In the age of the internet, misinformation and outright scams are just about everywhere you look.
So I don't blame anybody who hears about the insane benefits of buying a home off-market and looks at it with skeptical eyes.
It can definitely seem too good to be true, so I want to use this blog post to explain why this works in further detail.
We'll look at some of the common misconceptions and myths around off-market properties so you can make an informed decision on whether this is the right fit for you.
Myth #1: Homeowners Would Never Want to Sell Off-Market
When you hear something like the fact that you can save 25% on one of life's biggest purchases by simply buying off-market, it can naturally raise some alarm bells.
Your first question is likely to be, "Why would a homeowner ever be willing to sell at such a steep discount?"
And frankly, that was my first question as well when I first learned of these strategies.
But as I started doing some advertising and had sellers starting to reach out to me, I was blown away by how receptive people were to selling off-market, and often times at a steep discount.
Ease of Sale
See, when homeowners start thinking about selling their home, they typically get a serious case of anxiety.
If you've ever sold a home, you know what I'm talking about...
Getting everything packed up, painting, coordinating all the miscellaneous repairs in the home, keeping it spotless for showings, and having those showings constantly interrupting your life...
It's enough to make anybody think long and hard about how badly they want to sell.
But what if there was a way to avoid all of that? What if you valued peace of mind and a simple, streamlined process over squeezing every last penny out of the home? Or what if you were in financial distress and had to sell quickly?
As I started talking with more and more homeowners, I realized there were tons of people who fell into one of these camps.
They simply weren't willing to list the home traditionally on the MLS or Zillow™, and were happy to give up some potential profits for the sake of having a more private, simplified, and more sure sale.
The other benefit to selling off-market is that the seller typically gets charged a lower commission.
Because in most cases the agent is representing both the seller and the buyer, they can typically offer a more favorable commission rate.
This means the seller gets more take home proceeds and thus allows them to offer a better price to the buyer.
Myth #2: Off-Market Properties Are Hard to Come By
For a lot of the reasons I listed above, this simply isn't the case.
Finding the right place to call home for our clients has been incredibly rewarding for my team and me. Nothing quite beats seeing the smiles on their faces when they move in.
And frankly, if you've made it this far, I want that for you too. But don't take it from me. Here's what some of our clients had to say themselves:
Here's Proof That Our System Works...
He had our back 100% and made the deal happen!
"We have worked with Alex and his team on multiple occasions. He never fails to make his clients a priority. Alex and his team strives to get each and every deal done with always going above and beyond. We can’t thank Alex and his team enough for all their hard work and dedication. Thank you Alex !!"
Strongly recommend Alex
"Alex made the entire house hunting experience easy and pleasurable. He listened carefully to our criteria and only brought great options. He was supportive and helpful throughout the inspections and closing. In addition he provided recommendations for contractors. Strongly recommend Alex!!"
Alex's team went above and beyond
"I was very fortunate to find The Alex Owens Team online when I began my home search. I called them and in just 2 weeks we found my perfect forever home. They went above and beyond making sure the purchase was perfect. Four hours later, YES, FOUR hours later Alex's team brought me a full price offer for my condo, which had NOT even made it to MLS!"
So if you're ready to get started, I put together a free, quick video going over how we work with clients.
So you know you need to expand your home search beyond what you're seeing on sites like Zillow™, Redfin™, Realtor.com™ and the MLS....
You've seen how it can lead to saving up to 25% on one of life's biggest transactions.
And you already know it can mean the difference between finding a home that just "sort of" fits what you're looking for, versus finding something that matches your exact criteria.
But the question you're probably asking now is, "how do I find these properties?"
Knocking on stranger's doors?
Running classified ads?
Talking to neighbors?
Well, in this post I'm going to walk you through what's working for my clients and me right now.
These are the strategies I've paid mentors tens of thousands of dollars to discover, and are the same strategies I'm using to find my own investment properties, as well as primary residences (or vacation homes) for my clients.
Put these into action and you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect Naples home.
The first place to start any home search is with your criteria.
Before you can start marketing to off-market homeowners, you need to have an idea of what the ideal home might look like to you.
Here are a few things to consider:
Do you want to be in a gated community?
Do you want to be in a single family home or a condo?
How many bedrooms and bathrooms would be ideal?
Do you want to be close to any particular attractions in town (i.e. the beach, 5th Ave, Mercato, etc.)?
Do you have any pets (some Homeowners' Associations have pet restrictions)?
Are there any particular amenities you want in your community (golf, tennis, fitness center, etc.)?
Don't feel the need to get it perfect on your own...
Having an exploratory conversation with an agent can help you sort through the different areas of town, different communities, price points, and amenities so you'll have a better understanding of what might make sense.
Once you have your criteria outlined, it's time to find a list of homes that match that criteria.
There are a number of ways to do this, but what we've found to be the most effective is to use softwares like Remine (which allows you to plug in your criteria and find a list of homes that match, whether they're on or off-market).
The key is to limit that list to the owners who are most likely willing to sell.
This can mean limiting the search to people who have owned for more than 3 years, have high equity in their home, or perhaps are in some sort of financial distress (pre-foreclosure, tax delinquent, etc.)
Now, it's finally time to get the word out to these homeowners that you're in the market to buy.
We've found that a few different methods work the best:
Mailing handwritten letters
Getting the owners' email addresses and sending a few emails over the course of a week or two
Outside of that, having consistent advertising going out via channels like direct mail, Facebook, YouTube, etc. can generate a consistent flow of off-market listings, many of which are often the perfect fit for our clients.
Once you have a few homeowners responding to your marketing, you can start feeling out which might be the most serious about selling.
From there, you can get a better understanding of what their price expectations might be, then set up private showings.
After that, it's really as simple as negotiating the price and terms of the transaction.
The best part is there isn't such a massive time crunch like there would be if the home were actively listed. No additional buyers making things unnecessarily competitive.
I know this can seem a bit overwhelming.
And frankly, I don't blame you.
My team and I do this every day now, but I can remember the first time I started to learn about these strategies. It was hard to know where to start.
But luckily for you, that's what we're here for. My team and I are ready to help you find your next Naples home via our Perfect Home Finder program.
In it, we handle everything I just described on your behalf. We'll work with you to establish what the perfect home looks like to you, then handle all the marketing, screening, and negotiations.
And the best part is, we don't even charge a penny for this because the seller is the one paying the commission.
If you're looking for a new home in the Naples area, but you're feeling a little underwhelmed by the properties you're seeing on sites like Zillow™, Realtor.com, or elsewhere online, I feel your pain.
Most of what you'll find there is overpriced.
And if you do find something that's appropriately valued, it's usually a battle royale with other buyers to get it.
Which of course ends up driving up the price anyways...
When I first got into real estate, I followed the path that every brokerage and coach lays out.
If you have a client looking for a home, learn a little about their criteria, then set them up on an aromatic search that sends them the properties that come on the MLS that sort of match their criteria.
Then, hope for the best…
I know…not exactly breaking new ground.
See, that strategy can work.
That is, if you like staying GLUED to your computer screen and making rushed decisions when a new listing hits the market.
That’s because thousands of other buyers are getting that notification at the same exact time.
So if you’re using that strategy, you have to be lightning quick to be the first one in the door, then make a quick offer without having time to fully think through everything...
Not ideal to say the least.
This lesson was driven home to me when I went to buy my first investment property in Naples.
I was tired of seeing all the overpriced, already picked-through listings everyone else was seeing on Zillow™, Realtor.com™, and all the other online sites.
And especially as an investor, I need to ensure I was buying the property with enough margin to potentially flip it.
Months went by and nothing I saw really met my criteria.
I wondered if I’d ever be able to find the right property at the right price.
When you're building a home in Naples where the Florida elements can take a toll on the property, you want to know it's built by a home builder who knows what they're doing.
You also want to be sure they're using the finest materials and are working with a design team who stays up to date on the most current trends.
Any quick Google search, though, will reveal that there's no shortage of builders throughout Naples. Making sense of all the options can be quite a challenge.
Fear not. We've compiled a list of the top builders you should be considering when building a new home in Naples.
So without further adieu, let's jump in.
Local Naples Home Builders
While Naples has no shortage of large developments being built by some of America's biggest homebuilders (which we'll cover in just a minute), we're also home to some incredibly talented local home builders.
These builders tend to focus on custom homes or more unique spec homes than the national builders, producing a more bespoke finished product for a discerning buyer.
Let's take a look at some of the top companies you'll want to consider.
Founded by Matt and Gisela Knauf, The Knauf-Koenig Group has been producing stunning custom homes throughout Naples since 2006.
The Knauf-Koenig Group works with their clients from the inception of a project through it's closure and beyond.
Before the construction starts, they'll work with your designer and architect and conduct a site analysis. This helps them determine project feasibility and establish a construction budget and timeline.
After the build is complete, they're there to ensure that anything else that comes up is taken care of immediately.
Their current owner moved to Naples in 1977, graduating from Barron Collier High School shortly thereafter as part of their first graduating class.
After joining Divco in 1983, he bought the company from its founder and has since transformed it into one of the most prolific custom home builders in all of Southwest Florida.
Building in Fort Myers, Estero, Bonita Springs, Marco Island, Miromar Lakes and Naples, Divco has the experience to go wherever your home search takes you.
With over 2,000 completed custom homes to date, Nova Homes not only has the experience to build your dream home, they have the buying power and scale to get it done affordably.
Focusing their efforts primarily on Naples and Marco Island has allowed them to turn the process of building homes here into a science.
In fact, they now have a handful of predefined floor plans that you can choose from to simplify the build process, all while still offering full customization if desired.
Each of Nova's homes is also a “High Performance Home“, which, according to the Energy Act of 2005, means it “integrates and optimizes all major high performance building attributes, including energy efficiency, durability, life-cycle performance, and occupant productivity.”
Diamond Custom Homes
If you're looking for a truly custom home from a team that has a proven track record, Diamond Custom Homes is well worth your consideration.
Offering the combined experience of their team, Diamond Custom Homes relentlessly pursues the highest workmanship standards and builds with only the finest materials.
If you're looking for a beachfront custom home, look no further than Potter Homes.
Potter has been going from strength to strength in the custom home and spec home space with a primary focus on Bonita Beach, but also extending into Fort Myers Beach and Naples as well.
Despite producing the majority of the spec homes along Hickory Boulevard in Bonita Springs, they're adept at finding unique ways to make each one stand out from the next.
Of course, when they put those talents to work on a custom home, they can create whatever your heart desires.
CK Custom Homes
With over 40 years in combined construction experience, CK Custom Homes has the proven ability to build the custom home of your dreams.
Their exclusive focus on custom homes built in North Naples, Old Naples, Aqualane Shores and Port Royal has allowed CK Custom Homes to hone in their process so that their customers have as seamless of an experience as possible.
While they focus primarily on large condo developments, they're still able to provide a bespoke product to their clients that feels like it was designed just for them.
One of their best known projects is the condo residences at Mercato. Lutgert was engaged by the Mercato developers to build the condos and residents now enjoy immediate access to the incredible nightlife and shopping that Mercato has to offer.
Featuring no less than 3 generations of custom home building experience, Borelli Construction has a proven track record of producing quality, beautiful homes.
Offering both custom home builds along with renovations, Borelli is your one-stop shop for whatever your construction needs may be.
You can find their projects in luxury gated communities such as Grey Oaks, Tallis Park, Pelican Bay and many others.
Throughout Naples you'll see large neighborhoods being developed by national home builders.
These companies bring a wealth of experience and the cutting edge technology that comes with being one of the biggest companies building homes in the entire country.
The downside is that because they focus on building a high volume of homes, their properties can tend to be a little more cookie cutter.
So if you're looking for a well built product with a well funded company standing behind it, you'll want to consider one of these builders. If, on the other hand, you're looking for more of a unique and custom-tailored home, you'll likely want to focus on the local builders we covered above.
Let's take a look at these builders one at a time.
D.R. Horton is the biggest home builder in America. Founded in 1978, it's safe to say they have some experience building quality homes.
Luckily for Naples homebuyers, D.R. Horton has taken a keen interested in the Southwest Florida market. Currently they have multiple communities across the greater Naples area.
Mockingbird Crossing, for example, just off the corner of Collier Blvd. (951) and Vanderbilt Beach Rd., is one of their most recently completed communities. It features homes starting just north of $600,000, many of which are still being built and thus can still be customized.
This gated community features state of the art amenities including a spectacular club house, pickle ball courts, bocce ball courts, a gym, a resort style pool with lap lanes, and tennis courts. Homes here start just over $300,000.
Lennar Corporation is another one of America's largest home builders. Founded in 1954, Lennar has ample knowledge of how to build not only a great home, but also a great community.
Fortunately, Lennar has been putting that knowledge to work in the Naples area, having built numerous communities here over the last 5 years.
For example, just off the corner of Immokalee Rd and Collier Blvd. they've built two communities called LaMorada and Bent Creek. Each of these feature homes and villas ranging from $261,000 to $752,000.
You can also find Lennar in Bonita Springs. Right next to the previously mentioned D.R. Horton community, Seasons, Lennar has been hard at work building their own development called Bonita National. Homes here start at $283,000 and go up to $517,000.
Toll Brothers has been ranked as The #1 Home Builder Worldwide by Fortune Magazine for the last 5 years in a row.
With that resume, it's no wonder they currently have no less than seven development projects underway in Naples. Five of those seven are currently offering homes, while the other two are coming soon.
Bringing the experience and build quality you'd typically expect to find in a national homebuilder, Neal has managed to stay true to their roots and focuses primarily on developments in the Southwest Florida area.
Currently, Neal has 3 communities that are currently up and running in Naples, with another, called Seychelles, on the way. Avalon, Marquesa Isles and Richmond Park all feature homes between 2 & 3 bedrooms starting at $268,990. Avalon is quickly filling up though, so if you're interested, don't wait!
Founded in 1978 and now operating as North America's largest privately owned home builder, Mattamy homes knows a thing or two about building a great home.
Fortunately, out of the 90,000 homes they've sold to date, they decided to build some of them right here in Naples.
Specifically, they have two communities they're currently selling homes in: Compass Landing (just off of Immokalee Rd. & Collier Blvd.) and Arboretum (on the corner of Bayshore Dr. & Thomasson Dr.).
Prices in Arboretum start in the lower $300s whereas in Compass Landing they start in the upper $300s.
Having built over 4,800 homes to date, Stock Development has proven to be one of Southwest Florida's most prolific home builders.
They're also one of the only builders who straddle the line between being a mass producer of more standardized homes while also producing totally custom homes.
Fortunately, thanks to the discerning buyers typically found in Naples, the cream truly rises to the top here when it comes to home builders. Simply put, mediocre builders just can't survive here long term.
Having said that, they do pop up from time to time, so we hope this list has been helpful in giving you a good starting point.
Once I decided to trade in the frigid Chicago winters for the warm sunny beaches of Naples, my mind was immediately flooded with questions…
Was I really about to upend my life to move across the country?
What area of Naples would I want to live in?
How could I be sure I was making the right move (pun intended)?
Luckily, throughout the moving process and soon afterward, I gained clarity on these questions. So let's start from the beginning.
Where Do I Start?
With any property purchase there are a number of things to consider.
Knowing what to focus on will help you cut through the noise and make sound decisions for you and your family.
Let's start with the elephant in the room.
How Much Can I Afford?
This is the very first thing you'll want to get clarity on because it will prevent you from wasting time looking at homes that either aren't affordable or are much cheaper than what you actually could afford if it makes sense.
There are a number of ways to tackle this question, but I recommend taking a comprehensive approach involving:
Your Mortgage Banker
Your Financial Advisor
Your Mortgage Banker
If you plan to use financing to purchase you home, sitting down with your Mortgage Banker will give you a clear understanding of what you'll be able to get in terms of loan proceeds to assist with the purchase.
As you probably know, banks became much more stringent in their loan approval requirements after the financial crisis.
They now seem to want every record of your entire existence and want to interview your 3rd grade math teacher just to give you the approved stamp. It can be even tougher if you're self employed, as many Naples homeowners are.
Applying for a loan these days can feel a bit like an interrogation…
Knowing this, it's helpful to keep your expectations in check when it comes time to sit down with your Mortgage Banker. Having said that, you may end up walking out pleasantly surprised, finding you can afford more than you thought possible.
Before you go popping the bubbly, though, let's take a look at the next two steps in that comprehensive approach I mentioned.
Your Financial Advisor
Just because your Mortgage Banker says you can afford a particular price range, doesn't necessarily mean it's the best decision for you and your family. Your Financial Advisor will be able to help you put that pre-approval into the context of your broader financial picture.
For example, if you have a goal to start a new business or give a large charitable donation in a few years time, maybe it makes sense to keep the housing budget a little more modest. Talk with your Financial Advisor to see how this home purchase fits into your overall financial plan.
Once you've gotten opinions and data from your Mortgage Banker and Financial Advisor, it's time to listen to your gut.
Only you know your situation inside and out, and only you will care enough to think through every aspect of the situation. Ask yourself what your main priorities are in life and see how this home purchase fits into that picture.
At the end of the day, we all tend to have a pretty smart voice inside our head (or gut) that usually knows what's best. So when you're making as big of a decision as how much to spend on a Naples home, it's usually wise to trust that voice.
Determine What Kind Of Lifestyle You Want
As the great Stephen Covey said, start with the end in mind.
When we apply that timeless principle to the process of buying a home in Naples, it means we'll first need to figure out what exactly we want out of our Southwest Florida lifestyle.
Because Naples is such a diverse city featuring many different living experiences, this will often be completely different from one homeowner to the next.
For example, some people will want their Florida abode to be as simple as possible.
They want to come into town for a few months, enjoy the warm weather and breathtaking beauty of the beach, then pack up and head North without much thought or worry. That type of person, depending on their other needs, might be well suited to live in a high rise condo, which offer residents simplicity in their ownership experience.
Another person might want to bring their extended family down each winter, so they may be better suited for a single family home, which tend to offer the most space.
Keep in mind, you don't have to get this nailed down just yet. Despite the number of options Naples offers, it's easy enough to see multiple different property types in one outing with your Realtor.
So at this point, you simply want to narrow it down so you can be more effective once you're on the ground house hunting.
Find The Right Realtor
Perhaps nothing will impact the efficiency, enjoyability and cost effectiveness of your home buying process as much as ensuring you find the right Realtor.
Along every step of the journey, your Realtor will (or at least should) be offering invaluable advice, helping you see what's around the next corner and making sure you avoid common pitfalls.
Before we discuss how to find the right agent, let's first take a look at how your Realtor will help guide you through the buying process.
Services Your Realtor Provides
Your Realtor will do a variety of specific things throughout your buying process. This will include:
Using their knowledge to help you navigate local market conditions
Advocating for your interests throughout the closing process
Negotiating the best possible terms and price for your new home
Helping you find the best partners, such as attorneys, title agencies, inspectors, etc.
Providing advice on what repairs or improvements you should seek from the seller
Guiding you through all of the mind-numbing paperwork
Attending the closing to ensure any last-minute questions or issues get appropriately addressed
Unfortunately, not all Realtors are created equally.
And when it comes to making one of life's biggest purchases, you can't afford to be making decisions based on bad information, lackluster customer service and poor attention to detail.
Knowing that, let's take a look at some tips for ensuring you find the right person for the job. Full disclosure – this is the “Shameless Plug” part of the blog post 😉
Look for a long track record: Only after spending a significant amount of time as a Realtor do you begin to understand the nuances of the profession and how to effectively serve your clients. Luckily, after having moved to Southwest Florida in 1989 and getting my real estate license in 1990, I've produced a nearly 30 year track record filled with successful closings and happy buyers.
Look for the local expert: Does your Realtor really understand Naples? If not, you need to find another Realtor. Specializing in a particular city allows a Realtor to understand its particular nuances and trends. Fortunately after having lived and sold real estate here for nearly 30 years, I think it's safe to say I know a thing or two about Naples.
Ask for credentials: Does your Realtor have any certifications or credentials beyond their real estate license that would make them more valuable to your home purchase? Humble brag incoming:I hold an MBA from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, something that has helped me understand market trends, effectively negotiate on behalf of my clients, and ensure deals actually get across the finish line.
Ask about fees: Understanding how your Realtor gets paid is critical – it can mean tens of thousands of dollars in savings or excess cost. We're proud to offer highly competitive, straightforward pricing on our services – get in touch today to learn more.
Alright, now that we got our shameless plug in, let's continue 😉
Start Your Search
Once you've selected your Realtor, the first thing you'll want to do is make sure you're both on the same page.
Making your priorities clear will allow your Realtor to find the homes that best suit your needs and prevent you from wasting time looking at properties that don't meet you and your family's needs.
What Are Your Must Haves?
Let's establish some basic guidelines you can give to your Realtor to help guide your search.
We're not trying to think of every last detail – just enough to start narrowing down the field. Ask yourself the following questions:
How long do I envision staying in this home? This question will guide some of your later answers, so start here. If you plan to retire in this home, you may require different things out of it like an elevator, for example.
How many bedrooms and bathrooms will I need? Do you plan to have family visiting often? If so, you might need to look at single family homes instead of condos.
What minimum square footage do I need? Do you value having extra space in your home or are you fine with something more simple?
Do I need the home to be move-in ready or am I okay with a fixer-upper? If you have some experience renovating homes and are willing to wait to move in, you might feel you can get a better deal and put your own stamp on your home by buying a fixer-upper.
What other features do I consider a requirement? Do you need a movie theater or a gym in your home? If there's anything more particular you'll want out of your new residence, ensure you let your Realtor know so they can include that in their search parameters.
Once you've done this, your Realtor can draw up a list of homes and a plan of attack to make sure your home search is as efficient and productive as possible.
Often times when buyers are looking to purchase a home in Naples, they're coming from up North. In these cases we'll typically arrange a couple day period in which we might look at 20 different properties so that the buyer can make their trip down here count.
Bring In Additional Partners
While you're house hunting, you'll also want to start spending some time finding other partners who will help you throughout the buying process.
Finding these people ahead of time will give you one less thing to worry about as you're navigating your closing.
Your Realtor should be able to offer up a handful of recommendations, so that's typically a great place to start. You'll likely need each of the following:
An inspector (sometimes multiple, more specialized inspectors if you want to be more thorough)
An insurance broker
The aforementioned mortgage banker and financial advisor.
You'll likely want to interview a couple of providers for each of these positions, as it can make a significant difference both in the cost and quality of their services.
Select A Home And Submit An Offer
Alright, time for the rubber to meet the road.
You've found the right realtor, identified what you want out of your dream home, toured a number of different properties and you finally found it – the perfect Naples Home.
Now there's only one thing left to do – submit your offer.
Understand Market Conditions
To make a smart offer, you'll need to understand the market conditions you're operating within.
For example, if it's a strong buyer's market and there are plenty of homes for sale, you can often get away with an offer below asking price. Sellers in that type of market have less negotiating power, as they're not sure when the next offer may come around
On the other hand, if it's a strong seller's market and there aren't very many homes for sale, you may find yourself in a situation where many buyers are vying for the same home. In these cases you'll often times have to offer full asking price or even more to ensure you get the home. If possible, it can also help to keep your offer free from any financing contingencies and keep your closing timeframe as short as possible.
Consult With Your Realtor
Your Realtor should have a firm grip on the prevailing market conditions and should be able to guide you to what offering price will make the most sense.
That's because if they're truly the local expert, they will have been consistently conducting deals in that market over the months leading up to your purchase.
That insight will give them a pulse on the state of the market. They'll have seen which deals fell through because the offer wasn't strong enough, and they'll also see which buyers had overpaid when the seller likely would have accepted less.
So it's important to take their counsel to heart here, as this can be the one of the most important decisions you make throughout the buying process.
Now that you've got a clear understanding of what it should take to seal the deal, provide your Realtor the specifics of your offer.
From there, they'll send your offer, along with your loan pre-approval if you're using financing, over to the seller's Realtor. Now it's simply a waiting game.
At this point the seller will either accept, counter or decline your offer. Let's look at each scenario.
If they accept, great! You're off to the races and will begin the closing process.
If they counter, you'll need to consult with any other family members making the decision with you along with your Realtor to again get an understanding of how much negotiating power you truly have at this stage.
If they decline you can always submit another higher offer, but it may make sense to simply move onto the next home (particularly if they declined your offer in favor of another offer).
Begin The Closing Process
Congrats! You've had your offer accepted and now there are only a few hurdles between you and your new Naples home!
This is the part where you'll want to begin leaning on the partners you gathered earlier. Each one will bring a unique skillset to the table and will be invaluable as you conduct your home closing.
Make Your Escrow Deposit
Once your offer is accepted you'll likely need to put down a deposit for the seller to take the home off the market.
While technically this is a negotiable point, in Naples it almost always follows a standardized format that has two separate deposits prior to the closing date.
First you'll make a $10,000 earnest money deposit immediately after the offer is accepted. This is a show of good faith that proves to the seller that you're serious about buying the property. After this point, if you were to back out of the closing without cause, you would lose the $10,000 to the seller.
Once you've gotten through attorney review, the earnest money deposit is followed by a second installment that brings the total escrow deposits to 10% of the purchase price. This again shows the seller that you're acting in good faith.
Often times inspections can uncover problems with the home that ultimately delay the closing process. If you're able to order the inspection right away, it will give you more time to work out any potential issues, possibly keeping the closing on schedule.
After ordering your inspection, give some thought to the types of issues you're willing to ignore versus those you'll want the seller to fix before closing.
The extent to which you can request repairs will largely depend on the market you're in. If you're in a buyer's market, you'll have more negotiating power than if you're in a seller's market, so consult with your realtor to see how much leverage you truly have.
Order Your Title Search & Title Insurance
When buying a home it's important to make sure that the seller owns the home free from any liens or encumbrances. Enter, your title company.
The search your title company conducts will verify just that. They'll do a comprehensive dive into public records, ensuring there aren't any unwanted surprises.
The other thing they'll help you with is Title Insurance. This will protect you and your lender if any claim of ownership was ever made against the property.
If there are currently any claims, they'll need to be resolved prior to closing on the property.
With the price tags that typically come along with buying a home in Naples, it only makes sense to have an attorney review the paperwork to make sure your interests are protected.
Specifically, your attorney will review the complex paperwork, answer any questions you may have, help negotiate any special terms you need, and can even close on the home for you so you don't have to attend the closing.
Knowing this, ensuring you have a competent and thorough attorney on your side will pay huge dividends. We can recommend a few options if you need a Florida attorney.
Complete the Appraisal
If you're getting financing on the home, one of the first things your mortgage provider will do after you submit your offer is request an appraisal.
They want to ensure that they home they're about to lend against is actually worth what you're paying for it. Because they'll tend to be a little on the conservative side, this can sometimes present issues.
If the home doesn't “appraise out” you could be forced to either come up with a larger down payment or lower your offering price. To help mitigate this risk, be prepared to defend the offering price – have some comparable sales to present, ask the seller's Realtor to provide any other offers they received on the home, or ask your lender to simply redo the appraisal.
Purchase Homeowner's Insurance
Now it's time to protect the investment you're making.
Homeowner's insurance in Naples can be a little tricky because we're so close to the water, so you'll want to make sure you go with a quality provider.
We recommend getting a few quotes because it's easy enough to do and it can mean a great deal of savings each year.
Schedule Your Walkthrough
You're almost there!
Now you'll want to revisit the property to make sure the sellers didn't throw a big going away party and leave the place a mess 😉
On a serious note, this is your last chance to make sure everything looks good before proceeding to closing. Your Realtor will coordinate this with the Seller's realtor and it will typically be within days of the upcoming closing.
This will be much quicker than the formal home inspection you did earlier – here you're essentially just checking that nothing changed between then and now.
Head to the Closing Table
The big day has finally come! Now let's make sure everything goes according to plan.
As we mentioned earlier, your attorney has the ability to close on your behalf, so it's possible you won't even be at the closing table.
If you are planning to attend, be sure to bring two forms of ID for you and any other buyers – many of the signatures are notarized and the notary will require ID.
The paperwork will be coming at you fast and will be filled with mind-numbing legalese. Not to worry though! Your Realtor, attorney and closing agent will all be there to guide you every step of the way.
Keep in mind that when you went through the attorney review process, your lawyer already looked over all of these documents, so don't feel like you have to read through everything right there on the spot.
Now Pop the Champagne
Congratulations! You're officially part of an exclusive group of people who understand the incredible lifestyle that Southwest Florida, and in particular, Naples, affords its residents.
You can now look forward to world class sunsets, beachfront dining, daily walks along the white sand beach, and joining the incredible social circle of Naples homeowners.
We're looking forward to having you!
If you're ready to make this dream your reality, we'd love to help you along your journey.
Get in touch with us today to trade in the frigid North for the sunny, tropical paradise of Naples!
All of these golf courses are built inside of residential communities, and the trend of building that got us to the number 1 spot has not slowed down.
East of Airport Pulling road, national developers have been building these golf course communities at a breathtaking pace. Particularly on Immokalee Road, there are new communities going up everywhere you look, each featuring an incredible golf course.
Typically, these communities offer a variety of residences. While they're mostly composed of single family homes, they can often times feature condos or even villas.
All of them feature spectacular, state of the art club houses with incredible amenities like gyms, libraries, pools and even game rooms!
These communities are very similar to golf course communities in that you have (you guessed it) a gated entrance and a full homeowner's association, but there isn't a golf course.
Many of these communities still offer an incredible suite of amenities, such as gyms, pools, club houses, tennis courts and even the occasional nature trail.
A perfect example of this would be Barefoot Beach. As one of Southwest Florida's only gated communities directly on the Gulf of Mexico, it's a truly special community. And yes, I might be a little biased as this is where my family and I have called home for the last 30 years 😏.
While it's definitely an older neighborhood, many of the homes have been either completely renovated or torn down and rebuilt in recent years.
While they're far outnumbered by gated communities, in a handful of areas throughout Naples you can find neighborhoods without a homeowner's association or gated entrance.
These would include neighborhoods like The Moorings, Pine Ridge and Naples Park, all of which are along 41, along with other neighborhoods further East like Golden Gate.
If you take a quick drive through any of these neighborhoods, you'll quickly be inundated with new home after new home. Thanks to strong market fundamentals, local developers and flippers alike have come in and built or renovated a number of high end single family homes.
If you want that new home feel without the ties or fees of a homeowner's association, this is your ticket.
If you're looking for simplicity in your ownership experience, look no further than the incredible new condo buildings that are going up throughout Naples.
Often times offering similar amenities to gated communities, these buildings can offer a resort style experience where you have your pool, gym, shared office space, party room, tennis courts and even dry cleaners right on site.
Many of these buildings are also right on the Gulf of Mexico, so they feature breathtaking views. This would include buildings such as Kalea Bay and Mystique.
If you prefer to be closer to the social scene than the beach, you'll find great options in Naples Square or Mercato.
The one constant when it comes to design trends is change. What's in one year can easily be out of style just a few short years down the road.
Knowing this, when it comes time to buy your home you want to buy a property that is likely to age well.
In this section we'll point out what's hot right now and what's likely to last into the future.
Smart Home Tech
Perhaps nowhere is the constant of change more noticeable than in smart home technology.
Over the last 10 years technology has become more and more prevalent in our homes. Many buyers now expect new homes to have the ability to control lights, fans, blinds, speakers and even appliances like ovens, all from a smart home system.
So even if you're not planning on being a big user of the smart home tech yourself, it's important to keep this in mind for resale value.
The two most common systems that developers work with are Crestron and Control4. Because of their prevalence, it's best to go with a home that has one of these two operating systems installed if possible. It will give your home a broader appeal when it comes time to sell.
Over the last decade or so, gray has been one of the most popular interior paint colors.
While this is almost certain to change at some point, right now it's what's in, and if you were to have to change it down the line it's only paint.
Another major component to the overall atmosphere of your home is the flooring. In Florida, hard surface floors rule the day because they're easy to maintain, especially when coming home from the beach!
Lighter colors like beige, gray and white have been in for the last 5 years, but recently we've been seeing a shift back to sand colored wood grain floorboards.
When it comes to the kitchen, white cabinets and quartz countertops (typically white or gray) are the most popular options and thus the safest choice in terms of resale value.
You may be thinking this is a boring look, but homeowners and designers can easily bring more color into the home through their choice of accent pieces such as lamps, pillows and rugs.
Florida might be known for it's sunny beaches, but ask any longtime homeowner down here and you'll quickly learn it's also known for weather that tends to be pretty tough on homes.
Knowing this, it's important to get familiarized with what makes a well built home that can withstand the elements.
Wood Frame vs. Concrete Block
Building homes with wood presents a number of problems over the life of a home, particularly in Florida.
Wood is susceptible to rotting from either the humidity or wood eating organisms like termites and carpenter ants.
Concrete block on the other hand is much better suited to hold up to the elements. Because of this, many buyers specifically look for concrete block homes and are willing to pay a premium for them.
So even though it's going to cost you more up front, you'll be thanking yourself when it comes time to sell the home.
When you invest hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars into a home, you want to know it's protected.
The single best thing you can do to ensure your investment will stand the test of time is to buy a home with the correct roof type. Problems with your roof can lead to a slew of other issues throughout the house. On the other hand, a solid roof will ensure the rest of the house is as protected as it can be.
Over the last 5 years or so metal roofs have become the new trend. Not only do they look great, they're well suited to last decades in the Florida elements.
Tile roofs can be just as effective in the short to medium term, so it's not a deal breaker by any means if the home you fall in love with has a tile roof. The one thing to ideally look for with tile is to get flat tile, which is now the trending style.
You may have heard that Florida has to deal with the occasional hurricane 🙄
Luckily, if you're reading this post you're interested in buying a newly constructed home. That means your home will be built to the latest standards and will be well positioned to withstand one of these storms.
Having said that, even though builders are more capable than ever at building sturdy homes, it doesn't necessarily mean they do. Hurricane windows aren't required by code, so be sure to determine whether the home you're looking at has them installed or not.
Having lived in Florida for over 30 years now, I've seen the real estate market continue to grow and grow.
And while the housing supply has continued to increase, demand has far outpaced it. This has driven prices steadily up and provided incredible equity gains for homeowners here.
Right now, most new construction communities in Naples have homes starting at $300,000 and going up to $5,000,000. As you get closer to the Gulf of Mexico and look more at custom homes, prices can start to climb above $5,000,000 and in some neighborhoods such as Port Royal, Pelican Bay or Barefoot Beach can go well over $10,000,000.
While it's impossible to cover all facets of the Naples new construction market in a blog post, we hope this has given you a great starting point on your way to purchasing you new home!
If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach out to us at (239) 248-5580.
We look forward to helping you ensure your home purchase goes off without a hitch!
-Susan & David
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.