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​​1306 SW 2nd Avenue  • Okeechobee, FL 34974  • P: 863-763-6000 • F: 863-763-6003

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What is a Mortgage?

It's a loan for a home where the property itself is used as collateral. Securing a mortgage can be somewhat complex because the process may take more than a month and involves several parties working behind the scenes to put it all together. A trusted real estate agent can recommend a reputable mortgage professional and help you navigate through the process.

What does “Foreclosure” mean?

The most common type of foreclosure property you'll encounter in your home search is a Real Estate Owned, or REO, property; properties that have been foreclosed and are now owned by the bank. The process of buying an REO is different than other home purchases, but with the help of a qualified real estate agent your REO transaction will run more efficiently.

What is a Short sale?

A short sale is a real estate transaction in which the bank or lender agrees to let the homeowners sell their home for less than their loan balance. In some cases, the sellers don't need to pay back the difference between what they owe and the proceeds of the sale. Recent changes in the short sale process make this sort of transaction a popular alternative for both the buyer and seller. Banks are interested in facilitating short sales and avoiding foreclosures that result in placing the properties back on their books.

How do I know what I can afford in a house?

Your income and whatever debt you may have will be a determining factor of the amount that you can afford to spend on a house. Usually prospective home buyers will look at homes that do not exceed 2 ½ times their annual income. If an individual earns $50,000/year then their home purchase typically does not exceed $150,000. This can change based on the area and market in which you are seeking home ownership. If there are no homes available in your area within your range, you may need to spend more than expected without allowing your monthly mortgage payment to surpass 29% of your monthly gross income. Any other debt you may have (auto, credit cards, etc.) in addition to your monthly mortgage payment should not surpass 40% of your monthly gross income depending on the kind of mortgage loan you are applying for. Online mortgage calculators are very helpful in helping you determine what you can afford.

 Why should I use a real estate agent to purchase a home?

Using an agent can help you in many ways. First, the seller or builder pays for the services provided by the agent in the purchase of your new home, making these services free to the home buyer. Second, an agent knows everything involved with the purchase of a resale or the building process of a new home. Agents provide representation to the home buyer and assist them in understanding the home buying process, paperwork and can often help in making your purchase a smoother transaction. Third, with an agent, finding the right home in the right location is made simple. I can do the research for you and show you homes in your area of interest that meet the criteria you specify. Please email me or call so we can discuss how I can help you with your home search. I am very knowledgeable on the Tampa Bay area and am the most qualified agent to assist you with your search and the buying process.

Is a private home inspection worth the money?

It absolutely is! For most people, a home is the largest investment they will ever make and protecting that investment by spending a few hundred dollars is well worth it. The typical home inspection ranges anywhere between two hundred and five hundred dollars depending on the size of the home. When you move into a new home you want to begin enjoying it, not begin repairing it. The private home inspector will provide you with a report of any repairs that need to be taken care of, suggestions on how to maintain your home, and most importantly, will provide you with peace of mind. Some sellers will allow you to make the sale of the home contingent upon completion of a satisfactory home inspection. In this case, the seller will either make the proper repairs or compensate you for the repairs that need to be made. If the outcome is not up to your liking, you can choose to cancel the contract. Please be aware that the purpose of a home inspection is to point out repairs that can affect the safety and resale value of your home, not cosmetic blemishes. Some cosmetic fixes, for example, applying a coat of new paint, may be up to the new owner. You will need to determine what cosmetic improvements may need to be done after closing in order to make the appearance of the home to your personal liking and taste. A private home inspection is not only limited to the purchase of a resale, but is also very important during the building of a new home. You cannot just assume that a new home will be built perfectly without any errors. In this situation the inspection should be conducted during different stages of the building process with the last one being before the final walkthrough. This will allow the inspector to notice any defects or errors made in the building of your new home that would normally be difficult to see once the home is completed. Providing this report to your builder will aid them in making the appropriate repairs and may also help to keep your closing date on target and reduce the likelihood of finding any surprises during the end that may cause delay. Be sure to choose a home inspector wisely. Choosing a cheaper home inspector over a more experienced home inspector may not always be the better choice. Be sure to ask questions and find out how many years they have been in the business. Talk to your family and friends to see if they can recommend one to you. Your real estate agent can also help you in choosing a home inspector.

Is a home warranty worth it and what does it cover?

Different people will always give different responses regarding the issue of home warranties. Those that say it is a waste of money may never have had anything go wrong, therefore finding no use for it. However, find an individual who has saved hundreds or even thousands of dollars thanks to their home warranty, they will give you a different opinion. Basically a home warranty covers the repair or replacement of certain devices in your home. They will typically be covered for a period of one year from the closing date. Certain major and minor mechanisms that are usually covered are:

+ Central Air and Heating System

+ Water Heater

+ Refrigerator

+ Washer and Dryer

+ Oven/Range

+ Dishwasher

+ Microwave

+ Garbage Disposal

+ Garage Door Opener

+ Water Softener

+ Other minor electrical devices

The decision on whether or not to purchase a home warranty lies in the age of the home you are purchasing. The typical home warranty ranges in price from three hundred up to six hundred dollars, depending on the amount of coverage, age of the home and size of the home being purchased. If the house is less than five years old, you may not find it necessary to purchase a home warranty, since most of the appliances and other devices usually remain in good working order within this time period; however if the house is anywhere from five to fifteen years old or older, a home warranty may be something you want to consider. If anything, no matter what age the house is, a home warranty will provide you with peace of mind. Sometimes choosing to pay a warranty deductible for repairs outweighs having to pay a larger lump sum in repairs or replacements, some of which could cost you thousands of dollars.