home.

Another important factor of this group is how long they keep their houses.  As the younger homeowners change employment or family style, they need to move.  The average time for this is about 4 to 5 years.  Singles get married and want a family which means moving from a condo to a single family home.  Young  families are growing and need larger homes.   At the same time Baby Boomers are looking for smaller homes for vacations or retirement.  Both groups giving you a steady stream of referrals and future business if their experience is considered beneficial to them.

Mike Cathell,  ePro Realtor at Florida Future Realty, Inc.          Finding Dream Homes in SW Florida – Ft. Myers, Estero, Cape Coral & Lehigh Acres             Cell:  (239)  770-6250       Office:  (239) 542-8521      Fax:  (239)  542-8522                      Email:  jmcathell@comcast.net

Real Estate blog:  http://ActiveRain.com/thegotoguy                                                                                                                                  Web:  http://michaelcathell.point2agent.com

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Selling houses to Baby Boomers as easy as X, Y, Z or is it? – Part 1

Posted on 11/30/2009. Filed under: Baby Boomers | Tags: , , , , , , |

We Are All the Same but Different!

Finding your niche should be as easy as A-B-C, or more importantly, X-Y-Z or maybe Baby Boomer!?!?  This doesn’t make sense to anyone unless you become aware of the big breaks in selling to different generations.  Almost everyone who doesn’t live in a cave has heard about Baby Boomers (born from 1945 through 1964).  But unless you are part of Gen X, Gen Y or now Gen Z, you probably have not thought about marketing to these groups.  Just like Toys R’ Us aims advertising at kids, Best Buy aims large screen TV to men wanting that great football game experience and Bottega Venata knows women understand the importance of luxury designer handbags, Realtors should understand how to market to generations.

The largest group is the well-known Baby Boomers.  A group getting ready for retirement.  Boomers understand about saving for their dream retirement.  Many are looking to Florida for a fixer upper.  They are economical shoppers that look for deals and are aware of the economic changes that has produced value in the housing market.  Boomers are looking to downsize from the large homes where they raised their family. A simpler, fun lifestyle is what they want for retirement.  Why fixer-uppers?  One, they have time to fix it for a vacation home since they still have a few years before retiring.  Secondly, since many were born or have gone through tough economic times, they are do-it-yourselfers.

Generation X sounds ominous but these late Boomers were born into a very volatile time in our history (born from 1965 through 1977). This is by far the smallest generation which makes its members feel ignored by society.  X’ers were the first to experience broken families, AIDs, and recession.  They were not into re-cycling and they won’t sell out to “Corporate America”.  They are individualistic.  And of importance to us as we type away, they were the first bloggers!

Generation Y  are Baby Boomer “Babies”, or for those that don’t get that, the children of the Boomers (born from 1978 through 1996).   This generation was spoiled by parents and catered to by “Corporate America”.  The group is very optimistic and team oriented.  If you follow this anyone in this group in social medias, you know they are individualistic but want to be just like their friends.  They are very specific in their wants and extremely specific of when and how they want it.  Only products with multiple functions and added value interest this happy group.  Why?  This is the first real “computer” generation.

Generation Z is the up and coming generation (born from 1996 through the present).  This is the “Realist” generation having grown up with terrorism, global warming, animal extinction and dwindling resources.  More than half of pre-teens or “tweeners” consider the environment the most important issue they need to face and cure.  Through their Moms’ efforts, this group has become more than smart and talented.  They are gifted,  multi-talented and creative.  They connect through event marketing and “word of mouse”.  They believe in one-to-one connections using viral marketing, data transfers, digital media and online social media.

Knowing how to market to these diverse groups can make or break your business.  Part 2 of this blog will discuss the ways to reach these very different groups.  To make your business successful, you need to pick your generational niche as well as your product niche to make things happen.

Mike Cathell, ePro “Baby Boomer” Realtor at Florida Future Realty, Inc                Cell:  (239) 770-6250      Email:  MikeCathell@FloridaFutureAgents.com

Check out info for Baby Boomers at http://FLCoastRealtor/wordpress.com

Florida Future Realty, Inc

Your Future in Real Estate

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Did they mean “hassle” rather than “haggle” for SW FL houses?

Posted on 09/10/2009. Filed under: Getting Ready to Buy?, SW Florida Investments | Tags: , , , , , , |

pulling-out-hairI also thought this was important enough to post on my ActiveRain blog also!

In a recently released article, CNNMoney.com used research supplied from Zillow.com saying the best place to “haggle for home prices” was Florida.  While this is true in a few markets (they named four areas), us in SW Florida aren’t seeing it this way.  The areas where this is working have an abundance of luxury homes that are still over-priced, even in this market.

I have spent countless hours educating customers that this is definitely a buyers’ market, but an “intelligent” buyer’s market.  Why would a buyer think they are the only ones looking for a great deal.  If their agent is really watching the market for them, they are aware of a new listing that is a good deal.  But are they naive enough to believe they are the only ones spotting that house today?  Some don’t even believe it when we are sitting in the van, in line, waiting for our turn to look at the house.

In my experience, these deals only last a few days and due to current practices by some banks and listing agents, the agent will take offers for several days to find the “highest and best price” for this listing.  If I got paid every time I had a listing agent tell me there were multiple offers, I could have retired this year a wealthy man.

In the Fort Myers/Cape Coral market, our customers need to be aggressive with offers.  “Low balling” to start a conversation is a waste of time here.  Many of the listings in the botton half of the listing prices are selling for listing price or even higher than listing price.  Giving a low offer just frustrates the customer and the agents.  Even if it is against our advice, customers still hear about all the “great deals” the media throws out there.  Yes, as the media reported, we did have a three bedroom, 2 bathroom house sell for $25,000.  What they forgot to tell you,  it was a marijuana grow house that was completely gutted inside and is in a very unsafe neighborhood.  More importantly, it was the ONLY one and it’s GONE!  All of the houses in SW Florida are not priced this way.

Buyers need to be realistic.  Haggling gets you no where in the mid to low price range houses.  Come in strong, with financing in place or cash in hand.  You are not the only “smart” investor to be working this market!  Remember, the media makes money selling news, not selling houses.

Mike Cathell         Florida Future Realty, Inc          Email:  MikeCathell@FloridaFutureAgents.com

Cell:  (239) 770-6250                                                    Web site:  FLCoastRealtor.homestaed.com

Florida Future Realty logo

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Was Paul McCartney Predicting the Future of Baby Boomers?

Posted on 08/18/2009. Filed under: Baby Boomers | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The other night I was listening to an “Oldies” station while doing more research on the group of which I am an integral part…Baby Boomers.  The song, “When I’m 64” by Sir Paul McCartney, was written and recorded by a very famous Baby Boomer who turned 64 a few years ago.  Did Sir McCartney know where our future was going when this song was recorded in 1966 on the Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album?

Lyrics (found at http://www.lyricsandsongs.com/song/179404.html):sargent pepper

“I could be handy
mending a fuse,
when your lights are gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside.
Sunday mornings go for a ride.

Doing the garden,
digging the weeds,
who could ask for more?”

Baby Boomers, a group I am part of, are hands-on people.  Many have had many ups and downs in their career and home life.  They are not afraid of doing repair and remodeling work to their homes.  Several of the Baby Boomer clients I am working with now are looking for “fixer-uppers” and plan on doing a lot of the work themselves.  They also are planning on a more simple life with their weekend trips or tending to their yards and gardens.  Yard space is on the top of their lists for a home feature.  We also spend time discussing where shopping and local attractions are located in relation to their search.

Another prediction of the future of Boomers are the lines:

“Every summer we can rent a cottage in the isle of Wight
if it’s not too dear.
we shall scrimp and save”

Many of these same Boomers are looking now to take advantage of the prices in SW Florida and using the house as a second or vacation home until retirement.  The Boomer generation was trained by their parents to save for their future.  For many, that future was a second home to relax and unwind.  Eventually, becoming their retirement residence.

Maybe I’m pushing the limits on the meaning of this lyrical song by one of my favorite performers!  Maybe not.  I want to believe Sir Paul, one of the most famous Baby Boomers, knew where we were heading.  If you think this is a stretch, wait till you read how I feel this song was foretelling the future of Baby Boomers and Facebook!

Mike Cathell

Florida Future Realty, Inc              Cell: (239) 770-6250      Email: MikeCathell@FloridaFutureAgents.com

Florida Future Realty logo

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Great Time To Buy Florida (From FAR)

Posted on 08/04/2009. Filed under: Baby Boomers, Getting Ready to Buy? | Tags: , , , , , |

Used with permission from Florida Association of Realtors

Used with permission from Florida Association of Realtors

The upside of Florida real estate: 15 market positives

Let’s take a look at some of the opportunities for today and the future of Florida’s real estate market.

1. Great prices. Statewide, the existing-home median sales price was $161,200 in the fourth quarter of 2008; a year earlier, it was $216,600 for a decrease of 26 percent.

2. The time is right. Home sales volumes are rising again – a clear signal that today’s “buyers market” may be changing soon. In fourth quarter 2008, statewide sales of existing single-family homes were up 13 percent compared to the same period last year, according to FAR statistics.

3. High inventory levels. Conditions are ideal for buyers to find their dream home. Inventory is still plentiful in all price ranges. But as sales volumes increase, inventory levels are likely to shrink. That reality translates into this advice for buyers: Don’t wait too long.

4. Low mortgage rates. Mortgage rates are still at the lowest levels since the 1960s. Lower rates multiply a buyer’s financial power. Even half a percent can make a sizeable difference. For example, on a $200,000 home, half of 1 percent could save the homeowner about $815 a year. Buyers can get more home for the money, which is a perfect scenario for families looking to upsize.

5. Incentives to buy. Federal, state and local housing programs can help buyers make that big purchase. The U.S. Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2009 includes an $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers. President Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package also identifies and offers incentives to help home buyers with mortgages. Talk to a local mortgage lender about state and federal incentive programs.

6. A long-term-growth state. Long-term economic and demographic trends continue to favor Florida. By 2010 economists forecast that Florida will be the third-most-populated state in the country. Florida’s population is expected to swell about 75 percent by 2030. Florida has been one of the 10 fastest-growing states in the U.S. for each of the past seven decades, and often the state has been in the top four, according to census data. Population growth will continue to provide a foundation for other economic development, such as new jobs and growing incomes.  All of these trends are positive indicators for real estate growth.

7. A migration magnet. Even with a slowdown in economic growth nationally, projections call for Florida’s population to return to more normal growth levels of about 317,000 a year between 2010 and 2020, similar to the 1980s and 1990s, said Stan Smith, director of the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. That’s a lot of new buyers coming into the market.

8. A favored retirement destination. Over the long term, Florida stands to benefit from the migration of the aging Baby Boomer generation, roughly 80 million strong. Demographic studies show that the Sunshine State’s mild climate and outdoor amenities continue to make Florida a top retirement destination.

9. Business-friendly state. Florida has always been a business-friendly state – no state income taxes, plus incentives from local municipalities encourage businesses to set up shop here. Even with the current economic downturn nationwide, Florida leaders continue to keep business needs in the forefront of planning for the state’s future. The Milken Institute/Greenstreet Real Estate Partners ranked five Florida communities on its “Best Performing Cities Index 2008,” which ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth. Florida’s business climate ranked fourth among executives and sixth overall on “Site Selection” magazine’s 2008 Top State Business Climate rankings.

10. Positive investment outlook. Every quarter, the University of Florida’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies conducts a survey of industry executives, market research economists, real estate scholars and other experts. In the third quarter 2008 survey, the investment outlook for various types of Florida properties remains steady. “People who have responded to our surveys have not lost their faith in Florida as a place to be and a place to invest,” said Dr. Wayne Archer, director. “We have 40 pages of comments from our respondents, and although the dominant theme is the disruption of financing, perhaps the second theme, as one person put it, is people being on the sidelines with full pads and helmets just waiting to jump back in.”

11. Homeownership has value. Realtors believe – and research supports that belief – that homeownership provides a variety of tangible and intangible benefits to the community and homeowners. Studies show that home equity is still the largest single source of household wealth, both for the individual homeowner and for homeowners as a group.

12. Greater sense of well-being. Owning a home leads to increased personal well-being. Research shows that people who own their own homes tend to show higher levels of personal esteem and life satisfaction, which in turn helps to make homeowners and their children more productive members of society.

13. Beneficial for kids. Studies show that children raised in homes owned by their families are more likely to stay in school and more likely to graduate high school. They’re also shown to have a higher lifetime annual income.

14. Community involvement. People who own homes have a strong financial stake in what happens to their community and tend to become more involved in community and civic affairs. Studies show that homeowners also interact more with their neighbors and communities. Compared to renters, homeowners join up to 41 percent more civic and/or nonprofessional organizations, such as the PTA or Scouts; vote in local elections 15 percent more often; enhance their neighborhoods with gardens 12 percent more often; attend church about 10 percent more often; and have a 3 percent greater chance of being interested in public affairs.

15. An unsurpassed lifestyle. Finally, let’s not forget the things that brought people to Florida in the first place, and will continue to attract them – beautiful beaches, fabulous weather and a friendly business climate, with no state income tax.  It’s no wonder that Florida’s combination of temperate climate, outstanding recreational amenities and economic opportunity has consistently put Florida in the top three of Harris Poll’s “Most Desirable Places to Live” survey.

Copyright 2009 Florida Association of Realtors ®

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Who’s Your Buyer? Florida Properties Kicking Butt!

Posted on 06/16/2009. Filed under: Baby Boomers | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Unless you live in a cave, every national newspaper, TV News station and national magazines are talking about the depression in Florida.  I want them to keep talking like that because properties are selling like crazy here.  In any market, knowing your customer and the dynamics of your market is crucial to your success.

There are several categories of buyers looking at property in SW Florida right now.  I will explore others in future blogs but today, I want to talk about Baby Boomers.  Again, in case your present home is a cave, the term Baby Boomers refers to the approximatemy 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 (according to US Census Bureau).  This large group is probably the last generation to believe Florida is where you go when you retire.

Baby Boomers are taking advantage of the recent foreclosure crisis by looking strongly at the properties with deflated prices in SW Florida.  Homes that were selling for $250,000 during the Real Estate Boom are now available for $110,000.  Properties once appraised for over $1 million are now on the market for $450,000.  The average price of 3 bedroom/ 2 bathroom homes in parts of SW Florida is under $90,000.

Baby Boomers are looking forward to simplifying their retirement lives.  They are down-sizing from large homes in the Northeast and Central US to smaller, low maintenance homes in sunny climates.  It doesn’t get any more relaxed or simple than a concrete block/stucco house with tile floors 15 minutes from the beach, golf courses and shopping malls.  Condos are even simpler because you usually don’t take care of your landscaping, the management company does!

Even Baby Boomers not retiring for another few years are taking advantage of the values in the SW Florida market.  Houses are being purchased to use as yearly rentals, seasonal rentals or even better, a vacation home for the Baby Boomers and their families.

I also address Baby Boomers in my Active Rain Blog:  http://activerain.com/blogs/thegotoguy.

Mike Cathell, ePro (and Baby Boomer) Realtor @ Florida Future Realty, Inc

Cell:  (239) 770-6250         email:  MikeCathell@FloridaFutureAgents.com

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But it says it’s “Active”!?!

Posted on 05/28/2009. Filed under: Getting Ready to Buy? | Tags: , , |


There seems to be some confusion about what certain terms mean on the Multiple Listing Services that confuse the public.  Actually, they even confuse real estate agents at times!  These are the terms used to show the status of the listing.  I am going to try and explain those terms as well as I can, but secretly, I get confused at times too.

I don’t think “Active” needs an explanation but here goes – the property is for sale!  No ifs, ands or buts – go look at it and buy it!  But the customer wants to look at one marked “Active Contingent”.  Now what happens?  This property has an offer but there might be a contingency that the buyer needs to fulfill first.  The two most common are financing or selling the house they presently own.  If the contingency does not get fulfilled, then the property is “Active” again (well, it’s supposed to be).

Now let’s add more words and make it more complicated…another property is “Active contingent short sale”.  More words must mean more things to worry about!  Actually, this phrase was brought about with the rise of short sales.  Short sales usually have time constraints since you are dealing with 2 agents, a seller, a buyer, sometimes 1 or more attorneys and the big huge unknown entity called “the financial institution” (yikes).  There are more forms and many more signatures needed to have an offer go to contract.  This phrase warns prospective buyers that there is another offer on the table and it could be awhile before an answer is reached.  Some banks will take a back-up offer in case the first buyer pulls out of the deal because of the time constrains.  To sum up, “Active contingent short sale” means pray for patience and divine intervention.

“Pending” is a little friendlier.  This term means an offer has been accepted and a contract now exists between a seller and a buyer.  The hope of everyone involved is that the term “Sold” is on the horizon.  These are two of my favorite terms with “Sold” bringing many smiles and shouts of hurray!

I hope this helped a little bit in understanding what all these scary terms mean!  The next step will be working towards everyone using them uniformly, but that’s a whole other blog – so don’t get me started or it will really get scary here!


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First Time Home Buyers Credit!

Posted on 02/19/2009. Filed under: Getting Ready to Buy?, SW Florida Investments | Tags: , , |

First time Buyers - take advantage!

First time Buyers - take advantage!

Another reason it’s a great time to buy in Florida – first time home owner tax credit!  A first time home buyer can receive up to $8000 tax credit if they purchase now.

Some of the details:

  • New definition of 1st time home buyer is anyone who has not owned a home in the past three years.
  • This is a credit which means it does not need to be repaid.
  • The credit is based 10% of the purchase price of the house up to $8000.
  • The house needs to be purchased between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009 (need to hurry!).
  • Can be claimed on 2008 taxes if not filed yet (another hurry to get on this!).
  • Based on single income of up to $75,000 or married, combined income up to $150,000.

Combined with the large inventory of available homes, special mortgage programs for first time buyers and the rock-bottom house prices, what’s stopping new home owners?  I think it needs repeating that the new definition of a first time buyer is anyone who has not owned a house in the last three years.  If the economy, a transfer or change of  family has turned you into a renter for the past three years, now is a great time to buy a house again.

To see the great prices on houses in Lee County, Florida the way Realtors do, check out this great site:  http://fortmyersrealestate.listingbook.com.

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Great Time to Buy Property in SW Florida!

Posted on 02/18/2009. Filed under: SW Florida Investments | Tags: , , |

Can this be my Realtor?

Can this be my Realtor?

When you talk to the average person about buying Real Estate right now, they look at you as if you must be visiting from another planet.  Buy savvy investors know now is a Great Time to Buy Property in SW Florida!

Along the Gulf Coast of Florida, the “Real Estate Boom” of 2001 to 2004 brought tons of speculators to purchase properties in this explosive land of paradise.  Unfortunately, “free mortgage money”, unrealistic price increases and predators have left SW Florida with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the US.  So much so, that recently President Obama flew to Ft. Myers to discuss his recovery plans and meet with local business and political leaders.

So what does this mean for savvy investors?  There is a large inventory of homes available at investment quality prices.  Mortgage rates are still at great rates.  Banks do not want to take possession of these houses.  Many of these homes have never been lived in since they are builder spec houses.

Commercial properties have been developed since housing market declined.  City Development Councils are working hard to attract businesses to SW Florida.  Need for rental properties growing.  Baby Boomers are getting ready for a mass exodus to Florida.. (All of these will be addressed in blogs the next few weeks.)

Investors have become wealthy for decades by buying when the rest of the world stopped buying.  Recessions have created more personal wealth than any other economic atmosphere.  Who has not heard the saying “Buy Low, Sell High”?

So, I say it again – Now is a Great Time to Buy Property in SW Florida!

Seats still available in SW Florida!

Seats still available in SW Florida!

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