The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 13 - December 29, 2010


Trying out a home before you buy

If you're in the market for an easy chair, you can plop down in as many as you like before making a decision. The same with cars. As long as your driver's license is valid you can try out a Ferrari and a Honda on the same day. But when it comes to making the largest purchase most of us will ever make, you usually can't try it out before you buy. Or can you?

With the nationwide housing market still in flux, buyers are taking a harder look at rent-buy options. A rent-buy or lease option is when potential homeowners commit to a multi-year lease with a future option to buy the property.

Generally rent-buy arrangements involve some earnest money given to the homeowner, which can be used towards the down payment if the renter eventually does buy the property. If he/she doesn't, then the homeowner will want to keep the earnest money as compensation for keeping his house off the market for the term of the lease.

This differs slightly from a lease purchase agreement, which requires that the renter put down a percentage of the agreed upon sale price and/or pay a monthly rent premium with a share of the rent going toward the purchase price. Again, if the renter does not go forward with the transaction, the homeowner gets to keep the earnest money.

Neither one of these arrangements are set in stone, and you will find that renters and homeowners can agree to whatever terms they want as long as the contract is drawn up by an attorney and agreed to by all parties.

The advantage for renters is that they get to live in and determine if they really want this property long term. It also gives them the option to save more money towards the eventual purchase and to straighten out any credit issues they may have. However, any rent-to-buy plan should be made part of a plan to own the home, rather than just a way to test out the home, since fees and possible above market rents could end up costing more money in the long run.

The advantage to owners is determined by what's going in their marketplace. If a homeowner really needs to move and can't sell, putting a potential buyer in the home generating income is a good alternative. In the case of some homeowners, this could also help avoid a foreclosure.

Everyone involved in a real estate transaction that is out of the ordinary needs to fully understand all ramifications. A home could be on the verge of foreclosure, which would put a renter's money and living arrangement at stake, or a renter could change his/her mind at the last minute leaving the owner with an empty house and not enough financial compensation to make up for the time lost.

Since we're still experiencing a dynamic real estate market anything can happen that affects prices and the ability sell, so getting locked in, whether you're a renter or a homeowner, needs careful consideration. Test driving a home or allowing aothers to do so is just one more byproduct of the nation's collective financial headache. Don't allow this practice to give you the biggest headache you've ever had.

Here's hoping the new year will see the end of all our real estate headaches. Happy New Year!

Real Estate Transactions
Closed sales between Aug. 2 and Oct. 9, 2010

Anna Maria

721 North Shore Single family $1,100,000
512 Bayview Place Single family 800,000
216 Palm Ave. Single family 699,000
104 Maple Ave. Single family 667,500
309 S. Bay Blvd. Single family 425,000
780 Jacaranda Rd. Duplex 357,500
216 Archer Way Single family 332,500
204 Archer Way Single family 300,000
333 Tarpon St. Lot 300,000

Bradenton Beach

500 Bay Dr. S. Single family $965,200
2317 Ave. C #300 Condo 315,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #165Condo 300,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #166Condo 300,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #164Condo 285,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #161Condo 285,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #264Condo 280,500
501 Gulf Drive N. #103Condo 240,000
1325 Gulf Drive N. #163Condo 239,800
501 Gulf Drive N. #305Condo 227,000
2211 Ave. C Single family 220,000
2311 Canasta Drive Single family 165,000
2412 Gulf Drive. N. #125Condo 160,000
2412 Gulf Drive N. #224Condo 155,000
2412 Gulf Drive N. #225Condo 155,000
1603 Gulf Drive N. #18Condo 150,000
1603 Gulf Drive N. #19Condo 150,000
117 Seventh St. N. #9 Condo 150,000
1603 Gulf Drive N. #33Condo 109,000
107 Sixth St. S. Single family 100,000
2503 Gulf Drive N. #302Condo 100,000
1603 Gulf Drive N. #34Condo 70,000


12909 42nd Terr. W. Single family $1,025,000
11900 Cortez Rd. W. RV resort
#10, #17, #28, #45 Multi-units 619,700
4224 Marina Ct. Condo 525,000
3860 Mariners Way #413Condo 274,900
12329 Baypointe Terr. Lot 140,000

Holmes Beach

528 72nd St. Single family $1,450,000
3212 Gulf Drive Single family 1,300,000
616 Hampshire Lane Single family 775,000
3009 Ave. F Duplex 763,500
403 80th St. Condo 595,000
203 76th St. Condo 584,500
525 74th St. Single family 550,000
612 North Point Drive Single family 525,000
303 61st St. #A Condo 510,000
209 69st St. Duplex 480,000
6200 Flotilla Drive #273 Condo 480,000
227 85th St. Single family 440,000
517 70th St. Single family 416,500
203 82 St. Condo 400,000
519 77th St. Single family 400,000
405 N. Harbor Drive Single family 400,000
614 Concord Lane Single family 399,900
506 74 St. Single family 390,000
405 74 St. Condo 375,000
3706 Gulf Drive. Single family 370,000
6250 Holmes Blvd. #70 Condo 355,000
6200 Flotilla Drive #274 Condo 365,000
322 64 St. Condo 350,000
207 55 St. Single family 305,000
4104 6 Ave. Condo 285,200
609 Emerald Lane Single family 285,000
2903 Ave. B Duplex 278,000
3703 5 Ave. #3 Condo 270,000
309 58 St. Duplex 270,000
3207 6 Ave. Single family 260,000
3803 East Bay Drive #2 Condo 260,000
6919 Holmes Blvd. Half duplex 250,000
2805 Gulf Drive Single family 249,000
3702 Sixth Ave. #4 Condo 230,000
504 Key Royale Drive Single family 223,000
2705 Ave. C Single family 200,900
2710 Ave. C Single family 160,000

Source: Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office

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