Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why review a seller disclosure before making an offer?

Performing due diligence is a home buyer's responsibility and a major part of the process relies on information the seller provides prospective buyers.

A key piece of that information is included in the Seller's Real Property Disclosure Statement provided by most Florida licensed real estate agents.  Other information provided includes things like association disclosures,  rules/restrictions, and financial statements of the association.

When I work with buyers the disclosure is requested and reviewed prior to any purchase offer is submitted. 

Although the form is about five pages long it is not a complex task to complete.  These disclosures are prepared by the seller(s) and their real estate agent should not get involved in the completion of the form in any way.  As I always tell sellers - include everything yo know that you would like to know if you were the buyer.  Do not stick your head in the sand....disclose, disclose, disclose.

This form is a simple questionnaire about the subject property.  What are some of the items discussed?
  • any claims and assessments 
  • deed/Homeowner's Association restrictions?
  • property items like surveys conducted, boundary disputes, fences, drainage problems, sinkholes, soil movement, flood zone, etc.
  •  potential environmental and zoning issues such as hazards and  any proposed changes that may affect future value, etc.
  • termite and wood destroying organism issues (current or past), 
  • structural and major systems issues including roof related items, plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning,
  • any other matters that may affect the value of the property.
This list covers a lot of areas and is not all inclusive.  With disclosures as background information, buyers should go further including the home inspection, termite inspection, document review and more.

The time allowed for performing due diligence is identified in the contract.  Buyers need to move forward as quickly as possible.  Deadlines identified in the contract are firm unless modified by buyer and seller.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Home Seller Tips - The path of least resistance....

While reviewing listings for possible showing appointments this week I noticed one with showing instructions for a property located within a gated community that required "escorted showings only."

There appears to be nothing really special about this house.  Then I noticed the same real estate agent had three homes listed in the same community.  All three have the same instructions.

Another note said the listing agent needs to accompany to point out the features Now the light came on! 

Adequate marketing material will point out the features.   I have seen very nice brochures prepared and strategically placed in the property where prospective buyers could review and take with them for reference.

Escorted showings, 24 hour notice, showings only after 5 p.m., etc. violate one common sense rule of selling your home - provide prospective buyers a path of least resistance when they want view your home.

Most buyers do not want the seller or their agent present.  Most buyers want to feel relaxed when looking at properties - not the pressure of being "sold."

In my opinion, unless a property has some extraordinary qualities as found in custom built  higher end properties, there is no need to "sell" a property.

My experience has been a house sells itself regardless of who does the presentation.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Negotiating your real estate transaction: "Well, I would have paid more."

Negotiating in a shifting real estate market is a lot more tricky than it was six months ago.  The key to successful real estate negotiation begins with an understanding of your position.

First, do you really want the property?  This is applicable whether buyer or attempting to rent.  If you are serious, think serious offer.  Don't low ball - even with rentals.

It is not the first offer on the table gets it.   In Brevard County, Florida there are multiple offers occurring on purchases and rentals.  It is the best offer, the cleanest offer, the best price, the fewest contingencies, etc.

Next, what are your alternatives?  Are you looking at other homes?  Do you have plenty of time to consider other opportunities?

In this market you are likely not the only horse in the race!

Sometimes, as I heard earlier this week,  "Well, I would have paid more." in no longer an option.

Considering buying or selling a home in Viera, Suntree, Rockledge or Melbourne, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 if I can assist you in any way.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Verbal offers...Why do some buyers think this is the way to go?

Verbal offers...why do some buyers think this is the way to go?

First of all, here is the usual disclaimer.  I am not an attorney.  This is not offered as legal advice.  Consult an attorney regarding all legal matters including contract law.

I don't see it very often in my day to day real estate business.  Rather, I don't hear it very often - verbal offers.

My experience has been a verbal offer is more often a fishing expedition.  You know, "a run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes" approach.  

Something I was taught in my very first real estate licensing course years ago was a real estate contract had to be in writing to be enforceable in Florida.

So, when I work with clients I always put real offers on paper.  A written offer with clearly defined terms, dates and contingencies is always the best approach.

Still, I have had clients who have tried the fishing approach.  I tell them up front that serious offers are those that are reduced to paper.  And the response I usually receive is "put it on paper."

In a market with decreasing inventory and increasing prices, wasting time "fishing" when one is seriously interested in a property may result in "the one" getting away!

The real estate listing agreement commonly used in Florida allows for a seller to determine at the time of listing to receive verbal offers. Most check the box "no."

If you are serious go the extra step and put it on paper.  In this digital age an offer and an electronic signature is all that is required - written but no paper involved.

Considering selling your Viera, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850.  This is the time to sell and move up before prices rise even more.

April 2013 - Distressed Market in Brevard County, Florida...less distressed.

This monthly distressed market report (single family homes) shows the distressed market in Brevard County is becoming less distressed - prices rising across the board (foreclosure and short sale).

Also notable - the quantity of short sales is decreasing while the volume of REO properties increased possibly a sign the distressed market is heading in the right direction by clearing inventory.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Changes in the real estate market.... What do these big investors know that you don't?

Sometimes change is good.  Rapid change, however, may not be good.

The real estate markets are changing.   

Markets is used here because there is no single real estate market.  Even within a geographical area such as Brevard County there are areas where prices are climbing and others where the market lags somewhat.

Major investor groups are buying up homes and becoming landlords.  This is occurring throughout the country.  In Florida it has been happening for some time over in the Tampa Bay area.

In Brevard County I have seen several recent transactions involving outside investor groups.  I had one recent closing where the same investor group purchased another home across the street.  And these were not your "fixer upper" investor targets but rather nice homes in a desirable gated community.

I was involved in another closing where the seller was an investment group from out of the area.

I was told these investors buy now and hold for three to five years as a rental property.  Then when the market values increase to an acceptable level they will sell and make their profits. 

There has always been big money (investors) in rental properties however it has been mostly apartment communities.  Now it will be the single family home sector as well.

If you have considered buying a home, the time may be right. 

What do these big investors know that you don't?  Interest rates low and prices are rising....

Contact me for information on buying real estate along central Florida's Space Coast!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The "real" real estate agent” vs. The myth…

While attending a one week continuing education course last week at A Plus Schools of Real Estate, I heard the owner Don DeLucas comment about how licensing classes are seeing an increase in enrollment.  I am sure it is related to the improving Brevard County, Florida real estate market.

Although it is not part of the curriculum, I suggest the following be added to the course.  It is also good for potential customers of real estate agents....The "real" Real Estate Agent” vs. The Myth.

What is the myth?

The money is great, hours short and very flexible, and its just about opening a few doors. Its never getting dirty, driving a luxury vehicle, routinely eating lunch or dinner at nice restaurants with clients.  And of course there is the weekly golf outings at fancy golf courses.  And lastly, collecting a big commission check.

What is the reality? 

The days can be very long with many miles traveled. Lunch could be a hot dog at the 7-11 or a burger on the go.  Your schedule is the customers schedule although you can control some availability.  The expenses to be a Realtor®  are high and ongoing.  You are never guaranteed a paycheck as deals fall apart, buyers walk, properties fail to appraise, sellers decide not to sell, etc.

Real estate is one of the few careers where you can do all the work up front and never know for sure if you will ever earn a dime.

Finally, it is all about what you do - not what your broker does.  You work for yourself .  No one else cares if you make it in this business.

I chose this as a second (or third career) more than a decade ago.  I understand the risks.  I have seen the rewards.

When you are ready to sell your Brevard County, Florida home, call me.   Let's discuss how I can work for you to reach your real estate goals.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Home Buyer Tips - Asbestos and Mold Dangers

I think sometimes just the word "asbestos" much like the word "mold" automatically sends buyers into panic mode.

While both can be very dangerous an understanding of these and any real hazard posed (as opposed to a presence) is critical.

Asbestos was used in home construction mostly from around the 1940s up until about 1970.  It was often present in attic insulation, vinyl tiles, linoleum, siding/roof shingles, paints, and window glaze/caulking.  Unless your home is older, asbestos is likely never going to be an issue.

As for mold.... it is all about moisture and moisture control control.

Here are links to Environmental Protection Agency articles on both of these hazards.
Asbestos:  In the words of the EPA "If you think there may be asbestos in your home, don’t panic."  Follow this link to more information on asbestos in the home.

Mold:  In the words of the EPA "Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems."

If you are in the market for a new home and either of these show up during an inspection it is critical to have the situation evaluated by a qualified licensed professional.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Moving to Brevard County, Florida - Brevard County, Florida School Information

When relocating to a new area most families with children place a priority on the school their children may attend.

In my opinion folks without children should also be aware of the quality of neighborhood schools when they purchase a home.  After all, the quality of neighborhood schools will likely impact any future buyers. 

Brevard County, Florida is fortunate to have one of the top public school systems in the state of Florida.  Some of our schools are ranked among the best nationally.

In all the discussions about schools some institutions seem to get left out of the picture.  These magnet, charter, alternative and private schools are relevant as well.

Click here for an outstanding summary of education institutions in Brevard County, Florida