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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Title Insurance and Real Estate Closings

When working with buyers of residential real estate in Brevard County Florida, the discussion of title insurance always comes up when discussing closing costs. Why? Title Insurance is a necessary evil!

First of all, what is title Insurance? Title insurance is a type of insurance that guarantees an owner's interest in their real estate.
Title insurance is the only type of insurance I know of that covers prior events - not future events!

The nice thing about title insurance, as opposed to other types of insurance, is its one time premium. A Title Insurance Company performs a title search to minimize the risk that a policy holder will suffer any loss or be subject to any unfavorable claim against their property.

There are two types of title insurance: Lender's title insurance (Loan Policy), and Owner's title insurance.
Most lenders require a Loan Policy when they issue you a loan usually based on your loan.

Owner's title insurance is usually issued in the amount of the real estate purchase. It is purchased for a one-time fee at closing and lasts as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property. Only Owner's title insurance fully protects the buyer should a problem arise with the title that was not uncovered during the title search.

Title Insurance can be complicated. One of my favorite local Brevard County title companies, Supreme Title and Escrow Company has an excellent web site which provides some great information. Visit Supreme Title Company's web site by clicking
here.

Just a couple of things about title insurance in Brevard County - First, it is customary here for the seller of real estate to pay for the owner's title policy. Pricing is based on a set rate of $575 for the first $100,000 value and $5 per $1,000 for the remainder of the loan amount.

{Real estate closings in Florida can be handled by Title Companies and attorneys. I am neither and do not give legal advice - only real estate!}

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 231-693-3850, email agent@moving2brveard.com. Proudly serving all of Brevard County Florida including Viera, Suntree and Rockledge!

Real Estate Miscalculations....uh....Mistakes....

Who among us has never made a mistake? Wait, we are all human and susceptible to errors in judgement!

A friend and I were discussing real estate "mistakes" either we had made or knew of personally. Yes, I have made a couple myself so if you call me to be your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge Realtor, know up front that I have a track record of being human!

One lesson I learned the hard was about purchasing in a new development. Oh, the home was nice. Unfortunately a job change forced me to relocate sooner than I had planned. I rented the property out for a couple of years but when I decided to sell the builder was still offering new homes. Lesson learned - you can't compete with the builder!

Another lesson....new construction home, lived in about 9 months. The U.S. Navy decided it was time for the family to move to Japan for 3+ years. The owner had that house managed as a rental while they were gone. He returned and, after one tenant, kool-aid stains on the carpet! Lesson learned - folks don't take care of your home as they would their own!

Another lesson learned by many - purchasing a home in a seller's market. This is a lesson many others have learned over the past 3-4 years. One day the prices will be up again. Until that day - lesson learned!

We should purchase real estate when our circumstances warrant a purchase. Prices have dropped; sellers are negotiating. Banks and other lenders are selling short sales at discounted (really current market) prices. Opportunities are available.

None of us knows what the future brings. We make our decisions based on current knowledge. If you are considering purchasing a home in Viera, Suntree, Rockledge or north Melbourne, Florida, only you know if your circumstances are right. Most real estate agents will say "sure, the time is right!"

If you would like information on the Brevard County real estate market, including short sales, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to send you some listings and answer any questions you may have.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, 1211 Admiralty Blvd, Rockledge, Florida. I can be reached at 321-693-3850 or email me at agent@moving2brevard.com.

Short Sales in Brevard County Florida

As July 2008 winds down I wanted to take a look at the Brevard County, Florida short sale market (for sale, July activity, etc).

As of today there are 1,071 properties listed as short sales in the Brevard County MLS system. Sounds like a bunch, doesn't it? A check of the "short sales" under contract or pending shows 315 properties awaiting a decision. Short sales take a long time (long equals up to 60 days or so!) to get the lender's approval so it will be interesting to see how many will be closing next month.

There were 35 properties listed as short sales which closed during July. Although that does not sound like a lot the fact there are so many under contract leads me to believe that the inventory will be shrinking - although not as quickly as sellers would like! Of the properties sold there were 29 properties selling for $200,000 or less.

As the market reports will reflect these short sales I am sure the median and average selling prices will be lower. However, it is a necessary event as the market will not recover until the short sales and foreclosure/REO/bank-owned inventory is diminished.

The Viera, Suntree and Rockledge areas have 75 properties listed for sale as short sales. With prices ranging from about $80,000 to $1.3 million, the opportunities are still out there.

Buying a short sale requires a lot of patience and flexibility. If you have the time and patience, take a look at these opportunities.

For sellers and those considering selling, these short sale and pre-foreclosure properties will have a real impact on your pricing.

If you would like information on the Brevard County real estate market, including short sales, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to send you some listings and answer any questions you may have.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. I can be reached at 321-693-3850 or email me at agent@moving2brevard.com.

Heritage Isle Viera - Viera's Premier 55+ Community

Another month has gone by in the Brevard County real estate market. So what has been happening? Some of my previous posts discussed the attractive prices and down market. It remains a buyer's market!

I just reviewed the activity for this month in the gated Viera 55+ community of Heritage Isle. First of all, let me say up front that this is one of my favorite 55+ communities in Viera. Why?

Because the structured activities found in a 55+ community like Heritage Isle golferin Viera Florida offer lots of what my clients are looking for! At Heritage Isle you will find poker rooms, fitness center with trainers available, a nearby golf course with a driving range, a huge heated pool, planned activities, dinners, movies, nearby shopping and more! Plus a new 21,000 square foot clubhouse, concierge services, tennis and more. A very active lifestyle at Heritage Isle at some very attractive prices!

Heritage Isle boasts single family homes (some very large), re-sales and new construction, condos, duplex/villas - whatever your heart desires! It is a well kept secret!

As of today there are 40 properties listed for sale. These properties range from a 2 bedroom 2 bath, 1530 square foot property for $179,900 to a $385,000 4 bedroom 3 bath home! Included in the 40 listings are three properties listed as short sales.

During the month 3 properties closed and another 4 are under contract! Prices for closed properties was $192,000 to $289,000. All great prices considering what they were selling for a couple of years ago!

If you are considering a 55+ retirement community in Brevard County, please check out Heritage Isle. I would be happy to provide you with information on the community as well as the other 55+ communities in Brevard County.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850, email agent@moving2brevard.com.

Is it price or value? Selling Your Viera, Suntree and Rockledge Home.

Buyers are always looking at price. Sellers are always looking at price. Is price all there is to buying or selling your Viera, Rockledge or Suntree home?

We all understand the definition of price - the amount of money something is bought or sold for....pretty basic. Now, what is value? Simply put, it is something worth the money it cost.

So, is it price or value? The answer really lies in the question, can price and value ever be separated? In some things there may be a sentimental value attached to an item. In real estate, the present value (not sentimental, possible future value) is much more important!

[Real estate has traditionally gained in value. Over the past few years, that was not the case.]

If a buyer offers you your asking price, unless they are paying cash, value is the most important component of the transaction. Your mortgage lender is going to obtain an appraisal. For the lender to loan money for the purchase this appraisal must demonstrate the current value of the property meets or exceeds the purchase price.

  • As a buyer you must convince yourself the price and value are in your favor.
  • As a seller, you must convince yourself that the price and value for the exchange are in your favor.

For a real estate deal to close both parties to the transaction must come together on this issue. In this buyer's market it may difficult for a seller to reach this conclusion! Unfortunately prices (and thusly value) have dropped. If you are selling, consider these issues prior to listing your home for sale!

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida home, I would welcome a chance to discuss the market, your home and your probable selling price.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, 1211 Admiralty Blvd, Rockledge, Florida. I can be reached at 321-693-3850; email agent@moving2brevard.com.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Meaningful Price Reductions in Viera and Suntree

The real estate market is not static. New properties are listed every day. Homes go under contract every day. And, prices are changed every day.

If you have your home listed for sale in the Viera and Suntree (as well as Rockledge, Florida), you may very well have experienced the inevitable - a price reduction!

Let me correct myself - price changes are not inevitable. But, sometimes we are more optimistic than we should have been. I have taken listings and had to reduce the prices. I do not know any agent who has never had a price reduction - especially in a buyer's market.

Sometimes I will be working with a seller who has a really optimistic, although not too unreasonable, expectation of a selling price. When I encounter these sellers I like to make an agreement up front. If, after 30 days we do not have more than 10 showing and an offer, then lets agree up front to reconsider the listing price. Most of the time, they agree with this approach.

Now, back to the subject of price changes. Every day I review price changes as well as new listings. I want to be aware of the immediate market area for all of my listings. In our MLS system price changes show up in a special category on the front page of the agent screen. The purpose is to capture the real estate agent's eye as to a reduction just in case they have a client with an interest in the specific area.

When I see changes that reduce the price by a single dollar I know what the agent wants us to believe. That is "Hey, look! We reduced the price!" But, what are they really saying?

The real message is "I need you to look at this listing again. We really are not motivated but just in case - look, please!"

When I work with Viera, Suntree and Rockledge buyers, I provide my clients with a listing of competitive properties that meet their criteria. If you did not make the cut, you were overpriced or just not what they are looking for. If you were previously overpriced, a dollar reduction is not the answer!

My advice - if your home is not getting showings and a reduction in price is warranted, make it meaningful!

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida, working with buyers and sellers in the Rockledge, Suntree and Viera areas of Brevard County Florida.

Contact me at 321-693-3850 or by email agent@moving2brevard.com.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Short Sales in Suntree and Viera Florida

This is not a post about the seemingly abundant short sales in the Viera and Suntree area of Florida.

It is rather intended as a reminder for short sale sellers of some key issues in marketing their home. Actually, this is a reminder for all sellers!

First of remember until it is sold, it is your home. Regardless of the circumstances of the sale, your pride in your home will go a long way in getting the best price for the house! Dress it for success!

It has been said in many different ways and in as many different circumstances. It applies to going on a job interview. It applies in going on a date. It applies in any new social situation. First impressions are lasting impressions. It is hard to overcome a bad first impression.

If you are selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge home, take the time to "dress it up!" Keep that curb appeal up! Keep the property clean! Make your home show your personal pride! Regardless of circumstance, it is your home!

I have shown short sale properties recently that have "green pools". I have shown short sale properties with evidence of the family pet relieving himself inside the house. I have shown short sales with the yard a foot tall in grass. I have shown short sales that were filthy.

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

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ease of Showing = Ease of Selling!

It never seems to amaze me. Folks list their Suntree and Viera homes with top notch agents who are willing to personally schedule the showings. But...and here is the big "but" - they only return calls at noon and after 5:00!

I am out showing buyers properties this morning. They want to buy and they are in your area. I call your listing agent as the MLS instructions state only to receive a voice mail!

And that voice mail message tells me he will call me at noon. Sorry, but we will have already left your area!

This is a buyer's market. There are lots of homes to look at. Many of these, sometimes a dozen or so, are in the same neighborhood. If a buyer likes your neighborhood and can't see your home, they still have many other choices!

Why do I write this? In the hopes that as a Viera, Suntree or Rockledge seller, you will consider making the scheduling and viewing of your property, as painless as possible!

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, working with buyers and sellers in the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge areas of Brevard County. I can be reached at 321-693-3850 or by email to agent@moving2brevard.com.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Buying Perfection in Viera and Rockledge, Florida

I am not so sure perfection exists on Earth in any form. I know I have flaws - folks tell me!

Wait, I stand corrected. Perfection does exist in Viera, Rockledge and Suntree (North Melbourne Florida). And its location? Houses for sale! Why? Because very few sellers will admit their home is less than "perfect!"

I work with a lot of buyers. Recently I was working with buyers who had conducted some really in depth research...schools. traffic patterns, crime statistics, and more. I certainly encourage all my clients to learn as much as possible about the neighborhood. Short of spending a night in the potential new house, I want them to be informed!

Many folks I work with want perfection...perfect neighborhood with rules but not to rigid; attend certain schools but not to live near those good schools; lots of bedrooms and garages...and more, mainly on a budget for less.

[And Grandma wants a place with an equal number of elder men and women. I did my research - men don't live as long as women so at a certain age the number of men decreases!]

So as I search for perfection I find it does not exist.

OK, it may exist but not on an imperfect budget! I find that perfection is something different to all people. A person wearing a life jacket in the ocean may see a little 15 foot boat as a perfect vessel for the current situation.

As you look for a house you will find perfection but that perfection must be in line with your budget. There is perfect for every budget. The "perfect" for your present time may not be your "perfect" five years from now!

If you are looking for that "perfect" home in Viera Florida, please give me a call. I would welcome a chance to email you listings and assist you in your search for perfection!

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida 32940. Email me at agent@moving2brevard.com or call me at 321-693-3850.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Facing a Short Sale in Viera, Florida?

Short sales present challenges to sellers and buyers. A short sale is a pre-foreclosure situation where the sales price will probably be less than the mortgage monies owed. This is often referred to as third party approval required.

Short sales usually end up having a lot of showings. Buyers looking at short sales are going for deep discounts and great deals! Short sales require patience on the part of the buyer and seller as getting a response from a lender may take a couple of months!

As a seller under these circumstance you need an agent who is responsive and available to provide superior service. In these situations most of the work happens after the offer is received and accepted by you!

Another word about short sales: try your very best to keep the property in as good shape as possible. You still want to get the very best offer as possible so letting the property deteriorate is not good for you or the lender! A very reasonable offer will certainly influence the bank to act more quickly and this will certainly relieve your stress!

If you live in the Viera, Suntree or Rockledge areas of Brevard County Florida and are facing possible short sale situation, please give me a call. I would welcome a chance to show you how I can assist you!

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850, email agent@moving2brevard.com.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Short Sales - It all depends on the Lender!

I just saw a listing for a "short sale" in Viera, Florida. In the agent comments it stated "Lender may counter or may not respond." What? I had to read this twice.

A "short sale" is a sale where the third party (i.e. the lender) must approve the sale because the probable sales price is less than the mortgage.

So, as a buyer you put in an offer. And wait...and wait. Short sales present excellent opportunities to pick up a property at a really good price. You place an offer and EXPECT a response. I am not sure the listing agent is not doing anyone a favor by stating they may not respond!

As a buyer's agent I want you to get the house you want. After all, you place an offer in good faith. These lenders (OK, some lenders) seem to have little sense of urgency in responding. Some take weeks or months but no response. Give me a break!

As a buyer's agent who has worked with short sales I caution my buyers to be patient. I probably become a little bit of a nuisance but I try to get a response. After all, if we are not going to get an acceptance I say "next!"

If you are a seller in Viera, Suntree or Rockledge and are in a situation where a short sale is probable. Call me. I will talk with the loss mitigation department of your lender before we ever place the listing in the MLS system. After all, you as the seller, and that potential buyer, deserve a respectful, prompt response - not a "maybe we will respond attitude."

Laying the appropriate groundwork with the lender is critical for a successful short sale.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850, email agent@moving2brevard.com.

Men and Women: Differences in looking for a new home

The below characters are fictional and are not representative of any specific individual.

I must say that this is written a little tongue in cheek - sarcasm may be present! As a Realtor working with buyers now for about a half decade I have made a few observations about the differences in the sexes when it comes to shopping for a new home.

It seems that invariably when you take a husband and wife into a new home they head in different directions. As a real estate agent I have to split my time and try to observe and answer questions (when I can).

Now, men first. I will admit to being not the most skilled do it yourself-er. I think most men fall into that same category. Yet, it never fails. The male species will be found:

  • Under the kitchen sink inspecting the plumbing. "Looks like they had a leak here, Mabel!"
  • In the garage inspecting all the attachments and fittings on the hot water heater. "Looks old, Mabel!"
  • In the hallway looking at the AC air handler. "Not sure what those numbers on the label mean, but Mabel, it's a Trane unit. Must be good!" "Better check the outside unit, Lyndon." (Obviously Mabel knows Lyndon!)
  • Once I had a gentleman take a ladder from his truck so he could check out the roof. "What are you doing up there, Lyndon?" "I won't fall Mabel!" (Famous last words!)
  • Standing under the open garage door opener. "Mabel, push the switch, gotta see if it reverses like it is supposed to!"
  • In the electrical panel. "Yep, Mabel, looks like it has plenty of spare breakers." Why?

That is enough, Lyndon. If we put an offer in on this house, you will have it inspected. And they know what they are looking for!

Now, ladies, your turn. The lady of the house will:

  • Head straight to the kitchen. "Lyndon, lots of cabinets here. Stove is electric. I like gas because it cooks better!" "Mabel, you know you can't manage anything more than a microwave!"

OK, the ladies seem to know what they want in a house and, except for the kitchen, they look at the layout, traffic flow, storage capabilities, bathroom layout, and the like. They know that the "mechanicals" and the structure will be inspected. Oh yeah, they are much more aware of the curb appeal. "Lyndon, you are gonna have to work on the lawn, for sure!"

In shopping for a home, I agree the condition of roof, plumbing, electrical and AC systems are important. A good look will suffice. If there are problems that are readily evident, cross it off the list. If not, let the inspector tell you if there are problems.

Besides, as your Realtor, I don't want you electrocuted, crushed by a garage door, or breaking any bones falling off the roof!

And for Mabel, buy her some Lean Cuisine meals to microwave while the inspector does his job!

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, serving the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge areas of Brevard County, Florida.

Viera First Time Home Buyer's Agent

As a Realtor I enjoy working with first time home buyers in the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge areas of Brevard County. When I initially meet with buyers (experienced or rookie) I go through my checklist of housing characteristics and factors. Some of these include:

  • Budget. This is always the limiting constraint.
  • Type of structure. Single family home, condo, town home.
  • Size. Bedrooms, garage size, yard size,
  • Schools. In this busy world having great schools in a convenient location is critical.
  • Age of property. Some only want new, some want an older established neighborhood.
  • Commuting issues. Work, school medical facilities, recreation, etc.
  • Lifestyle. Need to be near water, golf courses (big draw in Viera and Suntree!).
  • Deed Restrictions. Some do not want the rules, some do!
  • Time Frame. Buying a home usually takes about 30-45 days unless it is a cash deal which can be closed more quickly. If it is a short sale, then possibly 60 days are needed.

The answers to the above items will give us a great starting point to narrowing our search. Once the list is culled, we are off to look. [I recommend seeing no more than 5 or 5 properties in any given day.]

As you look at properties, take notes. You may not remember which one had that great kitchen or awful carpet! Actually I find folks tend to remember the "awful" houses pretty easily!

If you are a first time home buyer the process may seem daunting. It really is not that bad although it does require patience. If you have never purchased a home and would like to discuss the process, please let me know. I would welcome a chance to answer your questions.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. I can be reached by phone at 321-693-3850 or email agent@moving2brevard.com.

June Home Prices Fall in Brevard County Florida

Home sales fell and prices declined in Brevard County, Florida in the month of June 2008 according to an article on the Florida Today web site this afternoon. Link to story.

This is not surprising! Sales decreased throughout 2007 and now they are still low. June is typically a busy month with folks relocating during the summer. It follows that in a slower year the "busy" month would be less than the previous year.

But there is good news....

Buyers are snapping up the bargains! Yes, with prices lower the deals are out there! There are still quite a few short sales and pre-foreclosure properties for sale which will probably be reflected in the July 2008 numbers.

If you are a buyer, the news is good! This is an excellent time to be looking for that Viera, Suntree and Rockledge, Florida home! If you have the money (mortgage approval, cash, excellent credit, financial resources), you are in a great position to bargain hunt!

Call me! I would be happy to send you information on the homes available. Gary Waters, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850, email agent@moving2brevard.com.

Selling Your Viera Home in a Buyer's Market

I will be the first to admit this is not the best of times to be a seller in the Viera and Suntree Florida area.

If you purchased your home in the past three or four years you may find yourself upside down in your mortgage. Or, if you put a large downpayment up front, your return will probably be a loss! I am sure this is not breaking news for you. However, it is a critical point of knowledge in this market.

I spoke with a potential buyer this week. They had purchased their home at the height of the seller's market a few years ago. But they understand the situation. Their attitude is .....

We will make it (money) on the new home.

Sure they will be keeping their current property as a rental unit until the market changes (and it will!). However they know that there are bargains to be found and, over the long haul, hope to see a return on the new home later. Of course there is no guarantee that property will gain in value but it almost always does!

So, if you are looking to sell in Viera, there are a couple of things to be aware of from the start.

  • You will be competing against "short sales." These pre-foreclosure homes are out there and until the inventory is reduced, they will keep prices down.
  • Prices are lower now than they were several years ago.
  • There are still builders out there who are selling new construction at some very attractive prices.
  • And, lastly, it is ALWAYS PRICE!

It is not impossible to sell in this buyer's market. As long as you are aware of the environment in which you have chosen to sell.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree (including Baytree) or Rockledge home, I would be honored if you contacted me. I would welcome a chance to discuss my marketing efforts.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850, email agent@moving2brevard.com.


Short Sale Market in Brevard County Florida

Anyone who has read my blog before ( I know there is at least one of you!) knows I have written about short sales in the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge areas of Brevard County, Florida. This is another one....

I performed three BPOs (price opinions) over the past two days for "short sale" or pre-foreclosure properties. The lenders do not give me a reason other than to determine an opinion of a "distressed" property value. I have seen some pretty nice properties that were facing a short sale.

I was curious about how many "high end" homes were in the foreclosure/short sale category here in Brevard County. I did an MLS search with $500,000 as the minimum price. The results - 25 properties listed for sale as "requiring third party approval" or short sale. The housing market bites across all price ranges!

The top price for a short sale is $1.3 million in the Summer Lakes development of Viera. Very nice, very large! There are a couple of more in Viera as well.

If you are looking for a short sale in the Viera, Suntree or Rockledge area, please give me a call. I would welcome a chance to discuss what is for sale.

There are short sales in Viera from the mid $100,000s upwards.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850, email agent@moving2brevard.com.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Buyer's Agent Viera Florida

MPj04008250000[1] As Realtors we usually work as independent contractors. We live and die by the commission. There is no guaranteed pay day every two weeks. Diligence and effort brings reward.

Nothing in the real estate "process" is easy, quick, or a "done deal!" Real estate transactions take a commitment by your real estate agent and you, the buyer.

As a buyer, hiring your real estate agent DOES NOT cost you a penny. Buyer's agents such as myself in Viera, Florida, get paid after the transaction closes.

If you are considering purchasing a home in the Viera, Suntree or Rockledge areas of Brevard County, Florida, it would be an honor to be your real estate agent. I will not ask for anything from you except a commitment to the process and a commitment to me!

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850, email agent@moving2brevard.com.

Rental Properties in Viera and Rockledge Florida

I occasionally work with folks looking to rent in my immediate area of Suntree, Viera and Rockledge,Florida. This past weekend I made an exception and strayed a little out of my comfort zone.

I went to show rentals in Palm Bay, Florida. Palm Bay is about 25 miles south of my Viera office. The prices were lower than similar homes located in Viera. Even new construction for a couple hundred bucks a month less than a comparable Viera property. Worth the look, for sure!

The first one was located in southwest Palm Bay. After you leave the pavement, make four turns on dirt roads dodging potholes all the way. This was a nice house but at 4 bucks a gallon for gas the savings in rent will be replaced at the pump.

We saw another Palm Bay property. Great price but too small. In the end, it was the general location and ease of commuting that led us back to Viera and Rockledge.

If you are considering a move to Brevard County and will be renting (or buying for that matter), consider the commute and proximity to schools when selecting a location. Sometimes it is a trade off - less house for a shorter commute. Only you know what is really the most important consideration.

If you are looking for a rental home in Viera or Rockledge, please give me a call or drop me an email. I would happy to forward some listings to you. Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850, email agent@moving2brevard.com.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Make every day a great day!

This really has nothing to do with Viera Florida real estate. But then, it has everything to do with everything, so I guess it does!

As I was coming into my office this morning, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, I stopped to grab a cup of coffee. As I approached the register I greeted the man with my usual, "great day, isn't it?" His response - "not a chance!"

His day may very well be not so great. Why? Because it all starts with your attitude. Every day presents opportunities. If you are a seller or a buyer, you never know - this could be the day.My attitude is simple - a buyer will come today!

As you begin your week (and every day, for that matter), approach the morning sun as an opportunity!

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida, serving the Brevard County areas of Suntree, Viera, Baytree and Rockledge!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Managing Your Viera Rental Property

As an owner of rental property you do not want a day of vacancy. I can understand as I had rental property for 10 years and never was without a tenant ever. Only had three tenants and the last one bought it! An exceptional record for any property and probably not a realistic goal.

Now, the purpose of this post:

Don't waste your time by listing your property for rent UNTIL THE TENANT HAS MOVED OUT! Why? Glad you asked!

Regardless of what they may say, tenants are not accommodating when real estate agents want to show your property. By the way, as a Realtor who works with many folks relocating to Viera, a 24 hour notice is not an accommodation. My out of town clients do not have days to work around your tenant. Oh, and the one I like best is the tenant that says "It is the weekend, please call again on Monday!"

Another reason.... your tenant may very well point out the inadequacies of your property! They may talk about the "weird neighbors." They may talk about the traffic, whatever....and it may not be true!

I should have known - don't waste my client's time by showing your tenant occupied property. Wait - I did not as we don't have 24 hours to wait!

I am not a property management person. I will provide tenant placement services for owners who will be managing their own properties on a monthly basis. If you are a property owner in Viera, Rockledge or Suntree and need a Realtor to find you a tenant, please contact me. Likewise, if you are looking to rent Viera, Suntree or Rockledge property, please contact me.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850, email agent@moving2brevard.com.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pants too tight....house needs paint....Oh no!

This morning as I was getting dressed the button on my pants fell to the ground. Obviously there must have been a defect in the thread used to attach it at the factory. So, what did I do?

I hung them back up. My wife had already left for work and she does not like it when I leave things strewn around. As I was reviewing my day it occurred to me. My response to that defective button was quite similar to many homeowners response to minimal maintenance issues.

Unlike my inexpensive pants the home owner's deferral of a maintenance issue can get expensive. Some issues end up creating additional problems. Take for example a leaking pipe under the sink. It may only be a little drop every so often but eventually the cabinet bottoms may be damaged. The same goes for a minor roof leak. Eventually the down pours will come and then there will be drywall damage not to mention potential mold issues.

When will the monetary cost of these deferred maintenance issues surface? If you are a seller, they WILL surface when you go to sell your house. Even if the damage is not readily evident it will probably surface during the inspection.

As a seller in Florida you will complete a property disclosure at the time of listing. When a buyer comes along the first thing their agent will ask for will be the disclosure.

Many of these issues end up costing you in a reduced offer price or, if you are lucky and the seller does not run away, a request for a monetary concession prior to closing. Either way, deferred maintenance will catch up with you.

I guess I need to get that button taken care of. [And, no I don't think I have gained weight although I have noticed my clothes do shrink while in the closet. Must be the humidity!]

If you are considering
selling your home in Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida, give me a call. I would welcome a chance to discuss pricing and make a recommendation on seller preparation.
Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850, email
agent@moving2brevard.com.


Moving to Brevard County, Florida

I often work with newcomers to Brevard County, Florida. They may be buying a home or renting. Regardless, few usually have the "area" of preference selected when I first meet with them {I am not a geography teacher}.

Brevard County is a sliver of land along the Atlantic coast which is about 75 miles north to south. The east to west area of the County is minimal, maybe 10 to 15 miles. So, in Brevard County you are never too far from the ocean, the Indian River or Banana River.

Another consideration is the ability to commute within Brevard County. The two major routes are Interstate 95 and U.S. Highway 1. With four causeways to the "beach side" communities, it easy to get to the water.

Now for my "general" description of Brevard County.... I like to tell folks that there are really four areas to consider.

  • North Brevard County consists of Titusville and Mims.
  • Central Brevard County consists of Viera, Rockledge, north Melbourne (unincorporated areas), and Cocoa.
  • South Brevard consists of Melbourne (city limits) and Palm Bay. Palm Bay is the largest city in Brevard County.
  • Beach side communities include Merritt Island (not really on the ocean), Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbour and a few other communities. Except for Merritt Island these are all located along Highway A1A (which makes for a nice drive if you can afford the gas!).

Now, keep in mind that these are general areas. North County is more rural. South County is more densely populated. Central County is the area I live and work in. The new planned unit development, Viera, is a very popular target for new residents.

The price of real estate varies in each area. Generally Palm Bay is less expensive while Viera and Suntree are higher. Actually price is dependent on the property itself so these generalizations are not "in stone."

The cost of living "Beach side" varies. However one thing to keep in mind is that the homeowner insurance cost for living near the ocean is greater. One insurance agent told me that the cost of coastal insurance is quite higher.

Regardless of area, Brevard County is a very nice place to live, work or retire!

If you are considering a move to Brevard County, I would be honored if you contacted me for assistance. Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida (located in Viera).

Seller - Know WHO your potential buyer is (and isn't)

As a seller I want to get your home sold as soon as possible and

  • Get you the best price possible
  • Get it sold on a time table that meets your requirements
  • Get the best terms possible
  • Get to the closing with the least amount of "bumps in the road" possible.

How do we (selling is a team effort - Realtor and Seller) get this done? We must both contribute to the process. I have written several posts recently on how to sell and not sell a property. Key to the process is knowing who your potential buyer is and who isn't a potential buyer. And then targeting our efforts toward them!

Is your home a fixer-upper? Most likely your buyer will be an investor or enthusiastic handyman looking to improve and capitalize on his "sweat equity."

Is your home near a great school in a neighborhood with young families? This may very well indicate your buyer is a young family looking for a safe, friendly neighborhood . These folks will probably be looking on the weekends, so be ready!

If your home is in a golf course community then your most probable buyer will be someone who enjoys the sport. If someone does not play golf they may not be interested in that great, direct golf course view!

With price of gas going up, if your home is near a major employer then your buyer may be a someone transferring into a new job.

If you are in a 55+ community such as Viera's Heritage Isle or Grand Isle, then your target market is already well defined. If your home is in a maintenance free community such as Viera's Indian River Colony Club then your buyer is obviously someone who does not want the hassles of taking care of the awn and other necessary home maintenance chores!

If you own a property that is in need of major repairs, then your buyer will more than likely be a cash buyer who has the resources to do the work. I know of a house in Rockledge that was damaged by fire and needs probably thirty or forty thousand bucks in repair. This home will not pass any inspection or qualify for a mortgage. Thus the buyer is definitely an investor. My experience with real estate investors...they are very sharp and have a good idea of the property needs.

Is your home an executive home with a higher price than most homes in the area? Your target is going to be the professional. These buyers often look at proeprties during the week as they most often have flexible schedules.

Take a look at your property and who your potential buyer will most likely be. And target the marketing efforts toward them. Marketing via the Internet is a great tool for all these cases. Marketing via print advertising is probably a good tool. Conducting open houses are sometimes useful except in the case of investor targeted properties.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge property, I would welcome a chance to discuss the process and how I can assist you. I want to be a part of your selling team!

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. Call me at 321-693-3850 or drop me an email at agent@moving2brevard.com.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Seller Expectations in a Buyer's Market

I was reading a post on the Internet today that discussed seller expectations regarding pricing. Actually, it dealt more with the net proceeds after the real estate sale.

Many times I encounter sellers who have expectations of getting a windfall return on the sale of their property. This is often the result of not being familiar with the market and sales process. This is understandable.


The truth is this is just not the case anymore. This is a buyer's market. Prices have dropped. The number of competitive listings is high. I have an obligation to establish realistic expectations early on in the process.

Now that does not mean sellers can't sell. It is just sometimes the initial expectations are not being met. I see that most frequently with sellers who have purchased their homes in the last 2-3 years.

Unfortunately, those homes were purchased at the height of the run-up during a seller's market. I still recall having buyer clients who lost out on homes because we did not offer enough over the list price!

If you are selling your home in the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge areas of Brevard County, Florida, pricing is critical. Homes that were commanding upwards of $300,000 "back then" are now in the low to mid $200,000 range.

The key first step in the selling process is to know the numbers. If you have a mortgage, know the payoff. Then consider the selling costs which can run anywhere around 6-8 percent of the sales price. That 6-8% cost is a general guesstimate.

When you list your home your agent should provide you a good idea as to what the costs will be. [I always provide my listing clients an estimated net proceeds breakdown which is based on known estimated expenses at an established sales price.]

The bottom line is that, as a seller, you should know within a reasonable range what your net walk away proceeds will be.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge home, give me a call. I would welcome a chance to discuss a marketing price and what your proceeds would be.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850, email agent@moving2brevard.com.

Vacation Anyone?

Vacations – Everyone needs one....

Vacations are nice. A lot of folks from all over the world come to "my backyard" for their vacation or holiday. With Orlando 40 minutes away, Cocoa Beach 15 minutes, Daytona an hour away…..Viera and Suntree are truly a great location.

Oh well, I was not really writing about vacations. What I was writing about was…OK, vacations.

Our office receptionist is on vacation this week. I came in this morning to cover “floor duty” and as a result am the acting receptionist. I now must admit…the job is a lot more involved than I thought! Multiple lines ringing, agents calling to schedule showings, telemarketers, people stopping by for directions….Lots of stuff happening.

Another call from a lady who wants to sell her house in Indialantic (beach side). I do enjoy working with sellers! Yes, this is going to be a productive day – once I get some relief on the phones!

If you are considering selling your home in Viera or Suntree, go ahead and give me a call. I may very well be at the office trying to be the receptionist for a day! It sure is easier selling houses!

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. I can be reached by phone at 321-693-3850 (direct), 321-255-2600 (office) or by email at agent@moving2brevard.com.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Selling Your Viera Home

You found this on the Internet - simply amazing! If you are considering selling your Viera home then the power of the Internet should be where your marketing efforts go!

And the real estate professional you choose to market your home MUST have an Internet presence. The studies are numerous and vary slightly in there results but they all say the same thing - buyers start looking for their new home on the Internet!

As a Viera, Suntree and Rockledge real estate professional I don't try to "cover" all of Brevard County. I specialize in this area because I live in the area (12+ years) and have been a full time Realtor in this area for 5 years! I know the Viera area and real estate IS VERY VERY LOCAL!

If you are considering selling your Viera area home, please give me a call. I want to be your marketing professional!

Gary Waters, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida. I can be reached at 321-693-3850 or by email to agent@moving2brevard.com.

C21logowtag In this market you need a local agent! And, remember, you found this on the Internet. Buyers will find your home on here as well!

Buy, Sell or Hold - Viera and Rockledge Florida Real Estate

I was speaking with a former client yesterday regarding a golf course town house they own. We had previously attempted to sell but then chose to lease the property. The tenant is moving out and the owners are facing a decision to sell or lease it once again.

I did a quick comparative property analysis (CMA). I also checked the rental market to see what was happening. Being a full time real estate agent serving the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge areas of Brevard County Florida, I already had an opinion.

However, it is always preferable to have the data to support that answer. And, you know what they say about opinions!

My CMA showed no surprises. There are lots of properties for sale in Viera and Rockledge. Some priced at very attractive prices! Sure the rental market has plenty of choices but in this situation we decided (actually the owner decides, I recommend) to rent it out again.

If you are an owner and you do not have to sell, why not hold the property for a little while? Although the rental income may not cover all the expenses, it does cushion the hit. The market will turn around. It always does! [I make my living selling real estate but if your home will be lingering on the market for sometime, I do not want to put it on the market.]

If you are considering selling and do not need to, take a hard look at the market. Your best option at this time may be to lease the property until the inventory drops. There are over 6800 single family houses for sale in Brevard County as of today.

If you do need to sell and your home is in Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, please give me a call. I would welcome a chance to assist you in the process. If you are in a position to buy a home, give me a call. I work with buyers and sellers in the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge areas, including Melbourne Florida (Baytree, Heritage Isle, Lake Washington, and other central Brevard communities).

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty. Email me at agent@moving2brevard.com or call me directly at 321-693-3850.

How to buy a home in Viera, Florida

If you are considering buying a Viera, Suntree or Rockledge home in Brevard County, Florida, one thing you need to know up front - It is a process that takes a buyer's commitment

Here are a few of what I consider to be keys to the process.

Buying requires...

  • Effort. Going through the process of selecting your real estate agent is more than just choosing a name from the phone book or Internet. If you are in Viera, choose a company and agent who knows your neighborhood. After all, real is very, very local.
  • Preparation. Take the time to learn the area. If schools are an issue (they always are), research the schools. For Brevard County school information, click here. Another excellent site is www.schoolmatters.com. Get that mortgage in line. Contact a lender and start the paperwork. Knowing your housing budget up front is key to the process! Know your timeline. The typical closing takes about 30 days for a purchase with a mortgage.
  • Flexibility. Sellers are usually living in the home while it is being marketed. Scheduling showings a day or two in advance is considerate and appreciated by sellers. Most sellers are flexible and will try to accommodate your schedule. Of course, the requested showing times must be reasonable!
  • Give & Take. This refers to the negotiation and closing process. Buyers expect to negotiate in this market. Sellers expect to negotiate (it they are being realistic). This is where your confidence in your real estate agent is key. Your agent will gather as much information as available and work with you on recommending a negotiating strategy.
  • Emotional Detachment. Sellers "love their home." They probably experienced a lot of wonderful events while living in the home. You can expect the seller to have an emotional attachment to the house. But, as a buyer the house is a physical structure until it becomes your home. Don't let your emotional attachment to the "perfect house" cloud your judgment.

Buying is a process..from selecting your real estate agent to getting to the closing table. The process may take a while. Stay the course. Keep focused on the end result.

If you are a first time home buyer and would like to discuss the process, please get in touch with me. Even to the experienced buyer, the process can look daunting!

If you are looking for a real estate professional in the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge area, I would be honored to have the opportunity to discuss how I can assist you. Please feel free to contact me at 321-693-3850 or email me at Agent@moving2brevard.com.

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Minimal work required? Huh?

I saw a sign on the side of the street in Cocoa, Florida yesterday. It was obviously an investor or FSBO attempt at marketing a house.

The sign said "2 bedrooms and 1 bath, minimal work required." I don't believe that is an effective way to be selling any house in this market!

The Viera, Suntree, Rockledge and Cocoa areas of Brevard County Florida is like all other markets in the state at this time. Buyers do not want to "perform minimal work," regardless of the extent. Besides, the terminolgy is a little ambiguous - minimal to me means one thing, to you, something possibly different!

And to sell a home you have to have it ready to sell. You have to make it move in ready and not just put a sign next to the street!

As real estate agents we are always advising sellers on methods of preparing to sell their home. One of the most important keys is to make it standout form the competition by pricing it right and making it look better than the rest!

My advise to you is to accomplish the work prior to putting that sign up! If you are considering selling a property in Brevard County Florida, please feel free to give me a call. I would welcome a chance to discuss how I can market your home.

Gary Waters, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne Florida. I can be reached by phone at 321-693-3850 or by email to agent@moving2brevard.com.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Viera Pool Home only $229,900

deercroft front1 Take a look at this Viera Florida pool home for less than $230,000! This 2001 built concrete stucco construction home is close to great schools, shopping, restaurants, 40 minutes to Orlando and more!

Featuring 4 bedrooms and two baths, this 1900+ square foot 2-car garage home is ready for its new owner! Sit on the trussed, covered back porch beside deercroft pool2 your solar heated pool and relax!

All appliances stay, including the washer and dryer! For more information on this property (located in Bayhill subdivision, 2397 Deercroft Drive) call me at 321-693-3850 or drop me an email to agent@moving2brevard.com .

Viera the MLS entry here.

You may also contact my Associate, John Feeley, at 321-636-9798 to see this home.

baytree logo Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. Conveniently located in Viera next door to Denny's restaurant.

Orlando - Close to Viera yet not too close!

Those who have read my posts previously know I am always promoting the "new town" of Viera in Brevard Country, Florida.

One of the things I always like to point out is our proximity to Orlando. Only 40 minutes or so from Viera to most places in the tourist capital of the world!

On July 3rd I had to take my son over to the Orlando International Airport (OIA) for a trip to Washington, DC. No problem, in 35 minutes I was in the parking garage.

Saturday night I had the opportunity to attend the Drum Corps International show in the Florida Citrus Bowl. If you have never heard of DCI or what these folks do, take a look here.

Getting to the Citrus Bowl is a little further than the airport but still was only an hour. Of course I will admit to taking the toll roads.

Regardless of where you are headed in Orlando, it is pretty easy to get there from Viera. Viera offers proximity to some of the most popular vacation spots in the world - and only an hour or less to travel!

If you are considering relocating to Florida, Viera deserves your look. For information on homes for sale in Viera and its surrounding areas of Rockledge and Suntree, please contact me.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. Call me at 321-693-3850 or email me at agent@moving2brevard.com

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Viera Voice - Viera's Neighborhood Newspaper

I have written about the Viera planned unit development in Brevard County, Florida quite a bit over the past year or so. After all, I work and live in the area.

My office, Century 21 Baytree Realty is at the exit off I-95 and we do have a huge billboard at the exit so...we sell a lot of homes in Viera and Suntree!

In the office this Saturday morning I got a chance to read the newest issue of the "Viera Voice." This is a nice little local periodical that is all about Viera - nothing else.

A great source for information on Viera and its amenities, neighborhoods, businesses, and recreational activities. [Sure you can read the local countywide paper, Florida Today but this is neighborhhod specific!]

If you are "out of the area," you can still acess the Viera Voice at http://www.vieravoice.com/. Just another resource if you are considering a move to Viera.

And as one of my buyers in Heritage Isle (55+ community in Viera) stated "Viera - Florida's best kept secret!"

Of course I am trying to get the word out! If you are considering a move to Florida, check out Viera. Call me or drop me an email for any information I can provide.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850 or email agent@moving2brevard.com. Please visit my other blog at http://www.activerain.com/blogs/gwatersc21/.

Viera Voice - Viera's Neighborhood Newspaper

I have written about the Viera planned unit development in Brevard County, Florida quite a bit over the past year or so. After all, I work and live in the area.

My office, Century 21 Baytree Realty is at the exit off I-95 and we do have a huge billboard at the exit so...we sell a lot of homes in Viera and Suntree!

In the office this Saturday morning I got a chance to read the newest issue of the "Viera Voice." This is a nice little local periodical that is all about Viera - nothing else.

A great source for information on Viera and its amenities, neighborhoods, businesses, and recreational activities. [Sure you can read the local countywide paper, Florida Today but this is neighborhhod specific!]

If you are "out of the area," you can still acess the Viera Voice at http://www.vieravoice.com/. Just another resource if you are considering a move to Viera.

And as one of my buyers in Heritage Isle (55+ community in Viera) stated "Viera - Florida's best kept secret!"

Of course I am trying to get the word out! If you are considering a move to Florida, check out Viera. Call me or drop me an email for any information I can provide.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida, 321-693-3850 or email agent@moving2brevard.com. Please visit my other blog at http://www.activerain.com/blogs/gwatersc21/.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Baytree Golf Course Home Reduced - $449,000

Wonderful home located on the 10th fairway of the gated Baytree National Golf Links in Melbourne, Florida - $449,000.

Located near great shopping, restaurants, beaches, Orlando (45 minutes), Viera recreational areas, great schools, and more! Custom built in 2000 by Joyal Builders, this home features almost 2,200 square feet of living area under air conditioning, three bedrooms (plus an office), two baths, two-car garage and features all the touches you expect in a Baytree home!


Hurricane ready with electric shutters, even the screened porch has electric shutters, this home is move in ready!

You will be impressed from the moment you pull into the circular driveway all the way to the spacious screened porch with golf course view.

Enjoy the nearby community pool, playground, tennis courts and club house, this home offers the Florida golf course lifestyle you seek!

With a preservation area view across the street and the 10th fairway out back, you will enjoy your privacy on this .31 acre homesite.

Three sets of glass doors lead to the 37 ft porch (from master bedroom, second bedroom and living room). Lots of nice touches!


This home promotes carefree living!

  • All appliances including washer and gas dryer stay,
  • Tile roof
  • Sprinkler system,
  • Gated community, golf course living at its best!
  • Ceiling fans in most rooms,
  • Recessed lighting in kitchen and living room,
  • Plantation shutters throughout,
  • Built in cabinets in laundry room,
  • Triple sliding glass doors from living room to porch,
  • Solid surface counters in kitchen and bathrooms,
  • 10 ft ceilings in living and dining rooms.

Offered for sale by Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. To view this home or any other Baytree golf community home, please contact me at agent@moving2brevard.com or by phone at 321-255-2600 (321-693-3850, direct).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You can put lipstick on a pig but....

lipstick pig Its still a pig! It never fails to happen. You show a house listed for sale at a reasonable price. The MLS narrative paints a pretty picture. This is definitely one my client must see. Then...

You arrive and wonder if the house you just pulled up to is the same one. It looks even better than the photo! The yard looks nice. You pause to admire the landscaping. And that new coat of paint really does look nice. Then...

You get inside. Cluttered. Pet and smoke odors. [What is the old saying? Oh yeah, if you can smell it - you can't won't sell it!] Too much furniture. Beds unmade. Bathrooms filthy. What a disappointment as you leave as quickly as you arrived! Then...

The seller's agent wants feedback. OK, here it is....You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig!

If you are selling your home, prepare it! Certainly the MLS entry should paint a picture. The MLS entry should make the potential buyer WANT to see the property.

You have done part of the job. Curb appeal and a nice exterior appearance are critical. After all, first impressions are key to selling your home!

But don't stop there. Get busy. Clean, de-clutter. depersonalize. What is the the old saying? "Spic and Span" clean!

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge home I would welcome a chance to discuss how I will market your home. And, yes, I will give advice on preparation for selling. There is more to selling in this buyer's market than taking care of the exterior.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Melbourne, Florida. Proudly serving the communities of Baytree, Suntree, Viera, and Rockledge.

Call me at 321-693-3850 or email me at agent@moving2brevard.com.

Deed Restrictions, Homeowner Associations and the like... Help or Obstacle?

I have been working with several buyers lately and their views on homeowner associations and deed restrictions are nowhere alike. Some want rules to make sure things stay pretty much the way the neighborhood looks today. Some want the freedom to do as they please. Not surprising as we all have an opinion of these entities.


I was watching a news broadcast a couple of nights ago on an Orlando station, WKMG Channel 6. It was an expose on HOAs that were in some opinions "oppressive." Here is a link to the story. Apparently some owners were dismayed and frustrated by the rules and regulations.

In the Viera and Suntree areas of Brevard County you will find no escape from HOA rules. Both of these areas are planned unit developments consisting of many newer (and some older) developments with lots of rules.

A few of these have rules that sometimes throw up a roadblock for potential buyers. I know of areas where you can not have a pickup truck in the driveway at night. I know some where any commercial vehicle (including a vehicle with a magnetic sign such as a Realtor sign) from being visible. I know of one agent that had to remove the sign from her car every night when she came home!

There are plenty of other rules like changing paint colors, having a fence (or not), a boat being kept....and the infamous NO RV can be parked overnight. The rules exist to promote uniformity and consistency in the homes. I can understand the rules. Likewise I can understand when buyers do not want the rules!

When you are looking for a home in Florida one of the documents you must be provided and given an opportunity to review is the HOA disclosure. If I am the seller's agent I ensure I deliver a copy of the rules to the buyer's agent and get a signature. If I am the buyer's agent I ensure they are delivered and signed for by my client. The reason is simple - you must be given an opportunity (three days) to review the documents.

If you are the buyer - read the disclosure. Know what you are getting into before proceeding. Of course your real estate agent should ensure you receive the documents. It is up to you to read them - thoroughly!

As a buyer, you know your lifestyle. Please ensure these rules do not become an obstacle. By the way, if you travel in some areas of Brevard County (not located within a development) you will see all sorts of things.

Sure there are some things that code enforcement will patrol for - but that may not stop the neighbor from painting the house pink and placing pink plastic flamingos in the front yard. OK, that may be a little extreme, however, save yourself some heartache and frustration- read the documents early!

I would go a step further. These documents are written by lawyers. If you have concerns get an attorney to review them for you. Don't accept the sellers interpretation of what you can or can't do.

Considering a home purchase in Brevard County, Florida, please feel free to give me a call. Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty Melbourne Florida. Call me at 321-693-3850 or email me at agent@moving2brevard.com.

Of Course I am still a Viera Realtor!

I ran into an acquaintance a couple of days ago at the local CVS pharmacy. At my age I do occasionally get a prescription filled! Anyway, she asked if I had gotten a real job or was still trying that real estate stuff.

Her inquiry was not intended to be negative at all and I did not take it that way.

Everyone knows how challenging the market has been over the past couple of years. Things got more challenging for sellers. Things got more challenging for Realtors! But, some of us - myself included - have persevered. [I think back on my 20 year career as a U.S. Navy officer. There were plenty of times, especially early on while enlisted, that I could have walked away but it isn't in me!]

When the market changed. my marketing methods changed. I primarily make initial contact with my buyer and seller clients via the Internet. Of course that is a result of folks being more tech savvy. This helps as well now that gas is four bucks a gallon!

I do things the "old fashioned" way as well. You know, mail, meetings, print advertising, and a few others like Open Houses! Yes, I still do Open Houses!

So, if you are buying or selling a home in Rockledge, Viera, Suntree (including Baytree), give me a call. And if a Viera new construction home (including the 55+ community of Heritage Isle)is in your plans, I would love a chance to assist you.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty,Melbourne, Florida (Viera). Email me at agent@moving2brevard.com or call me direct at 321-693-3850.

Brevard County Florida School Grades





The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) grades are out! Regardless of wether someone has children attending school, homeowners like to know the test results. After all, the quality of one's neighborhood schools impacts desirability of living in the area and thus the property values!

Continuing its trend, Brevard County Public Schools' results were outstanding! To see the list, click here .

Brevard County School District has developed a reputation of being one of the best in the state. The number of schools receiving "A" grades has consistently increased from 72 (2006), 79 (2007) to 82 (2008). No school in the County received a grade below "C" and 77% received "A" this year (99% received an "A" or "B").

As I primarily work (and live) in the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge area, I wanted to highlight some of "our" schools and how they performed this year. Some of these schools are not located in the area however the students live in the area (district assignment).

Elementary Schools:

  • Anderson (Rockledge) - A
  • Golfview (Rockeldge) - A
  • Willams (Viera) - A
  • Manatee (Viera) - A
  • Quest (Viera) - A
  • Suntree (Suntree) - A

Middle Schools

  • Kennedy (Rockledge) - A
  • McNair (Rockeldge) - A
  • Delaura (Satellite Beach) - A
  • Johnson (Eau Gallie) - A

High Schools

  • Viera - A
  • Rockledge - B (A rated last year)
  • Eau Gallie - A
  • Satellite - A

If you are considering purchasing, renting or selling a property in Viera, Rockledge or Suntree (or any other area of Brevard County), please give me a call. I can be reached at 321-693-3850 or email me at agent@moving2brevard.com.

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

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