Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Home Buyer Tip: How Much Imperfection is Acceptable?

Rarely does the perfect property exist.   

This is particularly true when a buyer is considering re-sale homes and condos.  While a house or condo may have been "perfect" (or almost)  when it was built a few years ago it has likely "suffered" degradation from human occupants or the environment.

As a buyer consider how much imperfection you are willing to accept.   Read the first sentence again.
Move in condition likely does not mean nothing will require attention at some point.

When the inventory of available potential properties is light buyers have to weigh the imperfections.

When choices are plentiful then things like dated carpet or some gawd awful tacky wallpaper (I really hate wallpaper myself) can cause a property to be stricken from consideration.

But when the choices are limited think ..."Its ONLY wallpaper!"

Some things can't be changed.   Location, home owner association membership and rules, traffic patterns, etc.  When price, location, overall condition and circumstances align ONLY comes into play.

Things that can be changed, even if its later, should be evaluated in a tight market.   

Don't let worn carpet, wallpaper or even some ugly paint block an otherwise great prospect from consideration.

Home buyers, please read  Finding the Imperfect home.

Finally, a few words for home sellers....

Your home may have some flaws due to design obsolescence.  The flaw may be location, traffic, the neighbors (yes, bad neighbors can be a flaw).  It may have some defects as a result of aging.
You can fix some of these issues.  

Some imperfections can be overcome through pricing.  Some can be overcome by proper staging (including removing excess "stuff").   Some can be overcome by repair (yes, fix the AC, the roof, the major show stoppers!).   A home does not have to be perfect to sell.

Whether buyer or seller remember imperfections will exist. 

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


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Melbourne, Florida For Sale By Owner - Dealing with Realtors.

Being a "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO, pronounced fizzbo) does not preclude potential contact with a real estate agent.

If you are a for sale by owner and a real estate agent should contact you remember  real estate agents are not your enemy.

I can almost guarantee that within hours of putting your Melbourne, Florida home for sale as a FSBO you will likely get contacted by some real estate agents.  Most probably wanting to list your home to help you make more money.   

Some of these real estate agents may want to offer you free assistance (hoping for a listing opportunity when if you do not sell).

And sometimes the real estate agent may have a prospective buyer for your home.

Most real estate agents, if they have a buyer, will ask one question up front - Will you work with a real estate agent (translation - will you pay the buyer's agent a commission?)?

I suggest FSBOs respond affirmatively.

The reason - a qualified buyer prospect will be coming to see your home.   Almost all real estate agents verify prospective customer's ability to purchase before showing homes.  The one they bring to your door will likely be a willing and able buyer.

Side note:  As a FSBO, do you take the time verify ability to purchase before you schedule or show your home?  Do you even know who it is you are letting in your home? 
So, assuming you are willing to pay the buyer's agent a commission (always negotiable),  here are a few things to keep in mind about the process:
  • Do not expect the buyer's agent to work the seller side of the deal as well.  In Florida there is no dual agency.  Listing agents work for the seller.  If you want your own agent, consider listing your home. Or, if another buyer shows up, call an agent (me) to see if they will represent you.
  • Understand the process is much more than just putting an advertisement on one of the mega-real-estate-web-site giants for free.  If a buyer has an agent there will likely be contingencies, inspections to the organized process. While the other agent will not represent  you in the transaction I am sure they will be happy to educate on the steps to the closing table.
  • Do not attempt to persuade the buyer's agent or influence them in any way to do something contrary to what is best for their client.   
  • Real estate agents have a responsibility to the party they represent.  Still, if their customer wants your house they will do all they can to get the transaction closed.
As a real estate broker I view for sale by owner sellers as opportunities.  And in this business opportunities are all we have - ever!

Need help selling your Melbourne, Florida home?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What Inspections Do You Recommend for Home Buyers? Is there a Specific Order?

What Inspections Do You Recommend for Home Buyers?  Is there a Specific Order?

Let me begin with the simple answer...yes to both title questions.

This article pertains specifically to buying a home in Florida although many areas have similar processes and procedures.  Consult your real estate agent for more information.

In Florida most offers to purchase include contingencies.  As I am not an attorney I like to put contingencies in laymen terms - a condition that must be met before a purchase offer goes forward (there are solutions if problems arise).  There are good and reasonable contingencies that protect buyers like appraisal, inspection, financing, etc.  Then there are some oddball contingencies.

Without getting sidetracked into a discussion about offers, suffice it to say that times the offer is not necessarily the price only but rather the entire package including contingencies.  Sometimes the cleaner offer gets accepted and a higher price gets rejected.   

Back to the inspections questions....

In a real estate transaction time is of the essence.  There are hard dates that must be met.  Inspections are the first part.

Although buyers choose their inspectors I, like many other real estate agents, can provide a list of recommended inspectors whom I know my customers have used previously as well as other inspectors.

The property inspection is the number one inspection.  Her in our area of central Florida, although based on the size of the house, cost is usually in the $300 to $400 range.  This may vary somewhat if a buyer decides to include specialized inspections like "Four Point Inspection" or a "Wind Mitigation Survey" which insurance companies sometimes require.  Most inspectors I am familiar with will capture the information and, if needed, then charge the extra fee later.

A “Four Point Inspection” focuses on four main areas of interest in a home: air conditioning systems, the roof, plumbing and electrical  

Wind mitigation surveys are also known as hurricane inspections or windstorm surveys depending on where you are located.  These inspections can result in discounts and reductions in insurance premiums depending on the home's age and other factors.

Assuming the property inspection does not reveal any major issues then the termite inspection is ordered next.  Several of the property inspection companies In this are have arrangements with pest control companies to integrate these inspections into the home inspection. The cost, while it does vary, is probably in the $100-$150 range.

Depending on the home and the buyer, a pool inspection may be ordered.  Check with your property inspection company as to how they deal with pools. 

Next is the septic inspection.  While very few homes in my market area have septic systems this inspection is critic when the home has a septic system.  These inspections usually run anywhere from just over $200 to maybe $400 or so. 

In this inspection the septic tank must be pumped as part of the process.   This is good if the purchase goes forward but if there is a problem that stops the purchase why spend the money?  This is inspection will also evaluate the drain field.   Septic systems must be maintained. If they need repair or replacement it is not inexpensive.

Behind the replacement of a roof or air conditioner the septic system is potentially a major investment!

If multiple inspections are going to be anticipated I suggest buyers include enough days in the inspection contingency to allow all to be performed.  However, because buyers can basically opt out at any time based on the inspection results most sellers are not going to allow an inordinate amount of time for inspections. 

As mentioned above, time is of the essence.

Finally, most real estate agents will recommend inspections be performed.  If any inspection is rejected, most agents get the declined inspection decision on paper.  

Usually the order I recommend at least provides an opportunity for a buyer to save money if a "red flag" appears.

Ready to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can assist in any way.