The data taken from various Realtor association’s MLS’s might not be updated on their sites correctly or in a timely manner, which could account for most inaccuracies. I have been asked about “active” properties on Zillow and Trulia only to find they have been sold and closed for quite some time (even more than a year). The biggest problem? Folks see these archived selling prices, which are lower than current prices in many areas, and might become discouraged. Another problem is buyers who miss out on properties that get sold in a day or a week locally, but do not show up during that time on a national MLS because of downloading factors.
So, you have ridden out the market after the housing meltdown of 2008 and you now want to take advantage of the housing comeback. Housing prices have risen in the last couple of years but there is a lot more room to grow. In order to put yourself in a position to bargain, you will need one of two documents before you ever begin the search process.
If you are going to pay cash for a new home, get one of the following: either a statement indicating you have the funds on hand to pay cash, or a letter from the bank telling the seller’s agent the same thing. Lending institutions do generate these for buyers all day, every day.
If you are going to need a mortgage, call a reputable housing lender and get “pre-approved”. To do this a mortgage broker will ask you a series of questions about you financial health (all of this is objective and straightforward), salaries if still working, savings, obligations, etc. All of this will lead to a letter or worksheet telling you how much house you can really buy. In most cases, the number is much higher than you really intend to spend.
Anyway, one of these documents is submitted to the seller’s agent/broker with any offers to show you are serious about a purchase and puts you in a better bargaining position. If the seller’s side sees that you are “ready to roll”, you have a much better chance of getting a lower price. On high-end purchases, one of these documents is generally mandatory to view the home.
As always, please email me (email@example.com) or call my sell (321.298.1118) with any questions or needs. Happy Holidays to one and all. JB
Keywords: Florida, Brevard County Real Estate, Cocoa Beach Condo, Cape Canaveral real estate and condos, Port Canaveral, Cocoa, Rockledge, Satellite Beach, Palm Bay, Melbourne
The act is actually entitled The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation. This act applies to those homeowners who need to sell their home through a short sale (selling the home for less than is owed on the mortgage). Originally intended to last until 12/31/2013, it was extended for one more year.
When a home is sold for less than the amount owed on the mortgage, one of two detrimental things could occur. First, the mortgage company could simple send you an IRS form 1099 with the deficit listed as personal income. This means the former homeowner would be required to pay personal income taxes on the entire amount. This is the least of the two options. The other has the mortgage company simply filing suit to recoup the entire deficit. The Mortgage Relief Act gave, well, relief from both. Unless extended by Congress, the act will end on midnight December 31, 2013.
If you are thinking about selling your house “short”, it would be a good idea to consult an attorney to see if there is a way to take advantage of the act.
In most real estate situations, I would tell you to call me, but I am not an attorney and cannot dispense advice. Happy Holidays, all, and take care of your friends and neighbors. JB
After hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on Brevard’s beaches in 2012, removing much of the “buffer sand” and putting some structures in danger, the Army Corp of Engineers decided it was time to pump some offshore sand back onto those same beaches. The 36 million dollar project started November 1 in the South part of the county and will make it to the City of Cape Canaveral around December 15. The northernmost point will be Cherie Down Park in Cape Canaveral. The last mile or so (North of Cherie Down Park) will be renourished by Mother Nature as the geophysical makeup of the area does not require help from humans. The project should be completed by the last day of February, 2014.
There are a number of things to research before buying a condo unit. These include HOA fees (how much are they?), reserves, price, etc. I will take these one at a time.
1. RESERVES – I put this first because I believe it to be just as important as how much you will pay in monthly maintenance fees. Every condo should have substantial reserves, over and above the normal amount needed for monthly maintenance. Both natural and unnatural disasters and planned obsolescence of common areas (parking lots, doors, clubhouse amenities, etc.). Most large condos will have a reserve study performed by a trained consultant and will know how much money will be needed one, five, even twenty-five years in the future. Maintaining the reserves is simply adding a modest amount to the monthly HOA fee. Condos with little or no funds in reserve are usually not qualified for getting mortgages, making it harder to purchase a unit and driving prices down as a result. If price is your primary consideration, then this may be the route for you. In general, though, I recommend staying away from these condos. In the buying process, always ask for financials as well as condo docs and by-laws.
2. HOA FEES – Typically, after buying a condo unit, the only maintenance and insurance you will need to cover is the interior of said unit. Everything else from the building exterior, roof, windows, lawn mowing, landscaping, common area insurance, etc. is covered by the Home Owners Association. When you purchase a condo, it is a requirement to be a member of the HOA and your monthly assessment will be determined by taking the entire HOA budget and dividing it by the number of units in the Condo. Depending on the location, fees usually range from $100 to more than $1,000 for high-end luxury units on the ocean. The fee amount will also be impacted by the ability of the HOA board’s ability to shop for better pricing on services and whether or not reserves are being funded.
3. ASSESSMENTS – Assessments are usually a result of the previous HOA board’s inability or reluctance to plan ahead or a disaster of some type and not having adequate reserves or insurance. I have seen where condos are being forced to replace aged and unsafe balconies and each unit is assessed $5,000-15,000. Keep in mind that this is not common and the right research will keep you out of that type of situation. Again, I can help you figure out what is right. Do not allow this to deter you as condo living can be very convenient and cost effective.
Buying a condo unit, in some respects, is similar to buying a single family home. The layout (function), age, and upgrades of the interior all help determine the price of the home. However, in a condominium, the exterior walls and common areas are owned by the association, of which you will be required to be a member.
While property prices in places like Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, Titusville, and Suntree/Viera have gone up in the last few years, deals can still be found. Just like any product, the nicer it is, the more expensive. As a real estate Broker as well as investor, I can tell you that the deals can still be found but, typically, you will need to do some updating and/or repairs once you own the home. However, with the right upgrades the value of the home will rise more than the amount of money you spent. That is a successful investment! Call me anytime with questions or for advice on how to get started.
When searching for a new home, be aware that using websites like Trulia and Zillow will likely disappoint. These sites mine the local MLS sites, usually through an agreement of some type. However, these national sites typically use MLS data that is not real-time.
I have experienced several instances where buyers have called me to see properties found on Zillow and Trulia only to find that these same homes were sold and closed more than a year earlier.
A better idea? Use my website search tool as it is easier to use and the data is updated real-time. If you have questions, please email me or call my cell phone @321-298-1118. Be well and have a great day.