Real Estate Information Archive


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What Every Buy & Seller Should Expect at Closing

by Maureen Cool

Once you've signed a buyer’s purchase contract to sell your house, the preparation for settlement begins. Settlement, or closing escrow, is the process of transferring the title (ownership) of the home from seller to buyer.

Often, the real estate agents involved in the sale help take care of these arrangements. But the buyer and seller are ultimately responsible for attending to these details. Here are the basics:

    Buyer's Responsibilities
  • Buyer gets a loan.

  • The buyer must first secure the financing to buy the house. Usually this means taking out a mortgage loan. Most lenders require a complete financial picture, including income and expenses, and a credit check. In addition, most want an up-to-date appraisal of the home, a survey of the property and, often, some inspections (for pests, radon gas, flood plain, etc.). Some lenders specify which service providers they want the borrower to use. Once all the paperwork is in, the borrower should keep in touch with the lender until receiving a loan commitment.
  • Obtain homeowner’s insurance.

  • The buyer needs to purchase a hazard insurance policy in advance for the new home. The buyer is also required to purchase title insurance policy – usually at settlement – to protect the lender. If the buyer wishes to bring an attorney to settlement, arrangements should be made 30 to 60 days in advance.
  • Receive Good Faith Estimate.

  • A few days before settlement, the buyer should receive a Good Faith Estimate of settlement costs. In addition to the loan commitment letter, the buyer must bring a certified or cashier's check for the down payment and any other costs due at settlement. These costs include mortgage interest from the closing date to the first payment due, escrow for property taxes and insurance, and various taxes and recording fees.

    Seller's Responsibilities
  • Select closing agent.

  • The seller typically designates the settlement agent, usually 30 to 60 days before closing. The seller and listing agent work together to arrange inspections and appraisals and to provide needed paperwork such as a housing plat map, previous title insurance information and any prior inspections.
  • Give loan payoff notice.

  • The sellers also need to check with their lender to get up-to-date figures for the payoff of the mortgage, and to learn if any rebates are due for pre-paid taxes or insurance.

    Joint Responsibilities
  • Stay on top of details.

  • Both the buyer and seller need to give the settlement agent all pertinent information requested. And, since many long and detailed forms are usually signed at settlement, consider requesting copies of the basic settlement forms several days in advance to pre-read them if practical. The focus at the settlement table is on checking the exact figures to be sure they are accurate.
  • Designate legal representative.

  • If either the buyers or sellers cannot come to closing, they should notify the settlement agent well in advance so a Power of Attorney form can be prepared. The person named on the form can act as the signer’s legal representative.

    Once all the papers are signed and money paid, the keys are handed over to the buyer and the sale is complete.

Our professional approach can help you go to closing with confidence. Call or e-mail us for the kind of help and support we can provide.

The First-Time Home Buyer $8,000 Tax Credit

by Maureen Cool

The Count-Down is on for The First-Time Home Buyer $8,000 Tax Credit.

By now you have most likely hear about the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit that is available till November 30, 2009.

What a great opportunity to invest in your future and build financial security for you and your family.  And, it is a buyer’s market out there right now and the ability for individuals to use the tax credit at closing should have a meaningful impact on home sales and will allow thousands of families to achieve the dream of homeownership.”

The process in purchasing a home is involved and you need to ensure that everything goes smoothly so your closing will take place before the November 30, 2009 deadline.

You need to allow four to six weeks for the loan process, which means your offer should be accepted by mid October and no later than Oct 31.

Don’t let this amazing opportunity pass you by.  Call me so we can discuss your options and receive your free mortgage pre-approval.  We can start looking today and just think you could be a home owner by Nov. 30, 2009 – Just in time for the holidays.

I would be happy to assist anyone you know that would like to become a first time homeowner as well.

Starting School Basics

by Maureen Cool

It's back to school time and kids and parents are busy trying to get organized to start the school year prepared. Kids are typically concerned with buying the right outfit while parents concentrate on making sure their kids have the proper supplies for their classes.

Check your local school website for a school supplies checklist. If your school doesn't offer this list online, below is a basic list, as provided by, to help you get started.

Elementary School

  • Glue sticks  
  • Scissors
  • Ballpoint pens
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil sharpener   
  • Large pink eraser  
  • Box of crayons   
  • Drawing paper
  • Construction paper
  • A ruler with English and metric measurements
  • School box   
  • Kleenex
  • Small bottle of hand sanitizer
  • A backpack (Check out article, Tips for Buying a Backpack and Carrying Safely, about choosing the right backpack)

Middle-School and High-School

In addition to the basic school supply items, children in middle and high school may be required to purchase the following:

  • A calendar for time-management and for scheduling assignments
  • 2 combination locks   
  • Binder dividers  
  • Several 3-ring binders
  • Folders to fit into binders
  • A small notebook to record assignments
  • Pencil case to fit into binder
  • Pens
  • Index cards, ruled and unruled
  • Calculator (Check with your teacher first for type and model)

Don’t forget to visit for a more complete list. Happy shopping and have a great school year.

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3




Contact Information

Photo of Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS Real Estate
Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS
RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South
Sebring FL 33870
Fax: 863-385-5897

Maureen Cool * RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South, Sebring, Florida 33870
Office: 863-385-0077 X215
Direct: 863-873-7243
Fax: 863-385-5897



Maureen Cool of RE/MAX Realty Plus offers real estate services to buyers, sellers, relocation's in the Highlands County real estate area.

Including Polk County, Hardee County, Okeechobee County, Desota County and Glades County.

Whether you are looking for luxury, investment, second home, commercial, bank owned, foreclosures properties Maureen Cool and The Cool Team are your real estate professionals for the entire Central Florida area.

Maureen Cool is your Luxury Home Expert in Highlands County. 
She can assist you with your Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid real estate needs. 



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