If you are planning on buying a home in southwest Florida this winter this article will help to ensure your success.
As season in Florida approaches there are many people who are planning on purchasing a home in southwest Florida this winter. Many of our buyers have secured a place to stay this winter some have been coming here for years and have decided that it is time for them to buy their winter home in this tropical paradise.
Every year snowbirds flock to southwest Florida to escape the harsh winters up north. I have watched the pattern for years and it remains the same every year. Beginning in October serious buyers head to Florida with intentions to purchase a home before the crowds hit and while the selection is good. Although October through December is not as busy as January through April the people that are here during that time are on a mission to secure a home in Florida. So even though there are not as many buyers here during the shoulder season the number of homes sold increases tremendously.
Like clockwork on January 15th its like someone opened the flood gate. People from all over the world arrive in south west Florida. You can actually see the immense difference in the number of people everywhere you turn, from the traffic on the roads, waterways, beaches, grocery stores, churches, malls and all the area attractions.
In the real estate business, we really feel the effects. Phones are constantly ringing. People are visiting our offices and the number of showings on listings snowball. More and more people are realizing that we have an incredible location situated adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico and offering a complete package with everything they come to southwest Florida for. You will find it all in Venice, Englewood, Cape Haze, Placida, Port Charlotte, Boca Grande, Punta Gorda, Manasota Key, Palm Island as well as Little Gasparilla Island. Some of the best beaches in the world are located on Boca Grande and Englewood's Manasota Key beaches. The area abounds with natural beauty and wildlife at it's best. This area is off the beaten path and not spoiled by concrete jungles and industrial parks like you will find in many other areas. It is truly like being in one big beautiful tropical paradise surrounded by blue-green water everywhere you look. If you are a golfer the selection of golf courses is endless, if you are a water lover, its everywhere, like to fish, this area is second to none and the list goes on. No matter what you come to south west Florida for, we have it all.
Back to the real estate end since that is what many of you are here for, to buy a home.
Forget everything you know about how real estate sales work where you are from, this is a different market.
This is not an area where if your home is listed for sale you may get a showing this week or maybe a half dozen showings a month or be on the market for a year. This is a high demand and intense market where sellers will get a tremendous amount of activity from now through May. Average time of resale here is about 90 days and that decreases as we come into season.
If you are selling a home here and it is priced correctly it will be GONE THIS WINTER, without exception. You will find that most sellers will NOT take contracts contingent on selling your home up north in order to buy this one here. About the only contingencies we see here are inspections and financing. We have a very intense market here where there are more buyers then there are homes for sale. For this reason, sellers are not willing to take their home off the market and miss the season. A normal market is a 6 month supply of homes, that means that based on the current number of closed homes if sales were to remain the same that is how long the supply of homes would last before being exausted. In this area of south west Florida we have approximately a 3 month supply! This is why there are so many new homes being built and they are already sold before construction begins.
If you truly want to get the best deal on a home in southwest Florida there are some things that you can do to increase your chances.
1) Find a great Realtor who knows this market and the inventory. The agent you choose should know the area and inventory well. He or she should know what homes are selling for per square foot, what to look for in a home, location and construction. If you are looking at water front they should know the water and be familiar with what the water has to offer including depth, tides, bridges and time to open water. They should also be able to assist you in all aspects of the purchase from offer to closing.
2) Be prepared. If you are financing, have a current pre approval letter from a known lender. Sellers feel more confident if you have a pre approval from a major lender who does business in Florida as opposed to a bank up north that may or may not lend in Florida.
3) Be flexible on closing time. Many sellers prefer a quick closing, which can be a great negotiating tool and make your offer more attractive. Be prepared also in the event that the seller wants to be here for the winter or they have seasonal tenants booked for the season. You can still offer a quick closing as an incentive and offer a leaseback to the seller. If it is rented to a seasonal tenant, in many cases you can close and then you can receive the income from the seasonal rental.
4) Keep the offer simple and clean. Remember this can be a stressful time when someone is selling thier home that they have been in for years. Try to make your offer easy for them to accept, do not muddy it up with contingencies and personal effects that they may be attached to.
5) Lowball offers may work in some areas with some sellers. They don't work here. You can get a great deal on a home here since prices are on average 40% less than they were 7 years ago, but you also need to be realistic.
Sellers do not react well to crazy lowball offers so you run the risk of insulting them and then they become less flexible and sometimes even shut down. This is especially where having an experienced agent comes is important. An experienced agent can pull up recent sales of comparable properties that have sold within the last 90 days or so. This will give you an idea of where that particular seller is priced in the market, high, medium or low. If similar homes are selling at $150 per square foot and this home is priced at $130 psf, then this seller may not be as flexible on his asking price. He does not have to be since he is the best deal around. If he is priced at $180 psf then we know he is on the high end of the spectrum. It may be best to have your agent discuss this with the sellers agent so he or she can point out why it is priced so far above what similar homes have sold for.
6) Last but not least, rememeber there is no perfect home, even if you build a custom home you will find there are some things you would change. So be open minded and look at the whole package and consider the pros and cons of each home within your criteria. Most importantly, when you find the home that is right for you, act on it. If you don't, someone else will. It's not one of these things that may or may not happen. It will happen.
We specialize in listing and selling waterfront properties in southwest Florida. We can work for you as a buyers agent and our services are free to you since the seller pays the selling expenses not you as the buyer. Put our 30 years experience to work for you to ensure you get the best deal on your dream home in southwest Florida this season.
Capt Bob & Kelly Davies 941-468-4485
Allison James Estates & Homes