If half the battle is finding the perfect real estate investment to meet your needs and budget, then the other half of the battle must be making it through to closing victorious. While new Destin real estate listings are posted daily, finding the right one and reaching closing day can be an arduous journey. Therefore, our team of experienced real estate agents compiled the following tips to make it from an offer to a successful closing.
Once you have found your desired property, consider the following:
You’ll want to fully understand the rules of any neighborhood or condominium complex by reviewing bylaws and board meeting notes from the homeowner association (HOA). It is important to review all the covenants and restrictions and to have an understanding of the goals and responsibilities of the neighborhood. Are they in line with your homeownership goals? Can you put up a fence? Can you have a boat in the driveway? What are the monthly or quarterly dues? Are there any special assessments? Are there any issues on the horizon? It is important to know what it would mean to be a property owner in this location and what it would potentially cost.
Be sure to review all county and city documents for the property. Is the property located on wetlands? Are there zoning restrictions? Is it only residential or does the property also allow for commercial use? It is important to understand all the rules and restrictions of a property before making a purchase.
If you’re not a cash buyer, an online mortgage calculator is a good place to start. In addition to mortgage payments, you’ll want to get quotes and calculate homeowner insurance, property taxes and mortgage insurance (if putting less than 30% down). What would closing costs be? What will it cost for maintenance and upkeep? How much for monthly or quarterly pest control? Do you need a termite bond? What other one time or reoccurring costs would be associated with owning this property? It is important to understand the all the short-term fees as well as long-term costs to ensure the investment is well-suited for your needs and budget.
In order to ensure you’re getting the best deal on your desired Destin real estate investment, we recommend a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A comparative market analysis is a tool that real estate agents use to estimate the value of a specific property by evaluating similar properties that have recently sold in the same area.
It is easy to get ahead of yourself and imagine life with your new investment property. Buying real estate is a process and is often met with obstacles and surprises. Anything is possible and sometimes Murphy’s Law prevails and what can go wrong will, so go into any real estate transaction with low expectations so you’re prepared for the worst and pleasantly surprised when it’s smooth sailing.
This is where an experienced local real estate agent is extremely helpful. Market conditions are a big driver of prices, the ease of securing a loan and how competitive your offer must be. When demand is strong and inventory is scarce, real estate prices rise and it becomes a seller’s market. Buyers may have to offer asking price and better to be the winning offer. At other times, supply is plentiful and prices decrease making it a buyer’s market, which may open more inventory options that the buyer may not have thought were even an option. An experienced agent can talk you through market trends and forecasts.
The current real estate market remains strong and seller still has an advantage due to limited inventory and the population steadily growing as families move to the area. In fact, Walton County, Florida ranked #7 among the fastest growing counties in the United States with a popular growth of 6.33%. The 2020 census noted that the popular went from an estimated 75,305 people in 2020 to an estimated 80,069 in 2021. When it's a seller's market, a strong strategy to beat out other offers on the table is to assume more risk by making an "as/is" purchase offer.
While the market may demand an offer at the asking price or above make sure it’s something you can live with. Is this investment going to meet your needs? Is it going to stretch your finances to where you bear too much risk? What is on the horizon? Are repairs needed? If you are planning to use it as a vacation rental, what are the current travel trends and how will they affect the vacation rental market? What costs are associated with making the home a vacation rental? If a second home, what will be the price of upkeep? If a primary residence, does the location make sense for your lifestyle? It is important to make sure that you’re not caught up in the excitement of the moment and think about long-term implications.
Our final and last piece of advice is to be flexible. Just like managing expectations, be prepared to pivot at any time based on new information. Whether it’s learning about existing issues with the home or complications with the lender, it is important for you to be flexible and open to other options and solutions. In the end, being flexible may be your willingness to walk away from the deal and knowing that something else will come along.
Click here for the recent real estate listings in the Destin area to start your search. Found a property of interest? Consult one of our experienced Destin real estate agents to help find your dream property and make an offer you’ll feel great about. Call our real estate division at 850-837-1071.
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