Starting Your Home Search
I understand the decision to buy a home is not made lightly. The relationship between home buyers and Agents must be based on trust, mutual goals and understanding – this is why I will always keep your interests first and foremost. The real estate process requires negotiation of complex issues; I am committed to working in your best interests and will help you secure the best possible price, with the most favorable terms, in the shortest period of time.
When searching for your home it’s important to be well informed of the Real Estate market. To help you with this process, consider the following factors: What features do you require in a home to satisfy your lifestyle now? Five years from now? Will your needs change? What’s your budget? These are decisions only you can make, but I will do everything possible to match you with your dream home.
Preparing To Buy
Before you start shopping for your property, it is a good idea to make some preparations.
Build Your Financial Portfolio
A Financial Portfolio contains all your important financial documents. You will need it to secure financing for your property. The typical green file should contain:
- Financial statements
- Bank accounts
- Credit cards
- Auto loans
- Recent pay stubs
- Tax returns for two years
- Copies of leases for investment properties
- 401K statements, life insurance, stocks, bonds, and mutual account information.
Check Your Credit Rating
Your credit score will have a huge impact on what type of property you can buy, and at what price. It is first recommended to check your credit rating with an experienced lending institution so that we can determine what you can afford. The lender will research your credit ratings from the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. We will be happy to recommend experienced, knowledgeable lenders in the residential, construction, and commercial and investment real estate fields.
Be Careful With Your Finances.
Now is not a good time to make sudden career changes or large purchases. You want to approach your property purchase from a position of financial stability.
Benefits of Using a Real Estate Agent
Quite simply, it is very difficult to find the ideal apartment without a real estate agent / broker. The Central Florida market is large and complex and moves very quickly; trying to navigate it on your own is a formidable challenge. Brokers live and breathe the market – the experience and knowledge they bring is invaluable and impossible to get elsewhere.
Working with a real estate broker whom you trust and with whom you are comfortable, you will give yourself a competitive advantage over those who are not using a broker. Once you have a good idea of what you want, your first goal in finding the perfect home needs to be finding the right broker. Understanding this, one of the key services of East Park Realty.
The Value of Being Pre-Qualified
Before you visit any homes, unless you intend to pay all cash, it is important that you are pre-qualified with a mortgage lender. There are several reasons why it is important that you are pre-qualified:
You will have a better understanding of the actual price range that you will be able to afford, thereby allowing you to focus your search. Often, buyers can actually afford more than they initially believe and therefore they waste time looking at homes that do not actually meet their criteria.
Due to the competitive nature of the market, when you make an offer and if it is backed up with a pre-qualification from a recognized mortgage lender, the offer will then be much stronger than others from buyers who are not pre-qualified. In other words, by being pre-qualified you are giving yourself a competitive advantage over other buyers. Of course, this also means that if you are not pre-qualified, you are putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage vis a vis other buyers.
Once your offer is accepted, having been pre-qualified will speed up the closing process. If you had not been pre-qualified, it is possible that various surprises might pop-up and threaten the deal
Escrow Inspections and Appraisals
The Process, Step-by-Step
The Initial Agreement and Deposit.
An effective agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential purchaser and the property’s seller.
The Closing Agent
Either a title company or an attorney will be selected as a closing agent. The closing agent will hold the deposit in escrow and will research the complete recorded history of the property to ensure that the title is free and clear of encumbrances by the date of closing and that all new encumbrances are properly added to the title. Some properties are subject to restrictions which limit various activities such as a building or parking restrictions. There may be recorded easements and encroachments, which limit the rights to use your property.
How to Hold Title
You may wish to consult an attorney or tax advisor on the best way to hold the title. Different methods of holding title have different legal, estate and tax implications, especially when selling or upon the death of the title holder.
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, a licensed property inspector will inspect the property within the time frame that was agreed upon in the effective contract to purchase.
Appraisal and Lending
It is imperative that you keep in close communication with your lender, who will let you know when additional documents are needed to approve your loan application and fund your loan. If the agreement is conditional upon financing, then the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value for the lending institution, via a third party. This is done so that the lending institution can confirm their investment in your property is accurate. Appraisers are specialists in determining the value of properties, based on a combination of square footage measurements, building costs, recent sales of comparable properties, operating income, etc. When you are within two weeks of closing, double check with your lender to be sure the loan will go through smoothly and on time.
If you are obtaining a loan, you will be required by your lender to purchase a certain amount of insurance on the property. The value will depend on the lending institution and the purchase price of the property. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on homeowners insurance by shopping around for insurance. You can also save money with these tips.
If you have come this far, then this means that it is almost time for a congratulations, but not yet. Do not forget to tie up these loose ends:
Final Walk-Through Inspection
More of a formality than anything else, the final inspection takes place a day before, or the day of the closing. You will visit the property to verify that all is in working order, everything is the same as when you last viewed the property, that there are no extra items left behind, and that everything included in your purchase is still at the property.
Home Services and Utilities
We will provide a list of useful numbers for the activation of home services and utilities after the closing occurs.
We are ready to assist you should an unforeseen glitch pop up, even at this last stage. Something at the property breaks down, or some other minor detail – no need to worry. We have encountered these problems before so we know how to handle them efficiently and in a stress-free manor.
The closing agent will furnish all parties involved with a settlement statement, which summarizes and details the financial transactions enacted in the process. You and the seller(s) will sign this statement, as well as the closing agent, certifying its accuracy. If you are obtaining financing, you will have to sign all pertinent documentation required by the lending institution. If you are unable to attend the scheduled closing, arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances and the notice that we receive. If you are bringing funds to the transaction, you can elect to either have the funds wired electronically into the closing agent’s escrow account, or bring a certified bank check to the closing in the amount specified on the settlement statement. The seller should arrange to have all property keys and any other important information for you at the closing so that you may receive these items at this time.