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May
10

What to Consider When Choosing a Gated Community

Gated Community

Everyone wants safety and security for their homes, but before you assume a particular gated community is right for you, it's important that you understand all the rules and restrictions that accompany that security. Our real estate agents can help you make the right decision based on your lifestyle. There are several basic types of gated communities. Each has its own pros and cons.

  • Equity Country Clubs
    These are communities associated with a private country club. In addition to monthly homeowner's association fees, which take care of regular maintenance tasks, homeowners are assessed with a portion of the costs to renovate or add amenities, such as the golf course or tennis courts. These are known as equity fees. Avid golfers may find these added costs worth the benefits.
  • Non-Equity Country Clubs
    These country clubs do not require membership of all residents, who will therefore not have to pay equity fees. That probably also means you are unable to use the golf course or other facilities. Each community has its own rules, so you need to check what amenities are included for your use. 
  • Guard-Gated Properties
    A guard at the gate checks the ID of all visitors. After verifying that the visitor is authorized by a resident, the guard will direct the visitor to the appropriate destination. The guard will usually follow a strict protocol to ensure the safety of the entire community. These properties typically include amenities such as fitness centers, clubhouses, and tennis courts. Their maintenance is included in the monthly homeowner fees. 
  • Guard-Gated 55+ Communities
    Monitored by a guard at the gate, this community is focused on the interests of residents over the age of 55. You will often find social gatherings, crafts, and outings in addition to a clubhouse. To qualify, a household generally only needs one person of the appropriate age, but there may be limits on the number of people under that minimum age in the entire community. Normally, school buses are not allowed on the grounds, and you will rarely find playgrounds. Grandparents who find themselves bringing up their grandchildren may find this a hardship. 
  • Non-Guard Gated Communities
    The gate to these properties is accessed via passcode or telephone. Visitors may need to insert an ID while speaking to someone via camera. With a phone entry system, visitors input numbers on a keypad which causes the resident's phone to ring. The homeowner will then buzz them in. Homeowner fees are typically less expensive than in guard-gated communities.

In addition to the perks and restrictions specific to each of these, there are some policies that apply to all. Some benefits include lower crime rates, less traffic, no solicitors, and higher property values. Most exterior maintenance will be covered by the HOA fees. Some properties even include cable and house painting. Less work on the part of the homeowner means more spare time to enjoy the amenities offered. The downsides can be restrictions on the type of pets allowed, excessive HOA fees, restricted visitor access, and strict rules governing home exteriors. Deliveries may be problematic. Many communities require the owner to reside in the home for a defined time frame before renting to avoid turnover.

Once you understand the parameters of living in the various gated community types, it's easier to know what to look for in a new home. Contact us when you're ready to look at Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale in gated communities. 

July
31

How to Make Your Offer Stand Out in a Competitive Market

Competitive Market

If you're looking to buy a home and have found one that you love, that's great news, but we are in a competitive market, so you'll need to make your offer stand out from any others that come in.

Our real estate agents love helping people find a new place to call home in the Sunshine State. With the real estate market being as hot as the Florida summer weather, we suggest the following five ways to make sure your offer stands out. 

  1. Keep it Simple
    Make sure that when you make an offer on a home, it's simple. The contract that's most appealing to the buyer is based on price, of course, but also on the number of contingencies it has, and the fewer the better. Common contingencies include your ability to obtain financing or a painting allowance so you can pay to have the home repainted, but in a competitive market, it's best to make your offer as straightforward and simple as possible.
  2. Show That You Can Afford the Home
    Contact a mortgage lender early in the home buying process so you can be pre-approved for a mortgage. Our mortgage partner, HomeBridge Mortgage, provides buyers with a pre-approval letter that can help you submit your offer in the best possible light. You'll receive a pre-approval letter that indicates the amount and type of mortgage you can qualify for based on your financial situation and credit history. This type of documentation demonstrates that you can successfully obtain the mortgage and close on the loan. If you won't be getting a mortgage but will instead be paying cash for the home, submit proof of the funds along with your offer.
  3. Make Your Inspection Period Short 
    You'll want to have a licensed inspector check out any home you're thinking about buying. This includes a close look at the home's structure as well as systems such as the heating and air conditioning to determine if they have any problems. You'll want to talk to your REALTOR® to be sure that you have a plan in place for having a timely home inspection. That way, if the inspection comes back showing problems and you decide not to buy the home, the seller can put the home back on the market more quickly.
  4. Make Your Best Offer on Price  
    You may assume that if the home seller thinks your offer isn't high enough, they'll make a counteroffer. But especially in a competitive market, this may not necessarily be true since the seller may receive other offers that are higher. If you don't make your initial offer your best one, you may not get another chance.
    It's essential to work with a REALTOR® in today's highly competitive real estate market. Contingency clauses are becoming more common and navigating them successfully takes the expertise of a REALTOR®.
  5. Write a Letter to the Seller  
    It can help to write a cover letter along with your offer so you can explain why you love the seller's home. Let the seller know what you appreciate about their home and give them a glimpse into how you'd love living there. Just make sure to let your real estate agent approve the letter so you don't accidentally violate Fair Housing laws.

Contact us at Wagner Realty today to see Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale and let us help you with your search. We'll help you make an offer that stands out in a competitive market and gives you the best possible chance of buying the home you want.    

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