Donna Marcotte’s Complete Home Buying Guide for Fort Myers

Donna Marcotte’s Complete Home Buying Guide for Fort Myers

Are you interested in purchasing Fort Myers real estate this year? As a beautiful city of southwest Florida, Fort Myers offers tourists and residents alike the benefits of balmy temperatures and easy Gulf Coast access. Fort Myers is part of a metropolitan area that includes Cape Coral, and the Southwest Florida International Airport is located just southeast of the city. Head to the historic downtown center for waterfront dining and entertainment, or take in the museum, nature trails, and butterflies at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium. If this sounds like the perfect place for you, read on for some top recommendations to help you get started with the home-buying process.

Start with preparation

Before you start looking at new homes or condos for sale in Fort Myers, take the time to prepare your budget, financials, and list of non-negotiables.

Know your budget 

Your budget should be the starting point for your new home search. Talk with different mortgage lenders to compare their offered rates and obtain a pre-approval letter stating your ability to finance the purchase.

If you are considering a new condo or a home in a gated community, find out the association fees and what they will include. Be sure to consider the costs of homeowners insurance, property taxes, and any repairs that might be needed. You will also need to factor in other monthly expenses, such as utilities and internet, to ensure you have a well-rounded financial plan for your future.

Know your non-negotiables

Once you have an idea of what you can afford, it is time to think about exactly what you are looking for. Are you in the market for a single-family home with a large backyard and plenty of space? Are you more interested in a condo with shared spaces to enjoy, such as swimming pools, fitness centers, or gathering rooms?

Avid golfers may be drawn to one of the signature golf course communities in Fort Myers, such as Gateway, Golf Harbor, or Fiddlesticks. Think about how much square footage, bedrooms, and shared spaces you will need. Look into the specific neighborhood you are interested in. Check to see if you can easily get to your favorite spots, whether it includes fine dining, boutique shopping, or access to the nearby beaches. Make a list of those non-negotiable features to ensure you find a home that best meets your needs and interests.

Continue with qualified representation

Once you have a handle on your finances and lifestyle needs, it is time to enlist the services of a qualified real estate agent to represent you and guide you throughout your house hunt. When seeking out an expert Fort Myers real estate agent, be on the lookout for the following qualities: 

Positive reviews and strong communication skills

Ask friends, family, or colleagues for referrals to qualified real estate agents. If you are from out of the area, head online to begin your search. Check their websites for established portfolios of like sales. Do they have experience locating and selling the type of home that interests you? Read through their testimonials from previous clients.
When you connect with them for the first time, note the details. Do they respond promptly to your initial questions? Do they ask you about your needs, budget, and lifestyle? Will they commit to communicating with you through your preferred method, whether by text, email, or phone call? A real estate agent with strong communication skills will also be able to deliver difficult news, such as an issue with the inspection, and help you problem-solve as the need arises. Be sure you feel comfortable with the real estate agent you choose to hire, as they will be your representative through all aspects of the transaction moving forward.

Familiarity with Fort Myers

Your real estate agent should also be very familiar with all things Fort Myers. They should be up-to-date on the neighborhoods and access to amenities. Ask them about any upcoming changes or developments to the area affecting your new purchase. They should speak to the school system and transportation options in the area.

A knowledgeable real estate agent will be able to identify potential homes in your budget and arrange for private showings. They will alert you to new listings in the MLS system and offer to attend open houses of interest with you. Your real estate agent’s familiarity with Fort Myers should extend to their local connections as well. Depending on your needs, they should be able to help you locate professionals in real estate, interior design, construction, and landscaping.

An in-depth understanding of the market

Your real estate agent should also demonstrate a solid understanding of the Fort Myers real estate market. They should inform you of the current trends in Florida, including whether the market currently favors buyers or sellers. Your real estate agent will also be able to provide you with information about the HOA or community requirements if applicable. They will also be “in the know” about the availability of homes in the area fitting your lifestyle and budget.

Experience navigating the transaction

Once you have found the perfect home, your real estate agent will help you make the best offer for the property and navigate negotiations. They will handle all of the necessary paperwork throughout the process. If your offer is accepted, your real estate agent will also attend the inspection and advise you regarding requests for concessions or repairs. As the sale moves forward, your agent will continue to act as your advocate and work for your best interests until you reach your closing date.

Time to find the perfect home!

So, are you ready to find an exceptional Fort Myers real estate agent to represent you? Expert local Realtor Donna Marcotte has lived in Southwest Florida for twenty-six years, with a background specializing in the luxury lifestyle and gorgeous properties. Contact Donna at Sotheby's International Realty to get started with your home search today.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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