A Realtor’s Job is to Make The Homebuying Process Easier

There's Nothing Better Than Helping a Buyer Find the "Right" House

Pat (not her real name) contacted me at the beginning of the week.  She was fed up with her real estate agent.  She found me through an internet search of Melbourne Fl Real Estate.  During our first conversation I immediately sensed the frustration in her voice.  She and her husband were preapproved for a home up to $200,000 and are transferring to the Brevard County area.    They had been working with 2 different real estate agents (at 2 different times) and she said both situations turned out quite poorly. 

She said the first agent they worked with told them every house they entered was “beautiful”  and that “it was perfect for them”.  Pat got sick of hearing it.  The agent must have thought she was stupid.

The second agent did not listen to her.  He showed them houses that he wanted them to see, not houses they wanted to see.  He rushed them through properties as if he had somewhere else he needed to be.  He tried to push them into buying a house they didn’t want, one that didn’t suit their needs.  And, he told them which lender they “needed” to use, without giving them other options.  When they found the house they wanted, he said he didn’t have time to write an offer, he would get back to them later.  WHAT?

So, by the time Pat got to me, needless to say, she was cautious and very skeptical.

She and I talked and emailed throughout the week to set the plans in motion to find a house.

We headed out today, and had a lot of Brevard County Real Estate to cover. It was a full and productive day.  Pat and her husband found a home they feel will suit their wants, needs and their pocketbook.

It was a pleasure helping Pat and her husband in their search for the “right” house.  They drove several hours to get to Brevard County and we made sure to cover the areas and the houses they came to see.  I addressed their concerns and I believe I answered all their questions (for today, anyway). We talked about the many aspects of the real estate transaction:  the GFE, the Good Faith Estimate, FHA and bond money’s requirements for a house, different types of inspections  (including  termite, home, wind mitigation and 4 point inspection), the appraisal and comparable sales, surveys, the loan process, foreclosures, the short sale process, you name it.

The more well educated our buyers are, the more we know that we, as Real Estate professionals, are doing our jobs in helping make the home buying process just a little bit less stressful for them.  It also helps buyers to better choose the “right” house for them.

At the end of a very long day, with three incredibly well behaved children in tow, Pat thanked me for taking the day to “explain everything.” 

Days like today are such a pleasant reminder of why I feel so fortunate to be a Real Estate Professional. 

I love helping families  in finding the house  they will be able to fill with years of happy memories.

Now, I will help them through the maze of paperwork and the steps necessary to get them to closing.

Melbourne FL Real Estate

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I specialize in Brevard County Residential, Investment and Relocations.

We have a team of professionals to facilitate your Short Sale.

I also buy, sell, rent, own and manage Melbourne Investment Property.

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Every One is Different Than the Last

Lake Washington, Melbourne FL Sunset by Sandy Shores

I can never get over the indescribable beauty of a sunset.  Every one is different than the one before and will be different than the next one.  It’s as if the brush strokes were carefully painted on a blank canvas to form the perfect combination of colors.  

This picture was taken at the Lake Washington Park in Melbourne Florida.

Lake Washington is the 41st largest lake in Florida and the largest lake in Brevard County FL, 4362 acres.  It is one of the lakes that makes up the St. Johns River.

The John A Buckley water treatment plant sits near the mouth of Lake Washington.  The lake is Melbourne’s most important source of fresh water. In addition to providing fresh water to the city of Melbourne the plant also serves other surrounding cities. 

Boaters launch their small motor boats at the boat ramps and head out for a day of fishing.  Airboat enthusiasts love to hit the lake.  There is a playground and picnic areas nearby with public restrooms.

Melbourne FL Real Estate

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I specialize in Residential, Investment and Relocations.

We have a team of professionals to facilitate your Short Sale.

I also buy, sell, rent, own and manage Investment Property.

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Brevard County Property TRIM Notices Have Arrived

Brevard County Property Appraiser by Sandy Shores

The Brevard County Property Appraiser TRIM – Truth in Millage notices arrived in our mailboxes last week.  These proposals give  property owners the taxable value of their property.  They also provide an estimated value of taxes and proposed millage rates.

Often owners ask us how their taxes were determined. The property appraiser goes out to a property at least once every five years to determine a Brevard County property’s appraised value. There are various ways of determining the value of a parcel. And, the appraisers website has a number of appraising tools accessible to the public.

It’s important when you get your TRIM notice to double check to be sure that you are getting the property exemptions that you are entitled to.  Do some research and double check to be sure they are all accounted for.

Some owners are unhappy with fair market value noted on their proposed tax bill.   If you feel that the Brevard County Property appraiser has made an error in the market value of your property as of January 2010 contact the appraiser’s office. 

Contact numbers for the Brevard County Property Appraiser are as follows:

Melbourne    321-255-4440

Palm Bay        321-952-4574

Viera               321-690-6880

Titusville       321-264-6700

Other areas  321-633-2199 x 6703

If the appraisers office cannot resolve a situation over value of your property an owner has until September 17, 2010 to file a petition of value.

Melbourne FL Real Estate

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I specialize in Residential, Investment and Relocations.

We have a team of professionals to facilitate your Short Sale.

I also buy, sell, rent, own and manage Investment Property.

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Named Storms Can Halt a Real Estate Closing

Named Storms Can Halt A Real Estate Closing by Sandy Shores

It’s Hurricane season again, and it’s time for us to keep our eyes and ears open on what’s brewing in the Tropics.  It’s been quite busy out there lately.  Currently the National Hurricane Center is indicating that there are 2 storms in the Tropics,  Earl and Fiona.

Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30.  The peak of the season usually comes sometime in August and lasts through October. 

Tropical Storms can wreak havoc on real estate closings.  A named storm within a specific demographic of the state of Florida can bring the closing on your new home to a screeching halt.  Insurance companies will not write new policies on homes when a named storm is headed our direction.  

In 2004, when Brevard County FL was hit with Hurricane Frances and Jeanne, which came just a couple of weeks apart, real estate closings were delayed for weeks.  When Frances left, Jeanne was right behind and some companies would not issue new policies.

The majority of insurance policies are paid for on the day of a real estate closing.  If a homebuyer cannot get insurance, then the mortgage company refuses to do the loan on an uninsured piece of property.  This could prove to be an incredibly difficult situation for all parties involved.

During this time of year, often some insurance companies will allow a homebuyer to bind their policy ahead of time.  They just request that they be paid the full premium amount ahead of time and the company will issue a binder for the insurance for the date of the closing.  This way buyers are not held up on their closing during a busy Tropical Storm season.

Melbourne FL Real Estate

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I specialize in Residential, Investment and Relocations.

We have a team of professionals to facilitate your Short Sale.

I also buy, sell, rent, own and manage Investment Property.

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Do You Have Unwanted Guests Living in Your Home?

Do you have unwanted guests in your home?

We often say that, “In Florida, it’s not if you have termites, it’s when you get termites.” 

Termites cause billions of dollars worth of damage each year.

The soil here in Florida is conducive to termites. 

There are three types of termites, subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites.  Subs and drywood termites can cause the most damage and are typically found here in Florida.

The best way to find out of if your home has termites is to call a certified, licensed pest control company.  They will be able to tell you for sure if you have them.

Look for these things,

Termite tubes – These thin mud tubes can often be found coming up from the ground at the base of your home.  The termites tunnel their way through the tubes and congregate in a moist, damp environment somewhere in or around your home. Subs need moisture and can be found anywhere there is a source of moisture.  We see them along the base of homes, in windowsills and frames, in shower stalls behind tile, and under kitchen and bathroom sinks.

Swarmers – these are typically the drywood termites. In the springtime often you’ll find small winged termite bodies laying on the floor or around windowsills.  They are looking for a place to build a colony.

Wood-Some old rotted wood, laying around your home, may be full of termites.  You can see the hollowing out of the wood. 

Dirt around baseboards or windowsills – often you can find termite “dirt”.  They usually carry bits of dirt with them.   

Check your mulch – Mulch is conducive to termites. Pull your mulch back away from your home.

For more information on termites check here.

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Sandy Shores REALTOR®, Melbourne/Palm Bay FL Real Estate

Brevard County Real Estate and Investing

I specialize in Residential, Investment & Relocations. 

We have a team of professionals to facilitate your Short Sale.

I buy, sell, rent, own and manage Investment Property.

Customer Service with A Smile, While They’re Trying to take People’s Hard Earned Money

Customer service with a smile, while they're trying to take  peoples hard earned cash

When I need an oil change or new tires on my van, I always send my husband. But, today I couldn’t. He was out on a job, I knew I was taking a day trip today. And, I had been so busy I kept forgetting to get two new back tires.

So, first thing it was off to the tire store. I’m a price shopper, and I took the van to the place with the most competitive prices, where we’ve previously bought tires.

I talked to the nice fellow at the front desk, had done my homework, and knew what the price should be.  I asked what the “out the door price” for two tires would be.  He gave me the price.  Great.  They would be finished in an hour. Great. And they would do a 21 point inspection for free. Great again.

I left my van, which I know my husband never does. He likes to watch to see what they’re doing.

I got a call in 45 minutes from the nice fellow at the front desk.  He told me they had found some problems with my van.

Here it comes, I thought.  This is the reason I don’t like to take my vehicle in to these places.

He told me that ‘while we’ve got your van up on the rack, your front tire is starting to show wear so we should go ahead and align your tires.’

And, since I was getting on the road today, I needed to get brakes, today. The computer was indicating they were in the caution/danger zone. 

Hmmmm.

“Where do I need brakes?”  ‘On the front.’ 

What does it need?” ‘It needs new brake pads and new rotors.’

My van is 3 years old and has less than 35,000 miles on it.   I’m no mechanic, but I did grow up around people rebuilding cars, motorcycles, vans, boats, you name it. So, I do know a little something about them. And, I know what bad brakes feel like and I hadn’t heard the brakes chirping or squeaking.  When I was much younger, I remember driving cars where we almost had to slam our foot through the floor board, like Fred Flinstone to get the car to stop.

“How much?” I asked.  ‘New brakes are $169. New rotors are $79 each.’ 

“What about labor?” I didn’t let him answer. “I have to make a call and I’ll call you back.”

I called my friend of 35 years with an automotive repair shop.  He does all of my automotive work for me (except tires and oil changes).   He told me what I suspected, it would be highly unlikely that I would need new rotors at this point. If there was a problem it was likely that the rotors could be re machined at $16 each. He told me to bring the van in and he would take a look at it.

I called the tire place back, and asked the nice fellow, “did you say that I need new rotors?”  He didn’t hesitate, ‘Oh, my mistake, I misunderstood the guy in the garage.  I couldn’t read his writing. You don’t need rotors.’

 Unbelievable!

“Just put the tires on my van,  I’m on my way to pick it up.”

I went in, paid the quoted price for my tires and left. 

I wasn’t going to waste my breath trying to argue with a place that does business like that.

I wondered, how many people don’t question these guys when they bring their car in for a set of tires and they walk out with things they don’t need?

It makes me nauseous.

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Sandy Shores REALTOR®, Melbourne/Palm Bay FL Real Estate

Brevard County Real Estate and Investing

I specialize in Residential, Investment & Relocations. 

We have a team of professionals to facilitate your Short Sale.

I buy, sell, rent, own and manage Investment Property.

Thinking About an Investment Property? Work the Numbers First

thinking about buying an investment property

Today many buyers are looking for “that perfect deal”.  We’ve seen deals in various price ranges. 

Investors have gotten back in the market. Some are looking for houses to use as rentals, while others are flipping properties for profit.

Many investors are looking to buy properties that need work, so they can build sweat equity.  Some will buy a house that needs a new roof, or a new A/C, one that needs flooring or a new kitchen, perhaps a coat of paint or new bathrooms. Each investor may be looking for something a bit different. However, they are all looking for a great deal.  

Investors are in the business to make money, today or sometime in the future. They know they make their money when they buy. Some are pros that can rehab a house in under a month.  If they can get in and out and do the work affordably enough they are able to build some serious sweat equity.

On the other hand, there are novices looking for their first property.

In buying a property for investment, it’s important to buy one with the right things wrong with it.  Investors that aren’t very handy, that have to hire everything out, should talk to a professional that knows the ins and outs of the business, first.  They have to be careful they don’t buy a house that burns a hole in their pocketbook. It will be the first and the last house they ever buy.

In buying an investment property there are many considerations:

Will you be doing the work yourself?

How long will it take to complete the job?

How much will it cost in materials?

Will you be paying yourself to do the work? Or could you be working somewhere else and making more money?

Consider what your closing costs will be to purchase the house.

How much will holding costs be?  If it takes 9 months to do the job, how much does that amount to in mortgage payments?  What about monthly water bills, electric bills, gas bills?  And, homeowners association fees?

If the house is going to be resold, how much will the closing costs be to sell?  How long will the property be on the market before it sells? Add that and the monthly utility bills to the holding costs.

Consider this, if it takes 9 months to do the work and the plan is to use the property as a rental, why not just buy a house with a tenant already in place?  You’ll be collecting rent from day one. And, the tenant will be paying the mortgage. Be sure the house being considered has positive cash flow.  If the tenant is in place, you won’t be putting money in immediately for fix up, either.

Or how about this...why not pay $10,000 to $15,000 more for a house, provided the numbers work, and buy a nicer property, one that doesn’t need a major overhaul, but perhaps just some elbow grease and a coat of paint?  Get the work finished in a couple of weeks, and get a tenant in it right away. Check the numbers first. For some people it pays to save the headache of trying to do the work themselves. They’ll save in fix up expenses and many extra months of holding costs.

When I got into investing 14 years ago, my broker told me when considering a property to figure the numbers on paper first.  If the numbers don’t work, don’t bother looking at the property. 

We hear about sweat equity and it adding to the value of a property. But, in some situations, for new investors or those that aren’t so handy, it may make more sense to think smarter, instead of working harder.

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Sandy Shores REALTOR®, Melbourne/Palm Bay FL Real Estate

Brevard County Real Estate and Investing

I specialize in Residential, Investment & Relocations. 

We have a team of professionals to facilitate your Short Sale.

I buy, sell, rent, own and manage Investment Property.