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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 alwaysDon't buy what you are not going to use...like 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 price...like 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 FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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.
Baytree National Gated EntryWithin 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 HouseThere 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 HousePriced 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 BaytreeAs 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 $260,0008011 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.
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 propertyCould 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.
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.Preparing Your Home For Sale - Pay Now or Later?Should a Seller Get Repair Estimates If They Are Not Doing a Repair?Can a Home Buyer Do the Repairs Before They Close?Owner Choices Can Limit ProspectsWhy Would a Seller Make Repairs on an "As Is" Contract?"As Is" means "As Is" Except When "As Is" Doesn't Mean "As Is!"Ready to buy a home in Viera, Florida? Call or text me at 321-693-3850.
Indian River Colony Club is a gated 55+ community located in central Florida's planned unit development of Viera (just north of Melbourne, FL). Actually, its more of a country club and a lifestyle than a development. This is part one of a new series on Indian River Colony Club.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, as well as exclusive, 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.A few interesting points about Indian River Colony Club: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;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 is the catch? There is no catch but the services and amenities come with a price and this is often an issue which stops prospective buyers from fully considering IRCC. The fees are based on floor plan of the house and can broadly range in the $800- $1,200 a month ballpark (more later in this series about fees).But consider all the fees cover....Inside maintenance including water heater, AC, heat systems, structure, electrical, plumbing, garage doors including openers.Outside maintenance including roof repair or replacement (if not covered by homeowner insurance), external wall preservation, painting, cleaning, pressure washing of driveways and sidewalks.Pest control inside and outside including termite protection and repair if necessary.Quarterly preventative maintenance.An IRCC vehicle even provides transportation to Patric Air Force Base and nearby shopping malls. Consider all the above items covered by the monthly fee and the fee does not appear so unreasonable.For information on buying a home in Indian River Colony Club, call or text me at 321-693-3850.
I was reviewing my recent listing in Levitt Park subdivision when I came a cross the website LevittownBeyond.com which actually told the story of "The Levittowns" developments by Levitt and Sons. I had heard of Levittown, PA before but was not familiar with Levitt and Sons and their huge development of communities across the USA.And the Levitt communities appeared everywhere including Arizona, Callifornia, Ilinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia...practically all over!In Rockledge, Florida. we have Levitt Park at Rockledge or officially, Buckingham at Levitt Park which, according to LB.com, opened for sales in 1964. This was Levitt and Sons' first Florida project and was attracted by the expansion plans at Kennedy Space Center in the early 1960s. One of the early marketing brochures touted the "true indoor/outdoor living with finished patios and terrace areas" with floor plans like the Alameda ($15,990), Biscayne ($17,500), Catalina ($21,500), Delray ($19,500) and Eastwood ($20,990). It looks like air conditioning was another $500-$600! Of course the year round boating, fishing, swimming and golf were prominently advertised. Levitt Park in Rockledge now is generally considered the area from the Fiske Blvd entrance on Levitt Parkway all the way back to its end at Murrell Road. With its proximity to excellent schools, shopping, parks, golf course, beaches , and major routes (I-95, US1), Rockledge is a great location fro getting around central Florida.What is for sale in Levitt Park in Rockledge? Currently there are six homes for sale in Levitt Park with list prices ranging from $147,000 to $245,000. Construction of these homes range from 1965 to 1977 with only one listing built after 1966. Five of these homes are standard sales and one is a foreclosure. That home is located at 897 Brunswick Lane and is a three bedroom two bath two car garage home listed for only $177,00. This home has a new roof, a new garage door and opener,completely renovated bathrooms, air conditioner about eight years old, new interior doors and more! In addition to a patio and a screened porch out back, there is a separate smaller one room building (concrete block with air conditioning) which would make a nice office, craft room or shop!By the way did I say I was the listing agent? Call me to see this home for sale in Levitt Park. It is the best home in the are for the money!What has recently sold in Levitt Park?Over the past six months there have been seventeen homes homes sold in Levitt Park with selling prices ranging from about $94,000 to $175,000.Thirteen of these seventeen homes were standard sales. In the past two months there were eight homes sold in Levitt Park with selling prices for these recent sales ranging from $115,475 to $175,0000 (half sold at or more than $157,000).Only one of these homes was built after 1966.... 897 Brunswick which is one of the best homes currently available!The trend in Levitt Park, as in all of Brevard County, is prices are rising.For information on buying or selling a home in Levitt Park in Rockledge, Florida, call or text me at 321-693-3850.
Most real estate offers to purchase in Florida are prepared with one or more contingencies. Contingencies serve to protect the buyer. What are contingencies? In its simplest term contingency just means conditional based on something else. I am not an attorney so this is not intended as legal advice but rather practical home buying advice from a Florida real estate broker.Contingencies serve to protect a customer's interest. But these protections are usually limited by time periods. The Florida real estate offer commonly used contains a very bold sentence: "Time is of the essence."Most purchase offers have a couple of standard contingencies which are quite often expected by the seller's agent. The first of these is the inspection contingency. Here in Brevard County, Florida the standard offer basically contains an inspection contingency which allows the buyer to have inspections (property, termite, septic, pool, mold, radon, etc.) performed within a defined number of days.By the way, even if the house is being sold "as is," buyers should not fail to perform the inspection. My experience is the buyer usually has 10 (maybe up to 15) days for the inspections. Because inspections cost the buyer money they are usually performed in a specific order (property first, then septic, for example). If the property inspection reveals a showstopper then why waste the septic inspection money?I think of the inspection contingency as a get out of jail free card as there is no pass or fail and the interpretation of the results is solely up to the buyer. Of course, some sellers wonder if the inspection contingency lets a buyer walk too fast!Another key contingency is the financing contingency/appraisal contingency. If the purchase is being financed then the appraisal is key. Even if the purchase is a cash offer most buyers still want an appraised value at least equal to the purchase price.What happens if the appraisal comes in low? If the appraised amount is under the contract price then there are options available including: Cancel. Most buyers really do not want to exercise this option.Negotiate a new price. This will depend on the seller's desire to close the current contract.Request a second appraisal. This is an added cost to the buyer ($400-$500 estimate) but if it saves the deal and money it may be a consideration.Bring cash to the closing table. If all other options fail the buyer can choose to add cash to make up the appraisal shortfall.Regardless of solution, financing and appraisal contingencies protect the buyer.There are other conditions which may show up in an offer but they are less common. In a seller's market such as the April 2016 residential market in Florida it is likely sellers will not look favorably on these "non-essential" contingencies. After all, a contingency that may be viewed as protecting a buyer can be also seen as putting the seller at a disadvantage!Professional real estate agents know which contingencies serve to protect and which ones are just annoyances or fluff. Appraisals - The Final HurdleAfter Your Offer is Accepted.Buying a Home in Florida - A Language of Its Own.Twelve Rules For Buying a Home in Florida.Multiple Offers, Appraisals and FinancingWhat Does "As Is" Really Mean?Ready to buy a house in Viera, Florida? call or text me at 321-693-3850.Ready to sell your Viera home, call me!
If your Viera, Florida home has been on the market for a couple of months you may start thinking it is all about price. But is it?When it comes to listing your home for sale will the listing price be what you want or what you can get? Most of the time these two figures are not exactly equal.Is your listing price the highest mentioned by one of the real estate agents you interviewed? And, if it is, did you choose your agent because they uttered THAT price?When you interview a real estate agent to sell your home the key is to ask the agent for the price they can sell your home for…not what you want.For the moment consider your list price is realistic, reasonable and within the range of local competition. The the reason your home is not selling could be something different.Consider these potential problems:Availability to show. Are you accommodating reasonable showing requests? Are there unnecessary restrictions on showing appointments like 24 hours notice or your agent must be present? Are your neighbors an obstacle? Sometimes its the house next door, loud music, cars parked in yards or whatever. Not only are buyers choosing a house they are choosing a neighborhood.Is your house too cluttered to show off its great characteristics. Even a home that is priced appropriately may not shone when it must overcome clutter. Maybe the house is great but the landscaping sets a negative tone.If your home is not selling and you are convinced the price is right then get with your real estate agent and search for the answer. It is there if you look close!Read this Cheat Sheet For Home Sellers!Ready to sell your Viera, Florida home? Call or text me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.
Just this week I was showing a home to some folks moving to Florida from New York. As we were finishing the viewing I asked for feedback. The husband remarked the home was priced too high. It is not an infrequent comment I hear from buyers. On the other side of the transaction it is not infrequent to hear sellers say the opposite.I wanted to know his frame of reference abut the pricing. His response to my inquiry was it because he had been talking to some people at the hotel.Not sure the qualifications of these folks but I have a feeling they were not in the business. This reminds of folks who turn to the mega websites like #Zillow for their home's estimate of value. They are depending on a resource that has zero local knowledge.In early 2016 homes have been selling for about 95% of the list price in Brevard County, Florida. The particular home I had showed my buyer was right in the middle of the comparable properties.Sure there was probably a bit of negotiation room but "high" was not how the price should have been characterized.If you are buying a home in Viera, Florida, call a local real estate agent who knows the neighborhood! Real estate is local...but not usually just anyone at the local hotel!"Call or text me at 321-693-3850. If you prefer....
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