Buyer Tips

home buyingBuyer Tips for a Successful Real Estate Transaction by Lipply Real Estate

Fantastic! You’ve made the decision to buy a home in Tampa Bay. As you probably already know, home ownership is one of the biggest and most important investments you will make — for the present and for the future. Real Estate is a reliable way to invest your money. A growing majority of Americans aren’t stopping with owning just one home — they are acquiring additional properties for investment purposes. Along with tax benefits, investment properties offer the possibility of earned income from rental revenues. Listed below are some buying tips from Bob Lipply, a seasoned real estate broker and a longtime homeowner in the Tampa Bay Area.

Find out your buying power… A very important first step is to contact a lender and get pre-qualified. This is essential information to the buyer to have so they have a good financial fit for the home market. When you have decided on a lender, you begin the loan process by filling out a loan application. You should be prepared to go over your current financial situation and credit history with the loan officer. A good mortgage broker can give you an estimate of what it’s going to take to get you into a home and a good estimate of what your monthly expenses will be.

Limit your spending and watch your credit during the buying period…

Don’t take on any additional debt while in the process of buying a home. Mortgage lenders use debt to income ratios for the approval process and even so much as a new car can throw things off a bit, even if you know you can afford it. Have patience and wait until you sign your name at the closing before making any additional major purchases. Additionally, if you are thinking about changing jobs try to hold off on that too. Be diligent about paying your bills on time also. Credit scoring frameworks are complex and often vary among creditors and for different types of credit.

Choose an experienced Tampa Bay real estate agent to work with…

Working with a licensed, full time, real estate agent is worth it’s weight in gold. Trying to search for a home yourself will leave you exhausted and frustrated. While searching the internet is a good pastime for looking at homes, so much of the information is outdated and the homes are already sold or under contract. The Lipply Real Estate Group has a team of full time, experienced real estate agents who know the market and keep on top of new listings each day. Our website’s home finder is a direct link to the MLS and is always up-to-date. It’s free and easy to use.

Learn the area, decide on where you want to live — do your own research…

The Tampa Bay area is large and diverse. The internet is a good source for information regarding the area. Try to narrow down which county most appeals to you. Whether it’s Pinellas County with it’s close proximity to the beaches, or Hillsborough County which is closer to downtown Tampa and the airport, or Pasco County where you can stretch out a little more — only you know where you will be most happy. Research, explore and learn, ask questions, drive around. Choose what most suits your needs and begin your focus there. For starters you can visit our community area pages:

Pinellas County Real Estate

Pasco County Real Estate

Hillsborough County Real Estate

Make a list of new home priorities in order of importance…

Take the time to carefully think over the most important “must haves” in a new home. Limit yourself to no more than 5 absolutes. Try to be realistic in your home search. If money were no option we would all live in the perfect home. Money is an option most times and we as your real estate agents know that and will work hard to find you a great home in your price range. You may need to compromise a little but in the end, we want you to be thrilled with your new home. We are going to do everything we can to that end.

Communicate your wants and needs to your Tampa Bay real estate agent…

Let’s sit down and go over your priorities. Be honest and open about what you are looking for and make sure that we understand. No one wants to waste anyone’s time in the home search venture. Listening is an important part of our job. It is very important that we understand your criteria. Be clear about what areas are important to you and where you are willing to compromise.

Listen to and take the advice of your Tampa Bay real estate agent and mortgage broker…

Our job is to help you make the best decision and keep the process moving along without problems or stress. Buying a home is a major transaction, there’s lots to do and coordinate. You may have bought one or two homes in your past, but real estate agents and mortgage brokers do this every day. We can help you with every aspect of the project. When we advise you about what you can to do make the transaction work, we are acting as part coach and part business consultant.

Don’t rule out an outdated or messy home…

Real estate in the Tampa Bay area is quickly appreciating and the prices are higher than they have ever been. A really nicely decorated, clean as a whistle home, is going to be priced at top market dollar. If that’s most important to you then certainly go for it but if you can see through the ugly paint color or the dirty carpet, you may be able to get a great deal.

Be flexible with your schedule for home viewing…

Nice homes sell quickly, sometime within the first days of going on the market. As your real estate agent, it is our responsibility to be on top of the market and when the home that meets your criteria comes on the market, we need to get you to see it fast. We realize that our buyers are people with jobs, families, and other commitments. Agents with the Lipply Real Estate group work full time and have morning, afternoon, evening, and weekend appointments available at all times. Keep track of the homes you are viewing on a notepad and rate them on a 1 to 10.– this will help you keep your thoughts organized.

Know what you want — be ready to make an offer…

At this point in the process you will be well educated about the home availability, the price ranges, the attractive neighborhoods, the schools, your priority list — you are just waiting for that perfect home to make an offer on. Resist the urge to hesitate because if you love the home, chances are other buyers will love it to. Time is of the essence. The last thing we want our buyers to get involved in is a bidding war. If we can get our offer in ahead of the others, we should have an edge on the competition.

Be flexible in negotiations…

If you love the home, give a fair offer, consistent with the times, free from outside contingencies if possible. Don’t play games.  We are expert negotiators. Before we put an offer in, we will do the research of the current conditions as well as the comparables in that particular area.

We suggest getting a home inspection…

For under $400.00 in most cases, you can have a comprehensive inspection done on your home. This is good advice and I wouldn’t buy a home without this. Many contracts are written with “right to inspect” and should there be something discovered during the inspection process, a buyer is entitled to walk away from the contract without losing his deposit in most cases.

Attend to the mortgage loan process in a timely manner…

Time is of the essence during this timeframe. Sometimes the lenders require additional paperwork, letters from employers, etc. Promptly provide any and all information to the lender to ensure the process moves along without delay. Have a record of all of your current bank accounts, including the name and addresses of banks, type of accounts, and approximate balances. Be prepared to provide details about outstanding loans or credit accounts, such as student or car loans and major credit card accounts. You will also need information about your assets, such as car titles, stocks and bonds, and life insurance policies.

Shop for and choose the property insurance…

We can recommend insurance companies and coverage but the ultimate decision and choice is yours. Shopping for and deciding on exactly what you require is important and not to be put off. Do this once you are satisfied with the home inspection and are ready to move forward.

Enjoy your new Tampa Bay home…

Don’t forget to call the utility companies and have the power, gas, and water turned on prior to your move in date. Congratulations on your new  home. We wish you many years of happiness in it!

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