Find Your Home!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I spent some time this afternoon with one of my favorite real estate mortgage consultants, Kathy Schwarz. Kathy is a mortgage consultant for Wachovia Mortgage Corporation in Melbourne, Florida. Our discussion centered on the usual... mortage rates, business, the local economy and stuff.

I mentioned that my web log, is getting a lot of traffic from overseas and north of the border. Just in the past few days I have had visitors from Belarus, Czech Republic, Toronto Canada, France, Belgium,Kenya,Germany, Spain...the list goes on. Foreign buyers are researching the real estate bargains in Florida.

Kathy mentioned that Wachovia had several fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages suited for foreign buyers. As I am not in the mortgage business I found this very interesting. There are certainly rules that apply such as down payment requirements, proper identification, and other items.

If you are a foreign resident and considering purchasing a home in Viera, Suntree or anywhere in Brevard County, Florida, please email me at

If you have questions regarding mortgage options for foreign nationals, plese contact Kathy Schwarz, Mortgage Consultant Banker at Please tell Kathy that Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent with Century 21 Baytree Realty, in Melbourne Florida referred you!

Baytree Homes - Gated, Golf, Prestige

I have been fielding more inquiries recently about homes located within the Baytree National Golf Links golf course communty. This gated community located in Suntree (north Melbourne Florida, near Viera) offers a wonderful Florida lifestyle, privacy, and prestige.

Homes wihin Baytree are located in several different developments. These homes range from the maintenance-free communities such as the Isles of Baytree to the more expensive Balmoral planned development within Baytree.

At this time there are 28 properties listed for sale. Prices for these properties range from about $280,000 (1900 square feet) to a little over a million dollars (4300+ square feet). Some homes have as many as 6 bedrooms, some only 3. Some homes are direct golf course properties and some back to preservation areas. One thing you will notice about the Baytree area is that the homes have yards! An exception to this is in the Isles of Baytree section where the lots are smaller.

Of the 28 properties currently listed within Baytree some have been listed for only a week; some have been listed for 200 plus days. By the way, in this market the average number of days on the market is running around 120 days.

Baytree's location near great schools, great golf, 15 minutes to the beaches, 40 minutes to Orlando, make it a definite place to look if your budget is in the $300,000 to million dollar plus range!

If you are interested in receiving more information about Baytree golf course homes or Viera golf course homes, please let me know. I would be happy to send you listings and otehr area information. You will notice the name of the brokerage I am associated with - Century 21 Baytree Realty. We are Baytree experts!

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. I can be contacted at the office 1-321-255-2600, 1-800-651-6940. Feel free to email me at .

How do you determine value in a declining market?

How do you, as a purchaser of real estate, determine the value of a house in this declining market? This is a difficult question to answer, for sure. How do you know that the price you are offering is a fair market value for that house?

First of all, you need to have your real estate agent perform a market analysis for similar properties that have closed recently, ideally in the past month or so. Realizing the market is, in most areas, slow may make this a challenge. The agent needs to choose properties that are located in the same neighborhood or subdivision, if available.

When I perform a comparative market analysis (which I like to call a "price right analysis") I look at several characteristics. Local market knowledge is critical to applying these characteristics. Some of theses include:

  • Living Area: The square footage under air conditioning is what we custmarily use here in Florida. Other locales may use the total square footage under the roof.
  • Total Square Footage: Total area under the roof.
  • Age of the Property: As close as possible match the construction year.
  • Type of Construction: Concrete/concrete block is more desireable in Florida than a frame (wood) construction.
  • Roof Materials: Whether the roof is asphalt shingle or tile (terracotta) is a factor as tile is usually more desireable and expensive.
  • Garages: The extistence of a garage and the capacity (1, 2 or more cars).
  • Location: Whether it is a gated community, has a homeowner's association, community amenities and other amenities such as pool, playground,lake, etc.
  • Location: I know it was mentioned above but this is one of the most important factors. Is the home located on water? Is the home on a major traffic route? Or, perhaps, a golf course. Location on or in a golf course or gated community, on the water do add value to a home.
  • Number of Bedrooms and Bathrooms: Common sense says that the more rooms, likely the greater value. However, sometimes you will see a lot of bedrooms in a small house. Unless the buyer has small children, small bedrooms are not necessarily desireable.
  • School Quality: Although you may not have school age children, the quality of the local schools impacts your home's current and future value. People want a good school district when they buy. People want a good school district that when they sell....and you will probably sell that home at some point, provide good educational oportunities for the next buyer. I have read that folks move every three to five years.
  • General Condition: Often there are maintenance issues that have been neglected. Any needed repairs or maintenance must be considered. Of course if you are buying a property you most definitely want to have a home inspection contngency included in your offer to purchase.

There are other factors that determine value but the most important factor is YOU - the buyer!

A real estate agent can give you the "numbers" but it is YOU who really determines how much YOU are willing to pay for a home. YOU will take the infomation provided and make a personal decision as to what YOU consider the value to be.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree, Rockledge or other Brevard County area, please feel free to contact me. I would welcome a chance to give you my opinion of its value. [Remember, I am not an a real estate professional I can only give you my opinion. If you want an appraisal you can certainly request a Florida licensed Appraiser prepare a formal appraisal. Prices vary but I believe a formal appraisal costs a few hundred dollars or so. ]

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. I can be reached at 1-321-255-2600 or by email to .

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Amendment 1 Passage will help Florida Real Estate

Yesterday the voters of Florida passed the Amendment 1 Florida constitutional amendment. This is looked on as a way for Florida property owners to save money. I am not an attorney but my understanding of the amendment is that doubles the homestead exemption on primary residences by $25,000 for a total $50,000 exemption from taxes. The exemption will not apply to the school taxes portion for the second $25,000. The average savings to the homeowner that has been reported is about $240 per year.

This amendment allows owners of homesteaded property to transfer up to $500,000 in accumulated Save Our Homes benefits to a new home. It also imposes a 10 percent assessment cap on non-homesteaded property for the next 10 years. Again, this exemption does not apply to the school taxes. It also allows business to exempt $25,000 in taxes paid on computers and other tangible property.

It is hoped that the Amendment 1 passage will translate into a boost in the Florida real estate market.

In an editorial published on January 28, 2008 by the Orlando Sentinel, the newspaper explained its support of the Amendment. With Governor Charlie Crist behind the measure, lets hope its intended results materialize.

Rockledge Florida Home Gated Community One Acre Lot

Looking for a 4 bedroom home on one acre in Rockledge, Florida? This home is located in a gated community that is private and secluded, yet very convenient to schools, restaurants, shopping, beaches and more!

Listed at $419,900, this home offers the discerning buyer an opportunity to live in an exclusive neighborhood where the minimum size home is 2000 square feet on a one acre lot. Beautifully appointed 2001 built, this custom built home features bamboo flooring, mother of pearl kitchen cabinets, granite counters. Energy Star appliances and more.

New paint, brushed nickel fixtures,rounded corners, high ceilings are among this home's great details. The tile roof - not asphalt- adds to the contemporary styling! With a spectacular back porch and deck with a hot tub, you can enjoy your private, nature view With plenty of room to add pool or some other expansion, this gem must be seen! To see the MLS information, click here.
Offered for sale by Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent with Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida. For additional information, send me an email to .

Rental Properties in Viera, Suntree and Rockledge Florida

The rental market in the Rockledge and Viera areas of Brevard County Florida provides many opportunities for those considering relocating to this area. As of today, there were about 125 single family homes listed for rent in the Rockledge and Viera areas.

About 50 or so of these properties are listed for lease for $900 to $1300 per month. Many of these homes are newer having been built after the year 2000. In this price range you can find pool homes (either with a private pool or a community pool) located near excellent schools.

If you are new to the area and looking for a single family home to lease, take a look at Viera and Rockledge. I have seen several of these properties which have been listed for sale however the owners have apparently decided to lease them instead.

Prefer a town home or condo unit? In this same area there are 99 properties listed from $675 to $1950 per month. The property at the highest rental price is a new condo in a gated community located on the Indian River! Regardless of your budget there is certainly a rental property in Viera or Rockledge that will suit your needs.

Rockledge and Viera is located in Central Brevard County Florida along the east coast. Only minutes to the beaches, with shopping nearby, excellent schools, and easy access to Orlando (40 minutes), this area has a lot to offer residents.

If you are relocating to the Melbourne area, including Patrick Air Force Base, and would like additional information, please give me a call or drop me an email. I can be reached at 321-255-2600 or by email to Please view our local MLS web site here. I can provide you with additional information on any property listed on this web site.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent with Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida.

The Decision to Buy Real Estate...

I read a couple of web logs today regarding whether or not this is the right time to buy real estate. It did get me to thinking about such a blanket statement as "it is the right time to buy." The answer to this question is an individual response.

Each of us have our own set of circumstances - financial, employment status, credit history, etc. Because none of us find ourselves in the exact same situation, then the answer to that question really is an individual one. If you are an investor looking for bargains, your situtaion is quite different form the first time homebuyer.

Sure, the market is down. Sure, the prices have fallen tremendously in a lot of areas. Remember, each real estate market is different. Mortgage rates are lower now than they have been in several years. Actually I heard a mortgage broker say just yesterday the rates were the lowest in 4 years. Of course the rates they always quote are for buyers with pristine credit and a significant down payment.

So, is it a good time to buy?

You tell me.

I am a real estate professional who works hard for my clients. I am not here to make that decision for you. But, if you do believe it is the right time for you and you are interested in Florida real estate, specifically
Viera, Suntree, Rockledge and Melbourne Florida, please contact me. I can be reached at 321-255-2600 or by email to .

Gary L. Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent with Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Florida Buyers? Where are they coming from?

I attended a quarterly Century 21 meeting this morning. When you get a group of real estate agents together the talk is all business. In this buyer's market, with a shortage of buyers and an abundance of inventory, the discussion among a few agents centered on where the buyers are coming from. The consensus seems to be from out of the United States.

This is probably pretty obvious to most. The United States dollar has dropped in value compared to foreign currencies. The Euro is worth about $1.47 (US). There are about 107 Japanese Yen to the US dollar. Against foreign currencies the dollar is almost uniformly down. To check your own currency exchange rate, click here.

So, this is obviously the time to be a foreign buyer of United States real estate. What better place to look for tat home (or as you say in England, Flat), than Florida. Specifically, I recommend you take a look at the central Florida coast. Brevard County home prices are down, the inventory is high, sellers are negotiating and your money is worth more than ever against the dollar. Buying in Florida is certainly a bargain!

If you would like information on the Florida real estate market, please feel free to send me an email at . Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent with Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida.
Make Florida your holiday home. Make Florida your second home! You can't go wrong!

Today's Buyer Needs to be Sold!

I posted an article on about a year or so ago. It was admittedly written a little tongue in cheek, a little sarcastic. It concerned the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) seller and what was involved in the process. Its premise was simply "Why do some folks choose to sell their home themselves?"

Today's market is a lot different than even a year ago so you see fewer and fewer sellers trying to go it alone. That is understandable. In a sellers market buyers were plentiful. Now, selling a home in a buyer's market takes know-how and getting that know-how from lots of available books and implementing the process successfully is a lot more challenging.

In a sellers market it was relatively easy:
  • set your price (people would pay asking price or more)
  • advertise in the newspaper,
  • place a sign out front,
  • show your house to the interested buyer who knocks on the door,
  • they pay your price and
  • close!

Any Realtor worth their salt will tell you there is much more to marketing a property in today's environment than just doing the above things.


So if selling on your own is not something you have the inclination to do, call a Realtor! Let a professional real estate agent work with you! (Selling your home is a team effort!)

Gary Waters, Florida Licensed real estate agent with Century 21 Baytree Realty in Melbourne, Florida. In the market for a Viera, Suntree or Rockledge Florida home? I would welcome an opportunity to be your agent!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Brevard County Florida Home Prices Keep Changing!

Brevard County Florida real estate prices appear to continue their drop. A review of price changes for Brevard County MLS listings for the period of January 1, 2008 through January 28,2008 shows that 2700 single family homes and condos have had their prices changed.

That is a large volume of the total homes for sale in Brevard County. With almost 7400 single family homes, condos and town homes listed for sale this represents about 36% of all the active MLS listings.

These sellers recognize the environment in which they find themselves. The environment? An extremely competitive buyer's market where there are many sellers chasing a very small pool of buyers.

What does this mean to the Brevard County Florida buyer? It means simply sellers are motivated and ready to do whatever is necessary to secure that buyer!

Of these price changes there have been 368 properties with price changes in the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge areas. These are the ares of central Brevard County where I live and work! In my opinion this is also one of the most desirable areas of Florida's Space Coast!

If you are looking for a home in the Viera, Suntree, Rockledge, Cocoa area, please give me a call. If you want to have some of the active listings emailed to you, send me an email or give me a call.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent with Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. My email address is . Please visit my website .

If you are in the market, I want to be your real estate agent!

ARMs can float like a butterfly and sting

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." -- Muhammad Ali

That is one of the most famous quotes in sports history uttered by one of the greatest boxers of all time. Muhammad Ali had a way with words. He was always the entertainer as well as the athlete.

I saw a television commercial last night that quoted those words, maybe not exactly but it did get me to thinking. I believe the commercial was for an automobile company, perhaps Cadillac. These words made me think of real estate mortgages.

Specifically, my mind was drawn to adjustable rate mortgages. Now I am not a mortgage lender nor do I purport to be an expert. However, in this real estate market we are seeing situations every day where the borrower is feeling the sting.

How is an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) like the Ali quote? There are a couple of obvious ways. First, they float. ARMs are tied to some designated measure and float according to fluctuations in that barometer. So, there you have the float part of the similarity.

Secondly, when they float, or at least recently, they have stung the borrower with a sometimes substantial increase in monthly payment. This sting is more than many borrowers can handle and thus the increase in delinquencies, foreclosures and the ever popular "short sale."

If you are in a situation where the ARM has floated and stung you, look to your lender for help. Call your lender's loss mitigation department and discuss your circumstances. There are ways that some lenders assist you, at least temporarily, with a readjustment of rates or some other options. Don't hide from the situation until it is too late!

If you are considering selling your home and you are upside down in the mortgage....speak to the lender. Problems need to be addressed before a solution can be worked out.

If you are in the market for a home in Viera, Suntree, Rockledge or Melbourne Florida, please contact me. If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree, Rockledge or Melbourne Florida home, give me a call. I would love an opportunity to earn your business.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent with Century 21 Baytree Realty, 8195 N. Wickham Rd., Suite 100, Melbourne Florida. I can be reached at the office, 1-800-651-6940, or by email to .

Want to take a look at the local MLS listings, click here. The listings can also be reached from my web site .

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Over the past week I have completed several broker price opinions for different lenders. If you are not familiar with the terminology, let me explain. Before a home goes into foreclosure or to a "short sale" the lender wants to have an estimate of the real value of the property.

As a real estate agent I am not an appraiser so I do not perform an appraisal. I only look at comparable values and give an opinion of value. Regardless, the point of this is there is a tremendous amount opportunity in Brevard County Florida when it comes to short sales.

Last month there were somewhere around 500 properties listed in the Brevard MLS system with short sale as the reason for sale. Folks are in trouble. For various reasons the various sellers need to sell. Because the property values have declined so much, the opportunities are there to buy for less than the mortgage owed.

Unfortunately, the seller's loss and the lender's loss are now the buyer's gain. If you would like to look at the opportunities for great real estate deals in Brevard County, Florida, let me know. I would certainly welcome a chance to be your real estate agent in Brevard County Florida.

I want to be the Realtor of Choice for Viera, Suntree and Rockledge Florida!

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, serving buyers and sellers in Viera, Suntree, Rockledge and Melbourne Florida! Contact me at my office: Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida. Call me at 1-255-2600 (office) or email me at .

Please read my blog at .

Moving to Brevard Real Estate Team at your service

I have neglected in my previous posts to mention my business associate, John Feeley. Clients who have worked with me know that I have a business partner who shares in the real estate service I provide to my clients. So, here is my formal introduction of my associate, John Feeley.

John Feeley and I are in our third year of working together. Admittedly, John is not a computer person so you will not find him writing blogs or posting information on the Internet. But, let me assure you, John is a professional real estate agent who serves our clients very well.

He is patient, considerate and very understanding of client needs. His willingness to show as many properties as a client wants to see, when they want to see them, helps make sure our Moving to Brevard real estate team serves our clients well.

So, if you are in the market for a Viera, Suntree or Rockledge Florida home, give either John or myself a call. Email me at or John at . We would be happy to assist you in any way possible.

John Feeley, Florida licensed real estate agent, 321-636-9798
Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, 321-255-2600
Century 21 Baytree Realty
Melbourne, Florida 32940

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Looking for Sellers - not buyers - in Viera, Suntree and Rockledge, Florida

I am not looking under every rock searching for home buyers in Brevard County Florida. Why would a real estate agent who makes a living selling real estate not be looking for buyers? The answer is really simple.

I am looking for sellers in Viera, Suntree and Rockledge. It is a buyer's market and the best way to find a buyer is to work for sellers....not just any seller but the right sellers. How do I know if a seller is right?

Sellers, in a market such as this, need to have a real reason to sell. It may be a job transfer. It may be an empty nest situation. It may be a change in marital status. It may be the mortgage is just too much. It may be a desire to buy a smaller house with a smaller mortgage payment. It may be a "short sale" situation. It may be out of town owners who need to dispose of a deceased parent's estate. Regardless, these are the sellers I love to work with! Also, these are the kinds of sellers who attract buyers. Why?

Because they have a reason to sell. Sellers with no reason to sell will usually want to list their homes at an unreasonable or, at least, too high a price for the market. But, when you have a real reason to sell, the buyers will come.

If you have a reason to sell your Viera , Suntree or Rockledge home, give me a call at 1-255-2600 or email me at . I would enjoy a chance to discuss your needs and how I can assist you. If you are a buyer, do call me! I know the market well and would love a chance to assist you. Need listings or general information emailed to you, please let me know.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sometimes, selling your home is plain luck!

If you are considering selling your Rockledge, Florida home at this time, you need to take a hard look at the current market. Homes in Rockledge seem to be spending about 120 days on the market before closing. Considering it usually takes about 30 days from contract to closing, this means you will probably go about 90 days before agreeing on a contract with a prospective buyer.

This is a relatively long time for an actual closing so your time line needs to take this into consideration. If you are planning to move, give yourself 3 to 4 months for the sale to take place. Some homes do sell much more quickly but each circumstance is different. How long will it really take your home to sell? That depends. Sort of a wishy-washy answer I know but it really does depend on several factors.

What are these factors?

Location. Are you located in some of the more popular subdivisions and locations? In Rockledge that may be the Phillips Landing development or, perhaps, Ventana or Plantation Point. If you are selling an investor oriented property the time may be longer as the number of potential investor properties remains pretty high at this time. If you are selling a condo or townhouse, the competition is pretty keen.

Ease of Showing. Buyers have many properties to choose from in this market. Being able to accommodate potential buyers at their convenience is key. If a real estate agent has 10 potential properties for a client to look at today but you need them to come either "tomorrow or whenever", this just may not work. To sell,
you need to capture the potential buyer when they are available.

Curb Appeal. You have probably heard or read this before but it still needs repeating - if you can't get them in the front door, you can't sell them! The lawn and landscaping needs to look appealing. I read that a buyer decides within the first 10 minutes of seeing a property if they are interested. You have to entice them with the outside and dazzle them with the inside.
Staging. To dazzle them once inside, you got to put your best foot forward! Remove clutter. Furniture that is too big for the space makes the space appear smaller. Get rid of the wild colors....remember, neutral! A professional stager may definitely be worth the investment!
Clean. It has been written and said so many times - "If you can smell it, you can't sell it!" Your home may not be a palace but it can, and must, be clean. Buyers understand that folks may be living in a property and they will overlook some things. But, they will not overlook filth! Clean....sells!

Pricing. I did not put price at the top of this list although most agents believe price is the major consideration in selling a home. Certainly the price must be reasonable for the market and reasonable for your needs. Many agents, including myself, will not take a listing if the price desired is too high for the market.
Remember, the market sets the price - not the seller or the real estate agent!

Negotiate. Expect to negotiate. Homes in the Rockledge market appear to be selling for about 93-95% of asking price on average. So, buyers expect to wheel and deal. This should be expected and considered in the pricing strategy.

Strategy. Marketing in this environment does require a strategy. Exposure to the right pool of potential buyers is key. Most buyers search on the Internet so that is a key component of any strategy. Marketing strategies involve multiple approaches. Discuss these with your real estate agent.

When all is said and done, it is sometimes just plain luck that a buyer finds your property before another one captures their eye. It has been said that luck is when opportunity meets preparation or something like that. If all the things above are considered and acted upon, you will find that buyer...probably sooner than the average days on the market!

If you are considering selling your Rockledge or Viera home, give me a call or drop me an email. I can be reached at 321-255-2600 or at . Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida (Viera, next door to Denny's Restaurant).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

When selling, remember memories go with you!

I was just watching an episode of Andy Griffith on TV Land network. I grew up watching Andy Griffith and his bumbling, but good-hearted, deputy Barney Fife. This particular episode involved Barney Fife buying a used car from a lady who's husband had supposedly recently died. She appeared to be emotionally attached to her deceased husband's car. Of course, if you have seen this episode you know it was really a scam....selling an unsuspecting buyer a problem-laden car.

This got me to thinking about real estate transactions...Not someone selling a problem-laden property to an unsuspecting buyer but rather an individual's emotional attachment to an object - a house!

Some sellers find themselves with this same emotional attachment to their homes. This can lead to challenges when selling. This is when I remind the sellers that a house is only a physical building. When they move to the new home, they take all the memories with them. Sure they have had some great things happen while in the home, perhaps the birth of children or some other life changing event.

But those memories are transferable....not attached to any house. I remind my sellers to look forward with great anticipation to the new home, new location and new memories that will be made.

A house is only a building; a home is the memories,
the love, the times shared with family and friends.

If you are ready to sell your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge home and make some new memories in another home, give me a call. Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. Telephone me at 1-321-255-2600 or drop me an email to .

Go it alone or hire a real estate agent? To FSBO or not?

Should you hire a real estate agent to sell your home or go it alone? This is a question that many sellers face today as they consider putting a "For Sale" sign out front in a buyer's market. The answer to this question depends on each individual seller.

What are some of the considerations?
  • Pricing. Do you know the real market price or do you just know how much you want to walk away with at closing?

  • Time. There is a significant investment of time when marketing your home. Will your schedule allow time for scheduling appointments and being present when potential buyers want to view your home.

  • Safety. If you do have the time what about those individuals who will be coming in your home. I will admit that most real estate agent do not usually know their clients very well. However, most real estate brokerages have rules in place that requires potential clients meet at the office to get acquainted. In this day and age, safety is a real concern for professional real estate agents.

  • Marketing Plan. How are you going to market your home? Just putting a sign out front worked well when it was a seller's market. If you are in a down market with high inventory your market plans needs to be multifaceted. Will it be easier to let someone who does this daily market your home?

  • Internet Exposure. This is a carry over from the market plan issue. Exposing your property to as many folks as possible is necessary and he use of Internet sites to market your home must be a key component of any plan, yours or a professional real estate agent.

  • Targeted Marketing to Your Most Probable purchaser. You need to identify who will most likely be your buyer, be it an investor, second home owner, first time home buyer or whomever. Targeting efforts at the most probable pool of buyers increases potential response.

  • Experience. Have you previously completed such a transaction? Experience is a great teacher - just ask any real estate agent. The potential pitfalls, even after a contract is negotiated, are many.

  • Staging Your Home. Even if you decide to FSBO it you may want to consider a professional stager. It has been said that a potential buyer will either be interested or turned off all within the first ten seconds after they arrive. Things that look and feel great to us may be less admired by a potential buyer. De-clutter, de-personalize, highlight your property's strengths. Professional staging may give you a step up on the competition.

  • Negotiation skills. When that offer comes in, do you have the experience with negotiation skills. Do you know what is negotiable? Have you looked at all the potential closing costs so you know where you stand?

  • Time. Again... it does take time!
If you are ready to tackle the task as a for sale by owner, good luck. If you have a question that I may be able to answer, let me know. If you are considering using a full time real estate professional, talk to several. And select the one you feel comfortable with who is knowledgeable about your market.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, is  broker owner at Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC in Melbourne, Florida specializing in the Suntree, Viera, Rockledge and Melbourne areas of central Brevard County, Florida.  Email him  me at  or call 321-693-3850.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reasons to make Brevard County Florida your new home!

Reached that point in your life where you are ready to find a retirement spot? Looking for that second home location? Just want to relocate? How will you decide on the new area?

What are some of the considerations?

Every individual is different so there is no one answer to that question. However, some of the reasons to consider moving to Brevard County may include....

  • Climate. Tired of shoveling snow and braving the cold of the winter months? With an average high temperature of 81 degrees and average low of 63, the weather is usually pretty comfortable.
  • Proximity to Family. Most of us have a desire to at least be reasonably close to our friends and family or ,at a minimum, easy access for commuting. Brevard County offers easy access to Orlando International Airport and the convenience of major transportation routes (Interstate 95 and US 1).
  • Affordable Housing. The Brevard County real estate prices have experienced the same drop as other areas of the United States.
  • Access to health care facilities. With 5 hospitals located within Brevard County, Florida, regardless of your location, you are never very far from excellent health care resources.
  • No state income tax. If you are going to be working, enjoy the benefits of no state income tax!
  • Great Recreation. Boating, fishing, golfing, beaches, and hiking are just a few of the many outdoor activities available in the immediate area. Want to take a cruise, the nearby Port Canaveral offers cruise ship vacations! With about 70 miles o Atlantic coast line, the beaches offer plenty of access. As for golf, with about 30 courses available, you can golf a different course almost daily for a month! Located only 40 minutes from Orlando, a couple of hours to Miami, Brevard County is centrally located along the Florida coast making day trips very easy!
  • Educational opportunity. With several college campuses located throughout the County, grabbing that degree or continuing education is convenient. Florida Institute of Technology, University of Central Florida (Brevard campus), Brevard Community College, Keiser College are all close by!
  • Military facilities. With the nearby Patrick Air Force Base retirees have easy access to military exchange facilities, Manatee Cove (base golf course) and other support facilities.
  • Excellent schools. The Brevard County public school system consistently ranks as one of the top school systems in the state of Florida.
  • High Technology and professional jobs. Being home to the Kennedy Space Center, Harris Corporation and other high tech employers offer excellent employment opportunities. Likewise, as several health care systems are major employers in Brevard County the opportunities for nurses and other health care professionals are plentiful.

If you would like more information on the real estate market in Brevard County, Florida, please let me know. I can be reached by email at Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 1-800-651-6940.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How does the FED cut impact real estate in Brevard County?

So the FED lowered the interest rate this morning. What will happen next? Listening to the talking heads on CNBC there does not seem to be a definitive answer. Everyone has a different opinion and they all are hedging their answers. No one how does this impact the real estate market?

The inventory of homes for sale in Brevard County remains high. The prices seem to be dropping on many properties every day. The competition among sellers remains high. But, the good news in all this is that it remains an excellent time to purchase a new home or a second home.

None of us knows what will happen in the financial markets. None of us has a crystal ball that will tell us what the real estate market holds tomorrow or the next day. All we know is the current environment.

What is that current environment?

The inventory of homes is high.
  • Interest rates are relatively low.

  • Sellers are willing to negotiate and make concessions.

  • There are over 7,000 single family homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida.

  • All those things add up to it is an opportunity for those looking to purchase a home! Are you ready to take advantage of that opportunity in Brevard County, Florida? This blog, as well as my other blog, is getting more and more "hits" from foreign readers. The currency exchange rates make it even more appealing to be a foreign buyer...with prices down, you get more for your money at a cheaper dollar!

    Looking at Florida's Space Coast? What about Viera, Suntree or Rockledge? There are wonderful opportunities in maintenance free communities, 55+ communities, name it - Bargains are out there!

    For more information on the Florida real estate market, please drop me an email to . I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about Brevard County. Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida.

    Take Time to "give that extra nickel"

    I am a full time real estate agent serving Viera, Suntree and Rockledge, Florida. But, unlike most of my posts, this entry is not related to real estate but rather, life! I also work a couple of evenings each week at the local CVS as a pharmacy technician. This is one of those things I did in the Navy so why not use that skill!

    On some occasion we all (pharmacist, techs, store manager, whomever) have a chance to assist folks who come through our drive thru window. Last night a young lady of about thirty or so came through and, buckled in a car seat in the backseat, I saw a young boy about 3 years old. I recognized them from a previous visit. Just as they pulled up, and as I greeted the lady, she handed me a nickel.

    She said "he" (referring to the boy in the back) had it "extra and wanted me to have it." I always talk with folks, especially the youngsters and pets. Yes, I talk to pets!

    Any way, mom, said "I don't know why but you must have made an impression on him last time we were here." I took the nickel and sat it aside. There was some issue so they had to come back in about 15 minutes. When they returned I completed their transaction and "shot the breeze" with them a few minutes as I often do if it is not busy.

    As they were about to leave I reached in my pocket and gave the mom 2 nickels. I knew when I received the nickel initially I was going to return it. I did not want to refuse it because I believe that by refusing his generosity I may teach them the wrong lesson. I said to give the two nickels to the young man later because....and she completed my sentence..."when you give it comes back to you double."

    This got me to thinking about our lives in general, not just real estate or our professions whatever they may be. When we get so busy and concerned about making a living and meeting deadlines, we often miss out on little things that may seem insignificant. We need to keep things in balance and give something back. Take the time to "give that extra nickel" because you will be rewarded. Maybe not today but one day!

    Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida serving buyers and sellers in Viera, Suntree and Rockledge, Florida. Additional web postings can be found at .

    Monday, January 21, 2008

    Buying a Home takes instant gratification here!

    We like results - fast! Human beings like instant gratification. As a real estate agent we sometimes want instant gratification. Working with a buyer we want to sell you a house today. Listed your house? We want a buyer to come along in a few days if not sooner.

    We want results - fast!

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to get results as soon as possible. But sometimes it just takes time! It is a new year and lots of folks have gone on diets. They are on the scales every day checking on the results. Want a promotion in our job? We want it now. The sooner we get results, the sooner we move on to something else.

    But, when it comes to real estate, it most often takes a little time. If you are looking to buy a home, it usually takes a little time. Time to get the mortgage lined up. Time to locate a real estate agent to work with you. Time to look at houses. Time to make offers. Time to get to closing. Yes, buying a house takes some time and effort - just like that diet!

    So when you have made the decision to look for that home, be prepared. Finding the right house and closing is not (usually) a rapid process. A decision as major as purchasing a home is not something you rush into....blindly. Take the time to find a real estate agent
    • who understands the process,
    • who understands your needs, and
    • who is willing to spend the time with you!
    If you are looking for a home in the Suntree, Viera or Rockledge, Florida area, let me know. I would be pleased to assist you on your timetable!

    Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent with Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008

    OK...You Only Have 10 Seconds!

    You have heard it before....The Ten Second Rule! I read a newsletter this morning from one of my favorite preofessional home stagers, Terry Haugen of Stage it Right. She had a brief article on The Ten Second Rule.

    This piqued my interest so I did a little research for the Ten Second Rule. It was interesting that there were several different applications of this rule.

    For example......

    • In basketball there is a rule about how long a team is allowed to get the ball across half-court,

    • Drop food on the floor? Supposedly if you pick it up within 10 seconds, it is OK (Not a Mom approved rule I am sure!)

    • Reading an article or posting the Internet? You have 10 Seconds to "hook" the reader (by the way if you have rad this far, I complied!)

    • I heard it said that if you get angry, stop and count to ten! (Temper, temper, temper!)

    • There was an application that applied ten seconds to spending money which I read on a blog called The Simple Dollar which discussed taking time before making a purchase to consider whether to spend the money. (This is one I need to apply!)

    There are other applications I am sure. So many ten second rules!!!!

    However, the application that I want to emphasize here is the real estate application. Terry's newsletter mentions that it has been said a potential buyer makes up their mind about a property within 10 seconds of arriving. The exterior could be what they notice initially. If the potential buyer has made it in the home, they have probably already made up their mind. And, initial impressions, right or wrong, are usually what we rely on more than anything.

    The bottom line: If you are selling your home, consider your most valuable ten seconds with any potential purchaser! Need help in deciding what can be done or needs to be done to make that great impression? Consult a real estate professional who works with professional homestagers. I can, and will, make some recommendations about property condition, showing etc. But, I will also recommend you consult a homestager if you are looking for expert advice!
    Considering selling that Viera, Suntree or Rockledge home? Give me a call or send me an email to . Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida.

    Its Sunday. I am in the office and working away!

    I am sitting in the office this morning "doing floor time." This is not something I usually do as I prefer conducting open houses or showing property on my Sundays. But, there was an issue with the assigned agent so I jumped in to help out.

    What does an agent do while "doing floor time?" Many times I take the opportunity to prepare mailings, post information about listings on various web sites. I prefer , , , , , , (our local MLS system), and a few other sites.

    Why so much effort posting to the Internet? This is 2008 and home purchasers are using the Internet as a resource now more than ever! When they go looking for a mortgage, where do they turn? The Internet. When searching for a home, where do they turn? According to various research the number of buyers who start their search or find their home on the Internet is somewhere around 80%.

    Likewise, when clients are searching for their real estate agent they look on the Internet. Having an Internet presence is a necessary ingredient to any successful marketing plan. Sure, the print media is still being used but the Internet is the major tool used in this day.

    Back to my original question....what does an agent do on the floor? If you stop by, I am here to assist you. Need information or directions, I am here. Need to search for that new home, I am here. On the floor means being available. But, while I am still available I will be doing things to market my current client's property as well!

    If you are searching for that Viera, Suntree or Rockledge home, give me a call. If you are considering selling that Viera, Suntree or Rockledge home, give me a call. If I can provide any information whatsoever that will assist you, it will be my pleasure. Send me an email as well to .

    Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida.

    Saturday, January 19, 2008

    Overpriced Properties contribute to real estate market woes!

    The rapid proliferation of overpriced homes for sale is part of our real estate market's problems.

    • Sure, you hear about the mortgage fiasco with sub-prime mortgages.

    • Sure, you hear about the number of financial institutions facing tremendous pressures from non-performing loans.

    • Sure, you hear about the builder's holding high inventory volumes and exerting pressures on the market.

    • You hear about all of these things.....

    but I believe the number of properties listed for sale at excessive prices are likewise a contributor to the real estate problem. Stagnant listings just give the media something to write about (high inventory)!

    Why would someone place a house on the market for much more than the market value? These people, I believe, subscribe to the "bigger sucker" theory. There must be someone who has lots of cash out there who is willing to pay too much for a property. Not!

    Anyone who has accumulated the cash necessary to pay for a property has probably got enough smarts to understand value. Further, they are probably savvy enough to be working with a savvy real estate agent. By the way, an overpriced listing may just do one thing - make the other properties look like good deals!

    So, why the overpriced listings? Sometimes we, as real estate agents, are our worst enemy. We are not doing ourselves any good by taking listings for the sake of adding another listing to our "active" portfolio. We need to be open enough with potential clients to tell them the real market value or at least a realistic market range.

    As a real estate professional I don't have as many listings as I once did. That is partly by choice and partly because of the market. I choose to list only properties that will sell in a reasonable time frame at a reasonable price. As a real estate agent I SELL HOUSES, not just list houses.

    Even though the solution to the real estate market's woes is much bigger than a single agent or listing, we need to consider which listings we take on. Marketing a property, even priced appropriately, is still hard work! After all, who benefits if a listing just sits there?

    If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge home, please give me a call at 321-255-2600. Feel more comfortable with an email, send it to .

    Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida.

    Selling Your Brevard County Home

    I listed a new property this week and I lost a listing. OK, so that is not totally a bad thing as I could have been zip for 2. I lost the listing today for a couple of reasons which I will elaborate on a little later.

    First of all, a great big "Thank You" is in order to Terry Haugen of Stage It Right in Melbourne, Florida. Terry recommended me to her staging client which opened the door. In the real estate profession a referral that gets you in the door is a very good thing!

    Referrals from past clients and those with whom we work with in the profession are keys to our success! Thanks, Terry!

    I recommended listing at a price based on the comparative properties currently on the market and recently sold. This property was not a new listing but one that had been in the market for about 600 days! Since it was relatively new, built in 2006, the condition was not an issue. On the market for 600 days tells me it is a price issue.

    The company I lost the listing to has an office on the condo complex. They hold open houses every weekend, both days. I may not have been as willing to advertise in print media as the seller expected. But we all know the effectiveness of print advertising is minimal so why spend a lot of money on newspaper advertising. Besides, everyone knows buyers really do their research on the Internet.

    Anyway, I would not have taken the listing at a higher than market price so I guess in the end, I did not lose the listing. The seller seemed like a very nice person and I do wish her success!
    The listing I did take was nearer my office and, at least, reasonable for the market. I guess some days you win some, some days you lose some but ..... in the end, being in the game matters most.

    After all, if you don't play, you never get a chance to hit a home run!

    If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, give me a call, please. I will give you my opinion of value. I will give you my recommendation for a marketing strategy.

    And, if you choose to go with someone else, I will wish you luck and great success.

    Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. I can be reached by phone at 321-255-2600 or by email at

    Friday, January 18, 2008

    Why can't I sell my Viera Florida home?

    I have my house listed for sale. It has been on the market for almost a year....Why doesn't it sell?

    If you find yourself in that situation, it could be one of several things (or a combination of several). Consider these possible issues:
    • What is its general condition? If your home is in need of repairs which you do not intend to address - price it accordingly.
    • What does the outside look like? It is hard to sell a house if you can't get a potential buyer in the door!
    • Does the yard need some help (green grass, no weeds,flowers)? Landscaping is not expensive but it does set the initial impression.
    • How does the inside look? Is it cluttered?Is it clean? If that initial impression from the outside is strong, then go for the kill with a dazzling inside!The old saying is "if you can smell it, you can't sell it! Consider a consultation with a professional home stager.
    • Are there obvious repairs or deferred maintenance? Most buyers, unless they are investors or Bob Villa care to make repairs. Also, required repairs will handicap your bargaining position.
    • What about the competition?Is your price competitive? Pricing reasonable for the market is necessary. If you price too high you run the risk of becoming the comparative property which makes another look so much better!
    • Are you getting exposure on the Internet? Buyers seek new homes on the Internet. Nice photos and even a virtual tour will get you on the "to see" list.
    • Is it easy to schedule showings? Buyers have lots of properties to view with lots of choices.
    • Does your agent get feedback after showings? If so, do you seriously consider the feedback? Although it is hard to get good feedback, when you do receive it, consider the feedback.
    • Are you competing with new construction? Builders are giving incentives to buyers so keep this in mind when pricing. If a buyer can get a new home for the same price, why buy a previously owned property?
    • Is your price competitive? I know that was mentioned earlier but it IS a very important factor.
    • Do you (and your agent) have a marketing strategy?Marketing is more than a sign and MLS entry!
    Selling your Viera home in this market takes effort. Selling your Viera home is a team effort. Yes, a team (yourself, your agent, and the buyer's agent). If you have had your property on the market for a long time, consider the above.

    Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent with Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida.

    BPOs Highlight Bargains in Viera Florida

    I did another Broker Price Opinion (BPO) yesterday. What is a Broker Price Opinion? It is basically my opinion of what the selling price will be for a particular property. But this is not just any property. It is usually a property with foreclosure very imminent.

    One thing I learn each time I do one of these BPOs. The bargains out there in Viera Florida are tremendous. Several of my last BPOs were in Viera. Viera is a planned unit development in central Brevard County. It is home to lots of new homes, new roads, new parks, new shopping, new medical facilities, new golf courses....a really nice place. When compiling the comparative properties the bargains are so evident!

    A few years ago the home prices were rising rapidly. I remember working with clients, offering the "list price" for a property and losing the deal - to someone offering thousands over the list price. Oh, those were the days to be a seller!

    The market is cyclical as most things in life. The curve is down so the time to buy is now. I will say that many of these BPOs are from investor buyers. Investors were making lots of money for several some are in trouble.

    Investors troubles are buyer opportunities! Regardless of the type of market, there will always be winners and losers. Being a buyer now is being the winner!

    If you are considering buying a Viera Florida home or a Suntree Florida home (these areas are near Melbourne Florida), give me a call. I would be happy to assist you in any way I can!

    Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. I can be reached at 321-255-2600 or by email to

    Read more of my posts at . Also, additional information on the Viera area can be found at

    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    Can I buy your listing? No!

    I lost another listing this week. I am in the business of selling homes so when I fail to obtain a listing it is not a reason to celebrate. However, I lost your listing and I do not feel bad. Why?

    In this buyer's market a property must be priced competitively to sell. I firmly believe that a new listing gets most of its "Action" during the first two to three weeks. If a listing is not priced properly, it will just sit!

    Every day, actually several times a day, I review the new listings. When I see one that is excessively priced I always look to see who the listing agent is. I would like to attribute these over-priced listings to "rookies." But that is not always the case.

    I heard, about 5 years ago, when I first entered this business that "if you want to succeed, you got to list." I do believe that having listings is the key to building a successful real estate business. But, at what price?

    Listings that are over-priced create doubt about your credibility. Listings that are over-priced are brushed aside by agents who know their market. Listings that are over-priced sell other listings.

    You may get a few showings but I would bet it is only to make another property look that much more enticing!

    If you want to sell your Viera, Rockledge or Suntree home, call me. I will do a price right analysis. And I will present that good or bad as it may be.

    Upon review of that analysis, if you like me, trust me, and believe in me, I will list your the right price. However, if you want to list for an excessively high price, I will not list your house. By the way, "buying your listing" is my terminology for telling you it will list at a higher price than I really believe - so, I will not buy your listing, ever!

    After all, I am here to sell your home...not just list it! Days on the market here seems to be hovering around 120 days, so plan on being patient. Even at the right price, it does not happen overnight!

    Selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge home, call me for a price right analysis. I will sell your house....if you price it right and trust me!

    Gary Waters, Realtor, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida, 1-321-255-2600. Email me at .

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