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Friday, April 28, 2017

Ten Things a Buyer Must Know When Shopping for a Home in a Seller's Market.

The Florida real estate market is a seller's market.  I read an article yesterday that discussed how buyers are getting frustrated.  I have had recent buyers express frustration about the one that "got away!"

As one prepares to enter the fray known as buying a home in Florida, consider these ten suggestions.
  1. Be prepared to compete.  You will not be the only shopper in the market for a move in ready house in Melbourne, Florida! 
  2. Don't start at the top of your budget.  If your maximum affordable (read as mortgage approval) is $250,000 then do not start at the $240-$250,000 range. (See #1 again). 
  3. Identify your requirements - not your wishes.  When the inventory is tight finding requirements is challenging enough.  Clearly understand your needs so when you see them you don't just say "next!."
  4. Be ready to jump.  Move in ready homes are not on the market very long in Brevard County, Florida.  If a house is "active" for more than a few weeks then it may have issues (price, competition, uncooperative seller (or tenants) making it hard to be viewed.  Time is of the essence.
  5. Know the realities of the market.  Your real estate agent should be able to tell you where you will most likely locate the property you are seeking within your budget. Restricting potential areas to a few deal areas will limit chances of success. 
  6. Be visionary. Don't get hung up on the cosmetic or easily fixed.  There is no accounting for bad taste.  If it can be fixed with paint, cleaning or even replacing later, and it is not a major issue, see beyond.
  7. Know the numbers.  Your home purchase is more than the mortgage payment. Consider taxes, insurance, association fees, maintenance and upkeep.  
  8. Emotions can be bad.  Just the facts should be considered.  Emotions can blind to the realities of price, condition, location!
  9. Trust your agent.  If you have the right buyer's agent (local, knowledgeable, listens, communicates clearly) then trust them.  A good professional agent knows more than Uncle Joe, your know it all friends.
  10. Trust your gut.  Your decision will be one you must live with for the foreseeable future. 
  11. (BONUS) The price is low for a reason. Sellers usually do not price way under the market unless they must.   There are occasions when a seller will price at or under market to entice multiple offers.
Ready to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Selling Your Florida Home: How Much Does a Seller Have to Disclose?

Selling your home is not always a smooth process.

The process of selling your occupied home can be a hassle.  Your life is being constantly distrupted.  I know that showing appointment yesterday afternoon at 5:30 placed your routine family life n a tailspin.

But it is to be expected.

Still, last night's showing could have been avoided if your agent had just done some basic things to help you out.

What are these things?

Your agent could have told me (as in the agent comments) that there was a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) panel in the garage that would prevent my buyer getting insurance or possibly a mortgage.

Your agent should have posted more pictures - even those ugly bathrooms in need of updates.  (Or, at least used the word "retro" in the narrative!)

Your roof is at the end of its life - share that up front.  Again, ability to get a mortgage is impacted. Many buyers do not have the available funds after a purchase to turn around and replace the roof.

The responsibility of your listing agent includes the dissemination of use-able/useful information.

I recently read an MLS entry where an agent note said "all information is subject to errors and omissions and must be verified by the buyer's agent."  This makes me wonder what the seller is hiding because it sure as heck sounds like a "I warned you" defense for potential issues!

But is it the seller who is hiding things?  

There are legal requirements about disclosing issues that are known but not readily apparent.  I always suggest sellers disclose all those things they would like to know if they were in the buyer's position. Realtors have a duty to the process.

Sellers can not control all their agent says or does but, at a minimum, I suggest these actions:
  • Disclose what you know.
  • Have your agent provide a copy of their marketing material/MLS entry.
As for the disruption, it will be over sooner if -
  • your home is priced appropriately, 
  • your home is prepared adequately, 
  • issues disclosed up front,
  • and showing requests accommodated, if possible - even the 5:30 showings at supper time
The more information provided then the more efficient the process.
Ready to sell your Viera, Florida home?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can help!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Number One Rule About Appraisals

I ran into a prospective seller recently who wanted a cash buyer more than one who would be getting a mortgage.  As a real estate agent I can understand the reason as it takes away one of the many potential roadblocks.

(Hiring an experienced real estate agent can minimize the roadblocks when selling your Florida home.)

Over the past several years, with a market experiencing rising prices, appraisal prices have lagged.  After all, an appraisal is based on sold homes - not what is for sale or even under contract.

This particular prospective seller felt he could get an above market value offer as long as there would be no appraisal.

While cash transactions do take away one of the biggest unknowns when selling it is likely an offer will still have an appraisal contingency  Think about it.  Who, whether a cash buyer or not, wants to pay more than a property will appraise for at the time of purchase.

Questions about buying a home in Viera, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Open House Saturday April 29, 2017 3972 Man-O-War Lane, Grant Valkaria, FL

Open House Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 2:00 until 4:00 at 3972 Man-O-War Lane in Grant Valkaria hosted by Brian Waters, Realtor, Waters Realty of Brevard.

Stop by 3972 Man-O-War Lane in Grant Valkaria (click address for Google Map) to view this 1987 built three bedroom two bath two garage (plus two car detached garage) home.  

Offered at $359,000 this 1,802 sq.ft  brick home is set on over one acre.  This home offers  offers everything  - a family room and formal living room, a breakfast area and formal dining room, along with a bright kitchen make up the main living areas. 

Three bedrooms on a split plan, lots of closet spaces and a well lit indoor laundry and mud room. From there enjoy the fully screened, large back porch that doubles as another room when you pull down the vinyl windows. More back yard patio space behind that for the barbecue or sitting outdoors. 

Attached, side entry, double garage combined with an over-sized, detached, double garage gives space for work and toys. Large driveway and additional parking in front of detached garage and another poured slab behind that for boat, motor home, etc. Great outdoor space on cul-de-sac.

Directions: From US1 to Valkaria Rd to left on Pomello Rd to left on Man-O-War. From I-95 go East on Malabar Rd to right on Babcock then 3 miles to left on Valkaria then 3.3 mi. right on Pomello to Man O War


Monday, April 24, 2017

The Home Buying Decision Process - Only One Real Option Available.

Melbourne, Florida.   The current Brevard County, Florida real estate market favors sellers.  There are usually multiple offers on move in ready properties that are reasonably priced.

When a buyer finally locates the target property the decision on making an offer begins to create all sorts of other questions.  This is especially true if there are time considerations.
Now the offer thought process begins (not really this one customer but several over the past few months)....
  • Is the house worth what they are asking?  I can run the comparables today but that does not tell me for sure what it is worth but it will paint a picture of what similar properties have sold for recently.  And it is the recent sales that forms the basis for appraisals.  Still, it is the market (buyer) that established sales price (value).   
  • Do you think they will take "whatever?"   As a real estate agent I do not know what a seller may take.  Most listing agents do not know what the seller will take either. And if they do they will not share. I have had buyers ask the question that has no answer:  "How low will the seller go?"
  • Will there be other offers?  Usually an buyer's agent will not know this unless the listing agent comes back with a request for highest and best offers.  Read "Sometimes the highest is not best."
  • If I offer $XXXXXX will I be paying too much?  A buyer rarely knows what price a seller will accept. In the end it is common for some buyers to wonder if they could have gotten it for a lower price.  
  • Will the value go up in the future?  This is one that concerns most buyers - eventually.   While a home purchase is an investment it is currently meeting a need for shelter.  There is no way to now the answer although values do tend to rise over time.  But there are uncertainties like length of ownership future development in the area, the economy and who knows what else!
  • Finally, what if I pay too much?  This is the danger of letting emotions enter into the process.  Do not let competitiveness (need to win) influence the decision.  Being emotional can work against a buyer's best interest.
While all these questions are important the number one question to be answered much do you want the house?  Will a buyer be disappointed if someone else gets the house? What are the other considerations? 

I counsel buyers with these short words...
Make the offer one you can feel good about - whether accepted or rejected.  Feel good about your offer price.  Make a clean, reasonable offer and see what happens. Add a short letter to the seller. Don't be afraid of paying too much.  Be afraid of not getting what you want. 
In real estate there are rarely do overs.  Make decisions based on the best information at hand.  That is the only option.

Thinking of buying a home in Melbourne, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can help.  I provide personalized, one on one, service from the first contact to the closing table!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Brevard County, Florida - Condo Market Summary March 2017

Brevard County Townhouse/Condo market summary for March 2017 compared to March 2016:
  • Closed Sales - down -0.4% for March 2017 with 254 units closed compared to 255 in March 2016 with an increase in cash sales of 4.1% compared to March 2016.
  • New Pending Sales - up 12.2% 
  • New Listings - decreased -4.2%.
  • Median Sales Price for Townhomes/Condos - increased 8.7% to $150,000 compared to a year ago which was $138,000.
  • Months Supply of Inventory - down -10% to 3.6 months compared to 4 months in March 2016.
  • Traditional Sales - up 7% with a median sales price of $150,000.
  • Foreclosure/REO Sales - down -55%, with a median sales price of $137,000.
  • Short Sale Closings are down -100%, as there were no sales in March of 2017.
Questions about buying or selling a home in Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850. 


Brevard County, Florida - Residential Market Summary March 2017

Brevard County Residential Report for March 2017 compared to March 2016 as provided by the Space Coast Association of Realtors:
  • Closed Sales - increased 0.3% for March 2017 with 909 units closed was 909 compared to 906 in March 2016
  • Cash Sales - decreased -12.2% compared to March 2016.
  • New Pending Sales - down -3.6% 
  • New Listings -  up 9.6%.
  • Median Sales Price for Brevard Single Family homes - up 10.9% to $194,000 compared to a year ago which was $175,000.
  • Months Supply of Inventory - down -7.4% at 2.5 months compared to 2.7 months in March 2016.
  • Traditional Sales - increased 7.5% with a median sales price of $195,000.
  • Foreclosure/REO Sales - down -51.5% with a median sales price of $163,000.
  • Short Sale Closings - down -50% with a median sales price of $250,000. 
Questions about buying or selling a home in Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why You Need Your Own Real Estate Agent When Buying a House in Florida

Here is what I call a lucky break when shopping for a home in Florida...."I called the listing agent.... but they did not call back."

Why were the prospective home buyers lucky?   Because the listing agent (person with sign out front) works for the seller.  In the case of a builder/new development, the person staffing the model home represents the builder/developer.

In Florida there is no such thing as dual representation.

A real estate agent can not represent both parties to a transaction.  However, in Florida an agent can "represent the transaction" without giving undivided loyalty to either side.  Still, who does not want their side represented by their own agent?

When representing the transaction in Florida agents are considered transaction brokers.
Per Florida Statutes a transaction broker "provides a limited form of representation to a buyer, a seller, or both in a real estate transaction but does not represent either in a fiduciary capacity or as a single agent. The duties of the real estate licensee in this limited form of representation include the following:
(a) Dealing honestly and fairly;
(b) Accounting for all funds;
(c) Using skill, care, and diligence in the transaction;
(d) Disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of residential real property and are not readily observable to the buyer;
(e) Presenting all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner, unless a party has previously directed the licensee otherwise in writing;
Limited confidentiality, unless waived in writing by a party. This limited confidentiality will prevent disclosure that the seller will accept a price less than the asking or listed price, that the buyer will pay a price greater than the price submitted in a written offer, of the motivation of any party for selling or buying property, that a seller or buyer will agree to financing terms other than those offered, or of any other information requested by a party to remain confidential; and
(g) Any additional duties that are mutually agreed to with a party."

The above is copied directly from the link.  I am not a lawyer.

The highest level of representation in Florida is called single agency, the lowest level, no brokerage relationship (basically be honest, fair, disclose facts and account for all funds entrusted).

So, at a minimum, a buyer should have their own real estate agent who either represents them as a single agent or transaction agent.

With either of these arrangements the buyer has an advocate for them and not just an advocate for the transaction.  Or even less, no representation whatsoever.

Besides, the buyer's real estate agent is paid by the seller whether a resale or new construction.

I don't believe you can fully support one side if you are committed to the other side as well.

Ready to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for more information, ask a question or to let me be your Florida Realtor.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Indian River Colony Club in Viera (Melbourne, Florida) - Market Update April 2017

Indian River Colony Club, one of three gated 55+ communities located in central Florida's planned unit development of Viera (just north of Melbourne, FL), offers homeowners a lifestyle unmatched in the local area.

IRCC was founded in 1986 as a not-for-profit corporation as a retirement destination for military offers. Over the the years since its inception, Indian River Colony Club has evolved into a more inclusive retirement community with membership expanded to all former military and 20% non-military veterans.  

All homes are individually owned with no rental properties allowed so residents know their neighbors are permanent.

Indian River Colony Club is:
  • The IRCC corporation is debt free;
  • Amenities are owned by residents including golf course, club house, multi-use buildings, pro shop, tennis courts, swimming pool and more; 
  • Home prices are less than those in other Viera 55+ communities (Heritage Isle, Grand Isle);
  • The Board of Directors, elected by the residents, determine fees and provide oversight for all activities within the gates including the professional onsite management;
  • Household maintenance (more specifics below) are covered by the monthly maintenance fee;
  • Typical of style
  • Monthly fee also covers club membership, amenities, full time on site security including 24 hour guard monitored entry, security cameras at all entrances, visitor management as well as security patrols inside community.
What will you find at Indian River Colony Club in Viera?
  • Multiple housing options. There are eighteen floor plans including two new plans for 2016 (Trenton 3BR/2BA/2 Car Garage/Cart Garage, 1,735 sq.ft.), (Augusta, 3BR/3BA/2 Car Garage/Cart Garage, 2,111 sq.ft.), a half duplex floor plan, and fifteen others with square footage ranging from just over 1,000 sq.ft. to about 3,000 sq.ft. under air.
  • Activity groups and clubs.  More than 40 of them including: Art, Bridge, Bowling, Bingo, Chorus, Ham Radio, Crafts, Investment, IRCC Foundation, Masons, Yoga, Tennis, Line dancing, Step & Stretch, Computer Club, Players Theater Group, Aquatics and more. Green space, wildlife and lakes (28) with houses spread throughout the 453 acre community. 
  • Secure environment.  Gated entry manned 24 hours with security which also patrols the community.
  • RV and boat storage area.  There are even four spaces for guest hookups.
  • Colony Hall which is a state of the newly renovated facility which offers the perfect setting for special occasions (available for public rental as well). There is a bridal room, dance floor, full stage, chapel and more.
  • At Ease Club. Executive chef, staffed for dining and private parties.
  • Tennis courts (3), Bocce, shuffleboard.
  • 3,000 sq.ft. heated swimming pool.
  • Fitness center.
  • Professional staff and management who know the residents and go above and beyond to help them (repeating what I have heard residents say!) 18 hole par 72 golf course with pro shop, 2 practice putting greens and practice bunkers.
  • Involved homeowners.   Residents own this debt free community and take their responsibility as owners serious.
  • Private country club.  Indian River Colony Club is an exclusive private country club with membership comprised only of 100% home owners!
  • Repairs, routine and urgent service repairs (leaks, AC, plumbing) only a phone call away with maintenance staff on duty 10 hours a day (on call for emergencies).
  • Housekeeping and pool service programs also available. 
What is currently for sale at Indian River Colony Club?

Currently twenty three active listings in the Indian River Colony Club gated 55+ community.   List prices range from $125,000 to $268,000.  All of these listings are standard sales except for one short sale (lowest list price).

Eighteen listings are priced at $190,000 or less.  Most are three or four bedroom constructed early 1990s.  Average list prices are in the $170,000 range.

What has recently sold in Indian River Colony Club?

Over the past six months there have been twenty six homes sold in Indian River Colony Club.  Selling prices ranged from $115,000 to $268,000.  All of these sales were standard sales.

More recent sales in IRCC (from March 1, 2017) includes these five properties:
  • 1533 Tippicanoe Court - 1996 built 1,879 sq.ft. 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage sold for $147,500
  • 1561 Independence venue - 1992 built 1,560 sq.ft. 2 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage sold for $152,500
  • 1506 Chesapeake Court - 1994 built 1,729 sq.ft. 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage sold for $170,000
  • 955 Mayflower Avenue - 1989 built 2,126 sq.ft. 4 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage sold for $255,000
  • 1767 Independence Avenue - 1994 built 2,234 sq.ft. 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage sold for $185,000
For information on Indian River Colony Club in Viera, Florida call or text me at 321-693-3850.
Gary L Waters
Florida Licensed Real Estate Broker
LT MSC USN (retired)

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Summer Lakes in Viera, Florida - Market Report - Million Dollar Executive Homes For Sale

Summer Lakes in Viera (Rockledge, Florida zip code 32955) is an exclusive gated community featuring executive homes (3,000- 8,000 sq.ft. under air) with tremendous appeal to the most discriminating executive buyer.  
These homes all the amenities one would expect in a custom built feature rich dwelling from the tile roof to the front door to the pool deck and summer kitchen! 

What is currently for sale in Summer Lakes in Viera, Florida?

Currently there are seven homes for sale in the gated, very exclusive Summer Lakes community in Viera, Florida.   Listing prices for this community range from a low $950,000 to almost $1.55 million.

These homes are all huge with living space ranging form 4,193 sq.ft. under air to 4,858 sq.ft.  Bedroom count ranges from 4 to 6 and bathrooms from 3.5 to 5.  As one with expect in this price range they all have a private in ground pool!  All but one offers a three car garage! 

By the way these homes are all older by Viera standards (built in 2005-2007) where there is continued new construction and development.

What has recently sold in Summer Lakes in Viera, Florida?

Over the past six months there have been five homes sold in Summer Lakes.  Selling prices were fairly consistent within a range of $1,032,000 and $1,165,000.  All of these sales were fair market sales.

Since March 1, 2017 there have been two homes sold in Summer Lakes.  These included:
  • 4427 Reseda Way - Located on a .9 acre waterfront lot this 2006 built home offered four bedrooms four bathrooms and and a four car garage under 4,171 sq.ft. (total 6,262 sq.ft.)  This home sold for $1,050,000 on March 15, 2017.
  • 3103 Bellwind Circle - On just over one acre, this lake front home with 4,415 sq.ft. under air offered four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms as well as a pool, fireplace and a three car garage. This home sold for $1,165,000 on March 3, 3017.
Above sales information retrieved from Brevard MLS system.

For information on buying an executive home in Brevard County, Florida's premier planned unit development Viera, call or text me at 321-693-3850.   

Viera offers whatever a buyer is seeking with homes priced from the mid $200,000s to a million plus!  

There are several other gated subdivisions in Viera offering executive homes including some direct golf course properties... call me!

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