Seller Story: Navigating Complexities in Vina Del Mar

November 11, 2020
single story white house with a driveway and well kept landscape

We’re always proud to represent our clients with the utmost attention to detail, ensuring that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Sometimes, every possible obstacle presents itself during the selling process, but we’re proud when our agents are able to overcome these challenges with creative solutions. That was the case with this particular St. Pete Beach property, which was officially sold in August of 2020 by Melissa Mihok.

The Sellers

Our client was looking to sell their home in Vina Del Mar and purchase a new property in St. Pete Beach to make space for their growing family—they were a married couple with a baby on the way! Timing was of the essence to ensure that they could sell their home and purchase a new one with minimal stress to the expectant mother. 

The Property

The property, at 2403 W Vina Del Mar Blvd, featured everything you could want in a St. Pete Beach home—an open floor plan, a modern kitchen with high end finishes, large bedrooms, a stunning outdoor space with a pool, and extensive renovations including a garage conversion to additional living space. On first glance, selling a home like this one should have been a breeze. 

The Challenge

The first challenge presented itself rather quickly. When conducting our initial pre-listing research, we discovered that the garage conversion had been completed without a permit by previous owners of the home, and our sellers weren’t made aware of this when they purchased it. This meant a large area couldn’t be counted in the total square footage—dramatically impacting the value of the home. The sellers needed to be able to list their home at the full value in order to move into a new space that met all of their family’s needs. 

We started out by working to retroactively permit the work that had been done. Luckily, Melissa and the seller were able to work closely with the city of St. Pete Beach, with direct help thanks to our broker and owner John Barkett’s many relationships and ability to explain the situation. That said, we did encounter some delays in the closing process because of permitting, leading to our client facing difficulties securing a loan for their new space. 

Melissa and the sellers worked closely with the City of St Pete Beach permits division to rectify this situation along with the direct assistance and guidance of John Barkett, broker/owner of Barkett Realty.  By retroactively permitting the work, this helped ensure that we were able to get the sellers the value they deserved for their property. 

In addition to the permitting issue, the sellers were faced with challenges in securing a jumbo loan during the pandemic for their new home. While we were working with the permitting process, we also negotiated the sale contract to include a lease-back contingency—meaning that the sellers would be able to lease the home they just sold for a short period of time after the closing date so they could finalize the closing process on their new home purchase. While all of these negotiations were taking place, the sellers were approaching their baby’s delivery date.

The closing on the property took place at the end of August, with the family leasing their recently sold home for one month while closing on their new home in St. Pete Beach. Just a few weeks after their old home was officially sold, the closing on their new home took place—actually while the new mother was in the hospital just a few days after welcoming the new baby! Luckily, everyone involved is happy, healthy, and thriving in their new home. 

Key Takeaways:

Have an agent who puts in the effort

First and foremost, whether you’re buying or selling a property, you want to make sure you have an agent who is in your corner and going to do their research on a property. Unfortunately we didn’t represent the seller when they originally purchased the property, and the agent they were working with didn’t do the research to inform them about the unpermitted work. They didn’t know at the time that they were inheriting a problem, and if we hadn’t gone the extra mile to work with the city and ensure the work was permitted retroactively, they wouldn’t have been able to get the value they deserved for their home. 

Have a backup plan

You’ll also want to make sure when selling your home that you’re accounting for any and all contingencies in your contract before both parties sign.  It is important to understand “approved for financing” does not mean the loan will make it to closing. There are many factors that the lender needs after approval of loan to get a clear to close, and you don’t want to be stuck in a contract that doesn’t meet all of your needs. 

For instance, if you want to make sure that you’ll only close on your old property if your financing is secured for a new one, you need to outline that in the contract upfront, as these types of contingencies cannot be added after the fact. In instances like these, you may be able to negotiate a lease-back agreement like we did with this property—however, not all buyers will be amenable to waiting even longer to move into the home they just worked so hard to purchase. 

Love your neighborhood

Most importantly, stories like this one show how wonderfully unique our market is. Because the City of St. Pete Beach was able to work with us to accelerate the permitting process as much as possible, we were still able to move fairly quickly with the challenges we faced. We also were fortunate to have friendly, neighborly people on both sides of the table, ensuring that everyone was able to work together to reach a favorable outcome—one of the many reasons St. Pete, from downtown to the beaches and everywhere in between , is such a great place to live! 

If you’re looking to list your home in St. Pete, or find the perfect property to call your own, the Barkett team is here to help. Get in touch to learn more about what makes us different.

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