Archive for the ‘Retirement Real Estate’ Category

My Top Two Tips for Catching a Deal in Today’s Real Estate Market

Monday, September 24th, 2018

By Adrienne Andreae

The market is good. It’s not 2005 where we saw prices rocket ship up and people fighting over houses. But we do run into the occasional bidding war, average days on the market are down, and sellers expect their homes to sell. Unfortunately, these conditions don’t allow for many steals to hit the market. They do pop up though.

I get calls from buyers all the time asking me how they can get a deal. Are there any deals left? How can we get one? I always give the same two pieces of advice.

Before I get to the advice, let’s discuss what I mean by “deal.” 

A deal is a house that is listed at the low end or slightly under current market value. You can tell a house is a good deal if you’ve been watching the market awhile. Let’s say homes that fit your criteria (i.e., time to open water, size, age, etc.) list between $550-$600k. Suddenly, something fitting your criteria hits the market for $545k. Or something larger or more updated than the homes you’ve been looking at hits the market for $565K. Those are the kind of deals we see these days. 

The view from 3830 Carupano which recently sold in 12 days.

When you see a house that is $100k under market value, there is some piece to its value you’re missing. I’m not picking on you, but I get calls like this often. I can usually break down why the same size house costs so much less in seconds. Maybe it’s seawall is small, its under the flood plain, or its an hour to open water. There are lots of reasons this could be true. The answer is almost never that the seller just doesn’t care about an extra $100k.

Ok, now that we agree on what a deal looks like, how can you get one? Here are my best two pieces of advice:

Tip #1: Be Flexible
You may want a home that is 2400-2600 sq ft., 3/3/3, within 20 minutes to open water, and was built within 5 years. You have the post popular criteria out there. It’s tough to find the perfect home at any price. When you are looking for a deal, it’s likely you will have to bend a little more than you might otherwise. Remember, price is part of your criteria. If you’re willing to renovate at least part of a home or spend a little more time tooling through the canal system, you’re much more likely to find a deal.

Tip #2: Be Ready

Seven years ago, sellers might list low to attract the few serious buyers still lurking around. Now, they do it to sell quickly. Another way to say deal is “priced to sell.” A priced to sell home does not stay on the market long. You will need to move quickly if you want a chance. Being ready means more than feeling ready to buy. It means you have done some of the not-so-fun stuff. You have talked to a bank if you’re getting a loan, whether it’s a loan on the property or a line of credit on your current home. If you’re paying cash, you’ve run the numbers and know what you’re willing to spend. Also, if you end up in a bidding war, the buyer who has a pre-approval or proof of funds ready to go may look like a safer bet for the motivated seller.

25351 Vantage recently sold in 3 days.

Another part of being ready is having a plan in place to get here quickly to see the home. I’ve seen offers come in on homes two or three days after they hit the market. Sometimes it’s luck that you’re in town and the deal hits the market. Sometimes you have to make you’re own luck and get here in a jiffy.

Why Did I Skip the Most Obvious Advice?

You might have expected me to tell you to watch the market closely. In my experience, I don’t have to tell my customers to watch the market. Click on a few real estate sites once and Google will find a way to keep you looking. I will tell you every site is not the same. If you want the most accurate updates on new homes on the market, sign up to get emails from our MLS portal. You can sign up by emailing us at

Top Questions Answered: When Is the Best Time to Buy Real Estate in Punta Gorda?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Summer or winter? It’s hard to say in Punta Gorda.

By: Adrienne Andreae

As a buyer’s agent at the Andreae Group, I field this question almost daily. Is it better to buy in the summer or winter in Punta Gorda?

Before I can answer that question, I’d like to dispel the common myth that nobody buys Florida real estate in the summer.

In fact, I have had years where my August sales rivaled my March numbers. Home lookers tend to be more serious in the summer than in the winter. The difference is there are fewer home lookers in the summer. A listing is more likely to rack up it’s days on the market in the summer. Many sellers take this as a sign to wait until January to put their homes on the market. They fear their home will spend all those days on the market will make their home look less desirable in the winter. They’d rather see a steadier stream of showings than the slow drip of summer. Maybe they’re going up north for the winter and would rather button it up than cater to the few showings.

(On a side note, my slowest months tend to be in the fall when people are more in holiday mode than homebuying mode.)

What That Means for You, the Buyer

In summer, you will see fewer houses on the market, but you will also compete with fewer buyers. The seller who puts their house on the market in the summer might need to sell slightly more than the seller who takes theirs off the market. While our current market doesn’t allow for the ‘deals’ of 2011, the summer buyer has a little more pull than the winter buyer.

On the flip side, the winter buyer has more options. I have an email system that will send buyers listings as soon as they hit the market*. In the summer, I get calls asking if it’s broken. It’s not. Depending on how narrow a buyer’s criteria, they could go a week without getting an email from us.

I hate to answer a question with a question, but what would you prefer fewer competitors or fewer homes? If you are really picky and don’t want to change much, you might do better in the winter. But if you’re more flexible you might do great in the summer. Either way, if you’re thinking of buying a home in Punta Gorda, it’s never to early to start watching the market.


*If you would like emails updating you as properties hit the MLS, please email us at In my experience, the MLS portal is the most accurate way for a buyer to watch the market. All the others, Zillow, Realtor, etc. farm their information off this MLS system. It’s free and there is no obligation–as in, after we set you up on automated system, we will never bother you again unless you contact us.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Zillow to Find Your Florida Dream Home

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

This could be your winter.

This could be your winter.

By: Adrienne Andreae

It’s going to start snowing again soon. You might be wallowing in fall colors now, but they won’t last. You take to your computer determined to escape before the first flake falls.

While you may not know exactly where in Florida you want to go, you know you’re ready for the Sunshine State. You type in Florida real estate and Zillow, Trulia,, or comes up. It doesn’t matter which one. This advice will work for all of them.

Before I get to my tips, I’ll admit: many realtors hate these sites. You can find countless realtor blog posts lamenting the hazards of using Zillow. I have my moments with Zillow and its competitors, but I also see why many of my customers start on them. My hope is this post will help you understand when these sites will help you as a customer and when they lose their value.

Do Use Zillow: When All You Know is You Want Sunshine.

You’re starting with a wide search radius. You want to go south. Your priority is to end the snow in your life. Maybe you’ve been renting a beach condo in Destin for ten years. You love it there, but you want to explore all your options. Maybe you haven’t been to Florida since you took the kids to Disneyworld in 1997. Maybe you’re even looking at Arizona and haven’t decided on a state yet.

Zillow and are fine sites for you. You can get started and see what areas fit your price range.

Don’t Use Zillow: When You Know What You Want Out of Retirement

You’ve waited thirty years to live near the beach or the golf course or, like many of my customers, to have your boat in your backyard. Zillow won’t tell you that Punta Gorda is consistently rated one of the best small boating towns in Florida. You may have to Google and ask your boating friends. You may have to play around on boating websites or read about us in boating magazines. You’re better off doing the research on areas that you allow you to successfully live your dream. Most realtor websites will let you check listings, and you will find them more accurate than Zillow.

Zillow can't tell you which dock fits your boat best.

Zillow can’t tell you which dock fits your boat best.

Do Use Zillow When You’re Just Curious

Want to know if it’s possible to find any house in Punta Gorda Isles under $300,000? You’re not looking to buy. You just want to know, like you might want to know what $1 million dollars gets in Boston versus Tampa. Zillow is a great distraction and fun site to poke around.

Don’t Use Zillow For Market Research

Zillow farms off the MLS. Therefore, it is often not current. Realtors may change a status in the MLS and sometimes Zillow and miss the update. I have gotten calls about foreclosures that happened years ago. Even in Zillow’s own Advice section, I found questions from homeowners looking to take the home they bought a year ago off Zillow. If you’re really looking for property, call a real estate agent or at least, use a realtor’s site.

There are countless stories of the Zestimate’s inaccuracy. I won’t get to into it here. I tried to figure out how they get their numbers, but I know too much about the Punta Gorda market. They make no sense.

(My favorite story about the Zestimates is the one about the CEO of Zillow sold his home at 60% of the Zestimate.)

Do Use Zillow: If you’re more than 3 years from retirement

You’re sitting at your desk right now dreaming of boating. I’m sorry. I did that to you with the picture above and now you’re wishing you could retire tomorrow. But the kids are small or in college and you know you’re ten years away, at least. You go on Zillow to play around, daydream, and find out what penthouses in New York cost. This is normal. Zillow can be fun.

Don’t Use Zillow: If you’re within 3 years of retirement

You’re close. You may not know what city you want, but you do know you prefer west coast Florida over east coast. You want water in your backyard and sunshine. As you narrow down your scope and retirement gets closer, you should start contacting realtors. You may think four years is a long way out, but this is when you can start paying attention to the markets in the areas you’re interested in. Believe it or not, I’ve had customers call me ten years from retirement. This is a little far out, but it takes nothing for me to add them to my email list. You can start watching the market at anytime.

In Punta Gorda, where the rental market is fantastic, I have many buyers who start to see changes in the market and decide to buy now, rent the home out for a few years and then retire in it. You can only do that if you’re paying attention to good information.

Don’t Fall in Love with a Home on Zillow Before Talking to a Realtor

My final piece of advice is to resist falling madly in love with that great deal you found on Zillow. That house may be the deal Zillow presents  or it may have sold six months ago or have issues Zillow can’t know about. It happens often that a new customer calls me excited about the home they’re going to buy and I know immediately it is not what they think. I’d rather walk you through the process than be the one to tell you your dream is not what you see on the internet.

Have you used Zillow? Is it time to reach out to a realtor? We’d love to hear from you. You can call us at 941-833-4217 or email us at