How Long Will it Take to find a property?
That can vary depending upon the complexity or the availability of what you are looking for. If choices are readily available, then 2-3 full days of house hunting is typical but it also depends upon how many homes are viewed daily. It could also be several months of watching the market and waiting for the “right” property to become available. You, the buyer, make that decision and we are always willing to accommodate you. No pressure.
Can you show me all the properties?
Absolutely, yes! You will not need to go to other agents. We have access to all properties (Condo’s, Townhomes, Single family, Multi-family, Farms, Estates, Holiday Homes, Investment Property and Vacant Land) available through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Bank Foreclosures, Short Sales, New Construction, Builder homes and we can also help you buy a “For-Sale-By-Owner” Property.
Are you licensed by the State of Florida?
Yes, we are licensed by the State of Florida and members of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, the Orlando International Council, Florida Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. We are also members of the Florida Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents and the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents. We are also a registered Appraiser (Valuator) In addition, we hold more advanced training designations and certifications than other Realtors in the State.
What is an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent?
It is a Buyer Specialist that only and always represents the best interest of the buyer. They always work in a “Buyer Agency Office” that does not list property and never represents sellers therefore there is no conflict of interest when working for you, the buyer. There are less than 12 Exclusive Buyers Agents in Central Florida and those that are members of NAEBA (yes, we are members) aspire to a highest level of ethics and competency.
How do you get paid?
We are paid like any other real estate agent through the funds of the transaction which is a sellers expense at closing. Commissions are split between the listing office and the selling office we are the selling office. On occasion, the buyer may choose to pay us directly.
Is there a written agreement?
Yes, in the State of Florida, in order to be represented by a Real Estate Agent, there must be a written agency agreement describing the duties of both parties.
Can I make a verbal offer?
Legally yes but realistically a seller will insist on a written offer with your signed signatures and maybe even an escrow deposit placed with a Title Company. The seller will also require a pre-qualification letter from your lender or a “proof of funds” if you are paying cash. Providing documentation to assure the seller that you are creditworthy, serious and committed will make negotiating easier for the buyer.
How long does it take to negotiate an offer?
If the seller is in town, usually a couple of days; if they live out of the country, it could be several days; if it is a bank owned property, then usually it takes about a week; a short sale will take several months.
How long will it take to “close” on a property?
Financed property: about 4-6 weeks Cash: approximately 3 weeks. The time may vary depending upon the types of inspections needed, and the seller’s willingness to vacate the property. Sellers of vacant properties like to see quick closings.
Who will handle the closing and documents?
Typically, a title company, although you may also hire an attorney (solicitor) to represent you and review the documents.
Do I need to be physically present at the closing?
No, you do not need to attend. Many closings are a “mail-away” with documents sent either by e-mail or through the mail. You may also do a “Power of Attorney” and authorize another person to sign on your behalf. Money needed for closing can be wired into the title company’s escrow account.
What is Title Insurance?
It is insurance protection against loss arising from problems connected to the title to your property. Before you purchased your home, it may have gone through several ownership changes and the land on which it stands went through many more. There may be a weak link in that chain that could emerge to cause trouble, For example, someone along the way may have forged a signature in transferring title or there may be unpaid real estate taxed or other liens. Title insurance covers the insured party for any claims and legal fees that arise out of such problems.
Who pays for Title Insurance?
That is a negotiable item between buyer and seller and since whoever pays for the Title Insurance selects the title company, it is advisable that the buyer buy their own title insurance as it is never smart to use the sellers title company. It is best to have a title agent with experience and knowledge working for you as they dig through the history and search for any potential problems.
What about Property Tax?
Taxes are paid in the arrears: this means that at the end of the year the tax bill will be due for that year. Tax bills are sent in October for that year and are delinquent after March of the next year. You will receive a “tax credit” on the closing statement (called HUD) for the portion of that year that the seller still owned the property. For example if you close on June 30th, you will receive a credit from the seller for of the tax bill that will be due at the end of the year.
What type of home inspection will I need?
It depends on what you are buying. On a single family home, typically you will do a “comprehensive” inspection which covers roof, electrical, structural, plumbing, heat and air conditioning system, appliances and more. You should also get a WDO (Wood Destroying Organism) report which would cover termites, powder post beetles, ants and rotten wood. You may also need a septic tank evaluation or other specialty inspection. If you are purchasing a condo or town home, you may not need to inspect as much as it will depend upon what portion you really own and what the association covers.
Will I need an appraisal and survey?
If you are financing, the lender will require that you get both and depending upon the sales price may even require that you get two appraisals. If you are paying cash and comfortable with the value of the property, you do not need an appraisal, however we always recommend that you get a survey to be assured that you are actually buying the parcel intended. Condos do not require a survey.
Is it difficult to get Homeowners’s Insurance?
No, however if the property is older than 30 years, the insurance company may require an additional “4-point” inspection which is an evaluation of the Roof, Electrical, Plumbing and Air Conditioning system. Flood insurance may or may not be required. The rules for making that determination are set by FEMA (Florida Emergency Management Agency) and change often, so there is no set rules. However, you need to be aware that a general Homeowners insurance policy does not cover “rising water” and just because a property requires “flood” insurance does not mean the it is in an area that will flood. Sometimes the flood insurance required has no bearing on the specific location of the property. Flood insurance is an inexpensive added protection.
What is a short sale?
A short sale is a property that is still in possession with the current owner, but being sold for less than the balance of the mortgage and therefore the transaction needs the mortgage lender to approve the sale. Buying a short sale can be a lengthy process with no guarantee that you will be able to purchase the property even at listed price. The bank may not agree to do the short sale; they may want a higher purchase price; there could be two or more banks involved; the property might go into foreclosure while you wait; and it is also possible that the bank will not respond at all to your offer.
What is an REO?
It is Real Estate Owned by the bank, also called a “bank foreclosure”. This is a property that the bank re-possessed in a foreclosure auction for non-payment of the mortgage and now owns it. Usually, these properties are somewhat distressed but typically can be bought at a discount.
Where are the biggest bargains?
There are bargains all over Central Florida it just depends upon your specific needs, price range, and home buying goals. A property that is “bargain” priced may not be a a good deal if it does not meet your criteria. Tell us what you have in mind and we will give you an honest evaluation.
What about Lakefront Property?
The good news is that lakefront property is always a good investment. The bad news is that the supply of good waterfront is limited. Lakefront property appreciates much faster than a dry lot, therefore is typically priced at a premium. The type of boats allowed, size of lake, the view, access to other lakes, clarity of water, linear feet of water frontage and whether the shoreline is sand or muck are all factors that will determine the value.
How much less will the seller take for the house?
That depends upon a lot of factors: Who is selling the property, what kind of condition is it in, how long has it been on the market and whether or not the seller needs to really sell or needs to net a certain amount of money if the seller needs to move, the price will be more flexible another important question is: How well is it priced? Is the property worth a lot less than what they are asking, or is it a bargain at list price? Last but not least is the listing agent able to convince the seller to accept the offer or will they be agreeable with whatever the seller thinks? All of the above will be an influence on the sales price. Negotiations: As Exclusive Buyer Agents who never have an allegiance to the seller, our job is to help you buy the property at the lowest price and your most favorable terms for you. Tell us what you need and we will do our absolute best to negotiate that for you.
What about New Construction?
We can help you with that also, but you need to let us be the contact person. Builders will all pay our commission if we introduce you to them. Buying a new build home without our opinion, expertise and negotiation skills will result in you paying more than you need to. Our input will be valuable as we guide you through the process and advise you on features will make your property more desirable on a re-sale.
How long will new construction take to build?
Depending upon the complexity of the home, typically between 9 months and up to 2 years for a custom build.
What if my new home purchase needs renovations?
We can recommend reliable service people or you can hire a “supervisor” to oversee the project.