Information for Buyers (and confidence for Sellers) In Islamorada in the Upper Keys by Kathy Denworth, Keys Expert

Kathy Denworth, Keys Expert

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Video Transcription

Hi, this is Kathy Denworth with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Freewheeler Realty in Islamorada, Florida in the fabulous Florida Keys.

I wanted to give you some information today if you considering buying a property in the Keys, the different types of properties there are to buy and what you should be aware of when purchasing.

First, let’s talk about lots. We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up. When you’re buying a lot, please don’t think that just because you bought a lot that you can park an RV on it because that’s just simply not true. If you’re going to park an RV someplace, you’re going to have to put it in a park that allows RVs. There really aren’t any single family lots that allow RVs. You can have some that you can put a mobile on, but in this day and age, mobiles, of course in a hurricane prone area, are very much discouraged.

The other thing you can do when you’re thinking about purchasing a lot is, of course we have a ROGO and other building regulations, so it is difficult to get a permit, but if you’re not buying a lot with a permit, something you may want to consider doing is buying a lot that has a mobile home on it and that mobile home gives you an automatic “permit”. It allows you to build , you’re allowed to replace a structure that’s there and you could go ahead and build without a lot of the, you know the rigamarole of the  trying to get a permit. So yes, don’t think that you can just park an RV anywhere you want to. Keys doesn’t allow that. I know, everybody thinks we’re still back in the 1960s but guess what? We’re not. Sometimes we wish we were.

Anyway. The other thing about mobile homes is you want to make sure, of and actually any property that’s got a structure on it, you want to make sure that it is connected to sewer because if it’s not connected to sewer and they were mandated to, there could be fines and fees that are just being stacked daily on that property. And sometimes they will just let the seller beware and you go buy a property and all of the sudden, you find out that there’s all these issues.

Now, if you’re using a realtor here in the Keys, they’ll be watching out for this stuff for you. So actually, if you’re going to use a realtor, like me, you don’t even need to watch this video because a realtor will take care of you. But if you want to just make sure your realtor knows what they’re doing, continue watching.

Okay, next, let’s talk about condos. Condos can be very, very, wonderful way to live. All you have to do is close the shutters and go away for a week, two weeks, three weeks, whatever you want to do. You don’t have any maintenance to do. It’s just a very nice way to live. It’s also you have a built in social life in most condos, some aren’t, but most condos. And personally I live in a condo, I love it, but condos are not for everybody.

For one thing. You’ve got to be tolerant of other people. I mean, yes, a dog is going to bark. If it barks continuously, then it’s probably going to be breaking some rules and that’ll be dealt with.  People are going to move their furniture around. So you’re going to hear scraping. I mean if you can’t handle that kind of stuff or even a party every now and then don’t live in a condo. Live in a single family home. But if you want to have neighbors nearby and make easy friends, a condo is a great way to go.

Now let’s talk about condos and some of the rules and regulations. The first one that can be a real big stickler is pets. There are some condos that don’t allow any pets. Some condos that’ll allow pets up to 15 pounds. Some condos allow pets to 20 pounds and there’s a few condos that allow two pets of any size. Right off the top of my head, I’m thinking Buttonwood Bay, they may only allow one, but Coral Harbor allows two. And that can also come into play when you’re talking about renting out your property. If you’re thinking of renting your property, make sure you know what those condo rules are as far as rentals are concerned because some properties will allow an owner to have a pet, but they will not allow a renter to have a pet. So make sure you know everything’s clear on that if that is important to you.

Also, the other thing that people think about with condos is dockage and how, is it a deeded slip, is it assigned slip, is it first come, and those are those vary all over the Keys. I do have a website now it’s a very, very basic website. I did it myself about 15 years ago about Keys condos, and you may want to check that out to get a little bit more grasp on what’s going on with condos. It’ll tell you how many units are in it, what mile marker it’s at, what the pet policy is or was at the time I did it, whether or not it’s on the water when they’re dockage is, whether or not renters can have pets, and that particular website is, have you got a pen?

It’s www.kathysellskeyescondos,  That’ll give you a lot of information there. There’s actually a lot of realtors that use it because it’s very succinct. It’s not fancy. If you do click on the name of the condo, it’ll tell you what’s currently available in there if you’re trying to get a grasp on what prices run in that particular condo.

Now let’s talk about single family homes. Now one of the biggest deals going on around here a few years back, were they’re downstairs enclosures. And downstairs enclosures can still be a problem if they’re not handled properly. You want to make sure that everything is the way it’s supposed to be. Your realtor, which of course you’re using one, will be able to help you with that and guide you through that.

Also, another one of the things that a realtor will do for you that, let’s face it, we have a job to do. We’re here to serve you. We’re here to take care of you. And another one of the things that we do is we check for open permits. That’s something that if somebody is buying on their own, they’d probably wouldn’t even think of doing. And then the title company comes up with something and then you’re either delaying or canceling or you’ve losing your deposit because this wasn’t found earlier. Well this is one of the things that realtors do. Everybody thinks all we do is show pretty houses. I could tell you stories.

These are the kind of things you need to be aware of is open permits, whether or not they’re connected to sewer, whether or not the downstairs enclosures is legitimate and legal and just, what their taxes are going to be.  You look at the tax records and you say, “Oh, the taxes on this property are only $1,263.” Well, that tax rate is based on a homestead exemption, which if you live in the Keys more than six months a year, you get. But that only allows the tax rate to increase, not the millage, the rate or actually the value of the property to increase by 3%. Now there are years that we’ve have gone up 7% and that’s not in that millage. Figure that your taxes are going to be approximately 1% of your purchase price.

Anyway, I hope some of this was useful. If you’re thinking of buying, by all means, you can give me a call, text me, email me, ask me questions. If you’re in the market now or you’re in the market for another five years, I’m going to probably be here another 10 years. I’m happy to help you. I believe in the more information I give to other people, the more I learn so I’ve got no issues with people that are just thinking about getting into the market.

If you’re a seller or considering selling, I hope that I been able to indicate to you that I do know my market. I do know what I’m doing after 18 years and it would be my pleasure to represent you and sell your home.

I want to thank you for coming by and please like this video because that’s what we all want to do is we want, we want to be liked and have a wonderful day. Take care.

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