We obviously sell Miami Beach homes for a living and take the actual process for granted and even trivialize it. The fact is that the process has gotten more and more complicated through the years. Especially after the whole real estate market inflation, accompanied by so much mortgage fraud, the actual home buying and home selling undertaking has gotten complicated and sometimes frustrating beyond words, even for those of us immersed in the system.
A standard "AS IS" Residential Contract For Sale and Purchase by The Florida Association of REALTORS is 10 pages long! (CLICK TO DOWNLOAD SAMPLE HERE). It includes not only price, financing and closing date, but details about title, special assessments, disclosures, broker liabilities, dispute resolution, and most importantly, standards for real estate transactions.
Needless to say, knowing the process is key for a transaction to go smoothly, but even then, transactions can get messy. It's about being able to foresee issues and being proactive before they happen that will keep those frustrations in check.
There's a quote by Albert Einstein that I hold near to my heart:
Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.
Not that we call or consider ourselves geniuses, but we are proud of our Miamism Transaction Management Team. Our clients always thank us for keeping them informed and being able to foresee and prevent issues. The key for you to know, whether on the selling or buying side, is that you need to be represented and you need to know the steps in the process (or at least trust that your Miami Beach Realtor is thorough and efficient). Here are some of the steps to keep in mind.
- Purchase price will be based on cash or financing with direct contractual dates associated with either.
- You will need proof of escrow deposits and those will be provided by escrow agent upon request at time they are due according to the contract.
- Closing Date can be extended, but need signed extension by both parties, don't just assume this will extend automatically.
- Know if contractual dates are based on business days or calendar days.
- Financing Commitment Deadline is Key! Mortgage broker must be reminded of this if property is being financed and extensions requested if deadline cannot be met.
- Know what seller will be charged for Owner's policy of title insurance or title abstract - this can be negotiated at contract date.
- Disclosures are handled differently by each owner - we always recommend to disclose everything that could materially affect the value of the Real Property, even those things that are not easily observable.
- Inspection period is negotiable - make sure you know exactly when the inspection deadline is. No negotiations will be possible after that inspection deadline.
- A walk-through of the property will need to be done prior to closing - plan that in advance.
- Broker or Seller Contributions MUST be included in body of contract or additional addenda - these need to be part of contract to be included in HUD statement.
- Know of special addenda or additional terms at time of contract to avoid problems. Things like Lead Based Paint Statement for housing built before 1978 MUST be signed.
We can't stress enough the importance of contractual dates. For our foreign national clients, this can be a challenge because of distance, but as long as you know ahead of time, you can be ready. As for actual closing date, you don't really have to be present - there are "mail-away" closings, or you can assign a power of attorney to your title company, agent or a third-party. One thing is true, the single most important aspect of a real estate transaction is communication, make sure you communicate with your agent and make sure your agent communicates with all parties involved to assure a smooth and timely closing.