Sunday, August 31, 2014

Do I really need to make repairs before selling my home?

Florida Today Newspaper, Sunday August 31, 2014 Real Estate Questions and Answers.

Ready to buy or sell a home in Melbourne, Florida?    If so, please give me a call at 321-693-3850 or click the link below to send me an email.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Words Set Expectations.

I still remember the first time I heard the word euphemism.  It was during a church service in a little town called Lake Butler Florida when I was a boy.   The preacher was relating it to using "substitute words" for the "bad words" you wanted to say!

In the real estate world we have some well known "euphemisms."  What are some of those substitute words meant to avoid using the "bad words?"  I suggest words and phrases like:
  • Classic charmer when there is nothing else positive to say.
  • TLC which very often means "to learn construction" if you want to live here.
  • Cute when no other word in the dictionary is appropriate
  • Cozy takes less space than extremely small like a shoebox.
  • Quaint suggests all original from day. 
  • Handyman's dream needs major rehabilitation.
  • Reduced as in price means closer to reality now that it has been on the market a while! 
  • Motivated is anyone's guess...see this explanation.  
  • Compact means...see cozy above.
How you say it doesn't make a house any different.   It is what it is. 

When you are ready to sell your house disclose flaws or defects and tell it like it is without exaggeration.

Your real estate agent wants to showcase your home's most positive characteristics.   Accurate descriptions will set buyer expectations to where they should be and minimize showings when the buyers are looking for something totally different.

Take this step as your agent's descriptions for substitute words.  Your agent may not want to hurt your feelings.

Further, it will get you home sold more quickly when paired with reasonable pricing and quality photographs

Please call on me when you are ready to sell your Melbourne, Florida home.  I can be reached by phone at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Perfection and Pink Flamingos.

In the real estate world perfection is a myth.  There will likely be some things that are less than perfect.  The key is seeing beyond the less than ideal and seeing the possibilities.

While at an appointment yesterday I commented on the bathroom color as a potential negative.  The owner's response was something like
"What do you mean?  Pink paint and flamingo wallpaper?  This is Florida, right?"
This is where I explained how most real estate agents caution their buyers to not become fixated on things that can be easily changed.   The reality is the cosmetic stuff like paint and flooring very often distract prospective buyers from the best qualities a property has to offer.

The challenge to sellers is to set a positive tone for the prospective buyer before they open the front door by paying attention to what buyers see when they pull up out front - flower beds weeded, some fresh flowers planted, a new coat of paint on the front door, pressure washed walkways and green grass should greet your prospective buyers.

Set the the expectation high early and then dazzle when they open the front door. 

No, everyone in Florida does not like pink paint and flamingos in the bathroom or chickens on the wall paper in the kitchen (seen them both lately).

Ready to sell your Melbourne, Florida home?  Give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Image courtesy of Vlado at

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Its a cash offer so why do I need a "letter?"

I was recently asked by a prospective buyer why I wanted him to obtain a pre-approval letter.  His position was his word was all that I needed that he could afford the house.

First of all, his word is not all I or any other real estate agent will take as proof of ability to pay.   Real estate agents need qualified buyers before they begin showing proeprties.

Related article:  Why did you ask me for a mortgage pre-approval letter?

Assuming a real estate agent is comfortable a buyer has the funds available there is still a much bigger reason to have a proof of funds or mortgage pre-approval letter.

An offer is only as good as the confidence a seller has that the buyer can really pay. 

For a cash buyer, at a minimum, that evidence should be in the form of a proof of funds letter from a bank or investment company that the buyer has sufficient funds available to make the purchase.  

As a real estate I agent I will very often blacken out the specific dollar amount on the letter provided to the other side but I do only after I have seen the amount.

In the current Brevard County, Florida real estate market the low inventory of move in ready homes in some areas result in multiple offer situations If there is a chance another offer will be competing I encourage buyers to submit the cleanest offer available.  This is not necessarily the highest offer.

Related article:  Your offer is much more than the price.

When you are ready to buy a house begin with a plan starting with the ability to pay.

If you are considering buying or selling a home in Brevard County, Florida, please call me at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can assist in any way.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: It should not be a problem...really?

Over the years as a Florida real estate I have ran into a few responses about financial plans that created immediate concern. 

In my decade plus as a Viera, Florida real estate agent the one comment that has made me the most nervous was the "money is no object" response to my inevitable question about "How do you intend to pay?".

Really?  We all have limitations whether buying a car, a house, or choosing a college for the kids to attend.  That is reality.  One of life's most important lessons we hopefully learned young was "money is always an object."

Another red flag is the "It should not be a problem."   And while there may not not be a problem but why take a chance?

Get a mortgage pre-approval letter.  It provides some confidence you can likely buy what you see (after all, you are only looking at homes you can afford, right?).   A mortgage pre-approval (or proof of funds letter) provides confidence to the seller when your offer is presented that you will be able to close.

As your Melbourne, Florida real estate agent it provides me with some confidence we are indeed on a quest with potential success.   After all, real estate agents only get paid when a deal closes.

Even with the finances addressed there are still plenty of chances for problems to arise.  Things like inspections, appraisals, closing dates, repairs, surveys and more!

So control what you can and, hopefully, there should be no problem!

When you are ready to buy a Melbourne, Florida home give me a call at 321-693-3850.  Lets talk about the process and how I can help you so there should not be a problem.

Image courtesy of sscreations /

Monday, August 4, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Why make any repair when selling "As Is?"

I am not a big fan of "as is" listings because in the real estate world most buyers consider a property being sold "as is" to be a property with real "problems."

Still, there are a couple of scenarios when I recommend no repairs be attempted before selling "as is."

One of these is if a property is in such disrepair that the most likely buyer will be an investor  then consider "as is" without any repair.   Another time might be if the seller's financial situation restricts expenditures for repair then an "as is" without repair option is a reasonable step.

However, for the most part, I recommend some repairs (even when finances restrict ability some) be made to properties before listing even if the intent is to sell "as is" without repair

What kind of repairs?  After all, "as is" means take where it sits like it sits, right?

First, address the easy fixes before selling.   Some of these repairs are the little annoyances home owners very often live with.

Think of your likely buyer.  What will they expect to find in a home like yours, priced like yours?

Finally, consider if your buyer will be getting financing.   Different types of financing require different condition states (minimum property standards).  Conventional loans, VA and FHA may allow different "issues" although they pretty much share the same basic security, safety/health and soundness standards.

The more options available for buyers to finance then the larger the pool of potential buyers. Also, repairs will likely reduce the time your home sits and increase the amount of money you get.

When you are ready to sell do all you can to make your home the best it can be - even if you are selling it "as is."

Finally even if you are offering your home "as is" think about offering a one year home warranty.  Better yet, list your home with me and I will provide the buyer a one year home warranty.

Selling your Melbourne or Viera, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 for your free market analysis and no obligation seller consultation.
Image courtesy of vectorolie /

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: How many houses does a buyer need to see?

Shopping for a new house or condo can be exciting as well as time consuming.  In some places Brevard County, Florida (about 75 miles north to south)  it can take a lot of time if  a buyer is unsure about what part of Brevard County, Florida they prefer.

Once a buyer has identified an area(s) to how many homes will one need to look at to find the new home?   That depends on how well buyer requirements have been identified.   Note requirements are not the same as "wants" which are a plus but not a "must have" feature.

A buyers requirements may include things like:
  • the real target area (if not the specific neighborhood at least a general area). 
  • the real budget - not some pre-approved up to maximum amount but what you really are comfortable with spending. 
  • the mandatory "must have" characteristics have been identified. 
  • the time frame will determine whether short sales are a consideration.
  • if condition is a factor (move in ready or if you are willing you do some cosmetic repairs).
The above requirements is not all-inclusive as each buyer is different and will have their own list.

So how many houses will a buyer need to look at to find the one?    It could be the first house or within the first six or it may take a couple of trips.

The number of homes a buyer must look at will be greatly influenced by whether your real estate agent understands the factors you consider most important.

In the current Brevard County, Florida market homes that are price right do not stay on the market long.   There may not be time to sample all the flavors.   Baskin-Robbins is OK with you trying a few flavors but not all 31!

Ready to buy a home in Florida?  call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn /