Property Values on the Rise

Just a quick post for anyone still on the fence about whether or not to buy or sell your Fort Myers or Cape Coral Florida home right now. Property values are on the rise. There are still fantastic bargains to be found and the financing is still favorable, but the shockingly low prices are fading away. I do not believe there will be an unrealistic increase in values as before and I do not think home builders will make the same overbuilding mistake again. Sellers are enjoying gains on their investments and should be holding the line more times than not when negotiating their selling price. The selling prices are fair and realistic so buyers are also in a great position.

Now is the perfect time to make your purchase and the perfect time to list your home in Southwest Florida. Contact me anytime by calling 239-878-0637 or going to my website www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com for more information.

Around the World and Back to Fort Myers Florida

2013 was an amazing year for me personally and professionally in Florida real estate. Personally, I remarried, had a new baby girl, traveled by car the entire length of the United States from Fort Myers, Florida to Seattle, Washington and then lived in Asia for a few months. Professionally it was a fantastic experience to see more of the United States and visit some luxury real estate clients and corporate suppliers. I traveled to Asia, seeing Japan and Guam which opened my eyes to grand new business opportunities in both real estate and for my corporation.

One of the first things I noticed in my travels was that so many people from around the world love Florida. I know Southwest Florida is a beautiful place to live. I know from experience the boating is the best in the country and the beaches are ranked as some of the best in the world. The Southwest Florida lifestyle in general really is paradise by comparison to many places. I also just spent time in Indiana for one of their worst winters in decades, so I was seriously missing Fort Myers as I drove through the mountains of snow in the bitter cold. I am actually a fan of winter too. Our tranquility in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, yet proximity to Miami, Tampa and Orlando (Disney) by car and the entire midwest and east coast by short flight is perfect for the vacationer and resident. The yachting routes up the west coast of Florida or straight south to Key West; across the state to the Atlantic through Lake Okeechobee or by way of the Florida Keys is just unparalleled. If you don’t want the yacht, you can utilize a small boat through the countless islands and parks that line the Gulf coast and enjoy typically calm waters. Our cost of living is similar to the midwest and less expensive than most areas from what I can see. I always knew and loved these things about Southwest Florida real estate, but to have all of these things told to me by people all across this country and on the opposite side of the planet further bolstered my confidence in our beautiful community and makes me that much more proud to serve my luxury Florida real estate clients as they find their own piece of our paradise right here.

I’m very happy to be back home now and I am enjoying working with my real estate partners again. The market is in fantastic shape and prices are rebounding. I will write more on this later, but it is safe to say that now is the time to buy real estate in Southwest Florida as property values and prices continue to rise. Contact me with your questions or thoughts and visit www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com for more information.

The Difference Between Home Mortgage Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval

A Fort Myers mortgage broker who is now working in my office emailed this to all of the agents today and  I thought it was great information. I have seen people in all price ranges speak to an ambitious mortgage broker who tells them they can get a loan and then they come  to me, pre-qual letter in hand,  wanting to go home shopping. Then they find out the pre-qual letter the broker wrote is meaningless because it is by no means an approval for a loan or acceptable to a seller as proof of real estate financing.

I made the mistake in the past once,  which I remember all too well, of taking the word of a very legitimate banker who wrote a glowing pre-qual letter for the owner of an enormous company and I wrote a $600k + home contract for that buyer based on the pre-qualification. The offer was accepted because of my strong reputation, not the letter. Then in the approval process for the loan there arose a mountain of tax and corporate legal issues that would have made it difficult for this guy to buy a Toyota. Needless to say, that  will never happen to me again, but I am still approached by buyers with pre-qual letters only. Here is a good explanation of the difference.

Pre-qualification is the first step in obtaining mortgage financing. A potential borrower answers a  few questions to provide the loan consultant with a quick snapshot of the borrower’s income, existing debt, accumulated savings and whether or not there is a co-borrower. Signature(s) allow the loan consultant to run a credit report and begin to determine what loans are good candidates for this particular client. However, there are literally thousands of loan programs available. It is important for the loan professional to know the long-term financial objectives of the prospective homeowner.

Pre-approval is a written documentation that proves the borrower has the full support of a lender. It means the form 1003 Uniform Residential Loan Application has been completed and reviewed by an underwriter. Based on the borrower’s income, debt ratio, and savings, the underwriter will provide a dollar amount this borrower is eligible for. Now the borrower has the convenience of shopping for a home in the price range agreed upon by the lender.Pre-approval allows potential homeowners to shop as cash buyers, and that means negotiating power. Sellers will take an offer from a pre-approved shopper much more seriously and may even accept a lower bid because they know the financing is in place and the deal is secure.

I am more than happy to put you in contact with several Cape Coral and Fort Myers Mortgage lenders if you do not have your own, but when we shop for properties you will need a pre-approval if you are financing the transaction. You need that prior to making an offer on a property. Preparation is the key to a successful transaction and I am here to assist you anytime. For additional information on a Fort Myers mortgage please go to www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com.

My review of the book “Activate Your Passion – Create Your Career” written by Madison Hildebrand

Like many real estate agents, the Bravo channels “Million Dollar Listing” show with Madison Hildebrand caught my eye while I was surfing the channels and I had to watch. I am not  a TV person. I do not mind knowing nothing about TV shows. I just don’t sit around long enough to watch any entire show. I am almost proud to say I have never seen an entire episode of American Idol; it makes me unique.  If it were not for my DVR I would never be able to  watch a complete program.  From a real estate agents perspective, the “Million Dollar Listing” show  is  very entertaining. The interaction and differences of the three personalities  are easy to relate to in our business and  the show just cracks me up constantly. Few of us ever get to see the luxury homes of the Los Angeles area and I  have considered that many of their clients are the type of people that buy properties and investments anywhere, especially in Southwest Florida  where I work.  The show  is actually useful market information  for me.  Not knowing anything  about how these reality type shows are put together, I first assumed the three characters on the show were  actors playing the roles of agents. Hollywood is right there after all. When I noticed the three guys were actually engaging in some serious and highly professional  real estate business practices I had to consider if they were being  heavily coached or maybe they were actual agents. I Googled the names and the first  I found was Madison Hildebrand who is a real  agent at Caldwell Banker in Malibu. I heard in an episode he had a book and I saw it for sale on his site. I was still skeptical of the whole idea of the  celebrity Realtor.  My wife and I  stood right next to Sylvester Stallone on the sidewalk  at South Beach in Miami once as he was waiting for his car to get brought around. I know he is a  real person because I saw him in the flesh, but I also know he is not actually Rambo or Rocky. Both characters who I enjoyed immensely. Out of curiosity and an appreciation  of the personality I see portrayed on TV, I purchased  Madison’s book. I fully expected to receive a Bravo channel promotional pack or something of the sort, but that is not what this book or what Madison Hildebrand is about at all.

I was amazed and inspired by this  relevant,  empowering  and concise book. Plus, it often had me smiling and laughing as I read which  kept it genuinely entertaining. I own stacks of books on professional sales, corporate training manuals,  motivation, even the how to  books. As a professional in  marketing and sales it  has always been important to me to stay well informed.  I have a  couple books on the shelf half finished because they just bored me too much.  They really do just  sound alike sometimes.  I received Madison’s book in the mail and  had the time right then  to open it up  and begin reading. The next thing I knew I had read the entire book. It is not a very long book which is perfect for  busy people and it was just enjoyable to read. I felt like I was reading a long letter from a friend giving me some great advice. Some of the topics covered  include goal setting, effective business  planning,  tips on making good choices personally and in your career and sound business building practices. He also makes  outstanding points on ethics, professional presentation, and  for anyone starting a new  position working with the public. To me, what makes this book different than the stack of books  on the shelf is that it is written in a way that is not preaching or from an  overly egocentric point of view.  Madison Hildebrand writes a cleaver and engaging narrative  from a real world perspective and without even realizing it, you receive the fundamentals for a great career. What I appreciate most  from the book personally  is how it reminded me about the importance of attitude and passion not only  in my professional life, but in all important endeavors. I am 43 years old, I own companies and manage people and  sometimes  see myself  too deep in  the business end of it all.  This week after I read this book by Madison Hildebrand I  re-evaluated  how I  was interacting with my clients, especially some of my past clients and  I was able to identify and open  several outstanding new  business opportunities.  If you have been around a while, this book will remind you why you got in business and how to stay on top, if you are new it will show you a clear path to success. The book has a focus on the real estate industry, but is relevant to  most any career path especially any entrepreneur. I am hardly a professional book reviewer or critic, but I enjoyed this book and got something important out of it. I recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

You can buy the book on Amazon at the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/Activate-YOUR-Passion-Create-Career/dp/1419697676/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1261178726&sr=1-1

CDPE Designation and Florida Real Estate Foreclosure

Now that I have completed the CDPE “Certified Distressed Property Expert” designation  I have a much better grasp of the enormous problem of the foreclosure property market.  I have found from several sources that here about  80% of short sale contracts written do not close. Considering the time and effort that goes into making a proper offer on a property, that seems to be a colossal waste of time for everyone. There are some factors influencing these numbers including: listing agents who have only a  general idea of what the bank is looking for when presenting a sellers “contract package” causing weeks of waiting while the bank representative moves on to the properly presented contracts, multiple contracts being accepted by a seller on a single property, new scams featuring option flippers  and get rich quick schemes  that  work the  temporarily grey areas of bank fraud and the  overwhelming scope of the problem. I am all for investors buying and selling properties and investing and flipping has never been a bad thing for me personally. Especially when it improves a home and community.  There are many legitimate investors working with full disclosure and proper licenses. A predator or con artist will feed off desperation and try to convince you to purchase ridiculous e-books and CD’s  or pay hundreds of dollars for a seminar to learn about their system/scam or even worse when you can’t even make your house payment. A legitimate investor could be a great resource  depending on your circumstances, but scammers create greater losses in a short sale for everyone involved (except for themselves of course) and they expose short sale home sellers to a potentially greater default judgment and higher promissory notes.  I don’t want to think of what the lenders may do legally as they absorb inflated short sale losses and address the option flipper “or whatever the scammer calls it”  problem. Some banks  restrict the  resale of short sale properties for a time period after the short sale closing and I know  the wording  in a sales contract or letter is probably not sufficient to keep a lenders legal and loss departments  from pursuing a judgement against the  seller during the five years they have in Florida to come after them,  particularly if they believe fraud may have been involved.  The get rich quick scams and Ponzi schemes taking advantage of people are prolific and any reader who really thinks those scams are a  smart move should stop reading now because I do not offer the type of professional help you will require.

So what can be done? Short sales are a real and viable option for property owners who are in true financial hardship.  I am told the government is helping to put together some guidelines to help the short sale process move more smoothly like, attempting to set a maximum bank response time (10 days I heard), incentives for sellers and lenders, a stipulation that releases sellers from future debt liability  and even moving allowances for the sellers. Having a true hardship is one of the keys to a short sale, not just being upset because your home is not worth what you borrowed, but a true hardship that can be demonstrated to the lender. A short sale can help save the credit of the financially distressed homeowner by avoiding a foreclosure which will help them get back on their feet sooner and usually saves the bank time and money compared to a foreclosure. Helping the homeowner is the goal which any good agent will tell you. There are certainly easier contracts for a real estate professional  to work with for greater profits based on the time and effort spent. Short sales listings are not to be done on a whim and can involve much more work than the typical real estate agent is readily able or sometimes qualified to perform. If you need to consider a short sale, you should speak to a licensed real estate agent, but just don’t call any  agent who may or may not have experience or training in handling a short sale transaction. You most likely will be one of the 80% wasting their time with an unsaleable short sale. There are about 15,000 CDPE agents in the country right now who have advanced training in this matter. That is probably a good place to begin looking for answers. If you would like to contact me, please keep in mind that short sale listings still involve advertising and property expertise so unless you have a luxury or higher value property I will not be able to take on your business. There are agents who specialize in listing numerous inexpensive short sales and those agents are very well equipped to provide you with outstanding service for your particular needs. Don’t think I do not appreciate the needs of the low priced home seller, it is just a matter of what fits into my particular business model. I will provide you with a well-qualified referral within my office if needed.

When you pick your real estate agent, be prepared to open your financial books and hardships wide as they prepare a complete bank package. The package is a very specific proposal to the lender demonstrating why it would be in the best business interest of everyone involved for them to allow a short sale. If this cannot be properly demonstrated or if you really do not qualify for a short sale but submit your package anyway, you will be wasting everyone’s time. Your real estate agent will help you determine if you are qualified for a short sale or if foreclosure in the only option.  If you lie or your motivations are other than a hardship, you will fail and may open yourself up to legal issues and foreclosure. For your own sake, give your short sale the serious attention it requires by using a qualified real estate agent. If you have a luxury or waterfront home and are in a  real financial hardship and you would like some options other than foreclosure, call me anytime at 239-878-0637 or find additional information at www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com.

New Specialty for the Foreclosure Market.

Time flies when you’re having fun. That is my only excuse for not posting in so long. I would like to thank the readers who continue to call me for their Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate needs including the massive Fort Myers and Cape Coral foreclosure market. Like I have said before, my callers always get priority service because you can reach me right away and nearly all day,  excepting of course for food, sleep, family and workout times, but nearly all day.

During the past few months, I have been watching a sad but true fact in the Southwest Florida real estate market play out. While properties are selling, a vast majority are in fact the short sale and Fort Myers and Cape Coral foreclosure properties. Distressed properties are king here in the former land of speculators. Not only in the cheap, less than $100k market that I try to avoid, but also in the high-end properties. That can pose a problem to agents like myself who have always enjoyed that part of the market. Not so much for our ability to help a buyer purchase one of these great bargains, but to list a property as a short sale or even work with Bank of America or whoever requires some additional knowledge in the processes. There are forms to file, offers to submit here and there and additional wait times and general requirements. Combine that with the rightfully high expectations of the buyer and seller in a luxury home transaction and you can see how the agent had better know his business before taking on such an undertaking.

To be certain I am the broker who is at the forefront of distressed luxury home servicing, I am taking a few days out of my schedule this month to attend some rather costly course work to become a CDPE designated agent. CDPE is a national education designation agents can earn that stands for Certified Distressed Property Expert. Very few agents in the country have taken the time or paid the expense for this training. Many who are working in the short sale and foreclosure market have learned mainly through trial and error,  including myself, and most others are still struggling through their learning curve. I personally refuse to offer a service where I am not completely confident I know the entire process backward and forward and can guide my client like the professional I am in every other transaction. Now with the enormous amount of business coming my way in this specialized market of distressed luxury homes, I can’t avoid it any longer.

While few agents have become a CDPE, even fewer and devoted their work to the luxury home buyer and seller in the Ft. Myers and Cape Coral foreclosure market.  Agents think it is not a priority considering the huge number of little homes there are to sell comparatively. For me, real estate is not my first or even now the only industry I  work in. I own a national company named Propane Outfitters Inc. that is a supplier of a specific industrial materials handling product to major companies and the government from coast to coast in the USA.  I have the privilege of speaking to and conducting business with corporate executives and business owners nearly every day while providing a product that is an outstanding gauge of overall business productivity. That being the increasing or decreasing need for the storage capacity of their forklift fuel for their plants and warehouses for example. I can plainly see a decrease in productivity over the past few years and the unwillingness to spend on the higher end products we offer in favor of the least expensive. When the business owners don’t make the money, first the employees don’t keep their jobs, which has happened, then the executives start to downsize as well. That is about to hit us here now. We already see the real estate developers, construction company owners and not surprisingly many real estate agents downsizing their luxury homes. Unfortunately, it is not always a smooth transition with the property values dropping as quickly as they have here. With the continuing economic turmoil and a misled recovery that puts the boss in the dunk tank thinking that will help grow jobs, many of our luxury home owners are becoming Fort Myers and Cape Coral foreclosure victims. As everything, each property situation is just relative to another person’s perspective. One person’s distressed property at $1 mil. is a downsize bargain for someone else. If the property is not represented or sold properly, that distressed property becomes a million a dollar headache for the buyer and seller regardless of the price.

It is difficult to sell a luxury Fort Myers or Cape Coral foreclosure home where the asking price is several hundreds of thousands of dollars or more and the property is weeded over, moldy, smelly,  rotten or infested with all creation: this is South Florida after all. Banks and seller have been turning these properties over to out of town Brokers or local agents who only provide basic services and many times the properties become ruined from just sitting in Florida. Then the properties eventually get auctioned off at an even larger loss than was ever expected, worsening the situation for the sellers and further destroying local property values. While I am happy for the eventual buyer because purchase price, even they would have been happier if they did not have to now remodel or gut the once beautiful home because of simply neglect. I will be posting my new business services for this market segment in roughly a week but please contact me for additional information on these new services anytime. Find more information at www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com.

E-Mail vs. Phone In Cape Coral and Fort Myers Real Estate

I have been increasingly busy over the past month in  my Fort Myers real estate practice as I  continue to meet buyers from around the world wisely taking advantage of our great prices in this resort area. While I can’t help the kid looking for a $50k home easily, I can find the $500k+ waterfront home for the UK buyer in my sleep. I enjoy the ability to focus my business on what I am best at, which is the Fort Myers, Sanibel Island and Cape Coral upscale property market.

I have  written briefly about this before and I have even made mention directly on my personal website www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com about the need to pick up a phone and speak to me. I love technology. My company www.PropaneOutfitters.com  is all about the worlds newest technology in online storefronts and product ordering. Buying a property is not the same as buying an industrial steel cage on my company site.  This does not mean a client can not contact me by email which is a  typical means of first contact these days, especially with my overseas buyers. Consider this event. I recently had a  domestic client email me from my corporate web site requesting  information on a very valuable property, but  he failed to pick up the phone and ask me about the property or introduce himself even though my phone numbers are  on the web site. Meanwhile a first time buyer who wanted to spend $50k called me twice in the same time period. As the first time buyer received extensive consultation from me on financing and the search process and  a referral to an agent who specializes in first time buyers  who will give him the  expertise  he needs, the  buyer who I should  have been helping sooner was waiting  for my reply.

I know  people are jaded sometimes by the lack of competency and business aptitude that can be found in the real estate industry. I know much of that is well deserved as I  am forced  to do business  every day with some of the same people who have caused these feelings. It is maddening to pick up the phone  to conduct business and reach someone who knows less than you about their own  work. Or worse, the person you call pretends to know everything and  misleads you with the practiced lines and platitudes designed to lead you on  as they fumble through their work and hope you will  feel committed to them at some point. One of my personal pet peeves is the 24/7  agent, which means they claim they will take your call anytime no matter what. Not only does that reduce  the professional  agent to the same level as  a 7/11 store clerk, but have you ever tried to conduct serious business with someone who obviously has not had enough sleep? I keep a clock of the world time zones on my desktop so I know when not to call my clients overseas. I will take a call from some clients absolutely any time, but be assured, even if you need to leave a message you will still receive my full attention as I return you call and work for you.

Regardless of any trepidation or preconceptions you may have, when it is time to seriously conduct business in real estate, you will need to pick up the phone and speak to me at some point.  You will get specific, professional real estate consultation and up to date information on an expert  level. You can contact me by email anytime and  I will respond the same day and  usually right away. I will send you homes for review by email and extensive information about the buying process and each property  so you can practically make the decision before personally seeing the property, but I always prefer you come to  see the property. Email is especially important with my overseas clients because of the costs,  time differences and even some language accents and such are more easily understood in writing. You don’t really know a person until you speak to them and until you meet them. You should really  want to know the person who is advising you on spending hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions.  Direct communication is the most valuable and important business tool  we have in the world.

Email vs. Phone:

  • Email is perfect for data, detailed business communication and real estate research.
  • Phone calls are necessary for conducting business on a highly professional level and to ensure a  complete understanding between parties in highly complex decisions like the purchase of a property.

I have left out the  obvious importance of personal meetings just because in my area of expertise there are so many variables including attorneys, personal buyers (shoppers), spouses, outside brokers and so on who  can make decisions  besides  or  on behalf of  a client. I will probably write a complete article on that in the future.

My goal and my job is to provide you as my client with the best service possible. How well we communicate is vitally important to my ability to deliver. Both email and phone calls are very important, but  when it is time to do business do not hesitate to  pick up the phone and call me.

My Personal Real Estate Investment Picks

The press has said yesterday home prices are flattening or leveling. Sales have been picking up and inventory has been thinning, economics 101 tells us the prices will level. There is still room to move downward in some areas like north Cape Coral, Florida where the city continues with a water and sewer project that will attach an assessment of somewhere between ten and twenty thousand dollars to every property as it puts in a new water and sewer system. Considering Cape Coral is at the top of the national list for foreclosures and the well and septic systems work very well in that less populated area, that does not sound like a welcome action to the property owners. I own a property in that area and while the assessment does not affect me, especially since I already know it will mean my investment value will increase by the assessed amount or more and I will get a new road installed as well, there are those who are not so fortunate and cannot afford this assessment. While I feel bad for those people,  the best and only thing I can do is help them sell if they must, which is why I recommend that area as a great place to watch for upcoming investment deals.

My personal favorite investment now and over the next 24 months are the homes in the far southern end of Cape Coral with Gulf of Mexico access. Those homes generally peaked at over half a million dollars for basically tear downs and can now be bought for just over 100k. Not that I expect the old prices anytime soon, but consider the benefits of these investment properties: minimum 80 foot wide deep water canals with a standard lot size of 80ft water frontage and  120 to 150 foot lot depth, typical home is three bedroom two bath with a garage, usually just minutes out to the open water of the Gulf for fishing or pleasure boating, minutes away from Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach by water or land, direct access to the Atlantic directly across the State of Florida via the Caloosahatchee River which connects to Lake Okeechobee and exits near West Palm Beach. I hear people asking, “Where can I invest?” Buying an investment property at the bottom of the market in a location like this is hard to beat.

Here is my disclaimer, you need to do your homework before making any real estate investment. What is right for one person may not be right for another and if you buy a property without consulting a professional Realtor (see earlier article) and you pay too much or buy a lemon, don’t blame me. If you contact me and we get you a great property, then you are welcome to blame that on me to all of your friends.

New Listings In The Real Estate Industry

A large part of the real estate business for agents has always been about getting the listing. Sending the postcards, making the presentation even making cold calls if need be. As I built my real estate business that was an important part of my work as well. When  I began to specialize my real estate work into luxury homes, listings became more than just a piece of inventory to be placed in a file and on the Internet like most home listings are handled. Luxury homes need to be presented and advertised in the correct fashion to the right clientele. Advertising a million dollar home in a book that is only found in the discount store exit or a web site that no one sees is not usually going to put the information in the right hands. The right real estate marketing is a skill developed over years of practice,  media contacts and web site positioning. It is also a very large monetary investment to advertise a luxury home properly  which is another reason many agents should not attempt it for their clients sake.

As the real estate market changed over the past few years my business adapted. Why would I want to take on a listing that was dropping in value on a daily basis which drove off most all buyers. I consider every real estate listing into my business as an investment which I expect to make a return on. I only market a property the right way, so if I expect I will  spend $20k to $30k  in marketing for a luxury property, I will also expect a sale in a reasonable amount of time at or close to the price we set. For quite a while that has been a very difficult formula to justify when making this investment.

This year real estate buyers from around the world have realized the housing market in Fort Myers and Cape Coral has reached a price point that makes sense again and have slowly begun investing again in our properties. Many sellers have also realized they can sell their home at a fair market price and still be in great financial shape because their next home they buy, no matter where it is, can now also be purchased at a very good price. There are still the real estate sellers  holding out and  wishing for that extra  few hundred thousand  dollars or more that we just cannot justify with the facts.  Those people will have to wait until the next market peak to sell their property at that price. The sellers with realistic expectations and who are willing to work with facts for the purpose of actually selling a property are who I am willing to work with now.

As I mentioned in another article, I put together a business plan to sell your property. We will meet and discuss your property and your expectations. I will tell you what I will do for you and my expectations as well. We will decide on a sale price that will make you competitive in the marketplace, come to terms on a listing contract and then the fun begins. I do mean fun too; I enjoy bringing a property to the real estate market. I  use some of the most unique and high exposure real estate marketing tools on a local,  national and international level. The property will be exposed to all Realtors as there is a great possibility one of them will bring  our buyer, but our marketing is targeted to the right  clientele where ever they may be whether it is Miami, the Northeast, Lake of the Ozarks or California.  I also have contacts in Canada, Germany, the UK and other locations across the planet where our clients come from.

To find out more and  to contact me about listing your property, go to my web site www.FloridaLuxuryBroker.com or call 239-878-0637.

Approved Home Financing and Cash Home Buyers

I am a broker who is well positioned in the local marketplace. Because of that  I am usually contacted several times a day by people wanting me to make appointments to  show them properties and make  offers  before they even talk to a lender about home financing or  verify they have the cash to buy any property.  That is not the way the professional real estate business works.  You can easily find  other  agents who’s experience leads them to think real estate transactions are supposed to be a  series of  hazards,  headaches, and obstacles or you can work with me  and follow  simple steps to  create a professional transaction. Making sure you have the money in place is the first step, but one that is too often blundered.

Before we set up any showing appointments:

  1. If you do not need home financing and are paying cash, you will need your bank to prepare an evidence of funds letter to accompany our offer on the property and to show me you actually have the funds as well. Banks are happy to print those up for good customers like you. People have tried to lie to me about their finances in the past just to get the luxury home or investment tour. Some sellers will not let a buyer on the  grounds of  a luxury home without first  proof they can afford it.  Don’t be offended,  we will do the same thing when you have me sell it someday. Be sure you have the cash available to pay closing costs as well which I can  help you determine. If you are writing a check from a line of credit, fund or something similar, that is still cash and we would need a letter showing your line is open, sufficiently large  and available to you.
  2. If you are going to use home financing, you will need to talk to your lender before we schedule  on site showings  and have them approve you for the  general loan amount. That means you will need to tell them what you have in mind, show them some of the price figures and properties if needed which you and I  will discuss before  you approach them.  You must then provide them with all of the information they need to submit to underwriting so you can get the loan commitment  very soon after we have an accepted contract on a property. That means you give them your tax records, asset documents, whatever they need. You do not give that information to me, I do not want or need it. The lender will then give you a very professional letter on their letterhead which you will give to me that states you have submitted all of the information required to obtain a loan for “X” amount  and  your information  has been completely submitted to and approved by their institution with certain exceptions like the appraisal, survey, insurance,  inspection results, sales contract and such items related to the actual home and transaction that we can not provide yet. That letter will accompany the offer when I present it to the sellers. You can provide all the information and ask the lender how much you are approved to borrow and they  may give you an upper price  limit, but the more specific information you can provide the lender, the better the information you will get in return. Without working closely with your lender your answer from home financing underwriting may not qualify as an actual approval but instead just a pre-qualification which will not work for us. If there is any additional issue that comes up in underwriting your lender should be able to resolve it quickly with you if everything else has been done properly. If you are only home financing a small part of a purchase you need to show evidence of the funds to close as mentioned in the “cash” section above for the cash portion. Don’t even think about  asking to make a contract contingent upon the sale of your current home unless you have enormously overwhelming evidence that the other transaction is about to successfully close.

Why is this all so important? Because most sellers now will not look at an offer without this evidence or home financing approval from the bank. I don’t blame them considering how difficult it can be for even well qualified people to be financed. Even if it is not difficult, it can be time consuming and time is always of the essence in a real estate contract. Sellers do not want to take a property of the market unless they know the person can actually buy it. In the past, anyone could get quick, easy financing. There are still people out there who do not realize those days are gone and  go shopping for  a home when they can  not even  finance a car. This is the reason I can not physically show homes before we address home financing and one of the two above conditions are met. It is completely unfair to the sellers and my busy schedule if you are not qualified.  If you need advise on a good lender, I will recommend several excellent professionals who you can speak with and will take good care of you. I do not pretend to be a lender myself, I already have a good job. If you have the cash, you have the easy job. The bank can fax or email me what we need in minutes. Many banks are in trouble and I have had fully approved buyers have their loans denied in underwriting for no fault of their own. Chase Bank just recently did that to a very well qualified buyer of mine. We changed lenders and  closed, but the closing delay was  over a month. Just another very important reason to have the right agent like me to smooth over these types of contract difficulties.

Buying  or selling  property can be a lot of fun and a great experience, if you do it right. Otherwise it can be a very costly, hectic and even legal nightmare. These home financing requirements are important steps in handling your transaction properly. They are not the only steps, they are your first priority.