Think it's impossible? Not really. Every day buyers start the search for a Bonita Springs home in another, distant locale. The fact of the matter is, if you are planning a home search from great distance you can seriously focus and filter most of your search criteria and qualify your new home "candidates" by using the right tools. You can be included in the 75% of home buyers that begin their home search on the Internet, educate yourself and prepare yourself to more effectively shop for a home when you arrive to buy.
This article is a compilation of services my own buyers have enjoyed using to find their home and my own experiences from buying a home that was almost 2,000 miles from my state.
It seems almost everyone is doing their homework on the web before they buy a home in Bonita Springs. In all likelihood, you'll find a real estate agent on the internet if one hasn't been recommended to you by a friend or relocation company. Tips for selecting an agent may be to look for:
- Responsiveness - Do they respond to your inquiry in a timely manner.
- Internet Literacy - Are they able to understand and use the web and email to communicate important information to buyers. An agent with both a website and a blog is a must. The blog provides a wealth of information about local events "as they happen" and valuable tips and tools for home buyers and sellers.
- Area knowledge - It's not important that the agent know and retain a large amount of the information about every city, but they should at least know how to find a source for more information and they should be willing to find out more information for you.
- Contract knowledge and procedures to close. You should be able to know well in advance what is to be expected and the chain of events that will occur from contract through closing.
Great resources for buyers include a user-friendly website (kill the flash intro - they're a pain), website that may have IDX or Multiple Listings of homes for sale, a guideline for local customs/procedures for buying real estate in that area and local city/county information, a community tour and a blog about the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida areas.
The following helpful links area provided for buyers and sellers:
- The county tax collector http://www.leetc.com/
- The county property appraiser http://www.leepa.org/
- The county clerk of courts http://www.leeclerk.org/
- The school system http://www.lee.k12.fl.us/ & School Choice info at http://www.lee.k12.fl.us/studentassignmentdocuments.htm
- The CDD information site: http://www.cddswf.com/
The Clerks office usually has recorded the documents related to the community association or condominium association, which may include community site plans, as well as floor plans for individual condominium units. The Tax Collector provides CDD information, the CDD site provides the length of time and contact for the CDD manager and the Property Appraiser site provides aerial views with parcel lines indicators/lot lines. The Property Appraisers website also has an "estimated property tax" calculator.
Detailed community info: The Bonita Springs area, for example, has a large number of deed restricted gated communities that are fairly new. Many agents, myself included, have a library of marketing materials from when the community was built. For example, if a buyer is interested in purchasing in Spring Run at The Brooks I can send a .pdf attachment or a link to a blog post that shows the community site plan with the buildings & parcels numbered. In addition to the community site plan there area a variety of floor plans. They can easily be scanned and emailed or added to a blog. They may already be posted in a blogged listing.
Let's use this as and example: I have had buyers that were searching for the "Sabal" floor plan in Spring Run at The Brooks, a community in Bonita Springs. When this model of home does become available to the market it is easy enough to give the buyer a "window" into the home and it's location with the site map, floor plan, digital photos and a visual tour of the home. It's almost as good as being there.
When you're ready to start the search for your home, in Bonita Springs, Florida or the city of your choice, choose an Internet savvy REALTOR® that is dedicated to providing you the information to find your next home.