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Frequently Asked Questions

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Select one of the frequently asked questions below to learn more about buying, selling, and renting real estate. Also, begin to think about important things to consider when diving into your real estate search.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Question about selling

[/vc_column_text][vc_toggle title=”Can a home depreciate in value?” el_id=”1457563269545-df1d9b94-9d5e”]Generally, real property never depreciates in value, or more so, it is not very common for property to depreciate.  This is why it’s a great investment. Make sure you carefully consider location and community when choosing a home, it can effect the homes future value greatly.

If you are in a newly developed area, do some research on the construction of the surrounding areas being developed to determine if they may effect your homes value.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Is an older home as good a value as a new home?” el_id=”1457563354555-9215d732-d143″]This is really just a matter of preference, but both newer and older homes offer distinct advantages, depending upon your unique taste and lifestyle.

Older homes can generally cost less than new homes, however, there are many cases where new homes can also cost less then older homes. Most new homes will not have any backyard landscaping and some don’t include any front landscaping either. With an older home, the landscaping is normally already completed and could have 10’s of thousands of dollars in landscaping done, which is included in the purchase price.

Taxes on some older homes may also be lower. Some people are charmed by the elegance of an older home but shy away because they’re concerned about potential maintenance costs. Consider a home warranty to get the peace of mind you deserve. A good Home Warranty plan protects you against unexpected repairs on many home systems and appliances for a full year or more after you move in.

In a new house, you can pick your own color schemes, flooring, kitchen cabinets, appliances, custom wiring for TV’s, electrical, computers, phones and speakers, etc., as well as have more upgrade options. Modern features like media rooms, extra-large closets and extra-large bathrooms and tubs are also more attainable in ground-up construction. In a used home, you rely largely on the previous resident’s tastes and technological whims, unless you plan to farm thousands into a remodeling and rewiring.

New-home designers can use new building materials such as glazed Energy Star windows, thicker insulation and other technology that will lower future energy costs for the owner. Most states now have minimum energy-efficiency requirements for new construction. Kitchens and laundry areas in new homes are designed to house more efficient energy-saving appliances. Older homes, unless they have undergone an energy retrofit, usually cost much more per square foot to air-condition and heat.

Builders have to follow very strict guidelines in new-homes and additions, especially in the West and Northwest, where earthquake safety standards must be observed. In general, new homes are usually more fire-safe and better accommodating of new security and garage-door systems.

Older homes can be better judged for their quality and timeless beauty. New homes that now possess a smooth veneer might reveal the use of substandard building materials or shoddy workmanship over time.

As you can see there are advantages and dis-advantages to each, but it really comes down to what fits you and what you are looking for in a home.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What is a broker?” el_id=”1457563413051-53682728-2bbe”]An agent who is authorized to open and run his/her own agency. All real estate offices have one principal broker.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What is the difference between being prequalified and preapproved for a loan?” el_id=”1457563429532-be0186c3-420b”]If you’re prequalified it means that you POTENTIALLY could get a loan for the amount stated to you, assuming that all of the information you provide to the bank is accurate and true. This is not as strong as a preapproval.

If you’re preapproved, it means that you have undergone the extensive financial background check, which includes looking at your credit history, previous tax returns and verifying your employment – and the lender is willing to give you a loan, basically meaning you’re approved!

You will usually be provided an accurate figure which shows the maximum amount that you are approved for.  Most sellers prefer buyers that have been preapproved because they know that there will not be any problems with the purchase of their home.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What is title insurance?” el_id=”1457563467201-44238ad6-6ab7″]Title insurance is insurance that protects the lender and buyer against any losses incurred from disputes over the title of a property.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Can I pay my own taxes and insurance?” el_id=”1457564512471-709eb61d-bf0d”]When a loan is originated, the mortgage documents specify the escrow conditions. This has become a standard practice for all mortgages, including FHA, VA and conventional mortgages.  Occasionally on conventional loans, FRFCU waives the collection of escrow requirement at closing if the member has a minimum 20% equity position in the property.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”How can I avoid private mortgage insurance?” el_id=”1457564531199-b634f01b-8551″]The easiest way to avoid PMI is by putting 20% down payment; however, PMI can also be avoided if you only have 5% or 10% for the down payment. The way to accomplish this is via a first and second mortgage combination commonly referred to as 80/10/10^s or 80/15/5^s.

These two methods combine a first mortgage lien for 80% of the home price with a second mortgage lien for either 10% or 15% of the home price leaving the remaining 5% or 10% as the down payment. Because the first lien is at the magical 80% loan=to-value, there is no PMI required, even though a second mortgage is being |piggybacked| onto the financing thus allowing for the lessor down payment.

While the second lien terms are not as attractive as first lien rates, the second mortgage is still home mortgage interest and thus deductible as such on your federal tax return where PMI is insurance and offers no deduction.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”How is interest calculated on a mortgage loan?” el_id=”1457564562142-2e162633-cbce”]Most mortgages originated today calculate interest in arrears, unlike consumer loans which calculate interest to the date of payment receipt. As an example, when borrowers pay their February mortgage payments, they are paying the January interest. This method of calculating interest is based on a 360 day year in which each month has 30 days.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What benefits do I receive from private mortgage insurance?” el_id=”1457564632631-80211bdf-2e44″]Private mortgage insurance enables borrowers to gain access to the housing market more rapidly by allowing payments of less than 20% and it protects lenders against loss if a borrower defaults.

Benefits for the Lender:

  • Broader range of loan products
  • Expanded pool of buyers with lower cash requirements
  • Wide range of insurance products
  • Faster and easier closes

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What do I do if I receive a tax statement?” el_id=”1457564659743-c02f10f0-44cd”]Many tax authorities will mail an informational copy of the real estate tax statement to the homeowner in addition to the Credit Union.  However, there are some statements tax authorities do not forward to the credit union, and in special cases we will need your assistance in obtaining the bill. If you receive a statement for any of the following, please forward it to our office by mail or fax.

  • delinquent real estate taxes
  • supplemental or additional real estate taxes
  • special assessments
  • if the tax authority will not honor a bill request from another party.

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=” How long does the loan process take?” el_id=”1457564614680-0f2cb9e8-eaaf”]The amount of time a loan takes to process can vary. However, in most cases a buyers mortgage can be approved within 30-45 days of application.[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Question about renting

[/vc_column_text][vc_toggle title=”Do I need a rental broker?” el_id=”1457629903053-d768c4ae-d207″]Finding the perfect property to rent takes time. Having a rental broker working with you makes the rental process faster and smoother. In competitive markets, having a broker will be well worth it especially if you are short on time. A broker will guide you through the ins and outs of each property. They have access to listings and are familiar with the state and federal rental laws.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Is there a minimum credit score?” el_id=”1457629903602-b34db89b-5789″]The required credit scores are usually lower than that which is required for mortgage loans. Typically, a credit score of 620 or higher will allow you to rent.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What’s covered in a residential lease agreement?” el_id=”1483730339095-9aa1e3b8-1174″]A residential lease agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant. It states the expectations for each party and the consequences for failing to meet them. Here’s a list of what the agreement should include:

  • Rental property description
  • Names of tenants
  • Duration of lease
  • Renewal process
  • Security Deposits, Fees and Rent Payments
  • Utilities
  • HOA Fees
  • Use and subletting
  • Right to entry
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Rules and regulations
  • Pets

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What to do if you have no credit or rental history?” el_id=”1483730338362-4ffc5c67-b93b”]If you have no credit or rental history, start with this 4-step plan:

  1. Have proof of income and dates of employment at hand. Be ready to provide contact information for at least one work reference.
  2. Have proof of a checkings and savings account. It is best to have the first three months of your rent covered in order to show financial planning.
  3. Bring a co-signer with you and have a co-signer agreement ready.
  4. Be able to provide two or more character references, such as friends or mentors.

[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What is a Co-Tenancy Agreement?” el_id=”1483730336977-24dd9ea7-79d0″]Typically, a co-tenancy agreement is used when you are renting a property with one or more people. It helps balance the responsibilities of each person by specifying what each roommate is responsible for.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What are the first steps I should take when deciding to rent?” el_id=”1483730455936-f96df0de-fa97″]Once you have decided that you would like to rent a property, it is wise to create a pre-rental checklist. The list should include specific questions you would like to ask the landlord and any key requirements you want from a property. [/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Should I get renters insurance?” el_id=”1483730454518-a0b761b4-61e7″]You want to be prepared for unexpected events that may arise such as, theft, a fire, or vandalism. Renters insurance provides liability insurance as well as protection to the tenants personal property in the case of those unexpected events.[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Chloe Vargas

Miami native, Chloé Di Pietro Vargas, is a rising star in the real estate world. Chloe is a savvy South Florida real estate agent with a passion for helping residential and investment clients buy and sell luxury properties. A specialist in condominiums, high-end homes, and rentals, as well as investment and income-producing properties, she draws her background in property management and communications to analyze off-market opportunities and negotiate seamless deals for her discerning clients.

Chloé is devoted to serving the needs of real estate buyers and sellers in destinations including, Brickell, Downtown Miami, Edgewater, Miami Beach, Aventura, Sunny Isles, and Coral Gables. Whether you’re looking for a luxury condo in Brickell or for a home in Key Biscayne, Chloé looks forward to introducing you to communities and lifestyles of some of Miami’s finest neighborhoods.

While assertive and ambitious, Chloé is also gracious and accommodating; she is, in short, the ideal teammate and agent. Chloé and her partner, Steven Vargas, provide first-class service and unmatched dedication to their clients, with a not-to-be-denied commitment to ensuring the smoothest possible process and the most desirable outcome.

Having built a successful career in events and property management, Chloé has a well-rounded approach to buying, selling, leasing, and investing in real estate. Chloé holds a degree in communications and sociology from the University of Miami.

Steven Vargas

Steven Vargas is a Realtor Associate focusing in luxury condominiums and single family homes in the Downtown, Brickell, Miami Beach and Coral Gables areas. He is an agent who recognizes the importance of utilizing a personal approach when interacting with clients.

Highly energetic, motivated, and detail-oriented, Steven is able to closely relate to his clients and provide viable solutions to any of their questions. With that goal in mind, Steven leverages an entire lifetime of living in Miami to the benefit of those he serves. Having grown up here, he has seen first-hand nearly every lifestyle experience the city has to offer.

Today, he specializes in the downtown and Brickell areas, which he also has called home for the past eight years. Steven believes that the more time you spend talking to people as a problem solver, the more you cultivate a mindset of strong sales and marketing. In his opinion, communication and trust are the keys to generating results. Steven’s valiant efforts have earned him the 2015 “Rookie of the Year” and 2020 “Top Producer” with Cervera Real Estate.

Steven’s love for real estate has opened doors to investments. He prides himself on educating his clients on how to purchase investment properties and receive passive income through this process. Steven and his partner Chloe are focused on creating generational wealth through real estate investing by producing passive income. They love sharing this information with family, friends, and clients leading Steven to launch their first YouTube channel — where he shares his knowledge for all things real estate. Steven is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Find Your Dream Home and/or Investment Property

Partner with a real estate team who will give you the personal attention and advice you need during the buying, selling, renting and investing process. The Vargas Team is committed to applying their skill and knowledge towards helping you find exactly what you are searching for in your next home or investment. To get started on your real estate endeavors today, Steven and Chloe can be reached at (786) 683-2938 or click here to contact us now. We look forward to making your vision a reality!