General Steps to Purchase Real Estate in Florida

1) Pre-Qualification letter (Important if you would prefer to finance)
Always request a Pre-Qualification letter from your lender/financial institution. Please check if the lender is certified in the particular State. A non-binding confirmation considering your financial situation will give you a good overview about the maximum amount the lender is willing to finance. We can help you to find a suitable financial institution to fit your personal requirements.

2) Listing Pre-view – Make a priority list
As a Buyer’s Agent we show you appropriate properties. You, as a Buyer can choose the property which fits your demands the best and you consider to buy.  

3) Offer
The Buyer’s Real Estate Agent helps the Buyer to prepare an Offer. The Offer will be entered in a written contract – the „Contract for Sale and Purchase”. The Buyer supplies all conditions of the contract, e. g. purchase price, cash or financing transaction, the transaction’s time frame and closing date and other important details related to the expertise of professional experts etc. Usually, an Offer is valid for a few days. Additionally, there are some other documents which has to be provided, e. g. disclosures.

4) Delivery of the Offer
The Buyer’s Agent provides the offer to the Seller’s Agent. The Seller’s (or Listing Agent) discusses the offer including all conditions and requirements with the Seller.
Seller’s response to Buyer’s offer
The Seller can agree, refuse or counter the offer with modified conditions. Sometimes the Seller does not respond at all.

5) Counter Offer
If the Seller responses with modified conditions the offer will change to a Counter Offer. Now, the Buyer has the opportunity to accept, refuse or counter the offer.

6) Acceptance of the Offer
In case the Seller accepts all conditions without changing them, signs the contract and sends it back to the Buyer/Buyer’s Agent the Offer changes to a legally binding contract. The same applies if the Buyer signs the Seller’s counter offer. The contract is effective when the last party signs the final version of the contract. This date is called the “Effective Date”. All deadlines are linked to this certain date (e. g. inspections, financing/funding or payments). Everything has to be delivered or finished within a certain time frame.

7) Down payment/Deposit
Typically, the Buyer deposits a certain amount of the purchase price (“Good Faith deposit”) in an Escrow or Trust account to show his earnest interest in the property. In Florida, licensed Brokerages, Lawyers and Title companies are the only ones allowed to hold an Escrow.
Mortgage Application
After all details of the transaction are clarified the Buyer files a detailed Mortgage Request with his Lender. The Lender orders an appraisal and Survey of the property.

8) Inspections
The Buyer has a certain time frame (Inspection period or Due Dilligence period) to order inspections of the property, like home inspections, termite inspections, roof inspections, sewer system inspections and others. Not all inspections are necessary and the Buyer can decide which of them should be done. Most of the time a professional home inspector can identify issues and make suggestions for further procedures.

9) Title/Ownership
The Title Company checks all Public Records regarding unsolved, hidden or open issues with the property (e. g. legal claims or mortgage payoffs). Usually, a title insurance will be issued to protect the future owner. The Title Insurance issues all documents necessary to prepare and finalize the Transfer of Ownership.
Final walk-through: We recommend a final walk-through to make sure that the property is in the same condition as purchased.

10) Notary appointment/Closing date:
Typically, and if not otherwise agreed, the final Notary appointment is the Closing date.
The Seller is ready to hand over the keys.
Seller and Buyer need to show their ID’s (US citizens or residents: valid driver’s license or ID card, Non-residents/citizens: valid passport) and provide copies of their documents. The Buyer transfers the requested monies to the Escrow Account of the Title Company

11) Notarization
The final signing of the contract is scheduled at the Title company facility or at another location. Important: In case the Buyer and/or the Seller are not able to be present, all documents will be forwarded to the location they have provided and have to be notarized there. It is essential to follow the instructions to avoid mistakes and delays, additional requests or signing.
Important: Please let everybody know early in the process if you (Seller/Buyer) are not able to be present at the Closing date.

12) Transfer of Ownership
The Closing/Transfer of Ownership is acknowledged by the Deed (including Public Records registration). All taxes, HOA fees and other levies are prorated. The Seller has to pay all monies applicable before Closing, the Buyer pays all monies applicable after Closing.

13) Property keys and services
The Buyer or his Realtor receives all keys. Usually, the Seller cancels all utility services (water and sewer, electricity, gas etc.) and the Buyer has to activate all services on his/her behalf.

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