Country Charm Home on 1.8 Acres

UNDER CONTRACT

 

13881 NE Jacksonville Road Citra, FL 32113

Location, location, location…don’t miss this cute home with great location and easy access to Ocala or Gainesville. Originally built in 1983 this 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home includes 1288 living square feet with 280 square foot covered front porch. Upon entering the home you will see soaring cathedral ceilings, nice open floor plan and laminate flooring throughout downstairs.  Kitchen has custom wood cabinets, lots of counter space and appliances are included. Downstairs includes 2 nice sized bedrooms and bathroom with tub/shower combo. Upstairs is the main bedroom, with walk in closet and 1/2 bath. This well cared for home has newly painted exterior, some new interior paint, updated South side steps and siding, new floor in bathroom and new drainfield 2019.

Citra, Florida is known as the home of the pineapple orange, (originally called the Hickory orange) a name coined in 1883 for an orange (fruit) with an aroma reminiscent of the pineapple. Citra has two buildings on the National Register of Historic Places: The Citra Methodist Episcopal Church and the Armstrong House. It is home to a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences plant research facility. Some funs things to do include visiting Animal Rescue Sanctuary or stop by The Orange Shop for fresh squeezed Florida Orange Juice or some cool merchandise. Skunkie Acres offers horse back riding and every local loves visiting Crones Cradle Conserve with great outdoor gardens and country store full of local homemade foods and stuff. Located just short drive to Ocala or Gainesville, don’t miss this great property surrounded by horse country. 

ASKING PRICE $229,000

 

 

 

Lake Kerr Access

21590 NE 135 Lane Salt Springs, FL 32134

Don’t miss this super clean 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom concrete block home on .57 acres. The well cared for ranch style home is 1,008 living square feet with oversized 672 square foot, 2 car garage and front covered porch with view of Lake Kerr. The living room is nice sized and just off kitchen with custom wood cabinets, lots of counter space and all appliances are included. Glass door in kitchen/dining area provides lots of natural light and leads to concrete patio area overlooking wooded lot in backyard. Main bedroom is cozy size and bathroom includes fiberglass shower/tub combo. Guest bathroom includes tiled shower with steel tub. In the back yard there is a 24×11 storage shop with 110V power and workout station. 

  • 2019 – New Pump, HVAC, Garage door(torsion springs, bar, pulley, rollers)
  • 2020 – Flooring(Commercial grade 30 year warranty)

Located in the heart of the Ocala National Forest w/ beautiful Salt Springs swim area, boat launch and short ride to Lake George and the St. Johns River. Salt Springs is also home to miles and miles of ATV/SxS, Horseback and hiking trails. Great fishing year round in the many lakes, rivers and forest ponds, and don’t forget about the excellent hunting too. Close to local shopping including grocery store, Dollar General, hardware, gas station, great restaurants, entertainment and more. Only short 30 minute drive to Ocala or Palatka for all your needs.

ASKING PRICE $240,000

 


 

Hidden Treasure!

15495 NE 239 Lane Fort McCoy, FL 32134

LIST PRICE $ 68,000

Don’t miss this “Hidden Treasure” tucked away in the woods with almost no neighbors. This .60 acre property feels like a walk in the park with beautiful natural manicured landscaping. The original main home was built in 1988 w/ 640 living sq ft and 8’x22′ front porch. Home is currently ready for future renovations, however Bathroom has been completed and includes window HVAC unit as well. In addition to the main home is an apartment living area of 10’x20 w/ small kitchen(stovetop, fridge and sink) and toilet. There is an outside shower and covered front porch for relaxing in the shade and watching all of the birds and squirrels. She shed is neat and clean with electric, water, attached green house, enclosed storage for well/pump and equipment. 20’x20′ concrete slab is perfect for parking your toys or using for a pad to do work or have party with friends and family. The property bordering to the North was recently purchased by the state and in future is going to be state park(not sure of intended use). Love riding SxS, 4 wheelers? The Ocala National Forest Trails…are just a short ride up the dirt road to access miles and miles and miles of fun.    

Located short drive to downtown Fort McCoy with grocery store, doctor office, pharmacy, hardware, gas station, pizza delivery and more. Close to Silver Springs which is great for kayaking, boating and outdoor activities. Ocala is just another 20 minutes away with Walmart, Lowes, Bealls, Outback and many more of your favorite shopping and  restaurants. If you’re a fisherman, hunter or simply love hiking, canoeing or kayaking you are in luck! Minutes to Ocklawaha River, Rodman Reservoir boat ramp, Ocala National Forest and many natural springs(Salt Springs, Silver Glen Springs, Juniper Springs), horseback and walking trails, and off road vehicle trails awaits your explorations. Located in the heart of the Ocala National Forest w/ beautiful Salt Springs 20 minutes away with swim area, boat launch and short ride to Lake George and the St. Johns River. Salt Springs is also home to miles and miles of ATV/SxS, Horseback and hiking trails. Great fishing year round in the many lakes, rivers and forest ponds, and don’t forget about the excellent hunting too. One of a kind property and location! Ready for new owners!

Household Budget & Money Saving Tips

Running a household is an expensive affair, but there are lots of things that you can do to minimize the costs. Lowering your expenses helps you stay within your budget and save for goals like buying a house or adding to your retirement income. Here are eight ways to reduce household expenses.

Bundle Your Services
Have internet, phone, and cable service? Move all of your accounts to one provider, and you could save $20 or more per month. Ask your current providers about bundling offers or visit ​allconnect.com to determine which company is offering the best service bundle in your area, then make the switch and save.
Cut Back on Extras
Do you really need unlimited data on your phone? How about the premium cable or satellite package that you subscribe to? Are you subscribed to multiple streaming services? You could alternate between them instead so you’re only subscribed to one or two at a time. Examine your list of monthly expenses, and determine what you can live without.
Clip Coupons and Shop Sales
Groceries can take a big bite out of a budget, but they don’t have to take a big bite out of yours. To reign in your grocery spending, start clipping coupons and shopping sales. If you’re a first-time couponer, you could save 15% or more. With time, that could increase to as much as 50%. Keep in mind that couponing only makes sense for items you would buy anyway. If you’re buying items you don’t usually shop for, it defeats the purpose.
Most retailers have sales periodically, but some sales are predictable. For example, summer clothes tend to go on sale by August to make room for fall items. Black Friday through Cyber Monday tends to be a good time to buy electronics.
Slash Your Insurance Premiums
Insurance is essential but costly. Shop around for a better auto insurance rate and you may shave hundreds of dollars off of your current premium. Can’t find a better rate? Talk to your current provider to see if there are discounts that you are missing out on. For example, they may offer a discount for having multiple policies, a ​good student discount, and/or a good driver discount. For even more savings, consider increasing your deductible or canceling comprehensive and collision coverage on older vehicles. If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, be sure to review those policies as well.
Get Energy Smart
Do you dread opening your utility bills each month? If so, there’s a lot that you can do to reduce your bill.
  • Install a smart thermostat and set it to run less when no one is home
  • Turn off lights when they aren’t in use
  • Wash your laundry in cold water
  • Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater
  • Only buy ​Energy Star appliances

Start looking around, and you’ll find many ways to reduce your energy consumption and energy bills.

Seek Cheap Thrills
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun, so examine your entertainment spending and see if there are places where you can make cuts. Could you stream movies instead of seeing them in the theater? Enjoy free concerts instead of paid concerts? Check out books at the library instead of buying them? Go on a picnic instead of eating out? Challenge yourself to have more fun for less money—every little bit adds up.
Pay Your Bills on Time
In the habit of paying your bills late? If so, you’re probably paying more than you need to. Start paying your bills on time and say goodbye to late fees and rate hikes.
One option for ensuring your bills are paid on time is using autopay. If your budget is too tight for autopay, consider using calendar reminders to prompt you to pay your bills. If you have access to bill pay through your bank, consider setting it up to make paying bills faster and easier.
Learn How to Do More Yourself
Develop your DIY skills so you can keep your home well maintained without all those pricey service calls. Consider learning tasks like handling clogs, lawn care, painting interior and exterior walls and more.
If home cooking isn’t your thing, consider learning. Try one or two simple recipes per week to build up your skills and confidence.

Borders Ocala National Forests

24985 NE 188th Lane, Fort McCoy

Hard to find .89 acre property bordering the Ocala National Forests. Located minutes to Lake Delancy Campground day use area and short drive too off road trails for Jeeps, Side-by-Sides and 4 wheelers. Salt Springs Campground and Run are 10 minutes away and St. Johns River is close by as well. The mobile home was built in 1972 and does need work but there are good bones there to work with. Home is 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and 732 living square feet with 10’x33′ addition on the front. Home and addition show signs of roof leak and seller said no leaks at this time. Garage is 36’x28′ enclosed with two garage doors and includes power panel, with a 18’x19′ carport attached. Lot size has plenty of room for RV or 5th wheel with two entrances.     

Located in the heart of the Ocala National Forest w/ beautiful Salt Springs swim area, boat launch and short ride to Lake George and the St. Johns River. Salt Springs is also home to miles and miles of ATV/SxS, Horseback and hiking trails. Great fishing year round in the many lakes, rivers and forest ponds, and don’t forget about the excellent hunting too. Close to local shopping including grocery store, Dollar General, hardware, gas station, great restaurants, entertainment and more. Only short 30 minute drive to Ocala or Palatka for all your needs.

 

Minutes to Downtown Ocala, FL

3660 NE 64th Ave, Silver Springs

Cute, clean and close to everything! Don’t miss this 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom home with 672 living square feet. Located across from Silver Springs State Park the location could not be better. The home sits on .24 acres with lots of privacy and surrounded by more trees than homes and people. This home includes new roof, stainless steel appliances, washer/dryer and is move in ready.

Silver Springs, Florida is most known for the beautiful Silver Springs and river that flows approx 5 miles before reaching the Ocklawaha River. Silver Springs State Park is one of Florida’s first tourist attractions, the springs drew visitors even before the U.S Civil war, Glass Bottom boat tours have been a popular way to see the 242-acre (98 ha) complex. Relax and explore the real Florida paddling in Silver Springs State Park. Spend a couple of hours paddling along the tree-shaded Fort King Waterway and discovering the springs on the Silver River. Or journey five miles from Silver Springs to Ray Wayside Park. Silver Springs community is part of the Ocala Metropolitan area. Silver Springs includes many restaurants with variety of flavors for all, shopping opportunities from big box stores to local merchants and many outdoor activities including trails, biking and more.

 

February Newsletter

It is officially February and the start to a new month!

In the February issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, and market predictions for 2021.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

February Newsletter

Quiet Country Living

12001 NE 135th Street Fort Mc Coy, FL 32134  ASKING PRICE $519,000

Entrance to the property is gated and 11+ acres of serenity greets you when driving up the private driveway to the gravel parking area in front of the home.  This is a country style 2017 custom built home with 2,710 square feet of living space, with a covered front porch including cathedral solid wood beams and 2×6″ tongue and groove ceiling.  Rocking chairs are included to enjoy the sunrise and sunset.  This home has an open floor plan, 10′ ceilings, recessed lights and lots of space for entertaining with friends and family, or just a quiet night alone. Kitchen cabinets are custom Shaker (plywood) with leathered granite countertops and a large center island with sink (all appliances are included in the sale). Living room has custom built-in bookcases and lots of windows providing tons of natural light. Main bedroom is spacious in size with full length walk-in closet and an additional storage closet. Main bathroom is huge with granite double sinks in the custom cabinets and large shower with glass enclosure and multiple shower heads/controls. Guest bedrooms are cozy in size and second bath has custom cabinets, granite tops and tiled tub/shower.  The hallway leads to a 16’x24’ bonus (play) room with mini split unit and built-in bookshelves.  Adjacent  from playroom is an  awesome home office with lots of storage, built-in safe and additional mini split unit. Laundry room is just off the kitchen and includes custom cabinets, leathered granite, washer & dryer, folding table, storage closet and a cove for your stand up freezer. Double french doors in the living room lead to 12’x24′ screened back porch with views of nature including deer, turkey, squirrels and more. The home has hardi-board siding, 2″x6″ exterior framed walls with most interior walls insulated for extra comfort and sound. 

For the outdoor person(s) there is a beautiful fire pit area with brick pavers and accent lighting. The 24’x48′ pole barn includes a metal roof and in the center is a 12’x24′ storage/workshop area with power and water in place (even a TV with Satellite hookup for relaxing (watching the game or a cooking show while you grill). Also, an additional 12’x24′ pole barn, a custom chicken coop and additional fenced area for whatever you desire. 50 amp service is close by for an RV hookup.

This home really has it all and you don’t want to miss the great location and, more important, the peace and quiet of the surroundings.

Located minutes to downtown Fort McCoy with grocery store, doctor office, pharmacy, hardware, gas station, pizza delivery and more. Close to Silver Springs which is great for kayaking, boating and outdoor activities. Ocala is just another 20 minutes away with Walmart, Lowes, Bealls, Outback and many more of your favorite shopping and  restaurants. Gainesville(Home of Florida Gators) is only 50 minutes to downtown. If you’re a fisherman, hunter or simply love hiking, canoeing or kayaking you are in luck! Minutes to Ocklawaha River, Rodman Reservoir boat ramp, Ocala National Forest and many natural springs(Salt Springs, Silver Glen Springs, Juniper Springs), horseback and walking trails, and off road vehicle trails awaits your explorations. One of a kind property and location! Ready for new owners! 

Listing Price: $519,000

Acreage: 11.66+/-

3 Bedrooms /2 Bathrooms

2710 Living Square Feet

24’x48′ Pole Barn

12’x24′ Pole Barn 

 

 

What’s Ahead for Real Estate?

In 2020, the housing market seemed continually flush with buyers as sellers became ever more scarce. Buyers, enticed by record-low mortgage rates, sought out new homes in droves, creating a rapid-pace market for real estate agents across the country.

More than 1,000 HomeLight agents recently surveyed by the referral platform expressed optimism about a hot market in the year ahead but noted that low inventory, and other factors, will continue to be a struggle.

Between Nov. 9-23, 2020, HomeLight conducted its Q4 survey via an online poll of its top affiliated agents across the U.S. who were selected based on performance data like transactions and reviews, which the company uses to select agents for buyers and sellers who use the platform. Here’s what those agents had to report.

Factors impacting the market in 2021

In November, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that inventory was down 22 percent year over year. Twenty percent of HomeLight agents surveyed said that low inventory would likely make the greatest impact on the market in 2021, as mortgage rates continue to dip even further.

However, 50 percent of agents surveyed stated that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines could change the inventory problem for the better, noting it might give sellers the confidence they need to enter the market again, especially if more businesses ease restrictions.

As more companies continue to adopt or solidify remote work options for employees in the wake of the pandemic, top HomeLight agents said in the survey that such maneuvers will continue to impact migration trends into 2021.

Across all HomeLight agents surveyed, 14.5 percent said working-from-home trends would have the greatest impact on the market in the new year, while nearly 20 percent of HomeLight agents on the West Coast and about 16 percent of agents in the Northeast stated the same. In the South Central region, however, only about 8 percent of HomeLight agents said remote work would impact real estate the most in 2021.

Top HomeLight agents also feel that the start of the Biden administration’s term in office may provide a boost to real estate with its housing proposals. A 55 percent majority of HomeLight agents expressed their support for Biden’s $15,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers, and 11 percent of surveyed agents noted that finding an affordable home will be the biggest hurdle for buyers in 2021.

Home renovation trends

As clients continue to stay at home well into 2021, HomeLight agents noted that they’re thinking about upgrading their home environment, including their kitchen, bath and outdoor spaces.

In the kitchen, most agents say their clients want a kitchen island upgrade most (64 percent of agents), followed by a walk-in pantry (62 percent) and ample cabinet or drawer storage (57 percent). Meanwhile, in the bathroom, most agents say their clients want to upgrade to a double vanity sink (65 percent), followed by a rainshower head (39 percent) or dual shower head (37 percent).

Outside, clients are craving fire pits (54 percent of agents said said this is a client’s priority outdoor amenity), privacy from hedges or a fence (48 percent of agents say this is a client priority), and a full outdoor kitchen (46 percent of agents say is a priority).

HomeLight agents also found that potential buyers are expressing clear distaste for specific outdated home features like carpet in the bathroom (72.6 percent), popcorn ceilings (65.9 percent) and shag carpeting (62 percent). 

However, homeowners who have sought to make upgrades in recent months have faced significant supply shortages and rising prices as a result of the pandemic. Lumber prices have skyrocketed by 150 percent since mid-April 2020, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. Fifty-three percent of HomeLight agents surveyed also reported labor shortages in their market, 51 percent noted appliance shortages, and 30 percent said there have been shortages of windows and doors.

In light of increased client urges to work on their homes during quarantine, 51 percent of HomeLight agents said homeowners should refrain from personalizing home materials too much, 38 percent of agents warned against using up savings during national uncertainty, and 36 percent said homeowners should be wary of paying a premium during this time for materials or labor.

Impact of business closures

The commerce options in a neighborhood often have a significant impact on the area’s attractiveness and home values. But the pandemic has thrown many businesses into a state of uncertainty with 163,735 total U.S. businesses having closed temporarily or permanently as of August 2020, according to Yelp’s Local Economic Impact Report. About 19,590 restaurant closures that have happened since the start of the pandemic are likely permanent ones.

Nearly half of HomeLight agents surveyed said that business closures have redirected interest from once-bustling neighborhoods elsewhere, like suburbs, exurbs or smaller cities. In particular, 49 percent of agents surveyed said that restaurant closures have had the most negative effect on neighborhood demand.

The rise of second homes

As homeowners have sought to find ways to keep life at home interesting, many are turning to second homes, and likewise, transitioning vacation homes into work-from-home properties.

A whopping 81 percent of HomeLight agents surveyed said they’ve seen an increased interest in second homes in their market. Furthermore, 41 percent have seen a rise in clients selling their primary residence and living in their secondary residence full time.

With remote work becoming the new norm, 49.6 percent of survey respondents said the primary factor driving demand for second homes is the ability to work in a warmer climate. But not far behind that factor are the ability to own a second home while traveling is a less safe option (49.4 percent) and the ability to latch on to low mortgage rates (47.5 percent).

Buyers shopping for second homes now are mostly looking for warm weather, affordability and the potential to earn rental income.

The future is endless for real estate. Rountree Realty is always happy to go over any part of the process and answer any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to reach out. We thank you for your continuous support.

Make an Offer

You’ve found the home that you can see yourself doing life in. Now it’s time to make an offer! Let’s go over how this process works.

#1 Know Your Limits

Your agent will help you craft a winning offer. You can trust your agent’s advice on price, contingencies, and other terms of the deal: It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. The more collaborative you are with your agent, the more quickly you’ll be able to move.

But ultimately, it’s you who decides what the offer will be — and you who knows what your financial and lifestyle limits are. Buying a home means mixing strong emotions with business savvy, so now is also a good time to reflect on your “musts.”

  • Have a top limit to your offer price because you’re also saving for retirement and love beach vacations? Stick to it. 
  • Want a vegetable garden or to paint your home’s exterior purple? Make sure your homeowners association rules permit it. 
  • Besides reading HOA rules, find out how much the HOA has in reserves to cover common area repairs. You don’t want to be slapped unexpectedly with a special assessment. 
  • Want a dog-friendly community? Make sure there are no pet weight limits preventing you from cohabitating with your (extra-large) canine bestie.

#2 Learn to Speak “Contract”

Essentially, an offer is a contract. The documents and wording vary across the country.

In the spirit of due diligence, take time to review sample offer forms before you’ve found a house (LawDepot.com has purchase agreements for each state). If you’re high-maintenance, a real estate attorney can explain the documents to you so you’re familiar with their vocabulary when you’re ready to pull the trigger on an offer with your agent. Your agent will have offer forms for your state. 

#3 Set Your Price

Homes always have a listing price. Think of it as the seller’s opening bid in your negotiation to buy a home.

As the buyer, your offer will include an offer price. This is the first thing home sellers look at when they receive a bid.

Your agent will help you determine whether the seller’s listing price is fair by running comps (or comparables), a process that involves comparing the house you’re bidding on to similar properties that recently sold in the neighborhood.

Several factors can also affect your bargaining position and offer price. For example, if the home has been sitting on the market for a while, or you’re in a buyer’s market where supply exceeds demand, the seller may be willing to accept an offer that’s below the list price. Or if the seller has already received another offer on the home, that may impact the price you’re willing to offer. Your agent will help you understand the context here.

#4 Figure Out Your Down Payment

To get a mortgage, you have to make a down payment on your loan. For conventional loans (as opposed to government loans), making a 20% down payment enables borrowers to avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), a monthly premium that protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on the loan.

But 20% isn’t always feasible — or even necessary. In fact, the median down payment in 2019 for buyers overall was 16 percent, and 6 percent for first-time buyers, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Your lender will help you determine what the best down payment amount is for your finances. Depending on the type of loan you get, you may even be able to put down as little as 0% on your mortgage.

You might qualify for one of the more than 2,400 down payment assistance programs nationwide. Many of them make funds available to households earning as much as 175% of area median income. In other words, middle-income households. And the savings can be substantial: Home buyers who use down payment assistance programs save an average of $17,766 over the life of their loan, according to real estate resource RealtyTrac. Find out more about down payment assistance programs in your state.

You can use an online mortgage calculator to see how different down payments would affect your mortgage premiums and how much you’ll pay in interest.

#5 Show the Seller You’re Serious: Make a Deposit

An EMD — short for earnest money deposit — is the sum of money you put down as evidence to the seller that you’re serious (read: earnest) about buying the house. If the seller accepts your offer, the earnest money will go toward your down payment at closing. However, if you try to back out of the deal, you might have to forfeit the cash to the seller.

A standard EMD is 1% to 3% of the sales price of the home (so, that would be $2,000 to $6,000 on a $200,000 loan). But depending on how hot the market is where you live, you may want to put down more earnest money to compete with other offers. 

In most cases, the title company is responsible for holding the earnest money in an escrow account. In the event the deal falls through, the title company will disperse the funds appropriately based on the terms of the sales contract. Title companies also check for defects or liens on a seller’s title to make sure it can be transferred cleanly to you.

#6 Review the Contingency Plans

Most real estate offers include contingencies — provisions that must be met before the transaction can go through, or the buyer is entitled to walk away from the deal with their EMD.

For example, if an offer says, “This contract is contingent upon a home inspection,” the buyer has a set number of days after the offer is accepted to do an inspection of the property with a licensed or certified home inspector.

If something is wrong with the house, the buyer can request the seller to make repairs. But most repairs are negotiable; the seller may agree to some, but say no to others. Or the seller can offer a price reduction, or a credit at closing, based on the cost of the repairs. This is where your real estate agent can offer real value and counsel on what you should ask the seller to fix.

Just remember to keep your eye on the big picture. If you and the seller are bickering over a $500 repair to the hardwood floors, keep in mind that’s a drop in the bucket in relation to the size of the bid.

In addition to the aforementioned home inspection contingency, other common contingencies include:

  • A financing contingency, which gives home buyers a specified amount of time to get a loan that will cover the mortgage.
  • An appraisal contingency, where a third-party appraiser hired by the lender evaluates the fair-market value of the home to ensure the home is worth enough money to serve as collateral for the value of the mortgage.
  • A clear title contingency, where the buyer’s title company verifies that the seller is the sole owner of the property and can legally convey ownership to the buyer.
  • A home sale contingency, where the transaction is dependent on the sale of the buyer’s current home.

Although contingencies can offer protection to buyers, they can also make offers less appealing to the seller because they give buyers legal ways to back out of the sale without any financial repercussions. So, if you’re going up against multiple offers, making an offer with fewer contingencies can potentially give you an edge over the competition.

In other words: A chill offer is an attractive offer. But keep in mind you have to be comfortable with the risks that come with this strategy. If you don’t have a financing contingency, for example, and you can’t get a mortgage, you’d likely lose your earnest money deposit since you’re on the hook. (An outcome that’s decidedly un-chill for you.)

#7 Read the Fine Print About the Property

The sales contract states key information about the property, such as the address, tax ID, and the types of utilities: public water or private well, gas or electric heating, and so on. It also includes a section that specifies what personal property and fixtures the seller agrees to leave behind, like appliances, lighting fixtures, and window shades. The seller provides prospective buyers with a list of these items before they submit an offer. This can be another area of negotiation.

Carefully reviewing the property description also helps you know, for example, if the seller plans to take that unattached kitchen island with them when they move. (Stranger things have happened.)

#8 Make a Date to Settle

The sales contract you submit to the seller must include a proposed settlement date, which confirms when the transaction will be finalized. The clock starts as soon as the purchase agreement is signed. If you don’t close on time, the party that’s responsible for the delay may have to pay the other party compensation in the form of “penalty interest” at a predetermined rate.

A 30- to 60-day settlement period is common because it gives the typical home buyer time to complete a title search and obtain mortgage approval, but settlement periods can vary. Some sellers, for example, prefer a longer period so they have more time to move or look for their next house. Being flexible, with respect to the closing date, could give you more negotiating power in another area of the deal.

One thing that’s the same no matter where you live is that you’ll have a three-day period prior to settlement to review the Closing Disclosure, or CD — a five-page form that states your final loan terms and closing costs.

Once the sales contract is signed, the parties can change the settlement date if they both sign an addendum specifying the new day.

#9 Write a Fan Letter to the Seller

Want to make a truly compelling offer? Pull on the seller’s heartstrings by attaching a personal letter to the bid documents. Tell a compelling story about your family and your connection to the area. Get deep about your roots.

Also, sincere flattery can go a long way. Compliment the seller on how their kitchen renovation looks Apartment Therapy–worthy, for instance, or how the succulents in their landscaping remind you of a resort in Palm Springs.

Your agent can help you gather background on the sellers (e.g., are they crazy about their labradoodle, like you are about yours? Did they run a small business from the home, like you dream of doing?). And you should — of course — refer to information you gleaned during the open house or private showing. Use this intel to write a message that really speaks to the seller, and it may very well seal the deal.

#10 Brace Yourself for a Counteroffer

If you’re making a lowball bid or going up against multiple offers, the seller may decide to make you a counteroffer — a purchase agreement with new terms, such as a higher sales price or fewer contingencies.

At that point, it’s up to you to accept the new contract, make your own counteroffer to the sellers, or walk away.

Don’t panic.. Next week we’ll walk you through the counteroffer process and offer strategies to give you more negotiating power!