Before you start looking for a home you should ask yourself a few questions.
Where do you want to live? Do you want to be close to schools, shopping, or work?
What kind of house would you like (need)? Are you looking for a particular style? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want? Do you want a yard? Pool, SPA, access to Golf or boating facilities.
Traffic patterns. Noise levels. Shopping facilities. Zoning regulations are things you need to consider. Visiting the right properties Keeping one step ahead of the competing buyers.
How much house can you afford? Have you consulted a mortgage lender to determine the size of the mortgage you would qualify for?
Here are a few tips to help you get organized:
Pull a credit report on yourself and make sure the information is accurate. If you find any errors take steps to correct them immediately. Browse through real estate advertisements in the newspaper & various real estate magazines. This will give you a good feel for the types of homes that are on the market and what they cost. Visit open houses on the weekend. It doesn't cost anything to look, and looking at a few different homes might give you some ideas for things you'd like in a house but haven't considered. Start saving money - you'll need to have cash on hand for a down payment and closing costs. Don't incur any additional debt. Pay down your credit cards - and don't apply for any new ones. Don't make any major purchases on credit - buy the furniture or car later. Contact a Realtor® like me,Bill Newman at (239)565-6055. I can help you determine initially how much you can afford, and can provide you with information on homes that may interest you. I will also help you complete all of the necessary forms when it comes time to make an offer. I will be your personal guide through out the home buying process from start to finish.
In Florida it is customary for the Seller to pay all real estate commissions so as a Buyer you can avail yourself of a professional Realtor® like me at no cost to you for my services. My personal and professional code of ethics requires me to disclose to my clients any and all personal and financial relationships that may be related to any real estate transactions that we may enter into.
Few things are tougher than hunting for a new home. And buying a home is probably the most major purchasing decision you will make in your life. The following information is designed to help guide you through the maze of choices as you buy your home.
You can go it alone. However, more than 90 percent of all home buyers choose the professional help of a real estate broker. Why? Real estate brokers are the house specialists. But not all brokers are Realtors®. Only real estate professionals who are dues paying members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) can be called a Realtor® . To be a Realtor® in Naples or Bonita Springs you must also be a member of the Naples Board of Realtors® or the Bonita Springs Board of Realtors® and the Florida Association of Realtors®. Realtors® subscribe to NAR's strict Code of Ethics.
I am a Realtor®. with the Bonita Springs-Estero Board of Realtors® I'm a strong believer in NAR's strict Code of Ethics.
This Code is designed to ensure fair and equal treatment and professional handling in all real estate matters. Professionally licensed and trained, a Realtor® like me can save you time, money, and frustration. As the key source in the home hunting process, a Realtor® has the most information in one place, knows the local market, and has access to properties you may be interested in. Moreover, a Realtor's® help can be invaluable when you need to find affordable financing.
Naturally I hope you will call me but when selecting a Realtor® look for someone you like. Ask friends, family, neighbors, or people who recently bought a house for their recommendations. It may sound simple, but it is crucial to find someone with whom you can build a good rapport. If the chemistry is right between you and your Realtor®, buying a home can be much easier.
Find out about their firm. What are
their resources? Do they participate in a Multiple Listing
Service (MLS)? If so, you will have access to many more homes for
sale. MLS contains not only your Realtor's® agency listings,
but all homes listed by other firms that belong to MLS. Do they
have the technical capability to help solve financing concerns
and recommend other real estate oriented professionals such as
accountants, attorneys, mortgage brokers and insurance agents? I
am a member of Area wide Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero, Fort
Myers MLS and I will sell any home or land listed in MLS no
matter who lists it.
Grande Cypress Realty is a very personal agency. I serve my clients one at a time.
Step 2. How Much Home Can You Afford?
Before you begin to shop for a home,
make an appointment with a mortgage loan officer at a bank or
mortgage company to discuss pre qualification and help you
determine what you can afford. You need to consider three
factors: Down Payment; Qualifying for a Mortgage; and Closing
I can arrange an appointment for you with the financial institution of your choice. I can also recommend several very good mortgage loan officers. I do not receive any monetary compensation from any mortgage loan officer that I may recommend.
You will need to make a list of all your debts. Include account numbers and payment information. List all your assets, cash, stocks, bonds and property. Locate a copy of your income tax forms that you filed to the IRS for the past two years. Your mortgage loan officer will need this information so that he/she can determine which mortgage program is best for you. Oh yes, did I tell you another reason that it would be in your best interest to have a Realtor® like me working for you? I keep my knowledge current concerning the many ever-changing different mortgage programs and their variations that may be advantageous and available to you.
Most loans require a minimum down payment of 10 percent; 20 percent is sometimes necessary. With a 25 percent down payment, you may be able to take advantage of special, fast track programs from some lenders. There are loans that are available that can be obtained with as little as a 3 percent down payment and some of the closing costs can be included to make up the 3 percent. I have seen clients that have managed to obtain a home loan and take possession with less than $100 out of pocket expenses.
Mortgage companies use something called qualifying ratios to determine how much they'll lend you. Most mortgage companies use either a 28/36 ratio or a 25/33 ratio. The first number in each pair is the percentage of your gross income that the lender would consider acceptable as a monthly mortgage payment i.e.( if you make $3,000 per month, 28% of that is $840 per month).
The second number in each pair is used when all debt payments are considered, not just the mortgage. (i.e. if you make $3,000 per month, but also have a $250 a month car payment, 36% of $3,000 is $1,080, minus the $250 car payment equals $830).
As you can see, in this example the numbers work out to be almost the same. Obviously if you have more debt you would qualify for less. I have included a hot link to Fannie Mae that will provide additional information, including on line calculators. Give them a visit but remember to comeback to me.
You also might want to avail yourself to the calculators that can be accessed on the interesting links page. You will also find various mortgage loan sources where you can pre-qualify if you wish. I strongly suggest that you only pre-qualify with one lender because excessive credit verifications can adversely affect your credit rating. I receive no compensation from any lender that you access on this web site nor from any that I might directly recommend. The calulators and lenders associated with this web site are for you convenience only.
When you find your dream home, in addition to the down payment, you will be required to pay fees for the loan and other closing costs, in cash, at the time of the final transaction, unless you choose, and are able to include these in your financing.
I can calculate an estimate of the total fees and closing costs for any property you may be interested in. Typically, closing costs will range between 2 and 5 percent of your mortgage loan. When we find that special place that fits your needs we will obtain a final estimate of your closing costs before the final transaction.
For more information on qualifying for a home, call me at (239)565-6055 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 3. Make Your Lists.
I know that consumer satisfaction involves more than just buying a house. It means owning a home right for you. You need a Home Check list that lists you wants, (family room, den, fireplaces, plush landscaping, fenced yard, views), and your actual needs, (spare bedroom, garage, extra bathroom). I have prepared a sampleHome Check list that you can print and customize.
Prepare your lists before you start house hunting. Take along a copy of the Home Check list for each home you visit. Check the appropriate features, and compare the lists. This should give you a more comprehensive view of which home is best for you.
Step 4. Choose The Right Neighborhood.
Some neighborhoods are best for young, growing families, some for retirees, others for career couples. Here are some items you may want to consider in finding the neighborhood right for you:
For many families, one of the most important factors in finding the right place to live is the quality of the local schools. Check with the school's counselor or principal and ask about:
Percentage of students who go on to
college and which ones they attend. Student/teacher ratio.
Availability of extracurricular and athletic programs.
To size up a neighborhood for yourself, ask people who live there, including those who have recently moved. Make several trips to the neighborhoods you are considering, (one each in morning, afternoon, and late at night). Drive into these areas from different directions to get a full perspective.
Step 5. Look For The Extras.
Space, privacy, style, amenities, and your personal reaction to the home may be the, most important factors in choosing your home, but don't forget other considerations. These involve location rather than the house itself. A primary consideration is probably the travel distance to work. Take a test drive during peak travel time to get a feel for the trip and look for alternate routes. Estimate travel time and the cost of transportation. Also, look for other area benefits:
Step 6. Making An Offer.
Although a Realtor® like me can help you find a home, I also help you by presenting your offer and returning the answer. But only you can determine how large an offer you are willing to make. In Florida the offer is always written. If accepted by the Seller this becomes your sales contract. Move quickly to write and present your offer. If a home looks good to you, others will also like it and want to write offers on it. When your offer is accepted by the Seller they cannot accept any other offers unless it is specifically spelled out in your offer that they can.
Some tips: Determine the selling price of other homes in the area. I can create a Comparative Market Analysis that will list the previous year's listings for the desired neighborhood and property or homes. I can check to see how long the home has been listed and whether the seller has reduced the original asking price. Remember, the more competition for the house, the closer the offer should be to the asking price. You can pay for an appraisal, but that may consume valuable time you may not be able to afford. I can write into the contract that an apprasial must satisfy the contract price. My duty is to obtain the best price for my clients.
When you sign the offer you will be asked to make a earnest money deposit, typically $1,000 or up to 10% of the price. Drafting the agreement will raise the final subjects of negotiation; the price, the closing date, and who pays for which closing costs. Most closing costs are subject to negotiation. I can suggest some general guidelines as to who traditionally pays for what but each deal is usually different than the last one so my suggestions may be different considering the circumstances.
After you make your offer, only three things can happen: It will be accepted, rejected, or the seller will make a counter offer.
In Florida a Seller is required to disclose all known defects in writing, however I always recommend making the sales agreement contingent upon a satisfactory professional inspection. An inspector's job is to point out any existing or potential areas of concern. You should be there with the inspector as I will be. The cost for the inspection usually ranges from $350 to $500 and is normally paid for by the Buyer. I can furnish you a list of licensed inspectors if you desire. Again, I do not accept any referral fees for this service. You may use anybody of your choosing for the home inspection. The home inspection is for your protection; not the Seller's.
There are generally two different types of inspections. The general home inspector should make a through inspection to determine the general state of condition of all appliances, plumbing, electrical, heating system and structure. Based on his inspection of the structure, the inspector may point out that an engineering inspection may need to be done. This will normally cost another $350 to $1,000 depending on the extent of the report and again is normally paid for by the Buyer. I can furnish you a list of engineers.
Defects noted are the subject of further negotiations with the Seller. The Seller can either repair the defects outright; or the Buyer can; or a combination of both can be agreed to. If agreement cannot be reached who pays for the repairs then the sales contract is canceled and all earnest monies are returned. Unfortunately the inspection reports costs are not refunded.
If the home has a well and/or septic a separate well and septic test will have to be performed before any lender will approve a mortgage. This test is normally paid for by the Seller and can cost from $500 and up.
Step 7. The Home Stretch.
By following these seven steps in shopping for a home, you should be able to avoid many of the pitfalls that make hunting for a home frustrating and confusing. The better prepared you are, the better your chances of finding your dream home.
My goal is to help you find a home which is not only a good value but one you will enjoy living in for years to come. I preview available homes for sale through the multiple listing service daily. I tour homes that are listed so that I can be knowledgeable of the market. I alert other agents and agencies to what I'm looking for and I talk to potential home sellers.
You can help. First, watch the newspaper. If you see an interesting ad, circle it and call me at (239)565-6055. I'll check into it and let you know where the home is. I can make arrangements to show the property to you. Also, if you see a FOR SALE sign on a home and the property looks good, call me and I'll let you know the price and terms.
Please remember; it doesn't matter if the advertisement or FOR SALE sign is ours, another real estate company, or even a FSBO (For Sale By Owner). I can provide information and write offers on all these homes. All I need is the address; a phone number is helpful.
For any additional information call me at (239)565-6055 or e-mail at email@example.com