Monday, December 22, 2014

You Need a Florida Realtor® Because..."That's not how we do it at home."

Over the past decade or so I have heard many comments from buyers about the process of buying a home in Florida.    The one I have heard most often from folks relocating to Florida, especially from other states, has been  "That's not how we do it at home."

That comment is exactly why it is imperative buyers have their own real estate agent if they are relocating to a new area.

Real estate markets are local - even within the same County.   In the case of buying a new home a local expert will be able to quickly identify the products available in the marketplace (including new construction/builders).

Real estate processes are local - even within the same Country.  Your local expert has a network of providers who will likely be involved in the process of buying a house or condo (buyers are certainly free to choose their own providers).  Still, when one is relocating from another area it is nice to have someone who can point one in the direction of providers to consider such as inspection companies, mortgage lenders, insurance providers, etc.

When you decide to buy a home in Florida one of the first steps is contact a local real estate agent who has experience in the process and knowledge of your target area.

If you are considering a move to Viera, Rockledge or Melbourne, Florida call me at 321-693-3850.

Image courtesy of 2nix at

Friday, December 19, 2014

New Construction Homes For Sale - Why You Need Your Own Realtor®

Who doesn't like that new car smell?  For anyone who has ever visited a builder's model home the same can be said of the look....clean, fresh, modern, up to date...perfect. 

Sometimes the "new" can overwhelm another sense - common sense.  OK, maybe not so much common sense as the ability to be totally reasonable

This is the point when having your own buyer's agent is most needed.

Have you purchased a car and when it came time to "write up the deal" there were all these incidental "add ons?"   The same can happen when purchasing new construction.

First of all, as a buyer of new construction your real estate agent does not cost you anything.  The builder pays for your real estate agent.

Secondly,  builders do negotiate.  Why not have your agent available to ask questions as well and, in the end, help you negotiate the best deal possible?

And what about all those "add ons?"  Some builders like to present these as "options" or "upgrades." 

But, what is the real "after market value" of that builder upgrade package?    Is the builder quoting an inflated retail number?

When you are ready to buy a home in Viera, Florida (including new construction homes for sale in Viera), please give me a chance to represent you in the process.  I can be reached at 321-693-3850 or by email.

 New Home Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Choosing Your Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Florida Home

The way prospective sellers go about choosing a real estate agent vary greatly from calling the one with the most signs nearby, getting referrals from a friend or family member, just doing an Internet search (almost said the Yellow Pages!) or to keeping the postcards that come with the junk mail.

Regardless of method used to identify prospective real estate agents it is what one does next that is key to selecting their real estate agent.  Who (and how many) to choose one to interview. 

The Realtor® Interview.   It is during this interview the real agents vie for your business by trying to impress you with their expertise (or charm).    During this self promotion opportunity the selected real estate agents will seek to reveal one thing - what the agent wants you to hear with the most favorable statistics and recommendations being at the forefront.

Knowing this a homeowner should be prepared to ask the tough questions.   Here are some questions to ask prospective real estate agents during the interview:

Ultimately the choice of a real estate agent will be based on what is most important to the seller.    It could be the one who
  • proposes the highest listing price or 
  • charges the lowest commission or 
  • promises a contract in the fewest days or 
  • has had the most listings (does not mean the same as sales)or 
  • closed the most sales or 
  • who has been in the business the longest  or
  • has the most initials behind their name, or
  • has the best looks (yes, looks influence decisions)
  • whatever! 
Ultimately the basis for choosing a particular real estate agent to sell your home will be the key characteristic(s) valued most.

If you are ready to sell your Melbourne, Florida home, please give me a call to discuss what I can do for you.

For a free market analysis, let me know.  I can be reached by phone at 321-693-3850 or by email.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Homeowner Associations - Everyone has an opinion!

Opinions about homeowner associations run the entire spectrum from praise worthy to being cursed.   Believe me, I have heard them all!

Some view HOAs as oppressive with rules that serve only to frustrate the home owners.  Some want the freedom to do as they please without regard to anyone's approval. 
Others see HOAs as necessary to make sure things stay pretty much the way the neighborhood looks today. 

In the Viera and Suntree areas of Brevard County there is no escape from HOA rules.   Both of these areas are planned unit developments consisting of many newer (and some older) developments with lots of rules.

But the rules can vary from one subdivision to another.  I know of areas where one is restricted from leaving a pickup truck in the driveway over night.  Some prohibit commercial vehicles (including a vehicle with a magnetic sign) from being visible.   

Most have rules covering changing paint colors, having a fence including type/height.  Some will not allow a boat or an RV to be parked overnight.

HOA rules exist to promote uniformity and consistency in the homes.   I can understand the rules.  Likewise I can understand when buyers do not want the rules!

When one is looking buy a home in Florida one of the documents provided is the HOA disclosure. 

If you are the buyer - read the HOA disclosure and the documents.  I would go a step further. These documents are written by lawyers. If you have concerns get an attorney to review them for you. Don't accept the sellers interpretation of what you can or can't do.  

Go a step further and review the association meeting minutes including the financial statements.  Find out how many owners are delinquent with their dues.  What are the restrictions on rentals?   What does your association fees cover?  Are there any pending assessments?

Know what you are getting into before proceeding.   

You know your lifestyle.   Don't purchase a home only to find the association rules and deed restrictions are an obstacle to your lifestyle.

What about the areas where there are no association rules?   

There are some things the code enforcement folks will find find and issue citations requiring corrective actions.   But that may not stop the neighbor from painting his house pink and placing pink plastic flamingos in the front yard.  

Associations exist in single family, town house and condo communities.  One of the earliest questions to ask yourself when considering buying a home in Brevard County, Florida, is whether you want to live in a community requiring association membership.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Commit To Your Realtor.

I recently read an article where the author (a mortgage broker) had a prospective buyer come by to see a home he was selling himself.  Because of his vocation he knew the right questions to ask about mortgage pre-approval and if they had their own real estate agent.

They had been pre-approved for a mortgage.  They had previously worked with a real estate agent but dropped them because the real estate agent had asked them to sign something.

The document they had been asked to sign was an exclusive buyer brokerage agreement.   The real estate agent wanted then to commit to them during the process of searching for a home to buy or rent.

Real estate agents do not get paid based on hours or effort expended (only get paid for results - bought, sold, leased) this is a way to get them to personally commit to the process in writing.

Click here to read more about "Who pays the real estate agent."

As a routine practice I do not usually have a buyer customer sign anything when I am am working with someone wanting to move to Brevard County, Florida.

At the time of first contact with a prospective client I ask a lot of questions.  And I do ask for a verbal commitment from them.  In some cases I will ask for a signature.

As a buyer's real estate agent, this agreement is my employment agreement with a buyer (although I will ultimately be paid by the seller).  This is very much like listing a home for sale where the listing agreement is my employment contract.

Again, although I don't use the buyer brokerage agreement very often if one is asked to sign one its not a bad thing or a trick!

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

Image courtesy of marcolm at