|How to swap|
So what's hot and what's not? Understanding permanent house trading trends.
GoSwap.org has been putting together trades for almost 3 years now and we can finally show some results of our efforts. It took us some time to figure out a system that allows us to showcase properties traded. The most recent successful trades are now posted at http://goswap.org/traded (please note, these represent only a fraction of the completed trades).
Which trades are the most popular on GoSwap.org?
Believe it or not Georgia homes are in demand. We think that many traders across the US find Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and the Southeast an attractive value because of lower average house prices ranging from $100 to $200 per sq ft. including land. Take a look at listing #2870 below which received 25 public swap proposals plus 26 private emails inviting to trade with offers ranging from a 4,000 sq ft mansion in Virginia as an even trade, to a 73 acre parcel of land near Athens, GA.
So what's the lesson for other sellers? Open up your swap criteria and value your home attractively.
What else is hot?
Interestingly, about 30% of the most wanted listings are properties in the sunshine state despite the fact that it is ranked as one of the leading states in foreclosures and oversupply of properties for sale. But what is the apparent requirement for a FL property to be desired? It is proximity to the beach. Nearly all most wanted Florida homes are either ocean view or in short distance to the beach. Not many Disney area or inland homes are on the list.
What is the most requested feature of a property on GoSwap.org?
Income. Perhaps given the present state of the world economy and high unemployment rates across much of the US, potential to derive income is one of the most frequently requested feature. Combined with a relatively low supply of multifamily and commercial real estate listings on our site, income producing properties tend to be in great demand. For months, the number one most wanted property was a St Petersburg, FL apartment building which was successfully traded in May 2009 and is now off the site. Below are two multifamily properties with at least 20 proposals to trade for each.
...and check out this gem with advertised $85K potential:
And what about all those RV's and boats on our most wanted list?
Apparently, most property owners are so fed up with paying taxes, insurance, and property maintenance costs on their real estate that they are deciding in great numbers to exchange for just about anything but real estate. "Houses on wheels" (as my 3-year old calls them) indeed represent about 30 percent of our most wanted assets with an average of 28 public and private swap proposals received.
A word of caution about owning an RV or a boat is that most of the ownership costs are hidden in depreciation. If real estate prices can fluctuate up and down based on general economic and local market conditions, "houses on wheels" will almost never appreciate. In addition to unfavorable economic conditions and public's inability to travel as a result, RV depreciation is influenced by gas prices and physical dilapidation of the vehicle after a certain age. So our advice is: unless you plan to travel or sail extensively in the near future and have the means to hold the asset for a long time with little or no financing required, stay away from "houses on wheels" as they will likely to be even harder to sell when the economy hits the bottom. One can always plant orange or palm trees and derive some income even from land in Florida, but realizing any income from an RV is a whole different story.
What is not hot?
In general, states that are "not hot" temperature-wise do not hit our most wanted list either. Although there are exceptions, such as very unusual, waterfront, or mountain view properties with personality.
Take a look at this impressive Colorado home with 38 combined interested parties:
...or this North Caroline Outer Banks waterfront home with nearly 50 trade proposals (including private):
And what about the rest of the world? Is there any action outside of US?
Yes and no. It depends greatly on the proximity to the United States. Properties in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Canada do show some interest while trading across the Atlantic is not as popular yet. Of all European countries, Spain, Italy, and France lead the way. Take a look at this multimillion dollar Italian estate with more than a handful of swap proposals:
And what about California?
California is a special case (isn't it always?) when it comes to property trading. While California is the most desired state, almost no one can really afford to be there including Californians themselves. The price discrepancy per sq. ft. between CA and other states is so vast that we can observe some of the wildest proposals. These range from desperation by the current residents trying to get out of the state and still valuing their property at hopelessly invaluable, to "wanna bees" deeming it as "God's land" and scrapping everything that they own in efforts to come up with enough to own a piece of it. Here's one reply by a frustrated seller who received a proposal to trade for an overpriced CA condo.
As mentioned earlier most recent trades are now posted at http://goswap.org/traded
For those of you who have sold or traded, simply login and click on My account > edit listing > modify listing > change listing status to pending, traded, or sold and click update. You will no longer receive swap proposals and your listing will appear in our traded section omitting seller's personal information. We also encourage everyone to send us an email with your trade story as this will help other skeptical sellers.
If you have a swap brewing and have specific questions on how to handle it, please ask on our forums. We have several active participants and pros on the site who will help. We reserve personal emails for emergencies only, while general questions can be answered on the forums only where you can also discuss this article.