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Friday, December 31, 2010

Do Great Slogans Sell Houses?

While reviewing the results of web site visits I noticed that again my blog on "Do great slogans sell houses?" written in February 2008 still gets a lot of visitors.  It remains a puzzle to me as for the reason this is such a popular post as there are so many others to choose from!

Perhaps it is because people really are searching for the best way to sell your house.

Everyone has a catch phrase it seems these days.  Whatever it takes to get your name to come up when they are ready to buy or sell a house in Brevard County, Florida - especially Viera and Rockledge.

Every real estate agent I know is number one is their own mind. To be successful, one must be confident.

So, do great slogans sell houses?  Of course not.

What will sell your Brevard County, Florida  house or condo?    Hard work.  Efficient, smart marketing.  Property promotion.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Heritage Isle in Viera; Grand Isle in Viera; Indian River Colony Club in Viera - A 55+ Community For All

It seems I am always getting calls and emails about Heritage Isle and Grand Isle, the two most popular 55+ communities in Viera (Melbourne, Florida).

I have written extensively about these two 55+ communities over the past several years and have presented links to some here.  If you are looking to relocate to Florida and a 55+ community is a consideration, I hope some of these articles will help realize Viera should be your choice!

With several choices of 55+ communities in Viera it seems that most buyers choose either Heritage Isle or Grand Isle. 

As December 2010 began there were 35 active listings in Heritage Isle.  How many will still be active as 2011 arrives this weekend?

I mentioned earlier there were several 55+ communities in Viera. I left out the Indian River Colony Club as it is a bit older and different. In Viera, not all 55+ communities are created equal, for sure.

And here is one more that discusses the similarities and differences between the 55+ communities of Viera, Florida.

Check how many homes sold in Heritage Isle during the January to September 2010 period?

Heritage Isle is the only 55+ community in Viera offering condominium living as an option.  As the year ends there are 15 condos for sale in Heritage Isle with prices for some under $120,000!

What is about Heritage Isle that creates so much interest from buyers looking to retire in Florida?

It is the lifestyle!

For information on Viera's 55+ communities call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Real Estate Financing - Using Local Lenders is Best!

It was about a year ago I had a closing crash and burn.  The reason was simple - the lender in New York had no clue about the local market.   It was also frequently  general pain when communication was required - which is often the case as a real estate closing approaches!

As January 2011 approaches I have another closing rescheduled from the first week of January but that is not a problem.  You see,
  1. The lender is local.  
  2. The lender is a real person
  3. The lender has a real office.
We will close in mid-month which is good and further reinforces my sentiment regarding mortgage lenders....

I always encourage my buyer clients to use a lender from the immediate area.  

I know several lenders in the Melbourne, Rockledge and Viera areas of Brevard County, Florida call me or try Google search when you're ready to buy a house in Brevard County, Florida.

I have only one preference – local.

Gary L. Waters, 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, a golf course community or water front, give me a call!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Brevard County Florida Real Estate - A 2010 Year in Review (Part II)

A continuation of some easy to read articles on Brevard County Florida real estate in 2010 (Part I). If you have any questions, please send me an email or call me directly at 321-693-3850. 

Should I put money into this old place now that I am ready to sell?
You would think most sellers ruminate over this one but you would be surprised that many think it is just an "as is where is" situation!

It is really all about presentation. - They came. They saw. They left.

Where are Brevard County Florida real estate prices going?  - Wouldn't we all like to know the answer to this question!

The Dieter's Approach to Selling Your House. - As New Year arrives many will be going on a diet.  OK, maybe only me!

The Most Important Thing When Selling Your House. - Selling your house is a matching game, pure and simple.

The Perfect Foreclosure in Brevard County. - Is there really a foreclosure in perfect condition?

What is a short sale? - Third party approval, short sale, foreclosure and all those other real estate terms!

Do we put too much emphasis on price and overlook interest rates? - Amazing how a percentage change (either way) in the interest rates can impact how much house you can buy! 

Another silly little "selling your house is easy list!" -  They are always quick to tell you how easy it is...especially your know it all relative!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Brevard County Florida Real Estate - A 2010 Year in Review

As 2010 ends and the new year begins I wanted to look back over the year and point out some of Brevard County, Florida real estate blog highlights.  This was going to be a top 10 list from my blog Florida Homes for Sale but I soon realized that with over 300 posts in the past 12 months it may be longer. 

So here is part of one my top ten list... 

List to Sell Ratios - An easy indication of pricing efficiency and seller motivation.

Shopping for a house is not like shopping for a car. - There may be some similarities but the methodology just isn't quite the same.

Should you buy new construction or a short sale in the same development? - This can be a difficult issue for some buyers. New or almost new?

Mortgage Interest Rates - Don't let them creep up while you wait for the price to go down!

Do I need a real estate agent to buy a house?   - The reality is as long as the buyer is not paying the real estate agent, why not?

You can't negotiate if you never get an offer - As long as an offer is on the table and the parties are talking, it may just work out!

Give and Take - That is what negotiation amounts to! - This goes hand in glove with the above blog post!

Buying a house in six easy steps - Simplistic approach to buying your new Brevard County, Florida house!

Does Gated Community mean Secure Community?  - Gates are a deterrent to solicitors but what about anyone else?

Buyers Don't Care How Much YOU Paid For Your House! - In a declining market such as the Brevard County housing market, prices have fallen, inventory is high and distressed properties are everywhere you look.

Monday, December 27, 2010

If I Read Another Article Telling Me The Time To Buy a House is Now.....

I saw another article this morning telling me it is a great time to buy a house.   I did not read it because they all are trying to get the same point across – buy a home now!

The reality is anyone who can fog a mirror probably knows that the prices are low, the interest rates are still very reasonable, the choices are many and the time to act is now.

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. 

Email me here or call directly at 321-693-3850. 

Something I Never Heard a Home Buyer Say at Closing - Foreclosures and Short Sales

I enjoy real estate closings.  They can be tense.  They can be nerve wracking - on buyers and sellers.  When the closing is finished and the new home buyer is handed the keys I have heard a lot of words and expressions.  One thing I have never heard a new home buyer say...

"Well now that we have closed, lets move in so we can have it foreclosed in a few years."

Buyers do not go into home ownership with a plan to go through a foreclosure.   Buyers don't go into home ownership with the idea that if things don't work out they can just walk away.

But sometimes life's circumstances cause them to be placed in a hardship.   Not just a hardship but one that impairs their ability to maintain and retain their home.

Doing what is necessary to prevent a foreclosure brings many underwater sellers to a "short sale" situation.

 A short sale is where the most likely sales price of the property will be less than the mortgage owed. In these situations the lender(s) must approve any accepted offer.  Further, the seller can't receive any proceeds from the sale.

Doing what is necessary when selling as a short sale should be a priority.  Sometimes the lender will ask for a seller contribution.  Sometimes the lender may request the seller sign a personal note for a percentage of the difference.  These are all considerations when attempting a short short.

If you are in Brevard County, Florida and facing a hardship which prevents you from continuing your home ownership, talk with your lender about a loan modification.

If that is not an option, call me at 321-693-3850 to discuss a short sale.  If you prefer, email me.

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, December 25, 2010

Ravencliffe Subdivision in Viera – Interesting Choices for Home Buyers Relocating to Brevard County, Florida

In Viera (some say Melbourne, some say Rockledge - but Viera says "Florida's newest town") there are lots of home for sale. One of the more exclusive subdivisions in Viera is the Ravencliffe development in the newer section west of Interstate 95. 

As of December 24 I see six active listings in Ravencliffe.   These include
  • a short sale at $300,000 (2,670 sq ft, 5 bedroom 3.5 baths).
  • a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath house with only 2,318 sq ft listed at $359,000.  
  • the most interesting choice is the 4 bedroom 4 bath with 3,112 sq ft listed at $356,932.  This home is a new construction property and will be complete by May 2011. 
Another interesting fact…the first two properties here were built on 2005 and 2006.

Of course the new construction is not an easy choice for someone relocating to Brevard County and can’t wait until the summer to move in.

There are several other houses listed like the $549,000 4 bedroom 3 bath home with 3,259 sq ft.  I wonder what the differences are for almost $200,000?

In 2010 there have been 10 homes sold in Ravencliffe.  Prices for these Ravencliffe properties ranged from $255,000 to $375,000.

For information on properties for sale in Ravencliffe in Viera, drop me an email or give me a call directly at 321-693-3850.

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

Friday, December 24, 2010

Emotionally Evocative Words: Real Estate Ads To Make Buyers Want To See Your House!

In trying to sell a house it is important to use words that are easily understood as you never know your buyer prospect's background. Try to avoid using colloquialisms and slang.  Use easily understood terms so buyer prospects know what to expect when they come inside your home.

This morning I read an article  (Decoding Real Estate Descriptions) that offered some definitions for descriptive phrases used in real estate advertisements.  Presented sort of tongue in cheek these should help the home buyer more easily interpret the advertising.
  • "Handyman Special" or "waiting for your decorating touches" means that the place has been trashed. 
  • "Dollhouse" means that the home is tiny and the rooms are small. [Note: See "Cozy."]
  • "Well maintained" means that there have been no updates of any type.  The home may have been well cared for but the interior is very dated. 
  • "Move-in ready" may only mean fresh carpet and paint. The only way to find out is to go and look.
  • "Cozy" means small - period.
The author, Judith Abbott – an Addison, TX real estate agent, pointed out that emotionally evocative words are important to making people want to see your house.  In our MLS system the space is limited so I am more of a "just the facts" person.

Besides, one man's appealing may be another man's appalling!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Distressed Properties - The Real Impact on Brevard County Florida Real Estate in 2011

Just today I read an article in the Florida Today newspaper that home prices in November 2010 were higher than November a year agoStrike up the band!  [I apologize for the sarcasm.]

It takes no genius to understand the likely direction of home prices as 2011 peeks around the corner.  Here's why...

Here we are on December 23 looking at 1,531 short sale residential, condo and town house units actively on the market in Brevard County, Florida.  Consider there are another 889 units in a pending or contingent status as well. 

With 101 short sale properties closing during the month of November the current inventory isabout 15 months! 

Foreclosure activity in November 2010 saw 152 units close but still there are 754 bank owned properties that are active in the MLS as of today.   Another 377 properties are under contract but not yet closed. 

Based on the active foreclosures and last month's sales there is almost a 5 months supply of foreclosures currently for sale in Brevard County.

So, without considering the new foreclosures and short sales that will be hitting the market (another 116 new short sales listed this month), one can easily see the impact distressed properties will play in 2011 in Brevard County, Florida.

Another unknown or two that may factor into the Brevard real estate market in 2011…unemployment (shuttle workforce issues), interest rates (been creeping up lately).

I am not a prognosticator but....

Wingate Estates in Viera East ( Rockledge, Florida) - Home for Sale

This home in Wingate Estates in Viera (Melbourne, Florida) may be the smallest floor plan in Wingate Estates and is offered at a very attractive price - $184,900.
Wingate Estates
This 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage home, built by Barber Construction in 2005, is located near one of the best elementary schools in Brevard County, Ralph Williams Elementary.

By the way, this is not a short sale! Just a great price! Most of the homes in this neighborhood are listed for more than $300,000!

The attention to detail will be quickly evident as you enter the front door.
Enjoy the afternoon and evening relaxing on the screened porch!Back Wingate

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

Offered for sale by Century 21 Baytree Realty.  Gary L Waters PLLC, Florida licensed real estate agent.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Summer Lakes in Viera (Melbourne Florida): Bank Owned Home For Sale - 5,496 Sq Ft Pool Home

585762This five bedroom 4 full bath (plus 2 half baths) 4 car garage home is located in the Summer Lakes community in Viera Florida.

Offered at only $689,000 - the lowest priced of 9 Summer Lakes homes on the market - this home is in fantastic condition and is located on 1.24 acres in this exclusive gated community.

Built by Salgar Construction, this custom masterpiece offers lake front living with all the bells and whistles including
  • media/bonus room,
  • 42' glazed cabinets with two tone colors,
  • granite counters,
  • tile and hardwood floors,
  • screened pool/spa,
  • luxury master retreat,
  • fireplace
  • open flowing floor plan and more.
This Summer Lakes home offers the discerning buyer a chance to live in one of Viera’s most desirable communities at a great price!

For information on homes for sale in Summer Lakes in Viera, email me or give me a call directly at 321-693-3850.

Offered by Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida.

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

Days on the Market: Should it really matter to a home buyer?

Good houses, priced right don't last so sometimes the number of days a house has been listed is of little use in determining a valid offer price.

Further, if a property is the right one for a home buyer then the days on the market should not be a major issue (although I am not implying a total disregard).

If a house (or condo) has been on the market for any length of time there are a couple of ways to view the property as it pertains to pricing (and any offer price). 

If there has been no price change.
  • I would tend to give greater consider of the DOM if a property has been sitting for an extended period of time at the same original list price.  I would question the seller motivation.  Why would someone deal with showings for an extended period of time with no offer?  Actually the answer is they are not dealing with showings!  If it is priced inappropriately they (buyer prospects) will not come! 
If there has been a price change.
  • Another consideration is the amount of change.  I saw a listing this morning with a $100 change in a $200,000+ price.   That does not indicate any motivation at all on the seller''s part!
  • The first thing I would look at is how long ago the price was changed.  I would attempt to get a read from the listing agent on market activity since the price change.  This may be a bit like a poker game as he may either be bumping the number as a bluff or maybe telling the truth.  After all, the listing agent has a responsibility to the seller - period.  Don't expect the listing agent to compromise the seller position in any way. 
If you are ready to buy or sell a house in Viera, Rockledge and Melbourne, Florida, I would appreciate an opportunity to work with you. Call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Gary L. Waters PLLC, Fl Licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge©

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

To Short Sale or Not in Brevard County, Florida (or any other place!)

Sometimes folks get in over their heads financially.   It is not always “their fault.”   The decision to short sale or not, should not include anything that resembles a blame game.

Facing a personal, financial or family hardship is life.  

Nowhere is it written that there will never be challenges.  Sometimes you (or your spouse) lose a job.   Sometimes you face a job transfer or unemployment.

Sometimes there is a major illness, or even worse, a death in the family that claims the major bread winner.  Sometimes there is a divorce.

And these hardships can cause the greatest pressure on what is likely one's largest obligation - the house payment.

When this happens it may be time to downsize or move into a rental situation that is more affordable.

Letting all the other bills go while trying to pay an unaffordable mortgage can create havoc and is not the right direction.   Sometimes, a short sale is a consideration.

The key to a successful short sale is

   when you realize you are not going to be able to make ends meet, act quickly."

In Brevard County, Florida, if a short sale is consideration – call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.  The first thing I will advise – talk with your lender as a loan modification may be a consideration.!

Gary L. Waters PLLC, Realtor, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida, serving buyers and sellers along Brevard County's Space Coast.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Selling Your Brevard County Florida Home: The CliffsNotes Version

CliffsNotes are condensed, abbreviated study guides and pamphlets available for many subjects.  I searched but did not find one on home selling.

But, if there were a CliffsNotes version for home sellers in Brevard County, Florida  it would be very short.

Marketing Your Brevard County Florida House or Condo.

Here it is...the most easily comprehended market plan for selling your Brevard County, Florida home….

Price it competitively to market it effectively.

The reality is that regardless of all the bells and whistles used to sell your house or condo, ultimately, if it is not priced competitively, it will not sell!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Home Seller Tip: Take It Down Now...Not Later After They See It!

Occasionally I find a home seller who has a very special chandelier, light fixture or something in their house which they intend to take with them.  In these cases I have always leaned on the side of  "if it is not staying with the house, take it down and replace it now."  

Why  have some buyer prospect fall in love with the house and want to include your coveted chandelier?

While looking through the Brevard MLS this morning I found several listings that included various items that are not included in the sale.  Some of these, listed exactly as in the MLS, include:
  • Fans do not stay 
  • Refrigerator does not convey 
  • Shed does not convey 
  • Does not convey: ceiling fans, washer, dryer, range, fridge.
Sellers should make sure their property disclosure and advertisements list only the items that are being sold with the house.  Sellers should review the MLS entry when it is published by their real estate agent to make sure the appliances and property listed reflects what is included.

Buyers should review the seller's property disclosure to see what is included.  Buyers should not make any assumption about the shed in the backyard or even the appliances, especially when many short sale owners take the appliances.

The revised Florida Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase does provide for items included or excluded to be appropriately identified.

The best solution as as seller - If you will not be selling it why show it?

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree, or Rockledge home, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me to discuss how I can work with you.

Brevard County Homes in Short Supply as 2010 Nears End...

Selling a home in the current Brevard County market is really not that hard!  If you have had your home on the market for some time, you may disagree with that statement. 

Even if you have never taken an economics course you probably know it is all a matter of supply and demand. 

The supply of properties for sale in the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge market appears to be high but the reality is the supply of "irresistible" homes is low.

Properties that are in excellent condition, in an excellent location, easily shown and priced right are in short supply.  Further, if your home is well maintained  and has curb appeal, the demand is increased.

If your Brevard County home is in one of the more desirable central county areas such as Baytree, Suntree, Viera (east and west of Interstate 95) or south Rockledge, the location is indeed popular with buyers. [New schools, new hospital, several golf courses, lots of shopping, etc!]

Gary L. Waters PLLC,  Realtor and Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida,  can be reached by phone at 321-693-3850 or by email.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Foreclosed in Brevard County Florida - Don't Price Your House to Sit on the Market!

Earlier today I tweeted a comment that went something like this....

“Hate to see properties go from fair market “hope I get an offer” to "short sale" to finally "foreclosure"- instead price it right from the start!

I know that in Brevard County Florida I have noticed properties over the past year where the list price was obviously too high and by the time the seller realizes it the property has gone all the way to the foreclosure step.

How can a listing drag out through these steps which can take months?
  • Sometimes it is a real estate agent who failed to convince the seller of the appropriate price.
  • Sometimes it is the seller who will not listen to reason [You will not get more than the sold price for recent sales in your neighborhood and probably less in a declining market.]
  • Sometimes, in a short sale,  it is a lender who is not willing to accept the reality of the Brevard County, Florida market
The truth is...
  • There is a selling price and a sitting price.   Don't price your house to sit on the market! 
  • A short sale is better than a foreclosure.
  • The selling price will be no more than a nearby equal (similar) property that has recently sold.
 If you are in a hardship situation that will not allow you to keep your home, a short is probably an option.  Drop me an email if you are thinking about selling your Brevard County, Florida house or condo.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Considering Selling Your House?

If you are thinking about selling your house or condo in the current Brevard County real estate market, here are a few things to consider.

1.  Mortgage Balance.  This is especially an issue in this down market.  What is your payoff?  Will you need to bring money to the table?  This is especially important to know early on as it impacts the entire process (short sale vs. standard sale).

2.  New home strategy.  Will you be purchasing another house right away.   Can you qualify for a mortgage without selling your current home first?

3.  Timing.  Do you have temporary accommodations so that you can leave your home once it sells.  I have worked with some buyers who have a home in the mountains or even a rental unit that will be vacant while they search.

4.  Real Estate Agent.  Hiring the right real estate agent can be will be critical. Local knowledge is key. You need a real estate agent who will tell it like it is – even if it is not a happy report!

5.  Why?   Prices are indeed depressed. The money you receive for your current house may not be as much as you would like (never is!).  But, on the other hand, you are in a position to purchase much more house now. 

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.

Old Does Not Mean Less Useful - Just a Different Degree of Usefulness!

As folks age, we tend to have a changing view of them. There are some who would rather put the old out to pasture and go forward with the new - completely ignoring the value to be gained from experience.

As I started writing this I thought of the many old ways of marketing real estate

In the "old days," before I was a real estate agent, they had paper – lots of it.  Paper listings to review with buyers.  Papers to advertise – yes, newspapers.  They had signs out front.  Most of the buyers read the ads or saw the sign or just walked in the real estate office’s front door.

Times have changed.

Most buyers (and seller clients) come from the Internet. Some still arrive the old fashioned way although many offices have gotten away from the traditional office store.  With Century 21 Baytree Realty I use a lot of the new marketing techniques (social marketing)  as well as the old although the old has a "different degree" of usefulness.
  • I still put that sign out front as many folks drive around and look at the neighborhoods – especially when new to the area. 
  • I still place an occasional ad in publications. 
  • I still do old fashioned open houses.
  • I still make phone calls although not cold calling. 
But, much of my marketing efforts are directed to the major source of buyers - the Internet.  Some of the web sites I use include:
And, I blog a lot.  That is, I write lots of articles that get buyer and seller attention - you found me on the Interenet, right?  They also routinely get re-printed by the local newspaper (Florida Today)  in the Sunday real estate section. These sites include the likes of
Yes, I use the old – sometimes in a different way – and the new when marketing your Viera, Rockledge or Suntree Florida house or condo!

Call me (or email me)  when you are ready to buy or sell a house or condo in Brevard County, Florida.

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.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Can I Sell My Own House as a Short Sale without a Real Estate Agent (FSBO Short Sale)?

Short sales – most everyone has heard the term by now - but just in case you are unfamiliar with the term here is a quick explanation.

A short sale is a situation when a home owner is selling their home for less than the mortgage money owed.   Short sales require the lender to approve any contract offer accepted by the seller.  The manner in which the seller’s bank addresses the difference between the sales price and mortgage is a matter between the two parties.

As a short sale seller, one can not walk away with any proceeds from the sale.  So, the cost of selling are absorbed by the lender.

So…why would a seller decide to FSBO sell their own short sale?

The seller could be attempting to minimize the difference between the selling price and the mortgage I suppose the seller could be trying to maximize the amount of money the lender receives.  

Would a seller be OK if they sold as a short sale FSBO?  Just a some folks are perfectly fine to sell their homes as a standard FSBO property I am sure they would just fine.  But why?

The short sale process is probably best left to experienced negotiators and support staff.  I have worked with title companies that negotiate as well as attorneys who represent the seller.

As a real estate agent I can do the marketing as well as guide you through the short sale process if a short sale in indeed your best consideration.

In Brevard County, Florida (or any other location as I have a network of contacts), call me at 321-693-3850 (or email me) to discuss your short sale options.  It could be a loan modification is the most appropriate course of action.

A couple of additional articles worth your time include "What does third party approval mean?" and  "Foreclosures are not the same as short sales."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Real Estate Closings: Why close at the end of the month?

It almost always seem that I write all real state offers to close on or before the end of the month?  Why close at the end of the month?
If closing costs and the expense of closing are not a real issue then it makes no difference when one closes.   If, on the other hand, a buyer needs to minimize current out of pocket money to close, then an end of the month date makes sense.

At closing, regardless of what day of the month, the buyer is assessed “pre-paid interest” for the remainder of the current month because interest starts on the day the loan is closed.

If the interest on the loan (for example, $3,000 a month for easy math 3000/30 days=100)  is going to result in a $100 per day interest charge, then a closing with two days left in the month results in a $200 pre-paid interest charge at closing.  If it is the 10th of the month with 20 days remaining in the month, then the charge will be $2,000.

Also, buyers should keep in mind the day of the month one closes will influence when the first payment will be due.  If money for closing is tight, discuss the closing costs including pre-paid interest charges with your lender.

I am a real estate agent - not a mortgage broker.  Please contact your lender regarding mortgage information.

 If you are in the Brevard County, Florida area and would like the names of a few mortgage contacts, please email me. 

And when you are ready to buy that Brevard County Florida home, let me help you!

Better than New? Your house is nice but is it really?

While reviewing a real estate advertisement for a house in Viera (Melbourne, Florida) one of the narrative remarks caught my eye - “better then new.”  This was not a new house although it was only five or six years old.  Still, better than new?

I searched a little more and found 13 listings in the Brevard MLS where the house was advertised with the exact same words - better than new  The oldest I found was built in 1968!

So I searched the Viera, Suntree and Rockledge areas of central Brevard County for new or almost new properties that were built in 2010.  There were 45 listings with prices ranging from $118,900 to $669,000.

All in excellent neighborhoods like Chelford, Daintree, Milan, Phillips Landing, Turtle Creek, Heritage Isle and more!

If you are relocating to or buying a new house in Brevard County and new (or almost new) is your preference, they are available in most price ranges!  Interestingly, "almost new" was used a lot in the listings but primarily for homes built in the past six or seven years.

One final note if you decide on brand new construction…take your real estate agent with you when you visit the builder model home.  The model home representative works for the builder – not you! Have someone negotiate on your behalf!

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, December 14, 2010

Somerville in Viera (Melbourne, Florida) – Bargain Priced Homes in a Great Location

Located in Viera East is a development named Somerville. Once upon a time they built these homes (around 2002-2004) and sold them for reasonable prices for new construction in  Brevard County, Florida's  hottest place to call home – the new Town of Viera.

Then the real estate run up (or boom) happened.  Some of the homes were sold in 2005-2006 for over $350,000.  I saw some “flipped” for a quick $50,000 profit.

Then the real estate bust happened.   There are those who now must sell for much less than they paid.  There are some where the lenders have foreclosed.  There are some that have been or are being sold as short sales.

On the market at this time there are five Somerville properties priced from $145,000 to $214,900.  Forget about the highest priced home because it is $25,000 more and 500 sq ft smaller than the next lowest priced home ($189,900).  [I am sure any real estate agent showing homes for sale in Somerville will voice the same opinion to their buyers!]

There is a bank owned home offered for $179,000 (4 bedrooms, 2 baths, a pool, over 2,5000 sq ft).  There is a 3/2 with almost 2,000 sq ft on the pond for $145,000 – a short sale.   The deals in Somerville are there!  I have not listed all the homes for sale in Somerville - email me for a list.

Located near the excellent Ralph Williams Elementary School, across the street from Viera East Golf Course, just a short drive to the new Viera Hospital and The Avenues Mall…and more!

With bike trails, jogging paths, tennis courts, and more nearby, Somerville offers attractive opportunities for those looking to relocate to Brevard County, Florida!

A few of the recent sales in Somerville in Viera East include:
  • 5010 Somerville Dr: 2,019 sq ft sold for $126,000 on 09/28/10 [FORECLOSURE] 
  • 5150 Somerville Dr: 2,575 sq ft, sold for $157,000 on 09/30/10  [FORECLOSURE]
  • 1836 Sussex Ct::  1,994 sq ft sold for $186,000 on 12/10/10
A word about foreclosures:  The condition of a foreclosure is most often very different than a standard sale or even a short sale. This is usually reflected in the price so these are not apples to apples comparisons.

Banks and Short Sales – Do they really care about a short sale in your neighborhood?

Recently I was working with a short sale buyer in Brevard County, Florida.  He had found this older home on the market listed for $99,000.  It did have an offer previously which had been rejected by "the bank."  The bank wanted more – like all sellers!

The bank had come back at $120,000 which was certainly higher than any comparable in the area I have seen (as well as higher than I would pay myself!).  The buyer’s walked.

We submitted an offer at about 92% of what "the bank" wanted.  Of course the bank declines. I advised my seller if it were my money, I would not offer a penny more!  So we have started looking at other homes in the area.

I heard yesterday another offer has arrived  that is less than the original offer.  I wonder if the bank will reject the offer. I am sure they will say no just as they have in the past.

I am not sure where "the bank" is located but the facts (from my perspective) are:
  • the real estate market in Brevard County, Florida is a declining market. 
  • a vacant house is subject to vandalism and general decline, especially in the winter. The bank is going to end up paying property taxes the longer they say no!
  • the bank may end up foreclosing and selling for less - about 25% if the averages hold!
Maybe my buyer will reconsider if the bank decides to lower its price or perhaps he will wait to the foreclosure sale! 

My opinion only here….Bank negotiators getting paid by the hour don’t care about a short sale in Rockledge, Florida!

For information on short sales and foreclosures in Rockledge, Florida, email me for listings.

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.

Monday, December 13, 2010

And that is why you should sell your house during the holidays.....

While waiting at a doctors appointment in Viera (Melbourne, Florida)  this morning I read an interesting article regarding selling your house during the holidays.  As a real estate agent in Brevard County, Florida I have read many articles through the years about how buyers who are out during the holidays are motivated.

Still I must confess this was the first article I ever read that said during the holidays buyers are more motivated and will offer more money.

While I do believe that mostly serious buyers and serious sellers are in the market during the holidays,  I am not so sure they are willing to spend any more freely than any other buyer.

Some sellers do not want the "hassle" ( interrupting shopping trips, holiday preparations, company) nor strangers trampling through their house with gifts everywhere.  I can understand completely.

If you are a bit hesitant about selling during the holidays, why not restrict showings for about a week starting Christmas Eve?  If you are considering selling your Viera house or condo, why not get with your real estate agent and get the paper work in order, photos, any preparations required (little deferred maintenance issues), and “go active” on New Year’s Day?

This pre-listing period could be put to good use by your real estate agent getting the marketing material lined up for release/publication.

Should one sell during the holidays? It is strictly a personal decision. 

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge house or condo, during the holidays or afterward, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me to discuss how I can help.

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, December 11, 2010

Home Buyer Tip: Evaluate Fixed Costs & Variable Costs When Making the Decision to Buy Your Next House or Condo

I recently posted an article urging home buyers, especially condo buyers, to consider the association fees when purchasing a new house or condo.  I also mentioned assessments as a potential issue.

The key point is aside aside from the "fixed costs" - price of unit or house, it is these "variable costs" that can become a strain on the owner years later, especially those who are living (or will be living) on a fixed income.

Also, one must not forget the other variable costs like taxes.  Will they go down? Probably not.  What about insurance rates?  A natural disaster - even in another part of the state - could result in higher rates.

One can never know for sure where fees will be five or ten years down the road.  Make sure, as a buyer, you have considered this when making your decision to buy in that condo complex or another high fee area like the 55+ communities of Heritage Isle, Indian River Colony Club, or Grand Isle in Viera.

If you are considering relocating to Brevard County, Florida, let me help you.  Call me or send me an email for free information on the Brevard County Florida real estate market.

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.

Carriage Park Condos in Suntree (Melbourne, Florida) – An Affordable Central Florida Condo Community

The Carriage Park Condo community in Suntree (Melbourne) Florida continues to offer attractive prices for condo living in Central Florida.

This gated condo community near Baytree Golf Course offers 2 and 3 bedroom condos, constructed in 2000-2003, that feature attached garages, a community pool,  and a reasonable condo fee (right now about $252 a month).  The monthly association fees cover pool maintenance, cable TV, lawn care, pest control, security, trash and insurance - not bad!

With seven properties in Carriage Park currently on the market (two short sales and a foreclosure priced below $110,000),  those looking for a second home in Florida should consider Carriage Park.   By the way, these are not small units with several having about 1,800 sq ft under air conditioning!

The current prices are very attractive considering one unit sold in October 2010 for $140,000 - 500 Trotter Lane #501, a 1,791 sq ft unit.  There is one unit currently under contract as well.

For information on condos for sale in Suntree and Viera, 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 serving Florida's Space Coast including the cities and communities of Melbourne, Viera, Rockledge, Suntree, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach and the surrounding region.

Viera (Melbourne) Florida: The Two Faces (Markets) – East and West of I-95

Anyone who has been to Viera, Florida knows that Interstate 95 runs through the center of the Viera area. This major divider was an inconvenience for about ten years but with the flyover now in the center of Viera connecting east and west it is less of a challenge to get from one side to the other.  Of course there never really was much of a challenge, maybe an extra five minute drive on non-congested roads.

The areas of Viera located east of the interstate are considered “old” as they were built from the early 1990s although new construction is still underway.

The areas of Viera west of I-95 are “new” with construction beginning about 2004 and continuing today.   It is home to the Washington National’s Spring Training facilities, the new Viera Hospital, The Avenues Shopping Mall and several county government buildings as well as the new Viera High School.

Looking at last month’s residential sales (single family homes) in Viera reveals a tale of two different markets.

  1. Number of Sales:  East 22, West 11 
  2. Average Sales Price:  East $176,395, West $260,363 
  3. Average Days on Market:  East 107, West 95 
  4. Short Sales Closed:  East 5 West 4 
  5. Average Short Sale Selling Price:  East $163,000, West $319,750

Regardless of your budget there are homes for sale in both east and west Viera that deserve a look!

For information on homes for sale in Viera, Florida, email me or give me a call at 321-693-3850.  If you are considering selling your Viera home or condo, let me help as well.

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

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chelsea Park Subdivision in Rockledge – Lowest Priced Home on Market is not a short sale…surprise!

As I was reviewing the homes for sale in Rockledge, Florida’s Chelsea Park subdivision I expected the usual – short sales and foreclosures to dominate market.

And while there are a couple of short sales and a foreclosure within Chelsea Park, the lowest priced home on the market is a standard sale.

Coincidentally, this home located at 316 Barrymore Drive and is listed for sale by my broker, Century 21 Baytree Realty in Rockledge.  With 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, this 1,586 sq ft home is offered at a very attractive price - $174,900.

There are 8 homes on the market in Chelsea Park with the bottom three priced under $190,000.  Another three properties are under contract awaiting closing.

Only one house sold in November 2010 – 340 Tunbridge Dr, a 2800 sq ft, 4 bedroom 3 bath property selling for $182,500.

For information on homes for sale in Chelsea Park, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or email me,  Gary L. Waters PLLC, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida, just down Barnes Blvd from Chelsea Park.

Foreclosures in Brevard County: More than 25% of November 2010 Residential Sales

Of the 441 residential properties sold in Brevard County during November 2010, about 26% were foreclosure (bank owned) properties. 

The total dollar value of the foreclosures sales was less than 15% of the total residential sales volume of $62,623,580. 

Residential foreclosure sales statistics for November 2010 Brevard County sales included:
  • Number of residential properties sold:  119
  • Average Days on Market: 59
  • Average Selling Price: $75,837
  • Median List Price: $80,356
A word of caution for those who see foreclosures as the goose laying the golden is not so!

Foreclosure properties are typically not in move in condition. Many have been stripped of the appliances and more! Many are not in a condition where buyers can obtain a mortgage.

  [Data extracted from Brevard MLS system on date of publish. Deemed accurate but not guaranteed.]

Residential Short Sales Moving Slowly in Brevard County, Florida as 2010 Nears End

If one is considering buying a short sale in Brevard County, Florida, be prepared to wait!

Patience is definitely a must as the average short sale in Brevard County during November 2010 took a whopping 210 days (7 months) to close.  That is 89 days longer than the November 2009 days on the market!

The number of days required to obtain lender approval is one thing that prevents many home buyers from looking at short sales. Unless you schedule is flexible a short sale may not be an option.

Residential short sale closings in Brevard County during November 2010 (with Nov 2009 data in parentheses):
  • Number of short sale residential properties sold:  75 (121)*
  • Average Days on Market: 210 (141)*
  • Average Selling Price: $160,516 ($159,024)*
  • Median List Price: $168,553 (167,535)*
Short sale and foreclosure residential sales amounted to about 45% of all residential sales in Brevard County, Florida during November 2010.   

[Data extracted from Brevard MLS system on date of publish. Deemed accurate but not guaranteed.]

Brevard County Florida Residential Sales – The Difference a Year Makes!

As the dust from the November 2010 residential real estate sales settles (read this as the MLS data has been updated), it looks like the sales are indeed down from November 2009.  No surprise here though. 

The most interesting thing about the residential real estate sales in Brevard County during November 2010:  the total sales volume was $62,623,580.  Sounds like a lot but this is about twenty million less than the sales volume in November of last year.  And think of the impact on the tax base!

The November 2010 residential sales in Brevard County, Florida( includes all residential sales regardless of type – short sale, standard sale and foreclosure properties)
  • Number of residential properties sold:  442 (541)*
  • Average Days on Market: 113 (96)*
  • Average Selling Price: $141,682 ($153,289)*
  • Median List Price: $114,700 (127,900)*
* November 2009

[Data extracted from Brevard MLS system on date of publish. Deemed accurate but not guaranteed.]

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Why Would Someone Choose Grand Isle Over Heritage Isle When Shopping for a Melbourne, Florida 55+ community?

In the Viera area of central Brevard County Florida (Melbourne) , there are several 55+ communities from which to choose. On the west side of I-95 is Heritage Isle with its continuing new development and impressive facilities. 

On the eastern side of  the interstate is the sometimes forgotten about "other" 55+ community - Grand Isle.

Both of these communities were developed by Lennar Builders although Grand Isle was developed first.  Both offer club house, fitness centers, a gated lifestyle, and affordable living.

So, why would one choose Grand Isle over Heritage Isle when looking for a 55+ gated community in Florida?

If one is looking a brand new home then Heritage Isle would be the choice.  [Contact me for information on new construction in Heritage Isle.] 

If one is looking for a community of single family homes only then Grand Isle is the choice.  If one wants condo living or even a patio style home then Heritage Isle is the choice.

If one is looking for a community from which they can drive their golf cart to the course....well they both offer this option!

If one is looking for...actually there is no real winner here.

If you are interested in a 55+ community in Florida, Grand Isle (and Heritage Isle) both deserve your consideration.   Let me show you what Viera offers those seeking gated 55+ living!  Also, ask me about the Indian River Colony Club - a different style of 55+ community.

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

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Home Buyer Tip: Consider the Association Dues

In Brevard County, Florida house and condo prices are very attractive.  While the listing prices do look very good buyers need to keep in mind is the “hidden” costs – association dues.   As a general rule condo dues will be higher than homeowner association dues.

Actually association dues are not hidden as the sellers are required to disclose them and any other assessments before selling.  Still that list price in the MLS system or the newspaper (do people still read newspapers?) does not tell the entire story.

For example the Sunset Bay condos in Merritt Island are really attractively priced right now.  You are looking in the $20-$40,000 ball park for one or two bedroom condos. Nice for a gated community on the Indian River with pool, exercise room and other amenities.  But the association dues are about $400 a month. 

The Greens at Viera East offer some nicely priced condos as well in the $50-$60,000 price range.  But the association dues are in the $150-$200 month range.  I say range because many listings have a different amount displayed. Again, the seller disclosure will tell the story.

One other example is the Ventura at Turtle Creek condo community.  This newer gated condo complex offers excellent amenities, newer concrete construction at excellent prices in the $110-$130,000 range.  Association dues in the Ventura at Turtle Creek look to be in the $300 a month range although one listing showed $400.  Again, the seller disclosure and condo docs will tell the story.

One other note about condo buying…study the association docs and financial statements. How many unit owners are delinquent in their dues?  What about reserves?  Is there a ceiling on how high the dues may go?

I am not an attorney or CPA and recommend buyer perform due diligence when considering the purchase in any condo complex.

If you are considering relocating to Brevard County, Florida, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can assist you in any way.

***Dues referenced here are general estimates. Consult seller disclosures for verifiable dues.

Isles of Baytree – Central Florida Golf Course Community Living at Excellent Prices

Isles of Baytree is a gated community within the Baytree National Golf Course community in Suntree (Melbourne Florida).  This is an update of a previous post on Baytree National Golf Course living

Isles of Baytree homeowners pay about $500 per quarter for association fees which cover things such as lawn service, pool care, common area maintenance,security.   These early 2000s custom built homes have tile roofs, and two car garages located on zero lot line lots (about .15 acres is average).

The exercise facility, tennis, playgrounds, biking and golf course, offers residents superior Florida golf course community living with plenty of outside things to do!

The superior Brevard County public schools nearby, shopping, restaurants, and the new Viera Hospital make Baytree an attractive opportunity for those in the market for Florida golf course communities!

It should be pointed out that there are lots of choices within the Baytree Golf course community with home prices ranging from below $200,000  to a million dollars and more!

With five properties on the market right now there are some excellent choices in the Isles of Baytree community right now.   There is one bank owned foreclosure at $180,000 and another three listed in Isles of Baytree for $200,000 or less [all short sales].  These are not small houses as they are all over 1900 sq ft under air!

For information on golf course homes for sale in Viera and Suntree, Florida, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or email me
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, December 07, 2010

Home Seller Tip: Competing with the builder is a challenge!

Although the days of the construction boom are gone (for now) there are still builders building in lots of neighborhoods – especially in central Brevard County's most popular area – Viera.

And if you are ready to sell your Viera or Rockledge, Florida home know this –  especially if your home is located in one of the developments with continuing construction like Rockledge's Phillips Landing or Viera’s Capron Trace, you must compete with the builder.  

I have personally experienced the challenge of selling while the builder was still offering new construction.  And, unfortunately, I had to sell at a discount even though the house was less than two years old. 

How does a seller modify their strategy when competing with the builder?
  • Better PriceThis is the reality ( a used car should not be priced the same as a new car!)
  • Condition Do what is necessary including some painting, staging, landscape work.
  • WarrantyThe builder provides one.  If you home is still under warranty consider offering and extension.
  • Incentives. Possible closing cost assistance.
  • Flexibility in showings. The model home is easy to access. I understand this can be a challenge but reasonable access should be your goal.
  • Open House. Assuming your home is move in ready then an open house may be a good strategy. Although most homes do not sell during an open house you can possibly capture prospects who are also viewing the model home the same day.
Competing with the builder is a challenge but is not something that can't be overcome.

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.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Heritage Isle - Condos for Sale in Melbourne Florida's Premier 55+ Community

In Viera, Florida's (Melbourne) gated  55+  community of Heritage Isle, those wishing to relocate to Florida have several choices including large (and not-so-large) detached single family homes, patio style duplex (one shared wall) homes as well as larger four-plexes.

And for those who don't necessarily want the space or the lawn (although care is included in the monthly dues), Heritage Isle offers excellent condominium living!

The prices for all types of residential units are attractive. The facilities at the 21,0000 sq ft club house are top of the line. The association dues reasonable. The location outstanding.

With four condo building ( all four story), located on the water with views of the club house or Duran Golf course, those looking to purchase a Florida condo should definitely take at look at Heritage Isle.

With nine units currently on the market (all 2 bedroom) priced from $118,000 to $139,900, your chance to own a Florida condo may never be better!  By the way, there are a couple of short sales included in these offerings as well.

For information on homes for sale in Viera’s premier 55+ community – Heritage Isle – give me a call at 321-693-3850 or email me.

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.

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