Mike Kozlow

I'm a "Cheesehead in Paradise"! My history of fair and honest dealing, abiding by the rules, and knowing where to find the answers gives me that ability to not sell someone a house, but assist in the purchase of a home.

Home Inspections

Why and How Home Inspections Play a Vital Role in the Home Buying Process

When buying a house, most likely the biggest investment of your life, you have a right to know the potential problem areas.  Only a professional home inspector can tell you if there are any potential issues without any biases.  This inspector should also belong to a professional organization such as ASHI (American Society of Home Inspection).  It will be advantageous for you to attend the inspection so you can ask questions that will not be in the official report.  When you make an offer on a house, most likely it will be written in the Florida Real Estate contact that there will be a home inspection.  You have a right and must have a professional home inspection.  You also have a right to a copy of the inspectors report.

Find an inspector you value and trust. You don’t have to go with the inspector that any agent or escrow or even the seller recommends. This may alter the results if they are not completely unbiased. This doesn’t mean everyone will of course, but you are more than allowed to choose whomever you wish for your inspection.

A good inspector will walk through the home and outside with you making notes and discussing the home in detail. This is a great time to get all your questions answered about the home. Inspectors will mention how much life a feature has in it and should recommend about what the cost of replacement would be. This can tell you if you want to proceed with the home purchase or back out after the inspection. If you proceed, this will give you a great plan of action on how to plan and save for larger purchases such as a new roof, furnace or other major issues.

Once the inspection is done, it’s up to you whether you choose to proceed. Many times you can simply walk away and get your earnest money back but most sellers like to know why that would be the case. You can send back your inspection addendum with either a full rejection, approval or a variety of reasons to negotiate from here. You can ask for anything but a good rule of thumb to remember is, if you ask for everything, you may get nothing. Consider the seller in this equation. Ask for safety hazards to be fixed, or any major issue that could really kill the deal if not dealt with. Many times sellers know they will have to fix the issues anyway even if you do walk away because this could happen with the next buyer.

Knowing what you are buying prevents from having headaches down the road, which is the reason a home inspection is extremely important.

Get Pre-Approved

Why Being Pre-Approved before looking at homes can save you time, money and stress.

Buying a home today is much different when compared to ten years ago, where you first found your home and then applied for a loan.  Today’s market calls for efficiency which means first getting pre-approved for a loan and then finding your home.

What is confusing buyers is when a lender will offer to pre-qualify you for a loan rather than pre-approve a loan.

Pre-qualification does not provide much information to sellers.

Pre-approval tells the seller to know how much you can afford to pay for a home using a mortgage.

Pre-approval means that a buyer has applied for a mortgage.  Pre-approval means that you have completed a mortgage application, had your credit report reviewed, and had your employment and assets verified.  You will also know the price range of the mortgage the lender will allow.

Those with pre-approved loans will be taken more seriously by sellers when offers are being made on potential Lakewood Ranch Homes.

You will need to consider finding legitimate sources for a pre-approved loan.  Most of these sources include: banks, credit unions, mortgage bankers or brokers, and some online lenders.

I would love to help you through the process quicker by showing you the steps needed for home buying.

 

ADVICE FROM THE FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF MORTGAGE BROKERS

Shop around and compare– If you need to borrow money for a home purchase, refinance, home repairs, medical expense or bill consolidation, shop around with different brokers and lenders. Compare interest rates and find out what the total costs of the loan and your monthly payment will be before making a decision. Use the Good Faith Estimate from each application to compare loan terms and costs.

Negotiate– Don’t let the promise of extra cash or lower monthly payments get in the way of your good judgment about whether or not the cost you will pay for the loan is really worth it. Don’t agree to a loan that includes extra products you don’t want. Negotiate the loan terms and agree to a loan amount only for what you need.

Be cautious– Be wary of anyone who calls you on the phone, solicits you via mail, fax or e-mail or comes to your door offering bargain loans. Beware of claims that the offer is only available for a short period. Beware of lenders claiming “Bad credit? No problem.” If the loan seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Never act immediately– Say no to lenders who ask for upfront fees, allegedly to cover a first loan payment and other expenses as part of the application. Never pay a lender cash for any fees. Always make the check payable to the lender, not the individual loan officer.

 

 

Advice on Getting a Mortgage

ADVICE FROM THE FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF MORTGAGE BROKERS

Shop around and compare– If you need to borrow money for a home purchase, refinance, home repairs, medical expense or bill consolidation, shop around with different brokers and lenders. Compare interest rates and find out what the total costs of the loan and your monthly payment will be before making a decision. Use the Good Faith Estimate from each application to compare loan terms and costs.

Negotiate– Don’t let the promise of extra cash or lower monthly payments get in the way of your good judgment about whether or not the cost you will pay for the loan is really worth it. Don’t agree to a loan that includes extra products you don’t want. Negotiate the loan terms and agree to a loan amount only for what you need.

Be cautious– Be wary of anyone who calls you on the phone, solicits you via mail, fax or e-mail or comes to your door offering bargain loans. Beware of claims that the offer is only available for a short period. Beware of lenders claiming “Bad credit? No problem.” If the loan seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Never act immediately– Say no to lenders who ask for upfront fees, allegedly to cover a first loan payment and other expenses as part of the application. Never pay a lender cash for any fees. Always make the check payable to the lender, not the individual loan officer.

Understand the terms of your loan – Some loans may sound very attractive because the monthly payment is small. Ask about balloon payments at the end of the loan period. Make sure you know the dollar amount of each monthly payment and ask if the monthly payment can change at any time during the repayment process. If so, find out when it will change and by how much.

Ask questions – You have a legal right to know the total cost of the loan, the annual percentage rate (APR), the amount of the monthly payment and how long you have to pay back the loan. If you are unsure of any terms of the loan, ask. If you don’t get a straight answer, go elsewhere for your financing needs.

 

Read carefully before signing – Don’t sign any document you haven’t read, or one that has blank spaces to be filled in after you sign. Don’t be pressured into signing any loan papers that you don’t understand. If you need an explanation of any terms or conditions, talk to someone you trust, such as an attorney. Get copies of everything you sign.

Borrow only what you need and can afford to repay – Just because you qualify for a certain amount of money doesn’t mean you can afford to pay it back. Determine exactly how much money you need, borrow only that amount and find out exactly how much you will have to repay every month. Make sure you’ll have enough money left over to pay your other bills.

Get help if you’ve been victimized – Contact your local Better Business Bureau to report the individuals and companies with whom you’ve worked.

Want more information?– Call me!

7 Lanai Furniture Tips

 Keep Your Lanai Furniture Looking It’s Best

It’s the time of year when the days are longer and outdoor furniture gets a workout. Whether you lounge in handcrafted teak Adirondack chairs or pull up your favorite metal frame seat to your vintage glass-top table, patio furniture requires some necessary maintenance. Read on for our seven tips for maintaining your patio furniture.
1. Clean it periodically to prevent dirt and debris from dulling the finish. Regardless of the material, the finish will eventually lose its sheen if left unattended. Besides that, you don’t want pollen pants after sitting down on an unkempt chair in the springtime.
For that initial cleaning at the start of patio season, do not be afraid to rent a power washer. You’ll save time and elbow grease by enlisting the help of a power washer in that scrub session.
2. Cover patio furniture when you’re not using it. Sun, wind and rain will eventually take their toll on fabrics, paint and stain. Using a custom cover or all-purpose tarp will help extend the life of your furnishings.
3. Keep rust under control by addressing the problem as soon as you notice it. If you’re in a humid climate, your metal patio furniture (or components like nails) is susceptible to rust. The brown, flaky stuff is the result of exposure to oxygen and moisture, unavoidable for outdoor furniture. Grab some WD-40 and a wire brush and scrape off the iron oxide before it spreads.
4. Mildew is not your friend for many reasons. It’s smelly and unsightly and can cause health problems. It is a survivor, though, and will cling to surfaces like gum on the bottom of your shoe. Mildew does not fare well in the presence of vinegar or baking soda. Both readily available agents will eliminate blight on the surface and the interior of cushions. Plus, you can use it to clean umbrellas or other colorful accessories without the adverse effects of bleach.
5. Paint is your friend when it comes to maintaining your patio furniture. If your metal table and chairs need a facelift, grab a few cans of spray paint formulated for outdoor use. Refresh the appearance with minimal monetary investment.
6. Water always wins. Even if the fabric or treatment claims to be waterproof, at some point water will penetrate the coating. If at all possible, move furnishings indoors when the season is over. Inside is also the best place to avoid damage from high winds and hail.
7. Table glass looks best when you can see through it. Prevent scratches, residue buildup and other blemishes by grabbing the rubbing alcohol and newspaper. Pour or spray liberally and wipe down with something you can recycle.