Guidelines- what to offer and questions to ask before making it

Real Estate Agent with Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage LLC

 I have been trying to cover this subject from several different angles during the past month on my blog. I hope I am not boring you. Give me feedback if you think this helps clearify the process: Here goes: 

Home buyers need some guidelines to help them determine what to offer when searching for real estate and questions to ask themselves before they make that offer. I recently discovered the following helpful guidelines to follow when shopping for a home and making an offer on one.

While this appears to be a buyers market, the situation is not that straight forward. In a buyers market the price of homes should be stagnant or go lower. The Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service has complied statistics on the median price of homes sold in 2006 versus 2005. It may surprise many that there was a 7.7 percent increase in 2006 for all residential property. Real estate still appears to be a solid investment.

The Pre-qualification process for buyers is the first step in the process of buying property /real estate. The buyers through this process will determine how much per month they can afford to spend on their new home including taxes and insurance. Real estate agents can assist in this process using analytical tools they have access to. This will help determine the price range of homes to look at. 

Prospective buyers research the different areas (Southside, St Augustine, the Beaches, North, Mandarin, and Downtown) and focus their search on the areas they want to live in. They know whether they want to live in a single family, townhouse, or condo and the features that they consider essential.

You have finally found the house you want to make an offer on. It has the features you have been searching for. Your real estate agent will assist you in determining what comparable properties in the area have recently sold for. This is known as a CMA (comparative market analyses). This will help you determine if the owner's asking price is high or low and can help you figure out what to offer. Your real estate agent will play an essential role in the negotiation process.

Before making an offer, determine if there are any assessments, covenants and restrictions that will apply to you if you are the owner. Your Realtor will help you with this process. There may be homeowners' association fee, community development district fees as well as future assessments. For example, you will want to know if there are any restrictions to renting the home, or limits to the number of cars that can be parked on the property.

Have your agent ask the owners what they like about and dislike about the area and house. It may provide information that is helpful. They might state a factor that makes the area desirable to them but is a turn off to you. You might be looking for a neighborhood that has plenty of children, and they might indicate that no children live in the area.

Review the seller's disclosure statement which is designed to obtain from the seller any issues about the property that the seller is aware of. However, it is still a good idea to ask the seller if they ever had any problems with the house. While they may have had a problem and fixed it, there may be residual damage that is hidden. The leaky roof and ceilings were fixed. However, was there damage to the walls or floors that is hidden? You might want to check this before making an offer or specify that an inspection will check these areas very closely.

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James Angelo


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