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Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Your neighborhood has a big impact on your lifestyle. Follow these steps from Kijner & Sons International Realty to find the perfect community to call home in Miami or Sarasota Florida

  • Is it close to your favorite spots? Make a list of the activities — movies, health club, church, etc. — you engage in regularly and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you’re considering to engage in your most common activities.
  • Check out the school district. This is especially important if you have children, but it also can affect resale value. The Department of Education in your town can probably provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students who attend college, and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, visit schools in the neighborhoods you’re considering. Also, check out www.schoolmatters.com.
  • Find out if the neighborhood is safe. Ask the police department for neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type — such as burglaries or armed robberies — and the trend of increasing or decreasing crime. Also, is crime centered in only one part of the neighborhood, such as near a retail area?
  • Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. Check with your local city economic development office to see if income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments don’t necessarily diminish value, but do mean a more transient population. Do you see vacant businesses or homes that have been for sale for months? 
  • See if you’ll make money. Ask a local REALTOR® or call the local REALTOR® association to get information about price appreciation in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how good of an investment your home will be. A REALTOR® or the government planning agency also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes in the neighborhood — like a new school or highway — that might affect value.
  • Make personal observations. Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go there and walk around. Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets quiet? How does it feel? Pick a warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside.
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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR

What a Home Inspection Should Cover

by Kijner & Sons International Realty


Home inspections will vary depending on the type of property you are purchasing. A large historic home, for example, will require a more specialized inspection than a small condominium. However, the following are the basic elements that a home inspector will check. You can also use this list to help you evaluate properties in Sarasota or Miami Florida you might purchase.

For more information, try the virtual home inspection at www.ASHI.org, the Web site of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Structure: A home’s skeleton impacts how the property stands up to weather, gravity, and the earth. Structural components, including the foundation and the framing, should be inspected. 

Exterior: The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. A home’s siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.

  • Doors and windows
  • Siding (brick, stone, stucco, vinyl, wood, etc.)
  • Driveways/sidewalks
  • Attached porches, decks, and balconies

Roofing: A well-maintained roof protects you from rain, snow, and other forces of nature. Take note of the roof’s age, conditions of flashing, roof draining systems (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight, and chimneys.

Plumbing: Thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate problems.

Electrical: Safe electrical wiring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room. 

Heating: The home’s heating system, vent system, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, speed of recovery, and energy rating.

Air Conditioning: Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.

Interiors: An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and other issues. An inspector should take a close look at:

  • Walls, ceilings and floors
  • Steps, stairways, and railings
  • Countertops and cabinets
  • Garage doors and garage door systems

Ventilation/insulation: To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and water damage.  

Fireplaces: They’re charming, but they could be dangerous if not properly installed. Inspectors should examine the system, including the vent and flue, and describe solid fuel burning appliances.

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Sources: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) & the American Society of Home Inspectors (www.ashi.org)

Sarasota Real Estate Market: sales for September 2011 outpace last year

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to announce that according to the Sarasota Association of Realtors® (SAR), "September 2011 property sales in the Sarasota real estate market were ahead of last September, with 570 this year compared to only 547 at the same time last year. This represents a small drop in transactions compared to August 2011, when 601 sales were recorded. But historically, the early fall is one of the slower sales seasons". 

As for median sales price, single family homes and condos sold respectively for $165,000 and $140,000 last month. As for pending sales, they dropped to 723 with 547 single family homes and 176 condos under contract.  

To read the full September 2011 SAR Report and get all the statistics, please click here

To learn more about real estate opportunities in the Sarasota area, contact Kijner & Sons International Realty at info@kijner.com.


The 10 characteristics of a qualified real estate broker

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty would like to share with you a recent article by the German Real Estate Association IVD about what it is to be a competent broker. We believe that these characteristics are true, no matter where you do real estate, being in Florida, France, Thailand or Costa Rica.

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Good real estate brokers are mainly consultants.  

The purchase or sale of a property is usually associated with high financial transactions. "Using a competent real estate agent assures the customer a comprehensive consultation, which also protects the financial interests of the consumer," says Jürgen Michael Schick, vice president and spokesman of the real estate association IVD. 

The consulting services of the real estate broker has become very complex. For quite some time the broker is not relying solely on simple proof of real estate or real estate data in the setting of a synopsis or the Internet. They inspect the property and buildings, creating market analysis, examine property documents, analyze existing leases, provide valuable advise to help with the purchase contract and to find the right financing. "For consumers, it is often difficult, to distinguish serious and well-qualified service providers from the" black sheep ", says Schick. The real estate association IVD has compiled a checklist to help you identify a competent broker. 

1st Market knowledge
Professional real estate brokers are familiar with the local market. They inform you about prices, rents and market developments and are well equippedwith expertise in the valuation of the property available. You know supply and demand of the respective real estate segment and serve buyers and sellers with transparent information about the real estate transaction. 

2nd Your relationship
IVD members are obliged by the professional ethics of the association to act only when obtaining an order of the owner or customer. The IVD recommends that all agreements between the customer and the real estate broker are in writing. 

3rd Consulting without time pressure
A qualified broker is willing to take time for the concerns of his clients in his office or at the customer's home. He will never use time pressure to complete a contract, rather allow the customer a detailed examination of the offer. An alarm signal for customers are claims by the broker, the right buyer or seller is already in the index and the successful sale of a mere formality. A reputable broker will never object against the involvement of external assistance, such as an expert or a lawyer. He will never arrange the sale of a property without appointment. The consultation should not only beconducted by phone. The estate agent should be available in person, so the customer can visit him in his office. 

4th Individual counseling
A professional broker informs himself personally about the customers personal desires and needs as well as his financial situation before he makes an initial proposal. He will take requests of the customer seriously and warn him about any possible risks. In no case will he ask for advance payments. The requests of the customer can generally not be answered by references to the Internet or through commercialized online portals. Anyone interested to sell or buy a property, should ask the broker in details about his business and marketing plans.  A good broker will be able to give an accurate picture of the real estate market. It is his obligation to thoroughly inform about the time frame necessary for the completion of all formalities and to prove anestimate of cost. 

5th Showing appointments and further advice
During the showing the buyers and sellers usually meet for the first time. At this time the different interests of both parties will become very clear. A professional real estate broker is always  present at each showing. All important questions can be addressed at this time easily. The knowledge of the property, the exact location, the condition, any investment in the renovation or improvement necessary and any answer to the many questions about the specific property will help both parties to complete the negotiations. 

6th Liability
The broker should have a property damage liability insurance. Even qualified agents are not immune from making mistakes. If need be, a simple missed digit can have significant financial consequences. Therefore professional brokers secure their clients against a possible failure, mistake or an oversight. The IVD requires it’s members to have such insurance. 

7th Problem-conscious advice
A qualified real estate agent is a consultant who is giving a realistic assessments of a purchase-sale or transfer request. He will examine carefully if any problems exist or might arise and help with possible solutions.  Especially with condominium documents and bylaw you may find complicated issues. 

8th Commission
Customers should complete their real estate agent with a written contract, which includes all compensation issues. The commission is a performance-based fee, which is only paid to the real estate agent after a successful transaction. 

9th Customer Care
A professional broker remains in contact with his customers even after the successful completion of the purchase or lease and will remain involved until completion of the real estate transaction. Competent brokers have extensive training and many years of practical experience. Every professional broker will therefore be able to provide references of his previous work  - as well as  successfully transactions and satisfied customers .

10th Membership in the Association
An important quality of evidence for the broker is a membership in a professional body such as the real estate association IVD. The customer should not be afraid to ask the broker for his education and training. Reputable brokers give this inforamtion readily. The IVD example, requires its members to attend regular training courses and seminars, to be familiar with new information about real estate. Each Association member must pass a comprehensive entrance exam, in which the necessary real estate industry knowledge will be reviewed. IVD members also need proof of a property damage liability insurance.

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Source: Translated article - The German Real Estate Professional Association (IVD). 

Kijner & Sons International Realty would like to thank Mrs. Christel Silver from Silver International Realty for her help in translating the original article. 

Hong Kong SMART Expo

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to announce its participation at the upcoming Hong Kong SMART Expo (10-11 December, 2011). The Hong Kong SMART Expo is China's most successful as well as Asia's longest running Investment and International Property Showcase, attracting the World's wealthiest investors. With over 20 expos in 7 years, SMART has opened its doors to over 1,500 exhibitors, 100,000+ quality investors and welcomed the voice of hundreds of senior level industry experts.

As proud silver sponsors, Kijner & Sons International Realty will also hold a conference on international real estate investments. Come and meet with us to learn more about investing and/or relocating to the United States, Florida, Thailand, Costa Rica and France. 

Kijner & Sons International Realty will also be joined by the President of the Agency for Real Estate Affairs in Thailand, Dr. Sopon Pornchokchai* and his team to further promote Thailand. 

For more information on this exciting event, please visit www.kijner.com/Events and for all the latest updates, check regularly our Facebook page www.facebook.com/ksirealty.

To get a free pass to the Hong Kong SMART Expo, click here

We look forward to welcoming you on our booth!

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Dr. Sopon Pornchokchai is a CRS Member, the President of the Thai Appraisal Foundation and the President of the Agency for Real Estate Affairs (AREA).

Re/Max Florida Announcement

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Pros and Cons of Going Condo

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Condominiums and townhouses offer an affordable option to single-family homes in many markets such as Miami or Sarasota Florida, and they’re ideal for those who appreciate a maintenance-free lifestyle. But before you buy, make sure you do your legwork. Kijner & Sons International Realty give you some of the important elements to consider:

  • Storage. Some condos have storage lockers, but usually there are no attics or basements to hold extra belongings.
  • Outdoor space. Yards and outdoor areas are usually smaller in condos, so if you like to garden or entertain outdoors, this may not be a good fit. However, if you dread yard work, this may be the perfect option for you.
  • Amenities. Many condo properties have swimming pools, fitness centers, and other facilities that would be very expensive in a single-family home.
  • Maintenance. Many condos have onsite maintenance personnel to care for common areas, do repairs in your unit, and let in workers when you’re not home — good news if you like to travel.
  • Security. Keyed entries and even doormen are common in many condos. You’re also closer to other people in case of an emergency.
  • Reserve funds and association fees. Although fees generally help pay for amenities and provide savings for future repairs, you will have to pay the fees decided by the condo board, whether or not you’re interested in the amenity.
  • Resale. The ease of selling your unit may be dependent on what else is for sale in your building, since units are usually fairly similar.  
  • Condo rules. Although you have a vote, the rules of the condo association can affect your ability to use your property. For example, some condos prohibit home-based businesses. Others prohibit pets, or don’t allow owners to rent out their units. Read the covenants, restrictions, and bylaws of the condo carefully before you make an offer.
  • Neighbors. You’re much closer to your neighbors in a condo or town home. If possible, try to meet your closest prospective neighbors.

Common Closing Costs for Buyers

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

You’ll likely be responsible for a variety of fees and expenses that you and the seller will have to pay at the time of closing in Miami or Sarasota Florida. Your lender must provide a good-faith estimate of all settlement costs. The title company or other entity conducting the closing will tell you the required amount for:

  • Down payment
  • Loan origination
  • Points, or loan discount fees, which you pay to receive a lower interest rate
  • Home inspection
  • Appraisal
  • Credit report
  • Private mortgage insurance premium
  • Insurance escrow for homeowner’s insurance, if being paid as part of the mortgage
  • Property tax escrow, if being paid as part of the mortgage. Lenders keep funds for taxes and insurance in escrow accounts as they are paid with the mortgage, then pay the insurance or taxes for you.
  • Deed recording
  • Title insurance policy premiums
  • Land survey
  • Notary fees
  • Prorations for your share of costs, such as utility bills and property taxes

A Note About Prorations: Because such costs are usually paid on either a monthly or yearly basis, you might have to pay a bill for services used by the sellers before they moved. Proration is a way for the sellers to pay you back or for you to pay them for bills they may have paid in advance. For example, the gas company usually sends a bill each month for the gas used during the previous month. But assume you buy the home on the 6th of the month. You would owe the gas company for only the days from the 6th to the end for the month. The seller would owe for the first five days. The bill would be prorated for the number of days in the month, and then each person would be responsible for the days of his or her ownership.

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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8

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83-85 Boulevard de Charonne, 75011 Paris, France


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