Do's and Don'ts of Florida house-hunting
Florida is one of the most exciting markets at the moment, with plenty of deals still around and many properties priced well below their 2006 peak.
But the market is moving fast so time to get your skates on. We’ve got a great feature in the new issue of our magazine (out April 4th) giving you lots of ideas of what you can buy in Miami, Orlando, Sarasota etc, but in the meantime here are some basics from Justine Assal of Florida Link (a company offering help to international companies seeking to connect with the Florida market).
*Visit various parts of Florida before deciding where to buy as each is very different in look, feel, and lifestyle
* Get off the beaten track and visit some parts of Florida where they haven't traded their cowboy hats for mouse ears - A great site for fun day trips is http://www.visitflorida.com/insiders/Off-the-Beaten-Path. You may even find your own slice of heaven on a lake or river, or even on a ranch.
*Visit in springtime, and go to Blue Springs and see 80-100 Florida manatees frolic as families in the warm water. Consider renting a houseboat for a few days and get a feel for the relaxed side of Florida living.
* Decide how much time you are looking to spend in Florida if thinking of buying (dependent upon your situation and the visa available to you) and make choices that will still allow you to relax and not have to work too hard each time you come over.
*Once you have decided upon an area, rent a house in the development for a few days if possible to really get a feel for the neighbors and the area
* Work with more than one realtor: they have full access to all listings, will work harder for you this way and as the seller pays them, it makes sense as a buyer to have a good relationship - it's often one of the first friends that you'll make in Florida.
* Forget that the farther north you visit in Florida, the further south you go - in culture that is, take a drive up to Georgia and you'll see what we mean!
*Neglect to explore and enjoy the laid-back hospitality, you might even leave with a house and a drawl!
* floridalinkcorp.com. Find properties for sale in Florida here.