WHY BUY A SOUTHWEST FLORIDA HOME WITH ME?
Lilo Clacher serving Buyers in Southwest Florida. I’m really looking forward to helping you find that perfect home! As I’m sure you’re hoping and expecting, home shopping is exciting and a lot of fun! But it can also be stressful and aggravating at times. Which is why I’m giving you this… If you’re like most buyers, you probably want to just get out there and see homes, right!? (And, of course, we will!) But please give this a quick read and refer back to it throughout the process of buying your home. While this guide won’t get into every little detail about the process (I’ll be taking care of a lot of things behind the scenes which you’ll never need to worry about)… …it does get into some things you should know about, which will save you time, effort, money, and heartache. Again, I’m looking forward to working with you, and thanks for choosing to work with me!
2. Mission Possible! As a real estate agent, sometimes I’m representing a buyer and at other times a seller. Obviously, my “mission” is different for both of those types of clients. But, since I’m representing you as a buyer, my mission is pretty simple: My goal is to help you find the best home for your wants and needs and successfully get it at the best price possible!
3. You Don’t Have To Pay Me A Dime Have you ever wondered if you need to pay your real estate agent when you buy a home? If so, you’re not alone. Lots of people aren’t sure how it all works. Here’s the short answer: When you buy a house with me as your agent, you don’t have to pay me a dime. At least not in the sense of you writing out a check to me or my company. However, I will get paid. It’s kind of confusing, right? If you’re not paying me…then who is? It comes from the seller. So the question becomes: Why would I work with you, for you, and with your best interests in mind, if you aren’t paying me? Because that’s my responsibility…my fiduciary duty. Simple as that! It wasn’t always that way, though. It used to be that all agents were essentially working for the seller, trying to get the highest price they could for the house. That’s changed…actually quite a while back. But the way agents get paid has not. The seller still pays the commissions, even though the buyer’s agent is representing the buyer’s interest, not theirs. See, the compensation I earn comes from the equity in the seller’s house. In order to sell a house, the owner needs to have equity. In other words, they have enough money to sell the house for a certain price, pay off any existing loans and other costs (like real estate commissions), and still walk away with money in their pocket. (Yes, they can sell even without equity, but we’re not getting into that here. Those are short sales. And, yes, even then the buyer’s agent gets paid by the seller, even though there’s no equity.) Bottom line? You don’t have to pay me a dime to represent you.
4. Our Agreement If only business were still done on a handshake! LOL Before I can begin showing you homes and representing your interests, you’ll need to sign a “buyer’s agency agreement”. We’ll schedule a time to sit down and do the paperwork. When we do, I’ll make sure to review it with you before you sign. If you have any questions or concerns at all, just ask me. I’m glad to clarify anything you want. And, don’t worry if for whatever reason things just aren’t working out between us or you decide not to buy a home…we can cancel this agreement at any time.
5. Get Pre-Approved For A Mortgage If you haven’t already done so, you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This topic is a good example of why it’s important for us to be working as “partners” on the same page… Many buyers feel like agents are being pushy when they suggest getting pre-approved. They take offense. They resist. They make excuses. They look at it as the agent being nosy, looking to see how much the buyer can afford, or looking to make sure the buyer can afford a home. Well, it’s exactly that! And there’s nothing wrong about an agent asking them to do it either. Unfortunately, agents who are not entirely confident (or perhaps just desperate for business) let it slide. Then they show their client homes that, it turns out, they could never afford…or it turns out they couldn’t afford a home at all. And that hurts both the agent and the client in different ways. Beyond just knowing that you can get a mortgage, and for how much, getting pre-approved will do a couple of other things for you: You’ll need it when you want to submit an offer on a home. And in those moments, time can be of the essence. If you need to rush to get pre-approved, you may lose the home if you can’t get it in time. Starting to talk with lenders now will give you time to choose which lender you want to work with, shop rates and products, and get the best overall loan for your situation. (NOTE: Once you’re under contract, you won’t have much time to shop around for rates and your preferred lender.) You can certainly ask any lender you already have a relationship with, but if you want any recommendations, the following are the ones I trust and recommend:
Once you’ve selected one, send me the info so I can have it ready to go when we submit offers! (NOTE: If you’re planning on paying cash, please gather and send me your “proof of funds” so we’ll be ready when you find a home you want to make an offer on.)
6. What Are You Looking For? OK, now that you’re pre-approved, we know what you can afford. That doesn’t mean you need to buy a home for as much as you’re approved for. In fact, it’d be great if we can find you a great home for less than you can afford, right? Well, as long as it fits your wants and needs, of course… What do you need in the home you buy? If you haven’t already gone over this with me, give me a list of your “must haves” and your “wish list”. Now we can look at all of the homes that meet your criteria and are within your approved budget. Pro tip: I may suggest looking at homes that don’t have everything on your lists. Be open to looking at homes that don’t meet the criteria you put on your list. You’d be surprised at how many of my clients found their dream home by only looking at homes I suggested—homes that didn’t have everything they thought they wanted. 7. The Current Market Conditions Now that you’re in the market to buy a home, you’re going to notice every little thing you hear about the housing market. It could be on the TV, a headline or article online, friends, family, co-workers…everyone has an opinion on how the real estate market is doing. Some agents even distribute quarterly market updates that are just too broad and general. The problem is, most of what you hear is based upon national data, trends, and statistics. Even if it’s “local” insight, it’s often still too broad and general. Real estate markets are very localized. They even vary between towns and cities, from one price range to the next. This is why I don’t like to paint it with too broad of a brush. But, to put it simply, in our area, it is a [buyer’s market / seller’s market / pretty steady market], since there is [relatively low inventory/lots of buyer activity/homes are rarely on the market for more than a few days/homes are selling over asking price quite often / homes are sitting on the market…or add your own thoughts!]. But even that is a fairly broad, general way of looking at the market conditions. You and I will speak more in depth about the current market conditions specific to the price range and area(s) you’re focusing on. Bottom line: Don’t base your mindset or decisions on what you casually hear from day to day.
7. Don’t Spend A Penny… …without consulting me or your mortgage advisor! When you’re in the process of buying a home, it’s important not to accrue any new debts—especially after you’ve been pre-approved! This can (and likely will) affect whether you will actually get the loan you were approved for. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t go out to eat, buy groceries, get gas, or spend any other daily, weekly, and monthly expenditures you normally have. It means… Don’t go buy a new car (or lease one)… Don’t go and book a vacation on the credit card (or drain your checking account)… Don’t even necessarily pay off a large credit card bill! There are plenty of other examples I could give, but the bottom line is this… Before you spend or commit to any debts between now and when you close on your new home, check with me and your mortgage advisor before doing so. Some purchases may be absolutely necessary. Some may not even affect a thing. But it’s better to be safe than sorry. Too many buyers aren’t advised of this and don’t think twice about spending money. Unfortunately, they find out the hard way. My Ten Commandments of Buying a Home: Thou shalt not change jobs, become self-employed, or quit your job. Thou shalt not buy a car, truck, or van (or you may be living in it!). Thou shalt not use credit cards excessively or let current accounts fall behind. Thou shalt not spend money you have set aside for closing. Thou shalt not omit debts or liabilities from your loan application. Thou shalt not buy furniture on credit. Thou shalt not originate any inquiries into your credit. Thou shalt not make large deposits without checking with your loan officer. Thou shalt not change bank accounts. Thou shalt not co-sign a loan for anyone.
8. Don’t Hesitate One of the most common mistakes buyers make is letting a great home slip away. They see the perfect home and think, “Maybe we should wait. What if a better one comes on the market?” The key word in that last sentence is “if”…if a better one comes on the market. The reality is, if you do let a home slip away, another one will eventually come on the market that you’ll probably want just as much. But then the keyword becomes “when”… Great homes aren’t a dime a dozen. And when you find one you like, the best thing to do is make an offer. Obviously, you don’t want to make a hasty decision and regret it. But I’ll be here to keep you in check if you are. So, if you ever feel like you’ll regret not making an offer if a home went under contract to another buyer the next day, you’re better off making an offer and not hesitating. Just remember, there’s an old saying in the real estate profession that goes like this: “The home you looked at today and wanted to think about until tomorrow may be the same home someone looked at yesterday and will buy today.” Homes For Sale Many IDX providers allow you to create saved searches to link to. This can be for homes based on price range or property characteristics. $200,000-$400,000 $400,000-$600,000 $600,000-$800,000 3 Bedroom 4 Bedroom Golf Course Homes Pre-Approval Home Warranty What is a home warranty? Is it worth purchasing? I provide a home warranty as a closing gift. The Best Gift you could ever receive for your new Home. Relocation Are you relocating to this area? Looking for more information to help you find the right city and neighborhood for your family? Our relocation guide includes the most up-to-date and vital information for people looking to move to our area.
Ask Me for a RELOCATION GUIDE Are you a first-time homebuyer? Do you know about special programs to make home buying easier for You? I have helped so many first time Home Buyers to find a Home. I am a great agent for the first time homebuyer! Call Me at 239-699-0142 Seniors I am a senior specialist! I can Help you to downsize to either a Condo or Home in beautiful Southwest Florida.