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Tips For Investing In A Vacation Rental 

Buying a property to use as a vacation rental can be a smart investment. As long as you set money aside to cover basic repairs and maintenance, you can bring in a tidy profit by purchasing a property in a prime location.

When you are buying any type of real estate, the location should weigh heavily in your decision. This is especially true with vacation rentals. If you want to succeed with your investment, is absolutely essential that you buy a property that is located in a popular tourist area. Areas where people commonly vacation such as near Disney World or in the Florida Keys are prime choices since you will have a practically limitless stream of potential renters coming to the area.

Understanding How Vacation Rentals Work

To get the most out of your vacation rental, it is important to understand which types of properties are best suited to this business model. For instance, single-family homes can be used as vacation rentals. However, you may find it more beneficial to invest in a townhome, condo, or multifamily property, simply for the fact that they tend to require less hands-on maintenance.

The idea behind a vacation rental is to give people a home away from home. That means providing them with a fully furnished property that is located close to grocery stores, restaurants, or tourist attractions. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule such as secluded cabins in the mountains. However, for the most part, you will have the best luck if you choose a property that is conveniently located.

Investing In A Vacation Property

Before you jump in and buy a vacation property, it is important that you consider all of the following points:

1. As was previously mentioned, the location of the property is absolutely key to whether or not it will succeed. Ideal vacation rentals are located near popular tourist spots or in beautiful natural settings.

2. Think objectively about whether or not the property is actually something that people will want to rent. Try to put yourself in the mindset of a family who is looking for a vacation property. Are there any additions you could make that would make them more likely to choose your property rather than another? For instance, installing a sand volleyball court in the backyard may be a great choice if the property is located near a beach or has nice weather year round.

3. Before buying a vacation rental on the other side of the country, think about how you will manage it. You may prefer to buy something closer to home so that you can be more actively involved in the upkeep and maintenance. On the other hand, if you buy in a remote location, you can always hire a property management company to manage it for you.

4. Crunch the numbers before you buy to make sure that you can comfortably afford any payments on the new property. Don’t count on it being rented out continuously. Instead, make sure that you can handle the payments with absolutely no one renting it for at least a few months at a time.

5. Make sure the home has enough bedrooms and bathrooms to appeal to a wide variety of renters. The more bedrooms and bathrooms you have, the larger groups you can accommodate, which may make your property more appealing. Oftentimes people like to travel with their friends and family. Being able to all stay in one location can make the experience a lot more fun.

Regardless of where you buy your vacation property, it is important to work with a qualified real estate agent. They can help you evaluate homes to determine which ones offer the best rental potential. Additionally, they can help negotiate a great deal for you at closing time so that you don’t have to pay any more than necessary for the home.

About Upper Matecumbe Key

Upper Matecumbe Key, located (unsurprisingly) in the Upper Florida Keys, is situated between U.S. 1 mile markers 79 and 83.5. First incorporated in November 1997, it’s actually the original site of the first settlement of Islamorada. Part of Monroe County, it’s not too far from the mainland peninsula of the Sunshine State.

About Upper Matecumbe Key

Upper Matecumbe Key was settled by Richard H. Russell, who relocated his family from Marathon in the mid-1850s. It slowly grew into a family community in the years after. But, it wasn’t until 1942 the island first became equipped with electricity and fresh water. It’s suffered hurricanes and other inclement weather but remains a lively, active community today.

Things to Do in Upper Matecumbe Key, Florida

Upper Matecumbe Key is really part of the larger community of Islamorada, also known as the “Village of Islands.” So, there’s quite a bit to see, do, explore, and enjoy. Known for its fantastic weather, subtropical climate, and island time way of life, Upper Matecumbe Key and the surrounding keys have much to offer, including the following:

  1. Trails galore. Visit Indian Key Historic State Park. It’s 11-acres and there’s plenty to explore, at your own pace. Or, get over to Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, which boasts its own exposed coral reef. Also, be sure to check out Long Key State Park. Go canoeing through the lagoons or hike the trails.
  2. Theater of the Sea. Here, you can take in a dolphin show or enjoy live music. (By the way, there’s more than dolphins, there’s also stingrays, sea lions.) The ICE Amphitheater at Founders Park
  3. Learn some Key history. Did you get that? Visit the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center and go back in time. See artifacts and discover tools from the past. And, there’s also shipwrecks in and around the area.
  4. Enjoy a picnic. Anne’s Beach or Islamorada Library Beach are two great destinations for this favorite American pastime. Anne’s Beach features a boardwalk which winds through the mangroves.

Fish, dive, snorkel, sail, or power boat. Okay, this is the Florida Keys. So, there’s a lot of things to do on the water. Which means there’s always plenty to do on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. For anglers of all skills, there are all kinds of fishing to do here. Or, dive right in and explore the coral by scuba or snorkel. You can also enjoy a sail or a trip out on a power boat.

2018 Islamorada Cost of Living added 10-1-2018

Beautiful Islamorada. Located in the Florida Keys and also called Village of Islands, it boasts the title of the sport-fishing capital of the world. Islamorada is more than just a dream vacation destination, it’s also home to about 6,700+ people. And, you could be one of its lucky residents. That’s right. You, living in the paradise known as Islamorada. But, you’re probably wondering, isn’t it too expensive? The answer is “No.” Read on to learn about the cost of living in Islamorada.

2018 Islamorada Cost of Living

Islamorada is part of the Florida Keys, as such, residents delight in the super mild winters. They love the spring and fall seasons as these are nothing less than spectacular. Summers are warm and breezy, with winds sweeping across the island from both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Islamorada is actually a group of five islands. It’s made up of Tea Table Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Windley Key, and Plantation Key. And, since these are grouped together, there’s relatively little difference in the cost of living in Islamorada at-large. Below is a breakdown of the cost of living in Islamorada in 2018.

The baseline is a score of 100. This number represents the national average. So, the state of Florida and the various islands in the Florida Keys will score differently, depending on many factors.

Here’s the cost of living comparison for Islamorada and how it fares among its residents:

  1. The healthcare cost score for Islamorada comes in at an impressive 97 (while the Sunshine State is a bit higher, at 98).
  2. The cost of utilities in Islamorada is also less expensive, with a score of 99. By comparison, the state average is higher, 103.
  3. The costs of goods and services in Islamorada also performs fairly well, coming in at 101. The number for the peninsula at large is 99.
  4. The cost of groceries in Islamorada is a bit higher (since it is a collection of tropical islands), with a score of 105. Comparatively, Florida ranks right in-line with the national number of 100.
  5. The cost of transportation in Islamorada is also more expensive. (Here again, it’s the geography and location which play a large role.) Transportation costs in Islamorada come in at 112. The state of Florida and the national numbers are just under 100.

Now, the cost of housing in Islamorada is the highest. But, it’s more expensive because of the location and the climate, coming in at 251. It’s a small price to pay to live in a vacation paradise, year-round, though.

Upper Keys Real Estate Articles

Things to Do in Islamorada

Islamorada Points of Interest 9-4-2018

Islamorada, known as the “village of islands,” as well as the “sports fishing capital of the world, is located in the Upper Florida Keys. Situated to the southwest of Miami, about 85 miles and approximately an hour and forty minutes away, Islamorada offers wonderful weather, superb scenery, and a whole lot more. With the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Gulf of Mexico on the west, there’s a constant sea breeze drifting. But, it’s not just about the absolutely spectacular weather. There’s plenty to see and do in and around Islamorada.

Islamorada Points of Interest

If you are thinking about traveling to the Florida Keys, particularly the Upper Keys, you’re probably wondering what there is to see and do in the area. Of course, fresh seafood is one of the biggest draws. The nightlife and entertainment are also very popular. Although, this certainly does not complete the list. There are plenty of things to see and do in and around Islamorada. So, let’s take a look at the most interesting and fun points in Islamorada:

  1. Indian Key Historic State Park. Here, you’ll find remains of shipwrecks, dating back to the early 19th century or about the 1803s. Also, take a leisurely hike on the trails which wind around the interior of the island.
  2. Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park. This is quite unique and exciting because it is the site of an exposed coral reef. And, it previously served as a quarry for the railroad built from the mainland peninsula to the islands.
  3. Long Key State Park. Here, you can canoe or kayak, exploring lagoons. There’s also an opportunity to hike about and to check out an observation tower. This is also a great spot for bonefishing.
  4. Robbie’s Marina. If you want to interact with nature, you can feed tarpon here. Additionally, it’s a thrill to experience Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park, where you can snorkel or take a tour.
  5. Theater of the Sea. This is a very popular attraction in the area. It’s where you can see a dolphin and sea lion show. You can also swim with dolphins, along with some other sea creatures, such as stingrays and sea lions.
  6. Florida Keys History of Diving Museum. This is where you can immerse in nearly 3,000 years of diving history. Plus, you’ll see many more exhibits.
  7. Anne’s Beach or Islamorada Library Beach. These are great spots for picnicking. It’s along the roadside and also offers to the sun, as well as swimming.

5 Reasons You’ll Love Living in Islamorada  ADDED 8-7-2018

Thinking of living in Islamorada? Why not? While it might seem like an unachievable or unrealistic dream, that’s simply not the case at all. But, what exactly can you expect from life in Islamorada? What’s it really like living in the Florida Keys? Well, there are pros and cons, just as with anything else. However, the advantages and benefits are simply too good to ignore. So, let’s take a look at the top five reasons you’ll love living in Islamorada.

5 Reasons You’ll Love Living in Islamorada

Known as the “village of islands,” comprising six islands, Islamorada is also known as the “Sportfishing capital of the world.” And, it definitely lives up to that moniker. Although, there’s a lot more to see and do. Living in Islamorada is unlike anything you’ve probably experienced before (even if you’ve already visited the area). Here are the top reasons to call Islamorada home:

  1. The island lifestyle. You’ve probably heard about this phenomenon before. But, if you haven’t experienced it, you’re in for a real treat. Yes, it is real and yes, it is remarkable. Things move at a slower pace here, a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the city. You’ll find it’s much easier to relax and it’s a relatively stress-free environment.
  2. Great property appreciation. While properties are more expensive here (due to the scarcity of land), property values are strong. As a result, appreciation occurs at a faster rate. That translates into more asset wealth, particularly over time.
  3. Ease of getting around. Most residents walk and drive their own cars. Bikes are also quite prominent. But, what is notably absent here are big-time traffic jams and congestion.
  4. Entertainment and activities galore. Fish. Kayak. Snorkel. Dive. Swim. Take in a sunset or be inspired by a sunrise. Volleyball and paddleboard. Or, take in a live show. Here in Islamorada, there’s always something to see and do.
  5. The weather. Sunshine is plentiful here and winters are super mild. Which means you can get out just about every day of the year. Summers are warm and balmy, while the fall and spring seasons are nothing short of incredible.

Here’s a bonus reason you’ll love living in Islamorada — there is no state income tax in the Sunshine State. So, you keep more of what you earn. And, that’s more for you to enjoy, however you choose. (Plus, Florida is a very business-friendly state, which means ample opportunity to start living your own dream.)

Florida Keys Waterfront Homes for Sale added 7-3-2018

Florida Keys waterfront homes are a great investment asset, considering all the pertinent factors. After all, real estate is all about: location, location, location. And, what better location than the Florida Keys, particularly the village islands of Islamorada.

Florida Keys Waterfront Homes for Sale

Florida Keys waterfront homes not only command a highly desirable location, but also, climate, recreation, entertainment, and so much more. Located in the Upper Keys, south of Miami, Islamorada — also known as the “Village of Islands” — boasts the title of Sports Fishing Capital of the World.

Islamorada is actually comprised of different keys, including Islamorada, Plantation, Lower Matecombe, Indian Key, and Lignumvitae Key.

So, what makes Islamorada and the Upper Keys so special? Let’s start with the waterfront properties. Here, there are single family homes, some vacant land, and more choices.

One of the best aspects of waterfront homes in the Keys is dual use. Owners can easily rent their properties out for premium prices. And, have a dedicated vacation spot, too boot. Think about it, owning a home in a subtropical paradise with a high rate of appreciation, right in the middle of one of the most sought-after markets in the entire country.

Plus, there are all the things to see and do. And, recreation is available practically every day of the year, thanks to the wonderful weather. Sail, scuba, kayak, bike, hike, sunbathe, snorkel, take in a show, see a movie, go to a concert, and live the island lifestyle whenever you like.

Florida Keys Waterfront Home Ownership Benefits

There are several advantages to owning a Florida Keys waterfront property. Not only is a great asset, it gives you a whole lot of options. Here are the biggest Florida Keys waterfront homeownership benefits:

  1. Own prime real estate. Here, a property is scarce, although there are still some lots in the Florida Keys. Which means since land is at a premium, homes are snatched up quickly after going on the market. And, you enjoy a strong rate of appreciation.
  2. Have a dedicated place to stay. When you own a waterfront home in the Florida Keys, particularly such a hot spot as Islamorada, you don’t have to worry about booking accommodations because you have a dedicated place to stay.
  3. Create a passive rental income. It’s also possible to rent out your house and gain a passive income. Plus, you can easily take advantage of several tax write-offs to make it even more lucrative.

Tips for Buying a Condo

There are several benefits of condo living. Many first-time homebuyers and even those who’ve bought residential real estate before look into a number of possibilities These include location, like Islamorada in the Florida Keys, size, floor plan, and more. But, if you’re considering living in Islamorada in the Upper Keys, you might wonder what options are available.

Of course, there are single-family properties and there are also condos. So, what’s the deal with condos and what should you know about buying one?

What to Know about Buying a Condo

Let’s start with a few compromises. While condo living offers a number of advantages, there are some downsides. For instance, size is usually one. Condos are generally smaller in square footage. And, condos tend to appreciate at a lower rate. Then, there are the fees.

However, these few things aren’t nearly enough to overshadow the advantages. There are simply more good things about condo living than any negatives.

Benefits of Condo Living

Condo living is a great choice because it offers some wonderful benefits. So, let’s take a quick look at why buying a condo, particularly in Islamorada, is an ideal situation:

  1. Far less maintenance. Owning a single-family home means having to keep up with a whole bunch of regular maintenance. But, when you own a condo, it’s practically a maintenance-free lifestyle. The common areas are kept up by the HOA so you don’t need to worry about it.
  2. Major costs are shared. If you own a single-family property, you’ll at some point have to replace the roof and incur other really large expenses. That’s not the case when you own a condo because those costs are shared by all residents. Which means you don’t have to foot the entire bill when it comes to those large expenses.
  3. Equipped with amenities. Condo communities are typically equipped with several amenities. These generally include a pool, clubhouse, tennis and/or basketball courts, along with other amenities.
  4. The initial purchase price is smaller. Another benefit to owning a condo is that you’ll probably pay less for a great location. That’s the whole idea behind condo communities, by the way. Since there are many people on one tract of land, everyone pays less to own a home in a highly desirable location. Last but certainly not least, security is generally another benefit. Since it’s a community, there’s usually a security presence on-site. And, here again, location puts you right where most people want to

Islamorada Real Estate Market

The Islamorada real estate market is a vibrant one. Here, you’ll find plenty of choices in several price ranges. Not surprisingly, the real estate scene here is very diverse. With a gorgeous backdrop, super mild winters, balmy summers, and plenty of opportunities, Islamorada is a great place to live, work, and play. So, it’s little wonder why it’s one of the most desirable places to call home.

The Islamorada Real Estate market

Not surprisingly, the Islamorada real estate market is a highly active one. It’s enjoyed one of the biggest rebounds since the downturn of 2008 to 2009. It began its recovery thereafter and has since enjoyed a strong showing. Of course, there were dips along the way but the overall trend is an upward trajectory.

The median sales price in Islamorada started its recovery in late 2012, in the upper $300,000s. It rose and fell slightly through 2013, with late 2014 and mid-2015 experiencing the largest decrease. Then, it spiked again in the summer of 2016 and is now again on the rise.

Advantages of Living in Islamorada in the Florida Keys

Aside from property values, there are other good reasons to live in Islamorada. Here are some of the biggest benefits of living in Islamorada:

  1. Weather. Okay, let’s start with the most obvious attraction — the incredible weather. Here, winter is virtually non-existent. And, spring and fall are incredibly delightful. Summers are warm and breezy, to boot.
  2. Location. Now, we’ll get into location. Here in Islamorada, you’re not too far away from the mainland peninsula but you’re also not so far south. Location is the number one factor in real estate and here, location is king.
  3. Recreation. Because the weather is so wonderful, there’s ample time to enjoy many recreational activities. That translates directly into a more healthy lifestyle. Practically any day or night, you can bike, run, kayak, swim, paddle board, walk, and much more.
  4. Less stress. Here in Islamorada, like most of the Florida Keys, there’s a distinct island feel or island time. Life just moves slower down here and it’s not plagued by the common problems so prevalent in the big cities.
  5. Strong property appreciation. Since Islamorada is in the Florida Keys, it claims some of the strongest property appreciation and that won’t change in the future.
  6. Environment. Living in Islamorada means you’ll feel like you’re on vacation on a daily basis. Here, work doesn’t feel unfurling or unduly stressful. Instead, you feel refreshed, powered by good vibes, superb weather, and natural beauty.

Things to Do in Key Largo added 4-5-2018

There are many things to do in Key Largo. Plus, a whole lot to experience and plenty of sightseeing, as well. Located in the Upper Keys about an hour from Miami, Key Largo is known for its tropical climate, gentle breezes, and warm, gorgeous waters. Of course, many people come here for the island experience and to get away from the cold. But, it much more than a warm environment. Key Largo has a lot to see and do and it’s not possible to take it all in on one single trip.

Things to Do in Key Largo

Things to do in Key Largo include sunsets, sunrises, fishing, boating, snorkeling, scuba, and sightseeing. However, this doesn’t even scratch the surface. So, let’s take a look at more things to do in Key Largo:

  1. Kayaking. Some experiences are worth slowing down and taking time out. That’s particularly true in the case of kayaking. Take a charter to see Key Largo in a whole different light. Get up close to marine life and much more. Kayaking is a great way to get in touch with nature while relaxing all the while.
  2. Snorkel Charters. To go a bit further, hop out of the kayak and get right into the water. Snorkel about to discover even more than you can on the surface. Emerge into an entirely different and wonderful world.
  3. Fishing. Of course, there’s always the thrill of the big catch. You can join a charter and go out on the water to test your angling skill. Here, you’ll experience more than just a day out. This is an opportunity to see dolphins in the wild, as well as many more marine species.
  4. Scuba diving. The Florida Keys are well-known for the treasure trove which lies right below the waves and into the deep. Here, shipwrecks are found all over, along with beautiful coral reefs. Plus, you’ll swim among the creatures large and small.
  5. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Speaking of coral, there’s plenty of it here. But, you don’t have to snorkel or scuba to see it in-person. Instead, take a glass-bottom boat and see it all.
  6. Dolphin Plus Bayside. For those who want to learn more about some of the most adorable, smartest, and beloved marine mammals, this is the place to go. Learn about these wonderful creatures and get up close. Of course, there’s also Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park and Botanic Gardens at Kona Kai

Islamorada Real Estate Market added 3-1-2018

The Islamorada real estate market is a complex one. And, with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, it only gets more complicated. But, that strange dynamic also presents some really big opportunities. Islamorada, or Village of Islands, is quite unique, even in the Florida Keys, because of its location.

Islamorada encompasses five islands of the entire archipelago and is known far and wide for its sports fishing and coral reefs. It’s also one of the most desirable locations to live, not only in the Sunshine State, but all of Florida, and indeed, the whole country. Of course, with its wonderful weather, its plethora of outdoor recreation, and its outright stress-free charm, Islamorada is a great place to call home. So, let’s take a look at the Islamorada residential real estate market and how it’s performing, overall.


Benefits of Using a Real Estate Team added 2-1-2018

There are several compelling benefits of using a real estate team, instead of just a single agent. This is even more true, particularly for home sellers. Using a dedicated real estate team, like the KellerPorter Team, in the upper Florida Keys, gives you some distinct advantages. And, you ought to be fully aware of how much working with an experienced real estate team can help you sell your property.

When it comes to selling real estate, especially luxury properties in the upper Florida Keys, you need every bit of advantage possible. Here, competition is fierce. But, that’s okay, if you go the right route. Let’s face it, if you decide to sell your home, you obviously want to get the biggest return on investment. And, you also want the process to go smoothly, so you aren’t subjected to a bunch of unnecessary stress. So, when you’re ready to sell, you might wonder whether to go with a team or an individual agent. Here are the biggest benefits of using a real estate team rather than just a single agent:

  1. A team can sell your home faster. There’s a lot that goes into selling a house. Setting a listing price, getting promotional materials together, staging, showings, email, and phone inquiries, inspections, and much more. With a team, you’ll have a big advantage because you won’t have to rely on a single individual. Instead, you’ll have more than one go-to person.
  2. You won’t get lost in the shuffle. Speaking of a team, another benefit of working with a real estate team, instead of a single agent, is that your home won’t get lost in the shuffle. In other words, other listings won’t take priority over yours. Simply put, a team can handle more than one transaction.
  3. You’ll get a lot more traffic through your house. With a team, you’ll have access to a bigger pool of potential buyers. That means more eyes on your property and of course, more interested people actually touring the house.
  4. You’ll enjoy more hands on deck. That is to say, a team brings more expertise to the table. The more experienced people you have working to sell your home, the better. This is a great way to multitask and not miss things along the way.
  5. You won’t pay any extra to get the extra attention. Perhaps the biggest benefit to using a real estate team is that you don’t pay extra to get the extra effort.

Recreational Options in Islamorada Florida added 1-7-2018

Islamorada, part of the Upper Florida Keys, also known as the “Village of Islands,” is one great place to visit. Or, for those adventurous enough, a wonderful place to call home. What most attracts visitors and residents alike to Islamorada is its many recreational options. Being in such a terrific climate and situated between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, you can rest assured there’s no lack of entertainment and excitement.

Recreational Options in Islamorada Florida

Part of Monroe County, Florida, Islamorada combines a total of five different islands into its overall community. These islands include Tea Table Key, Plantation Key, Windley Key, and both Upper and Lower Matecumbe keys. Altogether, there are just over 6 ½ total square miles. But, within that seeming small area lies a wonderful treasure trove of things to see and do.

Whether you like to just stroll along a beach, take in a sunset, or get out alongside nature, there’s plenty waiting for you in Islamorada. Here are some of the top recreational options in Islamorada, Florida:

  1. Take a family boat tour. Hop aboard and take to the waves. Experience the sea in all its glory. You’ll be able to do things like snorkel, visit sandbars, sightsee, take a fascinating eco-tour, and plenty more. This is some great family entertainment and it’s sure to wow everyone.
  2. Go out on a fishing charter. There’s a good reason Islamorada is known as the “Sports Fish Capital of the World.” If you really want to test your skill, go out on a fishing charter. But, be prepared to do battle. This isn’t just simple angeling, it’s an adventure.
  3. Visit Theater of the Sea. If you want to see a dolphin show, swim with dolphins, and delight in all this and more, be sure to plan a trip to visit the Theater of the Sea.
  4. Snorkel or scuba. For those who really want to experience the beauty of the clear blue water, there’s no substitute for diving and snorkeling. Choose your own adventure and see marine life up close. Plus, you might even find a few treasures to take back home.
  5. Kayak. Another option for getting out on the water is kayaking. This is a wonderful way to experience the nature Islamorada has to offer at a slower, relaxed pace

Of course, you can always take on a watersport. Parasail, powerboat, take out a personal watercraft. Or, water ski. All of this and more are just here and waiting for you, right in Islamorada with The

Benefits of Owning a Vacation Rental added 12-1-2017

There are several tax benefits of owning a vacation rental property. But, there are also additional life advantages of owning a vacation rental. First and foremost, you have a dedicated place to stay at your favorite getaway spot. That means not having to bother with hotel reservations and comparing rates and amenities. Also, you feel free to come and go. Plus, you can offer it to family and friends. But, it does provide some wonderful tax benefits, as well.

Tax Benefits of Owning a Vacation Rental

The tax benefits of owning a vacation rental make it a better asset. If you play your cards right, you can enjoy it more and earn a healthy return on investment. While providing a place to escape and unwind, a vacation rental also serves as a place to create lifetime memories. But, it gets even better when you factor in its tax advantages. Here are some of the most compelling tax benefits of owning a vacation rental property:

  1. Deduct mortgage interest. This is a popular write off for homeowners and it likewise applies to your rental home. (That is, up to a total of $1 million in home loan debt.) So, if both homes have a total of less than $1 million, you can take the mortgage interest deduction on both residences. That’s certainly a good amount of savings to enjoy.
  2. Home improvements and repairs. No house is perfect. And, there are always projects to provide a little more function and/or creature comfort. You can deduct home equity loan and credit line interest. So, if your vacation rental is a fixer upper or just needs some TLC here and there, you can write those expenses off. However, the IRS does set some limitations on these. Make sure to consult an experienced, professional tax adviser before you begin to swing the hammer.
  3. Property taxes. You have to pay property taxes on your primary residence and your vacation rental. But, you can also write off your second house’s property taxes. What’s more, unlike the mortgage interest deduction, there’s no limit.
  4. Rental income. The great thing about owning a second home is that you can always escape to your other property when desired. But, why not earn a little income off of it when you’re at your primary residence? If you rent for 14 days or less per year, you’ll pay zero in income taxes. However, if you rent it for more than 14 days, you’re going to do more math when it comes to tax time.

When You Should/Shouldn’t Refinance Your Mortgage: added 11-1-2017

Thinking about refinancing your mortgage? Then, you should know if it’s a viable and smart thing to do. Of course, there are different considerations to take into account. First and foremost is the reason why. It might sound all too obvious but if it’s just to lower your rate, it just might not be a wise move. That’s why you should know when it’s time or isn’t time to refinance your mortgage.

When You Should/Shouldn’t Refinance Your Mortgage: 5 Considerations

There’s no question interest rates are slowly creeping up. But, this doesn’t mean that is the only possible trend. However, it is likely or probable that home loan interest rates will continue to incrementally rise. But, this shouldn’t be the sole reason to jump into a refinance.

What’s more, it’s very important to know about a very basic misconception. Refinancing isn’t redoing a mortgage or modifying an existing mortgage, it’s getting an entirely new home loan. Now, let’s look at five key things to consider about refinancing your mortgage:

● What are the available products? As mentioned, refinancing means applying for a new home loan. It is not simply “redoing” your existing mortgage. So, you need to examine all available options. The best are fixed-rate traditional, conforming mortgages. FHA fixed-rate is a little more pricey but still quite fair. However, adjustable rate, balloon, jumbo, and even VA mortgages aren’t nearly as good a deal. If possible, stay away from these and USDA loans, as well.
● How long do you plan to stay put? As a rule of thumb, if you’re going to stay in your house for four to five years or more, it’s generally worthwhile to refinance. But, this isn’t always the case. For instance, if you just move down a quarter point but can put a little extra toward the principal each month, it’s probably better to focus on amortization through extra principal payments.
● What costs must you pay out of pocket? Since refinancing is getting a whole new home loan, that means you’ll pay all those fees known as closing costs. Sure, you can roll the closing costs into your monthly mortgage payment. But, do you really want to finance a few thousands of dollars on top of the principal?
● What’s your home equity/appreciation? Another consideration is your home’s equity position and its appreciation rate. If you have enough equity and your property is appreciating well, it might be a good idea to refinance if you’re getting a lower rate.

Lastly, how is your credit? After all, you are applying for a new mortgage. So, if your credit score isn’t good, you’ll pay more.

3 Reasons Why Local Real Estate Websites Are Better Than National Ones added 10-4-2017

There are a number of reasons why local real estate websites are better than national ones. But, there are three core reasons why it’s far better to go with a local real estate website over a national one. It’s no secret the real estate industry is a highly competitive one. And, real estate professionals need every advantage. Just a little edge can be more than enough to succeed. Also, buyers and sellers need to be in-the-know and local simply outperforms national on practically every level.

3 Reasons Why Local Real Estate Websites Are Better Than National Ones

Buyers and sellers need every scrap of information they can get when entering the real estate market. And, it’s important to understand just how national sites work in relation to local web properties.

For instance, Zillow is a popular website. It pulls data from all kinds of sources. Sometimes, dozens, scores, or even hundreds. Sites like Zillow are aggregators, which collect information from many sources. Now, that sounds like it’s a big advantage, but as you’ll soon see, it’s actually a disadvantage. (Particularly to buyers and sellers.)

You’ve probably heard the old cliche about real estate being all about three things: location, location, location. The fact of the matter is, there’s a lot of truth to that adage. It simply distills it down to the simplest terms. And, local even extends beyond neighborhoods and communities. It crosses over into the web. Here are three compelling reasons why local real estate websites are better than national ones:

1. Highly improved local data. Even though sites like Zillow pull information from a large number of sources, it’s not usually vetted or rightly analyzed. Here’s an example. Search for a particular home on Zillow and then do so through a local real estate site. You’ll find a wealth of information on the latter but only generalities on the former. That’s because local sites are managed by local real estate professionals who have a vested interest in supplying the best information possible.
2. Ads are a telltale sign of motivation. If you pull up a national real estate website, you’ll see advertisements. That’s because the web property is earning ad revenue. But, go to a local real estate site and you won’t see ads. Here again, it’s because local real estate professionals who have a vested interest in supplying the best information possible.
3. Local means local. National is generally big picture. Local is micro-focus. It means an actual local professional is behind the site. Meaning, you’re getting the right information.

8 Tips for Buying a Luxury Home added 9-3-2017

Buying a luxury home isn’t the same as purchasing a traditional residence. It contains more space, more amenities, creature comforts, and it’s in a prime location. All of this means a higher price but it’s worthwhile because it’s a terrific long-term investment. However, you should understand that when you buy a luxury home, you need to make a smart and informed decision.

8 Tips for Buying a Luxury Home

Buying a luxury home, whether it’s a downtown highrise penthouse, on a beach or lake, or on a private golf course, is quite different from purchasing a normal house. Because it comes with a higher entry price, you need to ensure it’s money well invested. Here are eight tips for buying a luxury home:

1. Learn the buying process. When you enter the luxury home market, you’ll step into a smaller pool of competitor buyers and fewer sellers. This inherently means you won’t easily find a deal as this type of market experiences less inventory. Since there are fewer listings, set prices are likely to be what you’ll pay. But, that doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as negotiation — you just need to know when it’s warranted.
2. Get to know the neighborhood. Views are particularly important to luxury home buyers. So, you want an established neighborhood and one that’s not going to change in the near or even distant future. In other words, you don’t want to buy a luxury home with a great view only to learn future development will ruin that view.
3. Set your priorities. By knowing what amenities you need, you know which are less important. This is critical because it means being able to discern which properties are in play and which don’t make your list.
4. Look into financing options. You should know your financing options, as well as your carry costs. Plan on a downpayment of at least 20 percent and go with a 20 or 15 year fixed rate mortgage.
5. Work with an experienced real estate professional. Someone who knows the luxury home market is an invaluable asset. He or she should have plenty of luxury home sales in their record so they can best advise you.
6. Be patient, take your time. Do not rush into a house. By the same token, don’t waste time wringing your hands over losing out to another buyer. Patience will go a long way and will pay off.
7. Choose a home with solid resale potential. When you are down to just a few choices, go with the house that will deliver a strong ROI.
Don’t get overextended. No matter the amount you qualify for, don’t get overextended. Go for a mortgage that’s 25 to 30 perc

Advantages of Owning Luxury Waterfront Real Estate in the Upper Florida Keys added 8-2-2017

Owning a luxury waterfront property in the Upper Keys is a great investment and for many more reasons than one would suppose. Sure, luxury waterfront property anywhere beats out landlocked residences but in the Upper Keys, there’s just more to it.

Advantages of Owning Luxury Waterfront Real Estate in the Upper Florida Keys

Everyone knows owning real estate is a wonderful long-term investment because of its extensive track record. After all, it’s part of many savvy investors’ portfolios and there’s a good reason why that is so. Let’s take a look at the many advantages of owning luxury waterfront real estate in the Upper Florida Keys:

● Highly desirable location. This is perhaps the most obvious but it bears inclusion because when compared to other locations, there’s certainly a clear winner. The Upper Keys are a huge destination location simply because of the super mild winters, warm spring and fall seasons, and breezy, balmy summers. That makes the Keys an ideal location, regardless of the season.
● Nearby Miami. For those who love to embrace the tropical island life, the Florida Keys are a perfect solution. But, if you don’t want to be too far from all the action of a bustling, vibrant metropolis, Miami is right around the corner. Just the right distance makes it even better.
● Wonderful climate. We’ve just touched on the climate but it’s worth delving a little further. Because the Upper Florida Keys are right off the coast of the peninsula, the islands enjoy being situated right between two beautiful bodies of water — the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. That means there’s always a sea breeze, so it means a superlative climate. Warm summers, very mild winters and simply delightful in the fall and spring.
● Great resale potential. Owning luxury waterfront real estate in the Upper Florida Keys means having powerful resale prowess, whenever it’s time. The fact of the matter is, you’ll probably never leave but if the situation does arise, you’ll rake in a robust return on investment.
● Low property taxes. Yet another benefit of owning luxury waterfront property in the Florida Keys is paying significantly less in property taxes. Property taxes in Florida are relatively low compared to much of the rest of the country — particularly in the northeast.
● No state income tax. If you’d like to keep more of what you work so hard to earn, then the Sunshine State is for you. There’s no state income tax in Florida and that really sweetens the proposition of owning luxury waterfront property in the Upper Keys.

Advantages of Investing in Islamorada Real Estate added 7-3-2017

There are several advantages of investing in Islamorada real estate. Although many people suppose it’s just too expensive or their dream isn’t possible, that’s really not the case at all. The truth is, Islamorada presents a great opportunity; not only financially, but has other benefits, as well. So, if you’re considering buying Islamorada real estate, you should be in the know about its big benefits.

Advantages of Investing in Islamorada Real Estate

As part of the gorgeous Florida Keys, Islamorada, which means “village of islands,” is a great place to own a home. Be it a primary residence, a second home, vacation home, or even a dedicated rental property, there’s few places more beautiful and fun loving than Islamorada. And, because tourism contributes largely to the local economy, there’s plenty of opportunity for property investors. Here are some of the key advantages of investing in Islamorada real estate:

● Low property taxes. Although Florida is the third most populous state and continues to grow, property taxes in the Sunshine State remain relatively low –, particularly when compared to the northeast and west coasts. Low property taxes are indeed attractive and help make Islamorada real estate investing savvier.
● No state income tax. Along with relatively low property taxes, the state of Florida does not have a state income tax. That means you keep more of what you earn. And, it also means if you chose to rent out the property, you won’t have to pay taxes to the state of Florida for that income.
● A very business-friendly environment. Florida is actually one of a few states which greatly benefit from its business-friendly environment. For this reason, many corporations relocate their headquarters to the peninsula, in order to take advantage.
● Lots of tourism. It’s no secret much of Florida’s economy is powered by tourism. And, since Islamorada is right in the Florida Keys, tourists bring lots and lots of money into the local economy. So, if you foray into Islamorada real estate investing, you can easily count on renting the property out, if you so choose. You can even opt to rent it out periodically when you’re not in town.
● Significant property appreciation. Because Islamorada is comprised of islands, the land is a finite resource. And, that means hefty property appreciation to enjoy year after year.

Along with these benefits, you can also take advantage of tax deductions and/or credits. For instance, the IRS allows write-offs for things such as mortgage interest, utilities, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and more. For help finding the best Islamorada Real Estate please contact us

What to Know about Trust Deeds 6-2-2017

What’s there to know about trust deeds? And why does it matter, you might ask? Well, there are plenty of terms in the real estate and legal world many of us here but don’t really understand. You might have heard the term “trust deeds,” but are unsure as to its actual meaning. That’s okay, here you’ll find what you need to know about trust deeds.

What to Know about Trust Deeds

Trust deeds, also known as “deeds of trust,” are simply a collateral agreement. Like traditional mortgage instruments, trust deeds assign asset collateral in a real estate contract.

For instance, when a person finances a house with a home loan, he or she is pledging that particular property as collateral. The residence serves as a guarantee of payment to the lender. If he or she as a borrower fails to pay their monthly mortgage obligation, the lender goes through a legal process to possess the property. This is the foreclosure process and it differs from state to state.

So, how do trust deeds differ from traditional mortgages? The answer is, a third-party is involved in the deal. In a traditional mortgage, the titled to the borrower (which is why the lender must use the foreclosure process to claim legal possession). However, trust deeds assign the title to trustees, hence the name.

The trustee receives title to the property being financed. Usually, this is a form of seller or owner financing. The owner of the property puts the title in the name of a trustee. Typically, the buyer, who is also a borrower, pays a predetermined sum until the “loan” is paid-in-full (or reaches certain criteria).

You might wonder, what are the advantages of a trust deed? And, when are these agreements used? Here are some benefits of trust deeds:

● Optional down payment. When a deed of trust is used between a seller and buyer, there does not have to be a down payment. However, there typically is a down payment to serve as a confirmation to the seller of the buyer’s seriousness.
● Optional credit check. With trust deeds, there is no real need for a credit check. Although this does not mean the seller will not conduct a credit check, it could be unnecessary.
● Competitive interest rate. The seller can offer a low-interest rate, which is comparative or less expensive than a traditional lender. It’s also possible to negotiate a low-interest rate.
● No lender restrictions. Most lenders have restrictions in place, which limit the number of qualified buyers. But with deeds of trust, these are optional. For any help with this regarding Islamorada Real Estate please contact us

Things to Do in Islamorada added 5-2-2017

Islamorada, the “Village of Islands,” located in the beautiful Florida Keys, is a great place to visit and even better place to live, work, and play. It’s known for its laidback way of life and of course, wonderful weather. Plus, there are so many things to do in Islamorada. Things to Do in Islamorada Although only 20 miles in length and amazingly a small and narrow as 150 wide in some locations, Islamorada is actually a chain of islands in the Florida Keys which formally incorporated in late 1997. But, it’s home to much to see and do, aside from its well-known beaches, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, sunsets, and much more.
Here are just some of the things to do in Islamorada:

  1. Visit the parks. Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park, Library Beach Park, Founders Park, and Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park are all located in Islamorada. And, each has something unique and fun to offer visitors. So, when you go to Islamorada, take some time to smell the proverbial roses and enjoy these wonderful natural beauties.
  2. Explore to your heart’s content. Islamorada is not only home to some great parks, it’s also home to shipwrecks and mangroves. You’ll find these intriguing to say the least. There are also a number of trails to explore in and around Islamorada.
  3. Be entertained. See a dolphin show or take in a live show. Visit the Theater of the Sea to enjoy the antics of dolphins and sea lions. This is also a historic location, being the second oldest marine mammal facility on the entire globe.
  4. Go back in time. Florida Keys History of Diving Museum and the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center are great places to time travel. You’ll learn much about the history of the Florida Keys and diving while having fun all the while.
  5. Picnic, sunbathe and stroll about. Anne’s Beach and Islamorada Library Beach are great places to soak in the sun, stroll down a boardwalk, and have a bite to eat. Take a quick dip while you’re there and enjoy the wonderful water.

If you like thrills, then you might be interested in trying parasailing and/or paragliding. See Islamorada in a whole different way, from the air. And for those who like to keep things simple, there’s always the Old Road Gallery, Rain Barrel Artisan Village, and Lobster Trap Art Gallery. Or, go kayaking, canoeing, or power boating. You can even hop on a personal watercraft (PWC) and explore at your own pace.


How to Profit from Rental Properties added 4-3-2017

There’s a lot of ways to invest to increase income and build wealth. Some prefer mutual funds, while others like real estate. Some also invest in a combination of both. But, if you want to become a rental property investor, you definitely want it to be a profitable venture. Unfortunately, too many first-time rental homeowners make a number of mistakes. But, you don’t have to be another sad statistic. You just need to know the keys of how to profit from rental properties.

How to Profit from Rental Properties

Several potential pitfalls await all real estate investors. If you know what these are before you make the leap, you’ll be far ahead of the curve. It all comes down to thinking long-term. Here’s how to profit from rental properties:

● Be sure to know your monthly carry costs. Before you even begin your rental home investment property house hunt, you should be in-the-know about its monthly carry costs. These include, but are not limited to: the mortgage, insurance, property taxes, maintenance, and property management. Get a good grip on this before you enter the market to buy a rental home.
● Don’t buy unless the price is right. There’s a rule of thumb when it comes to purchasing an investment rental property: the money is made at the buy. In other words, if you aren’t getting a really good deal, it’s best to keep on looking until you find one. The less exposure you have going in, the better.
● Hire a reliable, reputable property management service. Don’t talk yourself into being a landlord. It’s just not what you think it is and it is for this reason, savvy rental property investors hire property managers. There are many benefits, marketing, including tenant screening, maintenance, rent collection, and much more.
● Build a vacancy fund. Make no mistake about it, you will experience vacancy periods. So, be proactive and build a vacancy fund of three to six months’ of carrying costs. This way, you’ll have peace-of-mind when it’s not rented out.
● Hire a reliable, reputable tax professional. Another huge benefit you’ll enjoy is having an experienced tax professional at your disposal. After all, no one likes doing their taxes and you’ll get the best possible outcome.
Don’t panic during market fluctuations. Although the real estate market continues to show great health signs nationwide, local dynamics can drive down the value of a home. If this does happen, do not panic. By doing the above, you’ll have enough to endure until it starts regaining value

5 Reasons to Consider a Move to the Upper Florida Keys added 3-2-2017

Another long, cold winter is over but there are plenty more dreary seasons in the years ahead. Perhaps you’ve thought about moving to a warmer climate. Maybe even relocating to the Upper Florida Keys. But, you’re holding back because it seems too far out of reach. Here’s the great news! It’s well within reach and there are several reasons to consider a move to the Upper Florida Keys.

5 Reasons to Consider a Move to the Upper Florida Keys

About one thousand people move to the Sunshine State each and every day. In 2014, Florida became the third most populous state in the country, replacing New York. And, there’s very little wonder as to why that’s so. Among its most attractive attributes is there is no state income tax. Residents keep a lot more of what they work so hard to earn. But that certainly isn’t the only benefit. Here are five reasons to consider a move to the Upper Florida Keys:

1 Less stress. Heavy traffic. Sleet, snow, and ice. Big crowds. Noise galore. That’s the scene in most metropolitan areas. And, it takes a real toll. It’s stressful. But the Florida Keys, life is on island time and there’s no rush. Less stress means a longer, more healthy life to enjoy.
2 Recreation. Florida boasts a great climate, with particularly mild winters. So, it’s possible to get outdoors more often and enjoy all sorts of recreation. Boating, running, sailing, golf, tennis, volleyball, baseball, softball, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, and so more much await. Take advantage of the wonderful weather and get outside more to enjoy all the great recreational opportunities.
3 Health. More recreation equals a more healthy life. But, there are also factors like a slower pace means less stress. That helps to reduce high blood pressure and combat fatigue. When life is more relaxed, it’s more enjoyable. Better weather provides excellent exercise opportunities — another factor in better health.
4 Property appreciation. One great aspect of owning property is its appreciation. And, in the Upper Florida Keys, appreciation grows at a faster rate than many other areas of the country. You’ll be able to build equity in less time while benefiting from your home appreciating in value. After all, this is a destination location.
5 Lifestyle. If you’ve never experienced life on island time, it’s a completely worthwhile endeavor. But, if you’re considering a move to the Upper Florida Keys, chances are excellent you’ve already experienced this wonderful phenomenon. Now, it’s time to embrace the experience every day of the year!

Make a move to the Upper Florida Keys and live the dream, starting today!

How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved for a Mortgage added 2-2-2017

Buying a home is an exciting time, one that’s filled with optimism and good expectations. Sadly, too many people rush into the process unprepared, turning an otherwise wonderful experience into a nightmare. The truth of the matter is, buying a home takes a long time. You need to be prepared and know how to improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage for a welcome outcome.

How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved for a Mortgage

Lenders are risk averse and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Each loan has the potential to go unpaid, leaving the lender in a bad situation. Also, federal and state guidelines play a role in determining who is and isn’t qualified for a home loan. So, you need to be well prepared before you apply. Here’s some helpful advice on how to improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage:

● Save a good down payment. A down payment can be as low as 3.5 percent for some loans. However, the bigger your down payment, the quicker you’ll build equity and the less your monthly mortgage payment will be. It’s best to save a down payment equaling 20 percent of the purchase price. This way, you’ll also avoid paying PMI or private mortgage insurance, which is for the lender’s protection, not yours.
● Clean your credit report. There’s a high probability error are on your credit files. Go to Annual Credit and order your credit reports from all three bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This is sponsored by the federal government and is free once per year.
● Stay with your current employer. Lenders do not like change and if you do change jobs (or worse yet, careers), you might not receive approval. Stay with your current employer at least through closing.
● Borrow less than you are able. Your DTI or debt-to-income ratio is a very important number. When you are pre-approved, shop for a house that’s under your maximum lending limit to reduce your monthly payment and increase your chance of final approval.
● Have cash on hand for closing costs and other expenses. An earnest money deposit, inspections, moving, closing costs, and miscellaneous expenses will all be your responsibilities. You need the cash to pay for all of these and to improve your chances of being approved.
● Don’t incur any new debt or open new lines of credit. A big-time no-no is to open new lines of credit or run up balances on existing credit lines. This will impact your DTI and could cause loan denial.

Just being smart, disciplined, and patients will go a long way in being approved for a home loan.

To Buy or to Build? added 1-6-2017

To buy or build? That’s the question many people ask when they are considering selling their current house or moving out of a rental. The problem is there isn’t a clear cut answer — both have advantages and disadvantages. So, is it better to buy or build? Well, that really depends on your particular situation.

To Buy or to Build?

The buy or build question is answerable when you take a few factors into account. Depending on your situation, one will prove more feasible than the other.

Buying a Resale

In almost every instance, it is less expensive to buy an existing house than it is to build a home. It’s simply cheaper to buy a resale and then customize it. Another advantage to buying a resale is time. You don’t have to wait for construction to be completed. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about finding a lot on which to build.

Some disadvantages of buying instead of building are you can’t change the location or pick a particular spot. You also must take the good with the bad. In other words, the house will have existing or future issues. Even if the property passes a home inspection, that doesn’t guarantee there aren’t existing or future problems.

However, just because a house is newly built also does not guarantee it will be problem free.

Building a House

Building a house means being able to customize it to your liking. It also means everything will be new. Additionally, you’ll receive a warranty from the builder, which might prove useful. At the very least, it will give you some peace of mind.

Plus, you get to choose the exact location you most want. Whether it’s in an established neighborhood, a newer community, or on a large parcel of land. It could be located in an urban, suburban, or rural environment. The choice is yours to make.

However, there are disadvantages to building a house rather than purchasing a resale property. First and foremost is the cost. It is always nearly the case building a home will cost more than buying an existing house. It’s not just the construction cost, there are more expenses associated with building.

Another downside is financing the build. Unless you have cash or most of the cash it costs to build, lenders are more strict when it comes to financing residential home construction.

Yet another disadvantage of building is over customization. It’s a risk that just isn’t largely considered. Because it can be customized, there have been instances where this freedom turns into a burden, making it difficult to resell.