Featured image

Steps for Buying a Home in Miami

Buying real estate in Miami can be both an exhilarating project and a source of angst. Buying American real estate for the first time can indeed feel like stepping into the unknown—however, the process in the United States is easier than the European process, for example.

By Maryline Lacorre 9 Feb 2021

Step 1: Find your real estate agent

Buying real estate in Miami is a serious undertaking. It is strongly recommended that you call on a real estate agent to represent and accompany you throughout the process. A professional real estate agent will ensure that you have all the necessary information and guide you through all aspects of the process of buying real estate in Florida.

Step 2: Find the right property

After having discussed your needs with your real estate agent—budget, location, number of rooms—they will use a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to search properties that match your criteria. Your real estate agent has extensive field experience and will provide comments and advice on the neighborhood and streets in the area of interest to you. Indeed, their local knowledge is a great asset to you at this point in the process.

Once you have selected your potential properties, your real estate agent will make an appointment with the sellers’ agents. This is the time to visit the properties to make sure that they meet your needs.

Step 3: Pre-approve the financial loan

Before making an offer on a property, you have to pre-approve the loan. If you plan to pay cash, skip to step four below. It’s a good idea to have a mortgage pre-approved, in case you see a property that you really like—without this pre-approval, you certainly won’t be the seller’s first choice in the case of multiple offers. 

Once the lender has checked your creditworthiness (via a credit report), evaluated your debt-to-income ratio, and properly assessed your financial situation, you will receive a pre-approval letter. This letter can help you close the deal during negotiations with the seller—it indicates that you are creditworthy and that your chances of getting a financial loan are high.

Step 4: Make an offer

Now that you have found the right property and have gone through the seller’s declaration—which declares any issues with the property that are known to the seller—it is time to make an offer.

The offer goes through a formal contract that sets out the specific requirements and conditions of each party, the buyer and the seller. Some real estate agents may approach the seller’s real estate agent first with a verbal offer. This is to verify the other party’s response before starting the written process. Other real estate professionals advise their clients only to make offers in writing, as offers presented in writing tend to receive more serious consideration.

Of course, the seller is under no obligation to accept the offer, even if the offered price matches the asking price. Additionally, sellers are not required to explain why they are rejecting a particular offer. Typically, most buyers will get a response within 24 to 48 hours, and in most cases, the seller will respond quickly if the bid is too low.

Step 5: Acceptance of the offer

Good news! Your offer has been accepted. If you have not yet paid a deposit, you will need to do so when signing the contract—the buyer usually pays the balance of the deposit within the first few days of signing. Then it’s time to start dealing with the terms in your contract. The presence and support of a real estate agent are, at this stage, essential.

Step 6: Signing the contracts

The purchase contract should be drawn up by your real estate agent. In many cases, buyers are required to make a deposit. Remember: If your offer is accepted and you then withdraw from the transaction without meeting the requirements set forth in the contract, the deposit that you paid will be forfeited.

There are two main contracts for the purchase of real estate in Florida: the standard contract and the “as is” contract. The standard contract provides that if problems are found with certain parts of the property at the time of inspection, the seller is obligated to repair them. An allowance for these repairs of up to 1.5% of the property price is provided for in the contract. The “as is” contract concerns the as-is purchase of the real estate. With this type of contract, if the inspection reveals problems, the seller is not obligated to make the repairs. This means that the buyer has more flexibility to withdraw from the transaction, should he or she decide that the house is ultimately not a good fit. It is also the only contract that allows the buyer to receive a full refund of the deposit if they are not satisfied during the “due diligence” phase.

The components of the contract:

  • Offer price
  • Percentage or value of the deposit and the value of the entire deposit due at the end of the due diligence (usually 10%)
  • Response time for the seller’s offer
  • Proposed sale closing date. In Florida, the majority of closings occur within 30-45 days of the date on which the contract is signed; however, this period may vary depending on specific circumstances.
  • Repair limits applicable under an “as is” purchase contract.
  • Funding and deadlines. The contract should state that the sale will only be made if your loan application is approved; it also specifies the maximum interest rate and the loan conditions that suit you.
  • Inventory of items included in the purchase of the property

Step 7: Closing

During the closing meeting, you will review and sign all the documents, and your real estate agent or attorney will verify that everything is in order. The funds will then be transferred from the escrow account and you will be given the keys to your new property—which you now own.

If you’d like to be supported throughout your real estate project, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to help you find your next dream home. 

Most recent articles

Subscribe to the newsletter now