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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pre-Sale Home Inspection--Key West

During the time I have been writing this blog I have mentioned the variety of homes (style, age, value) on any one street or in any particular neighborhood. Up north in America there are blocks after blocks of very similar buildings or homes, mostly built contemporaneously with each other and in a style and scale as to not be dissimilar. The suburbs that developed after World War II are filled with "cookie cutter" homes. So the buyer can easily shop for the best value by comparing similar homes in similar areas.

But Key West is different. On any one block you can find a cigar maker's cottage of 1000 square feet next door to a two story 2200 square foot grand conch house (Greek Revival). So pricing and comparing properties is a bit more difficult. And since the current real estate market in Key West is in such a flux, I suggest that potential sellers get their property appraised before we place it on the market. Now most Realtors can do a Comparative Market Analysis and give a seller an opinion of the current value based on recent sales. I view the impartiality of an independent appraiser (who is not going to list the property) as being more beneficial. Then the seller can use the appraisal as an additonal marketing tool to sell the property.

Another tool that should be considered is to obtain a Pre-Sale Home Inspection by a Certifed Home Inspector. There was an excellent 30 minute program on the Fine Living Network last night about Pre-Sale Home Inspections. (It is supposed to be rebroadcast this weekend.) It shows one would-be seller who obtained such a report and discovered several problems that any post contract inspection would have found. This gave the seller time to get the items repaired or obtain estimates to determine the cost of repair. The seller opted to spend the money and remediate the problems. The house was listed and went under contract 27 days after being listed.

The nice thing about a Pre-Sale Home Inspection is that it helps reduce the uncertainty of contingencies in a real estate contract. Most contracts have financing and inspection contingencies. (Most Key West contracts are "As Is", meaning the buyer can have the home inspected and walk away from the deal if the inspection discloses some problem with the property.) But the Pre-Sale Inspection, like the appraisal, can be used as a marketing tool to reduce the uncertainty in the buyer's mind about the condition of the property. If the inspection is done by a certified home inspector, it is usually transferrable to the buyer without any additional cost. The inspection reduces the liklihood of a subsequent lawsuit by the buyer against the seller for failing to disclose material defects with the property since the pre-sale inspection is done by an independent, certified inspector who will not benefit from the sale.

I suggest that any potential seller in any town or city watch the program on the Fine Living Network. It is well worth 30 minutes of your time.

If you live in the Key West area and are considering selling you propety, contact Kevin Barlow at Islandview Associates. Go to for more information on fees and services they provide. I know Kevin. He is a real professional. He is very knowlegable and will work hard to make your sale in this difficult market a little easier. It is worth a call to him. He can be reached at 305-304-9196. Mention that Gary Thomas sent you. I won't get a nickle, but I would like to know that someone heeded by advice.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.