Are you considering purchasing a home in Hillsborough County? Being a homeowner offers major benefits. We can help you determine if you are ready to buy a home and when you are ready. We will walk you through each step of the process. Here are a few things you will need to know about the process of getting your own home:
• Should you be looking for an investment, owning a home is the most secure form of leveraged investment.
• Whether you rent or own, you have to pay. When you own a home, the money you pay towards your mortgage benefits you because you will eventually own the property outright.
• There are tax benefits to owning a home. First-time buyers, in particular, may see a decent tax break. You can take many expenses by owning your home off your taxes including: mortgage interest, property taxes and some income from the sale of a home (consult a CPA/Real Estate Attorney for current tax laws).
• Owning a home protects you against rent inflation (barring changes to your loan, your monthly payment will remain the same for the duration of your repayment period.)
Our goal is to help you find the best home for your family. Here are a few ways we stay on top of the market:
• Our team physically visits each property listed on the MLS so we can identify which properties fit your needs.
• We scour our contact lists looking for future sellers.
• Our team checks out foreclosure listings to find the best options for our clients.
• We network with other offices and agents about properties in the area.
• Our team frequently updates and reviews future listings.
Before your purchase a home, we will talk to you about a few different things including:
• How soon you want to be in a home. Between preapproval, finding the home you want and finalizing paperwork, the process can take up to several months. Knowing your timeline will help us set a good pace.
• Are you currently in a lease? Many leases require a fee if you break it early. Time your shopping/buying process to save money.
• If you currently own a home: Should you plan to put it on the market, you may want to do so around the same time you begin looking for a new home, or even before, so you reduce the risk of paying two mortgages.
• Do you have any concerns? Talk to us about any questions or concerns you have, so we can make the buying experience a positive one.
• Let’s talk time: Do you plan on staying in your home for at least five years? Knowing how long you plan to stay in your home can affect financing options.
• Special Circumstances: If you are selling your current property and using the money to invest in a new home, you may qualify for a Tax 1031 exchange, which lets you defer taxation on that portion of the money you made from your sale (consult a CPA/Real Estate Attorney for current tax laws).
To save time, and energy, take some time to think about a few things you want (or do not want) in your home. Some things to consider:
• The neighborhood (style, safety, travel to work etc.)
• School district
• Size of the home
• Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
• How much property do you want (yard size)
• Do you want a garage (1, 2, 3 car), carport or is street parking okay
• Do you want a pool
• Parking for RV or extra vehicles
• Write down anything that is a make or break for the property you want.
We will likely ask you to complete an outline so we can help you find your perfect home. Typically, we will ask questions about the size, location, number of rooms etc., so we can narrow down your search options.
Prequalification can help you get into a home faster. Here are a few things to remember about getting prequalified for a home loan:
• Getting qualified can help you get a house over another party who has not been prequalified. Sellers want reliable buyers so this process is very key when making an offer.
• Prequalification tells a seller that you are ready to buy. Sellers favor serious offers.
• If there are multiple offers on a home, the buyer with better qualifications wins. In a bidding war, being prequalified could make a difference in whether you get the home you want or not
• We will help you find a lender for preapproval before we even start looking at homes. This is also a great step to take to determine the price range you are able to qualify for. If you do not qualify immediately (or you do not qualify for as much as you would like), our lenders can help you figure out how to improve your buying power.
The housing market can be quite competitive. Have a plan before you start looking at homes so you do not miss out on a property you really love. Make sure everyone is on board (including family or friends you want to include in the decision-making) before you start looking.
Before you head out to look at homes, know that you may need to make a fast offer if you love a property that is getting a lot of attention. You can help improve your chances by remembering:
• When you make an offer, you might have to include a good-faith deposit (this is usually 1 percent of the purchase price, and you get it back if you lose the property to someone else or the seller pulls out.
• If you are able to put down more than the minimum good-faith deposit, you may have an advantage over other bidders.
• Have enough cash on hand to pay for a home inspection (about $500)
• Have enough cash on hand to pay for an appraisal (about $500)
Once you have been preapproved, you get to do the fun part of browsing homes and finally making an offer on the property you want. You have a few options for checking out homes.
• We can send you an email with properties fitting your criteria
• Search on the website.
• Make a note about any property you see that looks interesting and contact us so we can schedule a time to visit.
• Check out open houses in the area.
Working with a real estate agent will be a major help when it comes time to view properties. We work with other agents to get access to the homes when you want to see them. Should the owners of the home still live in the house, you may need to give at least 24-hours-notice before a tour. We can help.
Once you have found a home you really like, you can make an offer. Your real estate agent will determine the value of the home based on other homes in the area and recent sales prices. We can then help you determine a fair offer.
The seller may either accept your offer or counter it. Should they counter your offer, we will come back to you and let you know their terms. You can accept the new terms or offer another compromise. Once the buyer and seller reach an agreement, we start the escrow process and submit your good faith deposit to the title company.
Once an offer has been accepted, we will send a copy of the contract to your lender. The lender will enter everything into the computer and create a calendar to determine when you and the seller must complete certain steps (appraisal, inspection etc.). This calendar is vital.
Your lender will order an appraisal and give you a cost breakdown including an approximate mortgage payment, as well as an amount for any funds you need to bring to the closing.
Typically you will have a 15 day period to complete a home inspection. Should there be any problems with the property (roof leaks, electrical, termites etc.) we will send notifications to the seller.
Closing statements and final walk-through:
After escrow is complete, our team will review all of the paperwork to make sure everything is accurate. Then we will schedule an appointment with you and the title company to finalize and sign all necessary documentation.
During your final walk-through you can check to make sure all requested repairs are finished. At closing, if all signatures have been completed, you will receive any property information the seller may have, keys, garage door openers, etc.