Monday, June 29, 2015

Home Seller Tips: What signals are you sending?

Even in a market favoring sellers, there seems to be one thing that holds true regardless of market....buyers interpret what they see as a signal from the buyer.

Pricing way above the market could be interpreted as a seller really is not interested in selling.  This does not mean that an optimistically reasonable price consistent with location, competition and condition is not appropriate.

A dirty, cluttered interior could signal a seller has not cared for their home in the past so prospective buyers might expect problems when it comes to routine maintenance and upkeep items. 

An ill kept yard and exterior of the house may signal a seller is desperate and a lack of money may be preventing exterior maintenance.  Why else would a seller not prepare their yard and outside?  Curb appeal is so important.

Missing items of equipment such as pool equipment or hurricane shutters may again be interpreted as a lack of maintenance and attention to detail by the seller.

In my experience most of the above "signals" are rarely accurate.  Many times a seller will over estimate their home's appeal because they fail to look through the eyes of a prospective buyer.

agent@moving2brevard.comSo how can a seller protect themselves from sending the wrong signals?

Prepare.  De-clutter.  De-personalize.  Clean.  Spend some extra time in the yard.  Paint the front door.  Have maintenance records nearby on a counter for buyers to view.   Have a pre-listing inspection performed. Address any issues noted during the inspection.   Provide a copy of the pre-listing inspection with the maintenance records.

By taking the time to send the right signals to prospective buyers a seller is more likely to receive the right signal from a buyer - a reasonable offer!

Considering selling your Viera, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 to discuss how I can work with you!  Ask for your market analysis!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Investors and Disclosures...No different than owner occupant sellers.

When it comes to selling a house in Florida, whether owner occupant or investor, the rules about disclosure are the same.

I saw an MLS entry today where the listing agent said "no sellers disclosure available due to the fact the seller never lived there."  

In Florida those selling homes are required to disclose any issues that materially affects the value of a property and is not obvious.

I believe this is very often hogwash! 

It is hard for me to believe that the seller does not have maintenance records on an investment property.  It is hard for me to believe that the tenant, if there was one, did not complain about issues.  If the owner replaced the roof or any other major system in the past I bet they know.  If the seller is an investor who purchased a foreclosure with water damage, they know its previous condition and how it was remedied.

Sellers in Florida must disclose anything that effects the value of a property/ material defects such as leaky roof, termites, environmental hazards, non-permitted improvements, restrictions placed on property uses, association rules, previous water damage. This is not a comprehensive list.

Sticking ones head in the sand is not an effective way avoid disclosure, when appropriate.  If it is a defect, it is a defect that should be disclosed. 

If in doubt, disclose.  Or consult a real estate attorney as I am not a lawyer.

Related reading:
Is there such a thing as being too truthful?
Home Inspections and Property Disclosures
Home Buyers - Perform Your Own Homework as well
Pre-Listing Inspections May Prevent Post-Contract Blues

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Brevard County, Florida Townhouse/Condo Sales Market Report May 2015 vs. May 2014

Here is a summary of the Brevard County Townhouse/Condo market activity in May 2015  compared to May 2014: 
  • Closed Sales were up 3.5% in May 2015 with 237 units sold compared to 229 in May 2014.
  • Pending Sales were up 11.1%.
  • New Listings - down -5.4%.
  • Median Sales Prices were up 22.9% to $145,000 compared to a year ago ($118,000).
  • Median Days on the Market were down 18.4% - 40 days compared to May 2014's 49 days.
  • Months Supply of Inventory went down 24.9% to 4.1 months compared to May 2014, which was 5.4 months.   
  • Traditional/Fair Market Value Sales were up 14.1% with a median sales price of $147,250.
  • Foreclosure/REO Sales went down 35.4% with a median sales price of $98,500.
  • Short Sale Closings stayed the same  with a median sale price of $204,000.
For information on buying a condo in Melbourne, Florida, call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Home Seller Tips: Who determines the selling price?

How many buyers does it take to change a seller's mind?    This is not a trick question but it could easily be a multiple choice question.

I believe most sellers, if they are honest with themselves, know the likely ballpark price their home will ultimately sell for in the current market.   But, sometimes, it takes a while for sellers to finally agree to the real price.

Who determines the selling price?

What any home sells for is a function of buyer interest and other market forces (competition, interest rates, condition, location, community resources/desirability, crime rate, etc.).  

No place on that list is what the seller wants, what the seller paid plus a profit, what the seller paid plus the cost of maintenance items (AC, roof, etc).

I have heard of some sellers still refusing to accept an offer even after eight offers have come in within $5,000 or so of each other!

If eight or six or four offers come in and they are close in terms and price, it seems like the real price has been set by the market!

So, how many buyers will it take to change the sellers mind? 

The seller will decide.

However, extended days on the market created by rejecting offers can work against a seller and result in lower offers in the future (or none at all).   Prospective buyers will wonder what is wrong with a house or conclude the seller is not really interested in selling!

Still, sellers should evaluate every offer carefully.  The first may be the highest.  A counter offer may allow a buyer to walk or find another property. 

If you are considering selling your Viera, Florida home, please give me a call at 321-693-3850  to discuss how I can help you.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

What determines the offer a seller accepts?

In a housing market like Brevard County, Florida where there are more buyers than sellers and multiple offer situations are common it is often a challenge for a buyer to formulate an offer strategy.  After all, buyers want to get the best house for the best price.  But knowing how to create an offer a seller can't refuse is a challenge.

The title question is simple.  The answer, not so simple.  

The correct answer is the highest price, right?

Wrong.  It is not always the highest offer.

Well, then it must be the cash offer if the others involve a mortgage.

Wrong, again.  Cash sometimes motivates sellers but a mortgage results in cash as well although it may take longer or potentially a few more hiccups to closing.

Well, it is the first offer to arrive, right?

Wrong, once again!  Still, an offer should have a short response due by time to limit the possibility of more competing offers arriving before a decision is made.

So what determines which offer a seller accepts? 

Every seller is different so there is no one answer that fits all.

Sellers differ on circumstances (regular sale, estate sale, short sale, relocation due to employment).  Each of these types of sale can create time issues, sale prices, urgency (or not), etc. Seller attitudes can differ greatly from "Let's just get it sold" to "I am not giving this house away!"

So what can buyers do when they want the house but know the competition is keen in a housing market like Brevard County, Florida?

Your buyer's agent will reach out to the the seller's agent regarding the existence of potential offers and any other information they can obtain about the seller/property (time line, circumstances, flexibility, terms, etc.)  But don't expect the seller's agent to provide any information that would weaken a seller's position.

So which offer will the seller accept? 

No one knows for sure.

With the known information, a firm (realistic) understanding of the budget and the competition, buyers should formulate their offer.

In the current Melbourne, Florida real estate market where multiple offers are common buyers should guard against an emotional bidding war and tender an offer they can live with regardless of outcome.  

I suggest prospective buyers consider the whole package and not just price when the offer is put forth.  Include supporting documentation with your offer (pre-approved mortgage from local lender).  Make closing dates reasonable (maybe 45 days maximum if a mortgage is involved).    Include only the necessary contingencies to protect yourself in case of a bad inspection or appraisal.    Don't request concessions (closing cost assistance) if it can be avoided.

Give it your best shot.

If you are ready to buy a house in Melbourne, Florida, please give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Florida Home Buyers and Sellers - Consider your timeline when contracting to purchase/sell

I recently had buyers close on a house where the closing date became an issue for the sellers.  The seller's pending move was based upon the occupant of their next home vacating on date "X."  But this was all based on moving into a new construction home that was supposed to be finished on date "Y."

As the closing date approached the sellers found out X ≠ Y.

Completion dates for newly constructed homes are not fixed in stone. Closing dates on re-sales are somewhat more predictable.

Fortunately, the buyer and seller came to an agreement on a closing date adjustment.

The Florida real estate contract contains the sentence "Time is of the essence."   Perhaps "essence" would be more effective if it was replaced with "critical."

Dates will become much more critical beginning in August 2015 when the Closing Disclosure will combine the current HUD-1 settlement and truth in lending statements.  Currently, last minute changes/delivery of the HUD-1 Settlement Statement doesn't usually completely delay the process for days.

This new Closing Disclosure must be provided to the buyer/borrower at least three business days before closing.  If changes occur this could be cause for another three day waiting period.  The key here is to make sure everyone in the process understands the time requirements for the transaction.

I heard it said today that parties should avoid domino closings such as mentioned above as well as situations where the moving van motor is running - at least until the new system is learned. 

If a mortgage is involved I would definitely recommend looking at 45 days from contract acceptance to a closing, for now.

The real estate purchase/sale process is stressful enough.  Being aware of the time requirements in the contract as well as the process will make for a smoother closing.  If you are new to the home buying process, just give me a call if I can help (321-693-3850).

Buying a home: Where Do I start?

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Home Seller Tips: "Move in Ready" or "Just Ready to List?"

The Brevard County, Florida housing market has heated up.   Current inventory remains level but is not climbing much.  Buyers outnumber sellers. 

This has resulted in multiple offers and slowly rising prices.

Still, the shifting market has apparently affected some seller attitudes.

I showed a house a few days ago.  The price was rather optimistic - pretty common now.  The listing agent told me up front the "seller expects to get 96-97% of listing price."

Viewing the house confirmed what I suspected - over priced for its location and condition.

Although the market has shifted, seller attitude should not!

Lack of preparation always works against a seller regardless of market.  Overpricing for condition and location is never good regardless of market.

Sometimes buyers will accept less than what they are looking for if the price is right.  Sometimes buyers accept less than desired because of the time line or circumstances.

But more often than not buyers will move on to the next house if the price is above market or condition is less than expected for the price point.

When it is time to sell your Viera, Florida home think "Move in ready" and not "Just ready to list."

Monday, June 1, 2015

Home Buyer Tips: Brevard County, Florida Residential Market Favors Sellers - Buyers Be Prepared

I remember a few years ago when asked about their home purchase budget a prospective buyer responded to me that "money is no object."  I was not impressed nor comfortable with that response.  

Money is always an object.

In a brisk real estate market such as the current Brevard County, Florida residential market, most buyers know that move in ready homes do not stay on the market long.

The median days on the market for single family homes sold in April 2015 was only 34 days.  That meant half the homes sold were on the market less than a month.  Another key fact - homes were selling for an average of 94% of original listing price.

The above statistics show the Brevard County market favors sellers.  Sellers are not negotiating a lot off their listing prices.

When buyers begin their home search they must be prepared.   Buyers must know what they are looking for and how much they are willing to pay when they find it.

Being prepared includes obtaining the mortgage pre-approval.    Being prepared also means knowing how much a buyer is willing to spend.   The mortgage pre approval limit should not be considered a starting point.

Knowing that sellers are not negotiating much off list price buyers should not start their home search at the top of their budget.  I suggest buyers see what is available below their maximum level.  And then move up in price if necessary to locate their desired property. 

And as your search price increases understand that the Brevard County, Florida market favors sellers so do not expect sellers to reduce their list price substantially.

Being prepared also includes having a local, knowledge real estate professional working for you. 

When you are ready to buy a home in Brevard County, Florida, call me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.  I specialize in central Brevard County areas of Viera, Suntree, Rockeldge, Merritt Island and Melbourne.

If you are looking for a condo in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral, Diana Zaccaro can help.

Waters Realty of Brevard - a small company delivering big results.

Brevard County, Florida Residential Sales April 2015 By Zip Code