Archive for May, 2013

Does A Seller Have To Disclose Trouble With a Homeowner’s Association?

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

Does a seller have to disclose trouble with the homeowner’s association (HOA) or condo association?

That’s a tricky one, and I’m not a lawyer, so don’t take this as legal advice.

Here’s how I understand it…

In Florida a seller is required to disclose latent defects about a house or property. A latent defect is a defect that a buyer can’t readily see with his or her own eyes.

For example, you can see a hole in a wall, so that is not a latent defect.

But if the roof leaks and you know about it, that is a latent defect you have to disclose because the buyer can’t see it, and may not even be able to see it if it is raining.

As far as a clash with the HOA goes, the clash is not a latent defect dealing with the house, per se.

It’s more likely trouble between two sets of personalities (between the seller and the HOA), or even the result of an overzealous HOA.

But, it still might be worth mentioning.

I see zat your lawn is a bit brown, is it not?

SOOO, I see zat your lawn is a bit brown, is it not?

I’ll give you an example.  A few years back St. Augustine was in the midst of a severe drought.  We had a rainfall deficit of 18 inches (and in bordering counties it was even worse). Watering restrictions were severe…I think the max you were legally able to run a sprinkler was one day a week and only between certain hours.

So the sun was just baking the ground, and my friend had a house in an HOA that was a little overzealous about green lawns. Sgt. Schultz of the HOA started sending him letters that his lawn wasn’t green enough. So he called out a lawn guy who basically told him you can fertilize all you want, but the ground was going to stay brown until the rains started again. The only way you could get enough water on it was to water illegally.

So after my friend pointed this out to Herr Sgt. at the HOA, he (they) backed off. But since the issue came up in the first place, he disclosed it when he went to sell his home though he probably didn’t have to.

Now, on the other hand, if a seller is behind in his HOA or condo dues, I think that is something a seller must disclose.

Why?

If you are a buyer, especially a cash buyer, for a variety of reasons overdue HOA fees are something that might not get wiped away or caught at closing.

It could be for a reason as simple as the HOA hasn’t filed the necessary paperwork with the clerk of courts (and instead files it a few days after closing).

And even though a management company may have to transfer in the new owner, they might not communicate to the other side of the management company that handles past due fees.

An HOA or condo association can suspend an owner’s common area privileges, like use of a community pool, if the dues aren’t current. So the buyer might move in and then find out a few days later that he can’t use the pool.

An HOA or condo association can also force a tenant to send any rent monies directly to the association. So a buyer expecting to rent the property might discover that he won’t be getting the rent money…at least not until the past dues are paid up. Ouch!

And since these things are directly related to the use and enjoyment of the property, I think they have to be disclosed.

Buying or selling in St. Augustine community that has a condo or homeowners association? Hire St. Augustine Team Realty! Just email Kate Stevens, Broker Associate, or call (904) 377-2276.

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What Can An Agent Do That a Buyer Can’t Do?

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

Used Car Salesmen We Are Not. Though this '51 Buick is nice. Image kind courtesy John Lloyd.

Used Car Salesmen We Are Not. Though this '51 Buick is nice. Image kind courtesy John Lloyd.

What can a real estate agent do that a buyer can’t do by themselves?

I saw this question posted in an online forum the other day but the answers were all goofy. You know, some Realtor saying “get you to the closing table!” Or even better, “A doctor wouldn’t operate on themselves, why would you look for your own home?”

For real?

This is why Realtors are right up there with used car salesmen in most folks’ minds.

So hopefully here are two, non-BS answers to that question, that you will hopefully find useful.

1) A Good Agent Gets You to the Homes You Need To See, That You Didn’t Know Were There

Real estate is one of those rare economies where the Demand is brought to the Supply.  Get it?

The Demand (the Buyer) can’t typically find the Supply (the House or Condo) on his or her own, or more correctly, all of the Supply.

Example: my first day back in real estate (12 or 13 years ago) I went and previewed a home on Carmel Road. The first thing that went through my mind was, “Sh*t, I didn’t even know this neighborhood was here.”

I had a lot of moments like that in my first two years of real estate.

As a buyer you will be able to find some houses online, and you will be able to find some by driving around. But it’s really difficult to make a full and comprehensive list if you don’t have an insider’s knowledge of the neighborhoods.

In the example above, 2nd Street is a block away from Carmel Road. But did you know that there are four or five other 2nd Streets: at St. Augustine Beach, at Vilano Beach…called “Second Street,” in Vermont Heights, up by the county jail, as well as one platted but unbuilt in a marsh near the airport?

Yet buyers always assume a 2nd Street listing is a St. Augustine Beach location (always), so they end driving up and down 2nd Street and can’t find a home for sale (Google maps can’t pick up on the differences, either).

Also, if you are like most buyers, you are relying on a lot of third-party sites to find homes for sale, Zillow and Trulia among them. Their information is okay, but a lot of times it’s out of date, or not up to date.

So think of a good agent as a living, breathing search engine that can take you to the Supply you didn’t even know existed, where the information is absolutely up to date.

That is the first thing an agent can do for you that you can’t do yourself.

2) They Know What is Normal and What Is Not Normal, And Why It May Not Matter Anyway

When you apply for a loan you are asking a complete stranger for money.

This complete stranger (the bank) has no legal, honorable or ethical duty to lend you the money.

It’s my understanding that they can’t deny you the money based on your skin color, religion, familial status or other fair housing items, but they are not obligated to otherwise loan you the money if they don’t think you are a good risk.

They also don’t have to work on any time frame but their own.

In other words…they don’t care what your closing date is.

A good Realtor knows this, and will prepare you in advance for it.

And a good Realtor knows you probably won’t listen. :-)

So when you get huffy or the seller gets huffy because the closing is delayed, your Realtor will be sympathetic and help you work through the process emotionally.

AND, by the way, the whole time your Realtor has been working on your behalf to get everything done so even if there is a delay the home will close as soon as possible.

So a good Realtor will help prepare you for and get you through the process, and will be a sane shoulder to lean on when things don’t go exactly as you plan.

You will put down the down payment, and you will sign the loan documents, and you will pay for the inspections, and you will sign the closing paperwork, but your Realtor will help you get from point A to point B so you don’t have to think about it.

That is another thing that a good agent can do for you that you can’t do yourself.

We will get you to point A from point B in St. Augustine! Hire St. Augustine Team Realty! Just email Kate Stevens, Broker Associate, or call (904) 377-2276.

Image kind courtesy John Lloyd on Flickr. He’s got some great shots of old and classic cars on his site, check them out!

 

6340 Pine Circle South: An Elegant Home In a Shady Arbor

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

We just listed this elegant home at 6340 Pine Circle South in St. Augustine.

6340 Pine Circle South, St. Augustine, Florida 32095

6340 Pine Circle South, St. Augustine, Florida 32095

A very well maintained 3 bedroom/2-bath home on nice shady lot, this home boasts an excellent location for access to both Jacksonville and St. Augustine.

There are lots of upgrades: herringbone wood floors, a wood-burning fireplace, ceiling fans, a security system, a jet tub & more.

There is a large screened porch which leads to nicely landscaped fenced back yard with mature trees and an attractive, shady arbor.

A new well pump, a new hot water heater are included as well as a 16 SEER air conditioning system that was installed in 2009. There’s even a termite bond.

This is a home in a popular community without an HoA or other community fees.

If you have school-age children there’s a bonus: it’s in the school district for the brand new, state of the art Palencia Elementary, with the famous “Pirate Ship Park” right next door.

Check out the great video for this home below!

Looking to buy or sell in St. Augustine? Hire St. Augustine Team Realty! For more information on this home, just email Kate or call (904) 377-2276.

296 Moses Creek Boulevard: Former Model Home Ideal for Entertaining

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

We just listed a gorgeous home in Moses Creek Estates that is ideal for entertaining.

296 Moses Creek Boulevard in St. Augustine, Florida

296 Moses Creek Boulevard in St. Augustine, Florida

Located at 296 Moses Creek Boulevard in St. Augustine, character and curb appeal are the hallmarks of this former model home. A charming, and very Southern, front porch offers shade and a place to relax.

Entertaining is welcome here. The columned foyer leads to an open dining room and great room with gas fireplace, wired for surround sound. The kitchen sports a large breakfast nook, cubby/work desk, and plenty of room for socializing.

A popular split plan bedroom design places the master suite to one side of the home, and an additional bonus room is included upstairs. The bonus acts as a non-conforming 4th bedroom and has its own bath.

A large screened patio runs the entire length of the home (39 feet) in the rear, looking out over a back yard fenced for privacy.

Here’s a neat feature: the garage was left as a carpeted, heated, and  cooled office, with an extra and separate back office (7 x 10) from its days as a model home. The current owners use it as a entertainment room.

You can park one car in it right now, but would need to take out the back office to park 2 cars in the garage. Otherwise, keep it as an entertainment area or an extremely flexible home office, workshop or studio.

Check out the great video on this home below!

Looking to buy or sell in St. Augustine? Hire St. Augustine Team Realty! For more information on this home, just email Sean or call (904) 386-8327.

2515 Deerwood Acres Drive: A Home, A Barn, Acreage, and Water!

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

We just listed a great new home…and a barn that is bigger than the lots that most area homes sit on!

It’s located at 2515 Deerwood Acres Drive here in St. Augustine, Florida. Just outside town proper so it feels country, but it’s still close to everything. It’s not even west of 95.

Here are the details:

Just minutes from downtown St Augustine you’ll feel like you’re in the country.

This nice parcel with mature trees, includes lots of citrus and a large shared pond. Upgrades throughout the home include bamboo flooring in all the living areas and bedrooms, slate floors in the kitchen, as well as granite counters in kitchen & bathrooms. There’s a large great room with vaulted ceilings opening onto a 19′ x 20′ screened porch that overlooks the pond.

This property is ideal for anyone with a collection of ‘toys’ such as cars, a boat, RV or lots of tools/projects. The barn has water & electricity plus end to end 10′ x 10′ and 14′ x 14′ roller doors.  There’s a carport with room for 5+ vehicles too. Don’t miss out on this beautiful property. Short sale. The barn, at 50 x 85 is bigger than the lots many area homes sit on…something to brag about!

Watch a short video of the property below:

Looking to buy or sell in St. Augustine? Hire St. Augustine Team Realty! For more information on this home, just email Kate or call (904) 377-2276.

Updated Video of 3-Bedroom Home at 350 South Churchill in St. Augustine, Florida 32086

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

I just did an updated video of our wonderful 3-bedroom, 2-bath home at 350 South Churchill in the Hidden Lakes subdivision of St. Augustine, Florida.

The video includes updated footage of the bedrooms and master bath, as well as the unfinished bonus room above the garage that could be converted into a 4th bedroom.

The home sits on nearly a half acre of land, and the conservation preserve that it backs to is approximately 300 feet deep. You will love the privacy!

When you are looking to buy or sell in St. Augustine, Hire St. Augustine Team Realty. For more information on this home, just email Sean or call (904) 386-8327.