New Florida Real Estate Contract in Effect

Florida real estate contract 2013

The Florida Association of Realtors has published  a new version of the Florida real estate contract effective September 3, 2013. Here are the highlights of the changes:

1. Does your refrigerator stay? According to the Florida Association of Realtors, it does. If you don’t want to leave it, you have to write that in. My opinion?  Since the refrigerator is an item commonly removed or used as a negotiating factor, I don’t think it should be pre-printed in the new contract.  This item has been bounced back and forth in the last several changes of the FAR purchase and sale agreements.

2. What is the effective date of the contract? It used to be when the last party signed or initialed. Now the effective date is when the contract is “delivered”, and that could be to the agent, not the client. For example, if you signed a counter offer and agreed to a purchase on October 3, but you did not deliver the contract to the agent of the seller until October 5, then October 5 is the contract effective date.

3. What if the property you are selling has a tenant, either long or short term? You must provide a copy of your lease within five days after Effective date.  The buyer has five days after receipt to cancel the contract should he not approve of the lease. Don’t forget, even if you have a short-term rental, you must provide the lease agreement.

4. What if there is a tenant Part 2?  10 days prior to closing the seller must furnish estoppel letters with the nature and duration of occupancy, rental rates, advance rent and security deposit written by the tenant. If the tenant will not provide the estoppel letters, the seller must issue an affidavit as to the same. The buyer may contact the tenants directly to ascertain whether the seller affidavit is accurate. If this information does not match the lease provided to the buyer, the buyer may terminate the contract within 5 days of receipt of the estoppel letter or affadavit, but no later than five days before closing.

4. What about mortgage approval? If you are a buyer, you now have to provide a copy of the loan commitment to the seller. In the previous version of the contract, this was not necessary.

5. If you are a “foreign” person, you must notify the seller in writing. Of course, you must also comply with FIRPTA “Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act”.

6. All dates specified in contract, except time for acceptance and effective date – fall on the next business day.

7. You must now deliver a copy of the short sale approval to the buyers within 30 days of approval deadline (not 120 days).

8. They changed a lot of “wills” to “shalls”!

The information provided here is from the Florida Association of Realtors website. For further details, here is a page-by-page Florida real estate contract audio review.  If you have any questions, always consult your attorney before signing any real estate contract.

It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate on the Emerald Coast of Florida, in Destin, Miramar Beach, Sandestin, Seaside, Crestview, Rosemary Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Panama City Beach, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field. 

Have a Destin House to Sell Before You Buy? Strategies Here!

sell Destin home

I recently had a Destin Florida home listed where the seller accepted a contract contingent on the buyer’s house house selling.  This is always a predicament for the buyer. When his house sells, he may use the profits as a down payment on a new home.  He may also need to sell his current house to qualify for a mortgage on another property, because the payment on the existing house will be eliminated.  He cannot, however, buy a new home unless his current Destin home is sold.  The problem with this strategy is that most sellers are not comfortable with a home sale “contingency” contract.  What can you, if you are the buyer, do in this situation? Here are a few ideas:

1. Sell your existing house and move into a temporary home, then look for another house.

2. Sell your existing house and “rent back” from the buyer until you find a new home.

3. Make your offer contingent on your house selling with a “Right of First Refusal.  This will allow the current Destin sellers to keep their home on the market.  The standard Florida Association of Realtors contract states that should the seller accept another offer, he will present it to you with the personal information and price redacted. You will then have 72 hours to remove your contingency and deposit additional earnest money. If you don’t, your contract will be terminated and the other contract will move into first position.

4. Offer the seller a strong purchase price and a non-refundable deposit to take his property off the market.  Why? Put yourself in the seller’s place. It is a risk for them to “wait” for your home to sell. It may not sell at all, or it could take a long time.  If they take their home off the market, they may lose another buyer.   By offering them a non-refundable deposit, you are making your offer more attractive.

5. Finally, if you are confident in your home sale and have the financial wherewithal, you may be able to get a bridge loan for temporary financing that you can pay off or convert when your home sells.

If you need to sell your Destin home in  order to buy another, contact me for more ideas.

It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Crestview, Rosemary Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Panama City Beach, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field. 

 

Selling Your Destin Home? Require Buyer Proof of Funds

buyer proof of funds home purchase

 

Recently I’ve had two situations near Destin Florida where a real estate buyer’s agent would not provide their buyer’s proof of funds with a contract on one of my listings. What is proof of funds? It may be either a bank letter or statement showing adequate cash available to purchase a property, or it could be a lender’s pre-qualification letter showing the buyer may be able to obtain a loan for the amount specified in a purchase and sale agreement.  A pre-qualification letter is not a final mortgage approval or even a pre-approval, but it’s commonly the best you can get prior to a buyer finding a specific home, when full loan underwriting is performed.

Why is it important to get proof of funds before accepting an offer? Because you will need to remove your house from “Active” status in the Emerald Coast Association of Realtor’s MLS once an offer becomes a contract. Most agents will not show their buyers your home nor will a buyer be interested if you already have a contract on your property, so you want to only take your property off the market with evidence that a buyer can complete his transaction. If he does not provide proof of funds, it could be cause for concern. Proof of funds is always required when a buyer is purchasing a short sale or a foreclosure. The short sale lender or foreclosing bank or entity will demand it.  I process many short sale listing transactions in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Niceville and Crestview and this is always the case. An individual seller may not require proof of funds, but I would advise against it.

I’ve had two recent Destin area listings where the buyers were well-known builders in the area. In each case the buyer’s agent either was afraid to ask for the builder’s proof of funds or the builder refused to provide it.   This really is unacceptable, as a builder is not above the standards of protocol for a real estate purchase. In the end, it is my seller’s decision regarding how they want to proceed. One buyer’s agent simply responded to my email requesting proof of funds: “Their money is solid as a rock.”  That’s not proof of funds to me!

It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, is a short sale and pre-foreclosure specialist and has been featured in “Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine” and “Florida Realtor Magazine”. She has successfully helped hundreds of families avoid foreclosure through short sale along the Emerald Coast of Florida. Wendy Rulnick is knowledgeable in all aspects of short sale, including VA Compromise Sale, FHA HUD pre-foreclosure sale, HAP military PCS, HAFA, Bank of America Coop program and more.  She is also co-founder of www.ShortSaleSuperstars.com and short sale instructor to agents across the United States. Wendy Rulnick sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Crestview, Rosemary Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Panama City Beach, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field.

Choosing Your Destin Real Estate Seller, Buyer or Agent

Pick Destin Realtor

 

People who buy and sell Destin Florida residential real estate are generally emotional. I don’t blame them. So am I (which you can tell from reading my new home purchase journey). It is typically one of the largest monetary transactions of anyone’s life.  The process can take from  one month to a year. There is a relationship between the real estate seller or buyer and his real estate agent. If the relationship is not solid from the start, consideration should be given to severe the ties. As I recently wrote, one of the biggest elements in a successful buyer or seller to agent relationship is trust.

Last week I had two diametrically opposed exposed experiences with Destin real estate sellers. One of my Kelly Plantation sellers met with me and discussed my marketing, and was highly complimentary  of my visual tours of his Kelly Plantation home for sale. He said his friends told him the photos were even nicer than the house.  The other new seller asked why her virtual tour was not already online six hours after listing and cancelled our agreement.  I said “fine”.  In any business, when the relationship starts out unrealistically, it normally continues to degrade.  I have rarely had this happen in my 23 years of real estate because you can normally tell what type of relationship it is before listing.

One of my recent favorite sellers? Here is what they told me last week when I listed their Swift Creek short sale home in Niceville Florida, “Wendy, we’ll be ready for you at a moment’s notice. You can have agents text us directly for showings to save time. Tell us what to fix and it will be done… We will move heaven and earth.” Now this is a cooperative seller. She is part of the team made up of the real estate agent and the seller or buyer. Those are the type I of clients I like.

It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

SHOULD YOU SHORT SALE OR STAY CALCULATOR

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, is a short sale and pre-foreclosure specialist and has been featured in “Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine” and “Florida Realtor Magazine”. She has successfully helped hundreds of families avoid foreclosure through short sale along the Emerald Coast of Florida. Wendy Rulnick is knowledgeable in all aspects of short sale, including VA Compromise Sale, FHA HUD pre-foreclosure sale, HAP military PCS, HAFA, Bank of America Coop program and more.  She is also co-founder of www.ShortSaleSuperstars.com and short sale instructor to agents across the United States. Wendy Rulnick sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Crestview, Rosemary Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Panama City Beach, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field.

How Tech-Savvy Destin Real Estate Agent Can Help Your Home Sale

Destin Tach Savvy Agent

Today I had the pleasure of letting a buyer know that his contract had been accepted on a waterfront lot near Destin Florida.  This sale was accomplished with the tools of technology and the speed of a tech-savvy real estate agent. Who? Me. OK, here is the story….

A woman called me about two months ago having found my name on the internet and my writings about the real estate world on the Emerald Coast.  She felt I was experienced, familiar with the area and liked my style. From having read many of my  numerous blog posts, she had developed a trust before ever having met me. To me, trust is one of the most critical factors in choosing a real estate agent.

She told me about a piece of Destin area waterfront property that would be foreclosed on soon, near the residence of her long-time family home. In fact, she had tried to bid on it in the foreclosure sale, but the property had reverted back to the lender. Why did she want to engage me?  She wanted to be ready the very moment the property came on the market in order to make an offer.  I told her I would be ready. What did I do? I created a custom search in my Emerald Coast Association of Realtors MLS that would email both her and me as soon as anything was listed on the street where the property was located. Why did I enter the street name, not a specific address? Because the property was a lot. A real estate agent could possibly enter the address as “Lot X” or use a street number, or even omit the street number altogether. I didn’t want to take any chances, and it was a short street.

Tech  Savvy destin real estate agentThe morning the Destin area lot came on the market, I woke up about 5:00 a.m., a little earlier than my normal time, if you know me.  Something possessed me to do a “send and receive” on my iPhone as I rolled out of bed. There it was! XYZ Street Listed!  I immediately emailed the buyer and prepared the contract in the Florida Realtor online portal, Forms Simplicity. I had already created a draft contract after my first conversation with the buyer.  Painfully waiting until 7:30 a.m., I ventured a phone call.  I knew she was a high-energy person, so was hoping this early call wasn’t a disturbance. She was thrilled. We discussed the exact contract terms and I emailed it to her within minutes.  Her earnest money was wired to a local title agent and we even did a short teleconference with her attorney. I alerted the seller’s agent I would be sending him an offer. I hit the enter button.

A few hours later, after a follow up call to the listing agent, he got in touch with me. The foreclosing entity would not entertain offers for five days, unbeknownst to him. He was a bit disgruntled and we had no choice but to wait. Five days later I received the call, “Offer Accepted!”  My buyer had one word to describe the speed and efficiency of his offer to contract. “Outstanding”. I am not showing off. This was a fun and challenging situation where our goal was to beat any other buyer who wanted that Destin Florida area foreclosure property.  I felt I worked in concert with the buyer  toward her goal of buying that property.

What were the keys to this success story? 1. Trust between the real estate client and the agent 2. Having a game plan 3. Using technology to its fullest 4. Being prepared.

If you are thinking of buying or selling Destin Florida area real estate, hire a tech-savvy Destin real estate agent – one who won’t lose your opportunity.

It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.

850-650-7883 ext 204

Bank of America Clarifies Short Sale MLS Policy

Bank of America short sale MLS policy

Bank of America has issued a clarification bulletin to their previous email which stated all short sale listings must stay “Active” in the MLS until they are approved.  Is this enough? Although they state the listing broker and the seller control the marketing, they are still implying listings that state “cash offer” only may not be approved.

Bank of America did not address points in their previous email which specified how to fill out the MLS and prohibited stating “appointment” only.  What do you think?

Here is what the bulletin said:

The following information is to revise and provide additional clarity on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Requirements message that was sent on Feb. 11, 2013.

 

  • Listing the property on the MLS is not a new requirement in the short sale process and has always been a component of our fraud review.
  • The listing requirement demonstrates that the property was listed on the open market and the offer received represents an open market transaction.  We recognize that listing status classifications may differ by locale and are subject to local or regional MLS requirements.  Brokers should follow MLS requirements at all times. MLS statuses such as Back Up, Contingent or Pending may be acceptable.  Ensuring that the listing remains on the MLS until an approval letter is issued will help you show that the property was on the open market.
  • How the property is marketed is a decision determined by the Seller and Listing Agent, however, caution should be exercised in using terms like “cash offers only”or “property is ineligible for financing”.  This kind of verbiage can be considered an attempt to exclude a financed buyer and lead to a delay in processing the short sale.  All offers are subject to investor approval and are reviewed on a case by case basis.

It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Selling Our Destin Florida Home – A Realtor’s Story– Part 5 Conclusion

Selling my Destin Florida home

This is the last of a five part series. As a Destin real estate Broker with over 20 years experience, I recently went through the home buying and selling process myself. It was a “moving” experience.
Having found the perfect home in Bluewater Bay, now it was time to sell my house in Destin Florida. (For explanation of why I did this in reverse, see Should We Sell or Buy First? ). I decided the best way to “show” my home was without us living in there. Plus, I Wendy's catshave three precious cats, what a nightmare to round them up prior to any showing! My husband and I decided to move most of our things out and live in the digs he had prior to our marriage, while our new home was being remodeled by Beukenkamp Building Group (future blog). One week after my back surgery, we packed up most of the house, but left items that would help stage the home. The living room, dining room set and some paintings remained. Since the carpet was beat up from years of cat-abuse, I had them replaced with a neutral and “in” carpet for a reasonable price. We had minor repairs done. The home was then deep cleaned. It looked great!
So, I listed my Destin home in the MLS and did all the normal and extensive marketing I do for all my listings. I wrote a custom blog, made a visual tour, blasted my Destin Florida listing on social media platforms, like FacebookGoogle+Twitter, syndicated the listing to about 100 different sites, such as Craigslist, Realbird, etc. The home was shown, a lot.
Each time there was a showing I would email the agent for feedback: “Hi! Thank you for Feedbackshowing my home. How did it go? Do you have any questions about the property? Price and condition compared to others? Offer forthcoming?” As a “homeowner”, the answers to these questions meant a lot. I was a basket case. I would overanalyze every feedback comment, dumb or not, and I am sure I drove the buyers’ agents nuts.
What do you mean the master bedroom not on the first floor is a problem?” “If it’s so beautiful, why aren’t they writing an offer?” “Huh? Far from the beach? It’s only a four minute walk.” Since Crystal Beach in Destin Florida is not a normal “suburban” market, there was a strange mix of buyers. Some were looking at houses AND condos. Others wanted a rental property. Very few wanted a full time residence, which is how we had used the home.
Finally, after about 110 days on the market, we got “the offer”! It was great-  after a little negotiation, we were sold! The time on the market had felt more like six months to me. I had wondered if the home would ever sell. I kept asking myself, “Wendy, what would you tell your seller who got positive feedback and a good number of showings?” “Chill out!” That was the hard part, I couldn’t.
What did I learn from this selling adventure? I am fairly empathetic with my buyers and sellers already. Now, I am more so. With gentle kindness, a little good humor, and a lot of patience, I am ready to guide them through their own adventure of selling and buying real estate on the Emerald Coast.

It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Writing the Offer – A Realtor’s Story – Part 4 in a series

Buying a Home in Niceville or Destin Florida

Fourth in a Five Part Series

Deciding to Move – A Realtor’s Story- Part 1

Should We Sell or Buy First – A Realtor’s Story – Part 2

The Search for a New Home – A Realtor’s Story – Part 3

We found it! Having decided to move, buy before selling, searching diligently, we had finally found the perfect home. After viewing hundreds of properties online and looking at a few, this was “It”! Now it was time to write the offer. I knew the home would be popular, as it was in a gated golf community in Southwind, part of Bluewater Bay. In fact, I slightly freaked out, as there were other agents’ business cards on the breakfast bar. That meant – it was being shown! I was no longer a “Realtor”, I became the “Buyer”. I wanted the house and no one else was going to get it. So part of this story is a bit of a confessional.
What to offer? The house had only been on the market a few days, so I guessed the seller, probably like most, expected a strong offer. I wanted to make what I thought was a “fair” offer. I looked at the comparable sold properties, and wrote an offer just slightly under market value, which was 12% lower than list price. Let’s see how the seller would respond. Would they be reasonable or want to play the counter offer game? I was hoping for the former.
Uggghhh!! They took four days to respond – past the counter offer deadline. The buyer’s agent kept saying he couldn’t reach them. In the meantime, I had bad thoughts. Seriously, I was no longer the Realtor. I was the Buyer. Here are my thoughts: “Maybe the seller was entertaining another offer? Maybe they were stalling HOPING to get another offer?” I went back to look at the house again. YES, fears confirmed, there were more business cards on the counter!
Finally, the seller responded by countering at just 3% under list price. I knew they would counter, but I thought they would be reasonable. Their counter was over market value. My turn. They wanted to play. I countered again quickly. I increased my offer to 7% under their initial list price. I also told them (card held back), that I would waive my Realtor fee on the sale. Duhhh. Why would I want to finance or pay my own commission when buying my own property? That doesn’t even make sense. (If your company allows you do to this – I am the Broker, so I could do so).  I wrote a cover letter to the seller’s agent explaining that by adding back the saved “commission” expense, the seller’s net would increase, and they would find it very fair.
Buying a HomeTick tock. Tick tock. Again, we waited for their response, as I was getting prepared for a major back surgery. They knew that. (Buyer thoughts: I couldn’t believe they would make me wait. Surely, they must realize the stress I was under?)  Three days later, the morning of my back surgery, a late night voice mail had come in. ACCEPTED!!
Next, the final chapter in the series – Selling our Destin Florida home! And yes, I really became that “Seller”!
It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

The Search for a New Home – A Realtor’s Story – Part 3 in a series

Niceville Florida home search

Third in a Five Part Series

1. Deciding to Move – A Realtor’s Story- Part 1

2. Should We Sell or Buy First – A Realtor’s Story – Part 2

Being a Destin Realtor with over 20 years experience, it’s good to go through the home selling and buying process every once in a while. This is the third in a five part series describing my recent journey.

Having decided to move, then deciding to buy a home before selling the original, the search for a new home began. The “search” is my field, being as OCD on research as I am. One of the key criteria in my new home search was “privacy”. Never again did I want a home where the adjoining lot owner could build an edifice and take down every tree. The other criteria were location, age, size and price. And my strange minor requirements, such as not having the kitchen sink on the other side of the breakfast bar.
Home searchIt’s true that over 90% of buyers start their home search online. That’s what I did. I scoured the MLS every day for six weeks. I would look at every lot or house with my target criteria that was already for sale, new to the market or back on the market – online.  I went a little above and below my price range. I looked a little outside my top locations, Niceville and Destin Florida. I would pull the aerial of the lot from the Okaloosa Property Appraiser website to check the adjoining pieces – to see if there was the privacy I wanted. On some lots I would do a FEMA flood zone search. I would look at all the online photos. I must have looked at a few hundred properties in this manner. (Yes, I am nuts!)
My husband and I only drove to four lots. We eliminated those. Some were too “downhill”, one was in a flood prone area and one gave us a lot of bug bites! For houses, we only made appointments to see three over the course of the search. One was quite an experience, where the owner was home during the showing. The last house, however, was “the one”. I remember when it came on the market. Location? Check! Price? Check! Size? Check! I looked at the aerial and plat from the property appraiser website. There was an unbuildable public marshland behind and to one side, and the house was situated deep and private at the end of a cul-de-sac . I grabbed my friend and drove off during work to see the vacant house.
When I pulled in the driveway  – I knew! This was it! The trees were sixty feet high. The driveway, 100 feet long. It was private. When I walked inside – I knew! The inside felt “right”.  It had a huge open living room with a high ceiling, an open dining area and a sunroom beyond. The kitchen had an adjoining breakfast room with a vaulted ceiling. It would need major updating to make it perfect for my style (much later blog), but I was excited. I called my husband and told  him he had to see it immediately. He liked it, too. I even showed my builder, Felix Beukenkamp. “Can you remodel it for us?” “Of course!”, he said. We wrote the offer…. just before my back surgery.
The next part of the adventure…. Writing the Offer.

It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Should We Sell or Buy First? – A Realtor’s Story – Part 2 in a series

Selling or Buying First

Second in a Five Part Series.
Having made the decision to leave our Destin Florida home, I had another decision to make with my husband. “Should we list and sell our Destin home before buying or building another one, or should we find something we really wanted first, then sell?” First, of course, we had to get “qualified” for a new mortgage, either way. Would it even be possible for us to get another loan without selling?
Knowing the amount of paperwork we would face to apply for a mortgage, I took the first step. I contacted a handful of mortgage lenders. The difference in style and knowledge was apparent. We ended up working with Joe Pelter of First Federal Bank of Florida. The instant I spoke with him on the phone, I knew he was the master. After about a 40 minute detailed conversation, he told me we could go ahead and buy or build without selling our home first. This would have to be verified by the full mortgage application process, but he was confident, and we were confident in Joe. Since First Federal Bank did not do lot loans, we also got pre-qualified for one with People’s National Bank of Niceville, in case we went the building route with a construction perm loan.  (They are one of the few lenders who currently do lot loans on the Emerald Coast).
Armed with the knowledge we could buy without selling, I made a chart comparing the positives and negatives of buying a house, or buying a lot and building, either with selling first or later. The key criteria for me was “stress” (that came later anyway). I thought it would be less stressful buying first, then selling. That’s what we did! Part Three will be about “The Search”.  The fun part!
It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com