8 Steps for Choosing and Purchasing Your House or Condo

1. Selecting the Right Real Estate Advisor

It takes more than a licensed real estate agent to understand the needs and concerns of buyer clients.  It takes someone who has been there, someone who has a genuine desire to serve their client's interest, and performs the job well as evidenced by clients who are generous with their praise for a job well done.

We don’t want to minimize the technical aspects of the home buying process. Every year it becomes more complex. Between government legislation, environmental laws, mortgage documentation requirements and the legality of a home purchase, the home buyer must be aware of all aspects of the process, or be helped by a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent professional committed to their buyer clients.

We are here to assist buyers in the Florida gulf coast region real estate market. There’s plenty to do and we are really good at out job.  Let's get started.

2. Know Your Financial Power

One of the early steps in the home buying process is to establish your price range. Doing so early will save time and aggravation. After establishing your price range, you may want to consult with a mortgage originator or mortgage lender. They can assist you in determining the maximum amount of mortgage loan for which you may qualify. If you do not know a mortgage originator or mortgage lender, we can suggest names and contact information for many with whom we have worked.

The next step is to obtain a pre-approval letter from your mortgage originator or mortgage lender which specifies the maximum mortgage loan for which you may qualify.  Alternatively, if you plan to purchase your home for cash, a statement of liquid asset balance should be obtained from your financial institution or accountant.

Most home sellers request/require their real estate agent to allow their home to be shown to only qualified buyers.  The aforementioned letter or statement establishes your financial qualification.  And in almost all cases, a pre-approval letter or statement of liquid asset balance makes any offer you may make more powerful because it establishes your financial capability as a buyer at the time of the offer. 

3. Evaluate Your Housing Needs and Wants

Many factors and questions surface as you consider purchasing your dream home in Florida's gulf coast region.  Do you need to increase or decrease your space?  What is the ideal square footage?  Number of bedrooms and baths, pool, size of garage, unique features?  Are you concerned about the quality of the school system and distance?  Are lifestyle choices (beach, waterways, golf courses, etc.) important in this decision? Commute to work?  All of these may be valid questions for you.  There most certainly will be additional questions.  Your questions and related answers are important as they will be major considerations as we design a strategy to find your next home.

4. Start the Search

Now that you have evaluated your housing needs and wants, you are ready to start your search.  Is there a community or neighborhood that you would like to live in? Or are the lifestyle choices more important?  As you begin your search, don't be too restrictive on your price range.  For example, consider increasing the top end of your price range by 5% and decreasing the bottom of the range by 5% (a motivated seller may consider selling his property for a higher discount, or you may locate a property that meets most of your requirements that just needs new appliances and/or some updates).  

We offer our clients the best and easiest to use Search functions available.  Our "Search and "Advanced Search" each utilizes the local MLS database available to all Realtors.  Using either tool allows you to define your search parameters and generate your own searches.  Detailed information will be available for your review for each home found in your search.  And, if you want to obtain any new listings by email that meet your defined criteria, you have that option as well.

5. Make the Offer and Negotiate the Deal

Once you have found the home you want, you should be prepared to move quickly.  Desirable homes don't stay available very long.  If you don't have an agent, now is the time to retain one, and we will be pleased to represent you (at no cost to you as we will be compensated by a portion of the seller's commission).  Your agent should provide you with information for 3 or 4 comparable homes that have recently sold in the area, and identify major differences (square footage, pool, updates, etc) between each of the comparable properties and the home you are considering buying, and the approximate value of each of those differences.  With this information you are prepared to make an offer.  One note of caution.  If you really want the house or condo, don't make a lowball offer.  The seller may feel insulted and choose not to negotiate the price and you have lost an opportunity.

Once the negotiations have resulted in an agreed price, inclusions or exclusions of any fixtures or personal property, a Contract to Purchase is signed by all parties with a closing date stated which is normally 45 to 60 days from the acceptance of the Contract to Purchase.

6. Obtain Financing

Now is the time you return to the mortgage originator or mortgage lender and apply for your mortgage loan.  Most likely, you will be provided a choice between fixed rate of interest or an adjustable rate and whether the loan term will be 15 years or 30 years.  

7. Inspections and Preparations for the Closing

We strongly advise buyers to obtain an independent inspection of your new home prior to closing.  This is normally a contingency, for the benefit of the buyer, included in the Contract to Purchase.  An inspection normally costs in the range of $300 to $500 depending on the size of the home or condo, and is conducted by a trained and licensed home inspector.  We have worked with several home inspectors in Pinellas County and can provide you with information to assist in your selection.

You may be present during the inspection and can direct questions to the home inspector.  We are also present during our buyer's inspections to make sure all normal inspection points are addressed and to understand any deficiencies noted so that we can best advise you.  If there are major problems noted by the inspector, we now have an opportunity to further negotiate with the seller regarding fixing the problem(s) or reducing the purchase price.  If you are not satisfied with the seller's response to any noted problem, you have the right to withdraw from the deal as long as the right of inspection contingency is properly included as part of the Contract to Purchase. 

Normally, you will do a walk through of your new home a few hours prior to closing to ascertain that the property is in the condition as agreed, including any personal property remaining as may have been include in the contract to purchase.

8. Closing

Normally 3 days prior to closing you will receive a closing disclosure from the title insurance company that will be handling the closing.  The statement will list all charges, including your down payment, and will also show any credits, such as your "good faith" deposit, which will be deducted from your total charges.  The net balance due from you at time of closing is generally transferred to the title insurance company prior to closing by wire transfer from the buyer's financial institution.

The actual closing consists of both the buyer and seller signing documents as presented by a professional closing agent, generally an employee of the title insurance company handling the closing.  CONGRATULATIONS, you have received the keys to your new Home!



Retain Luxury Homes by Marcetta today to be your Buyer's Agent and we will provide you with our exclusive concierge buyer service experience.  We will provide exceptional service and exceed your expectations--GUARANTEED!