Home Buying Guide

As simple as these tips seem, 80% of buyers do not accomplish them in order. Not only will they save you and everyone involved time and money but they may keep you from loosing the home of you dreams. I can’t count how many times a buyer has found the home the want while “Just Looking” in the “Preliminary Stages” only to loose the home to a more prepared buyer that was already pre-qualified.

1. Pre-qulalify – Contact a recommended lender to become pre-qualified and find out about special loan incentives or state and county programs like down payment assistance for buyers earning less than $54k annually. IMPORTANT: obtain and keep with you a pre-qualification letter; provide a copy to your realtor. You should do this before you even begin looking for a home, otherwise you won’t know what price range to look for. Knowing what you can afford and knowing how much you qualify for can be very different.

2. Choose a Realtor – contact a Realtor to discuss the area, loan type, and type of home you would like to consider. IMPORTANT: don’t contact a different realtor for every home you see while trying to find a home your self by driving or using the internet, this is how you end up with a unorganized process that can lead to many heartaches and end up costing you more than it should have. Pick one Realtor and stay with them (unless they do not serve you well). The more your Realtor knows about you the better they can help you and the smother your transaction will become. Your Realtor should explain the offer and buying process to make sure you get a complete and correct contract with home inspection periods, financing contingencies and cancellation clauses as well as any other particulars that may apply. With a Realtor that is working for you, you have access to knowing all the cost, inspection requirement, time lines, and inner-workings of each transaction before you sign for anything. There are several specific time lines in the standard real estate contract that you must adhere to and there are inspection, survey or other requirements imposed by most lenders.

3. Realtors – Most buyers Realtors are free to the buyer, they are paid from the sellers MLS Listing fee, ask yours if in doubt. Realtors are state licensed, tested, finger printed and regulated with a state over site commission called the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC). Realtors typically do not handle any money, the title company typically handles all the money. Your good faith deposit is taken to the title company by you, and you get a receipt. When you pay for your home (or your lender does) the funds are wired to the title company.  Realtors work off word or mouth and good customer service it’s always in their best interest have satisfied clients. If you have chosen a good Realtor the remaining steps of your transaction will be plotted out for you by your Realtor.

  • Flat Rate Realtor – with typical home prices starting over $150k and averaging the 200’s it is possible to save money and get the same service from a Flat Rate Realtor. As times change new, better and cheaper ways to get the same service arise; this is the flat rate realtor. Typical Buyers Realtor Commission may be about 3%  (paid from sellers MLS Fee) of the total contract price of the home, so $6,000 on a 200k home. It is possible for you as the buyer to use some of that 3% for closing cost or other closing fees by using a Flat Rate or Shared Rate Realtor. Realtors are not advertising this heavily, contact us here for a few names of local flat rate or shared rate buyers Realtors.

Some of the main points are below;

  1. When making a offer get a 10 day inspection period with right to cancel your offer.
  2. You can get a Truth in Lending disclosure from your lender showing all your cost.
  3. If your offer is accepted you have limited time to make a deposit to the title company. The title company typically handles all the money, not your Realtor.
  4. Your Realtor can help you estimate the cost of your insurance, taxes, inspections and survey that are required by the lender.
  5. You have a limited time window to complete inspections and report back to the seller if you would like to continue the purchase.
  6. You have a limited time window to get your loan completed, your inspections, survey done and any other items required for your financing.
  7. You will need to obtain insurance before closing day.
  8. Do not buy anything on credit while looking for a home or during a purchase; wait until after you close the transaction and have the keys.
  9. You can setup water and power a few days before closing day.

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