July 24, 2019

What Can I Buy in the Florida Keys for under $250,000?




It's no secret that the Florida Keys is an expensive place to live. But there are still places you can find under the $250,000 price range.

It may be a small condo, or a small home, and it may or may not be in need repairs and remodeling. In some cases, the homes are un-inhabitable, but since there is already a structure on the land, you can get a permit to build a new home much quicker than if it was just a vacant parcel of land. 

From Key West to Key Largo, here is what is on the market under $250,000.

Click to view listing(s)
(link will no longer be available after 8/22/2019)


July 23, 2019

Can I Rent That Property I Purchased?



Vacation Rentals. We know they are a popular choice among travelers, or sites like VRBO, HomeAway and AirBnB would not exist.

The Florida Keys are no exception. Many an owner has offered their condo or home for vacation rentals to earn income that can offset the cost of owning and maintaining a home in the Keys. 

But before you start welcoming guests into your home away from home, it's important to know if it is legal to do so. Almost every condo association and single family home owner associations have rules and regulations regarding vacation rentals. In some cases, even in when the association allows rentals, Monroe County may not.

Almost all single family home neighborhoods have restrictions in place that do not allow rentals under 28 days. That's straight forward enough. Some condos have restrictions allow rentals of one month or longer, while some others allow weekly rentals. 

But lately, Monroe County has been taking aim at condo associations, and hitting owners that do short term rentals that the county deems "illegal" with hefty fines.

The county requires two things for each vacation rental: an annual permit and a property manager licensed with Monroe County to manage the rental. Learn more about the two requirements by clicking here. Not having both a permit and a licensed manager will result in a violation. Unless you file for and get an exemption.

There are exceptions that could get you an exemption. A vacation rental permit is not required for the following:  (1) A vacation rental of a dwelling unit located within a controlled access, gated community with a homeowner's or property owner's association that expressly regulates or manages vacation rental uses; or  (2) A vacation rental of a dwelling unit within a multifamily building located within a multifamily district, which has 24 hour on-site management or 24 hour on-site supervision. To meet these on-site management or supervision requirements, a designated individual must be physically located within the building or within 300 feet of the subject building and must be available at all times to respond to tenants' and neighbors' complaints.  You can learn more about the exceptions by clicking here.

To make matters more complicated, incorporated cities within the Monroe County, such as Islamorada and Marathon, have their own set of rules and regulations regarding rentals that must also be adhered to in addition to Monroe County rules. 

For instance, there are condos in the Islamorada area that, according to their condo docs, allow short term vacation rentals. However, the Village of Islamorada has a financial threshold that a property must pass before it would even be considered for a vacation rental permit, much less approved. Even though the condo docs allow rentals, units that aren't assessed high enough for tax purposes do not qualify for a permit to do anything less than 28 days.

Once you've done the background research to see if a property qualifies, you will still need to apply for the proper licenses (not permits) from Monroe County and the State of Florida to remit the collected sales tax each month.  It is required to collect and remit 12.5% sales tax on all rentals under 6 months.  The State of Florida gets 7.5% and Monroe County takes 5%.

There are still plenty of opportunities to own a vacation rental in Monroe County, just as long as you do your research and follow the proper guidelines. When in doubt, check with your real estate professional or speak directly to officials at Monroe County.

May 16, 2019

How Does 2019 Compare to 2018 in Terms of Sales?


The 2018 real estate market was a fairly brisk market, especially considering that much of the Keys was still recovering from Hurricane Irma in September of 2017.  While it's true that many "investors" flooded the Keys, hoping to buy damaged properties from desperate sellers at bargain prices, many of the homes in the Upper Keys suffered little to minor damage during the storm. Still, many long-time residents chose to leave the Keys permanently.

So far, 2019 has not been as intense as 2018. Investors looking for deals have left to look in other storm damaged areas, such as the Florida Panhandle after Hurricane Michael struck.  Open water home and canal front homes saw a slight reduction in prices, particularly open water homes.

Click to enlarge - Properties MM 70 to MM106
Non-waterfront single family homes is currently one of the most active segments of the market. Often, non-waterfront homes are in neighborhoods with a community boat ramp, making access to boating right from your own neighborhood easy and convenient.

Click to enlarge - Properties MM 70 to MM106

Condominiums have also seen an increase in interest from buyers. Condos appeal to many buyers because they have everything a buyer is looking for - pool, tennis, security, etc. They are also easier to use as a vacation rental unit than a single family home, since most neighborhoods of single family homes restrict the minimum length of legal rentals to be 28 days or longer. But many condos can offer weekly or even daily rentals, making for more potential rental income.

What will the next quarter of 2019 look like compared to 2018. Time will tell, but I believe the market will do fine.

**  The data here is for properties located in the Upper Florida Keys - from Mile Marker 70 to Mile Marker 106 - and is an average of all sales. Each group encompasses a variety of homes, from luxury homes to basic construction. Properties sold both above and below the averages sales prices shown here.




January 16, 2019

Buyers Beware - the seller of the home you're looking at might be listening


With the ever rising popularity of smart devices such as Amazon's Echo and Alexa, in addition to in-home video surveillance systems, owners of homes on the market may be able to listen in, or even watch, while you tour their home.

Sellers could be listening or watching to see what your reactions and comments are about their home.   Even remarks that you may think are harmless can be used against you.

For instance, if you gush about how much you love the house and can't wait to buy it, that seller will most likely be less inclined to negotiate the price with you, since they know you love it and have to have it.

But what about privacy?

In many ways, when you open your private home to the public, it can be similar to a shopping mall, restaurant, sports arena or any other public space. Allowing the public in can change the dynamics in terms of strength and amount of rights you may or may not have.

Many agents argue that homes that have such devices installed should include a notice or sign indicating that there are recording devices present. Currently, there are no laws that require such notice.

In the meantime, use caution when viewing homes. Sure, you can discuss things with your agent, but be sure to keep them neutral. Leave the serious talk about writing offers or how much you're willing to pay until you are in a place where you know the seller won't be listening.





December 04, 2018

Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Fixer-Upper


Buyers looking for an affordable way to purchase a home often consider buying one that needs updating or possibly even a complete remodel. Before you make that leap into the work of remodeling a home, consider these 3 points.

1 ~ Know the Local Zoning and Building Regulations.  That charming Conch cottage built back in the 40's certainly carries a lot of nostalgia and Keys history, but your dream of expanding it and turning it into a spacious new home won't be easy.  Many of the ground level cottages built in the 40's, 50's and even 60's are built below base flood plain elevation. That will make it difficult, if not totally impossible to add on to it, since you will not be given permits to expand the home at its current elevation.  It may also cost more to insure with flood insurance.


2 ~ Price Building Supplies and Contractors You Will Need Locally.  There's a saying that Paradise isn't cheap. The cost of building supplies and even labor can be quite different than what you may be used to paying back home. The Keys don't have but two Home Depots that serve the entire island chain from Key Largo to Key West. Many areas of the Florida Keys are still completing repairs from Hurricane Irma, and finding contractors can be challenging and expensive.


3 ~ Don't Skip Inspections Because You'll Be Remodeling Anyway.  It may be tempting to skip the inspection period, especially if you're planning on tearing out a kitchen or bathroom. But having an inspection may bring to light issues in areas of the home you weren't planning on changing. You don't want to start taking out a kitchen or bath only to find that the plumbing or electrical systems are inadequate. Having an inspection will look at the whole house, and can help you decide if you plans will even work once you've purchased.

Finding an older home and making it your dream home is possible, but be sure to keep an open mind and work on the project knowing the facts before you purchase.






November 27, 2018

Condo Spotlight - Ocean Harbour in Islamorada, Florida Keys


Not all condos in the Keys are created alike . . .
 
One of the biggest downside I hear from condo buyers is that many units feel like a box, with limited floorplans.

Not so at Ocean Harbour.  These units have unique floorplans, and are some of the most spacious units in the Upper Keys.  With two bedroom, three bedroom and even four bedroom units, these units break the norm and feel like a luxury home.

But it's not just the units that are so attractive. The grounds are immaculate. The grounds consist of beautiful, lush green spaces, a large free-form swimming pool, a marina and boat ramp, an oceanfront clubhouse, a private gym, large oceanfront tiki with BBQ area and covered parking.


Tucked away in a private and gated community off The Old Road, these units all have endless Ocean views and views of the grounds. They feature large kitchens and master bedrooms with ocean views, a private master bath and a dressing are with walk-in closet.

Located in Islamorada, Ocean Harbour is close to everything you'll need in terms of restaurants, shopping, medical needs, etc.

Learn more about Ocean Harbour at www.OceanHarbourIslamorada.com.


November 19, 2018

What Can You Purchase in the Florida Keys for Under $250,000?


The Florida Keys have long been known as an ideal destination in South Florida, either as a place to vacation or a place to live full-time.

The perception is that most places to live in the Keys are out of reach for many buyers. While it is true that the Keys are home to some of the most expensive real estate in South Florida, there are also places you can find for under $250,000.

Here is a list of all the properties in the Keys, from Key West to Key Largo. Many of them are condos, but there are also some single family homes.

Which one interests you?

Click Here to View the Properties


November 16, 2018

Listing of the Day - 903 Lobster Lane, Tavernier, Florida Keys!


This one is priced to sell!

Sure, a lot of ads say that, but I really do believe this one is an excellent value. 

Located in a popular Upper Keys neighborhood, this home has 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths on the upper level and 2 bedrooms and 1 bath on the lower level.

It is nicely updated, has impact windows and doors and a metal roof. Ocean views are yours to enjoy from the covered porch just off the main living area.

As for boating, it is ideal. Just off the ocean for immediate ocean access, and near Tavernier Creek for easy Bay access. There is even your own cut-in boat slip and boat ramp along with davits.

Priced at just $675,000, this home will be under contract soon.  Call today for a showing.


November 13, 2018

Dream a Little . . . .


It's no secret that the Florida Keys are home to some of the most breathtaking island homes.

The top ten luxury listings in the Florida Keys include open water homes overlooking either the Atlantic Ocean or Florida Bay, private compounds with multiple homes and even a private offshore island.

Here is a list of the top ten luxury homes currently listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). These magnificent estate homes are located throughout the entire island chain, from Key Largo to Key West.

Dream a little . . . . .

Click here to see the listings


April 17, 2018

Just Reduced $75,000 - 126 West Pippin in Islamorada, Florida


This is a diamond in the rough!

It's almost unheard of to have a home on such a large piece of property in the Upper Florida Keys.  This four bedroom home is sitting on a huge lot with just shy of a half an acre.  The neighborhood has an optional homeowners association that you can join that features a boat ramp, dockage and a private swimming pool.

Built in 1957, this home is concrete with truss roof.  Each level has a fireplace with shared/combined chimney.

The downstairs has terrazzo floors and wall unit air-conditioning, while the upstairs has tile floors, central air and heat an also has a large den that was once a screened porch.

Set just one lot away from the Bay, there is no noise from the highway, making this a peaceful retreat.

There is some work to be down to bring it back to it's former glory, but there really is huge potential here. Other homes in the neighborhood have sold for considerably more, but without the sizable lot or the size of the home itself.

Now priced at $575,000.  Motivated seller and easy to show, call today for an appointment.




April 13, 2018

First Quarter 2017 VS 2018: How did Hurricane Irma Affect The Real Estate Market?



As a real estate professional, I am asked the same question over and over: How's the real estate market? Most of the time, it is just a curiosity that the person asking the question has about real estate in general.

Post Hurricane Irma, the question has changed: How did Irma affect the real estate market. Most of the time, the person asking the question has a look of caution, appearing to anticipate a grim answer.

The answer may surprise you.  Here is how the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 compare, broken down by property type.

Single Family Homes, Non Waterfront:
2017: 46 sales, with an average sales price of $400,493
2018: 40 sales, with an average sales price of $427,510

Single Family Homes, Canalfront, Lakefront and Plugged Canal:
2017: 36 sales, with an average sales price of $909,694
2018: 41 sales, with an average sales price of $1,063,280

Single Family Homes, Open Water:
2017: 12 sales, with an average sales price of $2,189,583
2018: 14 sales, with an average sales price of $1,978,250

Condos, Townhomes and Condotels:
2017: 32 sales, with an average sales price of $358,806
2018: 41 sales, with an average sales price of $417,558


With the exception of open water homes, most segments of the market saw an increase in average sales price. Open Water homes dropped a little, but more of them sold in the first quarter of 2018 than 2017.

It is important to note that these figures are from the Upper Keys market, from Mile Marker 74 to Mile Marker 106.  This area stretches from north end of Key Largo to the south end of Islamorada.  I've limited it to this area because this is my primary marketplace. Without a doubt, the numbers will be considerably different than in areas harder hit by Irma, such as Cudjoe Key and Big Pine Key. Many areas in the Lower Keys are still in recovery and rebuilding mode.

The next hurricane season is just 49 days away. The season is predicted to be slightly above average, with 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, with 3 hurricanes predicted to be intense.



What Can I Buy in the Florida Keys for under $250,000?

It's no secret that the Florida Keys is an expensive place to live. But there are still places you can find under the $250,000 pric...