Monday, July 28, 2014

Experienced Melbourne, Florida Real Estate Agents Earn 85% Commission!

Experienced Melbourne, Florida Real Estate Agents can earn up to 85% commission at Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC.

I remember about eleven years ago when I was first licensed as a real estate agent.  I worked for one of the big box brokerages.  The training was excellent but the earned income was less than excellent.

On top of the commission split the broker took (3--50%)  there was a contribution for errors and omissions insurance (malpractice) and a master franchise deduction of about 8%. 

I guess it was the price I paid for training and to gain some experience.

But that is not the best business model for Melbourne, Florida real estate agents.

You can benefit from training and keep much more of your commission.  How much?  Well it depends on your experience but this could be 20-25% more than you are  making now!

Experienced agents can make 85% or more; new agents start at 75%!

Give me a call at 321-693-3850 and lets talk about working for Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC in Melbourne, Florida.

Send me an email with any questions you may have or to get started on keeping more of your own money!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Buying a House in Florida: Where do you start?

The home buying process is really very logical to those of us who deal with it daily.  But for first time home buyers or those who have not purchased a home in years it can seem confusing.

So where do you start?   The first step is to deal with the finances.  This can not be over emphasized.
Without a solid financial plan any time spent looking could be a complete waste of everyone's time.    I recommend beginning with an appointment with a local mortgage loan officer to discuss your financial picture (obligations, income, cash on hand for closing costs) and review your credit.
Then get a mortgage pre-approval letter from the lender.  A mortgage pre-approval letter is different from a mortgage pre-qualification letter

Why is this step so important it must be done first?  Because it controls most decisions made in the home buying process unless a buyer is paying cash.  Read:   Step One:  Get the Letter.

Later on when you are ready to submit an offer the seller is going to want to see a mortgage pre-approval letter or proof of funds if the offer is a cash offer. 

The next critical step is to get your own real estate agent.   BUYERS DO NOT PAY THEIR REAL ESTATE AGENT SO GET YOUR OWN.     Read: Who pays the buyer's agent?

When you call me you should expect to receive a lot of questions.   My goal is to gain an understanding of what buyers are looking for in a home.

Some of the questions are intended to gauge a prospective buyer's knowledge and experience level.
What are some of the questions to expect? 
  • When?  The process takes time.  Depending on the circumstances (cash, mortgage, short sale, new construction, etc) this time may be a couple of weeks or six months or more.  
  • Financial picture?  The ability to obtain a mortgage or the availability of cash is the most basic of considerations
  • Experience with the process? Your real estate agent is a resource and adviser.  Knowing a buyer's background helps a real estate agent keep the buyer up to speed on the process. 
  • Familiarity with area?  Simple but critical.
  • Expectations?  Buyers often begin the process by looking at one of the several online resources that provide real estate information.  This is OK but the validity is sometimes lacking.  Gaining an understanding of a buyer's expectations of the market may head off disappointment later.
  • Are you working with another real estate agent?  This is the  MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION buyers should receive when they call a real estate agent the first time. Choose your real estate agent and stick with them.
Give me a call if you are ready to buy a home in Brevard Count, Florida.   Have a question about the process, just send me an email or give me a call at 321-693-3850.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: What not to do when viewing homes for sale.

Courtesy is not just for church, dates and social gatherings.  Courtesy should also be present when shopping for a home.

Here are a few suggestions for those looking at homes.  Many are common sense and are included in advice provided by their real estate agent.  Still, sometimes the message never quite makes it.
  • Show up.  Selling a home is disruptive to daily routines and lives.   This is understander able.  Sellers leave, take a walk with the dogs.  
  • Show up (Part Two).  Show up and be punctual. 
  • Hands off!  Don't touch personal belongings of the seller.  There is no reason to pick up anything.
  • Hands off (Part Two).  Don't open open drawers in bedrooms, bathrooms, desks, etc.  Don't open cabinets.
  • Don't expect perfection.   Most properties are not perfect.  There will likely be flaws - especially if a home has been lived in for any time.
    The paint colors, flooring and the gawd awful wallpaper (yes, it is out there) will likely not be your preference.
  • Honor Requests.    Sellers often make small requests such as remove shoes upon entering or don't let the cat out.  These are not major inconveniences and should be honored.  Of course I often recommend sellers provide "booties covers" so the shoe issue is minimized.
  • Limit trips.  Once a house is under contract there will be reasons to come back. There will be inspections.  There will be a final walk through before closing.   In the interim, limit trips to measure, take pictures,etc. What is the old saying about a bad penny always returns
Buying and selling a home can be is stressful.  Courtesy and respect shown to all - all the way to the closing table - will make for a more pleasant experience.

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

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Market Activity in Fairway Lakes at Viera - Homes For Sale in July 2014

Fairway Lakes at Viera offers home buyers seeking gated, new (or newer) construction executive living near one of the best golf courses in Brevard County plenty of choice.

Fairway Lakes at Viera  is located near the new Viera Hospital ans well as Viera High School.

Nearby is The Avenues at Viera shopping center as well many other shops and restaurants. 

Currently there are six homes for sale in the Fairway Lakes at Viera.    Home sizes for the homes for sale in Viera vary greatly with sq.ft. ranging from 2,605 to 4,049 with an average around 3,200 sq ft.

Most of the homes currently for sale in Fairway Lakes have four bedrooms and three baths with three car garages.   All of the homes for sale in Fairway Lakes at Viera are standard (fair market) sales built between 2007 and 2013.

Current list prices range from $514,000 to $680,000.   While that is a wide price range three of the listings are at or below $600,000.   If you are considering selling your Fairway Lakes home this may be the time as they are moving with four homes under contract at this time.

Among the builders represented by these homes for sale in Fairway Lakes at Viera are Toll Brothers, Emerald Homes, Viera Builders and DR Horton.

Three homes sold in Fairway Lakes since June 1, 2014.   These three, as reported in the Brevard Multiple Listing system, were:
  • 3058 Lamanga Dr - a five bedroom four and a half bath, 3445 sq ft  two car garage direct water home built in 2010 which sold for $498,000 on 06/17/14.
  • 6675 Arroyo Dr - a three bedroom three and a half bath pool home with three car garage and 2,989 sq.ft. plus water/golf views built in 2007 sold for $545,000 on 06/30/14. 
  • 3067  Lamanga Dr - a new construction by Viera Builders with 3,457 sq.ft. and three car garage featuring golf and water views sold for $556,000 on 07/18/14.
For information on homes for sale in Fairway Lakes at Viera or to sell your Fairway Lakes at Viera home, call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Homes For Sale in Central Brevard County - Short Sales are the exception in 2014.

What does the central Brevard County, Florida real estate market look like?   A quick look at the types of single family detached home listings in select zip codes will provide a pretty good picture of the market in this along the Atlantic coast east of Orlando, Florida.

Of the current single family homes listed for sale (refer to below zip code map)  the breakdown by type of sale is 80% standard sale, 5% short sale and 15% foreclosure.

This is an improved mix than the mix for the first six months of 2014.

During the period January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014 the breakdown of single family home sales transactions reported in the Brevard MLS system showed approximately 67% standard sales, 5% short sales and 28% foreclosures.

So how is the central Brevard County market?  It looks like the shift is back to where short sales are the exception and the standard sale is the norm.

Here is a breakdown as of today for single family homes for sale by zip code and type of sale.

Zip Code Standard Sale/Short Sale/Foreclosure
32927       -                      77/07/34
32926       -                      84/05/10
32922       -                     22/05/08
32940       -                    196/11/16
32955       -                    139/08/28
32935       -                     99/10/24
32952       -                    101/05/18
32953       -                     78/03/14
32931       -                     54/01/03

For information on homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida, please give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

June 2014 Brevard County, Florida Residential (Single Family Home) Market Data

Below is a summary of June 2014 single family home sales and market activity in Brevard County, Florida compared to the same month a year ago.   


  • Closed Sales are up 16.1% for June 2014 in which the number of units closed were 880 compared to 758 in June 2013, with an increase in cash sales by 7.4% compared to June 2013.
  • New Pending Sales are up 16.5% and New Listings are up 5.7%.
  • Median Sales Price for Brevard County Single Family Homes are up 7.7% to $140,000 compared to a year ago, which was $130,000. 
  • Median Days on the Markeare up 9.1%, which is 36 days compared to 33 in June 2013.
  • Months Supply of Inventory is down -1.3% to 3.9 months compared to 3.9 months in June 2013. 
  • Traditional Sales are up 31.6%, with a median sales price of $164,000.
  • Foreclosure/REO Sales are up 9.9%, with a median sales price of $80,250.
  • Short Sale Closings are down -56.2%, with a median sale price of $105,869.
Ready to buy a home in Brevard County, FloridaGive me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email. 

Ready to sell a home in Brevard County, FloridaGive me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email. 

June 2014 Brevard County Florida Condo and Townhouse Market Data

Here is a summary of the Brevard County, Florida condo and townhouse market activity for June 2014 compared to a year ago.  

Overall the market is improving with increasing prices, more pending sales and decreasing inventory.  A characteristic that mimics the single family sales is the decrease in short sales and increase in standard sales and foreclosures.   
  • New Pending Sales are up 13.9% and New Listings are down -2.7%. 
  • Closed Sales are up 27.7% for June 2014, with a increase in cash sales of 22.2% compared to June 2013.
  • The Median Sales Price for Townhouses/Condos are up 3.3% to $124,000.
  • Median Days on the Market are up 11.9%, which is 47 days compared to June  2013, which was 42 days.
  • Months Supply of Inventory is down -14.9%, which is 4.7 months compared to June 2013, which was 5.5 months.   
  • Traditional Sales are up 34.6%, with a median sales price of $137,900.
  • Foreclosure/REO Sales are up 53.6%, with a median sales price of $72,000.
  • Short Sale Closings are down -80.0%, with a median sale price of $106,000.
 For information on buying a condo in Brevard County, Florida, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Signs that your home is not priced right...

Selling your home is all about pricing it for for condition, location, competition and motivation

To sell a home it must be seen by potential buyers.  If a home is presentation ready with curb appeal looking fantastic and still no one is coming maybe it is priced wrong.

The first sign a home is not priced right is no showings during what I call the "golden period."

The "golden period" is a term I coined to describe the first two weeks a property is listed.  This is when a seller needs to dazzle them early!

Most real estate agents and motivated buyers watch for new listings.They want to buy but they are particular. It is during its first two weeks a listing will garner the most activity.

If it did not, look at the price.

Another measure I use to gauge whether a home is priced correctly is my 30-10-1 rule.  If a home is listed for 30 days and has less than 10 showings and not one realistic offer, then the price is most likely an issue. While this is a buyer's market a home that is priced right will garner the appropriate attention early on in the process.

If you are considering selling your Rockledge, Viera or Suntree home, please give me a call to discuss how I can market your property.

Related article:  Have you ever wondered what is the best day of the week to list your house?

Want a free market analysis on your Melbourne or Viera, Florida home?  Send me an email or give me a call at 321-693-3850.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Home Seller Tips: If its a defect, its a defect.

If you are selling your home the number one rule to keep you out of trouble...never attempt to hide a defect.

This is similar to the other number one rule to keep you out of trouble...disclose!

While you can stage your home "around" an issue by arranging furniture or painting with a lighter color to make a room look bigger, to attempt to hide a defect is being deceitful.

What are some of the things that should be disclosed?   

Many of these are covered by the seller's real property disclosure sellers usually complete when they list their Florida home sale.

  1. Issues regarding any claims and assessments.
  2. What are the deed/Homeowner's Association restrictions?
  3. Property Related Items such as surveys conducted, boundary disputes, or any fences.
  4. Issues regarding the land such as drainage problems, sinkholes, soil movement, etc.
  5. Potential environmental issues such as hazards, any proposed changes that may affect the property value, etc.
  6. Zoning issues such as current zoning, appropriate current use, etc.
  7. Flood issues.
  8. Termite and wood destroying organism questions such as a termite problem (current or past), any termite inspections, treatment and the like.
  9. Any structural issues.
  10. Roof related items such as age of the roof, any leaks (past or present),roof warranty, etc.
  11. Plumbing related issues.
  12. Pool/hot tub/spa questions.
  13. Identification of appliances owned, leased, etc.
  14. Electrical System.
  15. Heating and Air Conditioning.
  16. Any other equipment such as security system, sprinkler system, garage door openers and the like.
  17. Any other matters that may affect the value of the property.
Any attempt at hiding or non disclosure could cast a doubt about what else are these sellers hiding?

When you are ready to sell your Melbourne, Florida home give me a call at 321-693-3850 for your free market analysis.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Buying and Selling a House: The Biggest Unknown in a Real Estate Transaction.

During the process of buying or selling a home there are many unknowns.   There are likely more unknowns than knowns.
  • If a seller lists a home for $5,000-$10,000 less does that mean an offer will come sooner?   It depends.  Is the price still reasonable? How does it compare to the competition?  Read about "pricing strategies to sell your house."
  • If a seller lists at the lower end of the market does that mean the offer will be at the low end as well?   Not necessarily.  A lower price may generate more interest. It may generate a multiple offer situation.
  • If a seller has a home professionally staged will it sell any sooner or for more money than an owner prepared home?  The answer here depends on who you ask.  The key is prepare it so that the most desirable characteristics are promoted.
  • Will a house "pass" the inspection?  There is no pass or fail when it comes to a property inspection.  In Florida we use an inspection contingency that allows a buyer to cancel, without penalty, due to an inspection. Read about "the home inspection."
  • Will the house appraise at the agreed upon contract price?  Most of the time the answer here is yes. Buyers who are represented by a local knowledgeable Realtor® will use similar "comps" to gauge an offer price.  Still, you don't know for sure. "What is a good comp?"
  • If a seller rejects an offer and counters at a higher price, will the buyer come up or walk away?   A counteroffer effectively "kills" an offer. How the other party responds will depend on the other person's situation.  Read about "negotiating the deal."
The last point - the other person's situation - is the biggest unknown in real estate transactions.  Rarely does the other side know the motivation, bottom line or back ground information on finances, etc.

Ready to sell your Viera, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email. I would welcome a chance to discuss how I can work for you to reach your goals.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Brevard County, Florida FCAT Scores Released for 2014

How good a school is depends on who you ask.  If you ask the seller of a home for sale in Brevard County, Florida how the neighborhood schools are your response will probably be great, outstanding or some of the best around!    Ask teachers and the answers may be a little different. Ask some parents and the answers may still differ.

One of the mechanisms used to evaluate local schools in many states is a standardized testing system. In Florida that test in the FCAT test.  The preliminary 2014 Florida FCAT test scores were recently released elementary schools and middle schools.

The below chart from the Florida Department of Education is provided.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Florida Real Estate Questions: Appraisal comes in low, what can I do?

Florida real estate questions:  What if the appraisal is low?

Most homes in Brevard County, Florida are purchased using a mortgage.  A critical part of the mortgage approval process is the appraisal.   Most of the time, in my experience, the appraisal is never an issue.

But if the appraised value is below the contracted purchase price, what does a buyer do?

From a buyer's perspective the best choice is to ask the seller to lower their price to the same figure.  I have seen this done but not very often.

Look at it from the buyer's perspective if the appraisal was high and the buyer was asked to increase the offer price to meet a higher appraisal?   The buyer's response would probably be somewhere in the "a contract is a contract" line of reasoning although the wording may be different!

Another option is to simply pay the difference.  The lender is going to only loan a set percentage of the purchase price so as long as the buyer adds to the down payment, problem solved.

A buyer could take could take options one and two above and see if the seller will help out and possibly meet in the middle.

And lastly  a buyer could simply walk away after all that is what a financing contingency is, isn't it?

By the way the appraisal issue doesn't only apply to mortgages as many cash buyers will still include an appraisal contingency 

Related article: "Is an appraisal necessary with a cash offer?"

For information on buying and selling a home in Viera, Florida, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Phillips Landing in Rockledge, Florida: "Does the number of for sale signs mean prices are lower?"

I had a call from someone who was driving around the Phillips Landing neighborhood in Rockledge, Florida over the weekend.    They wanted to know if the prices were low because there were lots of homes for sale in Phillips Landing.  Their assessment of the market was based on "lots of signs" in the neighborhood. 

After explaining the home sales process they understood that just because you see the signs doesn't mean a home is for sale.  (Most real estate agents leave their signs out front of a home to generate phone calls.)

I did provide current market information on Phillips Landing to the caller by email later that day.  Here is some of the same information about homes sold as well as for sale in Phillips Landing in Rockledge.

There are eight homes in Phillips Landing in the process of being sold (probably still have signs out front).  Six of the homes are under contract and two are active listings.

Four of the homes under contract went under contract this month (June 2014).  The two active listings just went on the market this month as well (one just a few days ago).

Homes in Phillips Landing are going under contract pretty quickly.   Take a look at the days on the market for some of these most recent sales in Phillips Landing. [Days on market is the number of days from being listed active until an accepted offer.  Closing may take place up to 30-45 days later.]

1432  Hemingway Blvd - Under contract after one day.  Sold 06/11/14 for $203,500 (97% of original list price)
2190 Bridgeport Circle - Under contract after nine days.  Sold 06/10/14 for $205,000 (99% of original list price).
1930 Bridgeport Circle - Under contract after 12 days on market.  Sold 05/30/14 for $219,900 (97.7% of original list price).
3302 Merrick Avenue - Under contract after three days on market.  Sold 05/14/14 for $196,000  (98% of original list price).

The above recent sales illustrate a couple of key points about the Brevard County, Florida real estate market during the summer of 2014.
  • First, homes that are priced appropriately go under contract quickly.
  • Secondly, sellers are getting what they are asking for in Phillips Landing.   Of course, getting 95%+ of listing price is an indication that sellers are pricing realistically.
Considering selling your Rockledge, Florida home?  Give me a call at 321-693-3850 for a market analysis.  If you are ready to buy a home in Rockledge or Viera, Florida, I can help as well.

Home Buyers and Sellers: Understand the limitations of Zillow Trulia and other sites

I have been reading a lot lately about the impact of Zillow, Trulia and a few other web sites on the real estate business and consumer actions.

While these mega websites have their fans, in my opinion, they provide a limited service.  The challenge for consumers is to understand the limitations. 

People will always seek information that best substantiates their position.   If they are selling a Brevard County, Florida house or condo then a high estimate of value will be the justification for their opinion of price.

On the other side, if they are buyers, a lower value on a site like a property appraiser web site is likely a good piece of useful information.  You can bet they will want to use that information to justify a low ball offer.  Problem here is the property appraiser site does not assign a value that represents the current market price of a property.

But there are other critical factors that are not explained in these sites like the circumstances of the sale  (estate sale, short sale, foreclosure, divorce, fair market sale).  Just this factor alone can cause a price to be an outlier for the area.

And there are the particulars like the condition, updates, school boundaries, future development, traffic and other factors.

And then there are often issues with accuracy and timeliness information. 

So what does a consumer do?   Whether buyer or seller, if one is serious and ready to act, then the place to go is a local Realtor®. 

Local knowledge (boots on the ground, where the rubber meets the road, or however you chose to say it), is critical to making an informed decision.

Your local real estate agent will have access to current information on what is for sale.   Your local real estate agent will have a knowledge of the laws, customs and local practices in the purchase and sale of real estate.  You local real estate agent is available to answer questions and advise.  Your local real estate agent likely lives in the area as well.

Your local real estate agent has some very important reasons to provide the best service and accurate information.   It is their livelihood.  There business reputation depends on providing superior service.  And lets not forget they can be sued because their license implies they are "experts."

Are these web sites local experts?  Your local real estate agent will have a local professional referral network for the additional expert services required in the process (inspectors, surveyors, home stagers, mortgage lenders, etc).

The Internet is a very useful tool to begin your real estaet search but the key is culminating that search with the services of a local real estate expert.

Real Estate Questions and Answers - Florida Homes For Sale


For information on homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida, call Gary Waters at 321-693-385.


The above article appeared in Florida Today newspaper on Sunday June 29, 2014.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Frequently Asked Questions

First Time Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions

To the inexperienced buyer the entire home buying process can seem daunting. 

As a real estate agent serving home buyers and sellers in the Melbourne, Florida area I find many buyers have the same questions such as these.
  1. Where do I start?   You can't seriously shop for a home without knowing if you can obtain a mortgage and what your budget will be.  So the most important step in the process is to identify your ability to obtain a mortgage.   A mortgage lender will work with you to identify identifying the best type(s) of mortgage, payments and terms you can afford for your situation (income, debt, credit score, long term goals).
  2. How much will taxes and insurance cost?   I always recommend contacting a local insurance broker to discuss insurance rates.   There is no standard for insurance cost as it varies based on construction, age, location, price of the home and other factors.  As a general rule, consider the closer to the ocean, the higher the cost.  Taxes will be based on the actual cost of your home - not necessarily what the current taxes are this year.  Tax status (exemptions, etc) are established in January every year so the tax for the purchase year have already been set.  Homestead exemption for future years can be filed after closing to be effective the following years. Taxes and insurance are complex issues with no cookie cutter answer.
  3. What about association fees?   Homeowner association fees as well as condo fees vary based on the community.  In areas such as Viera and Suntree there is also a master association so there are in reality two association fees.  In some areas of Viera there is a Community Development District (CDD) which is an additional charge.  Depending on where you purchase these can vary significantly.   Related linksViera East Community Development District    Heritage Isle Community Development District  Viera HOA Information 
  4. How long does the purchase process take?  Normally the time required from getting a property "under contract" to closing is 30-45 days. Of course this may be longer if you are looking at purchasing a short sale property.  A cash purchase can close in a week though so it all depends on the buyer and seller situation.
  5. Should I have a home inspection done?  Always!  The purchase of a home is a significant investment and due diligence is necessary. You must protect yourself and a good place to start is with an inspection by a reputable, reliable, conscientious home inspector.
  6. Should I have an appraisal done even though I am paying cash?   See answer above.
  7. How much do I offer as a downpayment?   I advise buyers put down enough to let the sellers know you are a serious prospect and no more.  There is no formally established chart for escrow money.   Don't worry about your money. It is held by a neutral third p
  8. How safe is this neighborhood?  I always recommend prospective buyers contact the local law enforcement authorities to have their question answered.  As another step I also suggest checking with the sexual offender/predator list on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement web site.   Of course this only tells you who lives in the area now and not who could move in later.
  9. Which school will my child attend?  The school that is the nearest to your home may not be the one assigned for the property.  School assignment boundaries sometimes change.   Again, I recommend buyers contact the local schools or school district office for this answer.
I am not an attorney, tax professional, insurance agent or home inspector.  I recommend consulting the appropriate professional for advice on these issues.

If you are considering purchasing a home in the Viera, Rockledge or Suntree areas of Brevard County I would appreciate an opportunity to work for you.  Please give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.