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Winter Park Florida Real Estate Articles

 

Index
Negotiate Your Best House Buy 
Keep your emotions in check and your eyes on the goal, and you’ll pay less when purchasing a home.

Understanding Real Estate Representation
Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s important to choose representation that meets your needs in the transaction


Tips for Buying a Foreclosure in Winter Park
Get prequalified for a loan and set aside funds, and you’ll be ready to purchase a foreclosed home.

5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Sale
Working to get your home ship-shape for showings will increase its value and shorten your sales time.

Keep Your Home Purchase on Track
You’ve found your dream home. Make sure missteps don’t prevent a successful closing

6 Tips for Buying a Short sale
By preparing for a real estate short sale, you can emerge with a great home at a favorable price.

7 Homeowner Tax Advatages
When you’re evaluating how much home you can afford, make sure you factor in the tax advantages of homeownership.

7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home
By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home.

8 Tips for Finding Your New Home
A solid game plan can help you narrow your homebuying search to find the best home for you



 

 Negotiate Your Best House Buy
By: G. M. Filisko
Published 2010-06-04 12:29:54
Keep your emotions in check and your eyes on the goal, and you’ll pay less when purchasing a home.
When negotiating a house sale, for every concession you make, ask for something in return.
Buying a home can be emotional, but negotiating the price shouldn’t be. The key to saving money when purchasing a home is sticking to a plan during the turbulence of high-stakes negotiations. A real estate agent who represents you can guide you and offer you advice, but you are the one who must make the final decision during each round of offers and counter offers.
Here are six tips for negotiating the best price on a home.

1. Get prequalified for a mortgage
Getting prequalified for a mortgage proves to sellers that you’re serious about buying and capable of affording their home. That will push you to the head of the pack when sellers choose among offers; they’ll go with buyers who are a sure financial bet, not those whose financing could flop.

2. Ask questions
Ask your agent for information to help you understand the sellers’ financial position and motivation. Are they facing foreclosure or a short sale? Have they already purchased a home or relocated, which may make them eager to accept a lower price to avoid paying two mortgages? Has the home been on the market for a long time, or was it just listed? Have there been other offers? If so, why did they fall through? The more signs that sellers are eager to sell, the lower your offer can reasonably go.

3. Work back from a final price to determine your initial offer
Know in advance the most you’re willing to pay, and with your agent work back from that number to determine your initial offer, which can set the tone for the entire negotiation. A too-low bid may offend sellers emotionally invested in the sales price; a too-high bid may lead you to spend more than necessary to close the sale. Work with your agent to evaluate the sellers’ motivation and comparable home sales to arrive at an initial offer that engages the sellers yet keeps money in your wallet.

4. Avoid contingencies
Sellers favor offers that leave little to chance. Keep your bid free of complicated contingencies, such as making the purchase conditional on the sale of your current home. Do keep contingencies for mortgage approval, home inspection, and environmental checks typical in your area, like radon.

5. Remain unemotional
Buying a home is a business transaction, and treating it that way helps you save money. Consider any movement by the sellers, however slight, a sign of interest, and keep negotiating. Each time you make a concession, ask for one in return. If the sellers ask you to boost your price, ask them to contribute to closing costs or pay for a home warranty. If sellers won’t budge, make it clear you’re willing to walk away; they may get nervous and accept your offer.

6. Don’t let competition change your plan
Great homes and those competitively priced can draw multiple offers in any market. Don’t let competition propel you to go beyond your predetermined price or agree to concessions—such as waiving an inspection—that aren’t in your best interest.

Other web resources

More negotiating tips

Develop a homebuying strategy

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has to remind herself to remain unemotional during negotiations. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.
© Copyright 2010 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS


 Understanding Real Estate Representation 
By: G. M. Filisko
Published 2010-03-29

Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s important to choose representation that meets your needs in the transaction.
When it comes to representation in a real estate transaction, there are several options available. 
 
You have choices when selecting representation in a real estate transaction. Here are five tips for understanding which type of legal relationship with a real estate professional, called an agency relationship, will best protect you when you buy or sell a home.
 
1. Buyer’s agency
When you’re buying a home, you can hire an agent who represents only you, called an exclusive buyer’s representative or agent. A buyer’s agent works in your best interest and owes you a fiduciary duty. You can pay your buyer’s agent yourself, or ask the seller, or the seller’s agent, to pay your agent a share of their sales commission.
If you’re selling your home and hiring an agent to list it exclusively, you’ve hired a selling representative—an agent who owes fiduciary duties to you. Typically, you pay a selling agent a commission at closing. Selling agents usually offer or agree to pay a portion of their sales commission to the buyer’s agent. If your seller’s agent brings in a buyer, your agent keeps the entire commission.

2. Subagency
When you purchase a home, the agent you can opt to work with may not be your agent at all, but instead may be a subagent of the seller. In general, a subagent represents and acts in the best interest of the sellers and sellers’ agent.
If your agent is acting as a subagent, you can expect to be treated honestly, but the subagent owes loyalty to the sellers and their agent and can’t put your interests above those of the sellers. In a few states, agents aren’t permitted to act as subagents. Never tell a subagent anything you don’t want the sellers to know. Maybe you offered $150,000 for a home but are willing to go up to $160,000. That’s the type of information subagents would be required to pass on to their clients, the sellers.

3. Disclosed dual agency
In many states, agents and companies can represent both parties in a home sale as long as that relationship is fully disclosed. It’s called disclosed dual agency. Because dual agents represent both parties, they can’t be protective of and loyal to only you. Dual agents don’t owe all the traditional fiduciary duties to clients. Instead, they owe limited fiduciary duties to each party.
Why would you agree to dual agency? Suppose you want to buy a house that’s listed for sale by the same real estate brokerage where your buyer’s agent works. In that case, the real estate brokerage would be representing both you and the seller and you’d both have to agree to that.
Because there’s a potential for conflicts of interest with dual agency, all parties must give their informed consent. In many states, that consent must be in writing.

4. Designated agency
A form of disclosed dual agency, “designated agency” allows two different agents within a single firm to represent the buyer and seller in the same transaction. To avoid conflicts that can arise with dual agency, some managing brokers designate or appoint agents in their company to represent only sellers, or only buyers. But that isn’t required for designated agency. A designated, or appointed, agent will give you full representation and represent your best interests.

5. Nonagency relationship
In some states, you can choose not to be represented by an agent. That’s referred to as nonagency or working with a transaction broker or facilitator. In general, in nonagency representation, the real estate professional you work with owes you fewer duties than a traditional agency relationship. And those duties vary from state to state. Ask the person you’re working with to explain what he or she will and won’t do for you.

Other web resources

More on hiring a real estate agent
More on real estate agents’ roles

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who zealously protected her clients’ interests as a lawyer. A frequent contributor to many national publications, including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics. 
© Copyright 2010 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

 5 Tips for Buying a Foreclosure
By: G. M. Filisko
Published 2010-03-29 09:29:32

Get prequalified for a loan and set aside funds, and you’ll be ready to purchase a foreclosed home.
When selling a foreclosed home, set a price well under market value so the home will sell quickly.
 
When lenders take over a home through foreclosure, they want to sell it as quickly as possible. Since lenders aren’t in the real estate business, they turn to real estate brokers for help marketing their properties. Buying a foreclosed home through the multiple listing service can be a bargain, but it can also be a problem-filled process. Here are five tips to help you buy smart.
 
 
1. Choose a foreclosure sale expert.
Lenders rarely sell their own foreclosures directly to consumers. They list them with real estate brokers. You can work with a real estate agent who sells foreclosed homes for lenders, or have a buyer’s agent find foreclosure properties for you. To locate a foreclosure sales specialist, call local brokers and ask if they are the listing agent for any banks.
Either way, ask the real estate professional which lenders’ homes they’ve sold, how many buyers they’ve represented in a foreclosed property purchase, how many of those sales they closed last year, and who they legally represent.
If the agent represents the lender, don’t reveal anything to her that you don’t want the lender to know, like whether you’re willing to spend more than you offer for a house.

2. Be ready for complications.
In some states, the former owner of a foreclosed home can challenge the foreclosure in court, even after you’ve closed the sale. Ask your agent to recommend a real estate attorney who has negotiated with lenders selling foreclosed homes and has defended legal challenges to foreclosures.
Have your attorney explain your state’s foreclosure process and your risks in purchasing a foreclosed home. Set aside as much as $5,000 to cover potential legal fees.

3. Work with your agent to set a price.
Ask your real estate agent to show you closed sales of comparable homes, which you can use to set your price. Start with an amount well under market value because the lender may be in a hurry to get rid of the home.

4. Get your financing in order.
Many mortgage market players, such as Fannie Mae, require buyers to submit financing preapproval letters with a purchase offer. They’ll also reject all contingencies. Since most foreclosed homes are vacant, closings can be quick. Make sure you have the cash you’ll need to close your purchase.

5. Expect an as-is sale.
Most homeowners stopped maintaining their home long before they could no longer make mortgage payments. Be sure to have enough money left after the sale to make at least minor, and sometimes substantive, repairs.
Although lenders may do minor cosmetic repairs to make foreclosed homes more marketable, they won’t give you credits for repair costs (or make additional repairs) because they’ve already factored the property’s condition into their asking price.

Lenders will also require that you purchase the home “as is,” which means in its current condition. Protect yourself by ordering a home inspection to uncover the true condition of the property, getting a pest inspection, and purchasing a home warranty.

Be sure you also do all the environmental testing that’s common to your region to find hazards such as radon, mold, lead-based paint, or underground storage tanks.

Other web resources
How to buy a foreclosure from Fannie Mae
What to consider when buying a foreclosure as your first home
Short Sales and Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who purchased a foreclosed condominium and found herself in the middle of a months-long dispute between the former homeowner and the bank over whether the foreclosure was conducted properly. Six months after paying the full purchase price, she was finally able to enter the property. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.
© Copyright 2010 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS


 5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Sale

By: G. M. Filisko
Published 2010-02-10
Working to get your home ship-shape for showings will increase its value and shorten your sales time.
Here are five ways to get your house ready to sell.
 
Many buyers today want move-in-ready homes and will quickly eliminate an otherwise great home by focusing on a few visible flaws. Unless your home shines, you may endure showing after showing and open house after open house—and end up with a lower sales price. Before the first prospect walks through your door, consider some smart options for casting your home in its best light.
 
 
1. Have a home inspection
Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. For $250 to $400, an inspector will warn you about troubles that could make potential buyers balk. Make repairs before putting your home on the market. In some states, you may have to disclose what the inspection turns up.

2. Get replacement estimates
If your home inspection uncovers necessary repairs you can’t fund, get estimates for the work. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home and the repairs. Also hunt down warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for your furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items you expect to remain with the house.

3. Make minor repairs
Not every repair costs a bundle. Fix as many small problems—sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, dripping faucets—as you can. These may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression your house isn’t well maintained.

4. Clear the clutter
Clear your kitchen counters of just about everything. Clean your closets by packing up little-used items like out-of-season clothes and old toys. Install closet organizers to maximize space. Put at least one-third of your furniture in storage, especially large pieces, such as entertainment centers and big televisions. Pack up family photos, knickknacks, and wall hangings to depersonalize your home. Store the items you’ve packed offsite or in boxes neatly arranged in your garage or basement.

5. Do a thorough cleaning
A clean house makes a strong first impression that your home has been well cared for. If you can afford it, consider hiring a cleaning service. If not, wash windows and leave them open to air out your rooms. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Wash light fixtures and baseboards, mop and wax floors, and give your stove and refrigerator a thorough once-over.
Pay attention to details, too. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, clean inside the cabinets, and polish doorknobs. Don’t forget to clean your garage, too.

More from HouseLogic
Develop a Landscape Plan to Fit Your Budget
Spring Cleaning Guide

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has found happiness in a Chicago brownstone with the best curb appeal on the block. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.
© Copyright 2010 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

 

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