THE ULTIMATE HOME BUYING GUIDE AND MORE

THE ULTIMATE HOME BUYING GUIDE AND MORE

THE HOME BUYING GUIDE AND MORE

INTRO

Are you a first-time home buyer, or have you experienced the buying process before? Either way, gathering as much information as you can before you start the exciting process of choosing a new home can help you make the best decision for you and your family. It may be the biggest decision of your life; a home is probably the largest purchase you’ll ever make, so don’t hesitate to ask many questions of your real estate advisor and learn all details possible so you can have peace of mind before, during, and after the real estate transaction. 

A home reflects so much about your personality; it is the visiting card you present to others. Whether it is your primary residence or a vacation home, you’ll likely spend plenty of time in it and gain wonderful memories there, so it’s only fitting you should spend ample time selecting your home. Take all the time you need to choose your new property, and always remember that this important decision is one you’re probably going to live with for a long time. 

Visit our main page to start your property search. If you have a question or need additional information, you may contact us anytime by phone at 631-383-7048, or by e-mail at [email protected]


FINDING THE RIGHT HOME 

You know the old saying, Location, location, location? Always take into consideration the home's location. What do you want to be close to? What features do you want in your community? Location is not only about geographic area: you also have to think about who your next door neighbors may be, and that could make the difference between one property and another. 

Keep in mind the safety of the neighborhood, local amenities, as well as the school district, and don’t forget to find out the value of surrounding homes in a community. Also, take into consideration the time necessary to travel from your home to your work place, the airport, special attractions, and major necessities like pharmacies and grocery stores. Remember, those small elements are an important part of your daily life, and if you forget to check the details, you’re likely to regret it day after day. If you are looking for a vacation home or investment property, this is also very important because you want to be as close to attractions as possible so you can maximize the time during your stay and do the most you can with your days. 

If you have to go across town to reach places you visit frequently, you will be wasting a lot of time and gas money. A house closer to malls, downtown areas and recreation parks could be more expensive, but it will save you a lot time and travelling expenses through the years. 

At The Larsen Group Powered by eXp Realty, we really want to help you find the perfect home for you and your family; thus we have the most advanced property search in the area. You can find properties by city, subdivision, zip code, map and even street address. Use the search form above to start your search right away!

FINANCING THE PURCHASE

It is always smart to start looking for a mortgage at the same time you start looking for a home. Obtaining financing can be a very difficult process and leaving it for the last minute may cost you the property of your dreams.

By obtaining a mortgage pre-qualification, you will be able to know how much house you can afford, and that will save you time during your property search. Also, being pre-qualified for a mortgage gives you leverage when negotiating offers because the seller will know that you are a serious buyer who is prepared to buy. If a seller has two similar offers, one from a pre-qualified buyer and another from a buyer who is not, the seller may consider the offer of the buyer who is most prepared to carry on with the purchase.

At The Larsen Group Powered by eXp Realty, we work with the top mortgage bankers in the area and can get you get pre-qualified and prepared to present the best offer to the owner selling the property of your dreams. Please contact us to help you obtain a mortgage pre-approval to get you well on the way to buying your dream property in Northeast Florida with ease.

GETTING PROFESSIONAL REPRESENTATION 

Many buyers overlook the fact that at some point in their property purchase they will need a real estate professional to represent them. In rare cases, you may end up dealing directly with the seller, but for the most part a real estate agent will be involved in the purchase of your property. 

Getting competent and professional representation is a crucial step during the home hunting process, and failing to do so can really affect your chances of owning the property of your dreams. Oftentimes, buyers end up working with the seller’s representative, the first agent who contacts them, or no one at all, just because they didn’t take the time to look for their own representation. Would you get a surgical procedure with the first surgeon who is available, without you doing any research beforehand? I wouldn’t think so. Make sure your real estate agent has the qualifications and experience necessary to represent you. Don’t make a mistake that could cost you thousands or worse, the great property you found after months of searching. 

Buyer agents usually don’t charge the buyer for services, as buyer agents are compensated by commissions on the sale. Buyer agents represent the buyer’s best interest and are bound to protect it. Why wouldn’t you want a professional working on your behalf while not charging you a penny? 

Don’t forget this very important step of obtaining professional representation, and contact us so we may help you with your home search from beginning to end! You don’t pay for our services and we provide you top notch representation. For more information, call us at 631-383-7048. We are ready to help you with your real estate needs!

REAL ESTATE HOME BUYING PROCESS 

Once you’ve found the right property for you and your family along with a competent and professional Real Estate Advisor to represent you, you’ll need to submit an offer. Your offer can be verbal, but most times it is required in writing. When in writing, the offer often requires a deposit to be held in escrow as good faith to support it. This deposit is fully refundable while contract contingencies are active. 

During negotiations there can be counter offers by the seller and the buyer, but once an agreement is made, the contract will be binding to both parties. If the buyer defaults, the deposit can be lost; if the seller defaults, the buyer can take legal action. 

CONTRACT CONTINGENCIES 

Usually, there are contingencies in the contract that allow a buyer to withdraw from the transaction. The most common contingencies are inspection periods and financing periods. If the buyer can’t obtain financing within the allowed time, the contract is voidable and the deposit refundable to the buyer. Also, if the buyer conducts an inspection within the allowed time and finds defects that are not to his/her satisfaction, the buyer can either ask the seller to correct the defects, get a credit from the seller, or withdraw from the transaction and get his/her deposit back. 

Once contingencies are cleared, the buyer can lose the escrow monies if he/she chooses to withdraw from the transaction. 

Get a top-notch negotiator on your side and structure a killer offer that is great for you and acceptable to the seller. Don’t leave money on the table, and make sure you ask for the right contingencies to protect you throughout the transaction. 

For more information, call us at 631-383-7048. We are ready to help you with your real estate needs!

BUYER’S SIDE PURCHASE CLOSING COSTS 

When buying a property in Florida, whether it is Jacksonville, Saint Augustine, Yulee, Fleming Island, you name it, there will be closing costs for the buyer and the seller; each party usually pays their respective fees unless agreed otherwise during contract negotiations.

Here is a list of possible costs associated with a property purchase in Florida as of January 2018.

General Fees:

  • Earnest money deposit: Typically about 1% of the purchase price

  • Appraisal (Price Evaluation): Between $400 and $500 depending on company.

  • Inspection (Home Evaluation for defects): Between $300 and $400 depending on property size and inspection company.

  • WDO/Termite Inspection: $100 to $300

  • Septic Inspection: $200 to $500

  • Land Survey/Elevation Certificate: $250 to $300 depending on company. (Can also be paid by seller)

  • Municipal Lien Search: $100 to $150 (usually paid at closing)

  • Miscellaneous Fees: $400 to $700

  • Proration: (Taxes or Home Owners Association Fees Paid By The Sellers In Advance) This will vary widely depending on community and property, but you should expect some debits if the seller has paid in advance, or some credits if the sellers haven’t paid for taxes and HOA fees.

  • Initiation fees: If the property is in a country club or if there's a home owners association, initiation fees by these entities could be due. These fees can vary by association or country club.

  • Additional closing cost: Varies with the type of loan and lender, paid at closing

Borrowing Fees: (If you are financing the purchase.)

  • Loan Processing Fee: $250 to $300 depending on bank.

  • Recording Fees: $100 to $200

  • State Tax on the Mortgage: .0035 x Loan Amount.

  • State Intangible Tax on the Note: .002 x Loan Amount.

  • Loan Origination Fee: From 1% to 2% of mortgage amount depending on bank or mortgage broker. If the buyer doesn’t use a mortgage broker then this fee may be lower.

When financing, you also have to budget for prepayments. Prepayments are escrow reserves lenders require in order to grant you a loan. These will vary depending on the lender, but they usually include the following.

Prepayments:

  • From 6 to 12 months of home owner’s insurance premium.

  • From 3 to 6 months of prepaid mortgage interest.

  • From 3 to 6 months of prepaid mortgage insurance.

  • From 3 to 6 months of prepaid property taxes.

  • Some community associations require you to prepay 3 months in advance of Home Owners Association (HOA) fees. For example, if the community/subdivision has an HOA fee of $200/month they may require an escrow of $600 at closing. All different types of communities have different HOA fees, so this will be clearer once you decide which property to buy.

Paying Cash:

  • If you are buying cash, or financing abroad, you don’t have to worry about borrowing fees and prepayments in Florida, although the general closing fees and HOA prepayment will still be required.

Basically, all these fees usually amount to between 4 and 5 percent of your purchase price if you are financing, or between .5 and 2 percent of your purchase price if you are paying cash. Please budget accordingly.

Still need help understanding closings costs for your own particular situation? We’d love to help you clear it up! For more information, call us at 631-383-7048. We are ready to help you with your real estate needs!

REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION CLOSING 

A real estate transaction usually closes (finalizes) within 15 to 45 days depending on the time limit stated in the contract. If the buyer is obtaining financing, it is best to close within 30 to 45 days. If the buyer is paying cash, 15 to 30 days is usually enough. 

It is required that the closing be held by a closing company who makes sure your property’s title is clear and provides you with a title insurance policy. Usually, real estate attorneys are employed at such closing companies, and can assist with any complex legal or tax questions during the transaction. The closing company does not represent either the seller or the buyer, and thus it can be a good resource to both parties. 

Real estate closings are very simple; they can even be done in your home state or in a foreign country if you happen to be abroad. As long as you have access to a local notary authorized by the United States (or you may visit the local US Embassy to get documents notarized), the closing can be carried remotely and smoothly with you not even having to be here locally. That may sound strange to some people, but remote closings happen all the time in Florida. Some buyers even purchase properties sight unseen. With that said, some lenders require foreign buyers to be in US territory when they close on a property purchase, so keep that in mind if you are not a US resident and plan to obtain financing in the purchase. 

Overwhelmed? Don’t be! The Larsen Group Powered by eXp Realty is here to make the process easy for you. For more information, call us at 631-383-7048. We are ready to help you with your real estate needs!

BUYER’S GUIDE CONCLUSION 

Buying a property anywhere in the world can be a stressful process, but if you do your homework and learn about the ins and outs of the transaction by using the resources available to you on this website, it can be a much better experience for you and your family. 

Always remember to review a property’s location, nearby amenities, proximity to work, attractions, market statistics, and the community’s safety. You’ll probably own the property for at least 5 years, and those details you overlook today could come back to haunt you later on. 

Get pre-qualified for a mortgage early on so you can be ready to make an appealing offer when you find the home of your dreams. Being prepared and able to present an offer will be invaluable if you happen to find the perfect property sooner that you had expected. 

Get a real estate professional who can really advise on every step of the process, you won’t regret it. Having a professional alongside to help you through the different stages of the home buying process can prove to be very important during any real estate transaction. Don’t leave this crucial step for the last minute as it may jeopardize your chances of getting a great deal on the property of your dreams. 

Remember that it’s not always a smart move to work with the agent representing the seller. Working with your own buyer’s agent won’t cost you any more, and being well represented is priceless.

Learn the buying process and avoid any surprises during the transaction. Knowing what your closing costs may be and what contingencies are protecting you throughout the deal can help you fly through the real estate transaction like a pro.

Remember that we are real estate expert in the area and we would love to help you with your property search. Best of luck and happy house hunting!

Get a top-notch negotiator on your side, someone who will be there through every step of the process helping you make informed decisions. The Larsen Group Powered by eXp Realty possesses the expertise, knowledge and dedication to make the real estate purchase process very easy for you and your family. For more information, call us at 631-383-7048 or reach us by email at [email protected] We are ready to help you with your real estate needs!



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Dated: March 27th 2018
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