Q and A
Can you show me all properties of interest?
Yes, absolutely. You will not need to use another office or agent. We show properties in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Polk and West Volusia county. We show all types of Real Estate; Condo’s, Townhomes, Single Family, Holiday Homes, Multi-Family, Estates, Equestrian, Farms, Investment property and Vacant land. We have access to all properties available; MLS (Multiple Listing Service), Short Sales, Bank Foreclosures, New Construction, Golf course homes, Lakefront property, Builder Custom homes and we can also help you buy a “For-Sale-By Owner Property.
How long will it take to find a property?
That will depend upon the complexity of what your target property is. If choices are readily available, then 2-3 full days of house hunting is typical. The time frame can vary with the number of properties of interest there are to view and also how many homes you wish to view daily.
It could also be several months of watching the market and waiting for the “right” property to become available. We have some clients who find a home in one day and out-of-towners who may come back the following year.
You the buyer, make that decision and we are always willing to accommodate you. No pressure.
Are you licensed in Florida?
Yes, we are licensed to sell property anywhere in the State of Florida. We are members of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, the Orlando International Council, the Florida Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.
In addition, we are also select members of the Florida Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents and the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents, which is limited to Real Estate Agents that only represent home buyers and work in Buyer Agency Offices that choose not to represent sellers. As members of NAEBA.org, we adhere to the highest standards of ethics and competency.
If I buy a home through you, will you also be working for the seller?
No. We are only concerned with your best interest and will never attempt to represent the seller in any manner. We exclusively represent only Home Buyers and never act as a Sellers agent or a Transaction Broker. Florida Agency Rules.
How come you do not list homes or represent sellers?
When a seller lists their property with an office, every agent in the office has a duty to promote the sellers property. Their job is to sell the property for the highest price and tell the seller everything about the buyer including how much the buyer is willing to pay. This is an obvious conflict of interest which typically results in the home buyer paying more than they need to with terms that may not be the best. When a conflict arises, there is no one on the buyers side.
We do not believe in being a “double agent” and choose to always be on the buyers side.
How do you get paid?
Typically, our commission is paid as a co-op fee from the listing office or paid as part of the contract by the seller at closing. Occasionally, a buyer will choose to pay us direct.
On New Construction, the builder pays us a fee.
Is there a written agreement?
Yes, in the State of Florida, in order to be represented, there must be a written agreement that clarifies the duties of both parties. It is a state mandated requirement for any consumer that wishes to be represented and we always put our fiduciary duties to you in writing.
Can I make a verbal offer?
Legally yes, but realistically a seller will not take a verbal offer seriously. The 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 letter of pre-qualification from a reputable 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 help during negotiations.
How long does it take to negotiate buying a home?
If the seller lives in town, usually a couple of days; if seller lives out of the country, it could be several days; on a bank owned property it usually takes less than a week; a short sale will take several months.
I plan to sell my existing home in order to buy another home…when should I start viewing homes?
You should start physically viewing homes as soon as you get a contract on your existing home, unless you can hold two mortgages at the same time, or qualify for the future home while your current home is on the market. In Central Florida Sellers do not like showing their homes to buyers that cannot seriously entertain a purchase, and they will not consider any “contingency” offers from buyers who need to sell their house first.
Once you get a contract on your current property, there may be sellers willing to consider your offer contingent on the “successful closing and funding ” of your present home.
We would be glad to consult with you about home buying, research and recommend areas based on your top home buying priorities and desired home features. We can e-mail properties so that you can get an overview of our market, answer any questions you may have, and stay in communication until you are ready to make a purchase.
When will I need to speak with a mortgage broker or my banker?
Pre-qualifying for a mortgage is one of the first steps to take as soon as you think you want to buy a home. Financing has dramatically changed in the past few years, and lenders are scrutinizing like never before. Occasionally, a home buyer cannot qualify to purchase within the budget they had in mind due to new prohibiting guidelines, so it is best to know what your financing options are and what you need to do to have the best chance at a low interest rate.
Before viewing properties with your personal Buyers Agent and submitting offers, it is best to secure a “Pre-Approval” letter from a FLORIDA lending institution and “Proof of Funds” if you are paying cash for the property. We can recommend an experienced mortgage broker who clearly understands lending practices in Florida.
If I pay “CASH” will my offer trump the other offers?
Yes, but only if all the other terms of your contract are equal or comparable to other offers.
While all sellers like cash offers they will not take less money just because it is cash, unless they believe that the property may have a problem with an adequate appraisal (cash transactions do not require an appraisal) or that due to the property disrepair, a lender may not want to finance the property.
What does “highest and best” mean?
Desirable properties may get several offers. If so, the seller may give all the buyers making offers a specific deadline to come up with their “highest and best” offer. The buyer then has the opportunity to raise their offer, or keep their original offer. In “highest and best” situations, typically the final sales price/highest bidder will be close to full price or more than full price, and cash will be preferred.
How long will it take to close on a property?
If you are financing the property it will take about 4-6 weeks. If you are paying cash than about 3 weeks. Other factors affect the closing date such as, types of inspections needed and the seller’s willingness to vacate the property. Sellers of a vacant property prefer to have quick closings. On the day of closing the seller will be moved out of the property.
What type of inspections will I need?
The home inspections you will need will depend upon what type of property you are buying. A single family home will require a basic “comprehensive” inspections which covers roof, structural, electrical, plumbing, heat and air conditioning system, appliances and pool. Buyer will typically also have a WDO (Wood Destroying Organism) inspection which would include termites, rotten wood, powder post beetles, and ants.
You may also need a septic tank evaluation or other specialty inspections. On very large homes, you may wish to have specialists in each related fields such as air conditioner contractor, roofing contractor, electrical contractors, elevator, masonry or Lutron system contractors.
If you are buying a condo or townhome, you may not need to inspect as much as it will depend upon what portion of the property you really own and what the association covers.
Will I need an appraisal and survey?
If financing, the lender will require that you get both and depending upon the sales price, the lender may even require 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 a survey to be assured that you are actually buying the parcel intended.
Condominium purchases do not require a survey.
Who will handle the closing documents?
Typically a title company or real estate attorney. Due to Florida’s history of title problems, we always recommend that the buyer hire their own title attorney (solicitor) to represent you and execute the title insurance and closing documents. It is a small price to pay for quality title work and peace of mind.
What is Title Insurance?
Title Insurance is insurance protection against loss arising from problem connected to title to your property.
Before you purchased your home, it may have gone through several ownership changes and the land on which it sits may have changed hands many more times.
There may be a weak link in the ownership 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 taxes 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?
is a negotiable item between the buyer and seller and since whoever pays for the Title Insurance selects the title company, it is advisable that the buyer hire their own attorney to scrutinize the title work. It is never smart to use the sellers or listing agent’s title company and is best to have someone with expertise working for you as they dig and search for any potential problems.
Do I need to be physically at the closing?
No, there is no requirement for you 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 closing agents escrow account.
Is it difficult to get Homeowners Insurance?
Home insurance is readily available, but the cost will be dependent upon what you are purchasing. For properties older than 30 years you will be required to provide an additional “4-point” inspection report which is an additional evaluation of the Roof, Electrical, Plumbing and Air Conditioning system. If one of these is considered a problem or outdated, the insurance company may require updating before insuring.
Flood insurance may or may not be required, depending upon FEMA’s determination of a flood zone.
Buyers 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 that it is in an area that will flood. Sometimes the flood insurance required has no bearing on the specific location of the property and typically is an inexpensive added protection.
Where are the biggest bargains?
Bargains are all over Central Florida. It just depends upon your specific needs, your budget and your home buying goals. A property that is low priced may not be a bargain if it does not meet your criteria or has too many deficiencies.
Tell us what you have in mind and we will give you an honest evaluation.
How much less will the seller take?
It depends upon many factors: Who is selling the property? What kind of condition is the property in? Where is it located? How long has it been on the market? Does the seller need to net a certain amount of money? How well is it priced? Is the property worth a lot less or is it a bargain at list price? What does the listing agent think? Are there other offers? All of the above will be an influence on the sales price.
As Exclusive Buyers Agents, our job is to help you buy the property at the lowest price and most favorable terms for you. And we will be glad to discuss the details of your property of interest.
What about Lake Front property?
Good Lakefront property appreciates much faster than a dry lot, therefore is typically priced at a premium because the supply is limited. Price is determined by the size of lake, type of boats allowed, access to other lakes, clarity of the water, the unobstructed view, linear feet of water frontage and whether the shoreline is sand or muck.
What is the difference between a SHORT SALE and an REO?
A short sale is a property that is being sold for less than is owed on the property so even though the property is still owned by the person that is selling, the bank (sellers mortgage holder) has to approve the sale because they are taking a “short” payoff.
An REO is a property that has been foreclosed on and now the bank owns the property.
The biggest difference is that on a bank owned REO, you can actually buy it and close on it within days. On a short sale, you may go to contract and not hear anything for months and then the response from the bank can be a higher price than full listed price, or you may not get a response at all.
What about NEW construction?
We can also help you sort out your best choices with new build homes. There are many new construction
communities in the area with build time from 5 months or more depending upon the complexity of the home. Occasionally the builder may also have some speculative homes that are already built that are ready for occupancy.
What if the home I purchase needs renovations?
We can recommend reliable service people and also recommend a project supervisor.