Real Estate questions and answers for Saint Petersburg
What is the value of my St. Petersburg home?
In today’s real estate market the value of your home changes fast.
You will get market value for you house or condo, meaning whatever comparable properties sold for, short sales and foreclosures included.
How long does it take to close a purchase on a house or condo here in St. Petersburg?
Here in our Saint Petersburg area we usually close within 30 days, give or take.
Should I offer 20% less on a St. Pete property that I like?
In this kind of market it is impossible to answer the question with a percentage. You have to look at the comps and talk to your realtor. Some homes are already priced way below market value, other are still overpriced by 30%
The condo maintenance fee seams high, how can I find out what they do with the money? Once you have made an offer and it is accepted you will get a condo document package including a budget. You have 3 days to review it and if you do not like what you read, you can back out of the contract and get your deposit back.
Why are the taxes in St. Petersburg on one condo much higher than on the same condo next door?
One explanation could be that next door was homesteaded. But do not worry; once you buy the taxes will be re assessed anyway.
How much is property insurance on a waterfront condo in Saint Petersburg.
It depends on a lot of thing, but most likely the amount is already included in your monthly maintenance fee.
I have a real estate question and need an answer. What is a HUD statement?
It is a 2 or 3 page document that you get right before closing that lists all the cost and fees and tells you who has to pay them.
What do people mean by beach erosion in St. Pete Tampabay?
It is when the wind and waves take sand off the beach. Today you beach could be 300 feet wide and tomorrow it could be 200 feet wide. Ask you realtor about neighborhoods that have this problem and what they do about it.
How much is a waterfront home in Saint Petersburg.
They start around $300,000 for just a little water and the house is a handy man special and go all the way to a few millions for beautiful beachfront mansions. A nice 2 bedroom 2 bath home with a garage and a pool right on the water is roughly about $600,000 and up.
Do I need a lawyer to close a real estate deal in Florida?
No, you do not need a lawyer; usually local Title companies take care of the title search and closing procedures.
What is a first time home buyer?
There s a lot of confusion about it, so thank you for the question. You qualify as a first time home buyer if you have not owned a home in the last 3 years. So if you had a home 4 years ago, you are still a first time home buyer.
Will the bank always forgive the balance in a short sale situation here in Treasure Island?
NO, no no no. Every bank is different and every home owner’s situation is different. We have successfully closed a bunch of short sales where the balance is forgiven but the banks do NOT have too.
What is a courtesy closing?
If the title company that closes the deal is not a local company you can ask for a courtesy closing. Meaning the out of town Title Company sends the paperwork to a local company and you can physically go there and attend your closing and ask questions.
What is a hardship letter?
The banks ask the homeowner that wants to do a Short Sale to write a hardship letter explaining why he or she cannot make the payments anymore.
What is a Short Sale package?
It is a bunch of paperwork the lender requires in a Short sale situation, things like paystubs, tax returns, bank statement, hardship letter, listing agreement, comparable market analysis of the real estate property, list of all your assets and expenses etc. By the time the package is complete it might have 50 to 70 pages
How long does it take to close a Short Sale in Pinellas County?
Sorry, I have seen everything between 4 month and 9 month. It depends on the seller, their realtor and the banks.
When do I need to fill out the Short Sale package for my waterfront house in St. Pete?
Well, if I am your Realtor I want it at the time I take the listing. Other Realtors may not ask for it till they have an offer. Keep in mind, time is of the essence in a Short Sale and you do not want to miss a beat.
Who pays the closing cost in a Short Sale property transfer?
Everything is negotiable but usually the seller does not have the money so the bank picks up the tap for the home owner and the buyer pays his own closing costs. (Unless he has asked for seller contribution in which case the bank also pays this amount)
How much is the flood insurance on my new home in St. Pete Beach?
I am the wrong person to ask, only your insurance agent can tell you and most likely they need and elevation certificate to give you a binding quote.
How do I find out what kind of remodeling or additions were done to my new home here in Madeira Beach?
It is always a good idea to go to the city and ask for the property card. This tells you when someone filled for a building or remodeling permit and also if the permit was approved and closed out.
Which home inspector should I choose when buying a house in St. Pete?
One that does not just give you a report but someone that actually meets you at the house and explains the report to you and answers your questions.
Should I really get a termite inspection when buying a home in Saint Petersburg?
YES, it will cost you $70 give or take and can save you a lot of money and if you choose the right Inspection Company they will even warranty their report for a year and treat for free if you have a problem.
Not sure if this is a real estate question but maybe you have the answer anyway. What is the big deal with Chinese drywall?
Good question, unfortunately I do not have a good answer. This problem is fairly new and nobody really knows what to do with it or how to test for it or where to find it. This is a great link with updated information
Why is the seller asking for a pre approval letter before accepting my offer on a waterfront home in St. Pete Beach?
The seller wants to save himself and you time and frustration. In this “new” mortgage world nobody knows if you can get a loan or not and the seller wants to make sure that you are serious and have at least already talked to a mortgage broker.
Why did I have to sign a 7 page addendum in addition to my contract when I bought a bank owned property in Treasure Island?
Well, the banks think that they are God’s gift to Plant earth and therefore they behave and act accordingly. Ok, jokes aside the banks will cover themselves in every way shape or form possible and therefore come up with the most ridiculous addenda. Unfortunately I have never seen a bank that is negotiable on these addenda issues.
I was so happy that I just bought the best deal in my Seminole neighborhood, now prices are going down and I am not sure if I made the right move.
I get this a lot. Keep in mind when you buy a house or condo under market value, YOU just brought the prices down in this neighborhood. On the other hand, if you buy above market value, you bring the prices up. This is the name of the game.
Why does the seller have to pay doc stamps on the deed in Pinellas County?
Someone has to pay them (they are a form of taxes) and traditionally and according to standard real estate contracts in Pinellas County the seller is responsible for Doc stamps on the deed BUT by law it is negotiable.
I have a house in Pinellas County do I need to disclose that it is a short sale or maybe pre foreclosure when I list it in the MLS?
Do I need flood insurance when I buy a waterfront home in Madeira beach?
Well, if you pay cash for the house, it is up to you if you want to take out insurance or not. If you finance the home the lender will insist on flood insurance.
I own a condo on the 10th floor in St. Pete Beach and do not want to pay flood insurance on it, can I deduct this portion from the monthly maintenance fee?
No, you can not.99% of all condos here in Pinellas County have the flood insurance figured in to their monthly condo fees and by accepting the condo docs when you purchased the property you also accepted that you have to pay part of the flood insurance, 10th floor or not.
What is going on with the new appraisal rules?
Honestly, nobody knows how it is going to play out. I am concerned that we will get cheap appraisers that do not know the area and that would be a disaster. I sincerely hope I am wrong on this one.
I have a waterfront home for sale in Treasure Island; do I need the coastal construction line disclosure?
Depends, if you waterfront home is actually a beachfront house, YES you need this disclosure (even if you have a seawall) All other waterfront you do not need to disclose.
Can I make an offer on a waterfront that is “active with contract”?
Yes you can but most likely it will be a back up with or without a kick out clause.
I want to buy a waterfront home in Redington beach, how do I find out how deep the water is at the end of my dock.
Do not relay on what people tell you, take a piece of string with a stone attached at the end and actually drop it in the water and measure at different times of the day (we have extremely high and low tides depending on the moon.
I bought a house on Sunset Beach Treasure Island and it has a mother in law apartment, can I rent it out?
Depends on your zoning, if it is zoned single family you cannot legally rent it. If it is multi family or duplex you can. Check it out, Sunset beach has a lot of multifamily homes (most of them do not look like it but they are)
What is the “effective date” in a real estate contract?
That is when the last person signs the offer and therefore it becomes a contract. All time lines in your real estate contract start counting on effective date.
How long do I have to do inspections on a waterfront home I want to buy?
Depends on your contract, the time for inspections is negotiable between the buyer and the seller at the time they work on the offer and counter offer. Most contract have a “standard time frame” of 10 days (make sure you know if it is business days or calendar days.
Why is the seller asking for additional escrow deposit after the home inspection is done?
He want to see more commitment from you.
The seller just took out the appliances on a home that I am buying, can he do that?
Yes, he can, obviously but I doubt that it is legal. Check your contract, if it says that appliances are included he has to return them.
I bought a waterfront home in Pinellas county 3 days ago and today the pool pump broke, can I ask the seller to repair it?
You can always ask, but usually once you own the home it is your problem.
The seller only gave me one key to my new home at closing, how do I get the other keys from him?
Don’t even try, you do not know who he might have given a key to and eho still has one. Just have the lock changed and you are the only person with the keys.
How much are the closing costs for the buyer on a beachfront home?
It does not matter where the house is, the buyer’s closing cost (if not otherwise agreed upon in the contract) are usually somewhere between $250 and $400. These are the cost to close the real estate deal. Do not confuse this with your cost to secure a mortgage.
Do I have to pay the property taxes for my new home at closing?
No, here in Pinellas county property taxes are paid in arears. You will actually get money back at closing, it is a credit from the seller to the buyer for his unpaid portion of the yearly property taxes. You will only have to pay something if the seller for whatever strange reason has already paid the taxes till the end of the year ( he gets his bill in November)
The cost of new sea wall is 17k, should I ask the seller respond for the whole cost? or I have to share the cost?
It all depends on the contract you signed. In a lot of cases the seller pays for repairs up to 1.5% of the sales price, in other cases he pays nothing but you can back out of the contract if the costs are too high for you. Like I said there are all kinds of scenarios. Check your contract. One way or another I would always try to negotiate with he seller.
I received 3 offers on my home in the same day; can I counter all of them?
No no no ! You have to pick one and work with this one only. Think about it, if you counter all three offers and each buyer accepts your offer, you have a mess on your hands. You cannot sell it to more than on buyer.
My contract said the buyer had 10 days to do the inspection, now my realtor is telling me it is 14 day?!
My best guess is that someone confused business days with calendar days. FAR forms go with business days and FAR/BAR forms go with calendar days.
I live in a condo complex that has all kinds of amenities. I am not using any of them, can I ask for a reduction in my monthly maintenance fees?
You can always ask, but I doubt very much that you will get it. Condo associations have a budget and the cost are divided by units or by square feet NOT by usage of common elements.
Why is it that some units in Lands End can be occupied by 6 people and other can only have 4 people?
Lands’ end has more than one association and the associations vote on stuff like this. So, some have said 6 people is ok other have said only 4 can live in a unit.
Does Silver Sands condo complex on St. Pete Beach allow dogs or other pets?
Yes and No the 3rd building (most north) 6650 Gulf Blvd. allows pets, the other two don’t
Is the 1700 square foot unit in Seminole Isle the biggest condo they have?
No, it is not Seminole Isle also has corner units, 2 on each floor that have 2100 square feet. The unit number ends in either 01 or 06
I understand that all condos in Seminole Isle have a view onto the sunset meaning looking west.
Not all of them, there is one building that faces east the other 5 buildings face west.
I have so many real estate questions, here is one. What is the coastal construction line addendum?
Every time you buy a property that sits right on the ocean or the Gulf of Mexico for that matter the addendum makes sure that you do understand about beach erosion and that it is a natural thing that occurs and it is nobody’s fault it is a risk you take by buying oceanfront homes or condos.
What do people mean when they say “Madeira beach is a natural beach” It means that Madeira beach never had any beach renurishment done. A long time ago the beach in Madeira was not as wide as it is now. Jetties were put in the water and ever since then, the beach actually grows instead of shrinks.
I can not get my mortgage by closing date, what am I supposed to do?
Well, call your bank or lender every day and get on their nerves so they speed up the process and also get in touch with the seller and ask for an extension of the closing date.
Is it cheaper to own a waterfront condo than a single famliy home on the water?
Own a condo verses a single family home in Saint Petersburg Tampabay
There are a lot of things to be said about the difference between buying a condo or a home but for now we will just focus on the monthly cost of homeownership here in St. Pete.
A 2 bedroom 2 bath waterfront condo around 1000 square feet usually comes with a condo maintenance of fee of $350 to $550. (Yes, we also have huge luxury waterfront condos that have a maintenance fee of $700 or $1000 per month.) Each condo association is different.
The numbers below are for a single family home. When you compare this to a condo fee of $400 or $500 you will see that the monthly condo association fees aren’t so bad after all.
Don’t forget, you also have to pay taxes.
In my example the home value on both properties is $500,000 and they have the same property taxes.
Expenses for a single family home in Saint Pete.
Electricity average of $250 per month
Water average of $100 per month
Lawn service average of $100 per month
Inside pest control average of $50 per month
Outside pest and weed control average of $100 per month
Pool service average of $70 per month
Sewer average of $30 per month
Trash average of $ 40 per month
Basic Cable & internet average of $80 per month
Replacing sprinkler heads average of $40 per month
Insurance average of $250 per month
Painting outside every 5 years average of $70 per month
Resurface your driveway & pool every 10 years average of $50 per month
With the above mentioned expense you are looking at $1200 per month for a single family home here in St. Petersburg Tampabay.
Most or nearly all of these services are included in your monthly condo association maintenance fees.
Now, compare this to a condo fee of $500 or $600 per month.
Please keep in mind every condo and every single family home that you buy will be a little different but I believe this will help you understand where the money goes.
Hope this little section on Real Estate questions and answers helped you.
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