Punta Gorda, FL Real Estate

International buyers are coming to Florida
International buyers come from all over the world. They are buying properties in Florida for various reasons. Some want a vacation home, winter retreat, or to own a rental property. The typical foreign buyer is looking for a single family home or a townhouse as a vacation home.

The majority of the foreign buyers are paying with cash. A small percentage are using financing. A weakened U.S. dollar and a housing downturn has many U.S. citizens worrying about purchasing a home. But for foreign buyers, the outlook is very different. They are looking for a great buy for their money. And they are certainly getting some great deals right here in Southwest Florida.

Southwest Florida is a great destination for international buyers. Here you will find white sandy beaches, crystal blue warm waters, and light tropical breezes. This is such a beautiful area with many lifestyle choices. You will find it a wonderful place to live.

You can find affordable living in single family homes, mobile homes, townhouses, and condos. Or you can purchase moderately priced luxurious waterfront homes and condos in upscale and gated /golf communities. There are also reasonably priced lots to build that dream home.

Some lifestyle activities are golfing, fishing, boating, biking, swimming, tennis, shelling, museums, art, shopping, music, sports, dining, parks, bird watching, and nightlife. There really is something for everyone. Because of our tropical Florida weather, there are events year round. If you would like more information about living in Southwest Florida contact a Realtor or Chamber of Commerce in your area of interest.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL tammyhayesre@gmail.com

Do you know the Florida telephone solicitation law?

Telephone solicitation is regulated by state and federal laws.  The state of Florida has a Florida Do Not Call Program.  The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services maintains the state’s “Do Not Call” list.  If you are a Florida resident and do not wish to be called, you can register to have your residential, mobile, or paging device on the list.  There is an initial charge of $10.00 for each residential phone number and a $5.00 fee each year thereafter.  You can get detailed information at the following web site: 


The Florida law prohibits telephone solicitation calls before 8:00am and after 9:00pm. Commercial telephone solicitation is defined as an unsolicited phone call initiated for the purpose of enticing the call’s recipient to buy goods or services from a commercial seller.

Violators are subject to a fine.  If you receive a sales call that is in violation, you should get as much information from the caller as possible and report the violation by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA. 

As a Realtor, a licensee may call an owner whose name appears on a “Do Not Call” list when representing a buyer interested in buying the property but may not use the showing in an attempt to obtain a listing. 

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL  tammyhayesre@gmail.com

Buying a Condo, Timeshare or Mobile Home in Florida

Did you know that condominiums, timeshares and mobile homes in the state of Florida are regulated by the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes within the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation?  You can get detailed information or answers to your questions by visiting their web site at:  http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc/statutes.html.

Condominium ownership is desirable in Southwest Florida because of it’s large population of retirees, snow birds, and 2nd home owners.  A condo offers a lifestyle free of the responsibility of maintaining the exterior of the property.  Condo developments also quite frequently have other amenities such as pool, club house, tennis, and golf. There are many condos available for sale in Southwest Florida in a wide variety of sizes and price ranges. The Florida Condominium Act, Chapter 718, F.S. gives statutory recognition to the condominium form of real property ownership. 

Timeshares in Florida are more common in larger cities.  Ownership in a timeshare is subdivided into time periods.  Typically timeshares are sold to individuals in one week intervals.  Two weeks out of the entire year are saved for annual maintenance and refurbishing.  The Florida Timeshare Act, Chapter 721, F.S. was enacted in 1981 to regulate the industry and help prevent fraud and deceptive sales practices.

The Florida Mobile Home Act, Chapter 723, F.S. was enacted to protect mobile home owners against owners of mobile home parks and the park’s manager.  The Act protects people who own their mobile homes, and live on a rented or leased lot in a mobile park in which 10 or more lots are offered for rent.   Southwest Florida has plenty of mobile home parks with properties for sale and rent.  Contact a Realtor today.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL  tammyhayesre@gmail.com

Be aware of Zoning laws

There are five different categories of zoning:  residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and public (special use).


Residential zoning is based on density which limits the number of dwelling units allowed per acre of land.  Commercial zoning is based on the degree of intensity of use and it stipulates the parking requirements as well as size and height of improvements.  Industrial zoning controls the pollutants, air emissions and waste water discharges that result from manufacturing or production processes.  Agricultural zoning is land for agricultural use.  And public zoning applies to government-owned land for use such as schools, courthouses, parks, and other public facilities.


If you live in Charlotte County, FL you can go to the following web site for the current planning and zoning at:  http://www.charlottecountyfl.com/GrowthManagement/PlanningZoning/currentPZ.asp.  Current Planning and Zoning is part of the Building and Growth Management Department and consists of the Site Plan Review, the Board of Zoning Appeals, and other zoning services. 


It is a good idea to check with zoning for the following types of items:  residential fence installation, temporary uses such as special events, temporary advertising devices, commercial name changes, tent permits, model home flags, landscaping, trees, sheds, docks, lifts, seawalls, piers, excavations, and ponds as well as applying for any variances. 


Tammy Hayes, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL – tammyhayesre@gmail.com

Save our Homes Act

Beginning in 1995, the assessed value of a homestead property in the state of Florida is limited as to the amount of increase a county property appraiser may assign to the lesser of 3%.  This means that your annual assessment cannot increase more than 3% per year.  It is based on 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.


In order to qualify for this benefit you must own and live in a residential property that qualifies for a homestead exemption benefit.  Florida’s constitution provides for a $25,000 exemption, which is deducted from a property’s assessed value if the owner qualifies.  Applicants who file by March 1, possess title to the real property, and are a bona fide Florida resident living in the home and making it their permanent home as of January 1, qualify for the exemption.  All persons receiving the standard exemption who continue to qualify for that exemption automatically qualify to receive the additional $25,000 homestead exemption.  The additional $25,000 exemption applies to taxable values great than $50,000 and up to $75,000, for all tax levies except school district levies. 


Every Florida resident receiving homestead exemption in Florida who gives up that homestead and wishes to transfer a Save Our Home assessment difference from the previous homestead, must re-establish a homestead exemption within two (2) years of January 1 of the year in which the person left the prior homestead. In addition, Form DR501T must be completed and submitted to the property appraiser in the county where the new homestead is located. The deadline due date for this form and new applications is March 1.


For information in Charlotte County, FL go to the web site at:  http://www.ccappraiser.com/exemption.asp.



Tammy Hayes, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL – tammyhayesre@gmail.com

Flood Hazard: check before you buy

Did you know that floods can occur even if you don’t live near a river, lake, or ocean?  Areas most prone to flooding are barrier and offshore islands, areas near rivers, creeks, or canals, and low areas including those with elevations of less than 10 feet above mean sea level.


If you are looking to buy a home in the state of Florida, you need to check the flood hazards before you buy.  One place you can begin is the FEMA web site at:  http://www.fema.gov/hazard/flood/info.shtm.  It will provide you with general flood information, flood insurance, and flood maps.


Another way to find out about flooding before you commit to buying a home is to check with the local county emergency management department.  In Charlotte County, FL the web site is:  http://www.charlottecountyfl.com/Emergency/Flooding/.  It provides a storm surge map, flood zone map, and general flood information such as flood safety.  For information on flood risk of a specific property go to:  www.ccgis.com.


If the property you plan to purchase is within a flood zone, you can purchase National Flood Insurance through a property insurance agent.  If the property is located in a flood plain, flood insurance is required when you obtain a mortgage.  Flood insurance is available on homes, condos, and mobile homes and most enclosed buildings.  If you are renting, you can get insurance on your contents.


Don’t get caught in a flood.  Know what you are getting into when you purchase a home. 


Tammy Hayes, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FLtammyhayesre@gmail.com

Use of a Humidistat

Who should have one?  If you own a home in Florida and you are away on vacation or are only here part of the year, you should have a humidistat. 

What is a humidistat?  It is a device used to control your air conditioning system that cycles the unit on and off based on humidity rather than temperature. 

Why use a humidistat?  Your home can develop unwanted moisture or mildew problems because of too much humidity which can be unhealthy to you and destructive to your home. 

What should a humidistat be set for?   If you set your humidistat at 70 percent relative humidity it will cycle the air conditioner even if the thermostat does not call for cooling.  The thermostat comes on based on heat and not humidity.  The thermostat and humidistat usually operate independently of the other’s control setting.  Check with the manufacturer to determine the best control setting during the time of year that you will be gone or check with your local air conditioning company. 

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, tammyhayesre@gmail.com

Title terms you need to know

What is a title?  What is title insurance?  What is a title company?  Many people are asking these questions and it is coming up even more frequently with the foreclosure mess.  Here is a list of definitions taken from Financial Real Estate Handbook Sixth Edition. 

  • Title - the evidence one has  of right to possession of land.
  • Title Company - an agency issuing the policy of a title insurance company.
  • Title Insurance Company - A company which issues insurance regarding title to real property. 
  • Title Insurance - Insurance against loss resulting from defects of title to a specifically described parcel of real property.   
  • Title Order - An order for the search of a title to some parcel of property, eventually leading to the issuance of a policy of title insurance.
  • Title Plant - A filing of all recorded information to real property, paralleling the records of the county recorder’s office, although the filing system may be different.
  • Title Search - A review of all recorded documents affecting a specific piece of property to determine the present condition of title. 
  • Defective Title - Title to real property which lacks some of the elements necessary to transfer good title.
  • Preliminary Title Report - A report showing condition of title before a sale or loan transaction.  After a completion of the transaction, a title insurance policy is issued.

When you have questions related to title, ask a real estate attorney or title company. 

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL  tammyhayesre@gmail.com

Lots for Sale, North Port, FL

Two side by side lots for sale in North Port, FL.  $8,000 each or $16,000 for the double lot.  Build your dream home today.  Vacant, residential lots, not cleared.  Close to shopping, schools, restaurants, beaches, and more.  Enjoy the Florida lifestyle.  Contact Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL.  tammyhayesre@gmail.com