Email ashivers@johnrwood.com

Buy Your New Dream Home

Buyer’s Guide

A home is most likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, and it marks a major step in life. There’s no scientific formula that tells someone when they’re ready to buy, but you should take stock of your financial situation as well as your personal lifestyle. In general, there are a number of advantages to homeownership, both tangible and intangible, that you’ll want to consider.

Investment
Every payment you make on your mortgage puts you one step closer to acquiring a major possession. And every improvement you make to your property not only enhances your way of life, but also adds value to your home.

Protection from Inflation
Once you purchase a home, the bulk of your housing costs are not exposed to inflation. That means only your housing expenses that will rise over time with inflation are property taxes, homeowners insurance, and maintenance costs.

Equity
Because a home increases in value even as you are paying down your loan, most buyers effortlessly build equity. Equity creates wealth and can help you accomplish any number of financial goals, such as paying for retirement and funding a child’s education.

Tax Advantages
Your real estate taxes and the interest on your mortgage are deductible from your income tax. For many buyers, that tax break can go a long way toward making home ownership just as affordable as renting.

Satisfaction
For many people, but certainly not all, home ownership simply makes life more enjoyable, whether it’s the pride that comes from decorating and maintaining your home or the knowledge that your family will grow up in the neighborhood of your choice. Home-ownership is still the American dream.

With a wealth of online resources, a growing “for sale by owner” market, and countless cable TV shows on the subject of real estate, it’s not surprising that some home buyers consider a “do it yourself” approach when purchasing a new home.

 

But for most, a real estate professional is an indispensable partner in the home buying process. While buyers today are more educated about real estate than ever before, all the research in the world can’t match an experienced agent’s “in the trenches” understanding of what’s happening in the market today. Without the pavement pounding and advance scouting an agent does on your behalf, you might wind up overpaying for a home or losing out on the home of your dreams.

 

Also, unlike a parent, spouse, partner or best friend, an agent can give you a completely objective and professional opinion of the properties you are considering.

 

If nothing else, keep in mind that an agent is compensated by the seller. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by tapping the expertise of an agent. And from the moment you select an John R. Wood agent until the day you move in, our team will be working for you.

Buying a home may seem like a relatively straightforward process, however, there are dozens of variables in any transaction that can make homebuying quite complex. Being prepared and organized makes the process that much easier and more enjoyable. Here are some steps to take before beginning your search:

 

1. Choosing an Agent
Choosing an advisor to guide you through a transaction is as important as buying a home. You should conduct interviews, seek referrals and research the company as well as the individual. While it’s important to ask a number of questions relating to their experience and routines, it’s also important to listen for the questions they ask you to get a feel for if they’re really intent on understanding your needs. Experience in your preferred neighborhood and/or style of home is important, but so is the comfort level between agent and client because buying a home is a highly personal experience. Ultimately, you only work with one agent, so it should be someone you like, trust and respect and who feels the same way about you.

 

2. Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
In today’s home buying environment, a mortgage pre-approval is not only essential; it is also incredibly easy to obtain — whether online, over the phone or in-person. A mortgage pre-approval lets you know exactly what you can afford to buy. It also demonstrates to a seller that you are willing and able buyer. And it gives you a head start in getting an actual loan commitment.

 

3. Creating a Wish List
Almost every home purchase involves some degree of compromise, which is why it is important to prioritize your wants and needs before your search. There are many variables to think about depending on your lifestyle, budget and future plans, but some universal considerations include:

 

Location: Naples offers many great communities each with its own character. Consider the factors that are important to you, such as schools, transportation and amenities, like restaurants, shops and parks. Here are some ways to research an area you’re considering: Tap local resources like the Chamber of Commerce, which can provide information about area businesses and community events; seek out neighborhood residents and get their opinion about where they live; drive or walk through the community at various times of the day and evening; leverage your agent’s expertise in the community.

 

Type of Home: A great diversity of housing exists within Naples: single-family homes, condos, villas (detached and attached), carriage homes, high rises, mid-rises and low-rises, new construction. You probably have a preference for a certain style of construction. Weigh the pros and cons to narrow your focus.

 

Features and Amenities: Garages, hardwood floors, pools. In the end, these are the kinds of details that drive the decision to purchase one home versus another. In creating this list, some things to consider are resale value, your daily routine, and the cost of making changes or additions down the road.

Once you have obtained a mortgage pre-approval and selected a real estate agent, you are ready to begin your home search.

 

Review Listings
Using the guidelines you set forth, your agent will present you with available listings. In addition to price and property attributes, pay close attention to data like property taxes, market time and monthly assessments for condos.

 

View Properties
Your agent will schedule showings and accompany you on each appointment. When you walk through a home, some things to consider are: how the space functions for your lifestyle, what’s included in the total square footage, and, in new construction, which features are standard and which are upgrades.

 

Open Houses
Remember, if you are attending an open house without your agent, be sure to mention that you are being represented by a John R. Wood agent. This will save you from being inundated with calls from other agents trying to represent you. Ask your agent to supply you with some of his or her business cards to make the open house sign-in process even easier.

 

Compare Properties
Discuss each home you see with your agent and provide candid feedback. Your expectations and the marketplace will begin to converge, and your agent will be able to adjust certain parameters such as location and features in order to present you with alternatives. When you find a home and are ready to make an offer, your agent will perform a Comparable Market Analysis, a report that compares the subject property with other properties that are currently listed and recently sold to help you formulate your offer.

Chances are, when you find a home you absolutely love, someone else may love it too. So it’s important to act quickly and make an educated offer based on a rational approach to pricing and negotiating that you and your agent have discussed.

 

To start the process rolling, your agent will draw up a contract that includes your offer price and other terms and contingencies. Buyers often focus on price, but there are other important terms to a real estate contract. You can include any terms you like, but the more you add, the more likely the seller is to object. Here are the most common elements of a real estate contract:

 

Price: The market will determine the final price, but your agent will help you formulate an offer based on comparable listings and sales, and current market conditions.

 

Mortgage Contingency: A mortgage contingency stipulates that you will buy the home subject to obtaining a mortgage. If you cannot obtain a mortgage, and the seller will not agree to finance the sale, then the contract will be void. The terms of the mortgage must be stated in the contract, and you will also need to establish a timeframe for securing financing.

 

Home Inspection Contingency: A thorough inspection of the property by a licensed home inspector protects you against structural or material problems that are not detectable in a casual walk through. Home inspections are just as important in new construction as they are in a resale. Obviously, buyers can’t inspect a home that isn’t built yet, but they can request an inspection prior to closing. In new construction, an inspector will make sure that all mechanical systems are working properly. They may also spot repairs that need to be added to the builder’s punchlist (a list of items that need to completed). The buyer, not the seller, is responsible for hiring and paying the inspector.

 

Earnest Money: Earnest money is a deposit, given by the buyer to the seller, which secures the contract until closing. An initial deposit, usually in the form of a check, must be given to the seller or seller’s agent along with the contract, and the balance of the earnest money is usually due approximately two weeks later. Earnest money is typically held in an escrow account until closing, when it may be applied to the down payment and/or closing costs. If the sale does not go through, then the earnest money may be returned to the buyer. However, if the buyer is in breach of contract, then a seller may be entitled to keep all or a portion of the earnest money.

 

Closing Date: One of the most important terms of a real estate contract is the closing date — the date when ownership changes hands. Flexibility on the closing date can give a buyer a big advantage over other potential buyers. Occasionally, it can also allow you to negotiate a lower price or other, more favorable terms.

In a real estate transaction, there are dozens of loose ends to tie up between signing the contract and closing the sale. John R. Wood Realtors are known for our attention to detail during this important phase in which we coordinate and oversee the following steps:

 

  • Deliver earnest money to the seller’s agent
  • Recommend and schedule a home inspector and accompany the buyer on the inspection. It is always highly recommended that the buyer attend the inspection along with his or her agent in order to make sure that any issues that come up are properly relayed to the buyer’s attorney.
  • Obtain important documents, such as property disclosure forms and condo documents (budget, declaration, association rules and regs, and FAQ), and deliver them to the buyer.
  • Recommend mortgage brokers and help expedite the loan application process.
  • Monitor all contingencies to ensure that they have been met.
  • Recommend service providers for moving, home improvement and repairs.
  • Schedule a final walk-through. Again, both buyer and agent should be present.
  • Coordinate and attend your closing.

 

Your John R. Wood agent will work closely with you, your lender, your real estate attorney (if you’ve enlisted one) and the seller’s agent to make sure everything is in place for a smooth and efficient closing.

 

Typically, a day or two prior to closing, your lender will forward all loan documentation to the title company and let you know the amount required to close. You will be responsible for bringing the balance of your down payment and closing costs (such as lender fees, title company fees, state and local transfer taxes) to the closing in the form of a check or a wire transfer.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Proin elementum dictum orci vitae efficitur. Suspendisse condimentum, nisl id placerat dictum, ipsum neque aliquet orci, eget tincidunt lorem augue et elit. Nulla lobortis fringilla ipsum nec dictum. Etiam ultricies libero eu lacus consequat laoreet. Vivamus gravida, augue rhoncus iaculis pellentesque, metus sapien ullamcorper risus, at mattis lectus orci eu nunc. Vivamus luctus, ex ut finibus interdum, dui felis sodales felis, non fringilla quam nunc a felis. In tempor vitae justo ac scelerisque. Sed placerat imperdiet molestie. Aenean nulla diam, ultricies non massa sit amet, efficitur bibendum massa. Quisque molestie magna nisi, sit amet bibendum purus facilisis vel. Nam sit amet auctor ex. Vestibulum in libero magna.

Morbi vel metus nec ligula vehicula semper. Mauris vestibulum maximus imperdiet. Nam ultricies nisi eu posuere ultrices. Nulla interdum euismod eros, vel rutrum nulla malesuada vitae. Aliquam a magna est. Nunc convallis, lacus venenatis dictum pulvinar, arcu massa tempus urna, non posuere enim velit sagittis est. Praesent lacinia bibendum pellentesque. Proin elit sem, tincidunt in venenatis dictum, maximus a risus. Aliquam placerat imperdiet tellus vitae tempor. Morbi maximus dolor laoreet diam sagittis, eu eleifend dui venenatis. Donec vitae iaculis metus. Phasellus ut dignissim diam, vitae eleifend dui. Integer condimentum sit amet metus vitae ullamcorper. Suspendisse vitae molestie leo.

Suspendisse vehicula sollicitudin tristique. Etiam laoreet consectetur augue, id porta sapien auctor ac. Morbi eu ipsum nec odio ullamcorper condimentum sed sit amet ligula. Nulla tempor justo erat, sed venenatis est vehicula vel. Praesent pharetra dolor sed.

Moving To Naples?

Purchase this practical & lively guide written by 14-year Naples resident & Realtor, Alysia Shivers.

Quick Search

Recent Posts