Thursday, February 26, 2015

Notice: The Rules Have Changed

Dear owners, 

In light of recent events, the Board of Directors has amended the rules and regulations and added the new rules listed below. Please be advised that we will be enforcing the new rules strictly and violations will be subject to a $100 fine per occurrence after notice of first violation. These rules are added for the benefit of all and are intended to make our life here at Cocoa Beach Cosmopolitan more harmonious. Thank you for your cooperation.

Board of Directors
Cocoa Beach Cosmopolitan Condo Association

  • Renters and guests are not allowed to have pets on the premises.
  • Pets must weigh less than 20 pounds.
  • No more than one pet per unit.
  • Maximum four occupants in any unit.
  • No unit may be rented more than two times per year.
  • Minimum rental period is one month.
  • Clubhouse may not be used for children's birthday parties.
  • The south pool is limited to persons age 21 and over.
  • No one person may own more than 3 units.
  • Owners renting their unit must use on-site management.

Is this legal? Can the Board make new rules restricting my use of my unit without a vote of the association? Luckily, no. They cannot. That fact does not stop many from doing so, however. I have seen several of the rules above adopted by misguided Boards under the assumption that they have the authority to change or restrict owners' use rights by merely changing or adding rules with a vote of the Directors. The law is very specific about this. If your Association has adopted new rules that change the original use restrictions in the Declaration without a vote of the association, they have probably violated their duty and the changes are not valid. They do have the authority to adopt new rules for things other than use restrictions.  For more info on this read this excellent post by attorney, Jean Winters. 

Ultimately, if people lose their willingness to recognize that there are times in our history when legality becomes distinct from morality, we aren’t just ceding control of our rights to government, but our agency in determining our futures. ___Edward Snowden

Monday, February 23, 2015

Under the Hood February 2015

How's the market doing? I get this question almost daily. I don't have to look at MLS stats to know that it is on fire. We continue to have more demand than supply and the cold, snowy winter up north is fanning the demand flames.

Since the first of February, 59 units have gone under contract in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. Total MLS for sale inventory of condos and townhomes in the two cities is 261 units this morning. Considering the current rate of 2.5 units a day going under contract, the supply is likely to remain low.

The Cocoa Beach MLS is showing 69 closed condos and townhomes since January 1 in our two cities and 13 single family homes. Of the 69 sold units, 49 sold without ever dropping the asking price. They closed for an average of 94% of asking and 30 of them sold in a month or less on the market. Compare this to the average 149 days on market for the twenty units that had to reduce their asking price to sell.

An interesting side note is that only one of the six bank-owned units closed at or above asking price. This is reflective of the banks' recent too-optimistic pricing.

Cash accounted for 72% of all condo purchases so far this year. This trend is likely to persist as underwriting has gotten even more strict for condos with many underwriters now requiring forms of insurance that were rarely mentioned in the past and that many associations do not have. Buyers using a mortgage would be prudent to get the condo questionnaire from their lender to the Board of the condo as early in the process as possible in case the association's insurance is not up to snuff.

Take-away for buyers: Identify your property type and either search the MLS daily or have your agent set up an email auto-alert directly from the MLS. You are likely not the only one looking for the same type of property. The stats above tell us that the priced-right units will be gone in less than a month. The 94% of asking average also tells us that a lowball offer is not likely to work. If you will be getting a mortgage please consider using a local lender. Your internet loan officer or cousin at First National back home will tell you they can close on a Florida condo but history tells us that they fail to close far more often than the local lenders.

Take-away for sellers: Price it right to start with and it will sell quickly. It is very easy to know what your unit is likely to bring by looking at recently sold comparable properties and adjusting accordingly for condition and other details. What you would like to get is probably more than what the market is willing to deliver. Be realistic. If you don't trust your agent, get a different one.

The weather the last two days has been wonderful, temps in the 70s with very light winds. The forecast high in Cocoa Beach today is 78 with slightly cloudy skies and a westerly breeze of less than 10 MPH.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed the day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
_____________________Louis Armstrong

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sorry Lady, Forgot The Month

I'm back. Sorry for the long break in posts. Google's very protective two-step authentication shut my access down during my time in Abaco. My welcome home first sunrise in Cocoa Beach this morning at left.

On my first partial day back in Cocoa Beach yesterday a nice lady snowbird shook her fist at me from her minivan in the Publix parking lot because she apparently thought my driving pace too casual. Whatever. The streets, Post Office, grocery stores and golf course are jammed to the max with winter visitors, some of them, judging from my encounter yesterday, with their back-home attitudes intact. Protect yourselves accordingly.

Sales of properties in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral this January lagged last January's numbers considerably. There were 46 condos and 11 single family homes closed in the month this year compared to sixty and seven, respectively in 2014. The sold single family homes were skewed to the lower end of the price range with seven of the sales closing for prices below $300,000, all non-waterfront. The four waterfront homes sold closed at prices between $475,000 and $700,000. None of the eleven were short sales and only one was bank-owned.

The 46 closed condos and townhomes were evenly distributed in price with the bottom quarter closing for less than $100,000 and the top quarter closing at prices above $240,000, seven of those between $300,000 and $799,000. Over 70% of all condo sales closed for cash. Three of the condos were short sales and six were bank-owned.

Our current inventory has increased somewhat with the Cocoa Beach MLS reporting 271 units for sale this morning in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. Five of those are short sales and sixteen are bank-owned. There are 64 single family and half-duplexes for sale. None of them are short sales and four are bank-owned.

The sales in January confirmed the continuing upward trend of selling prices. Barring some unforeseen event, with the robust demand for properties, I think we can expect that to continue. Good luck if you're looking to purchase and resist the urge to lowball. The current dynamic guarantees that that routine has a very low chance of success.

Winter rules are in place.
  • Tee times are absolutely necessary unless golfing after 3 PM. 
  • Add at least 15 minutes drive time for any drive through the main part of Cocoa Beach. 
  • Wear protective and/or padded clothing for grocery store trips and under no circumstances approach the free coffee stand at Publix. 
  • Avoid the "Express Checkout-10 items or less" line
  • Tip your servers and be nice to them.
  • Be very aware walking if crossing driveways on the sidewalk.
  • DO NOT wave waiting cars into traffic ahead of you. It's not polite. It's dangerous.

"Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come." __Robert H. Schuller

Winging Back - New Post Shortly