Living in Charlotte County Florida

Find the perfect home in sunny southwest, Florida

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Looking for information on a property in Florida?

If you would like to get detailed information about a property in
Florida, check the county geographic information system. What is GIS?  It is computer technology that is used to map properties and it gives you the tools to interpret data related to a property.  They are interactive maps that assist you in finding out information about properties. 

In Charlotte County the web site is  In Sarasota County the web site is 

You can search by address, owner, account number, or legal description.  The type of information you can obtain from this site is:  Sea Turtle Zones, Street Names, Addresses, Fire Hydrants, Benchmarks, Spot Elevations,
Wind Zones, Flood Zones, and much more.  It gives great aerial views of the homes and allows you to view in different layers.

If you are thinking of buying a property in Southwest Florida, be sure to check the GIS for important information.  It is also helpful for flood zones in determining if you need flood insurance when buying a home. 

Tammy Hayes, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL

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Typical closing costs on a home in Southwest Florida

When buying or selling a home people always ask, What are the closing costs?  It is different in every situation.  If you are planning to buy or sell a home, you will want to know what the HUD-1 Settlement Statement is.  It is a form used by the closing agent whether it be a title company or lawyer.  It provides a complete summary of the incoming and outgoing funds for both the buyer and seller in a real estate transaction.  (HUD – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)

The HUD-1 is required in all transactions which involve federally related mortgage loans and even cash closings.  It is required in the United States by the statutes of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act or RESPA.  The closing agent should provide a copy of the HUD-1 at least one day prior to the closing so that it can be reviewed by all parties and there is time to correct any discrepancies that may occur. 

Here is a list of the typical expenses involved in selling and buying a home in Southwest Florida.  Not all expenses apply.

Expenses for the Seller

Attorney fees

Owners Title Insurance Policy

Preparation of Deed

State Doc Stamps on Deed

FRIPTA Foreign Investor 10%

Realtor Marketing Fee

Termite Damage Treatment

Structural Damage Repairs

Proration of Real Property Taxes

Proration of Maintenance Fees if HOA

Existing Balance on Mortgage

Expenses for the Buyer

Attorney Fees

Recording Deed


Termite Inspection

Insurance Policy

Mold Inspection

Flood Insurance

Home Inspection

Well Test

Proration of Real Property Taxes

Proration of Maintenance Fees if HOA

Chinese Drywall Inspection


Additional Expenses for Buyer if a Mortgage is obtained

Mortgage Title Insurance

Service Fee or Origination Fee

Doc Stamps on Note

Lender’s Attorney Fees

Appraisal Fee

Assumption fee on existing mortgage

Intangible Tax

Recording Mortgage

Credit Report

Escrow Account (Taxes and Insurance)

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL

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Buying a Condo, Timeshare or Mobile Home in Florida

Did you know that condominiums, timeshares and mobile homes in the state of Florida are regulated by the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes within the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation?  You can get detailed information or answers to your questions by visiting their web site at:

Condominium ownership is desirable in Southwest Florida because of it’s large population of retirees, snow birds, and 2nd home owners.  A condo offers a lifestyle free of the responsibility of maintaining the exterior of the property.  Condo developments also quite frequently have other amenities such as pool, club house, tennis, and golf. There are many condos available for sale in Southwest Florida in a wide variety of sizes and price ranges. The Florida Condominium Act, Chapter 718, F.S. gives statutory recognition to the condominium form of real property ownership. 

Timeshares in Florida are more common in larger cities.  Ownership in a timeshare is subdivided into time periods.  Typically timeshares are sold to individuals in one week intervals.  Two weeks out of the entire year are saved for annual maintenance and refurbishing.  The Florida Timeshare Act, Chapter 721, F.S. was enacted in 1981 to regulate the industry and help prevent fraud and deceptive sales practices.

The Florida Mobile Home Act, Chapter 723, F.S. was enacted to protect mobile home owners against owners of mobile home parks and the park’s manager.  The Act protects people who own their mobile homes, and live on a rented or leased lot in a mobile park in which 10 or more lots are offered for rent.   Southwest Florida has plenty of mobile home parks with properties for sale and rent.  Contact a Realtor today.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL


Be aware of Zoning laws

There are five different categories of zoning: residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and public (special use).

 Residential zoning is based on density which limits the number of dwelling units allowed per acre of land. Commercial zoning is based on the degree of intensity of use and it stipulates the parking requirements as well as size and height of improvements. Industrial zoning controls the pollutants, air emissions and waste water discharges that result from manufacturing or production processes. Agricultural zoning is land for agricultural use. And public zoning applies to government-owned land for use such as schools, courthouses, parks, and other public facilities.

If you live in Charlotte County, FL you can go to the following web site for the current planning and zoning at: Current Planning and Zoning is part of the Building and Growth Management Department and consists of the Site Plan Review, the Board of Zoning Appeals, and other zoning services.

It is a good idea to check with zoning for the following types of items: residential fence installation, temporary uses such as special events, temporary advertising devices, commercial name changes, tent permits, model home flags, landscaping, trees, sheds, docks, lifts, seawalls, piers, excavations, and ponds as well as applying for any variances.

Tammy Hayes, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL –

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Save our Homes Act

Beginning in 1995, the assessed value of a homestead property in the state of Florida is limited as to the amount of increase a county property appraiser may assign to the lesser of 3%.  This means that your annual assessment cannot increase more than 3% per year.  It is based on 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.

In order to qualify for this benefit you must own and live in a residential property that qualifies for a homestead exemption benefit.  Florida’s constitution provides for a $25,000 exemption, which is deducted from a property’s assessed value if the owner qualifies.  Applicants who file by March 1, possess title to the real property, and are a bona fide Florida resident living in the home and making it their permanent home as of January 1, qualify for the exemption.  All persons receiving the standard exemption who continue to qualify for that exemption automatically qualify to receive the additional $25,000 homestead exemption.  The additional $25,000 exemption applies to taxable values great than $50,000 and up to $75,000, for all tax levies except school district levies. 

Every Florida resident receiving homestead exemption in Florida who gives up that homestead and wishes to transfer a Save Our Home assessment difference from the previous homestead, must re-establish a homestead exemption within two (2) years of January 1 of the year in which the person left the prior homestead. In addition, Form DR501T must be completed and submitted to the property appraiser in the county where the new homestead is located. The deadline due date for this form and new applications is March 1.

For information in Charlotte County, FL go to the web site at:

Tammy Hayes, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL –

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Flood Hazard: check before you buy

Did you know that floods can occur even if you don’t live near a river, lake, or ocean? Areas most prone to flooding are barrier and offshore islands, areas near rivers, creeks, or canals, and low areas including those with elevations of less than 10 feet above mean sea level.

 If you are looking to buy a home in the state of Florida, you need to check the flood hazards before you buy. One place you can begin is the FEMA web site at: It will provide you with general flood information, flood insurance, and flood maps.

Another way to find out about flooding before you commit to buying a home is to check with the local county emergency management department. In Charlotte County, FL the web site is: It provides a storm surge map, flood zone map, and general flood information such as flood safety. For information on flood risk of a specific property go to:

If the property you plan to purchase is within a flood zone, you can purchase National Flood Insurance through a property insurance agent. If the property is located in a flood plain, flood insurance is required when you obtain a mortgage. Flood insurance is available on homes, condos, and mobile homes and most enclosed buildings. If you are renting, you can get insurance on your contents.

Don’t get caught in a flood. Know what you are getting into when you purchase a home.

Tammy Hayes, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL –

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Use of a Humidistat

Who should have one?  If you own a home in Florida and you are away on vacation or are only here part of the year, you should have a humidistat. 

What is a humidistat?  It is a device used to control your air conditioning system that cycles the unit on and off based on humidity rather than temperature. 

Why use a humidistat?  Your home can develop unwanted moisture or mildew problems because of too much humidity which can be unhealthy to you and destructive to your home. 

What should a humidistat be set for?   If you set your humidistat at 70 percent relative humidity it will cycle the air conditioner even if the thermostat does not call for cooling.  The thermostat comes on based on heat and not humidity.  The thermostat and humidistat usually operate independently of the other’s control setting.  Check with the manufacturer to determine the best control setting during the time of year that you will be gone or check with your local air conditioning company. 

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty,