Buying a home can be an emotional transaction. Having the right REALTOR to guide you through the process and help you achieve your goals (and dreams) is important. Knowing that you’re working with a reliable, experienced, and ethical real estate expert who will coordinate all the details — from negotiating your contract terms, to communicating with the involved agents, attorneys, insurance, inspection, and mortgage professionals — can make all the difference in your home-buying experience.
I promise to be your ally from the start, and work hard to help you find your right home and for the right price. We’ll work together as a team. And communicate with each other openly and honestly each step of the way.
The points on this page will help educate you about the process of finding and buying your home. When you’re ready to get started, we’ll get you pre-approved with a good lender, and then begin our home search. I’ll help you each step of the way to check off your buyer to-do lists. And finally, I’ll oversee your closing so you can move and begin your new adventure.
Let’s Start here.
1. WHAT DOES YOUR TIMELINE LOOK LIKE?
After you find your home, the average time it takes to complete the transaction is about 45 to 60 days. (Unless you’re paying with cash which can shorten the timeframe.) If you’re trying to time your move, make a plan and I’ll help you with it.
2. GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER
- What would be your ideal Monthly Payment?
- How much cash do you have for a Down Payment?
- Do you know your credit score?
- May I suggest a professional Loan Officer?
- You will need a written Loan Approval Letter to submit with your offer.
By the way, I encourage you to shop and compare lenders, rates, and terms.
Consider your monthly payment.
- Property Taxes will add to your monthly cost (see: Jax Property Taxes or St Johns Property Taxes for property tax estimates.
- CDD (Community District Development) fees and/or HOA (Homeowner Association) dues.
- Utilities, maintenance, repairs, and inevitable replacements/improvements will also add to your overall homeowner costs.
Estimate your mortgage payment with this calculator by Realtor.com.
3. WHERE DO YOU ENVISION LIVING?
Choose your location first. It’s the most important (unchangeable) factor to consider when buying a home.
Then, consider your ideal home, your must-haves, and your deal-breakers.
- How many beds and baths do you want?
- What size and age home do you need?
- What special features would you like?
- Activities/hobbies to fit into your home?
- What’s on your wishlist?
- What are your must-haves?
- What are your deal-breakers?
- Describe your ideal (dream?) home.
Be mindful of location, price, and style or condition of the home you’re searching for; each of these will have an effect on the other.
4. FINDING A HOME BEGINS ONLINE
Start by setting your base parameters.
- Your minimum acceptable features and pricing
- Do you want a fixer-upper? Move-in-ready? New?
Apps to use for online house-hunting
- I’ll set up a customized search for you in my multiple listing service.
- You can search homes on my site, deekassenoff.com or use my e-business card to find listings for sale (save the link to your phone’s home screen for quick access).
- Another good option is Realtor.com, which updates every 15 minutes!
- Note: Some sites like Zillow or Trulia may not have the most updated info.
Remember, it’s a process of elimination.
- Search online and note interesting homes from their photos.
- Eliminate the ones you know by their photos will not work for you.
Photos never tell the whole story so do a drive-by before deciding.
- Drive by the homes on your list at different times of the day/night.
- Look at the neighborhood, the home’s lot position, and what’s around it.
- Time your drive to work to see how far your commute will be.
- Let the elimination process begin!
Then . . .
- Let’s see what’s on your shortlist—the best of the bunch.
- This process is the best way to home in on the right home.
- I’ll schedule showing appointments for you to preview homes on your list.
“Yes? No? Or, maybe?”
As we preview homes together . . .
- Note how each home makes you feel when you walk in the door.
- Is it what you’d envisioned?
- Is it worth considering?
- Keep or remove it from your list?
Print this Property Notes Page for previewing homes.
Let’s narrow your list down to your top few maybe homes.
- What are the pros and cons of each home?
- Can you imagine living here?
- When you’re having trouble deciding, I can help you.
“Could there be something better?”
“Nothing Looks Good.” If everything is a “No,” we’ll wait and watch the market for new listings. If after an extended period of time no home appears to be the one, we may have to re-evaluate your criteria.
“I’m Not Sure.” If a home doesn’t “feel” right, it probably isn’t. You’ll know the right one when you see it. Waiting and watching the market is sometimes best—if you have time.
5. JUST SAY, “I’M REPRESENTED.”
When you’re out and about house-hunting . . .
- You may prefer to explore alone (as many buyers do). Feel free to drive around and get familiar with neighborhoods.
- Throughout this process, you may end up at an open house or a model home at a builder’s site. Agents at these locations represent the seller or builder and will want you to buy their home.
- Just say “I have an agent” and/or give my name if needed for registration purposes.
- Or show them my e-business card (Savvy-Card, link shown below).
- Then, when you’re ready for my involvement, there will be no issue allowing me to represent you.
My savvy-card makes it easy
- Easy to search for homes through my MLS, Multiple Listing Service, account.
- Easy access to all my contact information.
- Easy to share with your friends and family.
- Easy to refer your friends and family.
- Easy to create and access your own listing (if you are selling your home with me)
- Easy to add to your smartphone’s home screen.
6. YOUR BUYING COSTS (good to know this up front)
The cost of purchasing a home includes more than just the Purchase Price. Additional costs to consider:
- Your Binder Deposit ($1000.00+ depending on the price of the home)
- Your Down Payment
- Loan Application, Appraisal fees, Prepaid items (eg. Homeowner Insurance)
– Home Inspection – $300 to $600
– WDO (wood-destroying organisms) – $100-$175
– Wind Mitigation/4-point (older homes) – $50-$150
- Other closing costs: Property Taxes, CDD (Community District Development) fees if applicable, homeowner association dues.
7. RELATIONSHIPS MATTER
Why? Because . . .
- Relationships, to me, are more important than transactions.
- You control my business.
- I don’t spend time looking for customers (cold-calling, door-knocking, etc.), but dedicate more time to helping you.
- I work hard to go above and beyond for you throughout your transaction and even after your sale.
- Referrals from people who know and respect me are my primary source of business.
- I like working with people like you who appreciate the level of service I provide.
Relationships are key to successful real estate transactions—and, to my business.
As your agent, I will . . .
- Connect you with reputable lenders.
- Help you find the right home.
- Determine a home’s market value and advise you before submitting your offer.
- Help you negotiate your purchase price and terms of the sale.
- Guide you through the home-buying process.
- Advise you on any potential property issues.
- Assist you with document signing and paperwork.
- Manage and coordinate all of the details of your transaction and closing.
Helping you each step of the way to find your home is my priority.
8. YOU’VE GOT THIS!
As your agent
- I’ll help with all the details while representing your best interests.
- I’ll guide you through the entire home-searching and buying process.
We’ll make a plan
- Be ready to negotiate.
- Work together and speak regularly and honestly about any plan changes.
Arrange your finances
- Compare lenders; choose the best; get your pre-approval letter.
- Begin your application and loan approval process.
Find the right home
- Pick an area. Look online. Drive around. Get a feel for locations.
- Eliminate homes based on your criteria. Choose your home.
Get you to your closing
- Submit your offer. Follow my lead. Check off our to-do lists.
- Close. Get your keys. Move into your new home!