OUR HOME BUYING PROCESS
90% of homebuyers with Living Vogue Real Estate are from out of state. So first let us put your mind at ease and let you know that you are not the first to have questions about the process. We are accustomed to working with remote clientele, from searching as your proxy, previewing homes on your behalf, and facilitating inspections - to negotiating for you and sending a notary to your location for closing - we deal with every type of buyer.
You make the first move by calling, texting, emailing, or instant messaging. Since we deal with buyers from multiple time zones, Living Vogue Real Estate takes pride in being available 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. We will learn about your desired lifestyle first, and then get details on the type of property you desire, the size, bedroom count, the location, views, budget, etc. Once armed with this information, our team will search available listings (both on market and off-market), and further narrow based on our local expertise and experience.
If you're out of town, the process of sending candidate homes back and forth usually requires several iterations. For our longer-term clients, we will set you up on automatic searches that update you on new listings that meet your criteria. The intent is that we will have narrowed your search zone and list of potential candidates to a manageable amount so that when you arrive in-person we can hit the ground running.
- We will also assist in determining your purchasing power and best financing structure for your purchase. If you require a loan, Living Vogue Real Estate has terrific local contacts with some of the best lenders in the area. We always recommend using a local lender, as purchasing property in Florida is a little different than your hometown. A local lender will know the ins and outs of the market, and how to avoid pitfalls and common mistakes that hometown and "big-box" lenders often make. These mistakes delay closings and cost you money and opportunities in the end. As a note, Living Vogue Real Estate receives no kick-back, referral fees, or other incentives from lenders we recommend. We simply refer them to our clients based on trust, local knowledge, and competitive rates. If you have already been pre-approved, you can just send us your pre-qualification letter. You MUST either show proof of funds (cash buyers) or a pre-qualification letter from a lender, or combination of both, in order to schedule showings of the higher-end Sarasota properties. Today's sellers simply demand it.
- Once the list of potential properties has been set, we will organize, schedule, and facilitate home-viewing tours. Living Vogue Real Estate will show you ALL available properties including those listed in the MLS, bank owned properties, short sales, auction properties, for sale by owner properties, and even some unlisted properties (so-called pocket listings). We do not discriminate properties based on commission, ease of closing, or personal bias. On the day (s) of showings, you will be transported in luxury by us. This allows us to lend context to the homes and point out places of interest, amenities, and relate the overall lifestyle that each differing area affords. Or if you prefer, you can follow us in your car or meet us at the property.
- If you are interested in any of the viewed properties, we will conduct in-depth property research and prepare statistical reports with recent sales data, ownership history, tax assessments, mortgage history, price per foot, and other custom data for you to analyze. We will conduct due diligence on the selected homes to help identify any problems or issues that the property might have. These details will be leveraged to help get you a better price, terms, and conditions. We will repeat this process until you've found the home and lifestyle of your dreams.
- Once you've found your new home, it is time to make an offer. We will advise on the appropriate offer structure to help obtain the best possible terms and price. Generally speaking, buyers will most likely receive a discount from the listing price. There isn't a "magic number" or percentage, as an acceptable price will differ on each property, but you can usually expect a discount in the 2-5% range. Cash buyer willing to close fast will have great leverage than someone using a loan. Extra contingencies, like extended closings or a sale contingency, will take away some of your bargaining power. The average time on market is about 4 months in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch. So it's not unusual to see homes on the market for 4-6 months - so don't expect their owners to accept a very low offer. Also, know that sellers will almost never accept your first offer. They will expect to negotiate and will counter your offer. You should expect a back and forth process until one side walks away, or a compromise is agreed to. Living Vogue Real Estate will negotiate on your behalf, and under your direction, taking the stress and anxiety out of finalizing price, terms, and conditions.
- Once the offer is accepted, Living Vogue Real Estate refer you to a local real estate attorney to open escrow. The property is then marked "Under Contract" in MLS. The seller can continue to show the property, and even take back-up offers, but it is now under contract with you alone. Once the contract is signed and executed, you typically have 3-5 days in which to place an earnest deposit into escrow with the attorney. This deposit is held until closing and applied to your balance due. In the Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch market, and earnest deposit is typically 2-5% of the purchase price. This deposit is fully refundable if unless several contingencies are passed, depending on the agree terms and conditions of your contract. Living Vogue Real Estate will always negotiate contingencies related to inspections and financing. Additional contingencies can be added based on your specific requirements (attorney review, sale of your current home, etc.).
- After the initial earnest deposit, the next step is typically the property inspection. Living Vogue Real Estate works with several local inspectors and can recommend a good company based on the location, size, age, and property type. Besides the main inspection, other checks can be added for pest/termite, mold, wind-mitigation (insurance related), etc. We will make recommendations to you on included inspections based on the property, financing, and contract type. If you're not local, no problem. Our agents will be there as the inspector checks the home from top to bottom. At the end of the inspection, the inspector will go over each fault with your agent so that they can relate the issues with you and lend context to their priority and importance. Not every issue is worthy of having fixed or asking for a price reduction. Depending on the type of contract negotiated, some faults will be accepted as cosmetic, while others will be addressed by the owner prior to closing. We will negotiate repairs, credits, and concessions on your behalf. If there is a major issue found, depending on your contract, you will have the ability to cancel the contract and retain your earnest deposit.
- During escrow, the attorney will review several reports, facilitate investigation of the chain of title to the property to ensure you buy a home free and clear of issues and liens, faciliatate association application processes, and communicate directly with your lender (if you have a loan). If you're using a loan, your lender will order an appraisal of the property. They may also order a survey of the land and structure (s). We will coordinate scheduling.
- If you're using a loan, it is normal to have a "loan commitment contingency" in your contract with a set time period (usually 30 days). If you fail to qualify for the loan within this time period - whether based on credit, income, or the appraised value of the home - you're able to cancel the contract and retain your earnest deposit.
- Once the inspection, loan commitment, and other contingencies have been met - you're clear to close. The day prior to closing we will walk through the property to ensure it's been maintained. If you're closing in person, we'll facilitate the signing at the attorney's office. If you're closing remotely, the attorney will coordinate a time and place for you to sign the documents and wire the required funds.
- Pop a bottle of Champagne! You've got your dream home and new Sarasota lifestyle!