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Monday, September 30, 2013

Choosing a Realtor® to sell your Viera, Florida home - There will always be a spring butt!

For every prospective home seller, there is a real estate who will list their home.   Further, there will always be an agent who will list their home at whatever price they want regardless if the price is reasonable. 

In a rising market such as the current Brevard County, Florida market, I can make a good case for listing slightly above the market.  But go too far and the result could be....just reduced - again!   

Real estate agents, such as I, are self employed.  We must choose the activities that generate income and skip "opportunities" that cost time and money with no hope of income generation.  After all, we are not the Welcome Wagon!

So, the question is "Will an overpriced listing generate future income?"

For me the answer is almost always NO!

But, on the positive side, an overpriced listing will still do a few things for an agent.

It gets the agent's name on a sign in the front yard.  Neighbors considering selling a home may just give the agent a call.  Drive by prospects may call the agent who may eventually sell another home to them.  Remember, very often the agent knows the listing is not priced but seeks to generate income..

Image courtesy of xedos4 at
Many agents believe an overpriced listing is worth it for the real estate agent.

Why?  See the paragraph above.

Ultimately the listing price is determined by the seller.  Ultimately the agent's choice is whether the other business generated by the house is worth the effort!

As for me, the answer is no.  Still, there will always be a spring butt... someone raising there hand to say ME! ME! ME!..I WILL! 

When you are ready to sell your Viera, Rockledge or Suntree home, call me to discuss how I can help you reach your goals.

You may not choose me to sell your house after we meet.  Still, you will benefit from a free market analysis and some forthright advice.  What have you got to risk?


Friday, September 27, 2013

The Home Buying Process - If you are serious, act serious!

"What do you mean by asking me if I am serious about buying a house?"   In this real estate market if a home buyer is serious they will act serious.  How does one "act serious?"

First,  know the process.  How does one learn about the process?  The answer is here:  choosing the right real estate agent.

Secondly, get pre-approved for a mortgage.  There is a difference between a pre-approval and pre-qualification.  If you want a seller to know you are serious, have a pre-approval letter available at the time an offer is tendered.   Just as important understand all the numbers involved with a home purchase.  Here is a summary of all the numbers involved with a home purchase.

Finally, proceed with a real plan with a goal of success.    To develop a plan your real estate agent will most likely ask a ton of questions.  These questions are critical to putting together a plan for success.

Follow the above suggestions and everyone involved will know you are a serious buyer.

Still, even with a perfect plan, there will likely be bumps in the road - some avoidable, some fixable and some that may even require a detour.

Ready to buy a home in Brevard County, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or email me if I can help in any way.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Buying a Furnished Home - What is the value? Why do it?

In the Brevard County, Florida real estate market we routinely encounter buyers looking for second homes.  In some cases they prefer a house or condo that is already furnished - a turnkey solution.

The question that often arises is how much value do the contents add to the purchase.  Does the buyer calculate the inventory and assign a value?

With cash purchases my guess is there is a convenience consideration with little actual correlation of inventory/value to purchase price.  It may just be a way to save time.

But if there is a mortgage involved in the transaction many lenders do not want the personal property on the purchase contract.  The reality is the lender ignores personal property.

If the contents are included in the contract price the appraisal may come in low because the appraisal focuses on the real estate (real property) not the personal property (contents).

In my opinion the contents should be outside of the real estate transaction.  The contents should be negotiated separately.

From a buyer negotiation position the contents can be a distraction that blurs the real value and interferes with obtaining the best price possible.

Since I am not an attorney or tax adviser the appropriate professional should be consulted.   There may be sales tax consequences or other unexpected issues.

Here is a link to Naples Florida Realty Attorney Raymond J. Bowie's website and an article that provides some insight into "Selling Personal Property with Real Estate."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Seller Property Disclosures: The "missing" word

The seller's property disclosure is a topic I have written about multiple times on this blog.  The seller’s disclosure is a series of questions where a seller is asked to provide responses to questions about the property.

Some of the topics covered in the previous posts include:
There is one common theme in every one of the above listed posts - DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE what you know about the property you are selling.  

This morning I was reading an article titled Sellers Disclosure: Has the home ever flooded?   It got me to thinking about one word I do not believe I have ever clearly stated in any of the above posts

That missing word?   "Ever"  The question is not written in the context of "while you have owned the property" but rather "based on your knowledge has it ever?"

It is simple.  Just DISCLOSE what you know about the property you are selling.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Home Seller Tips: Should I fix it or just expect to give a credit?

Many times it is when a home owner decides to sell they start noticing little maintenance issues.  Or, like many sellers, they have lived with it so long they don't even recognize any issues at all until their real estate agent makes recommendations for preparing to sell your home.

I can't recall the number of times I have been asked what I thought about giving a credit or repairing a problem.

It really all comes down to the sellers motivation.  The return on some repairs is well worth the expense or effort (some jobs are just do it yourself things like painting a red bathroom!).

My response is often a question.... Think of your likely buyer. What will they expect to find in a home like yours, priced like yours?

If its a negative and easily addressed - fix it!  Besides the cost to replace or repair something is almost always over estimated by buyers when they start negotiating getting a credit or justifying a low ball offer.

In the words of Karen Otto, Plano, Texas Home Staging Professional "Buyers can't un-see the negative." 

When you are ready to sell your Viera, Florida home, give me a call at 321-693-3850 for your no obligation market analysis.

"Buyers can't unsee the negative."
"Buyers can't unsee the negative."

Friday, September 20, 2013

Home Seller Tips: What should my Realtor® do for me?

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at
I recently listed a home for an out of town seller.  One of the questions asked of me was if I would take care of the lawn.  I offered to have my lawn service contact give her a call.

There are many things a real estate agent does as part of the process of selling your Brevard County, Florida home..  Then there are some things that are not really part of the real estate agent's normal responsibilities. 

Just some of the areas I provide assistance to sellers with include:
  • Recommend a possible listing price.
  • Recommend actions to prepare your home for the market.
  • Market your home in the most appropriate way including print, Internet, direct mail or even through open houses.
  • Coordinate showing appointments and gather feedback from prospective buyers.
  • Negotiate on your behalf when an offer is received.
  • Once a contract is ratified, monitor each step of the closing process.
  • And a lot of other things not included in this list.
There is one thing I can't do for you.  It is not my job (or anyone else either) to convince you to sell your home.

When you are selling your home, it is your motivation that determines whether to accept an offer or even sell. l
If you have decided to sell your  Brevard County, Florida home, call me.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss how I can work with you to accomplish your goal. If so, please give me a call for assistance.

It is all about you - not anyone else.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Monthly Market Summary - August 2013 Single Family Home Sales (Brevard County, Florida)

The below data provided by the Florida Realtors® provides Monthly Market Detail - August 2013 fro Single Family Home Sales Brevard County.

Further documentation of an improving market...

Florida Real Estate Market Update: Should you buy from a "flipper?"

Now that the market has bounced back I have read articles about flippers returning to the market.   A flipper is one who buys a property and does work (cosmetic mostly) and then turns around and hopefully sells for a profit in three to six months.

This is a great opportunity for those willing to do this needed rehabbing work and can manage the risk.

As a buyer of a flipped property something that may come up is the lack of a seller disclosure.  Specifically, I am referring to a “Seller’s Real Property Disclosure.” 

The seller’s disclosure is a series of questions where the seller is asked to provide responses to all sorts of questions like any roof issues, systems (AC, heating, etc), appliances, Home Owner Association rules, water damage, zoning or future use changes, etc.   All of which is very useful for a potential buyer to know before an offer is made.

I have seen cases where the seller's disclosure says one thing - "Seller never lived in house and has no knowledge of property."

If you are flipping, Mr. Seller, you know something about the property.  You know what you have fixed, what you have replaced, and what may be an issue.

If you are an investor selling a rental property you have probably made repairs and heard tenant complaints through the years.  Just because you have not lived in the property is not a reason for a "I know nothing, response."

My Florida buyer clients always have a get out of jail free card they may play, if necessary.  They have an inspection contingency even on an "as is" contract.

Flippers in the Florida real estate markets should expect this "card."  Besides if a seller hides something that they failed to disclose yet knew about there is a potential liability issue.

As a flipper, managing your risk also includes disclosing what you do know! 

Disclaimer:  I am not an attorney nor have I played one in the movies.  Consult appropriate professionals for legal guidance.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Home Seller Tips: Get Ready to be Inconvenienced....

It is not convenient. 

As a seller you know who your likely buyer will be (think someone like yourself, similar tastes).  But you may not know when they will arrive.

It could be on day one or day forty-five.   Further, you may not know the time of their arrival although you can certainly restrict showings to reasonable hours of the day.

If your home is occupied then, get ready to be inconvenienced.  Your schedule is not their schedule.

The key is to minimize the inconveniences inherent in the process.  How can a seller minimize the disruptions caused by the home selling process?  First and foremost.... prepare your house to appeal to prospective buyers by:
The above articles do not have all the answers but do offer a good starting point if you are considering selling your Brevard County, Florida home.

Selling your home centers on paying attention to these Three Ps of Selling Your Home.
  • Price.  Price appropriately for condition, market (competition) and location.  If you don’t…well it expires eventually.
  • Promotion.  Your real estate agent must use an effective marketing plan that gets your property in front of the largest potential buyer pool available.  This may be on the Internet or print media.  It may be through open houses.  It depends on the property as not every home is equal.  If your agent doesn’t…well it expires eventually.
  • Presentation.  This comes down to how a home looks to the prospective buyer.  I am referring to cleanliness, non-personalized paint colors, welcoming appearance, de-cluttering,  curb appeal, the ease of showing… everything from when they buyer agent calls to schedule an appointment to when the prospect leaves after seeing your home.
If you are considering selling your Brevard County, Florida house or condo, give me a call at 321-693-3850.

Let me help minimize your disruptions while selling!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Auburn Lakes in Viera East - Market Report September 2013

Auburn Lakes in the "Villages of Viera East" features homes primarily built around 2003/2004 with most having a living area between 1600 and 1920 square feet with two car attached garages.

This location is convenient as it is within walking or biking distance of Ralph Williams Elementary School, close to the Viera East Golf Course, shopping and entertainment.

Only minutes to the Space Coast Stadium, Brevard County Courthouse complex, excellent restaurants and more, Auburn Lakes offers affordable living in one of Brevard County, Florida's most popular areas - Viera.
 Currently there are only three active listings in Auburn Lakes as of September 17, 2013.  List prices range from $175,000 (3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage with 1,905 sq.ft.) to $224,900 ( 4 bedroom 2 bath home with 1,911 sq.ft. under air).  All three of these "regular" sales were built in 2004.

Activity has been steady within Auburn Lakes as there are nine homes under contract with four of these being distressed sales (three short sales).

Over the past three months there has been only one sale in Auburn Lakes - a 3 bedroom 2 bath home which sold in August for $225,00.

The lack of recent sales in Auburn Lakes is a reflection of the limited inventory - not a lack of motivated buyers.  This home was only on the market for 8 days and sold for more than 98% of list price.

For information on homes for sale in Viera including the Auburn Lakes subdivision call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Somerville Subdivision in Viera - Market Report September 2013

Somerville subdivision is conveniently located near Ralph Williams Elementary School, across the street from Viera East Golf Course and just a short drive to the new Viera Hospital.

With bike trails, jogging paths, tennis courts, and more nearby, Somerville offers attractive opportunities for those looking to relocate to Brevard County, Florida!

There are five active listings in Somerville subdivision as of September 17, 2013.

List prices range from $189,000 (4 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage short sale) to $249,500 (4 bedroom 2 bath pool home with 2,572 sq.ft. under air).   Four of the five listings in Somerville are short sales or foreclosures.

Currently there are five properties in Somerville subdivision under contract.  Four of these are standard sales - a good sign for the market.

So far in September 2013 there has been one sale in Somerville - 5390 Somerville (a 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage pool home) sold for $200,000.

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

55+ Communities in Viera - Indian River Colony Club (September 2013 Market Activity)

There are three 55+ communities in Viera, Florida  (Melbourne, Florida) - Heritage Isle, Grand Isle and the Indian River Colony Club.  This article focuses on the latter, Indian River Colony Club and what is currently for sale and recently sold in the community.

Indian River Colony Club (IRCC) is a gated community founded in 1986 whose membership is composed of 80% former military officers and 20% others.  It is a not-for-profit membership owned corporation providing fitness center, golf course, tennis and much more.

One of IRCC's most attractive features is it is totally maintenance free with inside and outside maintenance provided.  Unlike the other two communities with fees around $250-$300 per month , IRCC maintenance fees are based on floor plan.  Also, unlike the others, there is a "buy in fee" as part of the purchase process.  I recently had a client tell me it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $11,000 although I have not verified this fee lately.

These fees are in the ballpark of $600-$900 a month but need to be verified as part of the purchase process. Additionally, there are optional monthly fees for golf and tennis which can be around $300 or so a month. The monthly fees, although steep by comparison to other communities, cover many amenities and services and do not represent an apples to apples comparison

Currently there are 49 active listings within Indian River Colony Club as of September 16, 2013.   List prices range from a low of $85,000 to $270,000.  This price range can be misleading as most homes in IRCC are very reasonably priced with about 30 of these listed at or below $138,000.

Over the past six months there have been 36 homes sold within IRCC.  Selling prices ranged from $65,000 to $210,000.   Fifteen of these homes sold for less than $100,000.  Again, very affordable home prices.

If you are considering a move to a Florida 55+ community, take a look at these short articles.

Choosing a 55+ community in Florida's Viera 
Indian River Colony Club - A different 55+ Community
Maintenance Free Living in Viera, Florida
55+ Communities in Brevard County, Florida

For information on 55+ communities in Florida, call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.  55+ community living does not mean downsizing and living in a small cottage.... 55+ Community Living Does Not Mean Living in a Box!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ashwood Lakes and Ventana subdivisions Rockledge, Florida (Market Activity July - September 2013)

The Ashwood Lakes and Ventana subdivisions in Rockledge, Florida are located next to each other and consist of homes built about the same time (late 1990s -early 200s).  These developments are side by side and share community amenities like the pool, tennis courts, and basketball courts so it is logical to discuss them together in a combined market report. 

Excellent for commuters, Ashwood Lakes and Ventana are situated about 15-20 minutes from Patrick Air Force Base, convenient to major north south routes (US 1 and I-95), near several excellent golf courses and superior schools.  Also the neighboring Viera community offers shopping at The Avenue Viera, medical facilities like the new Viera Hospital, and plenty of restaurants.

 Currently there are seven homes for sale in Ashwood Lakes and Ventana.  Homes for sale are listed from $176,900 to $279,900.  Three of these listings are foreclosure homes.  There is quite a difference in some homes sizes, these properties range from 1,627 sq. ft. under air (a 4/2/2) to just over 3,800 square feet (a 5 bedroom 3 bath home with pond frontage listed for $279,900.

There have been seven homes sold since July 1, 2013.   Selling prices ranged from $130,000 to $305,000 (a 3/2/3 car garage with 2,552 under air on a lake in Ventana).  A positive sign of the market turnaround is five of these six sales were standard sales.  Another good sign was the days on market - an average of only 38 days on the market for these sales.

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

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Ventura at Turtle Creek - Rockledge, Florida Condos for Sale (Market Report August 2013)

The gated Ventura at Turtle Creek condo community in Rockledge, Florida offers those looking for condo living or even a second home in Florida the chance to grab a newer construction condo reasonable prices.

The gated Ventura at Turtle Creek complex provides top quality amenities in a central Florida location close to everything.

The Ventura at Turtle Creek's convenient location next door to Turtle Creek Golf Course is great for golfers as is its proximity to excellent schools, shopping and beaches. 

With Orlando International Airport only 40 miles away, The Ventura at Turtle Creek makes a great choice for a second or vacation home.

Currently there are six active condo listings in The Ventura at Turtle Creek.   Listing prices range from $84,900 to $129,900.  Four of these six listings are foreclosures while the others include a short sale and one standard sale.

There are seven condo units under contract at this time with six of these being short sales.

Since July 1, 2013 there have been only two sales in The Ventura at Turtle Creek.   Both sales occurred in the second half of July with none since July 26th.

Both of the the units sold were 2 bedroom 2 bath units and sold for $95,000 and $102,500.  The major difference between these units was one had a detached garage while the other had a detached carport.  The unit with the garage (sold for $102,500) was sold furnished which likely also influenced the final price. 

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Objectivity: Negotiating the Real Estate Deal

Home Seller Tips: Negotiate a deal - not animosity.

The pendulum has swung the other way...the real estate pendulum, that is.  In Brevard County, Florida the number of homes for sale has dropped considerably - especially homes buyers consider "move in ready."  As of today there are about 2,600 active single family listings in Brevard County.

Now sellers have the upper hand.  But that does not mean a motivated seller should totally disregard the give and take of the negotiation process.

Whether one is a buyer or the seller objectivity is a key component of the real estate sales process

Sellers most often encounter the challenge to objectivity when the discussion turns to the listing and selling price.  Some sellers feel an attachment to the property because of the memories and experiences associated with the property.  Unfortunately, unless one is selling their memoir, most people will not pay a premium for memories.

As a buyer in a market with fewer "move in ready" homes available for purchase the likelihood of  buyers finding themselves in a multiple offer situation is real.

The current market requires clear thinking with emotions in check as the negotiation process is being done.  Emotions can ruin a deal...from both sides.

Sellers receiving a lower than expected offer could get angry and respond with simply a take a hike.  Or a seller may respond in such a way as to send a signal.   The signal may be a counter offer at equal to or just below the asking price... a "we can talk" signal.
Here are a few articles on the negotiation process. 
Whether buyer or seller remember this:  Not all negotiations will be successful.

Even if a man says he is willing to negotiate, such may not be the case. It has been said that “The man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance.”  

Monday, September 09, 2013

The Home Buying Process...simple, right?

The closing process is actually pretty easy.  So what is involved in the home purchase process?

After determining the budget (mortgage pre-approval), step one is get your own real estate agent.   A buyer's agent does not cost the buyer anything.  A buyer's agent is your local expert

Your agent should be that voice of reason that keeps you focused on your goals.   A good buyer's agent will be your advocate guiding you in the process and urging caution when necessary.

Now that you have your buyer's agent, what is involved in the process?   Putting it in simple terms...
  • Look at prospective homes that meet your identified requirements. (Need to know up front what you must have, can't have, etc.)
  • Find the house that meets most of your needs. (Usually some give and take involved unless custom built.)
  • Offer to purchase. (A reasonable offer is a starting point for the next step.)
  • Negotiate the contract. (Your real estate agent earns their money here!)
  • Inspect the house. (Will cost the buyer)
  • Appraise  (Lender does this although they charge the buyer).
  • Obtain homeowner policy binder. (Be prepared to pay a year's premium in advance.)
  • Arrange for utilities to be turned on/transferred into buyer's name. 
  • Review closing statement in advance and obtain funds for closing in acceptable form (wire, certified check, etc.)
  • Sign the paperwork and get the keys to your new home.
Sounds pretty simple, right?  It is as long as you start with step one.

Home Buyer Tips - How clean is clean?

One of the final steps in the closing process in the "final walk through."  [What is a final walk through?]

Not only does the buyer expect the property to be in the same condition it was in when the contract was executed (all appliances present, etc.), buyers expect it to be clean.

Although I have never had a deal "go south" because of cleanliness,  experience has shown me buyers and sellers don't always have the same idea of clean.

So, how clean is clean?  Is there a standard short of floors you can eat off?

The "standard" I have always heard of has been referred to as "broom clean."   Basically contents gone, floors clear and swept.

I am of the opinion that no house will ever be clean enough for any buyer.

In my opinion it all comes down to courtesy.  Do unto others...simple.  Not always! 

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at

Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Terraces at Heritage Isle - Condos for Sale at Viera, Florida 55+ Community (Market Report September 2013)

Currently there are seven condo units for sale in The Terraces at Heritage Isle located within Viera, Florida's premier 55+ community.

All of these units are 2 bedroom 2 bath condos with a detached single carport.  Of these seven listings four are standard sales and three are foreclosures.  Square foot under air ranges from 1,192 square feet to the largest unit at 1,408 sq.ft.

List prices for the active units range from $117,900 to $139,900 with an average list price of $127,600.

The three foreclosure listings are priced from $119,900 to $134,900.  Standard sale listings range in price from $117,900 to $139,900.

While the condo prices appear very attractive potential purchasers should keep in mind the association fees are about $450 per month.

If you have never considered a condo purchase before, make sure you understand the difference between a condo, a town house and a single family home.  These significant differences can explain the monthly association fee differences.

For information on homes and condos for sale in Viera's Heritage Isle 55+ community, please contact me at 321-693-3850 or email me.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Home Seller Tips - Pricing Strategies To SELL Your Home

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at
With the average home selling for about 95% of list in the Brevard County, Florida area it is a fair statement to say sellers will negotiate some.

As a seller the most important thing you do when selling is set your "listing price."   Chances are the listing price and selling price will rarely be the same.   I did have a listing in Viera close yesterday for its list price.

There are multiple considerations when determining your listing price?  Here are a few ideas to ponder...

The 95% list to sell ratio does indicate sellers, on average, have some wiggle room.  But as a seller you will never know if that is really the case unless you price it to receive a "let's talk offer."

Price it right and they will come... and that is the key to getting that let's talk offer

Ready to sell your Viera, Florida home?  Call me to discuss how I can work for you!


Somerville Subdivision in Viera, Florida - Sold after 3 days on market!

Viera, Florida Homes For Sale
 5390 Somerville Drive Pool Home 3 Bedroom 2 Bath 2 Car Garage  1,998 Sq Ft under air  Built in 2002  

This Viera East (Rockledge, Florida) home sold today for $200,000...full price, on the market only three days!  The Brevard County, Florida real estate market is hot.  Move in ready homes do not linger on the market very long!

When you are ready to buy or sell a home in Viera, Florida....let me help you!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Home Buyer Tips - Recognize your Budget

The home buying process can be exciting - especially for first time buyers.  A home purchase is likely one of the most expensive financial obligations one has during a lifetime (with the exception of raising a child).

Because of its long term implications buyers should always keep their budget at the fore front of any decision.

Buyers need to understand the big picture - all costs associated with a home purchase.  Things such as the mortgage payment, association fees, insurance, taxes,  maintenance and the other homeowner expenses like utilities and upkeep.

The key for buyers... recognize your real budget, not the one the mortgage broker gave you when they pre-approved you for XXX HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS!  There really is more to life than making a mortgage payment!

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

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