Real Estate Info
Miami Area Info
Buyers Info
1. Are you ready?
* 10 mistakes you can't afford
* 3 easy steps to getting a mortgage
* How will my credit affect getting a loan
* Q & A for loans and credits
* Guard your credit history
* Step by Step
* Is your credit a target?
2. Get a Realtor
* How to choose a realtor
3. Get a loan pre-approval
4. Look at Homes
5. Choose a Home
6. Get funding
7. Make an Offer
8. Get Insurance
9. Closing
10. What's Next?

Systematic steps to help you buy your home

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments most people make in their lifetime. But the home-buying process should be neither scary nor intimidating. Our step-by-step guide gives the buyer a better understanding of expectations of their realtor, the best places to look for a loan, and tips on closing the deal.

Both knowledge and experience are two of the most important factors in completing a successful real estate transaction. is a good place to start when researching for valuable information. They offer expert realtors that are experienced in the local real estate industry. Planning is one of the most valuable keys to making the home-buying process easier and more understandable. With the proper planning you will be readily prepared for requests from lawyers, lenders, and other professionals. This will also help to expediate your home-buying process.
Do You Know What You Want?

Experienced home-buyers and first-time buyers need to ask yourselves why you want to buy. Is there a time frame in buying involved in your new purchase? Is there a lifestyle change involved in moving to a new community? Is buying an option or a requirement? What features in real estate are you looking for that you do not now have? Ask yourself these questions. The more knowledgeable you are in the real estate marketplace, the easier it will be to answer these questions and reach your buying goals. A good suggestion is to ask some of these questions when meeting with your local real estate agent and discuss them in detail to give you a finer understanding of your buying needs.
Do You Have the Money?

Homes and financing are similarly intertwined. (Financing is the difference between the purchase price and the down-payment, commonly referred to as debt or the mortgage.) Fortunately, in recent years, new and emerging loan programs have evolved which now require a five percent down-payment or less which makes it easier for the buyer. There are closing costs involved when making a down-payment of a property (the final cost associated with closing the loan). But now there are even programs available for the buyer to make a purchase with no down-payment as well as underwriting closing costs. However, not everybody is interested in the concept of little or no money down. Although there are benefits with a little or no down-payment one repercussion is a higher mortgage payment. Therefore, many buyers decide to put some money down. In some markets the buyer has leverage. In this case it may be possible to negotiate an offer for a home that mandates that the owner pay some or all of the settlement expenses at closing. Be sure to ask your realtor for details.
Is Your Financial House in Order?

With good credit you should qualify for a loan with little or no money down. Start preparing for this loan about a year ahead of time. Be sure to pay every credit card payment, car payment, rent and any other debt in full and on time.

Here is a list of financial mistakes that consumers routinely make and you should avoid 10 things to avoid when financing your home Choose the wrong mortgage: Home loans are no longer a lifetime commitment like they used to be. However, you don't want to be stuck with wrong one even if it's a shorter one. It is important to research all of your options and weigh out the pros and cons of each one comparing worst-case scenarios. Important factors to look for are initial and future interest rates and payments, and prepayment penalties, if any.

Confuse "Pre-Approved" and "Pre-Qualified" with a Loan Commitment: Not all lenders exercise the same definition for each of these expressions. Nonetheless, "pre- qualified" is an educated guess on how much you can borrow according to the information you have provided for them. When you have been "pre-approved" this means that all of that information has been verified and is offering to lend you a certain amount at current interest rates. Certain conditions will apply. Either way, a loan commitment is subject to an appraisal satisfactory to the lender and a last minute credit check as well as other verifications. When meeting with a lender be sure to ask him/her to define each term so you will be prepared to take the proper steps when applying for the loan.

Have Too Much Credit: Having too much credit is almost as bad as having no credit or even bad credit. Paying your bills on time doesn't seem to be as important to lenders as does how much credit is available to you. Having big ticket bills like car payments and credit cards will steer lenders away so hold off on big purchases until after you buy your house.

Lie on Your Loan Application: It is a federal offense to lie on your mortgage application. It is not likely the offender will be prosecuted, but if the lender does find out they can call your loan due and payable. Also, never sign a loan application is not completely and properly filled out. It is not uncommon for loan officers to stretch the truth (to get client approved) and the borrower will pay the price by having a loan payment that he/she cannot afford.

Hide if You Can't Make Your Payments: Absolutely do not ignore phone calls or letters from your lender if you cannot make your payments. There are many options available to help borrowers prevent foreclosure. But these problems can not be fixed unless you speak to your lender, just give them a chance to help you.

Skip a Home Inspection: It could be a costly mistake failing to make your purchase contingent on a satisfactory home inspection. An independent home inspector is qualified to give you pertinent information regarding the status of your roof, basement, mechanical systems in the house and the life expectancies of home appliances. It is worth the $300-$400 to get your home inspected by a professional.

Hire Just Any Agent to Sell Your House: You want to look for an agent that specializes in your neighborhood and not only have experience but are top producers. Ask candidates questions like what is their marketing strategy on selling your house? What can you do to make the property more appealing to prospects? What's a good asking price? These answers should determine if this is the right candidate for you.

Fail to Check Out Remodeler: Under no circumstance should you use a contractor who knocks on your door. Reputable companies don't need to solicit door to door. It is wise to call the Better Business Bureau and performing a thorough check on your potential contractor by calling past clients, his bankers and suppliers and your local consumer affairs agency.

Pay Too Much Up Front: Never pay a contractor cash. Never pay a contractor more than a third of the contract price as the down-payment. Chances are he is not trustworthy and is using the money to purchase materials (because he is uncapitalized) or could be using the money to pay his workers on another job.

Burn Your Mortgage: There is nothing better than making your last mortgage payment. Many people will have a mortgage burning party and burn their mortgage documents. Don't. Be sure to make a copy of these documents and burn these. Hold on to your originals in a safe place.
How Much Can I Afford?

You need to consider personal finances when applying for a home loan. A lender will allow you to borrow how much you earn versus how much you owe. First, establish your gross monthly income. This means any regular and recurring income. If this income is not documented or it does not show up on your tax return then it can not be used in qualifying for a loan. Unearned income sources such as alimony and lottery payoffs can be used as well as income-producing assets such as real estate and stocks. The income from the above listed can be calculated into your monthly income. Any good loan officer will review these rules for you. Second, determine your monthly debt. This includes obligations such as car payments, child support, credit cards, any other loans you may have pending, etc. You can use the minimum monthly payment in calculating monthly credit card debt. If a debt is scheduled to be paid off in the next six months it does not need to be calculated in with your monthly debt load. All of these items added up is called your monthly debt service.

For the most part, lenders do not want you to take out a loan that may overload your ability to repay these debts. Here is an idea how most lenders look at the numbers. Your monthly mortgage payment, monthly taxes and insurance should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income. An estimated 15% of your payment will be tax and insurance expenses. The remainder will be for interest repayment and principal. If your monthly housing expenses and monthly debt service (combined) exceed 36% of your gross monthly income your loan may not be approved. There could be some flexibility in the 28 and 36 percent guidelines depending on each individual. For example, with a large cash down payment the qualifying ratios become less critical because you are borrowing less than 80% of the home's value. Also, if you happen to have a rich cosigner, lenders may be less focused on the above mentioned guidelines.

Keep in mind there are many loan programs available in today's lending market all with various guidelines. Don't get discouraged your loan process doesn't seem so positive right away. However, you can control a number of factors that affect your monthly payment. Choosing an adjustable rate loan has a lower initial payment than that of a fixed rate program. Also, a larger down-payment affects your projected monthly payment.
Examine Your Finances and Shop Around Before You Apply

Shopping for a mortgage should be the first step toward owning a new. This experience can be the most intimidating so make sure you are prepared. With so many services and loan companies available, finding the mortgage company that is right for you is no longer a simple task. There are numerous amounts of finance companies, lenders, bankers, credit unions, and stock brokerage firms out there. And many different types of loans as well as loan programs to choose from, educating yourself in the mortgage industry is key. Look on web sites, mortgage books, read related newspaper articles and even attend seminars and workshops. Real estate agents, lenders, financial planners, and mortgage brokers can help you along the way. Initially, you should be able to determine if your new payment will fit into your current as well as future budget. You don't want to find out when its too late that you can't afford your mortgage payment. That could risk the loss of your home and damage your credit for the future.
Examine Your Finances

Determining realistically how much you can afford for your mortgage is the first step in buying a home. Lenders want to qualify you for as much as possible, which, in the long run may be more than you can afford. You need to compare your income with your monthly expenses both current and projected. Keep in mind that along with a mortgage payment comes other related costs such as homeowner association dues, related insurance, taxes, and other costs added into your mortgage payment.
Shopping for a Loan

There are two basic types of mortgage shops to shop when searching for a loan - mortgage brokers and direct lenders. A mortgage broker is the middleman who has many lenders to choose from. Direct lenders make the final decision on your application - they have the money to lend although they are limited on the number of in-house loans they can give. Using an experienced may be a good idea if you have special financial needs just keep in mind that these brokers make a percent off of the amount you borrow. Sometimes internet brokers can be a bargain because they generally take a smaller cut if any at all.
Apply for a Loan

Once you've collected all of the documents necessary for the application process you are ready to begin. You will have to fill out information regarding employment stability, job tenure, and income, assets such as investments, bank accounts, cars, and property. You will also need to list liabilities such as household expenses, existing mortgages, credit-card debt, installment and auto loans. Be ready to supply documents such as tax returns, proof of insurance, pay stubs, rental agreements, divorce decrees, bank account statements, etc. The lender will then research your credit status. If the lender satisfactorily passed all of the lender qualifications then the he/she will hire a professional appraiser to ensure the value of your home is worth the loan amount.
How Will My Credit Affect Getting a Loan?
Understand Your Credit

Your credit history is of utmost importance to lenders today. If you are thinking about buying a house, you too, should familiarize yourself with it. Three different companies called credit reporting agencies maintain your credit history: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. You can order your report by phone or on-line for a small fee. It is recommended that you order all three reports in case there is an error on one of them. If that is the case, this could negatively affect your chances on getting a loan. This report is extended as far as seven years and lists all the consumer credit activity. It shows your current balance and what your highest balance has been. It lists all of the payments you have made on time and the late payments are grouped into categories showing how late they were. Payments made over 60 days late four times, over 120 days late two times and over 180 days late one time, will affect your ability to borrow money. So find out ahead of time the status of your credit report so you are well prepared to correct any possible errors. Good credit or bad - here are two good points to remember:

* First, negative credit stays on your report for seven years and then it drops off. Bankruptcy, however, can be reported for ten years but after that you start from scratch.
* Second, your more recent credit is more important than that of several years ago. Maintaining good credit even after a bankruptcy could qualify you for a loan in little as two years.

Even with slightly damaged credit it is still possible to get a loan with risk-based pricing it just may cost you a little more. This is a higher priced loan to borrowers bases on their emonstrated ability to repay.
Q&A For Loans & Credit
Learn How Your Credit History Can Affect Buying a Home
Buying With a Record of Bankruptcy

Q: As a first-time buyer, what are my chances of getting a loan with a bankruptcy on my credit report?

A: Lenders are very particular about consumer's credit history especially late payments and bankruptcy filings. A bankruptcy filing stays on your credit record for ten years but if it was filed a long time ago and you've been staying on top of your payments since then, you should talk to a lender. With proper documentation proving that you have been making all of your payments on time in the recent years you are at low risk to them. If that does not work then there are two other options. The first would be to put down a large down-payment (like 50% of the house sale price) because lenders look favorably when a borrower invests a large sum of money the property. Second, take out a subprime loan which has higher interest rates and more points (points are interests charged up front by the lender for providing you the loan). One point for every 1% of the loan. You will pay more every month but it may be worth it to you.
Borrowing With Less Than Perfect Credit

Q: My annual income is $55,000. What kind of loan could I get with a B credit rating and $10,000 down on a $125,000 home?

A: Because borrowers are expected to spend no more than 28 - 33% of their monthly income on housing you would well qualify for $115,000 loan. With a B credit rating you may have to put down more than the 8% that you are planning on using for a down-payment or the lender will charge you more points for the loan. However, the lender will take into consideration any other investments you have, cash reserves, and recent payment history.
Guard Your Credit History
Guarding Your Credit History
You Are the First and Best Line of Defense in Maintaining an Error-Free Credit Report

Fixing errors on your credit report is a very important step in protecting your ability to borrow money. Credit reports carry a lot of very important information regarding how you pay your bills, where you live, bankruptcies and if you've ever been arrested. Credit bureaus such as Experian, TransUnion and Equifax compile all of this information on a business report used to determine whether or not you are a good candidate to borrow money. However, if an error occurs by a department store, and they report late payments unnecessarily, you need to let them know. Even though the Fair Credit Reporting Act says it is the responsibility of the bureau and the department store, you need to stay on top of it.
Step By Step

To correct an error, send a letter to the credit bureau responsible for filing the false information. Here are some tips"

* Send your full name and street address
* List every item you believe to be false and why
* Request that errors be deleted
* Include copies (not originals) of documents supporting your claim
* Enclose copy of credit report and circle items claiming to be false
* Write a letter to your lender so they are aware of your dispute
* (include copies of documents supporting your claim)
* Send both letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, and
* keep copies for your files

Credit Bureau Response

Within 30 days the credit bureau will have investigated your case and forward your dispute to the store that reported the negative activity in the first place. They will investigate the dispute and send their report to the credit provider. If there is, in fact, a mistake the department store will notify the other credit bureaus so they can amend the information in their files. Once the investigation is complete, the bureau should give you a free credit report and results in writing of its results. Correction notices may be requested.
Statement of Dispute

If the dispute is not resolved with the credit bureau ask them to include a statement in your file referring to the disputed information in your report. This will show up in future credit reports. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this case then you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Response Center. Although tedious and time-consuming, this may pay off when the time comes to apply for a loan.
Is Your Credit on Target?
Some Believe Scoring Methods Have an Unequal Impact on Minority and Low-Income Applicants

When it comes to big ticket items such as a house or a new care (or simple as credit card) prospective lenders will run your credit report.

But is credit scoring fair and equal?

Credit scoring is and objective way to establish one's ability to repay loans. Race, income and nationality are not regarded in this method. But some feel that an unequal impact is involved in some scoring systems regarding minority and low-income credit applicants.
Your Score is Just One Factor

Fair, Isaac & Company, Inc. is the most widely used credit scoring system used by most lenders. The borrower's "credit" is determined by his/her credit history via the company's software. These calculations (FICO scores) are an important factor when applying for a mortgage loan. The exact method is unknown of calculating these scores however, in order from most to least important factors are as follows: late and delinquent payments, bankruptcies, outstanding debt, length of credit history, new applications for credit, and types of credit in use. It is against the law to factor in religion, marital status, ethnicity, or gender when determining scores.


10 Steps to Home Ownership!

Although more than 2 million people in the United States have their real estate licenses, the dropout rate is high resulting in a small active percentage. NARS (The National Association of Realtors) is a compilation of one million brokers and salespeople with extensive training, community information and a strong Code of Ethics.


Buying a new home isn't as easy as pointing at a picture or clicking online. Every property is unique, even identical models are two completely different entities. As are contract terms - from financing options to closing costs. With a cluster full of negotiations, financing, inspections, and marketing, it's only logical to hire a professional local realtor that knows the ins and outs of your community. has an extensive list of local professionals and properties. Other good sources would be recommendations from neighbors, Web sites, advertising, open houses, attorneys and financial planners. While interviewing your potential realtor, be sure to consider issues such as experience, certifications, and training.
What Should You Expect? (Working With a Realtor)

It is important to establish a proper business relationship with your realtor. Some realtors represent buyers and others represent sellers so have your realtor explain in detail the complete agency disclosures and requirements in your state. Although market conditions change have him/her provide you with information regarding your financing options and the current market conditions. During this time, your agent should keep you well informed of each step in the transaction process.
What a Realtor Can Do For You

* Suggest a simple change to make a home more suited to your needs and improve on its value
* Facilitate negotiations that will satisfy both buyer and the seller
* Research your housing needs if you are residing in another city
* Help you to determine what you can afford, suggest ways to accrue down-payment, and illustrate alternative financing methods
* Prepare you with what financial and personal documents to bring when applying for a loan

Why Use a Realtor?

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments a person will make in a lifetime usually exceeding an investment of at least $100,000. More than likely you would use a CPA when dealing with a $100,000 tax problem or an attorney for a $100,000 legal question. So why would you make an investment on a property without the professional assistance of a trained real estate agent?
Here are some reasons you might want to consider using one:

* Your realtor can help you with negotiations involving price, financing, terms, date of possession and repairs and furnishings or equipment.
* Your realtor is competent in knowing when, where, and how to advertise your property and will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
* When selling your home, your realtor will make sure everything goes accordingly through the closing process.
* Your realtor can determine your buying power; refer you to the lenders best suited for your needs.
* Your realtor has access to property that may not be advertised Your realtor can provide you with local information regarding schools, zoning, utilities and answer questions regarding the resale value of your home in that area

How To Choose a Realtor
Not All Agents or Brokers are Realtors - There is a Difference

In order to legally sell real estate, a person must be licensed by the state in which they work. Education, examinations and experience must reach a minimum standard before a license is issued. In order to call yourself a realtor you must join your local board or Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors (the world's largest professional trade association known for its code of ethics). A professional agent has common-law obligations which are as follows:

* Client/agent confidentiality;
* obey the client's instructions;
* put your client's interests above anyone else;
* report to the client anything that would be useful;
* account to the client regarding any money issues.

A realtor has even higher standards of conduct because of their involvement with NARS.
The Difference Between a Buyer's and a Seller's Broker

Say you want to put an offer in to buy a home for $180,000 but you are very interested in the home so you tell the broker that you will go up to $200,000 if you have to. But if you are dealing with the seller's agent, it is his/her obligation to tell his/her client the important information. The seller's agent does not have any duty of confidentiality toward you (in most states) and hopefully this agent would tell you this fact.

Tip: Don't give any confidential information to the seller's agent. It is a good idea to hire a buyer's broker whose duties are owed to the buyer. And regardless of the agency relationship the buyer's broker is usually paid by the seller.
How To Evaluate an Agent

When evaluating a potential agent there are certain questions you should ask to help your decision making process. You need to find out if the candidate is in fact a Realtor or an agent. Here are some other important questions to ask:

* Is real estate your full time career?
* How will you help me meet my goals?
* Is your license active and in good standing? (you can retrieve this information with your state's governing agency)
* Do you belong to a multiple listings service (MLS)
* Which party are you representing (you-the buyer or the seller)?



As we all know, most people can't purchase a home for cash. In 1999, nine out of ten buyers, especially first time buyers, financed their homes requiring a loan. (according to the National Association of Realtors).

The most difficult part with real estate financing is not getting the loan but getting the mortgage with the terms that are best for you. This also means the best interest rates so you aren't forced into paying sky high rates. It is a good idea to start the mortgage process before bidding on a home. Your real estate agent is a good person to ask for suggestions in finding a good lender. When meeting with your loan officer you will be able to decipher which loan is best for you and decide exactly how much you can afford. Pre approvals are recommended because approval forms often require buyers to apply for financing within a certain amount of time which is generally seven to ten days. Meeting with your lenders ahead of time can save you from possibly having to rush into a financing decision that may not be the best one for you.

What is it?

"Pre approval" means: You have met with your loan officer, your credit has been properly reviewed and you qualify for a specific amount involving one or more mortgage programs. The lender takes all of this information and produces a pre approval letter; this is not a final loan commitment. You can apply with as many lenders as you'd like but keep in mind with each one is a new credit check which shows up on future credit reports. The pre approval letter shows your financial strengths and proves you can go through with the purchase so this letter can be shown to listing brokers when bidding on a home.
How Do You Get Approval?

Your real estate agent or realtor will be able to suggest one or more lenders that they know offer competitive programs with guaranteed rates and terms. Many lenders and mortgage companies offer financing for real estate and can suggest programs that meet your needs once they have seen your credit report and collected other information. One program might be for first time buyers which is a state-backed program with little or no money down and low interest rates. Generally, a first time buyer prefers a 30-year loan with a fixed rate of interest over the life of the loan or a floating interest rate.
Be Careful When Pre-Qualifying Online

Qualifying for on-line loans are quick and easy but remember too many inquiries can hurt your credit score! Every time you apply for a loan or credit card the lender checks your credit history and your credit report will record another "inquiry" that will show up on your credit report. Many inquiries on a borrower's report indicate that the borrower will not be able to pay his/her bills.

Don't Forget Your Pre-Approval Letter
Here Are 5 Reasons Why Getting a Pre-Approval Letter is a Good Idea

A pre-approval letter is reliable. Getting a pre-qualification letter from a mortgage broker or lender is easy and getting a "pre-qual" from a Web is just as easy. Just type in some information.submit.and there you have it! However, a pre-qualification letter is a little bit more detailed in the way that you need documentation to support your information. This is a lot more tedious and probably even stressful and this is exactly why the pre-approval letter carries more weight.

This will give you a better idea of how much money you can qualify to borrow. Home buyers usually know how much they can afford to spend on the mortgage. But there is no way of figuring out a specific amount because of other factors such as property taxes, adjustable interest rates, down payment percentage, and insurance, etc. as being part of the calculation. And more than likely you are not qualified to borrow as much as you thought (depending on debts, credit, and income).

With pre-approved buyers, sellers know they are financially qualified so they are more apt to negotiate because the seller has the financing needed to close the deal. A pre-approval letter is especially beneficial in a close multiple offer situation.

A pre-approved letter indicates to a real estate agent that you are qualified buyer who is serious about buying a new home and she/he will work harder on your behalf. Considering the chances of closing a sale/commission are pretty high, your agent will more than likely be motivated. Some agents won't show property without a pre-approved letter.

Keep in mind, however, a pre-approval is not binding on the lender. Many factors could change (interest rates rise, you lose a job, extend your credit card bills) and the lender may want to review your situation and recalculate your mortgage amount.



Over 6 million homes are sold each year leaving buyers with many options as well as challenges in finding the home to fulfill their needs. The real estate market is very complex because the stock of homes for sale is always in flux. It is important to work the an agent that is experienced in the community and is well informed about the choices in preferred markets.
What Are You Looking For?

There is more to a house than just bedrooms and bathrooms. Take for example three properties - each with three bedrooms, three bathrooms and all the same price. Each individual house may be dramatically different when it comes to design, lot sizes, tax costs, interior dimensions, and commuting distances. Just like every person is different and has different needs. When listing the features that are important to you consider such things as amenities (a grand kitchen or lagoon pool), pricing, location, size and house style (ranch style, modern, colonial). You also need to think about your priorities. What features are most important to you? Are you will to sacrifice one to get another? And last but not least, keep in mind what your needs will be in the future. Will you be needing a larger home in the future? If so, maybe you should consider buying the larger home now instead of having to move in the future.
Where Should You Look?

Every neighborhood and community has its own unique distinctiveness and personality. One community may be well known for its easy access to the interstate while the other is known for its historical nature or easy access to downtown. offers a wide variety of homes to choose from along with buyer representation services.
How Do You Find a House?

There are a few different routes you can take when looking for a home. Some buyers choose to search web sites such as while others simply take suggestions from their realtors. Either way, it is important to narrow your search. A simple way to refine your search is by taking basic measures such as minimizing your search to a certain area and affordability. Keep a file with information on each home that you've seen and the features that stand out to you the most.
How to Choose a Neighborhood

Investigate local conditions when researching a neighborhood. Some factors may be more important to you than others like:

* The crime rate
* Property values
* Quality of schools
* Future construction
* Traffic
* Proximity to schools, prisons, the interstate, airports, shops, hospitals, employment, beaches, parks, theaters, and cultural and activity centers

Neighborhood Search Strategies

For most first-time buyers financial resources are limited so it is wise to maximize your home purchase location by combining some of these strategies into your neighborhood search:

* Look for a home that is just out of the city, if commuting is a concern, limit your search to communities known for good public transportation.
* A condominium or a co-op may be a good idea for you rather than a house. This makes it possible to purchase a home in a choice neighborhood that you might not otherwise be able to afford.

House - Hunting Tips

* Do your homework - These days, consumers have much more access to information about market trends, homes on the market, neighborhood statistics and recent home sales prices. This information is easy to obtain on the Web, do the research, educated yourself.
* Make a list - You will save yourself time and money if you make a list ahead of time of what it is you want. Concentrate on the features most important to you and your family. Start a list about your likes and dislikes in your current home and start from there.
* Location counts - Location really is an important factor in purchase a new home. How far are you willing to commute on a daily basis to school, work or shopping centers? An undesirable location can ruin your dreams of a perfect home and be a bad choice as far as reselling in the future years.
* Get a preapproved mortgage - Unless you are a financial expert you can only guess on how much you can afford on a mortgage payment each month.
* Speak to a lender or mortgage broker to give you letter on how much you can afford to spend each month.
* Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes - House - hunting can be an exhausting chore after a while. If you are planning on spending the whole afternoon touring home then prepare yourself with comfortable apparel.
* Use a checklist - Don't try to remember every detail of every house.
* Make a checklist and keep notes on the features you liked most and least about the property.

Home Purchase Consideration

After the neighborhood is chosen the next choice is the number of bedrooms. Once you begin to view homes keep the following in mind:

* It is harder to resell a one bedroom condo than it is a two bedroom condo.
* Two-bedroom/one bath single houses have less appreciation value because they generally are less appealing than three or more bedrooms.
* Homes that are the most attractive (from the street appearance) are easier to resell.
* If you are considering reselling, don't buy the most expensive or most enormous house. The best investment, generally, is normally found in a less expensive moderately sized home.

When You Have Found the Right Home

When you finally decide on the buying process it is wise to act promptly. It is quite possible that someone else put in an offer (that could be accepted) while you are "thinking on it overnight". This is particularly true if the house in newly listed or underpriced.
The Basics of Making an Offer

A written proposal is the foundation of a real estate transaction

Oral promises are not legally binding in reference to real estate so it is very important to enter into a written contract once you've written out a proposal. The price and terms and conditions of the purchase are all included in the proposal. If the sellers agree to help with the closing costs then be sure to include this in your written offer and the final contract - or you may not be able to collect on it later. Your realtor will be able to answer any of your questions you have while filling out multiple forms which include Residential Purchase Agreements that change continuously with the law.

For Your Home

If you are not using a real estate agent, be reminded that you will need to draw up a purchase offer that corresponds with both state and local laws. Remember - state laws vary and certain provisions may be required in your community. The seller's realtor (and sometimes the buyer's realtor along with the seller's) will present a signed offer to the seller. Although the parties' lawyers can draw up sales contracts in some situations.

What the Offer Contains

* If accepted, the submitted purchase offer will become a binding sales contract (also known as an earnest money agreement, purchase agreement, or deposit receipt).
* Consequently, it is mandatory that this
"blueprint" contains all the items pertinent to the final sale such as:
* Sale price
* Seller's promise to provide clear title of ownership
* Address and description of property
* Terms
* Type of deed to be given
* A time limit to expiration
* A last minute walk-thru by buyer before closing
* State-specific clauses
* Target date for closing
* Method by which bills and utilities are to be prorated between buyer and seller (fuel, rents, water bills real estate taxes, etc.)
* Amount of earnest money deposit accompanying the offer - is it cash, check or promissory note? How will it be returned if offer is declined or kept as damages if party backs out

Contingencies which are listed below:
It is likely your offer will state "this offer is contingent upon (or subject to) a certain event" - if this is the case you are saying that you will only go through with the purchase if that event occurs.

2 Common Contingencies

A positive report by a home inspector with ten days after the acceptance of the offer
If the loan of the buyer cannot be found from the lending institution
It is very important that every detail is added properly to the written contract.

Negotiating Tips:
You are in a particularly strong bargaining position if:

* You are pre-approved for a loan
* You are an all cash buyer
* You are not bound to selling a current home before you can buy
Because of this you may have more leverage in negotiating some discount from the listed price. Try to find out why the house is being sold and if the seller is being pressured into selling it. If the seller is divorcing they may want out quickly and every month the house remains vacant means more expenses for the seller!

Earnest Money

Earnest money is the term used for the deposit given when making an offer on a house. A "good faith" deposit of cash is a good idea when dealing with a written agreement. A mediator such as the realtor or a lawyer will hold the cash deposit, this will later become part of your deposit.
Buyers: The Seller's Response to Your Offer

Once the seller signs and returns the written offer it becomes a firm contract, unconditionally. However, if the seller declines the offer she/he cannot later change her/mind and hold you to it. The seller may send you a written counteroffer with a change in the sale price or the proposed selling date if they are not happy with it. Once you receive the counteroffer you are able to reject it or make your own counteroffer. This can go back and forth unconditionally and is not a binding contract until one party finally signs and acceptance of the other side's proposal.
Withdrawing an Offer

Under most circumstances you can take back an offer up until the moment it is accepted. If this is the case, you will want to consult with a lawyer who is experienced in these types of real estate matters before revoking your offer. You want to prevent being sued for damages the seller may have suffered by relying on your actions and you don't want to lose your earnest money deposit.
Sellers: Calculating Your Net Proceeds

Once you receive your written offer, you can do one of three things:

Accept it exactly the way it reads, refuse it, or make a counteroffer to the buyer with the changes that best suit your needs. When reviewing the purchase order calculate the amount of profit you are left with when the transaction is complete. For example, if you have two offers at once even though one may have a lower sale price you would make more than if you were to pay points to the buyer's lending institution. When trying to calculate your proceeds from the proposed purchase price you can subtract:

o Broker's commission
o Legal costs (attorney, escrow agent)
o Payoff amount of present mortgage (if any)
o Transfer taxes
o Unpaid property taxes and water bills
o Cost of survey, termite inspection, buyer's closing costs, repairs, etc..if in written contract
o Any liens (equity loans, judgments)
o An escrow account may be maintained by your present mortgage lender into which you deposit money to be used for property tax bills and homeowner's insurance premiums. Just keep in mind that you will receive a refund left in that account which will add to your proceeds.

For Sellers: Counteroffers

Any change you make in a counteroffer can put you at risk of losing that chance to sell. Keep in mind that if you don't accept the purchase offer from the potential buyer exactly as it stands you may be at risk. You and the buyer can come to an agreement on who pays for:

* Buyer's broker
* Buyer's closing costs
* Points to the buyer's lender
* Survey
Termite inspection
* Repairs required by the lender
* Home protection policy



Choosing a home is an enormous decision to make so choosing the right one to fit all of your needs is very important. Is it THE house?

I'm sure you've heard the term "A man's home is his castle". Your home is a place where you relax, bring friends, you raise your children here and even work! Most of your life is spent in your home so choosing that perfect home is a major decision so you want to make sure you choose THE home for you and your family. Start by looking at as many homes as possible. This is where comes in. Here you can view as many homes as you'd like, check prices, and get any information on the neighborhoods of your choice. Once you have narrowed down your search contact to get more thorough information and hear your options.
Can You Really Afford It?

Now that you have been preapproved, you have a good idea of how much money you can borrow and how much home you can afford. Keep in mind, however, that a pre approval in not necessarily a loan commitment. The lender still need to check appraisals and updated credit reports. Regardless of fluctuating interest rates, for the most part pre approval nonetheless can provide an analysis of what you can afford. Loan officers are usually paid when the actual loan is originated so it wouldn't be beneficial to the loan officer to suggest high loan limits that later can't be delivered.
Wait! Are You Buying the Right House?

What an amazing feeling it is finding the perfect property for you. It possesses all the features and qualities you have been looking for and more! It's your dream house and you love it! Then a million questions run through your mind, "Can we afford it?" "Will they accept our offer?" "How long will it take?" These positive feelings are a definite deciding factor in buying a new home. But don't let these feelings overrule reasonable assessment of whether this home really fits your needs. Answer these questions before making a rational commitment about buying.

Price - Even though your lender is willing to give you the loan amount you want are you really able to make the monthly payment involved? Have you thought about moving costs and transaction costs? Are there any major repairs or remodeling to take in consideration that comes out of your pocket?

Condition- Along with the price, the condition of the home should be a huge factor. Plumbing and electrical wiring is expensive to repair. A new roof is phenomenal. Find out if the house is disaster ready (are there existing window treatments for hurricane season?). A fixer-upper can be an exciting project but do you have the funds for it? Not to mention will you be able to live in a home that is not yet up to your standards?

Size and configuration- Take in consideration the right combination of bedrooms, bathrooms, and other living areas. Can your family adjust to the size of the house? Is that small room in the corner really sufficient for the nursery? Is one bathroom going to be enough and if not do you have the time and money to add a second one? Is your garage high enough for your SUV?

Comfort- Is the house adequately heated and cool/is it central? If the house is more than one story, how do you feel about walking up and the stairs throughout the day? Do your guests have to use the bathroom upstairs or is their one available on the first floor?

Style- Is the style of the home going to mix well with your furniture? Do you really want southwestern furniture in a colonial home?

Resale Potential- One the average, people move to a new home every seven years. If you were unexpectedly forced to sell your property how quickly do you think you could finder a buyer this ready, willing and able?

Features- Quite often buyers are in awe of the Olympic sized pool or the commercial-grade kitchen. Immediately they fall in love the ornamental trees or the historical hard wood floors. But more times than others these amenities are more of a headache than a pleasure.
How to Choose a Home
Here Are Some Tips to Help Determine Which House is Best For You

First, choose a few neighborhoods that peak your interest the most then pick out a few home too tour. Bring a list with reminders of the features and amenities that are most important to you.

Types of Homes

Single family home: One home per lot.

Multifamily homes: Some first - time buyers start with a multiple family dwelling, they have rental income to assist with their costs. Some mortgage plans (including VA and FHA loans) can be used for properties up to four units - if the buyer intends to occupy one of them.

Co-ops: Cooperative apartments are most popular in cities. This is a share in a corporation that owns the whole building and each individual has a lease their own apartment. It is managed by a board of directors.

Condominiums: Just as a with single house, you own "from the plaster in". Also a percentage of the common elements such as roofs, sidewalks, stairwells, etc.

This is what happens from the buyer's side: The seller begins with an asking price and other terms and places a home on the market, this is an offer. The buyer now has three choices, accept the offer and start a contract, reject it and not make an offer, or make a counteroffer with your own terms. With a counteroffer, the seller make accept or make his/her own counteroffer. The most complicated variable about the home buying process is the bargaining between buyers and sellers. Is the when having a well-qualified, experienced and knowledgeable realtor comes is. Knowing the community is a valuable resource because this means they have spent many years negotiating local realty transactions.



After interest and closing costs, the cost of real estate financing is generally greater than the original purchase price of the home itself. Financing is a very big part of the home buying process so a buyer should have as much information as possible at hand when it comes to their options and costs. is able to provide you with all of the mortgage information you need and discuss your financing options and recommend loan sources.
What Kind of Loan?

With so many lenders on the market there are limitless numbers of loans available to you. But the mortgage you choose should be determined by these key factors: What kind of credit do you have? The best rates and terms are for those with excellent credit. To be ensured you get the best loan, pay credit card, rent and mortgage bills and installment payments in full or on time. There are many loans available with just 5% down or less. Even major lenders now offer "no money down" options. Are you a "first time buyer"? A first time buyer can refer to those who haven't owned in the past three years in most state programs. A lot of state-backed programs offer smaller down payment plans below market interest rates to these first time buyers so be sure to inquire with your realtor. Over 2.5 million VA (Veterans Administration), PMI (private mortgage insurance), and FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans are given every year. With less than 20% down, lenders expect and outside third party to protect against any mortgage defaults.
How Do You Get a Loan?

In order to qualify for a loan you must first fill out a complete loan application and have supporting documentation readily available. These payments will include rental checks, pay stubs, and tax returns. However, the loan officer will go into detail of the paperwork need to verify credit information.
Where Do You Get a Loan?

Mortgage brokers, savings and loan associations, mutual banks, credit unions, commercial banks, mortgage bankers, and insurance companies can all finance mortgages. Speak with your realtor to help you arrange financing.
What is a Mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan given to finance one of the largest debts you will probably ever take on - your home. A legal contract is signed promising that you will pay back the debt including interest usually over a 15 to 20 year time period. Your new home is used as collateral, therefore, the lender has the right to take back the property if the loan is not paid making monthly installments. These payments usually include principal, interest, insurance and taxes also know as PITI.

Interest: A percentage called the interest rate, this is what the lender charges you to use the money that you borrowed. On top of the given rate, the lender may also charge you "points" and additional loan costs. Each point is 1% of the financed amount and is financed with the principal.

Principal: The sum of money that you borrowed to buy your home. Before it is financed you can give the lender a sum of cash (down payment) to minimize the amount of money to be financed. Both interest and principal are a part of your monthly payment called amortization. This reduces your debt over a fixed period of time. If your down payment is less than 20% you are considered a risk to your lender. The lender sets up and escrow account to offset that risk to collect those additional expenses.

Taxes: Property taxes your community levies based on a percentage of the value of your home. This tax is used to help finance the running of your community such as schools, roads, etc.

Insurance: Home insurance must be obtained before closing the deal on your home purchase covering your home and property against theft, fire, and weather.


How much?

Most people believe that the amount of your offer should be a certain percent below the seller's asking price or a certain percent less than you are really willing to pay. However, realistically the offer depend on the laws of supply and demand. For example if a lot of buyers are competing for homes, the the sellers are more apt to get full-price offers or even more.
How Do You Make an Offer?

The process of making an offer varies from state to state. Generally, your real estate will present an offer to the seller. After the seller receives the completed offer he/she will either can accept, reject, or make a counteroffer. A change in the offer can happen at any time so it is important that the buyer keeps an open line during the negotiation process with the realtor
How Many Inspections?

There are multiple inspections involved in residential realty transactions. Some common inspections would be title reviews, structural inspections, termite checks, surveys to determine boundaries, and appraisals to determine value for lenders. The purpose of using an appraiser is to determine what repairs and replacements need to take place in the next few years. The inspection is generally a two to three hour process and the buyer should be present during this examination. This is an great opportunity to ask any questions you might have regarding the property and the mechanics and structure.
The Bottom Line on Contract Negotiation

There are a few questions that you should ask before deciding to pursue the contract. The selling price is an obvious focal point in the purchase of real estate but isn't the only factor determining the net bottom line. It wouldn't necessarily be a bargain for the buyer if he or she is paying all the transaction costs or the buyer can't come up with the down payment or qualify for the mortgage. Here are five points to consider before buying just because of the great price

1. What amount is the buyer putting into the escrow? A large deposit indicates that the buyer is serious about completing his/her transaction. As far as the seller is concerned the more money the buyer puts in the escrow account the sooner the money is transferred, the better.
2. Who will be paying for the estimated transaction costs? Generally, these costs include home inspection, termite inspection, escrow r attorney's fees, brokers' commission, title search, the owner's title insurance policy, and transfer taxes and recording fees.
3. How specific is the mortgage financing contingency (if there is one)? Unless the buyer is paying cash for the home a mortgage escape claus is a must. A contingency ill help prevent any legal obligation to purchase the home even if they cannot obtain financing. But an open-ended statement that says the buyer will obtain a loan "at the prevailing rate of interest" can leave the buyer exposed to interest rate fluctuations.
4. It is a binding legal document unless one side unless an unmet contingency is unmet. What happens if one side breaches the contract? If a buyer fails to perform he/she can loose their deposit money. Sellers who try to back out at the last minute can be sued - which forces the sale of the home to the buyer. So be sure your real estate agent reviews the contract with you before the purchase offer. Be prepared to negotiate on the best deal you can get and know what to expect ahead of time.

Hiring a Home Inspector

Finding the best home inspector isn't necessarily as easy at it sounds. Many years ago, buyers relied on their own impression of the home and representation of the seller's agent, inspectors were not heard of in residential real estate. Today, the buyer has the right to order one or more professional inspections before completing the purchase. An experienced real estate agent will be able to recommend several well trained and qualified home inspectors. Here is a list of factors to consider when selecting the best candidates:

* Qualifications - The inspector should have training and experience in construction and building maintenance standards and a record of experience in home inspection business. Depending on the home the inspector may need to be qualified to deal with lead-based paint, asbestos, or other hazardous substances.
* Sample Report - The inspector should be able to provide a checklist of his/her checklist or inspection report.
* Scope - Ask the inspector which elements are and are not part of the inspection.
* Membership - Being a part of an association is a plus. Memberships usually i include training and certification programs.
* References: - It is not uncommon to ask the inspector to provide the names and telephone numbers of multiple homeowners that have used his/her services in the past. Call the references and ask them if they were satisfied with the service that they received.
* Errors and omissions - Even the most experienced inspectors are capable of making errors and overlooking problems they probably should have noticed. Find out what the company's policy is in case this situation should arise.

The Basics of Making an Offer

Waiving an inspection contingency is not worth the risk. For whatever reason, some buyers decide to not make a professional inspection a contingency as part of their offer. The may prevail in a multiple offer situation but this is not a wise choice. Sellers will naturally favor offers that do not include an inspection contingency, but whatever the condition of the property, the buyer should insist on the seller making any repairs that are not included in the purchase contract. The buyer could face a huge risk if they are buying a property with defects.
Negotiating to Yes

A few good tips can turn a negotiation into an agreement that can make both buyer and seller happy. Negotiation of a purchase agreement may be the trickiest aspect of buying a home. The buyer and the seller want to come to a winning agreement but of course either side would prefer to have a "bigger" win than the other! Successful negotiation is the ability to use certain skills bring about those "win" situations. Here are some ways to turn a negotiation into a positive agreement:

* Respect the other sides priorities - Knowing what is most important to the other person in the transaction can help you avoid sensitive issues.
* Be prepared to compromise - Both sides will almost never be satisfied to the extent that they get everything that they want. Instead of taking the approach "winner-takes-all, focus on what factors are most important to you.
* Leave it aside - If you have certain issues that are not material to the overall contract, finish the main agreement first then continue with the "issues" in a side agreement. This allows both parties to move forward toward a fair compromise and remember to summarize all points of the agreement in writing. Example: purchase of furniture or fixtures.
* Meet in the middle - Splitting the difference on "who pays what" is a successful negotiation technique. If each party pays half of the cosmetic repairs, the recording fee, or fixes half of the blemishes, both sides seem to be happy.
* Ask for advice - Considering the more experienced realtors have worked on countless real estate transactions, they usually are skilled negotiators. They have come to know what works and what doesn't and are accustomed to bringing buyers and sellers together. It's a good idea to talk to your real estate agent about negotiation strategies.

How to Win the Bidding Wars

Most buyers will face multiple offer situations which is a good example of economic realities because they appear when the supply of homes for sale is limited and the demand for good-condition homes is strong. This pushes up the sale price of the home and creates a very stressful home-buying experience. Being a little knowledgeable in this situation can help you buy your home at a fair price.
How Can I Make an Offer More Attractive to the Sellers?

Start by offering the highest price that you can afford, get preapproved (not just pre qualified) and attach a copy of your preapproved letter to your offer. Make the largest down payment that you can afford showing the source of your down payment. If you have a home that is in escrow provide information regarding the transaction.
For Your Home

If you are planning on using the equity in your current home as a source of down payment, make your offer contingent on obtaining financing.
Can I Submit an Offer on a Home with an Escrow?

Technically yes, but it is recommended that you look for another home. The seller would have difficulty canceling the escrow even if your offer is accepted.
If I lost a numerous amount of homes in many offer situations. Is my agent to blame?

The answer is dependent of WHY your offers were not accepted., don't blame the agent until you have all of the facts. If you writing offers on houses in the $400,000 range and all of your offers are for $350,000 you aren't going to get those houses. You have to be realistic. On the other hand some agents are aggressive enough to get that property.
Terms and Conditions

Never sign a purchase agreement without reading it in entirety. There is a lot to take into consideration when signing a contract. Even if the purchase price is acceptable, if the terms and conditions of the deal are not you might want to think twice. Just because the real estate purchase contract appears to be complicated and loaded with technical terms don't use that as an excuse for not reading the entire contract. Read it thoroughly and ask questions about anything you are unsure of. Be flexible and allow for negotiation.



You wouldn't drive an automobile without insurance so why would you live in a house without it? In an event of a catastrophe, real estate insurance can be the bargain of a lifetime. There are many types of insurance available with home ownership including:

* Title insurance: title insurance protects owners in the event that title to the property is found to be invalid and there is a one time fee at closing. It includes "lenders" policies which protect buyers up to the mortgage value of the property - and "owners" coverage which protects them up to the mortgage value of the property also up to the purchase price.
* Flood insurance: is required in some parts of the country usually in high-risk flood-prone areas. It is government issued and provides up to $250,000 in coverage for a single-family home and $100,000 for contents. Your real estate agent will be able to tell you what areas require such insurance.
* Homeowners insurance: is set up for theft, liability coverage and fire. These policies are required by lenders and cover a variety of items which include (in some cases) home office equipment, wedding rings, and furniture. Buyers want to be assured that if something goes wrong in their new home the builder will be there to make the repair. Home warranties provide this sense of security. Generally, home warranties are bought from a third party by home builders if the builder goes out of business. Home warranties are usually one-year service agreements bought by sellers and in the event of a covered defect the warranty firm will make the repair or cover its cost. Policies and warranties have limitations and different levels of coverage, costs, and deductibles. The best time to get insurance coverage is at closing and most policies are available from insurance brokers and some realtors.



It is important for a seller to obtain property records detailing real estate ownership in their neighborhood. Records are available at the local courthouse dating back hundreds of years. This is proof that they have marketable and insurable titles to the property they are selling. Also, these records are a reliable proof that the owner is in fact the owner when ready to sell. In many cases buyers and sellers don't have to attend certain events because signed documents can be sent to the closing agent by way of overnight delivery. Much of the closing process, also known as escrow or settlement is becoming more and more computerized or automated.
What to Expect

All of the necessary paperwork needed to complete the transaction is signed at the settlement. Closing generally takes place in an office setting with both buyer and seller at the same time or sometimes separately. However the set-up the main objective is that the property is transferred from sellerto buyer, the buyer receives the keys and the seller receives payment for the new home. The closing agent subtracts money to pay off the existing mortgage and other various costs from the amount credited to the seller. All of the loan papers, deeds and other documents are signed and filed with the local property record offices.
What You Need to Do

Buyers have an opportunity to walk through the property before closing to ensure that its condition has not materially changed since the sale agreement was signed. Papers are then prepared by closing agent, lenders, lawyers and title companies to be signed at closing. Here, buyers receive the title to the property, lenders have their loans recorded in the public records and the government collect their transfer taxes.

You have finally done it! From beginning to end you finally bought the house of your dreams. Is there anything else involving home buying? If you are a first time buyer or a repeat home buyers there are a few steps you'll want to take. The paperwork you received at the settlement are very important so keep those in a file. They will be used for tax purposes and later for reselling the house. Hopefully you obtained the status of the utilities required by the home items (water, sewage, gas oil, etc.). The sellers must pay for the utilities in full at closing and the utilities be transferred to you for billing. Within a few weeks after closing be sure to contact your local property records office for confirmation of your recorded deed. Hopefully your seller left your new home "broom clean" which does not mean cleaned to perfection. It is a good idea to make a video or photo book of your new home and possessions for insurance purposes and keep these records save in a safety deposit box (your insurance provider can tell you what needs to be photographed). Fire, theft and liability insurance is a must and as the value of your property increases so should your coverage. But most importantly, even though owning real estate involves contracts, loans and taxes the most important factor is that you enjoy your brand new home!

All contents (c) 2005-2006 Miami Realty Finder. All rights reserved.
Search Engine Optimization provided by John 954-744-6173 at Jump2Top