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

Friday, November 21, 2014

Home Seller Tips: List your Viera, Florida home for 30 days - period.

Home owners thinking about selling their Viera, Florida house or condo are very often nervous about committing to a Viera real estate agent for a potentially long time.  I can understand their concern when it comes to a long listing agreement to sell their home.

What happens if there is no activity What do they do if they are unhappy with the real estate agent they chose?   After all, sitting and waiting is not a marketing strategy!

I do not believe in long term listing agreements.  If I do my job correctly, there is no long commitment required.

What is my job?  To promote your home in such a manner as to get multiple offers with the last one being the best!

Selling your home disrupts your lifestyle.  Selling your home involves a lot of uncertainty about the future.

Sellers usually want to sell their home now and not six months down the road.

That is why I tell Brevard County, Florida home sellers to judge me by my 30-10-1 rule.

What is my 30-10-1 rule?   List your home wit me and you will have at least 10 showings in 30 days with at least one reasonable offer.  In other words, give me thirty days and and they can walk if they are not happy with my results.

What do I ask of my Viera, Florida home sellers?

Commitment to the process.  This includes adequate preparation for the market.  This includes accommodation of reasonable showing requests.  This includes maintaining their home in a ready to show condition that will impress prospective buyers.  This includes establishing a reasonable listing price that is supported by comparable properties.

Ready to sell your Viera, Florida home?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email

Monday, November 3, 2014

Where does the best advice available for home buyers come from?

If you are considering buying a home in the near future there will not be a shortage of advice.

Advice will likely come from all directions. 

The know-it-all at work will likely be among the first to offer advice as he knows it all.   And then get ready for the family experts.   Uncle Joe who knows everything will tell you the secrets of getting the best deal in town ("Go FSBO" may even be uttered).  And then lets not forget the Internet.  There is never a shortage of information on the Internet.

Buying a home requires specialized knowledge.  Buying a home requires specialized local knowledge.

Evaluating advice (solicited or not) can be a challenge.

If you are considering buying a Brevard County, Florida home here is some more unsolicited advice. But, in this case, I am a real estate agent with specialized local knowledge.  [By the way, this is the answer to the question posed in the title.]

A few points of unsolicited home buying advice from experience...
  • Deal with the finances first - period.  
  • Perception is reality.  You need someone to clarify your perception.
  • Don't spend as much as you "can" on your home.  Regardless of the direction often real estate market buying high is not good strategy.
  • Decide what your real requirements are and go from there. Then the pluses that separate these homes will lead you to the right decision for you. 
  • Don't acquiesce to the "must have" items you will regret not having later. 
  • Don't trust all you read.  The seller or their agent may be mistaken or, hopefully not, intentionally misleading.  This also applies to "public" records and MLS listing information. 
  • Don't rely solely on what you "hear" someone say.
  • Once a mortgage is pre-approved, freeze life as you know it. Don't make major purchases, open new accounts, change jobs.
  • The only thing that can not be changed later is location.  Choose wisely.
  • Homeowner associations exist to maintain uniformity and conformity.  
  • Work with one real estate agent only.  Remember buyers don't pay the real estate agent fees - sellers do!
  • Take your real estate agent with you to new construction models as well.
The above general comments are not all-inclusive but are provided only as a starting point to focus the reader.

If buying a home in Florida is in your plans, give me a call at 321-693-3850 if I can assist in any way.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Monday, October 27, 2014

Advice for Melbourne, Florida Home Sellers

If you are considering selling your Melbourne, Florida home there will not be a shortage of advice.

Selling your home requires specialized knowledge.  Evaluating advice (solicited or not) can be a challenge.

Advice may come from all directions. 

The know-it-all at work will likely be among the first to offer advice as he knows it all!  "Uncle Fred" who knows everything will tell you the secrets.  Your neighbor (you know the guy who has not spoken to you twice in the past year) will tell you how much you should get for it.

Multiple real estate agents will  provide their take on the market, the price and how quickly they can get the job done (read this "hire me!").

I don't know you.  If you are considering selling your Melbourne, Florida home here is some more unsolicited advice.
  • Disclose issues (current or past) up front.  Don't try to hide anything .
  • Don't expect to get what you paid plus a return on your investment. 
  • In the end the market will set the price for your home.  A ready willing buyer under no duress determines the ultimate selling price.
  • Don't price high now and reduce later.  This not a great starter strategy.  Buyers will wonder why your home has been for sale for so long!
  • Regardless of the direction of the real estate market buying high is not good strategy for buyers.  Reason enough for not listing high.
  • Decide what your real requirements (net proceeds) are and go from there.  The market data may or may not support this number.
  • Concentrate of the positives that separate your home from the others.  If it is "just like the rest," make it stand out by preparation, presentation and pricing.
  • Accommodate as many showing requests as possible.  Not all prospective buyers have flexibility in their schedule if they are relocating from another area.
  • Don't acquiesce to the real estate agent who gives you the highest recommended listing price. 
  • Don't rely solely on what you "hear" in the feedback, if received.  After all, perception is reality.  

Gary L Waters © 
Florida Licensed Real Estate Broker
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
3270 Suntree Blvd #2218
Melbourne, FL 32940

Friday, October 24, 2014

Home Seller Tips: What are your utility costs?

Does a buyer care to know what your utility expenses are?

Although most buyers don't ask for them I believe a seller can separate themselves from the competition if they provide their electric bill information.  Perhaps an entire twelve months is not necessary but the summer months (July, August, September especially) could help a buyer gauge how "bad" it will be when the air conditioner is operating the most.

Of course "bad" can be "good" if your home features energy efficient appliances including  newer high SEER AC system.  Although not as common, natural gas heating, cooking and hot water is a big seller for many because of its lower costs (plus you don't lose it if the power goes out).

Other energy savings like new or extra insulation, hybrid hot water heater, tank-less hot water heater or solar energy features.

On the other side is the challenge selling an older less energy efficient home presents.

Utility costs will not likely be the major decision maker when selling your home but if it is something that gives you a leg up on the competition - use it!

For information on buying a home in Brevard County, Florida, give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

If new construction is a consideration I suggest you take a look at  Lifestyle Homes SunSmart systems.   Better yet, give me a call for information about these solar powered homes. You still want your own real estate agent when considering new construction. 

Image courtesy of phasinphoto at

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Important Questions to Ask Every Real Estate Agent You Interview to Sell Your Home

There are hundreds of articles on the Internet about choosing a real estate agent.  many of these include the questions to ask every real estate agent you interview to sell your home.

This is not one of those lists of questions but rather the general topics to be include when interviewing a real estate agent to sell your home.

In my opinion the most important questions deal with three main topics.
  1. Local knowledge.  Have you ever sold any homes in my neighborhood?  If so, when?   I have written this many times – local knowledge is critical.  How many homes are for sale in your neighborhood?  What type of sales are they (standard, short sale, foreclosure)?   What is my main competition?  Neighborhood knowledge is key - knowing your neighborhood and where your likely buyer will come from is key to market success.
  2. Experience. How long have you been in the real estate business?   Having gone through a real estate market shakedown during the 2005-2008 period I think real estate agents who were in the business before and remained in the business have demonstrated some strengths like tenacity, creativity, stick to it ability, managing budgets, achieving results.
  3. Success.   It is not necessarily how many listings one has today or has had in the past.  It is about the percent of listings that sell.  It is about the percent of original list price they get for their sellers.  It is about the number of days on the market (after all there are carrying costs while selling).  
Here is a list of questions to ask when interviewing a real estate agent to sell your home.

What is the best way to sell my house?

Signs your house is not priced right.

The Three Ps of Selling Your Home

Considering selling your Viera, Florida home?    Call me at 321-693-3850 if I can help.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Buying or Selling a Home in Melbourne, Florida: Who am I to tell you to sell your home?

Who am I to tell you that it is the best time to buy or sell your home? 

As a real estate agent I make money when my clients buy or sell a home.   But I am not here to tell anyone it is time to do either.

I read an article this morning urging buyers to get off the fence.  It pointed out that in many markets (340 of 1000) homes are less affordable now than they were a decade ago

While it may be true that homes are becoming less affordable the decision to buy should not made in fear of not being able to afford a house some time in the future.

Back to my initial question. 

There are multiple things to evaluate when it comes to buying a home.  Some of these include the interest rates, job stability or likely change, ability to obtain financing, long term goals, potential life changes and many more.

Similarly there are also multiple considerations to consider when it comes to selling include your mortgage balance, ability to obtain financing, options for replacement housing, etc.

My point is simply this...

If the possibility exists for you to buy or sell your Melbourne, Florida home, give me a call. I can provide a free market analysis.  I can provide you with listings meeting your desires.  I can provide local contacts in the mortgage and insurance areas to answer your questions.

And, if you decide to buy or sell a home in Brevard county, Florida, I can work with you.  Give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: The whole truth and nothing but the truth...

The home buying process is filled with questioners... mortgage loan officer,  Realtor®, seller, insurance agent, etc.  And it is critical answers provided by completely honest.

This starts with the first step in the home buying process - the mortgage pre approval.

When applying for a mortgage loan it is imperative all the answers provided be on the level.  Why can't I just ballpark some answers?   Because every piece of information on that application is subject to verification and most of the critical stuff (like income, employment, debts and payments) will be verified and re-verified before final approval at the closing table!

When buying a home I suggest non-cash buyers (most) do two things -
  1. provide accurate answers and documentation,
  2. temporarily freeze their lives until closing (no loans, no job change, no new debts or major expenditures).
When you are ready to buy a Melbourne, Florida home please give me a call at 321-693-3850 if I can help in any way.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Monday, July 14, 2014

Florida Homes For Sale: Signs that your home is not priced right...

This post was originally published on August 14,2008.  Although the Brevard County, Florida real estate market is better now than it was six years ago the message is still the same.

Selling you home is all about price.   Price for condition, location, competition and motivation

Signs that your home is not priced right...

To sell your home, it must be seen by potential buyers.  If your home is presentation ready, curb appeal looking fantastic and still no one is coming maybe it is priced incorrectly.

The first sign a home is not priced right is no showings during what I call the "golden period."

The "golden period" is a term I coined to describe the first two weeks a property is listed.

Most real estate agents and motivated buyers watch for new listings.  They want to buy but they are particular.   It is during its first two weeks a listing will garner the most activity. 

If it did not, look at the price.

Another measure I use to gauge whether a home is priced correctly is my 30-10-1 rule.

If a home is listed for 30 days and has less than 10 showings and not one realistic offer, then the price is most likely an issue.   While this is a buyer's market a home that is priced right will garner the appropriate attention early on in the process.
If you are considering selling your Rockledge, Viera or Suntree home, please give me a call to discuss how I can market your property.

Want a free market analysis on your Melbourne or Viera, Florida home?  Send me an email or give me a call at 321-693-3850.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Home Buying Process...More than just opening a few doors.

I recently read an article that talked about how consumers "these days" only need a real estate agent to open the doors so they can look in the house.  It seems many seem to think the information is all on the Internet so they can go from there.

The reality is that information can be good or it can be bad.  The key is separating the wheat from the chaff.  In real estate that key is your Realtor®.

The home buying process is an education.  Ask anyone who has ever purchased or sold a home and they will attest to the educational process!  In real life very few can start school ready to graduate - even if they have all the books in their bookshelf!

So where does a buyer start?  Regardless of experience home buyers should start at the same place - get an experienced local real estate agent.  A major responsibility of your real estate agent is educational including the process, area, prices, trends, etc.

Your real estate agent will likely start with an assessment of experience and goals.   This will mean a lot of questions!

With these answers your agent will begin your education.  It may end with a new home purchase now or a plan to purchase at a later date.  Sometimes getting the mortgage lined up takes time.  Sometimes it is a matter of saving cash for closing expenses.  Sometimes the time is just not right to make the purchase.

Having an individualized plan based on real, verifiable information is critical to the home buying process.

Ready to buy or sell a home in Melbourne, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an email.  It doesn't cost a thing to discuss your goals and how I can assist you in meeting them.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

"I find them on Zillow but then they are already sold."

I find them on Zillow but then they are already sold.
What is there about this web site that the data is so old?
What is a home buyer to do?
You know I can not live in a zoo?
I had a call yesterday afternoon from a prospective buyer who had reached his limit.  He has been searching on Zillow for homes for sale in Rockledge, Florida.  And it seems every one he finds he likes is "already sold when he checks on the Brevard MLS system web site."

Zillow and other mega sites are not the local multiple listing service.  They operate on a quantity over quality basis.  The local Brevard MLS system, like others, has mechanisms in place to monitor quality and accuracy (fines possible for agents).

So the question is....why deal with an inaccurate site and the frustrations of not knowing if a house is really for sale when you can call a local Realtor®?
I found it on the MLS when it was new.
This is what a home buyer should do.
The local MLS I can count on you.
No need to find out later its sold and be blue.
Looking for a house for sale in Rockledge, Florida?  Call me at 321-693-3850 or send me an emailWhy not?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Home Buyer Tips: Negotiation Strategies - Somewhere, Something, Sometimes

How do you know if the seller will negotiate?   You don't but if the list price is somewhere within the realm of reality, then there is probably a willingness to give a little somewhere.

I can't recall ever selling a house where a seller was not negotiable on something.

Sometimes the price is close enough to the buyer's opinion of value that buyers will look for other things to negotiate.  It may be the terms of the deal like closing dates, seller assistance with closing costs or perhaps a repair issue even on an "as is" offer.

Here are two important points about negotiation.

  1. It doesn't hurt to ask.   The first rule of rule estate offers is put it in writing.  This eliminates confusion as well as indicates sincerity.  A word of caution a multiple offer situation it is often the cleanest offer (fewer contingencies) sellers opt to accept.  
  2. It is not personal.   Sometimes the parties, including some real estate agents, let things get personal.  When things become personal, sometimes there is only one resolution - walk away.  Motivated sellers and buyers want a deal!

Negotiation is not a contest in which either side "must win!"  

Ready to buy or sell a house or condo in Melbourne, Florida?  Give me a call of send me an email if I can help!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Differentiation is key.

Just this past week I showed several homes in the same Viera, Florida neighborhood which is not so unusual here with homes for sale in Viera, Florida where many of the developments were built by the same builder(s).

Some developments in the planned unit development of Viera area have perhaps four or five floor plans with the only change being the front elevation.  So once inside many look alike!

So when it comes time to sell your home it is critical to differentiate your home from all the other contenders for the buyer's money.

If your home is better than the others say so.

As a Viera and Melbourne, Florida real estate agent one of the questions I ask when being interviewed is "What quality do you like most about your home?"

When I am hired to sell your Viera, Florida home I am going to use the answer to the above question as the beginning point when I prepare my marketing plan.

Want to sell your Viera, Florida home?   Give me a call at 321-693-3850 or send me an emailLets set that interview date!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Moving to Brevard County, Florida or just "thinking about it?"

Very often when I receive calls from out of area people about homes for sale in Brevard County, Florida I almost always ask about their familiarity with the Brevard County area.  I need a base point to offer the most useful information.

A key piece of information I must be provided is their commitment to moving to Brevard County, Florida.

While I am very happy to provide information about Brevard County, Florida, I must know that one has already made the decision to move to Brevard County, Florida before looking at homes.
Gary L Waters, Florida Lic Real Estate Broker (cell) 321-693-3850
If you are considering moving to Brevard County, Florida (also known as the Space Coast), please call on me if you have any questions about the area.

If you are ready to move to Brevard County, Florida, let me know how I may assist you.  I have posted over 3,000 articles about Brevard County, Florida real estate on my blogs.  Take a look at these...

Florida Homes For sale - Waters Realty of Brevard
Moving to Brevard County, Florida
Observations of a Viera, Florida Real Estate Agent
Florida Homes and Condos For Sale


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Home Seller Tips: Presentation is key

Selling is all about pricing, preparation and presentation.  It doesn't matter if you are selling yourself (for instance a Brevard County, Florida Realtor®), a used car or even a house.

Since I am a Brevard County, Florida Realtor® I will go with selling your Brevard County, Florida.

There are numerous how to articles on the Internet about pricing your home to sell.  Here are a few I have written.

What Does the Listing Price Say About the Seller?
What Do all These "Comps" Mean?
Can a Home Sell too Quickly?

As for preparing your home for the market, here are a few articles as well.

Placing Your Home on the Market without Preparation
Barriers to Selling Your Home
Pre-Listing Inspections - Good or Bad?

Finally, the last topic mentioned in the opening sentence - presentation.  Presentation involves not only how it looks but also the ability for it to be presented to the prospective buyer (read this as accessibility).

Stand Out- Be Noticed
Please give prospective buyers some privacy - in your home.
Accommodate reasonable showing requests

The above links cover just a few of the many articles in my blog about selling your Brevard County, Florida home.   Another related topic is what I call the Three Ps of Selling your Home.  The Three Ps - price, promotion (my job!), and presentation.

When you are ready to sell your Viera, Rockledge, or Melbourne, Florida home, give me a call. Let me work for you without a long term listing agreement ( a cancel anytime policy). 

Click on the Waters Realty of Brevard logo to email me.

Monday, April 28, 2014

How can you succeed in the real estate business?

As the real estate market improves I am sure the real estate schools in Florida will start filling up with new students.  The real estate business is not what many believe it to be - nice clothes, nice car, nice money.

It is not all drive a nice car, show a few houses, attend a closing and go to the bank although a successful real estate career does include the last two of these.key points for success in this business.

There is a lot more to being a successful real estate agent.

It is about understanding the process and being able to handle the  details.  It is all about being able to understand your customer's goals and feelings.  It is about having a customer who does not remember all the details (problems or issues) throughout the process.  It is about staying in touch.  You do not have former clients.  You need to foster a client for life relationship.  You must stay in touch to stay in the client's mind when the opportunity for a referral comes up.  You need to perform every day as if your reputation depends on the outcome (it does).  

Let me finish the second sentence from above here... The real estate business is not what many believe it to be - nice clothes, nice car, nice money - but it can be with the right effort.