Home Buying Tips

Real Estate Buyer’s Guide

Searching for the perfect property at a price that is right for you is a daunting undertaking. The process can be overwhelming with so many options available due to the large and varied inventory of quality homes, condos and other investment properties. Over the years, our informed sales staff has helped hundreds of buyers and sellers accomplish their objectives. But our mission goes much deeper. We want customers for life. Real estate is a relationship business based on trust and faith. Let us have an opportunity to prove the value of our professional service.

The variety on Anna Maria homes range from historic beach cottages to luxurious new homes. Many new and impressive condo complexes have been recently built, all the while maintaining the ambience and charm of the island.

If you want to be Gulf front, canal front, bay front or hidden away in a tranquil island neighborhood, we can help. Our enthusiastic and eager sales staff will work diligently to assist you in finding your piece of paradise! We offer the finest properties available on Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, and mainland Sarasota and Manatee counties and look forward to assisting you in purchasing your new home or investment property.

Island Vacation Properties is a long established real estate sales and property management company centrally located in Holmes Beach. Specializing in every aspect of property management, condominium association management and real estate sales - we are your one-stop shop for all of your real estate needs.

Our teams of experienced sales agents have an unsurpassed knowledge of Anna Maria Island and the Bradenton area. Our goal is to provide the highest level of service during your purchase of real estate, guiding you every step of the way through a process that can, at times, be overwhelming and stressful.

From the initial home evaluation and comparative market analysis to the day of closing, our agents are there to serve you, to answer any questions you may have and to provide accurate and timely information to ensure that the process goes smoothly.

If you are looking for investment property, our property management staff can advise you what to look for, what to avoid and what to ask. Talk with any of our experience property managers before making an offer to avoid any unforeseen problems in the future.

The following information will assist you in the process. Of course, our staff is ready, willing and able to answer any other questions that you may have.

Whether you are moving in, moving out or moving up, Island Vacation Properties can help.

Different Type of Real Estate Purchases

Consider what your goals are in your pending real estate transaction. Are you in the market for a primary residence, investment property or commercial endeavor? Are your goals to eventually move to the area, vacation here and enter your property into a management program or possibly build a retirement home in the future?

If you are looking for a primary residence on Anna Maria Island or the Bradenton area, congratulations! You’ve chosen one of the most beautiful areas in Florida. Talk with our Island Vacation Properties experienced sales agents about the area. They can guide you through the process and keep you informed about certain requirements that are inherent to our area. Insurance issues and building codes do vary area by area and it is in your best interest to speak with someone who is familiar with our local rules and requirements.

The numbers vary year to year, but a large segment of real estate purchases in the Anna Maria Island and Bradenton area are purchased for investment purposes. Whether it is your intent to retire in the property at a future date or just to vacation at the property, real estate sales of this type do have additional criteria that should be taken into consideration. Are there rental restrictions in the community that you are considering? Is the property currently on the rental market? What would be required to make the property a viable rental unit? What maintenance issues need to be addressed? What is the financial situation of the complex? What will the normal expenses be? These are all questions to be considered before making an offer and these are questions that the staff of Island Vacation Properties can help you answer. Time and again, owners come to us with properties that they have purchased on their own, without asking these questions. Don’t be caught in the trap of purchasing a property that has so many restrictions or maintenance issues that it is virtually un-rentable.

If your goal is to build on Anna Maria Island or the surrounding area, certain restrictions will apply. Our Island Vacation Properties sales agents can guide you through the process. We are knowledgeable about building codes, state guidelines, the permitting process, set back restrictions, height restrictions and have a network of resources to assist you.

Finding the Perfect Property

Once you’ve decided on your goal, it’s time to find the perfect property. Our experienced Island Vacation Properties sales agents have resources available to them that you will not. While the multiple listing service (MLS) is the most widely used avenue to search for listings, it is certainly not the sole source. Many sellers prefer not to go through the process of listing their properties on MLS although they are considering a sale of their property. These are properties that you would never be aware of, yet our agents are!

We have a vast network of home owners, landlords and past clients who may not have considered listing their property at all. Once our Island Vacation Properties agents have established what type of property you are in the market for, a simple call to our clients may result in an available property for you that you would never have found.

Our agents will spend as much time as needed to search and find every available property that meets your criteria. They will spend as much time as needed to show you every possible piece of property that may be an option. If you have the advantage of being in town, a tour of the surrounding area may open up new options that you hadn’t considered at all. If you are not in the area, our agents can easily send you pictures, descriptions and virtual tours of potential properties. As technology advances, an ever increasing number of real estate transactions are accomplished by this method.

If your intent is to place your potential new property in a rental pool, now is the time to speak with an experienced property manager. Our rental staff at Island Vacation Properties will gladly take time to go over your final choice of properties and weigh the pros and cons of each one in respect to their rental potential. This process will certainly eliminate future problems by being aware of potential restrictions, age requirements, pending assessments and maintenance issues. These issues alone could make or break any profitability potential in the future.

Pre-Qualifying and the Offer Process

It is important and wise to be pre-qualified before making an offer. Once you have chosen what type of property you are interested in purchasing it is important to know how much you are capable to spending. Over extending yourself in the purchase of a property can cause financial problems in the future and this can be easily avoided by the pre-qualification process. Our Island Vacation Properties sales agents have a network of lenders who can assist you with this. The process is quick and can in many instances be conducted by phone. Pre-qualification may be the one item that sets you apart from other potential buyers for the same property.

Our agents will gladly write an offer on your chosen property. Real Estate laws vary state to state and our agents have access to Florida approved forms and purchase agreements. Our licensed agents are aware of the requirements involved in the purchase of a property in Florida and will ensure that all legal requirements are met. Our agents will advise you regarding the offered price and work diligently to ensure that your offer is presented to the seller in a quick and timely manner. They will work closely with you, the seller and/or the seller’s agent to bring about a final contract that all parties are in agreement with.

An escrow deposit will be required with your offer. This will vary in amount and depend mainly on the purchase price. An additional deposit may be required by the buyer at the time of acceptance of the terms of the offer. These funds are held in a non-interest bearing account in a Florida bank until closing or end of the negotiations.

A counter-offer may be submitted by the seller. This may be in response to the offered price, closing date or any terms of your offer. Our agent will present the seller’s counter-offer to you. Should you agree with the terms of the counter-offer and after all parties have agreed unconditionally to the acceptance of the other’s proposal, signatures are obtained and it becomes a binding contract.

The Closing Process

After acceptance of all terms and conditions of your offer and a contract is in place, if you have not arranged for a pre-approved loan, you will want to apply for financing. Talk with an Island Vacation Properties sales agent regarding your options. We have a network of lenders who have assisted us with hundreds of real estate transactions through the years. Their proven track record ensures that every possible avenue will be explored to bring your transaction to closing at the best rate with the best terms. They can advise you about the various loans available and which would be best in your particular situation.

After your loan commitment is agreed upon, the lender may order an appraisal of the property.

During the negotiation of your contract, it should have been determined whether you or the seller would choose the title company. At this point, the chosen title company is notified and given all pertinent documentation required. While they begin their title search of the property to ensure there are no liens or clouds on the title, a home inspection will be ordered.

Our agents have numerous inspection companies that can assist with this process. It is vital to have an

inspection to avoid any major maintenance issues arise at a later date. There are many problems that are impossible to see during the viewing of a home and it is important to be aware of any plumbing, electrical, roofing deficiencies, hidden flaws or and other potential problems with the property. Please keep in mind that any defects discovered may or may not be corrected by the seller. This is a point of negotiation between parties.

During this time you will also want to make arrangements for insurance. While we are certainly blessed to be living in such a beautiful location, a property on a barrier island such as Anna Maria does have special requirements which your agent will discuss with you. They will also provide a list of insurance companies for you to speak with who are familiar with our special needs.

Just prior to closing, you will want to make arrangements for the transfer of utilities into your name. Our Island Vacation Properties staff can provide you with a list of phone numbers to contact to begin this process.

Immediately prior to closing you and your sales agent should receive a preliminary closing statement from the title company. Please review these documents carefully with your agent to ensure accuracy. This document will also inform you as to the amount that you will need to bring to closing. Please remember that these funds should be in the form of a certified check.

At this time, all remaining items are checked to be sure everything has been completed in a satisfactory manner. Your closing time is scheduled.

A day to two prior to closing, a walk through is scheduled. This gives you an opportunity to inspect the property to ensure that everything is in working order and that all items that were to be included with the sale are present. If you are not in the area at the time, your sales agent will perform this service for you and report back to you with the results.

If you are unable to attend the closing, plans need to be made to send you all closing documents by mail. While this is not the most ideal manner in which to close, it is done quite often and has no impact on the actual closing process. Your sales agent may attend the closing in your absence should you be unable to attend. They will obtain all keys to the property and inform you when the closing is complete.

Congratulations! You are now proud owners of a property in one of the most desired areas of Florida!

Management of Your Investment Property

If your recent purchase was with the intent of placing your property in the rental market, you will have some points to consider.

  1. Where is the office located? A good office location is extremely important.
  2. Do they offer an interactive website? Approximately 85% of rental reservations are made as a direct result of the internet.
  3. Is the office fully staffed?
  4. Do they offer extended office hours?
  5. Do they have emergency contact numbers if guests encounter a problem?
  6. Have you called the office? Are the friendly and helpful on the phone?
  7. Do they offer travel insurance?
  8. Do they have an “Owner” login screen where you can access your account information?
  9. Do they offer ACH for rapid automatic transfer of your rental funds?
  10. Have you visited the office? Did you feel welcome and comfortable there?
  11. Do they offer printed advertising such as a rental brochure?
  12. Do they offer online reservation capabilities?
  13. Do they offer virtual tours of their rentals?
  14. Do they have a maintenance staff?
  15. Do they have an internet marketing program?
  16. Do they have a presence in area visitor’s guides?
  17. Do they accept credit cards?
  18. Do they have an owner referral program?

While the first question most prospective landlords will ask is, “What is your commission?” it should be “What services do you offer?” “Are there extra fees that I should expect?” “What sets you apart from other offices?”

Naturally, we hope that your choice to manage your new investment property would be Island Vacation Properties, but if you choose to go with another company, we want you to be satisfied with the choice you’ve made and to have enough information to make an educated decision.