Home Buying in Sarasota>Question Details

Lg, Home Buyer in Paris, France

I've been living overseas for more than 20 years and am now looking to buy a condo in the Sarasota area.

Asked by Lg, Paris, France Sat Mar 15, 2008

As we won't be using the property for more than 4 weeks per year, we're looking for something in a gated community, with relatively low monthly condo fees and low insurance (we understand that insurance can be expensive depending on the zone you are in). A pool is the minimum we'd need, but that's about it in terms of "necessities" - - We don't mind being inland as long as it's not too far from the coast. We've heard that many condo conversions are not quality construction, so we're a bit concerned about buying one of these. With the strong euro we expect to pay cash, but would like to have an idea as to what the minimum price range is for a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath minimum. Another concern is the closing costs and the paperwork, how easily can this be done, given that-we're 5000 miles away? Thanks for any indications you might be able to give.
LG

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Answers

21
Bienvenue au Paradis

Sarasota has tons of condos for sale and you can find without any problems one that will fit your needs. One decision you will have to make early on is whether you want to rent the condo when you are not here. Some places prevent you from renting for up to two years after you bought. Some allow you to rent by the year only or by the month only. If you want maximum rental potential, you will want to look at places that have a high rental flexibility. Be careful about those condos that do not allow pets if you plan on renting out the property as many renters have pets. The closing costs here are much lower than what you would have to pay for in Paris. Charles gave you a pretty good estimate of such costs. Your most important decision sera naturellement de trouver quelqu'un avec qui vous pourrez travailler en toute confiance et quietude et qui pourra s'occuper de vos affaires et de vos amis pendant votre absence... Il est evident que tout bon agent qui se respecte pourra accomplir tout ce qui vous est promis par tout le monde. Prenez quelques minutes pour consulter mon bagage universitaire et professionel et voud verrez qu'il vous sera difficile de trouver un agent immobilier de mon niveau. Au plaisir de vous lire. Michel
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 30, 2008
To answer your question concerning the property disclosure and condominium disclosure documents, I must say that indeed there is no established uniform way of providing them to the buyer. Our Sarasota multiple listing system was recently updated, allowing Realtors to attach these documents to the listing. This allows other Realtors to access the documents online, but they are not available to buyers online. For this reason, some Realtors will make them available at the condo when you view it. Other Realtors will provide them to you or your agent upon request via fax or email.

By the way, the condo disclosure that you receive is just a summary that tells you that you will be required to belong to an association and to pay dues and assessments. It does not provide any details concerning the financial health or rules and regulations of the association. Unfortunately, that information is contained the the condominium association documents, which can be several hundred pages. It is not practical to provide these documents to every potential buyer prior to them making an offer. I have recently seen one case where a homeowners association posts their complete documents including the year-end financial statement on their community's web site, which of course makes them available for anyone to see. In an ideal world, every condominium and homeowners association would do this.

I hope that you found a few good condos to consider on your recent trip to Sarasota,and that you were well-served by a knowledgeable Realtor. I trust that you learned that it is most practical and efficient to choose one good agent to show you properties, rather than to deal with several agents. If you have already found that agent, I wish you success in your search. Otherwise, I would be happy to assist you.

Charles Offer
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
423 St. Armands Circle
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 321-9664
http://www.CharlesOffer.com
charlesoffer@comcast.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 10, 2008
Hello,
Congratulations on your decision to own property in Sarasota! My name is Michele Hodges and I am with Keller Williams Realty. With your approval, I would like to talk with you regarding several properties we have listed which may fit your needs. If you are interested in a Realtor who delivers when it comes to customer service, you do not have to look any further. Just give me a call and I'd be happy to work with you.
Sincerely
Michele Hodges
Kelller Williams Realty
941-928-8851 (No Saturdays Please)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 9, 2008
Hi, I hope I am coming to the end of my questions!
We spent some time in Sarasota at the end of April, but with all the choices and options we were a bit confused.
One of our concerns was the property disclosure document, we saw that in some instances this was provided when we visited the property, but sometimes it was written that it was available on the MLS listing but we didn't see it. Ditto for what I understand are Condominium disclosures...do they exist (?) and can you read them when you visit or do you have to wait until you make an offer on the property...etc, etc with the 3 days to review the financial "health" of the Condo Assn, its reserves and so on.
Can anybody comment?
Thanks once again to all,
LG
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 9, 2008
Hi LG: Please email me directly and I will give you all the information you need. My email address is mwlh319@aol.com. Thanks, Wendy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 4, 2008
In reponse to your questions concerning pinhole leaks, yes, it is true that pinhole plumbing leaks have been a very common problem in certain areas of Sarasota county. There are many locations where pinhole leaks are not really an issue, and an experienced, well-informed Realtor should be able to identify the locations which are at greatest risk. A standard home inspection can indeed discover the problem, if the inspector knows how to check. If you are concerned about pinhole leaks, be sure to discuss them with the home inspector before you hire him. I've seen many inspectors who don't check, and others who do.

A pinhole leak will definitely increase the risk of mold. You would be wise to have a mold inspection in any home or condo that you offer to purchase. In addition to the pinhole leaks, there can be many other causes of mold in a home.

You asked about the cost of repairing pinhole leaks. Generally, the cost runs into the thousands of dollars just for the plumbing repair or replacement. The cost of repairing damaged walls and flooring, and removing mold, can be astronomical. I recently sold a home that had been completely flooded by a pinhole leak. The seller's insurance company had paid out over $30,000 for repairs. This was an interesting situation, because many buyers were afraid to buy the home after the repairs were done. One buyer came along and was very happy to purchase the home, because he knew that the home was properly repaired and now had brand new plumbing, new carpet, and entirely new walls throughout. The home had recently had a comprehensive mold inspection and no mold was found. The inspector's comment was "This home has no evidence of harmful mold, and in fact probably has less mold than most of the homes in the neighborhood that were never flooded." The point is that mold is indeed a potential problem, but it is possible to deal with it.

Charles Offer
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
423 St. Armands Circle
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 321-9664
http://www.CharlesOffer.com
charlesoffer@comcast.net
Web Reference: http://www.CharlesOffer.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 4, 2008
Hi,
I've heard that the Sarasota area is or has been subject to pinhole leaks. Can anyone confirm this?
Will a standard home inspection discover the problem? I've heard that thousands of dollars are needed to correct the problem once it is discovered. Doesn't this increase the risk of mold?
Thanks again
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 4, 2008
I have an adorable home for sale in a great development in Sarasota. It is 2 minutes away from the main highway, and you can walk to the shopping center if you need a good work out. It has an oversized garage, backs up to a lake, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, on a cul-de-sac, Brand new roof was just put on, inside of house was just redone, new entrance door, new interior and exterior paint, new appliances, and about 15 minutes away from the beautiful beaches of Sarasota, This is not a condo, it is a private home. If interested, please email me at mwlh319@aol.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 3, 2008
In response to your question concerning which form of representation is best, I'm not sure that a real estate agent should be the person to answer that for you. I can tell you that this article does a pretty good job of explaining brokerage relationships under Florida law: http://www.westga.edu/~bquest/1998/florida.html .

Some people believe that as a buyer they will be better served if they work with a "single agent" who represents them exclusively, rather than with a "transaction broker" who has limited nonfiduciary responsibility to the buyer, the seller, or both parties. Personally, I haven't really seen any evidence that a buyers' agent provides anything of value to a customer that they don't get from a well-qualified, ethical transaction broker. I'm sure that other Realtors who operate as buyers agents will disagree.

Florida law states that agents are supposed to provide a Brokerage Relationship Disclosure at "first contact" (see article). I believe that this requirement may be changing in the near future. As I understand it, the consumer should expect that a Realtor is acting as a Transaction Broker, unless they disclose otherwise. I'm sure that if you do a search on the internet you will find information that relates to this.

Charles Offer
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
423 St. Armands Circle
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 321-9664
http://www.CharlesOffer.com
charlesoffer@comcast.net
Web Reference: http://www.CharlesOffer.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 3, 2008
Hi,
We've heard a lot about transactional brokers, sellers' representatives and buyers' representatives. Which is the best choice (I suppose other than a seller's agent) for a buyer? How can you tell the difference? Does the professional tell you straight up who he or she is representing?
Thanks for any comments...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 3, 2008
Hi LG,

Welcome to Sarasota.

We Have the tools you need in our web site.
Hope we can help you.
Merci
Flavia
http://WWW.srqflhomes.com
Web Reference: http://www.srqflhomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 11, 2008
If you are willing to go a little further north of Sarasota, I have a place for sale in Palm Harbor. Close to a great State Park and close to beaches, convenient to airports. My father lived there alone and I never worried about him as the neighborhood is very quiet. http://www.postlets.com/res/403277 Contact me if you are interested.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 11, 2008
Hi L.G. Paris, France. I could Email you some Condo's and Villa's in Sarasota that you would be interested in. And close to everything. Please call me or email me anytime. Thanks Jon Butz 941.780.4391. Prudential Palms Realty.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 9, 2008
Hello LG,

I own a condo in Venice, FL, which is only about 10 miles south of Sarasota. It is a 3 bedroom/2 1/2 bath 1300 SQ/FT townhome in a small community. The community has a pool, and this was just built in 2007. Has tile downstairs, and ceiling fans throughout. The asking price is $179,900, and we would help with closing costs. Please contact me if interested, and I can email you pictures. My email in disneylove@embarqmail.com.

Cheryl
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
maybe buy next year
when it is cheaper

anyways

good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
Salut,

There is a great deal right now and for $219,000 USD you could built a brand new home. I think a brand new home is a great investment especially if you are an overseas buyer at this time. The subdivision is 15 -20 minutes from the beaches and it is quality construction. It is located in Sarasota. You do not need to worry about being far from anything as shops are close by and everything else you may need. The builder is willing to work with what you need or don't need. The home also would have warranty. I have had transactions with overseas buyers and brokers and understand these concerns. I would be wiling to help. Aussi, je parle francais, et je pourrai vous aider.

Leah George
leah@srqmls.com
941-780-0597
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
You have already gotten some good answers from the other pros, but I would like to add a little more. You asked about closing costs and paperwork. In Sarasota county it is customary for the buyer to pay for the title search and title insurance, For a $200,000 condo, you would pay $1075 for title insurance, plus a few hundred dollars more to cover the title search, closing agent and other associated costs. If you spend less, title insurance will cost less but the other costs will probably remain the same. It's very simple to do the paperwork via email, fax, or overnight courier, and money is moved by wire transfer. We do it every day, and there are rarely any problems. I have customers from Europe, and they can reach me on my cell phone to ask questions concerning their transaction just as easily as my local customers can. To show you how easy it is, I can tell you that I sold a condo to a couple in France who had never seen it. I took about 20 photos of the place to supplement those that were already on the internet, emailed them and got their approval, and emailed a contract. They sent their money and paperwork, and I went to the closing for them. They have now used the condo for two winter seasons, and they love it.

To answer your question about price, I'd say that it is now possible to get something very nice for $150,000 to $200,000, but you might want to spend a little more for a great location. I think that you are right to be concerned about condo conversions, but there are a few good ones. Generally the ones that I'd be concerned about are the older buildings, or the wood frame ones.

Other posters have already mentioned Parkstone, Stonehaven, and Palmer Oaks. These are all good ideas because they are new or relatively new construction, and are likely to meet the most recent building codes. They're also not too close to the water. This will lower the condo association's insurance cost, reducing the association fees. Your personal insurance cost will also be lower. My only issue with these places is that I don't think of the neighborhoods as particularly appealing. They're generally in high-traffic areas. I think that with a little more thought, we might come up with ideas in neighborhoods that offer more green space and a little less traffic.

If you are going to only use your place for 4 weeks or so, are you interested in renting it out when you're not here? If you are, I'd suggest that you consider something in a golf community or near the beach. The Meadows is a nice golf community with hundreds of acres of green space, walking paths, dozens of ponds, etc. It's older (mostly early 1980's), but the buildings are generally well-constructed. The various condo complexes are not gated, but I don't think that security is a major concern. The feel of the neighborhood is very pleasant, and it's a desirable rental area for both full-time and seasonal residents. You can certainly find something here for less than $200,000, but you might be tempted to spend more.

Another great neighborhood for inexpensive condos is Palmer Ranch. I like the condos at Bella Villino and Plaza de Flores, which are not gated but very nice. There are plenty of 2 bedroom condos available starting at just above $150,000. Nearby Pinestone is gated, and prices start at around $170,000 for a 2 bedroom condo. The monthly association fees in all of these places are reasonable, between about $270 and $400. Remember that these fees include insurance on the property, but you'll want to insure the contents.

There are many other great condos scattered around Sarasota, and I'd be happy to do a little research and email numerous listings to you. If you're planning to be here, we can take 4 hours for a tour of the area so you know exactly where you'd like to live. Send me an email or give me a call, and I get started on sending you those listings.

Charles Offer
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
423 St. Armands Circle
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 321-9664
charlesoffer@comcast.net
http://www.floridamoves.com/Charles.Offer
http://www.CharlesOffer.com
Web Reference: http://www.CharlesOffer.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
LG,
The best sinerio for purchasing real estate is to be in the area so you can get a true feel for the location and property. As you know, it's difficult to truly know a property through looking at pictures. But since you are familiar with the Sarasota location you have that as an advantage.

This is an opportune time for buyers today in our market. There has not been a better time to buy in many years. Prices have dropped and sellers are motivated.

Your concerns are real but all are manageable. For example, insurance....We have a customer that got got a quote of less than $700 for a 1000 square foot condo situated right on the Gulf. All though monthly maintenance fees can range from $200 to $400 they can include, pool, trash, manager, cable T.V. security, insurance, reserve fund etc. etc.

We would recommend that you begin your search by requesting an agent(s) to email you samples of property that matches your criteria. As you receive this information you can ask specific questions and gather important imformation about the area.

Our expertise is in the Sarasota, Osprey, Venice, Nokomis area. We would welcome the opportunity to assist you with your search. There are some beautiful "rand new"condos that might meet your needs that are priced under $200,000 and they are within a couple of minutes to the beaches.

Good luck with your search.

The "Eckler Team"
Century 21 Almar & Associates
Venice, Fl 34285
941-408-5363
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 19, 2008
A Condo built in 2003 is Parkstone. It is a little community central to most of Sarasota. I belive that they have about the lowest monthly fees in Sarasota ranging from 143 to 178 per month for a 2 or 3 bedroom. All units are townhomes with a garage. There are 4 available in the low 200's.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 17, 2008
If you are looking for a newly built condo in 2007 with a gate and a community pool, then I would recommend either Stone Haven or Palmer Oaks. They are both located at the corner of Honore and Clark rd., which is not too far from Siesta Key. Stone Haven is a Centex community and Palmer Oaks is a Kimball Hill development(although they just announced halting further construction plans). Both are quality builders who dropped prices to around $200,000... phenomenal for Sarasota! You will love it here... the great Florida Weather (our coldest month is January with an average daily temp of 72high/53low), top rated beaches, the world class arts scene (Sarasota Opera House, West Coast Symphony, Four theater companies, Van Wezel, Museums, Galleries, etc) and having the vibe of a culturally vibrant, cosmopolitan city. Best Wishes!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 17, 2008
Lg,
You would be a joy to work with! You are very specific and seem to know what you are looking for. Because you will not be using your property more than 4 weeks a year, you really need to focus on the management company. You will need a firm that we consistently be looking out for your best interest. Why Sarasota, great place, but interested if you are open to other areas. The paperwork is not a problem. We work with many people from overseas. Please give us a call, we are available all day today.
The Schaffer Realty Group
Marian Schaffer
877-886-8388
terry@marianschaffer.com
http://www.marianschafferrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 15, 2008
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