florida keys real estate articles-information about buying plus selling

Florida Keys Real Estate Articles

Things to Do in Marathon Florida added 5-2-2017

Located in the Middle Keys, Marathon is a great place to connect with nature while enjoying the best of the Florida weather. Like most of the island archipelago, the summers are warm and balmy, with super mild winters, and delightful spring and fall seasons. No matter when you visit, you’re sure to love the climate and the many things to see and do in Marathon, Florida.

Things to Do in Marathon Florida

Even though Marathon boasts a long and rich history, it wasn’t actually incorporated as a city until 1999. But for many decades before, it experienced a lot. It was here that Henry Flagler continued to build the Florida East Coast Railroad. The city’s namesake is derived from the description of the labor intensive venture, when crews worked day and night to bring it to completion. The railroad became known as a “Marathon” project and hence the description stuck. Today, there’s much more to the locality.

So, here are some of the best things to do in Marathon, Florida:

● Pigeon Key. Take a boat ride out to the place where it all began and learn about the Florida East Coast Railroad. You’ll enjoy the beautiful water, terrific scenery, and take advantage of staying right on the key in the old house.
● The Flagler Bridge Walk. You’ll be amazed at the aquatic life teeming about the area. Loads of fish swim freely through the gorgeous water, as do many others, including sharks, eagle rays, and many more.
● Snorkeling. If you really want an up-close encounter with the creatures of the sea, there’s a prime opportunity in snorkeling. While there are a number of sites, one that’s popular is the Delta Barge.
● Fishing. Of course, there’s always the fun of throwing out a line. You’ll fish for tarpon, shark, and many more. It’s as laidback or intense as you please. Plus, you’ll love being on the water and soaking up the sun.
● The Southernmost Air Show. Not all attractions in Marathon are on the water. One of the most exhilarating events to enjoy is the Southernmost Air Show, located at the Boca Chica Naval Air Station. Be thrilled by the aerobatics of these mesmerizing crafts as they speed through the sky.
● Crane Point Nature Center. For those who like to hike, the Crane Point Nature Center is a great location to visit. Walk the nature trail, visit the museum, and see the wild bird center.

Of course, the beaches are always a popular destination and you can also enjoy kayaking, canoeing, or just stroll along the sand.

Top Financing Options for a Start-Up Business added 4-3-2017

If you’re considering starting a business, now is a good time as the latest consumer confidence report shows a lot of optimism. You’re thinking about a great opportunity and want to jump right in with both feet. But, money doesn’t grow on trees and you’re wondering where to get your start-up capital. Well, there are a few top financing options for a start-up business you can try.

Top Financing Options for a Start-Up Business

Of course, it’s always best to go into a business with as little exposure as possible. Beginning a side gig, part-time, will allow you to test the market and grow organically. This will cost substantially less, without a need to borrow. But even this method isn’t always feasible. So, let’s take a look at the top financing options for a start-up business:

●Friends and family. This is perhaps the oldest form of financing. Since the introduction of commerce, people have gone to friends and family with ideas about a product, service, or combination. What’s great about friends and family investing is there’s already a level of trust. No need to go through the formality of credit checks and putting up collateral. But, it’s a good idea to put the deal into writing.

●Credit cards. Statistics reveal a full 65 percent of businesses use credit cards frequently. And, these can provide the capital you need to start a business. You don’t even need to apply for a business or corporate branded credit card. (Because you’re personally liable for the debt regardless if it’s a personal line of credit or a company line of credit.) It’s best to shop for a credit card with a low interest rate and one that offers useful incentives -- like cash back.

●Crowdfunding. This is an ever-growing popular way to raise capital for start-up ventures. Crowdsourcing is a relatively new way to get money to back a start-up business. It generally takes 4 to 6 months to get real traction with crowdfunding. And, it’s important to note, if you set a goal of $5000, but only raise $4,500, you won’t receive any funds.

●SBA loans. Although the Small Business Administration doesn’t actually originate loans, the SBA does back small business loans from banks, credit unions, and more sources. This is one of the most recognized and used sources of start-up capital.

●Equity or 401(k) loan. Some entrepreneurs tap into their home equity or 401(k) accounts to fund a start-up. The latter is especially popular because you pay yourself back, plus a little interest.

Advantages of Relocating to Marathon and the Middle Keys added 3-2-2017

When people think about the Florida Keys, many conjure images of Key West in the Lower Keys or Key Largo, in the Upper Keys, right outside of Miami. But, there’s a big gem situated right in between the two. It’s called Marathon and the Middle Keys. And, it’s a wonderful place to call home. Marathon and the Middle Keys have it all and more, including a wonderful location.

Advantages of Relocating to Marathon and the Middle Keys

There are several benefits to relocating to Marathon and the Middle Keys. First and foremost is the awesome weather. With island breezes flowing from the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, it’s a sheer delight to call this area home. Ultra mild winters happen each and every year. Plus, spring and fall are particularly pleasant. The weather is just one big reason the Middle Keys are so attractive.

But, it’s not just escaping those harsh, freezing conditions which makes Marathon ideal. There’s really so much more to it. Here are some of the biggest advantages of relocating to Marathon and the Middle Keys:

1 Airport availability. The Florida Keys Marathon International Airport makes travel into and off the island chain a cinch. You can easily fly to practically any domestic or international destination, starting right from Marathon. Fly to and fro with ease and always come back to paradise.
2 Midpoint between Miami and Key West. A great thing about the Middle Keys is their prime location. While still a destination location, Miami, Key Largo, and Key West remain the biggest destinations in the area. So, you can enjoy the island life with fewer tourists coming in and out. And, you have the distinct advantage of living at the midpoint between Miami and Key West.
3 Great recreation. When you live in the Middle Keys, there’s never a need to compromise on recreation. In fact, recreational opportunities abound in Marathon and the Middle Keys. Boating, fishing, kayaking, diving, snorkeling, running, biking -- the list simply goes on and on. Enjoy outdoor adventure and relaxation, whenever you like.
4 More resident amenities. Living in the Middle Keys also means having ready access to plenty of enjoyable amenities. These include restaurants, shopping, arts, live entertainment, and whole lot more. Get out of a night on the town, picnic in a scenic location, or just relax on the beach.
5 Solid property appreciation. Another huge benefit to living in Marathon and the Middle Keys is the incredible property appreciation. Because land is at a premium, you build equity quickly and enjoy wonderful property appreciation.

Find A Great Custom Home Builder: A Step-By-Step Guide added 2-2-2017

There are many options when it comes to buying a home. The majority of home buyers opt for a resale, while others find bargains with foreclosures and short sales. Still other buyers prefer newly constructed properties only a few years old. But, you might be considering building a custom house. If that’s the case, you need to know how to find a great custom home builder and can do so with this step-by-step guide.

Find A Great Custom Home Builder: A Step-By-Step Guide

There are several advantages to building a custom home. Perhaps the biggest benefit is being able to choose what you want. Another big advantage is you will be the first to occupy the house. Also, you are an integral part of the process.

But, this doesn’t mean there are no pitfalls to building a custom house. You’ll need the right contractor to do the quality work you expect. Here’s how to find a great custom home builder:

● Decide on a style. Tudor, Key West, split level, craftsman, colonial, Cape Cod, log home, Mediterranean, ranch, Victorian, the list goes on and on. Once you know which style, look into which builders construct that type of property. So, if you want a farmhouse or an Italian style, a contractor who specializes in Cape Cod and craftsman style homes won’t be a good fit.
● Learn about previous builds. When you know which contractors build the house type you like and want, then check out their past work. You’ll probably be able to find information online. But you can always request specific information so you can see the homes for yourself.
● Look into their past. Proper due diligence requires you to delve into the contractor’s past, aside from their previous work. Sure, the homes may look outstanding but you could learn something unsettling. So, protect yourself by checking the local Better Business Bureau, searching online clerk of court records, and of course, a general internet search.
● Verify their credentials. Taking due diligence a step further, you need to verify their license, as well as their insurance. This will provide you with a little more peace of mind and help you avoid trouble later on.
● Get estimates from three contractors. Although this seems like a lot of work, it’s completely necessary. This is a very large investment and without proper vetting, you could unintentionally land in a bad situation. Compare and contrast the estimates carefully to know which is the best fit.

When you have identified which contractor is right, meet to discuss your plans and expectations before you commit.

How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved for a Mortgage added 1-6-2017

If you want to know how to improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage, you’re probably seriously considering applying for a home loan. The truth of the matter is, obtaining a mortgage takes a long time. You just need to be proactive and stay prepared.

How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved for a Mortgage

The first step to take is to examine your own finances. To know what to expect in terms of your monthly obligation, it should be approximately one-fourth of your monthly income. In other words, about 25 percent of your take home pay.

This will give you a rough estimate about what a lender will approve you for a home loan. But before you apply for a mortgage, you should do a few things to improve your chances of being approved. Here’s some helpful advice for how to improve your chances of being approved for a home loan:

● Reduce your debt obligations. Your DTI or debt-to-income ratio is a very important factor to lenders. Focus on reducing the amount you owe to improve your debt-to-income ratio. Below 35 percent is preferred by mortgage lenders. So, you should not have monthly obligations higher than 35 percent of your take home pay.
● Don’t open new lines of credit. Although it’s tempting to save money on purchases and earn points, opening new lines of credit will seriously impact your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio, as well. The more open lines of credit you have, the less likely you will be approved for a home loan.
● Clean up your three credit files. There are three credit reporting bureaus and you need to know what’s in all three files. The good news is, you can obtain all three credit reports once per year for free. Just go to Annual Credit Report.com and order your credit files. Then, dispute inaccuracies by snail mail to improve your credit scores.
● Save money. You not only need to save a down payment, but also, money for inspections, moving, closing costs, and miscellaneous expenses. Put this money in a savings account or money market and do not touch it.
● Do not change employers or careers. Your employment history is a big deal to lenders and will help determine your ability to be approved for a mortgage. So, don’t change employers or careers until after you close.

Lastly, be sure to shop among lenders, comparing rates, terms, and more factors. It’s good to consult a mortgage broker to learn about your choices. For help finding a mortgage broker re buying Middle Keys REal EState please contact me.

How Staging Helps Homes Sell added 12-5-16

Home staging is a great way to help sell your house because it does so much to make it appealing to buyers. When a house is properly staged, people appreciate the many features and function. This helps them to more readily imagine themselves living in the house, enticing them to make a serious purchase offer.

How Staging Helps Homes Sell

Did you know that on average, staged homes sell faster than non-staged houses? Staging reduces the days on the market by an astounding amount. In fact, stated houses sell 73 percent faster than their non-staged counterparts. It does, according to data compiled by the Real Estate Staging Association.

In addition, staged home sell for more than 6 percent above the asking price, according to a survey conducted by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation.

Here are some more reasons staging helps homes sell quickly and for more money in the majority of cases:

● It opens buyers’ imaginations. Another surprising and stark reality is that just 1 in 10 buyers can see a home in another way than it is presented. That means 90 percent of all buyers cannot imagine a home in a changed way, they are locked into a WYSIWYG or What You See Is What You Get.
● It makes a property listing stand out. Because 90 percent of all house hunting starts online, it’s important to be make buyers’ must-see lists. Staging makes a home more presentable and piques interest, help a house stand out from its competition.
● It makes a positive impression in buyers’ minds. Yet another fact is that people form an impression about a property within the first 7 to 10 seconds of seeing it. Since their first encounter will likely be on the internet, that short time frame must count and staging delivers on making a positive impression.
● It maximizes visuals and helps to define spaces. Staging does more than just impress and pique interest, it also presents the home in the best possible way. Homeowners often arrange and position furniture to maximize television viewing. This often causes compromises with visual appeal and traffic flow. Home staging fixes this, enhancing the visual appeal and defining spaces.
● It greatly reduces clutter and depersonalizes the space. Clutter is a big turn off and even bigger are personal effects. Buyers are not interested in purchasing your life, they are interested in finding their new home.

Staging works in many ways on different levels by helping a home to sell faster and for more money when done right.

Benefits of Waterfront Real Estate with Deep Boating added 11-1-2016

Waterfront real estate is inherently appealing and valuable. But it’s all the more so when it offer deep boating. Why? Well, because deep boating waterfront property provides more functionality and that’s a great addition to a home’s other amenities, creature comforts, and highlights. When it comes to waterfront real estate, nothing beats deep boating.

Benefits of Waterfront Real Estate with Deep Boating

Everyone knows waterfront real estate to be among the most valuable in the residential housing market. It’s particularly valuable when located in a highly desirable destination location.

So, what’s the difference between waterfront property offering deep boating compared to property that does not have the same feature? Well, water depth is its own currency and there are a number of good reasons why this is so. Here are the benefits of waterfront real estate with deep boating:

● Shallow water depth means big limitations. In the world of deep boating, the three-foot measurement is an important one because of boat draft in motion and while docked stationary. For small vessels, this isn’t usually a concern, because small boats generally have little draft (the amount of the hull in the water). So, for small vessels, this doesn’t present a problem. But for large boats, particularly sailboats, water depth at low tide should be more than 3 feet. Otherwise, the hull will drag across the bottom and become damaged.
● Space to make turns. In addition to needing a deep draft to accommodate larger vessels, deep boating provides the necessity of making turns. Here again, this is not generally a problem when it comes to small boats, but large vessels need more space to turn.
● Ability to dock different sized vessels. Once again, small boats can be docked just about anywhere. This is because of their shallow draft needs and ability to turn in tighter, less deep spaces. This simply isn’t the case with much larger sea vessels, which require ample room to maneuver, as well as dock.
● Available recreation. You wouldn’t dive into a pool nearly drained of water or into a shallow pool. But that’s precisely the risk taken when the tide is out on non-deep boating waterfront properties. Deep boating waterfront property provides homeowners and their guests with the ability to enjoy the water for recreation of all kinds, regardless if the tide is in or is out.

The bottom line is, deep boating waterfront property provides more function and increased accommodation for different sized vessels. This makes it more ideal for buyers looking for better amenities.

Cost of Living in Marathon Florida added 10-5-2016

The cost of living in Marathon, Florida is more affordable than one might think. While it’s certainly a highly desirable location, with a pleasant subtropical climate and all sorts of recreational opportunities, it’s also relatively inexpensive. When compared to other regions -- particularly the northeast and midwest (even Canada) -- Marathon, Florida is one great place to call home.

Cost of Living in Marathon Florida

Marathon cost of living is affected by different factors. For instance, the great weather has more than one benefit. Sure, it’s great to enjoy and there’s no need for heavy winter clothing. But, good weather means more outdoor recreation which equals a more healthy lifestyle. That’s just one huge plus but there are others in the cost of living in Marathon, Florida.

Utilities

When you live in Marathon, you’ll certainly notice a pleasant change of weather and in your monthly utility bills. Here, there is no need to purchase gas or use more electricity to stay warm because the winters are so incredibly mild. You also won’t have to pay for repairs and upgrades due to seasonal winter weather. Install solar panels and enjoy even more savings.

Taxes

One great thing about Florida is there is no state income tax. This translates into big savings year after year. To save a lot more, when you move to Marathon, Florida, you can buy a house and claim homestead exemption -- knocking off a substantial portion of property taxes. What’s more, Florida is a business friendly state and there are more tax savings to enjoy as an entrepreneur or when transferring a home office.

Transportation

Most metropolitan areas in the state of Florida are sprawling cities. Say goodbye to enormous traffic congestion, trying to hail a cab during rush hour, and cramping into a crowded train. In Marathon and most Sunshine State cities, you’ll rely on your own vehicle. Oh, and cars enjoy a significantly longer lifespan because of the weather. (There’s no salt since there is no ice or snow.)

Sports and Exercise

The cost of living also goes down when living in Marathon again because of the weather. It’s easy to get outside and stay active since there’s an abundance of sunshine. Hike, bike, run, kayak, yoga, volleyball, or take advantage of the wonderful climate practically every day of the year. More exercise means less health care costs and a more fit, happy lifestyle.

Clothing

In Marathon, t-shirts, shorts, and sandals are everyday wear. There’s no need to pay good money for heavy winter clothing. As a result, you’ll spend less to stay comfortably dressed.

Reasons for Hiring a Property Manager added 9-1-16

There are several reasons for hiring a property manager and all are beneficial to investment property owners. When you own an investment rental property, you want to keep operating costs low while maximizing your monthly revenue. That’s easier said than done -- as most investment property owners learn at some point. A property manager takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation and provides substantial peace of mind.

Reasons for Hiring a Property Manager

Although a property manager charges a fee based on a percentage of the rental rate, the return on investment or ROI is much larger. Here are more of the biggest benefits and reasons for hiring a property manager:

● Setting a true market-based rental rate. One of the biggest mistakes investment property owners make is over or under pricing their rental rates. Relying on anecdotal information and dubious marketing strategies is all too common. Set the rate too high and the vacancy period will extend far longer than it should. Set it too low and attract the wrong tenants.
● Collecting rents on-time. Speaking of rent, it’s every investment property owner’s dream to collect it on-time each and every month. Unfortunately, that’s not a typical reality. But a property manager changes the entire situation.
● Advertising the property strategically. Marketing a rental property isn’t as simple as most people believe. It’s a combination of science and art, along with a healthy amount of experience.
● Screening prospective tenants. Another huge mistake all too many investment property owners commit is not fully vetting potential tenants. While it’s an uncomfortable process and denying an application is the last thing you want to do, it’s completely necessary.
● Properly managing tenants. Rental tenants can pose a number of problems these aren’t limited to paying late or disturbing neighbors. A good property manager knows how to properly manage tenants to create a better situation.
● Dealing with contractors. Landscaping, electrical work, plumbing issues, roof leaks, and other common maintenance will be a reality. Having an experienced property manager makes it all the more smooth and owners don’t have to deal with various contractors.
● Ability to manage long-distance rentals. Some rental property owners become landlords because they move away and do not sell their previous homes. A property manager makes managing a long-distance rental a cinch.
● Maximizing owner profitability. A good property manager is able to trim costs where possible and negotiate the best contractor rates. This helps to maximize the owner’s profitability.

In addition, a property manager will ensure all applicable housing regulations and landlord-tenant laws are followed.

Recreational and Health Benefits of Living in Marathon Florida ADDED 8-3-2016

There’s no question about the many recreational and health benefits of living in Marathon, Florida. The population of the Sunshine State peninsula became the third largest in the nation in 2015 and continues to grow. Approximately 1,000 people move to Florida each and every day and the Keys’ population continues to expand as people realize the many recreational and health advantages the island archipelago offers.

Recreational and Health Benefits of Living in Marathon Florida

The human body is a magnificent machine but does have its limits. As we age, these limits become more apparent, even at an early stage as middle school and high school athletes can attest. But Marathon makes for a wonderful home because of its recreational and health benefits.

Less Physical Stress

Living in the northeast and even in the northwest takes its toll on the body because it requires so much physical demand. Every winter is presents a laundry list of difficult chores: shoveling snow, scraping ice, winterizing machinery, and more common tasks wreak havoc with their many physical demands. In Marathon, none of these are necessary because of the warm, tropical climate.

More Recreational Opportunities

Speaking of climate, that brings weather into the scenario. Winters are especially mild in the Florida Keys and that translates directly into a longer spring and summer. Even during the fall and winter months, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. With such sunny and warm weather conditions throughout most of the year, it’s possible to get outside and be active practically every day.

Improved Psychological Conditions

The winter blues, known in the scientific world as “seasonal affective disorder,” is something that strikes people living in cold weather climates. The inability to get out to take in the fresh air and enjoy the warmth of the sun is decidedly absent for many weeks of the year. But here again, the Florida Keys provide ample sunshine, practically every single day of the year. As a result, residents of Marathon are more positive, optimistic and have better attitudes.

Better Emotional States

It’s not just about feeling the sadness of the winter blues or the enormous task of preserving snow and ice conditions, it’s also about having a more calm emotional state. Life in Marathon is laidback and the island emotion is one that’s peaceful and tranquil. It’s quite different from the hussle, congestion, and stress of the big city.

Low Cost of Living

Another huge benefit is a relatively lower cost of living. There is no state income and winter preparation expenses simply don’t exist. That means less monetary stress, courtesy of the low cost of living.

Advantages of Living in Key Colony Beach Florida added 7-6-2016

There are several advantages to living in Key Colony Beach, Florida. Located in the Middle Keys, in Monroe County, this sparsely populated municipality was first incorporated in June of 1957. Like much of the island archipelago stretching off the south coast of the Florida peninsula, it’s a paradise on earth, with some of the best weather in the world. That’s just one of many advantages of living in Key Colony Beach.

Advantages of Living in Key Colony Beach Florida

Many people dream about living in the Florida Keys but have some misconceptions about the area. Often, it’s the belief it is just too expensive but when you look at the facts, most of these notions are not accurate. People come to the Keys because of the lifestyle, sun, surf, and fun. Choosing to relocate to the Keys is a great decision and your only regret is you didn’t act sooner. It’s not out of reach and the payoff is huge. Here are some more advantages of living in Key Colony Beach:

● High property value appreciation. Highly desirable locations, also called destination locations, appreciate at a greater rate precisely because of their location. Being in the Florida Keys means having a home in a well traveled area with a wonderful climate.
● Great weather for recreation. Since the sunshine is so abundant in Key Colony Beach, there’s always a chance to participate in outdoor recreation. Boat, swim, snorkel, dive, fish, bike, kayak, stroll along the beach, or hike, they are all here and more. More activity means more exercise which constitutes a better, more healthy lifestyle.
● Great for quick, profitable resale. If you do decide to sell in the future, you’ll have no trouble finding buyers. Almost regardless of the overall economy, there are buyers always looking for a home in Key Colony Beach.
● No state income tax. Another big benefit to living in the state of Florida is there is no state income tax. That’s more money you’ve earned staying in your pocket and not a drain on your wallet.
● Low property tax. Although you might think property taxes are pricey, just claim homestead exemption and you’ll save so much. In fact, the property taxes are often lower or comparable to other locations.
● Lower cost of living. In addition to keeping more of what you earn, you’ll discover the cost of living in the Florida Keys isn’t out of control. In fact, many goods and services are at parity or lower than other places in the United States, particularly in cold weather climates.

Advantages of Living in Duck Key-added 6-2-2016

Nestled in the subtropical island chain of the beautiful Florida Keys, lies a piece of paradise known as Duck Key. Also called Hawks Cay, Duck Key, Florida, is a great place to live, work, and of course, play. It is one of the most desirable places to live in the Sunshine State or in the country, for that matter. With warm, balmy breezes, some of the most awesome sunrises and sunsets, Duck Key is high on the shortlist for many; and, there’s good reason why this is so.

Advantages of Living in Duck Key

There are several benefits of living in Duck Key, among them is good health. Because Hawks Cay is in a subtropical climate, there’s many more days of sunshine and warm weather than practically anywhere else, which means more opportunity to exercise and enjoy the wonderful outdoors with all its recreational activities.

● Small population. Duck Key is a sparsely populated island, with just a few hundred residents. This makes it a far cry from the crowded cities in the northeast and even in the midwest and out on the west coast. It also means owning a piece of something few enjoy.
● Great home appreciation. Because Duck Key is an island, there’s little available land, which means home values appreciate at a substantial rate, especially when compared to other highly sought locations in other states.
● Low unemployment. Historically, unemployment is lower on Duck Key than the nationwide average and even through the state of Florida. Since employment is steady, the local economy is robust and visitors contribute even more.
● Exclusive neighborhoods. One of the more attractive aspects of living in Duck Key is the fact it’s home to exclusive, pristine neighborhoods. Here in Hawks Cay, there are Key West style homes, including villas. The median home price in the area is $815,500. The discerning and those who seek luxury living will surely find this to be the place to be.
● Plenty of recreational opportunities. Duck Key is also a great place to enjoy different activities. Take a trip out to the marina or visit the museums in the area, sunbathe on the beach, go fishing, boating, kayaking, diving, or just explore the area. You can also take it up a notch and go parasailing or go way out on the water for sport fishing.

In addition, there are great dining options in Duck Key. And because it’s located in the tropical island archipelago known as the Florida Keys, it’s in one of the most beautiful places in the country to call home. For help finding Affordable Duck Key Condos for sale please contact me

Purchasing Waterfront Property in the Florida Keys added 5-3-2016

In the words of Mark Twain “Buy land — they’re not making it anymore”. This is so very true, especially when speaking of popular destinations such as the Florida Keys. That being said, what are some of the benefits of purchasing waterfront property in the Florida Keys?

The Florida Keys is a narrow strip of land located in the south of Florida also known as the America's Caribbean. This beautiful location with amazing weather has surroundings and an ambiance like none other. There is so much to be seen and so much to do. If you love the ocean and feel you could spend endless hours walking its shores or if you love any water based activity such as fishing, swimming, scuba diving etc. well then the Florida Keys has your name on it.

The Florida Keys is a great place to settle down and call home, in fact as the years have gone by many people have done just that.This location is very much like Telluride, Aspen or any other frequently visited location being as people love visiting the Florida Keys but instead of skiing through the snow your skiing area will be the water. Regardless of the time of day or night you will never run out of things to do however if it is peace, quiet and relaxation you seek there is plenty of that as well.

Being as there is not a surplus of waterfront properties available in the Florida Keys makes this destination all the more attractive. Although due to the general economic state the area has slowed down a bit but being as there is limited availability as well as it being such a wonderful location it is definitely worth the long term investment.

keep in mind that once again due to the availability and the overall attractiveness of this pristine area the waterfront properties in Florida Keys the value in the area will increase faster than in other areas of the country.

If you are in the market for a waterfront property in the Florida Keys it is best to seek the assistance of a local experienced and qualified realtor. A qualified realtor will have insight on the best properties for sale in the area and will be able to access them easier as well. A realtor will also be able to provide assistance with property selection as well as being able to set a true value on a property thus ensuring that your decision is a sound one.

Each area in the Florida Keys has its own special attributes and there are quite a few areas to choose from. A qualified and experienced realtor will have in depth information on each area and can use their expertise to help you find the area the best suits your personal tastes and needs.

Regardless of whether you use a realtor or not make sure you take the time to thoroughly look into and carefully evaluate each property you are interested in. You want to look for a property which is ideal for your likes and needs and that over time will increase in value. Keep in mind that your own backyard will be part of a wonderful lifestyle that many people only dare to dream of.

How to Tell if your Moving Quote is Out of Line or Appropriate added 4-4-2016

No one likes to move; especially if it’s on a short timeline, long distance, for relocation for a job, because of a changing life event, or just about any other reason. Even if you’re buying your first home and moving out of a rental or selling to buy your dream home, you’ll still need to move. That means you’ll have to know how to tell if your moving quote is out of line or appropriate.

How to Tell if your Moving Quote is Out of Line or Appropriate

Whether it’s relocating from another state or moving from one neighborhood to another in the same locality, it’s often a stressful process. There’s so much to do in so little time, and, it seems something is always forgotten. So, you do what you can to do your best to make it a better experience and that includes knowing how to tell if your moving quote is out of line or appropriate:

● Only accept written quotes, not oral estimates. If there’s one mistake above all others to avoid, it’s settling for an oral estimate, and forgoing a written quote. You need it all in writing, line items included, with everything in black and white. If you just get an estimate over the phone, don’t be surprised when your stuff is being held hostage as you wait to move into your new home.
● It quote should provide line items, with insurance. That written quote should include the moving company’s insurance, license, and other protections. You need the peace of mind and the proper level of insurance will do just that.
● If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is just that. Do not believe lowball quotes because these are designed to take your critical eye off the end of the line prize.
● Distance, amounts, and extras do matter -- a whole lot. Everything is a cost factor when it comes to a moving quote. It can be much more or less depending on the distance, amounts, packing, handling fragile items, and so on. If the moving service is doing it for you, count on it costing you more.
● Reviews, industry experience, and consumer reports do matter. Do your homework and take some time to read customer reviews, about the company’s industry experience, and grades by consumer advocacy services, such as the local Better Business Bureau.

Another way you can tell if your moving quote is out of line is to get at least two to three more. If you see a large difference that’s beneficial to you, it probably falls into the “too good to be true category.” For help relocating to the Middle Keys ,please contact me

Benefits of Living in the Middle Keys added 3-2-2016

Living in Marathon in the Florida Middle Keys is more than just being able to enjoy warm days and sunny skies. It’s also about a completely different lifestyle than that of the big city, where noise, pollution, traffic congestion, and hustle and bustle are a day-to-day reality. You might think that the Middle Keys are a nice place to vacation, but, are unsure about making this piece of tropical paradise your new home. Well, there are definite benefits of living in the Middle Keys you should know about.

Benefits of Living in the Middle Keys
Fun and sun is probably your first thought when it comes to the island archipelago off the southern coast of Florida. Sure, it’s a great location, but what does it have to offer that’s unique? The answer can be found in the benefits of living in the Middle Keys:

● Lifestyle. If you’ve visited the area before, you most definitely understand that the Middle Keys offer a totally different lifestyle. Here, it’s come as you are casual, where shorts, tee shirts, and sandals are normal attire. It’s just a more relaxing but exuberant environment that’s set against a backdrop of gorgeous sunrises, sunsets, and of course, sun and fun.
● Health. When you live in the cold northeast or midwest, you’re prone to suffering from seasonal affective disorder, or, the winter blues. In addition, you have to suffer through routine traffic jams, noise, stress, and so much more. In the Middle Keys, you won’t have to worry about any of these shocks to the system.
● Real estate appreciation. Because the Middle Keys have a finite amount of land, you’ll enjoy very solid and substantial property appreciation. It’s a fact that Florida has some of the best property appreciation rates in the country, and, you can have a great real estate asset.
● Lower taxes. In addition to property appreciation, you’ll be able to take advantage of homestead exemption, which significantly lowers your property taxes. In addition to this savings, Florida has no state income tax and is a very business-friendly environment. It’s also a state where many companies are relocating to because of this fact.
● Recreation. There’s sunshine almost every day of the year, which means you’ll be able to get outside and take advantage of the many recreational opportunities such as: hiking, fishing, boating, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, biking, trail walking, beach sunbathing, volleyball, and so much more.

Last but not least, there’s the wonderful climate and weather which speaks volumes on its own. For help finding the right property in Middle Keys Real Estate please contact me

Information for Canadians Relocating To The Florida Keys added 2-2-2016

Per Brenda Alexander, Broker/Associate at Remax and owner of KeysIslandSales.com in Marathon Florida,"The Florida Keys is a place on the bucket list of many people. Not only as a place to visit, but as a place to settle down and live. Why? This is down to the warm climate and the very stress free way of life. The people and culture try to make life enjoyable and accept people as they are. This is the reason that so many Canadians choose it as their vacation place each year.

The Florida Keys are full of tropical breezes, and have some of the most impressive sunrises you will ever see anywhere around the world. One of the things that Canadians love about it is the pleasant climate every day of the year.

After just a few trips to the Keys, many Canadians consider a permanent move, as they can imagine living there 365 days of the year. It is a major departure from the cold, northern climate.

To make the relocation a reality, there are a few things that should be considered first. Here is the process in the nutshell:

Passports, Green Cards, and Naturalization

A Canadian can legally remain in the USA for six months of the year, but this is far from permanent status. As such, if you want to relocate you will need to apply for a green card, which is not difficult (providing you have a job with a US firm, or have a family member in the USA).

If you want to become a citizen of America, you will need to go through the process of naturalization. Once you have that, and if you live in Florida for five years in a row, you will be an official US citizen.

Your RRSP

Once you have moved to Florida Keys, it is a good idea to collapse your RRSP, but you will need a lawyer to make the process easier. You should talk about the pros and cons of collapsing your RRSP after moving to the States. Overall, you will gain a tax advantage by taking this step, and it is better to do it before you move.

Departure Tax

You should be aware of the Canadian departure tax, so it is good to talk to your lawyer about this. You should also have a financial plan created for the moving time, as this will be able to indicate whether or not you are subject to departure tax.

Moving

It is very wise to talk to a real estate agent in the Keys. There are many that have a lot of experience with relocating moves, and these people are very valuable as you will need to move your belongings (which is expensive and stressful).

Find a number of professional moving companies. If you have many valuables then you need to find some good recommendations. Find a number of estimates and don't just go for the cheapest, as your valuables are very important to you.

Saving Money

You will save a lot of money each year by moving to the Keys. This is because there is no income tax in Florida. Their property taxes are much lower than in Canada too, so you will save even more.

Mistakes You must Avoid as a First Time Home Buyer added 1-4-2016

Buying a home is an exciting yet anxious time. You feel the joy of being able to own your very own home but have to endure all those uncertain moments, like waiting for a mortgage pre-approval, wondering whether the seller accepted or declined a purchase offer, and awaiting the home inspection report and appraisal. This is why, as a first time home buyer, you’ll have to avoid certain mistakes to make your dream come true.

Mistakes You must Avoid as a First Time Home Buyer

You’ve likely seen those cable television shows depicting homebuyers going through property after property and then nervously awaiting for the seller to accept an offer. While it’s dramatized and scripted, it’s not too far from the truth in terms of the emotional roller coaster. However, these shows certainly leave out a whole lot about buying a home and that’s why as a first time home buyer, you’ll want to avoid the following mistakes:

● Opening new lines of credit. Okay, so you got pre-qualified for a mortgage and then pre-approved for a home loan. You now know how much you can spend and even have a down payment, cash for the earnest money deposit and home, pest, and wind mitigation inspections. However, you decide after your offer is accepted that you want new furniture so you open a new line of credit. Big mistake because lenders typically run a “soft” credit check just days before closing and this can throw off your DTI or debt-to-income ratio which could cost you final approval.
● Not having enough contingency cash. While you need cash for the inspection and good faith deposit, you should also have just a little extra on hand to pay for minor changes you should make right away -- like switching out all the locks.
● Changing jobs or careers. Lenders get nervous if you change jobs, but, if it’s in the same field for the same or more money, it might not be an issue. However, if you’re going into a lower paying position or changing careers, you might not be given final financing approval.
● Unrealistic budgeting. Your mortgage payment should be no more than 25 percent or ¼ of your net take-home pay. If you go beyond this, you’re taking an unnecessary risk.
● Not shopping different mortgage products. You might think an FHA or VA loan is right for you, but that might not be the case. It could be that a conventional, fixed-rate mortgage with a 15 to 30 year term is far better.

Finally, don’t forego the home inspection. If you do, you are opening yourself up to very real and costly problems that you could otherwise avoid entirely

Legal issues when filing Property Taxes added 12-1

Filing property taxes isn’t exactly an exciting proposition. In fact, it can be downright boring, that is, unless there property owner makes a mistake. Property taxes are levied on real estate of all kinds in order to create a revenue stream for a municipality. These monies are used to fund such things as road improvements, recreational park maintenance, and other functions.

Property taxes are based on what’s known as “assessment value,” or, the worth of the land and improvements based on data about the property. For instance, a residential suburban home with three bedrooms, two baths, a garage and pool, with 2,000 livable square feet, will earn an assessment based on similar residences in that particular neighborhood. It’s important to make the distinction that the same home on land in a rural area, rather than in a suburban area, will likely be assessed for less.

Legal Issues when You File Property Taxes

Depending on the type of property, its location, and it’s type of ownership, the owner will be charged different property tax rates. This issue is further complicated by the fact that local governments may reassess properties on an annual basis, or, even every two to three years or more.

What this means is that when you file your property taxes, you cannot assume that it’s at the previous year’s rate. Because of reassessment, a property may increase in value, or, drop in value.

Market Value, Assessments, and Improvements

Another two complications are market value and improvements. Assessments are not appraisals, which means the assessed value is often lower than the true market value of a home. For instance, the above example of a residential suburban home with three bedrooms, two baths, a garage and pool, might appraise at much less than its actual market value. In other words, a home could well sell for much more than its assessed value.

Improvements are also a consideration. When a homeowner adds livable square footage and/or installs an additional bedroom or bathroom, the value of the home typically increases. In order to make such improvements, a permit must be obtained. After completion, the property will probably be reassessed to include the improvement, which of course, raises its assessed value.

Filing a Property Tax Assessment Appeal

In some instances, properties are reassessed and the values increase. However, changes in the market might not reflect a warranted increase and therefore, the property owner pays higher taxes. When this occurs, the property owner can file an appeal to have a reassessment.For more information about Middle Keys Real Estate please contact me

The importance of Property Location Added 11-4

You’ve no doubt heard the saying that residential real estate is all about, “location, location, location,” but, have you ever really stopped to give it thought? Beside a cursory consideration, most people don’t give it much credence, even when in the market to buy a home. Sure, they know the neighborhoods they most like and the type of home they most want, but, location is just a place -- not their future home

It’s highly ironic how home buyers gravitate toward a property type, only concerned about the lot boundaries and not much more. They tend to key-in on specifics, such as size, layout, and amenities. Well, there are several reasons location matters so much to real estate and here are the top ones:

● You’re actually buying into a neighborhood. When you buy a home, you’re not just purchasing a single parcel of real estate, you’re essentially buying a share of the neighborhood. Good real estate agents know this to be the case because the surrounding area has a lot to do with value.
● Schools are very important. Even if you don’t have children, or, are empty-nesters, if you’re going to sell in the future, you should definitely consider nearby schools. Some homebuyers are more concerned with being close to good schools than practically any other aspect.
● Access to shopping, dining, groceries, and entertainment. Of course, the more options that are available, the better. These destinations spots have a huge impact on home values precisely because of their lifestyle worth.
● Nearby desirable amenities. Outdoor recreation and indoor entertainment are also very big contributors to real estate values. This is exactly why a three bedroom, two bath home is worth far more on the beach than it would be inland.
● Safety and security. Although this is obvious, it’s something that bears repeating. A neighborhood that’s safe and secure is a great place to live and that translates into higher equity as well as higher resale value. In addition, a safe neighborhood translates into insurance savings because insurers are quite concerned about safety.
● New commercial development. Homes that are nearby new commercial development are better positioned to gain a higher equity rate. The more commercial development, the better because it adds real value to surrounding residential communities.

Another important factor is access to transportation. While you certainly don’t want to purchase a home that’s facing an international airport hangar, being a short drive away from air transit is a big plus. In addition, nearby public transportation is also beneficial to property value.

Choosing a Custom Home Builder Added 10-2

There are few things more exciting than building your dream home. It’s a truly remarkable time, filled with high expectations and the thrill of being able to customize your residence to fit your wants and needs.

Now, comes a very real challenge to help you realize your dream -- finding a custom home builder. Sure, you can easily find contractors online, but, which are the ones with the best reputations and the work to back them up? It’s a bit more difficult than you’d first suppose, but, there are ways to find the right builder to position you for a successful project result. Here’s how to choose the right custom home builder to construct your dream home:

● Get referrals from family and friends. Chances are, if you’re going the custom build route, you’ve been inspired by someone you know. Ask about their custom builder and what their experience was like. In addition, inquire about their level of satisfaction with the finished product. You can also get referrals from other people you know and trust.
● Consult the local Better Business Bureau. When it comes to such a large financial commitment, there’s no such thing as too careful. Log-on the the local BBB site and search for custom builders. Of course, you’re looking for contractors with a high rating and little to no customer disputes.
● Search local clerk of court records. In addition to the local BBB, you should search each builder’s name through the local clerk of court’s office. If a builder is named as a defendant in one or more lawsuits, that’s obviously a big red flag.
● Verify licensing with the state. Verify each contractor’s license with the state board. Look carefully through the history to learn if there’s been any type of state investigation and/or administrative actions.
● Ask for proof of insurance. Once you’ve pared down the list, ask each builder for proof of insurance. If you’re not familiar with what types and how much coverage are needed, speak with your real estate professional.
● Speak with previous customers. Request each contractor provide you with a list of past customers. Then, go by each home and reach out to the owners to ask about their experiences and level of satisfaction. You might also inquire about time to completion and staying within the budget.

Another thing you can do is to talk with architects and structural engineers used by the builders. These professionals are generally the actual property designers and must sign-off on projects. Ask about past projects and which builders deliver on their promises.

Tips On How to Furnish a Vacation Rental in the Keys Added 9-1

If you own or are going to buy a vacation rental in the Florida Keys, you likely know that such a highly valued destination will keep your property rented out. What’s more, you’ll have a dedicated place to stay when it’s time to get away for a little while. Being that it’s in a heavy tourist destination and that property values hold and grow so well, it’s a great investment.

What you want to do is preserve as much of those elements, as well as others, as possible. It’s no secret that renters can wreak havoc on a vacation property, and, in many cases, not intentionally. Accidents do happen and people can be careless when in the midst of being carefree.

Tips on How to Furnish a Vacation Rental in the Keys

To protect your investment, and, to make it more marketable to renters, you ought to be highlighting the best features while ensuring your asset isn’t subjected to damage. That being said, you also want to make it look great so people get excited about it a book a stay. Here are some tips on how to furnish a vacation rental in the Keys:

● Maximize furniture arrangement for space. While it’s certainly normal to arrange furniture to best watch television, guest views ought to be focused on the view outside. Arrange furniture to maximize space and open traffic flow rather than to confine.
● Let in plenty of light and showcase views. This point is along the same lines, but differs in that you’re putting the emphasis on the views. This goes more for window treatments and covering, framing every pane to let the sunlight come in free of obstruction.
● Be proactive in protecting furnishings and table plate sets. It’s always a good idea to purchase furniture slipcovers and to be mindful of things like table sets. Instead of things like stoneware, opt for something that still looks great, but isn’t easily chipped or broken. Conversely, don’t cheap-out, but do stay away from expensive sets.
● Install durable flooring that’s easy to clean and maintain. While carpet is less expensive to install, it just won’t stand-up to rental foot traffic. You’ll have to clean and replace it more often. While tile and hardwood are much more durable, these too stain. So, go for efficient and effective with engineered flooring, like a laminate.
● Keep decor simple and to a minimum. The trick is to do more with less. This serves two purposes: one, it provides a sense of more space; and two, it leaves less to be broken. As mentioned, accidents happen and you want to eliminate as much as possible.

 

Why Waterfront Homes Rent Better and for More Money added 8-1

You’ve heard it before and will encounter it time and again, that is, “real estate is all about location, location, location.” Redundant, yes it is at that, but true, it is most certainly. There’s a good reason that a two bedroom, two bath home sells for a lot more money when it’s on an island beach than a home twice its size or more, that’s located in the middle of nowhere.

Location matters big time because it’s what largely dictates what a property is worth. Sure, there are other factors, such as neighborhood, surrounding developments, on-site and nearby amenities, but location trumps them all in a big way. Residences that sit within destination locations are just more inherently valuable than properties that are not in the same place.

Why Waterfront Homes Rent Better and for More Money

If you are considering purchasing a rental property, even one that will serve as a vacation home for a few days or weeks of the year for you personally, think strategically. One of the single biggest mistakes would-be turned disappointed rental home investment owners make is not to look at the big picture. They are just too myopic, caught-up in the excitement of generating a new revenue stream. The trouble that comes with that is not being realistic about the home’s condition, it’s potential, and its location.

If the point is to rent it out for generating a new source of income, then, the home has to be worthwhile. That means it has to be attractive to renters, which in-turn means, having a captivating allure. Waterfront homes certainly possess this enticing quality. So, let’s look at why waterfront homes rent better and for more money:

● Waterfront homes are almost always in destination locations. Human civilization, that is to say needs and trade are all about location. Water is a wonderful resource, and, real estate values bear this out. A home with a waterfront view will rent more often and for more money, simply because of its location.
● Land is at a premium and new building regulations are a reality. By definition, waterfront means a finite amount of land, which is demonstrated in values. Because homes located near or on the water are at a higher risk for damage, new regulations pop-up now and again. That limits new construction, making existing homes all the more valuable.
● A waterfront home is in a prime location. This translates into many recreational opportunities, which are highly valued with renters. They want the convenience of easy access and to take advantage of all that is offered.

 

What You need to Know about Using a Vacation Home as a Rental added 7-4

is a big decision, and, one that comes with a substantial cost. For savvy investors, an income stream can be generated by the property in order to make it much more affordable. In some instances, it can produce enough revenue for a positive net cash flow. This is particularly true when a vacation home is located in a highly desirable area, like a destination location.

What You need to Know about Using a Vacation Home as a Rental

For most vacation home owners, the decision to purchase their properties come as a result of being financially comfortable. However, others buy a second home out of necessity--traveling back and forth from one locality to another. There are still others who like the idea of having a dedicated space to enjoy while away from their primary residence, and, put it to work as a rental property when out of town.

If you’re considering buying a vacation home, and are interested in using it as a rental, there are a few things you ought to know to make it worthwhile.

For tax filing purposes, the IRS divides a vacation rental into three categories: You rent your second home for most of the year, you rent in short increments to others, or, you rent it out but also use it yourself. So, let’s look at it from an investment standpoint. In this situation, you stay at your second home for 14 days or less each year. When this is the case, you can do the following:

● Buy in a place that’s in a destination location. When you do decide to buy a vacation home, don’t dare neglect overlooking its location. While the rule of thumb for a primary home purchase is to buy into a good neighborhood, it expands with a second home to a destination location. This way, it’s easy to keep occupied, generating a constant revenue stream.
● Build equity while earning an income. Though the income you earn--if you rent for more than two weeks per year--won’t be tax free, you will be building-up your net worth as the home gains more equity value. As the equity grows, you have more leverage for future rental property purchases.
● Deduct expenses from your vacation rental. Because you are renting your second home and earning an income, that allows you to write-off many expenses, which include, but are not limited to: maintenance, mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, depreciation, taxes, advertising, management fees, and so on.


Advantages of Investing in Marathon Florida Real Estate
added 6-2

When you buy real estate, you are making a long term investment, and, one that’s proven by its track record for being one of the best. Sure, there are down cycles, but over the course of the years, you’ll come out further ahead. That being said, like other investments, you have to chose wisely in order to get the most out of it.

This is why location is of the utmost importance. When you purchase real estate, you are buying a stake in the neighborhood, not just an individual property. It’s quite important to understand that you can’t change the location, though you can make all kinds of improvements to the home, where it is is where it will stay. You’ve heard the old saying that real estate is all about three factors: location, location, location, and, this is the very reason why that is true.

Advantages of Investing in Marathon Florida Real Estate

Choosing a property starts with selecting a great location so it appreciates steadily over the years. Marathon is such a location because land is at a premium, but with interest rates being so low, lending requirements loosening, and new credit score modeling, it’s definitely a great time to buy. Here are the top advantages of investing in Marathon real estate:

● The property will be near air travel, which is very convenient. There is an airport nearby, and one in Miami and Key West, both of which are international facilities. This is beneficial because it makes getting to the area simple. It’s also good because it forces airlines to offer competitive prices.
● Great weather year-round. The sun shines nearly every day of the year and that means you can say goodbye to the winter blues. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to do more, especially during the summer, when days are very long.
● Better health through recreation. The wonderful weather offers another benefit: the ability to enjoy outdoor recreational activities. Because of the outstanding weather, you can bike, swim, run, fish, hike, camp, and take advantage of all kinds of opportunities, which means better health.
● The ability to rent it for top dollar. If you want, you can rent out your Marathon property and do so for top dollar because it’s such a large tourist destination. This means generating a passive income and having tax benefits as well.

Another reason to buy a home in Marathon is it makes for a great place to retire. There’s no big city stress and the laidback lifestyle is one that ‘s quite enjoyable.

What to Know about Florida’s Homestead Exemption ADDED 5-5-2015

Florida is one of the most affordable and beautiful places to live in the entire country. The Sunshine State is a peninsula that extends down from the southern states into the tropical Florida Keys, situated between the majestic blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the aqua-marine calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Not only is it the home of thousands of miles of beach, it’s also home to fishing, boating, hiking, camping, golf, tennis, horseback riding, and many other outdoor activities.

In addition to these, there’s the wonderful weather, which is filled with balmy breezes, short and mild winters, and best of all, plenty of sunshine. What makes it all even better is the low cost of living. Vehicles enjoy a longer lifespan because there’s no destructive ice and snow. There’s also no need for purchasing costly home heating oil, and goods and services are also less expensive. Topping it off is the state’s very business friendly environment and property owners have the benefit of taking advantage of what’s known as homestead exemption.

What to Know about Florida’s Homestead Exemption

In the state of Florida, a person’s home is quite literally his or her castle. This is because the homestead exemption does such much to owning real estate in the Sunshine State so attractive and affordable. Not only is Florida a state income tax free zone, it’s also a place to own a home with some very nice advantages, which include:

● Pay less in property taxes. The great thing about claiming homestead exemption in the state of Florida is the fact that you qualify for the money saving benefit from the very first day you occupy the property. There is no waiting period or qualifying time needed, you get to file for homestead exemption as soon as you move into your home.
● There are practically no limits. It doesn’t make a difference if you purchase a condo for $125,000 or a mansion for $3.5 million. The monetary worth has no limit but there are restrictions on property size, which cannot be more than half an acre.
● Double the advantage for married couples. If you are married, both spouses are eligible for homestead exemption, doubling the benefit. Should finances go awry, both spouses are still protected by homestead exemption when filing for bankruptcy.
● Protection from creditors. If you own a homestead exempt property in the state of Florida, you have a home that’s off limits to creditors. This means even if a person or company files a lawsuit against you, and wins a judgment, you can’t be forced to sell your property.

As you can clearly see, when you purchase a home in Florida, you not only get great weather, but plenty of peace of mind.

Pros and Cons of Condo ownership added 4-1-2015

Purchasing any type of real estate is a big commitment. With tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake, you want to make the best choice, and, more importantly, the right choice. The upside is that practically no matter what property type you purchase, it will appreciate in value over the years. Which is why condominiums have become so popular.

Many people get hung-up on the term “condominium,” picturing a small apartment-like home that’s nestled among hundreds of others. What you ought to know is the housing structure itself doesn’t have much of anything to do with the term. Condominium is a legal term for a type of property ownership. Rather than being what’s most common, fee simple, a condo is a kind of partial ownership in the complex. This means there are pros and cons to owning a condo.

Cons of Owning a Condo

Any type of home has its drawbacks, which can’t be denied. For example, the cost of upkeep. The roof will eventually leak, the water heater or air conditioner will stop working, and the yard needs to be maintained. Some of these things aren’t a reality in a condo, but there are other downsides, such as:

● There are HOA rules. While this generally keeps the overall property in appreciable condition, you won’t be able to choose the exterior color and you’ll be limited on other things, like outdoor furniture, size and number of pets, and so on.
● You’ll pay HOA fees. The homeowners association is there to oversee the community and make informed decisions about improvements, repairs, and governing rules. This comes with a price to each owner in the form of fees. This means even if you own the unit free-and-clear of a mortgage, you’ll still pay the HOA fee.
● You might be hit with a big expense. The HOA is supposed to maintain a solid fiduciary responsibility, which includes a watchful eye on the treasury. The HOA fees go into a fund which pays for big projects, like resurfacing the pool or putting on a new roof. If the reserves aren’t properly managed, you might be hit with a “special assessment.” This is an out-of-pocket expense to help cover the cost of large jobs.

Condo Investment Pros

Although there are rules, most associations allow for certain exceptions. That’s just one pro of investing in a condo, and, there are plenty of others:

● You pay a lot less for prime real estate. Condos are typically built in highly desirable locations, and because there are numerous units, the cost of owning a property right on or near the beach is a fraction of a single family home.
● You don’t have to worry about upkeep. You won’t have to do the landscaping, clean the exterior, or worry about other maintenance issues because that’s all covered by the HOA.
● You can come and go easily. Unlike a single family home, it’s a cinch to come and go whenever you like. What’s more, many condo communities offer security.
● You’ll enjoy amenities. In general, condo communities are equipped with resort-style amenities. In addition, the great location means you’re quite close to everything you need: dining, shopping, entertainment, and more.
For help Buying or selling Middle Keys Real Estate please Contact me.

 

 

What to Know about Relocating to Marathon, Florida

Marathon, Florida, lies in the Middle Keys, off the southern coast of the Sunshine State, situated between the grand Atlantic Ocean and the tropical Gulf of Mexico. With approximately 11,000 residents, it’s known for its quintessential laid back lifestyle, where tee-shirts, shorts, and sandals are normal, everyday attire

The beauty of the area is vast and quite enjoyable, with no hint of snow, ice, and so much sunshine, it boasts little rainfall, relative to other Florida locations. Its also is known for its warm climate, with temperatures reaching just into the top of the seventies during the winter months and lows falling to only the high sixties. Being situated between two great bodies of water and in such a wonderful environment, many people dream of living in Marathon, Florida. That dream doesn’t have to be out of reach, because there’s much opportunity to be found in the area.

What to Know about Relocating to Marathon, Florida

Marathon is a wonderful place to live, not only because of its ideal location, but also because it’s located in a very affordable state. The state of Florida is one that offers relatively low cost of living, has a beautiful climate, and is a vacation land practically every day of the year. If you are considering moving to Marathon, Florida, then here’s some things you need to know:

Decide between renting and buying. You might be tempted to rent when relocating to Marathon, Florida, but you should know owning is less expensive, and lucrative, over the long term. There’s a homestead property tax deduction and equity grows quite quickly in a location like Marathon. What’s more, if you choose to move-up in home or downsize later, you’ll have a great rental property that generates a nice passive income stream.

Sell or donate your heavy winter clothing. You won’t have much occasion to breakout that heavy winter clothing. In this area, there is little to no need for a bulky winter coat, gloves, scarves, and the like. Temperatures are very moderate in Marathon and you will spend more time in t-shirts and shorts then you will in any other type of attire. Lighten your load and help to reduce the cost of moving by selling and/or donating your heavy winter clothing.

Transfer your driver’s license to Florida. When you relocate to Florida, you’ll have thirty days to transfer your driving privileges to the Sunshine State under the law. Doing so is not only a requirement, it does wonders for your lifestyle when you see your name next to the green silhouette of state that’s an everyday vacation lifestyle.

Accept employment or establish a business. You also have thirty days to either accept employment with a company with a presence in the state of Florida or to open your own business. Whichever you choose is up to you and you ought to know the state has several incentives to relocate a business.

File for homestead exemption. Property taxes aren’t a favorite expense for any homeowner, and the state of Florida understands this greatly. You have thirty days from your move to file for homestead exemption, which will substantially reduce your property tax obligation.

Register your children for school. If you have minor children, you’re required to register them for school, public or private, within thirty days of your relocation. Home schooling is also an option, if you prefer.

Change your voter registration. Also in the thirty day timeline is having to register your voting address as a local. In addition, you should also register a change of address with the postal service to ensure your mail is delivered.

Last but not least, you’ll have to register your vehicle(s) and update your insurance information. It’s also advisable to have your utilities scheduled to be turned on when you arrive. For help finding Marathon Fl Homes for sale please contact me

 

The Florida Keys: Incredible Destination Resort

Real estate is currently a shaky investment, given the fact that prices have plummeted and unemployment is high. In fact, there is so much uncertainty about the future, that it's enough to scare off most real estate investors these days.

The situation is precarious in most segments of the real estate market, except for owning vacation rentals, and in particular those located in destination resort areas.

Destination Resort Locations

The Florida Keys is a shining example of promising destination resorts, especially in Key West. Others include Nassau, along with ski vacation areas like Aspen and Telluride. One of the main reasons why the Florida Keys is one of the premiere resort areas is because it offers a year round destination to vacationers. Although Nassau is also a cruise destination, Key West and the remainder of the Keys to a lesser extent, offer spectacular year round vacation attractions.

This is the main advantage the resort properties in the Florida Keys enjoy compared to ski resort properties in Utah, California and Colorado. Florida's winter vacation season begins in late January and lasts until April. The summer season begins in June and lasts until Labor Day. During the so-called "off seasons," however, if you were to walk down one of the main streets in Key West, you would see plenty of tourists enjoying the experience that old Key West provides, fishing from the pier and taking plenty of photos. Typically cruise shops are in port in Key West year around, probably even more so than in Nassau even.

Other Resort Areas In The Florida Keys

Other Florida Keys destinations shouldn't be overlooked, like Islamorada, which is located approximated 53 miles from Miami and 78 miles away from Key West. To get to the airport is a one hour drive. (There is an airport in Key West, although it does have limited service and is somewhat small). The main advantages offered by Islamorada are its funky night spots, excellent restaurants, easy going way of life and its incredible beauty.

The Keys has other locations that are worth mentioning, particularly Key Largo, which is close to Miami, and offers great fishing and diving. Marathon, along with some of lesser known Keys, are also definitely worth considering for investment opportunities. They also provide owners with nice places to stay when the properties are not rented out. However, the major draw of the Keys is still Key West, in terms of being a profitable vacation area and income producing location.

Investment Points For Your Consideration

It is true that Florida residents own over fifty percent of vacation properties (private homes and condos). Another fact that is interesting regarding the Keys is over 55 percent of Florida Keys properties sold are sold to individuals who visited the area and loved it. The main point here is that the Keys are one of the important vacation areas for individuals wanting to own a piece of paradise that they can return to.

Also, the rentals on a majority of the properties can help to defray all, or most of, vacation property ownership costs. In fact, the average vacation owner, after a couple of years, will have a net positive vacation rental income. Of course, there's always a trade off: how much income does an owner want to generate from the property versus how much do they want to use the property for personal use?

Compare Owning Investments In Non Vacation Areas

One of the main reasons why individuals choose to rent property in non vacation locations compared to vacation properties is because they think that individuals who rent a house or an apartment are less like to causes damages to a property that they live in. This is a false argument, notwithstanding problems that may arise from renting to college students on spring break. Usually, if you are careful about who you rent your condo or home to, and thoroughly screen potential renters, the chances of major damage occurring will be very low.

The reason why is because people visiting Florida Keys vacation properties will be spending a majority of their time outdoors swimming, diving, fishing, sightseeing and doing other activities. By contrast, people in non vacation areas spend most of their time inside the home. Statistically, is it more likely for damage and breakage to happen, due to family issues, along with wear and tear on properties that are used on a daily basis. Socioeconomic status can also be another factor. When people spend $1,000 or more a week on a vacation rental, along with having to pay a large security deposit, they're much less likely to cause damage to a vacation rental that is well maintained. They also tend to be people who are more advanced in their jobs or careers.

The Keys Are Better

Destination properties in the Florida Keys, in most ways, are definitely on the same level as Nassau or Telluride. However, the added benefit that the Keys offer is that of a year round vacation season. Also, whether you are interested in Key West (Lower Keys) or Islamorada (Upper Keys), property values haven't depreciated anywhere near the same extent as most other areas in the country or other parts of Florida. There are two very good reasons for this: 1) Islamorada and Key West are vacation destinations that will likely produce income on a regular basis. 2) Throughout the U.S., there is a glut of vacation properties as houses go into foreclosure.

As the recession continues, Florida vacations are more attractive vacation options compared to leaving the country. Therefore, investment properties in the Florida Keys will be income producing properties (as long as zoning permits) now and into the foreseeable future. In terms of having a place to have "fun in the sun" and have an investment vehicle at the same time, there are few vacation destinations in the world that can beat Florida Keys real estate.

Cost of Living in Martin County, Florida

Located on the Treasure Coast, a stretch of land which runs along the east coast of Florida and is so named because of the many Spanish galleons which sunk nearby, is Martin County. With a population of approximately 150,000 residents, about 92 percent being urban and 8 percent being rural, the county has seen steady growth in its economy, thanks in large part to its tourism along the Atlantic Ocean, combined with its corporate and real estate development growth inland.

Martin County, Florida, is home to some of the best beaches on the tropical peninsula, such as Jensen Beach and Jupiter Island. It’s also home to places of wonderful natural beauty, like the Atlantic Preserve State Park and Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Cost of Living in Martin County, Florida

Unlike large, urban metropolises such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami, Martin County enjoys a modern, urban lifestyle, complete with a healthy dose of a subtropical living climate. This means residents in the area enjoy outdoor recreational opportunities practically every day of the year.

It also means that tourism is a big industry, which helps to keep the unemployment level low. The current unemployment rate is 5.7 percent, at parity with the national U-3 level, according to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This places such locations as Stuart, Florida in a prime spot for skilled workers, and is also just 1.1 percent above the rate known as “full employment,” by economists.

What’s more, the job growth rate is nearly four percent, currently at 3.69 percent, besting the national job growth average of just 1.18. Projections estimate future job growth in the county to increase to approximately 41.7 percent, outpacing the expected national outlook of 36.1 percent. The largest sectors of skilled or professional labor are in business, finance, and management.

The median household income in the area is more than $55,000 per year, and the income tax rate is 0.0 percent, while the national average for state income tax is about 4.72 percent.

Compared to the national average in cost of living, with a rating of 100 being the most expensive, Martin County comes-in at a rate of 87. Housing and utilities are also lower than the nationwide rating, being 57 and 96, respectively.

Home appreciation from the end of 2013 to the present has risen an impressive 12 percent, with the median home cost coming-in at $180,700. This is due to sustained affordability, low mortgage interest rates, greater availability of home loan products, and rises in wages. For help finding Real Estate in Martin County Florida please Contact me. Use my experience to find the perfect situation.

 

Benefits of Relocating to Martin County Florida added 11-4-2014

Now that that cold has fully begun to descend across the northeast and Midwest, it serves as a chilling reminder of what’s to come. Yet another fight against freeze, shoveling snow, scraping ice, and commuting to and from work in the dark

For the next several months, this will be the reality, and it’s why so many residents in cold weather climates seriously start contemplating a move to somewhere where summer practically never ends. One such location is Martin County, Florida. Part of the Treasure Coast and home to the beautiful Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park, this tropical paradise running between Lake Okeechobee and the Atlantic Ocean includes such highly desired areas as Stuart, Hobe Sound, Palm City, Jensen Beach and Jupiter Island.

Warmer Weather means Better Health

Did you know that cold weather climates actually affect your health? It’s true as scientific studies have found that as the cold sets-in, the body requires more “insulation.” That’s another word for “fat,” and it’s why people gain weight during the winter. It’s also why heart disease is more prevalent in the northeast and midwest than it is in places like the Sunshine State.

Mental health is also negatively impacted by cold weather climates, especially in congested, non-stop urban cities. Big city stress puts its residents at-risk for high blood pressure, stress, anxiety--all of which can lead to heart attack. Speaking of stress, moving to a place where normal attire is tee shirts, shorts and sandals means a more laid-back lifestyle, which means a lot less frustration.

Recreational Opportunities equal a Better Quality of Life

The beaches are obviously the main attraction, because of the fun under the sun they deliver. It doesn’t end with walks along the sand watching the sunrise or sunset, there is plenty more to do. Recreational opportunities, what’s more, they’re available practically every day of the year. Because of the warm climate, outdoor play is in-play all year. The choices are quite numerous: hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, water skiing, jet skiing, volleyball, golfing, tennis, boating, sailing, skating, horseback riding, the list goes on and on and on.

Do More, Spend Less in Martin County

Another huge benefit of relocating to the area is the cost of living. Say goodbye to home heating oil and the money it drains from your pocket every winter. Your car would certainly thank you if it could talk because it won’t be exposed to those brutal conditions which rack-up costs for trips to the repair shop.

Property taxes are typically lower than most places across the country and there’s no income tax. What’s more, properties appreciate at a higher rate because Florida is one of the most desirable states in which to live. Enjoy lower utility costs, as well as less to spend during the winter not having to deal with the snow and ice.

With so much to offer, it’s little wonder why Martin County is the place so many people chose to call home. For Help finding Real Estate in Martin County please Contact Me.

Health Benefits of a Lifestyle Change to a Warmer Climate

The big city and the rural landscape in cold weather climates, both do more than make you suffer through the ravages and annoyances of scraping off ice and driving to work and back home in the dark. That cold weather is actually not to good for your health--both physical and mental.

You might wonder how sleet, snow, and ice, crisp fall temperatures included, can be detrimental to your wellbeing. Well, the wonderful delight of changing leaves and the glimmer of fresh snow quickly wear-off when you are tasked with raking a yard full of leaves and shoveling out your driveway.

Cold Weather withers Your Health

Okay, so you’re likely thinking about the strain raking leaves and shoveling snow puts on your back and joints. What you may not think about is how your body responds to being in a cold weather climate like the northeast or midwest.

More fat is how it adapts, doctors say. Over time, your body needs more insulation as you age, and that’s why you pack on more pounds year after year. If you begin or are in an exercise regimen, you’ll at some point wonder why it’s evermore difficult to keep the weight off.

That’s just part of the bad news. With extra weight comes extra strain on the joints, back, and of course, heart and lungs. Obesity also carries an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.

Then, there’s the mental health aspect. Research has shown that people living in cold weather climates, especially urban ones, are more prone to depression and anxiety attacks. All that stress takes its toll, again, on you mentally and physically.

Health Benefits of a Lifestyle Change in a Warm Weather Climate

The reason so many people chose to escape the cold and move to places like Stuart, Florida or Martin County is because they are not only waving goodbye to the cold, but saying hello to better health.

A warm climate is where your body needs less insulation (read: fat) and because there’s more sunshine and temperatures are very pleasant nearly every day of the year, so, you can do more outside. Increased outdoor recreation means it’s easier to stay fit and you can also say goodbye to seasonal affective disorder or the winter blues.

Yet another reason for living in a warm climate is, it’s good for your attitude. Sunshine plays a large role here, but also, you’ll have the benefit of always being near the beach. The serenity of the ocean and a warm, balmy breeze does a lot for your mental health.

The fact of the matter is, the human body isn’t really that adept for cold weather, it can tolerate it in short bouts, but being exposed to it year after year adversely affects your physical and psychological health. For more information about Stuart Real Estate.

 

 

Why Florida Beachfront Real Estate is so Popular with Foreign Investors

Florida is one the largest recipients of foreign investment in residential real estate. Just last year alone, about 23 percent of all real estate transactions in the Sunshine State were Canadians buying property on the peninsula and throughout the Florida Keys.

Our neighbors to the north are not the only ones who are purchasing waterfront property in the state. Buyers come from Asia, the United Kingdom, and South America. Some Middle Eastern countries are even contributing to the rather large pool of foreign real estate investment purchases. If you're wondering why this is happening, there are some very good explanations.

Florida Beachfront Real Estate is a Prime Investment

One of the more obvious reasons for foreign investors to purchase beachfront property is it's a guaranteed, healthy, return on investment. Beachfront property is prime real estate and many savvy and affluent investors like owning something that isn't subjected to the stock market. They can rent it, vacation there, and even relocate, to boot.

The Sunshine State Offer Plenty of Wonderful Weather

There are few places on the planet, which offer better weather so many months of the year. Canadians like to escape for three to four or more months, avoiding the cold, harsh winters up north. Other foreign investors are buying to escape inclement weather. For instance, the infamous "English summer", which brings daily downpours and gloomy evenings. With such great weather throughout the year, and the ability to enjoy outdoor recreation practically every single day of the year, Florida is a prime location to own a home.

Schools and Universities are Top-Notch

Some foreign investors are also investing in their children and want them to get the best education. Florida has some of the most recognized universities in the country and a college degree comes-in at a far more affordable price than an Ivy League institution. There are also plenty of private and public elementary, middle, and high schools to choose from.

Low Cost of Living and Low Taxes

Savvy foreign investors salivate at the low cost of living in the state, as well as the low property taxes. What's more, many are putting their own businesses in a prime location, because Florida has a very business-friendly environment with plenty of incentives and low taxes. The fact there are no income taxes just makes it all the better of a deal.

Finally, another reason for so many foreign investors is they're planning ahead. Wanting to become citizens of the United States, they are purchasing property to make the transition permanent and call the U.S. home. Here, they can raise a family and a new generation of Americans.

 

Real Estate Investment Ideas And Advice

Real estate investing can be a tricky market to enter into, no matter if the person has experience or not. If you want to learn solid tips about real estate investing, you have come to the right place. Continue reading this article for some good ideas about becoming a successful real estate investor.

Take time to properly access the market before you go out and make a real estate purchase. You want to take a close look at a group of properties, taking notes as well. You need to be looking at how much you'll make in rent, what kinds of repairs need to be done, and how much the current prices are. This will help you sift through the deals to sort good from bad.

You should know that reputation is of the utmost importance when it comes to real estate. This is why you should stick with your word while being sure you don't tell potential clients lies. They will allow you to boost your credibility since they may refer you to others.

When you're trying to come up with a strategy for business, know that the costs that are sunk go further than a home's general price. You may have to pay closing costs, legal fees, and staging costs, along with many other potential expenses that will impact your bottom line. Consider all costs involved when determining your margin.

Locate and speak with other investors that are into real estate. You should reach out to these investors that are more experienced for some great advice. A few friends knowledgeable about real estate investment can be handy. The Internet makes discovering new friends and contacts quite easy. Try joining some real estate forums to engage meetups.

If you're considering real estate investing, you should contemplate the amount of time you can apply to managing your investment. Tenant problems can really kill your time. If you cannot juggle the responsibilities, think about hiring a property manager.

Find a group of other interested investors or read up on blogs from successful real estate investors. You can learn a lot this way about how to do business. You could even speak with these individuals one-on-one.

As the previous information shows, you must understand the market if you want to succeed at investing in real estate. Now that you have this information, you should be able to recognize a good investment. You will be successful as long as you follow the advice here and keep these tips nearby.
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