Marco Real Estate Wrap

News from, and about the Marco Island Real Estate community

The RE/MAX Results Realty building on Collier Boulevard is in the heart of Marco's business district.

Photo by QUENTIN ROUX, Staff

The RE/MAX Results Realty building on Collier Boulevard is in the heart of Marco's business district.

Susan LaGrotta has achieved a certification to help people deal with foreclosures and short sales.

Photo by Submission

Susan LaGrotta has achieved a certification to help people deal with foreclosures and short sales.

Right direction

While still basking in the recognition that Marco’s RE/MAX Results Realty outperformed all other Florida branches in 2008, broker/owner Michael Vale nevertheless sees a little irony in the achievement.

“I wasn’t surprised (by the award) because RE/MAX has been number one on the island for the past 16 years,” Vale said.

“But I was surprised when I went back over the previous four years and found that — strangely enough — 2008 was the weakest year as far as the total number of transactions and total sales volume went.”

Vale said he then took a step forward by taking the first seven months of this year and annualizing the numbers through the end of December.

“If it comes true to form based on the first seven months, then 2009 will fall close to 2006, which means we’re headed in the right direction,” Vale said.

Supporting that hypothesis, Vale said Wednesday he’d learned home sales nationally had been on the up for six straight months.

At the helm since January of 2008, Vale said the company also includes Marco Title Services, Marco Mortgage Services and Marco Island Vacation Properties.

A Naples branch, RE/MAX Luxury Properties, also exists as a separate corporation, Vale said.

The company has planned a beginning-of-season Open House scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m., Nov. 4.

All are welcome, Vale said. An attraction will be the presence of one of the limited RE/MAX genuine hot air balloons.

Weather permitting, tethered rides will be offered.

Distress reliever

Regular real estate activity aside, a number of local Realtors have become specialized in the complicated field of foreclosure avoidance and short sales.

One of the latest agents to attain the Certified Distressed Property Expert designation is Susan LaGrotta, who is with Prudential Florida Realty.

This is invaluable expertise to offer at a time when the area is ravaged by “distressed” homes in the foreclosure process, according to a company announcement.

Short sales allow the cash-strapped seller to repay the mortgage at the price that the home sells for, even though it is lower than what is owed on the property.

With plummeting property values, this can save many people from foreclosure and even bankruptcy. More and more lenders are willing to consider short sales because they are much less costly than foreclosures.

In the Marco Island/Naples area, a number of homes are in danger of foreclosing. It is happening in all price ranges. Local experts say that even high-priced homes are not immune.

“This CDPE designation has been invaluable, as I work with sellers and lenders on complicated short sales,” said LaGrotta. “It is rewarding to be able to help sellers save their homes from foreclosure.”

Alex Charfen, founder of the Distressed Property Institute in Boca Raton, Fla., said CDPE Realtor training offers the homeowner much better alternatives to foreclosure, which virtually destroys the credit rating.

These experts also may better understand market conditions and can help sellers through the emotional experience, he said.

The Distressed Property Institute opened in January 2008 and provides training on-site and online.

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