How will you live your best life? Perhaps you will live in a tropical paradise busy rebuilding itself in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. The rebuild of Sanibel & Captiva Island is underway. The Sanibel Causeway reopened to traffic on Monday, January 2nd, 2023.
A Sanibel City Council meeting was held for residents and the business community in late November. Questions were raised. Questions were answered. The meeting displayed a sense of unity in the community. Dr. Scott Crater, a Sanibel Councilman, was quoted by WINK News (the CBS affiliate for southwest Florida) as saying “I would say that the people of Sanibel and the business community of Sanibel are very much united in rebuilding the island and building it back better than what we had before.”
It is a challenging time for island residents, businesses, and newcomers. But looking to rebuild the tropical paradise better than before can be exciting when the challenge is met with tempered patience.
There are always important things to do before buying a home. One of the best things to do is to partner with a buyer’s agent. They will help you navigate the local culture and challenges that are being faced. We will happily field questions specific to rebuilding Sanibel and Captiva Island homes and home availability when you contact our agents directly. We look forward to welcoming you into our community and joining the effort as we rebuild paradise.
Below you will read more about some of the most important things to do before buying a home (usually in more favorable circumstances).
Pick Your Budget (don’t let it pick you)
Budget: Money is the name of the game in real estate. You’ll need a little bit to get the ball rolling. Take a close look at your budget and make an estimate of what you think your household can spend on the monthly mortgage. You’ll be backing out the cost of rent, adding in an estimated mortgage payment, factoring for higher utility costs, and considering the annual money required for routine maintenance and unforeseen repairs. When you think you’ve got a number you can live with comfortably, contact lenders and start the pre-approval process.
Wise homebuyers will work well within their means when creating a budget, otherwise, they will end up chasing that monthly mortgage payment and won’t have time to enjoy the luxuries and free time they have come to expect in their current lifestyle. Borrowers are often approved for a higher figure than is within their budgetary means. This means you’ll be working night and day just to keep up with the payments (don’t do that) and sacrificing other elements of your budget (don’t do that). Enjoy your life and pick your budget wisely, don’t let it pick you.
Credit Report: Check your credit score. You don’t need a good score to qualify for a mortgage but it will cost you more money. The higher the score the better the mortgage: better terms and lower interest rates.
Most lenders require a score of 620 for a conventional loan (a fair score). Aim higher. 670-739 is considered a good score, 740-799 is considered a very good score, and 800-850 is exceptional. 850 is the top level. Wouldn’t it be nice to shop at the top? Keep paying your bills on time, and don’t take out any new loans. Your credit score will improve with consistent effort and concerted responsibility.
Shop for a Loan
Mortgage: There are a number of mortgages to choose from. Exercise due diligence and shop for the best mortgage you qualify for. Do the math (the lenders will also be doing the math).
When you have found a lender that has attractive rates and terms, you will want to get pre-approved. The lender will give you a pre-approval letter. With the letter in hand, you’ll be taken very seriously by real estate agents and home sellers. You will know how much you can really spend on a home (but remember, spend within your means).
Work With A Buyer’s Agent
Buyer’s Agent: A buyer’s agent works in your best interest every step of the way when buying a home. They don’t contribute to your bottom line, as the brokerage fees for both buyer’s agent and seller’s agent are typically paid for by the seller. You get a lot of expertise, without the expense. They will help you explore homes in various neighborhoods, answer all your questions, draft a formal offer on your behalf, negotiate pricing on your behalf after inspections are scheduled, and help you to understand all of the paperwork.
House Shopping: Your buyer’s agent will show you the homes that match your criteria. They will show you homes that are within your budget. Check out the neighborhood. Imagine yourself living your best life in your tropical island home as paradise is being rebuilt all around.
Spend Some Time With The Community
The Local Coffee Shop: You can hang out in neighborhood coffee shops, get your hair cut, have your nails done, or take a stroll in the park or beaches (or in neighboring towns). You can strike up conversations or sit back and observe. You will learn a lot about the neighborhood by hanging out and interacting. You’ll be much better informed after spending some time in the area with the local people.
Make An Offer With Contingencies
A Formal Offer: Your buyer’s agent will help determine the best price to offer (not too high, not too low with respect to current market conditions). You want your offer accepted. You don’t want to insult a seller by low-balling, you don’t want to overpay, and you don’t want to lose the home to another interested party. Your buyer’s agent knows best and will handle the offer with finesse.
Inspections: The results of a home inspection are often written into a formal offer as a contingency. Your buyer’s agent will help you determine other inspection results to add as contingencies (asbestos inspections, radon inspections, lead-based paint inspections, termites inspections, mold inspections).
Move-In To Your New Home
A Wonderful Day: It takes a little patience and a little effort. But move-in day will be just around the corner after all the pieces line up perfectly. The closing process takes 30-45 days. The closing day takes a couple of hours (there’s a lot of paperwork to sign). You’ll get your keys, move in and begin to live your best new life.
Kingfisher Real Estate associates are the most well respected group in today’s marketplace serving Captiva & Sanibel Island. We look forward to helping you with all your real estate needs and welcoming you into our community as we continue to rebuild paradise. Contact us today!