Tim Cranch wearing blue shirt

Tim Cranch

Ellie Penaranda

Things You Need to Know to Successfully Buy a Home in Naples, Florida

Are you a serious buyer in the Naples and Bonita Springs real estate market? Have you written unsuccessful contract offers on properties? Don’t know why you cannot seem to “win” a contract? Did you lose out to competition? Did your contract get rejected? You are not finding out about new listings before you have a chance? Are you an investor for a seasonal vacation property but finding it hard to get the answers you must have to make an intelligent decision? Do you want what everyone else wants? Condo with a panoramic Gulf of Mexico view? Single family home on a canal with your boat in the back yard? Killer investment property as a seasonal vacation rental? Something pet friendly for big dogs? A house located west of Route 41 (Tamiami Trail)?

Our real estate market is unique for many reasons and guaranteed it is different from your home state up north. The factors that are driving the current Supply and Demand situation are special to our market. Our real estate rules, regulations, contracts and representation are different from other states. Additionally, our real estate market is made up of micro markets within the bigger Naples and Bonita Springs real estate market. We have neighborhoods adjacent to one another which are totally different from one another in every way and offer opportunities for totally different buyers.

To be successful in today’s real estate market, there are things that you need to know and understand in order to buy a home or condo. There is no need to overpay – even if you are competing with other offers – but you do need a strategy. That strategy will most definitely change from one community to another,  from one house to another and from one seller to another.

Here are 10 things you need to know and understand as a serious buyer:

  • Be ready. Things are going to move quickly and you will face decisions which require fast but smart answers. If you are a cash buyer, then know where you pulling the money from and make arrangements. If you are going to buy with a mortgage, then choose your lender in advance and start the process. We have found many instances in which it was not just advantageous but critical to have a local lender who works with our contract every day and is familiar with the nuances of making a smooth transaction in our market area. Know where you stand financially because in some scenarios there might not be any turning back. Prepare to pull the trigger while limiting risk and minimizing the chance for mistakes.
  • Do your homework in advance. Know the neighborhood of choice inside out before you make an offer. Study the neighborhood and know the details of the community to make certain that it’s a good fit with your criteria. Is it compatible with your lifestyle? Does it offer what you want? What is the #1 priority? Location or the house itself? How much can you expect in rental income if it is an investment property? Are there restrictions in a rental policy? What about pet friendly?
  • Study the market in your particular community. Check the history of closed sales for the past six months. Know why one house sold at a higher price than another similar property in the same neighborhood. Know why one house stayed on the market and another received multiple offers in the first few hours on the market for sale. Did a property come back on the market after going pending? Why? What are the things that you should be looking for that make a property more valuable for how you intend to use the property?
  • Not all communities are getting multiple offers. There are very good reasons that Naples Park and Conners at Vanderbilt Beach are getting lots of attention. Know why a neighborhood is more desirable or holds its value better than another. You might have interest in a golf community that is 5 miles inland and you have a choice of several homes with room to negotiate. Appreciation and future resale might be different but the community might better suit your lifestyle. Again, do your homework so you have a handle on the real estate situation in your neighborhood of choice – it differs from one area to another, one community to another. No need to pay full price or compete unnecessarily. 
  • Forget about a verbal offer. Any listing agent or seller in our market is going to immediately reject it or just ignore it completely. It’s real estate…….it’s written on paper. If you are a serious buyer then put it in writing.
  • Never give up your right to a home inspection. No matter which contract form is used in a purchase, do not ever give away your right to conduct whatever inspections you want to accomplish. In our market area, you may even want to go beyond the normal home inspection. During the home inspection period according to contract, you may want to have specialists examine the property for the condition of a tile roof or a seawall and dock, as good examples.
  • Connect with a title company to hold the closing. Choose a title company that will represent your side of the transaction that has a real estate attorney in the office. They will making sure that there is clean title and no outstanding issues such as open permits from previous work. Although the attorney might not be involved at a deep level during the course of a smooth, uneventful transaction, you want an attorney that is intimately familiar with the contract to go to bat for you if needed. Your title company will securely hold the escrow deposits and typically, in our area, make all of the arrangements for a long distance closing and wiring funds securely.
  • Know your contract options and the consequences. We have more than one written contract available to us as well as additional forms and addendums to tailor an offer to safely and best position ourselves. Do you know what your rights are for a home inspection under our contract? Do you know your rights regarding home inspection with an “As Is” contract? Why would I use an “As Is” contract? Are there circumstances where that is advantageous to me? What about a financing contingency? When and how much are the escrow deposits? Are my deposits at risk? Does a property need to appraise if my offer is cash? These are just a few of the questions that need to be addressed in advance of writing a contract offer.