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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Home Seller Tips: Do you fix it before selling or take a chance?

Rarely does the perfect property exist.    At least in the eyes of most buyers as they are looking reasons (real or not) to offer a lower price!

While new construction homes are not necessarily "perfect," newly built is likely closer to perfect than when a buyer is considering a re-sale home or condo.  Once a property is occupied by people (and pets) it has likely "suffered" degradation from the occupants or the environment.

Early on in the home buying process prospective buyers need to decide how much imperfection they are willing to accept.  
In the current Brevard County, Florida real estate market buyers are competing for move in properties.  Still, move in condition likely does not mean nothing will require attention at some point - now or in the near future.
When choices are plentiful (a buyer's market) then things like dated carpet or some gawd awful tacky wallpaper can cause a property to be stricken from consideration almost immediately.

But when the choices are limited buyers are more likely to think ..."Its ONLY wallpaper!"  Likewise, when the carpet is worn or stained buyers are more likely to say "Its only carpet!"  Still, buyers will expect a reduction in price or an allowance if they must turn around and install new flooring.

Then there are the things that can't be changed. 
  Location, home owner association membership and rules, traffic patterns, zip code, and the like are fixed and should be reflected in the list price. 

Still, the things that can be changed, even if its later, should be carefully evaluated in a tight market.   

Buyers should not let worn carpet, wallpaper or even some ugly paint obstruct an otherwise great prospective "new home" from consideration.

Home buyers, please read  Finding the Imperfect home.

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

Your home may have some flaws due to design obsolescence.  The flaw may be location, traffic, the neighbors (yes, bad neighbors can be a flaw).  It may have some defects as a result of aging.
You can fix some of these issues. 
Some imperfections can be overcome through pricing.  Some can be overcome by proper staging (including removing excess "stuff").   Some can be overcome by repair (yes, fix the AC, the roof, the major show stoppers!).    
A home does not have to be perfect to sell.

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

Why Did the Real Estate Agent Not Answer All of My Questions?

In business there is a concept called risk mitigation.   What is risk mitigation? It is defined as a systematic reduction in the extent of exposure to a risk and/or the likelihood of its occurrence.

In the real estate business there are multiple steps and processes real estate agents take to reduce exposure to risk.   

One of the easiest ways is to minimize being the source of all answers and practicing being the source of the source rather than the primary source.... i.e. telling the buyer where they can find the answer.

I caution prospective buyers to not assume their agent does not know the answer but rather the agent pointing you in the right direction to the answer.

I remember years ago I was showing a prospective buyer a beautiful condo on Cocoa Beach.  The lot to the side was vacant.  This particular unit had a side view toward the ocean.  The prospective buyer asked me about the lot remaining vacant.  My response was "I don't know."

The reality (or common sense) is prime oceanfront lots are likely a target for future development.  Either way I recommended the buyer consider the view likely temporary or assume the risk.

Another area of concern to many buyers is sexual predators ("Do any sexual predators live nearby?")  Read more about Florida Sexual Offender Database here.

An area that can get an agent in some real trouble - even inadvertently - is the Fair Housing Act.   The housing act exists to promote and hopefully, guarantee, equal housing opportunity and non-discrimination.

Questions relating to the character and demographic characteristics of an area is not something an agent should speak of - ever.

While a buyer prospect's questions may not be intended to denigrate any person, creed, religion or whatever, the answer can still be seen as a violation.

Responses to these types of questions are answered by relying on the "source of the source" answer. 

This may entail referring a prospective buyer to the local law enforcement agency (What is crime rate?) or to the school board (How are the schools?).   Sometimes buyer prospects need to be encourage to drive around the neighborhood themselves or go for a walk or whatever (are there any kids?  How old are the people who live around here?)

Another are that many agents (myself included) shy away from are questions specifically relating to the homeowner or condo association.   The correct response is to provide a way for access to the documents or even contact information for the association officers. 

I recall an agent I know was recently asked whether a fence could be put up.  She referred the buyer to the association.  Not only does a response like this mitigate risk exposure it, more importantly, allows a prospective buyer to access the best available answer.

And sometimes the answers to the questions, while potentially useful, are not known or can't be disclosed such as
  • "Are the neighbors nice?" 
  • "Why are they selling?" 
  • "How much do they owe?" 
  • "How much will they take?" 
  • "What are the other offer prices?"
So when you decide to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida, remember that your agent may not answer all your questions on the spot.  It is not because they do not know (sometimes we don't!) but rather, to protect you, the buyer.

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Mathematics of a Home Purchase Offer....

I showed a house recently where the prospective buyers liked the "blank slate it offers."  The blank slate refers to this property's very neutral decor (a lot of white spaces).

The prospective buyers started adding up the costs to make the house like they want (make it their house, I suppose).  Experience has shown me that that many times buyers like to talk through the process of future changes.

This particular house is less than fifteen years old so it is not a 1960s structure in need of a half century update.

Their ideas for "desired" change did include some very nice sounding options.  I think the dollar amount kicked around was close to $40,000.

It is always nice when a prospective buyer talks enthusiastically about becoming an owner and "makes a house their own."  In this case the discussion turned to subtracting these changes from the listing price.


The mathematics of a home purchase does not mean take the listing price and then start deducting the changes you want to make in the future.

When a home is listed at a price that is reflective of the market, the competition, and its current condition, there may be some room to negotiate the final purchase price.


This is not to say that repair issues that impact function or performance should not be addressed in the offer price or concessions requested (such as a flooring allowance).

Still, the mathematics of a home purchase offer are based things such as: the comps (recent sales, other similar properties on the market), motivation, time line and factors such as ability to purchase/finance options.

Of course, in the end, buyers can make any offer they desire.  But, in a seller's market with limited choices available, serious buyers rarely try the low ball route!

Now I wonder if a car dealership would accept an offer on a slightly used car based on the updates I want to do... paint job, some new tires, maybe an engine tune up...

Have a question about buying a home in Florida?   Call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Monday, August 14, 2017

55+ Communities in Melbourne, Florida - Heritage Isle, Grand Isle, IRCC, Pine Creek

Geographically Brevard County is about 80 miles north to south and runs along the Atlantic coast.   And if someone is considering a move to one of Brevard County's 55+ communities there are multiple choices to fit almost all budgets.

The first key question to consider when it comes to moving to a Florida retirement community is "What are you looking for in that Florida retirement community?" 

Is it shopping, restaurants, multiple golf courses, activities, entertainment, fitness centers, a cruise port nearby, low cost of living, total maintenance free living or just exterior maintenance, gated or (guard on site) or whatever.

A second key question is "At what cost?"

For example, consider these four outstanding 55+ communities in the Melbourne, Florida area:  Pine Creek, Grand Isle, Heritage Isle and Indian River Colony Club (IRCC).

While all are gated there are differences beyond the gate - as reflected in the monthly fees and dues.  The following comments about fees/dues are ball park / generic but are close enough to illustrate the point.

First, lets consider location.  Fees are higher in the Viera planned unit development. This is the newer area where Grand Isle, Indian River Colony Club and Heritage Isle are located.  The fourth development, Pine Creek, is located in the Melbourne area about 15 miles south of the other communities.

Pine Creek development has a pool and clubhouse similar to Grand Isle but the fees are a little less (somewhere around $166 per month).  Grand Isle fees run about $280 as month and Heritage Isle is around the $300 a month range.

And then the IRCC fees and dues depend on the specific home model purchased but are probably, at a minimum, in the $800-$1,100 a month range.

I recently ran into a buyer who was pre-approved for a certain amount.  The offer was at teh top of that amount.  And then the reality set in... monthly fees/dues as well as insurance, etc. pushed the buyer beyond the allowed total expenses per month.  Remember all the fees and dues when considering a purchase!

Call me about this home in for sale in Pine Creek Development - Home For Sale $200,000.

But these 55+ communities are not the same.   IRCC is the total maintenance, gate guarded community where the residents own it all including the facilities and the golf course.  Heritage Isle facilities are not owned by the residents. The Grand Isle owners also own their club house facility.

If you are considering purchasing a home in one of Melbourne, Florida's 55+ communities give me a call (or text) at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.

Here are a few posts that discuss the 55+ communities in Melbourne, Florida:
If you are considering a move to Brevard County, Florida, here are some articles which may also be helpful.
Considering buying a home in Viera, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850.  

If you prefer, send me an email.

SOLD... Port St John, Florida 3/2/2 Pool Home

Sold... on the market for only fourteen days!

Just sold to an investor for $122,500!  This home located at 4349 Camberly Street is a three bedroom two bath two car garage screen enclosed pool home that was built in 1983.
Located between Titusville and Cocoa in central Florida's Brevard County.  Conveniently situated  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).
While this home is in need of some major work I am sure it will be a gem when completed.   
For more information on buying or selling a home in Port St John, FL as well as any other homes for sale in Brevard County call or text me at 321-693-3850.

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