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Real Estate Questions and Answers

Do I have to use a real estate agent in the state of Florida?

Well, probably not. Gawd bless ya if you’re a seller and you found a buyer on your own. It happens more often in the tight knit communities; pool side real estate transactions. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, you don’t legally have to use a real estate agent for buying or selling your own real estate.

You might want to at least involve a real estate attorney to process the transaction, review whatever agreement you’ve engaged in and make sure all of your legal bases are covered. Some of the transactions are pretty complicated these days and whichever side of the transaction you’re on, you’ll want to make sure that proper procedures are followed and that the real estate changing hands has clear title.

When condominium or home owner association is involved, “you don’t know what you don’t know” so it might be to your benefit to have an attorney obtain the current homeowner association or condominium documents, as well as the financials of the community, so the buyer can perform their due diligence and get document review periods completed.

Can I give the buyers a credit at settlement for the faulty items found at the home inspection? One of the agents said it probably wasn’t allowed.

Here’s the deal, if the buyer is paying cash all parties can come to an agreement for the repairs, whether it’s a cash equivalent for the actual repairs or throwing in the dining room table as barter. I’d suspect the buyer was getting a mortgage which could mean red flags and snags in underwriting. Lenders are pretty particular these days and aren’t too keen on financing real estate and allowing money to filter through to the buyer. Some of them throw a stink over furniture, golf carts or even cars “tossed in” with the deal regardless if it is “for the convenience of the seller”.

Long story short, if there is a mortgage involved; ask the loan officer or mortgage broker about including personal property or cash back for repairs before it becomes an underwriting issue.

Is there anything my real estate agent can do to help speed up the short sale process?

Not really. For what it’s worth, most short sales are moving much faster than they have in the past.

If everyone involved in the transaction provides the required documentation in timely fashion, it’s helpful, but doesn’t guarantee a faster short sale. Occasionally, there’s confusion and redundancy that goes on internally with the lenders negotiator and investors that can border on absurd.

In the past I’ve enjoyed a front row seat when, within a three week period, there was four, as in 4, as in quatro, “arm’s length transaction addendums” all of which were identical but only slightly more April-fresh than the previous document. Each time they had to be signed and notarized by each party in the transaction; buyers, sellers, buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, each attorney, title officer. Seriously. That burned through weeks of time and accomplished almost nothing.

While we’re on the subject of faster short sales, Bank of America recently announced a new short sale program. If the buyer of a short sale walks away (because they grew weary from signing “arm’s length transaction addendums” ad nauseum) it is no longer required to go back to the beginning and start the next buyer’s transaction from scratch.

The announcement was just a few weeks ago and I’ve not seen this real estate unicorn with my own eyes so it’s only an announcement at this point. You’ll surely hear rejoicing when it hits Main Street.

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Real Life in Bonita Springs is a project by Chris Griffith dedicated to writing useful blog posts for consumers about the Bonita Springs, Florida area.  Find out what it is really like to live in Bonita Springs, Florida by reading about our fair city. You’ll get the latest in local real estate information, Bonita Springs real estate market reports and a little bit of humor.  If you have topic ideas, feel free to request a story about the idea, after all, this site is just for you.

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