Just Listed - Great condo with deeded boat slip ay Moon Bay, Key Largo

Just listed and ready for it's new owner!  This 2 bedroom 1.5 bath condo features gorgeous views over Florida Bay.  Offered fully furnished, this unit is ready for you to start enjoying the Florida Keys lifestyle. While you're not using the unit for yourself, you can earn income from vacation rentals. 

Located on the top floor, this unit features tile, carpet and hardwood flooring and views from the living area and the master bedroom.  Complex amenities include heated pool, spacious clubhouse, tennis, marina and more.  

Dockage is included in the deeded boat slip in the marina. John Pennekamp State Park is just minutes away, with Adams Cut allowing boating in both the Florida Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Offered at $393,500.  Call today to arrange for a private showing!

Where have all the listings gone?

Ask any local REALTOR®  and you will hear the same thing - "I need listings".

Compared to this time last year, listing inventory is considerably lower.  This is great news if you are a seller, because with fewer homes to choose from, buyers may act quicker on making a purchase, for fear of losing out.  Sales prices also start to get closer to asking price.  In June of 2014, the absorption rate was 11.59 months.  In mid May 2015, it has dropped to just 8.7 months.

Here's how it works:  The Absorption Rate, in Months chart shows how long the current inventory of properties would last at the current rate of sales.

If no new properties were added to the market, and sales continued at a steady pace, the Absorption rate indicates the number of months required to sell all the properties on the market.

Absorption rate is based on two numbers:
  • The number of active listings
  • The average number of listings sold per month for the previous n months.
The number of active listings is a "snapshot" of listings active on a single day (the 15th of the month). The number of months of sold listings, here, is 12.

The formula is Absorption Ratio = A ÷ N
Where A = listings active on the 15th of the month, and
N = the average number of listings sold during each of the previous 12 months.

New Listing at Ocean Pointe - #4416

Ocean Pointe Marina
Year round residence or vacation rental investment - you decide! 

Property features include on-site property management, a heated Olympic sized swimming pool, private sandy beach, private cocktail lounge, cafe, oceanfront marina with boat ramp and dockage, lighted tennis courts and oceanfront gazebo, year round boat & trailer storage and more - all situated on 69 lush tropical acres.

These units provide owners with excellent rental income, making it very appealing to the investor. Use it as your own Keys retreat when it's not being rented. 

Unit 4416 is an ideal location - an end unit on the top floor of the building closest to the Atlantic Ocean.  This unit has been updated with granite counter-tops in the kitchen, upgraded bathrooms, all tile flooring and is being offered fully furnished.  

Listed for $434,900.  Click here for more information.

Just Reduced! Fabulous single family home in great Islamorada neighborhood!

Just Reduced to $355,000!

Be it year round residence or weekend getaway – this contemporary residence is the perfect place to come home to.

Located in a desirable Islamorada location, this 3 BD/2 BA home features over 1,300 sq. ft. of living space with a very open floor plan, vaulted ceilings, and walk-in closets.  The master bedroom has a private master bat and sliding glass doors leading to the backyard.

There is a large rear and side yard, which is fully fenced with wood privacy fencing.The yard can easily accommodate a pool. There is also plenty of parking for cars and your boat.

The bayfront HOA park offers boat ramp with immediate bay access and quick ocean access via nearby Tavernier Creek.

For more photos and full details, click here.

Call today for a private showing.

Real Estate Activity August 18th to August 24th, 2014 - New listings, pending sales and closed sales

New Listing - 108 N. Bounty
Last week, a listing came on the market that got a lot of attention - a large bayfront home for just $423,900. Upon closer examination, this home has some major issues - including being built without an active building permit. despite failed inspections, and an expired permit, construction continued. There is speculation that this home will have to be bulldozed. This explains why the price is what it is. It is essentially being marketed as a vacant lot, listed at land value only.  Still, I am sure some investor will take a chance on it and try to save the building. Time will tell.

Pending Sale - Key Largo Yacht Club
Pending sales included a beautiful 3 bedroom townhome at Key Largo Yacht Club with direct open ocean views. This complex is off the beaten path and is very quiet and serene. There is also not one, but two deeded boat slips included with this property in the protected marina. The home was offered fully furnished for $875,000 at time of contract.

Sold Listing - 120 Columbus Drive
Sold listings included an all concrete home on Lower Matecumbe for $479,000. This canalfront home needs some updating, but it is in a great location and was priced to sell.  Listed for $499,900, it sold in just 48 days for $479,000.

Follow the links below to view the listings.

New Listings
Pending Sales
Sold Listings

Listing information is gathered from the Florida Keys Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Listing links will automatically expire after 9/24/2014.

Understanding Flood Insurance in the Florida Keys

There are a lot of industry terms used in the real estate market that are not readily understood by potential buyers coming into the area. Terms such as "above flood" or "below flood" and "pre-firm" may be confusing for buyers. I'd like to share this video from Key West that does an excellent job illustrating those terms and more. It also let buyers know that there is a possibility to elevate an existing building to above flood, and what the advantages are to doing that. 

Market Update - Real estate activity from August 11th to August 17th, 2014

It's that time of year when the kids start going back to school, tourism starts to drop a bit and life in the Keys returns to a slower pace. At least that is what usually happens this time of year. There is still quite a bit of traffic on the Overseas Highway and quite a few people looking at real estate.

Last week, 21 new listings entered the market (with two of them are under contract already). 28 properties went under contract and 14 properties sold and closed.

New Listing - 25 Coral Drive
One of the new listings - 25 Coral Drive - was on the market for just 11 days when it went under contract. It's an old conch cottage located on a nice lot in Key Largo. It's in need of a lot of repairs, but the location is a good location. I wouldn't be surprised if we see this little gem fixed up and put back on the market soon. It was listed at $119,000.

Pending Sale - 216 Treasure harbor
Pending listings include my conch cottage in Treasure Harbor, located in Islamorada.  This 2 bedroom, 2 bath home is on a large lot overlooking an open harbor. There is immediate Ocean access and very quick bay access via nearby Snake Creek. It was listed for $610,000 at the time of contract.

Sold Listing - 1120 Heron Road
Sold listings include a nice CBS stilt home on a canal with cut-in boat slip. This home has a large covered parking area as well as a bar with tiki on the ground level and a spacious 1,400 square foot residence upstairs. Originally listed at $755,000, it sold for $630,000.

Follow the links below to view the listings.

New Listings
Pending Sales
Sold Listings

Listing information is gathered from the Florida Keys Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Listing links will automatically expire after 9/18/2014.

Not the typical boat race - The Annual "Anything That Floats" contest is this weekend

The Florida Keys with its beautiful waterfront setting are well known for boating.  It's not unusual to have sailboat races, speedboat races, and more.

But this event is unlike any of the others. In this event, the boats are all homemade - with restrictions. Materials allowed that you can find around your house: cardboard, wood, PVC, duct tape, milk jugs, 5 gallon buckets, saran wrap, old t-shirts, outdoor furniture, old bikes, and pool noodles. Just no motors, inflatable rafts, foam, or pool toys are allowed.

"Boats" need to hold together long enough to hold team members inside during the half-mile dash through a buoyed course set in Blackwater Sound from Key Largo's Caribbean Club to Sundowners and back.

Always a crowd pleaser, this event is sure to be fun for all - both spectators and participants alike.

The race is held on Saturday, August 16th. For more event information, go to www.KeyLargoAnythingThatFloatsRace.com.

Market Update - Real Estate Activity from August 4th to August 10th, 2014

What a week!  Last week was certainly a busy one with 20 new listings, 15 sold listings and a whopping 35 listings put under contract!

New Listing - 27 Lake Shore Drive
New Listings include a large 3 story home with pool on protected harbor in Key Largo. This home has 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, with the master suite being a private third floor retreat. Each level features open patios overlooking the pool and the harbor. It is offered at $850,000

Pending Sale - #503 Summer Sea
Pending Sales include a large top floor penthouse at Summer Sea Condos in Tavernier. This 3 bedroom, 2 bath residence has covered parking and bay views, in addition to a private rooftop deck. This complex makes for easy vacation rental to earn income while you are not using the unit for yourself. It was listed at $494,900 at time of contract.

Sold Listing - 135 Palermo
Sold listings included a ground level home in desirable Venetian Shores in Islamorada. This home is in need to total repair and restoration and the new owner will most likely be building a completely new home. It has 70 feet of dockage and a cut-in boat ramp.  It sold for $400,000

To view the listings, follow the links below:

New Listings
Pending Sales
Closed Sales

Listing information is gathered from the Florida Keys Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Listing links will automatically expire after 9/10/2014.

Just Reduced - 216 Treasure Harbor Road - Islamorada

Old Florida Charm Overlooking Protected Harbor in Islamorada – The perfect fishing retreat in the Florida Keys. This 2BD / 2BA home boasts 70’ of dockage on wide, quiet, protected harbor with immediate ocean access and quick bay access via nearby Snake Creek. The property features a spacious yard with covered lanai overlooking the water, updated kitchen, open floor plan and more.  Just reduced to $610,000. 
Visit www.216TreasureHarbor.com for photos and more information.

Weekly Market Update - Real Estate Activity from July 28th, 2014 to August 3rd, 2014

Traditionally, this is the slow season in the Florida Keys. But after speaking with fellow Realtors and even land surveyors, most are reporting that business is booming.

This last week was no exception.  18 new listings were put up for sale (with one of them already under contract), 18 listings went under contract and 21 sales were closed. Not bad numbers for "off season"!

Plantation By The Sea
One of the new listings to appear is a condo at popular Plantation By The Sea. This 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath condo has been renovated with top of the line touches such as granite counter-tops, solid wood cabinetry, impact windows and new appliances.  It is offered for sale at $230,000.

Moon Bay
Pending listings include my listing at Moon Bay in Key Largo, unit A203. This  complex allows weekly rentals, making it a sound investment for the buyer who is looking for rental income.  This unit has 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths and includes a deeded boat slip. It was listed at $255,000 at time of contract. For more information about Moon Bay, visit www.MoonBayKeyLargo.com.

Ocean Pointe #4312
Closed sales include another of my listings, #4312 at Ocean Pointe.  This condo was beautifully renovated and professionally decorated.  Ocean Pointe has one of the most flexible rental programs in the Keys, allowing for rentals of just one day or more. The on-site rental program makes renting the unit a breeze.  For more information about Ocean Pointe, visit www.OceanPointeCondo.com.

To view the listings, follow the links below:

New Listings
Pending Sales
Closed Sales

Listing information is gathered from the Florida Keys Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Listing links will automatically expire after 9/23/2014.

Remodeling - Before and After

When looking at property it's easy to dismiss a property you saw because it didn't have a "wow" factor.  However, sometimes all it takes is a little updating with new furniture and a few well chosen accents to make a huge difference.

This beautiful condo in Ocean Pointe just sold. When it last sold, the new owner wanted to do some remodeling. The unit was in wonderful condition when she purchased, but just a few renovations made it truly beautiful. Here is a view of the living room and kitchen taken before and after. The appliances, cabinets and flooring were all left the same. The new owner added new light fixtures in the kitchen, replaced the granite counter-top with a larger piece, removed the popcorn ceiling and mirror panels on the wall.  Then, she added crown molding, new furniture and decorations, new ceiling fan and new paint. The difference is amazing.

Remember to think about the potential some changes can make when looking at possible properties to buy.

New Listings, Pending Sales and Closed Sales - Listing Activity from July 20th, 2014 to July 27th, 2014

Despite being our "off season", there is still quite a lot of activity in the real estate market.  This past week 19 new listings entered the market, 17 listings went under contact and 12 listings were sold.

Moon Bay - Key Largo
Among the new listings, there are two new units for sale at Moon Bay in Key Largo.  A209 has just been listed for $240,000 and B401 has just been listed for $349,000.  Rental potential is very good in this complex, which allows for weekly rentals.  Visit www.MoonBayKeyLargo.com for more information about Moon Bay.

113 Plantation Shores Drive
Pending sales included a beautiful pool home in Plantation Key.  This ground level home is located in an X flood zone, one of the most desirable flood zones in the Keys.  It featured 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and a spacious open kitchen.  It was listed for $485,000 at the time of contract.

Sold - Ocean Pointe Condos
Sold listings included 3 listings at Ocean Pointe Condos, with sales prices ranging from $258,000 to $325,000.  These condos also offer very nice rental income, as they can be rented for as little as one night. The on-site management program makes renting your unit very convenience.  Learn more about Ocean Pointe at www.OceanPointeCondos.com.

Follow the links below to view the listings:

New Listings
Pending Sales
Closed Sales

Listing information is gathered from the Florida Keys Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Listing links will automatically expire after 8/27/2014.

Just Listed! Beautiful condo in Executive Bay Club - Islamorada, Florida Keys

Executive Bay Club
Close to everything the Upper Keys has to offer! This beautifully remodeled unit has two bedrooms and two full baths plus a separate loft with private entrance. The entire residence has been remodeled with new tile floors, frosted impact windows in the living room, new cabinetry in the kitchen, new showers and vanities in both baths and much more. The full-size stacked washer and dryer can be found in a convenient laundry closet adjacent to the kitchen. Additional storage is provided by a large walk-in storage closet with stairs leading to the loft.  

Spacious & Modern Decor
Executive Bay Club makes an excellent year-round residence or is perfect for your island getaways.  It is very conveniently located near shopping, schools, and everything you could need. Amenities include large swimming pool located next to the clubhouse, making it a great location for parties and other events. Dockage is provided in the first-come marina directly on Florida Bay. There is also a beach area with beach chairs, two tennis courts, all located in a gated and secure community!

There are less than 5 units currently available within the complex - Call today to arrange for a private showing! 

For Sale - Moon Bay Key Largo - Perfect Vacation Rental Investment!

Moon Bay Marina
Moon Bay . . . a gated, private condo community located in the heart of Key Largo at mile marker 104.3. This complex has a resort feel to it, with landscaped grounds and ample dockage in the private marina.

A203 Moon Bay
It's not often that units in this complex get listed for sale, but we've just listed A203 - the only unit currently on the market -  with 2 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms.  This unit also includes a deeded boat slip in the marina.  Weekly rentals are allowed in the complex, making this a perfect investment in the Keys that can use to generate income  while you are not staying in your unit.

Amenities at Moon Bay include a large heated swimming pool and adjacent wading/children's pool, lighted tennis court, marina with deeded slips and bayfront tiki, spacious club house with rooftop deck, boat ramp, as well as picnic & BBQ areas.  

Occasionally rented, but still fairly easy to view, call today to arrange a private showing. 

Learn more about Moon Bay at www.MoonBayKeyLargo.com 

Remodeled Condo? Check. Gorgeous decor? Check. Endless Ocean Views? Check! Gorgeous new listing at Ocean Pointe!

Living Room of #4312 Ocean Pointe
When I sold this unit to the current owner, I knew the planned remodeling was was going to be something special.  And I was right. This unit is simply beautiful.

Ocean Views from your balcony
Upgrades include crown molding, new appliances, new ceiling fans and light fixtures, new bath fixtures, new carpeting, new rolling sun shade, tankless water heater, screen door, new paint and gorgeous new furnishings - just to name a few - and all of it stays with the unit.

And if that's not enough, there are endless ocean views over the Atlantic, just outside your backdoor.

This unit is virtually brand new and makes a perfect Florida Keys vacation destination. Even better, you can rent it out and earn income when you're not using it yourself.  

Amenities include a large heated swimming pool, sandy beach, cafe and clubhouse, marina, dual lighted tennis courts, 24 hour manned gate and more. As a convenience, you can even leave a boat on a trailer here year round for no additional expense. No more dragging the boat along when you come down to enjoy a stay in the Keys! Just drop it in the water at the on-site boat ramp and you're off!

Everything you'll need is here. Just bring your toothbrush and a change of clothes and start living the Florida Keys lifestyle today. Come take a look - you won't be disappointed!

Learn more by following this link

An investment with a view! Income producing unit at Ocean Pointe Condos

Living Room
Every once in a while, you probably think "wouldn't it be nice to have a place to escape to?"  More often the not, the reason that stands between this thought and reality is affordability.  If only there was a way your "escape" could help pay for itself.

The good news, there is. Ocean Pointe Condos in Tavernier provide owners with a place to use when they are in town, and the option of renting it out to generate income when they are not.  There are several units to choose from on the market, but few that compare to this one.

This one bedroom, one bath unit is totally remodeled and it is gorgeous.  New impact windows, granite countertops, and a beautiful view are just some of the amenities waiting for you here.  This unit also has new appliances, new living room furniture, new pillow-top mattress, new whirlpool tub, new ceiling fans and an on-demand hot water heater.

The best part - it's rents very well and makes a nice income for it's owner. There is nothing a new owner will need to do - just use and enjoy or start generating that rental income.  The on-site rental program makes renting it very easy.  There is are no black out dates or time that the owner can use the unit, either. The program is very flexible, and is not a mandatory program.

To learn more and see all photos of the unit, please follow this link - 5213 Ocean Pointe. Be sure to click on "documents" to see a full list of upgrades. Once you've seen it, call me to make an appointment to see it in person.

Special thanks to Holly Hight for letting me show and share this great listing!

$120,000 price reduction - K35 at Ocean Harbour, Islamorada

If you're looking to get into a luxury condo in Islamorada at an unbeatable price, look no further.

This 2 BD / 2BA condo is located in Ocean Harbour - one of Islamorada's most desirable communities.  This unit also includes a 30' boat slip in the oceanfront marina.  Beautiful views of the ocean, marina and pool are seen from the main living areas as well as the master bedroom.  On-site amenities include clubhouse, beach, marina, tennis, fitness room & much more.

Now listed at $569,000.  

Visit www.OceanHarbourK35.com for complete details and additional photos.


Real Estate Activity December 1st to December 14th - New Listings, Pending Sales and Closed Sales

Here in the Florida Keys, it's not just the holiday season, it's real estate season!

The number of calls and showings I receive is steadily increasing and by looking at the numbers in the MLS, I'm not the only one seeing this trend.

In the first two weeks of December there were 47 new listings taken, 33 pending sales written and 32 closings.

New Listing - Landings of Largo
The new listings include a nicely priced corner unit 2/1.5 condo in Key Largo for just $185,000 at the Landings of Largo. Amenities at Landings of Largo include a marina, boat ramp, two pools, clubhouse and two tennis courts. 

Pending Listing - Moon Bay
Pending listings include a townhome at Moon Bay in Key Largo. This 2/1.5 two story townhome is a bank owned property and was offered at just $231,300.  This pricing generated a lot of activity and multiple offers. 

Closed Sale - Moon Bay
Sales include a condo also at Moon Bay. This 2/1.5 condo is in the midst of a dramatic remodeling job and will soon be available as a vacation rental. This unit also features covered parking. Amenities at Moon Bay include marina, boat ramp, tennis court, clubhouse, heated pool and more. 

Follow the links below to view the listings:

New Listings
Pending Sales
Closed Sales

If you would like additional information on any of these listings, don't hesitate to call or email me.

New Listing - K35 Ocean Harbour

Ocean Harbour Grounds
Ocean Harbour, one of the most exclusive condominiums in Islamorada!  Enjoy luxury condo living & spectacular ocean views surrounded by gorgeous tropical landscaping - this is truly an island paradise. 

The View from K35
This 2 BD / 2BA condo has endless views overlooking the pool, marina & Atlantic, and includes a 30’ slip. With over 1,500 sq. ft. of living space, this condo offers ample living space with a split bedroom floorplan.  The master bedroom enjoys open views of the ocean and has a spacious master bath. 

Living at Ocean Harbour, located on 12 lushly landscaped acres right on the ocean's edge, offers more than gentle sea breezes. The finest leisure activities are here for all resident, guests and visitors to enjoy.   On-site amenities include oceanfront clubhouse, beach, marina, tennis, fitness room & much more.

To learn more about Ocean Harbour, visit www.OceanHarbourIslamorada.


"What is there to do in the Florida Keys?"

I often hear this question when working with buyers that are new to our area. The answers are plentiful!

We have some of the best fishing, diving and boating in the country. Key Largo is home to one of Florida's nicest state parks, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which is one of the underwater parks in the United States.  Islamorada is known as the "Sportfishing Capital of the World". Marathon is home to Curry Hammock State Park, with one of the largest populations of thatch palms in the United States.  Bahia Honda State Park features one of the Keys greatest beaches and camping. On Big Pine Key you'll find the National Key Deer Refuge, home to the diminutive Key Deer.  And of course, Key West is famous for many things, including Mallory Square's sunset celebration, a major cruise destination and Fantasy Fest, to name a few.

3rd Quarter of 2012 Compared to 3rd Quarter 2013

Click the graphic to enlarge.
It never fails - when you tell someone you've just met that you're in real estate, the first question they ask is "how is the market?"

Each quarter I compare the current year to the previous year to see how the market has changed.  It's one thing to say it seems like the market is improving and another to actually see it in real numbers.

The 3rd quarter of 2013 has seen an increase in both average sales prices and number of properties sold in every segment but one, which was open water homes.  Still open water homes are doing quite well. The drop in average sales price is due to two low priced comps that sold for below typical open water prices.

Both condos and non-waterfront homes are doing quite well, with each seeing healthy increases in number of sales and average sales prices.  

If you're considering a purchase, now may be the best time to get into a Keys home as I predict home prices in the Florida Keys will continue to creep upward.

Have questions? Call me at 305-522-3812 or email me today!

JUST SOLD - 201 Nautilus Drive, Islamorada

201 Nautilus Drive, Islamorada, Florida Keys
This bank owned property generated a considerable amount of interest, most likely due to pricing. Priced at $300,000, this diamond in the rough received a total of 24 offers in 8 days! 

The sales price was $295,000.

This home was in need of many repairs but was located on a clean canal just around the corner from Florida Bay, giving it great boating access. It has three bedrooms and three baths with over 1,600 square feet of living space. View  more photos and a full description of the property at www.201NautilusDrive.com.

I won't be surprised if we see this property fixed up and put back on the market fairly soon. The new owner has already begun repairs and has plans of selling it once repairs are completed.

Stay tuned for more information on this property.

Timeshares in the Florida Keys

A lot of people dream about having a place in the Florida Keys that they can visit and call home. Many times, the cost of purchasing a home or condo stands in the way of this dream. A possible solution: a timeshare.

A timeshare is a property with a particular form of ownership or use rights. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each sharer is allotted a period of time when they may use the property. Typically, the time period is one week, and usually is set for the same time each year, although many do offer flexibility on when you can use the unit.

There are several timeshare opportunities in the Florida Keys, ranging in price from $2,000 to $95,000.  Click the link below to see the available units on the market right now.

Click here to view Florida Keys Timeshares

There is a lot of talk lately about the new changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Local attorney Russell Yagel from Hershoff Lupino & Yagel, L.L.P. has been kind enough to provide this summary:

Summary of rate changes being implemented under the NFIP
Russell Yagel / Hershoff Lupino & Yagel, L.L.P. 


Already underway:
  • Full-risk rates now are being applied to newly purchased property, to property not previously insured, and to policies that are re-purchased after a lapse.
  • Premiums for older (pre-FIRM) non-primary residences in Special Flood Hazard Areas will increase by 25% annually until they reflect the full-risk rate.

Beginning October 2013,

  • Premiums for pre-FIRM business properties, severe repetitive loss properties (1–4 residences), and properties on which claims payments exceed fair market value will increase by 25% annually until they reflect the full-risk rate.
  • Routine rate revisions will include a 5% assessment to build a catastrophic reserve fund.

Anticipated late in 2014,

  • Premiums for properties affected by map changes will increase by 20% each year to reach full-risk rates.

Who won’t be affected:

  • Owners of primary residences in SFHAs (Special Flood Hazard Areas) will keep the subsidized rates until the home is sold; the policy is allowed to lapse; a new policy is purchased; or a string of severe losses is experienced.
  • Post-FIRM rates for all zone classes will be unaffected by Section 100205 of the Biggert-Waters Act.
Thank you, Russell Yagel for providing this informative summary.

To contact Russell Yagel:
Hershoff Lupino & Yagel, L.L.P.
90130 Old Highway
Tavernier, Florida 33070


New Listing - Bank Owned Canal-front Home in Islamorada for $300,000

201 Nautilus Drive, Islamorada
The home was built in 1957, and while it is in need of some repairs and updating, the property is loaded with potential.  The right owner could make this "diamond in the rough" really shine. 

The property has a wide concrete dock, private boat ramp and a large backyard with water views.  Additionally, the neighborhood has a private, gated sandy beach directly on Florida Bay,  complete with grills and picnic tables, making it a perfect spot for a sunset cookout.

With a very open floor plan, the home offers a combined living and dining area as well as an inviting Florida Room off the kitchen overlooking the water.It has three bedrooms and three baths, providing ample room for family or guests. 

Like many homes in the Keys, this location is perfect for boating. Florida Bay is just around the corner and the Atlantic Ocean is minutes away via Channel Five. There is a large storage building, providing secured dockside storage for all of your boating, fishing or diving gear.

Call today to start enjoying your new Florida Keys waterfront home in a great location at an unbeatable price!

New Requirements for Short Sales in the MLS

Having an offer on a short sale listing accepted immediately after it is listed is no longer an option if it is a property that would require approval by Fannie Mae according to recently announced requirements for Fannie Mae short sales listed in a multiple listing service (MLS). Starting August 1st, each new short sale listing must maintain an “active” status for a minimum of five days; and that time-frame must include at least one weekend. Freddie Mac announced similar guidance for Freddie Mac short sales.

It’s important to remember two things: that the new rule only affects Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac short sales; and, though it directly affects sellers, it also indirectly impacts buyers’ offers.

Fannie Mae wants short sale listings to be marketed in a manner that allows the market to see the listing.  Properties Fannie Mae owns (REO listings) reflects the same philosophy since Fannie Mae won’t evaluate offers until the listing has been in the MLS and “active” for at least three days.

While an offer can be presented at any time after the property is listed, the seller cannot accept any offer until the required five-day marketing period ends. A buyer’s agent could, for example, submit an offer on the first day a home is listed. However, they there should be wording in the contract that gives the seller five days to accept the offer if the property must follow Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac’s rules.

Under Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s rules, the short sale property must be listed in an MLS that covers its geographic area where the property is located.  For instance, a property located in the Florida Keys must be listed with the local Florida Keys MLS.  Listing a property in the Florida Keys with the Miami-Dade MLS may not be acceptable, since the Florida Keys is not the primary geographic area for that MLS.

Flood Insurance - What you need to know before you purchase

There's been a lot of talk about flood insurance rates here in Monroe County, and for good reason.  On July 6, 2012, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 was signed into law. While the good news is the reauthorizing of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through September 30, 2017, the bill brings several substantive changes to the program, including several that alter the way premium rates are calculated.  These changes will take effect October 1, 2013.

The two big changes owners of real estate in the Florida Keys need to be aware of are as follows:

1.) Higher premiums for buildings below base flood elevation:  FEMA has been instructed to stop giving premium discounts to properties that are below the BFE (base flood elevation), even if they were up to code when built.

2.) Pre-firm and grandfathered rates phased out: In the past, many structures were allowed to keep their original flood-risk rating, even when conditions and improved understanding had changed.

For instance, a home that was built pre-firm (before 1975) may have been built in accordance with the code at the time it was built, but due to a change in flood maps, it may now be considered below the BFE. This home will no longer be allowed to keep the rate-class (flood zone and building elevation relative to BFE) that applied at the time of construction.  The flood insurance for properties like this will be allowed to increase by 25% per year until they achieve the full premium rate.

If you are considering a purchase in the Florida Keys, you will want to find out what flood zone the property is in and if the home is above or below the BFE.  Ground level homes, particularly older ground level homes, should be researched thoroughly. You need to know the flood zone the property is located in and have an elevation certificate to determine what the elevation of the structure is.   Elevated homes with ground level enclosures should also be researched to determine that the whole building is above BFE.   Once you know what the flood zone and elevation is, contacting an  insurance agent for a detailed quote is essential.

Foreclosure and Sheriff's sale: Why the lender gets the house.

Every so often, you'll hear about buyers that want to buy property "at the courthouse steps" in an auction as part of a foreclosure.  Almost all of the time, the lender gets the property. Why?

More often than not, the minimum bidder the lender will accept is more than what the property is worth.  Just the outstanding mortgage alone is more than what the property is worth. On top of that, take into consideration other costs such as delinquent property taxes, legal fees, etc and the property loses it's "bargain" potential.

For example, there is a property I know of going to auction later this month. The current owner owes twice what the property is worth. No buyer will bid on that property because they can buy a different property for half what the bank will accept. They will also be able to buy a property that they have been able to inspect, tour, visit, etc. prior to making an offer.

Lack of access to the property prior to the auction is something that needs to be taken into consideration.  Chances are there is little or no access to the property before hand, so a property that may look OK from the street may be a disaster inside, which may lead to significant expenses to repair. Also, if the property has tenants in place, it will be you're responsibility - and expense - to evict them.

Most buyers will not pay more than what is owed since it is often more than market value. Buyers at the courthouse steps are typically looking for a bargain. Nearly all properties sold at these auctions are not bargains, so consequently the lender gets the property.

2nd Quarter Stats - 2013 compared to 2012

Click on the image to enlarge
As Realtors, there is one question we get asked on an almost daily basis - How is the real estate market doing?

The answer . . . Pretty good!

Here is a comparison of the second quarter of 2013 to the same time period last year.  You can see that the average sales price in every category is climbing upward. Additionally, there have been more closings in nearly each category.  The combination of increased sales and higher average sales prices is a good indication that the market is not only stable, but steadily increasing.

Naturally, the Realtor community is hoping that this trend will continue. Yes, there will always be that handful of sales that come in lower than expected. These sales are usually distressed sales such as bank owned properties or short sales. But overall, the numbers show that the market is improving.

Interest rates are still low, and there are indications that they may rise again soon. Lower interest rates are most likely one of the main reasons we've seen such positive results in the market this year.  It may sound like a cliche, but if you are considering a purchase in the near future, you will want to do it soon while rates are still low and there is still a good inventory to choose from. 

If you'd like to learn more about the real estate market in the Keys, don't hesitate to call or email me using the contact button at the top of this page.

Just Sold! Great Key Largo home with impressive solar power system

72 Bahama Avenue
Spacious open floor plan
It's always bittersweet when a listing you love sells.  This home was one of those sales. Located in a great Key Largo neighborhood, this home's big feature was the solar panel system that covered the roof of the home.  One of the largest residential solar systems in the Keys, it allowed the owners to leave the AC on to maintain a consistent temperature all day, every day.  It generated almost all of the home's electrical needs during the day. In addition, it had roll down hurricane shutters on every window, a large open floor plan, screened patio, covered parking and a legal, above flood ground level enclosure. It was a great listing and I loved showing it. Listed at $369,000, it sold for $365,500 and was on the market just 7 days when it went under contract.

Learn more about this great home at www.72BahamaAvenue.


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About Me

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Tracy Larson, Realtor in the Florida Keys / 305-522-3812
Thank you for visiting Florida Keys Market Update for information about the Florida Keys real estate market. Licensed since 1993 and a Keys local since 1987, I want to be your Realtor here in our island paradise. Note: Information for listings featured on this blog is gathered from our local MLS; not all properties are my listings.
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