Find Your Home!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Is it necessary to have a real estate agent to buy, sell or lease a property?

The easy answer...of course not.

But, and this is big but, it depends on the individual.  As I  like to say....

Swim with the alligators as long as you know the risk.

There is a risk when going it alone.  This is true whether you are renovating your kitchen, selling your own house as a FSBO (for sale by owner), or managing your own rental property.

I had a landlord's previous tenant call me recently because their deposit had not been returned.  I explained that I was not the property manager and recommended they read the statutes. I then emailed the statutes to my "Do It Yourself" landlord who was going to immediately contact the tenant who moved out last month.

This served to remind me that it is imperative we understand the implications of doing things without the assistance of a professional.

Selling your own home is not a proven successful strategy for the majority of home owners.  I am not sure about the success history of owner landlords.

I recognize my limitations so I have never attempted a major home renovation job.  I have never sold my own home without the use of a Realtor®.  When I owned a rental property I had a property manager handle all tenants.

Knowing your limitations is key in managing your risk exposure.

 If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida home, call me to discuss how I can work for you.

If you own rental property in Brevard County, Florida and are seeking assistance with tenant placement, call me.  If you would like me to refer a property management company, just ask!

Its a temporary condition - Florida vacation euphoria

I received a question from a reader who asked whether it is typically more difficult to sell homes in Brevard County during the summer as opposed to the winter because there are more vacationers there?

My response was pretty simple...
Summer is not any more challenging than the remainder of the year.  Still sometimes the vacationers get what I call "orange juice in their veins" and have a sudden interest in looking at second homes.  I have learned that many of these folks are suffering from a temporary condition - Florida vacation euphoriaFor a few lucky ones it does become a permanent condition!

If you are seriously thinking about buying a home in Florida, give me a call or send me an email

Let me show you how to enjoy the euphoria of being a Florida homeowner!  OK, maybe it isn't always a euphoric experience.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Do home buyers choose the school then the neighborhood?

Schools are a major force in real estate decision making.

School quality impacts home value - either positively or other otherwise.  For this reason I think home buyers, even if the buyer has no school age children, will frequently ask about the nearby schools.

In Brevard County, Florida  I seem to get many requests from buyers to search only in certain school districts.  For example, when it comes to high schools it is very likely Viera High School, Rockledge High School,  Cocoa Beach High School  or Satellite Beach High School as I work more often with buyers within the central Brevard County area.

If you are considering a home purchase in Brevard County, the below links will take you to the Brevard County School District web site where you find a lot of very useful information.

When considering a home purchase I urge buyers visit (at least call) the local school to verify the school assignment based on the specific property address.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Short Sales in Brevard County, Florida–Setting your price…

Establishing the best listing price has always been the key compenent to selling a house or condo.

With a short sale pricing is even more of a challenge because of the additional processes (time) involved.

With a short sale, especially in a declining market, time is real money.

Unlike standard sales, a short sale requires the lender(s) approval of any offer.  Short sales involve negotiation and agreement on how to handle the difference between selling price and the loan balance. 

Because of the time involved many sellers are anxious to get any offer signed off on and the process started right away.

However, to minimize the chance of disappointment and increase the chance of acceptance by the lender, sellers need to exercise care when setting the list price.

I suggest things like...
  • Set a realistic price based on comparable nearby properties.
  • Offer a reasonable pricing discount as a way of acknowledging the the special process involved with a short sale.
  • DO NOT price under the market to get an offer quickly.
  • Price based on the real condition of your home?  What repairs need to be done?  Is your house dated?
Your goal is to get a reasonable offer the lender will sign off on and that will minimize the difference between the loan balance and the selling price.

If you are considering selling your Viera home as a short sale or standard sale, call or email me for a free market analysis.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Homes for Sale in Viera, Florida - Not every sign is a “For Sale” sign….

When shopping for a new home it is very common for folks to drive through neighborhoods looking for homes that are “for sale” that appeal to their taste.

The problem with is not every one they see is "For Sale."

For example, take the Indigo Crossing subdivision in Viera, Florida.  There are four homes with signs in front of them.  They are all under contract and, coincidentally, are short sales.

Another good example is the Bayhill at Viera East development also in Viera.  As of today there are seven homes under contract and I am sure they all have a sign out front.  But none is for sale.

This is an a good indication of the real estate market in Brevard County – five of these have gone under contract since May 7, 2012.

If you have driven through neighborhoods in Viera and found areas you like, email me and I will gladly send you the homes that are for sale…not the ones that have a “for Sale” sign out front but are already under contract.


Shopping For Your New Florida Home - Narrowing your choices….

Shopping For Your New Florida Home - Narrowing your choices….

They have decided on the general location for the new property – central Brevard County, Florida.  They have decided on the size (sq.ft. under air conditioning).  They have decided on the general age of construction.  They agree it must be nice with custom touches.  They have decided on a generous (not too limiting, realistic) budget.

But the one thing they have not decided on is this.  He is leaning toward a single family detached home.  She really prefers a condo.

So we are seeing both.  This makes the process a bit more of a challenge.

But a decision will eventually be made.

I have an opinion as to which direction they should probably go but that is not my decision

Until they agree I will show them properties that meet the criteria they have agreed on already.

If you are considering buying a home in Florida, let me know if I can assist in any way.

I will work to find the property that meets your criteria - not mine!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Selling Your Brevard County, Florida Home - Don't Be Paranoid Seller

I affectionately call them paranoid sellers which is probably not an accurate description at all.

Who are “they?”
  • They will not allow an electronic lock box to be placed on their home.  
  • They must have their real estate agent be present to “bird dog” any prospective buyers who view their home.
  • They will not allow a sign to be placed out front because the neighbors may become nosy.
  • They will not allow a buyer to see their home unless given 24-48 hours advance notice.
They may not be paranoid but they are....
not interested in selling their home!

Selling your home is work.

Selling your home involves creating circumstances that make your home appealing to prospective buyers.

Selling your home will likely be an inconvenience but it must be accessible to prospective buyers when they want to see it.

When you are ready to sell your Viera, Rockledge or Merritt Island, Florida home or condo, cal me to discuss how I can work for you.  If you prefer, email me.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Brevard County, Florida Short Sales - Should I rent out my home while doing a short sale?

If you are a home owner considering a short sale at some point in the near future, should you rent your home in the interim?

What is a short sale?

Depending on circumstances (moved already) a home owner may look at the opportunity to receive rental income to help offset the carrying cost as a good thing.  After all, the owner still owns the home and has the freedom to do whatever they desire.

Disclaimer… I am not an attorney or tax adviser.  Seek appropriate advice from qualified professionals. 

How will a lease impact the sale of your Florida home?   In Florida anytime a home is sold regardless of sale type a new owner must comply with the terms of a valid lease.  This does not preclude some arrangement to terminate early if the tenant is willing.

Selling a tenant occupied property has potential hurdles to overcome.  When selling a tenant occupied property (short sale or standard sale), it is critical the owners have an excellent relationship with the tenant to make things go a lot better.

Tenants can block or at least make showings difficult while they are occupying a home.   Tenants may say things (true or not) to influence a buyer prospect.

Open communication with a current or prospective tenant is critical.   And what if the seller quits making their mortgage payment?  Will the tenant decide to stop making rent payments? Just a thought although it should not be relevant.

A short sale is not an easy process.  Having a tenant in place may be an additional obstacle.  Still, it is your house.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Rockledge or Merritt Island home as a short sale, send me an email or give me a call to discuss how I may assist you in the process.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How did Brevard County, Florida real estate sales perform in May 2012 vs. May 2011?

How did Brevard County, Florida real estate sales perform in May 2012 vs. May 2011?

  • One of the most noticeable items in the chart above is the existing inventory.  Both single family and condominium inventory is down about 50% over last May levels.  This is a good sign for sellers.
  • Average selling price is climbing - more so with the condos.
  • Months supply is down which will eventually lead to multiple bids as more buyers have fewer homes from which to choose.
Not included in the chart above is another key bit of information regarding short sales and foreclosures.... the percentage of closed sales that were lender mediated was 24.8%.   This number has been declining over the past few months.

Statistics reported above provided by the Florida Realtors.

Email me for information on buying or selling a home in Brevard County, Florida.

Selling Your Brevard County Florida Home - Overpricing your home helps your neighbor!

I read an article today that used the term pinball in reference to a real estate sales technique.  According to the article some agents are using pinball listings as a set up prior to showing other properties to buyers.

Apparently a pinball listing is a house listed for sale at an unrealistically high price.

I have never used the technique as I find it easier to tell a buyer a home is overpriced and recommend we skip it.

I don't think I have ever had a buyer say, "No, I want to see the overpriced home anyway!"

Just today I was reviewing condos for a customer to see this weekend.  I found several that were all the same size, in the same building with the same view.  Two are priced similarly; the other a hundred thousand more.  No reason to even waste our time seeing the pinball listing.

An overpriced listing usually does only one thing - helps your neighbor sell their home!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Property Inspections–Home Inspectors Don’t Have All the Answers

What does a new construction and re-sale home have in common?

Both should have a property inspection done by a qualified property inspector before purchase [An inspection contingency should be part of any offer to purchase - even an "as is" home.]

Home inspections are necessary because the perfect home simply does not exist

What will a home inspector do?   In the words of property inspector Jay Markanich of Bristow, Virginia….
what I do is observe and report.  I don't evaluate, determine courses of action, or even, in my report, offer my conclusion as to what I think is going on here.
The results of a property inspection are between the buyer and the inspector.

Have a question about buying or selling a home in Florida?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Did you miss the real estate boat? This is 2012 not 2008…

I spoke with another overly optimistic buyer this afternoon.  She wanted a short sale in the Viera, Florida area for less than $120,000.

Short sales in Viera are less common at the moment with less than ten single family homes on the market (outside of any 55+ communities).   Seven of these short sale listings are priced at or above $229,000.

Inventory is down.  Many of the move in ready homes are receiving multiple offers.

Demand is going to has pushed low ball offers out of the picture.

Interest rates are very attractive.  Prices are still very reasonable.

But the inventory of homes for sale in Brevard County is not at 2008 levels nor are most sellers as desperate!

For information on homes for sale in Viera, or selling your Viera home, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Most Affordable Communities in Viera (Melbourne, Florida) in 2011-2012

The planned unit development of Viera (located north of Melbourne, Florida) in central Brevard County offers home buyers housing in all price ranges.

Below I have listed the average selling price for eleven of the most affordable subdivisions in Viera based on average selling price from July 1, 2011 through today.  Note that this is not a complete analysis of the homes for sale in Viera and is intended as a general guide fro home prices in Viera. 
  1. Sunstone -   $285,029
  2. Sonoma at Viera -  $264,667  *
  3. Daintree –  $239,794 *
  4. Grand Isle -  $200,857 * #
  5. Indigo Crossing - $160,118  
  6. Six Mile Creek -  $189,364 
  7. Heritage Isle - $186,923 * #
  8. Capron Trace - $160,300 
  9. Auburn Lakes - $149,214 
  10. Bayhill at Viera  - $146,529 
  11. Stratford Place - $145,666 *
* gated community
# 55+ community

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

Monday, June 18, 2012

Baytree Golf Course in Melbourne Florida–Homes for Sale in June 2012

One indicator of the shrinking real estate inventory in Brevard County, Florida is the reduced number of homes for sale within the gates of the Baytree National Golf Links community in the Suntree are of Brevard County, Florida.

As of today there are only nine homes listed for sale within Baytree National Golf Course communities. 

Of the nine homes for sale within Baytree two are located within the Isles of Baytree area where the lawn and landscaping is included in the association dues.   These homes are a bit smaller with both listings having only about 1,700 sq.,ft. under air with two car garages.  These homes are priced at $205,000 and $225,000.

The remaining homes for sale range in price from $289,900 to a high of $$650,000 (most are pried above $400K).  These homes were all built between 1994 and 2002 (most around 2000-2002).

Buyers looking for newer construction golf course homes should consider the Fairway Lakes at Viera as well Wyndham at Duran gated communities in nearby Viera.

Since the beginning of May 2012 there have been five homes sold in Baytree.  Selling prices ranged from $189,000 (small 1,902 sq.ft. under air) to $611,000 for a 3,254 sq.ft. four bedroom three bath three car garage pool home with tremendous water front views!

Activity within Baytree is really picking up with seven homes under contract - four of them with the past two weeks.

For information homes for sale in Baytree National as well as the remaining areas of Suntree and Viera, email me or give me a call directly at 321-693-3850.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Brevard County Florida Property Taxes - Market Value, Assessed Value, Homestead Exemptions

In addition to the mortgage, homeowner's insurance and association fees, home buyers need to consider the current and projected property taxes when thinking about buying a new home.

As a Brevard County, Florida real estate agent I advise buyers that the current taxes and assessed value of a property is not a guaranteed predictor of the future taxes on a property.

The current exemption status of a home on January 1st of the year determines the exemptions for the current year only.

The below information has been extracted from the Brevard County Property Appraiser web site:

Homestead exemption status affects the property tax bill for homeowners as well. The exemption status of a new home on January 1st affects the property tax bill for the entire year as property taxes are paid at the end of the year.

There are basic homestead exemptions like the $25,000 (sometimes $50,000 exemption) plus special exemptions for Disability ($500), Blind Persons ($500), Totally & Permanently Disabled Persons (Civilian)Disabled Veterans, Service Connected Total & Permanent Disability Exemption plus a few other special categories. 

Check out the Brevard Property Appraiser web site here.

Does Your Real Estate Agent Answer the Phone? “That’s OK, we’ll just skip it…”

Some days are more frustrating than others in the real estate business.  Trying to schedule a showing for your Viera, Florida home should be a reasonably easy endeavor.

The Brevard County, Florida real estate market is not (yet) such that you really can afford to miss a cash buyer showing.

As a seller I am sure you want your home to be seen by as many qualified buyer prospects as possible, right?

So when you hire a Brevard County real estate agent to market your home the scheduling of appointments should not be an arrangement where the agent is the only one who can schedule the appointment.  Even if your agent will be the only contact, they should be reachable and responsive.

I suggest you check the responsiveness of your real estate agent as well as their officeespecially after you list your home for sale!

If you are considering selling your Viera home or condo, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

I will be responsiveMy office will be responsive.

By the way to the seller.... we did manage to skip your home.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What $150,000 will buy in Brevard County, Florida in 2012?

What will $150,000 will buy in Brevard County, Florida in May/June 2012?  The below single family homes were sold between May 1, 2012 and June 12, 2012.

This is just a random sampling of the types of properties selling in Brevard County as we approach the summer months. 

  • 972 Brumpton Place, Rockledge - Located in Viera, this 1,1911 sq.ft. 4/2//2 built in 2003 sold for $140,000 as a short sale (Auburn Lakes subdivision).
  • 1551 Talamore Lane, Melbourne - Located in Viera this 1,902 sq.ft. 4/2/2 built in 2000 sold for $148,000 as a standard sale (Bayhill subdivision). 
  • 1199 Meadow Lake Road, Rockledge - 2001 built 3/2/2 with 1,692 sq.ft. sold for $150,000 (Three Meadows subdivision). 
  • 4914 Erin Lane in Melbourne - 1,819 sq.ft. 1994 built home sold for $148,500 (Live Oak subdivision).
  • 7151 Ralston Drive, Melbourne - 1,846 sq.ft. 3/2/2 located in Heritage Isle in Viera (55+ community) sold for $149,900. 
  • 2211 Grand Teton Blvd, Melbourne - 1,763 sq.f.t. 3/2/2 pool home built in 1991 sold for $149,900. 
  • 1366 Alaqua Way, West Melbourne - 1,635 sq.ft. 3/2/2 new construction in West Melbourne Landings sold for $144,900.
  • 1628 Vista Lake Circle , Melbourne - 2,128 Sq.ft. 4/2.5/2 1998 built home sold for $142,000 (Meadow Lake subdivision).
  • 385 SE Gardendale Circle, Palm Bay - 2004 built 3/2/2/ with 2,110 sq.ft. sold for $143,000 (Monterey Cove at Bayside Lakes subdivision).
 (These were randomly selected with no special considerations given to any particular listing.  Reported sales prices are reported as recorded in the Brevard MLS system on 06/13/12 and are believed to be accurate but are not warranted.)

For information on buying or selling homes or condos in Brevard County, Florida, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or email me


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Managing the Short Sale Process (Buyer and Seller)

I have written a lot about the short sale process especially from the buyer perspective.  Things like the time involved…the patience required…the long wait…. and then out of the blue.... jumping through hoops to close.

The short sale negotiation process between the seller and the lender who will be approving any sale may involve a lot of back and forth negotiations before reaching the final approval.

As the seller in a short sale transaction you want your real estate agent to stay in touch with the buyer's agent so everyone is reassured that progress is indeed happeningI think it is the unknown that causes buyers to lose their patience and walk away from a short sale.

As a buyer it is imperative your real estate agent stay in the loop and keep you can be informed of the progress to minimize the surprise when an approval does comes along.

Managing expectations of the buyer and seller is key to a successful short sale transaction.

For information on short sales in Melbourne, Vera, Rockledge and Merritt Island, Florida call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Moving to Florida - "You don't actually know an area because you vacation there"

"You don't actually know an area because you vacation there."  I see these words lived out many times when working with buyer prospects in Central Florida.

When I have the opportunity to speak with folks who have made the decision to permanently relocate to Florida I find they sometimes have wished that are not possible.

A couple of the most popular areas in Brevard County are Viera and Suntree.   Many like the areas because of its central area near shopping, several golf courses, the new Viera Hospital, the Washington Nationals spring training facility (and minor league baseball), and more.

A few of the things I find many of these prospective buyers want in their new Florida home and neighborhood are newer/new construction, no home owner association and a large(er) yard.

I find many have vacationed in the area for years but their research has not been totally complete because their time here has been spent vacationing!

The reality is in Suntree and Viera you will find...
  • Home owner associations.  Both areas are planned unit developments with master associations as well as individual subdivision associations. 
  • Smaller lots.  The yards in many of these newer developments are about a quarter acre or less.  Some of the larger homes are built on .4+ acres though.  The lots do appear to be larger in the older Suntree areas. 
  • New or newer construction.  Most of the homes in Viera are newer construction built from the early 1990s through current new construction.  Most of the homes located west of I-95 in Viera were built after 2004.  Suntree homes were built from around 1980 or so through some current new construction.

If you are considering a move to Brevard County, especially Suntree and Viera, contact a local knowledgeable real estate agent who can answer your questions up front about the neighborhoods and what is available.

Call  or email me if you would like information on homes for sale and moving to central Brevard County, Florida including Viera, Suntree, Rockledge, Merritt Island as well as the beach side cities of Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, Indialantic and Indian Harbour Beach.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

What do all these “comps” mean about pricing my house to sell?

In the real estate business we refer to “comps” frequently whether working with buyers and sellers.  This article addresses specific issues for sellers but will also work for buyers.

When discussing pricing a home to sell comparables are usually provided to the seller.   On the surface these comparable properties may not mean as valuable to the seller as they should so we must explain further..

What is a good "comp?"   A useful (good) comp is a home that is as close as possible to yours (proximity), similarly constructed (age, square footage, materials similar such as wood frame or concrete, same bedroom count as well as garage size, etc.).   Then there are other factors such as  similar state of update,  roof materials and age,  pool present, age and condition of air conditioner/appliances, etc.   Some of these characteristics can be easily identified but some are simply a "best guess."

These comparables will be extracted from several categories of homes including sold, under contract, active listings and expired properties.

Which of these is most important?  They all are important.

The active listings tell a seller who the major competition is while the sold will identify what buyers are paying.  Very telling are the expired listings as they reveal what people are not buying!

One thing that must be identified and considered in any comparable property is the condition of sale.   If it was a short sale or foreclosure property that must be accounted for in the pricing process as this is not an apples to apples comparison.
So what do all these comps mean to mean?

They serve as a reality check.  Ultimately the buyer will determine the real selling price but it tells you the limits of normal.

Further, it frames a marketing strategy that you and your real estate agent will use to sell your home.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida home call or email me to discuss how I can for you.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Why didn’t you leave the door unlocked for me?

As I was leaving a showing this morning another real estate agent showed up as we were going out the front door.  He yelled up to me to leave it unlocked.

I responded with a simple “No, use your electronic lock box key to get the key yourself, please.”
His response was “Well, have it your way.”

As a Brevard County, Florida Realtor®  I owe it to the seller to leave their home as secure as possible when I leave.

I did not know this real estate agent so I was not giving access to anyone – period.  Even if I had known the agent I would have done the same thing only with a few pleasantries added!

My buyer customer remarked that it would be unprofessional for me just to leave the door open.   

As a real estate agent in Brevard County it is my responsibility to protect the homes of all I come in contact with as a listing agent, a buyer’s agent or as a rental agent.

If you are ready to buy or selling Brevard County, call me.  I will protect your property as if it were my own!
 Although it was not "Burger King" - I had it my way.  Door locked!

Should You Consider Buying A Short Sale?

Short sale – real estate offered for sale where the most likely sale price will be less than the mortgage owed.

The key component (obstacle) of the short sale process: any offer signed off on by the seller of a short sale will require lender approval. 

Key characteristic of short sale buyer:  Patience, flexibility in schedule.

The time for lender approval varies from lender to lender.  I have seen some get approved in less than 60 days.  I have seen some drag on for a year! I have read cases where the lender foreclosed while the process was in this limbo land in between offer and approval.
Short sales are usually discounted a little below the normal market price.   

If you are trying to decide if a short sale property is a realistic consideration, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email. 

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