Real Estate Nightmare on Elm Street – Part Two

This is a follow up to yesterdays blog Real Estate Nightmare on Elm Street – Part One

#6:  Stigmatized Properties. Since it’s Halloween time, it would be fun to talk about ghosts from era’s past or hellish happenings that would scare even Freddy Krueger out of his perpetual bad mood, but, on this site, well, in the state of Florida anyway, it is not a requirement to disclose deaths by any means or that the property was occupied by someone with HIV/AIDS.  Read more about it at http://www.ehow.com/list_7200280_florida-laws-stigmatized-property.html #7:  Annoying neighbors. Now, I could really delve into this but digression never accomplishes too much, so let me just be brief on this issue.  Walk around the preferred neighborhood you’re dreaming of moving into and just talk to the neighbors.  It’s the best way to determine if there’s problems with homeowners that don’t comply with noise or pet ordinances, or just plain have “issues” that you know you couldn’t dream of living next to.  With that in mind, there’s no perfect neighborhood and no perfect neighbor.  Knowing ahead of time where those shortcomings are will at least give you time to formulate a plan where you can live coexist peacefully. #8:  Homeowner’s Associations and Deed Restrictions. Assuming you’ve closed on your lovely new digs and to celebrate, you threw a huge party, with you, of course, as the Big Party Man.  The next morning, you wake up flat on your back and are wondering why creatures with long pink necks and silly little faces are staring down at you.   Chances are, your party was a huge success.  However, a pack of pink flamingos in many communities that are governed by an association probably won’t allow these little darlings in too big a quantity, and frankly, that’s not a bad thing (remember property value here).  Did you review your Homeowner’s Documents before you put that ink to paper?  Probably not.  It is of huge significance that you review them to ensure there is nothing in there that would prevent you from full use and enjoyment of your new home prior to moving in day.  Don’t assume anything.  These are strict covenants and are very difficult to try to get changed.  Even if you think those flamingos add a certain “Je ne sais quoi” I’d bet you a dinner at Chops that your neighbors, and most importantly, your HOA, won’t. #9:  We’re all flawed. And so are properties, seen or unseen.  No matter how quick you want to close, never, ever, EVER, contract a property without exercising your right to a home inspection.  If you missed my blog posting on this, check it out http://www.ruthbethem.com/blog/speedy-home-buying-part-2/2010/10/09/ It’s like that shiny new car that is screaming your name and you only take it out for a test drive and never check under the hood.  With a prospective property, you better check not only under the “hood” but over it and in it.  That little beauty may look like your perfect dream home but it could be nothing more than a huge hand that will suck every cent out of your pockets.  #10: Show me the Money! You get to the closing table and you’re told, after depleting your entire savings account for escrow deposits, that you’ll need more money to close, of which you A: have none and B: proceed to have a meltdown.  No need.  That’s why you have an agent and a mortgage broker to review the statement with you to help you decipher where the increase has occurred and why.  This is another great reason why the government has mandated big changes that came into effect in January of 2010.  You’ll receive your HUD-1 statement prior to closing for your review with line item entries so you can look for legitimate costs, errors or any loan terms that may have been misrepresented.  This is a great opportunity for you to understand each and every costs that you can compare to your original loan estimate that was given to you by your lender.  Remember, there may have just been a mistake or even a typo and you’re advocates (your lender and agent) are there to assist you.  Save the meltdown for when the kids decide to “crayon” your recently painted living room walls.   That’s it for now, but if you want a dream transaction instead of a nightmare, please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545 for further information or questions on Naples Florida real estate.


Real Estate Nightmare on Elm Street – Part One

Ever feel like your real estate experience is like watching a horror flick, in slo-mo?  Well it’s a club with many members, so I’m here to review just a few top pitfalls and what you can do to overcome them.  #1: Short Sale buying. Totally a misnomer!  In other countries, Canada for example, a short sale is just as it says and everyone is happy.  No banks to drag it out, no third parties charging fees, just happy buyers and sellers.  In the United States however, I think it should be named Prolonged Purchases so that everyone is clear about the process.  But, that’s just me!  If you have no other goals other than one specific property, and, you’re ready, able and willing to wait upwards of months and months (the longest one I’ve heard of is now in it’s 13th month) to close (maybe) then a short sale is the process for you.  However, should you want to be snuggled on your couch in your dream home in let’s say 45 days or so, stick with the traditional sale.  There’s a lot of sellers out there that are ready, willing and able to make a transaction work:  seek them.   #2:  Financing.  Because of the current state of our country’s banking system and the issues that created a downfall in the housing markets, a recovering real estate market in Naples has been the bright side for many buyers.  Financing:  not so much.  Interest rates are at a historical low and whether they inch up or not is anyone’s guess.  If you’re an international buyer, it’s better to pay cash.  Financing can be done, but not easily with most requiring at least 30-50% down.  If you’re an American buyer, be prepared for a rigorous process.  Stay on top of your lender and if you feel at any time they’ve dropped the ball, do not hesitate to move forward with another preferred lender.  Before you start looking for homes, interview three lenders that have been referred to you by family, friends and coworkers that had a personal experience with them that can vouch for their performance.   #3: Gruesome agents.  So, you want to get to the closing table but before you can do that, you’ve got to list your property.  Personally, I’ve received listings in the past simply due to the default of some really bad agents (and I’ve thanked them, it would be rude otherwise).  I’ve seen agents that have a listing and don’t get it into the MLS for three to four weeks, others, make promises that are like unfulfilled prophecies.  There’s those that never even get a lockbox on the door and then there’s those special agents that have never seen the likes of a photograph (http://www.ruthbethem.com/blog/real-estate-professional-photos/2010/10/12/ )  Make sure you always get referrals and/or testimonials from other clients that have used the services of the agent and please interview three of them.  This is most people’s biggest investment, why leave it to those with unproven results.  And remember, if they sound too good to be true, it generally means they are.  #4: No, it’s not the Munsters, it’s the Squatters.  An ever growing problem due to our economy with thousand losing their homes to foreclosure, some will take up unwelcomed residency in vacant homes.  While there may never be a problem with this for some homeowners, others have found they can’t get them to vacate without investing a lot of time and money/court costs.  If you own a non-primary home, spend the few extra dollars a month for a home watch service to go in & ensure all is well with the systems, and most importantly, that “uninvited guests” don’t make your home, their home.  #5:  You want me to go in there?! Years ago, when I worked for a real estate company that conducted “herd tours” and by that I mean everyone loads up into many vans and drops in on the new listings for the week, picking and prodding and playing the game “Name that smell.”  I generally scored high, not too sure what that says about me, although my husband says my sense of smell could easily replace the myriad of airport security dogs.  I’d be a lot cheaper to feed too, most nights anyway!  Your dream home may not be the best presented on the tour your agent takes you on, but try to get beyond the smells and realize it’s just temporary.  Look at the bones (no Halloween pun intended) of the property and if you’re willing to put sweat equity into it, you’ll most likely never remember “the smells” later on.  Use your visualization skills to overcome less than tasteful wallpaper, paint, furnishing, decorations etc, even the carpet or window coverings.  They can all be overcome.  Yes, the home with the best curb appeal will get you through the door and ideally, it’s best to have a home that’s for sale to be well kept and odor free.  That’s just not reality for every home.  If you know smells bother you, bring along a small can of air freshener to get you through your time there if you want to spend any amount of time in the home to visualize your furniture and your life in “your home.”   Check out tomorrow’s blog for Part Two on Real Estate Nightmare on Elm Street.  For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

The Estates at Bay Colony Golf Club

Golf t-shot

If you’re searching for a high-integrity home with the latest architectural enhancements, pristine golf course and water vistas and a peaceful existence then The Estates at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples, Florida is the community for you.  If you’re not familiar with this community and sometimes confuse it for Bay Colony in Pelican Bay (check out my previous posting on Bay Colony) this posting may help end the confusion.  WCI was the luxury builder and developer of both Bay Colony (on the beach) and the Estates at Bay Colony Golf Club (at Pelican Marsh).  Many golfing residents that loved the exclusiveness of Bay Colony had a high desire for a golf club as well and WCI was more than happy to oblige the void that was left when golf was not part of the offerings or plans in the development of Bay Colony.   With 280 acres they then developed the section of Pelican Marsh (on the east side of US 41 just north of Vanderbilt Beach Rd)now known as The Estates at Bay Colony Golf Club so their clients could enjoy their own community within Pelican Marsh, but also every home owner enjoys membership into the Bay Colony Beach Club, the Bay Colony Tennis Club and has an option of purchasing a membership in the Pelican Isle Yacht Club. A golf club membership to the Golf Club is reserved for each owner in the Estates.  With a very low density, The Estates boast 75 home sites with lot sizes ranging from two-thirds of an acre to a full acre, providing ample privacy and green space, with a minimum building interior space of 4,000 square feet.  Currently, there are nine luxury estate homes available for viewing ranging in offerings from $4,395,000 – $5,995,000 from 7,000 s.f to 10,000+ s.f.  With golf inspired street names like Bentgrass, which is not an especially adapted grass to southern climates but is generally used on putting greens where their environment is closely managed, to Waggle Way (small movements of the clubhead back-and-forth common with tee shots, used to trigger the swing or achieve tempo) this in itself shows the lovely sense of humor that was implemented in naming these streets.  Brassie Bend (the Brassie is the antique club that is most related to a 2-wood and is most commonly applied to pre-20th Century) Niblick Ln (Niblick was a wood shafted club mostly used prior to the 20th Century and is most equivalent to a modern-day 9 iron) and last but not least, is Dormie Dr.  A match-play is said to be “dormie” when a player has a lead that matches the holes remaining, such as  5 holes up with 5 holes to play assuring at least a halve.  The trailing golfer can only hope to tie in regulation but can’t win.  When a match reaches this state it’s said to “go dormie.”  So, this concludes your golf-term lessons for the day!  So, no matter if you waggle, shank or slice, you’ll always be a winner simply because you’ve made the decision to enjoy and live in one of Naples most pristine golfing communities:  The Estates at Bay Colony Golf Club. For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.


Understanding the desirable Bay Colony

Entrance to Bay Colony, Naples, Florida © Rick Bethem
Entrance to Bay Colony, Naples, Florida © Rick Bethem
Dining at the Beach Club, Bay Colony, Naples, Florida © Rick Bethem
Dining at the Beach Club, Bay Colony, Naples, Florida © Rick Bethem
Tennis Club atBay Colony, Naples, Florida © Rick Bethem
Tennis Club atBay Colony, Naples, Florida © Rick Bethem

Beach at Bay Colony, Naples, Florida © Rick Bethem
Beach at Bay Colony, Naples, Florida © Rick Bethem

In yesterday’s blog post I talked about the excitement surrounding a closed sale in Bay Colony located within Pelican Bay in Naples, FL.  Today, for those of you that are either unaware of Bay Colony or aspire to own property in this tasty morsel of a community, I’m going to try to be brief, but informative, about why so many successful folks live and play in Bay Colony, especially when they have unlimited choices from around the globe.  Bay Colony is a community that visionaries at WCI (luxury Florida builder/developer) materialized in the early 1990’s.  Setting on 200 acres of prime waterfront property, this unmistakably upscale enclave welcomes it’s residents with ever changing year-round selections of floral bedding plants lining the paver entry street and enhanced by mature, and stately, royal palms as you enter the sentry gate that is manned 24/7 with a perimeter wall for extra privacy.  Bay Colony is a crowd-gathering draw for the novice and professional photogs during the holiday season with its palm-lined entry dotted with tens of thousands of tiny white pin lights.  It’s a spectacular show every year and morphs the most grumpiest of Scrooges into a blubbering softie.  WCI envisioned a natural environment with an abundance of green space where it was secluded from the outside world but close enough to everything that encompasses the cosmopolitan lifestyles it’s residents have become accustomed to.  Within that natural environment you’ll find protected preserves, mangroves, estuaries and bays that allows for Florida’s well-known wildlife to enjoy Bay Colony’s lifestyle too!  As a homeowner of Bay Colony, you automatically have membership into the Pelican Bay Home Owner’s Association which gives you a myriad of sporting activities, transportation to two beachfront restaurants and million-dollar fitness center. Within Bay Colony each resident enjoys membership into the Beach Club where you’ll enjoy casual alfresco dining poolside or gourmet dining in the lounge, with intimate dining and private dining available.  With two miles of pristine private beach your services include fresh towels, chaise lounges and food and beverage service.  Tennis anyone?  You bet.  Nestled between the luxury towers are six hydro-clay courts inclusive with a pro shop and a very active year-round program for the novice and seasoned player.  Not too many communities can boast having a world renown Five Star Diamond Luxury Resort  as their neighbor, but Bay Colony can.  With a complete selection of services, visiting the heath spa at the Ritz may become addictive, but boy, what a way to go!   And last, but never least, is the Bay Colony Golf Club with it’s championship length play, timeless design and no tee time policy, it’s a luxury you can’t afford to miss.  The clubhouse recently had a $6m renovation creating an atmosphere that will always make you enjoy “coming home.”  All of these world-class amenities have culminated into creating a lifestyle that redefines luxury.  With a choice of eleven luxury towers, two single family communities and two villa communities, you simply can’t make a wrong decision because any of these properties will bring you joy beyond any expectation you might have envisioned.  Be sure to check my next posting regarding The Estates at Bay Colony Golf Club in Pelican Marsh.  For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.