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Old 08-07-2010, 08:43 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, Texas
209 posts, read 410,673 times
Reputation: 46

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Hi all -- we bought a foreclosure and have been making improvements steadily for the past 8 weeks.

I pretty much feel like I have learned a lot about FL landscaping. Still learning on general repairs, and many things. Hired some good people and some so -so ones. I did save a lot of money on a total re-do on my landscaping (about a third of an acre). Talked to some smart people, read 4-5 FL landscape/plant books, and found some good vendors. I even hired a landscaping design person at $45 / hr to help me do a layout (had to get Nbhd Assoc approval). We used her for about 6 hours, and I was able to buy many of my plants at wholesale which saved me probably 1600-2000 bucks.

We started off by getting some bids for doing the total package on the yard, and i was blown away how pricey they were. So, we pretty much decided to sub the work out and do a lot of it ourselves. The bids i got to do the work (tree trimming, tree removal, shrub removal, re-plant sod, all new plants/shrubs, added some palms, and totally repair sprinkler system with the cost for everything would have run me about 18k. I haven't totaled it up exactly, but i think we spent a little less than half that amount.

The satisfying part is I know we will be happier with the yard and have plants that fit the look that we wanted vs. what the professional landscapers would have put in place. THis is not a knock on pro landscapers -they are certainly needed! Nonetheless, it is really rewarding to do this our way and save.

I found a good tree company (2 were actually good). Got a good and very reasonable sprinkler guy. Have some good nursery names depending on what you want. We bought some really large (15 ft+) royal palms for $300 each (delivered and planted).

Yes, we made some mistakes along the way -- more so on the repairs (hiring the cheaper guy vs really reliable type)... but we survived!
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Punta Gorda and Maryland
6,102 posts, read 13,779,153 times
Reputation: 1239
Its good to wake up in the morning and look out at all the work you did, and have it look sooo great! I know you got a great deal, and up-grading the landscaping is something I did at my house, and it is a pleasure to come home every day and see it, and at night I installed up-lighting so I can enjoy that. It is all on switches, photo cells, and timers so I can switch it off when I leave for a while, and it shuts off automatically when it gets to be about 10:30, and turns on automatically with photo cells when it gets dark.

I'm glad you invested in an irrigation system. When you do that much work you need to make sure it gets regular watering. Although I understand it has been raining down there regularly this summer.

I really like the royal palms!
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:54 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, Texas
209 posts, read 410,673 times
Reputation: 46
Hi BH! Yes, we've been blessed with some great showers! I've been able to turn the sprinklers off for a few days....NOT looking forward to my next water bill! I would post a pic of yard if i knew how.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:41 AM
 
153 posts, read 261,985 times
Reputation: 81
We are considering looking at foreclosures around Brandenton, out to the west. How long does it take to close a deal? What about short sales?
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Punta Gorda and Maryland
6,102 posts, read 13,779,153 times
Reputation: 1239
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnInChicago View Post
We are considering looking at foreclosures around Brandenton, out to the west. How long does it take to close a deal? What about short sales?

Short sales take forever most of the time, and are not for the weak of heart. The asking price is usually no where close to what the bank will actually take for the property. It is just a starting price to get bidders interested, and then sometimes it becomes an auction process and leaves a bad taste in many peoples mouths.

If you buy a foreclosure and you have cash you can close the deal in a week or less. If you need to go through a mortgage, loan process, it can take a month or more. The banks wait till the last minute and then ask for more nonsense information before it will go to underwriting. Even if you have a friend at the bank it won't help.

So, having the financing in-place already before you start is critical if you want to get a deal closed quickly. And, you are probably in the best shape if you can have all the funding ready to go, so you can represent a cash sale deal. Your offer is more likely to be accepted because you can close quicker.

Good Luck John!
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Sarasota
5 posts, read 13,137 times
Reputation: 13
Great information Big House!

John sometimes you will see in the description that it is a short sale with a bank approved price and that obviously means that if you offer that, the bank will accept that price (unless a bidding war happens to occur). A listing with a bank approved price will close much quicker then one that they have not approved.

Each home has a different story and alot gets taken into consideration. How many days has it been on the market, what is the market in that area, as well as the knowledge and expertise of the agent handling the sale (on both sides)

I have seen closings of short sales go faster then some regular sales. Plus the banks are getting more experienced at this so it is actually getting better.

I have one now that I am working on and it is going to be 50 days from my clients first offer until the day we close.

But Big House is right, some still are taking forever and then the buyers usually end of walking.

Good luck with your search!
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:55 PM
 
153 posts, read 261,985 times
Reputation: 81
Thanks for your input. It may not be a good idea to shop while I'm still in Chicago. I will be down there by November 1st, but was hoping so secure something before I got back down there.
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