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Friday, March 30, 2012

Short Sale Advice–Don’t Say “Yes” to a Weak Offer

I have experienced short sale situations where the seller just signs off on an obviously weak offer because they wanted to “let the lender decide.”  In every situation I was working with the buyer side and fully expected a counteroffer from the seller.  But they deferred.


I do not understand this reasoning as it is obviously in the short sale seller’s best interest to get the most money for their house as possible.

By its definition "short sale" implies there will be a difference between selling price and monies owed.

If a short sale is approved the lender is going to decide what options are available for dealing with the difference.

Minimize the deficiency.
  1. Stage and prepare to sell your home as if you will be "banking" the difference.
  2. Negotiate the offer as if you will be "banking" the difference.
Because, depending on the difference, you may be "banking" the difference in the way of a personal note to the bank in exchange for an approval.

A short sale is not a get out of jail free card with no obligations on the part of a seller.

If you live in Brevard County, Florida and circumstances require you to consider a short sale, lets talk and see if I can assist you in any way.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pricing Your Home To Sell – Tricks, Luck, Facts and Success!

Reviewed a listing today that was significantly overpriced.  The narrative included a short sentence - “Seller will include a home warranty for buyers.”

Home warranties only cost a few hundred dollars – maybe as much as $500 or so if there is a pool included.  Not much incentive if the price is thousands above the market price.

By the way, list your home with me and I will provide your buyers with a home warranty.

Another incentive that I think is a waste of time – offering a bonus to the real estate agent who brings a full price offer.  I see this more often with overpriced listings.

Any real estate agent who is working for their client first will not fall for such an offer if the price is not realistic.

Many of the tricks I have seen like lowering the price today, raising the price tomorrow so it shows up on the "hot list" seems too "use car lot" to me!  Buyers (and their agents) see through these immediately! 

Here are a few short articles on pricing strategies when selling your home…
And if you do price your home aggressively there is always this lingering question…
If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree, Rockledge or Merritt Island home, call me to discuss how I can help you. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Home Buyer Tips - What to do if you can't buy right now? A Lease Purchase Option or Just Lease….

I am not an attorney or investment adviser.  I am not a used car salesman.

The first sentence means I do not offer legal or tax advice here.  Call a qualified lawyer or CPA.

The second sentence refers to a recent post where I made the comment "Don't ask a car salesman if you need a new car."   

When it comes to real estate there are usually two main is labeled buy and the other rent.  In between is a pathway called the lease purchase option or option to purchase.

I am not a big fan of the lease-purchase option.  Most often I get calls about these from buyers who can not obtain financing right now.

I will admit a lease-purchase option can be good if the option locks in a price for a future purchase and home prices escalate during the option term.

Any seller considering taking their home off the market with a purchase option agreement should require money up front to make sure everyone is serious. 

Likewise, any buyer who is serious about a purchase option should expect to put money down.  After all, a lease purchase without down payment or option money is called... RENTING.

As for my opinion....a person should either buy if they can or lease. 

As a Florida licensed real estate broker associate I do not prepare contracts or offer advice on contracts.  I recommend a real estate attorney get involved.

Need a real estate agent in Brevard County, Florida?  Email me.

Choosing a Realtor® in Brevard County, Florida - Brevard County, FLorida Real Estate Agents

Part of being an expert is knowing one's limitations. 

It is those that go beyond their limitations and licensing qualifications that skate on thin ice (since I am in Florida make that venture into shark infested surf).

I am a Florida licensed real estate broker associate who represents buyers and sellers in residential transactions in Brevard County, Florida.  I know the local central Brevard County real estate estate market very well.

I am not qualified to provide advice on things like
  • a property's condition.  I will recommend a good property inspector if you ask.
  • tax ramifications of selling your home.  Here is a Google search for CPA Viera Florida
  • potential profit to be made on a "flip" property.  
  • future property appreciation.  
  • potential future development of the vacant land behind your home or along any roadway.  
  • how your lender will respond to your short sale contract and any mortgage deficiency that remains if accepted.
If you are looking for a residential real estate expert in Brevard County, Florida, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Association Restrictions - Know what they are before buying...

As part of the purchase process in Florida buyers have a right (opportunity) to review association rules before purchasing a home or condo in a complex where association membership is required.

It is extremely important buyers actually read and understand these restrictions in advance.

Don't let restrictions on paint color, putting up a fence or parking your vehicle outside of your garage be a surprise when you get a warning notice from the association!

The condo lifestyle is quite different from the single family lifestyle and the restrictions are probably a bit more constricting.

Things like pets, if allowed, may be regulated.  Specific breeds may be disallowed completely while other breeds may be welcome as long as they fall within a weight limit.

Many times these restrictions relate to insurance policy requirements and are not because the association is not pet friendly!

Another area that should be checked out prior to purchasing is the restrictions of rentals.  If you are a part time resident perhaps you will want to lease your condo for part of the year.  If rentals are allowed many units restrict the minimum period to 3 or 6 months.

Take my advice - if there is an association, read the by laws and rules.  And if you have a question - ask a qualified person for an explanation (an attorney, not your real estate agent).

For information on homes and condos for sale in Brevard County, Florida, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Home Seller Tips - Your "Etch a Sketch" Listing

Etch-002The old Etch a Sketch toy has been in the news a lot this week.  Of course it was brought about through some political comment made by someone’s supporter and not some renewed interest in pre-video game toys!

The Etch a Sketch analogy came to mind this morning as I reviewed some expired real estate listings that were now back on the market in Brevard County, Florida.

When a listing has been on the market long enough to expire something wrong happened months earlier.

It could have been an overly optimistic seller or even a real estate agent who did not know l the local market or agreed to list even at a an unrealistic price.  I would like to believe any seller who has hired a local real estate agent and is motivated would not be in this situation.

Regardless of the reason a listing expired, the number of days on the market can work against you even if you can “shake” the Etch a Sketch and start all over again. 

If your Brevard County, Florida listing is expiring and you are ready for a change in direction, please contact me to discuss how we can shake the Etch a Sketch and get it right this time!

Gary L. Waters PLLC
Florida Licensed Real Estate Broker Associate
Century 21 Baytree Realty
Rockledge, Florida 32955  
321-693-3850 (direct)

Home Buyer Tip–“Don't ask a car salesman if you need a new car.”

Home prices in Brevard County are very attractive right now.  Interest rates are very attractive right now.  And, if there is one thing history has shown about real estate, it is cyclical.

There are a lot of people who would love to buy a home at this time but can't due to current circumstances.   It may be tight mortgage lending requirements, lack of available cash for a down payment, uncertainty in employment, bad credit, or whatever.

If credit is the issue, my advice is simple - work on fixing your credit.   A better credit score will result in a lower interest rate and long term cost when you do purchase a home.

If it is employment uncertainty like many faced with the end of the space shuttle program, why take on and an additional burden and responsibility?

When your thoughts come to something as life changing (and it does) take your time and consider your steps.

Talk to a responsible person whom you trust.

What I mean is "Don't ask a car salesman if you need a new car."  [nothing wrong with car sales professionals] 

There is nothing wrong with renting for a little while longer.

Whether you are considering a purchase or looking to rent for a while, call me if I can assist in any way.

Have a question?  Email me….

Friday, March 23, 2012

Home Buyer Tips - sometimes cash is the only option

Many, if not most, buyers obtain a mortgage when purchasing something major such as a house or condo although some pay cash. 

Of the 1,238 residential and condo closings in Brevard county during the first two months of 2012,  just slightly more than 56% were cash transactions.

My guess is many of the cash transactions were necessary because cash was very likely the only option available (unless a seller-held mortgage is possible).

A couple of examples where cash only may be required could include
  • Investor target properties where “cash only” situations exist due to things like the condition of the property.  If windows are broken, walls damaged, roof leaks, and the like exist then financing is out of the question for most lenders.  I am not a mortgage expert but there are some loans available where repair funds can be placed in escrow at closing but these are not for major rehab projects.  For information on loans, contact a qualified lender.
  • Or it may be a case where the condo community has not been certified by HUD/ FHA because of things like more than half the units are occupied by renters.  FHA wants to make sure loans on condos go where the units are primarily the owner’s primary residence. And even if the more than half of the condos are owner occupied if there are more than 15% of the owners behind in association dues financing is not an option.
As you shop for a home or condo identify properties that fit your financial resources and options.

If you are considering buying or selling a house or condo in Brevard County, Florida,  I would welcome a chance to work with you!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Home Buyer Tip - Perfect comes with a cost….

There is a price tag for “perfect” regardless of what you seek.

The perfect automobile for you may be a bit out of your budget.  Sure you would like that Lexus SUV but maybe a Toyota Corolla will do the job for now.

When shopping for a home perhaps perfect is the gated community with a 3,000 square foot four bedroom three bath pool home.  But maybe it is the $150,000 home in the same Viera area that will do for now.

When shopping for a home keep in mind perfect may come at a price you can't afford so your focus should turn to "what will do for now?"

Perfect may just be a case of new carpet, new paint or an updated kitchen that can be added later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Home Buyer Tip - How many homes must you look at?

How many homes must one look at before deciding this is the one?

Although the inventory of home for sale in Brevard County, Florida is down, there are still plenty of them to look at out there.  Today there are 1,041 active listings for 3 bedroom 2 bath single family homes for sale in Brevard County!

The answer is - "It all depends."

It depends on...
  • Whether you have identified the real target area (if not the neighborhood at least a general area). 
  • Whether you have identified the real budget - not some pre-approved up to maximum amount but what you really are comfortable with spending. 
  • Whether the mandatory "must have" characteristics have been identified. 
  • Whether a home owner association is desired or not. 
  • Whether you have a time frame established (if it is a 30-60 day requirement then a short sale should not even be looked at!).
  • Whether you are willing you do some cosmetic repairs or want "move in" ready.
The above characteristics are not the only variables that will decide how quickly you will find "the one."   Each buyer has their own list and must be able to identify the criterion early on. 

Finally, the number of homes one must look at will be greatly influenced by this...
  • Whether your real estate agent understands the factors you consider most important and is familiar with the area you are wanting to purchase in. 
When buying a home choose a real estate agent who knows your target area and who will listen to your requirements.  Do not underestimate the importance of having a real estate agent who knows your area of interest.

When you are ready to buy a home in Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida, call me.  I know the area!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ravencliffe Subdivision Viera–Home For Sale $458,900

Absolutely stunning four bedroom three bath home for sale on lake in Viera’s choice gated Ravencliffe subdivision.

Located at 3221 Gatlin Drive, this 2006 pool home  priced at only $458,900 offers 3,268 square feet under air on a quarter acre waterfront lot.

As a former builder model, this home has all the extra touches.

 View a virtual tour here. 

Ravenclife offers resident's a superb location close to Duran Golf Course, restaurants, excellent schools, shopping, Viera Hospital and more.  For commuters Orlando is only 45 minutes away and the beaches twenty minutes!

Call or email me for information on homes for sale in Ravencliffe in Viera.

Offered for sale by Century 21 Baytree Realty, 1211 Admiralty, Blvd, Rockledge Florida.

Home Buyer Tips - You want to buy but the lease says what?

It is an excellent time to buy a home in Brevard County, Florida. 

A word of warning to those who are renting now but considering a home purchase in the near future - planning is critical.

Over the past month I have had two incidents involving customers wanting to buy a home in Viera (Melbourne, Florida) but the roadblock was not the usual culprit - obtaining a mortgage - but rather the lease was the hurdle!

I am not an attorney so I can't advise on what the lease says or any mechanism to terminate without penalty.  That is a discussion for the individual and the landlord.  I recommend one first look at the lease as most leases I have seen address lease termination.

The solution for one of my buyers was workable.  I was able to assist them in a short term (7 month) lease.  That gives us time to find the right property.

The other buyers will probably be OK as well as we are discussing new construction and with the time requirements, the lease will almost be over anyway.

Key point:  If you are in a lease and considering buying a home, start early before you get in a situation requiring long-term renewal or finding a shorter lease.  In Brevard County, short duration leases are typically more expensive. Why move until you have your new home?

If you are considering a buying a home in Brevard County whether a first time buyer or an experienced buyer, give me a call (or send me an email) to discuss the process.

Let's start early to avoid getting caught up in a lease.  


Short Sales - They Happen.

Life is about change. Most of the time the changes are good.  Sometimes the changes are painful and forever life changing.

Events like a death in the family, loss of a job, downsizing, budget cuts, name it, place folks in situations that make lifestyle changes necessary - not a choice.

If events create an inability to make your mortgage payment an issue then perhaps a short sale is the best route.  When meeting your mortgage obligation becomes an issue difficult choices have to be made.

Sure, you love your home and your routine.  But, remember - your house is not your home.  Your home is where and what you make it. Life's storms are temporary.

If you are facing a hardship and must sell your home, a short sale is a better route to consider than just giving in to foreclosure.

Please call me to discuss the short sale process or if you prefer email me.

Regardless of the challenge I suggest you consider the advice of the advice of Jim Collins who in his book Good to Great wrote...
“There is a sense of exhilaration that from facing head-on the hard truth and saying, we will never capitulate.  It might take a long time, but we will find a way to prevail.”

Monday, March 19, 2012

What can a buyer do? Short Sales - Sometimes the bank says “No!”

One of my buyer customers had their short sale counter offer rejected by the bank this week.   I am not sure why the lender rejected the offer.  They said the offer was not enough but my buyer thinks otherwise!

So we will continue shopping for a home to buy in Viera.

Short sales do not always happen.  [What is a short sale?]

That is the nature of the process.  Lenders take their time while everyone patiently awaits their response.  Sometimes buyers walk away before a response comes from the lender.

If you are considering buying or selling a Viera home, please call me for a free market analysis.

If a short sale is a consideration, email me with your questions.

Not every contract gets to closing....
whether short sale or standard sale...
in spite of all the effort in the world!

Florida Homes For Sale– Not every home is on the beach!

I receive a lot of inquiries from folks wanting to buy a home in Florida.  After all, who would not want to move to Florida and enjoy the weather, the beaches, the golf, no state income taxes?

Many who are from out of the area see the homes and condos listed for sale in the local MLS web site (especially the really inexpensive condos) and think they are all on or very near the water.

When one thinks about the Brevard County area I suggest one think of a narrow sliver along the Atlantic Ocean about 75 miles north to south with two main bodies of water - the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon.  Most of the housing will be inland and not waterfront.

Although this is a bit of a generalization consider this...  (1)  the closer to the ocean or river, the higher the price (2)  the higher the floor, the higher the price and (3) the view of the ocean is a lot more expensive than a view to the west.

But the good news is you can move to Brevard County, Florida and still be near the beach.
Is it so terrible to drive 15 or 20 minutes to the beach?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Home Buyer Tip - If it is not "permanent" then don’t scratch it from your list just yet...

Home buyers always have their lists.  

One list is the price list.  There is always a budget.  I rarely hear anyone say "price is not an object" who really means it!

There is the "must have" list.  Things like size, location, age of construction, special views like the ocean or golf course, etc.

There is the "can't have" list.  Things like traffic, too close to the neighbors, home owner associations, deed restrictions, etc.

I caution buyers to see beyond the negatives like "must have"  granite counter tops, "must have" a pool, "must have" neutral paint or carpet.

Because if all else is right, these are not permanent blemishes!

Sometimes perfect is not available at the time.  But if these missing ingredients are not structural or too costly to achieve later then perfect may still be available.

Look beyond what is and see what can be done later....if the price is right! 

These are the things that can be placed on their "can live with temporarily" list!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Home Seller Tip - Show your home, not your everything!

When selling your home distractions should not be part of the showing process.  As a seller you have only a brief time, some say less than a minute, to make to make a good impression or be scratched from the list!

I read a feedback comment yesterday that said something like the dark wood floors, drawn curtains and over-sized, stuffed furniture made them fill like they were in an over sized coffin.  That does not sound like an impression that will bring an offer!

Too much furniture makes a house look cluttered and small.  People don't stand around in amazement impressed by a rooms capacity.  And shelf after shelf filled with books or collectibles doesn't impress either.  These, along with lots of family pictures, may again distract from the properties positive characteristics.

Even if you are not going to buy a new home when you sell, take the time to visit some model homes and notice the staging.  There is no clutter.  That is what you need to aim for although maybe not totally impersonal. (You are still living in the home!)

Here are a few articles you may find helpful when preparing to sell your Brevard County home.

It may be a "man room" but why would a buyer care?
Selling your home may require "neutralizing" some things!
A house that "sparkles" on the surface will sell faster than its shabby neighbor....
Preparing Your Home for Selling - Don't Forget Safety!

The goal should be to show your home, not your everything!    I did not mention anything about cleaning your home - that is a given!

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge Florida home, call me for a free market analysis!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Viera Homes For Sale–Choices Shrinking for Buyers

Viera, located just north of Melbourne, Florida is one of the most popular areas of Brevard County.  The amenities offered and quality of life make it very attractive to all ages including those retiring to Florida.

The new Viera Hospital, the golfing choices like Duran Golf Club or Viera East Golf Course, fitness centers,  superior schools,  The Avenues at Viera shopping and more make Viera the place to live, work and play in Central Florida!

If one is looking for a 55+ community there are still plenty of choices – about 90 or so inside the gated Indian River Colony Club, less in the gated Grand Isle and newest 55+ community of Heritage Isle!

So how many single family homes are for sale in Viera?

In Viera East (east of I-95) there are 151 single family homes for sale.  Take away the 55+ communities listings you are left with only 66 single family homes for sale in Viera East

In the the newer areas of Viera located west of I-95 there are 81 single family homes for sale in all.  Of these 27 are in the 55+ community of Heritage Isle.

The number of active short sale listings is shrinking as well with less than 20 short sales in all of Viera.  However, if you are looking to purchase a short sale in Brevard County there are over 500 active listings…just few in Viera!

Putting this into perspective, consider this…

There are 2,203 single family homes for sale in all of Brevard County, Florida that are not located within 55+ communities.  Of these, less than 6% are in Viera.

This shrinking inventory will eventually a positive sign for sellers!

Estate Sales–Buyers and Sellers View Them Differently

When many people see an “estate sale” sign posted they think bargain - not just another garage sale!  I think the same thinking occurs when home buyers see an MLS listing that includes the magical words "Estate Sale."

But bargains may or may not be on the agenda at these sales.

First of all the context of the "estate sale" could be anything from an owner relocating to an assisted living facility, a recent death or even the owner is just simply moving.

Depending on the circumstances an estate sale can bring out a lot of emotion on those involved with the selling.   It may be in the form of an emotional attachment (memories) that makes the offer price too high for the market.  It may even be in the form of greed by one of the survivors. (It happens!)

On the buyer side it may very well bring out the predator in some buyers who thinks it’s a desperation liquidation sale.

A normal real estate transaction is an emotional roller coaster anyway.  If it is an estate sale – expect a bit more!

If you are considering down sizing or recently experienced an event where an estate sale is necessary call me if I can help in any way.

If you live out of the area I would be happy to provide a free market analysis.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Brevard County, Florida Real Estate - Negotiating the Deal

The negotiation process is really pretty simple.  One party makes an offer. The receiving party responds in one of three ways.
  1. Accept the offer as written,
  2. Reject the offer completely, or
  3. Counteroffer with modified terms.
 If you are a seller and think the offer is not really that bad you may want to think twice before rejecting the offer or submitting a counteroffer.

If, as a buyer, you consider the counteroffer to be acceptable, although not perfect, think twice before rejecting it as well.

Key Point - a counteroffer or rejection takes the original offer off the table.  If the other party rejects your new offer you can't just say "OK, I will go with the original" and require the offering party to go forward.  They may do so but you just don't know.

Disclaimer - I am not an attorney. This should not be considered legal advice - only my opinion.  If you are seeking a legal interpretation contact a qualified attorney in your area.

The goal of the negotiation process is for the parties to eventually find some point of agreement or as they say "a meeting of the minds."   Most times it does happen.

At all times during the negotiation process remain calm and do not take it personally.  It is a business transaction whether you are the buyer or seller!

I am a Broker Associate with Century 21 Baytree Realty in Rockledge, Florida.  I am not an attorney, CPA or tax adviser.  This post is presented as general information only.  If you are considering buying or selling a home in Brevard County, Florida I would welcome an opportunity to discuss your needs.

Selling Your Brevard County, Florida Home - Your Listing Expired, Why?

Every day real estate listings expire.  At the stroke of midnight last night another 26 listings in Brevard County, Florida expired.

Most of these expired listings will probably be extended by the seller under the same circumstances that caused them to expire.

Every morning I review the homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida that just expired.  Many are distressed properties - short sales and foreclosures.  I stay away from those.  Short sales are likely under contract and the lengthy process is usually the culprit here.  

Why is your home not selling? 

When a listing expires is it going to change a thing if you don't change a thing?

If your listing expired and you are considering a change - call me at 321-693-3850 or email me. 

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