Sint Maarten Information Package from your “Island Dreams” team

Buyer Loyalty

We take the responsibility of finding you the right home very Seriously. In response to our commitment of time, effort and loyalty to you, we ask your commitment of loyalty to us. This includes viewing all homes exclusively with us, and allowing us the opportunity to make the “first contact” with owners of any properties on the island, and developers of new projects that you wish to view.

Our Commitment

Your “Island Dreams” Real Estate Team is committed to providing you with the best service in the business. We promise to provide Exceptional Service, at all times.
Our approach is one of honesty, clarity, and putting our clients’ interests first. We believe that the best way to serve our clients is by giving them the same high level of service that we would like to receive from others.

Integrity, Dedication and Fun!

Our Buyer Services include:

1. Consult with you, one on one, to determine your particular Real Estate needs.
2. Familiarize you with the communities to help you with your neighborhood and property choices.
3. Provide information on properties available, throughout the area, with all agencies as well as those offered for sale by owners, and developers of new projects.
4. View suitable properties with you.
5. Explain local real estate procedures, including typical closing costs and purchase agreements.
6. Assist you in preparing an offer to purchase, and help facilitate the preparation and completion of all paperwork pertaining to the purchase of your new property. We write a solid contract that protects your best interests.
7. Prepare a solid Purchase and Sales Contract, and promptly present your offer to vendors or their designated representative, and negotiate the best deal possible.
8. Upon acceptance of an offer between you and the vendor, monitor all closing activities. We’ll assist you in coordination of the mortgage approval, due diligence, inspections, appraisal, through to completion and possession of your new home.
9. Keep you informed throughout the entire real estate purchase process.

The Home Buying Process Where Do We Start?

1. What Can You Afford: Financing Pre-approval
2. Searching for the Perfect Home: What to Expect
3. Finding and Purchasing your new home
4. Preparing for your Move-in Day
5. Move- in Day!

What Can You Afford?

There is nothing more frustrating than falling in love with something and then finding out you cannot have it!

Set out to find your home with your tool box in hand- filled with the tools that you will need! The first, and possibly most important tool is your Mortgage Pre- approval.

Know what you can spend and what you want to spend.

Be aware of the necessary Down-payment and have the initial Deposit money available as well as the 5 to 6% closing fees.

Pre-Approval- A Powerful Tool For Home Buyers

Most people buying a home need a mortgage. It’s important to shop for a mortgage before you purchase a home, since most lenders will “pre-approve” buyers for a mortgage. It’s a no cost, no obligation service which lets you know before you go house hunting or sign an offer to purchase, how much you can afford to buy based on how much you can afford to borrow.

When getting pre-approved for a mortgage, see how long the rate commitment is good for, it differs from lender to lender. With a pre- approved mortgage, you can confidently negotiate the purchase of a home, knowing the mortgage financing is arranged, subject to final property appraisal.

Benefits of a Pre- Approved Mortgage

Locked in Interest Rate
Better Negotiating Position
Knowing what you can afford
Having the opportunity to Shop Around and secure the best financing package for you!
Our Strategic Alliances provide the very best in Mortgage Financing. We encourage you to speak with a Mortgage Specialist. And remember, you are never under any obligation.

Mortgage Financing Language- Know the Lingo

Deposit- Money that you use to secure your offer to purchase usually $5000USD and to use for the purchase of your new home. This money must be available at the same time that you make the offer. A total of 10% of purchase price will be required as deposit once any conditions are removed. The $5000USD will form part of the 10% total.
Down-payment- This will include all the money you are paying for the real estate, except for your mortgage. It includes the deposit you paid. The down-payment that is not the deposit, will be brought to your lawyer several weeks before possession.

Your down-payment can also come from your savings plans (allow adequate time for this), or even gifts from family.
Term- The length of time that you have a set interest rate. In the case of a closed term, this can be as long as 5 years and as short as 6 months. Sometimes home buyers opt for variable rates or open terms no set interest rates.
Amortization- The total length of a Mortgage Contract. To qualify, sometimes a co-signer can be used to secure a loan.

Searching for the Perfect Home

Designing a Home Buying Strategy

Before shopping for a home, every buyer needs a home buying strategy- a game plan that reflects his or her unique needs and wants. That means developing a pre-determined shopping list of what a house must provide (the needs) and the “would –like to- haves” (the wants).

To properly prepare a home buying strategy, home-buyers must first examine their lifestyles and budgeting priorities and then do their homework. Asking questions, demanding answers, researching everything from closing costs to mortgage financing, and making all the major decisions- before an offer to purchase is ever signed. In fact, signing an offer is the climax to the home buying process, not the first step.

When buying a home, preparation and planning are the key to success. With a home buying strategy, the house you buy should satisfy all your needs and as many wants as possible, and be one you can afford to buy and carry each month.

Where will we find your home:

• Our Century21 Website
• Other agencies exclusive listings (all non-exclusive listings should be on our site as well)
• For Sale by Owners
• Soliciting homes not yet for sale that meet your criteria

The Market is Always Changing

You may not see many homes before you find the perfect home! It is not uncommon for Home Buyers to find the perfect home within 1 or 2 days of viewing potential houses.

You may be competing with another offer when you do decide to purchase a home.
We do our best to pre-scan every home. However, you may see homes which do not meet your criteria.
We believe that you will instinctively know when you have walked into the perfect home. If it doesn’t feel right-it isn’t, so don’t buy it.

Sometimes the best homes to consider are those that are not available, or not yet available on the open market, however don’t discount properties that have been on the market for some time.

Our Promise

Whether we show you 5 homes or 50 homes, we will do whatever it takes to find you the right home.
You will never be under any pressure from the “Island Dreams” Real Estate Team.

Our Free Home Buyer Program

How would you like to have up-to-the- minute access to new home listings, as soon as they come onto the market? As long as you have Internet access, we can update you every day on new listings that meet your criteria.

To register for this free service, simply contact the Island Dreams Team, and we will input your home buying criteria into our system.

The “Island Dreams” Buying System- Making your Dreams a Reality.

Finding and Purchasing Your New Home
(We found our dream home, now what?)

If you see a home that you really like, we will ask you if you would like to make an offer. Due to the pace of our market, you will not always have time to consider your options.

We have found that time usually doesn’t make a difference in your final decision.
Once you decide that pursuing that home is your desire, then we will sit together and write up an offer. We will focus on your best negotiating position. There are a number of factors which make a big difference in the strength of your offer.

Negotiating Strength and Weakness:

Strength:
1. Price
2. Few or No Conditions
3. Meeting Possession Day of Seller
4. Good Sized Deposit
5. Mortgage Pre-approval

Weakness:
1. Over Negotiation
2. Too Many Conditions
3. Weak Deposit
4. Too Much Thinking Time, Condition Time, Etc.
5. No Pre-approval

Competing with Multiple Offers

We do everything possible to offer a home to you before any other home- buyers have seen it! We will also search for homes that are not even on the market.

However, you may not always be the only hopeful buyer. If we write an offer and are competing with another buyer, we recommend that you:

• Write an offer for the most that you would want to pay for the home-that way you have nothing to regret if you don’t get it.
• Be available nearby during the offer presentation.
• Remove unnecessary conditions.
• Keep in mind that properties can, and do sell for more than the listed price.

SOLD-Congratulations!

Once you have an accepted offer, are satisfied with your due diligence , and removed all conditions, you have officially bought your new home!

There are some things you will want to do, to have everything in place for completion day:

Choose your Notary, advise us who you will be using. We can suggest as well.
Transfer all Utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, phone, cable
Get your insurance in order if necessary.
Meet with your Notary 1 to 2 weeks before completion to sign documents, or assign a P.O.A. (power of attorney)

Move In Day!

Typically, completion and registration happen on one day, and possession is at noon on the same day. (Check your contract exceptions.)

Keys normally change hands at noon on possession day, provided registration goes smoothly. We will arrange to get the keys to you.

Be calm. Hope for, but do not always expect a clean house.

If something is not the way you expected it, contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying a Home

Q. What if I see a For Sale by Owner sign, what do I do?
A. Ask your Buyer Specialist at Century 21’s Island Dreams Team. We always sell For Sale By Owner properties. Let us negotiate for you to get you the best price. Remember, your negotiating directly with the seller will always end up in paying more.

Q. What if we drive by a home and really like it, do we call the listing agent on the sign?
A. No. Simply call your Buyer Specialist at Century 21’s Island Dreams Team and we will show you the home immediately. Remember, the Listing Agent is working for the seller and may not have your best interest in mind.

Q. Should I look for homes on the Internet?
A. Yes! Our website, C21SXM.COM has been called one of the best Real Estate websites in the Caribbean.

When you find properties that interest you simply e-mail us at linda@c21sxm.com and we will immediately respond with your requested information.

The Homeowner’s Calendar

The weeks leading up to the day you take possession of your new home can be exhausting as the are exciting. Here’s a suggested calendar of events to keep you on track as you count down to closing day.

Eight weeks before:
If renting, give rental notice
Select a moving company
Planning to do-it- yourself? Begin packing items you won’t need during this time
Sell or give away unneeded items

Six weeks before:
Make records of belongings/valuables- insure if needed
Make arrangements to store items in necessary
Obtain copies of personal records(i.e.: medical, dental, academic) if you will be switching providers

Four weeks before:
Notify post office of change of address-send out change of address cards
Notify utility and phone providers of change of address- arrange for connection at new address
Confirm move details with mover
Obtain boxes from mover-continue packing items as appropriate

Two weeks before:
Draw up a floor plan of your new home-provide to moving company with instructions on locating furniture and label furniture accordingly
Arrange for baby-sitting, pet sitting on move day
If discarding bulky items, make arrangements according to municipal requirements
Arrange necessary move and related insurance needs
Contact your Notary to find out the exact amount owing, and arrange for your certified cheque or bank draft to be prepared

One week before:
Meet with your Notary to review the details of your Statement of Adjustments (how the Notary came up with the exact amount owing), and to sign documents
Bring your certified cheque or bank draft with you (or transfer)
Pack a move-day travel bag with essentials (i.e.- change of clothes, toiletries)
Label items to be moved in the car, if appropriate

A few days before completion date:
All the appropriate documentation should be with your Notary ready to execute registration
You should already have your certified cheque or bank draft, payable to your Notary trust account already delivered to your Notary
Your mortgage representative will provide your mortgage funds to your Notary, who will issue payment to the vendor

Moving Day:
Review directions with mover
Save all copies of moving documentation
Before leaving, check each room carefully: close windows, turn off water and appliances, lock doors
If renting notify landlord that the property is vacant, and arrange a walk-through with the landlord, if applicable
Leave forwarding information

Possession Date:

Your Island Dreams Team agent will arrange to get your keys to you.

Congratulations and Welcome Home!

Chattels & Fixtures- What’s the Difference?

Chattels are items of personal property in a home “by their own weight alone”, though they might be connected by pipes and wires. Examples: fridge, stove, washer, and dryer. Fixtures are items that have been attached to the property , becoming part of the home itself. Examples: built-in shelving wall to wall carpet, and light fixtures. In an offer, buyers must list which chattels the sellers will leave behind, while sellers must state which fixtures they can remove.

“Hidden” Closing Costs When Buying a Home

“How much money is needed to close?” is a question high on everybuyers list. Besides the basic purchase price, buyers face legal fees and disbursements, the out –of- pocket expenses a Notary incurs. Then there are possible closing adjustments with, rental income and strata maintenance. And don’t forget about the costs of arranging a new mortgage, which can include application and appraisal fees. Your band will fill you in on those just ask.

Important Dates in Every Real Estate Transaction

Every Real Estate transaction has three key dates. Each one must be clearly spelled out in the offer and adhered to- or the deal is off.

The first: the acceptance date, how long the seller has to accept a buyer’s offer, and, if applicable , how long the buyer has to accept the seller’s counter-offer.

The second is the subject removal date where the conditions in the contract, such as investigating the title of the property, having the home inspection done, etc, must be removed by the Buyer, in order to firm up the sale, and have it become unconditional.

The last are the closing dates. These include: a) completion date, where the money changes hands, and the title of the property is transferred from Seller to Buyer; b)possession date, where the keys change hands, and the Buyers can move in; and c)adjustment date, where charges such as strata maintenance fees, and other items are adjusted between Buyer and Seller.

An After-Closing Check List

You’ve just closed your house purchase-now what?

Buyers have lots to do besides unpacking and making minor repairs.

They include:
Getting names and addresses, payment dates, account numbers, and amounts to pay for the mortgage, taxes, condo maintenance and utility charges.

Notifying everyone about your change of address- from post office credit card companies to the provincial health insurer. And don’t forget the provincial driver’s license and motor vehicle branch; failing to do so could lead to a fine.

Learn when garbage days are.

And most importantly, change the locks, or at least the tumblers on all doors. Who knows how many keys still remain in circulation. Even consider upgrading the locks and deadbolts, for greater home security.

Please feel free to call us any time you have questions or concerns.
We look forward to working with you to find your perfect new home!

Linda Molinari 1-721-527-5426
Mario Molinari 1-721-527-5425

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