Which real estate documents should you keep after buying a home? After all, you don’t want to have to file all of it if you don’t have to; but you also don’t want to chuck something crucial.
Your closing company is required by law to keep a record of your closing documents, so that’s a good fallback in case you misplace yours. Still, it’s smart for you to keep important documents on hand—particularly if, later on, you need to file a claim against the seller or your professional representation team (i.e., your real estate agent, home inspector, or mortgage lender). Hopefully, that doesn’t happen, but it’s wise to be prepared.
Full disclosure: I’m a real estate agent, but I’m not a naturally organized person. In fact, until a few months ago, I kept the documents from my home purchase in a folder in my closet labeled “Keep Docs.” (I’m not joking!) But the important thing is, I know what forms I have to hold onto.
So, of the hundreds of documents you’ll encounter during the home-buying process, here are the ones you should keep—and why.
1. Buyer’s agent agreement
When you choose a real estate agent, you sign a buyer’s agent agreement—a contract between you and the brokerage, stating that the agent represents you in the purchase of your home.
This agreement outlines the terms of the relationship with your agent—including who pays the agent’s commission (in most cases, the seller), the length of the agreement (90 to 120 days is standard in most markets), and the terms for terminating the agreement.
Why you should keep it: This contract spells out what services your agent agreed to provide you with—and it can come into play if you have an issue with your agent after the transaction closes.
2. Purchase agreement
Every home sale starts with a real estate purchase agreement—a legally binding contract signed by home buyers and sellers that confirms that they agree upon a certain purchase price, closing date, and other terms.
Why you should keep it: The provisions stated in this contract must be followed to the letter. If you or the seller fails to fulfill these duties, there could be legal ramifications.
3. Addenda, amendments, or riders
These types of documents alter or amend the terms of your purchase contract. For example, if a survey reveals that there’s an encroaching fence built by a neighbor, and you’d like the fence removed, the sales contract has to be formally amended.
Why you should keep them: Addenda, amendments, and riders are often related to home inspections or appraisals, and because they change the original terms of the signed contract, they’re worth holding onto.
For instance, if both parties signed a repair addendum, where the seller agreed to make certain repairs based on the home inspection, you’ll need this addendum if you find issues with the repairs down the road.
4. Seller disclosures
Sellers are required by law to disclose certain problems with the home, both present and past, that they’re aware of that could affect its value. While laws vary by state, these disclosures might include lead-based paint, pest infestations, and renovations done without a permit.
Why you should keep them: If major problems crop up with your home after you move in, these disclosures can be the basis for a future lawsuit against the seller. If you lose them, you might have trouble holding the seller accountable in a court of law.
5. Home inspection report
After your home inspection, your inspector should produce a report with detailed notes on the condition of the home and any potential problems.
Why you should keep it: This document is an extremely detailed list of everything that the home inspector finds, and it typically includes photos of problem areas. By keeping this report, you’ll have a record of any repairs that you may need to make to the property in the future.
6. Closing disclosure
Mortgage lenders must provide borrowers with a closing disclosure (also called a CD) at least three business days before settlement. This document spells out things such as your loan term (typically 15 or 30 years), loan type (a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage), the interest rate, and closing costs, among other financials.
Why you should keep it: Your CD is an itemized list of all the costs associated with closing and your mortgage, and it’s important to have for future reference. It’s also the document you’ll need when you go to file your taxes, since you can take deductions for things such as mortgage points.
7. Title insurance policy
Title insurance offers protection against any competing claims to a home. As part of the process, the insurer will run a title search of public records, seeking loose ends such as liens against the property or fraudulent signatures on ownership documents.
Why you should keep it: You’ll need this document in the event another party, such as a previous owner, tries to claim the property. Note that there is separate title insurance to cover lenders versus buyers, and you would do well to get a policy for yourself.
8. Property deed
When you take title and become the sole owner of the property, you’ll receive a deed—a legal document that confirms or conveys the ownership rights to the home, says Anne Rizzo, associate vice president of Detroit-based title insurance company Amrock.
“It must be a physical document signed by both the buyer and the seller,” Rizzo says.
Typically, the property deed is mailed to you after the title transfer documents are recorded in your county’s public records office.
Why you should keep it: Presenting a property deed is the only way to show someone you legally own the home you’re residing in. Because the deed is sent to you directly, neither your mortgage lender nor title company is required to keep a copy of it.
Sale of Las Olas Estate Breaks Gasparilla Island Record
Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty proudly announced the sale of the Las Olas estate at 121 Gilchrist Avenue in Boca Grande, Fla., on January 25, 2018. The transaction marks the highest sale for a single-family home in Gasparilla Island’s history, a testament to the enduring allure of the exclusive residential enclave of Boca Grande and striking natural beauty. Originally constructed for Francis B. Crowninshield and Louise du Pont Crowninshield of Boston and Wilmington, Del., in 1927, the historic property was sold for $13,000,000. The sellers are long-time residents Nicholas and Susan Noyes.
“We were honored to represent such an exquisite, unique property that’s a local treasure and important piece of the community’s history,” said Richard Taylor, owner of Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty, who acted as the listing agent for the property. “It was the perfect partnership for Sotheby’s, whose brand is synonymous with fine art and luxury real estate throughout the world. This home is essentially a masterpiece in its own right.” The real estate team of Peter Sieglaff and Angela Steffan, also with Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty, procured the buyer.
Begun as a quaint cottage for the Crowninshields, both of whom were avid fishermen who were introduced to the region’s bountiful marine life through local captain and marina founder Sam Whidden, their humble home (whose Spanish names translates to “the waves”) grew to 4,800 square feet with seven bedrooms and six full baths on approximately one acre. A relative of the Noyeses acquired the unparalleled property with an astounding 145 feet of frontage along the Gulf of Mexico with unobstructed views and mature tropical gardens in the late Seventies. But it was the Noyes family who took it to its current level through an extensive, multi-year renovation that concluded in 2009.
“Their passion and commitment to the project is expressed in every meticulous detail,” said Taylor, regarding the seamless blend between the home’s vernacular architecture that’s becoming rarer to find intact in the region and state-of-the-art, sustainable practices and noble finishes, whether new or restored to their original condition. “The result is the best of both worlds—Old Florida meets contemporary conveniences.”
The Noyeses commissioned local architects Randy Williamson and Mike Brock and McHugh Porter Builders to bring the structure up to code, while further modernizing it with LEED-certified additions from solar panels to salvaged and recycled materials often native to the locale. The team’s efforts garnered a premier rating from the Florida Green Building Coalition.
As it did during the Crowninshields’ heyday, the home centers on a great room whose walls, mantel and wood-beamed cathedral ceiling are made of native pecky cypress. Pediments whose ornate carvings capture seashore life such as nautical ropes and shells lend to its rustic charm.
The room, not to mention its breathtaking view, was the main attraction during Boca Grande Historical Society’s 2017 Tour of Historic Homes in February. Since the home had never been seen for the annual event, it drew a lot of attention from professional historians and curious locals alike. Jeff Groff, director of interpretation and estate historian for Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, a 175-room du Pont estate in Winterthur, Del., was among the enthusiastic crowd and spoke about the Crowninshields and the du Pont dynasty at the packed luncheon. He marveled at decorative accents like a colorful Italian mosaic border around the great room’s fireplace, and a restored seahorse fountain and fresh water cisterns used by the Crowninshields.
Other new amenities are NanaWall impact-resistant sliding doors for maximum Gulf views and seamless indoor/outdoor living and a custom kitchen by de Giulio, a Chicago-based firm whose work has been featured in Architectural Digest and House Beautiful. The kitchen links to the past in relocating a silversmith’s double sink with a wave pattern commissioned by Louise to the bar counter.
“The thoughtful floor plan with multiple indoor and outdoor spaces and elegant finishes create a magical setting to entertain and host large family gatherings,” said Taylor.
Due to vast interest, Las Olas was prominently featured in The Wall Street Journal’s real estate section. Its listing ran in international publications including Robb Report, The Sunday Times in London and Financial Times, as well as regional magazines on the East Coast.
“We live in a piece of Old Florida that rarely exists today. People come on vacation and want to put down roots with winter residences. They recognize the value of this special place with its pristine beauty and close-knit community for multiple generations of their family members to enjoy.”
The median home value in Florida is $220,500, just above the national average of $213,146. But in some parts of the Sunshine State, average home values can get far higher than that. And, according to financial website GOBankingRates, the state’s most expensive ZIP code might not be exactly where you think.
GOBankingRates collected median home values and mortgage datafrom Zillow, as well as Bureau of Labor Statistics-based cost of living data for 48 states and the District of Columbia, in order to identify the nation’s most expensive ZIP codes.
“Florida ZIP code 33921 is located on an island — Gasparilla Island off the coast of Cape Coral,” says GOBankingRates. “Both locations also have median home values above $1 million, and some of the most expensive monthly mortgage payments.”
To calculate exactly how much you’d need to earn to live there comfortably, GOBankingRates uses the 50-30-20 budget rule: 50 percent of your income would be used to cover necessities, 30 percent is discretionary income and 20 percent goes to savings.
“Monthly costs were totaled and multiplied by 12 to get the annual dollar cost of necessities in each ZIP code,” writes GOBankingRates. “This dollar amount for necessities was then doubled to find the actual annual income needed to live in the location.”
Zillow Home Value Index for 33921. Data through Mar 31, 2018.
Based on that data, here’s how much it costs per year to live in 33921:
Total income needed: $177,474
Home values in 33921 have gone up more than 5 percent over the past year, according to Zillow, and are predicted to rise another 4 percent over the next year.
Gasparilla Inn General Manager Jon Reecher accepting The Inn’s Conde Nast award in New York City.
For the first time ever The Gasparilla Inn & Club has been voted the No.1 Resort in Florida by the two most esteemed consumer travel magazines in the same year. The historic resort, located in Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island, is honored as the No. 1 Resort in Florida (Gulf) in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. Additionally, The Inn was named the No. 1 Florida Resort, No. 14 in the United States, and No. 49 in the World in Travel + Leisure’s 2016 World’s Best Awards.
“We are honored to receive such extraordinary recognition,” said Jon Reecher, general manager of The Gasparilla Inn & Club, which opened for its 103rd season on October 6. “The Inn is very appreciative of our guests, members, local visitors, and countless others who enjoy our property and support all that we do.”
Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards are determined primarily by the magazines’ print and digital subscribers as well as other travelers who choose to cast a vote based upon their experiences within the last year. The Travel + Leisure awards were announced in the August 2016 issue. The Condé Nast Traveler awards were posted online this week and will appear in the November 2016 issue.
The resort’s most appealing and rare quality may be its ‘Old Florida’ charm. Secluded on a seven-mile tropical island off the Gulf Coast, The Inn treats guests with a sense of refinement that harkens back to simpler times. As the largest surviving wooden hotel in Florida and one of the state’s first resorts, The Gasparilla Inn & Club offers outstanding modern resort amenities, such as the Pete Dye championship golf course, private beach club, an award-winning spa, USCA-certified croquet lawns, tennis courts, and a full-service marina.
“These latest accolades reflect our continued commitment to ensuring the success of our National Historic Landmark resort,” said Reecher. “Each season we welcome new generations of guests from the world over. Locals are especially welcome to visit The Inn for an overnight stay, or a special meal in The Main Dining Room or at The Pink Elephant.”
A panel of health specialists spoke to residents at the Boca Grande Community Center auditorium on Tuesday, Nov. 15 on topics ranging from emergency assistance and medical support to updates on the Zika virus.
Boca Grande Health Clinic physician Jeffrey Humbarger, MD moderated the event.
Lieutenant Mike D’Angelo from the Boca Grande Fire Department addressed the importance of calling 911 from a landline as opposed to a cell phone when people are in need of emergency assistance. “Always choose the quickest mode of action to get help, but it’s important to note that when you call from a home phone, it automatically locks in your address, so we can get to you very quickly,” he said.
He also suggested that you should always be sure the landscape around your home is trimmed and that the house numbers are easily visible at your residence. He reminded folks to make sure your island hurricane tags are current, noting that the current tags are turquoise in color.
Lee County Emergency Services Chief Benjamin Abes said Lee County takes about 86,000 emergency calls annually and is staffed with about 320 employees. The topic of area hospitals was also brought up. Abes said that Lee County ambulance EMTs can transfer patients to any of 12 different hospitals in the region, depending on specific needs. “We try to get to every call as rapidly as possible, identify the problem quickly, and then make a decision about where to transport. We want to get you to a facility that will be able to provide care for your particular case,” Abes said.
Rob Farmer from the Lee County Department of Public Health said that emergency management staff employees have heavy responsibilities, and he urged residents to comply with them as much as possible. “It might seem like our staff asks a lot of questions, but we need to be sure we have all the necessary information to help you,” he said.
Florida Department of Health representative Jennifer Roth addressed the Zika virus and shared current updated information with the audience. “We had our first case of Zika reported in Lee County in January, 2016. To date, there have been 13 travel-associated cases in Lee County,” Roth said.
An important fact she shared is that if someone is infected, that person can only carry the virus for one week, and then it will die off, like an influenza virus. She reminded the crowd of the four symptoms of the virus: fever, rash, joint pain and reddening of the eyes. “But 80 percent of people who contract it do not show any of these symptoms,” she said. She also pointed out that the virus is only carried by two specific breeds of mosquitos out of 30 that exist in Southwest Florida. “And Lee County arguably has one of the best mosquito-control branches in the country,” she said.
She closed the discussion by saying that the Florida State Health Department will test pregnant women for free if they have traveled abroad, are showing symptoms and think they might have contracted the virus. Anyone else who thinks he or she may have been infected can be tested at any private clinic or commercial laboratory.
Now ushering in the classic resort’s 103rd Season, The Gasparilla Inn & Club invites its neighbors from Boca Grande and beyond to step through the white pillared entrance for the annual Community Open House. No reservation is necessary for the event scheduled for Wednesday, Oc. 5th from 5 to 7 p.m.
Walk the public spaces of The Inn and see both Gasparilla Inn Guest Rooms and Cottage accommodations. Take advantage of the ‘behind the scenes tour’ and experience The Inn’s Main Kitchen, overseen by Executive Chef Seth Shipley and his talented culinary team. The Gasparilla Inn & Club will have The Inn Boutique and the Inn Shop open as well. Light canapes, and non-alcoholic beverages will be complimentary. Alcoholic beverages will be available at BZ’s Lounge during the Open House.
Locals are always welcome to visit The Gasparilla Inn & Club for dinner at The Inn’s Dining Room or for a luxurious getaway. At the Open House, information will be provided about The Inn’s outstanding amenities including The Golf Club, The Beach Club, The Gasparilla Inn Spa, and our various dining experiences. Details about catering and conference services, getaway weekends, and special events will also be available.
BY MARCY SHORTUSE – The island’s farmer’s market will return in January, 2017 to the Wheeler Road Ball Field, but new faces will be running the ship. Jean Baer and Betsy Ventura of Local Roots, a company with seven other Lee County farmer’s markets, will be leading the way into a healthy new year.
The first Boca Grande Farmer’s Market was run by Shawn Lee Lange, who has started her own businesses that include a virtual, online farmer’s market. Paired with her new delivery service called Gophers Groceries and Food Delivery Services, she will still be bringing healthy food into people’s homes, just in a more direct manner.
Lee County Procurement held a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13 to discuss the bidders on the farmer’s market project. In all, two placed a bid. Those companies include Big Cheese and Local Roots.
Jean and Betsy are looking forward to bringing their version of a farmer’s market to Boca Grande, but haven’t yet decided what they will call it. They praised Lange for her effort in beginning the farmer’s market here on the island, and hope to take what she already started and tweak it with their own vendors and ideas.
“We’ve been well-received by the residents so far,” Jean said. “Shawna has done a great job, and we hope to take what she’s done and maybe expand her idea.”
This will still be a “green only” market, meaning only food will be sold. Lee County placed regulations on the Boca Grande Farmer’s Market because it is held on county property, and the county has strict regulation as to what the definition of a farmer’s market is.
Jean and Betsy started out on Sanibel with their first market, and Jean said she knows how important such a weekly event is to a small little island. They have been Lee County residents for 30 years and started their business in 2008.
What started in Sanibel soon began to spread, and now the pair have farmer’s markets at Jet Blue Stadium in Fort Myers, Coconut Point Mall in Estero, Lakes Park on Gladiolus in Fort Myers, The Promenade in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers’ River District in Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers on 1st Street and the FSW campus on College Parkway.
Our sister island, Cayo Costa, has been singled out by National Geographic Travel as one of the best stops around the Fort Myers area to visit.
It came in at number three out of 10, to be exact. Much of the story focuses on some of the best shelling spots as well, and Cayo Costa is definitely one of them.
Our lighthouses also made the grade, according to Nat Geo, coming in at number eight. Published August 10, the complete list is as follows: 1) Sanibel Island 2) “Shellebrity” Pam Rambo, who lives on Sanibel and is known for her Volkswagon Beetle encrusted with more than 20,000 locally found shells 3) Cayo Costa State Park 4) Pine Island 5) J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel 6) The Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers (no shells there, but more interesting than most places by far) 7) All of the dozens of small, private, new and temporary islands around the area, including Useppa 8) The lighthouses of Sanibel and Gasparilla Island, as well as the water tower on Cabbage Key 9) Pine Island Sound 10)
The area’s fishing and, in particular, the fishing shacks It’s always nice to be mentioned, but we’re still trying to keep it all a secret.
Original Article found here: http://bocabeacon.com/news/cayo-costa-makes-nat-geo-top-10-list-southwest-florida/
The Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association reported record-breaking numbers for sea turtle nests on July 15, 2016.
A turtle patrol volunteer said one zone alone had 84 nests on Monday, July 18.
“We are (along with the rest of Southwest Florida) having a record year for nests and crawls,” said turtle patrol volunteer Melissa Czank.
Guests at the The Boca Grande Club had an exciting morning recently when they witnessed a rare daytime hatch on Friday, July 8. See facebook.com/seaturtleawareness for the live video of the baby hatchlings.
Hatchlings face many predators, both on their way to the water and once they get into the ocean. On the beach, birds, crabs, ants, bobcats, raccoons and coyotes and even unleashed dogs are common threats to nests and newly hatched turtles. Once in the ocean, they face a host of marine predators until they reach adulthood.
“Predator activity increases as hatching season begins, and there have been a few nests that have been opened or dug up by predators this season. Raccoon, coyote and bobcat tracks have been reported. Typically, less than 20 eggs (of nests with approximately 100 eggs) are taken; however, once opened, birds and ants can infiltrate the nest and cause even more destruction,” Csank said.
Turtle patrol members would like to remind residents and island guests to please stay away from active nesting areas. Do not allow your children or your pets near the nests, as activity in the area may result in injuring the eggs.
If you find hatchlings on the beach, it is recommended that you let them crawl to the ocean on their own. Maintain a safe distance, and make sure lights are off so hatchlings don’t become disoriented. Do not remove them from the nest, and PLEASE do not harass and follow them with flashlights at night (see box at right for ramifications of those actions). Education is great, but not at the expense of our baby sea turtles who will become disoriented.
If hatchlings are found wandering away from the ocean or found during the day with birds circling, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-FWCC for assistance, stay away at a safe distance, and try to keep predators away until they reach the water … but do not touch!
As of July 15, the association reported 581 Loggerhead (caretta caretta) turtle nests and 5 green sea (chelonia mydas) turtle nests on the island. A total of 915 false crawls have been reported on the island. The BGSTA is actively looking for volunteers. Training and supplies are provided.
Donations for the nonprofit organization are always appreciated. For more information, go to facebook.com/seaturtleawareness.
Original article can be found at: http://bocabeacon.com/news/great-nesting-season-beachgoers-predators-dogs-present-problem/
Recent media reports on the news and on Facebook have given way to more worries for people who love to swim in the Gulf and leave them wondering: Is it safe to go in the water? According to local officials, if you don’t have open wounds and a compromised immune system, you are more than likely going to be all right.
There are several types of bacteria that live in the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. One of them, Vibrio vulnificus, is a warm saltwater bacterium that made national headlines in the last few years after several infections were reported around the state. It is fatal approximately 50 percent of the time, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. But there would be no indication of an increase in occurrences of Vibrio infection in the NDRC report, as water monitoring programs included in that report do not include tests for it. That’s because it’s in the water much of the time. Vv is a common bacterium and thrives in saltwater when it becomes warmer than 70 degrees.
In Southwest Florida, as well as other gulf coast states, that means Vv is out there most of the year, yet infection rates remain low. According to a paper published in 1999 by the Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, they are halophilic, or salt loving, bacilli found in marine environments. They colonize filter-feeding animals such as oysters, crabs and mussels, and they can also be found floating freely in the water. According to the Florida Department of Health, from 2008 through 2012, there were 133 cases reported statewide, an average of 27 per year.
During the same period, there were 44 deaths, which means about 33 percent of the cases during that period were fatal. In 2013, there were 41 cases reported statewide, with 11 fatalities, and in 2014, as of July 25, there were 11, with two fatalities.
According to the CDC, in healthy individuals, ingestion of Vv can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, but for those with certain immune problems, especially chronic liver disease, Vv can infect the bloodstream and become fatal. Sea lice have also been encountered lately in Southwest Florida waters. There are actually two kinds – a type of sea lice that live on fish and a type that are actually the microscopic larvae of jellyfish. It’s the second one that makes people squirm.
When there are jellyfish larvae in the water, swimmers can experience a rash or small blisters under their swimming suits – also known as sea-bather/s eruuption or pika pika – and can even have a fever, chills and nausea. You can scrape affected areas with a credit card, then soak in hot water. Bathing suits should be washed and immersed in household vinegar or rubbing alcohol before another use.
Original article can be found at http://bocabeacon.com/news/safe-swim-waterborne-worries-swimmers-puzzled/
Start to finish Angela was the consummate professional. Every expectation was exceeded as Angela worked to maintain communication with family members (including periods when out of the office on personal matters), turn transaction documents around in a manner... (more)
Start to finish Angela was the consummate professional. Every expectation was exceeded as Angela worked to maintain communication with family members (including periods when out of the office on personal matters), turn transaction documents around in a manner responsive to our needs, and fully coordinating pre and post-closing matters taking the burden off our family to otherwise take care of those many small items.
Based upon our experience, we provide an unqualified recommendation of Angela and her professional team.
THANK YOU ANGELA!! (less)
Angela is the best! Extrememly consientious, thorough, and honest. Has great local knowledge and will go the extra mile. Has a great team too, with Peter and Jamie, and an amazing rental agent too in Stacey.
Angela is the best! Extrememly consientious, thorough, and honest. Has great local knowledge and will go the extra mile. Has a great team too, with Peter and Jamie, and an amazing rental agent too in Stacey.