Sunday, November 30, 2014

Preparing Your Home for Sale - Pay Now or Pay Later.

Home sellers should not expect buyers to do the things they have failed to do for freeThere is a cost to deferred maintenance and neglect

Many maintenance items are simple but when selling they can become distractions and turn off prospective buyers.  More importantly, many of these maintenance items are inexpensive.  What are some of these simple items?
  • Missing down spouts on gutters 
  • Clogged gutters 
  • Broken window pane 
  • Lighting additions with exposed electrical tape connections  
  • Missing bolts where pool enclosures meet the decking 
  • Torn screening  
  • Heating element on the range that needs replacing  
  • Broken sprinkler heads  
  • GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) replaced with non-GFCI outlets  
  • Pool lights that are out 
  • Repair deteriorated exterior door framing.
The most important reason to deal with these maintenance items when you prepare your home for the market is this:  Prospective buyers will want to add the costs of these items up and subtract them from any offer price or walk away from the deal entirely.

Better yet... get a pre-listing property inspection done and get a jump on the items that will show up (they always do!).

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Residential Real Estate Absorption Rates in Brevard County (November 2014)

Absorption rate is one of those terms real estate folks use to describe local market conditions.  Basically this rate describes the market as to whether the advantage falls on the side of buyers, sellers or neither.

In its most simple terms absorption rate refers to supply levels.

Most real estate professionals agree that a 6-9 month supply level is a balanced market with neither buyer or seller having the advantage.  Once the supply level equals or exceed nine months the shift becomes a buyer's market.

On the other side once the supply level drops below six months, sellers have the advantage. And when the level sinks to three months or less sellers find themselves in their strongest position.

Where does Brevard County, Florida stand as we near the end of November 2014?   The latest data provided shows the residential real estate inventory at 3.0 months supply in October 2014 (compared to 4.5 months in October 2013).

So what does a buyer or seller do with this information?

Buyers must understand the competition for the most desirable properties will be keen. Looking to buy a house with a low ball offer is not a good strategy.

For sellers the rule is the same... a move in ready home that presents well will command a higher price and stimulate competition among buyers including multiple offers.

Real estate is all about timing and the timing is good for those selling their Brevard County, Florida home in 2014.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Selling Your Viera, Florida 55+ Community Home - Take a Look Inside

Home owners who live in 55+ communities such as Viera, Florida's Heritage Isle, have the advantage of knowing who their home buyer will be, at least demographically.

Their prospective buyer will likely share many of their characteristics.  These traits may include retiring, downsizing (or not), escaping the cold winters up north while possibly looking for a neighborhood of their peers.

One of the most common characteristics in my experience as a real estate agent working with buyers seeking a Florida 55+ community is they are ready to relax and not deal with home maintenance or repairs.

As a seller the above paragraph is key when you prepare to sell your 55+ community home.

Most prospective home buyers in Florida 55+ communities are not looking to remodel a home or update the home.  They are not anxious to re-paint or put in a new kitchen.   They are not looking for a fixer upper that needs new carpet, appliances or air conditioning systems.

If one is considering selling their home in one of the several Brevard County, Florida 55+ communities like Indian River Colony Club, Grand Isle or Heritage Isle, take a look inside your home.  The above communities all offer exterior maintenance and landscaping to a degree so the curb appeal will already be there.

If you are considering selling your Grand Isle or Heritage Isle, please give me a call to discuss how I can work with you.  I will gladly come by your home to make suggestions for preparing  to sell as well as provide a free comparative market analysis.

Click on each of the below topics for additional information about preparing your home for sale.

Your real estate agent's challenge is getting the right people in the front door is key to effectively market your home.  Your job as a seller is to ensure once they arrive they are impressed!

Monday, November 17, 2014

For Sale By Owner - Selling Your Home Yourself - FREE Advice!

If you are considering selling your home as a for sale by owner seller, consider this....There is more at risk than just a few dollars you saved from paying your real estate agent!

Over the past several months there have been multiple stories involving real estate agents being harmed during the normal course of business.  In one tragic case the real estate agent was murdered.  In multiple others there have been assaults reported.

The above paragraphs are intended to draw attention to the safety risks involved and not scare anyone.

There are many more risks associated with selling on your own.  Still, if one is comfortable with the process and aware of the limitations/potential negatives associated with going it alone, I wish you well.

If you are considering the pros and cons of hiring a real estate agent or going it alone, here are some related articles.  CLICK ON EACH TOPIC TO READ THE ARTICLE.

Of all the concerns a seller must have including theft (property, identification, medication), personal safety is paramount.   You never know a person's motives and intent.  How much risk do you take?

If you are weighing the decision to sell your Melbourne, Florida home as a FSBO or hiring a real estate agent to sell your Melbourne home, please give me a call at 321-693-3850 to discuss your options.  And, should you decide to go it alone, you can find free advice here as well!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Some things buyers don't care about...

Selling your home is a business transaction.  In the best of cases buyers and sellers are cordial throughout the process.  But, in most cases, the parties are not best friends or family.

I recently had a seller's agent tell me that the offer price on her listing had to be at $XXX,XXX because that is where the seller needs to be to buy their next home.

Not long ago I had a listing agent tell me their seller paid $XXX,XXX for their home and did not want to sell for any amount under that price. 

These two cases bring to light a common theme.....
  • Buyers do not care what the seller paid for a property.  
  • Buyers do not care what the walking away money will be for the seller!
Back in the old black and white TV days there was this show called "Lost in Space."  One of the "stars" was a robot who often uttered in his mechanical voice "That does not compute."

Such is the case when a seller's real estate agent suggests a counteroffer to meet the seller's needs.

As a buyer's agent my goal is to meet my customer's needs first.

If the deal happens to work out for the seller as well we can all do the happy dance!

Profit Loss Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
Dance Image courtesy of Mister GC at

Friday, November 14, 2014

Home Seller Tip: Price Sets Expectation

I rarely preview properties prior to showing homes for sale in Viera, Florida and the surrounding communities.   These are some of the primary areas I work in and consists of many newer homes in the middle price range of our Brevard County, Florida housing market.

In this price range there is an expectation a property will be move in ready or require minimal work by a new owner.

Anyone considering selling their Brevard County, Florida home should take the above sentence to heart.

The challenge for many sellers is to back away from the comfort of your home's current condition and take a look at it from an outsider's perspective.  Sellers should expect prospective buyers to be critical of their home and work to minimize the opportunity for negatives.

If you are considering selling your home ask yourself if there are any issues you have been living with that really need to be addressed.

Regardless of your home's condition the key is to price it appropriately for the market and competition.   

After all, it is the price that sets the expectation.

 Image courtesy of jscreationzs at

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Appraisal Contingency or not?

My home buyer customer "lost" in a multiple offer situation this week.  It was a disappointment.  The question that always arises when an offer is rejected in favor of another is "Why did the seller take the other offer?"

Many times the why is not really known.  I am not sure what the other offer price was but I am confident it was close to my buyer's offer.   Still, the other offer looked more appealing because of two issues.  First, the other had a "size-able down payment."

But I believe the main reason was a little thing called an "appraisal contingency. 

Buyers want to feel confident that the appraised value of the property they are buying is at least equal to the contracted purchase price.  Even most of the cash buyers I have worked with have opted for an appraisal even though no mortgage was involved.

It makes sense, right?

If a mortgage is involved then the appraisal will be of utmost importance.   The lender is not going to loan more than a property is worth.   If the buyer is putting down 10% of the appraised value but the appraisal is low then it could mean more money out of the buyer's pocket.

The appraisal contingency protects the buyer.

If the appraised price is less than the purchase price the buyer has two options (a)  terminating the contract with a refund of the deposit to the buyer; or (b) waiving and removing the contingency and continuing with the contract.*    Another option if the appraisal is low is for a buyer to request the seller lower the contract price to the appraisal price.

It is easy to see why most sellers will favor an offer that has no appraisal contingency and only an inspection contingency.  If the inspection goes well then the chances of closing go up tremendously.

I believe buyers should have as much protection allowed when buying a home including inspection, financing and appraisal contingencies.

Considering buying a home in Melbourne, Florida?  Give me a call at 321-693-3850 if I assist in any way.

Selling your Viera, Florida home?  Call me for a free market analysis.

I am a Florida licensed real estate broker.  The above is not to be considered legal advice.  

*The above options extracted from the Florida Realtors® and The Florida Bar Comprehensive Rider to the Residential Contract fro Sale and Purchase, 9F.  APPRAISAL CONTINGENCY

 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Why did the seller call the buyer's agent?

This is not one of those "Why did the chicken cross the street?" jokes.  Why did the seller call the buyer's agent?  The answer can be one of several mentioned later. 

But first I will cover the purpose of the seller's call.   The owner had to identify himself several times before I remembered the property he was calling about.  My business card had been left on the counter when I showed his home a few days ago.  He wanted to know what my buyer thought about his house.

This is commonly called feedback.   It is usually provided by a buyer's agent upon request of the seller's real estate agent.  Sellers rarely call the buyer's real estate agent.

Still I understand why sellers are curious about what "they" are saying after every showing of their house or condo.  It is only natural curiosity.
  1. Did it show well?
  2. Is it priced right?
  3. Is it a consideration?
  4. Will they be submitting an offer?
  5. Will they need to see it again?
  6. How does it compare to the competition?
In this case I had to think of the few good points.   I had to sugarcoat the remainder of my thoughts and only added a concern about the busy traffic.  I did not go forward with comments about the awful paint colors, amateur job of enclosing a porch, and a few other things.  Suffice it to say my buyer was not impressed.

Many times the feedback received by a real estate agent is a pretty generic "showed well, not what we were looking for....yadda yadda yadda."  This type of feedback really is useless.

By the way, the best type of feedback is an offer to purchase!

So why did the seller call the buyer's agent?

It could be they are really anxious and need to sell.  It could be their real estate agent is not providing the communication and follow up they expect.  It could be they are serious about addressing any negative issues about the presentation and need to know what to work on next.  It could be a combination of all of the above.

If you are selling your home and have questions and concerns, call your real estate agent first.  After all, you are paying them.  They work for you.

Considering selling your Viera, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email for your free market analysis.

Image courtesy of Mister GC at

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Is Offering a Percentage of List Price a Good Strategy When Buying a Home?

While most sellers negotiate (including new home builders) there is no single best way to approach the offer/negotiation process as every seller and every buyer is different.  Of course they all want the same thing - the best deal possible (price, terms).

So should offering a percentage of list price be in a buyer's play book?   Some may consider 90% of list price a good starting point.

It could be but without knowing the specific property and circumstances it is not possible to say.

The short answer:  Never make an offer using a specified percentage of list price.  Homes recently purchased in Brevard County, Florida sold for an average of 92.4% of original list price.    But original is rarely the final list price.

There are many factors to consider when making an offer to purchase a property.

Chief among these is whether the property priced right for the location, market and competition.  The answer to that question is best answered in consultation with your local knowledgeable real estate expert. 
Ready to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.

 Image courtesy of ddpavumba at