The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 51 - September 9, 2009


More information than we need to know

Not only is the world flat, it’s also shrinking and all because of the Internet. There is practically nothing that you can’t find out from the comfort of your home, while in your pajamas, with the stroke of a few dozen keys. And when it comes to real estate information, the access is endless, with improvements to existing real estate Web sites or new ones created practically every week., which has been around for quite a while, has just added a free iPhone app (application buttons available by touch on Apple iPhones), enabling consumers to get the lowdown on more than 88 million homes. The app is GPS driven, so you can virtually walk around your neighborhood with price estimates popping up along the way. If you come across a for sale sign, you can access pricing, size, broker and other information. has also been around for a few years and has recently launched a nationwide filter that enables consumers to search 3.2 million listings for price reductions. Simply by entering a town or zip code, the site will list the homes that have had recent price reductions. Details include the number of times the price has been dropped, the date of the reduction and the dollar value and percentage of the reduction. Trulia claims this is a useful way to determine a seller’s motivation and flexibility on pricing as well as “taking the pulse of the market today.”

If you’re an investor or someone interested in becoming an investor in our depressed real estate market, take a look at The site has several search filters, which go much deeper than just location and price. You can determine the estimated equity on a property, especially those with big differences between listing price and estimated value. There are also cash flow and cap rate estimators to help you determine the percentage of profit on your investment. Their new PropScout tool is currently available in about 20 states and should be in all 50 by early next year.

And if you’re really a real estate nerd, will keep you happy for months. Some of the free information includes researching distressed properties by location, determining average value of properties in a specific location, crime rate, population profiles, weather and other quality of life issues. For a fee, you can download a market report providing projections for specific neighborhoods including 12- and 24-month price change forecasts. This information can help buyers determine if the home they’re thinking about making an offer on is due for a downward market correction or set for an upturn.

Lastly, in case you haven’t noticed, the future of real estate marketing is video, with Google and its subsidiary You Tube leading the way in conjunction with national brokerage firms. Even relatively small independent brokers post videos of their listings on their company Web sites. is always a great source when looking for specific locations, frequently linking the property to the listing broker’s Web site.

The sheer volume of information available via our laptops is a good thing, right? Well it certainly makes research a lot easier, but I’m not too sure about those social Web sites. Why haven’t we heard about a boom in the pajama industry?

Real Estate Transactions
Closed sales between March 2 and April 18, 2009

Anna Maria

610 North Bay Blvd.       Single family       $437,000
722 North Shore Drive       Single family       417,000
720 North Shore Drive       Lot       302,000

Bradenton Beach

109 5th St. S. #B       Condo       $380,000
1001 Gulf Drive S. #2       Condo       220,000
2305 Ave. C       Single family       210,000


No recorded transactions

Holmes Beach

611 Ivanhoe Lane       Single family       $400,000
6250 Holmes Blvd. #58       Condo       385,000
6250 Holmes Blvd. #61       Condo       370,000
6400 Flotilla Drive #55       Condo       330,000
409 Bay Palms Drive       Single family       330,000
6200 Flotilla Drive #311       Condo       245,000
406 76th St.       Single family       175,000

Source: Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office

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