JOEL MISTRETTA | Clearwater Beach Real Estate, Seminole Real Estate, Clearwater Real Estate


Ready to purchase your dream home? Before you finalize a home purchase, it may be worthwhile to schedule a home appraisal.

With a home appraisal, a property expert will examine a residence both inside and out. The home appraiser then will offer a property valuation.

In some instances, a home offer may be appraisal-contingent. And if the home appraisal valuation falls below the amount of a buyer's offer, the buyer may request a renegotiated price.

A home appraisal may prove to be an important part of the homebuying process. As such, it is paramount for homebuyers to understand what an appraisal is all about and determine whether to conduct an appraisal.

To better understand home appraisals, let's take a look at three home appraisal facts that every homebuyer needs to consider.

1. An appraiser's valuation is his or her opinion of what a residence is worth.

Typically, a home appraiser will use a broad assortment of housing market data as part of a home assessment. The appraiser also will look closely at a residence as part of the home evaluation process.

Although a home appraisal is based on housing market data and a home assessment, it is essential to note that a home valuation is an appraiser's opinion. Therefore, two home appraisers may examine the same housing market data and the same house and come up with two different home valuations.

2. The homes in a neighborhood may affect the valuation of a residence.

Believe it or not, a home's value may be impacted by those around it. Thus, if you intend to buy a home, it often pays to evaluate the neighborhood to better understand whether a house's value will decline, stay the same or increase over time.

Furthermore, what you spend to improve a house is unlikely to raise a house's value proportionately. And if you spend $20,000 on home improvements, there are no guarantees that these home improvements will add $20,000 to a home's valuation.

3. A home appraisal and a home inspection are two very different things.

A home inspection often is considered a must-have during the homebuying process, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

During a home inspection, a property expert will ensure there are no structural issues with a home and identify any problem areas. Then, a homebuyer can move forward with a home purchase, rescind a home offer or submit a counter proposal based on a home inspection report.

On the other hand, a home appraisal enables a property expert to evaluate the house in its current state. A home appraiser will compare and contrast a home in relation to others in the area and offer a valuation.

If you need help determining whether to conduct a home appraisal, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. With a real estate agent at your side, you can determine whether to set up a home appraisal prior to finalizing a home purchase.


When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot to think about. Your finances probably have the biggest impact in the entire home search process. The amount of a down payment you have and the amount of loan you’re approved for help decide what you can buy. 


When you hear about closing costs, what do they entail? How much will you need to cover these costs? Many people get to the closing table for their home purchase and feel unprepared. You’ll need a certain amount of cash on hand when you finally close on a home. Learn more about closing costs, so that you understand everything that you need to know about your home purchase.    


Closing costs are spelled out pretty plainly in just about every kind of real estate contract. These costs are the fees associated with the title companies, attorney, banks, lenders and everyone else who is involved in the purchase of a home. The closing table is also the time when you provide your sizable down payment. The closing costs that are being referred to are considered a separate expense independent of the closing costs.


Closing Costs Vary


Closing costs can range from anywhere between 2 and 8 percent of the purchase price of the home. You can’t really “choose” what’s included in the closing, so you’ll need to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to write a check for. Lenders can give you an estimate of about how much closing costs will be. 


Negotiations 


Certain things like the realtor’s commission fees can be negotiated and can be paid for by the buyer or the seller. The good news is that you can roll your closing fees in with your mortgage in some cases. You may also be able to negotiate with your lender to pay the closing costs for you in exchange for a higher interest rate. 


What’s Included In Closing Costs?


Depending upon where and what type of home you’re buying, what the closing costs actually cover varies. Here’s just some of the things that closing costs cover:


  • Appraisal
  • Escrow fees
  • Credit reports
  • Title search
  • Title exam fee
  • Survey fee
  • Courier fee (Most transactions are done electronically, but in some cases this may be necessary)
  • Title insurance
  • Owner’s title insurance
  • Natural hazards disclosure
  • Homeowner’s insurance (Your first year of insurance is often paid at closing)
  • Buyer’s attorney fee
  • Lender’s attorney fee
  • Transfer taxes
  • Recording fees
  • Processing fees
  • Underwriting fee
  • Pre-paid interest
  • Pest inspections
  • Homeowner's association transfer fees
  • Special assessments


These fees vary widely by state and the type of property that you’re purchasing. Not every fee is required, but the above is just a list of many of the possible fees that could be included in on the closing of the home you choose.


Let's face it – buying a home is rarely simple. As such, you may need extra help along the way to ensure you understand the ins and outs of purchasing a house. So what does it take to become an expert homebuyer? Here are three homebuyer education options that are available to homebuyers nationwide: 1. Family Members and Friends Did a family member or friend recently purchase a house? If so, you may be able to lean on this individual for support as you explore the real estate market for the perfect home. Typically, a family member or friend can serve as a reliable source who can share his or her past homebuying experiences. This individual also might be able to recommend a real estate agent who provided outstanding support to him or her in the past or suggest areas where you may be able to find a home that fits your budget. Family members and friends, of course, can help you minimize stress throughout your search for the right home, too. Thus, you should be able to rely on them for a helping hand as you explore the housing market. 2. Networking Groups and Workshops Did you know that networking groups and workshops may be available that can empower you with insights you need to find the right home immediately? That's right, and in many cases, there are no costs to participate in these groups and workshops as well. Usually, a networking group serves as a collection of homebuyers with a common mission – to discover a great house at an affordable price. It is important to note that networking groups are scattered across the country. And in order to find the right networking group, you may want to search websites like Meetup and Facebook. Homebuyer workshops occasionally are held at various locations nationwide by homebuying experts who are happy to share their knowledge. In many cases, cities and towns also will host free homebuyer workshops, enabling you to learn what it takes to purchase a house quickly and effortlessly. 3. Real Estate Agents When it comes to becoming an expert homebuyer, there may be no better resource at your disposal than an experienced real estate agent. Because with the right real estate agent at your side, you'll be able to explore a broad assortment of high-quality houses any time you choose. To hire the right real estate agent, you should be prepared to meet with several real estate professionals and discuss your homebuying needs with them. By doing so, you'll be able to find a real estate agent who you are comfortable working with and possesses the skills and expertise needed to ensure you can find your dream home without delay. Purchasing a house can be a stressful, time-consuming process, but receiving homebuyer education from multiple expert sources ensures you are better equipped to buy a house that fulfills your needs. Utilize the massive collection of homebuyer educational resources that are available, and ultimately, you can improve your chances of purchasing a home that you can enjoy for years to come.

If you want to enjoy a successful homebuying experience, it may be beneficial to hone your house search to residences in a select group of cities and towns. That way, you can speed up the process of finding and buying your dream residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your house search.

1. Review Your Short and Long-Term Goals

Consider your immediate and long-term goals. By doing so, you can focus on finding a home that falls in line with your aspirations.

For instance, if you want to work in the big city, you may want to search for residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you have children, you may want to explore houses near top schools and parks.

Be flexible as you consider homes in assorted cities and towns, too. If you are open to homebuying opportunities in different areas, you may be able to quickly find a great residence at a budget-friendly price.

2. Obtain a Mortgage

With a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can narrow your home search to residences that correspond to your budget.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, and you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists, and these professionals can help you determine which type of mortgage will suit you perfectly.

Also, you may want to ask questions as you review your mortgage options. Home financing specialists at banks and credit unions are happy to reply to your mortgage questions, and ultimately, help you make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Finding a home in a particular city or town may be tough, especially if you try to navigate the real estate market on your own. Conversely, if you hire an real estate agent, you can get the help you need to discover your dream house.

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will go above and beyond the call of duty to transform your homeownership dream into a reality. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals and budget. Next, a real estate agent will provide you with details about available homes in myriad cities and towns. A real estate agent then will help you kick off a home search so you can locate your ideal house.

Of course, once you discover your dream home, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence as well. And if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will devote the necessary time and resources to ensure you can immediately finalize your home purchase.

Take the guesswork out of finding your dream residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of acquiring a terrific house that you can enjoy both now and in the future.


Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.

Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.

Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.

If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.

A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.

Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.




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