It is going to be yet another very busy real estate season for the 2015 / 2016. As we come off our busiest summer season ever it feels as if it never stopped after Easter of 2015. Historically, we experience a slower period of time during the summer months but, this is a thing of the past. There may be fewer people in town over the summer, however, that doesn’t translate to a slower real estate market. We’re headed full steam ahead into a brisk season with demand from determined buyers and the lowest inventory of homes and condos for sale than we’ve seen for years.
As the proverb goes, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” If you haven’t pulled the trigger yet, then now is the time.
Here are some things to consider as a buyer in our local Naples and Bonita Springs real estate market:
- Our real estate market is not the same as your market up north. Although the number of families that have relocated full time to our area has increased dramatically over the past two years, Southwest Florida attracts many second home buyers, vacation home buyers and some investors. Think of it this way – the typical real estate transaction in your northern state involves a buyer who needs to purchase and a seller that needs to sell. The dynamic changes in our market because the motivation for both the buyers and the sellers is different from northern locations. A buyer wants to buy but is not forced to buy. A seller wants to sell but most likely is not forced to sell.
- Be prepared with a loan pre-approval or “proof of funds”. Another local twist to the Naples area real estate transaction is that more than 75% of the sales are cash deals regardless of price range. If you are going to borrow some money to make the purchase, then get with a local lender and move forward with the loan process. The sellers are savvy and know the local process. Why would a seller take his home off the market for a questionable financing contingency? We can recommend some local lenders who know the intricacies of the buying process.
- Work with a buyer agent who is dedicated to your best interest. Over the years we’ve witnessed buyers make avoidable mistakes, pay too much, buy into the wrong community for their lifestyle and listen to bad advice. Although Florida is a “transaction brokerage” state, work with an agent who is devoted to serving your interests and negotiating the best deal for you. The “shot gun” approach of talking to everyone but committing to no one will backfire. If you are a serious buyer, then we would like the opportunity to listen to your story, understand your goals, share with you how we work and explain how we can best represent you.
- Establish market value for a property. You don’t control the market, nor do we. The value of any given property is established when a ready and willing buyer makes an offer that is accepted by the seller. Current and accurate information is vitally important to make good decisions so, rely on your Realtor to do the homework on recent closed sales and contracts, ask the listing agent the right questions and have the local knowledge. A finger on the pulse of the local market is a must.
- Make your initial offer a serious one. Having worked with your Realtor to pinpoint the actual market value for a home or condo and discussed the circumstances surrounding the purchase, decide in advance where you would like to end up in the negotiations. No buyer wants to pay more than he has to but, you will experience a backlash effect by starting out with a “lowball” offer. The seller is not required to respond to your offer at all so, think about where you stand if your offer gets completely ignored. Do you want to be in a situation of countering against yourself? Do you want to give another buyer the opportunity to step in to make a deal while you’re still floundering? You can make your offer appealing to the seller by streamlining other terms in the contract but remaining in your price zone.
- Know your contract, your options and what you are signing. The sales contract is a legally binding document and you should review it with your agent as if your legal well being is at stake. Experience and local knowledge is important here – there are important differences between Collier County and Lee County forms and protocol, there are situations in which an “As Is” contract is required but an inspection period is available, there are opportunities in which an “As Is” contract is advantageous to a buyer and should be used for your protection, there are options for escrow deposits and choices to be made regarding payment obligations. Just to name a very few.
- Considering new construction? Go with your agent on the first visit to the community. All of the builders require registration at the first visit and they all have a commission for the buyer agent built into their costs. You may as well go with representation because you are paying for it anyway. There are good reasons to include your agent when you purchase a new home from a builder. We are experienced in negotiating with builders and developers, we know the competition, we have firsthand construction experience, we are familiar with the pros & cons of the various communities and it’s always beneficial to have another set of eyes and ears when you are in a room with a sales person whose only job is to get you signed up on a scorecard.
As full time real estate professionals, we represent both buyers and sellers in Naples. If you are a seller, we market your home to local, national and international buyers for the best results. If you are a buyer, we listen well and will help you find your own “Piece of Paradise” at the best negotiated price.
Tim Cranch at 239-272-4848 Ellie Penaranda at 239-776-5077