The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 6 - October 29, 2008


Is taking advantage a bad thing?

Most of us would like to think of ourselves as ethical and moral and gracious to those not as fortunate. Following the golden rule is taught to children and should be followed by adults in our daily behavior, but when it comes to scoring a great real estate deal, has the golden rule become a little tarnished?

Is it creepy to make a fortune off the misfortune of others? Sadly, the country is deep in a real estate market that is expanding its foreclosure inventory every day. With the state of Florida one of the leaders in numbers of foreclosures, it’s impossible to drive around Manatee County without seeing signs advertising foreclosures, pre-foreclosures or short sales. So what should you do if you’re one of the fortunate people who have the ability to invest in some of these distressed properties; how do you not feel like a predator picking over the bones of someone else’s misfortune?

Let’s start with the concept that real estate is an investment. Even real estate that has been used as a primary residence is still an investment, especially to the person who may be losing their principal asset. Your ability to purchase a property about to go into foreclosure is actually an enormous benefit to the homeowner. If you as a buyer can find a way to help homeowners figure out the best way to resolve their financial troubles you can come out a hero and make money. This is especially true if the homeowner is already in default on his or her mortgage payment but the lender has not yet foreclosed. At this point the homeowner is motivated to put a deal together in order to avoid a foreclosure proceeding that will wreck his credit for years.

Buying foreclosures at auction provides more of an arm’s length transaction from the homeowner. You’re at least dealing either with an auction company or with a county foreclosure auction and it’s strictly business. Buying from a lending institution provides even further insulation from the original owner, whom you are unlikely to ever meet.

Let’s face it; the real estate market needs buyers now. Whether they are first time buyers finding they can suddenly be players in an arena previously unavailable to them, or investors looking to make a killing or just a good return on their dollar, everyone is welcome and no one should be shrouded in guilt.

In an effort to make foreclosure sales more convenient to potential buyers and save taxpayer money, Manatee County will be conducting foreclosure sales online. Starting in October the Manatee County Clerk of Court Chips Shore announced that the county is moving property auctions from the courthouse to the computer. The web site address will be, and online training sessions will begin in September. This is a concept that is starting to make its way around the country as more and more communities are looking for a more efficient way to process the increased volume of foreclosure sales. And if you’re looking for properties to invest anywhere in the country, continues to be the most well organized way to find foreclosed and pre-foreclosed properties. They provide an efficient state and zip code search engine as well as other data and buying opportunities.

Buying distressed properties and maintaining your ethics are not mutually exclusive. It’s okay to put a little gold in your pockets and still keep the golden rule golden.

Real Estate Transactions
Closed sales between July 14 and Aug. 16, 2008

Anna Maria

827 North Shore Drive       Single family       $1,350,000
511 Loquat Drive        Single family        990,000
157 Crescent Drive       Lot       750,000
604 Jacaranda Rd.       Single family        700,000
620 Rose St.       Single family        539,900
316 Hardin Ave.       Single family        425,000

Bradenton Beach

2200 Gulf Dr. N.       Hotels/Motels       $2,925,000
2500 Gulf Dr. N.       Duplex        2,500,000
2100 Ave. A #A        Duplex        415,000
2409 Ave. C       Duplex        330,000


3840 Mariners Wy #525      Condo        $550,000
4203 W. 126th St.       Duplex        330,000

Holmes Beach

509 75th St.       Single family        $695,000
304 65th St.        Condo        630,000
211 83rd St. &n      Single family        602,000
625 Emerald Ln.       Single family        585,000
314 63rd St.       Condo        570,000
4703 Third Ave.       Condo        570,000
3311 Gulf Dr. #2       Condo        397,100
303 64th St. #A       Duplex        390,000
2805 Ave. E       Single family        381,000
7205 Gulf Drive       Duplex        380,000
6200 Flotilla Drive #286       Condo        315,000
6300 Flotilla Ave. #89       Condo        250,000
3607 East Bay Drive #111      Condo        250,000

Source: Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office

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