Marcus Real Estate
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The A-Z for High Bid Buyers in Today's Real Estate Market.

I have a firm belief that knowledge is power. The more informed you are the better buyer you are. I have a few brief notes that will help you along the way become the most educated you can possibly be.

1.    Start with your financing. The purchase of your new home begins with the purchase of the money required to attain it. Lenders will look at three deciding factors when qualifying you for a mortgage:


a.    Your income to debt ratios.

b.    Your assets.

c.    Your credit rating.

Make sure that the Real Estate Broker you are working with can prequalify you or better yet, make sure you sit with a Mortgage Broker BEFORE the house hunt begins. Secure a Good faith estimate reflecting your costs to purchase and qualified monthly payment from your Mortgage Broker before you leave their office. Feel comfortable to ask any and all questions regarding these costs.

d.    Using your ratios and the current interest rate, decide on a home value that makes sense for your budget and that you will qualify for.

Based on the fact that a house payment consists of PITI or Principle, Interest, Taxes and Insurance be sure to factor higher taxes due to the fact that many homes have not been thoroughly reassessed after a declining market. This is something you may have to ask a seller to do if you find a home that is still assessed higher than the actual value prior to engaging in a contract for purchase. If you simply fall in love with a home that has not been reassessed and you find the monthly payment too high for your means, you can place a contingency within your contract for purchase that the taxes are to be lowered in order for you to qualify for the purchase.

e.    Consider the utilities for a home of that value, including electric, pool, pest and lawn care before you look on the high side.

It is much more difficult to look at higher priced homes and THEN realize you simply cannot afford the entire expense package and are forced to look at lower priced homes and/ or a lower priced community. Be good to yourself and pay close attention to detail.

f.     Consider annual deferred maintenance of 5% of the home’s value within your 5 year budget on any home over 5 years of age.

These numbers do vary and can adjust up or down relatively quickly. To give you an example, the typical barrel tile roof has an expectant life of 25 years but can show signs of cracking and breaking within the first five. These roofs do generally hold their age well but are quite costly to replace. If you have a savings plan for household deferred maintenance you can make it past these potential large bumps in your future road of homeowner bliss. One of your best investments at closing would be a full home warranty; this small annual expense of $500-$700 could offset or save you thousands over the years.

2.    Select a Professional Real Estate Broker with the Experience you Need. There are over 3,000 realtors in Sarasota, Florida so you will not have a problem finding one to work with. However, you really want to make sure the Broker can answer the following 5 questions:

g.    Are you proficient in all areas of financing?

h.    Are you familiar with Sarasota Subdivisions and Home Values?

i.      Are you proficient and competent in writing legal contracts?

j.      What are your closing ratios or what percentages of your files actually close?

k.    Do you view Friendliness and Professionalism as an important aspect of the Real Estate business?

All REALTORS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL. You need the best working for you and nothing less. It would be savvy to engage in a few different conversations prior to making a decision. It would be intelligent to remain loyal to one professional as loyalty as a trait in a buyer brings out the best in most hard working realtors. You would be able to engage more efforts from the average realtor with this temperament and I believe you would be happier with the outcome of your purchase. 

3.    Select the Areas you Would Like to Live In. With an affordable and qualifying price range you can now gracefully select the areas within that home value range that you would like to live in or invest in. Make sure that your realtor is willing to show you properties within the following status:


l.      Look at current and active MLS Listings within your selected areas.

m.   Look at any and all Expired or Withdrawn listings within your selected areas.

n.    Look at all properties that have closed 3-5 years ago that might be coming onto the market within your selected areas.

o.    Have your realtor identify any and all By Owner properties that are available in your selected areas.

With the amount of inventory available right now, I find that no buyer should ever compromise or sacrifice their needs. It may be a little more work but it is well worth it. When I was looking for my current home I decided on only two areas that I wanted to live in and definitely had a specific price range that I was willing to spend in order to get there. After driving through and researching current market activity it was obvious I was going to have to PUT THE HOME ON THE MARKET THAT I WANTED. It took me three additional weeks to do the work but I was able to find a perfect home that the seller was considering selling and struck a great deal that I am still perfectly happy with. 

4.    Select your Closing Agent. Remember a contract for purchase just merely identifies the property you are purchasing and stipulates price and terms that have been agreed upon by both the buyer and the seller. Your attorney or title company will be preparing the items that are of permanent record and crucial to your acquisition. Some of the items your attorney or title company will be preparing and/or reviewing for accuracy are:

p.    Your Deed in which describes who owns the property and what form of ownership is recorded.

q.    Your Mortgage which describes the terms and conditions of the money you borrowed to purchase your home.

r.     Your Note in which makes you personally responsible to pay back the mortgage.

5.    Preview documents before viewing any property. This is a must for saving time and emotion. When you have found a home or homes you are interested in there were most likely many still shots and a virtual tour posted online that helped you decide. In the same respect you can ask to view the following documents prior to making an appointment to view the home:

s.    A Full Detailed MLS Printout and current Tax Records.

t.      The Seller’s Disclosure.

u.    The Expense Details of the Home.

v.    Any and All Completed Inspection Reports.

This available and valuable information will help you decide if you would like to take the next step and spend more of your time and quite possibly your emotion in pursuing the potential of purchasing this home. At this point you can either rule in or rule out.

6.    Time is of the Essence. Once the decision has been made proceed quickly with all I’s dotted and T’s crossed so to speak. Your biggest concerns here will be to:

w.   Engage in a Complete Real Estate Contract with All Required Addendums Included.

x.    Obtain a Preliminary Closing Statement (Good Faith Estimate) Reflecting your Closing Costs and monthly payment for that Specific Transaction from your Mortgage Broker.

y.    Make Sure there are Contingencies with Timed Deadlines that all Parties are Aware of in order to obtain financing and Perform Inspections.

z.    Make Sure to Place Your Escrow Deposit with the Closing Agent of Your Choice and there is a Very Clear Language within the Terms of the Real Estate Contract for the Return of Such Deposit if you So Decide to not Proceed with the Contract. 

I can’t speak enough about inspections. You will at least need a professional survey, an appraisal, a pest or termite inspection and a good quality home inspection. A good Real Estate Broker should guide you on the order and importance of these items.

In closing, you are only as good as the terms and conditions within your contract for purchase. This process can be complicated or with the professional guidance of a talented Real Estate Broker it can be exhilarating and quite possibly the best investment you have ever made in your life. Hopefully after A-Z you have closed on your new Home. However, if by means of inspections you have found that the home you were interested in may not work for you for whatever reason you can rest assured that your INCREDIBLE REAL ESTATE BROKER has a backup plan and a back up property for you to view next.

For more information on how the A-Z can work for you please contact me.

Maureen E. Marcus

Marcus Real Estate

Licensed Real Estate Broker

Sarasota, Florida 34233

Cell 941.445.2661

Fax 941.922.0472

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