Friday, October 30, 2015

Can You Sell Your Viera, Florida Home as a For Sale By Owner?

I have never heard anyone say I am going to sell my home myself because I like the process especially meeting strangers and arranging my schedule so I can be here to let them in my house!

Nope, the most obvious answer is to save the real estate commission and get more money in their pocket.

There is a misconception that all one must do to sell their home is put a sign up out front, get a contract and collect a check.

I have spoken with more than a few for sale by owner veterans who will never do that again!

My purpose is not to convince anyone to choose a real estate agent and not go the for sale by owner route.

My purpose is to outline what is involved in the process of selling a Brevard County, Florida home and, once armed with all the information, allow a homeowner to make an informed decision about the next step.

First things first....just some questions:
  • Why you are selling?  What is your end game?  Do you have a timeline to meet?  
  • Is there a mortgage payoff that must be met?
  • Will you be buying another home in the area? 
  • If so, do you need to look now before you sell?  With a limited inventory of move in ready homes in Brevard County it and a typical closing of 45 days minimum there may not be enough time to sell and close on a new home without temporary accommodations.  Do you really want to move twice?
  • Do you understand how to really set a "for sale" price?  It is not what you think your home is worth...really.
  • Do you have the time to arrange appointments and accommodate prospective buyer schedules?
  • Are you comfortable with allowing strangers into your home with you family?
  • Do you understand the process well enough to know what to expect with an offer and the "contingencies" such as inspections and financing?
If you are comfortable with the above questions and answers then you may be a candidate for a FSBO sale. 

If you are hesitant in any way about selling your Viera, Florida home as a FSBO, give me a call.  I would be happy to discuss the process and even make some recommendations to help you out!

Here are ten articles that may be of assistance if you are selling your Melbourne, Florida home yourself or with a Melbourne, Florida real estate agent.

If you are on the fence and want to know what it would cost to hire a Viera, Florida real estate agent to sell your home, lets get together.  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Florida Real Estate Contract (and Time).

I am not an attorney.  This is not meant to be a lesson in contract law.  Since most people do not buy and sell real estate routinely this post contains some general observations by a Florida real estate broker.

The contract to which I refer is the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar Contract for Sale and Purchase.  While the obvious things like property location, offer amount and terms are important another less noticeable item is quite important - dates and days 

In other words, time.

Contained within the multiple pages is this bold printed sentence  "Time is of the essence in this contract."

Most real estate agents end up having to remind their customers to not forget the "time" elements and their importance to the process.

What are some of these time elements and situations?

First, the most important one to buyers and sellers is the most obvious, the closing date.  After all, the sale or purchase is the "ultimate event."

The closing date designates the day ownership transfers.  Unless there is some post occupancy agreement or lease in place then it is customary and expected for a property to be vacant, cleaned and ready for the new owners on the date of closing.

But there are other "times" buyers and sellers need to be as concerned about as well.   The first one that sticks out is the time for acceptance.  The buyer puts a response due by date when the offer is prepared.  If there is a counter offer there is another response due date for the buyer.

And if there is an inspection contingency (and there almost always is) there will be a deadline.  It is this property inspection contingecy buyers should view as a "get out of jail free card." 

Read "Do inspection contingencies allow buyers to walk too easily?"

Other "times" may include a loan application, mortgage approval/loan commitment, title commitment, surveys, permit issues (if any), etc. or whatever else may be required by the circumstances of the sale (short sales, estate sales, for example).

My point here is simply to remind buyers and sellers to know the dates and deadlines in your home purchase/sale.   If it were not so important the attorneys would not have included the bolded statement...

  "Time is of the essence in this contract."

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

Again, I want to remind the reader...I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY.

Monday, March 23, 2015

What condition should a seller leave their house in at closing?

One of the last steps in the home buying process is for the buyer to do a a final walk through inspection.  With my buyers I prefer to do this on the way to the closing table.

The main focus of the final walk through is to make sure the house is in the same condition it was in when contracted including the appliances and lights, etc. that are supposed to remain are still present.

Not nearly as valuable as the physical house and associated property there is also an expectation the property will be clean.   While there will not be a white glove inspection it is expected that the property will be emptied of trash and personal contents.

It is expected that hazardous materials like old paint cans and insecticides and flammable items will be gone as well and not left in the garage.

Trash at the curb is usually not a problem.  Even older appliances or TVs that will be picked up is not a problem as long as a special pickup scheduled by seller, of course

While it is not necessary to have Merry Maids clean your house before going to closing please respect your buyers by having your house ready for the new owners.

And if a gift certificate for Merry Maids is desired, in Brevard County, order here.

What is a "Walk Through?"

"Cleaning "image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at
"Garbage Truck Driver"  image courtesy of vectorolie at

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Home Seller Tips: Dealing with multiple offers.

As the Brevard County, Florida home sales market continues to heat up with fewer move in ready listings sellers are finding themselves in a very good position.  Buyers should enter the market knowing they may not be the only buyers wanting the home they find.

Sellers are seeing multiple offers more frequently. 

How many sellers would not want to be able to say "Give me your highest and best offer"? 

But sometimes the highest may not be worth the paper it is written on! 

Why?  Because most buyers are financing

Financing requires an appraisal.  Many buyer's agents make it a practice to include an appraisal addendum which basically says either appraise at or above contract price or I can walk.

Appraisal contingencies are not that uncommon.  Most cash buyers I have worked with opt for an appraisal addendum as well.  Who wants to pay more than a house is worth?

So how does a seller evaluate multiple offers?  The most important advice I can give here is to evaluate the offers just as you would any other offer. 

Here are two of the most important considerations with any offer to purchase your home.
  1. First and foremost, sellers know your bottom line.    Know what is and is not negotiable.  
  2. Remember the offer is often much more than the price. Read my thoughts on when the highest offer may not be the best offer.  Remember terms define the real price.
A few words of advice for buyers who find themselves in a seller's market.  
  1. Be realistic with your offer.  Make it an appropriate "lets talk offer" that, even if rejected, will result in a counteroffer.
  2. Your offer should include reasonable terms such as a defined closing date, reasonable deposit (escrow),  appropriate support like a mortgage pre-approval letter at the time of offer.
  3. In a multiple offer situation which is becoming more common in Brevard County, consider including a letter to the seller explaining why you like the house so much.  Whatever it takes to get the home of your dreams.
  4. Calling the listing agent will not result in a better deal for you.  The agent works for the seller.
Whether you are ready to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida or to buy a condo in Cocoa Beach, Florida, give me a call at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Home Buyer Tips: Would Disney World accept 80% on price of admission?

Home Buyer Tips:  Would Disney World accept 80% on price of admission?

What kind of response would you get if you went over to Disney World in Orlando and went up to the admission gate and offered $84 for Disney World admission?

This really is meant to be a rhetorical question.  The response would likely be something like "Please step aside for those willing to pay the price of admission."

Now, lets change the scenario.

What kind of response do you think you would get if you went to a home seller in Viera, Florida and offered 80-85% of listing price?   [By the way, the $84 used  above represents 80% of the Disney World single day ticket price of $105]

Although several responses are possible the most likely one will be similar to the "Step aside and let the buyers in who are willing to make a serious offer."

What is a serious offer?  While price is usually issue number one when it comes to evaluating a serious offer it may not be the highest priority.   An offer that is above the market price may not appraise and subsequently will fail to close. 

A seller may accept an offer that is less but cleaner (not excessive contingencies).  It may be the offer with the soonest closing date.  It may be the "as is" offer instead of the one with a repair contingency.  It may be an offer with conventional financing as opposed to FHA or VA loans.  It may be the offer without the personal property requests (TV, washer/dryer, riding mower, etc).

Suffice it to say home buyers, like Disney visitors, must be willing to pay the price of admission.  And while that price is likely negotiable starting at 80% of list price may not be the best strategy.  

Make it a Lets Talk Offer!
Serious Buyers, Motivated Sellers!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Selling Your Brevard County, Florida Home - (And a Suggestion For Homeowner Associations)

Everyone has an opinion on the home owner association.  Is it good?  Is it bad?  Where did home owner associations come from anyway?

As a real estate agent working with buyers who are most often looking to purchase a Brevard County, Florida home in a community with a mandatory home owner association I have one suggestion.

Home owner associations should monitor all homes for sale in their community.   If there is a current violation like neglected lawns/landscaping, paint color issues, mold/algae issues (common in Florida) or whatever address it as soon as the for sale sign goes up.

This is step will serve a couple of purposes.
  1. First, it will help the seller get the home sold faster by improving an obvious appearance issue.   
  2. Secondly, the new home owner will not be alienated by receiving a notice of violation as soon as they move in their new home. 
Sellers should also consider their compliance with association rules and restrictions when preparing their home for sale.  And sellers should make sure they accurately disclose how much the association dues currently are and if an increase is in the future.

Buying and selling a home can be quite stressful.  Dealing with home owner association issues up front is an easy hurdle to clear before the for sale sign goes up.

If you are considering selling your Viera, Florida home, pelase give me a call at 321-693-3850 if I can help.

Send me an email for your free market analysis.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Home Buying Process - Getting to the Closing (after the contract is signed!)

Whether buyer or seller a meeting of the minds (signed contract) is only the beginning of the end.   There will be many players (and emotions) involved in the process from contract signatures to the exchanging of keys.  At times there will be drama, excitement, fears, name it! 

The process I speak of here is specific to the Brevard County, Florida real estate purchase/sale process but similarities exist regardless of location.

Who are some of the actors?

Besides the obvious actors like the buyer, seller, buyer's real estate agent and seller's real estate agent probably the most important actor is the mortgage lender.

It is critical buyers have an open communication link with their mortgage lender.  Once a mortgage pre-approval has been received it is critical that nothing be done to impact it (no job change, no new major purchases, no new credit account or application, etc.).

Then there are the property inspectors.  The home inspector and termite inspectors are key to identifying red flags that either need to be addressed or send the message to walk away.  Some issues may require further examination by the expert (i.e. HVAC, contractor, etc.).   And if there is a pool or spa there may be an additional inspector involved as well.

With my buyers in Brevard County, Florida I always include an inspection contingency - a buyer's "get out of jail free card"  in all offers to purchase a home including cash offers.

Then there is the appraiser.  Although not part of the mortgage lender mentioned above it is this independent appraisal of value that ultimately determines whether a mortgage lender will indeed provide a mortgage loan.   This where I prefer buyers use a local lender who uses a local appraisal company  although a buyer has no impact on which appraiser is used.  I just spoke with an agent who had a buyer fail to obtain a mortgage because the appraiser was in Tampa - almost 150 miles away!

Finally, there is the closing agent.  In Brevard County, Florida the closing agent is typically a title company although attorneys provide closing services as well.

There can be other incidental actors involved as well depending on whether the sale is a distressed sale (short sale or foreclosure) or even an estate sale.

Whether buyer or seller keep your lines of communication open with your real estate agent as well as your mortgage lender.  Ask questions as they arise and be responsive to any and all requests for additional information.

Remember, with real estate transactions time is of the essence.  Do not miss deadlines!

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

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at