Buying or selling a home in Destin?

With a little up-front planning, purchasing a home isn't too complicated, but the event can be stressful for many people. So you understand exactly what to expect, I like to provide my buyers with an outline of the whole deal. Below are my nine steps to purchasing a home.

Shopping for homes? Click here to see my homes, or contact me today to get you more information on any home in the area.

Step 1 – Prepare to buy
There are plenty of things you need to consider before starting your home search. When you begin your search, you'll probably want to form a list of items you want to have, get a feeling for what school districts and neighborhoods you want to live in, and start working on your budget. Ensuring your mortgage payment is around 30 percent of your monthly income is a good rule of thumb to go by.

Step 2 – Speak with a real estate agent
This is where Ben Ward can help. I'll plan a time to meet so we can talk about your real estate needs and get an idea of your plans for the future. We'll talk about the mortgage industry, other economic factors that may affect your purchase today or in the future, as well as neighborhoods and school districts in the Destin area.

In addition, I'll assist you in getting started on your loan. Ben Ward partners with some of Destin's finest mortgage professionals, so you'll be in great hands. They will assist you with figuring out which type of loan is best for you and help you get qualified.

Step 3 – Begin your search
Following our first meeting, I'll begin searching for homes on the market that best suit you. I'll get a sneak peek of many of the houses and eliminate the duds, and then we'll book appointments to view the houses at a time that's convenient for you.

As we tour the homes, I'll show you the good features, as well as negative ones. I'll also ask you what things you like and dislike. As a rule, buyers update their wish list as we tour houses and some things become far more necessary than others. If such is the case, I'll go back through the listings once more and narrow it down to the house you've been waiting for.

Step 4 – Know the market
My awareness of the Destin housing market is an indispensable benefit in your search. I'm informed of all the neighborhoods and school districts, and I'll alert you to which neighborhoods are "hot" and demand prompt action and the rest that are "cold" and allow for more analysis.

As we tour houses, I'll let you know when the asking price has room for negotiation and also when I trust the home is "priced to sell." Every real estate agent will convince you they comprehend the market, but take notice, and make sure you ask lots of questions. If it appears they don't know everything, contact me at 850-837-3325 or e-mail me at, and I'll be glad to answer any questions you have. My market knowledge will help you stay a step above the rest through the entire process.

Step 5 – Find your dream house
I'm positive we'll find your dream home in Destin. When we do, I'll thoroughly develop your home purchase offer. The offer will be tailored keeping your needs in mind, including many contingencies. A few examples are getting financing, finishing the inspection, and a clean title.

Let Ben Ward guide you through finding your dream home in Destin When we submit your purchase offer, you'll need to submit "earnest money." This is a cash deposit made to the seller to secure the offer to buy the property. The amount is typically put towards the closing costs. If your offer is accepted, we should close about 30 to 60 days after. This allows plenty of time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
A lot of deals aren't closed on the initial offer, and it's pretty common to receive a counter offer. Don't let this intimidate you. We'll consider whether or not to consent to the counter offer, present our own counter offer, or decline the seller's offer and move on.

Market conditions determine how aggressively we negotiate the deal. We'll also work within your financing constraints. And when it's all said and done, we'll formulate a contract that is best for you.

Step 7 – Get a loan
Once we sign the final sales contract, you'll start working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. If you're already pre-qualified, it shouldn't be a long process at all, but you need to keep in close contact with your lender. And I'll sort out all the property information your lender will need to close the loan.>

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) outlining closing costs from your lender within three days of taking your application. The estimate is formed from the loan amount. RESPA requirements order that it has to include all closing costs and fall within a precise range of accuracy, and I'll go over the estimate and let you know if everything looks all right.

Then we'll close on your house. This will most often happen at a title company or escrow office and will most likely be a smooth and relaxed occasion.

Step 9 – Move in
You made it! It's time to move into your new house. Enjoy it. And if you have any questions, just call me at 850-837-3325 or send me an e-mail.

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