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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Keep Your Home Sale from Falling Apart

Keep Your Home Sale from Falling Apart

Published: March 30, 2010
After finding a buyer, all you have to do to make it to closing is to avoid these five traps.

Mistake #1: Ignore contingencies

If your contract requires you to do something before the sale, do it. If the buyers make the sale contingent on certain repairs, don’t do cheap patch-jobs and expect the buyers not to notice the fixes weren’t done properly.

Mistake #2: Don’t bother to fix things that break

The last thing any seller needs is for the buyers to notice on the pre-closing walk-through that the home isn’t in the same condition as when they made their offer. When things fall apart in a home about to be purchased, sellers must make the repairs. If the furnace fails, get a professional to fix it, and inform the buyers that the work was done. When you fail to maintain the home, the buyers may lose confidence in your integrity and the condition of the home and back out of the sale.

Mistake #3: Get lax about deadlines

Treat deadlines as sacrosanct. If you have three days to accept or reject the home inspection, make your decision within three days. If you’re selling, move out a few days early, so you can turn over the keys at closing.

Mistake #4: Refuse to negotiate any further

Once you’ve negotiated a price, it’s natural to calculate how much you’ll walk away with from the closing table. However, problems uncovered during inspections will have to be fixed. The appraisal may come in at a price below what the buyers offered to pay. Be prepared to negotiate with the buyers over these bottom-line-influencing issues.

Mistake #5: Hide liens from buyers

Did you neglect to mention that Uncle Sam has placed a tax lien on your home or you owe six months of homeowners association fees? The title search is going to turn up any liens filed on your house. To sell your house, you have to pay off the lien (or get the borrower to agree to pay it off). If you can do that with the sales proceeds, great. If not, the sale isn’t going to close.

More from HouseLogic

How maintenance adds to home values

Reducing closing stress

Other web resources

More on calculating closing costs

More on the closing process

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who wanted a successful closing on a Wisconsin property so bad that she probably made her agent rethink going into real estate. A frequent contributor to many national publications including, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

“Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Shuttle Endeavour Lift-Off Delayed: How About Checking out the 7th Annual Fiesta Brevard?

This afternoon’s Endeavour lift-off has been delayed until at least Monday afternoon.  So you have traveled to Brevard County, Florida and have some time to kill…

How about checking out the 7th Annual Fiesta Brevard this evening (April 29th) from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the International Palms Resort and Conference Center in Cocoa Beach?
 Fiesta Brevard 
With tickets only $10 advance and $15 at the door, you have an opportunity to support 30 of Brevard County's finest non-profit organizations participating this year.  Enjoy the salsa contest, or the hat contest, win a prize, buy some raffle tickets, play games…have fun!

Is Your Mortgage Current?

In the "old days" asking a potential seller about the status of their mortgage may have have resulted in a negative cloud hanging over the conversation or even got one escorted to the door!

But in today's market, most people understand its purpose.
  • If a seller is behind in their mortgage payments and the foreclosure process has already begun, it may be too late to sell.
  • If a seller is behind, a mortgage modification may be the best approach.
  • If a seller is behind, perhaps the lender will allow a short sale to be pursued.  There is a major difference between a short sale and a foreclosure.  
  • If the seller is current and there is equity, a standard sale is the right step.  
  • If the seller is current but a hardship has caused them to be unable to afford the house, a short sale may be in order.
  • If they are behind with their mortgage payments and it is a temporary situation, then maybe the Florida Hardest Hit Program is an avenue to pursue.
Key point:  As a prospective seller you will be asked a lot of questions when you call a real estate agent to discuss selling your home or condo.   

Do not be offended by any questions you may be asked but rather take an open and honest approach.  Besides, surprises that “pop up” later can kill a deal or at least create obstacles and additional stresses!

If you are considering selling your Brevard County home, call me to discuss how I can work with you.  Call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What are homes in Viera West Selling for in April 2011?

Viera West (or whatever you want to call it)  is the newer developments in Brevard County, Florida's Viera planned unit development.

Included in the Viera West area are  
  • Chelford,  
  • Ravencliffe,  
  • Charolais Estates,  
  • Colfax Landing,  
  • Indigo Crossing,  
  • Heritage Isle
  • Fairway Lakes at Viera,  
  • Wyndham at Duran,  
  • Easons Landing,  
  • Gatwick,  
  • Summer Lakes 
  • and a few more

Here are some examples of what sold in April 2011 in Viera West:
  • 4419 Chiming Lane:  Located in exclusive Summer Lakes, Arthur Rutenberg model home with 4,303 sq. ft. under air.  Four bedrooms, four and a half baths, three car garage, pool, 1.26 acres.  Sold for $1,098,00. Total days on market 672 days. 
  • 6164 Trieda Dr:  Four bedroom three bath two car garage, 1,988 sq.ft. located in Daintree subdivision. Short sale sold for $180,200. 
  • 5315 Buckboard Dr:  2,011 sq.ft. 3/2/2 located in Capron Trace. Short sale. Sold for $150,000. 
  • 3783 Gatwick Manor Lane:  A four bedroom three bath three car garage home with 2,671 sq.ft. under air. Tile roof, granite, new construction located in Gatwick development. 
  • 3622 Siderwheel: 2,011 sq..ft. 3/2/2 pool home located in Capron Trace. Short sale. Sold for $155,000. 
  • 3552 Siderwheel: 21,964 sq.ft. 4/3/2 pool home located in Capron Trace. Short sale. Sold for $200,000.
  • 5947 Indigo Crossing: 1,911 sq.ft. 4 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage foreclosure in Indigo Crossing sold for $138,000.
For information on homes for sale in Viera West (or Viera East), call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Buy a Foreclosure in Viera and Rockledge, Florida - Easy Money!

"Buy a foreclosure"  is hyped by many outside of the real estate industry as a way to make easy money.  It isn't - easy money.

First of all, a foreclosure is most often in a condition that is less than sell-able.

Many of the foreclosure homes on the market in Viera, Suntree and Rockledge (only 19 properties) have no appliances although some stoves remain.  An immediate investment will be required above selling price.  Many require immediate investment in flooring and paint as well.

Many of the older properties on the market are in a condition which prohibit FHA financing. Here is a quote from an MLS entry for a Rockledge home...first sentence: 

"This home will not qualify for FHA or VA financing."

Sometimes the sweat equity requirement is beyond the skills of the buyer.  Lets face it, sometimes we bite off a little more than we can chew!   It may not be that the skill requirement is where the shortfall exists but rather the time!

Foreclosures can be profitable for the right person but if saving $25-$50,000 on a foreclosure price results in spending the same amount, maybe a short sale would be a better option.

Short sales are almost always in a better condition!

For information on short sales and foreclosures in Rockledge and Viera, Florida, send me an email or call me directly at 321-693-3850.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Enjoy this Easter Day!

Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.  ~ Mark 16:9

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I don’t want to sell you a house…

I don’t want to sell you a house…you can’t afford.

Many times home buyers take the “qualified for” amount as the amount they should spend on their new house or condo.

When the opportunity to work with new buyers in Viera and Melbourne, Florida arises I always ask a few key buyer questions including…
  • Have you worked with a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage?
  • What is your timeline? 
  • What are you approved for?
  • How much do you really want to spend?
Real estate has its own language which can confuse many buyers. Don’t get confused and by all means, ask questions!

The real estate mess (crisis sounds less messy, but over the past several years it has been nothing short of a mess!) has resulted in a lot of heartache for people who have ended up doing through short sales and foreclosures because “qualified for” was interpreted as “should spend.”

When you are ready to buy or sell in Viera, Rockledge, Suntree or anywhere in Central Brevard County, Florida, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

I would love to sell you a house or condo…you can afford!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Selling Your House – Dazzle Them Early!

In March 2011 the average number of days on the market (DOM) for Brevard County, Florida residential sales was 130 days.  That is over four months!

Some may think short sales that take forever for lender approval inflates the DOM but it doesn't as the number reflects listing date until contract.

But if you are selling your Brevard County, Florida house or condo, you don't have to be "average."

I do believe there is a "golden period" where a property will generate the most interest.  You must be ready to dazzle them early.  Homes are selling that priced within the realm of reality.

Sellers have to dazzle them early!  To state it as concisely as possible let's just say "It is all about the packaging."

And if you have done it correctly you may just get an offer quickly which requires another word of caution..

In a buyer's market the first offer may be the best you are going to receive.  Consider the offer seriously before a refusal without even offering a counteroffer.

Top 25 Lowest Priced Homes For Sale in Viera and Suntree, Florida

Earlier this week I posted an article about the Top 25 Highest Priced Homes For Sale in Viera West – A Half Million is all it takes to make the list!

Since there are 329 single family homes for sale in Viera and Suntree I thought I would see what the lowest priced 25 offered.  I did discard two very low priced properties that were basically being sold at huge discounts due to condition.

Of the top 25 (actually 27 as three at top price ) lowest priced single family detached  homes in Viera and Suntree there are 16 short sales and a foreclosure (68% considered distressed properties). 

These do not include properties within 55+ communities. The picture would be distorted as the 55+ community of Indian River Colony Club has fifty properties under $160,000 (18 under $120K).

So here are a few observations about the 25 lowest priced properties for sale in Viera and Suntree:
  • Prices range from $95,000 to $159,000.
  • Year built runs from 1979 to 2004 with nine constructed after 1999.
  • All are located east of I-95 except for two located west side.
  • Ten have been on the market more than six months.
  • Wide distribution with no particular subdivision having more than a few:  Hammock Trace (3),  Auburn Lakes (2), Bayhill (3),  Cross Creek (2), Holiday Springs (2)
With hundreds of properties for sale in Viera and Suntree, there are homes for any budget!  There are gated communities, 55+ communities, golf course communities, communities near schools, communities near shopping, and the list goes on.

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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brevard County Florida Home Sales Soar on Low Prices….But

I read an article in this morning’s Florida Today newspaper about how the March 2011 real estate sales in Brevard County were up – at the second highest level in more than five years.  One of the major points in the article is the low median home sales price, $86,100.

Although the resale prices are lower throughout the County, they still vary considerably by region.

home resale

For example, zip code 32940 (Suntree, parts of Viera, Pineda areas), the median sales price in March 2011 was $172,000.

For the 32955 zip code (Rockledge, parts of Viera), the median selling price in March 2011 was $150,000.

The chart below, captured from the Brevard MLS system today, shows some zip codes, median list price and median sold price.

March 2011 Median Selling Price

Prices in Brevard County are very attractive but the old real estate saying "Location, Location, Location" remains a major factor!

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

Brevard County, Florida Real Estate Blog - Viera Real Estate Blog - Melbourne Real Estate Blog - Local Brevard County Real Estate Information

Finding a Brevard County, Florida Real Estate Blog is not too difficult.

How about blog about Viera Florida real estate?  Florida Homes For Sale - Melbourne, Viera, Rockledge, Suntree  

Or another blog about Viera Florida Florida Homes.

Or some personal Observations from a Viera Florida Real Estate Agent.

Or how about a blog about Melbourne, Suntree and Rockledge Florida Homes for Sale

If you can't find the answer or information on one of mine, send me an email for a personal answer. 


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Selling Your Home Can Be a Painful Experience... A Simple Pain Intensity Chart!

I noticed this "pain scale" in the exam room at my podiatrist's office last week (Richard Wilson, DPM).  Looking at the pain scale and associated descriptions I thought how similar it could be to the experience of home sellers these days when they...
  • price too high (know thy competition)
  • limit access (got to see it to buy it!)
  • don't prepare to sell (fix that leak!)
  • don't de-clutter and de-personalize
  • don't clean (if you can smell it, can't sell it!)
Just take the numbers assigned to the scale and translate them to "weeks since listed for sale" and you can get a pretty good idea of how many sellers feel!

When you are ready to sell your Viera, Florida home, call me to discuss how I can help make sure it never gets to the distressing stage!

Florida Hardest-Hit Fund Program - Mortgage Help Available For Florida Homeowners

In these difficult economic times many find themselves unemployed, underemployed, or just waiting to be laid off  (for some workers at the Kennedy Space Center as the space shuttle program winds down). 

If you find yourself in circumstances that make paying your mortgage impossible, don’t let the circumstances control you as there are options to explore including:
  • Call your lender. Speak with the loss mitigation department about a loan modification or forbearance or something. 
  • Consider a short sale.  If you are in a situation where you will never be able to afford your home, a short sale may be something to consider.  A short sale is a situation where the selling price of a property will be less than the mortgage owed and will require lender approval of a sales contract. 
  • Florida Hardest Hit Program.   The Florida Hardest Hit program will help qualified homeowners (must meet all eligibility requirements)  receive up to six months of monthly mortgage payments and/or funds to pay past due mortgage payments to bring the mortgage current.  The program began April 18, 2011 and is on a first come basis as available funds are limited.
If you would like to discuss a short sale, please give me a call at 321-693-3850 or drop me an email.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Cookie Cutter" Developments Make Selling Easy - If “Your” Price is the Same as “Theirs!”

Marketing experts always seek the same goal – product differentiation.  Selling your home in a “cookie cutter” development these days can be a challenge! 

Many of the newer developments in Brevard County's Viera area feature these cookie cutter homes.  [Cookie cutter:  Some call it “value engineered,” mass built, standardized building materials to reduce cost.]

Regardless of definition, there are some great values in Viera’s “cookie cutter” neighborhoods for buyers looking in Brevard County's most popular planned unit development.

But if you are a seller in these neighborhoods, it will take work to differentiate your house from all the rest.

For example many of the homes in Viera's Indigo Crossing are very similar – 1,911 sq.ft. four bedroom two bath two car garage structures.  And they are all currently selling for the same general price.

Another example is the Viera East neighborhood of Auburn Lakes where four of the five active listings are 4 bedroom/2 bath/2 car garage with 1,911 sq.ft. (one is actually 1,922 sq.ft.).  These are all listed at $145,000 to $169,000.

All these properties will sell.  Some sooner, some later.  In a declining or slow market the seller who sells sooner will likely get a better price. 

And how does one become one of the "sooner?"   Product differentiation.

Top 25 Highest Priced Homes For Sale in Viera West – A Half Million is all it takes to make the list!

It is no surprise most of the homes for sale in Viera are listed under a half million dollars.  Of the 88 active listings in today’s Brevard MLS there are 47 priced below $300,000 (20 under $200,000).

A though $500,000 homes are probably nothing significant in many areas, in Viera it is the higher end of the market!  These are located in exclusive gated communities. Some are golf course direct (Duran Golf Club).   The affordable luxury living in Viera is what attracts many to the area for retirement as well as second homes!

Since January 1, 2011 there has only been seven properties sold for a half million plus - four in Summer Lakes, two in Fairway Lakes and one in Wyndham at Duran.

The highest priced home sold this year is 4418 Chiming Lane in Summer Lakes which sold on April 13, 2011 for $1,098,000.  (There may have been some direct builder to buyer new construction sold not included in this total.)

These high end custom, luxury homes are all  built by a group of very distinguished builders including Arthur Ruttenberg Homes, Christopher Burton Custom Builders, Toll Brothers, DiPrima Construction, Honeymoon Hill Constructors and a few others.

The 25 highest priced active listings in Viera West are located in 
  • Charolais Estates (4)
  • Fairway Lakes (3)
  • Cortona (2)
  • Colfax Landing (2) 
  • Summer Lakes (4)
  • Ravencliffe (1) 
  • Wyndham at Duran (9)

For information on homes for sale in Viera's most exclusive gated communities, drop me an email or call me directly at 321-693-3850.

Lennar is Building Estate Homes in Heritage Isle–again!

Lennar Builders has recently re-started construction of the larger estate model homes in Viera’s Heritage Isle 55+ community.  I am writing this as a real estate agent who works with buyers in the Heritage Isle community - not as a representative of the company.

For some time it has been the smaller manor models and the patio or villa style homes that were being built in Heritage Isle.  I am not sure but I think it is the lot size limitation in the previous phase.

While the manor models are smaller with roughly 1,600-2,000 sq.ft. under air, the estate homes are larger offering about 2,000 to 2,600 sq.ft. under air.

The estate models currently being built in Heritage Isle include:
  • Devonshire model – 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 3-car garage, 1,930 sq.ft. living area from $215,990 
  • Kennedy model – 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 3-car garage, 2,267 sq.ft. living area from $239,990 
  • Monroe model – 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 3-car garage, 2,599 sq.ft. living area from $269,990
For information on new homes for sale in Heritage Isle (as well as re-sales) including those offered by Burgoon-Berger Builders, just drop me an email or give me a call directly at 321-693-3850.  I will gladly email you floor plans if you desire.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Real Estate Contracts - Time is of the Essence....

I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV.**

As a real estate agent I am constantly amazed (too strong?) at the lackadaisical attitude I see some buyers or sellers (really their agents) take in addressing issues and processes associated with real estate transactions.  The reality is real estate transactions are stressful to all parties to the transaction.  Complying with the time line is a simple way to ease a bit of the transaction jitters and stay within the contract obligations.

As a buyer or seller involved in a real estate transaction remember there are time lines that begin with each step of the transaction -
  • from offer to acceptance, 
  • counteroffer to acceptance or rejection, 
  • for inspections and requests for repairs or to walk away,
  • for receipt and review of homeowner association or condo association documents, 
  • and closing.
In real estate, time is of the essence. Don't lose track of the calendar!

**This is not an attempt to offer legal advice - only to encourage all parties to be cognizant of the calendar!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Indian River Colony Club - Not the Usual 55+ Community

Through the years I have written about Brevard County, Florida's 55+ communities, mostly Heritage Isle, Grand Isle and Indian River Colony Club as these communities are locate in my back yard - Viera and Suntree.

Each of these communities has, in my opinion, strengths and weaknesses.  Just two weeks ago I was speaking with a researcher from Where To Retire Magazine about one of these communities as they were gathering background information for their new "50 Best Places to Retire" list coming in the near future.  Heritage Isle has previously been listed in the 100 best places to retire.

Here are a few links to assit in your research on Brevard County and local 55+ communities.

For information on homes for sale in Melbourne, Florida's 55+ communities, 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

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Patio Style Homes For Sale in Heritage Isle – Viera’s 55+ community

Heritage Isle, Viera's premier 55+ community,  offers single family homes and condos. For some the single family unit is too large while the two bedroom condos are too confining (or they don't want to live in a four story building.).

In between these two extremes you find what I call patio style, villa style, attached homes.  Actually there are also some duplexes (shared wall) two-plexes  located in Heritage Isle as well.

The key characteristic in all these non single family detached styles is the shared wall between the units.

The villa style (patio) homes have single car garages and are usually located with 4 or 6 residences side by side under a single roof with a single car garage and are usually in the 1,400 sq..ft. range.

As for the prices, they vary.  There are some new construction patio homes available in the $130-$140,000 range while the 2006-2008 re-sales are on the market for $115,900 to $120,000.  By the way I visited one of these this week and found it to be “like new.”

Since January there have been two of these patio homes have been sold:
  • 3081 Le Conte St 1,407 sq.ft., a short sale sold $20,000 on  3/11/2011 
  • 2980 Le Conte St 1,407 sq.ft. sold for $117,000 
For information on homes for sale in Heritage Isle, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

If I were the Seller (or Buyer) I would…

It would be very easy for me to complete the title sentence in a variety of ways like…
  1. lower the price
  2. accept the offer
  3. tell the buyer to go elsewhere
  4. make the repairs
  5. whatever
But, I am not the sellerOr, the buyer.

As a real estate agent it is not my opinion or response that matters most.   It is the client. Will I give my personal opinion if asked?  Certainly.

As a real estate agent my job entails being a consultant and adviser - on real estate matters - not taxes, returns, future value, future nearby development, etc.  Period.

As a real estate agent I provide necessary, pertinent information to aid in making a decision.  I will answer questions I am qualified to answer (I am not an attorney, an accountant, a general contractor, or clairvoyant).

Ultimately, it is the client who decides to buy or sell.

And that is the way it should be.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida home, please contact me to discuss how I may assist you in the process.

If you are considering purchasing a home in Rockledge, Suntree or Viera,  I would welcome a chance to work with you.

I can be reached by phone at 321-693-3850 or by email.

To Buy or Not? Focusing too heavily on price may be a mistake.

Everyone wonders if the housing market has hit bottom.   Just a few years ago everyone wondered if it had peaked.

The truth is no one really knows about these until after the fact – even the so called experts!

Price seems to be the major factor buyers focus on when considering a purchase.  And price is key.

But one area often given as much is the interest rate.

If you are considering a home purchase, talk with a lender.  Find out what you qualify for and what the cost projection will be (estimated principal, interest, taxes and insurance) at today's interest rate.  Then have them calculate the cost with escalating interest rates.

There can be a significant difference with a resulting difference in how much house you can purchase.  Don't focus completely on price!

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.

“As Is” means “As Is” except when “As Is” does not mean “As Is”

Are you confused yet?  I am referring to the “as is” residential purchase agreement used in Florida real estate.  It seems pretty easy.

It says the buyer can inspect and walk away if the results are not satisfactory. It does not obligate the owner to make any repairs.  It is “as is.”

I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV.  Consult your own attorney for advice if desired.

But sometimes the inspection reveals issues.

The issues could be major enough that the buyer walks – “as is.”   Sometimes the issues are minor and the buyer goes forward as per the contract.  Sometimes the buyer addresses the issues by asking for repairs anyway.  Sometimes the buyer requests a price concession in lieu of repairs.

When with the buyer I usually limit use of an "As Is" contract offer to a foreclosure or short sale where the repairs will not likely be made by the seller. 


“As is” means “As is” except when “As is” does not really mean “As is”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Summer Lakes in Viera - Executive Homes at Great Prices in Brevard County, Florida

Summer Lakes in Viera (Rockledge, Florida zip code 32955) is an exclusive gated community featuring large homes (3,000- 8,000 sq.ft. under air) with tremendous appeal to the executive buyer.

These Summer Lakes properties, built between 2004 and 2008 on half acre plus lots, are selling at prices much less than the million dollars plus they were fetching a few years ago!

With that said, activity in Summer Lakes has indeed picked up recently with four closings since February 1, 2011 including:
  • 3212 Bellwind Circle, 4,565 sq.ft. 5 bedroom 4+ bath pool home selling for $775,000
  • 2942 Bellwind Circle, 5,496 sq.ft. 5 bedroom 4+ bath pool home selling for $594,000 (foreclosure)
  • 4419 Chiming Lane, a 4,303 sq.ft. 4 bedroom 4.5 bath pool home selling for $1,098,000
  • 3012 Bellwind Circle, 8,071 sq.ft. 5 bedroom 7+ bath, pool home selling for $756,672
With a few homes under contract awaiting closing, there are still three active listings to consider if Summer Lakes is in your price range.  With prices ranging from $789,000 to $1,175,000, these are attractive offerings.

Also in this price range buyers may want to consider a couple of other gated Viera communities: Wyndham at Duran and Fairway Lakes if your desire is gated golf course living.

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

Property Inspection Reports – Don't Let Them Scare You!

It is critical that buyers obtain a home inspection when considering the purchase of any home.   I even recommend them when buyers are purchasing new construction as well!

Through the years I have observed a lot of home inspectors.  As one who is not "a handyman," I have learned a lot through this process. 

They all give written reports.  And they usually just provide the facts although some have been known to be alarmists (in my opinion).  Then again, I understand that in this litigious world we live in it is better to document. 

Many of these are long detailed reports with an accompanying summary. 

Some of these reports are pretty large and can easily scare buyers.  As a real estate agent working with buyers and sellers I always preface a "good report" with the comment , "Don't let this scare you!"

These tools are used to confirm things are in good condition, need attention, a contact concession or even a cancellation.

Regardless of outcome, use the report for what it is!  An assessment of a property's current condition.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Charolais Estates – Luxury Living in “North” Viera (Melbourne Florida)

Charolais Estates offers gated living in one of Viera’s most exclusive communities.  Many of these custom built homes offer features you expect on million dollar properties!

Charolais Estates homes are all located on larger lots (.30 to about .5 acres) with most being in the third of an acre range.  This exclusive neighborhood provides easy access to major routes (Orlando only 40 minutes) yet is still close enough to the things that make Viera one of Brevard County’s most desirable areas – shopping, excellent schools, professional sports, golf courses, the new Viera Hospital and more!

The nicest home I saw at last week’s Parade of Homes tour was a custom home built by Christopher Burton Custom Homes in Charolais Estates!  They had another model in the Wyndham at Duran community as well.

At this time there are six homes on the market in Charolais Estates including one short sale.  A few things all the homes on the market in Charolais Estates have in common:
  • Tile Roof
  • Private Pools
  • Three car garages
  • Brick paver drive ways (and pool decks)
  • Lots of Space – 2543 to 4500 sq.ft. under air
  • 4 or 5 bedrooms
List price for homes currently on the market n Charolais Estates range from $497K to $899K.  If Charolais Estates is a consideration, you may be interested in Fairway Lakes and Wyndham at Duran as well.

For information on homes for sale in Charolais Estates, Summer Lakes or any of the Viera neighborhoods, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Fairway Lakes in Viera – Impeccable homes at Attractive Prices!

While reviewing some listings in the Viera gated community of Fairway Lakes I noticed one listing that was described as “the most desirable home.

First of all. most sellers will describe their homes as the most desirable in their neighborhood.  Nothing wrong with a little pride!  Many will even say their homes are in great condition although rarely is one “impeccable.”

Fairway Lakes does offer some really well maintained, attractively priced homes.

Several of the homes in  Fairway Lakes went under contract in March leaving only four active listings.  These listings include one in each price range – $400K+, $500K+, $600K+ and $700K+.

Although all these homes have tile roofs and similar features the sq.ft. under air varies from 2,800+ to almost 4,200 with  3,4 or 5 bedrooms.  By the way there are also several in the neighboring Wyndham at Duran community in the $600-$700K+ – all short sales.  Most of the Wyndham at Duran homes are in the million plus range.

For information on homes for sale in the Duran Golf Club communities of Fairway Lakes and Wyndham at Duran, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Home Buyer Tip: Real Estate and Bicycles - "an older house beats nice new rental!"

I noticed a bicycle in a neighbor's yard recently.  Not sure which kid is the owner but it brought to mind my very first bike.  Actually it was my brother's bike as well.

I must have been about 10 years old and my father paid my uncle five bucks for my cousin's used bike. I wanted a new bike. 

Back then the kids were riding these really cool bikes with banana seats. 

Mine Ours was a cruiser - traditional, dated, a little bit of rust, similar to the one here but red (and, like me, not made for speed)!

Sometimes when buying a home a buyer must "get a five dollar bike."

Sure, there may be a  newer and more modern stylish home on the "want" list but not in the budget!

Perhaps something smaller will do, for now.  Perhaps something a little bit "used" will do, for now.

At some point in time you can move up to that new, sleek bicycle.

As for me.... I used that bike for years.  It served its purpose.

If you are a first time buyer, perhaps you should look at a resale that is functional and easily in your budget. 

There is nothing that says if you are qualified for $200,000 you have to spend $200,000!

Thinking back on my $5 bike I remember something my brother told me - "a rusty ride beats a well dressed walk!"  Sounds a lot like "an older house beats nice new rental!"

If you are looking for a home in the
Rockledge, Viera or Suntree area of Brevard County, Florida, I would be honored if you gave me a chance to discuss how I may assist you.

Give me a call directly at 321-693-3850 or drop me an email.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just Because a House is New Doesn’t Mean It is the Right One….

Some folks only want new – period.  Be it a car, a house or whatever.  That is fine.

Some folks only buy “used,” especially autos.

This past weekend I visited several communities in Viera West (The Villages of South Solerno and The Villages of North Solerno) during the Parade of Homes.  Not only did I visit the new construction entries but also the model homes in the communities.

New construction in Viera is available in most communities including  Chelford ($250K-300K+ range), Gatwick Manor ($260K+), Daintree, Fairway Lakes, Wyndham at Duran and others.

I stopped by Heritage Isle to see the new homes offered Lennar and Burgoon -Berger Builders.  I found out Holiday Builders had entered the Heritage Isle community as well and constructed a model but is now leaving.

To say the least, the new construction offering in Viera is quite impressive and attractively priced. 

Still some prefer the re-sales. When all else is equal sometimes buyers will choose the resale in a development because of proximity to amenities like the pool, clubhouse or schools, etc.

Sometimes the existing property just feels like a perfect fit!

In a planned unit development like Viera where there is new construction and resales I encourage buyers to consider them all – unless they only want new!  And in that case I recommend we visit all the builders in a community (take your agent with you)!

If you are considering buying a home in Viera, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.  I will gladly answer your questions and provide any information you desire.

And if you are considering selling your Viera home, call me to see how I can work for you to make it happen!

Home Buyer Tip: Cash Talks But Not As Loudly As One Might Think…

I was speaking with a prospective buyer this morning who had called regarding one of my listings.  He mentioned he was “willing to pay cash if the price was right.”
My response to him – cash is not really the incentive he thinks.

You see most serious buyers are pre-approved.  They have already gone through the process of applying for a mortgage and have been pre-approved for an established amount. 

The lender has basically said "find the property you want to purchase within these parameters - the property gets an untainted, clear title and appraisal and your financial situation does not change."

A seller may prefer cash but a lender who has approved a loan is paying with cash as well.

The process is primarily the same from a seller standpoint with the exception of the appraisal requirement. 

As a buyer do not expect a significant negotiation advantage.  Depending on circumstances the seller may give a bit of a break but I would not expect a “fire sale” price.

As to whether or not a buyer should pay cash is a question for their CPA.  Of course at the present time there is still a mortgage interest tax deduction.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chelsea Park in Rockledge, Florida –Just when you think there are plenty of choices…

I have a listing in Rockledge, Florida's Chelsea Park subdivision at 467 Stonehenge Circle.  It went under contract about a week ago.

Just yesterday I received two calls and an email from folks who had driven by the property.

I offered to search homes for sale in Chelsea Park for one of the contacts because I knew there had been plenty of homes on the market.  Although my listing went under contract a week ago I was surprised to see that there were only two active listings remaining in Chelsea Park.

Seven listings had been placed under contract since March 10th and a total of ten since February 1st!
Also, two properties had closed since February 1st as well.

So if you are in the market for a home in Rockledge or Viera, consider all Chelsea Park offers. 

Chelsea Park provides residents with a superb location near top quality schools, shopping, golf courses like Turtle Creek Golf Course, restaurants and more.  Chelsea Park is convenient to major routes for those commuting to Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral or any of the major employers (Harris Corp, Health First, Rockwell Collins) in the Melbourne, Florida area.

Also, with its proximity to Orlando (40 minutes), Chelsea Park is a great location for those "long distance" commuters working at Disney or any of the central Florida resorts as well!

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

Home Buyer Tip: Qualifying Questions – one of the reasons why...

Buyers want to know about their real estate agent, why not agents?   Because very often a Realtor® knows nothing about the person calling or showing up at an open house.  

So the next time you call a real estate agent and they ask you about yourself or request you meet them at their office (and not some vacant house), consider this.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Home Buyer Tip: Selling Prices are Predictable

When one decides to purchase a home in Brevard County, Florida (or any other place) there is one thing that they (through their real estate agent) should know upfront.

Selling prices are predictable within a given range and the same house can vary considerably based on location.

This will help a buyer make a major decision as to which is more important getting more house or less house in a different location. 

For example, the below properties are 2005-2010 built, concrete block stucco homes with 4 bedrooms two baths and two car garages (pretty typical in Brevard County).

Looking at the selling prices (all within past 3-5 months) and you can see variances based simply on location.

In Titusville:/Mims:
  • 767 Mason Drive 4/2/2 built in 2007, 1865 sq.ft.,  $76,000 
  • 699 Macon Drive 4/2/2 built in 2005, 1865 sq.ft., $75,000 
  • 4005 Barr Lane 4/2/2 1893 sq.ft. built in 2006, $112,000
In Melbourne:
  • 2093 Dryden CT 4/2/2  built in 2006,  1865 sq.ft., $135,000
In Rockledge:
  • 2320 Bridgeport Circle 4/2/2, 1866 sq.ft. built in 2005, $143,000 
  • 3603 Garrett Dr, 4/2/2 built in 2010, 1855 sq.ft. (with pool added by builder),  $174,950
In Viera: 
  • 6137 Indigo Crossing Dr, 4/2/2 1,911 sq.ft., built in 2006, $150,000  
  • 6007 Indigo Crossing Dr, 4/2/2 1,911 sq.ft., built in 2006, $160,000
  • 1183 Becket Place, 4/2/2, 1855 sq.ft., built in 2009,$184,950
In Palm Bay: 
  • 1055 SR Towhlen St., 4/2/2, 1942 sq.ft., built in 2006, $91,500 
  • 325 SW Wishing Well Circle, 4/2/2 1900 sq ft, built in 2010, $150,560
There are a lot of other factors which help one decide where to buy a home (schools, commute times, nearby family and friends, church, location of medical facilities, etc) but we all know price is the major consideration!  Finding a home that balances the most important of these factors is key!

When you are ready to buy or sell in Brevard County, Florida, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.


Friday, April 08, 2011

Ventura at Turtle Creek in Rockledge, Florida – Gated Condo Community with Bargain Prices!

It has been a while since I looked at the condos in Rockledge, Florida's Ventura at Turtle Creek community. 

Located next to the world famous – OK, almost Brevard County famousTurtle Creek Golf Course, these condos were built primarily during 2006-2008 period and sold for a lot more money back then!

This morning I saw a ground floor unit (2 bedroom 2 baths detached carport) listed for only $74,900.  That is an outstanding price for this 2007 unit with 1,112 sq.ft. under air!  The price on this foreclosure / bank owned unit just dropped $10,000 so I am doubtful it will stay on the market long but there are other attractively priced units such as  a couple of 3 bedroom 2 bath units priced under $110,000.  (And several more three bedroom two bath units priced under $120,000.)

In all there are nine active listings in the Ventura at Turtle Creek – all priced below $130,000. Of these there are three short sales and another bank owned unit.

For information on condos for sale in The Ventura at Turtle Creek, drop me an email or call me directly at 321-693-3850.

Selling Your Home – The offer should say "Can we talk?"

When presented with an offer to purchase their home a seller may respond in multiple ways.  Take this little quiz, please…

Which is not a common response to an offer to purchase a seller’s home?
  • “I am not going to give it away!”
  • “Who do they think they are dealing with?”
  • “Are they serious?”
  • “You are kidding me, right?”
  • “Why so much?”
If this question stumped you then perhaps you have not been involved in a transaction – ever!

Most offers should, in my opinion, be one that, if not accepted, opens the door to discussions leading to an agreement – not hostility.  

The offer should say "Can we talk?"

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Selling your home is not a casual experience….

Selling a home is not a casual experience these days. It is not easy - be intense or stay in your home - possibly for a long time!

Unless you have been in a coma for some time you probably already  know this is not a seller’s market.  But it does not mean you can’t sell your home, either!

Selling in a buyers market means (1) competing on price, (2) condition and (3) process.

The first and third items in this list are pretty easy but the middle one takes work - literally.  Pricing realistically is not really a difficult concept.

Competing on process means being accessible or rather making your home accessible when buyer prospects want to see it (within reason) and when presented with a realistic, market sensitive offer, working for a deal that is satisfactory. (Sometimes give and take is needed to reach consensus.)

Sellers sometimes get derailed by “condition.”  As a seller living in your home every day you do not see the little things prospective buyers see when they pull up to your home. Things like that worn paint, the dead grass (or live weeds), or the purple paint in your foyer. Or all that furniture that males your rooms look so small!

As a seller it may just take some intense effort on your part to get your house market ready!

www.moving2brevard.comGary 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.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Sunstone subdivision in Viera – Homes Priced Right Are Moving But…

It is said often - Homes Priced Right Are Selling.  The Sunstone subdivision in Viera, Florida is a prime example.

Since March 1, 2011 there have been three homes sold and another two properties go under contract!

Is it a coincidence that these attention getting homes are priced  (or sold) between $257,490 and $284,900?  I think not.

There are only two homes remaining on the market in Sunstone (although the builder is still building).  These two homes are priced at $380,000 and $310,205.  (All the homes in Sunstone are large –2,500 to about 3,500 sq.ft. so these are not little 3/2s!)

The specific homes selling in March were:
  • 5701 Rusack Dr (3,530 sq.ft.) – $284,900 
  • 6163 Goleta Cir – $269,740 6142 
  • Goleta Cir (2,780 sq.ft.) – $271,990
For information on homes for sale in Viera’s Sunstone development, 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.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A Simple Answer - Is There One in Real Estate?

Recently I wrote a short note about a question I was asked – “What is the going price for a ….?”  

Of course, the question was asking specifically about a house but the reality is…

Is there a simple answer to any question regarding real estate?

What about mortgages in Brevard County, Florida?  Call a mortgage lender and they will ask you lots of questions and then, based on your responses,  they will let you know.  The rate, terms, availability, down payment requirements, etc.....

How long does it take to build a new home?  Ask a builder like Lennar Builders in Heritage Isle where they already have the land and are already actively building and you may get a totally response than if you ask a custom builder to build on a lot you may purchase.

What are the taxes now and next year?  That is a really big one as it all depends on the exemptions, if any already in place, at purchase, purchase price, purchase date, and more!

Can I get a mortgage on this condo?  Another biggie as it all depends on the type of mortgage, how many units are owner occupied, the number of delinquencies in dues, etc.  This is best answered by your lender.

In real estate there truly is no easy answer.

Your best bet is to consult a local expert. 

Monday, April 04, 2011

Be it car, house or body - deferred maintenance will get you every time!

Last Monday night as I was leaving a local store my turn signals quit.  They were fine when I drove to the store.

The next morning I go out to see if any of the other lights were malfunctioning and it was a miracle – the signals were working again!

And they worked fine until Saturday night when they quit again.  Then yesterday morning – back again.  I know it is probably a short somewhere.

I will get the problem fixed I told myself.

As I was driving to an appointment I realized my car was very similar to many houses I have seen through the years - pesky little items that don't effect function but they start to add up when the buyer does a home inspection!

If you are getting ready to put your house on the market, think about the little things that have been “acting up” through the years.

Maybe it is time to tackle that deferred maintenance!  Enough said!

Indigo Crossing in Viera – Looks Like “The Price” is....

Most neighborhoods, any place you look in Brevard County or wherever, have a selling price where most of the homes fall closely within a limited range.  Sometimes there is an outlier for whatever reason but the selling price usually varies little.

For example, take Indigo Crossing in Viera, Florida in central Brevard County, Florida.

Since December 30, 2010 there have been only four homes sold.
  • First of all, they are all 4 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage with approximately 1,900 +/-sq. ft. under air.  (This is one of those developments where there are only so many different floor plans (cookie cutter).
  • The selling prices were $155K, $160K, $160K and $150K.  Easy math here, about $156K average.
  • There are currently four 1,900 +/- sq.ft. 4/2/2 short sale properties under contract with an average listing price of $148K.
With a market where the prices are still falling a bit my guess is the price of a home in Indigo Crossing is about….$150,000 +/-  five or ten thousand depending on condition variances.

So, if you intend to sell or purchase in Indigo Crossing I am doubtful you will encounter any surprises.

There are three listings in Indigo Crossing with two of them being 1,900 +/- sq.ft. listed at $145K and $160K – both short sales.

And there is also one of those outliers – another house listed at $289,000. Sure it is a 4/2/2 but it has a pool and about 300 more sq.ft. but…

For information on buying or selling a house or condo in Viera, Florida, give me a call directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

If you like it, make an offer… pretty simple!

It never fails…

get a house under contract and the calls come in wanting to know the strength of the contract!

Many of these inquiries come from previous prospects who saw the property and either 
  1. decided to gamble on finding a better value or
  2. assumed the price would be dropped as it sits.
Home prices in Brevard County are very attractive - especially those listed by motivated sellers.  

Motivated buyers recognize opportunities!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Grand Isle in Viera – “The Other” 55+ Community

It seems that Heritage Isle is the Viera 55+ community I get the most inquiries about although Grand Isle deserves a look as well if you are in the market for  limited maintenance living in Central Florida.

Grand Isle, located in Viera East, is a gated community developed by Lennar Builders (also the developers in Heritage Isle).

Many times I have had prospective buyers ask me "Why would anyone pick Grand Isle over Heritage Isle.”  

The truth is there are many similarities as well as differences between the 55+ communities of Viera.

Interest in Grand Isle seems to have picked up over the past couple of months with three homes going under contract in the past six weeks as well as one closing on March 31 [1627 Grand Isle Blvd, 2,205 sq. ft. sold for $245,000.]

There are seven single family homes for sale in Grand Isle as April begins.  Six are 3 bedroom 2 bath homes with 2,000 – 2,204 sq.ft. under air. Prices of these homes vary greatly from $179,900 to $259,000.

By the way, there is also one rental home available in Grand Isle at this time for $1,500 a month.

For information on buying, selling or renting a home in Grand Isle, please call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

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