Lisa Treu and Brian Mudd discuss the steps to find and buy your new home on the Treu Real Estate 911 podcast. 

We have so much to offer throughout the Palm Beaches. You want to talk about diversity, everything form the equestrian lifestyle to Palm Beach, from the beaches and estates to town homes and condos, north to south, we have it all. Lisa is going to help walk you through the considerations as you're looking to figure out where exactly is the right place for you. As we get started today, if you're not already there, go to That is, the best local resource you're going to find for real estate information, and the Treus, they're always there for you, seven days a week. Whether you're buying, selling, if you just have questions, 561-972-8326, 561-972-8326.

Lisa, it's so true, when you brought this topic up just a bit ago, it got me thinking to what it was like for me when I was relocating down here. It's been about 13 years and I remember going, "Wow, there is a lot here." It's probably more diverse and probably more complicated than many people think, because there is enough knowledge about the Palm Beaches generally, I think, to have a stereotypical idea of what is represented here without necessarily understanding everything that is fully in option here.

You know, there really is something, almost, for everyone in Palm Beach County. Rather you're looking for, today I had a call from somebody looking for a vacation home. They're going to pop down here for major holidays, maybe a few a times for long weekends, to those of us who live here, and call it home year round, and everything in between. The complication comes, and I think a lot of it comes with the way real estate is done historically, is the average agent asks five questions, or the average buyer gives five answers. We would rather ask 50 questions, because we understand it's more than bedrooms, and baths. It's about lifestyle, and truly trying to understand the lifestyle that you have in your mind, and then making sure that the community that you're looking to buy fulfills that goal, and it starts with what cities are important to you, down to what type of neighborhood is important to you. Then fine tuning, okay, this is going to be an ideal community where you're going to love coming home to either everyday or every vacation.

I'm curious. With a lot of the buyers, because you work with so many from outside of this area, how many end up necessarily where they think they wanted to be originally, based upon not having done the research, by the time they're fully informed.

Lisa Treu:

Many of our buyers, we have two type of buyers really that are from out of area. They either know nothing about our area, so they're moving here for the first time, and they say, "Well a friend told me to look in this city," or, "A friend told me I should consider this community." Then we have the buyers who maybe have great friends down here, or they've lived here in the past, or they have family down here, and they may even be coming with a list of, "I'm interested in these three communities." We have those two different types of buyers when they're coming to Florida. Then it's just a matter of saying, "Okay great, if you know where you want to be that's fine. We'll sell you what you want."

One of the things that we're hearing a lot now, which really concerns me, are people that purchased in the last six, nine, 12 months, and they are miserable in their community. It just wasn't the right fit. They bought based on a pretty kitchen, or they purchased based on the things that honestly can be changed, versus finding the right lifestyle fit. One said to me, "I'm never going to use the club and this place is like a five star resort, it's amazing." Well, that's great, but she's paying for something she does not ever want to step in the doors of. She resents it every single time she writes out that association maintenance. Really, someone should have been able to have given her a little bit more guidance had they understood that her lifestyle is really kind of enjoying her home, entertaining people within, not going and being social within the community amenities.

Well and you mentioned that we have something for just about everyone. The good news is if you are definitive about what you're looking for, you talk about the difference between the equestrian lifestyle, and someone who wants to be east and near the water, or maybe someone who is looking to raise a family and they want to be more central and the schools, and single family home, and maybe some land would be a greater priority. You take a look at the differences between Boca and Jupiter, which are vast, and everything in between. What are some of the important questions that we want to be thinking about when we're looking to relocate to the Palm Beaches.

Well one of the things we always want to look at are, number one, are schools important to the purchase? Many times they are, half the time they're not, that's okay, but if they are that will influence, maybe, the buyers decision on which cities. We're just talking about, you know, broad, let's start broad, what cities to live in. Do they have a job or are they retired? One of the things, and it's a myth coming from the northeast, the first conversation I have with many buyers is, "I want to be within an hour to an hour and a half of work." That's normal.

The good news is, that is achieved pretty much anywhere in the Palm Beaches, if you're working in the Palm Beaches.


Lisa Treu:

Absolutely. My answer is, "No you don't, you will hate me," because that is what they're use to if they're working in Manhattan.

Most people are not living in Manhattan, they're community. Down here our lifestyle is different and they will hate me if I do that to them.

There's no need for that. You can be closer to your work so that when you're off from work you can enjoy all the beauty of south Florida.


Right? We're going to ask them are they employed and where so that we can help that from a city standpoint. Then we're going to want to know what they like to do. If they love to paddleboard, or they love to kayak, probably Wellington is not going to be my first choice for them.

Yeah, I would say.

Right? Not a whole lot of places that you can throw your paddleboard in. There's a couple, but not a lot, and of course you have alligators out there.

I was going to say and not the water you necessarily want to be swimming either.

Agreed, and so we're going to really look at their interest. Do they love golf? Are they looking for a private course, a public course, and just really digging deep, deep, deep. I always get this comment, I get this a lot about land, "I want a big lot." Okay, what does that mean?

What is that? 

Right? Big lot to me now is very different what big lot to me 10 years ago when I had children at home. We're going to really narrow down what all of those things, what they are and what they mean.

Brian Mudd:

You know, you also end up bringing up an interesting conversation, because I was literally having this conversation with someone just two days ago. Because they were newer to the area and I believe they were looking in from Illinois. They thought that because there was a plot of land, and it happens to be east on the water, that it would be something that would be at a price tag that they had in mind, which the land itself would be well more than twice the number for a home being built on it. Ultimately, they were surprised that in many locations, when you're paying for land, they're paying for the location, not the size of the lot. How often does that become a variable that people might be surprised by?

They're surprised by a lot of things. They're surprised about when if they're a condo buyer that the further east you go, the higher the maintenance becomes.


They're very surprised by that. They're also surprised by things called special assessments.

Oh my, yes.

Right? You know about that one. Yes, my old friend.

They are surprised that you are going to pay a lot, generally, to be on the water. That includes many of our lakes, our lakes, like our Lake Eden, or Lake Idas, in Del Ray, have gotten very expensive. Our ocean access properties, there's only so much of it, especially in Palm Beach County. When you get down in to Fort Lauderdale the ocean access goes way west. Well we don't have that luxury here. We don't have access way west. We are kind of in a position where if you want ocean access there's only so much of it. People are finding that if they want those hot type of properties, or for example, I have a property that had multiple offers in Abacoa in Jupiter. Abacoa is great, it's popular. This particular home was even more popular because it had a beautiful pool and a huge corner lot, which was rare. Anytime you have anything that's unique and rare, then that's important.

The other thing we're going to look at really closely is their exit strategy. Do they intend on buying a vacation home, second home, and then making Florida their permanent home in a few years? Well if that's the case we want to make sure that what they're purchasing allows them to make that transition, that they're making a smart purchase on something that hopefully will continue to appreciate, hold its value pretty well, and that we can actually get them out of okay.

You are just sharing a related showing before we started the show today, about a buyer that you worked with over a year ago, and how he is renting out his property for a couple years until he comes down. Now he's pretty much halfway there. You're able to help people based upon what their strategy is, it's not just, "Hey, yeah, we'll help you identify a home."

Yeah, I mean it really starts with the strategy. The strategy of what you want, why you want it, and what your plan is. Having the exit strategy planned is really important. That's important for first time home buyers, it's also really important for people that are buying, you know, seasonal properties that one day they want to make Florida their permanent home. Because let's face it, that two-two condo that works great for you to come down for a couple months, or even long weekends, probably is not going to work when you're down here all year long. You're going to need to sell that and buy something bigger. Maybe you want to buy something that you don't have to sell, that you could rent out. Maybe you want to rent it out part of the year. I mean, there's a lot of ways in the strategy, to make things work, and so understanding those goals.

What we don't want is for somebody to buy something that looks, and maybe is a really good deal, but there's a reason for it being a really good deal. For example, I love country clubs, our mandatory country clubs sometimes are way below value. They are very attractive when you look at what you can buy there, even with the mandatory membership, sometimes it just makes so much sense.

Lisa Treu:

However, if you aren't going to live there long term, and you're going to sell it in a couple of years, you're going to have to drastically keep it below market value as well in order to sell lit. Just having those kind of conversations so that people are making not just a good decision, but a good decision for them and their situation. When I give advice I always do my best to not give my advice, but give my advice based on what I would do if I were them, because it doesn't matter what I would do. It only matters if I were in their situation, what would I think, and what would I do? It's a challenging thing to do and yet I think I do it pretty well, because having that ability to have real empathy for where they are, and come from a place of understanding, it just comes from years, and years, and years of being able to forecast out that if we do this, this is probably what's going to happen.

Yeah, so the good news, again as we've talked about is, there really is world class activity and options for many different lifestyles. Literally world class equestrian lifestyle, literally world class beach lifestyle. The intracostal and everything it has to offer along with the ability to raise a family, and wonderful parks by the way. One of the things that's often underappreciated until you really take an interest is we have over 40 parks throughout the Palm Beaches, many of which are absolutely terrific that happen to be free. Beyond that, when you take at some of those question that you were talking about, you get down to some of the specificities of HOAs, and also the country club lifestyle, really understanding what you're looking for is critical on the front end. Because as you're talking about all those, I'm thinking about my transition around here. Sometimes you can operation on a series of assumptions thinking that you know what you want, maybe more than answering the questions, the 50 questions you're talking about, would lead you to.

I'll tell you the single biggest assumption that I was wrong on was wanting to be on a condo on the beach. As much as I was interested in that from a daily lifestyle standpoint, ultimately, there's a lot more that goes into the corrosion, and the upkeep, right down to a car kept right there on the ocean, and beach erosion concerns, and things of that nature, that ended up leading me to be happier in a home on the intracostal for example. There are things like that, that maybe you would have that expertise and be able to help steer people so they don't get down here, and as you mentioned, six to nine months later go, "Man, I wish I had done this."

You know, it's funny, because I'll get questions about, "Why is that ... those condo fees so high?"

It's not one building, right? It's usually areas.


Well there's a reason. If you're that type, on a beach condo, where the monthly or quarterly amount is causing you pause ...


... you really probably shouldn't be buying it, because the special assessments will bury you. It's one of the things that you have to understand, because not all buildings are the same. Now maybe one community their HOA or condo fees are higher, and they have better reserves. Well one looks like a deal, right?


But you're getting a bill all the time for a special assessment. If you're coming from a single family home, and you've never lived in a condo, it is hard to kind of lose that control, because if it's your home, you know, when you have a repair, you control when it gets done, who does it, you bid it out, you decide which person you're going to hire. In a condo it doesn't work that way. Yes, you might get a vote, but you're one vote, and if you're the only one voting no, and everybody else is voting yes, guess what? You're opening your checkbook. I've had people that honestly probably shouldn't have purchased condos, later, years later, called me and said, "You know, I'm just financially being buried here. I've got to get out of this." It is just one thing to consider. Now is it great to live on the beach? Yes. Is it wonderful if you can afford it? Of course. If you want to come down here, and look out, and see the ocean, especially if you can get one looking at the ocean, the intracostal. I mean what a great thing that is.

However, you have to understand the long term implications. Which home owner's association, or condo association, is right for you? For example, pets are a big issue.

Huge, huge. Right? Yeah

Even home owner's associates restricts the kind of pets and the number of pets. Sometimes we'll get somebody that has four lovely, wonderfully cared for, controlled dogs, right? Indoor dogs. Guess what? We have a hard time finding them an association often that will allow them to have four dogs. Condos are even harder, just any pets in the condo market sometimes is hard. Understanding what is important to you. Do you have a truck? Well, that may be a challenge in some areas. Then the other big one is what is your tolerance for other people being in your business? Do they have rules that you have to have your garbage can in by a certain? Right? Or, if you don't mow your grass by Friday at 10, are they sending you a note?

Well, I want to be careful not to scare people away from certain circumstances, because the lifestyle is amazing here, and neither one of us want to be anywhere else, nor most people who find what's right for them here, but to your point, there are things you just want to think about. The very first home I was in was at the behest of my first wife, because she wanted to be close to the airport and wanted a different lifestyle than I did, and I went along with it.

I was in a country club community that would not allow the Benz to be out in front of the house for anything prior to 8 o'clock in the morning. Well, the challenge was that she traveled for work, and I leave for work at 3:30 in the morning, and you can't keep the Benz, in that community, outside of your property. It wasn't like I could have neighbors ... There literally was no way for me to be able to get from here to there often, and so I would end up eating a $25 fine to simply put out a garbage bin, for example. It was a consideration to do it for the obvious reasons on top of paying the HOA and other assessments. There were things like that, that are nuances, that are important for not only us to understand, but that you have knowledge of, that many other agents don't. Because that agent that I worked with before I was familiar with you, certainly didn't say anything about that.

Well, and here's the thing, there's a buyer for that community, right? Oh yeah.

There are people that love that. I mean, they live it, they love it, they embrace it, they're perfect for that community. There's nothing wrong with that.

Yeah, it was a wonderful neighborhood. Yeah.
Just not for me.

Right, exactly. There are other communities that, that person who loves the prior community you lived in, if they lived in it, they would hate it.


That's okay. The goal is to find ... Remember, I said there's something for everyone. The goal is to find your community. There are people that want five acres of land, and we sell that all the time too. They really don't want to be near anything, or anybody. You know what, that's wonderful.


Right? There's nothing wrong with that. I think a lot of times what we do is we make all these things wrong, it's not that it's wrong, it's just wrong for that person. What I don't want is to just sell somebody a house, I want to sell somebody a home, and a lifestyle. Getting them the right home, the right community, the right city, and really finding that place that when they walk through the door, because look, if you're retired that's great. You still have stress, but when you're working, you want to walk through your door, and kind of feel like you've relaxed. You don't want to walk in your door and go, "Oh my gosh I'm here again," right?

Oh yeah. You know.

This is it, my wife, Ashley, and I, we say it every time, we end up getting home and we look out back, and everything else is okay.

That exists here for sure.

That is the goal. We are going to ask tons, and tons, and tons of question. Now the great news is, probably after about 12 questions, we already have a pretty clear picture of where you're going to love living. Like I said, we'll sell you wherever you want to be sold. You're an adult. We're not here to tell you what to do. Yet, we're going to give you, hopefully, direction, and guidance, and help you find your piece of Florida paradise. Like you said, I can't imagine ... I visit a lot of places and there's not one place that's ever caused me to say, "You know what? I think that's better." There has not been one place I've ever, and I've been to some beautiful places, the reality is, I love coming home. I love our lifestyle.

So true. Why not?

Yeah, it's great. The Treus, they're here to help you whether you're looking to buy, sell, if you just have questions they're a resource too. 561-972-8326. That's 561-972-8326. Or, you can always get started, if you're not there already, at