Anna Maria Island Foreclosures

Anna Maria Island Foreclosures

Anna Maria Island Foreclosures – We often get asked about foreclosures for sale on Anna Maria Island. The truth is, they are few and far between. Currently, there are no active foreclosures for sale. We get questions from buyers because they saw a foreclosure on a site like Zillow. Zillow can be very misleading to consumers. Recently a buyer client sent me a listing he was interested in. I couldn’t find it in the Multiple Listing Service and I know the house and the owners personally. It’s a small island, after all. The owners had bought the house more than 3 years ago and paid cash, when it was a foreclosure. Zillow was still showing it as a foreclosure. I listed and sold foreclosures for Bank of America during the real estate crash back in 2008 or 2009. I can’t remember the year, it seems like a lifetime ago. We didn’t price them much differently than traditional resale homes. We are seeing the same thing today. Home buyers will call and ask us about foreclosures and we will send them out the same as any other property when it comes on the market. There really isn’t a noticeable difference in price. The bank’s asset managers work closely with an agent who does a broker price opinion and we often see it lines up with homes of similar condition that are on the market as traditional resales.

We see fewer Anna Maria Island foreclosures because more home buyers pay cash for homes on the island as compared to Manatee County as a whole. For example, for the first 1/2 of 2017, 48 1/2% of all home buyers on Anna Maria Island paid cash for their homes and 51 1/2% did some kind of financing. In Manatee County, which includes Bradenton, the northern 1/2 of Longboat Key, Cortez, Parrish, Palmetto, Ellenton and Lakewood Ranch, we see that 39% of buyers paid cash and 61% did financing.

When we look back at the history of cash sales versus financed sales in the same time frame 10 years ago between January and June 2007 on Anna Maria Island only 32% were cash buyers and 68% were financing. In contrast, Manatee County as a whole, 10 years ago only 20% of home buyers paid cash for their homes and 80% had financing. These numbers show us that more people are paying cash for their homes than in previous years, therefore we will see a reduction in Anna Maria Island foreclosures and in the Manatee County real estate market.

Anna Maria Island Foreclosures

How to Buy a Foreclosure

The process for buying a foreclosure isn’t much different than buying a home through the traditional resale market. There is still a contract to submit, usually it’s done through an online system that your agent will access and upload your offer along with proof of funds or your pre-approval letter. There may be a “buyer premium” where the buyer pays an extra 5% or 6% at closing if it’s done through certain auction sites. Banks are strictly about the numbers and the bottom line. Keep the offer simple and clean with as few contingencies as possible. The buyer may have to pay to turn on the utilities for a 1 day inspection. Sometimes the bank will not allow the water to be turned on. In that case, an inspector can do an air pressure test to see if the pipes leak. There will never be a sellers disclosure on a bank owned property, also known as a foreclosure. It is truly a buyer beware process and inspections are usually allowed. There is also usually time to cancel the contract and get your deposit refunded. Just be sure that you and/or your agent understand the process of buying a foreclosure.

Sign up for a free foreclosure list.

Of all the homes on the market in Manatee County, only about 1.2% are foreclosures today.  So there won’t be many, but we are happy to send them as they become available.

Anna Maria Island Foreclosures information provided by  Anna Maria Island Realtors Jen and Mark Bowman, Keller Williams on the Water in Holmes Beach, Florida.  Please call 941-840-0117 for more information.

See all Homes for Sale Anna Maria, FL

See all Homes For Sale Holmes Beach, FL

See all Homes for Sale Bradenton Beach, FL 


As Is Real Estate Contract in Florida

As Is Real Estate Contract in Florida

What is an As Is real estate contract in Florida? It simply means the property is being sold as is, and the seller is not obligated to make repairs. If the buyer is not satisfied with the home inspection, the buyer has the right to cancel.

There is a specified time for inspections, due diligence and the right to cancel for any reason whatsoever. As long as the cancellation agreement is signed and submitted within the specified time frame, all escrow or earnest money deposits will be fully refunded. If after a home inspection, the buyer chooses to cancel the contract, they can do that. If the buyer decides that they don’t like the color of the sky, they can cancel the contract and get their full deposit back within the specified time in the contract. As mentioned, ANY reason whatsoever; it doesn’t matter.

There’s a few misconceptions that we’ve heard out there.  To clarify:

As Is Real Estate Contract

  • An As Is contract does not mean that every personal item in the house is being transferred to the buyer.
  • An As Is contract does not mean that the buyer has no rights to an inspection period.
  • An As Is contract does not mean that the buyer cannot change their mind and get a full refund if done within the specified time frame.

An As Is contract simply means the seller is not required to make repairs. Many home buyers are initially frightened by the fact that Florida Real Estate contracts say As Is at the very top.  There is no reason to worry; there are safeguards in place for buyers.

Another safeguard in place is if the buyer is getting a mortgage loan.  The contract states a specified time for a loan commitment.  If the lender ultimately declines the loan within the specified time period in writing and a release and cancellation of the agreement is signed, the buyer has a right to a full refund of the escrow or earnest money deposit.

For Home Sellers

Sellers can minimize the risk of buyers cancelling the As Is real estate contract by doing any known repairs upfront.  This is where a pre-listing inspection can come in handy.

For more information on buying or selling a home, contact us. We are here to help.  Jen and Mark Bowman, Keller Williams on the Water at 941-840-0117.


Estimating Property Taxes

Property Taxes in Holmes Beach, Florida – We are often asked by home buyers how much are the property taxes?  Well it depends.  People tend to rely on what the current owner is paying in property tax on homes that are for sale.  That may not be the best idea because the assessed value is often changed after a transfer of ownership.

Here’s how we estimate taxes.  Each city is different, but this is an estimate based on Holmes Beach. If we take the 2016 mill rate of 16.1090 for properties in Holmes Beach and divide by 1000 that gives us .016109.  We then multiply that by the assessed value.  For this example, let’s say we have an assessed value of $475,000.  That would be $7651.78 or just over 1.6% of the assessed value.

Now we would deduct any exemptions.  The homestead exemption is $25,000 of the assessed value.  So the taxable value has been reduced to $450,000.  Then the taxes are $7249.05.

There is an additional homestead exemption of $25,000 for homes valued at more than $50,000 and that does not apply to the school board mill rate  which is 6.92.  That will reduce your taxes another $229.73.  That brings your taxes to $7019.32 which is just under 1.5% of the sales price for a home with homestead exemption.

If you currently have Homestead Exemption on a property in Florida, you can transfer the “Save Our Homes” cap from an existing property to a new homestead, thereby saving you on your assessed value.

There are additional exemptions for disabled, widow/widowers, low income over 65 years old and deployed military.

More information is available on the Manatee County tax assessor’s website.

Estimating Property Taxes Anna Maria Island

In general, for Holmes Beach we can estimate that property taxes will be around 1.5 -1.6% of the assessed value.

The mill rate for the city of Anna Maria is 15.908700.  So we can use the same formula to guesstimate the taxes at just under 1.6% of the assessed value. The current mill rate for Bradenton Beach is 16.1920 so we can also estimate just over 1.6% of the assessed value to be the taxes.

Please remember, this is not to be considered legal or tax advice, just something to help you guesstimate the property taxes on your new home.  We’d love to be your Anna Maria Island Realtor.  Please contact us if we can help.

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



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.
[idx-platinum-widget id=”17115-45061″ ]

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

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.

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.

Will that home pass a VA appraisal? – Passing a VA Appraisal

VA Appraisal – How to pass a VA Appraisal –

Will that home pass a VA appraisal? This was a call I received from a buyer’s agent regarding a listing I had.  If a home buyer is using a VA loan to get a mortgage then there is a slightly different appraisal that is required by the VA (Veterans Administration) .

Here’s a basic checklist of what the VA appraiser will be looking for:
• Electrical and plumbing systems must be in good condition and have some usable life remaining.
• Adequate heating: The home’s heating system must be safe and adequate and able to maintain a temperature of at least 50 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing, which is not typically a problem here in Florida.
• Adequate roofing: The roof must be in good condition and without any major defects.
• Dry basements/crawl spaces: Basement leaks must be corrected for VA approval.  There aren’t many basements here in Florida, but we do have crawl spaces.
• Free of hazards and defective conditions:  Faulty support beams, exposed wires or stairs without proper railings can also be considered hazardous by a VA appraiser.

Exposed wires will not pass a VA appraisal.
Exposed wires will not pass a VA appraisal.

• No wood-destroying insects: If you live in an area that is prone to termites, the VA may require a termite inspection. Properties with termite infestations must be treated and re-inspected to get VA approval.
• No lead-based paint: Properties built before 1978 must be inspected for lead-based paint. Surfaces with cracked or chipped lead-based paint must be scraped and repainted or covered with drywall or totally removed.

Peeling lead based paint will not pass a VA appraisal.
Peeling lead based paint will not pass a VA appraisal.

A VA appraisal does not replace a home inspection.

I highly recommend that home buyers get a home inspection even on an “As-Is” contract.   A thorough home inspection will give the home buyers additional knowledge of the home and possibly a “to do” list of upcoming projects.

If you are thinking of buying a home give us a call.  We can eliminate homes that we can see won’t pass a VA appraisal and save you time and money in the process.  We partner with great mortgage lenders that can help you with a VA loan or any other home loan.

If you are thinking of selling a home take care of these issues that can be deal killer for a VA appraisal and give us a call.  We can guide you and the home buyers through the process ensuring that we all get to closing.

Disclaimer – We are not VA appraisers.  This is just working knowledge from our real estate business here on Anna Maria Island, Florida.  If you would like a referral to a knowledgeable real estate agent in your area, please contact us.  We know the best Realtors around.

Jen and Mark Bowman, Keller Williams on the Water at 941-840-0117.

Anna Maria Island Open Houses

Anna Maria Island Open Houses –  Here are the 9 homes we will have on our Anna Maria Island open house tour Sunday November 17th from 1 pm to 3 pm.  If you missed the open house, just give us a call.  We would be glad to show by appointment.

Open House Signs

From North to South on Anna Maria Island –

457 62nd Street in Holmes Beach (off Marina Drive) – Seaside Gardens 1 bedroom/1 bath 1/2 duplex for sale $144,900.  Seaside Gardens is Less than a minute to the City of Holmes Beach boat ramp.   There are shuffleboard courts.  This is an ideal weekend getaway or investment property.   Weekly rentals are allowed.

3607 E. Bay Drive #207 in Holmes Beach (near Publix) – Sandy Point Condos – 2nd Floor condo with peaks of the bay overlooking the mangroves – $239,000.   Amenities include a heated swimming pool and fishing dock.  This is an easy 7 minute stroll to the white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.  Weekly rentals are allowed.

501 Gulf Drive North Unit 103 – Bradenton Beach –Bridgeport Condos (at Corner of Cortez Rd and Gulf Drive) Condo with views of the Gulf – $375,000.  Beautifully renovated condo with quartz countertops and hardwood floors in this beach to bay community.

12507 Cortez Rd – Cortez – (cross the Cortez Bridge from Anna Maria Island and it’s the first community on the right) 6 Homes will be open at Cortez Park, a 55+ waterfront manufactured home community. The homes on tour will be $90,000 to $120,000.  These homes can be lived in as is or a brand new manufactured home can be had for an additional $40K to $60K.   Pet friendly community!

Cortez Park
Waterfront at Cortez Park

These Anna Maria Island homes and Cortez Homes are exclusively listed by Jen and Mark Bowman, Your Anna Maria Island Realtors, Keller Williams on the Water 941-840-0117.   Please contact us if you are thinking of buying or selling an Anna Maria Island or Cortez Home.  Get your Anna Maria Island home value.