You’ve narrowed down your criteria. Now, our realtors will enter your criteria in the MLS (multiple listing services) database of all the homes listed for sale in the Palm Coast, Florida, area. Only those homes that meet your criteria will populate. The realtor will sit down with you, review the findings, and help you choose half a dozen or so you’d like to look at. Our realtor sets up a showing and the selection process begins.
Normally, the home owners put their best foot forward for scheduled showings. You’ll see the house at its best. It may be hard to actually ‘see’ the home, especially if it’s cluttered or full of boxes because the homeowners are half-moved out. 3 Dot Realty offers up these tips for what to look for in home showings in Palm Coast, FL:
- Foundation and structure. The foundation and structure of the home is the most important item to take note of because these are the most expensive to fix if problems are found later on down the road. Look for cracks or large gaps in the foundations. Other tip-offs are sticking doors or windows, visible cracks above window frames, and uneven floors.
- Signs of home maintenance. Has the home in Palm Coast been loved or not? Are the faucets leaking? Is the grass mowed? Is the paint faded? Are the light bulbs changed? Do all the doorknobs work and shut? Do the windows function?
- Mold and water damage. Make sure to inspect the ceilings for water marks and check around the base of the sinks, drains, and faucets for black or gray spots.
- Bad smells (or obscenely too much Febreze smell!). Mildew, smoke, and pet accidents can cause damage to the walls and floors and each carries a distinct odor. Too many plug-ins, candles, and air scents could be a sign the homeowner is hiding something.
- Do-it-Yourself Installations. Many homeowners think they can install their own flooring to perfection when in actuality the floors turn out uneven and shoddy looking. Major DIY jobs such as installing your own water heater may not be covered by homeowners insurance.
- Walk the perimeters. You’ll want to make a cursory inspection of the roof, the siding, brick, stone, or wood exterior, the paint, gutters, and the window wells. There may be hidden foundation problems here as well.
- Inspect the neighbors and the neighborhood. Is there a train track nearby? Are there neighbor dogs that bark when you walk by? Are there 5 cars parked outside one house (an indication it’s a rental with tenants who come and go)? Along with buying a home, you’re buying the neighbors as well.
- Privacy. Are there big trees to hide the neighbors? Do any of the neighboring houses have windows directly across from yours? Is the deck concealed? You’ve likely spent years with neighbors too close for comfort. Make sure you have the space you need.
At a real estate showing in the Palm Coast area, these are just some of the items 3 Dot Realty recommends you note as you walk through the rooms. Repairs can add up and depending on your budget, you may not want to walk into one maintenance problem after another.
You’ve seen a lot of homes in the Palm Coast, Florida, area, and you’ve chosen one! The next step is the written offer. This is where your realtor shines. After discussing the terms of the offer such as purchase price, who’ll pay closing costs, and if you found any maintenance items you want the homeowner to fix before taking possession of the home, your realtor will draw up the real estate purchase contract (known as an offer for short). You will most likely have to put down some money, which is known as earnest money. This is to show you are “earnest” or serious in the offer to buy the home. Then you wait for the buyer’s decision. There is usually a time frame attached, so the homeowner can’t linger too long and wait to see if he or she gets a better real estate offer.
Not all first real estate offers are accepted. The homeowner may counter-offer. Depending on what they counter with, you, the buyer, may counter offer them. One caveat and one final piece of advice for home buyers: be prepared to walk away from the deal. And as your realtor who is looking out for your best interests and has an unbiased viewpoint, 3 Dot Realty may advise you to walk away.
So many people fall in love with the home after the showing. They spend hours picturing themselves inside, re-decorating, planning what they are going to buy first and what they are going to upgrade first. Some people imagine the interior colors, what color they will paint the outside of the house, and visualize their name plaque on the front door. Purchasing a home is a huge financial investment and if you are overpaying for your home, it’s probably not the right financial investment for you.
You’re real estate offer was accepted! This is an exciting time! However, there’s still much work to be done by your realtor and by you. Let’s talk financing.
Again, the terms of obtaining financing is likely in the real estate offer. Typically, the buyer of the home is given 60 days to obtain home purchase financing. If financing cannot be obtained, both the buyer and the seller of the home in the Palm Coast, FL, are released from the contract. The earnest money is returned, and the seller is free to put his home back on the market.
Financing a home is done through a licensed mortgage broker who has to complete a course and a test to be licensed. A mortgage broker has the best interest of the buyer of the home in mind. He or she submits your application to mortgage lenders to get you the best deal. Mortgage lenders can be banks, credit unions, or specialized mortgage lending companies. You may even qualify for an FHA loan, which is a loan through the Federal Housing Authority popular with first-time homebuyers. The down payment is considerably less with FHA loans; however, you must carry mortgage insurance, which protects the lender in case of default. Your mortgage broker will handle all the ins-and-outs of getting financed. Often, the homebuyer only has to submit requested paperwork. Ask any of our realtors at 3 Dot Realty for mortgage originator recommendations.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to closing! Closing on a home purchase is usually held at a title office. The job of the title company is to make sure you are buying a legitimate piece of property and then issues title insurance for the property. Title insurance protects the lender and/or owner against lawsuits or claims against the property that result from disputes over the title.
Title companies usually maintain escrow accounts, which are the funds needed to close on the home. Escrow monies can only be sued for settlement and closing costs. At the closing, a settlement agent from the title company will bring all the necessary paperwork to conduct the transaction, explain it to the parties, collect closing costs, and distribute monies. Finally, the title company will ensure that the new titles, deeds, and other documents are filed with the appropriate entities and in the appropriate names--yours!
You’re handed the keys to your new home. Your new life begins. A dream fulfilled. Memories to be made.
And now the work begins. Some quick to-dos upon moving into your new home:
- Cleaning. 3 Dot Realty recommends hiring a cleaning service to clean your new home upon move in. Odds are the homeowner cleaned, but this is your new home for the immediate future, and it’s nice to move into spotlessness!
- Changing the locks. This is especially necessary if you know for sure your home was a past rental property. Still, this is essential for everyone as you don’t know who has a key to your new home.
- Tracking down the mail key. Sometimes this is provided by the homeowner, but oftentimes you have to contact the post office, especially if you’re moving into new construction. You’ll have a lot of mail to sort through, and you’ll want to make sure your forwarding mail is arriving.
- Changing your address. In our digital world, this isn’t as important as it had been in the past. However, you’ll definitely want to notify all of your insurance carriers, your place of employment, utilities (including phone, cable, internet, gas, and electric), your bank, any credit card companies or loan service providers you may have, and don’t forget your friends and family!
- Meeting the neighbors. Throwing a housewarming party will go a long way in getting to know your neighbors. These are the people who watch your home while you’re away, are available for emergencies, and may be some of your best friends, especially if you have kids the same ages. Make this ‘to-do’ a priority.
The most important step in selling your home is finding the perfect real estate agent. Our realtors at 3 Dot Realty will go to bat for you no matter the challenges. We love 3-2 counts with two outs and the bases are loaded scenarios. Nothing is impossible with 3 Dot Realty. With constant updates, our realtors promise to work our hardest to sell your home in the Palm Coast area, so you can begin to establish your new life.
The mission of the realtors at 3 Dot Realty in Palm Coast, Florida, is to match you with the home of your dreams. We will negotiate to the last minute to ensure your wishes are met and everything is ready for your new home. Our realtors are here at any time of the day or night and on weekends to answer your questions as they arise about any real estate need.
Even if you’re not quite ready to buy, but just need some advice and insight into the real estate market, give 3 Dot Realty a call. With years of experience in real estate in Palm Coast, our real estate agents are eager to set you on the right path to home ownership. Contact us today!