Ready for a change?
For nearly a decade, I have been helping Central Florida residents find their home life. Helping people define what “home” means to them is my passion, so I’ve broken down the home buying process into 6 easy-to-digest steps.
What is a pre-approval? A lender reviews your financial situation and determines if you qualify for a mortgage, what loan program best fits your financial situation, what your maximum monthly mortgage payment could be and what price range is suitable for you.
Why is it important? Being pre-approved for a certain amount prevents you from falling in love with a home that you cannot afford and prepares you for the financial side of the buying process
How do I get one? At the end of this package is a short list of mortgage consultants that some of my previous buyers have teamed up with. Contact one of them to get pre-approved and gain insight on the mortgage process. You will need your bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns and social security number available to you to answer some of their questions.
Build a relationship. Take the time to interview a few different lenders to find the one that best suits you. It is important to trust your mortgage consultant as they will be providing you with financial advice and counseling if you discover that you are not ready or qualified to purchase now.
Plan your strategy and stick to it. Before you become emotionally attached to a home and over- extend your finances, you should plan your negotiation strategy with your realtor. Answer the questions to the right.
Narrow your search. Next, decide what size home (bedroom/bathroom count) you will need and what type you are looking into purchasing (single family, town home, condo, etc.). Then, choose three of your ‘must haves’ and ‘have nots,’ or things that can make or break your decision in purchasing a home. There are three things that you cannot change about any home – lot size, location and layout.
Stay active in your search. After you have decided what you are interested in, be proactive in your search. If you find something you are interested in, be sure to contact your Realtor as soon as possible so that you have a chance to see the home and that you have enough time to decide whether or not you want to make an offer.
Take notes. While viewing homes keep a list of things you like and don’t like about them. Be sure to share your thoughts with your Realtor so that he/she can learn about your wants and needs and help make the process easier.
Know the type of market you are in today. Ask your Realtor what the market is like today. If you’re in a Seller’s Market you’re more likely to find multiple offers on one home and the home should sell very quickly. In a Buyer’s Market, you should be able to negotiate to obtain more favorable purchase terms.
What will the seller accept? During negations you must remember that the seller is your partner and your opponents are the other offerers (your competition). You are working together with the seller to come to an agreement. If there is more than one offer on a property it is no longer what the seller will take, but also how strong the other offers are. The seller will be comparing his/hers net proceeds, the bottom line (purchase price minus concessions), of the different offers. If there are no offers on the home the seller may be more willing to negotiate if they are motivated to sell.
How will the seller respond to my offer? The seller has the option to accept, reject or counteroffer (change terms). If the seller counters your offer, you will then have the option to accept, reject or counter again. Acceptance is when all parties have come to agreement on all terms in writing. Please note, it is not required by law for the seller to respond. Therefore, the seller could do nothing.
Know the important deadlines. The date that the last party signs/initials the contract is the ‘effective date,’ or when all of your deadlines begin. Typical deadlines and their common time frames are listed to the right.
One day after contract acceptance: Schedule a home inspection within your home inspection period. I recommend that you are present during the inspection if possible. Also, if necessary, shop for your lender within the first day and make sure you are comparing apples to apples. The only things lenders can control are their fees and interest rates, which vary by day, and their service! By day two you should have a decision made and notify your Realtor of your decision.
Two to five days after contract acceptance: Complete your loan application and gather all documents that are needed, which are listed to the right. You should shop for a homeowner’s insurance policy as well.
Schedule a walk-through of your soon-to-be new home with your Realtor for the day before or day of closing to make sure that nothing has drastically changed since your first time seeing the property or since your inspections. Consider the following:
- Have the sellers removed any contents that are
supposed to stay?
- Is the home relatively clean and ready for new
- Test the plumbing, air conditioning system, and
- Have all agreed-upon repairs been completed?
Transfer the utilities for the home into your name either the day before closing or the day before your sellers have scheduled the disconnection of their service. This will help you avoid having to pay a reconnect fee and you will have electricity and water to use on moving day after your successful closing.
On the day of closing get the exact dollar amount that you need to bring with you to closing and ask what form you will need it in (most commonly certified check). Bring two valid forms of I.D., which will be required by the notary to identify you. Make sure they aren’t expired!
Your new address. After your closing there are a few people that should be notified of your address change:
- The post office – in person or online
- The DMV, so they can change the address on your
- Your bank and credit card companies – they will
need to update your accounts and checks with your
new billing information
- Employers and business associates, schools,
- If you are a business professional, you may need to
update your corporate documents and/or your
- All of your friends and family!
Security precautions. Protect your family and your home by following some of these tips:
- Remove the lockbox and change the locks on your door before you move into your new home; you never know who may have a copy of your key.
- Change the code for the garage door opener.
- Contact the alarm company to reprogram the system with a new code.
- Be on the lookout for scams regarding your loan and recorded deed. If you receive mail that says your loan has been sold, contact your lender prior to responding. The title company will mail you a copy of your deed within 6 weeks of closing; no payment is necessary to obtain this copy.
Types Of Sales
New Home Community
For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
Fair Housing and Your Buyer’s Rep
The Federal Fair Housing Act, enacted in 1968, is designed to prohibit discriminatory practices when buying and selling homes. Administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the law prohibits housing discrimination against seven protected classes—race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status and/or physical and mental handicaps.
Fair Housing marked a significant step forward in protecting civil rights for all people. The law covers most types of housing, and includes compliance guidelines for landlords, property managers, builders and real estate agents. The chief concern for buyer’s reps is that they not engage in steering, the act of directing home buyers (or tenants) to a particular area that is chosen by the agent, not the buyer.