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London Bay Homes Blog

    Buying the Perfect Winter Home in Southwest Florida

    by Arelys Alexander
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    There are several important decisions to make before you can buy your new winter home in Southwest Florida. These include learning about the location, property taxes, and the ability to rent out your home to cover any expenses. The decision to rent your home while you are away is a great option for residents that may only be staying in their Florida home for a portion of the year.  Here are 7 tips to buying a home in Southwest Florida.

    picking the perfect location

    Southwest Florida is very versatile, every city and neighborhood has its own set of commodities, amenities, and services. If you have children, you may want to settle somewhere close to schools, universities, and art centers to reduce your daily commute. If you love the great outdoors, you may want a house that is built near walking trails or one of Florida's world-famous state parks. If you want the authentic beach experience, you may want to build your home near a beach in Naples, Florida, Miromar Lakes, Florida, or Sarasota, Florida. There are many different things to consider when choosing that perfect location in Southwest Florida.

    If you're looking for luxurious amenities—such as access to a clubhouse, swimming pool, and fitness centers—you'll want to take a closer look at the specific neighborhoods within the cities, each one will offer something special and unique. 

    Sarasota 1

    Sarasota, Florida is home to some of the world's best white sand beaches.

    Searching for a Home During the Winter in florida

    If you want your house to be a ‘winter home’, there’s no better way to conduct a search than during the winter. This is a great way of evaluating first-hand what it feels to live there during December through February. Get a feel for the weather, the traffic, etc. by actually being there to experience it all.

    Make sure to visit potential houses during the peak winter season to get a taste of the neighborhood and the home.

    RENTING OUT THE PROPERTY BEFORE YOU BUY

    It is always a good idea to rent in the area than to buy the house. This will help you arrive at a more conclusive decision about living out your winters there. Renting helps you save a sizable investment, which could go down the drain if you’re not really pleased with your new transaction after all. A great way to search for suitable homes is to get in touch with property management companies in the area. This has become a fairly easy task these days as it requires a simple visit to a search engine of your choice. 

    RENT YOUR HOME DURING THE SUMMER

    A home specifically built for winter gives you a place to seek refuge from the cold climate, but this may not be necessarily true in the off-season when the temperature begins to heat up. Instead of investing in what would be unused space throughout the summer season, you may consider renting out your home and reducing your investment.

    If that is the route you would like to take, try to find a location as close to tourist attractions as possible, such as the gulf coast’s gorgeous white, sandy beaches. These places have some of the highest demand for rentals when the tourism season kicks in. A great idea would be to open up the house for rental during a big local event, such as baseball games during the spring training season and golf tournaments throughout the year.

     Of course, you can also consider allowing your adult children and friends to use your home for their summer vacations.

    GETTING AN ACCURATE ESTIMATE OF ALL EXPENSES

    Don’t forget about all the additional expenses you may accrue once you’ve signed yourself up for your winter home. There are annual expenses, home repairs, maintenance costs, insurance payments, home watch costs, and traveling costs. This means you should make an accurate estimation before deciding if purchasing a winter home is a financially sound decision. 

    The flights from your summer destination can form a sizable chunk of your snowbird budget as well, which is why you should always look for a deal at airports that are within the reach of your home. The best deals are secured a few months in advance of course, but you can still find cheaper fares if you search smart.

    FIGURING OUT YOUR TAX EXPENSES 

    If you own more than one real estate property, property taxes can become an issue. Southwest Florida has higher property taxes for second homes than single residences. This means you should keep all checks and balances related to taxes to prevent overpaying. If possible, consider hiring a professional tax preparer to make sure you remain on top of all your taxes.

    Of course, this may balance out in the end, as Florida is also one of the most tax-friendly states in the country for retirees; there’s no state income tax, estate tax, or inheritance tax.

    GETTING PRE-APPROVED 

    Getting pre-approved can be a nuisance for many prospective home owners if they feel the need to finance, but once this financial headache is out of the way, it will become easier to work with budgeting issues. In order to qualify for a second pre-approval, you need to make sure all debts in the past are cleared and you have a low debt to income ratio. Most lenders frown upon borrowers that currently have a second mortgage on their record. Hence, it is vital to clear out all your outstanding dues if you will not be paying cash for your home.


    If you’re ready to dive into the research necessary to buy your winter home in Southwest Florida, begin by taking a look at our available homes.  We are sure you will find the homes of your dreams in the many luxury home communities and neighborhoods of our Gulf coast

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