Tips for Buyers

Sanibel Island’s comprehensive land-use plan, adopted in 1976 and updated five times since lays out development rules for the island. Sanibel’s rules are more stringent than those in surrounding areas so a Sanibel real estate agent can play an important part in helping guide you to a successful purchase on the island. In particular, a Sanibel real estate agent who is also a designated Sanibel & Captiva Islands specialist will be more knowledgeable than an agent who has not gone through the training to receive the designation.

People who purchase property on Sanibel are sophisticated and may not generally need assistance with a real estate purchase. However, Sanibel has its share of horror stories concerning individuals who purchased investment property for rental income but then found they could not rent the property as they wished or that purchased vacant land on which to build a dream home, only to find that the house could not be built as envisioned. A Sanibel real estate agent will be aware of the unique rules that could interfere with your plans and direct you to a more appropriate property.

While some work may not require development or building permits it will still need to comply with applicable codes. A Sanibel real estate agent will be familiar with permitting requirements governed by City ordinances, zoning regulations and various building codes.

The agent can also refer you to a reputable attorney who understands Florida property taxes and how a Florida Homestead Exemption might benefit you, what property management team might be best for you to work with, where to find a reliable handyman, or provide the name of a professional and reliable insurance agent who is knowledgeable about the types of insurance that may be required for property on a barrier island.

Finally a Sanibel real estate agent will be available to you after your purchase, to answer any of the other multiple questions that can, and will arise.

Before you start working with a Realtor to purchase your dream Sanibel Island home be sure to ask yourself these eight questions:

1. Who does your realtor represent?

In many real estate transactions in Florida, the real estate agent provides only a limited form of representation. An agent that describes themselves as a buyer’s agent, but lists property and also represents sellers may not be giving you his or her undivided loyalty. When you look at Sanibel Island homes for sale, look for an exclusive buyer agent who will give you undivided loyalty.

2.  Are your secrets safe?

An exclusive buyer agent never discloses information to the seller. Your bargaining position is always safeguarded. When working with a traditional real estate agent, this may not be the case, because of divided loyalties.

3. Is full disclosure made to you?

An exclusive buyer agent is committed to telling you everything they know about the property – including all known material facts, reports and rumors relative to your transaction. Their job is not to sell a particular Sanibel Island home, but rather to help you find the home that’s right for you – and to get the best terms.

4. What are your realtor’s obligations to you?

Most Realtors provide only a limited form of representation. The agent merely “assists” the buyer without providing any loyalty or fiduciary responsibility. As you view and negotiate for a Sanibel Island home for sale this can be an important distinction.

5. Is the realtor operating outside of their specialty?

In other words, is a realtor offering advice on matters beyond his area of expertise? Is he giving opinions regarding surveys, laws or taxes?

6. Are you aware of all other offers?

A Realtor might not provide you with information about other offers that may have been made for this Sanibel Island home for sale. An exclusive buyer agent always will.

7. Are you still waiting for your phone call to be returned?

Making an investment in a Sanibel Island home for sale can be stressful. When you have a question, you want an answer. My policy is to return your phone call on the day it is received. If anything prevents this, the call will be returned the very next day. Guaranteed!

8. Is my Realtor a designated Sanibel & Captiva Islands specialist?

Sanibel’s rules are more stringent than those in surrounding areas so a Sanibel real estate agent who is also a designated Sanibel & Captiva Islands specialist will be more knowledgeable than an agent who has not gone through the training to receive the designation.