Buying a home is one of the biggest moments in a person’s life. From making sure you’re in the right neighborhood to making sure it’s a sound investment, there is a long list of things to consider when buying a house.
Whether it’s your first time buying a house or you’ve been through the process before, it’s never a bad idea to ask for a bit of help. From understanding the market to knowing insurance costs, it’s always a good idea to be prepared.
Read on for our tips and tricks for how to buy a house in Florida.
Get Your Budget in Order
The biggest aspect of the home-buying process is the cost. You’ll need a strong credit score and enough money for a down payment, closing costs, and more. And that’s just for the buying process.
If you’re switching from renting to owning, your monthly mortgage payment might be lower than your rent, but your insurance is sure to go up.
And speaking of insurance, where you choose to buy a home in Florida will play a big part in your budget. Living in big cities or near the beaches can have some amazing benefits, but you’ll also have a higher cost of living.
When you’ve determined you’re ready to take this leap, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the next step. First, you’ll need to get prequalified for a loan which is an assessment of your finances to determine if you are a desirable loan candidate.
Then, when you’re pre-approved for a loan, you’re approved for an exact dollar amount to be loaned. This tells you how much your lender is willing to lend you for your mortgage. You’ll need to be pre-approved for a mortgage to search for houses that are within your budget.
Wherever you’re planning to buy a home, making sure you are financially sound enough to buy a house is a crucial first step in the process.
Know What You’re Looking for Before Buying a Home
Once you have your budget, the next step when you’re looking to buy a home—in Florida or anywhere—is to know what kind of home you are looking for. After all, you don’t want to waste time looking at houses that don’t fit your plans. Furthermore, if you’re working with a real estate agent, they can’t help you find your dream house if you aren’t sure what that is.
Think about what kind of home you’ll be happy in. For some people, that means more rooms and a larger kitchen than what they currently have, while for others, it means a larger backyard. Are you looking for something modern and updated that might cost more, or would you rather have a fixer-upper that you can truly make your own?
Knowing what kind of house you want to buy isn’t enough. You also need to know what type of neighborhood you want to live in, how close or far you want to be from your office, schools, and parks, what kind of acreage you’re looking for, and more.
Making a list of your must-haves, your wants, and your deal-breakers when it comes to buying a home will make the search process much easier.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Buying a home is not something you want to leave to chance. That’s why hiring a real estate agent is a crucial part of the process.
Your real estate agent helps you understand the entire home buying process. And the best part is that, as the buyer, the agent’s fee is usually paid by the seller.
The biggest appeal of hiring a real estate agent is their market expertise. Give them your list of must-haves and deal-breakers, and they can narrow down your search to only homes that fit you, so you’re not wasting any time. They can also protect you from bad investments.
Agents also have all the details about the neighborhoods you’re looking at and local real estate market trends.
First-time buyers especially should not attempt to buy a house without the help of a real estate agent, and it’s crucial that you find the right one. Ask them all your questions, and be sure you get the answers you want. Check their closing history, and make sure they’ll have time to dedicate to you.
Once you’ve found your agent, it’s time to start house hunting.
Start House Hunting
When people think of buying a house, this is usually what they’re thinking about—house hunting. Doing walk-throughs, imagining your furniture in the living room, and getting the sales pitch.
When you’re doing a walk-through, take plenty of pictures, take notes about things you notice and how the home makes you feel, and picture yourself living there long term. Make sure this is a house layout, size, and neighborhood you’ll be happy with for years to come.
Most importantly, don’t get distracted by flashy countertops that might be covering up outdated appliances.
Don’t feel like you can’t visit a home more than once, especially if you’re getting close to making an offer. See the house at different times of day, in different lights, and observe the neighborhood.
Making an Offer, Getting a Home Inspection, and Closing on Your New House
When you’ve found the house of your dreams, work with your agent to make an offer, and don’t let the process overwhelm you. If it’s a hot housing market, you’ll likely have other buyers you’re bidding against, and you might have to go over your budget.
A trusted real estate agent will coach you through this process so you keep a level head and your expectations are well managed.
When your offer is accepted, you’ll put down your earnest money deposit, which can later be put toward the purchase of the house. Then, you’re ready to have the home inspected.
The home inspection will look at all aspects of the house, from the roof to the appliances to the plumbing and more. If this uncovers issues that weren’t brought up by the seller beforehand, you can negotiate the repair costs with the seller.
Similarly, your lender will require a home appraisal to determine the current value of the home to protect you from overpaying.
Once the inspection and appraisal have been sorted, the final step is closing on your home. This will mean a lot of paperwork, but it’ll all be worth it when you settle into your new dream house.
Let Us Help You Buy Your New Home
Buying a home in Florida—or anywhere—is no easy task. However, finding a trustworthy real estate agency is one thing that can make it a more manageable task.
RE/MAX 200 Realty and RE/MAX Town & Country Realty have been in the Greater Orlando area real estate business since 1988. We are one of the top real estate agencies in Central Florida.
If you’re ready to buy a house in Central Florida, call us today.