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Buying Your Key West Home

WHEN SEARCHING  FOR YOUR NEW HOME IN KEY WEST – BE SURE AND ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS!!!

        Likely, you know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want, what area of town you want to live in…..but there are so many other factors that will impact your satisfaction with your new home.  Below are some of the  very important questions that you need to have answered. 

        Flood Zone:  Is the property in a flood zone?  Much of Key West does lie in a flood zone.  It is important to determine whether the home is in one. If it does and if you are getting financing, likely you will be required to get flood insurance.  That’s a cost you will need to factor into your annual costs.

        Condition of the Home: The great majority of the homes in Key West are historic.  Many have been constructed of Dade County Pine, a very hard durable wood.   However, the island climate is hard on structures – things like paint, wood damage, the roof, termite infestations all are impacted by this climate.  It is a good idea to have an inspector take a good look at the home.  Be sure and get a written report and, if there are repairs needed, get estimates before you go forward. 

        Financing:  Be ready.  If you aren’t paying cash, come to the table with a pre-approval letter from your lender.  The seller will look much more favorably at your offer.  If two offers are on the table, your offer would likely get preference.  Because the price of a typical home is well above the $600,000 range, financing is a bit more expensive.  Many of the loans are required to go into the  “jumbo” loan category which requires a larger down payment and escrow of some of repair costs.  List of Lenders:

        Costs: What will your costs be?   Will you be responsible for some of the closing costs, escrow of HOA fees, survey? If you get a mortgage, you will be responsible for all costs associated with it.   What if the house needs repairs – who is going to pay?  Have your agent put together a synopsis of costs and fees.  Take a look at the property taxes and any HOA/Maintenance fees that would be required.  Those can add significant costs to your monthly payment.

        Non-transient and Transient Licenses:   Do you intend to lease the property?  If you plan to lease for 30 days and longer, you will need a “Non-transient” license from the City.  If you want to lease for less than 30 days, it is necessary to have a “Transient” license.   If you do want to use the property for a short term rental income property, you will need to purchase a property that has a transient license as, at this point in time, new transient licenses are not available.  Visit the City’s website for more information.  The City will fine those who do not adhere to the regulations.   http://www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov/egov/apps/document/center.egov?view=item;id=8465

        Parking: Does the property you are considering have off-street parking.  Depending on which part of Key West the property is in, on-street parking can be challenging. The City sells “Residential” permits for $10.00.  Well worth it!!

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