7 Steps to Ft Lauderdale Home Buying
1. Mortgage Pre-approval letter or Proof of Funds.
Although most buyers think that a mortgage pre-approval is not the first step in buying a home or condo, but it is. Seller's or bank owned properties (REO) need to feel comfortable with the buyer's offer and make sure the buyer is pre-qualified and able to buy the property. Remember when you make an offer on a Ft Lauderdale property and the seller accepts it then they are essentially taking the property off the market and trusting you. Their taking your word that you have enough funds to close if its a cash offer or your credit is good enough to get a mortgage. Taking care of this as the 1st step in the home buying process helps your offer be accepted by the seller.
Another great reason to do this right up front is to make sure what Ft Lauderdale properties you think you can afford, you really can. You don't want to go out and look at more expensive Fort Lauderdale waterfront homes only to find out you really can't afford them after you make an offer. You've wasted a lot of time looking at homes you really shouldn't be looking at. This narrows down you search and allows you to meet with a mortgage professional that will help you decide how high you can go on a purchase of a Fort Lauderdale home or condo.
2. Hire a REALTOR.
A knowledgeable agent, whats that? There's more to a Fort Lauderdale REALTOR then just driving around showing properties. There are a number of individuals involved in a real estate transaction. Not only your Fort Lauderdale REALTOR, but insurance agents, mortgage brokers and underwriters, seller's agent, title companies, lawyers and others. A Fort Lauderdale REALTOR should be knowledgeable in these areas and be able to explain the home buying process as well as the Fort Lauderdale real estate market. They should be experts and be able to coordinate all the people involved with your real estate transaction while acting as an advocate for you and your interests throughout.
Great agents such as Eric Miller & Associates are not a dime a dozen. Buyers should be educated about the local real estate market by their agent. Great agents should be able to listen to your needs and wants and show you the homes that you want, they should be able to negotiate on your behalf and be able to solve any problem that may arise. Knowledge of the real estate market and the home buying process is a must in this market.
3. Find a suitable Fort Lauderdale property.
This step is probably the most fun your going to have during the Fort Lauderdale home or condo buying process. Its fun to go out and look at properties, but the fun quickly fades if it takes too long. That's why the buyer needs to assess their wants and needs of a home or condo purchase. Location, number of bedroom, baths, square footage, pool or not, fixer upper or one that has been fixed up. What features do you want in a home or condo? After answering these questions, then you'll be able to select your home with ease. Sometimes buyer's have a specific need in mind only to find out it really wasn't that important once they start looking at properties. Make this step as fun as possible by narrowing down your requirements so your REALTOR can find you that perfect slice of Fort Lauderdale real estate. There are several cities what we consider part of the Fort Lauderdale area. Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Pompano Beach, Lauderdale by the Sea and Plantation are just a few of the cities we're experts in.
4. Make an offer.
You did it! You found your slice of paradise in Fort Lauderdale that you fell in love with, now its time to make an offer. Remember as I stated above, the stronger the offer the more chance you have that the seller will take their property off the market and accept your offer. Strong offers usually get seller's attention and as part of that, the pre-approval or proof of funds letter should accompany the offer. Cash offers are obviously stronger offers than offers needing a mortgage approval. Earnest money down with the offer also can tell the seller how serious the buyer is about that house. Earnest money down protects the seller if the buyer decides to not show up for closing. Contingencies such as financing, inspection terms and sale of another home appears weaker to the seller. Most buyers' want to get a mortgage and want an inspection on the property before they go ahead with the contract and sellers understand this, but don't make more requests in the contract unless absolutely necessary.
5. Secure financing.
After your offer has been accepted its time to get back in touch with your mortgage broker and continue the mortgage final approval process. There're more extensive documents required including verification of income from your employer to get a final approval on the mortgage so you can proceed to closing. Choosing the type of loan and terms is probably one of the most important decisions you will make during the buying process. A knowledgeable mortgage broker is just as important in their field as a great Fort Lauderdale REALTOR. This is also where the appraisal on the property will take place. If the property does not appraise for the contract price then the contract is null and void since you would not get a final mortgage approval.
6. Perform due diligence.
Whats this? This means that the buyer contacts an home owners property insurance broker to start insurance on the home on the day of closing. A home owner's insurance policy is required for all property that has a mortgage on it. Inspections are also part of the due diligence while your under contract. Most of the time there is a time limit on the inspection period and this must be done during this time. It's always a great idea to get an inspection done right away so if there are problems, you would have time to bring in a specialist (roofer, plumber, etc...) to give a detailed analysis of the area in question.
This is the day the buyer and seller come together with their Fort Lauderdale REALTORS and closing agent (lawyer or title company) and sign all the legal documents required by the city, mortgage and title company. This is also when the lender transfers the money from their account to the closing agents escrow account for the final purchase. All mortgages of the sellers' are paid off and any money that is owed to the seller will be given to them. A final check of your credit and finances are done just before closing and sometimes the day of closing, so don't make any sudden large purchases, like furniture, cars, etc... until after closing. This could actually cause you to loose the home and the lender canceling their approval of the note since you now have more outstanding dept.
Before arriving at the closing table, remember to perform a walk through of the property with your agent to make sure the seller has removed all their items from the home, property is not damaged, the appliances are still there (if included in contract) and anything else that was written in the contact has been done (repairs) including that the home or condo is swept clean. The property needs to be in the same shape that you viewed the property in, no damage was done to the property that wasn't already known about. There are provisions in the contract to cover problems like this if they should arise.