Home Buying in Lehigh Acres>Question Details

Marcy Millig…, Home Buyer in 80831

Lehigh Acres Florida

Asked by Marcy Milligan, 80831 Sun Jan 18, 2009

Why are there so many really cheap homes here? Am considering a 2nd home purchase in Florida but am overwhelmed by all the good deals, choices, etc. Would really like to narrow down the search area, and there seems to be an abundance of very cheap homes in Lehigh Acres. Is there a problem with the taxes, services, cost of living?

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Hi Marcy,

Just as a background, 3 generations of my family live here. I love Lehigh Acres and contribute to the community page here on Trulia. My family has been buying and selling properties in Lehigh Acres since the 1960's. I currently buy and sell preforeclosures (short sales) here, fighting the foreclosure crisis and what it's doing to my neighbors & friends.

Be careful when you see "bargains" listed. Curently, the local MLS is dominated (at least 2-to-1) with REO's (Lender owned after they foreclosed) that are sold "as-is" and may not be suitable for occupancy without costly repairs. Have a professional inspection done that includes checks for termites and mold, and get an estimate for the repairs. Factor that into your "bargain" price.

Be careful when you select a location. Lehigh Acres Community Planning Corp. is finalizing a growth plan that separates the platted community into 3 "tiers". The first tier is where immediate growth is encouraged. The second tier is where future growth is encouraged. The third tier is where future growth is discouraged.

So the first tier may be the best place to invest, but again, be careful. Some homes within the first tier that are on well and septic will soon be forced by State Law to connect to water and sewer. Estimated costs are 5-15 thousand per household. This is a good thing for long term sustainability of our local water supply, while costly to individual homeowners.

To avoid crime, use the available stats, but also talk to your potential future neighbors. A formal or informal Neighborhood Watch is the best defense against crimes. Avoid wooded, isolated areas without neighbors.

I believe Lehigh Acres is the best place to live and in 2009 you will find the best bargains on homes. I'd love to have you as a neighbor. Find a good Realtor who lives and works in Lehigh Acres as a neighborhood specialist. Good luck.

Best regards, Tom
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 29, 2009
I lived in lehigh for 17 yrs....about 2003...it really started to boom with the building....then the market bubble went BANG!!!!!.....there are so many properties in lehigh for sale and most are from that boom with the strange loans everyone was doing....the crime rate is rising...alot are way out....but many are a good deal...one thing you really need to watch is MOLD!!!!!...some of these houses have sat so long and with the moisture there it is a comman thing....lehigh is close to fort myers...not a long drive..maybe 15-20 minutes tops....but the problem i see with lehigh is the town itself.....when i left in 2005, it was basicly a good ole boy place.....word of advice is not to leave the property unoccupied for any amount of time .....it WILL be broken into....there is a large drug problem there that not alot would care to admit and there is only a sub station for the sheriff's office that takes forever to respond.....i would be torn to move back there for sure.....i am in the phoenix az area now and love it...will never leave...(no storms here)...thats another issue is insurance and the storms...not alot of places will insure in the area of lehigh anymore becauseof the fact of massive loss in the early 2000's...if you really want a real good deal....i would advise you to look in the phoenix area...there are sooooooo many good deals here it is crazy...but honestly you could really find that anywhere in the country.....i just love the weather here and all the ammenities they are giving...dollar for dollar....this is a gold mine here!!!!!!....but please call the sheriff's office....lee county....and ask them for the stat's for lehigh.....i spoke to them recently and was told it is rising fast and it is mainly drug driven....so please be careful of the area.....and you really have to watch the agents out there...im sorry to say....alot are not going to be giving you good info they just want that contract sale......really shop hard for a good one.......
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 23, 2009
Marcy,

If you wish to know the crime statistics in this area please contact the Lee County Sherrifs web-site. Please look up the statistics for this and other areas for you to make your own balanced decision. Taxes are actually less, and services and cost of living are the same as most areas in Southewest Florida.

The reason there are so many foreclosures is, that when the housing boom fell over this area, it was way too easy for investors to buy multiple homes. It was also easy for some unscrupulous loan officers to transact mortgage loans for those people desperate for a home, but could not really afford it. Then there are those who were in the housing industry that were victims of a collaped marke whose income went from 6 figures annually to one figure and had to lose their home. Some people are afraid to dive into this market because they do not want to take someone else's home, but trust me when I say, there are people who want you to buy those homes, so they can be relieved of the burden to move on and start over. In this respect you will be doing them a favor.

Lee county as a whole led the nation in sales, so it stands to reason that we now lead the nation in foreclosures until the market corrects itself. This is why there are so many good deals. Financing? Now that's another thing...

If you are financing a second home, the reality is, you must have a down payment of 10%. Most realtors in this market require you to be pre-qualified or they will not speak with you. (Unless you are paying cash) The reason is not arrogance, rather, the properties go fast, time is limited to close a deal and pre-qualification is necessary to speed up the process so your offer is valid to the sellers. (Some sellers will not bother with your offer if you are not pre-qualified.)

If you need to be pre-qualified, I work with a local lender and I work with many realtors in this area. I am a full time Mortgage Broker and it would be my pleasure to help you.

Cathryn Blair-Bennett
First Capital Lending
239-645-3795
cblairbennett@FirstCapLend.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 19, 2009
Hi Marcy.
Lehigh like many other areas has been hit by the foreclosure wave. Lehigh does have a higher crime rate then some other areas. You may want to look into Cape Coral as well. I would be happy to provide you with information on both. If you are not working with an agent I would be happy to help you in your search. I could give you a listingbook account that allows you to search all homes available in both areas.
Best of Luck,
Nancy

Nancy Doyle
http://www.nancydrealtor.net
239-209-2237
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 18, 2009
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