And yet another bank screws up a sale

This is a follow up to my previous blog post Not all banks are the same.

My buyers selected at large national bank where they already had an account. We wrote a contract with a 45 day close. In Florida we pick a closing date at the time of the offer and that is the date we are supposed to close unless the sellers and buyers agree in writing to change that date. The loan officer assured my buyers right up to a couple of days before closing they would close on time. It’s important to know that the loan officer usually has little authority over the closer and underwriters. The people in the back room who in the case of big banks are in different cities started asking for more documents. For the 3rd time they asked the buyers for proof of funds they needed for closing in addition to their loan. Those funds were in a different bank. The buyers gave them proof but it took a week for it to go through the bureaucracy. We were now past the closing date. The sellers were furious. Did the bank do anything to expedite things ? No the buyers had an existing home they owned and gave that address to mail the home insurance bill to for their new Ocala house. The underwriters made them change that address with their insurance company. You might think something like that could be done in hours but no it takes days for the bank to respond. Then the bank wanted to see the insurance policy on their other home, a home they had no mortgage on. You might think it is none of the banks business what you do with another home you own but at this point the buyers were at their mercy. The point of this post is that big banks have no mercy. No compassion. They don’t think a state real estate contract terms apply to them. The buyers eventually closed almost 2 weeks after the agreed on date. Both the buyers and sellers were under a lot of stress. The sellers had moved out before the original closing date and needed their money.

Think long and hard before you pick a lender. Interest rates and fees are not the only thing to consider. A local lender is almost always a better choice than a national lender. You can go with any lender you want but ask them if they have a guarantee to close on time, not a promise.

Not all banks are the same

This is an updated post that I originally wrote back in 2014. I just had another instance where a large national bank dropped the ball created endless stress and expense for my buyers.

My buyers told me they were getting financing from a large bank where they had all their accounts in the mid west. I warned them that their bank may have trouble closing on time. They said they knew the loan officer for years and he assured them he could do loans in Florida.

First the bank said they didn’t need a survey. Technically maybe they didn’t but if you don’t get a survey in Florida there is an exclusion on the title insurance noting there was no survey provided and the bank’s underwriters won’t approve a mortgage with an exclusion like that on the title insurance. Someone sat the bank should have known that. I had to tell the buyers who in turn had to almost fight the bank over something they should have known.

Secondly the bank at first said they didn’t need an appraisal. I told my buyers that was really odd and they should double check with their loan officer. Then the bank decided they did need an appraisal and it was not ordered on time. The appraisal didn’t come back until almost 2 weeks after our closing date. In Florida we set a firm closing date and need to get an extension signed by all parties to extend that date. The seller was frustrated but agreed to 2 extensions.

My buyers were rightfully frustrated. They had to live in a hotel for 2 weeks and their furniture had to be put in storage. They suffered over $3000- in expenses all because this large national bank was incompetent.

Below from a July 23 2014 post.

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Buying a house online in the age of the Coronavirus

In this weird new Corona world I’ve been reading that people are shopping for and buying real estate sight unseen online. I’m not a big advocate of sight unseen but as it so happens I’ve sold several such properties. Being experienced in this area I thought I’d do a blog post describing how I’ve done this type of sale in the past.

  1. I send you listings or you contact me out of the blue with a home you’ve already found online.
  2. I will go over to the house and look it over. As you know the list agent takes pictures and writes a description putting the house in the best light and minimizing any negatives. I go and take pictures of anything I see as a negative for you the buyer. I have also in the past made short cell phone walk through videos.
  3. My looking at the home should not be confused with an inspection. I am not there to find structural, electrical, plumbing problems ect. You would hire a home inspector for that. I am just looking for things you cannot see online.. I can look for permits that may show the age of the roof and AC though.
  4. You can make an offer long distance by electronically signing a Florida purchase and sale agreement. This is pretty easy as long as you have minimal computer skills.
  5. Once the offer is negotiated you have a contract and can schedule an inspection. I go to all inspections so just in case there is an issue I can see it in person. The inspector will email a very detailed report to you and will be available to answer questions via cell phone. A lot of buyers who see the house in person go home and we do the inspection much like this.
  6. We do long distance closings here all the time. A title company will be selected by the seller. The seller pays for a title search and gives you a full warranty deed. The seller also pays for Doc Stamps (a tax ) and Realtor fees. If you are a cash buyer there are very few closing costs, inspections, survey and register the deed. HOA fees and taxes are pro rated. If you get a loan there are a lot of closing costs and they are all from with your lender. The title company will either mail or email closing documents and you will have to send them back by over night mail.
  7. I go to all closings. I will get the keys to your house and either hold onto them until you get here or mail them to you.

Ocala New Home Buyers Beware

If you are looking at new homes and want to have the help of a Realtor beware ! If you contact a builder to request information be it on the phone or online they will register you as a customer. They do not disclose that they will not pay a real estate commission once they claim you as their customer. Builders do pay real estate commissions but only if the Realtor brings you into the sales office or pre registers you.

A Realtor can be a big help in buying a new home. The builders sales people are employees just like car sales people.

A Realtor can provide the following services.

  1. Show you resales that might exist that are only a couple of years old with upgrades beyond what you get in a new home from the builder.
  2. Show you sold comps to see what new and recent resales sold for.
  3. Realtors can help you select the best community for you. They will tell you the bad as well  the good unlike getting a one sided view from the builders employees.
  4. Help you select a good lot. I often scratch my head and wonder why with all those lots to pick from someone bought the one they did.
  5. Advise on options. Some options are a must and and others are just crazy over priced.
  6. Help find contractors for all those things you end up doing after closing.

There is no selling season in Ocala

Unlike other parts of the country Ocala has no selling season. Up north home sales are slow in the winter. We don’t have a winter in Ocala. People don’t buy homes with the idea that they have to close before September so their kids can get into their school. Sales are a little slow during the holidays. For me personally most of my sales are between January and June. Sellers don’t list their homes during any one season.

Is it a good time to buy a home in Ocala ?

Prices have gone up a lot since the great real estate crash of 2008 but there is no bubble like back then. There is not an over supply of homes. In fact there is an under supply and we are in a sellers market. There are not enough new homes being built. We need more builders to step up and start new major projects. Right now builders outside of 55+ are just buying lots in established subdivisions instead of breaking ground on new communities. On Top of the World is planning a huge new community that will be both 55+ and Not 55+ later this year. Another reason there is no bubble is that we don’t have the crazy types of loans that are almost guaranteed to fail like we did back in the great recession. Even though prices have gone up Ocala is still lower priced than most of Florida and a lot less than the rest of the country. A bonus is that it never snows here !

Zillow accuracy in the Ocala area

I was taking a Realtor class, getting credits for my next license renewal. The subject was about tech for Realtors. To be honest I didn’t expect much and I went because I had nothing else to do that day. Much to my surprise I picked up several good tips. One of the most interesting things was that Zillow rates it’s own accuracy. And I mean they rate themselves right down to the county level.

Zillow is a site that buyers and sellers seem to love and Realtors see as inaccurate. Who is right ? The following is accuracy results that Zillow publishes about it’s own Zestimates.

In Ocala and Marion County as of July 25 2018 for a 3 month period ending July 30

Zillow gives itself 2 out of 4 stars

50% of it’s Zestimates were within 5% of the sold price

70.5% of  Zestimates were within 10% of the sold price

83.5% of Zestimates were within 20% of the sold price

Median error is 5% of the sold price

Those are pretty big numbers to be off. 5% is a $10,000 error on a $200K home. I will give Zillow credit. If you read about Zestimates they say that they are only a starting point and are not the same as a Comparable Market Analysis or an Appraisal. Websites are no substitute for a local expert.

The Listing Portal is a Custom Ocala MLS Search

A Listing Portal is a custom search on the Ocala/Marion County MLS that creates an account with an ID and password. A buyer will use my Dream Home Finder to provide the information that I need to set up a search. I sometimes use the Dream Home Finder AS IS and I sometimes need to email the buyer to clarify some issue or to make a recommendation. Once the search is set buyers will get an automatic email when ever a new home, that conforms to their search criteria, gets listed. After setting up the Listing Cart I don’t contact my buyers unless they contact me for more info, want to change their search or are ready to see a home. I once had a Listing Cart set up for a buyer from Chicago and it took him 3 years to close down his business and sell his house. I’m very patient.

I can’t help buyers who don’t give me enough information. Too many people will use my Dream Home Finder and just fill in Single Family and a price range. A search like that will get 1,000 hits, no kidding. I need to your your price range. The sq ft of living area, not including the garage or Lanai. The type of home, single family, 55+, pool home ect. There is also a comment section. This is where you tell me that you want to only want a 55+ community with lower HOA fees. Don’t say low fees give me a number.

Below is a screen shot showing what the Listing Portal looks like. On the top there are 5 Tabs. The first is the List View. Next is the Detail View which shows the home size, age, current taxes, HOA fees everything about the home. Photos are next and there can be as many as 50. Drone shots are becoming popular. The Map tab not only shows the location but there is also a Satellite view that zooms in and out. You can email your listing to someone and you can add other email accounts by contacting me. You can rate a listing and make a comment or a note. You can print a listing. There will be some homes that you just don’t like so there is a delete button. The Portal is a direct link to the Ocala MLS. Everything is up to date. All listing on Zillow or where ever originate here.

Listing Portal

Closing costs on new homes vs resales

In Marion County the seller traditionally pays for title insurance and a tile company handles the closing. The seller pays Documentary Stamps a Florida tax on the sale of a home that is .007 % of the sale price. Unlike resales new home builders don’t pay either for title insurance or Doc Stamps. On a $200,000- home Title Ins. and Doc Stamps would ad up to $2700- +/-.

Some builders offer incentives, a fee at closing to the buyers. These vary by the builder and depend on how sales are doing. You might see them on a Spec home that has been there a while, a model that isn’t the most popular or a home on a less desirable lot. Incentives can offset closing costs.

New homes in Ocala Florida

New home building has started to pick up in the Ocala and surrounding Marion County Florida area. For the longest time new home building was dead. Starting in maybe 2015 things picked up and now there is new construction popping up around the county.

Where. Not 55+ homes are being built in Silver Springs Shores, Marion Oaks, Ocala Park Estates, Heathbrook, Oak Hill Plantation, Ocala Waterway and Meadow Glenn to name a few areas with a fair amount of new homes. The 55+ communities with new home construction are JB Ranch, Del Webb Stone Creek, On Top of the World including Candler Hills and Indigo East and Trilogy Ocala Preserve.

Price. Prices vary quite a bit. Excluding very high end homes prices run from about $100- Sqft to $150 sqft. That is sqft of living area, the area that is heated and cooled.

Upgrades. Although there are spec homes that you can buy either finished or almost finished a lot of new homes are semi custom. I was told by a salesperson at a large 55+ that a good ballpark number for upgrades is to add 20% to the base price you often see advertised.

If you are interested in a new homes call me. Using a Realtor doesn’t effect the price of a new home. I can also show you alternatives such as resales just a few years old. New home sales people are employees of the builder just like a car salesperson.