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,, 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.   


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Biggest Obstacle to Selling Your House

I read an article this morning about the top home buyer and home seller regrets.  Not surprisingly the top seller regret is not spending enough time in prepping their home for the market.

This goes right back to the key to selling -  The Three Ps of selling your home.  

While a good professional real estate agent is crucial to selling your home it is also critical that a seller be a willing, active participant.

So what is the biggest obstacle to selling your home?  Emotions.  Regardless of the individual (seller, buyer, seller's agent, buyer's agent or whomever), the biggest obstacle will always be emotions.

I tell my buyers to relax you are buying a house, not having a baby!  The same goes for everyone.  Calm, patient, respectful and minimally emotional...that is the best way to sell a house!

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Home Buyer Tips: Why You Want a Sales Skills in Your Real Estate Agent

Sales people turn off a lot of people.  Even I, who in reality is in the sales business, do not want to experience the hard sell.  Nothing bothers me more than going to a car dealership where you have to treat sales associates like flies...swat them quickly and they don't come back!

Still, when you to buy a house or condo expect your real estate agent to be a sales person and not just a "consultant." 

What do successful sales people do?  For one, they are able to identify the prospects goals and desires.  They are able to ask the right questions to define the needs and budget.  They are able to develop a relationship with their prospect. 

Sales professionals understand the details about their product.

Note what I did not include here: assert themselves and twist arms!

For a real estate agent, details translate to local knowledge and experience.  Details include knowing the neighborhoods, the school locations, having a network of reliable, professional contacts.  

Another reason buyers need a buyer's agent with sales skills?  In a buyer's real estate market such as the current Melbourne, Florida real estate market your real estate agent may need to sell your offer to the listing side. 

There are often competing offers (multiple offers) for target properties.   Your agent's professionalism and develop relationships with other real estate agents can influence outcomes.  Your agent's experience in helping you present the best offer (not always the highest) is critical for success. 

A real estate offer is often much more than price alone.  It is the whole package - price, contingencies, timelines and more.  The cleanest offer is often the successful offer.

Looking for a buyer's agent in Viera, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 to discuss how I can be your real estate agent.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How Long Does it Take to Buy a House in Melbourne, Florida?

Buying a house is not like grabbing a five dollar cup of coffee at Starbucks.    Buying a house is a process.  Given the best scenario - cash and contract executed then the process can be completed in a week or two if you throw in a survey and property inspection (both recommended).

But most buyers are not cash.  On top of that the inventory in Brevard County, Florida is not one where there is an abundance of move in ready homes (sellers market).

So what is a real time line for closing the deal in Brevard County, Florida for a non-cash home purchase?

I suggest buyers give themselves forty-five days once a house is found (contract executed) to close.  In a perfect world, even with a mortgage, this could possibly be done in thirty days (motivated, local lender).  Assuming flexibility and availability in viewing properties then another 15-21 days should be added for the search.

Actually, once a mortgage pre-approval is obtained, the major challenge begins - finding the purchase property.

So how long does it take to buy a house in Melbourne, Florida?  At a minimum I suggest at least ninety days and possibly another thirty on top of that!

If you are interested in buying a home within the next six to twelve months it is not too early to call a local real estate agent and lender!  Starting early can minimize some of the stress!

Here are some helpful articles about buying a house in Florida.
Ready to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for help today!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Selling Your Home Starts the Day You Buy Your New Home!

I always urge home buyers to think long term - not necessarily about the years of mortgage payments but rather about when the time comes to sell.   After all, unless it is a retirement home, most buyers will not be living the rest of their lives in the house.
This long term consideration is especially important when a property has some distinguishing quality that may not be appealing to most others.
Still, more often, the realities (and challenges) of selling a home do not become clear until well into the process.    Hopefully, the light bulb comes on before the omissions/commissions translate to dollars lost.
For those who may one day sell a house the below list should be reviewed before the time comes.   Many of these are the opinion of the writer, only.  Some are common sense.
  • Being healthy (good condition) is always better than an insurance policy (home warranty) that pays and helps deal with problems later.   Offering a home warranty (insurance, sort of) does not compensate for poorly maintained/prepared homes.
  • Add ons and improvements should be done without an expectation of an expected return of investment.   It is all about what an owner likes now when it comes to improvements. 
  • Over-improvements don't mean much.   An addition that doubles the size of the house means little if the house is now twice the size of all others in the area!  And recoup the cost is unlikely as there is never a 1:1 return on investment. Besides, buyers do not care what you paid for anything!
  • Not everyone in Florida wants a pool, really!   Just because someone is moving to Florida does not mean they absolutely must have a home with a pool.
  • Real estate brokers are not created equal.   Being a "big box" brokerage does not mean there is an audience size advantage. Size does not matter - its the message, method of delivery, customer service, experience. 
  • Functional obsolescence must be priced out and not explained in.  Trying to rationalize  (marketing as vintage, retro, etc.)  structural design and preferences of decades ago rarely translate to value today.
  • Colors and style do matter.  Tacky rarely sells.  Of course, tacky is in the eye of the beholder!  Buyers know what they want and understand what they see.  Piecemeal (found) updating and rehab looks like piecemeal updating.  
  • Staging can help sell your home.  When getting your home ready for selling remember a great staging job will not overcome deficiencies in design, structure or condition.  Your house is what it is.
  • Outside often reflects inside.   The outside of a house is almost always an indicator of how well the inside is maintained.   If the yard is neglected, paint is fading, plants are dead it is quite likely the inside will show neglect.  It all starts with curb appeal.
  • Location can't be changed unless its an RV.    A new coat of paint will not change the zip code.  The house may look great but it will always be location, location, location. 
  • Price should reflect three things if a seller is motivated: condition, location and competition.  Proper pricing takes into account issues.  If your house is just like the rest, then the price will be pretty much just like the rest!  
  • Quick closings are always preferable.  The longer the time between the contract and the scheduled closing the greater the chance something will happen to derail the transaction.
  • Memories are mobile.    Sometimes sellers attempt to price in their memories when they are trying to sell their home.  If memories could have a price tag associated with them you can be sure the seller's price will not be anywhere near a prospective buyer's value.
  • Emotions must be contained.  Selling a home requires sellers to keep emotions in check. When deciding on a listing price for your home an unemotional cost-benefit analysis is a good starting point.
When buying, prospective buyers will find reasons to pay less. 

When selling, prospective sellers will find reasons to price their home higher.  Value, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.   A good, local knowledgeable Realtor, whether working with buyer or seller, is critical.
Ready to buy or sell in Viera, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can help!

This post was originally published on

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

First Time Home Buyer Apprehension - What If You Make a Mistake?

I had a recent first time buyer experience the ultimate in getting cold feet.  In this case the buyers, for reasons I will not specify here, walked away from the deal.  Walking away in this case included a couple of thousand dollars in escrow money.

Buyers do get cold feet.  That is why I always advise sellers to request enough escrow money from a prospective buyer to make them think twice about walking away.

First time buyers are very often afraid of making a bad decision.   This is understandable.  Makes me think of the comment I heard once from a divorced seller who told me "Not all bad choices are permanent, folks!"  While his mistake was not permanent it was a costly one!

The decision to buy a home is one of the most important one a person ever makes and should not be approached without much thought.   While a bad home buying decision is not permanent it can be a very expensive mistake.

There are lots of reasons for not buying.  Prime among these is the long term obligation created with a mortgage.  The ability to pick up and change directions in ones life is severely hampered.   Buying because prices are going up now and in a year or two affordability will be gone.  This mistake was made by many back in the 2004/2005 time frame when the market bubble was intense. 

If your current job is a "move up" position or the potential to move on to another employer is high then being saddled with a mortgage payment is not a good thing!

Still there are lots of reasons to buy a home.  Chief among these is pride of ownership.  Also things like investing in your own property versus paying a landlord's debt (or profit).   Rent is climbing!  

There is the potential of gains in value over time as well. A smaller home purchased today can set one up to move up later in five or ten years.  Interest rates are low right now.   There is the stability created by knowing where one will be living in a yer or three years!

The process of buying a home brings with it a lot of emotional experiences...apprehension, stress, excitement, relief, worry.....and much more!

It is imperative buyers have a trusted experienced real estate agent in their corner throughout this process.   The home buying process is just beginning with the contract.    Remember, in Brevard County, Florida your real estate agent does not cost you anything. 

If you are a first time home buyer in Rockledge, Florida and have questions or concerns, call or text me at 21-693-3850.  I am available to answer questions and provide direction to resources in the area.  There are first time home buyer loans available that may help with the costs as well.

Home Buyer Tips: All buyers will become sellers at some point!

If a home is not going to be a buyer's "forever home" I always urge caution in the decision.  More specifically, I suggest consideration be given to the end game.   All buyers will become sellers at some point!
By that I mean consider points such as
  • How long one will live in the house?
  • What is the purpose of the purchase (invest, primary residence)?
  • What about the length of ownership planned/potential, etc.? 
  • Design questions like pool or two story should be considered.
If the intent is to sell and move up later then consider whether some characteristics are worth paying the money now?  Some characteristics of your home will restrict your buyer pool.

What are some of the characteristics that will cause buyers to scratch your home off their list?

The obvious ones include location and/or the presence of a home owner association.  If there is a homeowner association what is the fee structure?    When it comes to associations there is no middle ground - people either like them or not!

Consider whether a two story home is really needed.  Two story homes are less common in this area.  If your prospective buyers are retirees/older then the hassle of a second floor can be limiting.  Even if the buyer is younger there is a certain inconvenience to being multi-level.

Still, if a two story design is desired consider having the master suite on the first floor.   I have found buyers will be more likely to consider a two story if the master suite is on the ground floor and the other bedrooms are upstairs!

Another consideration is the private in ground pool.   Lets face it, not everyone wants a pool.  Pools require additional maintenance as well as increases risk and property insurance.

My point is what you want but consider what you will be doing down the road. Five or six years from now when it is time to sell is the wrong time to think if only this was a one story!
Ready to buy a home in Viera, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for real estate information.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Selling Your Melbourne, Florida House... Its About Offering Value!

Selling a house involves some pretty basic concepts with one goal in mind - attracting someone who sees the value!

The first, and most important concept, is pricing.  Price should reflect motivation, competition as well as the seller's circumstances. 

The second concept to consider is packaging.  Regardless of reason for selling it is critical a house be prepared to sell before it goes on the market. 

Think of the preparation as packaging the product.  Sometimes the packaging and price just defy logic as illustrated by the picture below I snapped while in a Melbourne, Florida store some time ago!

The package above is advertising a  great value but is it?   $7.00 for a value package and $3.00 each if purchased separately.

It is not very uncommon for a MLS entry to tout "Won't last long!" in the narrative describing the property.  It is also not uncommon to see the days on the market longer than the average for the area!

Anyone considering selling their Melbourne, Florida home should discuss the entire sales process with a local knowledgeable Realtor.   

Beyond pricing and packaging your real estate agent will discuss competition, time lines, potential obstacles, cost associated with selling, safety issues, types of potential buyer financing, and much more.

Ready to sell your Melbourne, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or text me for a market analysis...its FREE!