13 Tips Before you Buy a Home
When builders' representatives or real estate professionals ask questions, they are gathering information they need in order to sell you. If that's what you want, answer them but be careful. If you are talking directly to a builder, chances are that builder is a real estate licensee or broker as well!
By Florida Law, once the chit-chat is over between a licensed agent and the buyer, then it is mandated that the licensed agent inform you of what type of relationship they would like to establish and must present you with a disclosure. There are three types of relationships: 1) No Representation, 2)Transaction Broker and 3)Single Agency.
Let them know up front that you have representation and have the builder's representative acknowledge that you have an agent.
Initial & date all changes in any agreement. Be sure to keep the original; let the licensee have a copy.
If buying a condominium, make sure you receive a copy of the Condo Docs within 3 days of signing a contract or agreement. Otherwise, the contract or agreement is not enforceable.
Have a contingency in the contract that allows you the opportunity to get a Home Inspection. This can save you money and aggravation. To read more about Home Inspections, click here.
Protection from termites and other wood destroying organisms is mandated by state law.
Don't Get "Pre-Qualified," get "Pre-approved!" Do you want to get the best house you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position possible. You see, price is only one bargaining chip in the negotiations, and not necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to a seller. Getting Pre-qualified by a lender means that you spend a few minutes on the phone with a lender who asks you a few questions and based on the answers, the lender pronounces you "pre-qualified" and issues a certificate that you can show to a seller. Most Sellers are aware that such certificates are WORTHLESS, and here's why: None of the information has been verified! Oftentimes, unknown problems surface! Some of the problems include recorded judgments, child support payments due, glitches on the credit report due to any number of reasons both accurate and inaccurate, down payments that have not been in the clients' bank account long enough, etc. Get Pre-approved and be prepared to make your strongest offer. This happens AFTER all information has been checked and verified. At that point you are actually APPROVED for the loan and the only loose end is the appraisal on the property you want to buy. This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on your situation. The Approval is a VERY POWERFUL and effective weapon in a buyer's negotiating arsenal.
YES! I SOLD MY HOUSE!...wait a minute, to where am I moving?? In past years, the best advice would be to sell your home first and then buy a new one. This was because in a "buyer's market," homes in desirable locations were more plentiful and thus if a person put their home on the market, they could generally rest assured that they would be able to search out and find a home fairly fast and do so within the closing period. However, we are presently in a "seller's market," meaning that homes that are priced accurately, with good curb appeal and in desirable locations, often sell within days. In addition, there is a trend in real estate of "investors" looking to buy up houses, fix them up, and sell them for profit. Companies have emerged with names like "We buy ugly houses" who appeal to people who are looking to cash in on the upward swing of the market. Unfortunately for families who are looking to relocate, this competition can make it difficult to find a new home. If you were to put your own home on the market first, before locating a new home, you could end up out on the street, forced to rent indefinitely during the transition.
Before house hunting, make a list of nine things you want in the new place. Then make a list of the nine things you don't want. You can use this list as a scorecard to rate each property that you see. This helps avoid confusion and keeps things in perspective when you're comparing dozens of homes. Houses can be ugly on the outside and beautiful inside. There is a big difference between skin and bones. The BONES are things that cannot be changed such as the location, view, the size of lot, noise in the area, school district, and structural components of the home. The SKIN represents easily changed items like patios, concrete areas, landscaping, carpet, wallpaper, paint color, and window coverings. Buy the house with good BONES, because the SKIN can always be changed to match your tastes.
Don't Be Pushed into any House. Your agent should show you everything available that meets your requirements. Don't make a decision on a house until you feel that you've seen enough to pick the best one. Get a print out from your Realtor® (Multiple Listing) or use Realtor.com. Become very familiar with what's available. This will also help you avoid making an impulsive decision that you will later regret.
Don't forget to check into the SCHOOL DISTRICTS of the area you're considering. Information is available on every school, such as class sizes, % of students that go on to college, SAT scores, etc. You can get this information from your agent or directly from the school.
You are free to buy real estate in this great country and receive a 50% rebate in commission.