SW Florida Real Estate
Daniel G. Starowicz, P.A.
Toll Free 1-800-301-4341
Sand Castle Realty Group, Inc.
4020 S. Del Prado Blvd Ste B-2
Cape Coral, FL 33904
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Daniel G. Starowicz P.A., Sand Castle Realty Group, Inc., (239) 603-6100
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SW FL Guide: Learn about the area & waterfront | Website Resources | Photo Collection | Understanding Short Sales | About Me
Search available properties: (Main search page) | Search Gulf access waterfront | Search by neighborhood | Search foreclosures
SW FL Guide > Using this site > Searches & Advanced Searches
How to find the EXACT right home using this site!
Tips & Suggestions on how to BEST conduct searches for Southwest Florida homes for sale
PAGE 1 of this section of the guide
There are plenty of simple Real Estate websites that quickly display your search results by broad criteria, such as by price, number of bedrooms, etc. (Zillow, Realtor.com, etc). However, they are extremely limited in allowing you to truly customize your searches to find exactly what you want. For example, they make no distinction between ‘waterfront’ being a 20 foot wide pond, a direct sailboat access canal, a riverfront property or even direct beachfront along the Gulf of Mexico. They do not allow you to search by any view requirements you may have (ex: golf course view), price per square foot (say, under $175/ft), type of construction (ex: concrete block), unit floor (ex: 1st floor only), orientation (ex: Southern rear exposure) and any of a number of other options. I however have designed this site so that you have enormous search capabilities to find exactly what you want-- more so than you will find anywhere else on the internet. Please read on...
On this website many of the links make finding what you are looking for a very simple process. However, I’m also going to provide you with extra inside info on all the inner workings of the area MLS systems and how the data is obtained so that you’ll be armed with a full understanding of how it works. This will ensure you will be able to find that perfect home. Taking the time to read the following will ensure you don’t miss out on any properties, such as those that were just listed as well as any that ordinarily wouldn’t be displayed on typical Real Estate websites. It really is a worthwhile read!
Particularly important portions will also be denoted with the following:
Let’s start off with the simplest way to search, by clicking on the “Search available properties” link near the top of the page as shown below:
Wherever you are on this site, you can always click here to begin a search. Though there are a number of various ways to conduct searches, the entire collection of methods can be accessed from the page this goes to- the main search page.
To summarize, on that main search page you’ll be presented with a collection of quick searches for Gulf access properties and below that, the ability to search by: mapped location, for foreclosures, and newest listings. Additional options allow you to look for beachfront only, golf course property, short sales, by MLS #, vacant land, etc. This portion is all spelled out pretty clearly... here’s a link to that page that will open in a pop-up window so you can preview it without losing your place in this guide.
For most searches, I’d recommend just clicking on the map to get to your area of interest. Upon doing so, you’ll be presented with additional options, such as searching for Gulf access only, single family only, sailboat access only, etc. Again, pretty self-explanatory.
The real power to this site comes in the ability to further customize your results though. Let’s go through a quick example: You can follow along in a second window if you like, by opening this pop up search page (same link as above). Hint: Clicking on the various screen shots below will also bring up example pages in pop-up windows.
Say you scrolled down and clicked on the map section of South Cape Coral. This will take you to the following page:
On that landing page you’ll see the yellow section offering you a number of choices to further refine your search. Let’s say you are only interested in Gulf access listings, and are open to both single family and condos. You can easily view those by choosing the section i’ve circled in red above: Gulf access options: View all listings. Once you do so, you’ll be presented with the results page, as shown below. Note that on such result pages you’ll want to scroll down a bit below the header to view all those results. I include a map just below the header too, so you can see exactly where the various homes are located.
Now in the case of our example search: As you might expect, there’s a lot of Gulf access options in a city with hundreds of miles of canals! There’s over 250 results, which is the max # displayed, to keep things organized. However, we can refine this further by adjusting the price range, as it’s presently displaying $100,000 on up.
In the screen shot above, note the section circled in red. It quickly allows you to adjust price, the number of days on the market and minimum square feet of air-conditioned living space (that excludes garages/patios/etc...just interior living area). Many more search options exist by clicking that “modify search” button a bit higher, but we’ll get to that in a minute...
So let’s refine our search to reflect that we are searching for a home from say, $400,000 to $900,000. We’ll also require a minimum of 1800 square feet, but don’t care about the days on the market in this example. (On a side note: if you want to quickly search for the newest listings on the market, simply make that a rather short time frame!) Simply plug in those revised numbers, and click the search button to conduct that search.
Your results will now be filtered, showing only homes in that price range and of that required size. But let’s say we are picky about a whole bunch of additional criteria. No problem! We can customize our search pretty much to our heart’s content by clicking on that “Modify Search” option any time we are viewing results.
Actually, you can conduct a modified search... let’s actually call it a customized search, from the very start as well. Note that on that main search page there’s quite a number of spots that refer to “custom search” or “Customize search to your exact parameters here”. You can, at any time you like, simply click on one of these to do so as well. Here’s a screen shot half-way down the main search page, to demonstrate:
Regardless of which route you take to customize your search, you’ll land on a page that should look pretty much like the following:
Please be sure it says Advanced Search in large text and not Basic Search though! A basic search won’t afford you many options... the Advanced will. A link is there, if needed, to ensure you are on the Advanced Search page.
Advanced Search / Custom Search
Now that you are to the Advanced Search page, you can pretty much customize your search however you like. A few words of advice though, some of which aren’t quite so obvious so take note!
In the example to the right, is the Advanced Search screen. See that section I’ve marked as Residential? This is how you can alternatively switch to searching for vacant land or “rental income” properties, meaning duplexes, 4-plexes, etc if you are an investor.
Below that are check-mark boxes to choose what kind of property you are after: Single family, high rise condo, etc. Fairly self explanatory, but let me advise that due to various terminology used in parts of the country think of “Townhouses” as typically 2 story tall row houses with shared walls. Common rooms (kitchen, living) tend to be on the ground floor, bedrooms tend to be upstairs. Here’s an example:
Villas on the other hand tend to be just one story tall (though not an absolute requirement) and whether attached or detached, they tend to be architecturally very similar to the neighboring structures, as they typically are within a planned community that was all built at the same time. Yard space and lot size tends to be minimal on villas, but little maintenance is required and typically the association takes care of the lawn, gardens and all common areas. The same is true on most all townhouses too. Be sure to review association HOA fees though, as they vary wildly!
A special note to European customers: You may be familiar with the term “Vacation Villa” or homes being called names like “Villa del Palmas” being used to refer to Single Family Homes offered for vacationers to rent by the week, month, etc while on holiday. This terminology is somewhat misleading as such homes are not really “Villas”... they should really be called Single Family Homes, so please note that for purposes of reviewing properties for sale, if those type of homes are what you have in mind, you should be searching for Single Family Homes, not villas.
Here’s an example image of some various attached villas:
On the next page, we’ll get into all the elaborate custom search parameters you can specify.
continued on the next page >>
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Maps/ Aerial Images Courtesy Google Maps, Microsoft Live, Yahoo Maps, and/or LeePa
Daniel G. Starowicz, P.A. Sand Castle Realty Group, Inc. 4020 S. Del Prado Blvd. Suite B-2, Cape Coral, FL 33904 239-603-6100
LeeHouses.com and TopWaterfrontDeals.com by Dan Starowicz. (C) 2017