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Ask A Realtor

Craig Jones, broker associate, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, answers your burning real-estate questions.

What should buyers who are interested in a stormproof home be looking out for?

Window and door protection can keep you and your belongings safe and help control insurance costs. Newer garage doors are typically rated to withstand hurricane-force winds. Find out about roof quality: What kind of roof fastening system is in place? Was there damage to the roof in previous storms? You’ll also want to decide whether a home with a portable or whole-house generator works best for you. In addition, hurricanes are about wind and rain. Check that the gutters and downspouts move water off the roof and away from the house. Lastly, know whether the house is in a flood zone. Ask for a copy of the property’s elevation certificate and confirm its flood zone designation. Your Realtor and home inspector can help you get this information.

What are some top tips to make a home buyer’s offer stand out amongst others?

First, you need to understand the sales contract—specific terms and conditions, timeframes and responsibilities—before you submit an offer. Also, review the market data with your Realtor to make sure your proposed purchase price is in sync with the comparable sales for the area and for homes of that type. Know that cash is always preferred. If you can purchase a home for cash and make a significant down payment, you will stand out from other buyers who require a mortgage. If you are getting a mortgage, get a prequalification letter by your lender and attach it to your offer. When proposing a closing date, be mindful of the seller’s situation. If the closing period is longer than 45 days, consider sweetening your offer by offering larger escrow deposits up front. Tighten up on inspection timeframes, and make an impression with a handwritten note expressing your eagerness to start a life in a home that you know the sellers have loved and you will, too. Have your Realtor deliver the note to the seller’s agent for delivery to the seller.

Have a question for Ask a Realtor? Email askarealtor@gulfshorelife.com.