Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Home Seller Tips - Is it worth it?

I wrote this while sitting in the auto repair shop this morning.  Fortunately the issue was not a major repair although not inexpensive either. 

I considered doing it myself.  I checked into the Ford parts department a couple of days ago. The parts cost was about $250.

I asked the service department staff if it was an owner capable repair.  The response was "Well, if you have some skill."

I paused.  I went home.  I considered his response. 

The next day I made an appointment for the repair.  I possibly could have done it successfully.   Then, I may have failed and then had to call a professional.

Sitting in the waiting area made me think my decision was probably similar to the decision faced by some for sale by owner property owners.

I had to consider several factors.  Things like the value of my time, my comfort level with the process, and, most importantly, the likelihood of success.

The cost of parts, whether from the dealer of the shop, was basically the same.  The question I had to consider was... Is the minimal added cost of having a professional provide the service worth it?

In the case I said yes.

If you are considering selling your home as a for sale by owner, what say you?  Are you comfortable, confident, and willing to take the risk?

In Brevard County, Florida, if the answer is no or maybe not, then give me a call.  Lets talk about how I can do the work for you.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

March 2014 Median Sales Prices - Single Family Homes Brevard County, Florida

It is all about location....within the neighborhood, within the county.  In central Brevard County, Florida the March 2014 single family home sales prices demonstrate the value of location.

For instance within the "mainland" central areas of Viera, Suntree and Rockledge (by zip code), the March 2014 single family homes sales were.
  • 32940  - 73 sales with median sales price of $220,000  (Viera/Suntree)
  • 32955  - 69 sales with a median selling price of $177,250. (Viera/Rockledge)
As you go further south the zip code just below 32940 is zip code 32935 where the median sales price was $96,500.  Go north of zip code 32955 you will find in zip code 32926 a median single family home selling price of $130,000.

What about as one goes toward the ocean?  To east over on Merritt Island zip code 32952 had a medians sales price of $165,500 and zip code 32953 was $190,000.

Still heading eastward toward the surf the "beach side" the figures climb somewhat.  In just two of the zip codes along the ocean the median sales prices were 32931 ($299,950) and 32937 ($235,000).

The above reflects median sales prices within the selected zip codes.  That is not the average price but rather reflects the price at which half were higher and half lower.

Add direct water front, on the golf course, in a gated community, etc. to the criteria and the price paid was quite likely higher than the median reported selling price.

If you are moving to Brevard County, Florida, knowing the selling prices based on location within the county is useful in deciding specific locations to consider.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Because you see them doesn't mean you should buy them.

Because you see them on the Internet doesn't mean you see them.  Recently I had a call from a prospective buyer that wanted to buy a home in Brevard County, Florida.

After much discussion about what the caller wanted in a house (move in ready, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, close to job) I asked about the budget.   Knowing one's vision in a home up front allows me to respond to the budget.

The response was "$25,000 to $30,000."   Before I could say "Huh?" I was given the answer I was seeking.

"I saw some in the listings on the Internet."
Example - not actual listing

Yes, there are a little more than a dozen single family detached structures for sale in Brevard County, Florida for $25,000 to $30,000 (this morning about 16 listings out of 2,800 listings in the MLS system).   A baker's dozen of these are located north of Rockledge, Florida with most in the Mims and Titusville areas.  (Location, location, location!)

But these homes did not fit most of the criteria identified by the caller.  Just because you see them in the MLS doesn't mean you should or can buy them?  Unless a buyer is paying cash many are in need of so much rehabbing they may not qualify for financing.

The key take away for this buyer from our conversation 
  1. Call a local real estate expert, then
  2. Define realistic expectations, then
  3. Begin your home.
Just because you see some really low priced houses for sale in Brevard County, Florida, most often they are not really what you are seeking.   These homes need work and, unless a buyer is an investor with available funds, the significant amount of work needed restrict most buyers - especially those with financing.

When you are ready to buy a home in Brevard County, Florida give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Sit and wait....

The process of buying or selling a home is pretty simple on the surface.    Still, every transaction is different.

But, once all the "issues" have been resolved, the inspections completed and closing date scheduled, what does a buyer do in the interim?

NOTHING - if you are not paying cash, that is.

Buyers should place their lives in a holding pattern. 

Do not apply for or get a new credit card.  That credit card offer to transfer balance on a card should be trashed.  Furthermore, do not go out and start charging purchases on any existing credit accounts.   Don't apply for a loan to buy that new car.  Do not quit your job.


Because before closing, even though you are already "approved,"  a change in credit scores could hurt your mortgage approval or interest rate.  A change in jobs could create a problem as well.  If you must go out and buy new furniture on credit, do it after closing.

Your mortgage company will likely verify employment, credit status and other things a few days before closing to make sure no changes have occurred.

So, the period of time between the inspection and the closing should be boring...very boring. Bide time...

Ready to buy a house or condo in Melbourne, Viera, or Rockledge, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email if I can help in any way.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

March 2014 Single Family Home Distressed Sales in Brevard County, Florida

March 2014 single family home distressed sales in Brevard County, Florida show a significant decrease in short sales over March 2013 with an increase in all median sales prices.  Below graphic provided by Florida Realtors®.

For information on homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida....

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Brevard County, Florida Rental Property Owners: Should you go owner managed or hire a property management company?

Rental property management is not something I would ever want to do and is exactly why I only provide tenant placement services for owner managed residential real estate in central Brevard County, Florida.

Sometimes I believe there are some prospective tenants who are under the mistaken belief that owners of rental property operate like a charity.

Most often the owner of rental properties is an investor who has a goal of making a return on their investment.  This should be no surprise to anyone.

Sometimes the owner is an individual who has to be out of the area temporarily or who has moved due to a job change who is choosing to rent for the time being rather than sell.

But the goal or motivation of a rental property owner really should be of no concern to a tenant.

With that said, I always recommend my buyers use a full service property management firm.

There are lots of rules to be followed including the the fair housing laws as well as fair credit regulations.  In Florida there is the Florida Landlord and Tenant Act.  

Land lording is not what is is all chalked up to but many owners do it well.  These are owners who know the rules, approach it like a business, enforce the rules and treat all fairly

Visions of easy money (always on time money) and the perfect tenants who take care of your house as if it were their own are most often part of the first time landlord dreams.

But don't let me discourage owners who want to tackle their own property management.  I recently had an owner who had a tenant I placed leave - after seven years!

If you are a property owner looking for a property manager in Brevard County, Florida, please give me a call.  I will be glad to give you a couple of companies to call.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Indian River Colony Club in Viera, Florida - Prices increasing in this 55+ community?

When one compares the home prices between Viera, Florida's three 55+ communities the first thing noticed by many is that Indian River Colony Club home prices are lower than the others. 

That is primarily because Indian River Colony Club is different than the other 55+ communities in Viera.   It is important to understand not all 55+ communities are created equal.  

I looked over some of the sold statistics for Indian River Colony Club for the past five months.  Of these, January only had a couple of closings so I would not put too much in it.

Sold Price per sq ft under air
  • Apr 2014 - $72.08
  • Mar 2014 - $71.67
  • Feb 2014 - $61.62
  • Jan 2014 - $45.84
  • Dec 2013 - $57.23
Average sold price
  • Apr 2014 - $134,833
  • Mar 2014 - $133,900
  • Feb 2014 - $123,114
  • Jan 2014 - $92,500
  • Dec 2013 - $109,500
The data above was compiled these by hand from the sold listings in the MLS system.  It does appear to have the beginnings of a trend - increasing prices.

Looking at the sold listings a noticeable difference in properties (at least to me) was at the $140,000 plus selling price.  These properties seem to have had some updating or a lot of remodeling. 
A lot of the "original equipment" homes are the ones selling around the the $100,000 price (give or take a little).   By original equipment I am saying no or very little updating.  Also there are a few outliers in these where the property sq ft under air is above 2,000 ft which is really a larger home for IRCC community. 

As always...another variable that comes into play at IRCC is the location - some on water, some on water plus golf course, etc. 

As with all homes, in the end, like always, each house will have to stand on its on. And its selling price will be based on it - not some statistic I published here.

For information on Florida 55+ communities and homes for sale in Viera, Florida, please give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Choosing Your Brevard County, Florida Real Estate Agent - The Interview

The home buying process, at least here in Florida, is a simple process.

Really, it is simple.

However, because there can be so many players involved in the process, sometimes even the smoothest process can appear chaotic.

Whether buyer or seller you should have one stabilizing force throughout the turbulence (if it occurs) - your real estate agent.

A real estate agent with the right skills for the transaction likely handles much of the chaos behind the scenes.

So how do you choose the right real estate agent?  You need a real estate agent who has experience in the process you are undertaking.

Very few real estate agents are experts in all types of transactions. Your real estate agent should have experience in the specific undertaking (for example, buying a foreclosure or short sale, selling as a short sale, new construction, etc).

So how does one select a real estate agent?   Interview them and ask the tough questions....
  • What has sold in my neighborhood (area, similar communities, street, etc)? 
  • What has not sold in my neighborhood (active, how long, price, withdrawn)? 
  • Why did these properties sell or not sell?
  • How much can I get?
  • When can I get it?
  • How much will it cost me and what do I walk away with? 
Lastly, if all the answer appear right, get references.  Call a couple of them.  I have references available but few ever ask for them.

This is critical, read this: 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The real estate transaction: Always a win-win?

I just read an article about the importance of creating a win-win situation in the real estate transaction.  It reminded me of the youth ball leagues where there is no score keeping and its all about participation, I guess.

The real estate transaction is not an athletic event.  It is not an athletic competition.  Over the years I have worked with a few buyers and sellers who looked at the deal as a gold medal event.  And I was OK with that attitude.

To me success means both sides reached a deal each decided they could live with even if they did not win some contest. 

Competition is a mindset. 

How does a buyer evaluate success?   How does a seller evaluate success?  If one wins, does it mean the other side loses?

The real estate transaction is a process with a goal.

The goal could be buy at the lowest price possible or sell at the highest price possible.  The goal may be tied to a specific time frame.  The goal may be not to get the absolute highest price but to get out from under a mortgage one can no longer pay (as in the case of a short sale).

So does every real estate transaction end in a win-win for both sides?

In an ideal world, yes. In reality, no.

Your real estate agent should focus on achieving your goals whatever the goal.   If you reach that goal, you win.

Is it necessary the final score (price) reflect a trouncing?

Anyone who knows me understands I am a competitive person whether playing golf or monopoly.

My approach to real estate is work hard and play fair (follow the rules without deviation) to meet my customer's goals and expectations.  When I do that, we win.  Still, that doesn't mean the other side lost.

Considering buying or selling your Brevard County, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850. Lets discuss your goals and develop a plan to meet those goals.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Selling Your Viera, Florida Home as a FSBO

Sometimes you wade into the water only to realize it is not safe and the current takes you for a ride.  If you are lucky you survive. 

And if you survive, hopefully you have learned a valuable lesson.

I had a call today from someone who is trying to sell a Viera, Florida home as a for sale by owner (FSBO).  They were asking my opinion of their price.  By the way, I am OK with questions for FSBO sellers,

I know most of the Viera neighborhoods and the homes within the developments.  This particular property is located in one of those cookie cutter developments.

His floor plan is pretty common but his price was not so common.   It was more of a "hope and prayer and possibly a bring me a sucker" price.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

My intent here is not to deride one who opts to take the FSBO challenge.  Rather, it is to encourage the FSBO seller to consider a couple of strategies.

First, with the availability of information on the Internet your potential buyers will likely know as much (or more) than you about the real estate prices in your neighborhood.

Secondly, make sure you disclose material facts about your house that affect its value.  In Florida, that is the law whether FSBO or using a real estate agent.

Whether you are considering buying or selling a FSBO you are invited to take a look at these posts.
Lastly, if you have tried to sell your Viera, Florida home as a for sale by owner and are thinking of hiring a real estate agent, call me please.

Even in today's real estate market with fewer homes for sale buyers must be sold.

Rockledge, Florida For Rent $1650 5 Bedroom 3 Bath 2 Car Garage - Available May 2014

Gary L Waters | Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC | 321-693-3850
977 Whetstone Pl, Rockledge, FL 32955
5 Bedroom 3 Bath 2 Car Garage $1650

5Bd/3Ba Single Family House
Year Built 2007
Sq Footage 2745 sqft.
Bedrooms 5 Beds
Bathrooms 3 Baths
Parking 2 Garage
Lease Duration 1 Year
Deposit $1,800
Pets Policy Cats & Dogs OK
Laundry In Unit


New price...owner wants tenant for May! Move in condition, 5 bedroom 3 bath 2 car garage, convenient location in one street subdivision of newer homes. Neutral colors. All electric, granite counters, kitchen island, stainless appliances, washer/dryer optional. Smoke free. Convenient to schools, shopping,I-95/US1,20 minutes Patrick AFB,beaches. Upstairs laundry room,bonus/media room. Window treatments remain.Restriction on commercial vehicles. Owner will consider small dog or cat with non-refundable pet fee of $300. Leased until May 15 but possibly available May 1, 2014. Five bedrooms three bath with formal living/dining. Media room and laundry room on second floor.
see additional photos below
Unit Features

- Living room- Dining room- Master bath
- Family room- Range / Oven- Refrigerator
- Dishwasher- Microwave- Garbage disposal
- Balcony, Deck, or Patio- Lawn- Pond
- Heat: forced air- Central A/C- Ceiling fans
- Cable-ready- Tile floor- Granite countertop

Owner will consider small dog/cat with $300 pet deposit.


Contact info:
Gary L Waters
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC

Posted: Apr 10, 2014, 7:07am EDT

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Skip the "fluff" and include the "stuff."

While listening to the radio this morning I caught the end of some advertisement for a dietary supplement.  The disclaimer said something like "this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."

Made me wonder why anyone would buy what they were selling.  I guess that is sort of truth in advertising. 

As a real estate agent I wonder if some home buyers would not be better off if the listing agents would include a disclaimer in the MLS entry for the homes they are "trying" to sell.

I have seen a few homes where it would have been quite appropriate to add "this information is not intended to sell or lease this home."

Sometimes the information provided is lacking.  Sometimes there is no information at all.

Sometimes the words are so "fluff" and no "stuff."  What is fluff I speak of?  Phrases like "move in ready," "bring your toothbrush,"  "needs your personal touch," "a blank canvas," and "a view to die for"  Are you getting the picture?

If you are selling your Viera, Florida home make sure the agent you hire to sell your Viera, Florida home provides prospective buyers with useful information.

What is useful information? I suggest some of these...
  • The number and types of rooms.
  • The room measurements are sometimes helpful.  
  • How about including things the floor number for a condo?  
  • If there is an association, what are the fees?  
  • How about attaching the seller property disclosure to the MLS listing?  
  • If there are recent updates provide specifics like "roof replaced in 2012," or "AC installed this year."  Be specific.   Avoid the use of generic descriptors like "newer" or "recent." Finally, if there are some negatives I encourage this information be placed out there right away.  If your home needs a new roof, go ahead and say so.  Do not come across as hiding any information.  Disclose and don't hide issues.
Why provide so much information?   Because selling your home is a life disrupting process.

Most buyer's agents will screen their customer to make sure they could really buy your home if they like it.   As a seller, by providing the information up front, you can be more confident those who view your home know what it offers, both good and not so good, before they arrive.

 Finally, one of my all time favorite pieces of "fluff" is...... "Property is filled with nostalgia."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Buying and Selling Your Florida Home: One "unseen" non-player in the real estate transaction

In Texas Aggie country  the home crowd is referred to as the 12th man.  The crowds are not actively participating in the process but rather loudly heard non-players.

Most real estate transactions have the same players: buyer, seller, real estate agent, inspectors, surveyors, lenders, title companies and attorneys.

And many times the real estate transaction has some unseen non-players

In the case of a first time home buyer it may be parents who, although unseen, are likely loudly heard.  In the case of sellers it could be the neighbor down the street.

The unseen player I am referring to here is the psychology of the real estate market.

The real estate market speaks to buyers and sellers through media.  It whispers thoughts into the minds of buyers and sellers.  Sometimes what is being spoken is misinterpreted 

Sometimes what is spoken is not accurate.  I heard Clark Howard remark on the Clark Howard radio show yesterday that the Internet is a source of information and not necessarily a source of fact. Well put, Mr. Howard!

It could be sending the message that there are fewer buyers in the market so I have an advantage.   It may be telling the seller that no one in their right mind can refuse the deal I am offering at this price.  It may be telling the seller that fewer properties automatically means I am in the driver's seat when an offer comes in!

Very often the primary job of the real estate agent is psychologist - listening and then explaining the meaning of the message.

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

If you prefer, send me an email.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Make sure the wallet is not empty.

How often do you go shopping without your wallet?  Not very often I bet if you intend to make a purchase.  

That doesn't mean withdraw all your money and carry it to the mall though.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with limiting the funds available to what you intend to spend - especially cash which can seemingly disappear instantly!

A shopper with purpose will address the money issue before shopping.

Now when it comes to shopping for a home it is critical one not go shopping without a "wallet."

In the case of a house or condo wallet most likely will mean a mortgage pre-approvalThere is a difference between a mortgage pre-approval and a pre-qualification.

Buyers need to know what they can afford as well as what they intend to spend.   Being approved for a mortgage does not mean one must shop at the maximum approved amount.

When one finds a property that meets their needs and decides to make an offer they should be confident it is within their approved budget.

Further, a seller will most often require a buyer have the available funds (i.e. mortgage approval or proof of funds if paying cash) before accepting an offer.

The home purchase process requires a lot of effort with the most important being the first item - making sure the wallet is not empty.  This almost reminds me of some commercial on TV right now that ends with "Whats in your wallet?"

For information on homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida, please give me a call or send me an email.  If you have a question, just click on the link below to email me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: When should I start looking at homes?

The "when" I speak of here is not about the timing of the real estate market.  In a perfect world, one would only buy when prices are at their lowest point.  In a perfect world sellers would only sell when prices are at their highest mark.  But, the world of real estate is not perfect in that way.

The timing I speak of here is once a decision has been made to buy a Florida home.

To look too early is a waste of time.  Selling a home is disruptive to ones lifestyle.  Sellers will accommodate motivated buyers.

Still there is nothing wrong with doing some of the preparatory tasks like preliminary searches on the Internet.  And driving through neighborhoods and areas of potential interest.  And looking at past sales records to gain an idea of where the market has been lately. And, most importantly, getting the pre-approval in place as well as the closing funds secured.

So when should one start looking for homes?  I recommend contacting a local real estate agent three to six months in advance to set up a multiple listing search to receive new listings that meet your desires and budget.  Most closings take about 30 to 45 days in Florida.  (This takes into account the inspections, appraisal, etc.) Of course there is some variation based on whether financing is sought or if it is a cash transaction.

Now working long will it take to find "the house?"   The exact time will depend on the availability of potential suitable properties.

If a buyer has very narrowly defined requirements the time will likely be longer.  If the property sought is more common, then it may only take a couple of weekends to find it.

If you are thinking about buying a home in Brevard County, Florida, please give me a call to discuss time lines, locations, prices and putting a personalized plan in place.