In a Buyer's Market


Get ready with relevant facts about current market conditions. Make three important lists: what you want, what you need, what you can  afford. If you are planning to use a mortgage loan, investigate possible lenders, select one, get pre-approved and consider locking in a rate. Learn about the offer-counteroffer process used in Florida, and how you can make the best use of it as a buyer. Understand and prepare for the costs that follow becoming an owner.


Even when the buyer has "the edge" in a Buyer's Market, current projections show ever-increasing home prices over the long term. Look for value in today's market. Paying too much now reflects immediately in higher closing costs and higher mortgage payments. Down the road, the result is a lower yield upon sale. Buying a good value based on today's market is the best assurance of having a good sale in the future.


Manatee and Sarasota counties are in a period of dynamic change. Even with comprehensive land use plans, residential properties convert to professional or commercial use, agricultural properties become residential or industrial sites, and roadways increase in size and number. Learn what's likely to come your way, and be as certain as possible that changes will not detract from your home's future value.


Stiffer laws, higher prices and a growing concern for the health of the planet make environmental issues increasingly important. Obvious items include having adequate systems for insulation, heating, cooling, plumbing and waste disposal. But also pay attention to contamination from buried oil tanks, chemical or refuse dumping, mold or mildew. If you buy contaminated property, you own a problem.


Image: Homes

A home with popular style and design increases your ability to sell. The beautiful A-frame home on the wooded lot makes an appealing picture, but how many Florida buyers want a roof that's designed to shed snow? The geodesic dome home may appeal to high-tech fans, but what about the rest of us? The more buyers you can attract to your home, the more likely you will get the price you want. Pick a property you like, but one that others will like as well.


Image: On Target

Recall your first impression of the property you want to buy. When it's your turn to sell, that's about what others will see. When buyers or real estate professionals drive by, will the appearance encourage or discourage them? Will their offer be higher or lower than you expect due to appearance? When you become the owner, regular maintenance, attention to landscaping and good housekeeping are sensible uses of time and money.


The average homeowner was overcharged $1,250 in closing costs and committed to pay as much as $29,000 in additional interest over a period of 30 years, according to recent research by the National Mortgage Complaint Center. The center blames the excessive charges on attempts to boost mortgage broker and lender compensation. Most lenders also are failing to provide Truth in Lending disclosures and Good Faith Estimates within three business days after the mortgage application is submitted, and prepayment penalties and junk fees also are common, according to the study.

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