We have been serving real estate to the Tampa Bay home buyer and seller for over 50 years. While we have heard it all, there are many of the same questions that arise for our clients. Work with our agents and we can help you with all of your real estate needs. Top 10 Questions from real estate clients:

1. What is the first step of the home buying process?

When considering buying a home, the first step is to figure out your finances, determining what is a reasonable monthly payment for you and how much you will be able to put down for a loan. Many websites, including ours, have mortgage calculators to help you get a general idea of what a home loan looks like on a monthly basis.

2. How Will My Home Purchase Affect My Taxes?

Buying a home is an investment and can offer significant tax benefits. Mortgage interest expense, property taxes, and Private Mortgage Insurance are itemized deductions that can put more tax dollars in your pocket. The Florida Homestead Exemption can decrease the taxable value of your primary residence by as much as $50,000 and oftentimes, closing costs are tax-deductible.

3. What is the difference between being prequalified and preapproved for a loan?

To be pre-approved for a mortgage means that a bank or lender has investigated your credit history and are a good sign that a lender is ready to work with you. When you pre-qualify for a home loan, the lender will review your income to give you a general idea of how much you are able to borrow. Pre-qualified approval paves the way for the more in-depth analysis that takes place to be pre-approved.

4. What if my offer is rejected?

It is deflating but it happens. If your offer is rejected, you can work with your real estate agent to put in a counter-offer if you feel this makes sense. An agent can help you target potential ways to still make the sale happen or can give you the good counsel to walk away and pursue new opportunities.

5. Should I order a home inspection?

Most buyers get a chance to order a home inspection before they purchase a home. The inspection is valuable for the majority of home buyers that do not have the expertise to know what problems they may encounter when buying a house. A home inspector will evaluate all the major systems, the utilities, roofing and cosmetic needs to give you a detailed analysis on a home’s true condition and the maintenance it might need.

6. Should I sell my current home before buying a new one?

For most people, the answer is yes, especially if the thought of carrying two mortgages for an undetermined amount of time makes your palms sweat. Working with an agent, they will help with the timing of selling and buying so that it is as seamless as possible.

7. What kind of credit score do I need to buy a home?

The standard answer for conventional loans is a credit score of at least a 620. However, different lenders have different credit score requirements depending on how much risk they're willing to take on a loan.

8. Do I need to do a final walk-through?

This is typical and should be done the night before closing. The home is expected to be in the condition it was when you bought it and should be cleaned, though not required by law. Make sure appliances are working, windows can open and close, walls are not damaged and HVAC systems are working.

9. How do you determine how much my home is worth?

Our local real estate agents are hand-selected and know the area. They list homes everyday and are aware of what’s trending, what is happening in your neighborhood, and they can physically view the property to find the unique characteristics that make it appealing on the market. We also have an online iBuyer tool, Offer Optimizer™, that scours through millions of transactions to show you what your home would get on the open market versus an online, instantaneous offer.

10. What steps should I take to prepare my home for sale?

Preparing your home to sell is important. The first and most important step is to clean. If you are not a cleaning champ, then hiring a professional is well worth it when it comes to selling your home. You will also want to paint the walls to neutral shades and repair aesthetic damage like holes in the wall. Clearing out clutter and personal items make your home more appealing to a wider range of buyers. Give it some curb appeal too with a few blooming plants and a manicured presentation.

Our concierge service can answer any question you may have and put you in touch with a Smith pro. We’ve been serving real estate for over 50 years - let us help you find home!

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