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Friday, November 30, 2012

Why is an out of area real estate agent is a bad decision?

I showed a listing this week to some folks relocating to the area.  Their real estate agent, from 300 miles away,  could not be present.

They were lost!

They had no idea which neighborhoods had the homes they were looking for.  They had no knowledge about local anything. 

I spoke with their agent on the phone and offered to pay a referral fee so they could receive the benefit of a local real estate professional.  She declined and insisted she could provide the service from 300 miles away.

I beg to differ.

Real estate is local - period.  Local market knowledge is critical  for a  buyer to have access to as much information as possible when making such a major financial decision.

Any buyer who chooses an agent because they are family friends or “has a license” is doing themselves a complete disservice!

Likewise, any real estate agent who sells anything without local knowledge is doing their client a disservice.

Looking for a Brevard County, Florida real estate agent?  Call a local expert...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Home Seller Tips - Why did you list your home for sale at THAT price?

Is your listing price what you want or what you can get?   Most of the time these two figures are not exactly equal.

Is your listing price the highest mentioned by any of the real estate agents you interviewed?   And, if it is, did you choose your agent because they uttered THAT price?

When you interview a real estate agent to market your home the key is to ask the agent for the price they can sell your home for…not what you want.

When choosing your real estate agent consider whether the agent gives you advice about the market or confirms what you want to believe about the market.

When you are ready to sell your Rockledge, Viera or Suntree home, call me at 321-693-3850, please.   I will tell you what I can sell your home for...not necessarily what you want to hear.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Brevard County, Florida Short Sales - Short sales and timing…

My experience with working with short sale sellers is that flexibility is critical - especially as the end nears.

The short sale process is unpredictable.

Even with the most efficient processing the approval and close by date can be a great great mystery.  Sellers and buyers always ask the same question... when?

And then when the approval comes it is close in less than a month!

At this time of the year this can be a real hassle.  With the holiday season upon us sellers often are not ready for the stop everything and move activity.

But the good news is there is an incentive to negotiate the debt forgiveness and close before year's end.  [The current law expires December 31, 2012 that allows debt forgiveness on short sales of residences to be tax free.  So far no action by Congress to extend the law into 2013.]

If you are a short seller I suggest you get ready to improvise - especially if approval comes during December!

If you are considering selling your Brevard County home as a short sale (or a standard sale), call me at 321-693-3850 (email me) to discuss how I can work for you!

Home Seller Tips - The way to a buyer’s heart is through the….

There was an old saying that went something like the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  I am not sure that is even a politically correct statement any longer so I will move on to something I know more about - advice on buying and selling Florida homes.

To sell your home you must capture the buyer's heart.

I suggest the way to a buyer’s heart likely goes through your kitchen!

I have worked with lots of buyers through the years and it seems there are two rooms they seem to focus on when viewing a home - the kitchen and the master bathroom.

The master bathroom is important for sure but it is the kitchen that appears to be the number one consideration.  It does not matter if one is a cook or just a master of the microwave, the kitchen seems to be key.

So, as a seller, what can you do to capture the buyer's heart?

First of all, I suggest you consider updating.  Buyers don't want ten or twenty year old appliances - even if they still work!  Buyers don't want laminate counters when solid surface, silestone, granite of some other surface is current.  Kitchen islands, stainless appliances, glass back splashes, and the like.  Updated kitchens impress buyers.

Now the key considerations for any kitchen.  Make sure your kitchen is clean including the microwave, the oven and the refrigerator.  Yes, buyers look in them all!    Make sure your kitchen counters are not cluttered with small appliances and other items. Maximize the available counter space!   Make sure the lighting is bright, walls are clean, and the dog's food bowl are not in the middle of the floor.

The kitchen must be more than must capture the buyer's heart.

If you are ready to sell your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida home, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can help in any way.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why Bother? Short Sale, Foreclosure…either way my credit is ruined!

Short sale, foreclosure…either way my credit is ruined   Why bother with the hassle of a short sale?

I am not an attorney so this is not to be considered legal advice, understand?

While either the short sale or foreclosure process can “ruin” one's credit it is only temporary.  Think long term here.... although it is for years.

The focus here is not on the credit score but rather another issue.

So why choose the hassle of selling as a short sale if both will ruin my credit?

The answer is…. for a chance to perhaps avoid the deficiency.

A short sale is simply selling for less than the mortgage balance.  And if you do not bring the cash to the table there will be a difference – the deficiency.

With a foreclosure there will more than likely be a larger deficiency – the entire unpaid mortgage balance and who knows what other expenses!

As part of the short sale process there is an opportunity to request forgiveness of the deficiency or, at a minimum, negotiate a reduction with a personal note (even interest free).

In a foreclosure you are likely on the hook for a long time to come.

So why choose the hassle of selling as a short sale if both will ruin my credit? 

The short sale gives one a chance to control the outcome more than a foreclosure.

Considering selling your Brevard County, Florida home as a short sale?  Call me to discuss the process.  If you prefer, send me an email.

Monday, November 26, 2012

How come you did not include the highest priced homes in your market analysis?

When preparing to sell your home it is critical comparable properties be examined to determine a realistic market price.

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

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

So when all these "comps" have been gathered some sellers will ask "How come you did not include the highest priced homes in your market analysis?"

Most sellers know what is for sale in their neighborhood - especially the highest priced homes!  And they will expect the higher priced homes to included as well.

But, in my market analysis, they are not included yet.

They will eventually be included as expired that did not sell!

One of the major indicators of an overpriced home is the days on the market.  If a home has been on the market longer than usual there is a reason.  It could be a simple thing called motivation but is most likely simply price.

Lets face it…buyers have information available in today’s market more than any other time.

They will know what homes are selling for in your neighborhood.  They will know what you paid for your home.  They will know when you are overpriced.

And that is exactly the reason to avoid using an overpriced home as a comparable property when listing you home.

Considering selling your Brevard County, Florida home?  Email me or call me for a free market analysis.

Why is my house not worth what I say it is worth?

Have you ever seen the spoiled kid in the store who "pitches a fit" about wanting a toy right now because "I want it!, I want it! I want it!"?

Sometimes sellers have the same response, well much less dramatic, when they are ready to place their home on the market.

Their question is phrased more like "Why is my house not worth what I say it is worth?"

Put in its most appropriate form they are just asking me "What is my house REALLY worth?"

And, as a real estate broker associate who sells homes in Brevard County, Florida, my job is to answer their question in an easily understood, non-emotional manner.

So here it goes...
The short answer is it is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

Sure there are qualities that influence worth like location, size, general condition and any special features (like a pool, gated community, etc.) but in the end your home is only worth what a stranger under no unusual influences or pressure is willing to pay (an arm’s length transaction).

Have a question about buying or selling a house or condo in Brevard County, Florida?  Send me an email here!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Buy, Sell, Hold? What to do in a changing market?

The real estate market is changing.  But, as real estate is always local, the change in your area may be subtle.

Still, the market is shifting to a buyer's market when the inventory drops to around a four month supply (as it is in Brevard County).

When is the best time to act?

Do you wait until you could possibly get more for your house and then buy something that costs more?   Do you take less for your house and buy something before prices rise even more?  

If there is a mortgage and you are upside down it may make sense to wait and hopefully re-gain some of the lost equity. 

Who knows? Is there a correct answer?

Do what is best for you in your circumstances.  Only you know the right answer…

If you are unsure, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me to discuss your circumstances and goals.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What is the number one rule when choosing a real estate agent?

Question:  What is the number one rule to follow when choosing a real estate agent? 

Answer:  Get all the answers up front.

Sounds like a pretty easy thing, right?   Actually getting all answers may be an impossible  challenge but you should get as many as possible by asking the right questions up front.

Deciding to sell your home is a huge life changing (and life disrupting) decision.  Choosing the right real estate agent from the start can hopefully prevent an unhappy ending - especially  if (when) frustration sets in!

Here are some questions to consider when interviewing real estate agents.  By the way, I suggest you interview three real estate agents before selecting anyone.

General questions should be expected by any real estate agent.  These are questions like...
  • How long have you been in business? 
  • When are you available? What days do you work?
  • How many agents work with you or are you a one person team? 
  • What happens if you are sick or are unavailable due to unforeseen issues?
  • What is your preferred method of communication? When do you answer your phone?
  • How often will you speak with me during this process?
  • Where do your buyers come from? 
  • Why should I choose you over your competitors?
The above questions skip over one point most sellers always ask up front.  What are your fees?  I say hold off until the agent answers your questions.  Evaluate the product before checking the price. 

These general questions, if answered to your satisfaction, should be followed by more probing questions that target key areas like LOCAL KNOWLEDGE and PROCESS such as...
  • Where do you work primarily?
  • What has sold in my neighborhood (area, similar communities, street, etc)? 
  • What has not sold in my neighborhood (active, how long, price, withdrawn)?
  • Why did these properties sell or not sell? 
  • How much can I get for my house? 
  • How long will it take to complete the process?  
  • How much will this process cost me?  
  • How much do I walk away with?  
  • Ask the agent to  summarize the process including their marketing plan (print, Internet, open house and others). 
Your goal should be to choose a real estate agent who understands the process is all about you and your goals and nothing else. 

When you are ready to sell your home, I would appreciate the opportunity to answer these questions and any others you may have about the process and how I work!  Call me at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can help in any way.

Brevard County, Florida Real Estate Trends October 2012

The ups… pending sales up, closed sales up, average residential sales price up, percent of original list price received up!

The downs… Average Days on Market down, median sales price down, inventory down!

Questions about buying or selling a house or condo in Brevard County, Florida?


Local Market Update for October 2012
A Research Tool Provided by Florida REALTORS®

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What is a "valid comp?" Why is it important?

I have always been one who tells it like it is..... not in a brutal way but still just the facts. In the real estate business there is an expectation of fact based recommendations.

The facts I am speaking of are the  comparables ("comps").

Comparables serve as a reality check.  Within a given neighborhood or area (like Viera or Suntree) there is a limit to what a buyer will pay for any given property.

Valid comps include a couple of key characteristics.
  1. Physical traits. Homes in close proximity to the subject property possessing similar qualities like age, square footage, materials similar such as wood frame or concrete, same bedroom count,  garage size,  views and the like.
  2. Circumstances.   Often called arms length transactions, these are sales where there is no special circumstances or financing.  No distressed sale, no special relationships (selling to son or daughter), no liquidation quick sales, etc.
These valid comps are the best measure of what a buyer should pay and a seller should expectThey are also what an appraiser will use when evaluating the property for your lender.

At time I think buyers appreciate these facts more than sellers.  And then sometimes I think sellers appreciate these facts more than buyers.

Considering selling your Viera, Rockledge or Suntree home?

Contact me for a free market analysis.  I promise you one thing - a fact based recommendation!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Selling Your Home - What if Fido doesn’t want to sell?

Anyone who has ever listed their home for sale knows the process can be stressful.  

For most pets (except maybe a fish) the process can be just as stressful with strangers coming in and out unannounced throughout the day.  (If you are selling and don't have people coming in and out then there may be a pricing issue!)

The real question here is what do you do with Fido when selling your home?

In an ideal situation and you are available taking Fido for a walk during showings is probably the ideal solution.

Even the most playful, friendly, cute pet can make selling your home difficult - especially if the buyer prospects notice Fido and miss your home's positive selling points.

This distraction factor is also a reason I encourage sellers to de-personalize their home by removing many of the pictures, trophies and awards.  You want buyers to focus on the house not your family or accomplishments!

I have heard some real estate agents say they will not show homes if there are loose pets roamingThey look at it as a safety concern primarily I think.

And then some agents don’t look at the pet issue as anything significant.

I avoid entering homes with dogs on the loose even though I love them all!  In a crate, not a problem.

I remember being told once there was a "pit bull named Satan but he will be in the crate".  I showed up, peered through the window and stared Satan in the face.  We moved on!

Pets bring additional issues when you are ready to sell like pet odors and those pet deposits in the back yard! 

When you are ready to buy or sell a home in Viera, Suntree, Rockledge or Melbourne, Florida, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can help in any way!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

How much does a 3,000 sq.ft. home in Brevard County, Florida cost?

Earlier this week I searched for homes with an under air size of 3,000 to 3,100 sq.ft.  There were 29 active listings just in this 100 square foot range.

The listing prices range from $125,000 to a pretty steep $1,150,000.   Bedroom counts went from three bedrooms to five bedrooms.

Obviously, size does not tell the real story about house.

Location is key.  The $125,000 home is a 4 bedroom/3.5 bath/ 2 car garage home in Titusville which was built in 2006.  The million dollar home is a 4 bedroom 3 bath 2 car garage 1994 model in Melbourne Beach with pool and on the Indian River with two boat lifts.

And in the middle of this price range is a $510,000 five bedroom 3.5 bath three car garage home in Cocoa.

When you decide to shop for a home remember it is location, location and location…and quality of construction (custom, semi custom and cookie cutter) that determine price more so than just the size!

Friday, November 16, 2012

When it comes to selling your home...every second counts

Many of us have heard of “the ten-second rule.”   Actually there are hundreds of ten second rules out out there.

One well known one refers refers to food dropped on the floor.  Pick it up in 10 seconds and it is OK.   Of course, we know that is not true unless it is dropped on a sterile surface.  

Now the leap from dropped food to real estate (and it is not about clean floors).

Previous research has reported about 97% of buyers search for new homes on the Internet.  An article I read today makes the point a seller has about seven seconds to grab a buyer’s attention with their listing entry on the Internet or they move on to the next one.

As a seller it is critical your real estate agent uses words that grab attention and not words that run people away.  Avoid those words that have a negative connotation like cozy, charming, quaint, TLC (to learn construction) and hit the buyer with facts and brief positives.

Here is the entire article.

Another key mentioned in the article quality photos.  If you get their attention they will want to look at quality photos.  Competition is keen. Make sure you review your agent’s marketing efforts.  

Let me close with another reference to another ten second rule... You either grab the prospects attention right away or it becomes an uphill battle once they are in front of 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.

When it comes to selling your home...every second counts - especially second showings!

If you are considering buying or selling a home in Brevard County, Florida ( including Melbourne, Rockledge, Viera, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach), call me at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can help in any way!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why do real estate agents ask so many questions?

I recently posted a short article on limiting options in a shrinking market.  The genesis of this post was an agent who showed a listing that did not have a pool for someone who must have a pool.

In the above circumstance I wondered if the real estate agent wasn't listening or did not ask the right questions up front.

When you call a real estate agent you should expect to receive a lot of questions.  Real estate agents seek to capture a general understanding of what a buyer is looking for in a home.  Some of the questions are often intended to gauge a prospective buyer's knowledge and experience level.

The purpose of some may be to just get a buyer thinking about some of the little things.

When you call a real estate agent expect to receive those darn questions… they serve a purpose.

What are some of the questions to expect? 

Things like..
  • When? The process takes time.  Depending on the circumstances (cash, mortgage, short sale, new construction, etc) this time may be as short as a couple of weeks to six months or more!  
  • Financial picture?  The ability to obtain a mortgage or the availability of cash is the most basic of considerations
  • Experience with the process? Your real estate agent is a resource and adviser.  Knowing a buyer's background helps a real estate agent keep the buyer up to speed on the process. 
  • Familiarity with area?  Simple but critical.
  • Expectations?  Buyers often look at one of the many online resources that provide real estate information (validity sometimes questionable).  Gaining an understanding of a buyer's expectations of the market may head off disappointment later.  Most of us know, you get what you pay for and there is one rule to always remember when looking at real estate advertising...the price is low for a reason!
The MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION buyers should receive when they call a real estate agent the first time is "Are you working with another real estate agent?"   Choose your real estate agent and stick with them.

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Home Buyer Tips - By limiting options they may just miss out on that almost perfect home!

Feedback on one of my listings recently included “are only looking for a house with a pool.” 

First of all, this particular property has no pool.  Fact is the lot is probably too small for anything beyond a blow up kiddie wading pool!

As the inventory of "move in" ready homes shrinks in Brevard County, Florida  I suggest buyers not limit themselves to only homes with an existing private pool – even if they really really want a home with a pool!

For example, in one of the most popular areas of Brevard County, zip code 32940 (Rockledge, Viera and Suntree) there are 126 single family homes listed as of today.  (This does not include the 55+ community listings.)

Of these 126 active listings, 61 of them have private pools.  Using this "must have" as one of the criteria buyers have now removed half of possibles from the pool (pun intended).

Pools are nice but many prefer to just have a community pool.   They like the option of having a nearby pool but not the maintenance and expense of a pool (including higher home insurance rates).  Another 28 of the 126 listings have community pools only.

Buyers should consider the "must have," "can live with," and "can't have" characteristics of potential properties as they prepare to search in a shrinking market.

By limiting options they may just miss out on that almost perfect home!

Who are buying homes in 2012? The survey says…

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has released its annual survey of home buyers for 2012.  Some of the key results:
  • 65% of buyers are married couples 
  • Share of single buyers declined 7% over past two years 
  • First time home buyers made up 39% of  buyers (37% in 2011)
  • Down payments for all buyers was 9% (4% first time buyers) 
  • Buyers using a real estate agent searched a median of 12 weeks and viewed10 homes ( in 2011 average was 12 homes viewed) 
  • Biggest factors for choosing a particular home – 61% convenience to jobs (transportation costs?) 
  • For sale by owner was 9% of sales down 1% from last year (When market is most challenging, call your Realtor®)
This is just a quick summary of the results as provide by the Florida Realtors®.  For information on buying and selling real estate in central Florida, send me an email!

Heritage Isle in Viera–Homes for Sale–Town Homes for Sale–Condos for Sale–Gated 55+ Community

Brevard County, Florida's premier 55+ community of Heritage Isle, located in Viera, offers home owners several choices of residential properties.

While the majority of properties in Heritage Isle are single family detached homes with two car garages, there are also condos and patio style homes in Heritage Isle.

The patio style (referred to as villa style or town house) homes in Heritage Isle have been gaining in popularity recently as indicated by recent sales (11 units since mid August 2012).

Although there are not as many of them available it is interesting that in October 2012 there were six sales (closings).

These 2/2/1 town homes were between 1,407 and 1,508 square feet.  Selling prices went from a low of $125,000 to the highest at $145,000.  

The monthly association fee is about $300 but, unlike the single family homes, also includes roof replacement.  Exterior maintenance (lawn, routine painting) are included in the association dues for all units.

Currently there are only three town homes for sale in Heritage Isle.  Two of these units (1,407 sq.ft.) are priced at $129,900 and the other at $139,900 (1,532 sq.ft.)

For information homes for sale in Heritage Isle (including new construction) or any of Viera’s 55+ communities like Grand Isle or Indian River Colony Club, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Below are links to several posts about 55+ communities in Viera, Florida.

Choosing a 55+ Community in Viera – Similarities and Subtle Differences

Indian River Colony Club (IRCC) in Viera–Not your “usual” 55+ community

Why Would Someone Choose Grand Isle Over Heritage Isle When Shopping for a Melbourne, Florida 55+ community?

Viera’s Heritage Isle Named One of USA’s Top 50 Best Master Planned Communities for 2011

Monday, November 12, 2012

How much does a home cost in Brevard County, Florida in November 2012?

When comparing home prices in Brevard County, Florida buyers need to remember the cost of any house or condo is more than just the cost of construction.

Assume you are a buyer looking for 4 bedroom 2 bath 2 cat garage homes in Brevard County built in the past couple of years.  The price range as of this morning (November 12, 2012) runs from $129,000 to $249,000. 

Included in the price of a home is the lifestyle you are purchasing.  This is almost synonymous with location, type of development and other qualities.

Factored into the price are things like amenities, location, services provided by the owners association such as maintenance, gate guard or lawn service, golf course memberships, and other intangibles.

In order to narrow home prices early on prospective buyers should identify all these other factors to separate the must have, can have and can't have characteristics to meet their budget.

Buying a lifestyle is not inexpensive.... especially if it involves an ocean front penthouse or a 4,000 sq.ft. ranch style in a gated golf course community!


If you are ready to buy a home in Florida, check out what is available in central Florida.  We are only 40 miles from Orlando...great for commuters and those looking for a winter or second home.

Want me to send you listings?  Just let me know!

Questions your real estate agent may not answer....

You wanted to know which neighborhoods are the “best.”   I asked for your meaningThe best prices, schools, most convenient for commuting, best for golfers, etc?

As a real estate agent there are some things I can not tell you - even if you ask.  Some topics may violate federal law.  Some may violate good taste (yes, had a couple over the years).  Some may not be appropriate for me to answer.

You want to know the demographics, educational level, career make-up or other information about a zip code?  I suggest checking websites like or the census web site.

You want to know which neighborhoods are the safest?  I recommend you call the local law enforcement folks and ask about crime areas and rates.  I am sure they will answer your question.  I know my market area but can't quote crime rates from memory. 

You want to know if sexual offenders live in a certain neighborhood or area?  I recommend you check the Florida Department of Law Enforcement web site here.

You want to know which schools are best?  You can check the ratings on line here.  You can visit the various schools.  You can talk with parents with children attending the school.

You want to know which homes are for sale that meet your search criterion?  I can tell you that!

Should you buy a particular home?  Sellers disclose information about the property.  As a real estate agent I will disclose all I know about the comparable sales and what else in on the market

My goal is to ensure buyers have as much information as possible at their fingertips.   And ultimately the buyer will make the decision.

Would I buy a particular home in a particular neighborhood at a particular price? That is not an answer I can't give even if I wanted to express an opinion.

Considering moving to Brevard County, FloridaSend me an email or give me a call if I can help in any way.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Home Seller Tips - What are you saying to buyers about your house?

Sellers are curious about what "they" are saying after every showing of their house or condo.  It is only natural.  They are curious...
  1. Did it show well?
  2. Is it priced right?
  3. Is it a consideration?
  4. Will they be submitting an offer?
  5. Will they need to see it again?
  6. How does it compare to the competition? 
Feedback is important if evaluated and used correctly.
Although feedback is rarely given (even though it is always sought) the comments, if received, may not be flattering or, even worse, may not even be informative at all.

Read here for information on "The Only Useful Feedback When Selling Your Brevard County Home - Traffic, Whining, Offer!"

As a seller, I suggest you ask yourself his question - "What am I saying to buyers about my house?"

Your price, ease of showing, presentation and curb appeal all tell a buyer what you think.  Think about that when you are ready to sell your home.

The message you send will determine how soon (or if) you sell your home.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Suntree, Rockledge or Merritt Island home, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or email me to find out how I can work with you.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Are Foreclosure Prices Creeping Upward?

There was time when “foreclosure” meant significant discount potential. 

According to Zillow the average discount of an REO (foreclosed) to a non-REO property in Florida was 7.7% in Florida for September 2012.   That is really a lot less than many buyers expect.

According to the same report the peak nationally was 23.7% in August 2009.

As the inventory of non-foreclosure properties and short sales on the market shrink, buyers may start looking more at foreclosures which will potentially drive the prices up as well. 

Strengthening, and not shrinking, foreclosure prices are good news for the market.

Real estate prices are simply a reflection of supply, demand, and the economy (interest rate).

For information on homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida, call me at 321-693-3850 or email me at

Friday, November 09, 2012

Why use a real estate agent when buying and selling a home is so easy?

Reduced to its most basic form pulling a tooth is pretty simple.  Get a grip, yank really hard and its over.  OK, maybe there will be a little pain along the way as well.  Still I would not advocate anyone pulling their own teeth.

Reduced to its most basic form buying and selling a house or condo is also pretty simple.

Buyer A offers X amount of money to Seller A.  They agree and exchange money for keys.

 Still I would not advocate anyone proceeding without professional real estate representation and advice.

The property transfer may seem simple but because of the major financial obligation and long term commitment one should proceed with caution - especially if inexperienced.

As a buyer the seller almost always pays the buyer's real estate agent so it does not cost the buyer a penny.  This is the norm for our area.

A buyer needs to be represented by their own real estate agent as the listing agent represents the seller first and foremost.  There is no dual representation in Florida. 

Your real estate agent will research properties to identify only the one's you want to see that fit your budget.  Your real estate agent will make arrangements to show you the home.  Your real estate agent can answer your questions and guide you along the process.  Your real estate agent works for you - not the seller!

As a seller there are too many potential pitfalls to sell on your own.   A major concern is safety and security risks as you never know who is calling, knocking or walking through your home. 

Anyone who has ever bought or sold a home knows having a contract signed is a long way from the closing table.

Buyers and sellers want the deal to close.  The chances of having the deal close is increased if the buyer and seller both have knowledgeable representation to guide them to closing.

Call me at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can help you with the purchase or sale of a house or condo in Brevard County, Florida.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Home Seller Tips - Home Repairs, Seller Concessions and the Cost of Cutting Corners

"There is never time to do it right, but there is always time to do it over."   I think that is one of the infamous Murphy’s Laws.  If not, it should be!

Based on some of the do-it-yourself home repairs and additions I have seen through the years I think the law should be “There is never enough money to do it right but eventually there will be to correct it!”

The issue may surface as a result of the home inspection when you are ready to sell your home.   And, if that is the case, the buyer may walk depending on the problem.

Or, even if they are willing to go forward with the transaction, they often attempt to get a repair done or a price concession so they can address it later.

This attempt to re-negotiate very often works because, at least here in Florida, most inspection contingencies are viewed by buyers as a "Get Out of Jail Free card."

And sometimes the issues impact the appraisal and the ability to get a mortgage approved.  These are usually serious deficiencies.  And if the work should have had a permit pulled then the process may take a bit of an effort to resolve. 

Either way, I encourage homeowners to 
  1. know your limitations, 
  2. know the code, 
  3. and do it right the first time.
Considering buying or selling a home in Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or email me at .

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Home Buyer Tips– Taking Multiple Offers Means You Have One Shot!

I spoke with someone last evening who intends to put an offer in on a “really a great priced house” where all offers are due by Friday.   In this case the house received three offers on day one and the seller has given all until Friday.

And, although I am not her agent, I am pretty sure she will never get the house and is wasting her time (and her agent’s as well).  Multiple offer situations require a buyer give serious consideration and give their highest and best offer.

I don't believe she will get it for a couple of primary reasons.
  1. Mistake one.   She is talking about making low ball offer.  Some sellers intentionally under price to get competitive offers – not to give away their house or condo! 
  2. Mistake two.  In her words “If this one doesn’t work out I will get pre-approved for a mortgage.”   The cleaner the offer, the better the chance of acceptance by the seller.
What does “cleaner” mean here?  Reasonable price with the most supporting documentation like mortgage pre-approval, proof of funds letter and fewer contingencies, quicker closing, etc.

A seller will ultimately select the offer that gives them the best price with the most likely chance of closing the transaction.

Need a professional Realtor® in Brevard County, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850.

Don't get "pre-qualified" for a mortgage if you are serious about buying a home

Don't get "pre-qualified" for a mortgage if you are serious about buying a home

Pre-qualified for a mortgage does not carry much clout with sellers. 

Being pre-qualified means you have entered some information and based on your information you have been pre-qualified.  The problem is your information has not been verified or documented.

Serious home shopping can be a pretty intense process.  Knowing the real cost (principal, interest, taxes, insurance, home owner association dues, etc) is key for serious buyers.  The place to start is with a mortgage pre-approval.

Pre-approval means your lender has done their homework and validated your credit history and ability to pay. 

Mortgage pre-approval can give you confidence as you shop and when you find your new home the sellers will know you are serious with your offer. 

Now if you are a casual looker who wants to see what is being showcased in new construction then the Parade of Homes is the place to go.  In Brevard County there is a Spring and a Fall Parade of Homes. 

The Fall Parade of homes runs through November 11th.  Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

For information on buying and selling houses and condos in Brevard County, Florida call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Home Seller Tips - Protecting your property when it is for sale.

I read an article this morning about a real estate agent in another state who received a call for access to one of his listings.  The caller stated he was a real estate agent and received the codes and subsequently robbed the home.

On the surface this illustrates the main reason I prefer to use electronic lock boxes.  These electronic lock boxes are hung on door knobs or hose bibs and hold the door keys.  In our area Licensed Realtors® have their own electronic keys to open these lock boxes, and the box records the date, time and identity of anyone accessing it.

In my my case I set up the system to send me a text message at the time it is opened as well as an email.

Some real estate agents also use combination code lock boxes.   By placing showing instructions within the MLS system using our e-showing system agents can request showing instructions and be provided the combination code.  Their showing request is recorded and reported.  This system assures that only real estate agents who have access to the MLS system are the ones who receive entry codes.

If I use a combination code box on any property I always instruct agents who call me to use the MLS system so I have a written record of those receiving the code.

As a Realtor® I take the safety of your home and your contents seriously.  If your home is vacant I make it a point to stop by and make sure no one has left a door unlocked or lights on, etc.

I value the trust you placed in me when you select me to sell your Brevard County home

Thinking of selling your Brevard County, Florida home?   I would appreciate an opportunity to work for you.  Please call me directly at 321-693-3850 or email me.

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