What’s the Difference Between Pre-approval and Pre-qualificationIt’s a seller’s market in South Florida—prices are rising and inventory is shrinking. If you’re a home buyer, you have to act fast to get the home you want. In addition, many homebuyers are making cash offers. A large part of the Miami market is cash post-crash.

If you don’t have the means to make a cash offer, you’re a bit handicapped in this market. But you can compete if you have a good offer and if you have already done some legwork with the bank.

Getting pre-qualified is an essential step before even considering buying a home. The pre-qualification process gives you an idea of if anyone would even lend to you, and about how much. Without an idea of how much you’d qualify for, you can’t even begin to look at homes. The prequalification process is pretty simple. It doesn’t cost anything, and it is just a quick guess at your loan worthiness based on a look at your income, assets an debt.

After pre-qualification, pre-approval is the next step. At this point, you are making a request to the bank for a specific amount, and they decide if they would be comfortable lending it to you. This is based only on your financial situation, and not taking into consideration the property you would be purchasing. Buyers who are pre-approved have a much better chance of having an offer accepted than a buyer who is only pre-qualified because the seller knows you have done your homework and you are serious about your offer.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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Should I Allow a Short-seller to Stay After Closing?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on June 17, 2016

 Should I Allow a Short-seller to Stay After Closing? Sometimes, the date that’s best for closing isn’t the best date for other things, like moving. In these cases, sometimes buyers are willing to let the seller stay a few days past the closing date until they close on their next property or their apartment opens up. However, when you’re purchasing a property by short sale, there are some additional considerations before you opt to let a seller stay past closing.

First, it’s worth noting that a short sale is a property in distress. A homeowner does not short sale unless they believe they will lose their home if they don’t. They aren’t in a position to ask for concessions. And since they are already behind on their mortgage, chances are they will not be in any position to pay any fees or penalties for overstaying the agreement.

Second, many lien holders will not allow home sellers to stay past closing in a short sale, so if your buyer is asking for this contingency and you are considering it, you need to check with your lender and your insurer. Both need to be on board to ensure that you are not violating the terms of your loan.

Thirdly, if you do a sale-leaseback and the sellers do not leave when you specify that they have to, you have limited options. You’ll be stuck with the eviction process from a landlord’s standpoint, and your home may be damaged—intentionally or unintentionally–while the process runs it’s course.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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What are the Risks of Letting a Seller Stay Past Closing?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on June 16, 2016

What are the risks of letting a seller stay past closingClosing dates are often awkward, arbitrary deadlines for paperwork that don’t take into account the real-life details of moving your entire residence elsewhere. Sometimes, other housing has already been accounted for, but often, home sellers are waiting for the funds from their home to come through before they buy another place. So what should you do as a buyer if the home seller requests to stay in the home beyond the closing date?

First, get a real estate attorney. The wording in your post-closing possession agreement is crucial. You shouldn’t use the word “lease” anywhere in the agreement. The moment you become a landlord, you are bound by a slow eviction process in the event that your tenant doesn’t want to leave.

Second, make it expensive. Not having to move twice is hugely convenient for the home seller, but it’s a huge risk for the buyer. The seller should pay a proportionate amount of mortgage interest, maintenance fees, insurance, utilities and taxes. There should also be a hefty fine for overstaying the length of the license—for example, $500 a day for a $500,000 home.

Third, you need to require the seller to put up escrow to cover any damages since you won’t get to do a pre-closing walk through. Around 2 to 3 percent of purchase price should suffice to cover any move-out damage or unintentional issues, like taking items that were supposed to stay.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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Five Things You Need to Know about Home Inspections in South FloridaThe home inspection is one of the most important steps in buying a home. After all, no one wants to pay for a home only to find that it has major problems that no one told them about. So why do so many people simply rely on their real estate agent for home inspector recommendations? After all, your real estate agent is relying on that sale for commission.

Here are five tips for hiring a home inspector prior to investing in a property:

  1. Don’t hire an inspector based on price. Cheap inspectors may not be properly trained, or may use unlicensed assistants to run through the house for them. Others spend their time on the property writing their report, not looking for problems.
  2. Only hire a ASHI-certified inspector. Certified inspectors are legally bound to put the buyer’s interest first. ASHI is the only state and national, not-for-profit organization with third party, independent confirmation of experience, knowledge, and training. You cannot purchase credentials from ASHI. Be sure the individual doing the inspector actually holds the credential and is not just an associate or a member.
  3. Don’t use franchises. Franchises are plentiful but don’t stand for the reputation of the owner. Verify their ASHI certification and who will actually be on-site at the property.
  4. Ask for a sample inspection report. A thorough home inspection report should be a narrative, not a checklist, and should include color photos. A typical inspection should take about two hours and should not yield a report on-site. A quality inspection will run about 30 pages and can be provided by the end of the next business day at the earliest.
  5. Confirm authorization and qualifications for all other inspections. This includes termite, pool and wind inspections. Termite inspectors will not have a license, they will have a “JE” identification card issued by the State Department of Agriculture. There is no state qualifications for pool inspectors, so make sure you hire a certified pool operator at minimum, and preferably a licensed pool contractor or engineer. A certified wind inspector will have inspection insurance that specifically lists wind mitigation or code inspections. Ask to see it.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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Miami Luxury Housing in Decline

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on June 14, 2016

Miami Luxury Housing in DeclineNo one’s saying luxury housing in Miami is a bust, but sales have definitely slowed.

In the most popular price points for luxury homes, the $1 million to $5 million range, sales were down to 890 homes sold in Miami-Dade county, compared to 918 sold in 2014. Inventory, however, was up to 1,031 average properties per month in 2015, compared to 848 in 2014. The numbers put together paint the picture of a market with selective buyers and unrealistic sellers.

In the higher price points, things are looking up. Sales for homes in the $5-$10 million dollar range and $10 million and up were both up slightly, albeit both by single digits. Sales for condos in the same ranges held steady.

Existing condos in the $1 to $5 million range experienced more of a slowdown. Unit sales for 2015 fell to 866 from 1,027 in 2014, while the average number of listing per month rose by nearly 300 units. One of the authors of the report said that growing inventory was the result of not slowed sales, but rising prices: as home and condo owners saw the market improving, they wanted to cash in.

While the condo market was extremely exposed in 2006 due to having 16,000 units in progress and extremely lax lending practices, this condo market is well leveraged. In downtown Miami, 85 percent of the 7,500 units under construction are sold, and most units require a 50-percent deposit for purchase. In addition, about 78 percent of preconstruction condo buyers paid with cash last year, as well as 64 percent of existing condo buyers.

Much of the reason or the luxury slowdown has to do with global economics. Luxury buyers are greatly affected by stock market volatility, the price of oil, and world events like the upcoming presidential election. The report authors said they believed some buyers were even waiting for the election to be over before buying.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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