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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.

Skimming Through Several Locations

Find your perfect luxury home in Southwest Florida.

Southwest Florida is very versatile with every location having its own set of commodities and services. If you have children, you may want to settle somewhere close to schools, universities, and art centers. Otherwise, it could get time-consuming to commute from home to school. If you love the great outdoors, you may want a house that is built near walking trails. 

For perfectly secluded options, you can build your winter home on your own strip of land or share a condo with a community, if you don’t mind neighbors. If you want the authentic beach experience, you may want to build your home near a beach in Naples FL, Miromar Lakes FL, or Sarasota FL.

Then there are homeowners who want luxurious amenities, such as access to a clubhouse, swimming pool, and fitness centers – all of which depend on the location. 

London Bay Homes has been building the finest luxury custom homes in Southwest Florida for nearly 30 years in many luxury home communities, as well as On Your Lot.  To facilitate your search, begin with perusing our available homes in Southwest Florida.

Searching  for a Home During the Winter

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. Make sure to visit potential houses during the peak winter season to get a taste of the authentic experience. 

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

You can rent your home in Southwest Florida, should you choose to only stay for part of the year.

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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