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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Home Buyers Tip - Know the neighborhood as well as the house before buying that home

Buyers almost always have a home inspection done prior to purchasing a home.  Buyers almost always have a survey done to make sure boundaries are known and no encroachments exist.  This is all part of the process of due diligence.   Inspections, surveys, appraisals, etc are always recommended. These are the ABCs of home buying!

So why would a prospective buyer not fully check out the neighborhood?

If you have found the house you really like why not go further and...
  1. come back later and walk the neighborhood and speak with  a few of the neighbors?
  2. call the local law enforcement agency and inquire about crime statistics/rate for the neighborhood?
  3. find out who the association president is and give them a call (and the treasurer as well) to discuss any HOA issues or pending assessments or financial challenges?
  4. check out the Florida sexual offender database to find out if there are any potential concerns?
  5. visit the schools to confirm which Brevard County school your children will attend and ask for a tour?
  6. find out if any of your neighbors run a business from home (if permissible) and how much traffic it brings the area? [If it is compliance with zoning.]
When purchasing a home you are also purchasing a lifestyle outside your property boundaries. 

For information on homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida email me or give me a call.

Florida School Rankings 2011 - Brevard County School Rankings 2011

I think it was just last week I read the Brevard County Public Schools ranked number 8 of 63 county school districts in Florida.  Today I see the 2010-2011 school rankings have been released.
Here is a link to the Florida Department of Education web site and rankings - Florida schools rankings are out for 2010-2011.
A few of the notable rankings included - 

Brevard County Florida Homes for Sale

The good news for sellers is ...
  • buyers are entering the market - perhaps not in great numbers but the ones who are looking are serious.
The good news for buyers is...
  • Lower prices,
  • Decreasing re-sale inventory, 
  • Fewer new construction starts, 
  • Historically low interest rates, Sellers selling in this market are serious. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Selling Your Home–Open Houses are still preferred (by some buyers).

 You don’t see as many open house signs in Brevard County, Florida as there were just a few years ago. 

After all, what seller wants complete strangers walking through their home on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon peeking in every closet door?

After all, open houses are not the most effective means to sell a house. 

Still there will always be those who do not use the Internet (sites like or offer easy real estate searches).  For some it is not they can’t operate a computer but rather because they are "hands on" types.  Still some folks just don’t want to deal with the computer.

Most real estate agents will admit they are unlikely to find a buyer at an open house but may land a prospective buyer client. 

And then there are the sellers who will sometimes use the open house as a method of screening prospective listing agents.  Why schedule an interview when you can observe the competition and their agent in action?

And finally, not all properties are suitable for an open house (location is not convenient to major traffic, price point too high or low, property does not show well, circumstances of sale (illness, death in the family), etc.)

So will I conduct open houses for my Brevard County, Florida sellers?

If any seller requests an open house and the property is one that will attract interest, sure – but not every weekend!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Should You Sell Your Home While It is Tenant Occupied?

Should You Sell Your Home While It is Tenant Occupied? 

The most obvious answer to this question is a resounding YES!

My response is simply a short "It depends."  It depends on your relationship with your tenant.  It depends on whether your tenant maintains a clean property.

[How do you know this?  As a landlord you are certainly making visits to the property (or your property manager is), right?]

I have worked with buyers looking at homes for sale in Brevard County that were tenant occupied and some of our experiences included...
  • the tenant who bad mouthed the owner about maintenance neglect 
  • the tenant who brought up every issue about the property 
  • the tenant who explained about how the neighbors were a menace 
  • the tenants who who were uncooperative about showing the property 
  • the tenant who kept the dirtiest house I have ever seen (if you can smell it, you can't sell it!)

Should you sell your home while it is tenant occupied?

The answer is a resounding.....It Depends!   A well maintained occupied home with furnishings is almost always preferred to a cold empty dark space.

When you are ready to sell your Brevard County Florida home, give me a call to discuss how I can work with you.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Buying a Home in Brevard County, Florida - Choosing Your Real Estate Agent

Why would one choose not to have representation when as a buyer you do not pay your real estate agent - the seller does.

How do you find a real estate agent in Brevard County, Florida?   The one method to avoid is calling the real estate agent on the listing sign in front of the house.  They work for the seller - not the buyer.

I suggest buyers use Google, Bing or Yahoo.  An Internet presence is a good way to find out who to call and interview.

When you get ready to hire a real estate professional to help you find your new Brevard County, Florida home here are a few questions to ask.

  • What areas do you specialize in or are the most familiar with?
  • How long have you been a real estate agent? 
  • Are you a full time real estate agent? 
  • What is the first step I (we) should take? [The answer to this is pre-approval, affordability. First things, first.]
  • Do you work with more buyers or sellers?
  • How long have you lived in this area? 

The home buying process is really a very organized and structured process.  Check these articles on home buying (especially useful for first time home buyers). 

There is really only one way to buy a house....having a professional Realtor® working for you.I will be with you all the way to the closing table!

Selling your Brevard County, Florida Home - Choosing Your Real Estate Agent

Sometimes home sellers do not have the luxury of choosing the time to sell but rather their circumstances make the choice for them.   Having a professional Realtor® working for you will go a long way in relieving the stress of the process whether your situation is a regular (standard) sale or a short sale.

How do you find a real estate agent in Brevard County, Florida?  When you get ready to hire a real estate professional to market your Brevard County, Florida home there are lots of questions to ask.

The questions include the include the simple and obvious ones like local area knowledge, marketing techniques, experience, pricing strategies, etc..

And then there are the questions that matter but are often forgotten like...
  • Who assists you in scheduling appointments?  
  • Do you collect feedback from agents who will be showing my house?  
  • If my house is vacant, how often will you check on it?
  • Once an offer is received who handles the transaction and monitors paperwork?
  • Who will make sure everything is on track to make sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed?
  • Do you have an assistant and what is their responsibility?

The real question to ask any real estate agent you interview is 
"Are you going to be “my” real estate agent?  
When the "face" on the listing sign is never available the ride to the closing table can be a long and bumpy one. 

When you are ready to sell your Brevard County Florida house or condo, call me or email me to discuss how I can work for you.  And yes, I will be available when we get the offer and all the way to the closing table!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Turtle Creek Golf Course Town House - Rockledge Florida Price Reduced!

Price reduced to $72,900.   One of the best priced direct golf course properties in central Brevard County Florida (Viera, Rockledge,Suntree).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Summer Lakes in Viera – Executive Homes at $789, example of pricing to sell.

While reviewing recent sales in Viera’s gated executive community of Summer Lakes I noticed that three of the four active listings were priced at $$789,000.

All of these Summer Lakes homes are 4 bedroom three bath properties with 3,06-3,653 sq.ft. under air with 3/4 car garages and pools.

Is the pricing of homes in Summer Lakes so evenly coincidental?

Of course not.

Sellers (and their real estate agents) must know what the competition is within their neighborhood and immediate area.   In the case of Summer Lakes it is necessary to know the prices of nearby communities like Charolais Estates, Colfax Landing, Fairway Lakes and Wyndham at Duran.   Of course one of the keys to comparative pricing is identification of the differences and the similarities.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree Rockledge, Florida home, contact me for a free no obligation market analysis.

Short Sale Strategy – A sellers obligation to negotiate the best price possible

I am involved in several of short sale transactions as a listing agent as well as a buyer's agent.  Of course these are separate transactions as it is not legal for a real estate agent to represent both sides in Florida (as a dual agent).

If you are not familiar with a short sale here is the definition in a nutshell.. 
A short sale is a situation where a homeowner is selling a property for less than the mortgage monies owed.  
After a seller receives and accepts a favorable offer, the offer to purchase must then be sent to the mortgage lender because.....Short sale approval depends on the lender – period.
Although ultimately the decision whether to approve a short sale rests with the lender, my question to sellers is this...

Should the seller do all they can to get the highest price possible for the lender?

The answer to the above question should be an emphatic "yes!"

Why?   Because if there is a deficiency (short fall) and there almost always is, the lender will have to make a decision on that short fall.
  • Do they write it off (forgive the debt)? 
  • Do they require the seller to bring some money to closing?  
  • Do they require the seller to sign a personal loan for the difference (or a negotiated amount)?
  • ????? 
These are just some of the possibilities so with this unknown it is obvious sellers should do the best they can to make the home sell for the best possible price.

And when an offer comes I believe it is a sellers obligation to negotiate the best price possible and then let the bank decide.

If you are considering selling your Brevard County Florida home and a short sale is a possibility, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me to discuss your options.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Some things should be obvious...

Some things are should be obvious.  They should not have to be written in the agent notes of an MLS listing for a home for sale.

Something like..... "Seller requests only qualified buyers…"

Home buyers sometimes do not understand how buyer's agents get paid.   Almost always the seller of a home is paying the listing company a percentage of the sales price (always negotiable).  This percentage is usually split 50/50 with the real estate agent working for the buyers.

As a buyer's agent working with buyers I only get paid upon a sale, why would I show a seller's home my buyer customer can't purchase?

As I work with buyers and sellers in Brevard County, Florida, I can assure you I will only show a buyer homes that meet their needs/expectations and what they can purchase.

Further, my expectation is the agents who show my listings are only showing qualified customers

If you are ready to buy or sell a home in Brevard County, Florida, call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can help in any way.

Home Buyer Tip -Does Proximity to Amenities Really Impact Price?

I was showing properties this week at Heritage Isle in Viera.  Heritage Isle is a gated 55+ community in one of the most desirable ares of central Florida.

One of the properties we saw was located around the corner from the clubhouse, tennis courts, pools, etc.  And then some were several blocks away - similar but priced a little less.

I wondered if prospective buyers would place as much value on the proximity to the clubhouse.

Also this week I was showing a young couple homes in the Viera East neighborhood of Auburn Lakes.   One of the homes was located across the street from the community pool.  I wondered if this location near the pool had an impact on the eventual selling price. 

As a buyer you have to consider the location differences, even within the same neighborhood, when looking at prices.

My experience with Brevard County home sellers clearly shows being near the pool or clubhouse should be, in their eyes, worth paying a little bit more.
When I go on a listing appointment I like to ask the owner what they like most about their home.  Very often it is the proximity to the pool or playground!

So does proximity to amenities really impact price?   It all comes down to which side of the transaction one is on!

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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Home Seller Tip - The Grandest of Grand is the Hardest to Sell

I am not sure if this should be home buyer warning or a home seller tip.

I recently reviewed a listing where the property is priced higher than the previous 121 sales in the neighborhood. (Those sales go back to January 2004 and included the big “run up”years.)

The home is much larger than any of the sold homes as well but what strikes me is the high price.  Who is going to buy this one?   Why would anyone choose this house over a similarly priced one in a more desirable are like Viera (west of I-95 in Brevard County)?

There is nothing wrong with the home's location.  It is located in a neighborhood where I have previously sold homes. But it is an over-improvement.  

As a buyer I recommend you look at the mid-range or even a bit lower priced homes in any neighborhood.  There is no advantage to being the highest priced home.

But there can be an advantage to being the mid sized/mid-priced home down in a neighborhood of larger properties!

Florida Homestead Exemption–Brevard County Florida Property Appraiser Links

Florida residents may apply for a special property tax exemption on your main residence (homestead).  This exemption can reduce the taxable value of your home by up to $50,000.

New home buyers in Florida need to keep in mind this exemption does not automatically transfer with a property when it is purchased.

Also, when you purchase a new home, check the current homestead exemption status at the time of purchase.  There are additional exemptions including exemptions for disability, for blind persons, for totally and permanently disabled persons, disabled veterans, widows and others.  This is not an all-inclusive list, check the Brevard County Property Appraiser web site.

The annual regular filing period for this exemption is January 1 to March 1 each year.  The nice thing about filing homestead exemption – as long as there are no changes in your status, there is no need to file again!  No need to file in person, do it online.

Check the Brevard County, Florida property appraiser web site for more information on homestead exemptions and property taxes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You lowered your price while I was waiting on your real estate agent?

Forty-eight hours ago I requested disclosures from your agent about your Brevard County, Florida home.   Nothing real hard here.. Sellers Real Property Disclosure, Sellers Mold Disclosure, Sellers HOA/Community Association Disclosure….all the routine stuff.

The agent’s assistant was off so I have to wait.

Interestingly, you reduced your list price in the interim.

Is this a signal that there is even more room for negotiation?  Is the motivation to sell increasing?

My guess is yes.

If you are considering selling your Viera or Rockledge, Florida home, choose the right agent who will be available when your buyer comes calling.   

Home Seller Tip - Show them a property that exceeds their expectations

This is not another one of those all too common "price is the key" real estate articles.  It is only intended to give to pointers about how to sell your Brevard County, Florida home.

Key point one - Who will your buyers most likely be?  Will it be executives, professionals, retirees, young first time buyers?  Perhaps it will be a second home buyer or an investor.

Key point two - With the knowledge of who your buyer will likely be then now what will they expect in a property?

If they are looking at an executive home, are they going to be expecting to see a property with carpet allowance offered?  Or at your list price are they going to expect granite or Silestone® counter tops?

If your home is priced (and marketed) as a move in ready property, are they going to want to come in and make major repairs?

Selling a home in this market is a very challenging task.   To increase your likelihood of success, know who your buyers will be and what they want to see when they open your front door.

And then show them a property that exceeds their expectations - from both the price and condition perspective.

Considering selling your Viera home?  Contact me for a free market analysis!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What a Real Estate Agent Is and Isn't...

One of the most invaluable tools in the home buying or home selling process is your real estate agent.   The right (or wrong) real estate agent can make a big difference in the entire experience.

But one of the keys to remember whether buying or selling, your real estate agent is not an expert in all things.  Your real estate agent should not be your "go to person" when it comes to advice in areas like...


 Interpreting contract language...
Surveys, Property Lines....

Home Inspections...

If you are considering buying or selling a home in Viera, please give me a call.  If at some point you need the services of an attorney, CPA, home inspector or other professional, I will gladly point you in the right direction!

Gary L. Waters PLLC
Broker Associate
Century 21 Baytree Realty
Rockledge FL 32955

Monday, January 16, 2012

Home Seller Tips - Barriers to Selling Your Home

This short post is not about the most critical barrier to selling your house – price.  Rather it is about the other little things that can interfere with getting to the closing table.

Little things like… 
  1. 24 hours notice required – no exceptions!
  2. Clutter.  Too much stuff is never good!
  3. Pets jumping on buyers.  Love the friendliness but not when showing your home.
  4. Filth. Not talking about a lived in look but more of a neglected, frat house style.
  5. Tobacco smoke. 
  6. Owner must be present - no lock box!
  7. Dark, personalized paint.  Well lighted, neutral works best! 
  8. Showings in evenings only!
When preparing your home for sale try to see "your" house from "their" perspective.  It is really easy if you try.  And some of the things to not do when selling your home...

Preparation and staging a house when selling is key.  You want to impress, not depress, prospective buyers.  You only get about ten seconds for someone to form that dominant opinion.

Need some help selling your Viera home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or email me for a free market analysis.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Home Buyer Tip - The "Comps" Don't Lie....

In a buyer's market listing price is rarely paid by any buyer unless the seller is extremely motivated and chooses to approach the listing from a "let them fight it out perspective"  and lists at a lower than the competition price There is nothing wrong with attracting multiple offers!

The best indicator of the real potential selling price is what has sold recently that closely resembles the subject property.

In some of the ares of Brevard County, Florida, finding similar properties is rather easy.   If you look at many of the subdivisions of Viera, the same floor plan is common.  If you look at the 55+ communities in Viera like Heritage Isle or Grand Isle it is easy as well. 

When considering a purchase offer the comps don't lie.  Pennies on the dollar is not a strategy even in a buyer's market!   Sure, your real estate agent may need to dig a bit for any unusual conditions or concessions but still a reasonable indicator of a selling price (listing price) will be the comparative properties. 

There are not a lot of buyers in the Brevard County, Florida real estate market at this time.

But the buyers in the market are mostly serious...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Home Buyer Tip - Quality (Condition) is always linked to price regardless of what the marketing fluff says!

This is not a newsflash!   At the end of the day not all deals are as good as one may think.  Especially that short sale or foreclosure property you may be considering. 

A wise person said a long time ago "In this world you get what you pay for!"

If you have read very many real estate listings you have probably seen the words.... like "great value for the handy person," "a super deal," "unbelievable" and...well you get the picture.

Most of the time these words are meaningless fluff!    

I must concede that the writer (agent)/seller almost always sees the glass as half full!

Distressed properties, especially foreclosures, are very often priced less than standard sales and for a good reason.

Short sale properties often suffer from deferred maintenance.   Even worse are the foreclosures where the appliances, AC, hot water heater, garage door opener, and more have disappeared.   I have seen properties where even the interior doors, the vanities, and more have disappeared.

Was it the previous owner or did someone vandalize the property?   You never know but there is one thing you should remember get what you pay for in this world. 

If you are thinking about buying a short sale consider this point... Are you a good potential short sale buyer?

If you are considering a foreclosure make sure you understand the difference between a foreclosure and a short sale.

Quality (condition) is always linked to price regardless of what the marketing fluff says!

Brevard County Florida Real Estate - Knowing the “Why” First...

As a seller in any real estate market whether good or bad it is critical to know why you are selling before calling any real estate agent to discuss listing your home.

Besides, any real estate agent worth the time to interview is going to ask you why (among other things) at first contact.

It is a down market.  It is a buyer’s market.  You are not going to get premium dollar for your home or condo.

So knowing why you are selling and what you plan to do next is more important than ever.

Is it to take advantage of the lower prices and move up to a larger or newer home?  Or is it time to downsize to a condo or smaller home?

Or, are you an investor with the cash available to invest in rental properties?  [Rental rates have been increasing in the Brevard County market.]

Or perhaps you find yourself facing a hardship which makes selling necessary but owe more than the market will pay for your home?  Are you a candidate for a short sale?

As a seller knowing why you are selling will help your real estate agent market your house or condo.

If you are ready to sell your Viera, Florida home, give me a call to discuss why and how I can help you. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Short sale - 834 Laurel Drive Rockledge, Florida

Very nice home for sale in Rockledge, Florida.  Call me about this short sale located at 834 Laurel Drive in the St Michel subdivision. What is a short sale?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

As 2012 begins what is the state of the “short sale” real estate market in Brevard County, Florida?

About five years ago the real estate market was pretty simple - everything was selling for a higher price almost every week.  

In 2012 the real estate market is much more complex.  The 2012 real estate market really consists of several sub-markets (Perhaps the subordinate markets were always there but with less notoriety).

The subdivisions I am referring to include the standard (regular/fair market/normal) sales, foreclosure (bank owned/REO) sales, and the short sales.

As a seller it is important to know what is your competition is from within those markets.   As a standard seller your competition will primarily be other fair market sellers but some will still come from the short sale market.

As a buyer it is important to know what is available from those markets and whether a distressed property is a real consideration (short sales are not for every buyer).

Just four months ago (September 8, 2011) there were 721 active short sale single family home listings in Brevard County.  This represented 27% of all single family listings in Brevard County.  There were 522 single family closings in August 2011 with just over 25% being short sales.

In January 2012 there are 687 active residential single family short sale listings in Brevard County.  This is about 26% of all single family listings.

In December 2011 there 165 short sales among the 486 residential closings - about 34% of all the closings.

So as 2012 begins it looks as if the pattern is very similar - short sales are a major force on the market in Brevard County, Florida.

Here is a chart which shows the single family residential active listings by type of sale as of today.

Considering selling your Brevard County, Florida home in 2012?  The time to get moving is now!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Ventura at Turtle Creek in Rockledge–2011 Sales vs. 2012 Active Listings (A Comparison)

Ventura at Turtle Creek in Rockledge, Florida is a newer gated condo community developed by Pulte Builders around 2005-2007. Currently there are four buildings completed with room for additional buildings at some point.

This gated condo community provides excellent amenities, very attractive prices and a resort lifestyle in a central Florida location close to everything.

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

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

Some background on the community can be gathered from previous posts in this blog like this one that describes the Floor plans with descriptions.  (Also interesting to compare these 2008 prices with 2012.)

Currently (January 2012) there are five active listings in Ventura at Turtle Creek.  The list prices range from $90,000 to $148,000.  Two short sale listings are priced under $100,000.  There are four short sale listing under contract at this time as well.

There were seven units sold in 2011 based on data in the Brevard MLS system.  Selling prices ranged from $66,000 to $112,000.  The last unit sold in Ventura at Turtle Creek closed on December 8, 2011 with a selling price of $85,000 for a 3/2 unit with 1,447 sq.ft. under air.

For information on buying or selling condos in the Ventura at Turtle Creek in Rockledge or the Viera area, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Rockledge Florida Short Sale - Offered at $140,000!

Rockledge Florida Short Sale - Offered at $140,000!  Three bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage, fenced yard, great location.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

If you plan to sell your Brevard County home in 2012, What are you waiting for?

There is a time for everything...including to sell your home. The beginning of the year is the time to prepare, list and sell your home.  The reality is the average days on the market in Brevard County is about 120 days (4 months).  So, if you are considering selling your home before the summer why not start now?

Look at the residential sales for the first six months of 2011 in Brevard County... Is there a pattern?

Look at the 2010 residential sales as well....Is there a pattern?

If you are considering selling your Brevard County, Florida home in 2012, this is the time to start the process.  Call me at 321-693-3850 or email me to discuss marketing your home in 2012!

Gary L. Waters PLLC
Florida Licensed Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Baytree Realty
Rockledge, FL 32955

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