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Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles Last Updated: Sep 21, 2018 - 8:22:00 PM
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Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Selling in a Buyers Market - Jul 22, 2009 - 10:55:07 AM

Believe it or not according to many top economists around the world there are signs that the world   economy may be emerging from the worst recession in five decades.   As I have always stated whatever happens to our neighbors across the pond  is always a great predictor of our future in Freeport since we are so closely tied to the US.  

The US housing slump, now in its fourth year is stabilizing according to experts.   From the local perspective our housing market is very slow as I’m sure everyone is aware. The number of real estate transactions is down almost 30% and prices for homes actually sold are down almost 15%.

That is not great news, but if you are selling your home this  does not mean that you can’t or won’t sell your house…

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
The Art of the Deal: Tips for Buying Homes in a Buyer's Market - Jul 15, 2009 - 3:38:34 PM
When is the best time to buy a house? With so many homes on the market and a sluggish market, now might be one of the best times in recent memory to buy a home. While buyers have the advantage in today’s real estate market, they still need to be savvy in order to get the best deal.

Throughout history there have always been business cycles of recession and recovery which correlate to great real estate markets and soft markets. In other words, the direction of economic activity  eventually changes so now that the market is down  you have to be prepared for the market to recover.  Many times in these past cycles, the world  economy started to recover well before anyone really realized that the recession was ending.  If you keep a watchful eye on the news even when the statistics show high unemployment and it looks like a vicious downward cycle that will never end, the economy could actually be on its way to recovery...
Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
A "Do and Don't" List for First Time Home Buyers - Jul 8, 2009 - 11:14:46 AM

For most people, buying a home is the most significant investment of their lives.  And in spite of the doubt and confusion clouding both the financial markets and news headlines, there are many genuine real estate opportunities in the Bahamas and Freeport specifically – especially for first-time buyers. Did you know that Permanent residents with the right to work or Bahamians are exempted from Government Stamp Duty on a home purchase if they are first time home owners and the home is of a value under $250,000. On average, housing inventory is up, prices are stable and historical data on our island demonstrates that purchasing a home has proven a sound long-term financial investment. However, first-time home buyers are often understandably anxious when it comes time to making the purchase. Here is a simple “do and don’t” list to make the process easier for everyone dreaming of home ownership.
Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Deals in Real Estate - Jun 24, 2009 - 9:47:52 PM

As we approach the end of June that means that we are half way through 2009. These past 6 months have given some of us a lot of gray hairs and taken all of us on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Many experts predict that the real estate market is close to or has reached the bottom. Unfortunately no one can tell you exactly when we reach bottom because when the market prices begin to rise you missed the bottom. There is no doubt in my mind that if you are looking for motivated sellers and deals in real estate this is the time. It’s one of those times when the aggressive people make a lot of money and the timid just look from the sidelines and become what I call a “Would of Could of Should of”.

If you are a potential home buyer, condo buyer, duplex buyers, land speculator, canal home buyer or commercial buyer get up off your seat and look around for deals...

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
The Good News and Bad News for Freeport - A Matter of Perspective - Apr 29, 2009 - 11:42:03 PM

The media continues to take us on the roller coaster of GOOD news and BAD news again as we are focused on the headlines.  The Headlines this week are about The Swine Flu which could turn into a  Pandemic and   signs of economic recovery for the US. That’s  really bad news about the flu, and good news about the economy,  but where does that put the Real Estate market in Freeport, Bahamas?

Where ever I travel in Freeport I am always asked the same question. How’s the market?  Is there a real estate market in Freeport?  Do you have GOOD News or BAD News?

My answer is there is GOOD News and BAD news it’s just a matter of perspective. ..

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Real Estate is Like Gold When Inflation Hits - Feb 25, 2009 - 2:13:27 PM

US President Obama stimulus package called the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan” will pump close to a trillion dollars in the US economy that will create 3 million US jobs in the short-term and spur economic growth in the long-term. World leaders across the globe have followed President Obama’s lead and devised their own stimulus plans to get their economies moving again. So the world leaders are finally working together to make sure that we all get back on the prosperity track if that’s possible.

If all goes well this sea of money being injected into the world may lower mortgage rates which will ease foreclosure rates and the optimism of a better economy will lift the stock market as investors will step off the side line and reinvest in the market. In the short term these measures will re-inflate the housing markets world wide.

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Buyer, on Your Mark, Get Set, Go! - Feb 11, 2009 - 4:52:03 PM

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As we all know, to a certain extent the Bahamas Real Estate market has always been affected by the US market. US President Obama is about to push through an economic stimulus plan worth close to a Trillion dollars which everyone hopes will put the US back on track as the US economy is entering its sharpest downturn since before World War II, according to many economists.

This is very important to the Bahamian market because a strong US economy is vital to our tourism economy and the health of our market in general especially the real estate market. So it appears that Hope is on the way which means that if you have been thinking about buying real estate this is a GREAT time as the market is reaching the bottom because the next cycle will mean increased prices. Don’t be a “woulda coulda shoulda” investor and make your move now...

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Bahama Real Estate Trends for 2009 - Feb 1, 2009 - 9:55:50 PM

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We are already 29 days into the New Year with a new president of The United States, who has given the world hope of recovery from the economic meltdown we saw in the U.S. at the end of last year.

With the most incredible year bogged down in financial disasters, the energy crisis, the housing collapse, the stock market collapse and foreclosure catastrophe, 2008 is going down in the history books as the worst year in real estate and financial history. There certainly wasn't a shortage of news grabbing headlines. But now that is behind us and we all look to the future. Everywhere I go everyone wants to know how is the market in Freeport and what is the future of Real Estate on the island?

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
No One Buys at Christmas Time - Dec 21, 2008 - 3:17:27 PM

Conventional wisdom says that the holiday season is the worst time to try to sell (or buy) a home and especially this Christmas with the state of the world wide economy. Conventional wisdom is wrong in the case of real estate. While home sales usually slow during the holidays they certainly do not stop. There are still buyers out there even in the middle of this economic crisis because buyers with cash or credit know this is a good time to buy as sellers are very very flexible and want to make a deal ! The market has not stopped but it is of course a buyers market and buyers want good deals. There have been changes in the world this is true BUT if you are selling a home don’t think that your home is off the market for the holidays. During this period it is not at all unusual for transactions to take place and they will...
Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Price It Right - Dec 14, 2008 - 3:14:58 PM

If you own a home or land in Grand Bahama and you who want to sell today in the middle of this world economic crisis you have a choice: You can sell in the current market at current market prices or you can wait and wait until you get “your price”. Of course, the second option assumes that buyers will wait for you but there is If you really want to sell your property today, my recommendation is that you need to forget about the real estate market of just a few years ago and face the new reality that Grand Bahama is now a true buyers' market, and you will be competing with a growing supply of motivated sellers to get buyers interested in your property.

A buyers market basically means that we have more sellers than buyers and from this excess supply of sellers, buyers have more choice and can therefore get better deals because there is greater Supply than Demand.

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Negotiating Deals in This Market - Nov 30, 2008 - 4:46:30 PM

Despite the current economic situtaion,  this is a good time to buy believe it or not, but the trick is in the successful contract negotiations. There are motivated sellers in this buyers market but selling price for a home or investment property is only one factor in determining whether the buyer and seller reach an agreement.  The sales contract (Purchase/Sale Agreement) has many facets that must be considered, understood and accepted by all.  An experienced broker is a solid advantage to both buyer and seller, because they have been through countless transactions and understand the principles of successful negotiations. At James Sarles Realty we have seen deals fall apart over very minor, petty issues and we have saved deals where parties have walked away from the closing table.  As the old say goes “It aint over till the fat lady sings”.  We don’t look at deal is done until the checks clear, you have keys in your hand and you move in the house...
Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Selling Your Home During This World Financial Crisis - Oct 15, 2008 - 11:12:15 AM

If you are like most people you have been glued to the TV and Internet watching the world financial crisis unfold.   There is certainly plenty of bad news out there and it’s worldwide. Usually the bleak economic picture is reserved for Freeport, but it seems that every corner of the globe is having its own financial problems.

The good news is that from a historical perspective the Stock Market drops are not as bad at Black Monday 1987 or The Great Depression and world governments having learned lessons from the past are doing their best to stabilize the world economy. The US Federal Reserve and six other major central banks from around the world slashed interest rates yesterday and Central Banks around the world are working together to free up the credit market to get us moving in the right direction which is a good sign.   Governments may not have all the answers but ...

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
How's the Real Estate Market - Oct 6, 2008 - 11:24:38 PM

The question that I am asked everyday on the streets of Grand Bahama is How’s the market?   With the recent Lehman Brothers Wall Street Crisis which has reverberated around the world along with our low tourist numbers on the island the Real Estate Market has definitely experienced a slowdown BUT it is far from dead no matter what you hear.   There are still many buyers looking to buy and many sellers looking to sell and that is the nature of the business.

For a thousand different reasons people WANT to or HAVE to make a change in the roof over their head and this is what makes the Real Estate Business tick in good times and in bad times. Many sellers have finally adjusted their prices and many buyers are looking for deals so when you find the RIGHT 2 parties it can be a win win for both parties even in these tough economic times...  

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Wall Street Melt Down and Grand Bahama Island Real Estate - Oct 1, 2008 - 9:44:39 AM


Unless you have been out to sea crawfishing without a radio or living in Bens Cave at The National Park you must know by now that the US is in the middle of a very serious Financial Meltdown.
The U.S. Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson have begged the US Congress for a $700-billion cheque to buy up bad mortgage debts to avert a crisis that could be as big as the Great Depression of 1929.   

That’s pretty bad news.   Our slow economy in Freeport from lack of tourism “ain’t nothing” compared to this crisis but we live in a global community and we are affected by everything that happens in the US like it or not.  We are a tourist based economy and if people in the US and around the world are worried about their finances they are not going to travel and certainly will be extremely cautious when it comes to making a real estate investment abroad.   We need foreigners and foreign investment to stimulate our economy and that is a fact... 

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Where are Property Prices going on Grand Bahama? - Nov 16, 2007 - 9:07:25 AM

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It is said that when the US sneezes Grand Bahama gets a cold.   It is certainly true that on this small island only 68 miles from West Palm Beach we are greatly affected by our big neighbor to the west. When it comes to property prices the question is will our property prices be affected by all the bad news we hear on the nightly news about Real Estate or has Grand Bahama received its flu shot this year?

In case you don’t watch the US news you might not know that there is a mortgage crisis in the US.   Over the last few years banks have been lending money to bad credit risks or making sub prime loans.   Would you go into an Assue with someone who broke the last Assue they were involved in?    That person would be considered a bad risk and you would most likely not be sure that they would follow up on their commitment.   Well the US banks decided to lend lots of money to bad risks and guess what?

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Is Renting Easy Money? - Oct 11, 2007 - 1:30:59 PM
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You hear about a friend of a friend who bought a house and is renting it out to make some extra income.  

You hear that this person just sits back and collects the rent check every month, goes crawfishing now that the season has begun and you think, what a great idea! Sounds like a no-brainer. Buying a house to rent or turning your own house into a rental instead of selling can be a good way to make some passive income.  
Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Picking a winner in Real Estate in Grand Bahama - Jul 4, 2007 - 5:08:11 AM

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It is a well-known fact that location is one of the most impor­tant elements in the value of a property in Grand Bahama and anywhere in the world. Let's take that one step further. 
A good investment buy would be a sound property in an area that will increase in value in the future. Buying into an area that is strong­ly on the comeback is one way of having a successful real estate investment...

Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
The Rewards of Home Ownership - Jun 1, 2007 - 2:34:47 PM
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People buy a home for a lot of different reasons. They may want to put down roots in a community and create a sense of stability in their lives. Then there are the financial considerations and the “forced” savings that builds up in the form of equity. In addition, the monthly cost of owning a house is usually much more stable and predictable than renting...
Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Are you a Grand Bahama house hunter? - May 25, 2007 - 9:36:27 AM
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If you are new to Grand Bahama Island or a seasoned local and you are ready to purchase a home or land that makes you a serious house/land hunter and serious house/land hunting can leave you worn out and confused at the end of the day. It is hard to remember which house had the great back yard with Mango trees and the kitchen with the granite countertops and which one you ruled out because of inadequate storage space. Some of the houses you visited looked familiar--like maybe you had seen them before...
Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles
Options for Financing - May 15, 2007 - 10:28:04 AM
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When you are finally ready to purchase a new home you of course have to find a way to finance your new purchase. Since a new home is usually the largest single purchase you will ever make you need to explore every option available to borrow funds to pay for this large purchase. I suggest that you meet with several banks right away to determine how much they will lend you based on...

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