Know What You're Getting Into First!
It happens in Florida all the time! People come and visit our beautiful area, fall in love with it, and then race out to buy their piece of the dream. This is especially true when it comes to the many new condominium complexes that are everywhere along Florida's Gulf coast. They look at the brochures, view the pictures, visit the complex and immediately sit down and write a purchase contract. But, wait! You need to know some things before you buy SW Florida real estate. If you don't know exactly what you are getting into, the consequences can be very costly. Thus, having a knowledgeable and trusted representative who can advise you about asking the right questions could save you thousands of dollars in closing costs and lots of "Buyer's Remorse."
Important Information to Consider Before Buying a SW FL Home
The most important advice we can impart to our clients is simple, "...buying your dream home in SW Florida should be exciting and enjoyable..." but get lots of knowledge first. You'll find it right here on our website - it's filled with information pertinent to purchasing a SW FL home.
Florida is a High Closing Cost State
Most buyers don't realize that Florida is classified as a "High Closing Cost" state. By the time you've met someone knowledgeable in this area, you may have already signed a purchase contract and have no idea just how expensive it is to close on your new property, especially with builders and developers, or by working with a listing agent who represents the seller's interest, not yours. That's why it's so important that you have your own representation when purchasing any SW Florida real estate.
Purchasing New Construction
Usually, the builder/developer expects you to pay the documentary stamp taxes, the owner's policy of title insurance, a pre-set amount into the community's "cap" fund, and perhaps a 1.50% fee for "his" costs. On a $300,000 purchase, these fees can easily amount to $10,000+ in additional closing costs, that are actually mostly negotiable. Knowing how to negotiate the best and fairest deal possible is the expertise the Realtors® of Gulf Coast Associates will assist you with when you decide to purchase. And, remember - builders and developers "cooperate" with agents...they expect you to come in with one and are grateful when you don't.
Also, new home buyers should be very aware! Your builder can't make a part of your new SW FL home purchase contract include that you are required to use their preferred mortgage lender or title company. It is a violation of both RESPA and FTC guidelines to require such conditions. The bottom line is that builders can entice you with incentives, but they can't threaten you with them. If you do feel threatened, file a complaint. For complaints on high-pressure tactics call RESPA Enforcement at 202-708-0502 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deed Restricted Communities
Purchasing a SW FL home in a deed restricted community may seem very confusing at first. Many homes and condos in Southwest Florida are in planned developments, both gated and non-gated. These types of communities are governed by homeowner's associations where the residents are required to comply with the recorded documents for how the property may be used. This is especially important when considering whether you may rent a second home, keep a beloved pet, or the number of guests you may have at any one time in your home, to name just a few. The term for this type of community is "deed restricted." The documents require that you comply with the rules and regulations of the community and pay some amount of fees for the upkeep and maintenance of the common elements of the community.
In Florida, if you buy a new construction condominium, you have fifteen (15) days to review the documents and decide if you wish to proceed. If it's an existing condominium, then you only have three (3) days to decide. Both of these time periods are from when you actually "receive a copy of the documents to review." Do not waive this time period – even if you need an attorney to review them – these documents control how you may use your property in the future and what you will be required to maintain.
These are just "some" of the issues you should be aware of before you decide to buy a SW FL home. With Gulf Coast Associates acting on your behalf as your trusted representative, you'll have someone on your side to guide you through the process. And, we'll be representing you – not the Seller or the Builder! We can assure you'll avoid those pitfalls you may negotiate when you write the purchase contract - as opposed to trying to change it after it's already signed.
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For more information on buying SW Florida real estate, call our office and speak with one of our Realtor® associates. We'd be happy to discuss all the options available for helping you buy a SW FL home. To ask a specific question about any SW Florida homes for sale, contact us directly. We'll be glad to help!
Real Estate Terms Glossary Index
Page Authored by Benjamin Dona of Gulf Coast Associates, Realtors