WHAT BUYERS NEED TO KNOW

  • Buying a Property you need to be able to vacation rent for income – If you need to buy a property and get rental income to help pay expenses, you need to know that the best option is weekly rentals and that the majority of the Keys do not permit weekly rentals.  Marathon (including Grassy Key, Coco Plum and Sombrero Beach) and Key Colony Beach are the only areas of the Keys that weekly rentals are permitted.  This is due to the City of Marathon and Key Colony Beach being incorporated and allowing short term rentals.  The Lower Keys, Key West, Upper Keys (Tavernier and Key Largo) and also Duck Key are 28 day minimum rentals (under Monroe County rules).  Islamorada is incorporated but the only areas that allow weekly rentals are certain zoning areas (mainly large parcels on the ocean or bay).   Hawk’s Cay on Duck Key does permit short term rentals because it’s commercially zoned as a resort.  There are a handful of condos in the Upper Keys that permit weekly rentals, but the rules are a bit more complicated and depend upon the assessed values (Islamorada condos), so contact me for more information.  Go to my Income Properties page to see what condos or areas permit short term rentals (7 days or less).
  • Flood Insurance – If you are a cash buyer, when you apply for flood insurance, there is a 30-day waiting period until it goes into effect.  So if you’re a cash buyer, you need to apply and pay for flood insurance 30 days before you close, so that flood insurance is active on the property at the time you close.  Flood insurance can also be assumed, if the current owner has a policy, this is the preferred way to go to keep rates as low as possible.   Always get insurance quotes on a property either before you make an offer or during your inspection period.
  • Inspection period – Our As Is Contracts allow for a 15 day inspection period, so that the home inspection can be completed and any other due diligence. During these 15 days, you can cancel, for any reason, and have your escrow refunded.
  • Are there any open or expired building permits on the property?  Any code violations? When a homeowner obtains a permit for a new roof or to install a new air conditioner, sometimes the final inspection by the City or County was not done, and those permits are left as being “open”.  If much time passes by, they become “expired’.  In most cases, these are administrative items, but they could become much more complicated and costly to a buyer.  Code violations on the property could involve fees that need to be paid.   As part of my service to you, every property you offer on  is checked for any open or expired permits and code violations.
  • Is the property on the Fish & Wildlife’s list as a Species Focus Area and what is the Permit Referral Process?  This process is new as of 9/26/12 and replaces the FEMA list, which is “no more”.  It typically only affects vacant properties.
  • Property Appraiser:  If you want to look up a property, go to our Property Appraiser, where you can see past permits, past sale information and more.
  • Does it have a downstairs enclosure below the base flood elevation? Homes built after December 31, 1974 have to be built above the base flood elevation; which means for the most part, on stilts or fill has to be brought in to bring the area “above flood”.    Some areas are already “high”, others are just a couple of feet below. Most of our illegal downstairs enclosures are created when a stilt home is built and the owner encloses the bottom of the house and makes it living area.  Living area below the base flood elevation is not permitted.  Garages and storage areas are permitted.
  • Sewer System:  The Keys are now hooked up to central sewer.  You may see an assessment on the annual tax bill for this.
  • What is concrete spalling? Various concrete structures in the Keys have been found to contain excessive levels of Chloride.   This has caused a condition known as spalling which results from the rusting and expansion of steel rebar that reinforces the concrete.  We find this often in many homes, older and newer.  It can be repaired, we will suggest you obtain a repair estimate during your inspection period of the Contract.
  • How is the Buyer Represented by the Real Estate Agent? Our company feels that you deserve the highest level of service and because of that our preferred relationship is single agency, where we represent people; YOU.  We are the only company in the Keys that offers single agency.  However, if you buy a property that is listed by our company, the State of Florida requires us to become a transaction agent, because we can’t represent the seller and buyer at the same time.  Being a transaction agent allows us to put the deal together, without the detriment to either party.   For example, we can’t tell you that the Seller will accept a certain price and we can’t tell the Seller that you’ll pay more.