Buying or selling a home?

With a little planning ahead of time, purchasing a home isn't very complicated, but the event is intimidating for a lot of people. I like to supply buyers with a road map of the entire deal so they know exactly what they can expect. Below are my nine steps to purchasing a home. When you're ready to get started, simply contact me here or e-mail me at . I'm happy to answer questions you have regarding this information.

Step 1 – Get ready to purchase a home
Before you start your home search, there are plenty of things you need to consider. It's likely that you'll want to make a check list of items you want, get a feel for what neighborhoods and school districts you want to live in, and begin planning your budget. Ensuring your mortgage payment is less than or close to 30 percent of your monthly income is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Step 2 – Connect with a real estate agent in Lakeland
That's where I can help. I'd be happy to book a time to meet with you and communicate with you regarding your real estate needs and get an idea of your plans for the future. We'll talk about the mortgage and housing industries, other economic factors that could potentially affect your buying decision today or in the future, as well as neighborhoods and school districts in the Lakeland area.

I'll also assist you with getting started on your loan. There are some excellent mortgage professionals in Lakeland, and I work with a lot of them, so you'll be in great hands. They will help you figure out which kind of loan is best for you, as well as help you get approved.

Step 3 – Start looking for a home
After our initial meeting, I'll start searching for available homes on the market that are a good fit for you. I'll get a sneak peek of many of the houses and ignore the bad ones, and then we'll set up appointments to tour the homes when it's most convenient for you.

When we tour the homes, I'll show you the positive features and negative ones. I'll also ask you what things you like and dislike. Oftentimes, buyers amend their list of must-haves as we tour houses and some things become more necessary than others. If such is the case, I'll search the listings again and trim it down to the house you've been dreaming about.

Step 4 – Know the market
My knowledge of the Lakeland market is a leading element in your home search. I am acquainted with all the school districts and neighborhoods, and I'll let you know certain areas are "hot" and call for prompt action and others that are "cool" and allow for careful analysis.

As we tour homes, I'll be sure to tell you if the list price has room for bargaining or if I believe the house is "priced to sell." Trust your instincts and make sure you ask your agent lots of questions, as every REALTOR will convince you they know the housing market. If things don't add up, just call me at (863) 688-2822 or e-mail me at , and I'd be more than happy to answer your questions. My market knowledge will help you stay a step above the rest through the entire deal.

Step 5 – Find your dream house
I'm sure we'll find your dream house in Lakeland. When that happens, I'll meticulously develop your purchase offer. The offer will be made to fit your needs and the home. We'll include several contingencies, such as acquiring financing, completing the home inspection, and a clear title.

Upon submitting your purchase offer, most likely you'll need to submit "earnest money." This is a cash deposit made to a seller to secure the offer to purchase the property. The amount is often applied to the closing costs. If the seller accepts your offer, we should close on the property within 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows necessary time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Unfortunately most deals aren't closed on the beginning offer – it's extremely common to receive a counter offer. But don't let it alarm you. We'll talk about whether or not to accept the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or refuse the seller's offer and move on.

The state of the market will play a large role in how aggressively we negotiate the contract. We'll also work within your budget. And at the end of the day, we'll assemble a contract that's best for you.

Step 7 – Obtain a loan
Once the contract is signed, you'll start working with your lender to close the loan. If you're already pre-qualified, it shouldn't take very long at all, but you need to keep in close contact with your lender. And I'll take care of all the property information your lender needs to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) detailing your closing costs from your mortgage lender within three days of taking your application. The estimate depends on the loan amount, and RESPA requirements require that it has to involve all closing costs and be within a strict range of accuracy. I'll review the estimate and let you know if everything looks all right.

Then it's time to close on your home. This will most likely happen at a title company or escrow office and will most often be a smooth and stress-free occurrence.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! It's time to move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you have any questions, be sure to contact me at (863) 688-2822 or e-mail me at .

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