Spoiled Living Here on Florida’s Space Coast

Spoiled Living Here on Florida's Space CoastThis morning I had breakfast with a friend and we were talking about the importance of having balance in our lives. That’s something I’m not very good at. When I’m not working, we are working on one of our rental houses or we have a project going on at home. That’s just something we’ve always done.  My friend reminded me that when we work hard, it’s important to have some down time, too.  So, I was thinking of the options of things we have available to do in our area.

Brevard County Florida is home to the St. Johns River, the Indian River Lagoon and Banana Rivers and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.  We are an hour away from Orlando, with all it’s theme parks: Walt Disney World Park & Resorts, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Epcot Center, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Sea World, Wet n’ Wild and Orlando’s famous International Drive. I have to say that Epcot is my favorite on that list.

We can stand in our driveway and experience the breathtaking Cape Canaveral rocket launches. There is nothing like the feeling of the ground rumbling as we watch the rocket lift off.

Cruise ships set sail right here out of Cape Canaveral. Taking a cruise is one of my favorite vacations. We go every summer.  If I could go to Cozumel every trip, I  would.  But, then my family would disown me. They’re tired of Cozumel.

The Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts is 5 minutes from home. We see incredible shows that come to us from around the world. We’ve seen Daryl Hall and John Oates, Peter Frampton, Dennis DeYoung of Styx, Riverdance and The Nutcracker. We’re going to see Whitesnake and Swing in August.

People come from all over just to visit  World Famous Ron Jon’s Surf Shop  here in Cocoa Beach. The Cocoa Beach Pier hosts World Famous Surfing Contests with champion surfers.

We’ve got other great attractions, like the War Bird Museum, Museum or Arts and Sciences and the Brevard MuseumJungle Adventures, Airboat Rides, the Ace of Hearts Ranch, Forever Florida and the Brevard Zoo. Or, play video games and ride race cars at Andretti Thrill Park.

If your prefer to be outside we’ve got swimming, fishing, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, boating, water skiing, shrimping, deep sea diving, golfing, bicycling, tennis, racquetball, camping, hiking, or just basking on the beautiful world famous beaches! Or, you can spend a day strolling downtown antiquing.

As I look through this list, I am reminded of why Florida’s Space Coast has been my home for the past 40 years.  And, I will probably be here for another 40!


Come On, Jump in for a Swim

Come on, Jump in for a Swim
Come on, Jump in for a Swim

The weather here has been a sweltering 90 degrees, with high humidity.  I can feel the sweat rolling down my back when I’m outside in the middle of the day. It’s hard to find a place to cool off.  It seems like the air conditioner never clicks off, trying to keep the inside temperature comfortable.

We’ve been swimming in the pool, at the end of these blistering days, to cool off. The water temperature is great! I remember when my girls were younger and they were in the pool all the time. They were like two little fish. During the Summer it seems like they lived in their bathing suits. Our backyard was filled with kids. Their skin would be shriveled like raisins from swimming so long. We’d practically have to drag them out, to get them to take a break to eat. Most nights we’d all swim after dinner and play family pool games. Those were the days.

We see quite a few homes with pools here in Florida. In higher price points, in some areas, homebuyers expect to find a screened pool in the backyard of a home for sale. If a house doesn’t have one, some buyers will move on to the next property. Depending on what area and what price range the house is in, determines how much value a screened pool will add to a property.

As the years have passed, our girls are grown, life is a bit more hectic. They’ve got full time jobs and they are both in school. It’s a bit of a challenge to coordinate family time together, but we try every chance we can. The pool is no longer full of teenagers, but when the sun starts setting, if we don’t have appointments with clients, we stop to relax for a dip and enjoy our quiet time.

Come on, Jump in for a Swim

Pay Your Mortgage Off Early and Save Money

Pay Your Mortgage off Early
Pay Your Mortgage off Early

Did you know that you can get your mortgage paid off early and save money? By making one additional principal payment each year on your 30 year fixed rate mortgage, you can cut approximately 8 years off of your loan and save tens of thousands of dollars.

Have you heard about bi weekly mortgage payments?  These are when your mortgage payment amount is divided in half and you make the payment every 2 weeks, in effect adding one additional payment to your loan by the end of the year. Be careful though, often there is a set up fee and the lending institution charges a monthly fee to process the payment. You can create the same effect by making one additional mortgage payment each year. (This figure may vary depending on the type of your loan.)

Are you thinking that you just don’t have the extra money to mail in an additional principal payment each year? Well, try this… divide the principal amount of your monthly mortgage payment by 12.  Every month mail the additional 1/12 payment amount in with your monthly payment. If your monthly principal mortgage payment is $1200, $1200 divided by 12 = $100. Each month mail in $1200 + $100 to the mortgage company.  At the end of the year, you will have made an additional principal payment made.

It is important that you specify that the extra funds be used as a principal reduction. Check your online statement regularly to be sure this is being done. My current mortgage company has difficulty in applying my payment properly.

Before starting a plan like this, be certain that your loan has no prepayment penalties.  

A true analysis of your savings can be done by using a mortgage calculator and running an amortization schedule to determine which program will provide the greatest benefit to you.  Check with your lender for additional information.

Flu Season is Here and It Seems to be Touching Everyone


flu season is hereI just read in the newspaper that flu season is coming late this year. Well, it’s here and my daughter’s got it.  For the past month we have talked to dozens and dozens of people that have been sick or have a family member that has been sick for weeks.

In my house the flu started last month with my 13 year old feeling tired and lazy. At first I thought it was just because she was rundown.  Then, the next day she didn’t want to get out of bed and said her head and throat were killing her. She didn’t have a fever and SHE insisted on trying to go to school, because she didn’t want to break her record of perfect attendance since kindergarten.  She called me in the middle of day to bring her home. I knew she wasn’t feeling well, because she never gets sick. In a week she was back to normal.

Last week, my 16 year old, Stephanie called me to pick her up from school.  She felt rundown and lousy, she said. When I went to check her out, the attendance lady told me that 80 kids were out that day! Now that’s 80 out of 900 students! That’s nearly 10% of the kids.  After a couple of days she seemed to be back to normal. 

Then yesterday, I picked Stephanie up from the bus stop. She looked terrible. She was fire engine red, burning up. I took her temperature – 102.8.  We filled her with fluids, she took a cool bath and we wrapped her in heavy blankets and brought the fever down to 99.0 this morning. She looked exhausted, so she spent today in bed. She had been feeling better. I went out on a appointment, came back, took her temperature and it’s spiked to 102.5.  So, we are back to fluids, a cold bath and heavy blankets.  We’ll keep a close eye on her until we can get that fever back down to normal and keep it there.

I haven’t been sick in years and will take every precaution to be certain that I don’t catch the flu going around this season.  There’s just no time to be sick!



This article is authored by

Sandy Shores, Melbourne FL Realtor

Brevard County Real Estate & Investing

Palm Bay Florida Real Estate News

What’s the First Thing you See in the Picture, The People or the Houses?


What's the first thing you see, the people or the houses?


My friend sent me this picture yesterday.  And, it immediately struck me.

What’s the first thing you see in the picture?

The people or the houses…and lots of them? 

At the peak of the real estate market in 2004-2005 houses were selling like hotcakes for over inflated prices. 

The numbers of new realtors in the business double and tripled in many areas. 

The number of mortgage companies multipled. 

The number of appraisers increased.

The number of people that became real estate investors, overnight, grew immensely. 

It became a market, where for many, it was all about the money.  No one group can be held responsible for the financial hardship our country has been facing.

So many just wanted “a piece of the pie”.

Were people’s best interests put first? 

Did people consider their own best interests?

Was it all about the houses back then and the money? 

Perhaps, some should have stopped, and looked, real hard, to see the people first, and not the houses!


This article is authored by

Sandy Shores, Brevard County Real Estate

Melbourne Florida Real Estate News

Hop Right In and Get your Feet Wet, the Market is Just Fine Here in Florida!


Melbourne Real Estate News

The Florida Association of Realtors is reporting that home sales in Florida increased in December 2008.  11,053 homes were sold, which was an increase of 27%, over December 2007 at 8,712 homes sold statewide.  December was the fourth month in a row that the number of homes sold increased.

In December 2007 median sales prices on existing homes was $213,600.  In December 2008 the figure dropped to $155,500, a 27% decrease. This is positive news for homes buyers in the market. In addition, mortgage interest rates have dropped from 2007 to 2008. Last month they were approximately 5.29%.  A year earlier they averaged approximately 6.10%. That variation in interest rate allows a buyer to purchase more home with their money, than last year.

A total of 124,215 homes sold in Florida in 2008 compared to 129,855 in 2007.  This reflected a 4% drop from 2007 to 2008.

Home sales activity has been increasing across Florida, Arizona, Nevada and California; in areas with the largest numbers of short sales and foreclosures. First time home buyers, investors and buyers shopping for second homes or vacation homes appear to be making up the bulk of Florida purchasers today.


This article is authored by

Sandy Shores, Brevard County Real Estate

Melbourne Florida Real Estate News

Some Have Less Faith in Themselves Than in Things they Can’t Control


faith in ourselvesWe’ve all met them… people that have little faith in their abilities, their talents. They feel as if they have no chance of taking charge of their lives.  And it struck me that

Some have less faith in themselves than in things they can’t control.

-we don’t stop and look over our vehicle, under the hood, and at all the tires, each and every time, before we get in it and get on the road.

-we have faith that the drivers on the road, complete strangers, around us are going to abide by the rules of the road, and keep us safe.

-we don’t stop to interview an airline pilot before we board a plane, to be sure he is qualified to fly that giant airliner.

-we don’t know the school bus driver of the bus that drives our children to school each day.

-we blindly jump on board a carnival ride, not knowing how quickly the “crew” threw it together the night before, when they pulled into town.

-we don’t stop and closely inspect a meal that we pick up at a fast food restaurant before we eat it.

It seems that so many have faith in things that can’t be controlled in their lives.

But, some have so little faith in the one thing they can control…

their own lives and their own destiny…THEMSELVES!

And faith in oneself begins with loving yourself!


This article is authored by

Sandy Shores, Brevard County Real Estate