Home Buying Process and How It Works

Home Buying Process and How It Works – Whether you’re a first time buyer or it’s been 20 years, you may want to know the steps to buying a home.

Home Buying Process

1. Meet with a real estate professional: Discuss the type of home you’re looking for, including style, price, and location.
The Buyer’s Advantage: As the home buyer, your agent’s commission is paid by the seller of the home in almost all circumstances. This means your representation costs you nothing!

2. Get Pre-Approved: You will need pay stubs, W2s, 2 years of tax returns and bank statements. Knowing what you can afford is critical to a successful home shopping experience. Your real estate agent will know a few good lenders to refer you to.

3. Search for Homes: The fun part! Your agent will schedule showings and help you find the perfect home.  When you have a clear idea of what you want, it will be easier.  You’ll help by sharing which listings interest you.
Advanced Search: Not all real estate websites are the same. Your real estate professional has tools and systems to ensure you see every available home that meets your criteria.

4. Make an Offer: Your agent will prepare your offer based on the price and terms you choose.

5. Negotiation and Contract: It may take a few tries to get it just right, but hang in there. You’re on your way!
The Contract: In most cases the contract provides you with a timeline to obtain financing as well as time to inspect the physical condition of the home. Your real estate professional will inform you of all your rights and responsibilities related to the contract.

6. Under Contract or In Escrow: You and the seller have agreed to the price and terms. The home is effectively held for you until closing.

7 Final Details: Perform due diligence, order the appraisal, conduct an inspection, and review terms with the lender.

8. Preparing for Closing: You will be finalizing your loan, reviewing documents, and discussing the findings from the inspection. Your agent will manage this entire process for you.

9. Closing: This is the transfer of funds and ownership. A title company or an attorney typically acts as an independent third party to facilitate the closing. Closings can be done remotely or locally.

Please let us know if you have any questions about the home buying process or selling a home on Anna Maria Island, Cortez, NW Bradenton or Longboat Key, Florida.

Jen and Mark Bowman, Keller Williams on the Water 941-840-0117.
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Anna Maria Island Real Estate Market October 2016

Anna Maria Island Real Estate Market October 2016

This market report shows residential property only including condos, town homes and single family homes.  The Anna Maria Island real estate market report for October 2016 does not include income property or vacant land. Anna Maria Island includes the cities of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach.  Let’s break down the numbers for you.

There are currently 239 homes for sale on Anna Maria Island. The average list price is $1,081,599. The average home size is 1,927 square feet and is 3 bedrooms with 3 full baths.
The lowest price listing currently on the market is at the Sandpiper Resort Co-op, a 55+ manufactured community in Bradenton Beach. It’s a 1 bedroom/1 bath and 320 square feet for $169,000. The highest price home currently on the market is on Mangrove Ave in the city of Anna Maria for $5,995,000. It has 4 bedrooms, 5 ½ baths and is 6,900 square feet. It’s gulf front with 2 lots.
In October of 2016, 20 homes sold with an average of 117 days on market. On average, the homes sold on Anna Maria Island for 95% of list price. The average sold price was $548,675 at $407 a square foot.
8 homes went under contract and are still being marketed for backup offers. That’s when you might see a AWC which is Active with Contract.  In the near future, our local Multiple Listing Service will be discontinuing the use of the Active With Contract category, so that will not be on future reports or visible in online listings. 
27 homes on Anna Maria Island are pending sales, which means they went under contract but have not yet closed. The average list price for the pending sales is $462 a square foot. The average list price of the pending homes is $794,693.
At the current rate of homes selling, Anna Maria Island has a little less than 9 months of inventory. That still shows a buyer’s market. A balanced market would be 3-6 months of inventory. Housing inventory higher than 6 months, it’s a buyer’s market. Housing inventory lower than 3 months shows a seller’s market.

Every market is different, every home is different, every buyer’s and seller’s motivation to buy or sell is different.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home on Anna Maria Island, contact us – Jen and Mark Bowman, Keller Williams on the Water at 941-840-0117. We provide international exposure for your listing. For out of town buyers we do custom live video tours of the homes you want to see.

What’s your Anna Maria Island home worth?

For a market analysis on your home please contact us at 941-840-0117 or fill out this form.

FIRPTA and What You Need to Know – Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act

FIRPTA and What You Need to Know – Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act

Anna Maria Island, Florida attracts people from all over the world.  Buyers need to know if the seller is foreign and sellers are required to disclose it.

What is the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act?
In 1981, the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) was enacted for the purpose of imposing tax on foreign people selling real estate interests in the United States. The buyer is required to withhold from the foreign seller a percentage of the amount realized on the sale of a real property interest. The tax withholding is considered a prepayment of anticipated taxes due from a foreign person selling any U.S. real property interest.
What is the withholding requirement?
Generally, the amount realized for the purpose of withholding is the sale or contract price. Effective February 16, 2016, IRS FIRPTA regulations changed the withholding rate from 10% to 15% for most closings, unless an exception applies. The withholding rate remains 10% if the total amount realized is between $300,000 and $1,000,000, and if the buyer will reside in the property. 

Are there exceptions from FIRPTA withholding?
Yes. Exceptions are explained on the IRS website at  www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers.

Who is responsible for withholding requirements under FIRPTA?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations place the obligation to withhold required tax amounts on the buyer of the real property from a foreign person. The buyer is responsible for determining whether FIRPTA applies and for remitting the withheld taxes to the IRS. Any penalties for non-compliance with the regulations are also the responsibility of the buyer.  Although the responsibility is with the buyer, we advise the closing attorney or title company that the seller is foreign and they will assist at closing.

How and where is the withholding paid?
When FIRPTA applies, the buyer must prepare a check payable to the IRS for the correct percentage of the amount realized and remit it to the IRS within 20 days of closing. The payment must be accompanied by completed IRS Forms 8288 and 8288-A.

One of the IRS required forms when buying a US property from an international seller

One of the IRS required forms when buying a US property from an international seller

What should real estate agents know about FIRPTA?

Real estate agents representing buyers should advise those buyers that the ultimate obligation to withhold FIRPTA taxes is theirs when purchasing real property from a foreign seller. Also, to avoid surprises at closing, real estate agents representing foreign sellers should advise those sellers of withholding requirements when transferring a U.S. real property interest. The foreign sellers should be encouraged to apply for withholding certifications and taxpayer identification numbers (either “ITIN” or “EIN”) as soon as possible. The IRS’s 90-day application period should be considered when negotiating the closing date with the buyer.

For more information on buying or selling a home on Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Cortez or Longboat Key please contact Anna Maria Island Realtors Jen and Mark Bowman, Keller Williams on the Water at 941-840-0117.

Related content:

Buying a Second Home on Anna Maria Island

Getting Your Home Ready to Show

Using a 1031 Exchange to Buy Property

More information is available on the IRS website under International Taxpayers.

Disclaimer: The information and dates provided are for informational purposes and are subject to change. This is not considered legal advice.  Seek legal, tax or other professional advice before relying upon this information.

Bayou Condo | Anna Maria, Florida

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Bayou Condo

The Bayou Condo is located at the north end of Anna Maria Island, Florida in the city of Anna Maria at 522 Pine Ave.  This 32 unit complex was built in 1973.  Each unit is 822 square feet and has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath.  Units are on the ground level and 2nd floor.  Some units have water views of the canal and the bay.  Amenities include deeded boat slips, perfect for easy access to kayak out to the bay.  Boats on site need to be smaller to get under the North Bay Blvd bridge.  Larger boats could of course, be stored at Galati Marina on South Bay Blvd.There is assigned parking for owners at the Bayou Condo.  When you live on Anna Maria Island, you may not even want to drive.  Getting around the island is easy with the trolley stop just steps away at the City Pier.

Homeowner’s Association at Bayou Condo

Rentals are allowed with 2 week minimums. No pets are allowed. Monthly HOA (Home Owner Association) dues cover the building exterior, cable, escrow reserves fund, flood insurance, ground maintenance, insurance for the building, roof and trash removal.

Near the Bayou Condo

Bayview Plaza across from the Bayou
Bayview Plaza across from the Bayou

Historic Pine Ave is the heart of Anna Maria and officially a Green Village.  Festivals on Pine Ave include Food and Wine on Pine in May each year and Bayfest in October.  Pine Ave is on the parade route for the July 4th and Christmas parades.

The Bayou Condo is walking distance to the Waterfront Restaurant, City Pier, the Rod and Reel Pier, the Anna Maria Historical Society and Museum and a multitude of shops and restaurants on Pine Ave.  The Anna Maria post office is across the street which is pretty convenient because there is no home mail delivery in the city of Anna Maria.

For more information on buying or selling a condo at the Bayou in Anna Maria call or text Jen and Mark Bowman, Keller Williams on the Water at 941-840-0117.

See available condos for sale at the Bayou.

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Shell Point Condos in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island

Shell Point in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island

Shell Point is a condo community in Holmes Beach, Florida on Anna Maria Island.  This bay front community has a heated swimming pool for year round use, an onsite putting green,  tennis courts, shuffleboard and kayak launch.  In addition, there are grills and a recreation building for gatherings.  There are 44 units in 4 phases or sections.  The size of the condo units vary with square footage in the condos ranging from 804 for a 1 bedroom, 1 bath to 1,468 for a 3 bedroom, 3 bath. Units are on the 2nd floor and ground level. They were originally built in 1973 and many of them have been updated.  Covered parking is available in the deeded carports.  Each condo also comes with a private storage unit, perfect for beach toys and chairs.

Shell Point

Shell Point Location

It’s tucked away at 6300 Flotilla Drive on the road leading back from the Holmes Beach City Field and the dog park.   There’s easy access to the public library and public boat launch at the end of 63rd St.

Shell Point Rules and Regulations

Rentals are allowed with 1 month minimums.  Shell Point is a pet friendly community allowing 2 dogs up to 100 pounds each for owners only.

See the Shell Point Condos for Sale.

If you’re thinking of selling a Shell Point Condo, contact us for an up to date market analysis and to see our extensive marketing plan.


Shell Point
Covered deeded parking at Shell Point
Shell Point
Heated swimming pool
Shell Point
Shuffleboard Courts at Shell Point
Shell Point
Bay front views
Shell Point
Kayak storage
Shell Point
Tennis Anyone?
Shell Point
Tennis with Westbay Point and Moorings on the back left




Shell Point
Bayviews and patio area with kayak launch










on site putting green
on site putting green
Shell Point
Royal Poinciana tree blooms in April and May
Birds on Anna Maria Island
Bird watching at Shell Point
Shell Point
Path to the bay
Shell Point
Well manicured and maintained property
Shell Point
View from the bay towards the condos
Shell Point
view looking towards the clubhouse





Anna Maria Island Real Estate Market Update August 2016

Anna Maria Island Real Estate Market Update August 2016

Buyer’s market or seller’s market on Anna Maria Island, Florida?  Well, it depends on the price point.  In zip codes 34217 and 34216 which encompasses the cities of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach overall it’s considered a buyer’s market.  We have 255 homes actively on the market in all price points.  In the past 365 days, 333 have sold. That means we have over a 9 month supply of homes for sale in general.  When we talk about homes, I’m including all residential condos, 1/2 duplexes and single family homes.

Let’s break it down to see how it changes per price range.

Homes that are for sale under $300,000 are in a seller’s market because in the past year 54 have sold.  There are currently 16 homes for sale under $300,000.  That’s a 3 1/2 months supply which makes it a low supply.  They’re on the market for an average of 98 days.

Under $500,000 homes are in a seller’s market because 147 homes have sold in the past year.  There are 55 homes actively on the market for sale.  That gives us about 4 1/2 months of inventory which is considered a seller’s market because the inventory is more limited.

In the $500,000 to $750,000 range, 87 homes have sold in the past year.  59 are on the market.  That gives us an 8 month supply bringing us into a buyer’s market.

Homes priced $750K to $1,000,000 have 15 months of inventory with 46 homes currently on the market and 36 sold in the past year.  15 month’s is a also a buyer’s market.

Homes that are in the $500,000 to $1,000,.000 range are in a buyer’s market.  In the past year, 121 have sold and there are 103 on the market.  That’s over 10 months of supply.

Homes that are $1 million plus,  there are 97 active homes for sale over a million.  69 have sold in the past 365 days.  That’s almost 17 months of supply resulting in a big over supply of homes and definitely a buyer’s market.

Anna Maria Island Homes for Sale

  • Under $300K – 3.5 months of inventory = seller’s market
  • Under $500K.- 4.5 months of inventory = seller’s market
  • $500K to $750K – 8 months of inventory = buyer’s market
  • $750K to $1M – 15 months of inventory = buyer’s market
  • $1M+ – 17 months of inventory = buyer’s market

The average price of homes currently on the market is $1,052,269 with 209 days on the market.  The median list price is $889,000.

What’s Selling on Anna Maria Island?

The average sold home on Anna Maria Island has 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and square footage of 1,604.  The average sold for $724,592 at 94% of list price with 139 days on market.

In general, the lower the price, the lower the supply and higher demand.  6 months of inventory is considered a balanced market.   When we talk about absorption rate, it’s the rate at which homes are selling based on the current inventory.  We track this information to watch for trends in the market.  We hope it’s helpful for you.  If you’d like to see more of these market updates, let us know and we’ll be glad to send them to you.

What’s your Anna Maria Island home worth?

For a market analysis on your home please contact us at 941-840-0117 or fill out this form.

Sold and Active Data is pulled from the MyFloridaRegionalMLS as of 8/17/2016.


Getting Your Home Ready to Show

Getting your home ready to show in less than 10 minutes! Sometimes friends or family will call and say, we’re on the way, we’ll be there in 10 minutes! Some of us are not always prepared. (That’s me!) When your home is on the market and you’re selling it, sometimes we get a call, that someone is in the neighborhood or an out of town buyer wants to see your home on short notice. There are a few things you can do to get ready really quick. Grab a laundry basket or unused tote and go around the house and gather things that don’t belong in that space. Wipe down all surfaces with a damp cloth or wipe. Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher or the dishwasher is full and hasn’t yet been emptied, put your dishes in the oven. Remember, this is temporary and getting ready really quick. Most buyers won’t be opening the oven to check it out on an initial visit. Next, spray an odor neutralizer throughout the house. If it smells clean, it usually feels clean to a buyer. Selling a home and keeping it ready for showings at all times can be stressful. We hope this helps!

First Steps to buying a home

First Steps to buying a home

First Steps to Buying a Home  – I want to buy a home, what’s the first step? We often get this question. The first step is to contact a local agent, like us.  Get a referral to a good local lender. Why local? Let’s just say if it’s someone we’ve worked with in the past, we know their track record and know it can get closed. A buyer recently came to me after going on-line to a service that contacts 30 lenders on her behalf and was overwhelmed with it. I gave her a number to a trusted professional and it made the stress go away.  A local lender is also important because with some of the big banks, your file is just another number.  Having a good relationship with the lender is important to help make sure your loan gets closed on time.  Just this week, we had a buyer that chose to go with Chase.  It was their prerogative.  We closed 24 days late.

Once you get the referral to a good mortgage lender, you will contact them to get pre-approved.

The lender can give you a heads up on any red flags on your credit report. We want to make sure that there isn’t anything there that will prevent you from getting a mortgage

.Homes for Sale in Atlanta

Do you think that if it’s not on your credit report, it doesn’t matter? Think again. We had a buyer whose credit was fine. But, he had a couple of non-sufficient funds (NSF) showing on his bank statement. The loan was not approved. Paying rent on time, paying all your bills on time and showing that you are responsible with your money all matter.

With your pre-approval in your hands, the world is yours! (To a certain extent anyway) The pre-approval amount gives you a starting point on the price range you should be looking in or under. Then the search for your dream home begins.

The next step is to figure out an area where you want to live and what homes are available in that area.  Your agent can set up a listing alert with homes that match your criteria.

As you are driving around, you might see a house that intrigues you. Get instant info by using our mobile app to get up to the minute info.  Check out our Mobile App   We can also set up a customized searches that gives you updates on homes that fit your search criteria.


Real Estate Offers

Offers in Real Estate

Let’s get back to the basics – What’s an offer anyway? Recently, a Home Buyer believed we were under contract with a home just because we had submitted an offer and went back and forth with counter offers.  That’s not how it works. Let me explain.

An offer is simply that, an offer to purchase. It’s a promise by one party (usually the Buyer) to act or perform (buy the home) in a specified manner (purchase price, closing date, etc.) provided the other party (usually the Seller) acts or performs in the manner requested (sells the home).

An offer is an intention to enter into a contract. That means if you don’t intend to enter into a legally binding contract, don’t make the offer.

If the Seller and Buyer agree to the terms of the offer, the offer is accepted.

It starts like this:

  1. The Buyer sees the home they love.
  2. The Buyer’s Agent writes up offer and Buyer signs it indicating they want to purchase the home.
  3. The Buyer’s Agent sends it to Listing Agent.
  4. The Listing Agent submits it to seller. In Florida, Listing Agent is required by law to submit all offers to Seller, even if the Seller doesn’t want it.
  5. The Seller either accepts, rejects or counter offers.
  6. If they accept, then you are under contract per the terms of the agreement.
  7. If they reject, the Buyer is back to square one and can either resubmit a new offer or move on to another home.
  8. If the Seller counters, it means they want to work with the Buyer, but on terms other than what was originally submitted on the Offer.
  9. Sometimes the Seller will counter offer to the Buyer and the Buyer counter offers back to the Seller and it goes back and forth but an agreement is not met.  At this point, there is no contract.
  10. If the Seller and Buyer agree on the terms of the offer and the counter offer or offers, then there is a contract.  All parties must sign off to have a binding agreement or executed contract.

Real Estate contracts must be definite and certain, with all terms in writing.

I hope that clarifies the offer part of the real estate maze.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home on Anna Maria Island or the surrounding areas, contact local experts and Realtors Jen & Mark Bowman, Keller Williams Realty at 941-840-0117.



Multiple Offers in Real Estate and Getting Yours Accepted

Multiple offers in Real Estate – Depending on the price, condition and location of a home,  we may see multiple offers.  I know we don’t hear the term multiple offers as often as we used to, but they are still out there.  What makes your offer strong?  The right offer price, of course.

Are you asking for seller paid closing costs? The less you ask for, the stronger your offer is.

Is your escrow deposit or earnest money strong?   Giving a strong amount for deposit shows the seller good faith.  Remember, if all the contingencies in your contract aren’t approved, you get your earnest money back.

Multiple offers in Real Estate

How much is your down payment?  3.5% down or 20% down –  A 20% down buyer is a stronger buyer. An all cash buyer is even stronger because there’s no financing contingency.  A financing contingency means the sale depends upon the buyer obtaining a loan.

Is your pre-approval letter or proof of funds included with your offer? If not, your offer is very weak and probably won’t be considered.

If all things are equal,  it can come down to the professionalism of the agent.  Why does that matter?   It matters because if 2 offers are identical, we will probably choose the offer that came to us in the most professional manner.   Professional offers are completely filled in, typed clean and leave no unanswered questions.  If the agent doesn’t return calls, that can be a challenge.  If all things in the offer are equal, it also comes down to if the agent plays well with others.    That means we know that it takes on average 4 to 6 weeks to get to closing.  We want to work with agents that are nice and will help to get the job done.   After all, real estate is really about the people.

Recently we had a seller take an offer considerably less than another one because the buyers wrote the sellers a letter.  The letter explained that the buyers loved the home and wanted to raise their family there.  It was heartfelt and both the seller and the buyer felt good about the transaction.  Another time, we represented a buyer who was in the military.  I wrote to the listing agent what it would mean to the family to have a place to call home and settle down.  The seller on that one accepted our offer even though it was less than other offers that were presented.  It’s not always about the numbers and the bottom line.  Buying and selling a home can be an emotional experience and sometimes we need to address that.

Using an Escalation Clause with Multiple Offers

In order to help our buyers get a home when we are in a multiple offer situation, we will use an escalation clause.  An example reads like this:  All parties agree that buyer will pay $1,000 above any bona fide written offer up to $500,000.   So, if another buyer put in an offer of $498,000, our offer would be $499,000 which is the other offer plus $1000.  It’s just important that the listing agent understands what it means.  I always verify because I’ve seen agents dismiss offers they didn’t understand.

In conclusion, when you’re in a multiple offer situation there are more things to consider than just the sale price.   Please contact us, Jen and Mark Bowman, Keller Williams on the Water at 941-840-0117 if you’re ready to win in a multiple offer situation.