Treasure Coast Real Estate News

This Treasure Coast real estate blog originated out of a need to provide valuable Treasure Coast real estate market information to our clients and website visitors. The tips, trends, news articles, market updates, and informational pieces you find on this site are our original content, and we take a lot of pride in being about to offer you expert information about the Treasure Coast real estate market. If you have any thoughts, ideas, or questions about anything we post here, we'd love to talk with you!

Nov. 4, 2022

What to Look For When Buying a House

What to Look For When Buying a House

Buying a home is a huge decision, one that can be both exciting and stressful. It's important that you do your research before buying so that you don't end up with a money pit on your hands. In this article, we'll go over some tips for how to get started in finding the perfect house for you.

Pick the Right Neighborhood

  • Look for the right schools. This should be one of the first things you consider when looking for a new home, as it can have a huge impact on your children's education, their future career prospects and even their health. Check out Treasure Coast homes for sale and cross reference them with the school zoning that you feel best suits your needs.

  • Consider the neighborhood. You don't want to live in an area that has a bad reputation, so do some research before committing yourself to buying in a particular neighborhood. Find out if it has any amenities close by (a park or shopping mall), whether there are other families with young children living there or whether it's mostly retirees who've moved in recently. A good rule of thumb is that if you're looking at an area where over half of the homes are less than 20 years old, then chances are that this is somewhere where younger people live too—and therefore more likely to feel comfortable with kids running around outside!

  • Research crime rates within walking distance from each potential property using resources like Neighborhood Scout’s Crime Map Search tool (https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/crime/). Remember: "the most dangerous part of town" isn't always defined by location alone! For example; communities may experience higher crime rates due to high number density such as apartment buildings whereas others could have lower risk factors due their proximity

Find a Great Real Estate Agent

When looking to buy a home, you should find a realtor with a good reputation and ask them for references. You should also check online reviews of the builder and realtor before you choose one to work with. You will want to look at their licensing, insurance coverage, and financial stability before making your decision.

Ensure the House Has a Strong Foundation

You should also look for signs of water damage or termite damage. Check the crawl space, basement and attic as well as the garage to make sure there's no sign of leaks.

Look at the Roof & Surrounding Trees

  • Roof: Check for leaks, erosion and other signs of damage. If you find evidence of any problems, make sure the seller fixes them before closing. The roof can be inspected from the ground or from a ladder.

  • Trees: Check if trees are growing too close to your home by measuring their height and their distance from the house's walls. If they are too close, they may cause damage at some point in the future when they grow larger (and therefore heavier).

Check the Houses' Plumbing System

  • Check for leaks and damage.

  • Check for hot and cold water flow. If the tap runs only hot or only cold, this is an indication of a problem with your pipes or valves. Fortunately most Martin County homes have updated plumbing, so this typically isn't a common problem.

  • Check sinks, toilets, faucets and drains for clogs or leaks. If you notice that any drains are slow to drain waste away from your home, it could mean that there is something blocking them. You can use a plunger to unclog drains if you know how to do so safely; however, if you don’t have experience with plumbing then it may be best to call in a professional instead of risking personal injury by attempting repairs yourself without knowing what you are doing first!

  • Look at water pressure: The amount of pressure in the water system depends on where the house is located relative to its source (such as city water supply or well). If there isn't enough pressure coming through when using any fixtures such as showers then this could indicate that there may be issues with pipes not being able to handle higher demand beyond normal usage levels during peak hours when everyone comes home from work/school/etcetera etcetera...

Home Electric is Safe and Updated

If the current wiring was put in before 1950, it's time to get a professional electrician to check it out. In that case, you need to know if anything is unsafe and whether or not it's been updated. If you aren't sure about this, talk with the seller about what they know about the home's electrical system, and have a licensed electrician come in for an inspection. If you go with Treasure Coast new construction homes, they should be more modernized. 

You'll also want to look at outlets and switches; make sure they're all working properly. Also check any exposed wires near walls or ceilings that could be a fire hazard (they should be behind drywall).

Have a Home Inspection

You should have a home inspection done before you make any final decisions about buying a house.

The inspector will look for evidence of:

  • structural damage or deterioration

  • electrical system problems, including overloaded panels and improperly grounded wiring

  • plumbing leaks, which can be caused by corroded pipes or defective valves, faucets and fixtures; missing gaskets on water heaters may also cause leaks (fixing the problem will cost at least $500)

  • heating system problems like broken ducts and blower motors that need replacing

  • If you're in gated communities, the inspector will need access but will not check common areas of the neighborhood.

Look Outside and Inside of the House

Once you have the chance to do a walkthrough of the home, take a good look at its surroundings. Are there any signs of flooding or erosion? Check for any damage to the roof and other areas that could be prone to leaks. Look for any holes in the walls, ceiling, or foundation. Make sure there are no termites or other pests lurking around; these can cost extra money down the road.

All in all, when buying a home it’s important to keep your eyes open for potential problems so that you can make an educated decision about whether or not this is where you want to live long-term!

Don't Leave a Stone Unturned in Real Estate

If you're like most buyers, you'll get the most use out of your home by making sure it's in good shape. A home inspector can help with this process. However, it's important to understand exactly what a home inspector does and what they won't do. Home inspectors are hired to check out every detail of a property. They will give an opinion on whether or not those details meet city codes and generally stand up over time but don't offer opinions about things like resale value or potential for growth in the neighborhood or market area. This you can get from checking sold homes in the area and deducting a value.

Home inspectors do not make recommendations regarding repairs or improvements (they're not contractors) so if there are any major issues that need immediate attention - such as no heat during winter months - please contact us directly before moving forward with purchasing decision making process!

Conclusion

If you are unlucky enough to find a home that needs work, make sure you know who will be doing the work. You should also get an estimate from at least two different contractors so that you have an idea of what it will cost before starting the project. If possible, try to avoid buying a house that is in need of repairs because these can be very expensive and time-consuming.

Posted in Tips & Advice
Nov. 3, 2022

Benefits of Living on the Treasure Coast of Florida

Benefits to Living on the Treasure Coast

Introduction

As a resident of Treasure Coast real estate, you have access to an abundance of natural beauty, culture and community that other areas just can't match. Consider these benefits:

Location, Location, Location.

The Treasure Coast is in the center of Florida, and it's also a great place to live, work and play. If you're looking for a place to raise your family, or just want to enjoy everything that Florida has to offer, this is definitely a location worth considering.

The Treasure Coast is close enough to Orlando and Tampa that residents can take advantage of many of the attractions those cities have to offer. And it's far enough away from Fort Lauderdale that locals don't have any problems finding parking spaces on the beach when they’re looking for some exciting daytime activities!

Beaches and Parks.

At the beach, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean. The feel of the sand between your toes is a wonderful feeling. You can lay out in the sun or swim in clear water. If you prefer, there are also many parks to visit on land. With all these options, it's easy to see why families love living on the Treasure Coast!

Safety and Low Crime Rates.

Living on the Treasure Coast means living in a safe community. According to FBI crime statistics, Martin County has the lowest crime rate in the country. The Treasure Coast is considered one of America's safest communities!

With such a low crime rate, it is easy to let your guard down and enjoy your time here without having to worry about safety issues or child safety concerns. You can feel comfortable letting your children travel around town without worrying about them getting into trouble or being caught up in any dangerous situations while they're out and about. Similarly, seniors who are looking for an ideal retirement destination will love that Martin County offers them a safe environment where they can age gracefully without having any worries about their health or personal safety being compromised by criminals or other people intent on harming others for their own gain...

Arts, Culture and Community Events.

The Treasure Coast provides an array of arts, culture and community events. You'll find the area's art scene to be alive with galleries and museums featuring local artwork. The theater scene boasts a variety of companies that provide a wide range of plays for you to enjoy. And if you're looking for outdoor entertainment, there are festivals held throughout the year that celebrate everything from summer fruits like strawberries to winter holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Weather.

The Treasure Coast has a subtropical climate, with warm and humid summers. The average temperature is 76 degrees Fahrenheit and the average rainfall is 50 inches per year.

Camping and Hiking Adventures.

Camping can be an excellent way to spend your time during the off-season, and on the Treasure Coast it's easy to get away from it all. From wooded campsites with privacy fences and picnic tables to RV parks with everything you need in one place, there are many options for camping on the Treasure Coast.

The Treasure Coast also has many parks where you can go hiking or find other ways to enjoy nature while staying close to home. Learn more about what being outdoors can mean for you by browsing our list of local parks here!

There are plenty of reasons to live in the Treasure Coast area.

There are many reasons why the Treasure Coast is a great place to live. If you’re looking for an area with plenty of opportunities, a thriving economy, and lots of friendly people, then this area might just be perfect for you.

Here are some other benefits:

  • The climate is perfect with year-round sunshine and temperatures ranging from low 70s during winter to high 90s during summer.

  • You will find exciting events taking place all throughout the year including festivals and concerts at various locations in St Lucie County.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the benefits of living in the Treasure Coast. If you’re looking to relocate or just want to learn more, we can help! Call us today at 772-444-7691 and let us know what your needs are.

Posted in Tips & Advice
Oct. 6, 2022

Finding the Best Neighborhoods in Stuart Florida

When you're searching for the best neighborhoods in Stuart, Florida, it's very difficult to narrow down the list. There are dozens of amazing Stuart neighborhoods and identifying which ones stick out usually depends on a buyer's needs and criteria. Our goal is to point out a few neighborhoods in Stuart that provide very different benefits to residents so you can see the broad spectrum that Stuart real estate can offer. If you have any questions about some of these neighborhoods, or the homes for sale within them, get in touch with us to get more information. 

Mariner Village

One of the most frequently searched neighborhoods in Stuart, Mariner Village offers beautiful single-family homes and townhomes that fit many price ranges. You can find entry-level pricing for first-time buyers, as well as larger pool homes that could be on one of the community's lakes. Mariner Village has modest amenities for homeowners, such as a community pool and tennis courts, with a lower monthly fee around $250 per month. The homes were also built in the last 1990s and early 2000s, so most of the properties are new compared to other Stuart homes. 

Tres Belle

An exclusive gated community of only 167 homes, Tres Belle caters to a more luxurious taste. There are many multi-million dollar estates in Tres Belle, and most of the properties are around a half of an acre or more. Tres Belle homes can be as large as 5,000 square feet and many also have a view of surrounding preserves and ponds. While there are many gated communities in Stuart, Tres Belle sets itself apart with its private, yet central, location. Homes in Tres Belle often boast elegant updates such as high ceilings, outdoor kitchens, and large master suites.

Lost River

Nestled along the south fork of the St. Lucie River, Lost River is another Stuart community that is in high demand. Lost River homes have been a chosen destination for those seeking an affordable route to boating, fishing, and ocean access without needs to pay exorbitant prices. With just over 100 homesites, Lost River has quickly become one of the more popular spots for anyone searching waterfront homes in Stuart, although the neighborhood is a little further south than most others in the city. Lost River real estate is just a couple of minutes to I-95, but it is around 15 minutes away from the historic Downtown Stuart area.

South River

As one of the only community of Stuart condos on the list, South River is heavily-searched online and has a lot of eyes on the new units that come up for sale. South River is also one of the only 55 plus neighborhoods in Stuart that we included in the list, which says something about how the neighborhood differentiates itself from similar options in the area. South River condos have a community dock along the river in the back of the neighborhood, and they provide many other comforts to owners. South River is just off of Kanner Highway, making it simple to get from the neighborhood to just about anywhere you'd need to be in Martin County. 

Highpointe

A trending community in Stuart, Highpointe is a gated community of 284 homes being constructed. There are not many new construction homes in Stuart, so Highpointe has stuck out to locals and out-of-town prospective buyers that are looking for a modernized home that is move in ready. Highpointe homes will feature a few different collections to potential buyers, offering eleven different floor plans and some level of customizability. There will be resort-style facilities such as a pool, fitness center, and even a community dog park. There are few neighborhoods in Stuart that will be able to compete with the contemporary appeal of Highpointe.

Summerfield

When you're thinking of Stuart neighborhoods, it would be remiss to exclude on of the golf communities in Stuart. That's where Summerfield comes in, just outside of the Champion's Club 18-hole course. Summerfield sits on hundreds of acres of natural preserve land, which many of the single-family homes in the neighborhood rest beside. There are a diverse range of sizes and styles within Summerfield, broadening the appeal of the community for those searching in Stuart. When you live in Summerfield, you do not have to be a member of the golf club, which is something many owners want to avoid to keep association dues fairly reasonable.

Are these the best neighborhoods in Stuart, Florida? That largely depends on you and your needs. While these are certainly among the most popular neighborhoods in Stuart, the term "best" is subjective. If you are searching for the right home, or neighborhoods in Stuart, get in touch with us today to learn what options might be best for you and your desires.

Posted in Tips & Advice
Aug. 22, 2022

Top New Construction Communities in Stuart

There are a lot of new construction homes in Stuart that have been going on the past year or two. With all of the development, you might be wondering what are the best new homes in Stuart that are available to you. New construction homes offer a ton of benefits, including lower insurance costs and less maintenance costs for the initial years of ownership. You also are able to get financing benefits from many of the builders who are putting up most of the new homes around Stuart.

That said, how do you know which new construction homes best fit your needs? We went over some of the most popular new construction communities in Stuart right now, so you can research what they offer and if they fit your criteria. While home builders websites can offer plenty of information, they don't provide an unbiased comparison and their aim is to sell you. Below, we objectively breakdown new construction homes in Stuart and how they might best address your needs.

Banyan Bay

Banyan Bay is a gated community in Stuart with new construction homes built as late as 2021. The neighborhood sits on 250 acres of land and features a coastal design throughout. Banyan Bay has been a desirable option for those searching for new construction homes in Stuart because of the variety of properties available. New homes in Banyan Bay range between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet and from 2 to 4 bedrooms, which provides flexibility for different individuals.

The Preserve at Avonlea

Preserve at Avonlea New Construction

The Preserve at Avonlea is another great option for those looking for maintenance-free living in a new construction home. These are brand new townhomes that feature three different floor plans and boast open, airy layouts. New homes in The Preserve at Avonlea also come with great upgrades like impact windows and elegant finishes. 

Many buyers looking for new construction homes in Stuart want amenities in the community, and this is something you get in The Preserve at Avonlea. The neighborhood has a community pool and playground with very minimal association fees.

Ocean Cove

Ocean Cove New Townhomes Stuart FL

Another community of new construction townhomes in Stuart is Ocean Cove, which offers 80 brand new homes very close to the beach and downtown Stuart. The layout of the new homes in Ocean Cove are a bit smaller, ranging from 1,637 to 1,814 square feet, but they also come with modernized kitchens and a spacious design. Originally constructed by Pulte, Ocean Cove townhomes take care of many expenses for residents, including high-speed internet and fiber-optic network throughout the community.

In deciding what kind of new homes in Stuart best interest you, you'll want to decide if a townhome is something you would consider. While there are plenty of benefits to going with a townhome, you don't get as much property as you would get in a similar new construction home that is a stand along single-family house.

River House

For a luxurious detour, we'll look at the classy River House condos in Stuart. There are 20 townhomes and condos in River House that have become very popular among new construction homes in Stuart since they are in the heart of downtown Stuart. River House condos also offer exquisite features and finishes such as gourmet appliances and high vaulted ceilings while also providing a 15-slip marina and community pool.

When compared to other new construction in Stuart, River House stands out for its opulence and location. Just down the street is Cleveland Clinic, which makes the real estate very feasible for healthcare workers in the area.

Sailfish Cove

Continuing the luxury appeal are the new condos in Sailfish Cove, which are right on the St. Lucie River near Downtown Stuart. These new construction condos give you the opportunity to relax on the rooftop terrace, walk to local shops and restaurants, and enjoy the contemporary architecture of the building. Sailfish Cove condos stick out among other new construction in Stuart as it has become known for its luxury livability and highly-elevated mixed-use usability. The new community also has retail spaces to incorporate more than just residential living.

Seaside Townhomes

Our last stop when looking at the best communities of new construction in Stuart are the gorgeous Seaside Townhomes. Seaside townhomes in Stuart were built between 2020 and 2021 and all models were built with energy efficiency in mind. The new community in Stuart is also in the center of Stuart, which is rare for new homes in Stuart as available land is not as plentiful. Enjoy the pool and cabana within the Seaside Townhomes neighborhood, or walk across the street to the local dog park. These new construction townhomes might be what you're looking for if 

When you're searching for the best new construction in Stuart, there are many things to keep in mind. Not all home builders or new communities provide the same in terms of amenities, maintenance fees, or designs. Some new construction communities also provide varying restrictions on pets, types of vehicles that can be onsite, and how or if you can rent the property out. 

If you are interested in learning more about the best new communities, or other standalone new construction in Stuart, we specialize in giving you all of the information you need to make the buying or selling process as simple as possible. When you're ready to take the next step, contact us to get more info regarding new construction in Stuart, Florida. 

 

Posted in Tips & Advice
July 28, 2022

Buying a Home in Florida: 2022 ULTIMATE Guide

Buying a home is an exciting time whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a multi-home veteran. Visions of making a new home your own, entertaining friends and family, and making memories there are the best part of starting the home-buying process. 

That said, even seasoned home buyers overlook many steps to buying a home. This is most likely because:

  • Steps to buying a home change as technology improves
  • People often forget their previous transaction as the average person owns their home for 13 years* 
  • The pathway to buying a home can vary by state or municipality

We help thousands of people search homes for sale and find they're ideal house, so we're breaking down everything you need to know to buy your next home like a pro. 

Buying a Home in Florida

Step 1: Prepare Yourself Financially

To start the home-buying process, you'll want to make sure your financial situation is in order. This means keeping a few different areas of your personal situation in mind.

Credit Score

For a conventional loan, you'll probably need a credit score of at least 620**. You can also go with a government-insured loan program to buy a home, such as an FHA loan which would require a credit score of 580. These ranges can move, but this gives you a good ballpark to shoot for while you're getting prepared for homeownership.

This is a good time to look over your credit reports, which most people don't often do. If there are any dings or negative marks, you can address these ahead of time and improve your score and chances of getting a great loan for your home. 

Down Payment

A good rule of thumb is to save up a 20% downpayment for your house. Depending on your financial situation, you can probably put down as little as 3%, but putting down 20% of the purchase price leads to a few benefits that will benefit you in the long run. 

  1. No PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance)
  2. Lower Interest Rates
  3. More Home Equity
  4. Lower Monthly Payments
  5. Stronger Negotiation Power

There are, however, some obvious downsides to a larger downpayment when buying a home. It will take longer to save up, and could mean you'll have less savings available if you need that money after closing.

Since real estate is not very liquid - meaning you can't sell it quickly like stocks or crypto - that money will likely be tied up while you own the home.

Employment

Most residential lenders will ask for two years of employment in the form of tax returns. This doesn't mean you need to be with the same employer, but the employment history needs to be consistent and within the same field. 

For example, if you're a nurse who's moving for a new job and want to buy a home in the city you're newly employed, this should be fine as long as there isn't a long break in employment and you're still in the same line of work. 

Closing Costs

These can vary quite a bit when you're buying a home, but most lenders will estimate closing costs to be around 2% of the purchase price of your new home. So if you're buying a $400,000 home, plan on saving up around $8,000.

Some of these are negotiable when making an offer on a home, but this could make you look less appealing to sellers on the other side of the deal.

Step 2: Talk to a Mortgage Professional

The next step in buying a home is getting pre-approved for a mortgage, unless you plan to pay with cash. Getting pre-approved is a crucial step in buying a home in Florida, and it will achieve two important things:

  1. Indicate how much of a loan you can afford.
  2. Strengthens your offers so sellers know you are serious about buying a home.

This can be confusing to new homeowners trying to buy a home, but the process is actually fairly simple. Going through this process doesn't fully approve you for a loan, but the lender verifies some of your finances and gives you a "pre-approval" that tells you how much you can spend when you're buying a new home.

Sellers will prefer someone who has gone to the lengths to get a pre-approval since they can rest assured that that person will be able to get the purchase funds come closing day.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a pre-approval doesn't obligate you to do anything. You don't need to buy a home if you don't find the right one, and you aren't locked in with the lender who pre-approves you. 

You'll talk to your lender about some important things to get you ready to buy a home:

  1. Prevailing Interest Rates
  2. Your Income (and your debt-to-income ratio)
  3. Loan Programs Available (and down payments required) 
  4. Your Assets 
  5. Estimates for Closing Costs & Payments

During this time, you'll probably need to give the lender your W2s (or 1099), bank statements, and documentation for any assets you have. They'll also run your credit to make sure you can satisfy their requirements - good thing you're a step ahead of them!

Finding the right mortgage lender to help in the process of buying a home in Florida might seem simple, but you want to make sure you're working with an expert. Talk to a few different providers and see who you're most comfortable with and who seems most knowledgable about the best options available to you to buy a home. 

Step 3: Find a Great Real Estate Agent

Assuming you know what area you are searching in, you'll want to find a tenacious real estate agent to help you buy a home in Florida that perfectly fits your needs. Any real estate agent can open a door and show you a home, but you'll want someone who takes time to understand you, your needs, and your situation.

Getting referrals from friends and family is a good way to start, but you'll want to interview those you find on your own as well. Anyone you ask will have an aunt, brother, or fifth-cousin-twice-removed who has a real estate license, but you want someone who is a real go-getter to help you buy a home.

You may be asking: "Do I really need a real estate when I'm trying to buy a home in Florida?" The answer is yes, and that's why nearly 90% of home buyers use a Realtor***. 

Having someone on your side who has specific local knowledge is invaluable, and when the time comes to move from "Under Contract" to "Closed!" a great real estate agent can save you a lot of time, money, and more importantly, stress. If you're buying a home in Florida, hiring the right real estate agent can be one of the most important decisions you'll make. 

Step 4: Start your Home Search

Both you and your real estate agent can search homes for sale and come up with a list of the best houses that fit your criteria. Your agent will know important details that might not be apparent from the listing. For example, you might love a home that's actually in a 55+ community or is in a flood zone.

Identifying a home you love is the beginning of a long pathway towards homeownership. Your real estate agent should be an expert when is comes to buying a home in Florida, and they should be able to set expectations from day one so you know exactly what to expect. 

When you're browsing homes for sale, send any good prospects to your agent. They can do the legwork in finding out if the home has any defects, offers, or additional information that you should know about.

Many people look at big third-party websites, like Zillow and Trulia, when they're buying a home. These sites can be great, but always take them with a grain of salt and run the results by your real estate agent. Sometimes, these can show outdated, incorrect, or outright fake information.

Step 5: Negotiate a Fantastic Offer

Once you've found a home you can see yourself living in, the next step is making a strong offer. Depending on how motivated you are to buy the home, here are some tips to make the most attractive offer possible.

1. Put Down Generous Earnest Money

Having skin in the game when you buy a house is always important. Not only does it show you are serious about buying the home, but it shows you have financial strength to tie up funds for a prolonged period of time. 

The average escrow deposit is between 1 and 3 percent of the purchase price ($5,000 to $15,000 on a $500,000 home purchase). If you want to stand out, go to the higher end of that range or even exceed it.

The earnest money, or escrow deposit, protects the seller should you default on the contract. However, if you back out during your inspection period or the contract contingencies don't hold up, you should get those funds returned to you.

2.  Keep Inspection Periods Short

When you're buying a home in Florida, your inspection period gives you a set timeframe to perform your due diligence to decide if you'd like to move forward with the purchase, renegotiate, or cancel. To a seller, a longer inspection period could look more unattractive. 

The contract default in Florida is probably 15 days, so shoot for somewhere between 5 and 10 days to be more aggressive. Home inspections can be done quickly, and you can work with the seller to extend this timeframe if there are more inspections or negotiations that need to be done.

3. Write a Personal Letter

Tug at the seller's heart strings by writing an emotive letter. Tell them what you love about the home, how you envision yourself there, and why your offer should be accepted to buy the home.

Many sellers want to pass their home off to someone who will love it as much as they did. If there are 10 offers on the table, all with similar terms, a note like this could be the deal breaker. 

4. Ask About The Seller's Preferences

Many people buying a home fail to put themselves in the shoes of the seller. Buyers often assume quick closings are preferable, but that's not always the case with every seller.

Does the seller prefer any title company or local lender? Working with prominent professionals that the seller can trust could give you a leg up on the competition. 

Understanding the seller's motivations when you're buying a home in Florida is paramount to making the best offer possible.

5. Understand the Comparable Sales

Your real estate agent should be able to compile recently sold homes to give you a good idea of what the home is worth and a range of what a fair offer price would be.

While you don't want to overpay for the house, you certainly don't want your offer to be a lowball price that risks offending the sellers or causing them not to take you seriously. 

Understanding a fair market value when you're buying a home in Florida allows you to make an offer strategically and let the seller know exactly why you chose that price.  

6. Waive Contingencies

You could waive contingencies when buying a home in Florida, but this does come with drawbacks. Relinquishing your right to contingencies - such as inspections, appraisals, or financing - is attractive to a seller since it gives you one less reason to back out, or cancel, the contract. 

This means that if inspection issues arise without an inspection contingency, it would be on your to fix them and absorb that cost. If you didn't have an appraisal contingency, you would have to make up the difference between the appraisal value and purchase price should the former be lower. 

You are more prone to defaulting on the contract and losing your escrow deposit should a necessary contingency be removed, so always chat with legal and financial advisors before removing contingencies when buying real estate.

7. Be Flexible

Let the seller know that you can adapt to their needs. When you're buying a home, a lot of surprises and unforeseen circumstances can arise. Make sure the seller knows that your offer can be modified so the deal is a win-win for all parties involved.

Step 6: Home Inspection, Appraisal, and More

You're offer has been accepted - awesome! Now what?

Fortunately, you didn't skip Step 3, so you your real estate agent should be able to set expectations up front for what needs to be done before you close on your new home. This should look like a calendar or timeline of things that will be done.

If you're going to buy a home in Florida, these are the typical steps and contingencies to keep in mind.

Escrow

First, you'll probably need to open escrow by making a "Good Faith" deposit. Depending on the contract, you'll likely have up to 3 days to do this with the title company or escrow agent. 

The escrow deposit is held by the escrow agent (who is usually the title company) and is not removed without both the buyer and seller's written consent. At closing, the escrow deposit is credited to the buyer in the settlement statement. 

Home Inspection

Your Inspection Period will typically make up the 5 to 15 days of being under contract. During this time, you'll want to decide which inspections you'll need to get done when buying your home. 

Talk to your real estate agent and inspector about what reports you will need or what they will cost. You'll want a variety of inspections for overall evaluation, property insurance, and to assess unique systems such as septic tanks and pools. 

Before your Inspection Period is over, you may be able to cancel or renegotiate terms of your offer if the reports are unsatisfactory. While many issues on inspection reports are minor, talk to licensed professionals and your Realtor about the best options to move forward after your inspection.

Appraisal

If you are getting financing to buy a home in Florida, a home appraisal is virtually always involved. An appraiser's job is to give an independent and unbiased value of the home. Even if you are paying cash for your new home, you still might want an appraisal done as a contingency in your offer or to get more information on the property.

When you're financing your real estate purchase, you cannot choose your appraiser. Rather, the home appraiser is randomly assigned to your lender from a pool to increase the independence and neutrality. 

If your appraised value comes in lower than the purchase price that you were going to buy your home at, you may need to renegotiate with the seller or come out of pocket for the difference. In this case, talk to your lender and real estate agent to get a plan of how to best address the deficit. 

Title Commitment & Survey

One of the most essential and overlooked steps to buying a home in Florida is the title examination performed by the title company handling the transaction. This reviews the chain of title and confirms no cloud on the title such as a defect in the chain of ownership, lien, or judgement. 

The title company will also supply a long report, known as a Title Commitment, that discloses any defects, liens, or other burdens that would affect the property's title. You'll then get a title insurance policy, which is will protect you from any clouded title that might arise. For example, if someone claims to have rights to your property, or there are outstanding liens or debts, you'd be protected with title insurance.

Loan Approval

When you're buying a home in Florida, you'll likely have around 5 days to make formal application with your lender and get on the way to loan approval. A buyer will typically have around 30 days to obtain loan approval, but this can vary widely depending on your lender and personal situation. During this time, you'll have various paperwork and documentation to go over with your financing professional. 

Next step in buying a home is having the underwriters review and sign off on your final approval. They'll do this after the appraisal and making sure any loan conditions are met. Then, you'll get a Closing Disclosure to buy your new home which itemizes all of the loan information, closing costs, and prepaid expenses.

Important note: once you have received your Closing Disclosure, federal guidelines give a mandatory 3-day "cooling off" period before closing so you can review all documentation.*****

Step 7: Prepare for Closing

Getting ready for closing on your new Florida home is simple as long as you have your checklist ready. Here some things to keep in mind before you get ready to sign off and buy your home.

Schedule Utilities 

The last thing you want to do when buying a new home in Florida is to walk in an realize your electricity is off. Make sure you contact all service providers to get water, electricity, gas (if applicable), and internet transferred on the closing date.

Final Walk-through 

In the days before closing on your new Florida home, or possibly the day of closing, you'll want to take one last walk through it. This is your opportunity to make sure the home you're buying is in the same shape as when you contracted to purchase it.

Double-check there aren't any damages from the seller moving out and that all included appliances are still there. Other than that, this is typically a very smooth part of the process that allows you to visualize your new home before buying it. 

Send Closing Funds

At least a day before closing, you should wire the needed funds to the title company handling the settlement, This will make purchasing a home in Florida much easier, so you can simply go in, sign, and get the keys to your new house.

Don't Change Credit, Finances or Employment

The last thing you want to do when preparing to buy a home in Florida is make a decision that could be detrimental to your financing. 

Stay at your current job until you officially close and own your new home. Some lenders will do a verification on the day of closing before you buy the home. 

Don't make any decisions that could affect your credit report. This includes opening new lines of credit, financing new furniture, or even using your credit cards at all. 

The most seemingly insignificant purchases could have a massive effect on your financial standing from the lender's point of view. Wait until after you buy your Florida home and then you can resume your spending as normal. 

Step 8: Closing: Buy your Home

Congratulations! You've made the long journey of buying a home in Florida, but you're not finished just yet. You're prepared for closing, so what should you expect on the big day? 

Fortunately, by this time nearly everything has been done, so rest easy and get ready to celebrate buying a home. These tips will make buying your Florida home much more seamless.

  • Bring two forms of identification. One should be a state-issued ID (driver's license, passport, etc.) and the other a secondary form (debit card, insurance card, etc.).
  • Bring your checkbook. Sometimes minor errors or last minute charges occur that you don't want to hold you up from buying your home.
  • Arrive at closing early. Most home closings will take about 30 minutes to an hour, so arrive early to ensure you have time to ask questions as you go through, or finish, the process.

The seller will sign the deed and associated documents, and you as the buyer will sign closing and loan documents including a promissory note, Closing Disclosure, and deed. The attorney or title company will review all documents, and the lender will provide funding for the real estate purchase.

Finally, the seller will get their proceeds from the home sale, you will get the keys, and the title company will record the deed with the county to officially transfer ownership of the home. You have gone through the wonderful process of purchasing a Florida home!

If this ultimate guide to buying a home in Florida was helpful to you, we would be humbled if you would share it, link to it, and spread the word. The Treasure Coast MLS Search helps thousands of people search homes for sale in Florida and find the perfect home. We provide real-time MLS listings updated every 5 minutes, simplifying the process of buying a home in Florida. If you have any questions or thoughts about buying real estate in Florida, we are always just a call or email away.

Bibliography/Sources

* NAR: How long do homeowners stay in their homes?

** Nerd Wallet: Conventional Loan Requirements for 2022

*** NAR: Quick Real Estate Statistics

**** Rocket Mortgage: Earnest Money

***** Consumer Finance: TRID Rule

Posted in Tips & Advice
July 22, 2022

Are Treasure Coast Real Estate Prices Dropping?

As most everyone knows, interest rates have been steadily increasing in 2022. The question is: what effect will this have on Treasure Coast real estate prices? Year over year, the cost of a mortgage has nearly doubled, but median Treasure Coast home prices are still increasing even with residential sales decreasing. Inventory has also been on the rise, with sellers aiming to take profits during the seller's market we are still experiencing. 

Let's take a closer look at the Treasure Coast real estate market and what the newest statistics in Martin & St. Lucie counties are telling us about prices, inventory, and listings. Using this information, we hope you can make the best decision possible when you're buying or selling a home on the Treasure Coast.

Are Martin County Home Prices Falling?

As of the latest data for Martin County real estate, which covers June 2022, the median sales price is up over 20% from the same time in 2021 to $590,000. This comes as a surprise for many interested in Martin County homes, as the inventory has increased 41.1% and the number of closed sales has decreased by 32.7%. While many are wondering if Martin County real estate values are dropping, there seems to be no evidence of this happening. Keep a close eye on these figures as the Federal Reserve increases interest rates and inventory potentially increases.

Treasure Coast Real EstateTreasure Coast Real Estate: Ocean Cove

Is St. Lucie County Real Estate Value Decreasing?

St. Lucie county real estate values are not decreasing. As of the latest date from June, the median sale price of St. Lucie County real estate was almost $400,000. This number is up over 30% from the same time last year, and sellers are averaging receiving 100% of their listed price. Similar to most areas on the Treasure Coast, St. Lucie County homes have experienced closed sales decrease by 13.8% and inventory more than double from the same period in 2021. If you're interested in St. Lucie county real estate, make sure you're searching properly, getting pre-approved for a mortgage, and making smart offers that put you in the best position to get a fantastic home. 

The Treasure Coast real estate market has historically remained consistent, with lower volatility than other areas across the nation. Even with many sellers looking to cash out of the hot Treasure Coast real estate market while it lasts, demand is keeping up and all indications still point to a seller's market in both Martin & St. Lucie counties. Treasure Coast sold homes detail what is happening in the neighborhoods and cities you are interested or live in. Keeping up with current and closed home listings is a great way to keep tabs on the real estate values and what they're doing now so you can plan your next move for buying or selling.

Posted in News
June 23, 2021

Palm City Living on the Treasure Coast of Florida

Palm City Living on the Treasure Coast of Florida 

Palm City—located just west of the ocean and just south of the Port St. Lucie metropolis - offers something for everyone. Situated perfectly between sea and land, this beautiful town on Treasure Coast holds quite the riches, and calling Palm City home is what many dream of.

Palm City combines everything into one town. There is a close-knit suburban feel with a variety of fun things to do for entertainment. Palm City also boasts a large array of businesses and shopping avenues to explore. Not to mention, with a solid school district and low crime rate, it is perfect for families.

Call Palm City Home 

For outdoorsy types, there are plenty of local park areas and beaches to enjoy nature’s own treasures. These parks and beaches range in a variety of offerings, each providing a unique little slice of Treasure Coast. And for those that like to fish, there are waters aplenty, both fresh and saltwater.

For those that like a leisurely (or competitive) round of golf, Palm City has that too. Other sports include tennis and equestrian, so you can branch-off and explore new areas of fun. And no ocean city would be complete without the ability to attempt your sea legs in water sports.

For the more indoor hobbyists, there are lots of museums and galleries to suit whatever your interests may be. With its own helping of culture, Palm City features plenty of indoor activities so you can spend a whole day or five learning all about what makes it such an amazing place.

Living in Palm City 

For those that enjoy a sense of community, Palm City is the perfect slice of community pie. Due to its geographical location, Palm City is situated just right to allow for businesses to thrive and citizens to explore. With a wide variety of community events, you are bound to fit right in.

Whatever you are looking for in a town, Palm City has it and welcomes all. This southeastern chunk of heaven along the Treasure Coast has something that suits everyone's interests. And with quality education and a sense of security, you know you can enjoy those activities safely. Because when you live in Palm City, you are home.

 

Posted in Tips & Advice
June 17, 2021

Three Tips for Navigating Treasure Coast Real Estate

Three Tips for Navigating Treasure Coast Real Estate

Buying a home is a big commitment—and a long-term one at that. But, it can be especially daunting for first-time homebuyers, or even those looking for something different. The housing market changes by the day, and it can be hard to find the perfect home for you, your family, and your budget. Here are three tips and tricks for buying a home on the Treasure Coast

Treasure Coast Home Buying Tip #1: Stay Calm

When you begin the process of homeownership, it can be overwhelming, to say the least. But if you are reading this, it means you have already determined one big decision—location. And home buying on the Treasure Coast is as easy as the tropical breeze. With the right Treasure Coast real estate agent, finding the right home (and the ensuing mountains of paperwork) can be smooth sailing. So you can spend more time enjoying all that this beautiful coast offers and less time worrying about all of the moving parts.

Treasure Coast Home Buying Tip #2: Be on Top of Your Finance Game

Buying a home is a huge financial investment, so it is important to have all of those little sailboats in a row. Determine a budget, set aside a down payment, have some extra for closing costs (and maybe even a renovation budget), and find a comfortable rate for your situation. Working with a good real estate agent and a helpful bank or credit union can make these jumbles of numbers seem like simple arithmetic and make buying a Treasure Coast home much easier.

Treasure Coast Home Buying Tip #3: Know Your Limits

It is unrealistic to go into the realm of real estate thinking you are going to get everything on your wish list. Maybe you do—and that is great! But the odds are higher that there are going to be some things you will have to compromise on. Set aside what are needs, what are wants, and what can be done at a later date. Small things can be changed like flooring, paint color, and lighting. Larger things like house style cannot be changed. When you go in with a solid idea of what are dealbreakers and what is not, the whole process makes for some calm seas. 

Whatever your needs, knowing these three tips can help in the long run. Navigating the real estate arena in Treasure Coast is a daunting task. But with the right support team and the right amount of legwork before the process begins, everything can make for a stress-free Treasure Coast home buying experience. 

Posted in Tips & Advice
June 15, 2021

Calling Port Saint Lucie Home

Calling Port Saint Lucie Home

Pick up your phone as the beach is calling you? There are many Port Saint Lucie homes for sale available to be purchased that can meet your requirements, family, and budget. If you have at any point considered moving to Treasure Coast, there are homes for sale in Port Saint Lucie Florida available to be purchased that we realize you'll fall in love with!

The occupants get a wide variety of amazing advantages Port St. Lucie brags. The greatest fascination is its nearness to the seashore, so you can get waves, fish, or the sun's beams across the board day. Be that as it may, Port St. Lucie likewise has parks, galleries, social focuses, and a span of organizations and shopping. Custom in Port St. Lucie has additionally become an amusement and business focus point. Whatever your advantages, there is a place to fit right in!

Outdoor Enthusiasts Love Port Saint Lucie Homes

You can find many outdoor activities like no other, such as tennis, golfing, and fishing at Port St. Lucie rentals. For a time you want to take the family somewhere for a day trip, you can grab a game of professional baseball or football within two hours of travelling time. Find the perfect Port St. Lucie pool home, if you want to relax for the day, and enjoy the sunshine. Did we specify that Disney World is less than two hours away as well?

Port Saint Lucie holds great opportunities for students of all ages to grow into the people they always dream to become. Children are always welcomed and appreciated in the community with a quality public school system. Port St. Lucie additionally approaches nearby schools and networks and is promptly after broadly competitive colleges.

Homes for sale in Port Saint Lucie Florida do not mean that you have to sacrifice tons of your hard-earned money. The Port Saint Lucie homes for sale are affordable and there is a home that is perfect for you and your family. Homes in Port St. Lucie allow you to customize a home and truly make it your own which is a popular option in new construction. This financial friendly town likewise has an affectionate local area of residents and an assortment of occasions that cause you to feel right comfortable!

Port St. Lucie is something beyond a town or just a random dot on the map. It is a community that offers something for everyone. But even more than that, Port St. Lucie is home! Furthermore, with affordable Port St. Lucie homes for sale, the time to live and travel has never been better! You could search nationwide for a place to live or you could come to the Treasure Coast and discover a home in Port St. Lucie.

Posted in Tips & Advice
June 5, 2021

5 Great Places to Live on the Treasure Coast

5 Great Places to Live on the Treasure Coast

Located on the southeastern Atlantic coast of Florida, just north of West Palm Beach, is the Treasure Coast. Named for the actual treasures that have washed up on the beaches from a Spanish Treasure Fleet that shipwrecked during a hurricane, the Treasure Coast has an eclectic feel that welcomes all that visit. This always warm slice of paradise is known for its kicked-back, flip-flop-wearing attitude perfect for relaxation, family fun, and even retirement.

Living on the Treasure Coast is a dream come true for many that call it home. With many communities and neighborhoods, calling Treasure Coast home is almost a no-brainer. Here are five great places to call home on the Treasure Coast.

Living in Palm City

The Treasure Coast is an ideal place for those who love the outdoors, and living in Palm City is no exception to this, especially when the average temperature is around 77° Fahrenheit. With its marshlands, birding trails, dolphin adventures, breathtaking local gardens, and many golf courses, there is no shortage of possibilities. Palm City also offers highly rated public schools, many local parks, and plenty of options for retirees.

Port St. Lucie Homes

20 minutes down the road from Palm City lies another bustling community perfect for retirees and families alike. Where to Retire Magazine gave Port St. Lucie the title of “top retirement destination” in 2016 and was #3 on CNBC’s list of best places to retire in America in 2020 because of its affordable health care and Port St. Lucie homes. There has also been a boom of new construction homes in Port St. Lucie that have allowed for a variety of options when it comes to Port St. Lucie real estate. Sports fans can find a variety of activities to do in Port St. Lucie other than fishing including, visiting the training location for the New York Mets, taking a trip to the PGA Center, or even take advantage of deep-sea charter and professional guide services.

Call Stuart Home

The Treasure Coast is well known for having beautiful beaches and plenty of outdoor activities, but the real star of the area is the City of Stuart is its historic downtown. Stuart is known as the “Sailfish Capital of the World” and has become an internationally renowned area for fisherman. Notably, the town's focal point is the Lyric Theatre, which opened its doors as a silent movie house in 1926 and now hosts a diverse range of performances from pop and country artists to stand-up comedians. Other attractions include the Court House Cultural Center which offers art exhibits and Artsfest in March and the Stuart Heritage Museum. There are also highly rated schools and a variety of restaurants, shops, and parks that will give everyone in the family plenty to do and to see.  Stuart often makes the list of small towns you should visit, making it one of our top picks for places to live.

Buy a House in Hobe Sound

Named after the coastal living Native Americans who once inhabited the area, Hobe Sound is 20 miles south of Stuart. Hobe sound homes for sale is like a dream come true for anyone who loves a good adventure in nature. Johnathan Dickinson State Park, which stretches an impressive 11,500 acres of well-preserved nature, hosts a wide variety of activities including camping, fishing, hiking, kayaking, and even horseback riding trails. Another remarkable experience if you consider homes for sale Hobe Sound Florida is the Blowing Rocks Preserve, described by some as “one of the most dramatic shorelines in Florida”, which allows anyone who visits to experience Florida’s natural untouched ecosystem that has been preserved and protected here for many years. Hobe Sound also offers an assortment of restaurants, shops, boutiques, and galleries, Hobe Sound Florida rental and you do not want to miss the Hobe Sound Festival of Arts celebrated in February.

Live in Jensen Beach

If the buzzing about of huge city Miami seems like a lot for you and your family, make a stride back on schedule with this “old Florida beach town”. Once known as the “Pineapple Capital of the World”, this quaint town celebrates its annual Pineapple Festival every November bringing people from every walk of life together. Jensen beach homes for sale offers some of the best eating establishments in Florida including the Dolphin Bar and Shrimp House which attracts visitors from all around. When you are not taking a stroll through Frances Langford Park you can gather up the family and take a trip to Sea Turtle Beach, named after the sea turtles that nest there from March to November. Stop in at the Sea Turtle Café for breakfast or lunch, but remember lights are out at 9 p.m. on the beach, as to not disturb the turtles.

Posted in Tips & Advice