Welcome to MICBHomes Blog Page

 We’re glad you’ve decided to stop by. In addition to giving you the latest listings here in Brevard County, it’s our team’s desire to equip you with relevant real estate information. On this blog you’ll find…

  • Advice for Homebuyers 
  • Tips for Home Sellers
  • Buzz About Brevard County
  • Waterfront Property Pointers

       ……And Much More!

So grab your coffee, pull up a virtual chair, and let us share our insider’s view to real estate in beautiful Brevard. And remember, should you ever want to pull up an actual chair and chat about any of these topics, we’re just a phone call or e-mail away.

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Oct. 15, 2018

Attracting Home Buyers in a Virtual Marketplace

Back in the ’80s, buyers typically searched for homes by browsing newspaper listings and “asking around”. Not any more. Today’s buyers are used to the instant information of websites and apps, and they expect the home buying experience to be no different. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, 99% of Millennials (who make up a majority of first time home buyers) utilized online listings as a part of their home search. More than half of the time, an online search is the first step buyers of all ages take in their purchasing process, even before contacting a realtor or lender.  

When placing your home on the market, your realtor should be ready to optimize its position in the virtual marketplace. Here are four strategies that you can expect. 

 

High Quality Photos 

Because buyers are searching for homes online, first impressions of a property are usually made without even setting foot inside. When the time comes to sell your home, your realtor will likely take high quality images of both the interior and the exterior of your home so that buyers’ initial glimpses of your spaces are flawless. Some realtors will even recommend using drones to capture aerial views of your property, especially if there are special features such as water frontage or large acreage. You can help your realtor in this all-important sales strategy by decluttering all interior spaces, sprucing up the landscaping, and de-personalizing wall hangings (take down family photos and children’s names) before the photos are taken.  

 

Detailed Information

If the photos of a home look good, buyers will then typically scroll down to read more details about the property, much like you would before making a purchase on Amazon. Your realtor will want to provide virtual prospects with information on your home’s best features, your neighborhood’s appeal, and any other significant selling points. Before your listing goes live, make sure to communicate important details with your agent. New appliances, recent upgrades, or costly maintenance procedures that have been performed (such as roof replacement, septic pumping, or pool resurfacing) are all huge selling points in the virtual marketplace, so be sure to let your realtor know about them.

 

Virtual Tour 

Some realtors like to market homes using virtual tours. These tours can come in the form of slideshows, video footage, and even interactive floor plans. Data indicates that 50% of buyers use and appreciate virtual tours.

If your neighborhood is saturated with homes for sale, your realtor may recommend using a virtual tour strategy to add to the appeal of your listing. If this is the case, you may need to provide floor plans or be available for additional filming. Just be patient and trust that your realtor has your home’s best interest in mind. 

 

Social Media

Once a listing goes live, your realtor will likely share the link on professional social media pages to increase the online traffic. This helps to target local buyers who may just be casually looking and forgoes weeding through the national "big box" sites. If you’re active on social media, be sure to share those links as well. Word of mouth is still a powerful tool in the virtual marketplace, after all!

Our team at Coastal Life Realty is dedicated to keeping our finger on the pulse of real estate sales trends. With the help of these general strategies PLUS the utilization of our top-ranked website, MerrittIslandCocoaBeachHomes.com, we can help you navigate the virtual marketplace with excellence, whether you’re selling or buying. Give us a call or send us an e-mail today!

Posted in Preparing to Sell
Sept. 17, 2018

Buying a Pool Home

If you’re in the market to purchase a home here in central Florida, you’ve likely developed an opinion about whether or not you’d prefer a home with a pool. Like anything else, it all comes down to personal values. Families with infants and toddlers may consider a pool too much of a safety hazard, while families with older children appreciate the opportunity to blow off some steam without getting too steamy! The fact remains, though, that here in Florida pools are generally considered a desirable feature, and can add a 7% increase to a home’s value, according to Houselogic. So if you’ve got your heart set on a pool home, chances are you’ll need to be ready to pay a little more for it. On the other hand, if you choose a home without a pool with the intent to put one in later, you can expect to pay upwards of $30,000, but will most certainly be adding value to your property in this market.

 

Maintaining a Pool

Of course, obtaining the pool is not the only expense. There are continual maintenance costs to consider as well. According to Daniel Richeson, local owner of Barefoot Pool Services, monthly service technicians charge an average of $100 per month for cleaning, balancing, and adding chemicals to a residential pool. Doing the work yourself can possibly cut the cost to around $70 per month, but will require a significant investment of time and knowledge. You’ll also need to budget for equipment such as filter replacement and general wear and tear (from $150-$500 per year) as well as utility costs (around $300 per year, depending on pool size and equipment). 

 

Weighing Your Pool Option

Because of the cost of personal pool ownership, some people opt for a home with a neighborhood pool instead. But pool communities come at a premium too, with monthly HOA fees that reflect the shared cost of the pool maintenance. When it comes right down to it, the choice to have a pool or not is ultimately a personal one. There are definite costs that need to be prepared for, but if a pool adds to the quality of your life, consider those dollars as an investment into your family. Laughter and memories are priceless after all, and that’s just what a pool could deliver. 

 

If you’re ready to journey into home ownership, give us a call or send us an e-mail. Our team can help you explore various properties—with and without pools—until you find the perfect fit. And through it all, we can ensure that the process goes, well, swimmingly!

Posted in Home Maintenance
Aug. 15, 2018

5 Great Neighborhoods Within 15 Minutes of the Beach

Community Highlight: 5 Great Neighborhoods Within 15 Minutes of the Beach

When you live in a coastal town, it’s only natural to consider pretty much every location in relation to the beach. We Space Coast residents love our shores, so it just makes sense to look at real estate within the framework of beach proximity. Here are five great neighborhoods to consider if you’re looking for a home within fifteen minutes of the ocean. 

 

The lovely Cocoa Beach neighborhood of Convair Cove offers the best of all worlds. These mid-priced homes are tucked away on a series of canals adjacent to the Thousand Islands with quick access to the Banana River. Convair Cove residents adore the neighborhood waterfront park and the location within walking distance of the post office and library. With downtown Cocoa Beach just a few blocks away, local restaurants and coffee shops can be a part of everyday life, and the school commute will take mere minutes.

 

This stunning waterfront neighborhood is situated in arguably the best location in all of Indian Harbor Beach. Being directly across from Dragon Point is ideal for maritime enjoyment—boaters have easy access to the Banana River while paddle sports enthusiasts have a tranquil cove to traverse. Plus, the nearby causeway brings an easy commute to the mainland.

 

Though Grand Haven is located on the mainland of Melbourne, a quick drive over the Pineda Causeway puts residents on the highly desirable PAFB beaches in mere minutes. Grand Haven is marked by executive style homes and tidy HOA monitored streets. Plus, since the I-95 corridor swings eastward at this point, Grand Haven has convenient access to just about anywhere. 

 

This north Merritt Island gated community exudes friendliness at every turn. With a playground, safe sidewalks, and lovely water views, it’s not uncommon to find kids outside playing or neighbors enjoying an evening stroll. While the location feels tucked away and private, residents can be to all the central Merritt Island shops and restaurants in just a few minutes, and a quick hop on the Beachline takes them right to the shore. 

 

In the heart of central Merritt Island you’ll find the popular neighborhood of Diana Shores. Built during the KSC boom of the 60’s, these homes are modest in size and sturdy in construction, plus the neighborhood continues to see regular remodels and updates through the decades. About half of the lots in this neighborhood are situated on deep water canals, and buried utilities mean storm outages are usually not a problem. 

 

While we’ve chosen to highlight these particular neighborhoods, it’s important to realize that these areas are just a few of MANY wonderful communities with easy beach access. That’s the beauty of our long, thin coastal county! Our team knows the ins and outs of all the real estate close to the beach—let us help you uncover that perfect neighborhood that’s close enough for your daily seaside adventures.

Posted in Space Coast
Aug. 1, 2018

Five Steps to a Pleasant Home Buying Experience

Though the HGTV “reality” shows may try to convince you otherwise, buying a home is never as easy as walking in and saying, “I’ll take it!”. Real estate is likely the largest purchase most people will ever make, and it requires a good deal of thought and care in the process. If you’re considering a home purchase in the near future, here are a few things you should do to make the process enjoyable every step of the way. 

  • Secure a Mortgage Pre-Approval

Unless you intend to pay cash, you’ll need to provide a pre-approval letter along with any offer to purchase a home. Deciding how much you’ll be able to contribute for a down payment is the first step to obtaining this important pre-approval, since a lender will use that to form the basis of your letter. You’ll also want to make sure that your credit score is the highest it can be, as that will affect a bank’s willingness to offer you a loan. Once you’ve obtained your pre-approval letter, you can start actively pursuing properties in the appropriate price range.  

  • Make A Needs and Wants List

Everybody has a vision of what they’re looking for in a home. But what do you really need? First make a basic list of what you can’t live without—things like number of bedrooms and bathrooms, parking and storage concerns, proximity to work, and school district. Then make a secondary list that would really turn a house into your dream home—desirable amenities, outdoor spaces, layout options, and more. A two-tiered list of needs and wants will really help you to focus your home search.  

  • Search Online Listings

Using your dream home wish list, you can get a good idea of what’s available in your price range just by doing some simple searches online. We consider our site the best tool for this purpose, of course. We’ve designed this space with different search options including location, price range, amenities, and more. We’ve even taken it a step further and sorted available listings for you by area and neighborhood so you can locate your dream home faster.

  • Attend Open Houses

If you’re considering a move to an unfamiliar neighborhood, a great next step might be attending an open house or two. Open houses let you casually look over not only a specific property but also the surrounding area. It’s a hands-on approach that you simply cannot do via the internet. At an open house, you’ll want to take note of a neighborhood’s accessibility and general atmosphere to assess whether or not you could see yourself living in this house or a house nearby. 

  • Work with A Real Estate Agent

Finally, even as great as our website is, there’s no replacement for the one-on-one service of a professional realtor. A real estate agent can help you combine all your preparation and research into a personalized place that’s perfect for you. Our team knows the Space Coast already—let us get to know you so that we can find exactly where you’ll be the happiest within this wonderful community.

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July 11, 2018

Aggressive Measures Needed To Save Indian River Lagoon

For years the water quality within the Indian River Lagoon has been the subject of concern for scientists and residents alike. Between brown algae blooms and hurricane related sewage leaks, our waterways are under duress. Though there have been temporary fixes or “easy” solutions proposed, we believe it’s time for our community to consider some more drastic measures to protect the beauty and sustainability of our lagoon.   

 

What’s the Problem?

The Indian River Lagoon is technically a 156 mile long estuary. As home to more than 2000 species of plants, 600 species of fish, and 300 species of birds, the IRL is a complex and diverse ecosystem that requires balance to retain its beauty. Pollution is a major culprit for throwing off that balance, and not in the ways you might suspect. 

Yes, we all know that plastics and other trash have no place in the natural environment. But nutrients from discarded plant matter and waste (e.g. weed clippings, dog droppings, septic field substances) that flow into the lagoon from inland sources create a disruption in the lagoon’s ecosystem as well. Brown algae, or “brown tide”, feeds off this type of waste, and a brown tide bloom occurs when there’s an overabundance of waste-induced nutrients in the water.  Brown tide does two very harmful things: it leaches oxygen from the water, causing massive fish kills, and it blocks sunlight from underwater sea grasses, which then cannot produce more oxygen for that water. In addition, the waste products accumulate at the bottom of the lagoon, creating muck that kills the bottom dwelling plant life, adds to the brown algae, and thus perpetuates the vicious cycle of destruction.

This combination of brown algae, bottom muck, and general pollutants is the Indian River Lagoon’s current reality. The situation is dire. It affects our community now, and will only compound in the future unless action is taken.

 

What’s the Solution?  

Environmentalists and community activists have been posing ideas to help the Indian River Lagoon basically since the coast was colonized. Some of these solutions have been set into motion, while others have been met with a barrage of bureaucratic red tape. 

The dredging and removal of muck from the bottom of the Indian River Lagoon is one clean-up effort that began decades ago and continues today. According to the Florida Institute of Technology, over 2 million cubic yards of muck was removed just in the first 10 years of the initiative which began in 1996. Muck dredging is no small chore, though, since scientists estimate the sludgy substance to be 10 feet deep in certain areas. 

According to experts, stopping the pollution of the Indian River Lagoon must begin at its source. Researching various means of waste management has resulted in solutions such as the recent septic system ban, a temporary measure intended to curb future issues. County officials have also instituted various seasonal fertilizer bans with the desire to eliminate one source of harmful, nitrogen-rich runoff into the estuary. 

 

What’s a Better Solution? 

But temporary measures and seasonal bans simply aren’t cutting it. Each passing year continues to bring additional problems within our beautiful waterways. Sea turtles are developing tumors. Manatees suffer from a lack of sea grass. Algae multiplies to such incredible levels that it can be seen from space. Something more must be done. 

And more aggressive measures do exist. Years ago environmental engineers proposed a pipeline system designed to basically flush the Indian River Lagoon with water from the Atlantic Ocean. A similar system is currently in place in Destin, where a pump moves water from the Gulf past a barrier island and into the harbor. With this system in place, the harbor water is renewed every 17 days. Imagine the impact a system like that could have on our community’s lagoon!

Other scientists propose the creation of a new inlet, possibly near Patrick Air Force Base. Inlets obviously create additional water flow, allowing pollutants to escape and ocean water to wash the lagoon “clean”. Similar to the pump system, the inlet solution helps to renew the IRL, ridding it of harmful substances before they have a chance to create compounded disastrous effects. A new inlet is not the cheapest solution, that much is sure. But when the quality of our water—the quality of our life—is at stake, should the project’s price tag really be the main concern?  

The motto “dilution is the solution to pollution” is nice in theory. In reality, dilution is a management technique to deal with the effects of harmful substances in a natural environment such as our Indian River Lagoon. Proposing more proactive measures of cleanup doesn’t take away individuals’ responsibility. 

As residents of this county, it’s our duty to protect the waterway that surrounds our homes. Sometimes that means changing our lifestyle, other times it means taking a stand. Where do you stand on the Save Our Lagoon issue? Do you approve of more aggressive measures, such as a new inlet or pump system? As we’ve mentioned before, our team is highly invested in this community, which means we care about what happens both in and around it. Let us know what you think about this important community issue in the comments below.

Posted in Space Coast
June 27, 2018

5 Ways to Secure Your Home for Hurricane Season

5 Ways to Secure Your Home for Hurricane Season

 

June marks the beginning of the official hurricane season here in Brevard County. And though our most recent visitors, Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma, dropped in during the fall, it’s never too early to get prepared. Here are a few things that you can do to get your property ready should a storm make its approach.

 

1. Keep Trees Trimmed

Branches become projectiles that can puncture windows and screens when met by hurricane force winds. Instead of waiting for the weathermen to get in a frenzy, keep your trees neat and tidy all season. No one wants to start climbing a ladder when they’re preparing to hunker down. 

 

2. Fit and Label Your Window Coverings

If you’ve lived through a hurricane before, you know that covering all window openings is absolutely necessary…but man, can it be a pain! Of course the easiest (and most costly) option is installing impact resistant windows. But most people opt to go with hurricane panels or even plywood sheets to cover the openings. Ease your mind this hurricane season by pulling out your window coverings before it becomes crunch time. Use a permanent marker to label each panel’s location to avoid the “where does this piece go?” scenario right before a storm. 

 

3. Brace Garage Doors

Most people prepare well for window coverings, but many forget that garage doors are also a weak point in your home’s structure. Hurricane force winds can crumple a garage door faster than you can say Jim Cantore. While investing in a hurricane rated garage door is again the safest option, there are also many DIY solutions that serve to reinforce that vulnerable zone. Search online for videos and kits now so that your garage prep is simple if the time comes. 

 

4. Take Inventory

This tip is two-fold. First, take photos of each room of your home as well as any valuables you may have hidden away. That way if the worst should happen and your home is destroyed, you’ll have visual records for insurance purposes. Do it now because it’s likely you won’t be thinking about it when a storm is bearing down. Second, take inventory of your emergency kit. Make sure you have fresh water, flashlights, batteries, first aid items, etc. on hand. Find a complete list at ready.gov. 

 

5. Invest in a Backup Generator

 

To properly protect your appliances and perishable foods, you’ll want to square away your emergency power source now. During Hurricane Irma an entire pallet of generators would disappear in five minutes flat—the supply never meets the demand in the face of a storm. Instead of scrambling with the rest of the county, get your generator delivered early (and usually at a lower price!). 

 

Hurricane season is simply a reality here in Brevard County, but with proper preparations, it doesn’t have to be entirely stressful. Get your home secured early in the season so you can enjoy what we all love about this area—the usually WONDERFUL weather!

Posted in Comments
June 13, 2018

5 Ways to Get Ready for Your Open House

5 Ways to Get Ready for Your Open House

Once you’ve decided to put your house up for sale, your real estate agent may advise you to hold an open house as a way to invite potential buyers in and showcase the property’s best features. Here are some tips to make the most of your open house. 

1. Clean and Declutter

Buyers don’t want to come in to a prospective home and be greeted with piles of laundry, dusty fans, or irrelevant (to them) knick-knacks. They want to see a tranquil space that they can picture themselves moving right into, and that means cutting out any personal items that could be seen as clutter by others. Experts actually advise boxing up half of your belongings. Yes—half! Remove picture frames, put out-of-season clothes into storage, and pull out unnecessary furniture. Ask a friend or neighbor if you can borrow a little garage space, or rent a storage unit if you have to. Make sure that closets and cabinets are clean and organized, because buyers will most certainly look inside. And because we all tend to be blind to certain dirty spots, it might be wise to hire a professional cleaner to do a deep clean service before the big day.  

2. Spruce Up the Exterior

First impressions count, and in the real estate world that includes curb appeal. Pull any stray weeds, trim hedges, and lay fresh mulch if necessary. Make sure your front door is inviting (no cobwebs!) and light fixtures are clean. Because of our salty air, it’s a good idea to give windows a thorough wash on the outside, and you may want to consider doing an exterior wash to remove grime from the siding or stucco (available as a hose attachment). Make sure your house numbers are attractive and visible from the road. And you might even want to purchase a new welcome mat, just to give your threshold that final touch! 

3. Make Necessary Repairs

Again, buyers are impressed when they can envision themselves moving right in, so now is the time to tackle those pesky projects you’ve been putting off. Patch up any holes in drywall, touch up any scuffed paint, and fix any drippy faucets. Re-caulk the bathtubs, if necessary, and add lubricant to sliding glass doors and hinges. Take a walk from room to room and scrutinize all the little “problems” that buyers might notice, then eliminate them. 

4. Move Out the Pets

Realtors agree that it’s more difficult to sell a home with pets, so it’s a good idea to move Fido and Mittens to someone else’s house for your open house. You’ll also want to get rid of food dishes, pet beds, litter boxes, and any other animal gear before buyers arrive. Remember—this is just temporary!  

5. Neutralize the Air—And Yourself! 

Every house has its own signature smell, which is not good or bad necessarily. But buyers are looking for a blank canvas, and that includes the air. Before the open house guests show up, make sure to open the windows and spray air neutralizers to make things as fresh as possible. (Do NOT spray scents, as that can be unpleasant to some people!) Now, take a deep breath, and let go emotionally of your home. It’s time to move on to a new chapter—embrace it! 

Are you ready to put your home on the market? Let us help you set the stage for success at open houses and showings alike. Our team is always available to answer any of your home selling questions.

Contact Us Today 321-863-7143

Posted in Preparing to Sell