Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Not all 55+ Communities are the Same - Consider Pine Creek in Melbourne, Florida

"What will it take to put you behind the wheel of this car?"   That is my worst nightmare.  It means I am at a car dealership. 

Why do I hate going to a car dealership?  Take a look at the movie Car Dogs and you will understand. 

What does this have to do with a house for sale in Florida?   Nothing really.

When I started to write an article about the Pine Creek subdivision Melbourne, Florida  home I have listed for sale I thought to myself "What would it take to get someone in this house?"

No, I am not hear to twist anyone's arm to buy this house.  I asked myself the question because I wanted to present the information that would make anyone looking for a Florida 55+ community home for sale want to look at this house.

When I compare the Pine Creek development to some of the other Brevard County, FL 55+ communities I see many similarities.  I also see many of the differences.

One of the similarities is the development is newer. Another is it is gated. Another is the clubhouse and community pool (albeit smaller).

One of the key differences among the Brevard County, Florida 55+ communities is the monthly association fees. While the communities in Viera run near or over $300 a month for dues, Pine Creek association fees are about $166 per month.  Another community in Viera is the Indian River Colony Club which is total maintenance, member owned with its own golf course where fees are closer to the $800 to $1,000 per month based on specific floor plan.

Another difference is the community as a whole is smaller.  Is this good or bad?  Why do some people choose to live in smaller towns while some want larger cities?  Its simply a matter of taste.

A key difference is home price. 
  • In the Pine Creek development the current single family home  listings range in price from $198,000 to about $265,000.
  • In the Grand Isle community in Viera current SFH listings range $242,000 to $419,900.
  • In the Heritage Isle development in Viera SFH listings run from $259,900  to $429,900.
These communities are different.  

Buyer decisions are influenced by many things including price, location, neighborhood and amenities as well as monthly fees.  Another difference could be the taxes.

If you are in the market for a home in a one of the 55+ communities in Brevard County please consider Pine Creek in Melbourne. 

My job as a listing agent is to get the most prospective buyers in my seller's property as possible and get the best offer the market will bring.

So here it is... 

Call me to take a look at this wonderful single family home located in the Pine Creek 55+ community in Melbourne, Florida.

Located at 3613 Osceola Drive in the gated 55+ community of Pine Creek in Melbourne, Florida this two bedroom two bath two car garage home is offered for $198,000.   That list price is more than $30,000 lower than the nearest competitor in the subdivision!

The highly desirable Pine Creek community is just off Eber Road and only a short drive from major shopping ares as well as easy access to I-95 and US1. 

Within the community this home is close to the club house and community pool (across street about 200 ft away!) 

With association fees at $500 a quarter the lawn maintenance and exterior maintenance is included [REVIEW HOA DOCUMENTS TO VERIFY WHAT IS COVERED BY DUES].

Some of the features offered include concrete block stucco construction; open Floor plan with 1,335 sq.ft. under air; hurricane shutters all around (back porch and garage electric, others accordion type); all electric; brick paver drive way, walks and screened back porch 

 Call or text me at 321-693-3850  for information on this home or any homes in the Melbourne area.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Phillips Landing in Rockledge, Florida - Homes For Sale - Market Update October 2017

Phillips Landing subdivision in Rockledge, Florida offers a newer deed restricted community offering good value in recent construction (since early 2000s).  List prices in Phillips Landing are, in my opinion, a bit more attractive than prices for simialr style, size and age homes in the nearby Viera planned unit development.   

Typical Phillips Landing Home
Located just off I-95 in central Brevard County, Florida, Phillips Landing offers residents a community pool, playground, parks, excellent schools within walking distance like Hans Christian Andersen Elementary and Kennedy Middle School.
Phillips Landing is also ideal for commuters with Orlando only a short drive as well as easy travel for those working in Melbourne, at the Kennedy Space Center, beach side or Melbourne.  

Also nearby are several golf courses as well as medical facilities (in Rockledge and Viera) including multiple physician offices, rehabilitation facilities, and hospitals ( Wuesthoff Hospital Rockledge, Viera Hospital).     The beaches and cruise terminals are only about 10-12 miles away.  

What is currently for sale in Phillips Landing? 

Currently there are only two homes for sale in Phillips Landing in Rockledge.  These homes are listed for $269,000 and $305,000.  These list prices are consistent with the recent sales in Phillips Landing. 

The highest priced listing is a two story home which is less common in Phillips Landing.  Both homes have a two car garage and neither has a private pool.  There is also one other home under contract awaiting closing.

What has recently sold in Phillips Landing?

Over the past six months there have been 8 homes sold in Phillips Landing as reported in the local Space Coast MLS system.  Selling prices ranged from $265,000 to $312,000 with a median sold price of  $305,000.  

More recently (over the past three months), there have been three homes sold in Phillips Landing.  These homes included:
  • 1541 Bridgeport Circle - This 2005 built 4 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage with 2,119 sq.ft. under air home sold for $285,000 on October 6, 2017 and was on the market for only 15 days!
  • 3323 Hawthorne Avenue - Selling on July 14, 2017 for $305,000 this 2013 built home featured 4 bedroom 3 bathroom and a 3 car garage.
  • 3304 Hawthorne Avenue - 2,432 sq.ft. 4 bedroom 3 bath 3 car garage home built in 2013 sold on July 7, 2017 for $309,000 and was on the market for 29 days.
For information on buying a home in Rockledge, Florida (or Viera), please call or text me at 321-693-3850.


Homes Never "Fail the Inspection" - Humans Do!

I have talked with buyers who had previously worked with another real estate or no agent and  had tried to buy a home but the "house failed inspection."  On the surface "the house failed" seems like a reasonable explanation for a transaction not closing.  But, if you step back and take a look at the situation it was not a "house" failure.

The Reality: The home inspection did not fail but rather the failure lies with a human being.

So where is the human failure?   The potential issue lies with any one or more of the following "humans."
  • Let us start with the seller, after all, it is their house to sell.   In most cases sellers have either failed to prepare the house for sale or failed to understand the home's real condition (and problems) will make the process more difficult.  
  • The seller hired a real estate agent o guide them through the process.  The inspection failure could be the seller's real estate agent did not make the seller understand the need to prepare the house for sale.   Or it simply could have been a case where the seller's agent failed to explain adequately about the Three Ps of Selling or even recommend a pre-listing inspection.  In some circumstances where a house is being sold a"as is" with problems the listing agent could have failed to fully identify the circumstance in their marketing materials.
  • The buyer's agent may have failed to understand the circumstances of the sale or actual condition of the property.  This is less likely as most buyer agents understand the type of financing being used and the general standards relating to condition.
  • Finally it could be the buyers at fault.  Sometimes buyers will fall in love with a property.   Knowing love is blind can cause buyers to overlook potential issues or hope that things will work out.  It could be the low price makes the house so much more desirable.  But one of the "laws of real estate" is a house is priced low or lower than the competition for a reason.
Sellers read this cheat sheet for home sellers.  

Buyers read this cheat sheet for home buyers.

Without pointing fingers know this... a house is inanimate and has no ability to think, fix and make decision on anything during the selling process.  It does not fail...it sits.  

Here is some simple advice for buyers and sellers.

  • Sellers do not like surprises - like having a buyer walk as the result of a "bad" inspection.  There will be things that show up on inspections that are minor or mostly informational.  There may be things that show up that are major problems. 
  • Buyers do not like surprises.  As a seller, have an inspection done prior to your listingIf there are issues, fix them or address them in your seller's disclosure.  An attitude of openness will make buyer prospects feel better about your property.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Melbourne, Florida, I want to help you.  I have been working with buyers and sellers for fifteen years.  Please give me a call (or text) at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What Your Mortgage Pre-Approval Really Means - Tips for Florida Home Buyers

Recently I had a prospective buyer submit an offer on one of my listings.  Everything was all negotiated and about to be signed by the seller and then...poof... the contract vanished.


The buyer was pre-approved for the agreed upon price.  But then it was a no go because of all the numbers associated with the purchase.

This incidence brings to light a couple of issues prospective home buyers need to keep in mind while searching for their new home.
  1. Don't start at the top of your budget.  
  2. There are other numbers (costs) that must be considered.
The problem with the offer mentioned above was that once all the monthly fees like association dues were factored in then the total monthly expenditures placed the prospective buyer out of the pre-approval.  Other numbers that could impact pre approval include things like home owner insurance costs, mandatory flood insurance, and other "incidentals." 

Rather than go into all the details I am providing links to multiple articles here on the home buying process.
Your real estate agent and lender are vital to the process.  If you are ready to buy or sell a home in Melbourne or Rockledge, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850.   

Please let me use my fifteen year's experience helping buyers and sellers in Brevard County, Florida  to help you with your real estate needs!


Friday, July 28, 2017

Maintain Your House as You Maintain Your Health

The subject of this post is really common sense but it is not so common!

Delayed issues with a house, just like health, have the potential to become serious problems.  Sometimes the issues as owners live the aches and pains of a dripping faucet or running toilet.

Sometimes the issues are worse and impact major systems like the roof or air conditioning.

And then the day comes when the property is placed on the market.   This day does come eventually for all properties!

While a seller can ignore an issue buyers will not be as forgiving.

Remember the old axiom about real estate (actually its not that old I just made it up!)...sellers look for reasons for a buyer to pay them more while buyers look for reasons to pay less!

So when you are ready to sell your Florida home to let these two rules influence your current behavior.

  1. People will judge a book by its cover. Your home may have all that prospective buyers seek but if they have already crossed it off the list because of its poor presentation, no offer will come.  Or, if an offer comes it will likely be lower than otherwise.
  2. First impressions are difficult to change.  
Sometimes the question from sellers will be about giving a credit for repairs or repairing a problem.    There is no one right answer. 

It really all comes down to the seller's motivation.  The return on some repairs is well worth the expense or effort (some jobs are just do it yourself things like painting a red bathroom!). 

If its a negative and easily addressed - fix it!  Besides the cost to replace or repair something is almost always over estimated by buyers when they start negotiating getting a credit or justifying a low ball offer.

I suggest sellers think of their likely buyer. What will they expect to find in a home like yours, priced like yours, in your location?

Know this one thing..... buyers can tell

  • if a seller has pride in their home.  
  • if a seller is motivated.  
  • if they want to live in your home.
As a seller make sure you convey the right message as you only have one chance to impress.


When you are ready to sell your Viera, Florida home, give me a call at 321-693-3850 for your no obligation market analysis.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Home For Sale - Gated 55+ Community - Melbourne, Florida $209,000

Located at 3613 Osceola Drive in the gated 55+ community of Pine Creek in Melbourne, Florida this two bedroom two bath two car garage home is offered for $209,000.  (View community map at bottom of post).

The highly desirable Pine Creek community is just off Eber Road and only a short drive from major shopping ares as well as easy access to I-95 and US1. 

This is the only home for sale in Pine Creek at this time!
Within the community this home is close to the club house and community pool (across street about 200 ft away!)  See on map at bottom of this post.  

With association fees at $500 a quarter the lawn maintenance and exterior maintenance is included [REVIEW HOA DOCUMENTS TO VERIFY WHAT IS COVERED BY DUES]. Some of the features offered included:
  • Concrete block stucco construction 
  • Open Floor plan with cathedral/high ceilings
  • 1,335 sq.ft. under air
  • Hurricane shutters all around (back porch and garage electric, others accordion type) 
  • All electric
  • Brick Paver drive way, walks and screened back porch 
  • Well with sprinkler system 
  • Fresh paint
  • Electric screen doors in garage to take advantage of fall weather!
  • Large walk in closet in master bedroom
Call or text me at 321-693-3850  for information.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Home For Sale - Port St John, Florida - 3 BR 2 Bath 2 Car Garage Pool $149,000

This new listing in Port Saint John, Florida will not last long.  There are multiple showings happening today as investors seek to find opportunity in Florida.

Located between Titusville and Cocoa in central Florida's Brevard County. Conveniently located about 10 miles from Kennedy Space Center, Port St John offers easy commuting routes including short drives to Orlando International Airport (36 miles) and Melbourne (36 miles).

Offered at $149,000 and located at 4349 Camberly Street, this three bedroom two bath two car garage screen enclosed pool home was built in 1983.

With 1,505 square feet under air, this frame stucco home is located  about a half mile from Atlantis Elementary School and about 4.5 miles from the Space Coast Junior Senior High School.

This property is being sold "as is where is."  While this home is in reasonable condition it is primarily an investor or owner occupant home with funds to do some renovation (an FHA 203K loan may be an option).

The major known issue is the need for a new septic system including drain field.  A repair estimate has been provided the sellers with replacement costs just under 8,000.  This property does have a city water supply.

According to sellers roof was replaced in 2004 as was the air conditioner.  There are some stucco and siding repairs required.  Additional photos will be provided soon.

View the MLS entry here.

For more information on this home for sale in Port St John as well as any other homes for sale in Brevard County call or text me at 321-693-3850.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Rental Market Pressures and Millennials... Is It Time to Buy a House?

The decision to purchase a home is not a simple yes or no.  The factors influencing the decision are not the same for each person. 

Of course the primary decision is one of commitment.   This particular factor takes many forms.  Probably most importantly having a house with a mortgage (most buyers) requires a long term financial obligation. 

The financial obligation extends beyond the simple mortgage.  It encompasses paying taxes, association fees, insurance, upkeep and maintenance and more!

Also a critical consideration is stability.  Stability in this context means staying in the area of your home, putting down "roots."  The acquisition costs, as well as the disposition costs, mean keeping a house for at least five to seven years is a necessity.

Stability includes other factors such as education and career progression.  If one is an entry level position and upward mobility requires relocation  then the time period needs to be a consideration.

There are other considerations which may limited by buying a house at this point in life.  A couple of key considerations are things like current budget/income and family make up.  Depending on area budget constraints may require the purchase of a smaller than desired house or an older property or one is a less desirable area.   And while no area is "bad," the realty of value, price and selling a house has one major impacting factor - location.  Is it worth the investment now in a smaller, less desirable property.  Over time houses do increase in market value.

Here is a trend line for Brevard County, Florida house values that shows long term growth of 4% compared to median sales prices for the past seventeen years (note the market bubble).

The market/sales price and values are uncertain as there are tremendous influences on values such as schools, employment factors, interest rates, environmental considerations (roads, traffic), opinions, crime rate and much more.  No one has a crystal ball!

Finally the decision to buy a house now is a personal decision.  The attitude toward home ownership may be influenced by watching the struggles of parents losing a home which was common place during the recent bubble and crash!  can be a greater influence than anything produced by some marketer.

Disposable income is offered so many options.  It could be the amenities offered in a rental community provide more benefit now than a house or neighborhood for the same money.

For some it could be the freedom to travel and create life experiences are a more desirable option  than the experience of mowing the lawn on a Saturday morning!

If you are ready to buy a home in Viera, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850.

If you are ready to sell your Rockledge home and become one of the mobile RV crowd (or downsize) I can help as well!


Monday, June 19, 2017

Does an Open House Work? (Things that may not sell your home)

The real estate market in Brevard County, Florida - especially central Brevard County - is a seller's market.  In the Viera, Suntree and Rockeldge area of central Brevard houses that are priced right will move rather quickly.

Looking at the period of May 1,  2016 - June 19, 2016 compared to the same dates this year shows this about Viera, Suntree and Rockledge single family home market.
  • Median days on market same time period last year was 53 days. This year it is 38 days (28% less).  
  • The percentage of list price received at sale has not change much over 2016 with this year sellers getting 98% vs last year 97%.  
  • Days to close (from listing date to actual closing ) is running about 76 days currently.
  • Average sales price for May-June 2017 was $328,000 while last year was about $298,000.
  • Median sales price this year is about $297,000.  The median sales price in Rockledge is about $212,000 so if price is a consideration look more to Rockledge instead of Viera or Suntree.
The above statistics garnered from the MLS system should make a seller optimistic in 2017 if the price is right for the condition.

Still, experience has taught me a few things about selling homes.  Such as..
  • Even when inventory is low presentation remains critical
  • Dirty homes, poor landscaping, and cluttered properties do not fare well - even in a seller's market. 
  • Days on market are a negative. In this market houses move unless there is either something wrong (price, condition, etc) or there is a physical defect (real or perceived) that turns sellers off.  Excessive days on the market make buyers think "what is wrong!
  • Open houses do not bring buyers if the property is not priced right or shows poorly.  Sure, when the inventory is low there will be foot traffic but likely no serious buyer.
  • Likewise, the best photos and attractive brochures mean little if the price of condition is an issue.
  • Buyers will always look for reasons to pay less....motivated sellers know this and do all that is possible to mitigate this strategy.
Something every seller must remember...even in a seller's market the property must be competitive.

Are you ready to sell your Viera Home?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for your free market analyses.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sierra Lakes Subdivision in Rockledge, Florida - Market Report June 2017

Sierra Lakes is a gated community located at the northern most border of Rockledge, Florida off Pluckebaum Road.    This gated community was primarily developed in the 2012-2015 time frame.

Sierra Lakes (and Rockledge's) proximity to central Brevard's most popular community (Viera) as well as excellent schools make it a great choice for anyone moving to Brevard County.

With easy access to major routes including US 1, I-95 and SR 520 make Sierra Lakes an excellent location for commuters.  The beaches are about 10 miles to the east and Orland about 45 miles west!

This is a deed restricted community with homeowner fees in Sierra Lakes currently about $116 per quarter and covers common area maintenance including fenced perimeter and gated entry.

What is currently for sale in Sierra Lakes?

Currently there are two homes for sale in the Sierra Lakes subdivision.   List prices are in the $260,000 to $265,000 range.  These homes were built in the 2013/2014 time frame and are both water front (retention pond/lake front).

While list prices are similar for these homes the sizes are quite different - one a two story, one has over 2300 sq.ft. under air while the other is almost 1900. 

There are also four homes in Sierra Lakes under contract awaiting closing at this time.  List prices for these properties range from $229,500 to $284,500.

What has recently sold in Sierra Lakes?

With the inventory of available move in and newer homes for sale in central Brevard County tight this subdivision (in my opinion) has received a lot more activity lately.  (Could Sierra Lakes be the last bargain in teh area for newer homes?)

Over the past six months there have been two homes sold in Sierra Lakes.  Those properties included:
  • 1481 Scout Drive - a huge 3.079 sq.ft. two story home builtin 2015 that offered five bedrooms and three bathrooms and a two car garage. This home sold on February 28, 2017 for $280,000 (list price was $284,000) with VA financing.  By the way a check f the Brevard Property Appraiser website for sales in Sierra Lakes show this to be the highest sales price recorded - ever.
  • 1366 Sangria Circle - superbly maintained 2014 built four bedroom two bath two car garage fenced yard home with 1,873 sq.ft. and screened porch and patio sold on May 22, 2017 for $222,000 (list price was $220,000), with FHA financing. 
For information on homes for sale in Rockledge, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Your Real Estate Agent Will Not Sell Your House!

Regardless of what anyone may say,  here is the reality - your real estate agent most likely will not sell your house!

I had a phone call earlier today from someone who is considering selling their Melbourne, Florida home.   They were not calling to ask me to list their house for sale.

Rather, they were calling to get a second opinion on something they had apparently heard during the listing interview.

The reality is the odds are against the listing agent selling a listed house.  There are a lot of reasons for this and none have anything to do with a listing agent's professionalism or skill.

First, the odds are against it.  Think about it. Here in Brevard County, Florida there are about 4,000 Realtor members of our local Board of Realtors.  The chance of one of the other 3,999 members finding the buyer are greater than the one listing agent.

Secondly, educated buyers are trained to not call the listing agent.  Sure the sign out front will advertise a home for sale with a real estate company to contact for more information.   Educated buyers know that the listing agent works for the seller - not the buyer.

This is especially true here in Florida where it is illegal to represent buyer and seller (dual agency).

So although your real estate agent may not find the buyer they will facilitate the transaction.  They will provide the listing information to the greatest number of potential buyers (syndicate the listing).  They may even go so far as to have open houses.

Your listing agent will work with the buyer's agent to insure the process is timely and in keeping with the established standards for real estate transactions.

As a listing agent (or buyer's agent) I appreciate it when the other agent is a real professional.

As a seller, your key to success is hiring a professional real estate agent who will successfully market your property, advise in accordance with rules and values, and follow the process closely to ensure your goals are met.

And, even if they do not sell your house themselves see that you are satisfied with their service.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Florida, home call or text me at 321-693-3850.  I am happy to answer questions or market your home.... your goal is my goal.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Home For Sale: 3995 Waterford Drive, Rockledge FL - 4 BR/3.5BA/2+GARAGE POOL SPA $419,000

This Rockledge, Florida home is located at 3995 Waterford Drive in the Plantation Point subdivision is priced to sell.  (It is the only house on the market in this highly sought after development near Viera, Florida.)

With easy access to US 1 and I-95 this home is great for commuters whether working in Melbourne to the south or Orlando (45 minutes).  Its location is convenient to everything including several golf courses,  some of the best schools in Brevard County, medical facilities, some of the world's best beaches and shopping at Viera.

Situated on a .30 acre corner lot this home offers four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms and a screened in ground pool and spa! 

Built in 2004, this two story home has a 2+ car garage ( third golf cart garage door on side), all electric appliances, an inside laundry room and more. 
Just off the upstairs loft area is a balcony which overlooks the pool and spa. 

One of the nicest features in this home is the ground floor master suite with all other bedrooms being on the second floor.   Also this home does not have carpeting - ceramic tile and laminate only).   The spacious kitchen has granite counters and stainless appliances! offer!

Send me an email to schedule your private showing today!

Offered by Waters Realty of Brevard, agent@moving2brevard.com, 321-693-3850, Gary Waters Broker.  

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Home Seller's Guide To Hiring a Realtor® to Sell Your Florida Home.

Most real estate agents have the same goal - a satisfied customer.   In any service business it is the results that matter.

Who, besides the real estate agent, is responsible for a seller being a satisfied customer?

The answer.... the seller.

Are you really saying the seller contributes to their own satisfaction?


How is that possible when the real estate agent is the one who does the selling?

Because the seller chooses their real estate agent.  Choosing the wrong agent can start the process down a bumpy road and result in a potentially disastrous process!

The key attributes to consider in choosing the correct real estate agent are local knowledge and experience.   Local knowledge is more than having lived in the area for so many years.  Likewise, experience is not necessarily "years" of being a real estate agent.

Finally, a seller having realistic expectations will set the tone for the process.   A knowledgeable, experienced agent will make it a point to ensure a seller's expectations are reality based.

Here are some additional articles to consider when hiring a real estate agent to sell you your Florida home.

Local knowledge, experience and realistic expectations deliver satisfied customers.  When you are ready to hire a real estate agent to sell your Viera, Florida home, call or text me at 321-693-3850.   
I want to help you be a satisfied customer!


Friday, April 28, 2017

Buying a Home in Florida: Well, it is the same house.... Is it really?

Some houses are created (built) equally.  But the structure alone is not the entire picture when buying a house.

Many times I read about the same product being sold under a different name for a tremendous price difference.  I think of this when it comes to store brands versus the better known private label.   But is it really the same product?

Lets assume for a minute that the same steak served at  Ruth's Chris Steak House is served at say, Longhorn's.  Would it be priced the same?

Likely not.  Why?

Because the location offers something a bit different.  It could be in the way of amenities, surroundings, service, experience, etc.

So when it comes to a house there are some builders in Brevard County, Florida (and elsewhere) who construct the same model home but in different locations.  And the prices vary.

The reason is simple....what the location offers.

The question for home buyers to answer is... which is more important? 

In the end, when it comes to value, there is one overriding consideration - location.

If the location saves a buyer money with acquisition, expect to also not sell for as much as the "same house" located in Viera (or wherever) when it is time to sell in five years.

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


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Number One Rule When Buying or Selling a Home

There has been tons of information written about how to buy a home as well as how to sell a home.  At the bottom of this article are posts to even more!

So what is the number one rule when buying or selling a home?  Short and succinctly put...

Buyers are liars and sellers too!

No, I am not calling everyone a liar but rather trying to make a very important point.

The point is.... due diligence.

Due diligence is defined as the care a reasonable person should take before entering into an agreement or a transaction with another party.

Sellers need to make sure prospective buyers are qualified buyers.  Unless a prospective buyer has the ability to buy your home they should never be allowed in your home.

Sellers do not assume the buyer's agent has asked for proof of ability to purchase.  Sure it seems most of the time a prospective buyer's agent would be professional enough to work with real qualified buyers.  

And when the offer comes make sure the offer is accompanied by a mortgage pre-approval letter.  Some offers may come with only a pre-qualification letter off the Internet.  Anyone can get a pre-qual letter, serious home buyers get a pre-approval letter from a quality lender.

Another area of reasonable care a seller should not skip - safety and security.  Almost all buyer prospects are strangers - even to their own real estate agent.   Protect yourself by hiding/removing valuables, personal documents, medications, firearms and other similar items that can grow legs!

Buyers make sure you have inspections conducted.   There is a requirement in Florida that sellers disclose issues that affect the value of property which are not readily visible.  But sellers forget issues - especially if they have lived in a house for 30 years!  Sometimes sellers intentionally "forget." 

Buyers should remember this little rule... sellers disclose, buyers verify!

The above comments regarding due diligence are not all inclusive but rather submitted to make the point.... use care. 

Whether seller or buyer your Florida real estate agent should guide you in the direction/process when it comes to due diligence.

Below are some additional articles on buying and selling a home in Florida.
 Ready to buy a home in Florida? Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for assistance!


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Buying a Home in Florida: Will a "Dear John" Letter Help?

Anyone who has researched home prices and the Florida real estate market is aware of the tight inventory.  Current inventory in Brevard County, Florida is about 90 days within median days on the market around 30 days.

Median days on the market means half the homes that list for sale are gone within 30 days - very often just days!

It also means that quite often there are multiple offers.  What makes the difference when sellers have multiple offers from which to choose?

So what should a buyer do when presented with a multiple offer situation?  

Seriously consider offer price.   No, it is not always the highest price but the price must be reasonable, realistic and reflect a buyer's level of real interest.

What is a realistic offer?

A realistic offer has many components including reasonable price, only contingencies necessary, appropriate time line and appropriate documentation.

What are the necessary contingencies?  

Every situation is different but my opinion is every offer should include these three contingencies: inspection, financing and appraisal.

The first one, property inspection, is what I like to call a get out of jail free card.  There is no pass or fail with inspections. If a buyer does not like the results, cancellation is easy as long as time frame and procedure is followed. Remember, with real estate contracts time is of the essence.

The financing contingency is common sense - if no loan approval, no purchase.

While the appraisal is usually part of the loan process in the case of a cash buyer it is always prudent to have an appraisal performed.  What buyer wants to pay more for the property than it is worth in the opinion of an independent appraiser?

What is meant by the appropriate documentation?

Besides the usual contract and addenda for the offer there are additional supporting documents such as the mortgage pre-approval.  In the case of a cash buyer it would be proof of funds. 

Lastly, in the case of multiple offers it could include something as simple as a letter to the seller.   I have had clients use this on occasion and it has worked.  Sellers have told me that the reason the buyer was chosen was the letter.

Will a "Dear Seller" letter seal the deal 

While there is no guarantee you never know. Sometimes an honest, open letter to a seller may be more valuable than a few more thousand in the price.  You never know!

The key to buying a home in Florida (or any other place) is having a local, knowledgeable, experienced real estate agent in your corner.

Considering buying a home in Viera, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for assistance.  Just have questions about the area?  I will help!


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Homes For Sale in Melbourne, FL (Viera) - Fairway Lakes at Viera - Market Update April 2017

The Fairway Lakes development in Viera offers gated, golf course living on one of Brevard County’s most desirable course – Duran Golf Club.

Fairway Lakes at Viera homes are built by some of the most desirable custom builders around – like Christopher Burton Custom Homes, Arthur Rutenberg, and Viera Builders.

Fairway Lakes at Viera is convenient to Viera High School, shopping and restaurants at The Avenues Viera, Viera Hospital, Brevard Zoo and much more.  Fairway Lakes offers a central location with easy access to I-95 with Orlando less than an hour away.
What is currently for sale in Fairway Lakes at Viera? 

Currently there are six homes listed for sale in the Fairway Lakes at Viera gated community.  List prices range from $499,000 to $739,000.  Five of the homes are listed at or above $575,000.  These are all larger homes offering over 2,800 sq.ft under air to almost 3,900 sq.ft.

While a few of the homes currently for sale at Fairway Lakes were built in 2007 the others are 2013 and newer construction.  If a Fairway Lakes home is in your future there is plenty to choose from including golf course direct, lake front, two - three car garages, in ground pools and more!

What recently sold in Fairway Lakes at Viera?

Over the past six months there have been nine homes sold in Fairway Lakes. In he past month (since March 1, 2017) there have been four homes sold in Fairway Lakes.  These homes included
  • 3007 Lamanga Drive  - 2007 built 3 bedroom 2.5 bath 2 car garage with 2.234 sq ft under air home sold for $410,000.
  • 3107 Lamanga Drive - 2014 built 4 bedroom 3.5 bathroom 2 car lake front garage home with 3,115 sq. ft. sold for  $510,000.
  • 6795 Arroyo Drive - 2007 built 4 bedroom 3.5 bath 3 car garage lake front pool home with 2,989 sq.ft under air sold for $572,500.
  • 6786 Arroyo Drive - 2007 built 5 bedroom 5 bathroom 3 car garage lake front pool home sold for $675,000 in March 2017.
Want more information on homes for sale in Viera, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850.


Friday, March 31, 2017

Buying a Home in Florida: I have an opinion but it is not my decision.

One of the great challenges of being a Realtor is keeping my opinion to myself.  As a Realtor I deal in the known.  I may not be the expert but I am a source of the source.  My buyers will get referred to the right expert. 

I remember a prospective condo buyer was viewing a condo with a vacant side lot.  The view of the ocean was great.  Then he asked what would be built next door.  I could not say if or when it may happen.

Many times buyers will ask about how much life is left on the roof or air conditioner.  I tell them I am a real estate agent.  I can only tell you how old a roof or air conditioner is if the information has been provided by the seller.

I recommended buyers research the presence of any sexual offenders or predators in a neighborhood.  Of course, the answer is only as good as the information available today.  And a buyer has no way of knowing who may move into an area.   [Search Florida Sexual Predator Database.]

Buyers will sometimes ask if a neighborhood is good or not.  I refer them to the local law enforcement professionals.  The same goes for the school quality.  [Brevard County Public School Link here.]

Another question I receive on occasion is how much a pool will add to the resale value of a house.  The value of a house in the future is an unknown.  As for a positive return on a pool installation who knows for sure?

While there is a great deal of risk management involved with my answers there is also something even more important - buyers need real usable information from the best source.

For me, or any other real estate agent, to answer such questions is to give an opinion.

Yes, I have opinions.  

But buyers need facts. 

Need information on buying a house or condo in Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for real useful information!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Buying a Home in Florida - Respect the Process

The process of buying a home is really logical.  The steps are logical.  There is an order - and a reason - for each step along the way.

From "when to start looking" to "what time is the closing" the steps have a specified order as well timeline.

A major responsibility of the buyer's agent, which I take very seriously, is educating the prospective buyer about the home buying process in Florida. 

The more a prospective buyer knows about the home buying process, the easier it is to respect the process.

One of the first points I address with prospective home buyers is the importance of time.  The time necessary to close, the time limits for inspection, time line for loan processing, etc.  In real estate time is of the essence.   It says so in big bold letters in our Florida Realtors/Florida Bar Offer to Purchase contract.
Another point I make to buyers about time.... while I will always treat you as my number one customer at the time, you are likely not the only one at the time.

The reason I add this last comment about time is sometimes buyers may see a house and want me to stop everything where it is and schedule a showing at that moment.

I could possibly be at a doctor's appointment, listing presentation or even showing other buyers properties.  Still, that does not mean I will ignore your request.

The process of scheduling requires access to the MLS and either calling an office or scheduling online.  And some listings have 24 hour notice requirements, posted restrictive hours or even a loose pit bull named Satan on the premises (yes, has happened!).

I caution buyers to do not call on the listing agent to show them a house because "my agent is busy." The listing agent works for the seller and, when they find out buyers are working with an agent, will likely send them back to their agent.

Buyers and sellers should understand their Florida Realtor has obligations and responsibilities - to the process and to the customer whether seller or buyer.  And not to be overlooked - the other Realtor who he or she must play well.

Here are some related articles about the home buying process in Florida.

Thinking about buying a house in Melbourne or Viera, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can answer any of your questions or help in any way!

Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for help and information about buying a home in Florida.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Home Buyer Tips: Sometimes Buyers Must Revise Their Expectations

No matter how much you wish for steak there are times when you have to settle for a burger.  Such a time is when you are down to six bucks and payday is a week away!   

The same goes for buying a house.

Yes, I know a house is a much more significant purchase than a burger but the point is the same.     Tastes and desires will have to be moderated based on the available budget.

Home prices in Brevard County have risen significantly over the past few years as the market recovered from the last collapse.  But buyer acceptance of the recovery has been lagging a bit.

When do buyers recognize the market recovery?  Many times it is when they go shopping for a home in Brevard County.  Just a few days ago I read an article about whether one can buy a home in Florida for $100,000.  It is possible but not likely!

Median sales price for single family homes in Brevard County was $205,000 in February 2017 (up from $165,000 1 year earlier).  At the same time the number of new listings was down over 10% in February 2017 from a year prior. 

So what should a buyer do in the current market?  Well, if the budget is limited then the expectations must be changed. 

What expectations should a buyer consider changing?   It depends on the goal.   In general consider a location change very carefully.  In real estate there is one thing that can't be changed - the most important factor, location.

One day in the future every buyer will become a seller.  The most important factor when selling is location.  The impact location has on price today will probably exist when selling.

Consider size, age, amenities (pool, fireplace) as possible concessions.  There are benefits to home ownership so even if its not the perfect house the right house will still work well.

Just as a burger will solve a hunger issue for a period of time so will a smaller, less expensive home.  

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


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Brevard County, Florida Townhouse/Condo Market February 2017 (compared to February 2016)

Brevard County Townhouses/Condos for February 2017 compared to February 2016:
  • Closed Sales - up 2.8% for February 2017 in which the number of units closed was 185 compared to 180 in February 2016. There was a decrease in cash sales of -2.7% compared to February 2016.
  • New Pending Sales - down -10.6%.
  • New Listings - up 4.4%.
  • Median Sales Price for Townhomes/Condos - down -2.3% to $139,900 compared to a year ago, which was $143,232.
  • Months Supply of Inventory - down -4.9% to 3.9 months compared to 4.1 months in February 2016.
  • Traditional Sales - up 9.3% with a median sales price of $143,000.
  • Foreclosure/REO Sales - down -55.6% with a median sales price of $117,237.
  • Short Sale Closings - no change in number of closed sales with a median sales price of $87,000 in February of 2017.