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    Discover How to Utilize Florida-Friendly Landscaping

    New land use policies and consumer demand are driving changes in landscape design and maintenance in residential and commercial developments. Throughout the state, communities, developers and landscape professionals are embracing Florida-friendly landscaping practices that conserve water, reduce runoff of fertilizers and minimize need for pesticides. View multi-media stories about those who have gone Florida-friendly. (1)

    Whether you are new to Florida or have lived here all of your life, learn how to protect Florida’s environment. Get started in your own back yard by implementing the Nine Principles of Florida-friendly landscaping listed below. Learn to landscape and garden the Florida way – the smart way to grow! (2)

    Nine Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping Tutorial

    Florida Friendly Interactive Yard

    Home Water Use Animation and Survey

    1. [Online] http://www.floridayards.org/professional/index.php.

    2. [Online] http://www.floridayards.org/grow/grow.php.

    5 Benefits of Using a Real Estate Professional for New Construction

    4/3/15 – It might not seem necessary to involve a real estate professional in a transaction where a buyer can deal directly with a builder.  However, by using a real estate professional, you have someone to protect your interests and guide you along the right path.  Here are 5 advantages to using a real estate professional when buying a newly constructed home.

    1. A Realtor represents you at no cost.

    The builder pays your agent’s commission. You enjoy individual attention and support at no cost to you.

    2.  The builder’s sales agent represent the builder, not you.

    The sales agent who greets you in a model home works on behalf of the builder and is not necessarily a Realtor.  Using your own Realtor to oversee your purchase ensures you are being represented by an industry professional who is focused soley on your best interests.

    3. Builder contracts can be negotiated.

    An experienced Realtor knows that the standard builder contract presented to buyers in a builder’s sales office can be negotiated.  From upgrade options to financing and closing costs, your dedicated agent will work to your benefit before you sign a contract.

    4. A Realtor will help you understand the contract.

    Sales contracts are lengthy and involve many aspects of a transaction; financing, deposits, time frames, whether you will have an independent inspection, etc.  You will appreciate having the expertise of a knowledgable Realtor to make sure you understand how the process will flow once you have purchased a home to be constructed.  Click here for an extreme example of what can happen when you don’t have a sales professional assisting with details.

    5. A Realtor will match you with the right community.

    A builder’s sales representative is can review the features of a neighborhood yet to be built, but a Realtor will look out for your best interest when it comes to researching important points such as flood plains, property tax variances, potential for commercial construction in your “back yard,” changing school zones, and much more.


    If you are considering a new home purchase, put a Britton Group agent’s command of real estate to work for you!  Click here for our many testimonials from happy clients.


    Plan ahead for closing costs with a Britton Group expert

    March 26, 2015 – According to recent surveys (1), more than a third of people shopping for a home are not aware of standard closing costs charged to buyers.  For millennials, aged 18-34, more than two-thirds do not know about these costs.   Closing cost charges vary from transaction to transaction, but are frequently between 2 to 5 percent of the total purchase price of a home, a significant cost for which to plan .

    Most home buyers understand interest rates are a main contributor to the overall cost of buying a home, but an experienced Realtor can alert you to abnormal lender fees, keep you apprised of typical costs for a home inspection, and explain the local and state taxes that are part of a real estate sale to name a few!  You can become better educated about these charges well in advance of your home search by using a Britton Group agent.

    Start your search on our page here.  Check out our searchable map on our main page or click here to start an advanced search.   Save your searches, get updates on your favorite homes, and ask to be contacted by one of the Britton Group experts when you are ready.

    1. News and Events. Florida Realtors. [Online] March 26, 2015. http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=321327.

    Why the Zillow “Zestimate” is Not as Accurate as You Think

    Zillow says of its own  Zestimates,  “As a real estate professional one thing you are always doing is educating your clients on all things real estate. The Zestimate is no different. Armed with an understanding of how the Zestimate is calculated and the Zestimate Data Accuracy table, you can explain – and show Zillow’s own accuracy numbers and talk about why the Zestimate is a good starting point as well as a historical reference, but it should not be used for pricing a home.” (1)

    According to Zillow’s own data for Brevard County, the majority of homes sold (almost 80%) between December 2014 and February 4th, 2015, had a Zestimate that was 20% off from the actual sales price.  If your home sold for $200,000 during that time, Zillow would have potentially given it a Zestimate as low as $160,000 or as high as $240,000. (2)

    While Zillow is a popular tool to use at the moment, the Zillow computers applying algorithms to often outdated sales data is not a substitute for a professional analysis.  Banks do not use Zestimates to write loans on properties, appraisers do not cull data from Zillow to appraise a home’s value, and Realtors do not rely on Zestimates to create a true market analyses for your home’s worth.  This is because all these professionals know a local expert can do what a computer program cannot.  To list a few items that a licensed Realtor can provide:

    • Tour comparable properties to know their actual interior condition
    • Keep track of homes that were bank-owned vs. owner-occupied
    • Have local expertise on construction prices and actual costs of items such as an extra bedroom or fireplace in a comparable home
    • Truly accurate sales data via the Multiple Listing Service including concessions made during a sale, e.g. $5,000 to buyer to compensate for an unusable deck

    Britton Group agents are long-time residents of our communities, and can assist you with a complimentary market analysis of your home and area neighborhoods.  Contact us to let us know how we can help you!

    1. Zillow. Zillow. [Online] [Cited: February 6th, 2015.] https://zillow.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/203340324-How-can-real-estate-pros-work-with-the-Zestimate-.
    2. Zillow. Zillow. [Online] [Cited: February 6th, 2015.] http://www.zillow.com/howto/DataCoverageZestimateAccuracyFL.htm.