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Indoor Cat(s) Litter Box Placement Advice Courtesy of Pensacola Real Estate Professionals

I recently came across an interesting blog discussing where is the best place to put a cat(s) litter box. A realtor was trying to sell a home, where the owner’s kept the litter box in the master bedroom closet!!!

You can pretty much imagine, that most people’s comments agreed that this was a bad idea. Cat box odors will permeate clothes, towels or any other fabrics, so placing it in ANY closet  is a big NO! NO!

Most individuals who live up north have the luxury of having a basement, which is an optimum place to keep a litter box, food and water for those furry friends we keep as pets.

Those of us in the south, specifically Florida, don’t have basements. Therefore, this is not a viable option.

cat litter box in laundry roomA large laundry room is a suitable location to keep a litter box in the sunshine state, while keeping food and water for your cat(s) in the breakfast eating

Keeping the litter box, food and water in the garage is another good option. A cat door placed in an interior garage door will allow the cat(s) to go to and from the garage to eat, drink and relieve themselves.

Owner’s who elect to have the cat(s) use the garage have to be aware of their pets whereabouts when entering or exiting this area. (Some people elect to put a cat door in a door leading to a screened-in lanai. The problem with this, is that because it isn’t fully enclosed, food and water may attract pests, which may then find their way into your home.)

cat door

The most important thing is to keep the box clean, no matter where it is located, and remember to freshen your pet’s food and water daily. (Important Tip: take up any left over food after your pet(s) have finished eating, if they dine in the garage. You don’t want to attract or feed any other critters, such as ants or roaches!)

litter box cabinet and food and water cabinet comboDon’t forget there are quite a few hideaway pieces of furniture that can be found that disguise the litter box or the cat(s) food and water bowls. Check out or to see some cat cabinets that will hide the unmentionables.

And if you are showing your home to perspective buyers, clean the box and the area where the food and water are kept (and hide them away, once clean, in the above mentioned disguise-type pieces of furniture) and take your pet(s) — in a carrier — out with you when you leave. This way perspective buyers are free to look about without worrying about accidentally letting the cat(s) out.

If I can help you get your house ready for sale, contact me Lisa Burns, Broker Pensacola Real Estate Professionals here, or directly at 850-393-7106. And let me know where you think the best place is to keep a litter box.

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How Many Photos Generate The Most Interest In Your Home?


Point2 Technologies has released the findings of its 2008 Point2 Photo Effectiveness Study. The results of this study should be especially useful for both real estate agents and home sellers.

Over 100,000 real estate listings were sampled!

The graph clearly shows that more real estate photos generate more interest. But look what happens when the photo count goes from 15 to 16. Amazingly, there is a 20% jump in Views, Interest, and Leads.



The purpose of this study, according to Point2 Technologies, was to examine the impact of photos in driving real estate transactions

Below is a quote from the Point2 Technologies article about the study:

“Results strongly suggest that adding more photos generates better response to real estate listings, reconfirming trends observed in a 2007 study also by Point2.

The Study tracked three trends, namely consumer Views, Interest and Leads. All increased significantly as the number of still photos related to the listings increased.

Listings that did not include any photos performed very poorly, generating little consumer response and business. Specifically, the Study showed that listings with zero photos attract, on average, a mere 0.02 percent of the detailed listing views that listings with 21 to 36 photos enjoy. Listings that featured a single photo fared significantly better.” 

Here is a definition of the terms used in the study:

: how many times a real estate listing was viewed online

Interest: how many unique visitors interacted with a real estate listing, i.e. going beyond the initial set of photos to see a virtual tour, do a mortgage calculation or access more home details

Leads: the number of unique visitors who contacted the real estate broker or agent 

What does this mean for real estate agents and home sellers? 

Very simply, ensure that the real estate listing has 16 or more photos for maximum effectiveness.

I did my own little study using homes listed for sale on the Pensacola real estate market. I did not sample 100,000 homes. I sampled 100 homes. All were between $150,000 and $250,000 and were in various areas of Pensacola, Milton, and Gulf Breeze.

To sample, I did a search for homes in the aformentioned price range and areas. I then picked every 5th home in the list. That seems random enough to me. There were a lot more than 100 homes available to sample in the list, but by the time I got to 100, I was sick of sampling.


The first column shows the number of pictures that were included with the real estate listing in the Pensacola MLS.

The second column shows the percentage of my sample that met the picture criteria. In other words, 10% of the homes sampled had only 1 picture. 20% had over 20 pictures. 

Overall, this tells me that most Pensacola real estate agents are doing a very good job of including pictures. Around 68% included over 10 pictures.

However, with 16 being the magic number, 63% of the agents are missing a golden opportunity by including 15 or fewer pictures, according to the referenced study.

Is it always good to include pictures with your real estate listing?

Well agents, if your pictures are bad enough to end up on Athol’s Bad MLS Photo site, maybe you should just focus on working with buyers.    

Related Articles On Pensacola Real Estate News:

How Important Are Pictures For Your Listing?  


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Fully Furnished Home Takes On A Whole New Meaning

Florida real estate agent is advertising her home for sale. Her ad starts with “Florida Dream Home”.  And it does look like a beautiful home. She even posted a couple of photos of the home on her Craigslist ad.

 Florida Home For Sale

But this home comes with something special.  HER!!!

Yes, that’s right, you can buy this beautiful Florida dream home, wife included.

Here is the full headline on her ad: Florida Dream Home with a Dream Princess Bride included (West Palm Beach, Florida)

Deven Traboscia has been divorced for eight years and she is ready to get married. Deven is a single mother and real estate agent. Here is a portion of her ad:

“If you want to live the never ending dream and experience the real love, life and the romance you have always felt was a fairytale then this is the vibrant outstanding woman of your dreams! To sweep this European Loving Lady off her feet send in your application right now ”

You can find the full add at this link on Craigslist.

Florida real estate agentFlorida real estate agent 

 Florida real estate agentFlorida real estate agent

All my blog post normally fit nicely into predetermined categories. This one required some thought. In the end I decided to put it in the “Working With Realtors” category. Appropriate, don’t you think?

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Real Estate Short Sales, Is It Worth It?

Pensacola real estate foreclosuresA few years ago, very few people, including real estate agents, had heard the term “short sale”. With the growing foreclosure rate, short sale is now a well known term to both real estate professionals and many consumers.

A search of the Pensacola MLS shows that in February of 2012, of 3511 residential homes for sale on the Pensacola real estate market, 594 are short sales or foreclosures. That amounts to 17% of the homes on the market. Contrast this figure to the data on the original publication date of this article back in March of 2008. At that time, of 6693 residential properties for sale, 417 were short sales or foreclosures, or 6% of the properties on the market at that time. You can see that there has been a drastic increase in short sales and foreclosures over the past 4 years as a percentage of active listings for sale.

For  statistics on Pensacola Foreclosures and Short Sales from March 2010, see the article Pensacola Foreclosures.

For those not familiar with the term “short sale”, think of a short sale as a pre-foreclosure sale.  You are purchasing from a very motivated seller who needs to sell to avoid foreclosure. And you are negotiating with a motivated lender who wants to get their money, but doesn’t want to own a home.

For the lender, foreclosure can be an expensive proposition, due to the fact that many buyers owe more on their home than the home is worth. The lender has to pay all the legal fees process the foreclosure through the legal system, and then turn around and pay all the fees related to selling the home. For these reasons, banks are often willing to accept less than is owed on the home just to avoid losing more money on a foreclosure.

But how good of a deal can you really get buying a short sale? And if you are a seller, what are the chances of getting your bank to accept a short sale? Are the banks really motivated to sell at a discount?

The answer to these questions is that “it depends”. Every bank is different, and every situation is unique.

I read a post on the real estate site Active Rain regarding experiences that many agents were having with short sales. I wanted to share assorted quotes from this post with my readers so everyone could see the reality behind short sales, which are often advertised as the way to get properties dirt cheap in this market. These quotes are from the author of the article and from agents who left comments. The bank names have been removed.   Pensacola Foreclosures

Real estate agents now have a much better understanding of short sales than they did back in 2008. And they have experience working short sales, so it is more likely that short sales will get to closing. However, I would still heed the advice of the agents comments above and be wary of the short sale. And real estate agents also need to be wary of giving advice on short sales. Agents are now being sued for providing what can be considered legal advice to clients regarding short sales. See Hey Short Sale Expert…Do You Have a Good Lawyer?


Related Articles On Pensacola Real Estate News:

Free Legal Advice For Florida Homeowners Facing Foreclosure


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Pensacola Real Estate News: Price Reductions On Homes Common In Today’s Real Estate Market

I had the idea for this article based on another article I read that suggested many buyers feel that price reductions on homes for sale often indicated a problem with the home. In my quest to educate buyers and sellers in the Pensacola real estate market, I wanted to clarify this topic for my readers.

Price_Reduced_SignI’ll start by defining a price reduction. I am not referring to a seller who accepts an offer on a home that is lower than the asking price. This is common in most real estate transactions, especially in the buyer’s market we are experiencing now.  I am referring to sellers who list their home at a certain price, and then reduce that asking price during the time the home is on the market.

Today, many sellers have homes listed that have been on the market for six months or longer. Most of these homes have had price reductions since they were put on the market.

If you are a buyer looking for a home, a real estate agent can give you information on the pricing history of the home. If you find a home that has been reduced in price since being listed, there are generally 2 main reasons that cause sellers to reduce the price:

1. The Home was overpriced when listed. This is the most common reason for reducing the asking price of a home. After the hot real estate market of the past several years, many sellers are not realistic about what their home is worth in today’s market. Many Realtors refer to overpriced homes as “homes that are not on the market”. These homes will get few, if any, showings, and they will languish on the market. They will garner the reputation of an overpriced listing and will generally be avoided by Realtors looking to get their clients a good value.

2. A Major Defect was discovered with the home. Sometimes a home will go under contract, but a home inspection will uncover an unknown defect. This situation will effectively force the owner to reduce the price of the home low enough that a buyer will be willing to purchase it with the defect. This is far less common than the first reason. 

I had a buyer tell me that they felt they got a very good deal on a home because it was originally priced at $195K, but the owner had reduced the price to $150K. Sorry happy buyer, but this type of scenario generally indicates that an owner had to reduce the price because it was too high to begin with. It is very likely the buyer got the house at fair market value. Unfortunately, I think she was feeling a lot better about her purchase before she talked to me.

I was curious as to what percentage of homes on the Pensacola Florida market had price reductions since being listed. I do not know of any tool in the MLS that would give me such data, so I had to take an educated guess approach. Note that the results of my market survey have no statistical validity whatsoever. I pulled up homes that had been on the market for over 4 months in different areas of Pensacola, and I randomly selected homes, looking at the history of the home while on the market. My unscientific results were at the very least consistently convincing.

East Hill  – 70% of homes checked had price reductions
Scenic Hills70% of homes surveyed had price reductions
Pensacola Beach90% of the condos clicked had price reductions
Myrtle Grove90% of the homes selected had price reductions

Reduce_Price_SurveyThe homes that did not have price reductions probably need to be reduced. What this survey shows is that sellers often tend to be unrealistic about the price they can get for their homes in this market. The hot market is gone. So how does a seller price their home to sell? Simple, listen to your real estate agent. One of the biggest complaints among agents in this market is overpriced listings. Sellers who will take the advice of their agents and price their homes competitively to begin with will in many cases end up getting more for their home than if they priced it too high in the early stages of the listing.

In this buyer’s market, sometimes it is hard to get to the right price for a home, even for an experienced agent. My best advice is to find a good real estate agent, and ask that agent to show you prices of similar homes sold, and prices of homes for sale in your area. Take a tour of some homes that are considered your competition. Prep your home to sell. Work with a good agent who will do the research for you, show you the competition, and help you price your house right the first time.

Click on Pensacola Real Estate News for a list of articles indexed by category.


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