Buyer’s Guide

BUYING PROCESS REAL ESTATE MIAMI AND FLORIDA

As a foreign investor, you need to understand that everyone buys the South Florida sun.  If it is not you who buys, it will be the next person.  With more reasonable pricing and decreasing vacancies, the activity in Miami is back to being incredibly strong.  Anything worth buying is under contract in less than a week.  Cash is the norm here.  Don’t expect any discount for cash.  It doesn’t exist.  Cash buys you negotiation power on other terms, but not on the sales price

1/ If this is a cash transaction, the buyer doesn’t even have to be present for selecting properties, make offers buy and close them, everything can be done on site by the representative.

2/ If a loan is needed, the first thing to do, before selecting properties, is to obtain a pre-approval letter from a lender, on any offer either it will be asking a proof of funds if it’s cash offer and a pre-approval letter if there is a mortgage involved.

3/ Broker will email prospective buyers properties with buyer criteria, a client will make a pre-selection of the real estate he likes to visit and or buy.

3/ Making an offer: They always have to be made in writing, we can make your offers on one or more properties without any commitment at all. AN OFFER IS NOT A CONTRACT, it becomes a contract only when all the parties agrees and sign an executed contract, this is just letting know the Seller buyer may be interested in the property for sale, NO DEPOSIT is required at the time of the offer.

4/ The deposit is usually 10% of the property asking price but everything in the contract is negotiable.Can be done one time or in two different payments.The broker is always asking for a 3 days period, after acceptance from all parties, to have the deposit made in an escrow account to a Lawyer or Title Company processing the paperwork for closing.

5/ Then Real Estate Broker will ask 24 hours to 48 hours for Seller to ACCEPT the offer and the terms. This way it doesn’t give the Seller much time to think. If it’s not accepted during that time frame period then the offer is not valid anymore. The seller can accept, denied or counter offer the offer and vice versa by the buyer, it will not be completed until all parties agree and sign.

6/ At this time of the buying process, everything including, financing, closing date and all other terms needs to be put in writing. Closing date can be a few weeks for cash. If a loan is needed then it’ll be 2 months. If the funds are wired before the closing date we can always close earlier but it’s wiser to be large for THAT DATE.

7/ If the mortgage is needed, for the buyer, then he has, on the contract, 7 days to find a lender. (doesn’t have to be the bank who made the pre-approval letter, can be any other lender). Then the lender has one month to process the folder and accept or denied the loan. If the mortgage is not accepted buyer will receive his ENTIRE deposit back.

8/ Everything is negotiable in the contract. When all the parties agreed, and AFTER the last party sign and date the contract become executed. This is at this point the clock start ticking, the 3 days period for the deposit to be made, 7 days to find a lender and time period for the inspection to be done…etc

9/ Once the contract is executed, Real Estate Broker advises buyers, for their protection and giving them a possibility to get out, to have a professional inspection done as soon as possible, asked and paid by the buyer. The inspector will make a report and if repairs are mentioned, they have to be done by Seller, or if not, it may be possible to renegotiate the price if the Seller doesn’t want to do repairs or get out of the contract otherwise if the prospective buyer is not satisfied with the inspection. There are only two way to get out the contract, the one above and if a financing is required and one month later the lender doesn’t approve the loan. Then Real Estate Broker will prepare a new form for the buyer to sign, cancelling the contract and have his full deposit returned.

10/ Before closing, if buyer applied for a mortgage, the lender will ask him to find an insurance before the closing date and have the proof the property is insured. For a cash offer insurance are not mandatory.

11/ One day before closing, the buyer will receive by email what’s called a HUD 1, this is the summary of all the amounts of the transaction, price, deposit, title, Homeowner association if any, property taxes…

All of them will be prorated. For property taxes they are due in November, usually, since very often the new buyer will get them, a credit is made to him at closing.(Example if the property taxes are $1200 and the Seller lived 2 months in the house ‘January and February” then the buyer will be credited $1000 more at closing and will pay the $1200 in full in November. The buyer doesn’t need to be present physically at closing, signatures can be made by mail or email. For the balance due (Selling price minus deposit and loan), the buyer needs to be sure he has made arrangments ahead of time for the funds to be wired to the Title company or Lawyer processing the closing. Real Estate Broker advises would be to make a little bit more and be reimbursed at closing it avoids delays and fees or penalties.

The buyer owns now the property and the keys, deed of the real estate will be sent to him at the address is provided within one month or two.

To open a bank account now it is required to be present physically, with proper passport and provide the bank with an address can be a CPA for instance or a friend…

COSTS TO THE BUYER

– Inspection around $400 to $500

– For the title (delivering you the deed of the property and making searches) it’s around 2% (Ex, for a $300,000 property it will cost buyer around $1500

– Property taxes, around 2% of the county value of the house NOT THE SELLING PRICE, this one include also the lot and improvements (Ex; Selling price $600,000 county value $400,000) the 2% are calculated with $400,000 = $8000 in property taxes. They have to be paid in March but they are mailed in November to the address provided at closing. If paid by November 30 a 4% discount is given, then December a 3% discount, January 2%, February 1% and they are due for the end of March in full.

– Insurance from $1000 to $2000 for a condo and between 0,45 and 1 % for a house.