Things to Consider Before Buying:
Check Your Credit:
Your credit is crucial when applying for a loan; the better your score, the lower your interest rates will be. Be sure to check all three major credit reporting companies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion as the information in each report may vary slightly. Make sure you make copies of your credit report as well, and check your score well in advance of applying for loans.
Find a Lender:
Most people need to take out a loan when buying a home, and you'll want to be prepared to make an offer when you find that perfect home. It's important to be sure that you're pre-approved for a loan before you start looking at homes so you don't miss out on any opportunities. Sellers will want to see your pre-qualification letter before considering your offer. Pre-approval can be extremely important in a seller's market. If you need help finding a lender, I can recommend trusted local lenders.
Click here to find out how much you qualify for: http://www.bankrate.com
Calculate what's realistic for you before considering different areas to live in to be sure things stay within your budget. Once you know your range, I can help you make the most out of your money.
Finding the right home can be time consuming, but it's important to consider everything before you decide. What's the commute like to work? If you have kids, what are the schools like in the area? How many bed and bathrooms will you need? Do you prefer or newer or older styled home? What are the pros and cons of building new versus buying a resale? All are important factors to take into account during the home finding process.
I am dedicated to helping you through the entire home buying process. Once we find that perfect home, I will prepare a written offer. With my experience in the market, I can help you arrive at an offer that both fits your budget and has the best chance of being accepted.
Tips on Home Purchase Negotiations:
Questions to ask:
1. How long has the property beeen on the market? The length of time a property has been on the market may indicate the seller's willingness to negotiate.
2. Have there been any price reductions during the listing period? The amount of any price reduction, as it relates to the overall purchase price, may indicate the seller's desire to attract an offer.
3. Have there been any other offers on the property? It will be helpful to know what offers may have been turned down and for what reasons.
4. What is the motivation of the seller? Motivation is a key element in any negotiation. As an example, if the seller has already purchased a new property, your ability to close quickly may be an attractive element of the negotiations.
5. What personal items are included in the sale? Anything the seller is willing to leave behind that you won't need to buy when you move in has real value. Consider those items in your offer.
Once Your Offer is Accepted:
After your offer is accepted, you'll have a grace period (typically 10-15 days) to have the house professionally inspected, request repairs, or make a counter offer if the situation arises. Once this step is complete, we will verify the terms and conditions of your loan. Your lender will order an appraisal of the home and a survey. I'm here to assist you with any questions you may have during the process.
What Kind of Home Inspection Do I Need?
Your home inspector is one of the most important people you’ll work with during your home-buying process. He (or she) is the person who identifies your home’s strengths and weakness, and the person who helps determine whether your home will meet your lender’s approval, your insurance company’s approval and your approval.
For insurance purposes, there are four types of inspections that might be required:
(1) Four Point (4Pt) Inspection: This inspection outlines the age, condition and life expectancy of your home’s 4 main systems (roof, a/c, electrical and plumbing). Most insurance companies want to see at least 3-5 years of remaining life on all four systems. They also want to make sure there are no damages or defects in those systems, such as aluminum branch wiring, roof damage or plumbing leaks. If your home is 20+ years old, ask for a 4Point Inspection – it will keep your insurance options open.
(2) Roof Inspection: This inspection outlines the age, condition and life expectancy of the roof only. It is 1/4 of the 4Point Inspection, and costs only slightly less. It is usually a much better idea to just get the 4Point Inspection done instead. Any company who wants a Roof Inspection will take a 4Point instead, but that is not true in the reverse. You don’t want to limit your options of insurance company because you don’t have the required inspection.
(3) Wind Mitigation (Wind Mit) Inspection: This inspection analyzes the wind-resistant features of your home and thus determines insurance discounts. Wind Mits are never required, but they might as well be. Trying to get a decent Homeowners Insurance premium without one is almost impossible, as rates are set high with lots of room for wind discount. A favorable Wind Mit can save 30-40% on your Homeowners premium. The newer the roof, the greater the discount will be. *NOTE: if your home was built in March, 2002 or later, Wind Mit discounts will be applied to your insurance quotes automatically – no Wind Mit required. The only exception to this rule is the hurricane shutter discount. If every opening, including all windows, doors and the garage door, are protected with hurricane-impact protection, you should have a Wind Mit done regardless. If your home is 2002 or newer and you don’t have full hurricane-impact protection, don’t waste the money on a Wind Mit.
(4) Full Home Inspection: This is the full report that you receive from the inspector, usually 30-40 pages. The full inspection outlines every nook and cranny in the home, and should include detailed recommendations and photos of every single deficiency. This inspection is usually not required by insurance companies, as it goes into much more detail than they need, but there are times when they will request it, especially for older homes and/or homes requiring special permission to insure with a particular company.
To summarize what your insurance agent will need:
Home is 2002 built – present: Wind Mit only if you’re trying for the shutter credit
Home is 19 years old or newer (up to 2002): Wind MitHome is 20 years old or older: Wind Mit and 4Pt, rarely the Full Home Inspection
Home Insurance Red Flags:
1. Aluminum Branch Wiring (common in the 1960's & 1970's): This type of wiring tends to oxidize, expand and/or become loose over time, and has been implicated in numerous house fires. A total redo of the wiring can cost approximately 20K, although pig tailing the wires for about 5K may make the home insurable. These wires are silver in color vs. the copper wires.
2. Federal Pacific Electric Panels (FPE): Common in construction in the 50's through the 80's. These panels can fail to trip at a much higher rate than other brands, causing a power surge and subsequent fire. Other brands sometimes prohibited for the same reason include Zinsco, GTE/Sylvania and Challenger.
3. Polybutylene Plumbing: Used extensively from the mid 70's through the mid 90's, polybutylene is a type of plastic resin. Over time these pipes become brittle and may leak or burst.
4. Exterior Insulation and Finishing System (EIFS - also know as 'synthetic stucco'). EIFS is a multi-layered exterior finish used during the 80's and 90's, designed to be a complete moisture barrier, and to 'water-proof' the home. Unfortunately, water tends to find its way in, and then cannot get back out, leading to mold, rot, and structural degradation.
5. Roof-Overs: New shingles cannot lie over old shingles! A roof-over adds about 400 lbs per 100 sq. ft of roofing, putting excess weight and strain on the roof decking, which already may be damaged, rotten or in disrepair. Doing a roof-over will most likely void the warranty on your new shingles.
6. Old Roofs: Roof age is the single most important premium factor in insuring Florida homes. By age 15, you will loose several options and you can expect your insurance costs to rise. Any roof older than 20 years (even tile or metal in some cases), may be very difficult to insure.
Final Walk-Through Tips:
A few days before your closing, we will take the time to visit your "new" home again. While we're there, we’ll be checking to make sure that the terms of your contract have been met, and that the condition of the property has not changed significantly since our inspections (except for agreed-upon repairs).
So, what are the things you should be on the lookout for?
1. Major appliances: Be sure that any items that were to remain in the home are still there, and that they are in good working order.
2. Major systems: Do the air conditioning, heating, and plumbing still function?
3. Walls and floors: Has any damage occurred to the floors or walls during the sellers’ move? Were rugs, artwork, or carpets covering damage that was not disclosed?
4. Repairs: As part of your purchase agreement or inspection response, the seller may have been required to make specific repairs. Be sure that these have been completed, or that the seller has a written timeline for when the repairs will be done.
5. Screens and Storm Windows: Be sure these items have been left behind and that they are in good shape.
6. Remotes: Garage doors, alarms, sound systems, and the like all use remotes, some of which can be very expensive. If any of these components were part of your agreement, be sure they have been kept with the house.
7. Cleanliness: The home should have been cleaned and all debris removed. You don't want to spend the first week living in your new home cleaning up other people's junk.
8. Landscaping: It may seem ridiculous, but yes, some sellers may try to run off with your shrubs and plants. If plants were taken, let me handle the situation.
9. Fixtures: Light fixtures, curtains, and other items that were agreed upon should still be in the home. If they are not, let me address the conflict.
10. Exterior: Has there been any damage to the home since your inspection or first visit? If there have been storm with high winds or hail, be sure to visually inspect the exterior of the house for damage. Once you have signed on that dotted line, the house is yours. Hail damage and all.
Now that you've found your perfect home it's time to make moving arrangements. If you plan on utilizing a professional moving company, I can recommend reputable, local movers. Don't forget to fill out your change of address forms and inform the utility company of your move!
As a special thanks for taking the time to read this, ask me for a 'moving day pizza and soda' coupon! Free pizza and soda is coming your way on moving day.