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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Florida Home Buyer Tips - Too Many Contingencies and Your Offer May Get Rejected!

Most real estate contracts in Florida have some sort of contingency clause(s).

The more common contingencies include things like contingent on property inspection, loan approval or, in the case of a short sale, lender approval.

As most Florida real estate agents and brokers (myself included) are not attorneys these common contingencies are already written on the approved Florida Realtors® contract or can be found on an approved addendum or rider.

I have also seen offers presented with non-standard contingencies like viewing the property in person (some do offer to purchase unseen) or having a spouse view the property although I have rarely seen a couple not house shop together.  

Although the sky is the limit when it comes to contingencies as buyers can include whatever my opinion is contingencies outside of the usual can work to a buyer's disadvantage.  

The big question is will the contingency create doubt in the seller's mind as to the prospective buyer's real motivation or ability to purchase?

Or does the contingency make the offer less desirable than the others on the table?

As the inventory of move in ready and more desirable properties shrink we are beginning to see multiple offer situations.  Too many contingencies may mean another "cleaner" offer gets the final seller approval.

Depending on the circumstances of the sale a contingency can be a potential deal killer although the common ones like inspection and loan approval are usually expected.

[I am not an attorney and this is not intended to offer legal advice. Please consult the appropriate professional.]

Monday, July 30, 2012

Florida Homes for Sale - Those comps are not the real comps…anymore!

This morning while reviewing some comparable properties in a condo community in Rockledge, Florida for an out of state inquiry I noticed comparable sales for the past eight months (seven closings) were all short sales.

But that does not give an accurate picture of the Brevard County, Florida real estate market now.

Of the six units in the Ventura at Turtle Creek complex under contract right now four are short sales and another is a  foreclosure.

Two of the three active listings are standard sales listed at higher prices than the previous sales or listings – except for the two units that went under contract this month.

Both units with ratified contracts in July were at prices higher than any of the other sales.

The signal here is clear – prices are rising, inventory is shrinking including fewer short sales and, more importantly,

the old comps are not the real comps anymore.

If you are considering a home or condo purchase in Brevard County, Florida, make sure the comparable properties you are using to gauge the market are reflective of the current market – not last year.

As real estate is very local there will be variations or fluctuations within the Brevard County market.   For this reason it is critical you work with a real estate agent who is very knowledgeable of the area you wish to buy or sell.

If you are interested in buying or selling a house or condo in Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida, call me.   I know central Brevard County real estate including the beaches.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

If you are not one of the top three, you are just a competitor…. The Olympics and Selling Your Home.

If you are not one of the top three, you are just a competitor one of the many that did not make the cut. 
As I sat here this morning watching the XXX Olympic Games – specifically the Japan vs. Sweden women's soccer match – I thought of all the work that goes into making the Olympic Games.  
And, although getting to the Olympics is quite the achievement, unless you make the top three and take the gold, silver or bronze medal – you were just a competitor.
When you sell your house you want to winnot just compete.

You work hard preparing the exterior, cleaning the interior, de-cluttering, interviewing real estate agents, thinking for hours about the price....

When you price your home you want it to be competitive.  Many buyers will end up choosing maybe three listings that make the finals. You want to be there.

Selling a home is not the Olympics.  But, like the Olympics, you want to win the gold.

Considering selling your Suntree, Viera or Rockledge home, please give me a chance to be your Realtor of Choice in Viera, Florida.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What should I do to get my house ready to sell? Part One –The Exterior

Very few homes are in “ready to sell” or “move in” condition.  The fact is, if you live in it, there are going to be little things that you are okay with but maybe a prospective would be less than accepting.

A major consideration is the exterior of your home.  You only get about ten seconds to impress.

You either grab the prospects attention right away or it becomes an uphill battle once inside your house.  Take a look at the paint.  The lawn and flower beds need to be green and weed free.  The front door needs to be clean and inviting.  It should be noted the condition of your neighbor’s home will influence prospects as well.

Another thing – clutter.  I am not referring to the clutter in your home.  I am talking about driveway clutter.

Look for alternative parking so you do not have the driveway filled with cars and cars on the street as well. And driveway stains…pressure wash it and the sidewalk out front.

If your sprinkler system leaves rust deposits (you know the brownish, orange looking stains), get rid of them from the walk ways and the side of the house.

Selling your home is all about being remembered...standing out.

Of course, being memorable can be good or bad. You want to be remembered because your curb appeal was so nice. You want to be remembered because your home showed so well.

You want to be remembered because of something positive otherwise getting your price may be quite a climb!

When you are ready to sell your Viera, Rockledge or Suntree home, I would appreciate the chance to market your home.

Call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me for a free market analysis.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Florida Homes for Sale - The Rules for Buying and Selling Florida Real Estate

Florida Homes for Sale - The Rules for Buying and Selling Florida Real Estate

I have been writing this blog for over five years.  Many of the articles are about buying and selling homes in Brevard County, Florida.  Many are concentrated on the central Brevard communities of Viera and Suntree as well as the oldest incorporated town in the county - Rockledge, Florida.

With just over 2,300 short articles so far I was wondering how often I had referred to anything as a "rule" for buying or selling a house or condo.

The answer is not very often.  I found these mentioned within the context of rules for buying or selling a home.
  • When talking about my approach to managing open house visitors I use my my 3G approach.  This approach has nothing to do with cell phone networks either.  Rather it is a simple Greet, Give relevant information, and Go away until needed strategy.
  •  Now one of my favorite rules is the 30-10-1 rule.  In a nutshell it means if your home is listed for 30 days, has less than 10 showings and not one offer received, then the price is an issue.  
  • An almost Golden Rule of real estate is really what I call the "golden period."   The longer a property sits, the less appealing it is to prospective buyers because after a while they wonder what is wrong.  Hint: usually price related.
  • You have heard it before the 10 second rule many times referring to sports and other topics.  The real estate application of the 10 second rule means  a potential buyer makes up their mind about a property within 10 seconds of arriving.   In life and in real estate, initial impressions, right or wrong, are usually what we rely on more than anything.
  • As for homeowner associations and deed restrictions and their rules....either you have them or you don't.
  • Finally in the world of real estate, whether a buyer's market or a sellers market, the ideal rule is the same – buy low, sell high.  
When you are ready to buy or sell Viera, Rockledge or Merrit Island, Florida home please call on me if I can assist you in any way.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why are you not buying a house? There is comfort in being a renter.

Why are you not buying a house right now?  You have a good job with excellent income.  You debt to income ratio is well below the maximum allowable debt load.  Your credit score is above average – maybe even what is considered high.  You have some cash saved up.  And there are even many loan programs out there that require little or no down payment.

So why are you not buying a home right now?

Prices have almost stopped dropping and seem to be on the upswing.  Interest rates are at some of the lowest levels in history.  Rental rates have been rising as rental demand has grown throughout the housing down turn.

So, again, why are you not buying a home right now?

The answer is you may be just too comfortable where you are right now. 

For many there is comfort in being a renter.  No worry about major repairs. No worry about things like homeowner association dues, insurance costs or property taxes.  You have the option of picking up and leaving with little notice to relocate for a job change.

I understand being a renter can be a good thing in some circumstances. 

The answer to the question is....only you know if you should rent or buy.

Sometimes being a renter is like wearing a pair of old shoes.  Just as new shoes which may cause a bit of temporary discomfort as you get used to the change, early home ownership may be a bit uncomfortable.

When you are ready to buy a home in Viera, Rockledge or Suntree, Florida or that Cocoa Beach or Satellite Beach condo instead of renting, call me at 321-693-3850.

Hampton Park Town Homes in Suntree

Just over eight months ago I posted a short article about town homes for sale in Suntree’s gated Hampton Park community.  Suntree is a planned unit development just north of Melbourne, Florida.

The article’s title was basically $75,000 looks like it s the price for these town homes.

The Hampton Park gated townhouse community is located near excellent shopping, restaurants, major routes including public transportation, and excellent schools.  The nearby Baytree Golf Course, Viera East Golf Club and Duran Golf Club in Viera offer golfers excellent choices to play.

Nearby medical facilities include the new Viera Hospital, medical offices including the Melbourne Internal Medicine complex, Health First Physician offices at the Medical Plaza at Viera Health Park near the Viera Hospital and many more.

The Hampton Park town home market has not changed much over the past eight months.

Two town homes in Hampton Park sold recently (one each in June and July) for $71,000 (foreclosure) and $72,500.  These two bedroom two and a half bath units are all the same size – 1,110 sq.ft. under air.

The only two units under contract at this time are short sales.  You never know when, or if, these will close and at what price.

If you are considering a move to Suntree there are lots of town home choices.  Call me for a list of town homes for sale in Suntree and Viera, Florida.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Home Buyer Tip - Do not buy any home without a property inspection.

I don’t care how old or new (yes, even new construction) a house is, as a buyer you will be taking a substantial risk if you do not have a property inspection conducted.

Property inspections should be conducted by qualified, licensed property inspectors – not your buddy who knows a little about homes.

Sellers in Florida usually provide some sort of real property disclosure.  This questionnaire, completed to the seller’s best knowledge, provides some general information.

Remember this home buyer rule - Just because the seller says the home is in good shape, does not make it so. 
  • Inspectors tell the buyer the current state of the property.
  • Sellers tell their current state of mind (opinion) regarding the current state of the property.
I am not saying sellers will intentionally mislead but they may simply not know the condition.  They may be unaware of a ticking clock on a serious problem.

Should a seller get a property inspection before putting their home on the market?   Getting a pre-listing inspection may be a smart move to consider as well!

Buying or selling a Viera, Suntree, Rockledge or Cocoa Beach home or condo?  Call me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.

The Florida Real Estate Market is Shifting…Smart Buyers will Shift as well.

The Florida real estate market has been down for several years.

For a long time Florida home sellers have been grateful (well almost) for any (almost) offer on their home.

For a long time Florida home buyers have been in the driver’s seat able to dictate most of the terms (within reason) when buying a house or condo.

  • The inventory is down.
  • Prices have risen a bit. 
  • Sellers are getting multiple offers on their move-in ready for sale homes as a result of the decreased inventory.
  • New construction seems to be on the upswing as well.
With these changes beginning to show up motivated buyers will be smart to consider shifting their strategy as well.
  1. Motivated buyers need to act when they find the home they think they want to buy.  It may not be there tomorrow or next week. 
  2. Motivated buyers need to consider making a reasonable offer on a house or condo they really want to buy. 
  3. Motivated buyers need to understand the choices are limited if they are looking for “move in ready” non-short sale homes. 
  4. Motivated buyers considering a short sale need to understand the lenders are aware the market is shifting so don’t look for some pennies on the dollar deal.
I am not saying sellers are in the driver's seat either.

Could it be be the real estate car has stopped at the rest area and buyers and sellers are trying to decide which will get in the driver's seat?

If you are considering buying or selling a home in Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida call me at 321-693-3850 or email if I can assist in any way.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Home Ownership - Not just an investment!

One thing the housing market has (or should have) taught us is a home should not be considered one's primary investment.

I have heard and read numerous times that Americans have lost 40% of their wealth during the current economic crisis.  That is because their home was the primary investment tool.

Likely adding to the lost home values was the run up in debt as many took out second mortgages and home equity lines over the high growth periods five to seven years ago.  And lenders were feeding the frenzy.

But, in the end, we found out the spiraling increase in value of the homes was in reality only a paper appreciation.

And the paper wealth came down quickly.

Home owners all hope their house or condo will increase in value.  The chart below reflects the historical median sales prices for homes and condos in Florida over the past 4.5 years (through June 2012). 

The chart above clearly shows the housing market is cyclical.

There will be times when selling prices will be higher and periods of decline or little growth.  But, even if the value growth is not significant, at least you have you have a roof over your head and a lot of memories.

If you are ready to buy a home in Brevard County, Florida call me to discuss how I may assist you.  If you a first time home buyer, call me to discuss the process.

Move Up Buyers…Is it the right time?

The numbers don't lie.  The inventory is down.  Prices are rising.

Over the past several years many have been sitting on the fence waiting for the real estate market to bottom out.  The problem is one never knows the bottom has been reached until the climb has begun.

So has the market bottomed out yet?  You decide for yourself.

Homeowners who are considering moving up to a larger home should think seriously about selling and buying that larger home now before the prices rise more.

If you wait to get more for your current home you will be paying more for the "move up" home.   The increased price likely means a higher mortgage payment for years to come.  An increase in interest rates will mean higher payments later (and less purchasing power).

Get off the fence now.  Interest rates are very low.  Prices are very attractive.

Besides, sitting on the fence may result in splinters and the pain will become evident in a couple of years.

If you are ready to sell and buy a new home in Viera, Florida call me at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can assist in any way.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Buying a Foreclosure–Sometimes its like choosing the cleanest pig….

At times I have heard it used to describe a house (or just a room).   "Dirty as a pigsty."

For you city folks... a pigsty refers to a shelter where pigs are kept.

It implies a very undesirable, unappealing state of being.

Many times buyers looking to purchase a foreclosure or even a short sale property find the properties in such a condition.

The property's condition may be worse...leaking roofs, mold present, etc.

Sometimes buying a foreclosure may be like choosing the cleanest pig in the pigsty!

Successful investors are those with the knowledge and vision to see beyond the mess! 

And is there ever a perfect foreclosure out there?

The most likely answer is...

When pigs can fly!
Please contact me for information on buying or selling investment property in Brevard County, Florida.

How to buy a house: Knowing where is half the battle.

Buying a house is not a battle.  It is more like a 10K race unless it is a short sale which can turn into an endurance race.

After deciding on a budget (i.e getting a mortgage pre-approval in place), the next critical step in the home buying process is the "where."

A key resource in helping you decide the where will be your real estate agent.  Selecting a local knowledgeable real estate agent is critical.  Brevard County is a large area so an agent who is familiar with your target area like Viera, Suntree, Rockledge or ocean front is key.

Your real estate agent should ask you lots of questions to pinpoint what you are looking for to help identify the best direction to proceed.

Approaching the home buying process with an "I will know what I like when I see it" attitude is not the most efficient approach.

With real budget in place, requirements (and can't haves), and amenities desired all on the table early, success will come much more quickly.

Open communication between buyers and real estate agent is critical.  Don't hold back either - if you don't like anything say it early!

If you are looking to buy a home in Brevard County, Florida, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Have a question about Florida real estate, click on the link below.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Brevard County Florida Real Estate Market Summary - Florida Realtors® Data Summary

The below information is provided by Florida Realtors®.

It compares the June 2011 and June 2012 single family, condo and townhouse sales in Brevard County, Florida.

All the indicators reported were up - except for those relating to the declining inventory.

Buyer Expectations….buyers back in grandpa's day had different expectations!

I read an article this morning about a particular home seller’s response to a request to pay buyer’s closing cost.

I have not seen very many requests for the seller to pay closing costs lately but I am sure it can still come into the home buying picture.  (And if does not hurt to ask either.)

There are not a lot of zero down payment home loan programs out there but there are still some like the VA loan program, Department of Agriculture's Rural Development mortgage guarantee program and a few others.

In the current market sellers should not rule out a request for closing cost assistance. 

As long as the offered price is adequate (reasonable, that is), why not help a home buyer if you can?

The reality is buyers back in grandpa's day had different expectations of buyers (like 20% down payments and the like!).

The Brevard County, Florida housing market is not the same as a generation ago - or even five years ago!

Buying or selling a home in Viera or Rockledge, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 if I can assist in any way!

Investment Property in Brevard County, Florida - Flippers are not likely these days….

Most investors are dreamers these days if they are thinking flip quick, make money!

Back in the day when property was appreciating at unnatural rates (five or six years ago) anyone could make money by flipping (purchase, repair and re-sale) real estate.

Many times it was a matter of performing cosmetic things - paint, carpet, new appliances - nothing structural.

But in today's market with the inventory down and rental rates increasing, investors seem to be going down the purchase and hold pathway.

As for foreclosures on the market in Brevard County, Florida....They are out there (135 as of today single family units) priced from $24,900 to over $400,000.  There are only 52 foreclosure condos on the market as well.

The foreclosures I have seen are in need of  extensive work (or money) to either sell or put on the market as a rental property.

But, with the prices at very attractive levels there are opportunities.

Call me for information on foreclosures and short sales in Brevard County, Florida.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How to respond to an offer to purchase your home–even a low offer.

Selling anything is based on one critical principle - someone must make an offer to purchase it.

In this market most home purchase offers in the Brevard County, Florida real estate market are not for full asking price.  How many people pay sticker price for a car or a house?  Not very many.

Suppose a less than full price offer comes in.  How does a seller respond?  It may not even be very close to what the seller thinks they will accept.

An initial offer may not be a true indication of a buyer's interest.

But how they respond to your counteroffer will determine if they really are serious.

When you receive that offer on your home, consider it wisely because a deal closing this month that may be less than full price may still be better than an unknown deal closing in a two, three or six months.
Here are a few articles on negotiation strategies for buyers and sellers.

If you are considering buying or selling a home in Brevard County, Florida, please call or email me if I can assist in any way.

And if selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge home is in your future, please give me a chance to be your real estate agent of choice!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Selling Your Home–Selling Your Furniture–Two Different Transactions, please!

Just as oil and vinegar don’t mix well,  personal contents (personal property) and houses/condos (real property) may not mix well in a real estate transaction.

There are several reasons for dealing with contents separate from the house purchase.

Lenders may have issues with personal property being listed in the real estate contract. Also, the appraiser is not going to add in the value of contents either.  Besides, negotiating the price of the house shouldn't be blurred by the price of a TV or whatever.

Also, there can be confusion when it is time for the seller to move.

If contents are being negotiated I prefer it be a separate itemized list with specific identification and specific price.   I am not an attorney or tax professional.  Do not consider this legal or tax advice.

Real estate transactions are stressful for all.

Why not leave the furnishings out of the equation and lessen the potential for confusion later?

Considering selling your Brevard County, Florida house or condo?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or email if I can assist in any way.

Selling Your Brevard County, Florida Home - "Your comps and my price are way off. Where did you get your comps?"

The title is probably a question many real estate agents have received when on a listing appointment.

Most sellers have an idea of what they want when they sell their homes.  The "want" price may be a figure they pulled from the air based on
  • what they paid three or five or ten years ago,
  • what they "heard" old Joe down the street got for his house last year, 
  • what he needs to cover his upside down mortgage,
  • what he needs to cover the recent refinance cost plus the mortgage.
For the record, a recent refinance and sudden sell or a recent purchase and sudden sell are never optimistic combinations.

I use the comps that support a price I am comfortable with...and it is not necessarily what the seller is happy with at the time.  But that is my responsibility.

First of all, comparables will be extracted from several categories of homes including sold, under contract, active listings and expired properties.  It is as important to know what has not sold as well what sold.

A good comp is a home that is as close as possible to the sellers (proximity) and similarly constructed (age, square footage, materials similar such as wood frame or concrete, same bedroom count as well as garage size, etc.).

Other considerations include similar state of update, roof materials and age, pool present, age and condition of air conditioner/appliances/major systems.   Admittedly. some of these characteristics can be easily identified but some are simply a "best guess."

If you are considering selling your Rockledge, Viera or Suntree home, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me for a free market analysis.

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