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Finishing Strong: What You Need to Know About Your Home Closing

For many home buyers, first-timers especially, closing can be the most tedious and harrowing part of the process. Tedious because it often puts buyers in the cross hairs of both the legal system and the real estate paperwork tangle that's required to complete the purchase. The harrowing part is a separate issue entirely. Many of the deadlines associated with closing real estate seem ridiculously arbitrary, and missing one or forgetting a crucial piece of paperwork can delay or hinder the purchase in ways that seem impossible to anticipate. But it doesn't have to be that way. What follows is a set of broad guidelines about what to expect during and before a home closing, including an outline of the process, some information about the timeline and some of the requirements for different parts of the purchase. It's important to note that the nomenclature and procedures described here can vary slightly from state to state, so you need to know which minor variations matter most.

Before the Home Closing

before-home-closing One of the best ways to prepare for a closing is to thoroughly understand what it's about. The overall goal is to transfer the title of the home from the seller to the buyer, and some critical paperwork must be exchanged or verified for that to happen. The actual time required for the closing can be anywhere from a few hours to an entire day. But much of the process takes place before the actual date of the closing. It starts when you sign the contract for the house. After that there are several important pieces that come into play. One is the verification of the loan. Before most closings, the lender has three days to provide the buyer with an estimate of the closing costs, along with a booklet describing the process. (This booklet is also called a settlement in some parts of the country.) In addition, the bank must do an appraisal of the property, which is normally paid for by the buyer. If the appraisal is lower than the agreed-on price, the difference must be accounted for in the financing plans in case the bank ends up foreclosing on the home. Another important element is the title investigation, which also starts once you sign the contract. This investigation, which is normally conducted by a company or agent specializing in doing this, verifies that the title is in fact free and clear and the previous owner owes no taxes or liens on the property or the home itself. Homeowners must also get title insurance, which helps protect both you and the bank from any undiscovered liens or taxes associated with the home and the property. And then there are the inspections. These include a general inspection of the home, a pest inspection, environmental inspection for issues such as asbestos and mold, flood reports, and boundary verification for some rural properties. Finally, the seller's disclosures must also be approved. Notification of these disclosures is required in advance, and this helps the buyer become aware of any problems with the property or the home that weren't outlined in the original listing.

At the Closing

sealing-the-deal Paying for the house itself is a separate process that's usually verified at the closing. The previous mortgage must be paid off if that's part of the process, and that payment must be verified. The money you're paying will be put into an escrow account, which is verified and monitored by an escrow company, which becomes a neutral third party in this part of the transaction. The most important piece of paperwork in the closing is the HUD-1 form, which verifies the terms of the loan and the closing costs. This is compared to the initial estimate, and should be checked for any discrepancies in fee amounts as well as mistakes. A final walk through of the property is usually part of the closing. This includes a review of appliances or fixtures, and buyers and sellers may pressure each other to back out of an agreement if there are problems with this part of the process. Insurance is an important element of the transaction as well. Buyers must have homeowners insurance and hazard insurance, and these are normally verified during the closing as well. This rundown describes most of the basics. It's important to have an array of qualified professionals helping you, from the real estate agent to your lawyer, title agent, etc. With all of this in place, its much easier to anticipate any curveballs and make the process much smoother and less stressful.
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Life After Buying a Home In Kissimmee

Buying a Home in Kissimmee | Bella Verde Realty 01
After buying a home in Kissimmee, you probably are thinking that you have so much to learn about the area. While this is true, don't stress, here's what you need to know about life after buying a home in Kissimmee. HOA’s When buying a home, it is very important to understand the C&R portion of the HOA, Covenents and Restrictions. There can be governing rules that do not fit your lifestyle. They are designed for most, but don't fit all. Pet restrictions, house painting etc. A strong HOA with good reserves in good standing is essential. When an HOA is run well, it limits the potential for increases and assessments for common area repairs, etc. Property Taxes In some areas in the Central Florida area, there are CDD's, Community Development Districts. Community development districts (CDDs) are independent special-purpose units of government established to finance basic services within a development, including infrastructure construction, services and maintenance. Common infrastructure improvements provided by CDDs include: • drainage • potable water • sewerage • roads and parks This CDD is incorporated in your Property tax payment. Some Districts have large bonds that can increase the taxes substanitally. Schools school Researching the grade of your local Schools when purchasing a home are very important. Their grade rating can be found online and an experienced realtor will obtain this information for you. Transportation transportation Florida has been improving the transit system for years. When you depend on transit, best to search within city boundaries for best transportation options. Florida is a vast state and driving is essential. Excellent roads get you around quickly, but not all areas are serviced with good public transportation that runs beyond working hours. Living in the Tourist Capital of the world, many occupations require off hours which could be a challenge in some rural locations. An experienced local agent should know the transit options. This is one of my first interview questions when I begin working with a new client. Entertainment The locals in Central Florida have many options, with the weather so conducive to outdoor activities, the options are vast. Concerts in the park, Theatre, large venues like the Amway Arena, just to name a few. Locally we have some exceptional museums. Of course, the dining in Central Florida is superb, entertainment of all sorts is at your doorstep. Golf is still a #1 favorite, with over 1480 golf courses in Florida, Central Florida hosts 8 of the top ten best courses. Tennis is a great favorite as well. Celebrity Neighbors celebrity Have any celebrities recently bought or sold in the area? Since this is a golf/tennis mecca, yes, it is home to many greats.....Tiger Woods, Larry Bird, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Capriati, John Travolta, David Cassidy, JC, Sean "P Diddy" Combs, Shaquille O'Neal, and Dennis Rodman, just to name a few!
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Must Knows When Buying a Home

There are a few must knows when buying a home that any serious buyer should know. These things aren't top secret industry knowledge, but they're actually just real estate basics anyone can have access to. Realtor Lorraine Valdes shares some of these must knows in a short interview below!

How can someone identify when a home is overpriced?

A good realtor will know the local market, that is why it is so important to work with someone that is experienced. Days on the market is an indicator... most sellers feel their home is better than the rest and tend to ignore market values and overprice their home, which leads to a home sitting for months. Your realtor's research is of utmost importance!
I research every home sold in the area before recommending offer price to my buyers.
Research tells me the price per square feet and the financing obtained by other buyers in the area. Once I have that information, I can ascertain what appraisals would have been based on the mortgage type. Current market analysis is performed for every one of my buyers.

What are three things that may usually go wrong when buying a home?

Inspection, finance, and COLD FEET. Common issues with inspections are faulty wiring, leaking roofs, plumbing issues, heating/cooling system malfunctions. Some serious problems in Florida are traces of mold throughout the structure of the home. Financing issues usually involve a buyer not being approved for having too low of a credit score, buyer recently lost his/her job, buyer income is not sufficient, the information provided wasn't consistent, too much debt is being taken on, or because the home appraisal was low. Cold feet. It just happens. The buyer or the seller just has a change of heart, and that means the deal is off. There are possible penalties to either party depending on the established contract.

What kind of “first-time homebuyer programs” are available?

Many areas in Central Florida are considered for USDA loans, which is a great program. An experienced realtor working with a good lender can place you in the perfect finance program that fits the needs.

Some parting words of advice.

When buying a home, be sure to work with an experienced realtor... A good realtor places ethics first!
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Buying A Home Online

Buying a home is always a stressful period, even if you are doing it locally. It definitely can be an exciting time, but there are so many variables and therefore so many things that you have to think about almost constantly that it can become overwhelming very quickly. However, if you think buying a home when you can go and look at it in person and speak face to face with a real estate agent is stressful, think about buying a home online. Online home buying is becoming more and more prevalent.
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Relocating to Florida: Personal Paradise Begins With Realtor Lorraine Valdes

Florida has long held the reputation as the retirement capital of U.S. – but, not all 55+ communities are the same. It’s not just about home size, location, amenities, or the color of the walls. When you are looking to relocate to Florida, the active adult community you choose has to have the right balance: one that feels like home, and one that provides comfortable and safe environment to embrace your retirement years. This is where a like Realtor Lorraine Valdes can help. Lorraine Valdes specializes in the Orlando, FL and Kissimmee, FL areas, so she can help you navigate through the many types of 55+ + "active adult" communities, and help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Communities like Solvita, Bella Lago, Bella Pointe, Champions Gate, Reunion, and Waterview are some of the most popular locations. For those who are not familiar with the Florida area, however, Lorraine is your perfect resource to help you find the ideal winter getaway, or get you established in a permanent residence. Either way, it’s important to note that Lorraine cares about her clients. She will walk you through the entire process, so buying a home becomes an uncomplicated, exciting escapade, rather than a stress-filled experience. If you are looking for the premier community in Central Florida, the one who has received the most accolades is Solvita. Whether your preferences lie in outdoor activities like hiking, boating, bocce, tennis, or golf, or whether you are interested in yoga, clubs, chess or Zumba, there are so many pursuits to occupy your time, you may find your interests develop in so many new hobbies, that you find you’re busier in your retirement than you ever were before. The best part, however, is that they have affordable homes for people at every price point, with resale homes available in the ranges of $90,000 to $475,000, and long term rentals beginning at around $900 per month. Tuscan-inspired, the ambience Solvita projects is reason enough to settle in, but it offers so much more. Complete with twin 18-hole championship golf courses, breathtaking wooded preserves, and spectacular sparkling lakes, its 4,300 acres offers everything you would expect in a Mediterranean village, including charming old-world streets, fully appointed clubhouses and a number of distinctive gathering spots to enhance the community’s charm. The exceptional planning and amenities available are some of the many reasons Lorraine has become the go-to Realtor of choice when it comes to Solvita real estate properties, and she can help you find your dream home, too. Though it’s possible to find a home on your own — whether new construction or otherwise – tackling the job on your own can become a painstaking process. This is why having the right Realtor is essential, and it is particularly important for older couples who are either retired or close to retirement, as it is a major factor in finding the right property. But, how do you know who the “right” Realtor is for you? The right Realtor to handle your real estate needs is easy to recognize when you know what you’re looking for, and Lorraine Valdes possesses every quality and element that a good Realtor should hold. She provides not just the exceptional knowledge and service you deserve, but her attention to detail and her ability to connect with her clients make her hands-down one of the top agents in all of the Kissimmee and Orlando areas. As your real estate professional, Lorraine knows the communities that support an active adult lifestyle like the back of her hand, but she also has spent years representing buyers and sellers of all types of property as well. This means that she understands that all her clients are different, and that whether you’re looking for your first home or your last, her vast real estate expertise makes her shine. Given that she specializes in 55+ adult communities, whether you’re on the brink of retirement, or even if you’re already there, you should consider having realtor Lorraine Valdes assist you. Her website features an abundance of information to assist buyers and sellers of all kinds, it allows you to search the MLS for new listings, and you can even visit her blog for a free buyer’s guide. Lorraine Valdes takes the challenge out of buying a home, and turns it into an exciting adventure. Your own personal paradise is waiting, and she can help you find it.
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Why We Fall in Love—With Houses!

Falling in love can be wonderful—and finding the perfect house can make a house-hunter weak in the knees.

A survey by shows that falling head-over-heels for a house is fairly common—69% of respondents reported that they have had a home crush. House-hunters with a “home crush,” as defined in the survey, are drawn to the same house again and again. surveyed 1,082 individuals from Jan. 9 to Jan. 20 who reported having had a home crush.
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Top 5 reasons you should consider choosing one of Central FL's gated communities.

Have you ever considered living in a gated community? There are so many benefits to picking a luxury gated community over any other type of neighborhood. Here are the top 5 reasons you should consider choosing one of Central FL's best gated communities.
1. Exclusivity People are attracted to the exclusivity and prestige a gated community provides them. In order to enter a gated community, you need to enter a security code in a keypad or be allowed in through a security guard. Your gated community will not have everyone in Central FL driving around in your neighborhood for no reason. Most people see living in a gated community as a privilege. You should take pride in your home and your gated community.
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