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Monday, March 28, 2016

Get Your Offer Accepted: "You can" but "consider" asking...

The home buying process is not really that difficult.   Sure it has a language of its own and requires commitment to the process.   But it is really a logical. 

The current (March 2016) real estate market in Brevard County, Florida favors the sellers.   Very often sellers find they have multiple buyers.  This is especially true for move in ready homes in the Viera and Suntree area.

If a seller has multiple offers which one gets accepted?    It really depends on a lot of factors.  Only one of these is price.

When a prospective Brevard County home buyer asks if they can ask sellers to pay for closing costs I respond  "Sure you can ask but consider the market and competition...."   Sometimes buyers are cash strapped and will require the assistance if they have any hope to purchase a home.

Here are some more tidbits regarding negotiation strategies and your offer to purchase a Florida home.
Ready to buy a Viera, Florida home?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for assistance.  Have a question, send me an email. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Selling Your Home - Lessen the Hassle of Showing Your Home

Several years ago I wrote a post about the realities of being inconvenienced when selling your home.  The point of the post was simple...very few buyers will make an offer based on the photos in the MLS listing or even the virtual tour.

Buyers want to "feel" the house.  They want to touch the cabinets (and who knows what else!).  Buyers want to walk the in see how easy it is to get around and judge the traffic flow. 

So when it comes time to sell your Viera, Florida home don't forget this... communicate with your agent up front on the rules regarding access to your home.   For more hints when selling your Viera home, see the related reading at the bottom of this article.

When a house is vacant, this is a non issue for the seller.  But if you will be continuing to occupy your home until sold then the challenges should be expected and mitigated with pre-planning.
There are some barriers that need to be "worked around" up front.  The most common is pets.  This can be a particular challenge when Fido doesn't want to sell!   

Recently I had buyers who were told to not go in one of the bedrooms because the pet snake was in the room.  I assumed loose otherwise why the warning?

Another barrier is work schedule.  If a seller works at night then the "no showing between X o'clock and Y o'clock" should be well publicized.   I understand sellers have lives and routines.  Still, some prospects will find it necessary to avoid seeing your home (especially if they are from out of town).

Another potential "work" issue is the work-at-home seller.  Depending on the type of work this may likely force a restriction in showing times.

Sometimes health is an issue.  If a seller is disabled then extra time may be required to prepare for the showing. 

Sometimes young children require scheduling accommodation.  

None of the above commitments and requirements are severe impediments to selling your home.  The critical item is communication with your agent and an understanding that, as much as possible, accommodation of showing requests serves to hasten the sale of your Viera home.

A final word to sellers:   Unnecessary barriers when there is no real reason such as "agent must be present," "24 hour notice required" Only between 4:000 and 6:000 on Tuesday, etc. will not get your home sold.

A word to buyers:   Motivated sellers have reasons for restrictions on scheduling viewings of their home.  Furthermore, when viewing an occupied home spend only the amount of time necessary to determine whether the house is a prospect or not.  Second showings can be scheduled for a more detailed examination.

So when it comes time to sell your Viera home, prepare to be inconvenienced somewhat.  However, the more showing requests accommodated, the quicker your home will be under contract!

Lessen the hassle of showing your home by communicating with your agent.  

If you are ready to sell your Viera, Florida home, call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Single Family Homes Sales Brevard County, Florida 2016

The Brevard County, Florida single family home sales in February 2016 compared to February 2015 as prepared and provided by the Florida Realtors.

Homes are selling faster for more money in 2016 when compared to 2015.  

The median time to contract does vary some based on price point with lower priced homes moving really quickly while the higher prices tend to stay on  the market a little longer.

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

Buying a House in Florida - A Language of Its Own.

If you have never bought a home the process is not hard even though the language can seem daunting.  I have outlined some of the common terms buyers encounter when buying a home in Brevard County, Florida.  

While most of these terms have common application the process and practices vary from location.  I know from working with buyers moving to Florida I hear the words "not how we do it back home" fairly often.  Check with your real estate agent.

Home buying process.  Read here about contract to closing in twenty steps!

Buyer's Agent.  This is your real estate agent. Here in Brevard County, Florida the seller pays for your agent.  Your buyer's agent will guide you through the process from mortgage pre-approval, property needs assessment, property location, contract negotiations and closing process.

Open House.  This is a situation where the listing agent has a house open for anyone to come see it at the designated time.  It is certainly OK to stop by an open house but tell the agent you have your own agent.

Listing Agent.    This is the name on the sign out front of a house.  This is the person who is paid by the seller and WORKS FOR THE SELLER.

Appraisal.  This is a determination of value by an independent, licensed appraiser which the bank uses to make a decision on your loan.  Read more at "What happens if the appraisal comes in low?"

Closing costs.  Buying a house is not he same a picking up a burger at McDs.  Everything has a cost from appraisals, inspections, title insurance, settlement services, escrow monies, and more.  These are all wrapped up in what is commonly referred to as the "closing costs."   Some closing costs are paid by sellers, some by buyers.   And who pays what can be negotiated.

Credit score.   Most everyone knows this term.  But its significance on loan approval and interest rates is substantial.  Before reaching the "buy stage" get a copy of your credit report and monitor activity.

Closing AgentIn Florida this is the independent party who holds the escrow monies as well as manages the document process and exchange of funds. The cost of services is part of the closing costs.  While this may be an attorney its most commonly handled by title companies in Florida.

Hazard Insurance This is a fancy name for homeowner's insurance.  Common practice in this area is for buyer's to pay for a twelve month policy at purchase and  then deposit 1/12th of the annual cost with each monthly payment so the lender can pay when due in the future.  Property taxes are also escrowed through the year in a similar method.  

PITI Short for principal, interest, taxes and insurance.  Monthly mortgage payment usually composed of PITI.  Depending on the lender/loan, some buyers are not required to escrow their insurance and taxes.

MLS.  Short for the Multiple Listing Service.  This is the place where professional Realtors (members of the national, state and local Realtor associations) provide the most accurate list of homes for sale  in your area.  No it is not the mega real estate sites!

Real Estate Broker.  In Florida a real estate broker is one who is licensed to negotiate the purchase and sale of real estate for payment.  Real estate agents (sales associates) as well as Broker-Associates must work under the license of a supervising real estate broker in Florida.

Contingency.  These are the "conditions" that must be cleared for a sale to proceed. As a buyer these contingencies serve to protect you.  Some of the most common contingencies include financing, appraisal, and inspection contingencies.

Comps.  These are the other properties used for comparison between the subject property and similar sales. Your real estate agent uses these to come up with a market analysis while an appraiser will also use comps for their determination of value. Note your real estate agent's comparable market analysis is not the same as an appraisal.  The market analysis is an opinion of value.

Earnest Money.   This is the amount of funds placed in escrow upon the acceptance of an offer to purchase.  How much to put down depends on the property/price and local practices.  I suggest placing enough to let the seller know you are serious but not an excessive amount.  This escrow money will be part of the buyer payment at closing.

Mortgage.  The debt that allows the lender to place a lien against the property until your loan is paid back in full.  Unless you are a cash buyer a mortgage is part of the process.

Origination Fee  Your lender's charge to prepare documents make credit checks, etc.

Pre-Qualification. This is not same as mortgage pre-approval. Pre-qualification is a general assessment of credit worthiness.  Read more about the difference between mortgage pre-approval and pre-qualification.

Real Property and Personal Property.  Real property includes improvements to the land such as a house and anything permanently attached to a house.  Personal property includes things like refrigerators, furnishings/contents.  Personal property can become real property when permanently affixed to a house such as ceiling fans, air conditioning units, dishwashers, etc.  Sometimes buyers want to purchase some contents from the seller.  These should be handled separately from the house purchase.  Lenders are not lending money on the used TV or sofa!

Title Insurance.  An insurance policy that protects a buyer's interest in real property. The protection exists for prior acts that may cause ownership to be questioned.  There are two title policies - owner's and lenders.   Here in Brevard County, Florida it is customary for the seller to pay for the owner's policy.  The cost of the owner's policy is established by the state.  Currently the charge is $575 for the first $100,000 in value plus $5 per additional $1,000 in value. For example, a $125,000 policy would be $700 [ $100,000 ($575) plus $25,000 ($125)].   The lender policy costs less as it is considered a simultaneous issue.  In Brevard County, while the seller usually pays the owner policy the buyer pays the lender side.

Homeowner Association.  An organized body that can impose restrictions on the use/changes to a property.  These may involve paint colors, plants/location, parking, and more including restrictions on the ability to lease a home.  Read the rules before you buy.   Know what you are paying and receiving.  Most association memberships are mandatory.

"As Is" Offer.   Most sellers want to avoid repairs but sometimes "As Is" may not mean "as it is."  Minor repairs or monetary concessions are sometimes made to close the deal.  Remember the inspection contingency mentioned above...buyers can walk - even when it is an "as is" offer.

Builder's Model. These model homes are staffed by the builder's representative. The builder's representative works for the builder - not the buyer.  Have your buyer's agent accompany you to the model home.  By the way most of the model homes have "upgrades" that are added to the base house.  This is where your own rel estate agent can help with the negotiations.

While the above is not an all inclusive discussion of the language of real estate I want to end with one word of advice for sellers and buyers in Florida....
Time is of the essence.  Offers to purchase have inflexible and binding time constraints.   Be prepared to act within the time limits of the contract.

If you have a question about buying or selling a home in Viera or Melbourne, Florida please call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Home Seller Tips: Selling an "Imperfect" Home

Homeowners often view their home much like they view their children....if not perfect at least as close to perfect as possible! 
When homeowners become sellers they often fail to shift their view from that of proud owner to prospective buyer.  And this can become an obstacle to the selling process.

There are a couple of characteristics a seller can not be change when it comes to pricing a home for the market.  The first is location.  The other, while it may change over time, is the competition. 

One characteristic that can be changed (although very often not) is a home's condition.
How does a seller know for sure the condition of their home? 

Sometimes seller know (or its obvious) this issues.   If the house is older I suggest sellers consider having an inspection done prior to listing the home.  This will either serve to verify the home's condition or bring to light issues that can be evaluated.

Read: Should Sellers Have a Pre-Listing Inspection?

What if a house has some issues?   
If they are known right away, decide whether the fix is worth it.  Some fixes are worth the effort if they increase the options for buyers (i.e. allows more types of financing options).  Some issues do not impact the ability for a buyer to obtain financing so the seller needs to look at the issue through the prospective buyer's eyes.

Sometimes the circumstances of the sale (health, death, estate) or available funds preclude the repair.  
If repairs are made, great.  

If repairs are needed, disclose them

Regardless, repairs needed or made must be considered when establishing the price.   Even if the price for repairs are considered in establishing the marketing (listing) price sellers should expect buyers to attempt additional deductions for repairs when they make the offer.

Buyer agents should educate their customers that if a house is priced for its REAL CURRENT CONDITION then attempting to negotiate with additional deductions is not a desirable tactic in a market that favors the seller. 

One final note about repairs...  

The question often arises as to whether a seller should obtain estimates for repair they will not be making.  This is entirely up to the seller. If time permits and the estimates are free, why not?  This may allay some concern prospective buyers have about the issues. 

Either way, the rule to follow is disclose all.  

If a pre-inspection has been done, make the report available.  If there are issues, tell the world up front.  Full disclosure protects the seller as well as prevents unnecessary showings when the issues are deal-breakers.

Ready to sell your Viera, Florida home?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can assist in any way.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Rockledge, Florida Home For Rent RENTED APRIL 4, 2016

1336 Gem Circle, Rockledge, Florida - $1,400 a month, 12 month lease, no pets.

RENTED on April 4, 2016.  Call or text me if I can help you locate rental property in central Brevard County.

This 2004 built home located at 1336 Gem Circle in Rockledge, Florida is available for immediate occupancy.

With 1,672 square feet under air, this pristine home offers three bedrooms two bathrooms and a two car garage in an ideal location - convenient to I-95, 10-12 miles from the beaches, and an hour from Orlando!   Other positives about this property...a smaller yard means less maintenance, nearby schools, parks, ice rink and more.

Move in will require first month (1400), last month (1400), and security (1600) [total  $4400].   Security deposit necessary upon application acceptance to take off market and remaining funds payable at lease move-in.

If you are #moving to Rockledge, Florida, whether renting or buying a home in Rockledge, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sonoma at Viera - Florida Homes For Sale - Market Update March 2016

The gated subdivision of Sonoma at Viera located off Stadium Parkway, in the planned unit development of Viera in central Brevard County, Florida, was one of the first subdivisions constructed when expansion moved west of I-95.

Sonoma at Viera is in a very convenient location which is
Also the location is ideal for commuters to Orlando (40 miles) as well as those working in Melbourne as well as the Kennedy Space Center.

What is for sale in Sonoma at Viera?

Currently there are twelve single family homes for sale in the Sonoma at Viera development.   List prices range from $259,995 to $499,000.  Half of the homes for sale in Sonoma at Viera are priced below $325,000.

Two of these homes are distressed sales (auction, bank-owned).  Home size varies from just over 1,813 square feet to almost 3,500.   The eight largest homes have at least four bedrooms and three bathrooms with more than 2,400 sq.ft.  Although Sonoma has no community pool ten of the homes for sale in Sonoma have private pools.

What has recently sold in Sonoma at Viera?

Since February 1, 2016 there have been four homes sold in Sonoma at Viera.  Three of these sales were standard sales and one was an auction.

Homes sold since February 1, 2016 included:
  • 2837 Mondavi Drive - Sold by auction, this 1,578 sq.ft. 2004 built home offered 3 bedrooms 2 baths with 2 car garage. Selling price: $210,344. 
  • 4864 Pinot Street - 2003 built, 3 bedroom 2 bath 3 car garage pool home with 2,155 sq.ft. sold on 03//1/16 for $335,000. 
  • 4200 Chardonnay Drive - With 3 bedrooms 2.5 baths and 2 car garage, this 2003 built 2,251 sq.ft. lake front two story home sold for $324,000 on 02/24/16. 
  • 4340 Chardonnay Drive - Built in 2004 this two story 2,500 sq.ft. 4 bedroom 2.5 bath 3 car garage pool home sold $285,000 on 02/29/16. 
Use these links to view the Sonoma at Viera home owner association web site as well as the Sonoma at Viera home owner association documents.
Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for information on homes for sale in Viera, Florida.

Offer, Counter-offer, Negotiate, Close - Key Steps to Buying Your Next Florida Home

The 2016 housing market favors sellers pretty much wherever one is looking to buy a home.   One of the first steps to buying a home is deciding the budget.  Budget determines options.

When buyers moving to Brevard County, Florida start looking at homes they often find their initial house parameters need to be relaxed somewhat due to the smaller inventory. 

But, when all is said and done, buyers can find the home that fits their needs.  Now, to get the deal done...

Offers.  How much does one offer?  Go back to the second sentence above.  Your budget is key. 

If you received a mortgage pre-approval keep this number in mind.  A mortgage pre-approval is an upper limit not a must spend limit.   Your real estate agent can show you the comparables (what has sold, what is currently for sale).

In the current Brevard County, Florida market there is a good chance buyers will be competing with others.  My suggestion - make your offer, at minimum, a "let's talk offer."  A let's talk offer is simply an offer that is reasonably appropriate for the property condition/attributes, location and competition

It may not be the price the seller accepts but will, at least, result in a...

Counter-offer.  A counter-offer is not as good as an acceptance but it is positive.  Still, this is not the time to get emotional and acquiesce to the counter-offer.   Some solid advice I read this morning put it quite nicely.... "don't fall in love with something that can't love you back."

Your offer is more than price.  Your offer is also the terms.  Is it possible and reasonable (supported by the market and your budget) to raise your price?  If not, is your offer the cleanest possible offer?

What happens if the counter-offer is a request for your highest and best offer which is often the case when there are multiple offers on the table.  Just because your offer was received first does not mean the seller has to consider it.  If the seller has one or two days to respond to your offer then other offers may come in as well.  An experienced buyer's agent will make this time the minimum necessary to get an answer.

[Related:  Multiple offers! ]

Some times it is best to step back.  Don't forget about the other homes you have viewed.   How do they stack up based upon features, location and price.  Will one work just as well at a lower price? 

Negotiate.  After consultation with your agent decide what is best for you given your circumstances and timeline.  If the property is still the one then approach the negotiation table with objectivity and not emotion.  Give it your best shot given your budget.  And if your best shot is already on the table, do not be afraid to let it stand.  In the case of multiple offers you may have already had the best offer on the table.  Why bet against yourself?

In the end, things will work out. Maybe not with the current property but the next.  Buyers will never go wrong as long as they stay focused on their budget and goals.   

No matter where one is in the home buying process the key to avoiding buyer's remorse is this one word - budget.

Ready to buy a home in Viera, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850. I want to help!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Florida Homes For Sale: What will $200,000 Buy in Brevard County, FL in 2016?

What can you buy for $200,000 in Brevard County, Florida in early 2016?

Brevard County, Florida home prices vary greatly based on location within the County.  Homes in the northern and southern parts of the County tend to cost less than coastal properties or homes in the newer areas of Central Brevard County (Viera, Suntree, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, etc.).

The below home sales, broken down by general area, were extracted from the Brevard MLS system and reflect sales reported since January 1, 2016 through today with a selling price of EXACTLY $200,000.

North Brevard County
  • 3280 Parrish Road, Titusville - 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage, 1,718 sq.ft. under air pool home built in 1985 located on .97 acres. 
  • 200 Bella Vista Dr, Titusville - 2003 built, 3 bedroom 2 bathroom 2 car garage, with pool.  Note this location is actually near a train track which likely impacted price (location, location, location!).
Central Brevard County
  • 949 Riviera Point Dr, Rockledge - 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage home built in 2004, 1,694 sq.ft. under air.
  • 1727 Minuteman Causeway #205, Cocoa Beach - 2 bedroom 2 bath condo built in 1972, 1231 sq ft single carport, Standard sale.riverfront7240 Badger Ave, Cocoa (Port St.John) - 4 bedroom 2 bath 3 car garage, 1.82 acres. built 1999. MLS stated needed some work,  Standard sale.
  • 141 Oak Grove Lane, Merritt Island - 1806 sq.ft. 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage, 1992 built single family home with pool.
  • 3955 Saint Armens Circle, Melbourne  - a 1991 built 3 bedroom 2.5 bath 2 car garage home with pool. Short Sale.
  • 1410 Isabella #101, Melbourne - 4 bedroom 3 bath 2 car garage townhouse, built 2007 with 2077 sq.ft. Foreclosure.
  • 1430 Bronco Dr, Melbourne  - Located in Suntree, 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage 1,430 sq.ft. 1996 built. Standard sale
 South Brevard County
  • 2089 Maeve Circle, West Melbourne - 1,902 sq.ft. 4 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage, built in 2007, gated community. Standard sale.
  • 210 Lanack Rd, Palm Bay - Brand new home. 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage, 2077 sq.ft. , 2016 construction, .23 acres. 
  • 1368 NW Cox Avenue, Palm Bay - 1984 built, 2844 sq.ft. 4 bedroom 3 bath 2 car garage with fireplace.
  • 181 NW Greenbrier Ave, Palm Bay - 4 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage, 1995 built home on 1.25 acres. 
If you are considering #movingtoFlorida, I can help.  Call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sellers Always Negotiate.

My question was simple..."Why do you want to offer such a low amount?"  The response...sellers always negotiate.

When it comes to negotiation, regardless of market, the truth is
  • Some sellers will not negotiate. 
  • Not every buyer will negotiate. 
The Brevard County, Florida residential real estate market is a sellers market.  In simple terms this just means there are more buyers than sellers.  Not too many years ago it was the opposite. 

So buyers should expect sellers to use the market conditions to their advantage by pricing high and waiting out poor offers that do not meet their goals or expectations.

Understand yourself, first.  When it comes to making an offer it is critical to have an understanding of your own goals, timeline and circumstances.   No matter how brilliant your real estate agent is unless they actually know the motivation of the seller they have no solid basis to know how they will respond to any offer.

From the seller perspective it is much similar.  Know your own motivation  when responding to an offer.

So what can a buyer do in a seller's market?  First, an understanding of the local market is critical.  This is best obtained by working with a local real estate agent - not the seller's agent.    There is no inside track gained by attempting to use the seller's agent.  Your real estate agent can offer advice based on the competition and your goals.

So sellers have the leverage with no worries, right? No... the principle of substitution explains it very well...a buyer will pay no more for a property than the cost of an equally desirable (and comparable) alternative property.

When it comes to real estate offers/counter-offers I have observed that low-ball offers and above market demands usually result in a non-deal.  I have also found the best approach is a "lets talk offer and not a get lost offer!"

Still, it all comes down to the motivation of the buyer and seller.    

Fortunately most can reach agreement and sales happen.  Still, submit and respond to offers with the knowledge that not all negotiate.

Ready to sell or buy a home in Melbourne, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can help as your #VieraRealtor .

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

What the Seller's Market Means to Viera Home Sellers....

Its a seller's market so this is a good time to sell your Viera, Florida home, right?  If the circumstances are right, including the decision to sell and move up to a newer or larger home, then it is a good time to put your Viera home on the market.

In an ideal world the decision to sell is a simple economic decision.

Most people, including buyers and sellers, understand the basic economic principle of supply and demand.  A seller's market exists when there are more buyers than sellers.   This is the Viera (and Brevard County, Florida) real estate market in March 2016.

Another economic principle buyers and sellers should understand is the principle of substitution.  Buyers will not pay any more for a house than the cost of an equally desirable, comparable alternative.

What does this all mean for Viera home sellers?

It does not mean owners can just put the house on the market and get their highest price in a couple of days.

Sellers must still properly prepare their home for the market to get the highest price possible.  

Sure a seller's market may cause a buyer to overlook some minor issues with a property.  But, unless there are multiple buyers and demand the price may suffer somewhat.

A short comment about multiple buyers...  Having multiple competing buyers is a good situation.  And prices may get boosted upward because of competition (and emotions).  But the home buying process involves a simple fail-safe mechanism - the appraisal.  Even if the purchaser is a cash buyer the offer will likely have an appraisal contingency.

Appraisals are a bit tricky in a seller's market with slowly rising prices.  Sometimes the expectations of sellers (and their agents) gets ahead of the process.

I just read an article referencing a study of what homeowner's estimated home value vs. the actual appraisal.  The study referenced applications for refinancing but it can translate to homeowners getting ready to sell as well.   The result in February 2016 - appraisals were about 2% less than owner estimates.

Sellers should remember that, even in a seller's market, the highest offer is not always the best offer.

I need to get back on track here with my original intent.... properly preparing a home.

Selling a home, regardless of market, is all about preparation, pricing and presentation.

Preparation and presentation will determine how soon (or if) an offer will be coming.   Pricing is a little more complex and  involves the condition, location, competition, seller circumstances/motivation.  A local knowledgeable real estate agent can put all this together with their comparative market analysis. 

Here are a few articles about preparing your Viera home for the market that go beyond the cutesy advice like... Light and bright will sell a home overnight

Prepare Your Home By Appealing to the Senses.
Easy Fixes Before Listing Your Home.
Don't Neglect These When Getting Ready to Sell Your Viera Home.
The Three Ps to Selling Your Viera Home.

I have written over 150 articles about selling your home.  The above is just the start. If you are thinking about selling your Viera home, please give me a call or text at 321-693-3850.

Finally, here are a few articles about selling your home and appraisals...

What if the appraisal comes in low?
The Only Price That Matters When Selling Your Home.
Terms define the Real Price.

When you are ready to buy or sell a home in Viera, I would be honored if you contacted me at 321-693-3850.  I have lived in the Viera and Rockledge area for twenty years...local knowledge.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Homes For Sale in Rockledge, Florida - March 2016

As of today there are about sixty single family homes for sale in Rockledge, Florida.  Listing prices range from $49,900 to $950,000 with a median list price of $200,000.  (This does not include the listings in the 32955 zip code which runs into part of Viera.)

The market update provided below is for only three of the larger subdivisions in Rockledge: Phillips Landing, Chelsea Park and Three Meadows.   All three of these developments are within two to three miles of each other near the southern border of Rockledge (nearer I-95 and Viera).  

Market Update Phillips Landing Rockledge

Currently there are three homes for sale in Phillips Landing subdivision in Rockledge with list prices from about $225,000 to $250,000.   Two homes are very similar in age, total square footage under air (almost 1,900) and design.  Like most competitively priced homes the price difference is about $15,000 and can easily be deduced.  The third home listed is larger, newer and just listed March 8, 2016.

Over the past six months there have been ten homes sold in Phillips Landing as reported in the Brevard  MLS system.  The selling prices for these homes (all fair market sales) ranged from $200,000  to $289,900. 

More recently there have been two homes sold in Phillips Landing.  Homes sold since January 1, 2016  included:
  • 3302 Merrick Avenue - This 2005 built four bedroom two bath two car garage home sold for $215,000.
  • 1800 Bridgeport Circle - With 2,919 square feet under air, this two story home built in 2012, offered four bedrooms two and a half bathrooms with a two car garage and sold for $289,900.
What is the market like in Phillips Landing?

Both of these homes were on the market for less than two weeks.  If you are thinking about selling your Phillips Landing home and moving up to a larger home, this is the time.  If you are ready to buy in Phillips Landing, its time to start looking!

Market Update Chelsea Park Rockledge

Currently there are four homes for sale in Chelsea Park subdivision.  List prices for these standard sales range from about $225,000 to $319,000.  Home size varies considerably from just under 1,600 sq.ft to slightly over 2,700 square feet.  The largest home listed in a two story home while the others are the more common single floor design.  None of these homes for sale in Chelsea Park have a pool but most lots in are large enough to accommodate a pool.

Over the past six months there have been six homes sold in Chelsea Park.   Five of these sales were standard sales while one was a short sale.  By the way, short sales and foreclosures are much less common in the current seller's market.  Selling prices for these homes ranged from $225,000 (the short sale) to $293,000.
The most recent sales in Chelsea Park occurred in December 2015.  Homes sold in December included:
  • 294 Tunbridge Drive - 2,416 sq.ft. four bedroom two bath two car garage home built in 2005 sold for $293,000 on 12/02/15. 
  • 451 Stonehenge Circle - 2,108 sq.ft. four bedroom two bathroom two car garage home built in 2001 sold for $243,000 on 12/29/15.
Market Update Three Meadows Rockledge

Currently there are five homes for sale in Three Meadows.   List prices range from $199,000 to $289,900.  Homes currently for sale in Three Meadows seem to gravitate toward one of two different  price points separated by about $50,000.  The three lowest are priced below $230,000 and then two are priced at or above $280,000.  All of the listings are fair market sales.

Over the past six months there have been fourteen homes sold in Three Meadows subdivision.  Selling prices ranged from  $137,500 to $280,000.  There were three foreclosures among these sales with the remainder being fair market sales.

Since February 1, 2016 there have been seven homes sold in Three Meadows.   These homes were all built between 1988 and 2001.  (Of the three subdivisions Three Meadows is the oldest with Phillips Landing being the newest.)   Homes sold included:
  • 1209 Meadow Lake Road - $155,000, 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage, 1511 sq.ft.
  • 1252 Sleepy Hollow Lane - $178,000, 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage, 1606 sq.ft.
  • 1260 Sugar Maple Way - $219,900, 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage with pool, 1785 sq.ft.
  • 1212 Sugar Creek Lane - $223,000, 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage with pool, 1943 sq.ft.
  • 1231 Weeping Willow Lane - $226,000, 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage, 1806 sq.ft.
  • 1115 Sunday Drive - $257,000, 4 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage with pool, 1688 sq.ft.
For information on homes for sale in Rockledge, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Consider Association Fees Carefully When Buying a Home

While some folks do not desire any of the restrictions or benefits of living in a neighborhood with a home owner association in some areas it is a necessary condition of purchase.   One of these areas is the Rockledge or Viera areas of central Brevard County, Florida.

And with mandatory home owner associations come mandatory fees.  

I have never worked with a home buyer who wanted to include "high homeowner association fees" in their "must have" characteristics when shopping for their new home and neighborhood.

So, while not a primary screening tool when reviewing homes, the association fees (and rules) must be considered before making a purchase decision.

But homeowner association fees need to be looked at in the "right way" and not just as an additional cost.

What is the "right way?"    Of course the first necessity is budget.  

Assuming the fees charged are not a budget buster then consider what these monthly fees cover or provide.

In some communities such as Indian River Colony Club in Viera the fees are quite high (nearing a thousand a month or more).  In communities like Heritage Isle fees are in the range of $300 a month.  Then some communities such as Phillips Landing or Chelsea Park in Rockledge have fees around or under under $500 a year.

What is included in these fees?  
In IRCC fees includes all maintenance, facilities, landscaping, etc.  In most developments association fees include far less than Indian River Colony Club.

Heritage Isle and Grand Isle in Viera have gated entries, clubhouse, pools, etc as well as lawn/landscaping thus higher fees.   The Phillips Landing has a community pool and playground area while Chelsea Park has a park and playground but no pool thus Phillips Landing fees are higher.

Put in simple terms....
Fees reflect the old saying you got to pay to play...the more you play, the more you pay!

But do not forget the cost of the included services if you must pay separately for them.  For example,
  • Lawn or landscaping service in the area can easily be $75-$100 a month.  
  • If there is a gym or clubhouse, what does a membership cost?  What is the cost of your time if you must drive five miles or so to the gym instead of just down the street?  
  • If roof replacement is covered, amortized over the years, how much would you be required to put away to have the money set aside when the roof needs replacement?   
  • What about the painting of your home?
Whether or not the fees are worth the services provided is a decision each buyer must make.   Sometimes the location is more important than the fees, regardless of amenities provided.

And, while a reasonable fee structure is necessary, do not disregard the sufficiency of the fees. 

This is where the association financials need to be considered.

Are there adequate reserves for necessary association maintenance and other obligations?  
If not, associations may need to pass along a special assessment to owners when the need arises.  These special assessments will be in addition to the association fees.

Are there any already approved or planned fee increases? 
Like taxes and insurance premiums, homeowner fees can go up.

Finally, one word about associations...
Be an involved homeowner.  Involvement in your home owner association is key.  

Ready to buy a home in Viera or Melbourne, Florida? 
Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in anyway.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Indian River Colony Club in Viera - Thirty Years Old and Going Strong in 2016!

The Saturday edition of Florida Today newspaper featured an article highlighting the thirtieth anniversary of Indian River Colony Club in Viera, Florida.  

IRCC is a gated community of about 800 homes features a lot of the benefits people are looking for when choosing a 55+ community in Florida including a 24 hour manned gated security entrance, a tremendous clubhouse and private 18 hole golf course.   Of course there are many more amenities like tennis, heated pool, organized clubs, a chapel and much more.

While IRCC began with a primary resident target of former military officers the community has a mix that extends beyond that demographic now including civilians, former military, and other government retirees. 

One thing about the homes at Indian River Colony Club ... they vary as much inside as they do in price. 

Although some homes are twenty plus years old they do not look it.   As exterior maintenance and landscaping is included there are no homes that are neglected which is often the case in other communities.  Other 55+ communities in Viera (Grand Isle and Heritage Isle) also take care of the exterior so there are no neglected appearing properties.

Prices do vary greatly as some homes have received complete makeovers while others are more "original."    For example, currently (March 7, 2016)  there are 29 homes for sale within the confines of IRCC

List prices for these homes for sale at IRCC range from $103,000 to $289,000.  While this range is pretty wide there are ten homes listed for sale between $160,000 and $179,000. 

While IRCC is located in the Viera planned unit development IRCC was developed before the actual Viera development.  The Florida Today article did indicate the Viera Company/Duda family (Viera developers) were very supportive of the IRCC developers from the start.

One of the characteristics that separate IRCC from other communities...the residents own it all including the streets.  A review of community finances is always recommended when one purchases in a condo or other development.   According to the recent article IRCC is debt free...a good sign for any community - especially one that has been around for three decades!

For information on homes for sale at Indian River Colony Club
, please give me a call or text at 321-693-3850.  

By the way I recently heard there is some planned new construction homes for the Indian River Colony Club development.  

IRCC, still growing after all these years (thanks, Paul Simon).

Friday, March 04, 2016

Selling Your Home: What Does Your Price Reduction Really Mean?

I just got interrupted by one of those annoying real estate agent emails that say "Look Here, Big reduction!"  As a local MLS system member I get the system updates daily so the email is more of an annoyance than a news flash!

Why do agents send out these email blasts?   Because they want their sellers to know how hard they are working for them.  So I tolerate the annoyance.

So what does the price reduction tell me as an agent?  More importantly, what does it tell prospective buyers?

First of all, most price changes mean "I was wrong."    Regardless of who influenced the pricing decision initially,  the property was priced too high from the start.   If it has been on the market for a couple of months it tells me the seller has acquiesced in their pricing. 

Still, depending on the change, it could mean the seller's motivation has really changed.   However, a one or two percent reduction in home price does not convey real motivation.

Sometimes it is the seller's agent who employs another tactic - changing the price every day but only about a hundred dollars or so.  This triggers additional attention in the MLS system as a price change.  But most agents recognize this tactic for what it is...a sign of desperation.

How does a property get priced too high?

Properly pricing a property is relatively simple.  Properly pricing usually has only four key influences:
  1. condition, 
  2. location, 
  3. competition 
  4. seller motivation.
Agent knowledge in applying the above is critical as well.
Properly pricing a property is not a mix and match, any combination works option.  Improperly pricing a property happens when any of the above is omitted or given too much weight. 

Finally, sellers should understand most buyers use the principle of substitution.  They will not pay more for a property than the cost of an equally desirable alternative property.

When I run into sellers who appear to be overly optimistic I suggest listing and, in a month evaluate the property based on my 30-10-1 rule.  

The 30-10-1 rule is quite simple...If within 30 days we do not have at least 10 showings and one reasonable offer (even if not accepted), then we look at a price adjustment. [The use of "we" is intended because whether buyer or seller when working with me we are a "we."]

Ready to sell your Viera, Florida home?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Home Owner Associations and Your Lifestyle: Inevitable Conflict?

Homeowner associations are a bit like politicians - either you like them or you don't! 

Home buyer views of homeowner associations are as varied as the colors in a box of crayons.

Some want rules to make sure things stay pretty much the way the neighborhood looks today.  Some want the freedom to do as they please. 

Some want lots of amenities at a reasonable cost.  Some don't want to pay for amenities they will never use.

Still, in the Viera and Suntree areas of Brevard County you will find no escape from HOA rules.    Both of these areas are planned unit developments  consisting of many newer (and some older) developments with rules. 

Although not very frequent there are times when these rules become major roadblocks for prospective buyers.  It is not so much that the HOA rules exist but just some specific restrictions.  It is sometimes something so minor as not being allowed to have a pickup truck on your drive at night or having any commercial vehicle outside the garage (including a vehicle with a magnetic sign). 

The rules exist to promote uniformity and consistency in the homes such as restrictions on exterior paint colors, having a fence (or not), boat or RV parking,, etc.

I can understand the rules and the reasons they exist.   Likewise I understand buyers who do not want any rules.

When considering buying a home in Florida one of the documents you must be provided and given an opportunity to review is the HOA disclosure.   If I am the seller's agent I ensure I deliver a copy of the rules to the buyer's agent and get a signature.  If I am the buyer's agent I ensure they are delivered and signed for by my client.  

If you are the buyer review the documents.  These documents are written by lawyers.  If you have concerns have an attorney review them for you.  Don't accept the seller's  interpretation of what you can or can't do.

Know what you are getting into before proceeding  You know your lifestyle.  Will the restrictions became a major obstacle?    Do you see an inevitable conflict down the road?

Finally, HOA rules can change over time.  This is where involvement in your association and as an owner become very important.

Considering a home purchase in the Brevard County, Florida?   Please give me a call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Selling Your Home: Don't Forget Lifestyle!

There are tons of sayings about real estate.  You have probably heard a few over time including the age old adage "location, location, location"

In central Florida we already have that location advantage. 

Many seeking to buy a home in Florida are relocating due to retirement, job change or the like.  They have already decided on buying a house or condo in Florida.

If you are selling a home in Florida a key marketing component should be lifestyle.
I have mentioned this before in articles about 55+ communities in Viera, Florida.  But it is applicable beyond the 55+ or retirement communities.  Not every 55+ buyer wants Heritage Isle, Grand Isle or Indian River Colony Club.

It could be the location on Duran Golf Golf Course that Fairway Lakes in Viera offers.  It could be a home located within the gated Baytree National Golf Links community of Suntree.  Or any other community bordering the Suntree Country Club.

It could be the draw of the ocean.  Cocoa Beach condo living offers a great lifestyle for those who wants the surf or intra-coastal waterways.  It could be the more rural areas of Brevard County, Florida such as can be found in the northern and southern extremes of the county.

It could be the walk-ability or bicycle friendly areas such as along Rockledge Drive in Rockledge.  It could be the ability to dock your sailboat at your condo along the Indian River.

Ready to sell your Brevard County, Florida home?   Here is the short list for success when selling your home.
  1. Prepare your house for the market.  You never know what will turn a buyer off.  The house may be perfect except for paint or worn carpeting or poor landscaping.  Be prepared on day one.
  2. Choose a local knowledgeable real estate agent.   This means neighborhood or area specific. 
  3. Price appropriately based on your location, condition and motivation/goals.  
Then let your real estate professional sell your house and lifestyle!  A major part of marketing a house is knowing who the most likely buyer will come from and target marketing.

Need a local real estate agent to help you sell your Brevard County, Florida home?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can assist in any way.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Heritage Isle in Viera, Florida - Condos, Single Family Homes and Townhouses - Market Update March 2016

Heritage Isle in Viera (north of Melbourne, Florida) is one of  the premier 55+ communities in Florida.  This gated newer community offers anyone retiring to Florida a home size and design/style that meets most budgets.   Heritage Isle is ideally situated near shopping, medical facilities, parks, major routes, golf courses and more.   The other 55+ communities located in Viera include Grand Isle and Indian River Colony Club.

What is for sale in Heritage Isle?

Currently there are sixteen active listings in Heritage Isle in Viera.  Two of these listings are townhouses (villas), one is a half duplex and the remaining thirteen are single family detached properties.   As for condos for sale at Heritage Isle, there is only one condo unit for sale at this time (a two bedroom two bath unit, just under $160,000). 

List prices for single family/half duplex/townhouse properties range from $190,000 to $459,900 with the lowest two prices being the townhouses.  There are three foreclosures among the listings (two single family homes and a half duplex).

Single family homes for sale in Heritage Isle range in price from $220,000 to $459,900 (eight properties listed below $265,000).

These properties offer something for everyone with units for sale offering 2 bed/2 bath, 3 bed/2 bath, 4 bed/2 bath, 4 bed/3 bath and 5 bed 4 bath...whatever one desires!  

A couple of the single family homes have private pools as well. Of course, a pool is unnecessary as the community offers a 21,000 square foot heated pool plus more!  

While most of the homes for sale are two car garage homes some do have three car garages.  Patio style/townhouses are single car garage properties and condos have detached carport/shelters.

Currently there are about twenty properties under contract awaiting closings.

What has recently sold in Heritage Isle?

Since February 1, 2016 there have been six units sold in Heritage Isle (as reported in the Brevard MLS system).   Selling prices ranged from $174,900 to $329,000.

Single family homes sold in Heritage Isle during February 2016 included:
  • 6239 Van Ness Drive - 2014 built three bedroom two bath two car garage home with 1,677 sq.f.t under air, sold for $236,500 on 02/05/16. 
  • 3553 Carambola Circle - 2005 built four bedroom three bath three car garage home with 2,552 sq.ft. under air sold for $329,000 on 02/18/16.

There were two condo units sold in February 2016.   Both of these ground floor condo units were in the same building,  had 1,232 sq ft under air with two bedroom and two bathrooms.  These 2007 built units sold for $163,000 and $167,500.  The lowest priced unit sold on 02/1011/16 while the other sold on 02/25/16.  Both sales, as well as the current listing, are standard sales.

For information on homes for sale in Heritage Isle, Grand Isle or Indian River Colony Club, please call or text me at 321-693-3850.

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