Bradenton Realtor

Buy a Home and Customize it with Specialty Financing

If you’ve been house hunting recently you’ve probably noticed a lack of turn key homes available; unless you’re working with a hefty budget.  

If your budget is under $300,000 the inventory of updated homes leaves much to be desired. Also, everyone has difference tastes, so why pay for upgrades that someone else added that you don’t even like? Well, you don’t have to settle! You can have a house with great bones AND customize it to fit your needs all in one loan. 

We’ve all seen the house that’s the right price, location, you can already picture spending summers in the backyard but it has 20 year old wall to wall carpet that you just can’t live with. In the past you would have two options, pay out of pocket to replace the flooring or live with it until you can upgrade. You no longer need cash on hand to update a home and make repairs. That’s right, you can wrap the cost of new flooring, a kitchen, roof or nearly any other upgrade you can imagine into your mortgage. 

I’m very familiar with these products because I used the 203k to purchase and customize my own home. Our home, built in 1907, was gutted to the studs and sat empty for nearly 20 years. See a before & after photo below. You can also read more about we found our home here. Our home was quite the project and I gained SO much knowledge that will help guide you through the process of specialty financing. It may sound scary and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. If you choose this route, you can be confident that my expertise and experience can help simplify yours.  

I partner with Homebridge, a trusted expert in specialty financing. They have multiple options to pay for repairs and updates on a home. Whether you need $5,000 or over $100,000, my mortgage partner Pete at Homebridge will help match you to a loan program that is the best fit. 

Even new construction limits your material options. With specialty financing, the possibilities are endless! If you’re looking to buy and would like to customize your home, I’d be happy to discuss options (click here for contact info) to help you make a wise investment and build equity.


4 Negotiation Tactics to Use When Buying a Home

In a real estate transaction, typically negotiating is thought of as price. However, there are many other factors that can either aid or hinder your probability of getting the house you want for the price you’re willing to pay. 


As a buyer, the most important item you can provide to flex your buying power muscles is a pre-qualification letter. No seller wants to take their home off of the market for weeks just to find out that the buyer doesn’t qualify for the purchase amount. Any savvy buyers agent would make sure their client has a pre-qualification letter before even beginning the house hunt. 


Offers are normally accompanied by a “good faith” deposit that goes into an escrow account while the property is under contract. Contingencies on the contract protect your escrow deposit in case something arises during the contract period such as a cloud on the title, property appraisal not meeting the purchase price or a poor home inspection. Deposits are typically 1-2% of the purchase price. A larger deposit shows a seller you’re serious and committed to the process of buying the home. 


Inspection periods fall under contract contingencies that allow buyers to negotiate repairs, a lower price, or terminate the contract altogether if the inspection report is unsatisfactory. 15 days is the typical length of an inspection period, keep it at 15 days or shorter to make your offer more appealing. For a seller, a long inspection period means the property is off market for an extended period of time without a guarantee that the sale will go through. 

An “AS-IS” contract means the seller isn’t obligated to make repairs or pay for any items, however, the inspection period on an “AS-IS” contract also states, “If buyer determines, in buyers sole discretion, that the property is not acceptable to the buyer, the buyer may terminate the contract in writing before the end of the inspection period”. AS-IS contracts are basically a low-risk look behind the curtain of a home. Standard residential contracts are more difficult to negotiate repairs as a buyer because the contract has a certain amount built into the contract that the seller has allocated towards repairs. 


When financing a property closing usually takes about 45 days, some lenders pride themselves on closing deals in as little as 30 days. A quick closing that isn’t contingent on the buyer selling their home is most desirable to a seller. Some buyers want to make the sale of their home a contingency for purchasing a new home but there is usually a “kick-out clause” meaning the seller can still accept another offer without that contingency. 

As a buyer, having Realtor® representation is typically at no cost to you. Don’t walk through the buying process alone or depend on the listing agent of the home. A listing agent can only represent the transaction if they have both sides of the deal and can NOT represent the best interest of both sides. Be prepared, have your own representation that’s looking out for you! If you are in need of a Realtor®, call me! It would be my pleasure to serve you. 

Answers to the 3 Most Common Mortgage Questions

As a REALTOR® my job is not limited to the transactional duties of buying or selling your home. My goal is to escort you through the process providing expert advice and recommendations. I work with a reliable team of people including inspectors, insurance agents, attorneys, closing agents, mortgage brokers and more to ensure a smooth transaction from start to finish.

Julian Minatel, loan originator from Amerifirst Home Mortgage, is one of my trusted lenders. Here are Julian’s answers to the most common questions he receives about mortgages.

How much do I need to put down?

It really depends on the type of loan program that the buyer is interested in and may qualify for. Typically, this is from 0% (no money down) to 25% Occupancy also plays a big role (for example, a primary residence requires less money down than an investment).

What is my interest rate?

The interest rate is a variable that changes daily. It is dependent on a variety of factors including: credit score, loan program, loan length, loan to value, and property type.

What do I need to apply for a home loan?

Buying a home is very different from a regular installment loan or auto loan. Common loan documents that we need for a home loan include: bank statements (last 2 months), W-2s or 1099s (last 2 years), tax returns (last 2 years), pay stubs (last 30 days), photo ID (driver license, passport, state ID card) and proof of rental history (past 12 months if applicable). There may be additionally documents per the underwriter so they can accurately underwrite your file.


If you’d like help getting prequalified or have questions about how to sell your current home and purchase a new home, call or email me. It would be my pleasure to serve you!

Why a 30-Year Mortgage May Not be Your Best Option

Before purchasing your next home it’s important to ask yourself, “how long do I plan to live in this house?” 30-year fixed rate mortgages are more popular than their 15 year and adjustable rate counterparts due to consistent payments throughout the life of the loan. However, a 30-year mortgage may not be your best option. 

If you are a first time homebuyer or life circumstances such as a job transfer are in the near future, an adjustable rate mortgage could be a better fit. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) usually are available so that the interest rate adjusts every 3, 5, or 10 years. The rates usually adjust 1-2% and have a 6% rate cap for the life of the loan. If you know you’d like to purchase a new home or will be moving within 5 years, a 5 or 7 year ARM may offer a lower interest rate than a 30-year fixed mortgage. 

If you do decide to take the 30-year route, you can still save on interest by paying biweekly. If your mortgage payment is normally $1800 a month, instead of paying monthly pay $900 every two weeks. Doing this will result in one extra payment a year which saves you so much in interest that you can pay off a 30-year mortgage in only 23.1 years!


There are many flexible options for mortgages today. I can connect you with a trusted lending partner that will discuss your options and help you find the mortgage that will best suit your needs. 

Fire Prevention: Protect your Home & Family

October 7-13th is fire prevention and safety week. After talking with local fire fighters, I’ve put together these tips to help keep your home safe and fire-free.

Check smoke alarms at least every 6 months. 4 out of 5 fire related deaths are caused by house fires. Check that the smoke detectors work properly but if your smoke detector is more than 5 years old, consider replacement. Properly functioning smoke detectors will give you 1-2 minutes warning to be able to get out of the house safely in the event of a fire. Smoke alarms should be placed in every bedroom and on each level of the home. 

Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Cooking left unattended is the leading cause of house fires. If you’re cooking, keep watch. If you’re roasting or baking be sure to check your food often. Even while watching, flareups can happen. Keeping a portable extinguisher in the kitchen can help prevent a disaster. 

Have a Fire Escape Plan. You should have two exit options from every room. If you have young children, have two routes for how you will evacuate them from the home. Have a meet up spot outside where everyone will meet after they exit the home. It also helps to practice your fire escape plan. 

Don’t forget the garage. Garages are often used as a multipurpose room. Storing gas, oil, paint and other flammable items near electrical items can be a fire hazard. Combining these fire hazards with Christmas decorations and old memorabilia can cause fire to spread rapidly from a single spark. Take caution by storing flammable items away from electrical outlets, hot water heaters, washers and dryers.

For more information or educational activities for kids visit the National Fire Prevention Association website.