Buying Real Estate in Key West, Florida

Why Live in Key West?

Key West Real EstateEnjoying a mild tropical savannah climate, Key West, Florida has the distinction of being the only city in the Lower 48 that is free from frost all year round. This is due to the moderation of the Gulf of Mexico to the west and north, resulting in an annual average temperature of 14.2 degrees F. Even in the month of January, temperature levels only very rarely drop below 50 degrees F. It did drop to 42 degrees in 2010, but the month’s usual average is a comfortable 70.3 degrees. The coldest ever recorded is 41 degrees, in 1886 and 1981. Summer is not too hot either. The prevailing easterly trade-winds and sea breezes keep Key West residents cool between 79.6 and 89.4 degrees. You can still engage in your favorite outdoor adventures without worrying about heat strokes.

Boasting of a bohemian atmosphere with its galleries and shops offering art works by local artists, and theaters staging both local and international productions, Key West has attracted Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams who worked on some of their novels in the island.

Lying at the crossroads of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Key West is a virtual paradise for all types of anglers. You can go fishing in the backcountry for tarpon or bonefish, or sail out to the sea for tuna, wahoo, sailfish, mahi, marlin, and even dolphin. You can even compete in the many fishing tournaments held each year.

While some people choose to spend only a few days in Key West each year enjoying the weather, the relaxed atmosphere, and the sea adventures, there are others who cannot imagine living somewhere else. If you are one of the latter, and you have decided, after thinking it over a million times, to move to this beautiful island, you will need to think about whether to rent or buy your own home. There are rent versus buy calculators on the Internet you can use to help you decide on this, and if you are going for “buy”, it’s time to contact Tropical Properties Real Estate for help finding your home.

Key West Real Estate

Victorian Style Home in Key West, FLKey West is a tourist city with only approximately 6 square kilometers of land, part of which is occupied by the Naval Air Station Key West and thus is inaccessible to civilians. This means that land for residential purposes is rather limited. Many prime pieces of real estate are occupied by hotels, restaurants, resorts, malls, as well as other commercial and institutional centers. Still, with a little help from Tropical Properties Real Estate, you can find excellent real estate deals.

Tropical Properties Real Estate is a member of the Key West Association of Realtors (or KWAR) and can help you find a new home on the island.

The process of buying a new house is rather complicated but a Tropical Properties Real Estate can make things easier. Being already in the real estate business, I am familiar with the houses in the market including their fair market values, the neighborhood where they are, as well as the lending or mortgage practices and terms in the island. You need not visit all the listed homes. All you have to do is describe to us what you want and what you can afford, and I can hugely limit the number of houses you have to check out, saving you plenty of time.

Tropical Properties Real Estate can also help you get pre-approved by a lender before actually beginning your search for a house. Typically, agents already had previous dealings with real estate mortgage brokers so that they can expedite their clients’ loan applications. This gives you the assurance that you will have the money to pay for a house of your liking. It also defines the maximum offer you can make. It would be quite disappointing if you decide on a house only to find out that no lender is willing to finance your intended purchase. Also, with a pre-approved loan, sellers are more willing to take your offer seriously.

If you find a house that you like, and you and the seller agree on the price, a Tropical Properties Real Estate can facilitate the preparation and processing of the necessary paper work, the release of the loan, and the registration with the proper authorities. Be sure, however, to request your agent to have a professional inspector check out the house before signing the papers.

Which Mortgage Type is Appropriate?

Real estate mortgages come in three types: fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and government mortgages such as VA and FHA loans; so that you will also need to choose from among them. Your buyer’s agent can probably provide you with good advice on this.

A fixed-rate mortgage is typically recommended for borrowers who plan on living in the house for a long time, and who are more comfortable knowing the exact amount they will be paying for the duration of the loan. Be sure, however, that interest rates are at low levels when contracting the mortgage.

If interest rates are high at the time of the loan, you may be better of with an adjustable-rate mortgage. This type is also recommended if you plan on selling off the property within a few years or before the full payment of the loan. Your payments will fluctuate with the changes in a financial index used by the lender, such as the T-Bill rate or LIBOR, thus your amortizations may rise or fall unpredictably.

Government loans usually have lower interest rates, but there are additional qualifications you have to meet. VA loans are from the Veterans Administration and are thus open only to veterans. FHA or Federal Housing Association also offers low-interest mortgages but only for low-income Americans and for houses approved by them.

Once you have gone through all these, you are ready to move into your new home, get settled, and begin writing your own book or catching marlins with record-breaking weights and sizes.