Have you read a description of a home in Florida and wondered what half of the words meant?
Have you Googled the phrases “lanai” and “lot premium” to try and better understand what it all means?
Search no more, we are here to help!
If you are moving to the area from out of state, there might be some Florida-based real estate/house lingo that sounds foreign.
Today, we explain what the most commonly used terms mean, how it relates to real estate, and provide examples of that specific to Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
Let’s get started!
Types of Homes
Villa (detached) - this is a single family, one story home, possibly with a side entry to the house. The layout tends to be longer and narrower than traditional Single-Family layouts.
Paired or Quad villas - these will be attached and share one (or two) walls. The end units usually have more windows versus an interior unit, and these will have
In many communities, Villas are treated as a single family home in the sense that you can add a pool or extended enclosure area. For example, the Ibis paired villas in Esplanade at Azario allow homeowners to extend their lanai and add a small pool/spool. However, they charge a bit higher of an HOA fee because they take reserves to cover roofing and exterior painting, kind of like a condo..
Condo - in Florida, a condo is usually a single story unit in a high-rise or multi level building. Sometimes there are detached or attached garages and storage space, sometimes just carports or cars in front.
Townhome - this is a multi-level, single family home. Usually the garage is the first floor and then the main living space is in the middle with the bedrooms upstairs. Mallory Park at Lakewood Ranch has unique townhomes with the garages in the back through an alley between homes, so the front of the home has a porch and standard entrance.
Apartment - a rental unit in a larger building with its own amenities and rules
Single family homes - I think this one is pretty self-explanatory..
Features in Florida Homes
Lanai- this is a Hawaiian term used for a veranda connected to the main house with roof on top and open sides.
It can be used as a living area and promotes natural air circulation. Lanais are best for tropical weather that allows people to sit outside, which is why they work so well in Florida.
This is generally the covered area connected to the roof in the back of the house, screened in. You can extend your lanai to include your pool and additional decking, then cover it with your screen..
Screen/Cage enclosure- this becomes an extension of your lanai because you can include the pool and additional decking, then close it in with the screen or cage.
Hurricane impact glass (windows and doors) – Seems self explanatory, but also means that you don’t need to worry about hurricane shutters, as this does the job for you.
If you have the option to upgrade to this when building, I highly recommend it. Most builders include hurricane impact glass on front windows and doors, but add the back, as well, if you can!
Elevation – Generally, this term refers to the height above sea level, however, in the context of new construction in Florida, this refers to the exterior look of the home or front façade.
Builders offer different elevations to make the homes look different from one another, and sometimes there are additional costs involved with choosing one elevation versus the other.
Maintenance Free - A funny term because it is definitely not free, but this is the term used in communities where the HOA fee covers all of your lawn and yard maintenance.
Maintenance included might be a better way to describe it! Homes that are not maintenance free require homeowners to do their own yard and lawn care, or hire a landscaping company.
How Pricing Works
AC square feet - On a floorplan, this is the number to pay attention to. It will include all of the living space under the roof within the A/C, excluding the lanai and garage spaces. The "total living area" includes all of those extra spaces.
Base price – If you were to build the house floating in space with basic finishes in it, this is the price. It does not include the land, pool, or any interior finishes and upgrades.
Lot premiums - Now, you have to put the home on land somewhere, so the lot premium is the cost of the land you choose. A water view lot is going to have a higher premium than a preserve lot, although both beautiful.
A corner lot or one that backs up to a wall, busy street, or another home will have a much lower premium. Add this to the base price of the home, as a starting point.
Design options – Now, you need to add the interior finishes to the home to make it what you want! These design options range in price for each builder.
Some builders, such as Lennar, offer a few options and upgrades that would keep your design options limited, but also super affordable.
For a more custom design, like with Homes by Towne, you can estimate that you will spend about 15-18% of the base price of your home on options (which on a $500,000 is at least $50,000).
Add your base price + lot premium + design options (estimate) to get a better idea of the full price. Then, add the pool if you plan to put one in! (Average pool would be about $50,000 for easy estimates)