Friday, April 29, 2016

What is Indian River Colony Club?

Indian River Colony Club is a gated 55+ community located in central Florida's planned unit development of Viera (just north of Melbourne, FL).  Actually, its more of a country club and a lifestyle than a development. 
This is part one of a new series on Indian River Colony Club.

IRCC was founded in 1986 as a not-for-profit corporation as a retirement destination for military offers.  Over the the years since its inception, Indian River Colony Club has evolved into a more inclusive, as well as exclusive, retirement community with membership expanded to all former military and 20% non-military veterans.  

All homes are individually owned with no rental properties allowed so residents know their neighbors are permanent.
A few interesting points about Indian River Colony Club:
  • The IRCC corporation is debt free;
  • Amenities are owned by residents including golf course, club house, multi-use buildings, pro shop, tennis courts, swimming pool and more; 
  • Home prices are less than those in other Viera 55+ communities (Heritage Isle, Grand Isle);
  • The Board of Directors, elected by the residents, determine fees and provide oversight for all activities within the gates including the professional onsite management;
  • Household maintenance (more specifics below) are covered by the monthly maintenance fee;
  • Monthly fee also covers club membership, amenities, full time on site security including 24 hour guard monitored entry, security cameras at all entrances, visitor management as well as security patrols inside community.
What is the catch? 

There is no catch but the services and amenities come with a price and this is often an issue which stops prospective buyers from fully considering IRCC.  The fees are based on floor plan of the house and can broadly range in the $800- $1,200 a month ballpark (more later in this series about fees).

But consider all the fees cover....
  • Inside maintenance including water heater, AC, heat systems, structure, electrical, plumbing, garage doors including openers.
  • Outside maintenance including roof repair or replacement (if not covered by homeowner insurance), external wall preservation, painting, cleaning, pressure washing of driveways and sidewalks.
  • Pest control inside and outside including termite protection and repair if necessary.
  • Quarterly preventative maintenance.
  • An IRCC vehicle even provides transportation to Patric Air Force Base and nearby shopping malls.
Consider all the above items covered by the monthly fee and the fee does not appear so unreasonable.

For information on buying a home in Indian River Colony Club, call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Levitt Park in Rockledge, Florida - Homes For Sale - Prices are Rising in 2016.

I was reviewing my recent listing in Levitt Park subdivision when I came a cross the website which actually told the story of "The Levittowns" developments by Levitt and Sons.  I had heard of Levittown, PA before but was not familiar with Levitt and Sons and their huge development of communities across the USA.

And the Levitt communities appeared everywhere including Arizona, Callifornia, Ilinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia...practically all over!

In Rockledge, Florida. we have Levitt Park at Rockledge or officially, Buckingham at Levitt Park which, according to, opened for sales in 1964.  This was Levitt and Sons' first Florida project and was attracted by the expansion plans at Kennedy Space Center in the early 1960s. 

One of the early marketing brochures touted the "true indoor/outdoor living with finished patios and terrace areas"  with floor plans like the Alameda ($15,990), Biscayne ($17,500), Catalina ($21,500),  Delray ($19,500) and Eastwood ($20,990).   It looks like air conditioning was another $500-$600!  

Of course the year round boating, fishing, swimming and golf were prominently advertised. 

Levitt Park in Rockledge now is generally considered the area from the Fiske Blvd entrance on Levitt Parkway all the way back to its end at Murrell Road. With its proximity to excellent schools, shopping, parks, golf course, beaches , and major routes (I-95, US1), Rockledge is a great location fro getting around central Florida.

What is for sale in Levitt Park in Rockledge?
Currently there are six homes for sale in Levitt Park with list prices ranging from $147,000 to $245,000.  Construction of these homes range from 1965 to 1977 with only one listing built after 1966.  Five of these homes are standard sales and one is a foreclosure.

That home is located at 897 Brunswick Lane and is a three bedroom two bath two car garage home listed for only $177,00.  
This home has a new roof, a new garage door and opener,completely renovated bathrooms, air conditioner about eight years old, new interior doors and more!  

In addition to a patio and a screened porch out back, there is a separate smaller one room building (concrete block with air conditioning) which would make a nice office, craft room or shop!

By the way did I say I was the listing agent?  Call me to see this home for sale in Levitt Park. It is the best home in the are for the money!

What has recently sold in Levitt Park?

Over the past six months there have been seventeen homes  homes sold in Levitt Park with selling prices ranging from about $94,000 to $175,000.

Thirteen of these seventeen homes were standard sales.  In the past two months there were eight homes sold in Levitt Park with selling prices for these recent sales ranging from $115,475 to $175,0000 (half sold at or more than $157,000).

Only one of these homes was built after 1966.... 897 Brunswick which is one of the best homes currently available!

The trend in Levitt Park, as in all of Brevard County,  is prices are rising.

For information on buying or selling a home in Levitt Park in Rockledge, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Buying a Home in Florida: What is a contingency?

Most real estate offers to purchase in Florida are prepared with one or more contingencies.  Contingencies serve to protect the buyer. 

What are contingencies?  In its simplest term contingency just means conditional based on something else.   I am not an attorney so this is not intended as legal advice but rather practical home buying advice from a Florida real estate broker.

Contingencies serve to protect a customer's interest.  But these protections are usually limited by time periods.  The Florida real estate offer commonly used contains a very bold sentence:  "Time is of the essence."

Most purchase offers have a couple of standard contingencies which are quite often expected by the seller's agent. 

The first of these is the inspection contingency.  Here in Brevard County, Florida the standard offer basically contains an inspection contingency which allows the buyer to have inspections (property, termite, septic, pool, mold, radon, etc.)  performed within a defined number of days.

By the way, even if the house is being sold "as is," buyers should not fail to perform the inspection.

My experience is the buyer usually has 10 (maybe up to 15) days for the inspections.  Because inspections cost the buyer money they are usually performed in a specific order (property first, then septic, for example).  If the property inspection reveals a showstopper then why waste the septic inspection money?

I think of the inspection contingency as a get out of jail free card as there is no pass or fail and the interpretation of the results is solely up to the buyer.  Of course, some sellers wonder if the inspection contingency lets a buyer walk too fast!

Another key contingency is the financing contingency/appraisal contingency.   If  the purchase is being financed then the appraisal is key.  Even if the purchase is a cash offer most buyers still want an appraised value at least equal to the purchase price.

What happens if the appraisal comes in low?  If the appraised amount is under the contract price then there are options available including: 

  • Cancel.  Most buyers really do not want to exercise this option.
  • Negotiate a new price.  This will depend on the seller's desire to close the current contract.
  • Request a second appraisal.  This is an added cost to the buyer ($400-$500 estimate) but if it saves the deal and money it may be a consideration.
  • Bring cash to the closing table.  If all other options fail the buyer can choose to add cash to make up the appraisal shortfall.
Regardless of solution, financing and appraisal contingencies protect the buyer.

There are other conditions which may show up in an offer but they are less common. In a seller's market such as the April 2016 residential market in Florida it is likely sellers will not look favorably on these "non-essential" contingencies. 

After all, a contingency that may be viewed as protecting a buyer can be also seen as putting the seller at a disadvantage!

Professional real estate agents know which contingencies  serve to protect and which ones are just annoyances or fluff. 

Appraisals - The Final Hurdle
After Your Offer is Accepted.
Buying a Home in Florida - A Language of Its Own.
Twelve Rules For Buying a Home in Florida.
Multiple Offers, Appraisals and Financing
What Does "As Is" Really Mean?

Ready to buy a house in Viera, Florida?  call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Ready to sell your Viera home, call me!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Home Not Selling: Is Price the Only Issue?

If your Viera, Florida home has been on the market for a couple of months you may start thinking it is all about price.  But is it?

When it comes to listing your home for sale will the listing price be what you want or what you can get?   Most of the time these two figures are not exactly equal.

Is your listing price the highest mentioned by one of the real estate agents you interviewed?   And, if it is, did you choose your agent because they uttered THAT price?

When you interview a real estate agent to sell your home the key is to ask the agent for the price they can sell your home for…not what you want.

For the moment consider your list price is realistic, reasonable and within the range of local competition.  The the reason your home is not selling could be something different.

Consider these potential problems:
  • Availability to show.  Are you accommodating reasonable showing requests?  Are there unnecessary restrictions on showing appointments like 24 hours notice or your agent must be present? 
  • Are your neighbors an obstacle?  Sometimes its the house next door, loud music, cars parked in yards or whatever.  Not only are buyers choosing a house they are choosing a neighborhood.
  • Is your house too cluttered to show off its great characteristics. Even a home that is priced appropriately may not shone when it must overcome clutter.  Maybe the house is great but the landscaping sets a negative tone.
If your home is not selling and you are convinced the price is right then get with your real estate agent and search for the answer.  It is there if you look close!

Read this Cheat Sheet For Home Sellers!

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

Friday, April 15, 2016

Home Buyer Tips: Reliable Resources "Usually Not Found at the Hotel"

Just this week I was showing a home to some folks moving to Florida from New York.  As we were finishing the viewing I asked for feedback.  The husband remarked the home was priced too high

It is not an infrequent comment I hear from buyers.  On the other side of the transaction  it is not infrequent to hear sellers say the opposite.

I wanted to know his frame of reference abut the pricing.  His response to my inquiry was it because he had been talking to some people at the hotel.

Not sure the qualifications of these folks but I have a feeling they were not in the business. 

This reminds of folks who turn to the mega websites like #Zillow for their home's estimate of value.    They are depending on a resource that has zero local knowledge.

In early 2016 homes have been selling for about 95% of the list price in Brevard County, Florida.  The particular home I had showed my buyer was right in the middle of the comparable properties.

Sure there was probably a bit of negotiation room but "high" was not how the price should have been characterized.

If you are buying a home in Viera, Florida, call a local real estate agent who knows the neighborhood!    

Real estate is local...but not usually just anyone at the local hotel!"

Call or text me at 321-693-3850.  If you prefer....

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Home Seller Tips: Get Your House Ready to Sell Even If Not Selling (Yet).

There is a shortage of move in ready homes on the market in Brevard County, Florida.  Ask anyone trying to buy a home in Viera or Rockledge, Florida in April 2016.

So, if you have considered selling your Viera or Rockledge, Florida home this may be the right time to move forward.

But,even if your home is not going to be sold soon, why not get it ready for the market anyway?

As I work with home sellers in the central Florida area I am constantly reminded of how many sellers wait until the house goes on the market to "fix" that leaky faucet or replace that non-functioning disposal or whatever.

Or sometimes it is when I work with buyers that the seller is handed a repair list or reduces their selling price as a result of minimal problems discovered during the property inspection.

Getting a house ready for the market before it goes active is highly recommended.  Here are some articles with additional links to consider when preparing to sell your home.

But don't wait until you decide to sell to get your home ready.....  You are living in your house.  You may be in your home for weeks, months and years to come.

Why not enjoy your home to the fullest now?  Besides, addressing the little issues when they occur make your home more livable.  Addressing the issues as  they arise will minimize the preparation stage later on when you do sell your Viera home.

Ready to sell your Viera, Florida home?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for your free market analysis and consultation.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Home For Sale - Rockledge, Florida - 3 BR 2 BA 2 GAR $177K

Located at 897 Brunswick Lane in Rockledge, Florida, this three bedroom two bathroom two car garage home is move in ready
With  about 1,338 square feet under air, this well maintained 1977 built three bedroom two bathroom two car garage home just hit the market this afternoon at $177,000. 
View the MLS entry for 897 Brunswick Lane, Rockledge (including photos and maps).   
The central location in Rockledge's Levitt Park subdivision, makes it easy to get around central Brevard County!  Parks, playgrounds, walking paths, excellent schools (public and private) nearby.   Public transportation easily accessible.
Its location near I-95 as well as US 1 make it an excellent location for commuters.
Orlando is only about 45 minutes away, Melbourne about 20 minutes and the beaches are only about 10-12 miles!

New Roof in 2015:  The asphalt shingle roof was just installed in September 2015 and both bathrooms have been remodeled.   The garage door and opener are recent as well as the interior doors and exterior paint.

The central air conditioning system is about eight years old.  The garage door and opener were installed in the recent past as well.

The laundry room includes a tub sink as well as a newer washer and dryer which will remain with the house.

The fenced back yard offers a patio for your grilling, plenty of space to play in the sun and a covered screened porch when you just need to relax.

Also in the back yard you will find what the seller refers to as "The Little House."  Do you need that little extra space for a hobby or home office?  This 192 square foot concrete block trussed roof, air conditioned building offers lots of possibilities!

If you are considering buying a home in Rockledge, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850.  #movingtoflorida  
  • FHA and VA buyers welcome!  
  • First time buyers...ask me about the bond money available to help you buy your home!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Owner Choices Restrict Prospects - Selling Your Viera, Florida Home

Whether selling your Viera, Florida home, or simply looking for a new tenant, the choices you make as a homeowner limit your prospects.

Selling your home requires many choices be made and each one will limit or expand your pool of prospective buyers.  What are some of these choices?

The obvious first choice - price.  A seller can not be forced to accept any offer including a full price offer.  So pricing too low is not really a consideration.  But a choice to price too high will limit your choices on many fronts.

What type of offers to consider?  While cash is good most buyers will be obtaining a mortgage.  Some sellers will limit the choice to convention loans only.  But accepting VA and FHA loans serves to expand the prospective buyer pool.   Each of these loans have some added (minimal) costs for a seller.   There are times when  these loan types are not an option such as when there are physical/structural problems with a home.  If your likely buyer is a first time buyer then FHA (low) and VA (no) with low or no down-payments are important. 

What are your showing requirements?   In order to sell your home has to be seen.  If the hours or days of availability are restricted then some prospective buyers will not be able to see your home due to their schedules.  In our area we have many buyer prospects who are moving to Florida and have a limited schedule.  Within reason, accommodate every reasonable request.

As a property owner some decisions limit your tenant prospects as well although this is not as critical as a seller's choices.  Issues like whether to accept pets, rental price, deposit amounts and the like all impact your prospective tenant pool.  But, compared to the choices made as a seller, these have less impact.

As a property owner make the necessary choices based on your circumstances and property.   However, restrict your prospect pool carefully.  The more prospects, the more competition.

Ready to sell your Viera, Florida home?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for your market analysis.

Researching the Florida Real Estate Market - Results Only as Good as Source.

The resource one chooses for information has a tremendous impact on the usefulness (or even safety) of the information.   This is especially true for consumers who research real estate.

What is the most current source of real estate information?  The obvious answer is a local knowledgeable real estate agent.

The next best source of real estate information?  The local multiple listing service (MLS) database.  The public searchable BrevardMLS is available here  - #BrevardMLS

What are some of the other resources available? 

Everyone has heard of all the mega websites that offer real estate searches (including for sale by owner) as well as estimates of value.  But sites like Zillow and Trulia are not as current as the local MLS system.  Values determined by these mega-sites use some algorithm developed by a computer guy some place.

Even Zillow admits "the Zestimate's accuracy depends on location and availability of data in an area."

So the computer programmer does not have any idea about the current local market or the availability, timeliness or even the validity of local information.

So the question is does a prospective seller or buyer rely upon old, possibly inaccurate, information or current data?

But this post is not about bashing the mega websites.    It is about helping buyers and sellers find the best resource when it comes to real estate.

Aside from the mega-sites there are other sources of dated information.

If one is researching recent sold properties the local property appraiser office reports sold data.  But that information may not be completely current.

I recently had  a buyer researching sold properties in a neighborhood we had just contracted  a property.  He called me with concern he was paying to much.  The buyer had been researching sales on the property appraiser office.

I researched the neighborhood on the MLS for recent sales.   Over the past few months similar (and some inferior) properties had sold for 95-100% of our contracted price.  A search of the public MLS website would reveal these sales as well.

Considering Brevard  County, Florida home prices had been increasing steadily over the past twelve months and the lag from closing to recording.  I am not bashing the property appraiser office as their site had undergone an upgrade recently as well which interfered with the process I am sure.

The point... when researching real estate contact a local Realtor (member of the realtor Association) who has access to the most current information.

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