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Tips for buying and selling luxury real estate in Islamorada

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Located south of Miami, Florida, lies Islamorada, an enchanting village that offers the ultimate coastal living experience. Islamorada is surrounded by incredible views, amazing sunsets, and a large population of marine life. It also has a thriving real estate market that attracts buyers and sellers alike. 

In this post, you’ll find expert tips, tricks, and insights to help you as a buyer or seller get the most from your venture in Islamorada. 

Islamorada Real Estate: An Overview

Islamorada is made up of 6 different islands:  Windey Key, Plantation Key, the Upper and Lower Matecumbe Keys, and two offshore islands (Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key).

The area is among one of the best places to enjoy the natural beauty of the Florida Keys and is a top destination for recreational activities. Regarded as the “Sportfishing Capital of the World”, its diverse ocean life provides some of the best fishing in the US.

The real estate properties in Islamorada rate as some of the most exclusive in the region. The majority of the properties here are by or near the water, from exceptional estates to scenic waterfront condos. The demand for luxury homes in the Florida Keys continues to rise, making Islamorada one of the hottest real estate markets. The average price of a property here is $2 million, with some properties reaching as high as $20 million.

Tips for Buyers

Islamorada luxury real estate property provides stunning ocean views, exclusive amenities, and a tropical lifestyle. If you’re on the hunt for your dream waterfront residence in Islamorada, keep these tips in mind:

Prepare your finances

woman calculating

Purchasing a luxury home can be more expensive and complex than your standard residential property, especially when it’s by the water. This is due to the high demand and the limited supply. The cost of owning a waterfront property tends to be higher too since they are often exposed to the elements and are more susceptible to wear and tear. 

As well as the purchase price, deposit, closing costs, and other fees, ensure that you factor in the extra maintenance required for a waterfront home. Bear in mind that you’ll also want coverage in the form of extensive insurance for flooding and home security. 

Consider the location

Location is everything when buying a luxury home. Whether it’s by or near the water, it’s important that the property and area you select align perfectly with what you want. When looking at the location of a property, consider these factors:

  • Proximity to the water

    One of the main advantages of owning a waterfront property is the proximity to the water. If you want direct access to the beach, a home that’s adjacent to the water would be ideal. If you’re fine with the water being a short drive or walk away, then you may be able to secure a more lavish home just off the waterfront. 

  • Privacy

    Another thing to consider when buying a waterfront home is privacy. Many waterfront homes tend to have easements or rights-of-way near them. If the waterfront property is located in a popular vacation spot, for example, you can expect a high level of activity in the area.  

  • The level of the lot

    Depending on how flat or sloped the land is, the level of the lot can affect your view and access to the water. Since a flat lot has little-to-no elevation change, it typically provides easy access to the water and to the dock. A sloped lot, while it offers panoramic views, can make it harder to get to the water.

    Of course, there are some amazing luxury properties that will be perfectly situated with gorgeous views, but bear in mind these are highly desirable and will come with a premium price. 

Choose a Property That Matches Your Lifestyle

couple on yatch

Islamorada has a large selection of properties for sale, from residential family homes to waterfront condos. With the variety of properties here, it helps to know what you want your Islamorada luxury real estate property to have. 

The first step is to figure out what you want to do with the property. If you’re enthusiastic about boating, for example, it would be ideal if the property comes with a boat dock that provides immediate access to the water. Fishing, kayaking, and canoeing are other popular water activities that you may be interested in. 

Aside from the water, it’s also important to ensure that the neighborhood the property is in matches your needs. If you’re looking for a peaceful and secluded retreat, it’s best to look at properties that are in more remote neighborhoods.

Get a home inspection

When you get a home inspection, you avoid any surprises (like mold or roof leaks) that may affect your safety and wallet. A home inspection also gives you the opportunity to learn about maintaining your waterfront property as well. 

Learn about flood insurance

Due to their proximity to the water, waterfront homes are more prone to flooding and can cause costly water damage to your property. 

Since flood insurance is typically not included in a homeowner’s insurance policy, you’ll often have to get a separate policy for flood coverage. Waterfront property homeowners can either get coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or from a private insurer. You can visit Islamorada’s Floodplain Management website for more information and resources about the flood zones in the area, new elevation certificates, and new floodplain ordinances.

Enlist the help of a local real estate agent

The best way to make the get the most when buying a home in the Keys is to have a local real estate agent by your side. Aside from knowing how the real estate market works, they also know the ins and outs of your chosen area, offering their expert insights when it comes to the particular home or neighborhood you’re considering. Their large network in the real estate industry is a huge benefit. You’ll have immediate access to reliable and qualified professionals whom they have probably worked with for many years.

Tips for Sellers

While waterfront properties are very desirable, selling a waterfront property still comes with its own set of challenges. Be prepared when navigating the process of selling your Islamorada, FL property. Here are the top considerations to keep in mind:

Price your waterfront home right

For a waterfront property to sell fast and for the maximum price, it has to be priced correctly. This can be a tricky process since waterfront properties are priced differently based on their location, amenities, and the body of water near them. 

Even for a quick sale, you wouldn’t want to price too low. That would be leaving money on the table. 

However, pricing your waterfront home too high may cause it to stay on the market longer. This is extremely detrimental for standard homes as the longer the property stays on the market, the more doubt it raises in a buyer’s mind. You may then have to lower your price to generate interest but still, the property has been on the market for too long a time and the blemish is there. While luxury properties are not as susceptible to this cycle and can stay on the market for higher listing prices for longer, it’s still the case that you don’t want to become entangled in having to lower your listing price.   

Access to the water

Access to the water is a huge factor when selling your home and will almost certainly affect its value and appeal to potential buyers. When buyers look at possible waterfront homes, they want to know how easy (or hard) it will be to get to the water and do the activities they enjoy. 

If your waterfront property has a dock and can accommodate boats, you want to ensure the dock is easily accessible. 

Highlight the views

One of the main reasons why people buy waterfront properties is the stunning views that they offer. If there are ways to maximize the view from your Islamorada luxury real estate, don’t hesitate to improve it before putting the property on the market. Common obstructions are bushes or trees, which you can easily trim or remove. You can hire a professional landscaper or gardener to do this for you or do it yourself if you have the tools and experience. 

While many waterfront homes are built to take the maximum advantage of the views, if you find that you can transform a good view into a stunning view it may be worth the the cost of making alterations. Again, this will depend on the potential return on investment, and a real estate agent will be able to tell you whether the investment is worthwhile. 

Don’t underestimate the curb appeal

For waterfront houses, it’s not enough to have the proximity to the water as your selling point. How your house looks on the outside is crucial for attracting potential buyers and upping its value. Both sides of the house need to be well-maintained and appealing. Here are a few ways to boost the curb appeal of your waterfront property:

  • Improve the landscaping

    The easiest way to improve your property’s landscaping is to add plants and flowers that are colorful, yet low maintenance. Go for native plants that can withstand the salt, the wind, and the sun. Dune sunflowers have a high salt tolerance while beach elders and African daisies are perennials that thrive in Florida’s coastal weather. You can also create contrast on your lawn by using stone or brick edging. It separates your flowers and plants from the rest of your lawn while providing an elegant aesthetic. 

  • Upgrade the front door

    Your front door is the first thing that potential buyers see when they come upon your waterfront house and a new and improved door can do wonders for your home’s curb appeal. Applying a fresh coat of paint is a simple and inexpensive way to breathe new life into your home’s exterior. 

    If you want to take it a step further, you can replace your front door with a new one. There has been research that suggests that replacing a front door provides some of the best returns on investment when it comes to home upgrades. 

  • Highlight the architectural details

    Pay attention to the architectural and decorative details as well. Outdoor lighting, for example, enhances the curb appeal of your waterfront home in many ways. It highlights the architectural features in your roof, porch, or columns, either through the use of spotlights, lanterns, or solar lights. 

    You can also change hardware elements like the house numbers or door knobs. These small changes are generally easy to carry out and inexpensive, yet they can significantly enhance the impression your house gives to visitors. 

Take high-quality pictures and videos

The key to attracting potential buyers is to have high-quality photos and videos that capture the best features of your home and the best way to get this is by hiring a professional photographer. The difference in presentation and impact made between professionally created photographs and nonprofessional ones is night and day. 

A good photographer will show your home in the best possible light, even helping to create a beautiful narrative around the images they make. And as they say, an image is worth a thousand words. 

Some professionals are now showcasing waterfront properties through drone shots and video. Drones are perfect for taking wide shots that show the size of your property and how close you are to the water and to other amenities and attractions in the area. Through aerial photography, potential buyers have a better visual of your property’s layout. It provides potential buyers with a better experience of living on your property.  

Be transparent

While Florida does require the seller to disclose any serious faults the property may have, it does not require the seller to provide a disclosure form. However, as a general rule, it’s normally a good idea to be upfront about the risk of flooding and be transparent about the area’s flood zone and if your home has a history of flooding. This will make negotiations easier since the seller has been seen to be acting in good faith. 

Work with an Islamorada, FL Expert Today

Whether you’re buying or selling Islamorada luxury real estate, it’s always best to hire a real estate agent who knows the local market inside and out. Angel DiGiorgio is a Real Estate Specialist in the Florida Keys who is ready to help you achieve your real estate goals. A long-time resident of this coastal paradise, Angel has successfully assisted buyers and sellers through her valuable real estate knowledge, years of experience, and strong attention to detail. 

Start your Islamorada, FL home buying or home selling journey today! Call Angel at 305.509.0971 or send her a message here to schedule your consultation.