Living in Charlotte County Florida

Find the perfect home in sunny southwest, Florida


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10 Real Estate Agent Job Opportunities

There are many job opportunities that a real estate license would allow you to do if you want to specialize in a certain market. Some examples would be:
1. Exclusive buyers agent where you work directly with buyers only and do not take listings.
2. Specializing in Land Sales – commission for land sales is usualoly higher and you have the opportunity to spend more time outdoors.
3. Condominiums and Time Shares – you could work in a condo or time share complex instead of a real estate office.
4. Commercial Real Estate Sales – commercial properties include buildings and businesses that people purchase as an investment.
5. Property Management – Some agents don’t help customers buy and sell – they only manage properties.
6. Vacation Rentals – Working with vacation rentals are like running a hotel, but instead of having rooms in one building, you have properties all over town.
7. Commercial Rentals – You can manage commercial properties. Most of the tenants have leases of five years or more.
8. Office Administrator or Realtor’s Assistant – You can run a real estate office or been an Assistant to a Realtor.
9. Broker Price Opinions – You can work for several BPO companies and strictly do broker price opinions.
10. Seller’s Agent – You can strictly be a seller’s agent where you only work with sellers and get listings. You do not show homes.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL tammyhayesre@gmail.com


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How to find the right real estate agent when buying a home

When you want to begin looking for a home, you will need to find a Realtor.  First you should ask friends, relatives, or co-workers for a recommendation.  Have them describe their experience with the agent and ask why they are recommending that person.  You want to choose someone that you feel comfortable in working with.

It is not as important to find a Realtor who has sold the most homes, has the most experience or works for the largest and most well-known company as it is to find someone that is professional.  You want an agent that will listen to you, uses ethical conduct, and knows the market. 

You can also attend open houses and meet real estate agents.  See how they interact with you and answer your questions.  Pay attention to how they show the home.  Take notes and collect business cards.  Then you can compare the agents you saw. 

Look at web sites of Realtors or real estate agents. Read any testimonials they have.  Call them up and ask questions about their experience and how they work with buyers.  Get a feel for them and what they can do for you. 

You also want an agent that will work within your schedule.  Most of the time it needs to be someone who works as an agent full-time.  They are available days, nights, and weekends.  Not all agents work the same way.  Find one that you are comfortable with.  Trust your instincts.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL  tammyhayesre@gmail.com


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How to choose the right neighborhood

One of the most important things to determine in buying a home is location, location, location.  How do you know what neighborhood is right for you?  Here is a list that might help you.

1.  Would you enjoy living there?

2.  How far of a commute is it from work, school, shopping, hospitals, restaurants, parks, entertainment and transportation? Take a test drive.

3.  Drive through the neighborhood to get an idea of what it is like.  You may want to go at different times throughout the day.  What is the noise and traffic level?

4.  Does the neighborhood have curb appeal?  It is well maintained?  Does it have nice landscaping?

5.  Does the neighborhood fit in with your demographics?  Are you looking for a family friendly neighborhood, a deed restricted neighborhood, a 55 and older retirement neighborhood, or a high or low income neighborhood?

6.  Price makes all the difference.  Do some research to find out the price range of the neighborhoods so that you can eliminate ones that do not fit within your budget. 

7.  Check to see what the neighborhood crime statistics are.  Look around for graffiti or other signs of criminal activity.  Check with local police or check the police blotter in the local newspaper.  You want to live in a safe neighborhood.

8.  Be aware of any new construction or zoning laws that may be in the neighborhood.

9.  If you are choosing a deed restricted community with a homeowner association, find out what the fees are?

For more information go to HGTV’s FrontDoor article:   http://www.frontdoor.com/Buy/How-to-Choose-a-Neighborhood/1162.

Best wishes in your home search.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL  tammyhayesre@gmail.com


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First time home buyer tips

Are you a first time home buyer?  Here are some helpful tips to get you started on the right path. 

1.  The first step before you do anything is to find out how much money you can borrow from a bank/mortgage company.  Check with different lenders to see who can get you the best deal.  Once you know what you can afford, then you can begin to plan. 

2.  Determine what you need in a home, not necessarily what you want in a home. Make a list of those needs to give to your Realtor.  When you are searching for homes you will find that it is very rare to find a home that has absolutely everything you are looking for.  If you stick to what you actually need, you will have better success in your search.

3.  Research areas/communities that are of interest to you.  Determine what things are important such as schools, proximity to shopping, restaurants, and local activities.  Drive through the communities to get a feel for what they are like. 

4.  Learn as much as you can about the process of buying a home.  Some local Realtors or lenders will offer first time home buying seminars.  If you can find one in your local area it would be helpful to attend.  If you cannot attend a seminar, look on the Internet for a home buyers guide such as the one at Bankrate.com – http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/real-estate/BuyerGuide2004/fthb-blog.asp.

5.  Select a local Realtor to help you begin your search for a home.  You can search Internet sites such as Realtor.com or Homes.com, but a Realtor has access to all of the homes in the local MLS.  They can provide you with information on the home, the area and answer any questions you may have.  A Realtor can show you properties of interest.

6.  Learn about the contract and what is involved.  Your Realtor can take you through step by step the process of a contract.  After it is signed by buyer and seller, it is called an executed contract.  Then you would want to get a home inspection.  If everything is fine with the inspection, then you can go forward towards closing.

7.  Know what happens at closing.  Again, a Realtor can walk you through what to expect at closing.  You will need to have money for closing costs such as title search, processing fees, taxes, and insurance. 

Buying your first home is an exciting and overwhelming experience.  So make sure you are prepared.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL  tammyhayesre@gmail.com


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Reduce homeowner insurance with a wind mitigation discount

In the state of Florida, according to Florida Statute 626.0629, insurance companies are required to offer Florida homeowners “discounts, credits, or other rated differentials…” for construction techniques that reduce damage and loss in windstorms.

Wind mitigation inspections can determine if you qualify for a discount on your homeowner insurance policy.  A wind mitigation inspection is done by a state certified inspector.  Your insurance company will not accept an unqualified inspection report.  You can find an inspector online, in the phone book, or check with your local Realtor.  Inspections are available for single family homes, townhouses, condos, and commercial buildings. 

Items that may reduce wind damage are roof design, roof coverings, roof decks, hurricane clips, wall construction type, secondary water barrier, hurricane shutters, and impact resistant glazing on windows and doors.  Check with your insurance company to see what discounts are available.  The savings could be minimal to hundreds of dollars a year.  Most existing homes have one or more features that qualify for insurance discounts.

Tammy Hayes, Realtors, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL  tammyhayesre@gmail.com


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De-clutter your home before selling by having a garage sale

The best time to get rid of some of that clutter and extra stuff you never use is when you are moving.  It also helps you earn a little extra money and provides less belongings to move.  It might be a good idea to have that sale before you put your house on the market.

Here are some tips for having a successful garage sale.

1.  Prepare – Collect all the items you want to sell and place them in boxes or store them in your garage.  Be sure to do this ahead of time.  Don’t wait until the last minute.

2.  Neighborhood – Check with your neighbors to see if they want to hold a sale at the same time or join in with your sale.  A neighborhood sale will attract more buyers. 

3.  Permit – Check with your local town/city to see if you need a permit or need to register your garage sale. 

4.  Pricing – Make sure that you price all of your items.  This will avoid people asking questions when you might be busy with another customer and it is hard to come up with a price right on the spot.  Use small stickers or masking tape.  People are looking for a bargain, so price your items accordingly.

5.  Advertising – Place an ad in your local newspapers.  Place ads on free Internet sites.  Put up garage sale signs directing traffic to your home.  Use balloons to get their attention.

6.  Displaying your items – Arrange your items on tables and leave room for people to walk around.  Put like items together.  Put large items near the end of the driveway so that people can see them from the road.  Have bags to place items in.

7.  Managing Money – Keep your cash on you at all times.  A fanny pack around the waist is a good idea.  Go to the bank and get change ahead of time such as coins and dollar bills.  Keep a tally of items you sold and for how much money.  Keep a calculator on hand to add a large quantity of items. 

8.  After the Sale – Separate your items by things you really want to keep and those items that you can donate to charity.  If it is something you have had for a long time and never or rarely use, go ahead and donate it or sell it as a resale shop.  Clean up and put everything away. 

Now you can focus on putting your home on the market. 

Tammy Hayes, Realtors, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL  tammyhayesre@gmail.com


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Termites can destroy your home

Did you know that most home sales in the State of Florida are contingent upon a termite inspection?  No one will buy a home with termites.  The seller would need to get rid of them first. 

Some people have termites in their home and don’t even know it.  Termites have to do quite a bit a damage before you would notice them.  A healthy colony of termites can eat a two by four in a couple of months. 

We had a termite inspection when we bought our home.  Then a few months after we moved in I put my hand on the door frame and my fingernail went through it.  At first I thought we had some kind of water damage.  Upon removing the door trim we discovered that termites had eaten all the way around our door frame.  There were no existing active termites.  We think they were killed after we had termite traps installed around our home.

Be careful which termite company you use.  Our termite company did not cover the damage.  We replaced the wood and door ourselves with no reimbursement.  We now have a different termite company that does cover the damage should it happen again.

There are several different termite treatments and protection plans available.  Be sure to check out your options and get the best coverage you can.  You also want a plan that includes repair of termite damage.   If you don’t have termites now, it is very likely that you will at some point if you live in Southwest Florida.  They can attack your home, your trees, or even your pool.  Don’t let these critters take over your home. 

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL  tammyhayesre@gmail.com