No Comments

10 Things to Know When Buying New Construction in Fort Myers, Florida

Buying a new home in SW Florida can be daunting. Building a new home can be even more so. Here are ten tips that can help you navigate the waters of new construction buying.

1. Not All Agents Know The New Construction Business

Real estate agents tend to develop their skills in particular niches. Some agents familiarize themselves with the new construction business. Many construction companies have affiliated agents, and while they are amazing, their job is to sell the builder. The independent agent’s job is to sell you your dream home. There are agents that are available in the construction business and can walk you through the process of deciding what you want and don’t want. If you are going to build new construction, build something to love.

2. Savings Programs Can Help

Numerous reasons exist to buy a new home, and one is the savings that are available from various lenders. Between federal, state, and local lenders, there are a variety of programs out there to make homeownership accessible and budget friendly. The best part is that your agent has connections to lenders you can contact, and know which lenders have the know-how to help!

 

3. Negotiations are Important

Unlike previously built homes, you typically can’t negotiate to lower the price – builders aren’t this flexible. However, many hard-working builders are willing to negotiate with you about other options (also known as “back-end options”). Your real estate agent can negotiate with your chosen builders for upgrades, such as a granite countertop dual sink in the master bathroom, or even help you with available negotiating tools you can use to get the upgrades you desire. Sometimes you can talk the builders into paying closing costs. You benefit in the long run from negotiating with your builders.

4. What Is Included With Your New Construction Home?

What most people don’t know is that the model home you look at isn’t always the base model. Many times, you can see upgrades intertwined in the model home, which can mislead you. Your agent’s job is to help you understand exactly what you will be getting if you purchase the home. He or she needs to either accompany you to the viewing or help you with a list of questions to ask to make sure you are clear on what you would be purchasing or where there may be potential for a price increase.

5. Who Is Building Your Home?

Ask questions and determine who will be building your home. “Buyer beware” is always a good standard to have. Many online forums exist to research your builder. Review what previous clients have experienced and if there have been any issues with the builder recently. From the BBB to Yelp, or even asking friends and relatives, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of who is building and if the work is exceptional or not.

6. Warranty Peace of Mind

There are some major benefits to Buying New Construction, including knowing that everything will be up to code. Many builders will have a warranty that you can purchase,  or that builders will include in your new home. Enjoy peace of mind while you begin to build your new life in your new home, knowing that if an issue arises or an appliance doesn’t work right within the warranty time frame, the warranty covers it. Not all warranties are created equal, so let your agent help you decipher what warranty benefits the builder includes.

7. No More Repairs

It is common for buyers of pre-existing homes to discover issues in their new home that need repair. Many homes in the pre-existing market will require more than one type of repair. Many repairs can be expensive, such as a new roof, a complete overhaul of electrical wiring, or possible hidden rotten wood. By building a new home, you can relax with peace of mind, knowing that there won’t be immediate repairs before or after purchase. Commonly needed repairs in pre-existing homes arise due to the water heater, garage door, or other items that are as new as ten years old. By building a new home, you can avoid these costly repairs.

8. Your Preferences Are the Priority

One of the best benefits of a new construction home is the fact you get to choose your colors and patterns. Many times, people have been looking to buy a home and immediately find five things they do not like about the carpet or counters. Buyers tend to enjoy spending more time picking out what they like rather than wondering if they will have buyer’s remorse later. Newly built homes tend to have more open floors plans than older homes of different eras. Open floor plans are a draw for many buyers who are contemplating building instead of buying pre-existing homes.

9. Choose Which Building Route You Want To Take

The agent’s job is to help you decide between an architect, hire a contractor and build a custom built home, or go with the semi-custom home builders. Semi-custom homes are those that are offered as models, that you can customize while keeping the basic floor plan the same. If these aren’t your cup of tea, we can help with pre-built type homes and help to find financing to go along with them.

 

10. Build a New Home and Leave Yourself Financially Better Off

The final benefit to consider about building a new construction home is the fact that buying a home will leave you better off financially. Newly constructed homes, like others, will grow in appreciation and allow for you to have money in retirement or to borrow against if need be. You can also expect to have green appliances – no not the color green, but energy-saving appliances that will help year after year to keep your wallet bigger and your bills smaller. There are also tax savings on the mortgage interest to claim each year.

 

Your real estate agent can help you discover all of the advantages of building a new construction home for you and your financial portfolio. Please contact us today to discuss the benefits that can help you better your future in your new home.

No Comments

Here’s What to Expect When Closing on Your Home

You’ve reached the finish line. House shopping is over, you’ve gone through the loan approval process, had the home inspected, and now you’re just waiting for the day you receive keys to your new home. What happens on that day, though? The day that payment and keys change hands is called the settlement, or closing day. Most refer to it as your closing signing, but it is when you settle all pending payments, and all documents about the transfer of the title deed are signed. Expect these steps when Closing on a House.

Double Check Your Documents

Before you go to your closing appointment, review the documents that you have, which should be your loan estimate and your closing disclosure. The loan estimate should have been provided to you within three days after your loan application, and your closing disclosure should have been submitted to you no later than three days before your closing appointment. These documents should look very similar, if not identical. Check all pertinent information and make sure it is accurate. You should double check, if not triple check, your interest rate information and your address. If you see any discrepancies on anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask why.

Final Walk-through

About 24 hours before the closing signing you will have the opportunity to do a final walk-through. Make sure you are very thorough and detailed when completing your final walk-through. If you had a home inspection in the beginning, and you definitely should have, confirm that any repairs you requested of the seller are completed and up to your standards. There are specific parts and functions of the home that are a high priority to check:

  • Make sure all of your outlets are working.
  • Check that the light fixtures and ceiling fans are operational.
  • Inspect the ceiling and walls to make sure there are no cracks in them.
  • Ensure that both the water heater and HVAC system are running properly.
  • Check that the plumbing in the home is fully functional. (This is a huge one because you want to make sure you can remove waste properly.)
  • If the home purchase includes appliances, check to make sure they are all plugged in and operational.
  • Check for any new damage that might have occurred, like holes in the walls, missing roof shingles, and spacing in the floorboards.

Who Will Attend

At the place of signing, there will be a few different people there, so be prepared for a crowded room. The signing usually takes place at the closing agent’s office. The closing agent is typically the title officer, but it could be an escrow company officer. It just must be a neutral third-party that is extensively knowledgeable about the closing process. Those attending this meeting will most likely be you, your real estate agent, the seller, their real estate agent, and an attorney for both parties if requested.

There will be a few other people in attendance who are more neutral, including the closing agent, the lender, and if you have one, the title company representative. It is necessary for all of these people to be present, because not only are you transferring the deed to the house, but signing documents for your home loan as well. Many other papers will get approved, so make sure you are not skimming through any documents. Every single word needs to be read to ensure you are not getting yourself into a bind by signing something to which you wouldn’t knowingly sign.

Vital Items to Bring

When you go to your closing signing, some items are necessary for you to bring. You must have your photo ID. If you don’t, you aren’t going to be able to sign any paperwork because they won’t be able to verify that you are you. You also need to bring a cashier’s check or a certified check because personal checks aren’t usually accepted. Your funds need to have verification, and this is the easiest way to make sure of that unless you choose to do a wire transfer. You are going to need proof of your homeowner’s insurance to verify that you purchased it, and the final purchase or sales contract, just in case.

The Final Signing

On the closing day, the amount of documents you are signing is extensive. You are signing the title to your house obviously, but there are other documents on the agenda as well, such as your promissory note, initial escrow disclosure, your mortgage documents, and your deed of trust. The promissory note is just an agreement that you will repay your mortgage loan. It includes everything about your investment like monthly payments, interest rates, and the amount owed on loan. Your escrow disclosure is a document that explains how your lender will disburse funds into your escrow account. It will give a breakdown of dates and the amount to be paid on each escrow item, like your property taxes, HOA fees, and homeowner’s insurance.

Time

Closing signings are not quick in and out meetings. It will take at least a few hours, so be ready for it to take a significant length of time. Make sure that you read every single paper, from the large, bold print down to the tiny, fine print. Everything needs to be understood. Don’t skim through any documents, because this is a substantial investment and you want every word to be correct and legal in every form, as a precautionary measure to protect yourself.

Buying a home is a beautiful adventure. You have already taken the hard steps in the home buying process, and the closing signing isn’t something you should have to worry yourself about much. The professionals you hire to help you have your best interests at heart and will make sure everything runs smoothly. Be prepared for the closing process to take significant time. You might experience hand cramps, but you’ll receive your keys and title to your home.

Be sure to contact us for assistance with your Fort Myers, Florida home buying experience.

 

No Comments

Best Places to Retire in Florida

Best Places to Retire in Florida

Retiring is a big decision. Choosing where to retire is an even more difficult choice. Florida is a great place to look, as there are no estate taxes, income taxes, or inheritance taxes, giving you the chance to spend your retirement doing the fun activities you enjoy and saving money at the same time. If you’ve been looking within Fort Myers, then you know there are many areas to choose from, whether it be Bonita Springs, Lehigh Acres, Sanibel, or Captiva, as well as Estero, Fort Myers Beach, or Cape Coral. Each place has unique characteristics, as well as similarities that wouldn’t be available in any state other than Florida.

The choice is completely yours, giving you the best of all worlds. Enjoy year-round sun, atmosphere, and activities that will have you wishing you could have retired ten years ago. The cost of living is low, public transportation is cheap and easy to use, and you have sunny weather available to you for most of the year. No matter where you choose to live, the water is never very far away. Enjoy sports fishing, boating, or paddle boarding. If you love looking at the water instead of being on it, grab a towel, find a beach, and relax for the day.

Check out the list below to learn about the unique places available for you to retire within the Fort Myers community.

Fort Myers

retire to Fort Myers

Fort Myers is a smaller city but has access to many amenities, including the Southwest Florida International Airport, major retail and outlet stores, restaurants, and beautiful beaches. Fort Myers is away from the major tourist destinations, allowing you to enjoy the solitude, but not so far that you can’t visit when family and friends are in town.

Fort Myers Beach

fort-myers-beach

Fort Myers Beach is a seven-mile barrier island off of Florida. You’ll be able to visit several different beaches, shop with friends and family when they come to visit or enjoy a few rounds of golf. The Gulf of Mexico is literally at your fingertips, allowing for water sports of all kinds, as well as fun, sun, and sand if that’s your preference. Enjoy fresh seafood every day and hop over to the mainland for any and all of the amenities you need. 

Bonita Springs

retire to Bonita Springs

Bonita Springs has a population just under 50,000 residents, giving you that small town feel where you see the same people as you spend time on your front porch, whether they are off to school or shopping at the supermarket. Parks and nature preserves are being added, giving you more options for daily entertainment. Local parks hold regular events, and you don’t have to travel far for the fun activities for which you are looking. There are various stores for everyone, so you’ll always have everything you need. The surrounding beaches are just a short drive away, and there are a variety of local restaurants from which to choose.

Lehigh Acres

retire to Lehigh Acres

If you are looking to enjoy a small community, Lehigh Acres is for you. There aren’t a lot of people, and the stores are relatively close to each other, making it easier to find what you need. Lehigh puts you close enough to the major cities without having to deal with the daily activity of the inner city. Veterans Park is a large community park with public facilities that hold community events like the annual Lehigh Acres Spring Festival.

Estero

With a population of just over 30,000, Estero has a very suburban feel to it. You will be close to restaurants, clinics, and libraries, as well as beaches. It is peaceful and safe, and close enough to amenities that you can travel a short distance without having to move there. 

Sanibel

retire to Sanibel

Sanibel is a beautiful island off the southwest coast of Florida. It has excellent shops and gorgeous beaches. The population is just over 7,000, making it a serene and peaceful place to live. There are 15 beautiful beaches, plenty of shopping, and several golf courses, as well.

Captiva

Captiva is another island off the coast of Florida, although its population is barely over 200 people and you drive through Sanibel to get to it. If you want a tight-knit community, then this is the place for you. Whenever you need more people and amenities, take a short drive to Sanibel, find what you need, and come back to quiet.

Cape Coral

retire to Cape CoralCape Coral is well known for its retirees, as there are many great reasons to retire there. You will be close to the water, as Cape Coral has over 400 miles of waterways to navigate, most of which are canals.

Purchase a home on one of many canals and spend time on your back deck, fishing for your dinner, or take your boat anywhere you want to go. Most canals lead towards the Gulf of Mexico, and some even take you to the Atlantic Ocean by way of Lake Okeechobee. If you are looked for a licensed real estate agent in Cape Coral, be sure to contact Rebecca.

The Cape Coral Yacht Club has many amenities to enjoy, including barbeque grills and a playground for the grandkids, as well as shuffleboard courts, tennis courts, and outdoor racquetball courts. Pay to use the junior Olympic size pool and enjoy arthritis classes and aerobics classes. Swimming lessons are also available.

Something for Everyone

When it comes to retiring, you want to make the choice that is best for you. Any place within the Fort Myers area is an excellent choice for retirement. The sun is almost always shining, giving you options for golf, watersports, shopping, and more. When family and friends come to visit, you will be close enough to popular tourist attractions that you can visit for the day. You have your pick of beautiful beaches, nature preserves, or local parks – all fantastic places to experience nature at its best.  Whatever your passion, you can find it in Fort Myers and its surrounding areas.

If you need help deciding which area in Fort Myers to choose for your retirement, contact Rebbeca Silva Realtor and let our team help you find the home of your dreams.

No Comments

If You’re Looking for Homes for Sale in Fort Myers, Here’s What to Expect

fort myers fl

If you are thinking about living in Fort Myers, Florida, you have most likely already done a lot of research. You’ve looked into homes for sale in Fort Myers FL, the school districts, and the daily commute to work. Perhaps you haven’t yet researched your options for the recreational aspect of your life while living in the Fort Myers area. What fun options are there for you and your kids after school? What is there to do after work? Where can you go for lunch? Are there cheap activities that you can do on the weekends or when your friends come to visit? Check out the list of options below to learn about what you can look forward to experiencing while living in this beautiful location!

Small Town Feel

Fort Myers Florida

As a small metro area in Southwest Florida, Fort Myers is home to many shops and restaurants, but its small-town feel sets it apart from other areas. Many of the stores and restaurants are dog-friendly, and there are several festivals, parks, art galleries, and historical sites to enjoy throughout the year. Nearby Cape Coral, Sanibel Island, and Fort Myers Beach are excellent excursions for those who love the water, whether you enjoy kayaking, fishing, sailing, or merely spending time in the sun with your toes in the sand.

Fear Not, Sports Fans!

If you love baseball as every American should, you can enjoy spring training for either the Boston Red Sox or the Minnesota Twins. For basketball enthusiasts, you can join in on the fun of the City of Palms Classic, the area’s annual high school basketball tournament, which has become an interest to college recruits from all over the country. If you prefer to watch golf as well as play it, golf tournaments are abundant and allow you to enjoy the sport even while standing under an umbrella while drinking a cold beverage. Boating tournaments are also available, both as a participant and as a spectator.

Enjoy a Relaxed Atmosphere

fort myers florida

The historic River District is a calm and peaceful option for enjoyment during the day. Shops and restaurants allow for quiet lunches and serene walks down the waterfront towards the pier. Stop and watch the wildlife, or make your way through the palm trees to the museums and local art galleries.

Entertainment Opportunities

Though Fort Myers is not as well known for its nightlife as other areas of Florida, there are many opportunities for anyone looking to enjoy a night out. Each first Friday of the month, the River District holds an art walk. Restaurants, galleries, museums, and shops stay open late and there are special activities and exhibits to experience. If walking isn’t your favorite activity, take the free trolley that will drop you off and pick you up at several different locations. Enjoy live entertainment at some establishments and come and go as you please. On the third Friday of each month, enjoy the Music Walk which presents musical artists from all genres, including jazz, top 40, rock and roll, and many more. Many shops will stay open and offer refreshments, while restaurants and bars will have booths for you to peruse.

Experience the Outdoors

If you love being outside, indulge in daily walks to the park, beaches, and butterfly gardens, or step it up and travel a short distance to one of the several nature preserves in the area. Trails and parks within the Fort Myers area allow for hiking and nature sightings of many kinds throughout the rampant nature reserves. Click here for a list of specific hiking trails. There are also boating and fishing tournaments that are available year-round.

Walk Barefoot in the Sand

fort myers fl

Living near a beach can be rewarding in so many ways. You can wake up to the sound of wildlife and listen to waves washing up on the shore, and you can look out to the beach as the sun rises in the morning. Even if your home is not that close to the sandy beaches, you still have the opportunity to visit them as often as you like. Take off your shoes and stroll along the water while contemplating your work day or planning for tomorrow. Walk hand-in-hand with a loved one or search for sand dollars with your kids. Either way, you’ll be happy you did. There is nothing like spending a few minutes soaking in the sun and sand to get you ready to take on the world.

Take in The Sunset

If you are moving to Fort Myers from a place without a beach nearby, you’ll love watching the sun go down. Whether you observe from the beach, your office window, or out your back door, you’ll soon realize that these sunsets are exceptional. Beaches are usually full at sundown, filled with friends walking barefoot in the sand, or celebrating the weekend. Take the time to slow down after a day of hard work and experience the sun setting over the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t skimp out after the first three minutes. Stop and enjoy the entire spectacle. This beautiful area is your home now, so be sure you don’t miss out on the spectacular opportunities it has to offer.

Fort Myers is a favorite spot for tourists in Southwest Florida, so it makes sense that it is a great place to choose for your home. There are options for people who need the city and opportunities for those who need the outdoors. There are activities for all ages and every kind of atmosphere you’re hoping to find. Shops, restaurants, museums, and sandy beaches allow you to enjoy your time off, while sunny days and warm temperatures give you the chance to appreciate your day even if you’re working. There isn’t much you can’t do- whether you prefer daily activities or yearly festivals. Soak in the sun and the atmosphere during both your work and your play, and let Fort Myers, FL prove why it’s a fantastic place to live. Contact Rebeccas Realtor today if you have any questions about real estate in the area.