Monthly Archives: May 2017

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norris real estate brevard county

​Hidden Costs for Homeownership

Category : Need to Know

​Hidden Costs for Homeownership

I have owned a few homes as well as leased a few.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both.  Once you have made up your mind that you are going to purchase your own home, there are some things to consider financially that some Real Estate Agents may not inform you of.

It’s not just as simple as looking at the sales price of a home, figuring in a interest rate spread over 15 or 30 years and voila, you know what this new home is going to cost you on a monthly basis.

No, there are some other things to consider that may cause you some financial stress and rob you of fully enjoying your new dream home.

On top of your new mortgage you just took out, here are a few important considerations when planning out your monthly budget.

Hidden Costs for Homeowners – Property Taxes

Property taxes is something every property and home owner has to contend and deal with on a yearly basis.  Your property taxes are typically based on the location of your property and the size of your property.  These tax monies go towards the cost of street lights, road repairs, public works, government employee wages and local public schools.  As your home increases or decreases in value, so do your property taxes fluctuate accordingly.

Some people choose to pay their property taxes up front in one payment, while others may choose to pay them monthly out of their escrow account set up at the closing of the purchase of the home.
Forgetting to include the cost of your property taxes on your home could thrown your budget into a whirlwind.

Hidden Costs for Homeowners – Home Owners Insurance

It goes without saying, or at least it should, that no one is going to get away with taking a mortgage out on a home purchase without having to show proof of and maintain home owners insurance.  This protects the home in the event of an unexpected and natural occurrence that could damage the home and affect the value should the damages be costly.

Hidden Costs for Homeowners – Supplemental Insurance

In addition to your homeowners insurance that protect you and your home against things such as plumbing mishaps, normal storm damage, roof leaks, etc., you may live in an area that is prone to natural disasters such as frequent flooding, earthquakes, tornados or hurricanes.  If this is the case, you are likely going to be required to purchase a supplemental homeowners insurance policy that will cover these natural disaster type of occurrences your regular homeowners insurance do not cover.

Hidden Costs for Homeowners – Mortgage Insurance

Different than homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance protects the lender in the event you default on your loan.  Depending on how much money you put down on the house, 20% or more, you may not be required to purchase mortgage insurance.  If you bring less than 20% of the loan/purchase amount to the closing however, chances are, your mortgage company is not going to allow the transaction to go through.  Mortgage insurance is typically 0.5% – 1% of the loan amount and is, in most cases, lumped in with your monthly mortgage payment.

Hidden Costs for Homeowners – HOA Fees

HOA fees are an expense not all homeowner or condo owners have to pay for.  If you purchase a property in a neighborhood that has an existing HOA, then this is an expense that must be considered when determining if you can afford the property you are considering.  The HOA fees cover a myriad of expenses such as local neighborhood park, pool or community center.  HOA costs can vary widely depending on your association.  Expect to spend anywhere from $10 to hundreds of dollars per month.

Hidden Costs for Homeowners – Home Maintenance

Now that you have purchased your dream home, you will now have to take care of it.  There are ongoing maintenance costs associated with the upkeep of a home that can not be ignored, lest you compromise the investment of your home.  Air conditioner, appliances, plumbing, lighting, flooring, painting, the roof and even sometimes new windows.  Industry practices suggest that a homeowner allocate at least 1% of your homes value to ongoing maintenance costs.  In reality however, 1% is only the starting point when considering landscaping projects, home decoration and upgrades.

Hidden Costs for Homeowners – Landscaping and Lawn Care

After you have settled into your new home, there are going to be things on the outside of your home that will need regular attention such as lawn care, landscaping and possible tree care. Depending on the are of the country you live in, this may be seasonally, or it could be a monthly, year round expense.

Buying your own home is likely one of, if not the single most, significant purchases in your life.  Before you even start the process of looking for a new home, consider all of the expenses associated with home ownership and go into the process with a balanced and realistic expectation of costs.


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5 Ways to research the property history of your home

5 Ways to Research the Property History of Your Home

Category : Need to Know

5 Ways to Research the Property History of Your Home

Researching the history of your property of property you are contemplating purchasing can add several benefits to the overall enjoyment of your purchase, investment and home.

Understanding your homes history can not only simply add the mystique and bring out the traditions of a home, it also can serve as a practical use in that you may learn important information that would be relevant and crucial to doing home repairs and possible add-ons.

1. Talk to the people who have known your property longer than you, your new neighbors

If some of your neighbors have lived in your area for a considerable amount of time, it is likely they will be more than willing to talk about what they know about your property. Memories can spark some relevant events and information in your new homes history. If you have access to the previous owners and their family members, that would be an excellent source as well.

2. Internet search, the library and local public records

Land records can yield information about previous and historical owners of your property as well as information about when it was built, original and previous owners. Much information can be found on the internet about your property simply from doing an address or neighborhood search. Go to your local library and search old periodicals or local historical periodicals and publications that may include events and information about your property. If you are in an established community, do not hesitate to talk to the librarian themselves as they may recall some information and where to locate same.

3. You Inspector may offer more information than you’d think

Talk to the man who has gone over your property with a fine tooth comb. This is the individual who can tell you what lies beneath the carpet, in the attic rafters and basement crooks and crannies. This individual may have inspected your home in years past on previous purchases. Whether you have original and valuable wood flooring under the carpet, hidden areas behind walls and tif there is or where the original foundation stone is located may add that extra special something to your home.

4. The Deed to your new home holds valuable information

If you want to know the legal description of your property and how it was recorded, the deed is the first place to check. Your home’s legal description, whether in a rural area or subdivision will tell you the official address, subdivision lot, section, township and range of your property.

You’ll want to go to your Register of Deeds at your local county courthouse for this information. Be prepared to use various ways to locate this information depending on the technological updated systems of your county courthouse. You may have to look up the information on physical documents, microfilm or a computer. Regardless, the courthouse staff should be able to assist you in finding exactly what you are looking for. It’s always easier to start with the most recent deed transactions and work your way backwards.

5. Thinking outside of the box

There are a few other ways to locate some historical information about your home. There is a Bureau of Land Managements General Land office that will reveal when and how the federal government first sold the land your home sits on and who that owner was that it was sold to. This would be a great historical piece of information for you home and area. Census data records as well as marriage and death records may reveal information about your home and property. A very good website to location a property and home’s historical information is www.porch.com. Here, you will find information such as past work permits and orders, statistics as well as who and what work has been done to your home.

Whatever method you choose and what ever your motivation is for checking on historical data and information about your home and property is, this is just a few methods you can begin to explore. Regardless of the information and method, have fun and happy hunting!

 


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norris real estate brevard county

Top 10 Ways to Declutter Your Home

Category : Comfort , Need to Know

Top 10 Ways to Declutter Your Home

I have heard the expression over and over agin, “Less is more.” I never realized how true and accurate that statement was until I experienced it for myself a few years ago. For most of us who have had or continue to have more “stuff” than we really need, it is a foreign concept. You have to see it and experience it to appreciate it.

I remember back when I was living in Carrolton, Texas, a suburb in the North Dallas area, I was getting ready to sell one of my homes and relocate to Merritt Island, Florida located on the Space Coast of East Central Florida. My realtors at the time, MaryJane and Prakash Mathew with Keller Williams Realty advised me, I had way too much “stuff” and needed to declutter my home by either give away, throw away or have an impressive garage sale.

Mind you, at the time, I was a single guy and like most other guys, I liked my toys and electronics. I realize now, that no one outside of an electronics store or engineering firm needs more than a couple of computer monitors, computers, a couple cases of canned air, multiple keyboards, etc… (you getting the picture?)

I had to declutter my home at the advice of my experienced Real Estate Agents, and so, I followed their advice. My home sold in two days.

I then had to pack up what was left in my home and move it all down to Florida. Well, I realized that I still had an abundance of stuff that I had not used in years and probably never intended on using again. Yet and still, it was my “stuff” and had a personal relevance, or so I thought, to my life.

I needed to declutter my home once more and got rid of more stuff, as painful as it was, but I fought through it and prevailed.

Now that I was back to my home town of Merritt Island, I was getting married to the most amazing women I had ever met and going to be moving in with her and her six children. Yes, I know, there is no typo there, I said six children. Tropical Storm Faye came knocking in August of 2008 and whether I wanted to or not, at least half of my belongings fell victim to the 36 inches of rain TS Faye dropped on the area in only three days. Instant declutter!

I have not looked back since and life has been much much sweeter!

So, outside of marrying an amazing woman with six children and living through a slow and steady tropical storm that will flood your home and destroy half of your belongings, may I offer you all my Top 10 Ways to Declutter Your Home and get you ready for a much better staged house to sell and offer on the market.

1. Stop Buying So Much Stuff!

You can be the most organized person in the world and the farthest thing from a hoarder, but if you continue to buy “stuff” while not conversely getting rid of older “stuff”, then you home is going to be a clutter mess. Before you make a purchase on something, try to think about 6 months into the future and if you are really going to get your money and usefulness out of the object.

2. Decluttering is Not a One Time Event

To simply declutter your home is not necessarily something that you have to start cold turkey! A one time event may be necessary to get you boosted in the right direction, but decluttering your home should be an ongoing thing. Otherwise, go back and read #1 above, you’ll continue to accumulate items and voila, before you know, you home is all cluttered up again!

3. Get rid of and declutter the small and easy “stuff” first.

Let’s face it, and I know because I have been there too, some things are just really hard to throw away. That racket-ball racquet you bought in college, or the Force FX lightsaber replica from ROTJ. (Return of the Jedi for all of my non-nerdy readers) Get rid of old magazines, books you have read or know you have no interest in reading, cry computer screens/monitors you know you will never plug in again. The point is, make a habit of throwing out small and easy things to let go of first and it will get easier and easier. over time, the things that you may think you could never part ways with today will become easier and easier over time.

4. Dispose of and Recycle Smart

selling your home

Before you throw away that first magazine, book, piece of electronics or bicycle, make a thought out plan of where to dump this stuff. Instead of just dropping into your garbage can for the Tuesday curb pick up, think of alternate uses for someone else who might be able to use the items. Who knows, you may even make some money off of decluttering. Recycle centers, Salvation Army, Ebay, Craigslist and local thrift stores are a good place to start.

5. Don’t Let False Obligation or Guilt Force You to Keep Stuff

Your home should be a place for your stuff. Remember, it is not meant to be a museum or storage facility for you children who moved out and live on their own 5 years ago. Also, don’t let other people dictate or influence you on what you should keep or get rid of that belongs to you.

6. Do Not Throw Away Stuff That Doesn’t Belong To You Without Permission

Going along with #5 above here, do not declutter items or possessions that do not belong to you without the owner’s permission even though the stuff is in your house. A good example of this is my stuffed animals and train set from when I was a kid. When I graduated from college and went home for a break before starting my first real job post graduation, I remember going into my parent attic and looking for a particular box that had some of my childhood object and memories only to find out my father had “donated” it to a local thrift store. To say the least, I was not happy with his decision to declutter his home with my stuff.

Allow the person who owns the clutter the respect and dignity to either collect their belongings or give you permission to thrown away or donate them accordingly.

7. Do Not Be Afraid!

It’s understandable that some things are just harder than others to get rid of. If you are anything like me, you think to yourself, “Hey, I might be able to use this ripped t-shirt one day to wax my boat I might buy one day”. I can stiff probably find a dozen items in my garage to justify keeping for a possible future obscure use. Understand the difference between something that is relevantly useful to you and something that has potential to be useful.

8. Gifts Do Not Have To Be “Stuff”

There are many instances and ways my wife and I gift others that will not become a clutter item or possibly even a “re-gift” item. You can communicate and encourage others to follow your lead when considering gifts for you and your home as well. Instead of something that is going to sit on a shelf, in a closet or under a stack of other items in your garage, some simple and quick ideas would be gift certificates to your local home improvement store, a bottle of nice wine or even a gift of time away with your spouse or favorite person. (which, coincidently may be by yourself)

9. Be Realistic About Your Home Needs

Despite what some people on the internet might lead or want you to believe, the government is not going to take over tomorrow and the economy is not going to tank in the next few months. Neither is that meteor going to come crashing down and cause the next ice age. There really isn’t a need to have enough linens in your closet to run a small hotel. Your pantry should hold enough food until your next trip to the grocery store. In the event you have a situation where you are going to have a lot of guests at once, you can always borrow the extra items you need to get through the weekend. In the meantime, declutter your home by decluttering your pantry and linen closets.

10. Stop Wasting Your Life on Clutter

Every single object you own has a time stamp on it. Whether it is something that takes time to maintain, clean, service, purchase it, the money it takes and coincidentally, the time it takes to earn the money for purchasing it, or simply move from one spot to another, it is a time stamp on your life. The more “stuff” you have, the more time you need to own it in one way or another. Declutter your home and you will declutter your life!

Less is more my friend. Embrace and more importantly, understand the concept to declutter your home and not only will your home be a better place to live and share with your guests, but your life will be better for it and free’er as well.


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norris real estate brevard county

Top 10 Myths About Realtors

Category : Fun , Need to Know

Think You Know All There Is To Being A Real Estate Agent?
Top 10 Myths About Realtors

It’s not all Open House Events, driving around in expensive cars and selling million dollar waterfront homes all the time. Being exposed to the Real Estate industry for a number of years now, I have heard just about all the questions and misinformed statements there are about the Real Estate profession.

How many of these Top 10 Real Estate Myths have you heard?

1. Real Estate Agents get paid to drive people around to look at houses all the time. It’s their job!

Not exactly true my friend. The only time a Real Estate Agent gets paid is when they actually close on a transaction. Sometimes, all of that driving around from house to house results in a zero commission for the Realtor if the client’s financing falls through or the deal falls apart all together.

2. Realtors just want your commission on the sale of the house and will do anything to make it happen.

Now, I can’t personally vouch for every Real Estate Professional out there, but I do know for certain, that my wife and I and anyone on our team, as well as hundreds of other Real Estate Agents I know personally, have the customer’s best interests both financially as well as personally at the forefront of their mind.

Besides the fact, that there is the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) that monitors and governs all real estate laws and practices, there is the foundational fact that most business done in real estate is based off referrals. Good news travels slower than bad, we all know that. So, a good experience for a new buyer or seller goes much farther for the benefit of the Realtor than a bad or neutral experience.

My wife and I are in the business to help people reach their goals for a new home.

3. Realtors are Rich, live in big waterfront homes and drive expensive cars.

Don Norris and Natalie Norris

If that were true, the world would have an over-abundance of the Real Estate Agents. While it is true, that an individual can make a good living as a Real Estate Professional, it is no different than any other job or profession. A person is going to reap the benefits of hard work, exceptional customer service, ethical practices and smart business sense.

Natalie Norris and Don Norris Realtors

4. Agents Get Paid the Entire Commission On A Sale

NO! I wish this were the case, but all Realtors must share their commission with their Broker and in most cases the other Realtor working the opposite side of the transaction. Some Realtors share up to 50% of their portion of the commission with their Broker.

5. You Will Get A Better Deal If You Buy Directly from the Listing Agent

Don’t believe this for a second. In most cases, the seller has a contract with the listing Real Estate Agent to sale the property for a fixed commission percentage. By having your own Real Estate Agent, you have someone looking out for your best interests in negotiations, market price, repairs and inspection as well as closing costs.

6. No Need To Talk To A Lender Until You Have Found the Perfect Home

While this may work for some buyers, in todays housing market, you run the risk of losing your dream home to someone who has already prequalified. For those who have already arranged their financing by getting pre-approved, they are in a better position to secure a contract. Your dream home may get multiple offers on the same day you make your offer. By not being pre-approved for financing, you stand a big chance on being looked over by someone who has their financing pre-approval letter in hand.

Another advantage of pre-approval, is that you will have a clear picture of a dollar amount you have been approved for financing and thus, not waste any time looking at houses you will not qualify for.

7. Real Estate Agents Have An Easy Job

So, you think Realtors just drive around all day looking at nice houses and sit around and collect commission checks without doing much? Again, if this were the case, the world would have an over abundance of Real Estate Agents. Real Estate is a very complicated and difficult profession.

Realtors are constantly marketing, dealing with the public both on the private sector as well as the professional. Organizing home repairs, inspections, pest control and various other professionals it takes to close on a house. Many times, the Real Estate Agent does a lot of work on a transaction for a buyer, and the sale never goes through. The Realtor does not get paid for their time unless the transaction for the home closes and is funded.

Don Norris and Natalie Norris Realtors

In order for a Real Estate Professional to be successful, it requires a full time effort. Real Estate is not a 9-5 job. It is a weekends, early mornings and working into the late hours of evenings profession.

Realtors are constantly working with various personalities of their clients and maintaining a high level of customer service. For most people, a real estate purchase is the biggest and most important financial transaction of their life, and the Real Estate Agent is responsible for making sure the best interests of the clients is at heart.

Real Estate is certainly not an easy job and not everyone is cut out for it. Realtors are special people who are able to deal with the emotional, rude and “time wasters” on a regular basis. Education for Realtors is a constant engagement to stay up to date and certified on new real estate laws and practices.

8. A Realtor Is Only Allowed to Show Their Own Listings or Those Listings of Their Sponsor Broker

Not at all! A Real Estate Agent who represents a buyer can show any home listed on the market. The sales commission for a Buyer’s Agent is no more or no less than any of their own listings or listings of the sponsoring Broker.

When a Realtor is representing a buyer and that buyer is interested in purchasing a home their agent also has listed, then that Real Estate Agent then transitions into what is called a Transaction Broker.

9. If Your Aren’t Getting the Offers You Want For Your Home, Your Realtor Isn’t Doing Their Job

Of course this is not the case! Prices of homes are driven by the overall market. Some houses in a neighborhood sale for more than others, but there are some many factor that go into that. Square footage, location, updated appliances and amenities, as well as desirability of the individual looking. The Real Estate Agent has no influence in those factors. You home is only going to sell to someone when the appraisal value of the home is at equal or less than the selling price. *(unless of course, a buyer wants to purchase the home for more than it is appraised for and is willing to bring cash to the closing to make up the difference)

10. Fast Expensive Cars and Million Dollar Water-Front Properties Shows How Good A Realtor Is

Not always! Some Real Estate Agents are very successful and drive nice, expensive cars no doubt. Those same Agents also list some very expensive, impressive large homes as well. That does not always relate to how good a Real Estate Agent is though.

The key to being an excellent and successful Realtor is not based on the car or listings they hold. It all comes down to customer service and customer satisfaction. People who trust and have confidence in their Realtor are those who are likely to refer that same Agent to their friends and family. Also, they are those who are most likely to use that agent for future transactions.

Find an agent that you can connect with, trust and know they are looking out for your best interests.

Brevard County Realty

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Our Guarantee for a Successful Open House

Category : Fun , Need to Know , Sales

Our Guarantee for a Successful Open House

Thinking of having an open house to get more prospective buyers to notice your property? Think you have it all figured out? Maybe, but just in case, read on.

It’s common knowledge that a house that smells like cookies is a sure fire way to attract interested buyers and set your house apart from the normal smelling house a few streets over having their own open house. Of course, people being able to locate and find your Open House is a given.

I’m here to tell you folks, the days of lighting a Yankee candle that smells like baked cookies and just waiting for the people to show up one after the other are over. It just doesn’t happen like that.

Top 10 ways to have a successful open house

There should be a considerable deal of planning and coordinating to your open house.

I realize that there are many real estate agents these days who don’t believe that open houses are an effective means to marketing and selling your home. I am not going to debate and engage that ideology for the simple fact that having an open house to market and sell your house is a proven and effective means to do just that. I have experienced this first hand on numerous occasions and I am telling you, it makes a big difference between your home and the numerous homes like yours that aren’t having an open house. Year after year, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows in their annual report, Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, that those who are looking to buy a home are finding theirs homes 10-15% of the time through open house events. While that 10-15% isn’t necessarily a staggering amount, it is a significant amount of buyers. Keep in mind, this is only one tool a good real estate professional will use to market and sell your home for you in as quick a time frame as possible.

Before you have an open house, be sure to discuss some of these ideas with your real estate agent.

Market the Open House Event

Yes, this is an event. This isn’t simply a day to unlock the doors to your house, have your real estate agent sit on the sofa with a book and wait for people to stroll by to see what it looks like on the inside.

People have to know about your open house event in order to get a substantial amount of traffic to walk through your front door. Everyone knows, real estate is based on numbers and marketing. If you get a piece of property in front of enough people, someone is going to be interested enough to pay a price you are happy with.

Other than the traditional method of putting out Open House signs in the area, balloons on the mailbox and front of the house there are a few other methods we use to make it more of an event to maximize your houses exposure.

Work with other agents

Talk with other listing agents who are helping owners sell their house in the neighborhood and make it a neighborhood event. It’s all about the traffic. If there are multiple houses in the neighborhood that will participate, make it even more fun and interesting by making a game of it with punch cards and door prizes.

Community Events

Coordinate your open house at the same time as a local community event. This could generate more foot traffic to your home. This works great during community or neighborhood garage sales, grand opening of businesses or local sporting events.

Old School Marketing

There is no shame in using some old school marketing techniques. Door hangers is still an effective method for getting people to hear and spread the word about your open house. People who love where they live, want other people to know about it. Especially people who want their friends to move to their neighborhood and live close by them.

Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is a potentially powerful tool. We have been experts in internet marketing for the past 25 years. If you have someone who knows their way around the internet and knows how to effectively market your property through the internet, there are no other methods more powerful.

Posting your property on Zillow, social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube are all free and effective methods for getting potentially thousands of eyes on your property and then those thousands of people could potentially “share” your listing with thousands of other people. You beginning to see the potential here?

Think Outside the Box!

Just because everyone has an open house on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, doesn’t mean you have to. In fact, I encourage you to switch it up a bit! Try having an open house in the evening hours, to showcase the sunsets, tiki lamps around the pool. Try having one on a Monday night during Monday Night Football and stage it as a tailgate party to get couples more involved. Thinking outside of the box is one way to separate you from the hundreds of other people all doing the same thing as one another.

Open House Themed Tailgating

Educate Your Sellers

Communication is the key to any relationship, whether it is a personal or a professional one. As a seller’s agent, we believe that setting the proper expectations up front creates the best experience for everyone involved. Be sure to explain clearly to your client that an open house is not a guaranty of a sell, especially on the day of the event. Make them aware of the possible dangers of inviting strangers into their home, by making sure any loose valuables are secured safely. Many times, during an open house event, a real estate agent may pick up a buyer for a different piece of property based on the needs and wants of that buyer. By setting realistic and clear expectations of an open house event, everyone should walk away feeling like winners.

Nosey Neighbors are the Best

Successful Open House for Real Estate

You’re sitting there at your open house, and the only foot traffic you are getting so far are all of the nosey neighbors coming by to look at the house and the updates they have been wondering about for months now. Some may see that as an annoyance and frustration, but you can use this to your advantage and turn it into a positive. All of those nosey neighbors can actually help you sell that house. When they go back home and run into their friends and talk on the phone, they will;l be talking about how great the “Johnson’s” old home looks that is now for sale. They will be telling their friends and possibly even family members how they could buy the home and live close enough to hang out during the day and walk the dogs in the evenings together.

You may even consider having a neighbors only preview and start the Open House an hour early by passing out a few flyers to the surrounding neighbors as an invitation only.

Keep the Valuables Safe and Away

Unfortunately, not everyone who comes to an open house is there to see the house for sale, but to actually “case” the house for a potential burglary mark. Educate your seller about the importance and need to tuck and secure any valuables away that could easily “walk off”. This of course would include, but not limited to jewelry, small family heirlooms, prescription drugs and of course, money.

Keep valuables safe during an Open House

Get Those Digits and Email!

Sign in sheets may be good in a pinch, but how many times has a Real Estate Professional looked over their sign in sheet to see that some very famous people and cartoon characters were there at the Open House. Sadly enough, some people just don’t want to share their information and of course some do it just to be silly.

Try being more creative with a door prize that will be giving away a day or two after the Open House or using an app to have the potential clients sign in and register with upon arrival.

Getting the visitors sign in information could turn them into a future client even if they do not feel a connection with the home you are currently showing.

Plan Ahead and Be Safe

Sitting at an Open House alone is not necessarily a bad thing nor is it unsafe. That being said, it may be a good idea to have someone join you for your Open House just to be there with you. Safety is always better in numbers. If you really want to be creative, bring along one of your favorite Lenders to join you in the event you so your potential customers can talk with and ask questions about their financing needs and situation.

This is your Open House and it could very well be the 2-3 hours you need to sale that house. Treat it as though it is going to happen and market it like it is the best house in the neighborhood.

Brevard County Realty

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Norris Real Estate Brevard County

Be Smart About Financing Your Mortgage

As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home.

Get pre-approved. Sub-primes may be history, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. By doing a thorough analysis of your actual spending power, you’ll be less likely to get in over your head.

Choose your mortgage carefully. Used to be the emphasis when it came to mortgages was on paying them off as soon as possible. Today, the debt the average person will accumulate due to credit cards, student loans, etc. means it’s better to opt for the 30-year mortgage instead of the 15-year. This way, you have a lower monthly payment, with the option of paying an additional principal when money is good. Additionally, when picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points (a portion of the interest that you pay at closing) in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you plan to stay in the house for a long time—and given the current real estate market, you should—taking the points will save you money.

Do your homework before bidding. Before you make an offer on a home, do some research on the sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood with sites like Zillow. Consider especially sales of similar homes in the last three months. For instance, if homes have recently sold for 5 percent less than the asking price, your opening bid should probably be about 8 to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.


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norris real estate brevard county

How To Negotiate Multiple Offers

Category : Need to Know , Sales

As a Realtor, working with both Buyers and Sellers in the rebounding Real Estate market can be challenging at times. Selling your home or buying a property can be one of the most important decisions and transactions in your life. As a licensed Real Estate Agent, I take my responsibilities very seriously by studying negotiation strategies that will put my Buyers or Sellers in the best possible situation to complete a transaction on a deal.

space coast real estate tips and strategies

I have outlined 12 Simple Tips for handling multiple offers at once.

1. Contingencies Should Be Your Last Option
Do not automatically go to or consider a contingency. Only consider a contingency offer for the sale or lease of your property unless it is absolutely necessary. A financing contingency may be a prudent idea when you have another piece of property to sell.

2. Go In Strong!
When you find a home or piece of property that you really want, you have to be assertive and go in strong sometimes. If a property is receiving multiple offers, go in strong with your best offer! It is your objective to get that house and close on that transaction! Going in strong and to the point with your best offer, lets the person on the other end of the transaction know you are serious and if it is a strong enough offer, they will accept it. They too want to get this transaction to the closing table as quickly as possible!

3. Understand, There Will Likely Be A Counter-Offer
Be aware, that even going in with a strong offer on a property, if the seller’s agent is doing their due diligence, almost all offers will include a counter-offer. Knowing this ahead of time should save you any surprises and frustrations with a strong first offer.

4. Find Out Where the Seller Is and What They Really Want
Knowing the situation of the seller and what they are genuinely after in regards to an offer can save you and the seller a lot of time and head aches with offers and counter-offers. Sometimes this information is easily obtained, even through the seller’s agent.

5. Show Your Buyer’s Funds Credentials
If you want to make a solid impression with your offer, send in a verification of funds letter with a cash offer. If financing, send in a strong pre-approval letter or an underwriting approval letter which carries a good bit more weight than just a pre-approval letter.

6. Make a Strong Impression with Earnest Money
Let the seller know how serious you are about purchasing the property by putting down a considerable amount of earnest money along with an underwriting or pre-approved financing letter. By putting up $10,000 or more for earnest money where others are putting up $5,000 or less will certainly set you apart from the rest of the multiple offers being considered. All of that earnest money goes towards your down payment, so if you have the cash to put up, always put your best foot forward and set yourself apart from the rest.

7. Don’t Ask For Part of Your Closing Costs To Be Paid By the Seller
In a hot market with multiple offers, the sweeter you make it for the seller, the better chances your offer is going to be the one accepted. The seller is going to be looking at his bottom line just like you are. The more money in the sellers pocket at the end of the transaction, the better your chances are of getting your dream home! Do not ever let closing costs be the reason you lost your perfect home to another buyer!

8. Don’t Ask For Everything!
One of the surest ways of losing out on a contract with that perfect home you have been looking for is by getting greedy when it comes to the contract. Unnecessary things like personal property requests (flat screen televisions, refrigerators, washer and dryers and furniture in general) termite bonds, home warranties, etc…, will kill a contract before it even gets started. The more simple and attractive to the seller, the more likely your offer will be the one accepted over the other complicated offers.

9. Give the Sellers a Chance to Move
By allowing the seller a few extra days after the closing to pack up and move is a good way to show the seller you are going to be someone easy to work through the closing process. As anxious as you are to get into your new house, give the previous owners a little breathing room to move out. Little things like this can go a long way in weighing whose offer to chose and whose to put at the bottom of the pile.

10. Communicate Clearly and Quickly
There is a reason I saved this tip as the last. Probably one of the single most important tips anyone who is going into a home purchase can have. Communication is key is not just a cliche. Good, clear and prompt communication can save a transaction from disaster most times than not. If there is a counter offer, be clear and expedient to your reply. Again, this could be lone factor on whether or not your offer is pushed through or not. If the seller is waiting around for you to respond, he is going to quickly start to think of the other multiple offers being presented to them on a daily basis. Be smart and prompt!

No single transaction is identical to another. Each person involved in any kind of real estate deal has their own personalities and working with different types of people require different types of approaches. Being able to be flexible and compliant to the needs of the seller is key to making any real estate purchase a smooth one!


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Norris Real Estate Brevard County

Homeowner Danger Zones

Category : Need to Know

Homeowner Danger Zones

Homeownership has many perks and may responsibilities. Owning your home means you are solely responsible. Keeping yourself, your family and your guests safe as well as protecting your investment is of the utmost importance.

There are potential dangers in and around your home. It is your responsibility to be diligent and eliminating and reducing those dangers. Some of the most common dangers for a homeowner has to do with common household appliances and items in and around your home.

How many of the following common items are a potential threat for your home?

Norris Real Estate Brevard County

Stoves, Ovens and Cooktops

40% of all home fires start in the kitchen according to a study completed by Red Cross. A high percentage of these kitchen fires are a direct result of the cooktop or stovetop being unattended or left on. This percentage of fires is exaggerated when dealing with gas stoves and cooktops. Be sure to turn off all burners completing before leaving the kitchen. Keeping any and all combustibles away from the cooking area is another great way to eliminate these dangers.

Clothes Dryer

Your clothes dryer is a sneaky appliance that has potential for disaster to your home. Your lint trap filter is a common item and everyone who has ever operated a dryer knows to swipe the lint form the filter screen between uses. However, many people are not aware that lint gets past the filter screen and into the exhaust tube and into the dryer where the heating element is located. This can ignite the lint like tinder and start a potential deadly fire.

Regular dryer maintenance and cleaning is essential to keep your family and property safe from an accidental fire.

Washing Machines

Your washing machine is a great and convenient asset to your life. Just like any appliance or machine, it requires routine maintenance and upkeep to ensure it operates efficiently and safely. It is common for the hoses to become dry and brittle. When this happens, the risk of water leaking and damaging your home increases.

Pipes

For those homes with indoor plumbing, your pipes can become a hazard under certain conditions. Homes that are subject to freezing weather conditions must take extra precaution during the winter months. Cracked water pipes have been wreaking havoc on homeowners since indoor plumbing was invented. A small 1/8 inch crack in a plumbing pipe can expel 250 gallons of water in a day.
Be sure to keep your pipes properly insulated both inside of our home and outside of your home as well. In some instances, it is advised to keep your pipes open allowing a trickle of water to continuously run to avoid the freezing of trapped water in the pipes, thus leading to swelling and breaking.

Electrical Wiring

Homes wired with aluminum wiring instead of copper wiring are more prone to electrical fires. Faulty connections, out dated outlets and overloading a circuit are potential disasters as well. If you notice flickering lights, frequent blown fuses or circuit breakers then you should consult with a licensed professional electrician. Also, if you experience a tingling sensation when turing on or off light switches or appliances, you should call a licensed professional.

Gutters

Here in Brevard County Florida, we get lots and lots of rain between the months of June and November. A clean and well maintained gutter system around the eaves of your home will route that rain water away from your homes foundation and properly disperse it into your yard and or garden. Keeping the gutters free and clear of debris will prevent water from backing up into the soffit of your home and creating water damage. If you have overhangin trees around your house, be sure your gutters are free and clear of debris.

Fireplaces

Even though we live here on Florida’s Space Coast, there are many homes with wood burning fireplaces. Keeping your fireplace and chimney clean and clear of debris and creosote will reduce the potential of a chimney fire or allowing sparks and embers to enter the living space and catch rugs or wood floors on fire. Keep the screen or glass doors closed when using your fireplace and remember to open the chimney flue before igniting a fire to prevent smoke damage to the inside of your home.

Smoke Detectors

The smoke detectors in your home can be the most annoying and aggravating device in your home. Especially when they decide to notify you of a “low battery” warning at 3:00am in the morning.
Do not eliminate this aggravation by removing the fire detector or removing the battery to stop the “chirping”. Simply, replace the battery and allow this life and property saving device to properly do it job.

Roofs

Your roof is often overlooked for it’s importance and functionality. While we do not need to worry too much about snow and ice build up on our roofs here in Central Florida, we do want to ensure that the sun does not damage your roof beyond it’s functionality.

Along that line, be sure to keep proper insulation in your attic space to keep the heat and power bills down.
Roofs are known for providing excellent space for snow and ice buildup. A roof that is too warm will cause snow to melt. When this happens, runoff freezes in gutters, which forms into ice, creating a dam that forces water below the shingles. To help prevent issues, make sure your roof is properly insulated by adding attic insulation and vents, which will help keep the roof cool and prevent snow melt.


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Brevard County Real Estate

Why You Need to Use a Real Estate Agent

Category : Need to Know

Why You Need to Use a Real Estate Agent

I’ve heard people say that purchasing a home is not only one of the most important and critical purchases of a life time, but it can be one of the most stressful process as well. For many people, thinking they can handle the process of selling their home or buying a home on their own, quickly realize, there is much more to purchasing or selling a home than going down to the local store to purchase a few items. There are those that are able to accomplish this on their own, but for most, it is a life saver to have a licensed Realtor working for them to ensure their best interests.

The process of selling or purchasing a home, or any kind of real estate, can be very daunting and intricate with all of the legalese, market trends, escrow, inspections, appraisals, property surveys and contracts.

Here are some solid and smart reasons why a licensed Realtor is good to have in your corner.

Licensed and Educated Experts

While it is true, that not all Realtor’s are created and made equally. Some are much better and responsive than others. That is the nature of any industry. When you find a good Realtor, you can be assured to know that this individual has passed a state and national background check, has taken the higher education classes required by your state department of Real Estate and has passed a state exam exhibiting competence in knowing the laws, ethics and procedures in the purchasing and selling of real estate.

Local Expert

I grew up in Brevard County. My wife and I have raised our children here. Many of my friends in various businesses I have known either all of my life or for many many years. In addition to knowing my community in a very personal way, I know the Real Estate market on Florida’s Space Coast as well. I have watched and studied real estate trends for many years. I know what areas are selling for a higher price and what areas have yet to hit their peak. Find a Realtor who is local and knows the areas you are interested in buying or selling in.

Access

A licensed Realtor has the access and ability to do things the average citizen does not. A Realtor has access to the MLS system that has relevant and critical information about properties. They have access to software to run comparable properties for accurate and current prices on homes that have recently sold and currently for sale. Most home owners are only willing to grant access to their homes to a licensed Realtor, which means that most buyers are only going to be able to access a home with a Realtor.

Best Interests

An agent working for you, will always have your best interest at hand. A Buyer’s agent is trying to get the Buyer the best price possible and as much included in the sale as possible. A Seller’s agent on the other hand, is trying to get the most amount possible for the Seller. A Seller’s agent is only going to provide the minimal amount of information about the home and property as possible. Not knowing the right questions could cost a buyer thousands of dollars at closing or down the road.

Experience

One of the things I learned while growing up playing sports and learning to play the trumpet was this. The more you did it, and the more you enjoy something, the better and better you become at it. That same life lesson can be applied to real estate. For those who are not used to selling and buying a lot of property, it can be a daunting and intimidating experience. It is a huge decision not only financially, but for your family as well. Schools, neighborhoods, neighbors, livability factors. There is so much more to consider when buying a home than the pool, square footage and upgrades. You want a Real Estate Agent who is very familiar with not just the process of buying a home, but the little things that may seem insignificant, but could end up costing you thousands of dollars and possibly even cost the Buyer from losing the house. Choose a Realtor who has a proven track record. Find out what their sales transaction history for the current year. A busy Realtor is likely going to be a competent Realtor.

Connections

Buying or Selling a home is not just as simple as buying a car or a new wardrobe. There are many facets and hands that get into the process. There is the lender, the home inspector, the appraiser, a contractor or handyman for repairs during the process, HVAC and pool specialists, WDO/Pest Control professionals. I could go on and on, but my point is there are a lot of people who are involved in the selling and purchase of a home. You want a Realtor who is well connected professionally within the area who knows top notch quality businesses to team up with in order to make your sale or purchase a smooth one.

For Buyers, It’s Free

For those who are looking to buy a home, this is some of the best news for you! Your Realtor doesn’t cost you anything! If your Buyer’s Agent is charging you a fee for their services, you should consider finding another Realtor.

The Buyer’s Agent is paid for by the Seller. That’s right! The Seller pays for the Buying Agent’s commission out of the sale of the house. Don’t sell yourself short, thinking you are going to save money by not using a Realtor. The commissions for the sale of a house is pre-negotiated before the sale of the house occurs. So, if you do not use a Realtor, the Selling agent gets all of the commission. Your Realtor not only doesn’t cost you anything, they could very well save you thousands of dollars when purchasing your next home!

There are lots of Real Estate Agents here in Florida and Brevard County. Not all Real Estate Agents are Realtors. Almost anyone can take the classes, pass the state exam and become a Real Estate Agent, but a Realtor is a professional designation to only those who qualify.

When looking to buy your next home, or sell your home, do yourself a favor and consider working with a licensed profession Realtor. `

Brevard County Realty

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Don and Natalie Norris are always available to assist you with your purchase or sale of property.


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Norris Real Estate Brevard County

Mortgage Do’s and Don’ts

Mortgage Do’s and Don’ts

Things You Must Do

You have made the decision to purchase a new property. You don’t have the capitol to pay cash, so you have decided to move forward with a mortgage loan. Before you go any further, here are a few tips for Mortgage Do’s and Don’ts.

Do Keep All Financial Records In Order:

Underwriting:
Understand that times have changed! Underwriting is a different game than it was 20 years ago. Underwriters are requiring more documentation than they did in the past. Just keep in mind, if it wasn’t important and they didn’t need it, they would not be asking for it!

Gifts:
If you are receiving any gift monies from relatives, they will need to document and sign a “gift letter” and an account statement evidencing the source of that gift which must be “seasoned funds”.

Current Residence:
If you are currently renting, be sure to continue paying your rent on time while saving your proof of payment. If you are already a homeowner and a selling your current home, be sure to save your HUD-1 or more recently, your Closing Disclosure. If you have decided to keep your current home, but intend on renting it out, you may need to show sufficient equity, a lease and first month’s rent along with a security deposit.

Your Financial Records:
Keep all of your financial records organized and close at hand in the event underwriting requests more information from you.

Income:
Underwriters typically verify your income and tax documents with your current employer, CPA or IRS tax transcripts. Be sure to have saved at least 6-12 months of your current jobs pay stubs.

Assets:
Save and organize any and all account statements from all of your accounts. Be sure they are numbered for each page saved. (i.e. page 7 of 7)

Your Credit:
Be sure to keep making all of your payments on time! DO NOT make any credit purchase with a new line of credit or on your current credit accounts while going through the underwriting process! The underwriters WILL pull your credit the day of or just prior to your closing. A new line of credit or significant purchase could cause underwriting to deny your mortgage at the last minute, thus causing you to lose the home.

Things You Must Not Do

Apply For New Credit:
I can not emphasize this enough. Therefore, it warrants being mentioned again! Changes in your credit can and most always causes a delay in the loan process, change the terms and interest of your financing and may even prevent you from closing and purchasing the home all together.
If there is a situation where you must open a new line of credit (or even borrow against your IRA, 401k or retirement funds) consult with your Loan Originator first

Wait to Liquidate Funds From Stock or Retirement:
If you must sell some investments, do it as soon as possible and document the transaction. Don’t take the risk that the market could move against you leaving you short of funds to close. As always, consult with your Loan Originator before making any financial transactions.

Change Job During the Process:
If, during the loan process, you believe your job could possibly change due to a promotion, probationary period, careers or even status changes ( such as salaried to commission, leave of absence, new salary or bonus structure) consult with your Loan Originator immediately.

Make Undocumented Deposits:
Typically large, but even small undocumented deposits must be sourced unless they are already identified. Make and keep copies of checks and deposit slips. Avoid depositing cash and keep all deposits as small as possible.

Ever Be Afraid To Ask Questions:
If you are unclear or uncertain about anything you need or should be doing to ensure the loan process runs smoothly, ask your Loan Originator. They are the best person equipped to guide you through the process with little or no hiccups along the way.

If you are thinking about purchasing a home and need to take a mortgage out, but do not know who to talk to. Let me or Natalie know. We work with several Mortgage Lenders that are local and would love to assist you by getting you into contact with a trusted professional Loan Originator.

 

Brevard County Realty

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