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On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2024 | Firm News |

The real estate market is ever-changing and accordingly, it seems that everywhere you look an “expert” is providing their advice pertaining to the real estate market for 2024. My advice specifically pertains to the Sarasota/Manatee Market.

NEW CONSTRUCTION: The demand for new construction in our market will remain strong but will see a reduction compared to the past few years. With lower demand, builders should be able to complete new homes in less than one year and with more attention to detail than was the case in recent years. Builders will continue to offer incentives to purchasers who agree to use their affiliated mortgage and title companies, however, many builders will allow purchasers to select their own attorney to conduct the closing and issue the title insurance policy. A purchaser should request attorney review PRIOR TO SIGNING THE CONTRACT. Last year our firm protected new home buyers by eliminating unnecessary costs at settlement, clearing all contractor liens prior to settlement, and spotting and curing encroachments of the home into subdivision setbacks and county easements.

PREVIOUSLY OWNED HOMES: Many of the homes in our most cherished neighborhoods exceed the age of 50 years. Purchasers should request clauses in their contracts that allow sufficient time to conduct the suggested inspections and the right to cancel if the inspection is unsatisfactory to them. In addition to the standard home inspection, prudent purchasers will have a mold inspection, a wood destroying organism inspection, and will have the pipes scoped by a professional to determine whether the plumbing is decayed. The inspection period within the contract should also be used to obtain insurance quotes which have risen sharply in the past year. Proactive sellers who can afford to do so, should consider hiring a home inspector before listing their home for sale. This will allow them to perform repairs in advance of listing, thereby reducing the possibility of a buyer cancelling.

CONDOMINIUMS: Recent changes in Florida law require condominium associations to perform structural inspections and to reserve funds for future repairs more fully than was previously required. As a result, reoccurring condominium assessments have increased for most condominiums year over year. This has created an affordability problem for some owners who will be forced to sell. This could drive the prices of older condominiums down, thereby presenting buying opportunities for buyers who were previously priced put of the market. A thorough review of the governing condominium documents, financial statements, official minutes of the meetings, and inspection reports should be undertaken. Florida law requires that sellers of condominiums provide some of these documents to a Buyer and allow a buyer to rescind their offer within three business days from the receipt of the required documents. An attorney may provide language requiring the delivery of additional documents, thereby better protecting a buyer.

ASSUMABLE MORTGAGES: Some homes have mortgages that are assumable by buyers who qualify for the outstanding mortgage balance and have a down payment sufficient to cover the seller’s equity. Buyers who are lucky enough to find a home with an assumable mortgage save tens of thousands of dollars in interest. Homes with assumable mortgages bring higher sales prices for sellers due to the value provided to buyers. The assumption process typically takes 90 days. Our firm can assist in these matters and can insure that the seller is released from liability.

We have yet to see what 2024 will bring, but there will certainly be a shift away from what was a seller’s market to a more balanced market. Happy New Year! Lauren P. Kohl, attorney at law, Gibson, Kohl, P.L.