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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Cheat Sheet For Home Buyers

Whether you are a first time home-buyer, experienced buyer, seeking a single family home or a condo on the beach, this short "cheat sheet" will provide some topics to consider and get you started along the home buying process - particularly in Florida.   

This is post is intended to complement a previous post for home sellers called "Cheat Sheet for Sellers."

Here are some very brief topics (in no particular order) to get your mind in the process.
  • Real estate is local.  Buying and selling a home is best done when resources are local. Don't let some mega-website steer you wrong. Local information from a local knowledgeable resource beats any #Zillow generic information.
  • Get your own local Realtor.  Buyer agents are, almost always, free (the seller pays).
  • Commit to your real estate agent.  He or she is committed to you. Work with one agent who understands your needs, budget.  Also, there really is no substantial savings, if any,  to be had by going for a FSBO or calling the listing agent (works for the seller, not buyer).
  • Get your own local mortgage lender.  Choose a lender you know (and can contact, when necessary).
  • Research all you want however do not believe everything you read in an advertisement or MLS listing.
  • Accept that unless you are building and have an unlimited budget the house you seek will likely be the perfect "imperfect" house!   Expectations of finding ideal can hamper the home search!
  • Know what your real needs are AND aren't!   Identify your "can't haves," "must haves," and "nice to have" characteristics/qualities. 
  • Don't be afraid to modify your search criteria and budget.  This is where your real estate agent comes in real handy.   It could as simple as changing the search community to find the right house.
  • Understand your ability to purchase and what it means.  Get pre-approved for your mortgage.  It shows you are serious and ready to act!
  • Your mortgage pre-approval amount is not a "must spend" amount.  Remember the price of a house is more than the mortgage but also association fees, taxes, insurance costs.
  • The price is low for a reason.  If a property is under or at the low end of the market there is a real reason.
  • It really is all about location. (1)  Water has its price.  Whether pond, lake, river, or ocean, there is a price to be paid for the benefit. (2)  Golf course direct is not the same as golf course community.  (3)  The better the view, the higher the price.
  • You can't see every house for sale!   Its just not possible.  In a market where the good properties move quickly the best strategy may likely be to identify the top four or five choices and look - then decide before moving on.  Trying  to go back a few weeks later to an earlier house may not be an option in many markets.
  • When viewing a home respect the property by keeping hands off things like drawers, desks, and personal items.  Still, you do want to look under the sinks, in the closets and the garage and other places where the property is key.  And if there are small ones tagging along keep then under your control always
  • Don't buy what you are not going to a pool.   Pools, like a boat, are of value if you are going to use them.
  • Keep your offer "real" in the sense of making it at least a "let's talk offer" so you can negotiate, if necessary. 
  • Your offer is more than the terms, dates contingencies.
  • Don't get emotional - especially if there are multiple offers.  A house is a costly investment.  Don't let it be a costly mistake.
  • Look past what is and see what lies beyond the dirt, clutter, ugly paint or wallpaper which can be changed.
  • The outside of the house normally is an indicator of the inside. However this is not always the case. Still, I have never been in a house where the outside said wow and and the inside cried not now!
  • Sellers disclose but as a buyer you must verify.  Buyers do not always remember problems and issues.  This is where the inspections come into the picture.
  • A contract is serious business.   Dates and times are critical.  Time is of the essence.
  •  "As Is" does not always mean "as is."  When you prepare to make an offer with subsequent agreement and inspections is the point in the process where where your local real estate agent is vital. 
  • Know what is included in the sale....its not always everything you see.
  • Have an appraisal completed - even with a cash offer. 
The above items in no way represents a comprehensive list of the items to consider nor does it outline the home buying process.   

However, the number of issues mentioned should highlight this one most important point -  Real estate is local.  Buying and selling a home is best done when resources are local.
Ready to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida?  Please call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can be your local Melbourne Florida real estate agent.

Image courtesy of iosphere at

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Selling Investor Properties: Are Tenants "in place" a Good Marketing Tool?

As a real estate agent, my attitude is simple...tenants are never a marketing tool - ever!  Tenants are people who have rights.

With that said I will also acknowledge good long term tenants can be a real plus when your target buyer is an investor.

I understand the selling process with a tenant involved from experience - as a seller as well as a tenant.

As an owner I have sold one tenant occupied property.  And it worked out very well because the tenant bought it.

As a tenant I have been through the inconvenience of the showing experience.  It was a hassle.  There was the issue of a pet on the property. There was the issue of "my time" on the weekend beings interrupted.  It was a hassle...oops, said that twice.

Yes, I accommodated most reasonable showing requests.

Not unlike my response there are many tenants who will cooperate with the seller within pre-established parameters.  

This is key for sellers.... communicate with your tenants.  I have heard some real estate agents suggest making the tenants part of the "team."   The challenge in this case would be to figure out a way to build support.  People are by nature always wanting to know "what is in it for me?"

At a very minimum I suggest explain to tenants that their lease is not the issue.   In Florida all sales are subject to the terms of the the lease

One other key communication point... advise tenants of your intention to sell before the sign goes up out front!

Selling tenant occupied properties can be a challenge as some  tenants will use the opportunity to make disparaging remarks about the property or even less than ideal marketing reviews about the neighborhood or neighbors.

Sometimes it may very well be to the seller's advantage to incentivize the tenant to go ahead and move before the selling process begins.  While the owner may lose a little rent it may be advantageous to get the property in "show room condition" before buyers walk though the front door.  The lost rental income could very well result in a higher selling price.

There are many very cooperative tenants.  As an owner/seller, treating your tenants with respect will go a a long way to selling your property while it is occupied.

So, are tenants "in place" a good marketing tool?  It depends....

If you are considering buying or selling rental property in Melbourne, Viera or Cocoa Beach, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Baytree National Golf Links Community (Melbourne, Florida) - Homes For Sale/Sold in April 2016

Baytree National Gated Entry
Within the "confines" of the Baytree National Golf Links gates are several  communities.  Most of these sub-areas are differentiated by size and age of the homes.  For this report all subdivisions inside the gates are grouped together.

Currently there are twenty-one homes for sale within the Baytree National community.

Typical Street Scene
 List prices for all homes for sale with Baytree range from $265,00 to $769,000.   Home sizes range from just over 1,700 sq ft to over 4,300 sq ft under air with construction ranging from 1994 to 2005.

Segmented by price there are ten homes for sale between $519,000 and $769,000.  Most of these are larger with over 3,200 sq.ft, tile roofs, private pools and golf course or lake front views.
Typical Baytree House
There are two homes priced in the $260,000 - $270,000 range which are mid-1990s construction with less than 1,800 sq.ft. (one is a foreclosure).
Typical Isle of Baytree House

Priced just above these two listings falls the homes for sale in the Isles of Baytree community which is a separate gated community within Baytree which offers residents a separate clubhouse, community pool as well as landscaping with HOA fees around $548 per quarter.  There are currently three homes for sale within the Isles of Baytree with list prices ranging from $299,00 to $329,900.
Entry to Isle of Baytree

As you leave Isles of Baytree the home prices jump somewhat with only a few in the mid $300,000s before the larger homes (and prices) begin.

There are another eight homes under contract awaiting closing.

What has sold in the Baytree National community?

Over the past six months there have been seventeen homes sold in the Baytree National developments.

Selling prices ranged from $260,000 (in Isles of Baytree) to $795,000 (a5,041 sq.ft. four bedroom six and a half bathroom pool home located at 975 Chatsworth Drive).   All seventeen sales were standard (fair market) sales.

Over the past two months there have been six homes sold with selling prices ranging from $260,000 to $665,000.

Homes sold included:
  • 831 Glen Abbey Way - Located in Isles of Baytree this 2,062 sq.ft. 4/2/2 sold for $260,000
  • 8011 Daventry Drive - With 1,972 sq.ft. this 4/2/2 pool home built in 1998 sold for $357,500.
  • 8932 Kingswood Way -  1996 built 4/3/2 2,580 sq.ft. pool home sold for $415,000.
  • 410 Berwick Way - Also selling for $415,000, a 4/2.5/2 pool home built in 1994.
  • 8242 Old Tramway Drive - 4 bedroom 3 bath pool home built in 2004 sold for $510,000 on April 21, 2016.
  • 965 Chatsworth Drive - 3,772 sq.ft. 4 bedroom 4 bath pool home built in 2001.
The above sales were extracted from the Brevard MLS system and have not been audited for accuracy.

For information on buying a home in the Baytree National communities in Suntree (Melbourne, FL), call or text me at 321-693-3850.  My office is located in the Suntree area near the Baytree National Golf Links.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Now May Not Be the Time to Buy a Home

I just finished reading an article espousing the benefits and urgency of buying a home in 2016.   As a Florida real estate broker I can see the benefits quite clearly.
  • Prices are rising so the amount of home one can purchase decreases as time goes by.  
  • Interest rates are at historical lows.  An increase in rates is inevitable and can decrease the amount of home that can be purchased (or at least increase the mortgage payments).
  • Rents have been steadily rising over the past few years so a mortgage payment could be more attractive.  One recently published study says buying a home is 33% cheaper nationally than renting a home.
  • And then is the tax benefit to be gained by paying mortgage interest instead of someone other than your own house payment!
Still, now may not be the right time to buy a home.

Buying a home is a major step that requires long term commitment to ownership.   

Is your lifestyle subject to change in the next year or two?    Could the mortgage be too restrictive in the future as it takes five to seven years to make buying a home a good decision.  Or, if you move away, are you willing to be a landlord or pay some to manage your property

Could there be changes in your family composition (marriage, children)?  What about your career and employment?  Are you stable in your position or eager to move upward at a different location? 

Finally, do you have the funds set aside to manage to closing costs and down payment?  Are you ready to manage the maintenance issues that come with ownership or do you prefer someone else take care of issues and upkeep?

Whether or not the time is right to buy a homes comes down to your personal situation

Sure your lender or a local real estate agent can give you advice but it all comes down to you.

If you decide it is the right time to buy a home, contact a local agent, get your mortgage pre-approval and move forward.

If you are considering buying a home in Melbourne, Florida, please feel free to contact me for help.  Call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Buying Your Florida Home: What Does "As Is" Really Mean?

Many times buyers wonder if they should even consider a house listed for sale "as is" - especially if it states "as is only."

If the buyer asks me I will say it depends on their circumstances and goals.

Besides, there are many many reasons sellers will have their Florida home listed for sale as an "as is " listing.  Sometimes the listing may have problems. Other times its simply the circumstances of the sale which make it more advantageous for the sellers.

But what does "as is" really mean for buyers? 

"As is" very often means there may be problems and, if there are, its now your problem, Mr and Mrs Buyer!  This is especially true with foreclosures where the listing often reads "as is, where is" and should be interpreted as you get what you pay for so beware!

Read "Foreclosure Buyers - Due Diligence is Required!"

Still, here in Florida, just because a buyer gets a house under contract as "as is" does not mean the buyer is giving up their rights and responsibility to perform due diligence.  Even with most offers there will be contingencies to protect you as a buyer

The two key contingencies, in my opinion are the property inspection contingency and the appraisal contingency.  (Cash buyers, consider an appraisal contingency as well.).   The right contingency can allow a buyer to walk away. 

Read "What To Do After Your Offer Is Accepted."

Sometimes "as is" simply means the buyer is just not wanting to make any repairs but may make some concessions.

As an agent I urge sellers who are selling a"as is" to price issues, concerns and needed repairs into the price up front.  If they don't the re-negotiation later may work against them.

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

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Brevard County, Florida Residential Market Report for March 2016 Compared to March 2015

A quick recap of the Brevard County Residential Real Estate Report for March 2016 compared to March 2015:
  • Closed Sales decreased only 1.0% for March 2016 in which the number of units closed were 906 compared to 915 in March 2015.  There was a decrease in cash sales by 17.0% compared to March 2015.
  • New Pending Sales  decreased 2.2%.
  • New Listings were down 1.0% in March 2016.
  • Median Sales Price for Brevard Single Family homes increased 16.7% to $175,000 compared to a year ago ($150,000).
  • Months Supply of Inventory went down 6.9% at 2.7 months compared to 2.9 months in March 2015.
  • Traditional Sales were 15.4% with a median sales price of $185,000.
  • Foreclosure/REO Sales decreased 51.0% with a median sales price of $112,000.
  • Short Sale Closing were down 50.0% with a median sales price of $157,000.

Brevard County Townhouse/Condo Market - March 2016 vs. March 2015

Below is a summary of the Brevard County Townhouses and Condos for March 2016 compared to March 2015:
  • Closed Sales were down 9.9% in March 2016 with 255 closed units compared to 283 in March 2015.  There was a decrease in cash sales by 26.0% compared to March 2015.
  • New Pending Sales were up 0.7%.
  • New Listings increased 4.7%
  • Median Sales Price for Townhomes/Condos  were up 9.5% to $138,000 compared to a year ago, which was $126,000.
  • Months Supply of Inventory decreased 4.7% to 4.1 months vs. 4.3 months in February 2015.
  • Traditional Sales were lower 6.1% with a median sales price of $145,000.
  • Foreclosure/REO Sales decreased 39.4% with a median sales price of $89,500.
  • Short Sale Closing were, not surprisingly, down 22.0% with a median sales price of $87,500.

Older Doesn't Always Describe The Homes at Indian River Colony Club in Viera, Florida

Most of my market reports identify the age of the homes as information buyers may find useful and very often necessary.  But the age of a home does not necessarily indicate much about the house.

IRCC Stock by GLW
This is especially true in the 55+ community of Indian River Colony Club in Viera.  In Viera there are three 55+ communities - Grand Isle, Heritage Isle and Indian River Colony Club. 

One of the most often cited differences in the communities is age with IRCC being the oldest although there are a couple of new houses to be built in IRCC this year.

But being the oldest does not tell the whole story.

 Read the latest market report for IRCC here.

IRCC Stock by GLW
First of all, since Indian River Colony Club is a totally maintenance free community there should never be any deferred maintenance many buyers expect in older properties.

Yesterday afternoon I stopped by one of my former client's home in  Indian River Colony Club.  I had not been in their home since they closed a few years ago.  

The house, built in 1997, may as well have been built in the last year or two. 
IRCC Stock by GLW
The updates were amazing.   The renovated kitchen with granite, custom built wooden counters and cabinets. The added walls and real wood doors.  

The impact glass windows and double wide glass doors were amazing.  The new lighting was tasteful as well as the new paint looked as if it belonged in an old Virginian homestead. The paver patio out back with an extensive flower was so inviting.  

What I saw was 2016 and not 1997!

If you are considering a 55+ community in the Viera area of Melbourne, Florida ask about IRCC where age is never an issue as long as you are fifty five years old!
Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for information on IRCC, Grand Isle or Heritage Isle.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Two Brevard County High Schools in US News Top Ten List

Two Brevard County high schools were included in the US News rankings of the top ten high schools in the state of Florida. 

Edgewood Jr/Sr High School made the list at number four while Westshore Jr/Sr High School was  number 8.  Another Brevard County high School made the top fifty with Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr High School at number thirty-eight.

Nationally Edgewood Jr/Sr High was ranked  at number thirty while Westshore was just outside the top fifty coming in at fifty-four.

See the entire list here.

Home for Sale in Rockledge, Florida - Best Deal in Levitt Park Subdivision

This house for sale at 897 Brunswick Lane in Rockledge, Florida offers it all...
  • Excellent location near major transportation routes (US1 and I-95)
  • Easy, quick access to Cocoa Beach - 12 miles; Orlando about 45 miles!
  • New roof (September 2015)
  • Concrete block stucco construction
  • No homeowner association
  • Excellent schools nearby 
  • New interior doors, new fixtures
  • Remodeled bathrooms with custom touches
  • Air conditioned concrete block building ion back for hobby, home office or whatever
  • Screened porch, insulated
  • Patio
  • Two car garage with new garage door and opener 
  • Interior laundry room with newer washer and dryer (Maytag)
  • Built in 1977
  • Space - three bedrooms two bathrooms in 1338 sq.ft.
  • Newer exterior paint
  • Excellent price - Only $177,000 (VA, FHA, Conventional loan buyers welcome!)
Call or text me at 321-693-3850 to see this house today!


How to Help Your Realtor Sell Your Home (Without Hurting Yourself).

I recently showed a home for sale in Viera, Florida where the sellers would not shut up!  I know that sounds rude but the buyers remarked after we departed that "Those people sure were annoying! We could not get out of there fast enough!"

It is obvious they did not like the home.

Actually I am not sure if they gave the house a fair assessment.

A couple of key points I urge sellers to consider when preparing their home for the market are cleanliness and distraction.   Either can be a kiss of death for marketing a home. 

In this case it was the distraction issue.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Florida home consider leaving when your home is shown.  Your real estate agent was hired to market your home.  The buyer's real estate agent was hired to find the buyers the right home.

Neither real estate agent needs your assistance.  Besides, as the seller, you are paying them both when your house is sold!

I understand there are circumstances and situations where a seller can not leave for all showings.  In those cases, excuse yourself and take a seat on the back porch or even a short walk. 

Regardless, do not volunteer anything about your home.  Your Viera real estate agent has already had you complete seller property disclosures.  Your agent may even have had you make a copy of recent utility bills available on a counter.  You may have included a copy of the association rules. 

Let the disclosures and documents speak for you.

Buyers want to view your home and discuss the pros and cons without prying eyes or ears.  "Bird dogging"
prospective buyers does not work when selling your home. 

If you are ready to buy a home in Viera, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.  

Likewise, I work for Viera, Florida home sellers as well.  Call me, please!  

Either way, if you are selling remember are not helping the listing agent by staying and talking up the property. 

This is post number 4,000 for this blog - Florida Homes For Sale.  While this is not a very significant number for anyone selling or buying a home in Florida it is important to me because this persistent effort generates business.

 Bird DogImage courtesy of vectorolie at

Grand Isle in Viera - Market Update April 2016 - 55+ Gated Community in Viera Florida

There are three 55+ communities in the planned unit development of Viera - Indian River Colony Club, Grand Isle and Heritage Isle.  In my opinion, each of these are different and has their own personality.  The differences in some cases are subtle, but they do exist. 

Still, if one is looking fro a Florida 55+ community, one is probably just right for anyone looking at Florida retirement communities.

This post provides a market report for the gated Grand Isle community for April 2016.  At the bottom of this post there will be links to other articles about the 55+ communities in Viera.

What is for sale in Grand Isle?

Currently there are only two homes for sale in Grand Isle.   List prices range from $249,900 to $274,900.  There is a big difference in the size of these homes with the smaller being only 1,545 sq.ft. and the other just over 2,000 sq.ft. under air.  Another difference is bedrooms - two  vs. three.

There are also two homes under contract awaiting closing at this time.  Both are priced in the same upper $200K range as the homes for sale.  In fact, both are similar in size to the highest priced active listing.

What has recently sold in Grand Isle in Viera?

Over the previous six months there have been eight homes sold in Grand Isle.  Selling prices ranged from $220,000 to $325,000.  All were standard sales as distressed sales are not as common in Brevard County 55+ communities.

Four of these homes have sold since March 1, 2016.  These included:
  • 1370 Lago Mar Drive - 2 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage with 1,545 sq.ft. sold for $220,000.
  • 1505 Timacuan Drive  - 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage with 2,011 sq.ft. sold for $260,000.
  • 1700 Lago Mar Drive - 3 bedroom 2 bath 3 car garage home with 2,032 sq.ft. sold for $270,000.
  • 1516 Grand Isle Blvd - 4 bedroom 3 bath 2 car garage with 2,470 sq.ft. sold for $325,000.
Here are a few more articles about Viera's 55+ communities...

For information on 55+ communities in Viera, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Indian River Colony Club - Market Update April 2016 - 55+ Community Viera, Florida

There are three 55+ communities in Viera, Florida (Heritage Isle, Grand Isle, Indian River Colony Club).   Of these, only one offers totally maintenance free living - Indian River Colony Club. 

Read more about the facilities and benefits of living at Indian River Colony ClubOf course the benefits come with a higher monthly fee.

What is for sale at Indian River Colony Club?

Currently there are twenty-nine active listings in the Indian River Colony Club.  List prices for these homes range from $115,000  (a not so common 2/2/1 duplex) to $329,900 .

Single family detached home prices range from $149,900 to $329,900 with a  median listing price of $179,000.   Although many folks downsize when they move to IRCC, these homes are not that small with a median square foot under air of 1,990 sq.ft.   The largest home for sale offers over 3,200 sq.ft. 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths as well as a 3 car garage!

Most of these homes for sale at IRCC offer either three or four bedrooms (25 of the 29 listings).   As for age of construction fifteen of the listings were built between 1988 and 1990. 

Because most of the homes in Indian River Colony Club are older, wood frame/stucco normally buyers who desire newer construction or concrete block construction had to consider Heritage Isle and Grand Isle. 

But there are actually a couple of homes currently being constructed in IRCCYes, some new construction in Indian River Colony Club - but this is limited and will not last!

And homes are steadily selling as indicated by another eighteen homes under contract awaiting closing.

What has been selling at Indian River Colony Club?

Over the past six months there have been twenty five homes sold in IRCC with selling prices ranging from  $77,000 (duplex) to $266,500.   The median selling price was $150,000.

Recent sales (since February 1, 2016 ) have included six homes sold in IRCC. 

Selling prices for these ranged from $140,000 to $266,500 with a median sales price of approximately $194,000.   Most of these homes were 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage homes with about 1,900 -2000 sq.ft. under air.   It should be noted the two highest priced homes had private pools.

For information on homes for sale at Indian River Colony Club, please call or text Gary L Waters, LT MSC US Navy Retired, at 321-693-3850.

Selling Your Home: A Cheat Sheet For Home Sellers

There is so much information available about how to sell your home.  My guess is hundreds of books have been written and thousands of blogs.  But who has time for all that reading?

Here is the scoop on selling your Florida home broken down into twelve key points.   
  1. You can prepare your home for the market.  The simplest preparation does not cost a lot of money. Things like de-cluttering and de-personalizing your home (think, show your home, not your stuff!).  The most basic preparation step is the most important - clean.  If you can smell it, you can't sell it!  
  2. Expect prying eyes!   Lets face it, buyers are going to look.  And buyers are most often strangers - even to their real estate agent.  They will open drawers. They will peer into closets.  The will look in the garage.  Put away valuables, firearms, medications and personal information/documents.  Think safety, security and even identity theft.   A real estate agent can't surveil every person who enters your home a 100% of the time even though they may try!  
  3. Let Your Realtor handle things.  It is not desirable for you to bird dog prospective buyers.  It is not necessary for you to "highlight" or act as a tour guide.  Take a walk. Remember, loose lips sink ships...or at least may give away negotiation positions or even price. 
  4. Price should reflect three things if a seller is motivated: condition, location and competition.  
  5. Its all about numbers:  30-10-1, for instance.  If  in 30 days you do not have at least ten showings and one realistic (even if not accepted) offer. If not, look at price. 
  6. You can't price too low, really!  You are not required to accept any offer.  If you price low, you may receive multiple offers with buyers competing with each other.  
  7. You can price too high! See 30-10-1 above!  
  8. Accommodation:  Showings are necessary to sell.  Accommodate reasonable showing requests.  Conditions like 24 hour notice, list agent must be present for showings are obstacles. 
  9. Second showings confirm "good."  Whether the subject property is in the running or its being compared to another potentially better property.   
  10. Don't scoff at a less than full price offer.   An offer that is reasonable, yet not quite "there," is potentially the is just in the "lets talk" stage! 
  11. Expect contingencies.  In particular expect an inspection contingency and anticipate little repairs.  Do them up front because multiple little things can cost dollars later - or even a sale.  And if there are issues, that can't be fixed, disclose them up front and consider them in pricing.
  12. Choose the right real estate agent.  In Melbourne, Florida call or text me at 321-693-3850. If you are some other place, think local, knowledgeable, full time.   Your real estate agent should be able to provide the details in the above major points.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Buying a Home - If the Standard Tax Deduction is More Than Mortage Interest Deduction, Why Buy?

Buying a home is more than just a tax deduction. 

Today is tax day - April 18, 2016.

I just read an article this past weekend that talked about how people are not buying a home now because the tax savings is just not there.   And, although I am not a tax advisor, I can see the point.

At a certain price, on the surface, it appears to not make sense to buy a home when the the standard mortgage interest tax deduction for a married couple filing jointly is $12,600 for the 2015 tax return.   So it would seem the mortgage interest paid would have to be in excess of $1,000 a moth to make it worthwhile.

Still there are other benefits to buying a home.

There is the opportunity to build equity as the mortgage principle is reduced over time and the value of the home increases.  This has long been the case. 

Over the long term buying a home is cheaper than renting as the price of rents increase and rarely decrease.

Then there is the stability component.  In addition to the inevitable rent increases there is always the possibility of a landlord/property owner selling.  You are not paying another person's mortgage.  The pride of home-ownership. 

Consider the lifestyle flexibility  offered by being able to modify, make changes, update a house you own within the restrictions imposed by association rules instead of asking some landlord!

Prices are rising.

Interest rates are low right  now. 

What will the prices and interest rates be next year or in two years?

Consider buying a home now because it is more than a tax deduction.


Duran Golf Course in Viera, Florida - Homes For Sale in Wyndham at Duran and Fairway Lakes at Viera Subdivisions - Market Update April 2016

There are two subdivisions in Viera, Florida that offer homes on and near the Duran Golf Club.  

These communities include Wyndham at Duran and Fairway Lakes at Viera.  Both of these communities are gated developments offering newer executive style homes with golf course and lake frontage.

Wyndham at Duran has a manned gated entry with homes priced a higher (around a million dollar plus or minus) as most are custom built, with larger lots and more desirable views.

Currently there are only two homes for sale in Wyndham at Duran with prices around $900,000 to $1.2 million.   These homes are all four bedroom four bathroom three car garage custom built pool homes.  There is one other home under contract at this time.  

Over the past six months there has been one home sold in Wyndham at Duran as reported in the Brevard MLS system.  Selling for $1,145,000 was the 2008 built home at 3069 Wyndham Way - a four bedroom five and a half bathroom  three car garage pool home with 4,672 sq.ft. under air. 

Currently there are nine homes for sale in Fairway Lakes at Viera.   List prices range form $520,000 to $674,000.   The three highest priced listings have five bedrooms and at least four bathrooms and more than 3,100 sq.ft under air.

The smallest home for sale in Fairway Lakes offers almost 2,800 sq.ft. with four bedrooms and 2.5 baths.   Homes for sale range in age from built in 2006 to new construction.   All listings are standard sales. Most are one story structures with two car garages.  There are also another three homes under contract awaiting closing.

Over the past six months there have been five homes sold in Fairway Lakes at Viera as reported in the Brevard MLS system.  Selling prices ranged from $532,000 to $630,000.  Since February 1, 2016 there has only been one home sold in Fairway lakes at Viera.

Selling for $600,000 on February 26, 2016, was 3277 Lamanga Drive.  This lake front 3,000 sq.ft. four bedroom three and a half bathroom three car garage pool home went under contract after only eleven days on the market.

For information on homes for sale in the Duran Golf Course area of Viera, call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Home Buyer Tips: "Why does everyone I call ask me those same questions?"

I received a phone call today from a lady about my for sale listing at 897 Brunswick Lane in Rockledge, Florida.    I answered her questions about the price ($177,000) as well as told her about the home's features (new roof September 2015, renovated bathrooms, new garage door/opener,etc.).

Then I asked the "usual" real estate agent questions.    You know...
  • Are you working with a real estate agent? 
  • Are you familiar with area?   
  • What is your timeline? 
  • What kind of house (size, age, etc.)?  
  • What is your budget?  
  • Have you been pre-approved for your mortgage or are you paying cash?
Her answer to the first question was "No, I am not.  I am just calling the agent on the sign out front of houses I like."

Her next comment made me realize she was an inexperienced buyer, likely a first time home buyer...
"Why does everyone I call ask me those same questions?
I explained to her that it was critical for a real estate agent to understand a buyer's desires, timeline and ability to buy.  Her mortgage pre-approval was a key parameter for her home search.

Buying a home is best accomplished when working with one ral estate agent who understands your circumstances, goals and budget.  Here are four articles that will provide a good overview of the home buying process in Florida.

I know the caller contacted me from the sign out front of the home for sale at 897 Brunswick Lane.   But, as a general rule, the name on the sign out front is not the best person to call.    Here is why.

If you are considering moving to Brevard County and your plans involve buying a house in Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850 for information.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Sonoma at Viera - Homes For Sale - Market Update April 2016

Located west of I-95 in the planned unit development of Viera, Sonoma at Viera offers gated living in one of the most popular areas of central Brevard County.

Sonoma at Viera was one of the first subdivisions built in Viera once construction shifted to the west side of I-95.   Most of the homes in Sonoma at Viera were built around 2003/2004. 
Sonoma at Viera is convenient to several golf courses including Duran Golf Course, excellent schools (Viera High School, Kennedy Middle School),  shopping and restaurants of the Avenues at Viera , the new Viera Hospital, outpatient medical offices, multiple places of worship and much more.

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 fourteen homes for sale in Sonoma.  List prices range from $259,900 to $499,000 with a median list price of $314,900.   
Of the homes for sale in Sonoma two are distressed/foreclosure properties. 

Median size of the homes for sale is about 2,300 sq.ft. under air conditioning with size ranging from 1,578 to just over 3,400 sq.ft.  Pools are very common with 11 of the 14 homes having private in ground pools.  Lot sizes range from .14 acres to .29 acres with the average lot size in the .20 acre area.

What has sold in Sonoma at Viera?

Over the past 6 months there have been ten homes sold in Sonoma at Viera with sale prices ranging from $210,344 (unusually low, auction sale) to $454,000.   Two sales were REO/foreclosure while the majority, much like Brevard County sales were standard sales.

Median sales price was $324,500.  Median days on the market was around 43 days for this subdivision (about 35 for Brevard County total).

For information on buying or selling a home in Viera, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Viera, Florida Home Prices in 2016 (Melbourne, Florida)

Below I have listed the average selling price for thirteen popular subdivisions in the planned unit development of Viera based on average selling price November 2015  April 15, 2016 

Note that this is not a complete analysis of the homes for sale in Viera and is intended as a general guide of home prices in Viera. 
  1. Sunstone -   $382,700
  2. Sonoma at Viera -  $312,500  *
  3. Daintree –  $320,000 *
  4. Grand Isle -  $268,750 * #
  5. Indigo Crossing - $268,000
  6. Six Mile Creek -  $258,000
  7. Heritage Isle - $276,500 * #
  8. Capron Trace - $244,000
  9. Bayhill at Viera  - $200,100
  10. Fairway Lakes at Viera - $582,500 *
  11. Ravencliffe - $387,000 * 
  12. Gatwick - $424,000 *
  13. Strom Park - $355,000 (new construction)
* gated community
# 55+ community

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

Thursday, April 07, 2016

When Selling Your Home, Turn Down the Noise!

While heavy traffic, the neighbors music or barking dog can all impact the quality of a home showing the noise referred to in the title is something else.

The "noise" I am speaking of is more general...anything that distracts from your home's qualities.

But what is noise? 
Things like clutter that make your home look messy, small, unappealing.  It is the highly personalized paint or, even worse, the gawd awful wall paper from the sixties.  

Or it is the shag carpet or harvest gold appliances.

Or it is the dark, dreary look of a poorly lit space. Maybe it is the smell of last nights fried fish!

The point is...noise is a distraction.   

When a prospective buyer's focus is drawn away from your home it ultimately has a price.

Shrewd buyer prospects see neglect and lack of preparation as opportunity.  An opportunity to buy a house at a lower price.

Right or wrong their assumption is something like "neglect and a carefree attitude are a sign of the property's underlying condition."

When you are ready to sell your home, turn down the noise!

Here are a few more articles to help you turn down the noise when preparing to sell your Florida home.
Remember .... Smart Buyers Know the Difference Between Dirt and Opportunity.

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

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Phillips Landing Subdivision in Rockledge, Florida - Market Update April 2016 - Homes For Sale

Phillips Landing subdivision in Rockledge, Florida offers newer a newer deed restricted community offering good value in recent construction (2004-2013).   Located just off I-95 in central Brevard County, Florida, Phillips Landing offers residents a community pool, playground, parks, excellent schools within walking distance like Hans Christian Andersen Elementary and Kennedy Middle School.

Phillips Landing is ideal for commuters with Orlando a short drive as well as easy travel for those working in Melbourne, at the Kennedy Space Center, beach side or Melbourne.  Also nearby are several golf courses including Turtle Creek Golf Course, Viera East Golf Course and Duran Golf Club.

Typical Phillips Landing Home
Nearby medical facilities (in Rockledge and Viera) include multiple physician offices, rehabilitation facilities, and hospitals ( Wuesthoff Hospital Rockledge, Viera Hospital).    Beaches are only about 10-12 miles away.

What is currently for sale in Phillips Landing? 

Currently there are two homes for sale in Phillips Landing in Rockeldge.  List prices range from about $225,000 to $260,000.   Both of these homes were built in 2005 which is when much of the construction occurred in Phillips Landing.  

These similar four bedroom two bath two car garage homes have two major differences: size (1,861 sq.ft. vs. 2,186 sq.ft.) and location (pond frontage versus backing to a major roadway).

Also there are presently four homes under  contract awaiting closings.  List prices range from $199,900 (a rare short sale) to $250,000.

What has recently sold in Phillips Landing?

Over the past six months there have been ten homes sold in Phillips Landing.  Selling prices ranged from $200,000 to $289,900.  All of these sales were standard sales.

So far in 2016 there have been two homes sold in Phillips Landing in Rockledge.  The homes sold included:
  • 3302 Merrick Avenue - 2005 built 4 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage home with 1,848 sq.ft. under air sold for $215,000 om 01/08/2016.
  • 1800 Bridgeport Circle -  2012 built 4 bedroom 2.5 bath 2 car garage two story home with 2.919 sq.ft. under air sold for $289,900.
For information on buying a home in Rockeldge, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Home For Sale - Rockledge, Florida - 897 Brunswick Lane $177,000

Located at 897 Brunswick Lane in Rockledge, Florida, this three bedroom two bathroom two car garage home is move in ready

With  about 1,338 square feet under air, this well maintained 1977 built three bedroom two bathroom two car garage home just hit the market this afternoon at $177,000. 

View the MLS entry for 897 Brunswick Lane, Rockledge (including photos and maps).   

The central location in Rockledge's Levitt Park subdivision, makes it easy to get around central Brevard County!  Its location near I-95 as well as US 1 make it an excellent location for commuters.

Orlando is only about 45 minutes away, Melbourne about 20 minutes and the beaches are only about 10-12 miles!

New Roof in 2015:  The asphalt shingle roof was just installed in September 2015 and both bathrooms have been remodeled.   The garage door and opener are recent as well as the interior doors and exterior paint.
The central air conditioning system is about eight years old.  The garage door and opener were installed in the recent past as well.  

The laundry room includes a tub sink as well as a newer washer and dryer which will remain with the house.  

The fenced back yard offers a patio for your grilling, plenty of space to play in the sun and a covered screened porch when you just need to relax.
Also in the back yard you will find what the seller refers to as "The Little House."  Do you need that little extra space for a hobby or home office?  This 192 square foot concrete block trussed roof, air conditioned building offers lots of possibilities!

If you are considering buying a home in Rockledge, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850.  #movingtoflorida  

FHA and VA buyers welcome!  

First time buyers...ask me about the bond money available to help you buy your home!

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