Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Selling Your Melbourne, Florida Home - Preparing Your Home For The Market

An unprepared home can result in a seller leaving money on the table.  Smart buyers can see the opportunity often buried beneath layers of dirt and clutter!

Preparing your home for the market is work.   But it will be rewarded when done properly!

The challenge for sellers - especially in a market that favors sellers already - is to view their home through the eyes of complete strangers.

And even more challenging is prospective sellers being critical of what they see.  But this is critical as prospective buyers will be critical for sure.

If you are a motivated seller I suggest you start your preparation outside at the curb and then focus inward.  After all, first impressions matter - especially when selling your home.

Consider things like... 
  • Landscaping Your yard needs to look appealing because as you heard as a child, first impressions matter!  
  • Exterior paint.    At a minimum look at your front door.  If the paint is recent make sure it is clean.  If not, a new coat of paint is an easy fix.   
  • Lighting.   When will your home be seen?   Lighting is critical,e specially during the winter when it gets darker earlier.  Light and bright is good.  Dark and gloomy, not so good. 
  • Interior Paint.   This goes hand in hand with the lighting recommendation.  Light, neutral, non high personalized paint is best.    
  • Clutter.   This can be thought of as just too much stuff including furniture.   Extra furnishings as well as over-sized furniture can detract from a homes usable space.  And this goes for the kitchen counters as well.  Put away mall appliances and things that take up counter space.   
  • Cleanliness.    Sometimes sellers do not have the funds to spend on new paint or whatever.  But cleanliness costs little more than effort.  The nose is key.   Jokingly I like to say "if you can smell it, you can't sell it."  Furthermore, once showings start refrain from cooking things that leave a smell for days.  
  • De-personalize.    While this is sort of "clutter" related it deserves its own bullet point.  By this I mean to take the "you" out of the house. Portraits, artwork, diplomas, collections/hobby items, pictures off the refrigerator, etc.  Have buyers focus on the house not the occupants.  
  • Safety and Security.    Think about risk management as well.  Consider any trip hazards, security issues like personal weapons.  Think about removing personal papers and medications.  Remember, most real estate agents do not know their customers very well.  This is especially critical if your real estate agent holds an open house where all sorts of complete strangers show up.
The last preparation item I urge sellers to consider is the pre listing inspection If a house is more than five years old there may be hidden issues.   A pre-listing inspection can bring to light issues that can be fixed or addressed in the marketing/pricing process.

Properly preparing a house for the market takes time.   Sometimes sellers make the mistake of rushing a house to the market and doing preparation concurrently.  While this may be necessary due to circumstances, avoid it if possible.   Sellers usually only get one chance to impress prospective buyers.  Make it count!

If you are ready to sell your Melbourne, Florida home, call or text me at 321-693-3850 for your free market analysis.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Should You Buy Your Next Home From a For Sale By Owner (FSBO)?

An alternative title to this article should be "Why would you buy your next home from a For Sale By Owner?"

All buyers want the best price possible whether buying a house or a car.  Whether shopping for a car or a house many believe avoiding the marketplace and dealing with a private seller will result in the best price possible.

All sellers want the best price possible when selling their house or condo.

Although a car can be an expensive purchase these days it is nowhere near the financial obligation of a home purchase. 

More importantly, an automobile purchase is not nearly as complicated.

I just read an article where a real estate agent working with a seller was pondering the best way to tell them they got took by the last seller.  In this case the current seller had previously purchased from a FSBO with no appraisals or nothing.

As a general rule - always have an appraisal - even with cash purchases.

I also just read an article where the FSBO seller and the appraiser did not see eye to eye.  In this case the buyer and the FSBO split the difference.  There are solutions when home appraisals come in low although saving the real estate commission is not a guarantee of getting the best price possible.

A recent survey by NeighborWorks America found 70% of Americans are either very or somewhat likely to look to a real estate professional for information about homeownership.   Consumers see the value of real estate professionals as a resource.

So, should you buy your next home from a for sale by owner?  It depends.  

Consider your skill set. 
  • What is your knowledge of the Florida home buying process?  
  • Are you comfortable with the market (this is a lot different than some value of a mega website)?   
  • Are you comfortable with performing your due diligence?  Due diligence is a buyer responsibility.  Remember sellers disclose, buyers verify.

If you are considering buying a home in Viera, Florida from a for sale by owner, call me for advice before you approach the FSBO seller.  I will gladly contact them, discuss the property and even provide you with my opinion of the market....with obligation.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Home Buyer Tips: See More Than A House When Shopping for Your Next Home.

Once you buy a house you can't move it...unless its an RV!

While the home purchase process focuses on the physical characteristics of the house buyers must not forget all the things that can't be changed. 

What are some of these unchangeable things?

Schools.   If you have children, not only is school quality what you desire but what about the walk/ride to school?  If your children will be walking or biking to school is the route safe?
Crime Rates.  Many buyers are tempted to ask their real estate agent about crime in the area.  While the agent may know the answer they should really be the source of the source.  In other words, they should direct you to the local law enforcement agency.  Call them up and ask.  They have no reason to be anything but honest!
Commute Times.   Not only is the proximity of schools important but also the commute time to work or other activities you will be frequently engaged in like golf, college campuses or whatever. 
Traffic patterns.  Ease of access to major routes is a lot different than being located on the major route. 
Parks, Playgrounds and Leisure Activity.  While this is close to the commute times mentioned above it is also different.    If you want to take the kids to the park, playground or sports activity it may not be convenient to drive a half hour each way to drop them off for ball practice.

While the specific house is most important for home buyers it is critical to consider the area as well.  Drive the neighborhood and see the things that come with your house - its surroundings!

Finally, investigate these things. Don't take the seller's word that the park is close by, the schools are excellent, etc!    If buyers approach the home buying process with an attitude of "Sellers Disclose, Buyers Verify" there will likely be fewer surprises down the road!

Here are more articles to consider when buying your next home in Florida.

If you are ready to buy a house in Viera, Rockledge or Melbourne, Florida I want to help.  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Home Buyer Tips: Livable Space or Just Space - Is Bigger Better?

I have been spending a couple of hours working on some comparables for a customer who is interested in buying a home in Viera, Florida.   The challenge in this case is that, while the house is very nice, it is also one of the largest in the subdivision.  

Also the list price is significantly higher than most of the past sales (all of the past sales during previous ten months).  

My question for the listing agent:  How did you arrive at the market price?  What did you use for comparable properties?  Or, was it what the seller wanted?  Was it what the seller needed to net? 

Probably a bigger question for prospective buyers:  Aside from a cash offer, how can one finance a home that is much higher than the others comparables? 

What if the appraisal comes in low?
Under Contract is not Sold.
Highest Offer Not Always Best Offer.

And the bigger question for the seller:   How does your real estate agent plan to sell your non gated community home for a price that is higher than everything else and more in line with the homes for sale in the larger, nearby gated communities?

Smart buyers understand that, given a choice between buying the largest home in a neighborhood other smallest home in the same neighborhood, they should go small!

Besides the largest house may not be the best floor plan.  After all, it is all about livable space and not just space

I understand many sellers believe their home is the nicest house in the neighborhood.  I understand many sellers believe their “nicest home in the neighborhood” will sell for significantly more than any other house in the neighborhood. 

As a Viera, Florida buyer's real estate agent I understand my job is to assist them in buying a house for the best price possible in a time frame that meets their schedule and, most importantly, is within their budget. 

If prospective buyers have a real estate agent like me they will likely be advised it is almost always better to buy near a neighborhood’s mid-point as it pertains to price and size.  

After all, its all about the buyer - not me, or the seller!

For information on buying or selling a home in Viera, Florida, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Your Real Estate Agent Is Just a Real Estate Agent!

The title of this short article is not meant in any way to detract from the professionalism and service Realtors provide customers.  Rather it is meant as tip for prospective home buyers and sellers.

I recently read a comment that real estate agents wear a lot of hats and clients expect them to know it all.

Buying or selling a house is very often the greatest financial decision an individual makes in a lifetime. And it should be approached fully informed.

But what is that information based upon?  Certainly not just the information on the internet - including this article. 

How do you know when the advice is good?   Anything found on the Internet must be evaluated on its own merits.

Whether buying a home or selling the first step is hiring a real estate agent.   As a buyer this is a good deal because you don't pay for the agent you hire - the seller does!

And while the real estate agent one chooses must be knowledgeable in the market and processes they must also acknowledge their limitations.

Most real estate agents are not
  • Appraisers.  While real estate agents provide an opinion of value (a market analysis) in the end it is just that - an opinion
  • Tax Advisers.  Consult a CPA/accountant if you need to know the answers. 
  • Legal Experts.  Attorneys are the experts.  A real estate agent who in not an attorney is treading on dangerous ground when they offer anything remotely resembling legal opinions. 
  • Homeowner Association Expert.  What the rules allow or don't when it comes to the association rules is not your real estate agent's bailiwick.
  • General contractors.  Unless your real estate agent is an experienced contractor then estimates of repairs or opinions of condition are out of their expertise.  Further, when you have a home inspection the property inspector will tell you the condition of property - not provide a prognosis or diagnosis.
  • Clairvoyant.  What will be built on the vacant lot in the future is not in their tool kit.  
  • Investment Adviser.  What the future value of a property or projected return on investment will be is not a real estate skill.
When you are ready to choose a real estate agent to help you sell your Melbourne, Florida home or buy a home in Melbourne, Florida, understand what they are and, more importantly, what they are not.

Here are six articles about buying or selling a house in Florida:
  1. Why You Should Not Call the Listing Agent.
  2. Choosing a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Melbourne, Florida Home.
  3. Is It Desirable to Choose the Biggest Real Estate Company to Sell Your Home?
  4. Is a Long Listing Contract Desirable When Selling Your Melbourne, Florida Home?
  5. What Should A Seller Expect From Their Florida Real Estate Agent?
  6. Multiple Offers, Appraisals and Financing.

If I can help you with the purchase or sale of house in Melbourne, Florida please call or text me at 321-693-3850.


Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Home Seller Tips: How To Choose The Right Agent To Sell Your Home

Rule Number 1 When Selling Your Home:  Sellers should not list with real estate agents who do not possess local knowledge.

That said, they do.

But I am sure most sellers do not intentionally hire an agent to sell their home who is not a local expert. 

So how does it happen?

There are the obvious contributors to selecting the wrong agent  such as a relative, a friend's brother or sister, your boss' agent... yadda yadda yadda. 

And then some believe what the agents say about themselves.  Many agents promote themselves as the local Brevard County, Florida real estate wonk.   Okay, wonk is my word.

Their preferred word - expert.

With the wide use of the Internet to market properties many agents have expanded their market area beyond the immediate area of their office.   A license to sell real estate is not a license to practice in all areas!   

I see that sometimes in the Brevard County area when agents from the Orlando area list homes here without a great deal of local knowledge.   Combine the out of area agent with an out of area appraiser then things can get a little nervous for sellers and buyers.

Just FYI...offices can join out of area multiple listing services without living in the out of area location.   In fairness to some brokerages the office may be out of the area but they have agents who live and work in the local area (Why not work with locally owned brokerage?)

This is not a "how to interview real estate agents to sell your house" article.  But here are links to some helpful articles to assist with choosing the best agent agent to sell your Melbourne, Florida house.

If you are ready to sell your Viera, Florida or Melbourne, Florida home, call or text me at 321-693-3850 for your market analysis. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Buying a Home in Florida: Why You Need an Exclusive Buyer's Agent

I recently had a prospective buyer cancel an appointment with me because they had contacted the seller's agent directly after speaking with me.   I am not sure what transpired during the conversation.

The prospect made one comment that got me to writing this: "I don't want to step on the listing agent's toes."   I can appreciate the considerate attitude, for sure.

I have written this multiple times over the past nine years of writing blogs (four of them) about buying and selling homes in central Florida.  

The name on the sign out front works for the SELLER - not youCalling the listing agent is not going to get you a better deal.

I explained that, in Florida, the concept of dual agency is against the law.  In other words a single real estate agent can not represent both sides of the transaction although an agent may provide both parties limited representation as a transaction broker

Here are some related articles:
So if you are considering buying a home in Viera, Florida get your own agent.  Your Viera, Florida real estate agent should have only your interests at heart.

It is simple.....

While it is possible for an agent to "double end" the transaction (receive commission for buyer and seller) in the end only one side can actually be represented.

The listing real estate agent represents the seller – first and you, hopeful home buyer, last.

If you are selling your Melbourne, Florida home make sure your agent is representing you and not the buyer they bring.  

If you are ready to sell your Viera, Florida home, I want to work for you!   Call or text me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Selling Your Home: Your neighbors WILL be involved.

Recently I was driving through a local neighborhood previewing some properties for an out of town buyer relocating to Brevard County, Florida.    One of the things that stood out in this particular neighborhood was one of the neighbors.  I am not sure if the lady actually lived next door or was just walking her dog.

Still, she made a very negative impression with her less than welcoming inquiry as to whether she could help me find something.

As a real estate agent I don''t judge the neighborhood by one foul mouthed neighbor.   But out of town buyers may not know the "story" behind this exception.

Part of selling your home is selling your neighborhood. 

If you are getting ready to sell your Melbourne, Florida home take a good look at your neighborhood.

Think about the things that you may find annoying about your neighborsdisruptive or loud, a yard with absolutely no curb appeal, a home with obvious deferred maintenance, several nuisance dogs who bark constantly, etc.

When I work with buyers I almost always suggest they drive through the neighborhood during the late afternoon or on the weekend.   Take a look at what things are like when kids are not in school and most are home from work.  

I sometimes suggest buyers question neighbors.   If I do it I am sure other agents do as well. 

When I go on listing appointments I always ask about the neighbors.  Almost 100% of the time the answer is the same. Never met a seller who said they had a jerk for a neighbor....nope, always the salt of the earth!

When you are ready to sell your home, enlist your neighbors help, if possible.  You want to make your home stand out.

Sometimes the one thing that makes your home stand out are your neighbors – for good or bad!  

Your neighbors will be involved...make it a positive!  

If you are ready to sell your Viera, Florida home I want to help!  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for your free market analysis.  


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Buying a House in Florida: We Can't Move Until You Move....

No, this article is not about packing materials and moving vans.  It is directed at prospective home buyers who contact me and "want to buy a house." 

Buying a home is an organized process.  Each step of the process is ordered.  The first step should be finding a local real estate agent to help you.

One of the first areas your real estate agent will address is your ability to purchase.  It serves no purpose to go look for a house if a purchase is not possible.  Most buyers are not cash buyers.  If one has the ability to pay cash then all that is necessary is a proof of funds letter or statement. Read "Questions Your Real Estate Agent Will Ask When You Call them the First Time."

But most buyers obtain a mortgage for a purchase as large as a house or condo.  The ability to purchase is given substance when a buyer has a mortgage pre-approval letter.  So when your real estate agent requests a letter or recommends contacting a mortgage lender, act.

Because your real estate agent can move until you move

Here are some specific articles about the home purchase process - especially mortgage pre-approval, mortgage pre-qualification and cash purchases.

Ready to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida? Call or text me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Want a list of Brevard County, Florida mortgage lenders? Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Monday, October 19, 2015

What is the secret to selling your home?

Regardless of topic there is always a "secret" that, once learned, opens the gate to success, right.  There are millions of articles on the Internet that claim to reveal the secret of selling your house.

But you don't need to search Google for the secret to selling your home...here it is!

The secret to selling your home is simple.
  1. Set a price that appropriately reflects condition.
  2. Set a price for its location.  You can't change the zip code or the neighborhood.  You can't change the school quality (in the short term).  Remember location, location, location!
  3. Set a price based on the competition.  A house is likely not going to sell for much more than similar competitive properties in the same location.
  4. Set a price that reflects the circumstances of the sale including timeline and type of sale (estate, short sale, etc.).  The circumstances of the sale do not include a seller "getting what they need from the sale."  The market will set the price a willing motivated buyer will pay
So the secret is all about price.  Selling anything is always about price.

The real challenge to selling a home is managing the process so as to get the most money possible while meeting the sellers goals and timeline.  That challenge requires process management.

The secret to success when selling your home is simple....Hire a knowledgeable local real estate agent. 

Here are some articles to help find a local Melbourne, Florida real estate agent.

Considering selling your Melbourne, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 for a free market analysis.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Home Seller Tips: Expired means "participated."

A month or so ago there was a lot of conversation regarding kids receiving trophies for participating in some event or team sport.  One story that garnered the most attention was about James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers giving his children's participation trophies back.

And then just this morning I saw the new Kia automobile advertisement about participation.  The point made was very strong.  Watch the Kia "participation" commercial here.

Sometimes participation is not recognized equally. 

Such is the case in real estate. 

To participate successfully a home gets sold for the most money possible for a home's condition, location and the circumstances of the sale.

If trophies for participation are given out in real estate for participation they would go to "expired listings."  A listing expires for multiple reasons although, in my opinion, it is a pricing issue.

The root of the pricing issue may be the seller motivation, poor real estate agent choice or possibly a problem with presentation (availability for showing, staging, preparation).

Regardless of reason expired means "participated."

I am not advocating a wining at all cost approach to everything in life.  Each individual must decide whether participation in anything is enough for them.

Home owners do not hire real estate agents just so they can participate in the real estate marketing process.  And no professional real estate agent gets paid for participating only but rather particpating successfully (winning).

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


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Is this the Best Time to Buy a House?

It seems that not a month goes by when I don't receive a mailer from the local car dealer that services my vehicle.  Seems they think it is the right time for me to trade in my car for a new one.   But I am not ready to buy a new car.   There is only one reason it is the best time for me to buy - they are selling cars!

As one who sells real estate estate in Melbourne, Florida, I am always seeking out people for whom it is the right time to buy or sell their Melbouren, Florida home.  That is the nature of the business.

Still, I understand that for all most it is not the best time to buy a house.

People buy a house or condo when the circumstances and motivations are right for them.  Usually its because they desire to become home owners and not renters.   The motivatuion may be to put down firm roots.  The desire may be to no longer move.  It is those prospective Melbourne, Florida home buyers I seek to help. 

If the motivation is already there but some doubt remains consider these reasons to move buy a house now. 
  • Interest Rates.  They remain low, for now.  A rise of 1% in interest rates can make a tremendous difference in total payments (principal, interest, tax, insurance) .   And that increase in mortgage payment can cause a buyers ability to purchase to be lowered as mortgage
    approval amounts could decrease depending on total income, credit scores and other factors.   
  • Home Sales Prices are increasing.  Price is simply a reflection of supply and demand.
  • Rental Rates are increasing.   Just as home prices are rising so are rental prices in Brevard County, Florida as well.  And rental rates rarely ever go down so you should expect to be paying more next year!
If the motivation and ability to purchase is there, then this is the right time to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida. 

If one is considering moving up to a larger home now or even downsizing this is likely a good time to sell and buy.

I am not my car dealer.   You will not receive a mailer from Waters Realty of Brevard telling you it is time to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida.  You will not find a mailer or email from Waters Realty of Brevard telling you it is time to sell your Viera, Florida home.  

Why?  Because only you really know when the time is right buyer or sell a home in Florida.

If your circumstances, motivation and goals are pointing you toward buying a home in Florida I want to help you.  

Please call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Because you closed a deal does not mean they will ever call on you again! Customers have choices.

The stories are legendary when it comes to poor customer service received at DMV offices.  I suggest the same can be said about cable companies.

Just last week I had one of those experiences at a local Brevard County, Florida cable company.  Without detailing the experience suffice it to say that it was not without hassle.  In the end we left with the service we intended to get although the process was less than ideal. 

As a consumer I recognized what I considered to be poor service or, at a minimum, a customer service experience that was below my expectations.

As one who is in the customer service business I take such experiences and treat them as opportunities to review my own methods and practices.

So what are my lessons learned from one afternoon in the cable office?

1.  Understand what your customer is seeking.   Do not assume the consumer has a thorough knowledge of your products, services and the processes involved.
2.  Deliver what you say and confirm your customer understood and got answers to their questions.
3.  Use language and terms you are certain your customer understands.  It is really easy to use the language of your trade (doctors, real estate, legal, construction, etc).
4.  Never assume all is well because one of the parties to the transaction understands!  Above all else this was particularly the worst part of the experience cable experience where the clerk remarked "That is OK, your husband understands."  If your customer ever feels like you are being condescending it should be game over.
5.  Know who the decision maker really is.   See point number four.
6.  There are always other options.  In this case the product was cable services and not real estate.  Unlike cable and cell phone, I know I am not the only real estate agent in Brevard County, Florida and must be customer focused - always.

In real estate just because you closed a deal with a consumer does not mean they will ever call on you again or recommend you to another consumer.

If you are looking for a Viera or Melbourne, Florida real estate agent, call me at 321-693-3850.  I understand the above paragraph!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Which is better a buyer's agent or seller's agent when selling your home?

I saw the subject question posted on another real estate site earlier this week.   I know few real estate agents who specialize and practice solely in one side of the transaction.

Many sellers choose to use the same agent who sells their home as their buyer's agent for their new home.   Many buyers very often call their buyer's agent later to sell the house they helped them buy. 

The reason these consumers use the same agent for both types of transactions is simple - its all about the agent's skills and trust.

What does a seller want from their real estate agent?

The above graphic says it all.   Prospective sellers should interview several agents and work with the one they trust who can meet their goals in their time-frame - regardless if they are a "buyer's" or "seller's" agent or work with both.  Its experience, professionalism and local knowledge that counts.

Here are some related articles on interviewing and choosing a real estate agent to sell your Florida home.
Ready to sell your Melbourne, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email if I can help.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Home Buyer Tips: Look Beyond What You See...

Who has not heard these wise words of counsel...Don't look at where you are but where you are going.  These can be encouraging words, for sure.

When working with home buyers I provide similar advice although it is usually re-worded somewhat.   Put into the context of the home buying process it sounds more like "look beyond what you see before you at this time."

What do I mean look beyond?  It is simple...disregard the distractors that really mean very little.

What distractors?

Paint color is one of the most common but it could be that gawd awful wall paper sometimes present.  Or it could be the clutter that makes the room look small.  Or the neglected landscaping that makes you wonder why the homeowner association hasn't done something yet!

Or it could be the filth or smell.  Yes, sometimes people do not clean their house before putting them up for sale...I kid you not!  Of all things one can do to prepare a home for the market the least costly is cleaning!

I have found the ability to look beyond these distractors is a rare trait among the less experienced buyers.

This is not to say the distractors will not be deal killers.   It is just a matter of seeing what can be and not necessarily what is.

It all comes down to what a buyer is seeking in a new home.  If a home buyer has no desire to make any changes whatsoever then the decision is easier.   But if a buyer will consider making some changes then the ability to see what could be is critical.

There are a couple of limiting issues buyers must consider when seeing what could be:
  1. Understand the required skills and time required to take the property where it needs to go, and
  2. Is the available budget sufficient after the cost of buying and moving to allow changes?
Key Point:  Buyers need to understand the impact distractions have on their decision making when shopping for a home.  Just as importantly sellers need to understand the role distractions can play in getting an offer on their house.

Ready to buy or sell a home in Melbourne, Florida and the surrounding area?  Call me at 321-693-3850, please!


Friday, September 18, 2015

How to NOT sell your home to the buyer who really likes your home!

I hate solicitation calls!   Whether in the real estate business or any other business there is always someone wanting to separate you from your money.

As a Melbourne, Florida real estate agent I am always getting out of area calls.  So when my phone rang early this morning with an unfamiliar zip code I figured it was someone relocating to Florida.  

Instead it was some sales call from California.  

After being grilled for five minutes with nothing but questions and criticism of my current methods of marketing to people who are looking to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida I finally ended the call rather abruptly.  

This caller was a great example of what can happen during the home sale and purchase process. 

I have rarely ever gone on a listing interview where a prospective seller did not boast about their home's positive qualities and characteristics (location, updates, neighbors, schools nearby or whatever).  Sometimes that pride was accompanied by an overly optimistic opinion of their home's worth.

After providing a market analysis and thorough explanation of market conditions the seller usually decides on a reasonable listing price given the competition, circumstances of the sale and the property's qualities (good and bad). 

Once the house is on the market sellers are anxious for showings and excitedly anticipate feedback from showing agents.   (Feedback is rare and the best feedback is an offer.)

One thing I have noticed through the years when working as a seller's agent is when prospective buyers really like a house and a potential offer may be forthcoming more "nitpicking" comments showed up during feedback.  

Many times the criticisms was a "set up" for a lower offer.

And even when negotiations were successful then comes the inspection. While property inspectors are only reporting findings the delivery of these results are often interpreted by sellers as criticism.

This is one of the great challenges when buying or selling a home......criticism and how it is received.

If the ego gets involved (and bruised) then the hopes of a satisfactory closing sink.  You are never going to sell or buy anything if you want to argue.
With the call this morning there was no one between the two parties (yours truly and the anonymous caller) so it ended abruptly.   I still have no idea what the caller was selling or what company they represented (Is expecting an introduction early on asking for too much?)

Fortunately, in the case of buyers and sellers, the real estate professionals involved can be the calming voices
As a matter of practice I never use any method of business generation that involves a technique that will not work on me like cold calling.  I will never bother anyone who visits my website to search homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why Would a Real Estate Agent Say This? "Anyone can sell their own home."

Thinking about selling your Viera or Melbourne, Florida home?   Why not do it yourself as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO)?   After all, anyone can sell their own home, right?

The process is simple.

A seller needs just one buyer with the ability and desire to purchase.  

agent@moving2brveard.comBut, in the current Brevard County, Florida real estate market, having only one buyer trying to buy your home could mean it has not been marketed to the right people.

In the current Florida real estate market, a well maintained, move in ready home that is priced appropriately will likely receive multiple offers.   

While the for sale by owner price may be on target (emailed a real estate agent to get a free market analysis) it could be the right message gets ignored because it is delivered the wrong way (case in point, consider politicians).

Its all about maximizing exposure to the most likely to buyer pool.    

A FSBO seller needs targeted focused marketing to get multiple offers (and the best price).   A focused marketing plan is more than just a sign out front or an advertisement in the Sunday Florida Today real estate section (who reads the Sunday paper anyway?). 

Call a local knowledgeable real estate agent about how they would create a customized marketing plan to effectively market your home.

All homes are not the same.  A cookie cutter marketing plan found on some Internet web site does not always work.

One final word... 
As a FSBO getting a buyer is one thing.  What about the other considerations like your family's safety... the buyer's ability to close....escrow monies and the process?  There are a myriad of issues when selling your home.
Don't minimize the process or the risk.
If you are considering selling your Viera, Florida home talk to me about a marketing plan that will create demand.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Why would a seller ask for a proof of funds letter if the buyer is getting a mortgage?

One of the first steps in the home buying process is obtaining a mortgage pre-approval.  This is usually done right after or about the same time as one chooses a real estate agent to serve as their agent throughout the entire purchase process.

Key point:  It is important for buyers to remember the listing real estate agent works for the seller.  Also, it costs nothing to have your own real estate agent represent you.

The home purchase process usually involves making an offer to purchase with a small amount of money offered as earnest money to show the seller that the buyer is serious.  This escrow money will go toward the purchase and is refundable if the property fails an inspection or financing falls through.

It is common practice to provide a copy of the mortgage pre-approval letter at the time of offer. Sellers want to know a prospective buyer has the ability to complete the purchase.

If the offer is a cash offer then the prospective buyer should expect to provide a letter documenting available funds to complete the purchase.   This proof of funds letter should come from a bank, investment company or similar institution and simply state the buyer has sufficient funds available for the purchase. 

Sometimes, if the offer includes a significant down payment, the seller may request proof of funds for the down payment amount.  While I have never had a seller ask for a proof of funds letter for the down payment I can understand if it gets requested.  I do believe the lender a buyer is using for their mortgage may influence whether a letter is requested.  My experience has been most sellers are more comfortable with a local brick and mortar lender and less comfortable with Internet only lenders.

If you are considering a home purchase in Brevard County, Florida and would like some local lender contacts, please email me for a list of lenders.   While I usually do not recommended specific lenders I can tell you who past clients have successfully used in the past including Michael Smith with Movement Mortgage in Melbourne, FL.

Here are a few related articles about the home buying process.
Have a question about the home buying process in Florida?  Give me a call at 32-693-3850 or send me an email.

Ready to sell your Melbourne or Viera, Florida home, I can help as well.  Ask for your free no obligation market analysis!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Home Seller Tips: Should a seller take the first offer?

A few years ago the Florida real estate market was really down.   Back then almost any offer was a good offer.

But a shift has come. 

Now with the median days on the market in Brevard County down to about a month rarely does a move in ready property stay on the market very long before an offer arrives - very often on day one.  It is also not uncommon for sellers to receive multiple offers very soon after listing their home.

In my opinion, just as every buyer is different so is every offer. There is no correct answer to the title question.

Some subscribe to the philosophy of the first offer will be your best offer.   It could be but not always.

It will always depend on the buy and their motivation.  If the buyer is a searching for bargains a low ball offer may arrive first.  But if a buyer is motivated and needs to relocate then the first offer may be full list price or close to it.

So how does a seller evaluate early offers?  The same way a seller would evaluate any offer.  All offers should take into consideration things such as:
  • the circumstances of the sale (motivation), 
  • the timeline involved, 
  • any external pressures like moving a family or starting a new job, 
  • mortgage owed, 
  • the immediate competition,  
  • the terms of the offer (the offer is more than just price),
  • and any other peripheral issues.
Every sale is different.  There is no right or wrong answer to teh title question.

When a seller prices within reason and a buyer understands the market first offers can work out for all.

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

Ready to buy a Florida home?  I want to help you!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Home Seller Tips: Where is the light fixture?

When viewing a home prospective buyers will sometimes ask their real estate agent "What is staying with the house?"    In my experience buyers are usually referring to items like a washer/dryer or perhaps a shed in the back yard.

The easy answer...Personal property goes, Real property stays. 
Disclaimer:  This article I am referring to real estate transactions in Florida only. I am not an attorney.
What is personal property?   Simply put personal property is something that is easily move-able (like a washer or dryer). 

Personal property can become real property once attached to a house like a light fixture or ceiling fan.  When in the box sitting in a closet or garage these items are personal property.  Once attached they become real property.  The same goes for trees and plants permanently in the ground. 

What should a seller do?  I recommend sellers prepare a clearly identified "stays with the house" list that can be provided with the listing documents to help the buyers and their real estate agent answer the question in sentence one above.

If something like a ceiling fan or chandelier will go or be replaced I suggest the change happen during the preparation phase.  It is better for a prospective buyer to see a basic light fixture rather than a hole in the ceiling!

And if some personal items (like furniture) will be sold to the buyers, handle that as a side transaction outside of the real estate purchase.   Besides, lenders do not want to see personal property on a purchase agreement.

In the home purchase process the last thing a buyer does is a walk through inspection to make sure the property has been adequately maintained and to ensure everything that is staying with the house is present.  

The key to a smooth transaction is open and clear communication.  The last thing a seller or buyer needs is an avoidable crisis because something is gone or has been replaced.


 Chandelier Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, August 28, 2015

Selling Your Home: Inform with these listing terms!

There are times when a real estate agent struggles to come up with something "nice" to say about a property.  This may have been the case with a recent MLS entry I read where the narrative prominently included "Check out the awesome tree in the front yard!"

And while this may not seem like a major selling point it may have been one of the best qualities of the property.   It is much better in my opinion to use words that accurately reflect the property than some vague flowery words.  Facts speak when selling a home!

Some words and phrases are not very well defined.  Sometimes it is simply a case of  beauty in the eye of beholder).

What do some of these words and phrases bring to your mind?  Can you see it or is it just fluff?  Do these phrases really inform?

    Don't believe everything you read.   While the above is my opinion the following infographic provided by the Florida Realtors provides terms based on a university study.

    Thinking about selling your Melbourne, Florida home? Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

    Thursday, August 27, 2015

    Home Buyer Tips: Used Car and Used House....What is the difference?

    If you read used car advertisements you might run across terms like "gently used," "well maintained," "no worries," or whatever.  The message from the seller is a simple one...trust me, this car is a diamond!

    And while the car may be a real gem it is a rare buyer who does not look under the hood.  And if the buyer knows as little about cars as I then they may even have a qualified mechanic take a look.

    The independent mechanic will have no emotional attachment to the car and will provide a real assessment.

    Now shift gears (pun intended)....

    Many sellers swear their house is in move in condition with no problems whatsoever.   And, in their eyes, that may be the case.

    Some buyers will quickly fall in love with a house and fail to see any potential issues.

    In Florida sellers and real estate agents are required to disclose anything that materially affects the value of a property and is not readily visible.  As a real estate agent working with buyers I may point out issues that could warrant additional investigation during the due diligence period.

    I have worked with many prospective buyers who were quick to open up the AC or look at the plumbing or whatever.   Some may take a peek in the breaker box as well.   But most have little real knowledge of what they are looking at.   I have had buyers climb the attic stairs to take a look at the roof from the inside.   I actually had one buyer climb on the roof to "check for soft spots."   This is not inadvisable - ever!

    While looking under the hood is something that needs to be done it should be done by a qualified home inspector who has no emotional attachment whatsoever to the house or the deal.

    Property inspections are not expensive here in Florida (cost is usually in the $300-$500 range).    And even with an "as is" purchase contract it is wise to include an inspection addendum.  This inspection addendum is a buyer's get out of jail free card.

    Trained inspectors will give a report on a property condition at the time of inspection.  The inspector will not be able to tell you if the AC will last a month or five years.   They will not tell you how much exact life is left on a roof system.   Just like the mechanic who can give you a report on a car's condition today the property inspector can only report on what they can see and test on the inspection day.

    While a house is not a used car it warrants a look under the hood.   Here is some additioanl readuing about the home purchase and inspection process.
    Ready to buy a home in Viera, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.


    Thursday, August 20, 2015

    Brevard County, Florida Single Family Home Market Report - July 2015 Data By Florida Realtors

    The July 2015 Brevard County, Florida single family home market is summarized with additional charts provided to expand on the data. (Courtesy Florida Realtors)

    The 7 Most Needed Repair Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

    Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.