The buyer has a responsibility to do their own research and due diligence when buying a home. A real estate agent in Florida is assumed to be acting as a transaction broker with the following limited responsibilities.
1. Deal honestly and fairly.
2. Account for all funds.
3. Use skill, care and diligence in the transaction.
4. Disclose all known facts that materially effect the property even if not readily observable to the buyer.
5. Present all offers and counter offers in a timely manner.
6. Limited confidentiality. An agent can’t reveal that a seller will take a lower price, a buyer will pay a higher price or other info detrimental to the oposing party. The buyer or seller are not responsible for the actions of their agent unlike a single agency.
This is a brief over view of the duties and the full disclosure is available in PDF format if you want a copy.
When you work with an agent you are really working with their broker. Acting as a transaction broker allow the agent to show other listings from their brokers office.
The point of all this is that it is up to the buyers to determine if the home and the area is suitable for them.
Here are a few resources.
Read the local newspaper, the Star Banner, it’s online and free. Read it every day to get a feel for the area, schools, politics or what ever interests you.
Don’t ask a Realtor questions about an areas demographics. That’s the third rail of real estate. If you’re interested in demographics do an internet search. You can search on anything even by zip codes.
Law enforcement agencies have pretty nice web sites. The 2 important ones are the Marion County Sheriff and the city of Ocala police department. Remember although our area is often referred to as Ocala a lot of the area is actually in Marion County and may be in a subdivision that is not in any city or town.
Ocala is a great place to retire or to live if you’re self employed but finding a job can be tough. I think the best resource for Ocala employment opportunities is Employ Florida.
Google Maps is a nice way to get a feel for Marion County. I’ve created a map of Ocala 55+ retirement communities and plan to build others. If you’re not real familiar with Google Maps or the competition, you can often click on areal view and zoom in on a feature or area. Keep in mind that these images may not be up to date.
Property taxes are very confusing. The tax amount that you see on a listing is probably not what you will end up paying. Taxes are reassessed every time a house is sold. The Marion County Property Appraiser has a nice web site. Check out the FAQ and the tax estimator. I have also added a new page to my web site about Ocala area Property Taxes.
Read my blog. I try to do 1 or 2 posts a week. I also blog about the weather and market conditions monthly.