Concierge Relocation Service
“Find a need and fill it” was the advice of Norman Vincent Peale. We three members of The Keys Action Team perceived a need of people wanting to relocate from a state with high taxes and/or brutal winters. Finding and moving to a home far from where you have been living is daunting, far different from moving to a nearby neighborhood or town. Once you move in, we help you become a part of the community.
Each of us has moved to South Florida in recent years, and found some parts of relocation intimidating. While we have regular roles as realtors for Floridians, we decided to offer a service for folks considering that leap, which we call the Concierge Relocation Service. A former Dean of the Stanford School of Business said that a person needs to be repotted every few years. We are here to help people repot to southern Florida, to find the home and the neighborhood they will enjoy most, and be there for them after they arrive.
The Keys Action Team is part of Coldwell Banker Schmitt, the largest and most prestigious real estate brokerage firm in the Florida Keys.
What Does the Team Do for You? Most people considering a move to the Keys and South Florida from far away begin with looking at homes on Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor.com. The information is often misleading or insufficient. When he still lived in California, Tom saw a home on Zillow in Duck Key that looked ideal, a lovely building surrounding an idyllic cozy swimming pool. When he visited, he found it very disappointing, more like a cheap motel where you had to go out on a porch to get from the bedrooms to the rest of the house. Neighborhoods matter, and the old saw about the most important factors in real estate being “location, location, location” is mostly true.
The first step is establishing a relationship so that we understand why you are looking here and what you are looking for. This will start with phone calls and emails. We will send you a questionnaire which will have two purposes: it will be a chance for you and your family to discuss and settle on your priorities and tradeoffs. The results will enable us, your agents, to look at homes through your eyes. For example, you will discuss what your price range is, and how important are things like waterfront, swimming pool, and kitchen amenities. It will tell us about your lifestyle, which will guide us to choose the right homes in the right neighborhoods. (While we specialize in the Upper Keys of Key Largo, Tavernier, and Islamorada, we can also help you find the ideal home in Miami-Dade County or the Middle and Lower Keys).
After we receive the completed questionnaire, we will talk on the phone for clarification of any points that are fuzzy. When we have a clear picture of what you are looking for, we suggest that you plan a trip of at least a week, combining the home search with enjoying the many things that the Upper Keys have to offer. We can suggest places to stay and arrange for such things as the snorkeling trip from John Pennekamp State Park to the largest coral reef in the continental US, fishing trips, kayaking, scuba, paddleboarding, dolphin encounters. We suggest limiting the number of houses you visit to six or eight, to balance these visits with enjoying the area. Don’t forget leisure time to just enjoy the warm ocean and outdoor dining watching the spectacular sunsets.
When your travel plans have been set, we will set up a schedule balancing house hunting and vacations. You will likely fly into Miami International Airport (MIA), just over an hour drive from Key Largo. Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) is about thirty minutes further away, but offers service from JetBlue and Spirit that do not fly into MIA. We suggest renting a car, as while we will drive you around to look at homes, you will doubtless want your own transportation to explore the area.
Once you decide on a property, we will be your fierce advocates, getting you the best deal possible. We on the ACTION Team are known for our negotiating skills.
Here is another area where we differ from most: after you arrive, we are there to help you make the transition, at no cost to you. From ideas about furniture (a huge percentage of homes here are sold furnished, and people who move furniture from former homes soon find it does not fit the tropical lifestyle, much less fit already furnished rooms), to recommendations on where to find things and trustworthy services like handymen, house cleaners, pool service companies). Please understand that the people of South Florida, especially the Keys, are exceptionally friendly. Many moved here a few years ago themselves, and there are few cliques to break into.
We have created our Concierge Relocation Service to offer unique services in helping people from far away find their dream home, and once they arrive, help them smoothly acclimatize and take advantage of the many advantages found here.
Telecommuting From Paradise:
Increasingly, many people have come to realize that they can thrive working from home. They require three elements to make it feasible, all of which are present in the Upper Keys:
Idiosyncrasies of Keys Homes:
Because of building codes enacted around 1975 due to damage from storm surge during hurricanes, the primary living areas of most Keys homes are not on the ground level. Many look like they are on stilts.
Ground level areas of homes may include bedrooms, but if the ground level is below the flood level, these bedrooms may not legally be counted in the posted bedroom count. As you look at some homes listed as 3BR 2BA, for example, you may count more than three bedrooms and two baths. Homes built before 1975 are not subject to this regulation.
Many if not most of Keys homes are sold furnished.
Most Keys homes are built with CBS, which means the outside structure is Concrete Block with a Stucco skin over it.
There is no natural gas service in the Keys, but propane is widely available.
No State Income Tax in Florida:
Owners of homes in the Keys mostly fall into four categories:
• Full-time. Their Keys home is their only residence.
• Floridians. Since the weather in the Keys is cooler than the often hot or rainy cityscapes of Miami and Hialeah, many residents of those cities have second homes in the Upper Keys.
• Snowbirds. Folks who escape the brutal winters of the northeast, midwest, and Canada. They generally arrive in October and return after six months.
• Part timers who maintain their official residence in Florida because this state has no state income tax (also no inheritance or estate taxes), while keeping another home in another state. This group has swelled since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted in 2017. Previously, there was no limit to how much taxpayers could deduct for SALT taxes (income, property, and sales taxes combined). Beginning in tax year 2018, the deduction was capped at $10,000 for all SALT taxes. The effect on higher income families was often devastating, as their Federal income tax payments soared astronomically. It is important to note that the rules require that the homeowner must officially change home of residence to Florida (doing such tasks as registering to vote and getting a Florida driving license) and spend a minimum of 183 days a year in Florida to qualify.
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