April 1, 2019

REAL ESTATE NEWS | APRIL 2019 | Real Estate News That Matters To You

Down Payment Dilemma: How Do You Know How Much to Put Down On A Home?

For many prospective home buyers, the down payment is the most daunting hurdle in the race to buy a home. Even for people with decent credit and a healthy paycheck, the down payment can be the great homeownership killer.

The big question for all prospective buyers is: how much should my down payment be? Most lenders will tell you that 20 percent is the standard, but is that really necessary?

The short answer is no, but of course, there are some caveats.

"It's a myth that all homebuyers must have a 20 percent down payment to buy a home," says Nancy Herrera-Siples, a Riverside, CA, branch manager at Primary Residential Mortgage. So why all the fuss over having 20 percent to put down? "Because if you don't, it usually means you'll have to shell out money for either private mortgage insurance (PMI) or government insurance, which is usually financed by the Federal Housing Administration," according to Herrera-Siples.

Still, when a low down-payment is your only option to buy a home, PMI might literally be a small price to pay. Remember that PMI goes away eventually when your loan balance is 80 percent or less of the home's value. If you're in an area where homes are rising in value, this could happen sooner than you think.

Again, there are some things to consider. "FHA mortgage insurance is for the life of the loan. It does not drop off at 80% LTV (loan-to-value). It use to but not anymore. Putting more down does not always get a better rate. It can actually be worse. The rate will be better at 95% LTV then at 80% LTV. At 65% LTV it improves. But lower loan amount can make rate worse as well. Higher loan amounts see better rates. First time home buyers can buy with as little as 3% down. And there are down payment assistance programs but they will limit DTI (Debt-to-Income) Basically Down payment Assistance you will qualify for a lot less home," says Norman Bocci, a Merritt Island, Mortgage Loan Originator at FBC Mortgage, LLC. 

Download Norman's MortgageMapp app for FREE Here!



Still confused about the ins and outs of down payments? Here are a few reasons to go high… or low.

When to make a substantial down payment:

  • When you're looking to keep your monthly payment as low as possible and have the cash to spare.
  • When you're approaching retirement age and can envision a reverse mortgage sometime down the line.
  • When the interest rate is lower with a higher down payment. "The more you put down, the better position you are in for negotiating a lower interest rate," says Credit.com.
  • If you're worried about being underwater. If the market should drop in your area, you run the risk of owing more than your home is worth.

When to go low:

  • When you don't have the funds for a higher down payment and can't earn or borrow them quickly enough.
  • When the rate on your FHA or Fannie or Freddie loan is comparable to that you'd get with a higher down payment.
  • When you need to escape a high-rent situation and the monthly payment on a house is lower than what you're currently paying, even with the PMI factored in.
  • When you're confident your home will appreciate quickly, allowing you to refinance and get rid of PMI quickly.

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Posted in Real Estate News
March 27, 2019

Brevard MLS Statistics - February 2019

A quick recap of the Brevard County Residential Report for February 2019:

  • Closed Sales are down -4% for February 2019 in which the number of units closed was 666 compared to 694 in 2018, with a decrease in cash sales of -7.3% compared to February 2018.
  • New Pending Sales are up 2.1% and New Listings are up 2.3%.
  • The Median Sales Price for Brevard Single Family homes saw no change and was $230,000 in 2018 and 2019.
  • Months Supply of Inventory is up 33.3% to 3.6 months, an increase from 2.7 months in February 2018.
  • Traditional Sales are down -4.8%, with a median sales price of $231,000.
  • Foreclosure/REO Sales are up 26.3% with 24 sales and a median sales price of $204,250.
  • Short Sale Closings are down -25%, with 3 sales and a median sales price of $335,000.


A quick recap of the Brevard County Townhouses/Condos for February 2019:

  • Closed Sales are down -5.8% for February 2019 in which the number of units closed was 212 compared to 225 in 2018, with a decrease in cash sales of -21.7% compared to February 2018.
  • New Pending Sales are down -13.3% and New Listings are down -9.6%.
  • Median Sales Price for Townhomes/Condos is up 10.9% to $173,500 compared to a year ago, which was $156,500.
  • Months Supply of Inventory is up 13.5% to 4.2 months in February 2019 from 3.7 months in February 2018.
  • Traditional Sales are down -4.6%, with a median sales price of $173,000.
  • Foreclosure/REO Sales are down -25% with 3 sales and a median sales price of $240,000. 
  • Short Sale Closings are down -100% with no sales in February 2019.





This update is brought to you by the  Space Coast Association of REALTORS® as a service to our members.


Posted in Real Estate News
March 26, 2019

The Ron Jon Beach 'N Boards Fest and CENTURY 21 Ocean Help Brevard County Kick-Off Summer

All throughout the United States mid-March represents a time of change, excitement, and celebration.

Most of the country is spending their time thawing out from the freeze of winter, cheering on their favorite basketball teams during March Madness, and celebrating the Irish heritage of their friends, family, and neighbors on St Patrick’s day.

But for residents of Brevard County, who live on Central Florida’s Beautiful Space Coast, mid-March signals something much different.....

The start of BEACH SEASON!!

And the fun-loving team at CENTURY 21 Ocean knows there’s no better way to usher in the season of sun, salt, and sand then with the annual Ron Jon Beach ‘N Boards Fest!

Which is exactly what they did this year!


CENTURY 21 Ocean & the 2019 Ron Jon’s Beach ’N Boards Fest

Located only a few steps away from the sand on Cocoa Beach, partnering together with Ron Jon's Beach ‘N Boards Fest makes perfect sense for CENTURY 21 Ocean. It provides an opportunity for their agents and employees to interact with residents, show gratitude to the community, and enjoy the perks that come along with an office situated just feet from the waves!

The annual festival has grown to become known as “the nation’s premier active lifestyle Spring Break destination”, offering attendees a variety of fun filled activities to keep them entertained and kick off the summer. 

The different exhibitions included beach-volleyball, beach-yoga, surfing, skateboarding, wakeboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, paddle board kayak-fishing and hydro-foil kite-boarding. Special guests such as CJ Hobgood (World Surf League World Champion), Bob McKnight (Co-founder & Previous CEO of Quicksilver) and Alexa Strange (2-time National Champion & All-American in beach-volleyball) attended this year’s festival, meeting with fans, event-goers, and even hosted some of the events.

No matter who you are, Ron Jon's Beach ‘N Boards Fest is a festival your sure to enjoy. Whether it’s watching the World Surf League sanctioned surf competition, signing up for a surf training session, watching the amazing wakeboard demos, participating in the killer kayak fishing tournament or competing in any of the beach volleyball challenges, each year the festival delivers as the perfect kick-off to summer!

Mitch Varnes, in his 7th year as Event Director, released the following statement at the end of the 7th Annual Beach ‘N Boards Fest:

“We are very excited that pretty much everything went off well for this year’s Beach ‘N Boards Fest. From the surfing to wakeboarding to skateboarding, to fishing to yoga to stand up paddle-boarding and all else, there was plenty of action for everyone. Thank you to all of our event partners, including CENTURY 21 Ocean, for making it such a success.”

Ricky Carroll & CENTURY 21 Ocean’s Epic 2019 Giveaway

This year, CENTURY 21 Ocean took it a step further! They not only decided to partner with Mitch and host a tent at the event, but they also decided to provide something extra for the event attendees and community!

With the help of Ricky Carroll, an award winning shaper and the founder of Ricky Carroll Surfboards, Barbara Schluraff and her team hosted a raffle providing event-goers the opportunity to win either an epic custom skateboard or custom surfboard! 


The CENTURY 21 Ocean raffle was open from the start of the weekend and went through the end of the last event. After the weekend was over, the winners of the raffle were chosen & then announced on the following Tuesday live from CENTURY 21 Ocean’s Facebook page!

The raffle was hosted at the CENTURY 21 Ocean stand located in front of the wakeboarding event area which featured the custom-made skateboard, surfboard and even a custom-sculpted sand castle! The weather added in to make it an incredible weekend and Ricky Carroll even showed off some of his skateboarding skills out by the tent.

Featured above is a photo of the winner of the custom skateboard and another of Ricky Carroll himself with the amazing custom surfboard he created.

Once again, in 2019 Ron Jon's Beach ‘N Boards Fest kicked off the Space Coast beach season in style and the CENTURY 21 Ocean team sent two local and lucky raffle winners home with a gift they’ll never forget! Enjoy your spring and summer and be sure to find us next year at the 8th annual Beach ‘N Boards Fest, in mid-March 2020!



Posted in Real Estate News
March 13, 2019

CENTURY 21 Ocean: The Future of Brevard County Real Estate

Barbara Schluraff is taking a different approach to buying and selling Real Estate in Brevard County …….and people are noticing!

As highlighted in this month’s article of Space Coast Business, Barbara and her team, Brevard By The Sea Group, at CENTURY 21 Ocean, see the Real Estate world through a different lens. They’re pushing the envelope and reinventing how agents, brokers, and clients work together - creating a shift in the usual process.

Barbara is utilizing her diverse knowledge from other industries to streamline the customer experience, providing CENTURY 21 Oceans’ partners with the highest value possible.

Rather than an agent being a jack-of-all-trades, Schluraff focuses her team specifically on what each agent does best, resulting in optimal outcomes for her clients. Her process aligns people with their strengths, creating a specialty group designed to get the job done!

Building & Supporting an All-Star Real Estate Team

Brevard By the Sea Group has put together an All-Star team to implement Schluraff’s vision. Chenay Strum, CENTURY 21 Ocean’s operations director, partners with Barbara to operate the agency on the idea that happy agents and employees, results in happy clients!

In order to meet this goal, we hire the top agents, and ensure they’re happy, Chenay has focused her efforts on increasing leads and bolstering industry credibility through a variety of online channels.

Chenay has identified that building a significant online footprint, resulting in warm leads and local credibility improves an agents’ work-life balance and allows them to focus their efforts on serving clients, as opposed to searching for new ones.

Additionally, Barbara & Chenay have created a unique role titled Customer Concierge.

This role is occupied by the talented Jessie Roberts, whose main objective is ensuring clients have an extremely positive customer experience, throughout their journey with CENTURY 21 Ocean. From being a constant point of contact to a community ambassador, Jessie's role is focused on clients and their ultimate satisfaction. 

There are over 200 tasks that a real estate agent does in the course of a transaction, most of which are behind the scenes. There is something to be said about the focused power of a team. Providing a high level of customer service while managing, servicing and acquiring new business would not be possible without a team of professionals composed of Buying and Listing Specialists, Client Care Center, Administrative Assistants, Marketing Department, etc.


Contact CENTURY 21 Ocean Today

Be sure to check out the March article of Space Coast Business to find out more about Barbara, Chenay, and the rest of the CENTURY 21 Ocean team.

You can also visit the CENTURY 21 Ocean website or call the team at (321)-323-1212 today, to find out how they can assist you in buying or selling your Brevard County home, apartment, or condo!


Posted in Real Estate News
March 12, 2019

CENTURY 21 Ocean | March 2019 | Real Estate News That Matters To You

How to Find the Perfect Neighborhood
By David Hakimi

Location, location, location. Half of buying a home is finding where you want to live. You may have found your dream house, but it might not be in your dream location.

Here's how you can find the perfect neighborhood: 


Check It Out Online
Look up what people are saying about the neighborhood you're interested in. Do people actually enjoy living there? What do they like and dislike about it?

Crime Stats
Google the crime statistics for the area; safety should be top of mind. If you have kids, look up schools in the area. How are they rated? Social media platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor also offer a great window into the ins and outs of your potential neighborhood.

Scout It Out
Literally. Do drive-bys, and do them at different times of the day to get a feel for the neighborhood. Is there a soccer field or baseball diamond close by? You'll want to know before it's too late whether cars will be lined up on your street every weekend. What's that nearby intersection like during rush hour? Is there a grocery store close by? The more questions you can answer before moving in, the more confident you’ll feel when it’s time to put down an offer.

How Far Is Your Potential Home From Your Job?
A long commute has the potential to become an everyday stressor. If you take the bus, look up the route and times. If you drive, check out the route during your normal commute times on Google Maps.

Do Your Research on Property Taxes
Property taxes greatly differ from one region to the next and could majorly impact your cost of living. Do your due diligence and make sure you can afford the area you want to live in. Check out other costs of living while you're at it—think utilities and food prices.


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Posted in Real Estate News
Feb. 7, 2019

CENTURY 21 Ocean | FEBRUARY 2019 | Real Estate News That Matters To You

2019's Hottest Home Decor
By Barbara Pronin

Comfort is trending for 2019, a consensus of home decorators agree, with more people seeking warm colors, intimate spaces, and a casual but sophisticated lifestyle.

Designers looking to pair physical coziness with emotional comfort forecast seven decor trends:


Scaled down furnishings - After years of favoring large furniture and open spaces, consumers are aiming for a ‘nesting’ environment and choosing smaller pieces arranged in more intimate settings.

Wall coverings - The return to traditionalism brings with it a return to wallpaper, fabric wall coverings and murals. Expect to see plenty of rich shades of green in fabric and wallpaper patterns.

Color changes - While blues and indigos have been huge in recent years, green is the new blue for 2019 and is likely to be used in everything from upholstery patterns to kitchen furnishings.

Color ‘pops’ - People are ditching beige minimalism in favor of fun colors, especially in family-friendly spaces. Yellow is the hottest color for small accent pieces–from ceramics to lamps to sofa pillows.

Warm woods and traditional styles - Antiques and even second-hand items are having their moment again, with consumers looking for skirted tables, wooden chests and other wood pieces with a sense of history.

Indoor and outdoor fireplaces - The coziness trend favors indoor fireplaces, working or not, with homey hearths as a nice spot to gather. Outdoors, fireplaces are preserving the joy of summertime barbecues.

Crafts and artisanal accents - In a world of increasing mass production, there has been a shift back to artisanal and boutique choices in pillows, wall hangings, quilts and other accent pieces all around the home. 

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Posted in Real Estate News
Jan. 15, 2019

CENTURY 21 Ocean | JANUARY 2019 | Real Estate News That Matters To You

Becoming a Home Maintenance Pro: Tips for Homeowners
By Dixie Somers decorative image Many homeowners don't think about home maintenance until something breaks, but that's not the best way to take care of your home. Whether you’re a new homeowner or have been settled for years, it’s never too late to cultivate some home maintenance habits. Here are three tips to help you protect your investment and keep your property in good shape for years to come:

Lawn Cross Section
Photo by Roberto Nickson

Create and Follow a Home Maintenance Schedule
A good place to start is by following a home maintenance schedule. Just as your car needs to have an oil change, your home and yard will need some regular maintenance. Home maintenance schedule apps such as HomeZada and Centriq are an easy way to get yourself on track.

You'll need to mow your lawn, clean your gutters and perhaps even top your trees from time to time. For pest control, you may need to spray or have ground treatment performed a few times a year, too. When it comes to appliances, make sure to send in any warranties and follow the maintenance recommendations in your owner’s manual. For older appliances, many documents can be found online.

Don't be afraid to do some research and speak with professionals about maintenance specific to your location.

Have All of Your Home Systems Checked Regularly
It's important to get your electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems checked annually to keep them in good shape. Some of these tasks can be done yourself; for instance, you might need to clean your air filters, remove debris from the vents and flush out your water heater.

For more technical inspections, check customer reviews on Yelp, Angie's List, Google, Facebook and the BBB when searching for a new company. Always go with one that is experienced, licensed, bonded and insured.

Follow a Cleaning Schedule
Home maintenance often focuses on repair work, but keeping your home clean can be just as important. In addition to once a week tasks such as vacuuming and dusting the shelves, deep cleaning every month or so can save you big in the long run. Moving furniture around, pulling out the washer and dryer to clean behind them and clearing out the garage gives you a chance to inspect for pest problems, water damage and similar issues that can quickly escalate into expensive repairs.

Being a homeowner is very rewarding on many levels, but homeownership comes with a great deal of responsibility. As long as you put in some effort on a regular basis, you should have no problem keeping your home in good repair.

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Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 18, 2018

CENTURY 21 Ocean | DECEMBER 2018 | Real Estate News That Matters To You

Tips for selling your home during the holiday season 

The holidays alone give you plenty to think about, but if you’re also trying to sell your home, the obligations tied to it become another thing on top of your pile. You need to sell your home and you need to do it fast.

The tips included here can help.

Be mindful of your decorating. If you’re trying to sell your home, keep your holiday decorating to a minimum. Remember that not every prospective buyer may celebrate the same holidays you do and you certainly don’t want them to feel alienated. In addition, large amounts of decorations can leave your house feeling cluttered. You want buyers to see your home, not the clutter you’ve added to it.

Hire the right real estate agent. This tip is applicable at any time of year but it’s especially important during the holidays. A REALTOR® that will be absent during the peak of the season isn’t going to be able to help you very much. Inquire about their availability during the holidays before choosing an agent to see if it coincides with your goals.

Priced right. Proper pricing can make all the difference in selling your home quickly. You don’t want to give it away, of course, but the holidays are no time to haggle needlessly. Work with your REALTOR® to find the right pricing for your home, and when the right deal comes through, accept it and move on to enjoying your holidays

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Posted in Real Estate News
Nov. 23, 2018

CENTURY 21 Ocean | NOVEMBER 2018

Real Estate News That Matters To You

How to sell your home fast 

No home seller enters the market hoping for a long, drawn-out sale of their home. Yet many sellers set themselves up for this eventual reality through mistakes made before their home even hits the market. To avoid this with your own home sale, here are five things you can do to sell your home fast.

Find the right REALTOR®  The right REALTOR® can help you determine the best price for your home based on the market, help your home get noticed and handle the negotiation process for you. Many potential buyers don’t want to buy a home directly from the owner and having a Realtor will help you reach them.

Price your home right — Your REALTOR® can help with this, but remember your home’s busiest days will be in the first month so don’t price your home outside of market value and miss this window. You don’t want to leave money on the table, but the right price is essential to move your home quickly.

Make small cosmetic updates From maintaining the lawn to a fresh coat of paint, a little extra work on the front end can move your home much more quickly. When buyers see your home, the last thing they should think is “more work.”

Clear the clutter —You want buyers to focus on your home, not the objects in it, so clear as much clutter as possible. The home shouldn’t be empty, but buyers shouldn’t be tripping as they navigate a tour either.

Photos count  —Great photos of your home — no nighttime pictures — are essential. Make sure your listing has them and supply new photos if it doesn’t.

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Posted in Real Estate News