Q. Can you help me find and buy a house?
A. Yes, I am a licensed Florida REALTOR® and I can assist you in finding and buying a house anywhere in the State of Florida. I specialize in Pinellas County real estate. I work with first time home buyers, families, and professionals who are already in the area or relocating to the area. I also work with seasoned buyers and homeowners who are looking to upgrade, downgrade or 'right-size' their lifestyles. In addition, I also work with people buying vacation homes and income producing properties.
Q. When should I contact you and how do I engage your services?
A. You can contact me anytime with questions, though generally I can be of best assistance to you when you are ready to go from 'casual looker' to more of a 'serious buyer' and that is a great time to contact me. We can go through your criteria and I can make specific recommendations for an approach based on your objectives. If we determine that I can assist you, I can also show you properties, help you find the right property and help you make an offer. I can also guide you competently and successfully through the entire transaction to your closing.
To assist you in this process and provide this expertise to you, I may also ask you to sign a Buyer Broker agreement with me after we determine a mutual fit between your objectives and my skills and expertise. The Agreement is a short one page document that formalizes our relationship and says that, more or less, you select me exclusively as your REALTOR® and I will then give you premium level attention and service, including weekend and evening time as needed, to assist you in successfully achieving your real estate pursuits and buying a new property.
Q. Who pays your commission?
A. Generally the seller pays the commission at the time of closing. If you are a buyer, my services are FREE to you with the exception of a small brokerage commission of $275 paid by the buyer at closing.
Q. I have never purchased a home before. What is important for me to know about the process?
A. Over 90% of people today start their home search on the web to start browsing properties and learning about the local real estate market. This is the 'casual looker' early stage of the process. Use the web and real estate search tools like this website to your advantage to get up to speed on the market. It's also good to drive around and explore different areas to see which areas you like best. As you get comfortable with the market and you get closer to buying, you move to the 'serious buyer' stage. You will then want to get a pre-approval letter from your lender if you will be using financing for your purchase or get a Verification of Funds letter from your bank if you will be a cash buyer. Once you have either of these letters, you are well positioned for seeing the right properties. You are also then in a position to strike fast in what is now a hot seller's market and make the offer quickly when the right house presents itself.
Q. I am planning on getting a mortgage for my purchase, can you assist me in getting a mortgage pre-approval?
A. Yes, absolutely. I work with a group of excellent lenders that know the local market well, have excellent rates and loan types and provide exceptional customer service. I would be happy to make an introduction for you.
Q. How long does it take to close on a house once we make an offer?
A. If you are planning to use mortgage financing for any portion of your purchase, you should plan on approximately 45 days or so from the time you find the house and make the offer to the time you close on the house. If you are a cash buyer, you can usually close in 2-4 weeks from the time you make the offer.
Q. How do I actually 'make the offer' on a house?
A. A REALTOR® like myself can put the offer together for you, using the Florida Association of Realtor's (FAR) AS-IS approved contract and addenda (if necessary), customized with your data and values for the particular property. I will help you with negotiation strategy and give you my recommendations for how you can successfully buy the property.
Q. How much money do I need to come up with when I make the offer?
A. Generally, once the offer is accepted by the Seller, you will have up to 3 days to make an initial Earnest Money Deposit. This money is held in escrow by the title company and is applied toward your down payment. That amount can vary but for most buyers it will be in the range of $3,000 - $5,000. The balance will be due at closing.
Q. I have heard that there are some recently implemented new regulations in the market? What specifically are they and what do they mean to me?
A. These are the new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) guidelines that are being implemented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). They are designed to protect the buyer/borrower from last minute material financial changes made by the lender to the closing statement in certain scenarios within 3 days of closing. They apply in situations when the buyer is using financing. The lender now has to produce the final closing statement no later than 3 days before closing and those have to be the final numbers. Any changes made to those figures within 3 days of closing may trigger an extension to the closing timeline. These new CFPB changes do not apply to cash buyers since there is no lender involved in a cash purchase.
Q. Do you work with Sellers and can you help me sell my house?
A. Yes, I am a licensed REALTOR® and I can help you sell a house anywhere in the State of Florida. I specialize in Pinellas County real estate. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about helping you sell your house.
Q. How do you approach working with Sellers?
A. I will first meet with you at your house to understand your objectives for selling your house, discuss the local market with you, and see your house first-hand. I will then prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for you and come back for a second visit and discuss the CMA with you. We can also discuss a competitive market pricing strategy for the house. I will also prepare a short marketing presentation that is customized for your home and I will explain in detail how, if selected, I will market your home and work for you to produce a successful sale and transaction outcome. In addition, I will also ask you to sign a Florida Association of Realtors (FAR) approved Exclusive Right of Sale Listing Agreement with me which will allow me to initiate the marketing of your property on your behalf.
Q. What is your approach to marketing a house?
A. I will do the following for you:
- Assist you in determining the market value and appropriate pricing for the property
- Conceive a marketing strategy that will meet your objectives
- Determine appropriate exposure methods and channels for the property
- Hire a professional photographer to produce top quality photos and videos of the property
- Guide you through the pre-market launch preparations and checklist that I will produce
- Produce high quality marketing collateral and flyers for the property
- Define the plan for communications, showings and progress updates
- Install a RE/MAX yard sign (if single family home) and create a comprehensive MLS listing
- Execute the market launch and plan for maximum immediate visibility
- Provide guidance to you every step of the way through successful closure
Please see my Sellers page for My Commitment to Sellers
Q. Which tools will you use to market my house?
A. I have a range of tools that include the MLS, print advertising, digital advertising, mobile marketing, social media, and other options. I will discuss these further with you in detail and show them to you during a marketing consultation.
Q. Is now a good time to sell in Pinellas?
A. As of early 2018, the market is very good right now for Sellers and it is a good time to sell if you are in that position. Buyer demand is strong and inventory levels are low. All leading indicators for the market outlook are strong going into 2018 though some economists are projecting a slight flattening of appreciation over the next 12 months. In addition, interest rates are expected to rise eventually and that could have an affect on the supply and demand in the market. I'll be happy to talk further with you about trends in the local market should you decide to contact me.