Florida Real Estate questions

Most frequently asked questions by buyers and sellers

This list of frequently asked questions is made up from the most common questions that we receive from buyers and sellers who are interested in our services and the buying and selling process. Questions (and their answers) typically form a “first step” in an owners evaluation of whether the time is right to proceed with a purchase or a sale. VillaDirect is always happy to answer any other questions that you may have.

Who pays the realtor?

Standard commission in the states is 6%, which is split between the seller’s agent (listing agent) and the buyer’s agent. The commission is paid by the seller at closing. Two important things to note here: (1) The seller does not pay upfront to list their home, rather the commission is collected by the title company from the funds transferred at closing. (2) The buyer’s realtor is employed at no cost to the buyer, as the buyer’s realtor’s commission is also paid by the seller at closing.

When is the best time to sell my home?

While property sells year-round, the time of year you choose to list your home may affect the amount of time your home is on the market and the selling price. Historically, the best time to list your home is in the spring. Buyers with school-age children are most likely looking to move before the new school year begins, making the spring and summer months most popular. Other factors to consider when listing your home include current mortgage rates, local job growth, and tax-incentives.

What should I do to prepare my home to sell?

It’s no secret that a well-presented home is easier to sell than a home that is not well-maintained. Not all buyers are able to visualize your space differently than it appears. Simply put, how your home appears matters! Minor updates like touch-up paint, air fresheners throughout, and good light make a difference. Be sure to rid your space of clutter and invest in a deep clean. If you’re willing to go the extra mile to minimize time on market and maximize return on investment, you may want to consider professional staging.

What is FIRPTA and am I subject to it?

The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980, better known as FIRPTA, authorizes the U.S. to tax foreign sellers upon the disposition of real property. The federal withholding is 15%. In a typical transaction involving a seller subject to FIRPTA, 15% is withheld by the title company at closing. These funds are released (in whole or in part depending on capital gains) within 90 days. It is important to enlist the assistance of an accountant who specializes in FIRPTA to file the paperwork on your behalf. VillaDirect works with a local CPA who is an expert in such matters.

Can I afford to buy a second home?

When considering whether a vacation home is a good fit for you and your family, it is important to examine the true cost of ownership. This requires looking beyond the sale price. Factors to consider include financing, insurance, taxes, and property upkeep. As with any investment, you want to ensure you’re making an informed decision. As a property management company comprised of over 200 vacation homes, VillaDirect has performance data that most builders and realtors do not. Our realtors work overtime to provide the data needed to make the best investment choice for you.

Is Florida good place to invest in real estate?

Absolutely! Orlando set the record for the most visited U.S. city with 72,000,000 visitors in 2017. 2018 revealed that Orlando continues to dominate the travel market with an astounding 75,000,000 visitors. If you’re looking for a profitable area to acquire investment property in, Orlando should be among your top choices. The sunshine state, as a whole, had 126,100,000 visitors in 2018 – a tourism record for the 8th consecutive year.

What is the first step of the home buying process?

If your vacation home purchase requires financing, the first step in the home buying process is being pre-approved for a mortgage. VillaDirect can recommend mortgage loan originators that specialize in second homes to assist you. Pre-approval is important because it is the only way to be sure of the amount you can finance. Imagine looking for vacation homes in the $300,000s only to find you’re only approved for $250,000. Obtaining pre-approval first will save you from this pitfall. If your purchase does not require financing, you can skip to finding the right realtor.

What should I do once I’m pre-approved or have proof of funds?

Your next step is finding a real estate agent, if you have not already done so, to represent your interests. At VillaDirect, our REALTORS® start by showing you active listings that meet your criteria. Once you’ve chosen your favorite properties, we then help you narrow down your selections based on the homes that present the greatest return on investment. Showings can be arranged thereafter. Once you’ve decided which property is right for you, we submit an offer on your behalf.

What happens after I’ve found the right property for me?

You’ll work with your real estate agent to determine the price you’d like to offer based on recent sales, the earnest money you’re willing to submit with the contract (or within a few days after the contract is accepted by the seller) to show you’re serious about the purchase, and any contingencies or requests. You’ll then sign a contract for sale and purchase drafted by your real estate agent. Your agent will submit the contract to the seller’s agent on your behalf. Negotiations will take place and, if an agreement is reached, a countersigned contract returned to you.

What happens after a contract for sale and purchase is completed by both seller and buyer?

REALTORS® work directly with the title company who is responsible for closing the deal. They ensure all required documentation is signed by both parties (HOA disclosures, seller’s disclosures, addendums as needed, etc.). They also organize inspections and negotiate on your behalf following the findings. The title company works directly with the lender to obtain loan documentation. All parties contribute to a successful transfer of title. Closing typically takes 30-45 days for transactions involving financing. For cash transactions, closing can take place in as little as 10 days.

Can I buy a home without a real estate agent?

While you may be able to find a property for sale by owner, buying a property without representation is not recommended. Without an agent that has access to the MLS, or multiple listing service, you’re unable to view all available homes in your desired location. Simply put, there will be homes for sale that you know nothing about. Without an agent, you’ll be responsible for researching comparable recent sales and determining what you’re willing to offer. Active listings are unreliable in determining actual sale price. A realtor can search the MLS for recent sales which enables you to make a strong offer. Without an agent, you’re responsible for your own contracts, negotiations, contingencies, seller disclosures, and inspections. A realtor, whose services buyers do not pay for, takes care of this for you to ensure a smooth transaction from start to finish.

Can I sell my home without a real estate agent?

You can, however selling a home without an agent is trickier than it may appear. Selling your home alone means you’re responsible for marketing and advertising without relying on the exposure that an agent provides through the multiple listing service, or MLS. It also means you don’t have the benefit of a comparative market analysis which is beneficial in ensuring your home is priced right. Pricing is most important to a timely sale! Selling alone also means you don’t have the benefit of a real estate expert to guide you through staging, contracts, negotiations, disclosures, inspections, repairs, and closing.

What is the difference between a real estate agent and a realtor?

While the terms realtor and real estate agent are often used interchangeably, they are not equal. Both are licensed to sell real estate, however a REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® while a real estate agent is not. REALTORS® must adhere to a special code of ethics that govern standard practices in real estate. Real estate agents, while assumed to operate morally and ethically, are not bound by the same code. The code of ethics consists of 17 articles, the first of which is putting the interests of clients above oneself. VillaDirect employs REALTORS®.

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Just give us a call on +1 (321) 293 8440
or email us at team@villadirect.com.