Buying a home in Boca. When do we need a real estate appraisal?

We got this great question from someone we met recently at a networking function.

We’re going to buy a condo in Boca. When do we need a real estate appraisal? 

Here’s the low-down!

If you are a buyer getting a mortgage, your lender is going to require an appraisal. The lender will order the appraisal.

Either the listing agent, or the buyer’s agent (or both, but at the very least one) needs to meet the appraiser at the property for the appraisal appointment. It’s important that someone knowledgeable be there to answer questions and point out the features.

If the appraiser is open to it, the Realtor can also talk about comps (comparable sales) and help the appraiser understand the current market area. Some appraisers come from out of area, so that last item is rather important.

Based upon the appraisal results, we will help you to know if your offer or your price needs to be changed or adjusted.

If you’re a buyer paying cash, you are not required to have an appraisal, but you can choose to get an appraisal. Why would you want to do that? To protect yourself on the value of the home. Realtors of the All About Florida Homes Team pride ourselves on the fact that we do in-depth competitive market analyses. So you can feel confident that you are getting a good value, and you don’t necessarily need an appraisal – but you’re still welcome to get one. Some of our clients do, and we support that decision.

We work with our cash buyers to help you determine if getting an appraisal is right for you. When the answer is yes, we walk you through each step of the process.

For our sellers, there are times when we recommend doing an appraisal for a listing. Perhaps the homes’s area or market may indicate a lot of variance between recent sold properties. Or, it might be new construction in an area where there isn’t a lot of new construction. In cases such as those, we may recommend an appraisal to avoid surprises. But whether you’re selling or buying, this is a strategic decision, and we would sit down and work together to come up with our plan based on your individual needs and situation.

Questions? Call us – Amy and Noreen, All About Florida Homes, Keller Williams Realty –  at (561) 571-2289. We’d love an opportunity to discuss your home selling or home buying goals.

And, we have some great resources here for you, too! If you’re interested in buying – now or in the future – you can search listings here – and start to familiarize yourself with the buying process and the market.

If selling may be in your future – or you’re just curious about what your home is worth today – you can request a no-obligation home value assessment here. 

Or, contact us at (561) 571-2289 – or via amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com – if we can provide you with any additional market data that will help inform your decisions! We are here to help!

Luxury Modern Villa Town Home in Delray’s Palm Trail – Just Listed!

We’ve just listed a true gem! It’s a luxury modern villa town home located in the highly desirable area of Palm Trail in East Delray Beach.

This gorgeous home is just blocks from one of the best beaches around, and closeby to Downtown Delray’s famed Atlantic Avenue – brimming with culture, nightlife, events, cuisine, shopping, and more!

This move in ready, newly constructed in 2016, urban home has been meticulously maintained. It offers a contemporary innovative design, high end finishes – and so many spectacular upgrades. Our favorite features include:

  • custom window treatments
  • Restoration Hardware lighting
  • extensive floor to ceiling windows
  • high 11-plus foot ceilings and 8 foot solid wood doors
  • expansive, bright open floor plan.

 

 

The amazing kitchen features include a suite of high end Thermador appliances along with a custom build out of the pantry by the current owners.

Upstairs, the grand master suite with private balcony overlook the backyard feature an immense tandem walk in shower in the bathroom.

The sellers went above and beyond by also adding customized built in shelving in closets and customized storage options in the oversized garage. The home is hardwired for the ultimate opportunity to live the “smart home” lifestyle with remote control features for security, media, and temperature controlled comfort.

The indoor outdoor South Florida lifestyle can be enjoyed year around with heated pool surrounded by travertine paver decking and covered lanai in the private back yard. Lush landscaping has been added by the existing owners to enhance privacy and shade.

Take a short drive or walk, bike, perhaps golf cart along the beach to Atlantic Avenue and enjoy fine dining, upscale shopping, art galleries, theater, music venues, concerts, festivals and so much more!

For details, check out the listing here. 

 

Mortgage Pre-Approval – Is it Really Needed Before I Can Search for a Home?

We recently received this question from a friend of a past client:

Do I really need a pre-approval before I go out to look at homes?

Here’s the candid answer.

If you’re paying cash for a property, you don’t need a pre-approval, but you do need documentation showing that you have the money to buy the home. (This is called Proof of Funds.)

If you’re getting a mortgage, it’s a great idea to get a pre-approval letter before we go out to look for homes. Here’s why: 

First, you need to know “how much house” you can afford. You need to know what you can buy. It’s more than just the principal and interest of the mortgage that you need to consider. Lenders take taxes and HOA or condo dues into consideration, too. So there’s a bigger picture in addition to what monthly obligations you have today.

So, once we know how much you can afford or buy (and by the way – it doesn’t mean we’re going to spend up to that limit, that just gives us a range!), we go out and look at homes. If we’re out looking at homes and you don’t have a pre-approval and you fall in love with a home, you risk losing it. Any listing agent who understands his business is not going to take an offer from a buyer getting financing without a pre-approval from a lender. 

It’s also important to note that a pre-approval from one lender is not the same as a pre-approval from another lender – and experienced agents know this.

So, pre-approvals need to have some teeth behind them to be helpful. If they’ve run credit, they’ve seen tax returns, and it’s pretty far along in the process, it has more meaning to a listing agent, and he is more likely to advise sellers to accept your offer.

What we don’t want to happen is this:

You go out, we find the perfect home, you fall in love, and someone else swoops in to make an offer and get it under contract because you’re now working to get your pre-approval.

Bottom line: It’s a good idea to get the pre-approval up front.

If you don’t have a lender whom you trust and respect, we refer to people who we’ve worked with for years that we would recommend. 

If you have someone that you’re already comfortable with, we’d love to work with them as well. It’s a great idea for us all to get together on the phone or in person, help us understand that lender’s pre-approval process, and get the right documentation. This way, we make an offer, and we get it accepted.

If you’re interested in buying – now or in the future – you can search listings here – and start to familiarize yourself with the buying process and the market.

We would be happy to talk to you further about this subject and help you find (and secure!) just the right home for you and your family. Give us a call at (561) 571-2289 or email us at amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com with questions or for assistance.

How do I make my offer stand out – and get the house under contract quickly?

Today we’re addressing a wonderful question we received from a social media follower who is planning to house hunt soon. She asked:

How do I make my offer stand out? How do I get the house under contract quickly?

I love this question. Of course, that is our job when we represent you, as the buyer. Finding the right home for you is only the beginning. Helping you make the right offer, getting it accepted with the right terms… and getting you to the closing table… those are the trickier parts – and the parts that we excel at, in all honesty!

So, how do we help you get that offer noticed, and accepted – in a difficult market for buyers?

1) We leverage our relationship with the listing agent. This makes a big difference. We’ve been doing this a long time in the same market, and we have a reputation and relationship with agents. They know we partner well with them to get the right deal for both parties… and to make the deal actually work – and it does make a difference.

Of course, we can help your offer stand out – based on many criteria, NOT simply based on an offer price. How?

2) With a deposit. The deposit tells a listing agent and a seller that you, the buyer, are serious about this. You’re willing to put money up, and that means you will see this through.

3) By offering a desirable closing timeframe. How quickly you can close may make a big difference to a seller, depending upon their situation.

4) By offering an inspection period that works for both sides. This means considering how long we want and need for inspections, and what the seller needs too.

 

There’s many factors of an offer – not just the dollar amount. We can work with you to write the proper offer to get this home that you want – at the right price – under the right terms.

So, we’d love the opportunity to sit down with you, help you find the right neighborhood, find the right home, get it under contract, and get you to the closing table – and then we have the opportunity to celebrate with you!

If you’re interested in buying – now or in the future – you can search listings here – and start to familiarize yourself with the buying process and the market.

Or, give us a call at (561) 571-2289 or email us at amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com with questions or for assistance.

VIDEO: HOW DOES THE ALL ABOUT FLORIDA HOMES TEAM FIND THE RIGHT HOME FOR BUYERS?

How do we find the right home for our buyers?

In this quick and fun video, Noreen gives you an inside peek into her tried-and-true process. She explains how she helps her buyers hone in on the neighborhood and the home that is just right for them!

If you’re interested in buying – now or in the future – you can search listings here – and start to familiarize yourself with the buying process and the market.

 

VIDEO: BUY OR RENT A HOME IN PALM BEACH COUNTY? OUR ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU!

It’s always better to buy than to rent, right? … A client messaged Noreen and Amy asking for help convincing her daughter and son-in-law to buy a home instead of renting. The advice the Realtors gave her may surprise you!

If someone you know is interested in buying – now or in the future – let them know they can search listings here – and start to get familiar with the buying process and the market.

Or, contact us at (561) 571-2289 – or via amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com – we treat your referrals like they are our own family! 

Mortgage FAQs: Video Series with one of our favorite experts!

Ann Griffith of Capital Mortgage Funding joined Amy and Noreen recently to discuss all things mortgages! The pendulum has finally swung, and the market is very different than it was ten years ago. If you’d like to know if you can qualify to buy – and what to expect from the process, watch on!

🎥 (If you find these helpful, please SUBSCRIBE to our channel while you’re there!)

In this video, Ann and Amy talk about how the mortgage market has finally normalized:

Next, Ann talks about something many of our buyers wonder about: What does the mortgage application process look like? (Ann consults the buyer to establish their goals. She helps them gather documents, and look at different types of loans might be a fit.) Watch to learn!

The next question: How much mortgage can I afford? … It’s important to determine in advance how much mortgage you can afford. Ann describes the process for coming to this number / her methods for helping buyers know.

Lastly, we are busting a myth! 🙂 We STILL often hear people ask: Do you still need 20% down to buy a home? (Spoiler alert: Not anymore! That’s old news. Today there are hundreds of great loan products on the market, and there is one that is a good fit for you.) Ann and her partner Ruby Teich help many of our clients find the right “mortgage fit.” Watch more here:

Thanks for watching! If you have questions about buying a home, our team is always here to offer you no-obligation advice!
Call us at (561) 571-2289.

If you’re interested in buying – now or in the future – you can search listings here – and start to familiarize yourself with the buying process and the market.

What is Title Insurance – and Why Do You Need It?

Did you know that Amy Snook, one of our team’s leaders, is a licensed title agent?

Amy has more than 15 years of experience in the title business. So, she is uniquely poised to help our buyers and sellers navigate the closing process, and everything that leads up to this critical piece of the puzzle!

But, if you still don’t really “get” title insurance, what it is, and why you may need it… here’s a quick rundown for you:

Title insurance is a one time purchase. Factors like your contract, the county you are in and its norms will help determine who pays for it. It’s a fee you will see on the final closing statement.

It’s is an insurance (like the name says!). This policy is for life, and it insures that the people who are selling the home are legally able to sell you the home – that all mortgages, liens, judgements, encumbrances  that are attached to the property – are all paid off.

Why does this matter? It gives you the peace of mind that you legally have the right to own and enjoy that home, and that no one will come knocking one day and tell you you don’t!

Buyers sometimes ask “Do I have to have it?

… Do you legally have to have title insurance? The answer is no.. But as Realtors, we would never be involved in a transaction that doesn’t include it. Because, for the small one-time cost, you have peace of mind for life.

If you still have questions about title insurance, feel free to message us at amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com or call us at (561) 571-2289.

Want more details? Read more about this important subject here.

If you’re interested in buying – now or in the future – you can search listings here – and start to familiarize yourself with the buying process and the market!

VIDEO: HELP, AMY! WE MADE AN OFFER, HAVEN’T HEARD!

A Social media friends asked Amy for some help –  “We made an offer and we haven’t heard anything but the listing disappeared off of MLS. What does this mean? How will we know if our offer to buy the home was accepted?” In this video, Amy helps viewers understand how she and Noreen handle this part of her role for clients.

 

If you’re planning to buy a home – or just curious about what’s available – you can search listings here – and possibly even start to familiarize yourself with the buying process!

Or, contact us at (561) 571-2289 – or via amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com – if we can provide you with any additional market data that will help inform your decisions! We are here to help!

GUEST POST: DON’T MAKE THESE COMMON HOME FINANCING MISTAKES

This is a guest post written by one of our preferred providers, Ann Griffith of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. You can reach Ann and her partner Ruby Teich at 323-620-6800 or via email at ruby.teich@lowrateonline.com

As an experienced mortgage lender, I talk regularly with people at all stages of the home buying process. Based on the many conversations and relationships I’ve had over my career, the most common mistake people make when buying a home is NOT having a complete plan in place before shopping.  

These days, the internet has made so much information available to home seekers, but the thing that is sometimes missing is the guidance that brings all of that information together into a buying strategy. (That is certainly where the Realtor and the Mortgage Lender come in add the most value.) 

It’s easy to start looking online and get caught up in the excitement… and then to begin a home search without a solid plan. This often leads to disappointment and even discouragement in the beginning. 

A thorough plan is needed for home buying, complete with goals and objectives. The first step in that effective plan entails sitting down with a trusted and informed mortgage lender to go over income, credit, down payment, job history and all the mortgage options tailored to your specific needs.

Once the plan is in place, buyers can go out and shop with confidence and with a clear understanding of what they can afford, with their mortgage approval in hand. 

In the next phase of the plan, it is critical to be honest and have open communication with their Mortgage Lender. Not doing so is another common mistake.  Nobody wants any unwanted surprises during the mortgage process, and maintaining clear and honest communication will ensure that this doesn’t happen. 

DURING THE PROCESS, WE ADVISE THAT CLIENTS DO NOT:

•Change jobs;

•Increase liabilities;

•Open up new credit cards;

•Buy or lease a new car; or

•(last, but not least) deposit or transfer large sums of money without proper documentation.

WE ALSO ADVISE THAT CLIENTS DO:

•Keep access to bank statements and other important financial statements;

•Provide their earnest money deposit from their own personal bank account or acceptable gift funds;

•Provide all documentation for sale of their current home;

•Notify us if they plan to receive gift funds for closing; and

•Be aware and prepared that a new credit report could be pulled prior to closing.

The mortgage process does not have to be tricky. With a solid plan in place, and open and trusting communication with your Realtor and Lender, it won’t be! 

 

Are you ready to become a homeowner? Or, looking to buy your next property? You can learn more about the Steps to Buying a Home here!