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Treasure Island Florida |Real Estate questions and answers, Q & A

Treasure Island Home values | How much is my Treasure Island home worth?

The Real Estate market is always changing and changing fast. As a number one rule in Treasure Island Real Estate, which is never changing, is location, location, location. With that in mind, we need to look at the most recent sales within your Treasure Island neighborhood within the last 6 month. For those comparables, we also have to take Treasure Island Short Sales, Bank owned homes, as well as regular sales. That already will give us a good indication. In order to be more accurate, we need to see the home to determine and compare the interior, such as new kitchen, new bathrooms, how old is the roof, flooring, pool etc.

Closing on your Treasure Island purchased home, how many days until closing?

Here in Treasure Island Florida we have an average of 30 days until closing. If you have a mortgage, it would be well advised, to check with your mortgage broker and see how long he will need to issue the mortgage. If he needs 45 days, a 30 day closing won’t work.

How many percent less should I offer on this Treasure Island property?

That is a question, that can’t be answered with just one number. You need to look at the comparable sales within that subdivision and ask your Treasure Island Realtor. The market has changed so much and there are properties offered already below today’s market value and others are offered way overpriced.

I’m buying a Treasure Island condo and the monthly maintenance fee seems high. How can I check where the money is going?

With any purchase of a Treasure Island condo there is a stipulation in the condo association addendum, that you as the buyer will receive the condo docs and have a 3 days right of recession. As a part of the condo docs you will receive other documentation that are part of the condo docs, such as the rules and regulations, the budget, the financial and a Q and A sheet. Please make sure, that your Treasure Island Realtor gives you a complete package! Within those 3 days you need to review all the information and if there is something in the condo docs, that you weren’t aware of, you have the right to cancel the contract within these 3 days and you will receive your escrow money back.

How come that my taxes are so much higher on my Treasure Island condo than my neighbors?

There are different reasons for it. One of the reasons is, that your neighbor might be homesteaded. You need to see also, when did he purchase the Treasure Island condo. Is your neighbor receiving additional tax exemptions. With a purchase of a Treasure Island condo or single family home, the taxes are going to be re-assessed based on purchase price and the millage rate of the city.

What about insurance on my Treasure Island waterfront condo?

In most cases, the insurance for the exterior of the building, the roof and the flood insurance is already included in the monthly maintenance. Which leaves you to insure the interior with an HO6 (Home owners 6 Insurance). Rates vary based on the context of your condo, which whom you have the insurance, if you receive discounts for having for example car insurance with that particular carrier.

What is a HUD statement?

A HUD statement is a 2 to 3 page document issued by the title company, who is handling your closing. That statement lists all of the costs involved in this particular purchase and lists exactly, who is paying what.

How much more would I have to pay for a Treasure Island waterfront home?

Homes on the water here in Treasure Island start at around $300,000. However, the views onto the water might be from the end of a canal and not wide, open views. The better the views, the more money you will have to pay.  Also, in that price range, you will need to be prepared to put in a lot of work, since most of those homes are not updated at all. If you are looking for an updated, good views onto the water, you need to budget about $600,000 for a nice 2/2. The bigger the home, the newer the home and the better the views, the higher the asking price will be.

Will I need to hire an Attorney to represent me for the closing of my Treasure Island home?                        

Only if you need your Attorney for piece of mind. It is not mandatory in Florida. Here in Florida, the Title companies take care of the title search and all closing procedures.

What exactly is a first time home buyer?

Actually, there is a general misconception about it. Most people think, that first time home buyers are the ones that are buying their first home ever. That is wrong. You actually qualify as a first time home buyer if you have not owned a home within the last 3 years. So if you owned a home before, sold it, rented for a few years, you are considered a first time home buyer after 3 years.

I’m in a Short Sale situation, does the lender have to forgive the remaining balance?

Every bank and every Short Sale situation is different. Our experience with Treasure Island Short Sales is that there are a large number of lenders, that have forgiven the remaining balance. However, the Banks are not obligated to do so.

The Title company offered a courtesy closing, what does that mean?

Good question. Most of the Title companies we are dealing with in our Treasure Island closings, are local companies. However, if the Seller or you as the Buyer chooses an out-of-town Title company, you won’t be expected to travel to Hudson from Treasure Island for example. In those cases, the Title company will outsource and hire a local Title company, to whom they’ll send all the paperwork and that local Title company will handle the closing only.

When I sell my Treasure Island home, do I need a “hardship letter”?

Only if you are selling your Treasure Island home as a Short Sale. The hardship letter is requested by the bank and explains why you as the home owner can’t make the mortgage payments any longer.

What’s in a Short Sale package?

Short Sale packages are a combined effort between the Short Sale Seller, the Short Sale Agent and the negotiator, who is negotiating the Short Sale on your behalf. The Short Sale negotiator has forms, such as financial statements, authorization forms to release information you as the Short Sale Seller need to fill out. Then you’ll get a list of things you’ll need to supply, such as bank statements, tax returns, hardship letter, list of all assets, recent paystubs, lists of expenses etc. And the Short Sale Agent needs to provide the listing agreement, short sale addendum, MLS report, photos of the property, a comparable market analysis. All that paperwork combined and handed to the Short Sale banks are the Short Sale packages.

Treasure Island Florida Short Sales, how long until we can close?

That is an excellent question we hear over and over from potential Short Sale buyers. And we wish we would have a simple and easy answer to that. However, each Treasure Island Short Sale is different and each lender is different. We have seen Short Sales approved within 90 days and we still have not received an approval from Short Sale lenders, where we submitted the Short Sale package and an offer in March of 2011! If we would have to put a number to this questions, we would say between 4 to 9 months.

In a Treasure Island Short Sale, who is paying the closing costs?

That depends how your contract is written. If the Seller is picked to pay the closing cost and the Seller doesn’t have the money, most likely the banks will have to take that amount into consideration when approving the Short Sale. The Short Sale buyer may be asked to make a contribution to the closing cost. As you see, in a Treasure Island Short Sale situation, there is really no yes or no answer to that question. Everything is negotiable and contingent upon the lenders approval.

How much is it for flood insurance?

That is another question we get ask a lot. Please understand, that we are not insurance agents, and even if we’ll give the amount of the flood insurance the current owner is paying, which is in no way any indication of what your flood insurance policy will be. Because it all depends on which provider you are choosing, what discounts will you receive etc. The best way to answer that question is, please contact an insurance agent. The insurance agent will be able to give you a binding quote.

Are there any open permits on this Treasure Island home?

Another good question. When we represent Buyers on a purchase for a Treasure Island home, we ALWAYS make it part of their due diligence to go to the City of Treasure Island to pull the property card. This card will tell you, if all the remodeling jobs listed for the homes, were done properly and if the permits were properly closed out after the City inspection.

Do I have to use a certain home inspector for the inspection of my Treasure Island home?

You can choose any home inspector you wish to choose. Your Treasure Island Realtor should be able to make suggestions and point you in the right direction. In the End, it is your choice. As always, do your homework and select a home inspector who is licensed and insured, who will meet you at the property, who will answer all your questions, and who will explain the inspection report.

Do I really need a termite inspection when I buy a Treasure Island home?

YES. We can’t say it any other way. That is the best $70,00 you’ll ever spend. It gives you piece of mind, if the Treasure Island home checks out ok. And most of the Termite Inspection companies will actually warrant that report for a year and treat your home for FREE if you should have any problems within one year of the inspection.

Why do I need a pre-approval letter before my offer is accepted?

It is actually not unusual and becomes more and more popular with all Sellers, not just Short Sale Sellers. In a Short Sale situation, the banks need to see, that they are dealing with a qualified buyer, before they are going through month and month of approving the sale. This is catching on with regular Sellers as well, since it is a good way to avoid tying up a Treasure Island home with a buyer, who won’t be able to get a mortgage in the amount offered, since lending  is so restricted now a days and there are so many new rules and regulations.

I’m purchasing a Bank owned condo in Treasure Island and the bank wants me to sign additional disclosures, is that normal?

Yes, unfortunately it is. Banks want to make sure they are covering their behind and want you to sign waivers and disclosures saying that you had the right to inspect it, they have no knowledge of the conditions etc. Most of those waivers and disclosures are not “optional” and need to be signed in order to move forward with the purchase. It is always good advise to read those very carefully and weigh the risk.

I just bought a “Steal” in Treasure Island and want to sell it soon, why are the prices suddenly go down?

The answer is simple, because you just created the most recent comparable. And as explained earlier, when determining current market value, we have to look at most recent sales. If you would have purchased at or above market value, you actually would have brought the prices in the neighborhood up.

Do I have to disclose that it is a possible Short Sale, if I don’t get my full asking price?

That is a questions with a simple and straight forward answer, Yes, you do.

I’m buying a Treasure Island waterfront home, do I really need flood insurance?

If you have a mortgage, then the answer is yes. The lender will require you to carry adequate insurance to protect “their” investment. If you don’t have the lender escrow for insurance and your policy expires for whatever reason, the lender will select a new carrier for you and you have to pay that premium.

Why do I have to pay flood insurance as a part of my maintenance fee when my condo is on the 10th floor?

The flood insurance you are paying as a part of your maintenance fee is based on the building, and not “prorated” based on the floor your living on. The entire flood insurance for the building is divided per condo owner.

Have you heard about the new rules regarding Appraisers?

Yes, we have. Nobody really knows them (other the probably the Appraiser themselves). One rule was made clear, that we as Realtors are no longer allowed to talk to the Appraiser and offer any opinions regarding prices and comparables.

Why do I see all of those “Active with Contracts” now, does that mean they are pending sales?

Yes and no. You will be able to still see the properties and are allowed to place an offer. However, in most of those cases, your offer will be a back up offer and not be submitted until the first contract falls apart.

I’m thinking about purchasing a home in Treasure Island that has an in law apartment, will I be able to rent it?

That depends on the zoning. If the property you are looking to purchase in Treasure Island is zoned as a single family residential, you won’t be able to legally rent it out. If the property is zoned a duplex or multi family, then yes, absolutely.

What is the “effective date” for my Treasure Island Short Sale Addendum?

The effective date in a contract is normally when the last persons signs the offer and therefore becomes a contract. All of the time lines in the contract start to count that date. However, in your Treasure Island Short Sale, that effective date is when the lender has issues written approval.

How long do I have for a home inspection?

That depends on your contract. The inspection period in a contract is negotiable between buyer and seller. So if you decided 10 days, 10 days it is. Be aware and ask your Treasure Island Realtor, if the dates in the contract are calendar or business days. In a contract where all dates are considered calendar dates, you weekends do count as well!

Is it “normal” to pay more into escrow after the home inspection?

Everything is negotiable between each buyer and each seller. The Seller most likely wants to see your more committed after you had the home inspected.

What about the appliances? Can the Seller just take them?

If your contract includes the appliances, the Seller can’t just take them. In every transaction, especially in a Short Sale,  it is important to make sure when you make the offer that all parties know what they agree upon!

What happens if things break right after I purchase the home?

Well, it is unfortunate, but at that point you own it and it becomes your responsibility.

How many keys is a Seller suppose to give me at closing?

The Seller will give you all the keys that they have to the home. Each transaction is different. Some times it is one, some times a bag full. Either way, we always recommend that when you take possession of your new home, change the locks right away. You’ll never know who else has a key and knows about the sale. This way, you know and have peace of mind.

I’m buying a beachfront home, what are my closings cost be?

It really doesn’t matter where you purchase, since closing costs are the same everywhere.  Check your contract and see what is checked on what the Seller and the buyer is responsible for. As an average closing costs are about $200 to $400. However, if you have a mortgage, that mortgage has to be recorded. Ask your Realtor and tell him/her how much you are financing, in order to get an accurate amount for that portion of the closing cost.

What about the property taxes in Treasure Island?

Here in Pinellas County, we are paying our property taxes in the “rear”, so for 2011, you are paying in 2012. So if you are closing on your new home in 2012, you are actually getting a tax credit. The tax amount for the year will be prorated. If your closing is on 3/31/2012, taxes from 1/1/2012 through 3/31/2012 will be credited to you and paid by the Seller to you. So when you are receiving the tax bill for the 2012, the Seller has paid their portion via the credit you received at closing.

We are under contract for a home and the inspection report revealed a bad seawall. The replacement costs are in the tens of thousands of dollars. What can I do?

It all depends what kind of contract you have! In a regular purchase contract, there is a section that determines how much the Seller will repair for warranted items, wood destroying organisms and to close out open permits. Please check your contract and see what amount is agreed upon. If that amount exceeds what you and the Seller agreed upon, negotiate with the Seller. In the “As Is with the right to inspect” contract, you can just walk away if you can’t reach an agreement with the Seller.

I’m selling my house in Treasure Island and the day I posted my sign in the yard, I had multiple offers. Can I counter all of them?

Definitely not! Either you disclose to ALL of them, that you have a multiple offer situation and ask ALL of them to give you their highest and best offer by a certain day and time. Then you pick ONE you want to go with. If you don’t want to go the “highest and best”  route, again, pick ONE offer and counter. The reason for that is – what if all 3 accept your counter offer at the same time? Then you have 3 legal contracts you have to honor. That is a mess you don’t want to get yourself in.

How much time do I have for my inspections? I said 14 days, but the Seller says I only had 10 – which one is it?

That all depends what contract you entered. Some contract count days as business days excluding Saturday, Sunday and Holidays. Other contracts count in calendar days including the weekend unless that the last day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal Holiday, then it’s the following business day. So check you contract and ask your Realtor to avoid confusion and avoid defaulting on your contractual obligations.

Why do I have to pay for all the amenities when I’m not using them? Can’t I get a reduced maintenance fee since I’m only there for a few weeks a year?

You could ask your condo association. However, I don’t think it will get you very far. The condo association fees are based on how many units per complex and unfortunately not how much they are used.

We are renting for years in Lands End on Treasure Island and are wondering, why we can’t stay in certain buildings with 2 adults and 4 kids and in others we can?

The occupancy rate per condo is established by the condo association.  in Lands End you have more than one association. It depends on which building is handled by which association and what that association voted on regarding the occupancy capacity.

We are considering to purchase a condo in Silver Sands. Are pets allowed there?

Good question! Yes and No. Only ONE building out of all 3 buildings in Silver Sands will allow pets. Please be sure, you are purchasing in 6650 Gulf Blvd – that is the address for the building that allows pets.

How many different sized condos are in  Seminole Isle?

Condos in Seminole Isle have 3 different sizes. You can chose from 1,500 sq ft condos, 1,700 sq ft condos and 2,100 sq ft condos. The 2,100 sq ft one is the biggest size available in Seminole Isle.

I’m looking to purchase in Seminole Isle, but all condos are facing west. I don’t want to have the evening Sun in my condo.

Then you have to concentrate your search only on  7269 Key Haven Rd. The is the only condo building in Seminole Isle that faces east. The address will make it easy for you to identify the right building for you.

My Bank just told me, they can’t “close” the loan in time, what am I supposed to do now?

First step would be to call them and ask them why they can’t close on time, what is the hold up? Once you know, ask them how much more time they will need. Once you know that, let your Realtor know. You have to get with the Seller and ask them to extend the closing date.

We are torn between a condo on the intracoastal vs. a home on the intracoastal and are trying to “run” the numbers. What is the better deal?

Let’s just look at the numbers for right now and the monthly financial obligation. As an average for a 2/2 approx. 1,000 sq ft condo on the water, the maintenance fees are about $300 to $500 per month. Please keep in mind, each association is different and offers different amenities, so those monthly maintenance fees could go up to $1,000 per month.  The maintenance fees include as an average all the same such as water/sewer, trash removal, insurance on the building, ground maintenance, security if applicable, pest control, pool, cable etc.

We are not including the insurance for the interior of the property, liability insurance, property taxes or electricity. Since those are costs are not included in the maintenance fee for condos either.

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

Painting outside every 5 years                                    average of $70 per month

Resurface your driveway & pool every 10 years   average of $50 per month

That is $730 per month for maintenance if we are breaking it down. When you are looking at monthly maintenance fees, it is easily forgotten what goes into maintaining a property.

Either way, taking advantage of the current market with record low prices for water front properties is the right way for condos or single family homes!

We hope, we helped you guiding you in the right direction and making the decision a bit easier for you!