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1st Time Home Buyer
Cheat Sheet

By Alex Kourahanis

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Home Decor

Before Offer Acceptance

    1. Find An Expert Realtor In Your Area

  • My Real Estate team at the Luis Andrew Group (brokered by OnePath Realty) are projected to be the #1 Real Estate team in all of Miami-Dade County for 2021 with projecting over 300+ homes sold in the calendar year. We have been the #1 Real Estate team already in Cutler Bay every year from 2018 - Current.

  • If you live outside of the Miami area and are looking for a realtor ... ​Use the Zillow Agent Finder Tool to find TOP Rated Local  Realtors. Call and Text a handful of the top realtors (Check their amount of Reviews and Recent Sales) and choose one of the quickest responding realtors to be your realtor. Usually those who respond quickly are more willing to be there for you when you need them the most! Send them the type of property you are looking for and set up a day/time to meet in person.

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The Louissaint Family

    2. Get Pre-Approved

 

My Team's Preferred Mortgage Lenders: 

 Tyler Bahnsen (305) -978-7399 & Jason Clark (954) 300-5213

  • The pre-approval letter is a document obtained from a mortgage lender stating that you are qualified to purchase a property for X amount of dollars, with a Conventional, FHA, or VA loan at X% as your down payment, and with X% as your interest rate

  • The mortgage lender will run a HARD credit check so your credit score will drop slightly. They will also need a handful of other work related documents to show how much income you make every year, if you work 40 hours a week, what you own in assets, etc..

  • Without the Pre-Approval Letter (and sometimes DU Findings) we can not make an offer on a single property listed on the market. Unless you are paying all cash, then the pre-approval isn't necessary.

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The Campos Family

    3. Property Search & Setting Up The            Appointment

  • I (Or your realtor) will be looking every morning at the new listings to send your way. I will also send you new listings every single day with our automated email list alert as a back up. What this means is I plug in all of the criteria for the type of property you are interested in into our system, and you will instantly be sent properties the minute they become active on the MLS. (Which is super useful in competitive markets!)

  • Whenever you see a property you are interested in, Call/Text me (Or your realtor) the address, and I (Or your realtor) will check to see if the property is available ASAP so we can check it out in person.

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The Saiki Family

    4. Get Your Offer Accepted

  • Once you have fallen in love with a property, I (Or your realtor) should be an expert in writing enticing offers that will make the sellers and listing agents want to choose your offer over the competition. 

  • As your realtor, I (Or your realtor) will communicate the best options we need to take to get our offer accepted. Every buyer has different circumstances and can only do so much to make their offer more enticing than someone else's. We should talk things through together to make sure we both understand what we are bringing to the sellers table.

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The Mendez Family

Done Deal

CONGRATS! Your Offer Was Accepted

    5. Days 1-3 of Acceptance

  • Inspection: Schedule an inspection with a licensed Property Inspector during your Due Diligence Period (7-15 days). My team prefers to use Nick Calero as our property inspector.

  • HOA Application: Obtain HOA Contact Information from the Listing Agent/Sellers to start the Approval Process (If the property has an HOA**).

  • Escrow Deposit: Make your Earnest Money Deposit (Escrow Deposit) to the Title Company or Real Estate Lawyer handling the title work. This is usually done by a Bank Wire Transfer. My team prefers to use A&A Title as our title company. 

  • Seller's Disclosure: The Listing Agent should send this to you to review and sign. This disclosure tells you everything good or bad about the property to the best of the seller's knowledge.

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The Lozano Family

    6. Days 4-21 of Acceptance

  • Appraisal: The mortgage lender will send a Licensed Appraiser to get the property value assessed. The appraisal is the "guesstimated" property value and dollar amount that the mortgage lender will lend you for the loan.

  • Re-Negotiate: Once the appraisal comes in, re-negotiate the contract terms (If necessary).

  • Loan Commitment Deadline: Receive the Loan Commitment from the mortgage lender to ensure 100% you are purchasing this property. The deadline is usually 30 days after the offer was accepted (Unless stated differently in the contract).

  • Additional Documents: The mortgage lender may ask for additional work related documents throughout this period.

The Colon Family

    7. Days 28-30 of Acceptance

  • Clear To Close: The Underwriter approved all of the loan documentation. The mortgage lender will then send the HUD Settlement Statement to all parties. This document lists all charges and credits to both sellers and buyers due at Closing.

  • Final Walkthrough: The Final Walkthrough is usually done the day before or morning of closing. You can schedule this time according to your availability. 

  • Closing Day: Woohoo! Depending on the loan (Conventional, FHA, or VA), you will be signing paperwork for 15-40 minutes. Once the paperwork is signed by both parties (buyers and sellers) and the Money's have been dispersed to the Sellers, you can now get the keys to your brand new home!

The Suarez Family

Pile Of Books

Did You Know?
 

Additional Helpful Information
 

  • For Conventional Loans, you can put as little as 3% down as your down payment if you have a credit score of 620 or higher, and a low Debt-To-Income Ratio.

  • For Conventional loans, you will have to pay mortgage insurance until you have achieved 20% or more equity in your property. Example: If you put 5% down on your property, you will have mortgage insurance (PMI) until you reach 20% equity. Then you can have the PMI relinquished by the mortgage lender.

  • For FHA loans, you can put as little as 3.5% down as your down payment even if you have a low credit score.

  • For FHA loans, you will have to pay Mortgage Insurance for the life of the loan if you put less than 10% down. (Unless you refinance the loan later on). Also, if your down payment is 10% or more, your PMI can be removed after 11 years.

  • If you are past your Due Diligence period and for some reason the Buyer's or Seller's cancel the contract, the buyer's DO NOT get reimbursed for the inspection, appraisal, HOA fees because these 3 services are Pre-Paid services. They are NOT a part of the closing costs.​

  • Some HOA's have what's called the First Right Of Refusal. This right legally allows the HOA to purchase the home you are under contract with. So if you are under contract with a property, and the HOA has this right, they may or may not use this right to purchase the property themselves. Ultimately leaving you back at square one looking to purchase a property. (HOA's will do this to buy back all the properties within the community, most likely to rent the units out themselves).

  • If you have extra money saved up and want to decrease the life of your loan (pay your mortgage off faster), you can do what's called a Mortgage Recast. During a mortgage recast, the borrower pays a large sum toward their principal, and their mortgage is then recalculated based on the new, lower balance outstanding.

Did You Know?

Alex Kourahanis

Miami, Florida, USA

Renovation Tools

DIY Home Projects
 

Return on Investment (ROI)
For DIY Home Upgrades

 

DIY Home Projects ROI

*All ROI figures are estimated and can vary based on property size and location*

  • Paint Kitchen Cabinets: $5,000-$15,000

  • Remove Popcorn Ceilings: $4,000-$8,000

  • Replace Light Switches, Outlets, Covers: $3,000-$5,000

  • Baseboards & Moldings: $3,000-$4,000

  • Replace Hardware, Hinges, Locks: $3,000-$4,000

  • Bathroom Updating: $3,000-$5,000

  • Replace Carpet: $2,000-$4,000

  • Kitchen Counter Wrap: $2,000-$3,000 

  • Bathroom Tile Re-glazing: $2,000-$3,000 

  • Interior Paint: $2,000-$3,000

  • Exterior Paint: $1,000-$2,000 

  • Exterior Mulch/Landscaping: $1,000-$1,500

  • Pressure Washing Exterior & Driveway: $1,000-$2,000

  • Replace Light Bulbs To LED: $500

  • Window Blinds: $500

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