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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Selling, like buying a house, must be “Reality Based”

The typical “high price – negotiate later” approach will not sell your house in today's market, especially in the Brevard County, Florida (Melbourne) market.

My recent experience working as a buyer's agent in the Melbourne, Florida real estate market is the sellers sometimes have an epiphany -  a sudden comprehension of the meaning of a cash offer - after the counteroffer with little negotiation has been received (and rejected) by the buyer.

In this market rejection  does not phase most buyers, especially cash buyers.  They simply tell their Brevard County Florida real estate agent, "Next!"

And take it from my experience - the call to their real estate agent the next morning means little after the buyer has moved on!

In deciding your list price,  sellers need to establish a price point they are willing to accept - before they reject any offer.  Otherwise, when the light bulb comes on you may find yourself in an empty room (house)!  After all, Selling, just as buying real estate, must be “reality based.”

For assistance with buying or selling your Brevard County, Florida house or condo, call Gary L. Waters, PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty,  Rockledge at 321-693-3850 or by email.

If paint and new flooring aren't the fix, maybe avoid it!

Getting in over your head can happen quickly.  This can happen with most things in life, financial or whatever.  In the last several years we have seen the results when folks get in over their heads in real estate - either as homeowners themselves or "flippers."

Flippers are those who are looking to buy and turn a property in a short period of time and make a big profit.  Some jump at the late night "get rich in real estate" infomercials.  Some are just "regular" folks, like you and I.

Key Point: There are investors and there are “flippers.”  Investors understand the requirements and expense when it comes to appropriately rehabbing a foreclosure.

Many "flippers" I have met see only mostly inexpensive cosmetic fixes and dollar signs! [Cosmetic fixes are good for beginners!]

They sometimes miss the (1)  structural issues, (2)  mold remediation issues, and (3)  major systems issues like roofing, electrical or air conditioning/heating.

There are attractive deals in the Brevard County real estate market with "short sales" and foreclosures.  If you are inexperienced and want to rehab a property to use as a rental or to re-sell, make sure your skills and budget are realistic and up to the task.  The programs on television sure make it look easy, don't they!

My advice, take baby steps, like properties that involve only cosmetic issues...paint, flooring, landscaping. And, invest in a property inspection!

For information on short sales, foreclosures and homes and condos for sale in Brevard County, Florida, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or by email.

©Gary L. Waters, PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida

Monday, August 30, 2010

Distractions – The Little Things That Lose Home Buyers

People don’t think about them. Some are proud of them. Some are not even aware of them. But “them” can cost you a buyer when you sell your house and don't take care of “them.”

So, what is “them?”  They are those simple deal breaking distractions!  Such as...
  1. It could be you!  Yep, you, the seller, who insists on being present for showings. It is you the seller sounding off in the background about all the features. 
  2. It could be your pets following the prospects around. It could just be the pet smell.
  3. It could be all those gaudy, but in your eyes pretty, highly personalized wall colors!
  4. It could be the tons of family photos covering every inch of the refrigerator and free wall space! 
  5. It could be all those trophies in the curio cabinets.
  6. It could be that smell of fried fish from last nights dinner.  Or worse, it could be that cigarette smell emanating from the walls, the drapes, from the carpeting!
All of these distractions are easily fixable although some may require a bit more effort and expense.  Numbers 1 and 2 can be remedied easily - by taking your pet for a long walk (and the exercise may be good for you as well!).

Selling your Suntree and Viera Florida home can be a challenge as the competition from short sales  and foreclosures is keenDon't sabotage your deal with little distractions!

For help in selling your Suntree (Melbourne) or Viera, Florida house or condo, call Gary L. Waters, PLLC, Realtor®, Century 21 Baytree Realty at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Selling Your Florida Home is Work - Not Luck!

If you are considering selling your Florida home at this time, you need to take a hard look at the current market and realize that selling is work.  About five or six years ago, all it took was a sign out front! 

Homes in Viera and Rockledge, Florida seem to be spending an average of about 110 days on the market.  Considering it usually takes about 30 days from contract to closing, this means you will probably go about 80 days before agreeing on a contract.

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 time for the sale to take place.

How long will it really take your Viera or Rockledge home to sell? That depends on several factors such as:
  • 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. In Viera, it may Sonoma, Heritage Isle, Sunstone or Easons' Landing. 
  • Ease of Showing.  Buyers have many properties to choose from in this market so some flexibility in accommodating potential buyer is helpful. 
  • 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!  
  • Staging. Dazzle them once they are inside! Make them see themselves in "their" house! A professional stager may definitely be worth the investment even if only for a consultation! 
  • Clean. It has been written and said so many times - "If you can smell it, you can't sell it!"  Buyers understand you may be living in a property and they will overlook some things. But, they will not overlook filth! 
  • Pricing. It is simple....the price must be reasonable for the market.  Remember, the market sets the price - not the seller or the real estate agent! 
  • Negotiate.  Expect to negotiate. Homes in the Brevard County, Florida  market are selling for about 93-95% of asking price on average.  
  • Strategy.  Marketing in this environment requires a strategy - not luck. Exposure to the right pool of potential buyers is key.
When all is said and done, it is sometimes just plain luck 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!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Buying a Home in Melbourne, Florida - A Plethora of Choice

Buying a house in Brevard County Florida’s Melbourne area can be challenging.  With so many properties from which to choose in the Pineda, Grand Haven and Suntree areas, as well as the very popular Viera, buyers need to have a reasonable idea of their requirements before they hit the street!

For example, I am working on scheduling appointments for an out of town buyer who is interested in buying a house in the Pineda area north of Melbourne.  He has done his home work and provided me with five MLS listings of interest after doing his own search of homes for sale in Melbourne Florida.

In the Pineda, Grand Haven and Suntree areas of Brevard County, Florida, there are 126 single family homes for sale in the $200-$300,000 range.   Narrowing that down, there are 88 of these built after 1995.  Further, there are 63 of these homes for sale that are 2,000 plus square feet under air.

Finally, there are 21 of these located in a gated community.  Ultimately this list will be culled down to about three properties (in addition to his 5).  If your house is for sale in Grand Haven or Pineda Crossing and is priced right and fits the search criteria, we'll see you on Saturday!

I will be scheduling appointments for this Saturday and who knows, maybe one of these will be the one!  Amazing how the ultimate choice is sometimes among the first few that are visited!

If you are ready to buy a house or condo in Melbourne, Florida, call me for free listings. Send me an email if I can assist you in any way!

Gary L. Waters, PLLC, Realtor®, Century 21 Baytree Realty, serving home buyers in the Melbourne, Florida communities of Grand Haven, Baytree and Suntree.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Scheduling a Showing for your Melbourne Florida House Should not be this Challenging…

Real Estate Rule 1:  To sell your house it must be seen by prospective buyers.

Real Estate Problem 1: You are not having a lot of prospects visiting your Melbourne, Florida house for sale?

Why?  Your “showing challenged” house in Melbourne Florida is “showing challenged” for several reasons.  For example, I have spent most of Thursday afternoon attempting to arrange showing appointments for Saturday (two days away) and it has been a bit frustrating.

First, “no lock box on property and owner must be present” are a pain when you are showing a half dozen properties. I can give you a 30 minute window but an exact time….please!

Secondly, the office confirms an appointment then a call later tells me it has been withdrawn.  Why is it still in the MLS system?

Next, your real estate agent say "short sale bank approved” but he can not tell me that we can close in 45 days at list price. What did they approve?

My favorite…the office that has a virtual scheduler with no person…finally call the list agent. Let him do the work!

I did have to send an email for showing instructions.  No calls allowed.  Of course this was the most efficient method as an auto response came back with gate code and combo code for property!

Some other challenges include owner must be present for showing, list agent must accompany showings, weekend showings only, etc!

Jumping through all these hoops to show your property has given me a headache!  Unless your property is in the running, many prospects will just skip it and o on to the next.

I wonder how many prospects you have missed out on because of these special conditions.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Should a Seller “Consider VA or FHA” financing?

I saw a home for sale in Melbourne Florida where the comments included "Seller may consider VA or FHA financing."  There is a general feeling among real estate agents (and thus sellers) that VA and FHA financing is a problem not to be considered.

First of all, in the Brevard County, Florida real estate market, a buyer is a buyer.  

I think today's attitude toward VA and FHA loans is a carry over from the boom days of the early 2000s!
As Lenn Harley, real estate broker in Virginia and Maryland put it,  "It appears that once a bad idea gets around it lives forever.  During the boom of 2004-2007, sellers passed on VA and FHA because the homes wouldn't appraise.  Those times are long gone and sellers need to look at all contract offers." 

It is true that VA and FHA loans potentially offer a few bumps for sellers if the property has some sort of problem.  The inspections can be a bit more stringent as well.  The reality is that if a property has problems, seller fix them – especially if it is a safety or health issue.

There are some fees and items that a VA or FHA buyer can’t pay but seller's can limit the amounts in the offer/counteroffer.  Due to space limitation, I will be posting a follow up article on specific seller charges later.

In today's real estate market I am confident that most sellers will consider VA and FHA buyers - if they want to sell!

As a first step I always encourage buyers to talk with the lender.  Get a good faith estimate of your costs as well as the payments.  Know in advance the bottom line. It makes shopping for a new house or condo much more enjoyable! 

Gary L. Waters PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida serving Florida's Space Coast including the cities and communities of Melbourne, Viera, Rockledge, Suntree, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach and the surrounding region.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sometimes I may refer you to another real estate agent….even in Brevard County Florida!

Real estate is local.  Local as in neighborhoods, schools, medical resources, prices, future development, traffic issues and commute time, recreational opportunities and moreIt is local.

For that very reason if you call me about homes for sale in Brevard County Florida (or selling your Brevard County Florida house or condo) I may end up sending you to another Realtor in my office, Century 21 Baytree Realty.  We have agents who specialize in all parts of Brevard County as well as the commercial side of the real estate business. It is all about providing the best service possible!

I do have some areas where I am most comfortable such as:
  • Viera and its many communities,
  • 55+ communities of Viera such as Heritage Isle, Grand Isle
  • Golf course communities of Suntree, Viera and Rockledge like Baytree Golf Course, Duran Golf Club, Turtle Creek Golf Course, Viera East Golf Course, and the Suntree Championship courses,
  • Gated Communities like Summer Lakes, Charolais Estate, Colfax Landing, Fairways at Duran, Wyndham at Duran, 
  • Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach,
  • Merritt Island, 
  • Cocoa, 
  • Grand Haven in Melbourne (Pineda area)
  • And a few more.
Buyers and sellers in Brevard County Florida, ask your real estate agent what areas they really know - after all, real estate is very local!

Gary L. Waters PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida serving Florida's Space Coast including the cities and communities of Melbourne, Viera, Rockledge, Suntree, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach and the surrounding region.

Whether your interest lies in a 55+ community such as Heritage Isle, a golf course community such as Baytree National Golf Links or water front, give me a call!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Okay class, now take notes....

This morning while walking my pal, Diesel dog, the "boss"ton terrier, we had a stray pup join us.  With the traffic so busy, this litttle guy stuck with us. He had a collar on so upon arriving home Diesel and I took him home to a very anxious owner.

I tried to snap a picture of the dogs getting acquainted but all I got was this! Nothing stood out about it except it was whitish in color.  It got me to thinking about home buyers.  After buyers see a lot of houses they all look the same!

Nothing really stands out...

As a Realtor I enjoy working with first time home buyers in the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge areas of Brevard County.  Once the list of prospective properties is culled, we are ready to look.  I also recommend seeing no more than 5 or 6 properties in any given day.  If a buyer is from out of town or on a tight schedule we will break this rule!

I urge all buyer prospects to take notes as they look at properties.  When viewing multiple properties in a given day it is difficult to remember which one had that great kitchen or awful carpet!  Actually I find folks tend to remember the "awful" houses pretty easily!

So, like your teachers used to say...class, take notes!

For assistance in buying or selling a home in Brevard County, Florida, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me, Gary L. Waters, PLLC, Realtor®, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In Real Estate there are only two types of sellers…

I have read (and written) many articles about the different types of home sellers.  But I was wrong.

There really are only a couple of seller flavors (not 31, sorry Baskin-Robbins).

Once I thought there were those who priced too high.  I once thought there were the ones who refused to negotiate.  I once thought there were the ones who priced right at the market. I once thought there were the ones who prepared the house for sale and others who did nothing.

But these are not seller types, rather symptoms or character traits of the types.

So, what are the types?  The - successful and unsuccessful!

If you are considering selling your house or condo in Brevard County, Florida, call me to discuss how you can be one of the successful types! (If you prefer, email me.)

If you are upside down and are considering a short sale, call me.  If you are downsizing, call me. If you are a FSBO and need help, call me.

I want to help you become a successful seller!

Gary L. Waters PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida serving Florida's Space Coast including the cities and communities of Melbourne, Viera, Rockledge, Suntree, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach and the surrounding region.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Talk is Cheap…Put It in Writing.

In real estate there are many who like to talk.  They may be talking about how much how they can afford.  They may be talking about how much how much they are willing to pay for a particular property.

Key point: In real estate to be considered serious it is necessary to have it in writing. 

If you are a prospective buyer, get that loan pre-approval with a written letter.  Your real estate agent will know you are a serious prospective client.

If you are a buyer and find that house or condo you like, put an offer in writing. Don't ask your real estate agent to call with a verbal offer.  A written offer is a serious offer - most of the time.

Sometimes the written offer is a low ball offer which is not always a bad thing. A reasonable low ball offer will get the process going.  When buyer and seller are communicating (through their Realtors®), then there is hope of a deal.

If you are considering buying or selling a house or condo in Brevard County, Florida, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can assist in any way.

Gary L. Waters PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Real Estate Buyer – Are Your Represented or Not?

Real estate sellers know they are being represented when they list their house for sale.   They have a real estate agent who will be looking out for their best interest.

When visiting a model home, an open house or calling the real estate agent on the sign out front of a house,  you need to know that the real estate agent represents the seller – not you!

When shopping for a house or condo in Brevard County, Florida or anywhere, make sure you know who the real estate agent is working for in the transaction.  Are you a client (represented by an agent) or a customer?

In Brevard County, Florida, contact us to represent you in your purchase.  Gary. L. Waters PLLC, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida serving buyers and sellers.  Email me if you would like information on any house or condo for sale in Brevard County.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Baytree Golf Course Homes For Sale in Suntree – Golf Course Living Regardless of Price!

The Baytree Golf Course communities in Suntree (Melbourne, Florida) offer gated golf course living in Central Florida at prices that will fit most budgets.

Baytree is a security guarded gated community offering homes from the maintenance free living in The Isles of Baytree to the very large homes of Balmoral and Arundel!

A quick look at the market inside the gates of Baytree National Golf Links shows there are 29 active listings as of today with prices ranging from $205,000 to $749,900.  These particular homes at each end of the range are short sales and are 1,943 sq ft  and 4,919sq ft,under air respectively.  

A quick breakdown of the 29 active listings in Baytree as of August 16, 2010 reveals:
  • 7 properties priced from $205,000 to $260,000
  • 8 properties in the $300-$400K range
  • 8 properties in the $500K to $599K range
  • 6 properties priced at $600K to $7450K
Naturally, prices also reflect whether a home is on the fairway, a lake or preserve, the specific section within the Baytree community, plus the usual factors (age, condition, etc.).

Additional information on the Baytree community can be found in some of my older posts like this one from 2008.  It is always interesting to see what the prices were just a couple of years ago.

For information on homes for sale in Baytree Golf course communities, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or email me, Gary L. Waters PLCC, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge...."Baytree" is in our name!

Brevard County Florida Real Estate Price Extremes in July 2010

A few tidbits of useful (less) real estate information about Brevard County Florida from the July 2010...
  • Lowest priced  single family house sold  in July 2010 - $5,300 (in Mims, FL)
  • Number of single family houses selling for $30,000 or less: 24
  • Number of single family houses selling for $1,000,000 or more in July 2010: 3
  • Highest priced single family house sold in July 2010 (from MLS system):  $2,500,000
  • Number of condominiums selling for $30,000 or less: 16
  • Lowest priced condo sold $12,000
  • Highest priced condo sold $475,000  
If you are in the market for a property in Brevard County, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or email me

Ashwood Lakes Subdivision in Rockledge Florida – Comparing the Market 18 Months Later [Feb 2009 vs. Aug 2010]

About a year and half ago (March 2009) I posted a market report on the Ashwood Lakes subdivision in Rockledge, Florida.  Here is a quick look back and at the present market conditions in Ashwood Lakes. 

The current year comments will be in green.

Ashwood Lakes is a deed restricted community in the Brevard County Florida town of Rockledge. It is ideally situated near excellent schools, restaurants, shopping, great golf and more. Only 15 minutes to the beaches, close to I-95 and U.S. 1, getting around Brevard County is no problem. Take a look at Ashwood Lakes on the map. 

As of March 23, 2009, there were only four houses for sale in Ashwood Lakes (as of August 2010 there are 11 active listings).  The listing prices ranged eighteen months ago from $163,900 for a 3 bedroom 2 bath 1815 square foot 2002 built home to $259,000 for a 4 bedroom 2 bath 2236 square foot (with pool). As of August 2010 the listing prices range from $139,000 to $215,000  (the higher price is a bit high in today's market).

About three weeks ago (2009) 3882 La Flor Drive closed for $155,000. This was a short sale. About six weeks ago 3863 La Flor Drive closed for $155,000.

For information on homes for sale in Rockledge and Viera, please feel free to contact me, Gary L Waters, PLLC, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida. I can be reached by email or directly at 321-693-3850.

Please visit my blogs, Observations of a Viera Florida Real Estate Agent and my pages.

Home Inspectors…Experience is key

Upon the acceptance of your offer to purchase a house or condo, the most important next step is choosing a home inspection company.  After all, the deal depends (or should depend) on the inspection results.

Even if you purchase from a for sale by owner the inclusion of an inspection contingency is critical.  I will go one step further...even if you are purchasing new construction I recommend an inspection.  Don't count on the code inspector to check the same things.

The results of the property inspection can be a showstopper or maybe a chance to negotiate some repairs.  After all, in real estate, everything is negotiable!

Your real estate agent can give you a list of inspection companies that they have dealt with previously. I don't recommend any specific one but I will tell you who I used personally and who my clients have previously used.  You can Google home inspectors in your area.  Look it up in the Yellow Pages (does anyone use the phone book anymore?).

Some of the things to consider and questions to ask include:
  • Licensed - an obvious question. 
  • Cost?
  • What is covered during the inspection?
  • Can you be present? 
  • Does the inspector do or they recommend anyone for repairs?
  • What type of report will you receive as well as when will you receive a report?
  • Does the inspector include photos of issues?
  • Will you come back after repairs, if required, and re-inspect the repair issues?
Finally - the key question is experience.  There was a time when everyone who could fog a mirror called himself "property inspector!"

This is not an all inclusive guide to home inspectors in Brevard County (or elsewhere) but it is intended to make sure you understand the importance of the inspection.  After all, your house is a major investment!

©Gary L. Waters PLLC, Realtor®, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge Florida serving buyers and sellers in Rockledge, Viera, Suntree and Merritt Island, Florida.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Brevard County Florida Residential Real Estate Market Report for July 2010

Residential sales in Brevard County Florida during July 2010:

Change from June 2010
New Listings 1,138 +56
Sold Listings 476 -156
Pending Listings 175 -39
Average Sell Price $138,973 - $19,642
Median List Price $110,000 - $19,000
List to Sell Ratio 93.73% +1%
Average Days on Market 97 -4 days
Short Sales 92 -68

For information on homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida, contact Gary L Waters PLLC, Realtor, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge Florida at 321-693-3850 or by email.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

How to Sell Your House to a Florida Gator, Florida State or even a North Carolina State Fan....

Walt Disney had it right when he said “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”

There are a lot of quotes about pictures including the oft quoted  “A picture is a thousand words.” 

I was in one listing this week and, although vacant, I should have known when I saw this near the front door...

Then as I viewed the house I noticed this...Florida Gators colors everywhere!

Except for this one room that was maybe for a Florida State or North Carolina State fan!

When choosing paint colors, go ahead and personalize it.  But when it comes time to sell, it is time to go back to a more neutral 

I realize neutral can be boring but you don't want your house to be too personalized.  You want buyers to see themselves in your house.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Selling your house is not all about price....

Sellers very often forget the key to selling their house is not the price. 

It is not the special upgrades you purchased when the house was built.  It is not about the newer shingles on the roof or the energy efficient air conditioning system.  It is not about the screened enclosure and solar heated pool. It is not about the solid surface counters and the new carpet.

All of the above items are helpful when selling your house.  But in the end selling your house is only about one thing: value!

Value as perceived by a prospective buyer is key.  In the end it is this perceived value (with its emotional component) that will be translated into a dollar amount - the price. 

 Gary L. Waters PLLC, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida - the only real estate agent and Realtor® you will need when selling your Viera Florida house or condo.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Home Remedies....Sometimes You Just Gotta Call a Doctor!

Don’t you love the creativity of some folks.  One of the interesting things about viewing older homes for sale is the amazing skill demonstrated by folks who either want to (1) save themselves a few dollars or (2) who overestimate about their handyman skills!

Years ago I remember the old workaround for blown fuses (before circuit breakers) was to use a copper penny to complete the circuit (while at the same time disabling the safety mechanism!).

I have seen extension cords used outside for add-on exterior lighting.  The duct tape wrapped around the connection does not waterproof nor does it make it legal.
Disaster house
Recently I ran across a "screened porch" that had been enclosed, with a toilet added (picture lower left you can see the lid), a fiberglass shower in the corner and a mini-sink in a makeshift vanity…wow.   Makes for great sharing time!

I will post a picture here as this is a classic case of bad design, bad judgment and serious code violation  (of course the tax records did not reflect these changes)!

When you get ready to sell your house, it will likely be inspected.  These illegal repairs and less than professional makeshift home remedies will cause nothing but problems.

Do it right – even if you do it yourself!  Sometimes, you just gotta call the doctor!

©Gary L. Waters PLLC, Realtor®, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida

Choosing a 55+ Community in Viera – Similarities and Subtle Differences

I spent Sunday afternoon showing properties in Viera’s best 55+ communities: Heritage Isle and Grand Isle.  Although Grand Isle and Heritage Isle were developed by the same builder, Lennar Homes,  there are some subtle differences between the communities.

Some of the differences:
  • While both are gated communities, Heritage Isle has a security guarded main entry while Grand Isle is keypad entry.
  • Grand Isle has more '”green” between the houses while Heritage Isle seems more zero lot line although the larger houses in Heritage Isle are on larger lots
  • Grand Isle is all single family detached houses. Heritage Isle has three four-story condo buildings, patio style homes (six in a building), duplex type houses as well as single family detached units.In Heritage Isle these differing structures are intermingled which is viewed as a detractor by some.
  • Heritage Isle’s clubhouse (21,000 sq ft) is larger and open 7 days a week. The Grand Isle clubhouse was closed on Sunday. Both have a fitness center, classes, pool, tennis, shuffleboard, etc.
  • Prices in both communities are close although Grand Isle may be just a bit more.
  • Heritage Isle owners pay $300 - $400 (condos) monthly in dues while Grand Isle is $250.
  • The homeowners in Grand Isle own the clubhouse while in Heritage Isle it is owned by a separate corporation.
This is not an all-inclusive list of the similarities and differences.

If you are considering a 55+ community in Florida, especially Viera, you need to must visit both Heritage Isle and Grand Isle as they are different…and have distinctly different personalities! 

Gary L. Waters PLLC, Realtor®, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Buying a house in Brevard County, Florida -Type of Sale and Location Matter

Brevard County Florida is a narrow sliver of land along central Florida's Atlantic coast. The price of real estate varies considerably in Brevard County with the prices at the extreme north (Titusville) and extreme south (Palm Bay) being the least expensive.  [I will write separately about the direct coastal property - more expensive!]

Here is a quick example of the difference location and type of sale can make on real estate in Brevard County, Florida.

The below chart shows seven houses that sold in July 2010.  The houses were all built between 2003 and 2010, approximately 1,900 sq ft under air with a two car garage.  The differences between a short sale and a foreclosure in Palm Bay is about 10% of the selling price. The difference between a standard sale and a short sale on the same street in Viera for the same model house - about $40,000!  Keep in mind there may be some condition variables that are not detailed.

If you are considering purchasing a house or condo in Brevard County, Florida, give me a call or drop me an email. I will be happy to provide  you with information on the local market - from Palm Bay northward to Titusville.

Gary L. Waters, PLLC, Realtor®, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida

Do You Care What Your Doctor, Lawyer or Realtor Drives?

I was reading a quote by Dave Barry this morning that went something like "It is a good idea to "shop around" before you settle on a doctor. Ask about the condition of his Mercedes. Ask about the competence of his mechanic. Don't be shy! After all, you're paying for it."

Then I thought about your accountant, lawyer, dentist or even real estate agent.  Does it really matter what one drives?

My favorite vehicle ever was a 1974 VW bug.  I drove my 1996 Mercury Van for 13 years.  My 2003 Buick is working just fine.

So, should you care what your real estate agent drives? In a business such as mine where I work with folks relocating to Florida with families, seniors retiring to 55+ communities like Heritage Isle in Viera, its really all about practical transportation.

After all, I don’t judge a client by their vehicle choice!

Visit My Web Site!

Monday, August 09, 2010

"Hey, Realtor, You Set the Price and You Make More Money."

I heard a seller tell me that real estate agents set the price based on how much money they want to make. While it sounds like a great way to increase my income the reality is simple…

The market sets the price.   The "market" is the buyer.  The lender basically approves the price by way of the real estate appraisal.  [There is some flexibility here depending on amount of loan, down payment, etc]   The real estate agent make a small percentage of the price. 

The last point is really misunderstood.  The reality is simple…
The seller pays the real estate fee for both the buyer and seller agent. [Having a buyer's agent does not cost the buyer anything!]   Although negotiable my experience is the cost for real estate agent representation is somewhere in the range of 4% to 6% of the selling price.  The earned real estate fee  is divided between buyer's broker and seller's broker.  

The fallacy of this seller's reasoning is that no sale equals no income for anyone! 

Thus, the real estate agent can not dictate their income by simply choosing a price to meet their desired income!  To put it in basic monetary terms - the difference in my income based on you selling for twenty thousand dollars more at 5% commission is....$322 minus taxes!

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida home and have questions about the cost of selling your Brevard County, Florida home, call me.  Send me an email.  

Gary L. Waters, PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida.

Have you “failed” to learn?

Selling a house these days is a wee bit more than having a sign nailed to a tree out front or even a couple of brochures in a plastic box out front.  There was a time when this worked - even for real estate agents!

Sometimes, even in a buyer's market, sellers opt for going it alone.

For some, the only reason to choose to go the For Sale By Owner route simply because they are upside down or short of funds to sell and include a real estate professional services fee.

Some choose the fizzbo route because they have done it before and it worked for them. If one has the experience, knowledge and time to go the FSBO route, I applaud them.

If  one is upside down then perhaps a short sale is an option.  There are real estate agents available  to assist with this process.  And the nice thing about this is the lender pays the selling costs including the real estate agents.

It has been well documented that 85% of FSBOs eventually sell their house or condo through a real estate agent. For the 15% who succeed, well done!  [If you are a FSBO in Viera, Suntree or Rockledge and would like some free help, call me!]

If a short sale is a possibility or your have tried the FSBO route and need help, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Sometimes, you must "fail" to learn that a real estate agent may be the answer!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Offering Realtors a Bonus for a Full Price Offer Sounds Almost Like a Bribe to me...

While reviewing properties to show this weekend I noticed an agent had listed an $XXXX bonus for full price offer.   This remark was added in the agent remarks section where consumers do not have access.

This is not an uncommon practice but in my opinion, although you did not ask, is simply this…
  1. If a seller wants to pay a buyer's agent a bonus put it in the remarks where the prospective buyers can see it as well. 
  2. If your house is priced correctly you will likely get an offer near the full price although typically there is some negotiation.
  3. Offering a bonus for a full price offer in a declining market is strange!
As a real estate agent I am going to try to get my client the best price possible on your house. Your bonus offer will not effect me except to signal there is room to negotiate.  Why not go ahead and price your house competitively?

Besides, if the full price offer is well above the market value, the appraisal may come in low and you lose out on a possible buyer.

Gary L. Waters PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida serving Florida's Space Coast including the cities and communities of Melbourne, Viera, Rockledge, Suntree, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach and the surrounding region.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I Will Sell Your House – Guaranteed!

Don't you just love it when they say guaranteed!  Seems to be a pretty common word among the car sales folks - possibly the first word learned in their training.  I am kidding.  If you sell cars, relax!

In the real estate business I see the words routinely in some advertisement. I am not as amazed by the advertisement as I am by the fact consumers sometimes buy that line.

I ran across an article written by a consumer who touched on this same line except it was mostly about how every real estate agent had the same listing pitch!

I Can Sell Your House In 30 Days - Guaranteed - Maybe 

The reality is there are no guarantees in real estate.

Those who purchased homes in 2005 and 2006 can vouch for that!  There are some properties that, for whatever reason, be it functional obsolescence, poor location, structural issues, or whatever will not sell - regardless of the guarantee!

The reality is you need a real estate agent who will make one guarantee - to do all things possible to market your property so that you get the best price, best terms and time frame that suits your needs.

If you are looking for a real estate agent to market your Brevard County house or condo, call me. 

I guarantee we will do the absolute best job of marketing your home!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Plantation Point in Rockledge Florida - Market Summary and 12 Month Sales Trend

Plantation Point subdivision, located off Barnes Blvd in Rockledge, Florida offers larger homes at "not so large" prices.

As of August 5, 2010, there are 5 active listings in Plantation Point.  All built after 2004, all of these 4 and 5 bedroom units are priced from $195,000 ( 4 bedroom 3 bath with over 2,000 sq ft) to $324,900 for a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath house with over 3,600 sq ft under air!

Of the five active listings in Plantation Point only two are short salesA good sign for the market!

Another good sign is there were four closings in Plantation Point in July 2010!  A couple of these were foreclosures with the lowest sales price being $208,000!

Below is a chart that reflects the sales trend in Plantation Point for the previous 12 months.

For information on homes for sale in Plantation Point subdivision in Rockledge, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me, Gary L. Waters PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Ventura at Turtle Creek – A Gated Condo Community in Rockledge Florida Market Activity

The gated condo community of The Ventura at Turtle Creek located in Rockledge, Florida provides excellent amenities, very attractive prices and a resort lifestyle in a central Florida location close to everything!

With its club house, pool, conservation area, convenient location next door to Turtle Creek Golf Course, proximity to excellent schools and more, this gated condo complex deserves a look if you are considering a central Florida condo!

With Orlando International Airport only 40 miles away, The Ventura at Turtle Creek makes a great choice for second home and vacation home buyers as well as commuters!

As of today there 7 units for sale with prices ranging from $108,000 to $157,000.  Some units have a single car detached garage while all others have a single detached carport.

All active listings are standard sales – no short sale or foreclosures!

While there are 160 units currently built at The Ventura at Turtle Creek, there are still another projected 200 units that have not been built yet (Pulte Homes is the builder) provided the builder continues the project.

For information on condos for sale in Rockledge, Suntree and Viera, give me a call or drop me an email.
Gary L. Waters, PLLC, Realtor, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge ,Florida

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Indigo Crossing in Viera – Short Sales Dominate Market – A Look@ 12 Months Sales and the Current Market in July 2010

The housing market in the Indigo Crossing subdivision in Florida typifies many Viera and Brevard County Florida communities in August 2010 – short sales are the norm! 
As August begins there are only five active listings in Indigo Crossing.  Four of these are short sales priced from $153,000 to $179,000 with a single stand sale priced at $198,000 (ouch!).

Although no properties closed last month there are six properties under contract – all short sales awaiting lender approval.

Indigo Crossing is one of the newer developments in Viera West of I-95 (2005-2007 built) but it is a cookie cutter community.  For example, 10 of the 11 homes under contract or active are 1900 sq ft!

The below chart reflects 12 months' activity in Indigo Crossing.

For information on homes for sale in Indigo Crossing in Viera, call me directly or email me.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Summer Lakes in Viera – Market Activity (July 2010) in Viera's Premier Gated Executive Community

Sumner Lakes in Viera Florida is one of Brevard County, Florida’s most exclusive executive gated communities.  Homes in Summer Lakes are spacious, custom built, large (all from about 4,000 sq ft upward), sitting on large waterfront lots.

For additional information on the Summer Lakes development here are a couple of previous articles I have posted about Summer Lakes in Viera Florida.

Summer Lakes in Viera – Short Sales and Good Deals
Summer Lakes – Viera’s Premier Gated Community

Prices of homes in Summer Lakes have dropped considerably over the past few years.  At one time finding a home in Summer Lakes for less than a million dollars was impossible!

In today’s market, of the eight active listings in Summer Lakes, five are listed for less than a million!  The lowest priced home in Summer Lakes is a short sale pried at $749,000 – 4,376 sq ft under air, pool, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths built in 2007!  There are short sales in Summer Lakes as well – two currently active and three under contract awaiting lender approval.

The below chart shows the sales activity in Summer Lakes in Viera over the past 12 months.

For information on homes for sale in Summer Lakes or Viera's other executive gated communities like Wyndam at Duran, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Gary L. Waters, PLLC, Realtor®, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida

Selling your House - More than a one page contract, check and show up for closing!

I was speaking with a FSBO (for sale by owner) seller recently, about the selling process. He was optimistic as he had been getting lots of calls.

He explained his method of screening prospects to determine who was a legitimate prospect and not a lookie loo.  He outlined how he questioned the callers and was actually quite proud of the way he could “weed” out the less serious prospects.

In reality I believe it was his price doing the “weeding.”

He was ready with his fill in the blank contract and had a closing company who would do it all for him.   

That is the myth…

The reality is there are lots of issues that can arise before the keys change hands. 

What about the buyers ability to obtain financing?   If it is a cash deal, what about the proof of funds?  I am always leery of buyers who say money is not an object!

 What about a structural inspection after the contract?  What about the WDO inspection (termite inspection)? What about repairs if needed?  How will repairs impact the sales price?  Who will do the repairs? What about the appraisal? What happens if the offer and appraisal are not close

Then I realized the long as the buyer was not represented....

The reality is that selling your house is can be more than a one page contract, a check and show up  with the keys for closing!

FSBOs in Viera, Suntree and Rockledge, Florida - call me, I can help you!  Gary L. Waters PLLC, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida.

Monday, August 02, 2010

In a Competitive Real Estate Market Don’t Sabotage Your Own Deal…

In today's competitive real estate market a seller must do all the things they can to promote the prospect of selling their house or condo. 

What are some of the things that promote your prospects of selling?

  • Get it ready. Much has been written about proper preparation. Much has been said about making a good impression. Once it is ready - put it on the market!
  • Make it easy to show Reasonable access is the rule. Most buyer prospects are considerate of sellers. Expect that most buyers will be looking on the weekend.  If your probable buyer is a day worker, then they may want to see it in the late afternoon.
  • Leave when it is being shown.  Buyers need to fill at ease with a house they are going to live in! With you following behind them or eavesdropping, they are less apt to discuss its good points and even its deficiencies.  All properties have some negatives but that is not always a major obstacle.
Don't do all of the "right stuff" and still hinder your property's  potential for selling!

Email me at!

How is the real estate market in Sonoma in Viera? Market Report July 2010 with a 12 Month Sales Trend

Sonoma subdivision, located on the west side of Interstate 95 in Viera, Florida, offers gated living with excellent community resources (parks, pools, tennis courts, etc), near excellent schools and golfing.

The reality is the competition for buyers in Viera places Sonoma at a disadvantage - newer construction, similar prices nearby.  Additionally the number of short sale properties on the market places further pressure on sellers in Sonoma. 

That is kind of a matter of fact response to "Hows the market in Sonoma?"   Buyers and sellers need to know this as it helps dispel any misconceptions.  The reality is...
  • 12 active listings in Sonoma  priced from $189900 to $464,000.  
  • All homes were built 2003 - 2006, ranging from 1,813 to 3,620 sq ft (coincidentally the lowest, highest priced properties). 
  • Seven of the active properties are short sales  priced $249,900 to $309,000.  
  • Five properties are under contract (3 are short sales).  
  • One house sold in July 2010, a 3 bedroom 2 bath 3 car garage with 2,176 q ft sold for $205,000 [Address: 4430 Chardonnay Dr]
A look at the sales history in Sonoma over the previous 12 months provides a clue where the Sonoma real estate market is headed.

For information on homes for sale in Viera, including Sonoma, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me. Gary L. Waters PLLC, Realtor, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida.  (By the way, our office is the closest office to Sonoma.)

Short Sale Activty Brevard County July 2010

In Brevard County Florida the number of short sale residential properties (single family, condos, and townhouses) remains a large part of the Brevard County real estate market.

As August 2010 commences there are 971 residential short sale properties actively on the market in Brevard  County.  Of the total 7053 properties on the market, these short sales proprieties represent about 14% of the market.

How many properties are somewhere in the short sale process (contingent, pending, awaiting approval by lender)?  Almost six hundred, exactly 580 houses, condos and town homes are in the purchase process.

How many short sales in Brevard County closed during July 2010?  Exactly 65!  The good news is that 55 of these closings were single family detached houses.

The short sale process is not the normal closing process.  You may stumble on a short sale that closes in one or two months or you may still be awaiting a decision a year from now.  Short sales require flexibility!

For information on short sale properties in Brevard County, Florida, call me or email me.

©Gary L. Waters PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida.

Residential Sales in Brevard County Florida July 2010

Here is an early summary of the residential real estate sales in Brevard County Florida during July 2010.  There will likely be some adjustment over the next week or so but the changes should not cause a big change in the data. (UPDATED AS OF AUGUST 5, 2010)
  • Residential Unit Sold:  451
  • Average Days on Market: 97
  • List Price to Sale Price: 94%
  • Average Sell Price: $137,528
  • Average List Price: $146,962
  • Median Sell Price: $96,000
Of these 451 transactions 198 were “cash deals”, 8 were “owner financed” with the remainder being financed.

For information on residential properties for sale in Brevard County, Florida, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Gary L. Waters PLLC, Realtor, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida .

Because its a Short Sale or FSBO or Foreclosure Does Not Mean its the Best Deal: Easy Rules For Buying Real Estate in Brevard County, Florida

Suggestions  for Buying a Distressed Property (any real estate, for that matter) in Brevard County, Florida.

  1. Realize that a short sale does not necessarily equate to the best deal in a neighborhood.  
  2. Recognize that a foreclosure or bank owned property may not be the best deal in the neighborhood.
  3. Consider if a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is really your best route for getting a good deal.
Not all short sales are priced at a discount.  Furthermore, the price listed, if extremely low, may not even be accepted by the mortgage holder!

Foreclosure properties are typically abused and neglected and priced low for a reason.  The amount of money and time you have to sink in them may not be worth the effort or desired.  Who wants to spend their weekends working on a house when the beach, golfing and boating opportunities are plentiful?

If you are not an experienced buyer, is that FSBO really a great deal?  Do you feel confident enough with the purchase process to go it alone?  What about inspections, repairs, seller disclosures, association rules and the like?

In Brevard County Florida the seller pays the real estate agent - not the buyer so why not hire your own real estate agent?

Gary L. Waters PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, working with buyers, sellers and renters in Brevard County, Florida.  Call me at 321-693-3850 or email if I can assist you in any way.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Grand Isle in Viera, Florida: A 12 Month Market Summary

The chart below really puts the market activity into perspective when considering  the current market report for Grand Isle, one of Viera's gated 55+ communities. 

As July ends there are 14 single family houses for sale with prices ranging from $189,900 for 1,545 sq ft 2 bedroom 2 bath unit to $319,900 for a 2,271 sq ft 4 bedroom 3 bath house.

Note that 11 of these houses on the market in Grand Isle currently are priced above the average selling price for the previous three months.

Another interesting point is the houses in Grand Isle that are selling are on the market for less than two months - an indication that the price is right.  This is reinforced by the fact that the homes are selling for 95% of the list price.

For information on homes for sale in Grand Isle, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Gary L. Waters, PLLC  Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida

Perhaps it is time to buy in Chelsea Park in Rockledge Florida!

Chelsea Park in Rockledge Florida provides home owners with larger homes on larger lots near excellent schools, golfing, and all the amenities one desires close to home.  For more  information on Chelsea Park check out one of my many articles on "Chelsea Park Subdivision Rockledge Florida - Big Houses + Big Lots = Big Deals"

As July 2010 ends you will find 13 single family homes on the market in Chelsea Park in Rockledge, Florida.  The prices for these properties range from $159,900 to $290,000.  There are four active short sales on the market in Chelsea Park with prices ranging from $159,900 to $239,400.

[Please realize that short sale does not equate to best deal as many short sales are not priced that low!]

A look at the single family homes sold over the previous 12 months in Chelsea Park reveal the following:

The above charts shows several things about the real estate market in Chelsea Park.  Specifically,
  • List Prices are Declining,
  • Sales Prices are Declining,
  • Days on Market are Increasing, 
  • Sellers are Negotiating about 10% off list price!
All the above indications point to "Its time to buy in Chelsea Park!"

For information on homes for sale in Rockledge Florida's Chelsea Park subdivision, email me or call me directly at 321-693-3850.

Gary L. Waters, PLLC, Realtor®, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida.

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