Sunday, March 29, 2015

How soon should I start looking for a rental home in Brevard County, Florida?

Although I am not in the property management side of the real estate business I do, on occasion, assist owners with tenant placement.  Similarly I do occasionally work with folks looking to rent a house in Central Brevard County.

This morning I had the pleasure of speaking with a young family that will be moving to Brevard County, Florida this summer due to a job transfer.  They had just arrived in the area for preliminary check of the layout and were trying to get familiar with the general areas in the county which can be a challenge because of the geography of Brevard County.

Geographically Brevard County is about 80 miles north to south with three major roadways (I-95, US Highway, and Highway A1A) running north to south.   I categorize the areas of Brevard generally as north, central, south and "beach-side"(includes the barrier island of Merritt Island).

The rental market in Brevard County is pretty brisk much like the sales market.  Desirable properties in popular areas do not stay on the market very long.  Just this week I encountered three that had applications in place within the first day or two (some with back up applications on file as well).

So how far in advance should a person start looking for a rental home in Brevard County, Florida?

First of all it is important to remember most home owners/investors do not want their properties sitting vacant waiting for a tenant to move in.  If you look too soon and find a house you want to rent, you are likely going to need to take it soon or perhaps pay a non-refundable deposit if the owner is willing to hold it.

Of course the home may not be available for a month or two as  many owners try to find their next tenants 30-60 days in advance of the current tenants departure.

My suggestion is to give yourself a month.   Requesting an owner allow move in at the beginning of the next month is reasonable. 

One exception to the above involves seasonal rentals.   Start asap as many of the short term rentals are taken a year or more in advance.

Property owners seeking tenant placement services in central Brevard County, Florida, please give me a call or send me an email.  If you're looking for a property management company I would be happy to recommend a local Brevard County property management company.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Why should a home buyer have their own real estate agent?

The title question does not refer to any of the "certification" programs and initials some real estate agents use for self promotion but rather the services a buyer should expect from the real estate agent assisting them with their home search and ultimate purchase.

First of all, let me point out who is not a buyer's agent....
  • The Listing Agent.  When home owners decide to sell their home they hire a real estate agent whom they pay to sell their house.  
  • The Builder's Representative.   I have done this twice.  No one ever told me when I stopped by the model home that the representative was really on the other side of the table.   so there can be no representation of both sides. 
  • The For Sale By Owner.   I am re-stating the obvious here.  The FSBO is not motivated by looking out for the buyer's interest.
In Florida there is no dual representation.  The representative in the model home is only working for their employer.  Where does the loyalty lie with the listing (seller's) agent?  Who do they work for?

While I am not suggesting a listing agent or builder's agent will intentionally mislead or deceive you I am suggesting you need your own real estate agent. 

When you have your own real estate agent they are working for you and the seller pays the agent you hire to work for you.  Your own real estate agent will work with you to gain an understanding of your needs, circumstances and goals.

Your buyer's agent will be there throughout the process when you look at every home along the way to the closing table.

While I always recommend you call your own agent with questions there is nothing wrong with visiting open houses on your own... just advise the hosting agent you have your own real estate agent. 

Ready to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida?  I would welcome a chance to assist with the process.  Please give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Why do I need a mortgage pre-approval before looking at homes?

The majority of home buyers I work with in Brevard County, Florida are not cash buyers.   Still, whether one is paying cash or obtaining a mortgage it is critical to determine ones ability to purchase before looking at homes.  

Sellers want to have confidence that people walking through their homes are real potential buyers.  Sellers want to know a buyer has the ability to purchase a home before they accept an offer.

Real estate agents want to know prospective buyers have the ability to purchase a home in the price range they will be looking before heading out to see properties.

But more importantly serious home buyers should want to know as well - first.

How does one prove they have the ability to purchase a home?  

For cash buyers it can be as simple as a letter from a bank or investment firm indicating the funds are available.  If a buyer has the ability to pay cash then the challenge is primarily in deciding the budget.

For non-cash buyers the proof is a mortgage pre-approval letter.   To start a home search the mortgage pre-qualification can initially serve as a good starting point for a buyer who is starting an initial search.  (Maybe for the first day of looking.)  But after the initial search commences the preferred prof is the mortgage pre-approval.

What is the difference between a mortgage pre-qualification and  mortgage pre-approval?

When is the highest offer not the best offer?

Considering buying a Melbourne, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email if you have questions.  I can help and would welcome the opportunity!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Selling Your Florida Home: You Have Three Choices.

When it is time to sell your home there are several choices from which to choose.What are these choices?

DIY:  Do it yourself which is more commonly known by the acronym FSBO (For Sale By Owner).

Image courtesy of cooldesign at
Less Than Full Service:    Although known by many names  I like to call it "limited service."  Some other descriptors include MLS entry only and a la carte realty services.  Limited service usually means limited results.

These two routes are often motivated by one thing - saving the real estate fees.  After all, it is really easy to sell a house, right?

Without getting into a discussion on real estate fees let me point out that, like most things in life, real estate fees are negotiable and can vary from agent to agent.  There is no standard fee.

These two methods are often chosen by those who want to manage the transaction completely.  This is not entirely bad when one has the knowledge, experience and time

Tasks involved with managing your own transaction include preparing your home, understanding the competition and establishing a price, marketing, qualifying prospective buyers, providing any mandated disclosures, scheduling showings, negotiations, contracts, inspections, selecting closing agents, and the most important -  safety - your safety as well as the well being of those who walk into your home..  

Full Service:   Finally,  there is the service and peace of mind offered by a full service real estate agent and brokerage. 

The difference between full service and FSBO is much like the difference between taking your car to the dealer and tearing the engine out in your garage

I know many people who can take an engine apart in their garage and achieve perfect results.  But there are many, including me, who know that anything beyond hanging a battery or tire should be handled by the professionals.

When you are to sell your Viera, Florida home, call a full service local expert like Gary Waters at 321-693-3850.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Home Seller Tips When Negotiating an Offer "Maybe" is not a Choice.

Home Seller Tips:  If they reject my counter I can always go back to their offer, right?

Some people love negotiating. Some prefer to either have an acceptance or a rejection and then move forward.  The good thing about negotiating when buying or selling a home is you have a real estate agent who, under your direction, guides you through the process.

But a key point for both parties to remember is that once an offer is rejected and a counteroffer submitted the preceding offer is squashed (at least here in Florida).  Legally there is no way to bind a party by saying "OK, we will take the previously countered offer."

Of course I suppose the parties could mutually agree to go back to the terms of the rejected offer and reach an agreement.  I am not an attorney.  If you have questions regarding contract law, please consult a qualified attorney.

So how does a seller approach the offer? The first thing a seller must do is consider the strength of the offer.  Is it a cash?   Is it a quick closing (longer between offer and closing then the more chance of a deal failing)?  Are there a lot of strings attached (unusual contingencies), etc?   Is there supporting documents with offer (proof of funds, mortgage pre-approval, reasonable escrow/down payment)?

Once the quality of the overall (price is only one component albeit the most important) is assessed, there are only three choices (and "maybe" is not one of the choices).  And it is important for parties to pay attention to the response time within the offer.  If missed, the offer is no longer binding. 
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
  1. Accept. 
  2. Reject totally with no counteroffer. 
  3. Reject with a counteroffer presented.
Of the above choice only one is obviously the easiest for all parties. 

With counteroffers the countering party must decide whether the reward is worth the risk?

Will another $1,000 or $5,000 really make a difference?  What happens if the buyer walks?  When will the next offer come and at what price?

Buyers should consider whether the chances of finding a property equal or better is likely (at what price and when)? 

And one last consideration for buyers to consider... What happens if another higher offer comes in during the process?  Is it possible for a buyer to lose out while the counteroffers are being kicked around?

When buying and selling a house or condo there are many unknowns including what a seller will accept or a buyer will pay.

It is critical buyers and sellers have the right real estate agent working with them .  Local real estate agents have access to the best and most current information available (not some mega web site that compiles old sold data).

When you are ready to buy or sell a home in Melbourne, Florida (including Viera), please give me a call at 321-693-3850.