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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How much did the seller pay for this house?

Although it does not happen much anymore it was common place back during the big real estate price run up…. buyers wanting to know what the sellers paid for a property.

Six, seven or maybe eight years ago buyers were frequently gauging the “profit” the seller was making in the then out of control market place.  [The "profit" motive eventually led some flippers to financial ruin but that is another topic.]

But, in my experience, this is less common in 2013.

One reason is most properties are selling for less than the seller paid if the purchase was made five or six years ago.  Or, if the seller purchased the home ten or so years ago, the list price is probably not far from the market today.

The reality is what someone paid is not nearly as important as what a ready, willing able buyer is willing to pay. 

There is an ideal selling price and what one paid is likely not a valid component of the determination.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fairway Lakes at Viera - Gated living next to Duran Golf Club

The Fairway Lakes at Viera development  offers gated, golf course living on one of Brevard County’s most desirable courses – Duran Golf Club.

Fairway Lakes homes are built by some of the most desirable custom builders around – like Christopher Burton Custom Homes, Arthur Rutenberg, and Viera Builders.   Although not presently building any new homes at times there are resale properties constructed by Toll Brothers.

Located near The Avenues at Viera shopping complex, the new Viera Hospital, Viera High School, and more, Fairway Lakes offers homeowners a great location, quality homes and very reasonable prices.

Since January 2013 began there have been three homes sold at Fairway Lakes with an average selling price of $587,000 (highest priced sale of $622K for a new construction).  Over the past twelve months there have been eight homes sold in Fairway Lakes at Viera (seven of these since August 1, 2012).

Currently there are four active listings in Fairway Lakes with another under contract.  Active listings are priced from $429,000 to $629,900.  Interestingly two of the listings are in the $400,000 range and two are in the $600,000 range.

In Fairway Lakes homes range in size from just over 2,000 to well over 4,000 square feet under air. Some have two car garages and others larger garages.  Some are direct golf course view, some are on the water.

There is something in Fairway Lakes at Viera for most buyers looking for executive living in Viera, Florida.

For information on homes for sale in Viera including Fairway Lakes and neighboring Wyndham at Duran, please give me a call at 321-693-3850.  If you prefer, just send me an email.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Selling Your Home: Depersonalize or Sanitize?

When one is getting ready to place their house or condo on the market they will undoubtedly get many of the same recommendations regardless of which real estate agent they speak with about listing their home.

The laundry list will include things like cleanliness, curb appeal, repairs, cleanliness, neutral colors,etc.

One area that seems to get attention is how many pictures should a seller leave on the walls and other things of a personal nature.

Should a seller completely depersonalize their home before prospective buyers walk through the front door?

I think it all comes down to an issue of moderation.  Too much of anything can be a distraction. Well, maybe too much money may not be a detractor!

Buyers understand when people are living in a home.  They expect clean, neat and the ability to see the property’s physical characteristics.  This may be the time to consider a garage sale or donations to a local charity.

I will leave it up to the seller to decide for themselves although a clean, neutral color paint with mostly empty walls can make a room look larger.

Here are a few other suggestions for preparing your home for the market.

The above list is just a starting point for preparing your home for the market.

When you are ready to sell your home the starting point for the process is a good real estate agent.

In Brevard County  Florida, I would welcome a chance to be your agent.  Give me a call at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way!

Heritage Isle in Viera – The Landscape is Changing

Home sales in Viera's popular 55+ community Heritage Isle seem to be gaining steam as the warmer weather approaches with eleven residential properties going under contract since April 1, 2013 (only three weeks).

But the landscape in Heritage Isle is changing.

Of the fifteen newly contracted homes seven were listed at or below $200,000.  As of today there are fifteen active residential listings in Heritage Isle with the lowest priced unit at $211,000.

Buyers hoping for a short sale or foreclosure in Heritage Isle will not be happy to hear 14 of 15 listings are standard sales.

Since March 1, 2013 there have been thirteen closings in Heritage Isle with nine units selling for prices under $200,000.  The average selling price of the standard sales (non short sale, non foreclosure) was almost $187,000.

As the inventory shrinks and the summer buying season approaches I think it is a safe guess that home prices will continue to rise – in Heritage Isle and throughout Brevard County, Florida.

For information on homes for sale in Viera (including Heritage Isle), call me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Is it time to get off the fence? Should you rent or buy?

The ability to purchase a home does not necessarily mean one should purchase a home.  Home ownership requires a long term commitment.  It requires an immediate outlay of money.  It is not a decision to be taken lightly.

But if a home purchase is a consideration this may be the time to act.

Over the past six or so years many buyers (and sellers) have been on the sidelines.

To put it bluntly.....Values in Brevard County, Florida crashed.

An article in this morning's Florida Today newspaper proclaims the market direction (existing home sales up more than 12% over February 2013, median selling price up 7%,  inventories down).

If you are considering a home purchase, it may be time to get off the fence.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pricing strategies to sell your home....

I learned a long time ago how easily we remember the positive and forget the negative experiences.

Back when I was in the U.S. Navy I remember deployments where I was at sea for six or more months at a time.  I remember many good times spent with my Navy friends and places we visited.  I remember coming home and when I finally got assigned to shore duty for a tour.

But these deployments were not all good times.

I am convinced many sellers only want to remember the good times when it comes to selling.  Some sellers will take these memories and attempt to price them into the house.  Hopefully their real estate agent convinces them to price based on real data and not emotion.

Pricing a house to sell involves looking at the active competition.  Pricing a house to sell involves analyzing what has recently sold  in your area.  Pricing a house to sell involves looking at the property's condition and pricing accordingly.

Pricing a house to sell does not involve looking at the life events that occurred while living in the house.

The nice thing about memories is they can go with you to the next house, the next town, the next step in life.

Considering selling your Viera or Rockledge, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can help in any way.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Selling Your Home - Whether in a buyer’s or seller's market it really does not matter!

Whether buyer’s or seller's market it really does not matter...price will always be the king.

Specifically it is all about the current market – not where the market will be in six months or where it was six months ago.

I remember way back when the prices started the big decline.  I saw sellers who used the rear view mirror approach to pricing - lowering their price after they had already passed the price point on the downward curve

In a declining market smart sellers priced their homes just below the current selling prices for similar homes. Many have learned the futility of chasing a falling market.

It all comes down to pricing that is
  • consistent with the sold comparable properties and 
  • accounts for the real competition (not the overpriced neighbor). 
There is a buyer for every house or condo – at the right price.

Considering selling your Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 if I can assist in any way including a free market analysis.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Short Sales - be prepared to wait and then sprint to the finish line!

Why do they do it?  It seems every short sale I am involved with (as buyer's or seller's agent) it is the same old story.

You receive an approval notification from the lender giving you an abbreviated closing deadline.  Typically something to the effect "this approval is only good if closing held before XXX date."

And when these approvals arrive all parties need to be prepared to act quickly.

If there is a mortgage involved then the closing date could put some addedl pressure on the process. It is critical buyers choose a lender who understands the short sale process.  (This means more than knowing the definition of a short sale.)

Inspections, possible repairs, appraisals, surveys, obtaining insurance...all components of a "normal" real estate transaction.

However, in a short sale, the time to act may be a little shorter.  It is the same old lesson…buy a short sale you have less control.

If a short sale is in your future, be prepared to wait and then sprint to the finish line!

Considering selling a short sale?  Give me a call to discuss the process and how I can help.

Get your answers from credible sources not what you hear from others.  Read these Five Common Short Sale Myths.


Monday, April 15, 2013

What is a “turn key” lifestyle?

Recently someone commented to me about one of the local communities here in Viera, Florida as offering a turn key lifestyle.

When I think of  “turn key” what comes to mind is something completely functional as is without any additional work or effort. 

In real estate the term could  be used to describe a house that is ready to be lived in without change.   It could be new construction.  It could be something as simple as a condominium unit on the beach.  I guess in real estate it could be as simple as just bring your “stuff.”

I can think of several of the communities in the Brevard County area that fit this definition.  Developments  like Viera’s 55+ communities of Heritage Isle, Grand Isle and Indian River Colony Club.  Likewise I suggest some of the condo communities like The Terraces at Heritage Isle offer a turn key lifestyle.

The lawn service and landscaping are maintained for you.  The club house is staffed and the facilities are almost always available.  Want to play golf then head over to one of the several nearby golf courses or shopping venues.

Want to have a winter place where you only come down for part of the year?  These communities offer snow birds a turn key winter lifestyle free of snow, sleet and cold!

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

The Safest Area in Brevard County, Florida to Buy a Home is…

Where is the safest area to buy a home in Brevard County, Florida?  How many times has this question been asked of real estate agents?

One thing I have found in ten years of real estate service in Brevard County, Florida is this...

Everyone has an opinion of the "best" place to live in Brevard County, Florida.  

Just ask a few people around you.  I doubt you will find one who does not have a quick answer with a supporting opinion.

When I get asked any question about safety I refer questioners to local law enforcement agencies for the answer.

I also take the time to refer them to the state of Florida sexual offender database.  You can know where the sexual offenders live today but not next week or next year?

When you have a question, regardless of topic, seek the answer from the expert in the field. In this case, law enforcement.

I am a Brevard County, Florida real estate agent.   A real estate agent is qualified to advise you specifically about real estate sales,leasing, management, property values and marketing.For advice regarding legal, tax, insurance, or property inspections issues, you are recommended to consult an appropriate licensed professional.

In a changing market buyers should know the competition.....

Buyers in Brevard County, Florida are finding the competition for homes pretty keen as the housing market heats up.
With fewer homes for sale (current single family home inventory is around 2700 which is almost a five month month supply), buyers are now competing with other owner occupant buyers as well as big time investors.

These competitors have always been in the market but the picture has changed.

Investors were mostly local investors but now the large hedge funds and other investment groups see property appreciation potential as a good risk.

With a smaller inventory and available cash, investors provide added pressure on the market.

Likewise, owner occupant buyers who make cash offers, can put more cash down, can close in a shorter time with fewer purchase contingencies or who are willing to offer list price (plus)  are placing additional pressure on buyers.

If you are considering buying a house in Brevard County, Florida remember this... you are not the only player in the game.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Five Common Short Sale Myths

Five Common Short Sale Myths
  1. The bank would rather foreclose than deal with a short sale.  This is not true at all. Banks generally would rather negotiate with a homeowner to short sale a home, than foreclose on a property, because the foreclosure process is very costly to the bank.  Many banks offer incentives to homeowners who agree to short sale their properties, sometimes as much as tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the value of the property.
  2. You must be behind in your mortgage in order to negotiate a short sale.  This was often true in the past, but currently banks are looking for financial hardship, rather than mortgage delinquency, as a reason to negotiate a short sale.   Financial hardship can include the loss of a job or income, health or medical issues, an increase in monthly payments from an adjustable rate mortgage, or even an extraordinary loss in home value.
  3. There is not enough time to negotiate a short sale when the bank is threatening foreclosure.  The foreclosure process can be quite lengthy, often taking years.  Most banks are willing to stall a foreclosure if there is a chance to negotiate a short sale. Remember, in most cases banks prefer to short sale a property, rather than foreclose on it. Even when a foreclosure sale date has been set, the bank will almost always stall the foreclosure if there is a valid contract on the property.
  4. After a short sale, the homeowner will be forced to declare the loss as income.  Currently, the 2012 Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act protects the homeowner from having to pay taxes on the deficiency that is waived by the bank.
  5. Short sales always take many months to close.  Many short sales can be closed in 30 to 60 days.  The most important thing to consider when dealing with a short sale is the experience of your short sale negotiator.  Choosing a skilled short sale negotiator who knows how to negotiate through the short sale process efficiently will mean that the short sale is closed faster and more smoothly.
This post was written for Gary L. Waters, PLLC of Serving Brevard Realty by Stephen K Hachey.

Stephen is a real estate lawyer specializing in loan modifications, short sales, foreclosure and much more.  He is also the owner of his own practice, the Law Offices of Stephen Hachey, PA.  This article is for general informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a licensed attorney in your state of residence. For more information on Mr. Hachey's services, please visit his website at

Friday, April 12, 2013

Search Homes For Sale in Brevard County, Florida (Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Viera, Rockledge, Palm Bay, Titusville areas)

Why do some real estate web sites require visitors to "register" before they can search for homes for sale in Florida?

If you want to search anonymously that is your choice - not a web site owner's decision.

If you want to contact me about homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida you will when you are ready.

Find homes for sale in the Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Viera, Rockledge, Palm Bay, Titusville, Port St John, Satellite Beach and other areas in Brevard County, Florida. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pricing Strategies - What does the listing price say about the seller?

What does the listing price say about the seller?  The simple answer is - motivation.

If a seller really wants to sell the price will reflect reasonable market influences.  The price may be slightly higher than the competition due to condition factors (or upgrades) but it will still be attractive enough to invite prospects.   It will generate activity.

But what if no activity occurs?    It doesn't take long for sellers to realize their house is listed above market.  A few weeks of no showings and sellers will be likely on the phone to their agent wanting to lower the price.

The price reduction may be significant (the light came on) or it may be as little as a hundred dollars (still holding out hope).  Minimal price changes are largely symbolic.

As a seller becomes more desperate the frequency of the changes may increase. 

So why do sellers make these symbolic price changes?  Because price changes in the MLS system get noticed.   Price changes make the "hot sheet" which highlights activity with listings on that day (new listings, price changes, properties back on the market, under contract and sold).

Still most buyer's agents recognize these tell tale signs of a desperate seller.... chronic price reductions of about a hundred dollars at a time.

When you are ready to sell your house or condo consider your pricing strategy upfront.  Have a game plan if you do not garner the attention you need to sell your home.  Don't become the desperate seller.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Buying a Home in Brevard County, Florida - Are School Assignment Areas a Key Consideration?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Put another way, which came first, the school choice or the home to purchase?

Many families, especially those with school age children, start the home search process by researching the local schools.   And then once they have found the schools they want their children to attend they begin the home search.

Many folks who do not have school age children look at school quality as well.   School quality impacts home value - either positively or other otherwise.  

There are many sources of opinion and rating services about public schools.  If it is a job transfer someone at the new employer office may have advice.  If one has contacts in the area they will certainly provide an opinion.  Some sites provide school system rankings.   

Some folks will find a general area and then investigate the schools further.  Personally this is one of the approaches I prefer.

Once a general area has been identified, click here to see where the Brevard County, Florida public school boundaries are located.

This is the point where caution should be exercised.
DO NOT USE ANY WEB SITE AS A DEFINITE SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT TOOL.  I encourage all buyers to stop by the identified school and verify the attendance boundaries before making a purchase decision.
Continuing down the "school" path remember this  - A key component of the home buying process is to do your home work.  Need some "home work" ideas, check here.

school assignment areas!

Indigo Crossing in Viera, Florida–Market Update April 2013

The single family home market in Indigo Crossing at Viera has heated up since March 1, 2013 with three homes selling in March 2013.

In addition to these closings there were seven single family homes in Indigo Crossing have gone under contract within the past thirty days.

Currently there are five active listings in Indigo Crossing.  Listing prices range from $189,000 to $308,000.  All of these listings have been on the market for less than one month.  (Four of the homes are priced under $238,000.)

And the market is changing with fewer distressed properties for sale.  Indigo Crossing has only one active distressed property (a foreclosure, $237,800).

For information on homes for sale in Indigo Crossing, send me an email or give me a call.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Isles of Baytree in Melbourne, Florida - Golf Course Home Sales Picking Up!

This Baytree Golf Course home located in the Isles of Baytree in Melbourne, Florida recently sold for $180,000.


Homes in the Isles of Baytree are not staying on the market very long with three homes selling in the past two weeks.  All sold for prices between $180,000 and $195,000.


Baytree offers residents lawn service, club house, exercise center and community pool all within the gated Baytree Golf Course communities.   Baytree Golf Course and the surrounding communities are located in the very popular planned unit development of Suntree.  For information on the Suntree Master Association, click here.  

For information on other homes for sale in the Baytree, Suntree and Viera area.

Friday, April 05, 2013

How do I determine my selling price?

So you have decided to sell your Brevard County, Florida home? Great. 

So how are you going to determine your asking price?   One answer I heard recently was "well I paid this plus I have put this much into it and..." 

In an ideal world the above answer would be the ideal answer.   
But we do not live in an ideal world.

While showing homes not long ago a prospective buyer asked me how much value a pool would add when you sell your home.  My response was simply  "not as much as you will pay for the pool.  Install a pool if you're going to use it!"

Determining how much your home will sell for is a function of multiple issues and characteristics.  Some of those include...
  1. How old is your home?  
  2. What is the condition of your home?  
  3. Where is your home located?  
  4. What are the competing properties?  
  5. Has there been any major updating?  
  6. What about any major systems issues (roof, AC, electrical and plumbing)?    
  7. What are the current market conditions?  
  8. Who are your potential buyers?   
  9. And a few more depending on the property.
How do I determine my selling price?  Call a local real estate professional and schedule an appointment for a market analysis and consultation...its free, call me!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Heritage Isle in Viera, Florida–Homes Sold in March 2013

During March 2013 there were nine single family homes sold in Viera’s 55+ community of Heritage Isle.

Selling prices of these Heritage Isle homes ranged from $179,000 to $300,000.  Of these sales, one was a short sale and another was a foreclosure.  There are also another twenty or so homes under contract awaiting the closing.

Currently there are 25 homes for sale in Heritage Isle with list prices ranging from $185,900 to $379,900.  Prices of homes for sale in Heritage Isle seem to be creeping upward as there are only three properties listed below $200,000 ($185,900 to $197,500).

For information on Homes for Sale in Heritage Isle (including new construction, patio homes and condos) send me an email or give me a call.

Why did you ask me for a pre-approval letter before we find the house I want to buy?

The ability to purchase is important for all parties involved in a real estate transaction....buyers, real estate agents, and prospective sellers.

How are real estate agents paid?  As a buyer your real estate agent is typically paid on a commission basis dependent on sales.  This commission is typically paid by the seller.  No closed transaction, no pay.

Sellers expect serious offers to have an accompanying indication of a buyer's ability to complete the transaction if accepted.  For buyers obtaining a mortgage, a pre-approval letter is the critical supporting evidence.

Buying a home is an exciting process but knowing their financial limits allows buyers to shop with a realistic budget in mind.  An understanding of the entire financial commitment is critical to the process.

Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval from your lender is a primary step in the home purchase process.  It tells you how much you can buy (although the amount one is qualified for does not mean it is the  amount a buyer must spend).

So why would I ask for a pre-approval letter?  It is critical supporting evidence of a potential transaction.

Considering the purchase of a home in Viera, Suntree or Rockledge, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 to discuss the process.

Need a mortgage pre-approval letter?  Call me for recommendations on several local mortgage loan professionals who may be able to assist you or call your bank or credit union!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

March 2013 Brevard County, Florida Real Estate Market Update

Here are the early returns for Brevard County, Florida residential real estate sales and inventory for March 2013
  • Residential Properties Sold March 2013 – 723
  • Average Selling Price March 2013 – $149,971
  • Median Selling Price March 2013 – $119,900
  • Average Days on Market – 84 
  • Median Days on Market – 41
  • List/Sell Ratio – 96% 
  • Supply (months) – 20 weeks
Of the above residential sales statistics the one that really sticks out to me is the median days on the market.  Half of all residential properties sold in March 2013 were “active” for less than six weeks.

"Reality Based Pricing, Reality Based Offers... How the real estate deal is made."

What happens when a draft real estate post is written and but never goes "live?"  The market passes it by...

The original draft post was titled "Home Seller Tips - Reality Based Pricing"  It was a down and dirty summary of the way to sell a home in a buyer's market written about a year ago. Its major points included:

  1. Price it right.  This means within the realm of reality.
  2. Preparation.   Do what is necessary to make sure all the little neglected items are addressed before placing  it on the market.  And, if there are major issues, make the decision either price accordingly (and disclose to prospective buyers) or fix the problem as well.
  3. Presentation.  Make it available for reasonable showing requests...follow the path of least resistance to attract buyers.
The new title should read "Reality Based Pricing, Reality Based Offers... How the real estate deal is made."

As the market shifts in the seller's favor buyers need to be reminded that the times have changed.   The inventory of "move in ready" homes in Brevard County  Florida is less than probably the past four or five years or longer.  Currently Brevard County  Florida single family home supply on the market is about 4.6 months.  (A balanced market is considered to offer a six month inventory.)

The prices are increasing as well although at a slow but very discernible pace. 

Buyers and sellers are coming together on deals much more quickly.  The median days on the market in Brevard County, Florida during March 2013 was less than 40 days while the average days on the market still runs around 90 days.

A few prospective buyers I have spoken with recently still believe they are in the driver's seat.  Fantasy is often so much more pleasant than reality.

The reality of "how a real estate deal is done" involves a realistic seller and a buyer who recognizes the market has changed and is willing to offer, at a minimum, a lets talk purchase price.

Because, in real estate, whenever a buyer and seller are talking a deal is possible.

Considering buying or selling a house or condo in Melbourne, Florida and the surrounding area, call me at 321-693-3850 if I can assist in any way.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The real estate closing–a simple process, really?

The most challenging part of selling a home can be the final step - the closing.   Almost as challenging are the preparation efforts, showings, dealing with multiple offers, and the negotiations.

But, finally, you have it…a signed deal.

The closing process is simple as well.

Surveys are done.  Inspections are done.  Appraisals are done. Mortgage information is gathered and processed.  Home owner associations release estoppel letters.  Taxes are calculated.  Documents are prepared. Buyers, sellers and lenders review the documents.

Finally, the lender gives an approval of the closing statement (the “HUD” form).

Now funds are wired and signatures gathered.  And then keys exchanged.

And they lived happily ever after.  THE END.

But not all closings are that simple.  As one of my customers said once "Ultimately all are at the mercy of the closing process."

Closings sometimes include a lot of "hurry up and wait" time.  This can be especially true when the buyer is purchasing a short sale.

As closing day draws near these words may be needed for all "patience, grasshopper."

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