Buy / Sell
Step 1 – Mortgage Pre-approval (unless you are paying cash)
Get preapproved for a mortgage first, so you know what your options are and how much you can afford. Without pre-approval a seller will not typically accept an offer, as they won’t know if you can afford to purchase this home of interest. Keep in mind that your preapproval doesn’t guarantee that you can buy a house, but it gives you and the sellers some assurance that you have buying power. If you are ready to get approved here is an application to fill out.
Step 2 – Find a Florida Realtor
Lots of people think they can do it themselves, and even more, they think they will save money by not having a real estate agent to represent them. First of all, it doesn’t cost you anything to be represented by a Realtor if you are the buyer, because the seller pays commission. A knowledgeable and professional Realtor will guide you through the transaction without stress and help you determine if the market price is right. Either you need help with picking a good school, good neighborhoods or homes that are easy to rent and create a cash flow. A good real estate agent will be helpful and make this process efficient, especially if you are new to the area or buying a property remotely. It’s priceless to have a help from a good Realtor.
Step 3 – Find a Property
Make sure your Realtor understands what your ‘musts’ are, as well as your ‘nice to have’ in the house. This is important so you will be receiving home options in your criteria.
You can get a good idea from looking at the homes online if it is what you are looking for or not. With technology these days, besides seeing pictures and videos you can see the surroundings as well as history of the house so before you schedule viewing the house. This really helps to save time.
A Realtor becomes even more important if you can’t come and see the property. We help lots of buyers from all over the world to buy a house in Tampa Bay and sometimes they can’t come to view it. We totally understand how important the decision it is to buy a house, so we record a detailed video of the house or schedule a video call which allows them to make as educated decision as they were there.
Step 4 – Making an Offer
Finally! You found that property that you envision yourself living or you know it is a great investment and will make a great home for your renters! It’s time to make an offer!
Ask your Realtor for his opinion about the price. That’s one of the most important roles of your agent where she or he will do market analyses and suggest you the price to start with. Don’t be surprised if suggested price is asking price and even more. If your agent is very familiar with that market he will know if it’s a hot property and market price. Tampa Bay market got very competitive because of demand and good properties get sold quickly sometimes for higher than asking price.
Usually, your Realtor will prepare official offer/contact with all underlying terms but sometimes he will start negotiating on the phone! Why not? We want to be efficient and know where the seller stands right upfront!
Besides coming up with the price to offer, you will put other terms in the contract like amount of escrow deposit, days for inspection, date to close and more importantly contingencies to protect you as a buyer. Will it be contingent on appraisal, inspection or financing? Discuss it with your Realtor and understand at what point you can lose your escrow if the sale fells through. Read contract, I can’t reiterate it enough as there is nothing more important that knowing your rights and obligations.
Step 5 – Offer Acceptance/Rejection
First of all, the seller can accept, reject or counter your offer. Don’t be surprised if your offer has been rejected, it happens with low offers. Buyers think they can offer any price for a home, but some sellers take pride in their home ownership and can get offended with the low offer. Again, follow your Realtor’s guidance, he or she has a good idea of the appropriate price for the house.
Let’s assume you got a counter offer back, great news – the seller wants to make a deal with you! Let’s make it happen!
From here you can either accept the counter or counter back. There is no limit on how many times you can counter back and forth, just keep in mind that you are not under contract while you are going back and forth, and it doesn’t stop a new buyer from putting in an offer which might put you out the game and you can lose the deal over couple thousands of dollars. Market in Tampa Bay is in demand and sometimes it doesn’t take long for the seller to have multiple offers. But let’s assume your offer has been accepted! One of the most exciting news you have heard in your life!
Schedule your inspection and coordinate escrow deposit with your Realtor or directly with title agency. If you are getting a loan, tell your Lender that you have executed contract so she can start working on approving your loan further!
Step 6 – Closing
That’s when you make it final! Because once you sign all paperwork at the closing you get the key and the property is yours!
Tell your Realtor or Title Agent prior to closing if you need to close remotely as it’s possible in Florida.
Otherwise, come on over with your Realtor and Lender and make some fireworks! It’s time to celebrate!