Bill Sells Fort Myers Beach Real Estate Hard work, long hours ! ! !
Bill Gillhespy

Helpful Tips for Buyers

Buying a home can be very stressful:  These helpful tips are meant to lessen the challenges incurred during the home buying process:

1. Have your ducks lined up prior to speaking with your real estate agent. 

Have a realistic picture of what you want and can afford.  Know how many bedrooms, baths, etc.  Drive through neighborhoods you wish to consider.  Don't waste your time, or your agents', looking at properties beyond your comfort level or that don't meet your needs.

2. Do a thorough review of important paperwork.

Dig out your current mortgage, title, deed, title insurance, annual real estate tax statement, dwelling insurance:  Anything pertinent to the purchase of your current home.  Understand the role these documents played in your last sale.
3. Decide which lender you are going to work with.

Compare lending sources !  Don't be lured into a low " come-on " offer.  Determin which type of financing is right for you.  Financing for an investment home at the beach may be entirely different that your primary residence.  While your agent should be able to help you decide which financing products are available it is ultimately your decision and should be done well in advance of purchase.

4. Work with an agent you feel comfortable with.

Not all houses are created equal, nor real estate agents.  Ask friends for references, stop at an " Open House " and meet the agent.  Did he/she present well, take the time to answer your questions, seem informed about the house being shown and the neighborhood ?  Would you feel comfortable working with them ?  Looking for the most experienced agent may not always be best for you.  Sometimes an agent with 2-5 years experience will be a little hungrier, a bit more computor savvy.  Finally, when interviewing a prospective realtor to represent you don't hold back on the tough questions.  

5. Approx 79 % of buyers start their search for a home on line.

Buyers are much more tech savvy today then ever before.  When online they often do not look at listings without pictures.  (  Some search engines give the buyer the option of excluding picture-less listings. )  Your agent should be comfortable with todays technology and show you how to benefit from it.  By pre-screening available listings on line and meeting your criteria you can focus in on just those that justify a personal showing.

6. Lenders look at investments differently than primary residences.

Your bank looks at a real estate investment very differently than a primary residence.  Traditional thinking is that if your financial condition goes bad you will fall behind on payments for an investment before your family home.  This may or may not be the case but still it tends to influence the lender perspective.  Therefore, lenders typically will want more of a downpayment - 20 % to 40 % is not uncommon.  Buyers tend to look at the emotional side of this type of purchase, lenders see them as more at risk.  Recently, some banks give credit to the investment strength of the property- location, rental history, appreciation, etc and have tailored programs to reflect the overall  picture.

7. Some investments have a higher standard.

Here in Southwest Florida we sell a lot of " Condo-hotels ".  For a more in-depth discussion of Condo-hotels you can go to the " Pre-construction Sales " page.   Condo-hotels can be an excellent choice for those wishing to trade unrestricted owner usage for rental income.  Basically, you are gauranteed a minimum number of weeks for owner usage in exchange for splitting rental income with the management company.  Lenders arn't quite sure what to make of these.  Many don't finance condo-hotels, some will only finance them if square footage exceeds 600 s.f.  If you are considering a condo-hotel you and your agent should verify that your lender has successfully closed several and square footage is not an issue.  Many examples exist of lenders assuring a well qualified buyer that they will finance a condo-hotel only to notify the buyer shortly before closing that they will not.  Good bye deposit !!!  Request your agent to suggest some lender names when looking at condo-hotels.

8. Things to remember for your " Closing" .

Before you head out the door to the closing:

Bring at least 2 forms of I.D. for each of you, one should be picture I.D.
Most closings, certainly here in Florida, do not accept a personal check.  Prior to closing you will be provided a        " HUD-1 Statement ".  It details all of the costs associated with the sale and transfer of title.  On it you will see an amount due from the buyer.  This amount must be in the form of a cashiers check or some other form of gauranteed payment, a
personal check will not be accepted !  You can also request a " Mail Away" closing.  This popular option allows you to complete the sale by having all documents expressed to you for signature ( often in front of a Notory) and then expressed back to the closing office.
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