INVESTING IN A SECOND HOME
Buying a home may seem intimidating but can be made easy with the help of an experienced Real Estate Agent. With experience, we don’t only mean in Real Estate itself, but also in our area. At first glance two homes may seem to be equal but differ significantly in price. There is normally a reason, which can be explained by the experienced Agent.
When you find a few homes, send those you may be interested in us for evaluation. We can then point out positives and negatives as well as differences in the homes.
Things to think about in a search: Price, naturally you have a budget in mind. Size of the home. Age of the home. Pool or no pool. On the water or of water (your budget may decide this for you). In the event of waterfront, Gulf access or Freshwater (again your budget may steer you). Rear exposure. To some of us, it is important that the rear of the house faces a certain way. East for sunrise, West for sunset, South for maximum sun exposure, North for a cooler Lanai in the warm summer months.
When we have found several homes that seem interesting, we will make an appointment to visit the homes. Preferably at least one day’s notice to give the homeowner notice. After seeing your reaction to a few homes, we can better see what is important to you, and we may set up more showings based on your reaction.
When you have found a home that you would like to make an offer on, we will together make such an offer in writing. We are using standard so-called Far/Bar contracts, contracts that have been developed between the Florida Association of Realtors and The Florida Bar Association.
You will offer a certain amount for the house. You will state a time for closing, state if you are making it contingent upon financing or paying cash. You will put in due diligence or inspection period. You will state how much you will deposit into an Escrow account upon acceptance and maybe additional deposit after inspection. All of this makes your offer, and it is binding (except the contingencies listed in the contract) should the seller accept it as written. In the event the seller changes ANY part of your offer, it is considered a Counteroffer, and the ball is back in your corner to either accept or reject or another Counter to the Counter.
Note: Time for closing: 30 days is considered fast and can be used for cash transactions to make it interesting for the seller. 45 days is standard for financing. Any longer closings are part of the negotiations.
Once an offer is accepted, the contract will be given to a Title Company or Attorney for closing. Most times the seller will pick the Title Company and pay the Title Insurance and Documentary Stamps. The buyer usually only pays for costs related to financing plus a small “closing cost” of between $200-$400.
We have contacts for any kind of financing and will help guide you. For a Vacation Home, you most likely will need 30% down and you will pay a little higher interest than what you see advertised in media. Your individual credit rating or bank contact may let you get away with 20% down. For Foreign Nationals you will be asked to pay between 35-40% down payment.
On the day of closing, you will be asked to wire funds to the Title Company. Documents can be signed in advance, and technically you do not need to be present. In the case of financing, there are many documents to be signed, and many of them must be notarized. In other words, it will be easier if you are present. You will be given access to the house on the day of closing.
UTILITIES AND INSURANCE
You will need to have electricity and water in your name as the day of the closing. We can assist in this. We can also assist you in obtaining insurance for the house prior to closing. You may need to have Hazard Insurance as well as Flood Insurance depending on where the house is located and if you have financing or not. Again, we can assist you and tell you if a house is in a flood zone or not.
TURNING IT INTO A VACATION PROPERTY
Once all the above is in place, it’s a great addition to your property investment to make your second home into a Vacation Property.
Owning a vacation home should be a fun and rewarding experience. We provide complete Vacation Home Management Services to meet the needs of both homeowners and tenants in all our locations, so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your home is in safe hands.