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Monday, March 31, 2014

Buying in a Shifting Market - While everything is negotiable it may be a poor strategy.

Florida home prices, like most other areas of the U.S., are beginning to creep upward.  And while there is not an abundance of homes on the market in Brevard County, Florida there is sufficient inventory to offer most buyers several choices.

But, in some areas of Brevard County, the choices are more limited

For example, the two most popular 55+ communities in Viera are Heritage Isle and Grand Isle.  In these 55+ communities there are only 22 single family homes for sale (19 in Heritage Isle, 3 in Grand Isle).  The same holds true for many of the more popular subdivisions in central Brevard County. 

If you are a buyer in an area where, after much looking and waiting, you have found "the house," consider your negotiation strategy.  While everything is negotiable it may be a poor strategy.

Here is a selection of previous posts about negotiation strategies.   Just click on the title and the post will open in another window.

Your offer is more than a price...
Improve your chances of having an offer accepted.
Responding to an offer
Ready to make an offer? Know your competition.
Show sincerity...even in a buyer's market.
Take it or leave it is not negotiating!
Negotiation strategies to close the deal.

If you are considering buying or selling your Brevard County, Florida home call me at 321-693-3850 to discuss how I can help you.

If you are new to the home buying process, please give me a call.   First time home buyers need a real estate agent who will educate them as well as proceed at their pace.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Am I ready to buy a house?

If you have followed the arrows down this chart and find you are ready to buy a home in Brevard County, Florida then...

Are you ready to become a homeowner? Find out here!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rockledge, Florida Home for Rent - 5 Bedroom 3 Bath $1685

Available May 2014 for 12 month lease at only $1,685 a month this five bedroom three bath two car garage home is located at 977 Whetstone Place in Rockledge, Florida.

Built in 2007, this two story home has 2,745 square feet under air and is in move in condition.  Located in a small subdivision (one street), this home is ideally situated with easy access to major routes US1 and Interstate 95 as well as several nearby golf courses, shopping and excellent schools.  Military personnel assigned to Patrick Air Force Base or Cape Canaveral will find an easy commute from Rockledge, Florida.

This smoke free all electric home offers a second floor media room, a full bath down stairs and another two upstairs as well as an upstairs laundry room with storage.

The spacious kitchen with island, granite counters, stainless appliances has lots of working surface.  Enjoy the great views overlooking the lake from the breakfast nook.

Owner will consider pets - small dogs and cats only - with pet deposit.

There are restrictions in the neighborhood regarding commercial vehicles as well as no on street parking.

The current lease is through May 15, 2014 however may be available as early as May 1, 2014.

For information on this home for rent in Rockledge, Florida, please give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Heritage Isle in Viera, Florida - Homes for Sale in March 2014

Currently 20 homes for sale in Viera, Florida's premier gated 55+ community Heritage Isle.

Homes for sale in Heritage Isle range from new construction to some of the oldest homes in the young community (built in 2004-2006).  Of these twenty homes for sale in heritage Isle there are six which were built (or being built) in 2014 and another seven constructed between 2004 and 2006

List prices for these homes for sale in Heritage Isle range from a low of $157,900 to the highest right now at $479,900.

At the high end of the Heritage Isle single family home market there are three homes priced above $400,000 (all either for or five bedroom with three of four baths and  three car garages).

As of today the three lowest priced homes in Heritage Isle are either duplex of patio style homes priced from $157,590 to $212,000.

The $157,590 is a new construction patio home offering two bedrooms two baths and a one car garage with 1,400 sq. ft. total under air.   A very general description of the homes for sale in Heritage Isle:  1,750 to 2,000 sq. ft. range with prices around $225,000 to $245,000 (7 listings).

For those looking for a foreclosure or short sale in Heritage Isle you are out of luck as there are only fair market listings in Heritage Isle.

What about recent sales in Heritage Isle?  Since February 1, 2014 there have been 24 sales.

Since March 1, 2014 there have been ten homes closed in Heritage Isle.  Of these nine were standard sales and one was a short sale.  Selling prices for the single family homes sold in March ranged $185,000 to $400,000.  (This is somewhat misleading as the $185,000 sale price was the short sale.)

All other single family homes sold at or above $215,000. There were also two townhouse/villa homes sold in March with selling prices at $137,000 and $150,000.

There are also condos for sale in Heritage Isle as well. Ask me about condos for sale in Heritage Isle.

For information on homes fro sale in Heritage Isle in Viera, please give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Buying a Foreclosure - Due Diligence is Required

February 2014 single family foreclosure sales are up almost 32% in Brevard County, Florida over the previous February.  Although foreclosures sometimes offer opportunities to buy for much less foreclosures are not for every buyer.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Foreclosures are generally not move in ready properties.   Many times they have been neglected, stripped of major components (AC, for example) and even vandalized.  Some have been boarded up for a year or more.  Many have had issues neglected for years before the actual foreclosure resulting in further damage (roof leaks, for example.).

A major component of the normal home buying process is disclosure.   In Florida sellers are required to disclose issues they are aware of that affect the property.  Sellers are required to disclose association fees.

But with most foreclosures there are usually no disclosures.   I have seen  many investor owned properties where there is little disclosed because seller "has not lived in the property so has no knowledge."   I personally believe an owner likely has knowledge of repair issues if they have been the landlord for years.

Foreclosure buyers must verify the association fees.  Foreclosure buyers must review the association documents (by laws and financial statements).  Foreclosure buyers must have an inspection done.  Foreclosure buyers should have a survey.

Due diligence takes on additional meaning when dealing with foreclosures as the usual disclosures are usually absent.

As a buyer's agent I do not make the disclosures - only advise.  The seller's real estate agent does not provide the disclosures either.

Lastly, another area of consideration for foreclosure buyers is the closing costs.  While not a significant cost, there are some usual seller costs that institutions will pass along to the buyer including state transfer taxes (in Florida).

Buying a foreclosure requires extra effort by the buyer.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Compliance with Fair Housing Laws.

I rarely write articles about Fair Housing Laws.  Although I have not encountered any issues regarding fair housing this very important article is provided as general information.

Questions about the presence of children, age, marital status, etc. have no bearing on a real estate decision.  If they surface in general conversation about prospective buyers the conversation must be redirected to the transaction and decision at hand.   

In real estate, the only thing that matters when deciding to accept or reject an offer is.....the offer.

A real estate transition has no likability criteria - except "liking" the offer.

When a seller (or landlord) bases any purchase or lease decision on anything other than the offer, terms and ones ability to pay they are treading on dangerous ground.

As a Realtor® (and a person) I will not be involved in any transaction that does not comply with Fair Housing Laws.

The below is extracted from the HUD web site.
In the Sale and Rental of Housing: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap:
  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Deny a dwelling
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Before you list your home, do this!

Before a seller places their home on the market one of the first things they should do is "do a walk through." 

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /
Sellers need to look around and identify what is and what is not included with the property.

On the surface this seems pretty unnecessary if the property will be vacant for showings but even vacant properties have the potential to create confusion and problems between buyers and sellers. 

Most buyers assume items permanently attached to the walls, ceiling or floors is included with the property.  We have all been warned about the dangers of assuming anything, right?

What about the appliances?  Are they staying with the home?  If there is a pool, does all of the pool equipment remain?  What about the window treatments?

I recommend sellers clearly list each item that will remain with the house.

Problems can sometimes arise when there are items that hold special meaning to a seller which the seller plans to substitute a similar item before closing.

If a seller plans to remove a special whatever and replace it it with another, I recommend it be done before the very first showing.   If the newer washer and dryer will be replaced with older appliances, do it before placing the home on the market.

There are two reasons for taking this action before listing the home for sale.  First, prevent confusion.  The selling process is stressful enough with creating potential problems and strained relations with prospective buyers.

More importantly, if a prospective buyer does not see it, then it will not become a "negotiation" issue.  I don't see it often but it does happen - buyers want the seller to "throw in" the whatever to seal the deal.

When you are ready to sell your Viera, Florida home please give me a call at 321-693-3850 and lets discuss how I can work with you.  If you prefer, send me an email.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Brevard County, Florida Condo/Townhouse Sales February 2014 vs. February 2013

Brevard County, Florida Condo/Townhouse Sales February 2014 vs. February 2013

  • Closed Sales - up 20.7% in 2014 (621 units sold)
  • New Listings - up 15.7%
  • Median Sales Price Townhouse/Condo - up 13.1% ($116,500)
  • Median Days on Market - down 11.7% (53 days)
  • Months Inventory - up 12.8% (6.1 months supply)
  • Traditional Sales - up 28.3% with median sales price $135,000
  • Foreclosure Sales - up 25% with median sales price $75,000
  • Short Sales - down 30.8% with median sales price of $82,000

Data provided by the Space Coast Association of Realtors®

Brevard County, Florida Residential Sales (Single Family Homes) February 2014 vs. February 2013

Brevard County, Florida Residential Sales (Single Family Home) February 2014 vs. February 2013

  • Closed Sales - up 13.1% in 2014 (621 units sold)
  • New Listings - up 6.3%
  • Median Sales Price - up 11.5% ($124,900)
  • Median Days on Market - up 55% (62 days)
  • Months Inventory - down 1.1% (4.4 months supply)
  • Traditional Sales - up 26.3% with median sales price $149,450
  • Foreclosure Sales - up 31.9% with median sales price $79,250
  • Short Sales - down 69% with median sales price of $101,500

Data provided by the Space Coast Association of Realtors®

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Buying and Selling a Home - Risk Management is an issue.

Regardless of profession there is usually one common component - risk management.  And the reason is quite obvious - most people (and businesses) do not want to end up in court!

Start talking about health care costs and someone will likely opine that its the doctors who order too many tests.  Like most patients I would never question my doctor's orders.

During the home purchase process, a buyer will find risk management ever present.

Real estate agents will advise buyers and sellers to consult attorneys, tax professionals and other professionals when there are questions not related directly the the agent's area of expertise.

And when a property is found most real estate agents will recommend appraisals, surveys and inspections be performed by licensed professionals.

And when these are performed, especially the home inspection, the report may contain some suggestions like, "call an HVAC person," "have an electrician check," "have the garage door serviced," "have the septic system inspected," or "have the well water tested by a Laboratory."

Not only is this sound advice, it is risk management.  It is practicing within the scope of one's expertiseBuyers need to know the limits of the inspector's report.

Sellers facing repair issues can protect themselves further by having them done by a licensed professional.

Another recommendation for seller risk management - disclose all you know about the property condition and issues!

The process of buying or selling real estate provides multiple opportunities for a lawsuit. 

When buying or selling a home the first step I recommend prospective buyers or sellers do is contact a local knowledgeable real estate agent for guidance.

Considering buying or selling a home in Brevard County, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 ore send me an email.

Image courtesy of nirots /

Monday, March 17, 2014

Home Seller Tips: How long should a showing take?

Selling your home will be a disruption to your lifestyle.  Put another way, get ready to be inconvenienced!

Selling requires keeping your home in showing condition throughout the process.

Notice I did not say "pristine" condition as I believe most prospective buyers understand people are living in the home

To further create disruption, most real estate agents recommend sellers leave during showings.  There are lots of reasons for this, when possible.  Suffice it to say they want to look, not be given a tour!

So if a seller leaves for showings, how long should the showing take?  Based on degree of interest my experience is a showing should take anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes.  Rarely does a showing take more than a half hour unless it is a second showing indicating serious interest.

How does the scheduling of showings work?  Usually the buyer's agents will request a specific time frame in advance.  Ideally the requested time is a half hour to one hour window.   I have never asked for more than a one hour window as I believe it is inconsiderate.

And sellers really do control access.  Sellers set the terms and conditions (appointment notice, days or hour restriction, etc).  Still, a motivated seller wants to accommodate all showing requests, when possible.  As I like to put it...the path of least resistance.

Lastly, if a seller can not accommodate a requested time frame, provide a few suggested alternative times to indicate a willingness to accommodate.  After all, these may be your buyers - if they can get a look!

If you are ready to sell your Viera, Florida home, give me a call.  If you are ready to sell your Rockledge or Melbourne, Florida home, please contact me.  I welcome all buyers and sellers in Brevard County, Florida!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Should you have an open house when selling?

First of all, an open house is not just putting a sign out front and having your real estate agent house sit for several hours on a nice weekend afternoon.

An open house requires a lot of preparation. 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /
Open houses are not the most effective means to sell a house.

Although I once sold a house through an open house and actually had several more transactions from the same Sunday afternoon open that was an exception to my usual experience.

The key is with the right property, success can happen.   Not all properties are suitable for an open house (location not convenient to major traffic, price point too high or low, property does not show well, circumstances of sale (illness, death in the family), etc.)

Even with the right property it is up to the seller as to whether an open house will be held.  If a seller wants an open house very often the seller will need to do some of the preparations as well.

What are some of the things a seller can do to to prepare for the open house?  A few suggestions include..

  1. Clean everything. – [This is where I will refrain from my favorite – if you can smell it, you can’t sell it – phrase.]
  2. Lock away items that can easily be stolen including jewelry, laptops, iPad, cell phones, etc..
  3. Hide prescription medications.  Apparently thieves are targeting prescription drugs during open houses!
  4. Remove/lock away weapons.  Do not leave a weapon where it can be stolen or more importantly, handled by a child.  Just so I am clear – no weapons under your bed or rifles sitting in the closet.
  5. Curb appeal – Nicely landscaped lawn and flowers.
  6. Clean the Front Door – Remember first impressions.
Finally here are a couple of suggestions that need special attention.
  1.  Don't attend your homes open house. You hired your real estate agent to market and promote your home. Relax and let them do their job.
  2. Invite your neighbors to come by.  Very often a neighbor will show up anyway. Invite them and ask them for support and suggestions.  If prospective buyers see your neighbors in the yard or bump into them at the open house you want a positive experience.
Ready to sell your Viera, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 for a free market analysis.  I would welcome a chance to be your real estate agent of choice in the Suntree and Viera, Florida area.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Is an appraisal necessary with a cash offer?

An appraisal is a necessary part of the home purchase process if there is a mortgage involved.   The appraisal serves as an estimated market value based on current nearby similar property sales.

Mortgage companies and banks use the appraisal as a gauge on how much money to lend on a home purchase.

But what if the buyer is paying cash?  Is an appraisal necessary?

Necessary, no.  Recommended, yes.

Whenever I work with cash buyers in Brevard County, Florida I always advise an appraisal contingency be included with the offer to purchase (also a property inspection contingency).

What happens if the appraisal comes below the purchase price?   The Florida Realtors/ Florida Bar appraisal contingency includes these words.
"If the appraised value of the Property is less than the above value, Buyer shall deliver a copy of such appraisal to Seller within 3 days after the above referenced date and deliver written notice to Seller, either: a) terminating this Contract in which event the Deposit paid shall be refunded to Buyer, thereby releasing Buyer and Seller from all further obligations under this Contract; or b) waiving and removing this contingency and continuing with this Contract without regard to the appraised value of the property..."
I am not an attorney and the above is not considered legal advice.

The only advice I am providing here - always have an appraisal completed - even with a cash purchase.

Considering buying or selling a home in Viera, Suntree or Melbourne, Florida?  Call me if I can assist in any way.  If you prefer, send me an email.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: What is a reasonable offer?

What constitutes a reasonable offer depends on whether one is the buyer or seller.  This short post addresses the offer from a buyer's perspective.

How much should we offer?  Sometimes prospective buyers ask their real estate agent's opinion.  The expectation is their real estate agent is the local market expert.  And they likely will be the expert if they chose the right real estate agent.

The decision of how much to offer often requires consideration of multiple factors with the primary consideration being completely subjective - how attracted one is to the property/location.

Still it is important for buyers to remain objective

There are considerations like financing.  There are considerations like goals (investment, flip, long term homestead, retirement home, etc.).

And when all of the considerations the final decision should be based on the "comps."

A reasonable offer is one that is supported by the comps.   If there is financing involved the contract price must be supportable by recent sales of similar properties.  If it is a cash transaction, most buyers still want the assurance the property will appraise at the contracted price.

So what is a reasonable offer?  It is one that is acceptable to the buyer, supported by recent comparables, and meets the buyer's objectives.

How a seller responds to this reasonable offer will depend on the seller's motivation and goals and their own definition of a reasonable offer.

Considering selling your Viera, Suntree, Melbourne, or Rockledge, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 to discuss how I can assist you.  Also, remember to ask for a no obligation comparative market analysis.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Competitive Market Analysis for Viera, Florida Homeowners

Thinking about selling your Viera, Florida home?  

Call me for your free competitive market analysis on your Viera, Florida home.  A comparative market analysis will identify what is currently for sale in your neighborhood/area.  It will compare your Viera home to the other properties. What are the characteristics included in a market analysis?

Your free Viera, Florida market analysis will provide information on homes sold in your neighborhood over the past four to six months.   Which homes are included in the comparison? 

The potential sales price of your home will be tied directly to real data - not what someone down the street thinks your home is worth. 

A Viera home seller equipped with a competitive, comparative, complimentary market analysis is off to a good start when selling their Viera, Florida home.

Please give me a call at 321-693-3850 when you are considering selling your Viera, Florida home... professional, personalized service - always!

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