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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Can a "short sale" be priced too low?

Should a short sale be priced way below the market?  Put another way "Can a Short Sale Property Be Priced Too Low?"
A short sale is a real estate sale where the probable purchase price will be less than the mortgage payoff.

As a result of this shortage the lender(s) will have the final approval of any offer the seller accepts. (Referred to as third party approval)

All sellers want a contract as soon as possible.  Because of the protracted process short sales go through many short sale owners want an offer asap to get the ball rolling.  The process very often takes six months or longer. 

But, does the lender want an offer at any price?   The lender wants as close to market price as possible.  The seller should want as much as the market will pay as well.

Why?  Because of the deficiency.  Read this before taking a low offer... Sellers, don’t say yes to a weak short sale offer!

When representing the seller in a short sale situation I always recommend listing at a price that is going to get an offer that stands a chance of being approved even with some negotiating.

When representing buyer in a short sale situation I recommend offering a price that has a reasonable expectation of gaining lender approval and getting a good deal!

While short sales are often priced at a discount just because of the process, pricing too low will do nothing except disappoint everyone involved…buyers, sellers and real estate agents.

If you are considering buying or selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida home, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Home Seller Tips - Placing your home on the market without preparing to market

Placing your home on the market without preparing to market your home is like going fishing without any bait.

Sure you will look like all the other fishermen (may even have the biggest boat or fishing pole) but they may be pulling them in while you just sit and wait!

In the context of selling your home...Sure you will look like all the others selling their home (may even have the biggest sign in the front yard) but they will be getting showings and offers while you just sit and wait!

There is more to selling a home than placing a sign out front.  To get he most return on your investment of time, and more importantly for your home, it is critical to prepare your home for the market.

Depending on its age this may involve a pre-listing home inspection.  Or, if you are already aware of major issues why not go ahead and address them now?

If your home is already in good condition then it may simply be a case of getting it ready for strangers to stroll through your most personal spaces.  From a safety perspective it is critical to remove items that may be stolen including personal identity documents.  It is critical to put away potential safety issues (firearms, trip hazards and the like).

After the safety issues have been addressed, look at the curb appeal.  The exterior paint, especially the front door, may need a touch up.  Then tackle the entry way.  A well lighted, bright entry without clutter that captures your buyer is key.  Then deal with any clutter, any excessive personal "stuff" that may be distracting.  Finally...clean is critical.

Yes, if you are going to market your home it is critical to have the right bait - an attractive product with an attractive price!  

Buyers can tell 
  • if a seller has pride in their home.  
  • if a seller is motivated.  
  • if they want to live in your home.
Make sure you convey the right message as you only have one chance to impress.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Florida School District Rankings–Brevard County Among Top Ten

Florida School District Rankings–Brevard County Among Top Ten

Of Florida’s 67 school districts Brevard County is ranked number eight for 2010-2011 school year.

Selling Your Brevard County, Florida Home: List your home without a long term obligation…

Selling your Brevard County, Florida home is a major decision.  The market has shifted and started to climb.

This may be the best opportunity to sell and buy that move up house before the market changes a lot.

But what happens if you place your home on the market and you change your mind?

In life there are many times we have second thoughts when it comes to major decisions. In real estate buyers have it so often it is universally known by the term "buyer's remorse."

As a real estate agent who works with sellers in Viera, Suntree, Merritt Island and Rockledge, Florida I understand circumstances can change.   Illness usually comes unannounced as does family emergencies and other crisis situations.

There are times when canceling a real estate listing is necessary.

Hire me to sell your Viera, Rockledge or Suntree home and rest assured, if you change your mind and decide not to sell at this time, there is no cancellation penalty.

You don't need a "get out of your listing, free" card.  You have my word.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Selling Your Brevard County, Florida Home - Choosing Your Brevard County, Florida Real Estate Agent... a listing at any price is not a listing!

A few years ago when I received a call from a prospective home seller I dropped everything, scheduled an appointment and did all I could to get that listing.   After all, I was told early on in the real estate a business "you must list to live."

I have been told by many real estate agents that a listing at any price is a listing because it brings you buyer leads.  And, most importantly, buyers buy other homes.

So the listing was their bait.  I didn't buy that philosophy back then or today when listings are harder to come by!

My goal is to list your Brevard County home so I can sell your Brevard County home - first! 

I am up front when I talk with prospective sellers.  I do not inflate suggested listing prices to get a listing.  I advise prospective sellers that not every buyer that calls about your house will be the buyer.  And the odds are one of the other agents in the local Board will bring the buyer.

So if you are thinking about selling your Viera, Rockledge or Suntree, Florida home, call me at 321-693-3850.  If you prefer, send me an email.

Like "Then,"  I will schedule an appointment and do all I can to get your listing.  Ultimately you may decide not to hire me because we can not agree on a market price and plan.

Still I view your phone call as opportunity knocking (calling) but sometimes the opportunity and the circumstances are not right.

Call me to discuss how I can work for you to sell your Brevard County, Florida home!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Homes for Sale in Phillips Landing Rockledge, Florida–Some stand out from the others…

While reviewing homes for sale in Phillips Landing in Rockledge, Florida I noticed one that really stands out… Why?
  1. Because it is about $50,000 less than the other homes for sale in Phillips Landing!
  2. Because it is a short sale….the only short sale in Phillips Landing in Rockledge, Florida!
  3. Because it is one of only two listings that are not 2012 construction (new) homes for sale in Phillips Landing in Rockledge, Florida!
  4. Because it is priced so much under the market price for homes for sale in Phillips Landing! (Five of nine active listings over $200,000!)
For information on homes for sale in Phillips Landing subdivision in Rockledge, Florida call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Florida Condos For Sale: Ventura at Turtle Creek–Jameson Place–Bella Vista: Condos for sale in Rockledge, Florida

Located within walking distance of Turtle Creek Golf Course in Rockledge, Florida are three condo communities offering recent construction at some very attractive prices.  Two of these communities are gated -  The Ventura at Turtle Creek and Jameson Place - while the third, Bella Vista, is not gated. 

The Ventura at Turtle Creek has five units current listed for sale as of October 27, 2012. Except for one short sale listed at $79,900 the rest are listed between $99,999 and $114,900.  All of these units are three bedroom two bath units except for the short sale which is a two bedroom two bath unit. All have either a one car garage or a one car carport.

Although nothing has sold in  Pulte Homes built The Ventura at Turtle Creek over the past couple of months there are four short sales under contract.  The short sales are listed in the mid $80,000 to mid $90,000 range.  All are three bedroom two bath units.

The nearby DR Horton built Jameson Place condo complex has only one unit listed for sale – a two bedroom two bath unit listed at $99,900.  There are four short sales under contract as well – all priced between $72,500 and $90,000.

The major differences  in the two complexes include the  monthly fees which are about $145 at Jameson Place and about $300 at The Ventura at Turtle Creek $300.  All the units at Jameson Place have attached one car garages.  And one major difference in the construction – wood frame at Jameson Place and concrete at Ventura.

Finally, the Bella Vista condos off Barnes Blvd are the closest to the golf course and Interstate 95.   Like the other two complexes the units under contract are short sales listed between $90,000 and $99,000.

One unit in Bella Vista sold in the month October 2012 – a 1,521 sq.ft. three bedroom two bath 1 car garage unit sold for $100,000.   Monthly fees for Bella Vista are $200.   There is one unit currently for sale in Bella Vista – a 3/2/1 with 1,773 sq.ft. listed for $114,900 (foreclosure).

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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Custom, Semi-Custom, Cookie Cutter… It does make a difference in home price.

I was speaking to a gentleman a few days ago about his Viera, Florida home.  It is located in a very nice neighborhood where there were several different builders during construction several years ago.

Like most homeowners he is very proud of his home.  He let me know it was different than the others as he described some personal changes made when it was built.

As he described the changes he had made I realized his was what I would describe as a semi-custom home.   His builder was a well known local semi-custom builder.

When I mentioned the builder as one the best semi-custom builders in the area he corrected me.  He explained his was a custom built home. 

I left him thinking to myself his home was custom built - like the others.

In Viera you can find custom built, semi-custom built and cookie cutter built homes.  These terms can be confusing.

The price one pays is a definite reflection of the degree of customization.   Most buyers understand builders use many of the same materials, fixed unchanging floor plans, and the same appliances to manage construction costs.

Whether you are looking for a custom built, semi-custom built or a cookie cutter built home in Viera, Florida, call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.   I would welcome a chance to show you what Viera, Florida offers home buyers!

Home Seller Tips - Who Knew “New” is not always “New?"

It is more common than one would think.  The home for sale has all these great qualities including new appliances or maybe a new roof.  You show up and the appliances are actually a few years old if not more!

Homeowners or possibly the listing real estate agent sometimes confuse the word new with  more appropriate descriptive terms like  "last year " or even better just noting the year like "2011."

The Free Dictionary defines new as "having been made or come into being only a short time ago."    

When sellers and their real estate agents indicate the actual age of repairs and equipment it makes the process just a little easier.   It may not seem like much but every hurdle or issue avoided along the adds up to less stress.

Real estate transactions are stressful. Don't increase the stress by trying to conceal something that may possibly haunt you in the future!

A couple of other considerations...
  • Offer a home warranty for the buyer.  It may only cost $300 but it eases the mind of a buyer.
  • Keep good records when you purchase appliances and have repairs made. 
Either way, if it is not new...avoid the word.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Are you sure you want to look at short sales?

Short sales are different than normal sales.   Short sales are less predictable than normal sales.  Short sales take much more time than normal sales.

The scenario with a short sale is pretty much the same as a normal sale.  You establish budgets, wants, needs and start looking at homes.  You find the house (or condo), submit a reasonable offer, negotiate and finally reach an agreement on the terms with the seller.

Now, tell me again, what is a short sale?
Now the process changes....

In a normal sale you proceed with the inspections, appraisals, surveys, and continue on to closing usually in 30 to 45 days.

In a short sale the offer is now presented to the lender for review and approval. And you sit and wait.  The wait may be weeks (unlikely) or months (most common). 

The lender may approve the deal as written.  The lender may reject the deal as written.  The lender may come back with a counteroffer.

All the while you, the buyer, wait.

So, are you sure you want to look at short sales?  Do you have the time?  Will you be OK if the deal doesn't go through?  Will you be alright with starting the process over again?

If you are prepared for the short sale process, call me.  If you are considering selling your Brevard County home and it will be a short sale, call me as well.

Home Buyer Tips - When is Highest not Best?

It may come as a surprise to some but the highest offer is not always the one the seller accepts.

The seller may evaluate offers based on other considerations like...
  • Closing date.  Sellers have a schedule.  They don't want to wait an excessive time.  The longer a closing is delayed the more time for something to arise that interferes with closing
  • Inspection and repair contingencies.  While inspections are always recommended having repair requests tied to the offer such as "repair this, that, etc. " listed on the offer at presentation may make the seller believe this buyer will be a pain all the way to closing.  Sellers want to avoid pain
  • Highest offer with financing contingency.  When a mortgage is involved there is always a potential problem.   A higher offer that may not make the appraisal is just a hope while a slightly lower offer for cash may be the best option.
  • Cleanest offer. A well prepared offer with all documentation reviewed, all disclosures signed and initialed, a reasonable escrow deposit submitted, a recent proof of funds letter or pre-approval letter, will likely make a good first impression.  And we all know how important first impressions are!.  

Buyers need to understand their offer with less contingencies may indeed trump a higher price with lots of hoops and hopes.

A good real estate agent will educate the buyer on the process and prepare their offer so it provides confidence to a seller that this deal will get done.

When you are ready to buy or sell a house or condo in Brevard County, Florida call me at 321-693-3850!

Disclaimers–Why I frequently include them in my posts about short sales and life!

Disclaimers – I frequently include them in my posts here and elsewhere and the reason is  pretty obvious.  I am a real estate agent and Broker Associate with Serving Brevard Realty in Brevard County, Florida.

I know real estate in central Florida.  I write about real estate in central Florida. 
  1. I am not an attorney.    
  2. I am not a tax adviser or CPA.  
  3. I am not a home inspector.  
  4. I am not a general contractor.  
  5. I am not a clairvoyant.  
  6. I am not a mortgage lender
I intentionally avoid anything that remotely looks like legal, investment, building construction/repair or tax advice.

I always urge others to seek the advice of qualified professionals.... 

But if you are looking to buy or sell a home in Viera, Suntree, Rockledge or Merritt Island, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Monday, October 22, 2012

When is a short sale with a great price a not so great decision?

In the Brevard County, Florida real estate market there are lots of newer developments.  There were quite a few start ups during the build up years seven or eight years ago.  In some places, where ever there was available dry land they started building.

It was the old "if you build it they will come mindset".

And then construction in some of these developments slowed.  Some stopped construction with maybe half the lots built out or even less.  Now some of those who bought early at the height of the market are selling - as short sales in some cases.

Some of these short sales offer very attractive prices.

And we all know short sales are always good deals, right?  Of course not! 

When you are looking at Brevard County, Florida short sales consider the location carefully - especially the neighborhood.  Regardless if condo or single family home, no one can tell you with certainty that a development will be finished or when that will happen.

Buying in a  "to be finished" maybe development may really make the purchase a risky decision.   As a buyer only you know your risk tolerance. 

Considering buying or selling a house or condo in Brevard County, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pardon my tacky wall paper…Will $3000 help you look past it?

Pardon my tacky wall paper…Will $3000 help you look past it?

I just read an article that recommended sellers compensate buyers for their home's flaws.  Whether requested or not, sellers need to be assured their home's flaws are already being compensated for in the lower offer (and eventual selling) price!

One thing I can say with certainty about sellers... I have never met a seller who said “my house is a piece of crap and I just want it sold!

So should a seller just offer compensation for the flaws in their home?   Like so many other issues in real estate, it depends on the seller.

There are lots of articles about return on investment for improvements   Perhaps the return will not be there so sellers may consider compensation.  This may really be especially appealing to the flipper or the investor-buyer.

But what about the buyers who are looking for "move in" ready?   I do not believe most buyers looking for "move in" ready will just suck it up and accept your flawed home.

The inventory of move in ready homes for sale in Brevard County is shrinking.  This means
  1. Less inventory equals more competition   
  2. More competition equals a potentially higher selling price. 
Another consideration is what I call the combo solution -  Reduce your price to reflect the flaws and offer a home warranty to remove some of the buyer's concerns about an immediate investment for a failed AC or whatever!
If the fix is reasonably easy I say fix it while other sellers flounder around in the price cutting or compensation world!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

September 2012 Real Estate Statistics in Brevard County, Florida–Looking up….

Local Market Update Sept 2012 - Brevard County, FL

In a nutshell.... New listings up, pending sales up, closed sales up, median sales price up…yes, it is positive news for Brevard County, Florida real estate sales.


Friday, October 19, 2012

In Brevard County, Florida “Move In Ready” Homes Cost More

There is a reason short sales, foreclosure and standard (regular) sales listings are priced differently.  The simple reason – condition.

Standard listings are more likely to be move in ready. 

Based on my experience standard listings are more likely to have less major systems issues (roof, AC, electrical, structural).  This explains the reason for the differences in sales prices.

The September 2012 chart of lender mediated closed sales in Brevard County, Florida shows a decrease in short sale and foreclosure selling price but an increase in traditional sales selling price.

No surprise here…In Brevard County, Florida “Move In Ready” Homes Cost More thans "distressed"  sales.

Gated Living at Baytree National Golf Links community of Isles of Baytree... Beautifully maintained!

Gary L Waters PLLC | Serving Brevard Realty | (321) 693-3850

8071 Kingswood Way, Melbourne, FL
Gated Living at Baytree National Golf Links community of Isles of Baytree... Beautifully maintained!
3BR/2BA Single Family House
offered at $190,000
Year Built 2002
Sq Footage 1,639
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 2 full, 0 partial
Floors 1
Parking 2 Car garage
Lot Size .13 acres
HOA/Maint $175 per month


Beautifully maintained Burgoon-Berger Gulf Breeze model 3 bedroom 2 bath two car garage home, tile roof, lawn service included in association fees. Manned gated entry, 24 hours. Vaulted ceiling, open floor plan. Tiled, screened back porch over looks preservation area. Shows well - not like it is 10 years old!

see additional photos below

- Dining room - Family room - Living room
- Master bath - Dishwasher - Dryer
- Garbage disposal - Microwave - Refrigerator
- Stove/Oven - Washer - Lawn
- Porch - Sprinkler system - Air conditioning
- Ceiling fans - Central A/C - Central heat
- Controlled access - Gated property - Secured entry
- Security system - Garage - Attached - High/Vaulted ceiling


- Clubhouse - Fitness center - Golf course
- Swimming pool


Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3
Contact info:
Gary L Waters PLLC
Serving Brevard Realty
(321) 693-3850
For sale by agent/broker

Created at Postlets

Posted: Oct 19, 2012, 10:42am PDT

Selling Your Home - It is not the scarecrow's job to till the soil and other tips for home sellers!

I am going to be listing a home for sale in Suntree, Florida's Baytree golf community later today.  I will be putting a sign on the front yard this afternoon.

But there is more to selling a home than putting a sign on the front lawn.

About five years ago it was pretty easy to sell a house.  Back then it did not even matter if the price was close.  People would offer whatever you wanted, realistic or not!  And the result was  it landed us in quite a mess!

Putting a sign out front is kind of like placing a scarecrow in your garden.   If you don't do all the preparation, the rewards will not come!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Should a buyer make an offer on a home without ever seeing it?

As the inventory of homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida shrinks I expect we will begin to see more offers from buyers who have never even viewed the property.

But is this a good idea?

Buying a house or condo is a major purchase for most of us. To blindly make an offer may be considered foolish by some and even shrewd by others.

I have read the descriptions in MLS entries that in no way represent the property.

Sometimes I barely recognized the property from the description.  I have seen pictures that must have been photo shopped or possibly taken from the archives before the house morphed into something else!  Its the old box of chocolates thing, for sure!

On one hand I know there is an inspection contingency which, if used correctly, can be viewed   as a "get out of jail free card."  I have seen buyers put contingencies in the offer pending on site in person viewing.

There are ways to manage an offer on an unseen property and protect the buyer's interest.

From a seller's perspective do you want to remove your home from the market until some out of town buyer gets to the area to view the property or possibly plays the "get out of jail free card?"

It depends.  This is where the listing history, activity, quality of the offer and other issues come into the decision.  Discuss this fully with your real estate agent. Ask questions.

If you are considering buying or selling a home in Viera, Florida - call me at 321-693-3850 to discuss how I can work for you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Luxury Homes For Sale in Viera–Even some short sales included….

One of the nicest things about the planned community of Viera is that it offers so many choices for home buyers. 

From the new construction town homes at Stoneridge (priced $165,000 and up) to the very large million dollar executive homes at Wyndham at Duran, there is a choice to fit almost anyone's budget.

And for those looking at the higher end of home prices in Viera, the choices within the executive  gated communities are plentiful!   And these executive style homes are a lot less costly than a few years ago and a lot less than you will pay in south Florida areas like West Palm Beach. 

Probably one of the most exclusive executive developments in Viera is the Wyndham at Duran subdivision.

This gated (manned) community boasts some of the largest homes in Viera.  Currently there are three on the market priced from $949,900 to $1,249,000.  There is a short sale at $999,000 that is a huge 5,906 square feet with five bedroom five bathrooms pool and much more!

The most recent sale in Wyndham at Duran occurred on October 12, 2012 - a 5,924 sq.ft. home with five bedrooms, five full baths, three half baths, a three car garage, pool and much more sold for $1,150,000. 

Another exclusive executive community in Viera is the Summer Lakes development.  These executive homes are on much larger lots than most Viera homes (about an acre average).

Currently there are seven homes for sale in Summer Lakes.  These homes are priced from $899,000 (a short sale) to $1,299,000.   All of these homes are large with square footage from 3,866 to 7,300 sq.ft. with three or four car garages with pools. 

Charolais Estates offers executive homes priced a bit less than the Wyndham at Duran and Summer Lakes communities.  For example a three bedroom three bath with 3,076 sq.ft and pool for about $627,000.  And not to be forgotten is the gated Ravencliffe community!

Finally, my personal favorite, Fairway Lakes at Viera offers a gated community with some homes on the Duran Golf Course.  (Wyndham at Duran also offers golf course direct homes sites.)

 There are currently three homes for sale at Fairway Lakes at Viera priced from $415,000 to almost $600,000.  These 3,100+ square feet homes were all built from 2007-2009.

There are still new construction opportunities in Fairway Lakesrequest information here!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Heritage Isle in Viera, Florida –If Henry Ford had built a 55+ community in Florida…

Viera’s Heritage Isle 55+ community offers buyers very attractively priced homes built primarily by Lennar Homes in central Brevard County, Florida's most popular active lifestyle community.  Just last year Heritage Isle was named one of the Nation’s top 50 Master Planned Communities by “Where to Retire” Magazine. 

These Lennar homes often remind me of the Model T Ford.   No, not that they are old or anything like that, but more of the builder, Henry Ford, comment in his autobiography, My Life and Work, 1922  where he wrote
"Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black." 
Within the Heritage Isle community buyers will find quite a few similarities in the homes built by Lennar.

The cabinets, the paint, carpet, the appliances in many are the same.  And I am sure using the same materials/supplier results in an economy of scale that allows Lennar to offer homes at very attractive prices.

Depending on the time built (from around 2005 until current construction) the actual components used and models have changed a bit.  Still, if you are looking at homes in the same block/area of Heritage Isle you will likely find similar interiors.

There have been other builders in Heritage Isle through the years as well.  With Tiffany and Burgoon-Berger building some homes as well as Viera Builders with their new duplex style homes there will be some noticeable differences.   I have worked with buyers who liked the semi-custom homes offered by Burgoon-Berger but most of the choices are among the primary builder's offerings.

Regardless of builder one thing is certain – Heritage Isle is the most popular 55+ community in Viera and Brevard County, Florida.

For information on homes for sale in Viera’s Heritage Isle 55+ community as well as the Grand Isle and Indian River Colony Club communities call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

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