Thursday, January 23, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: What about the neighbors?

A common question real estate agents receive when working with home buyers goes something like this.... "What about this neighborhood? Is it safe?  Are the people nice?"

This question touches on an article I posted here recently about some questions real estate agents don't usually answer.

Although I do not specifically answer this question I advise prospective buyers to drive through the neighborhood after folks come home from work and the children are out of school.  I recommended they walk the neighborhood and speak with some neighbors.  Additionally a good idea is to call the local police department.

 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /
Some may wonder if the neighbors will be completely honest.  Who knows for sure?

If enough people are asked perhaps a valid conclusion can be formulated.  I guess this why pollsters sample more than just a handful of people.

The skeptic in me knows it is almost always in the neighbors best interest to speak glowingly of their neighborhood.   Why would one not promote their neighborhood? 

When I am showing homes and the occasion presents I always take the opportunity to speak with neighbors if they are outside.  Neighbors always seem a bit curious about who the new neighbors might be.

Through the years I can not recall a single circumstance where an individual ever said "nice house but old so and so next door is a real jerk."

As a listing agent I can't recall a seller make a negative comment about their neighbors or home owner association.   If you are selling your home I suggest you read 10 ways your neighbor can kill your chances of selling your house! by Fred Griffin.

Like most things in life, perhaps what a neighbor (or seller) says should be taken with a grain of salt.

As a buyer you can only use the best information available to make purchase decisions.

Buying or selling a house in Viera, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Prepare your home for sale before you ever have it "for sale."

There has been much written on this forum about preparing to sell your home.   Some of the topics included:

If a home has been properly priced for its condition, competition and location there should not be a lot of  back and forth in the negotiation process.

Still some buyers will seek to justify an additional reduction in price for no apparent reason like "drop the price $5,000 because it was rained yesterday"

OK, that is a bit ridiculous but the point is buyers will seek a reduction for every little reason they can grasp.

As a seller, don't set yourself up for the list of "problems" and accompanying price reduction.

Prepare your home for sale before you ever have it "for sale."  Buyers will look for justifications to deduct from the offer price.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Selling Your Home - A Tale of Two Different Houses

Selling a home is a tale of two very different houses...the memory filled structure (including what they paid) and the physical asset they are selling. 

And the prices will never  be equal.

To you, your home represents memories.  It represents hours of sweat equity.  It represents money spent on repairs and updating.  

To a complete stranger your house is only a brick and mortar structure on a parcel of land.

To the interested buyer it is a neglected structure in need of a landscape job with new paint. A house is a physical structure.  It is located in a physical environment (neighborhood).  It has physical attributes. It has no intrinsic emotional value.

Selling your home is a tale of two different houses.

When you decide to sell your home be ready to step away from the house you have been living in and see it as the brick and mortar structure you hope to sell.  Your emotional connection to a house has no monetary value whatsoever to a potential buyer.

Being unable to emotionally separate yourself from these two very different homes can add unnecessary obstacles to selling your home.

Remember, memories can be taken with you regardless of what "physical structure" you may call home.

When you call on a real estate agent to market your home they will provide you with a market analysis that shows market value.   Expect this value to be less than yours.  Expect this value to be more realistic.

As a buyer, keep you emotions in check as well.  Unbridled emotions can cause you to pay much more than you should or even overlook "issues."   Yes, a tale of two different houses as well!

This post was inspired by Kathy Streib,  Home Stager - Palm Beach County.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Home Seller Tips: What is the rush?

The description in the advertising said the "seller will be installing new carpet and painting."

What is the rush?  I mean why put the house on the market before the preparation has been completed? 

Life is really about first impressions.  You get one chance.  Not being ready to impress the prospective buyers from day one can cost you money.

I believe newly listed homes have a brief "golden period."  That is the first few weeks when a new listing has a chance to shine like gold to anxious buyers.   The greatest activity will probably happen early on within the first couple of weeks.  "Will be" or "Will repair" may only serve to discourage some buyers or encourage a low offer.

Don't let your real estate agent rush you to get your home on the market and fix it later.  Prepare your home for the market then place it on the market.

Placing your home on the market without preparing it for the market is like going fishing without bait.

Considering selling your Rockledge, Florida home?   Call me at 321-693-3850 to discuss how I can assist you.  I will gladly provided a no obligation market analysis and recommendations for preparing your home.

Image courtesy of marin /

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Timing the Real Estate Market

Which way are home prices headed?  I just saw a story on CNBC about the December 2013 increase in the consumer price index.  No surprise here.

Then I read a short article about how emotions about the economy influence decisions more than how the economy is really doing.

In an ideal world you buy when the prices are lowest and sell when the return is the highest. But few ever master the timing.

Further, life events don't always mirror the best timing.  Family circumstances change.  Births, deaths, employment changes, children growing older.

If your life circumstances have changed and you need to sell your Viera, Florida home, please give me a call.  If it is a short sale situation let me help.  If it is a re-location, I can help.

If you are considering a home purchase I suggest you focus on your needs and less about trying to time the market.

Ready to  buy or sell a home in Viera or Suntree, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 if I can assist in any way.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Language of Real Estate Agents - What it "may" mean...

The Language of Real Estate (Agents) - What it really means.

Sometimes real estate agents, in an effort to "not hurt the seller's feelings" will use words to describe properties that are a little ambiguous.   I am all for being kind to all living things.

But sometimes they leave buyers walking away pondering "what were they thinking?"

Value in the land...could mean bring the bulldozer.  Waiting for your personal touch...means the owner has made a mess.  Seller will entertain all offers...means bring an offer and maybe the seller will come down to reality.

Sometimes the words are used in combination.  Think, "Danger Will Robinson!"    For example, charm could mean small or if paired with another word such as vintage then small with outdated everything.
 A few of my favorites involve the ambiguous descriptors "fixer upper" and "TLC."   Needs TLC could mean minor repairs or its ugly cousin need "to learn construction."

What is a "fixer upper?"  That depends on the individual. I have met some buyers who considered a fixer upper to be anything over a couple of years old.   At the other extreme I have met some who see fixer upper as a bad case of TLC required.

By the way, just bring your toothbrush means...not a fixer upper!

(This is a tongue in cheek, lighthearted look at the words real estate agents sometimes use in listing narratives.)

When you are ready to sell your Viera, Florida home, please call me at 321-693-3850 to discuss how I can help you.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why did that real estate agent ask me all those questions?

Busy doesn't earn money.  Busy doing the right things does.

Buyers, sellers and renters need to understand how real estate agents work and get paid.  Agents need to learn early on how to work and get paid...not just be busy.

Being a real estate agent is a real job.  The illusion of some is quite different.

It is not the glamorous job where one drives around in a fancy car stopping to eating lunch at the golf club and closing a deal with a big payday.

Real estate agents work hard for every dollar they make. That is the reason why you will likely a lot of questions call a real estate agent.

Why write this?   Because most consumers do not understand how real estate agents work.

Yesterday I received a call from someone who wanted to see a rental property.  Regardless if one is a prospective buyer, seller or renter, I ask questions.

In this case it was a simple "when" question.  The caller was in a lease until April.  This is January. An owner is not going to rent in January to someone starting in April.  And for me, going to show the property would have made me busy with no prospect of getting paid.

If you are a prospective buyer I will ask you questions.  Questions may be about mortgage approval.  Questions may involve credit scores.  Questions may involve "when" a purchase will be made. 

The questions all revolve around the ability purchase a home.  Anyone can look at houses, but if they cannot buy, the real estate agent is just being busy.

If you are a seller, questions will center around why you are selling, how much money you expect to get from the cell, and your timeline (when, again).

So why ask all the questions?  It's because being a busy real estate agent does not pay the bills unless a transaction happens.

Busy is good.  Busy, productive, income producing, that is why you get questions.

Thinking about buying or selling your Brevard County, Florida home?  Please call me as I am never too busy to help you when you are ready to act!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Home Seller Tips: What do you mean de-personalize, de-clutter?

I am sure there have been times when a prospective home seller has thought while I was discussing how to prepare their home for the market "What do you mean de-personalize, de-clutter?  Things are perfect for me!"

One key first step in preparing your house for the market is to address any issue that affects general appeal.  After all, many times first impressions make or break a sale!

Of course "de-personalize" and "de-clutter" can mean entirely different things to many people.  Ever tell a child to clean up the clutter in their room?  What did you get?

To depersonalize and de-clutter means to create a neutral environment that allows a buyer to focus only on the product – your house and nothing else.

Click on these links for more suggestions to help prepare your home for the market.

Ready to sell your Viera or Suntree, Florida home?  I would welcome a chance to work for you!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Homes for Sale in the Fairway Lakes at Viera Neighborhood in Viera, Florida

Homes for Sale in the Fairway Lakes at Viera Neighborhood Viera, FL 

Why Do People Live here?    Fairway Lakes at Viera is a beautiful neighborhood of single family homes that is conveniently located just north of Melbourne, FL in the planned unit development of Viera.

For the golfer, its location on the Duran Golf course is ideal.  For the surfer and sun lover, its location is just 30 minutes from the beaches.  For the military retiree, its location is only 20 minutes from Patrick Air Force Base and its facilities.

Fairway Lakes at Viera is convenient to shopping at The Avenues at Viera shopping mall as well as the newer Viera Hospital.   For those commuting to work in Melbourne access to I-95 is just minyes away.  For thsoe working in Orlando, it is less than an hour.

Looking for a home in Fairway Lakes at Viera? 

Interested in finding homes for sale in the Fairway Lakes at Viera Neighborhood of Viera, Florida?  Click this link to search currently available homes in this area of Viera. [Just type Fairway Lakes at Viera in search box or any other subdivision you may be interested in viewing.]

What's the Neighborhood Like?

The homes you would expect to find for sale in the Fairway Lakes at Viera neighborhood are generally going to range between 2500 and 4000 square feet.   Early on many of the homes in Fairway Lakes at Viera were originally built by Toll Brothers but several other builders have built in the development.  Recent new construction in Fairway Lakes includes homes built by  Christopher Burton HomesViera Builders, D. R. Horton Homes, Emerald Homes and several other custom builders.    Most of the lots range between .19 acre and .25 acre so there is plenty of room for that pool.  Fairway Lakes homes feature tile roofs, golf course views and gated living in one of Central Brevard County's most desirable communities.

Homes for sale in Fairway Lakes at Viera are priced in the $400,000 to high $600,000s range.  Home prices vary based on builder, size and specific location (golf course, lake, etc).  Some are direct golf course, direct lake, or both. Fairway Lakes offers homeowners a great location, quality homes and very reasonable prices!

What's Going on Nearby the Fairway Lakes at Viera Neighborhood?

Fairway Lakes at Viera is located in the planned unit development of Viera.   There is a new hospital, Viera Hospital, less than a half mile from the neighborhood as well shopping in The Avenues at Viera less than a mile away.   The Avenues offer restaurants, a movie theater, major shops, major department stores like Kohl's and Belk's plus much more.  Nearby you will find Bonefish Grill, Panera Bread, Chili's, Melting Pot, Moe's Southwest Grill, Longhorn Steakhouse and many more restaurants.   Want to grab a coffee?  Stop by Books-A-Million or swing over to the nearby Starbuck's Coffee.

Find out about everything that is nearby to Fairway Lakes at Viera including places of worship, banking, shopping, recreation and much more on my website.

What Schools will the Kids Attend?

If you buy a home for sale in the Fairway Lakes at Viera neighborhood of Viera, Florida, the local schools serving this area include Quest Elementary, Kennedy Middle School and Viera High School.  To get more local school information about these schools check out the Brevard Public Schools website.

Ready to buy or sell in Viera, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Is it necessary for your real estate agent to attend the closing?

The short answer is "No, it is not necessary." 

Rarely have I seen any issue arise at closing that required either the buyer or seller agent to put out a fire.

The real estate closing is the culmination of an often stressful two or three months for the buyer and seller.  For sellers, it is the end of the strangers trekking through their home and is a time of excitement as they await  the next step in life.

Buyers, especially first time buyers, may be overwhelmed by all the "paperwork."   Because part of the closing process includes a final walk through inspection, most buyer's agents go directly to the closing with their clients anyway.  Read "What is a walk through inspection?"

In my ten plus years as a Brevard County, Florida real estate agent I have missed one closing that I can recall.  In that case I was the seller's agent and it was a cash transaction.  Still I had another broker attend for me.

Most of the time everyone is pleasant as the closing process moves forward.  Most often sellers and buyers chat like they are old friends.  Real estate agents sit quietly and, like a child, speak mostly when spoken to or asked a question.  Sometimes the real estate agents sign as witnesses to the transaction.

What about mortgage lenders?  Should your lender attend the closing?

If you are a first time buyer having a lender present can be somewhat reassuring.  As a mortgage expert they are available to answer any questions specific to the loan.  But most, in my experience, mortgage lenders do not attend closings.

Maybe it is a sign of the times with the mortgage industry as my last two closings in 2013 were attended by the loan officer/mortgage lender.

Should your real estate agent or lender to be present for a closing in Brevard County, Florida? 

My answer:  If you want them there, say so.  As for me, I will be there anyway.   

If you are considering selling your Viera, Rockledge or Suntree home, call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

In Brevard County, Florida most real estate closings take place at title companies.  Attorney closings are the exception rather than the norm although some buyers and sellers prefer to use a real estate attorney for the closing.