The steps to buying your new home can be difficult to navigate if you’re a first-time buyer. If you’re looking to purchase out-of-state, navigating the different real estate regulations can be a real challenge.
Currently, the florida real estate market favors sellers – meaning that the demand for homes is higher than the supply.
Nevertheless, property values are still rising in the Sunshine State, so there’s a high chance you’ll see a good return on your investment. If you’re considering buying property in Florida, now is a good time because post-pandemic interest rates are still low nationwide.
If you’re ready to buy your dream home in Florida, we are here to guide you through the process.
1. Assess Your Finances
The first thing to do when considering purchasing a home in Florida is to determine whether your finances are in good shape. To get a better idea of your financial position, have a look at your credit score, your savings, and your debt-to-income ratio.
Your credit score should be 620 or more to qualify for a home loan, but it’s not impossible to get a loan with a slightly lower credit score.
When it comes to your savings, you should have enough for a down payment on the home – which is usually around 20% of the property’s total value. You should also have enough cash to pay closing costs and other fees.
Now, calculate your debt-to-income ratio – simply divide your monthly debt by your income (before tax). You should have a debt-to-income ratio of 36%.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Loan
Getting a home loan pre-approved before you begin house hunting is always a good idea because it will determine your budget. Getting pre-approval will also give you more purchasing power when placing an offer on a home.
Your loan officer can take you through the process of applying for a home loan and help you with the home-buying process. Once you get pre-approval, be careful not to do anything that could jeopardize your credit score.
3. Choose Your Neighborhood
If you don’t have a particular area or neighborhood in mind before you start house hunting, now is a good time to do some research.
You should consider the job opportunities, schools, amenities, and crime rates in the area when deciding on the location of your new home. A quick Google search should be able to give you the initial information, and then you should visit the area in person.
Once you’ve decided on a location, find a qualified and experienced real estate agent in the area. Look at reviews and ask for personal recommendations, if possible.
4. Go House Hunting
Before you begin house hunting, list everything you want in a home and arrange the items by priority. While it’s unlikely that one home will check every box, ensure it satisfies your highest preferences.
A good time to start looking for a house in Florida is in April – that’s when many homes go onto the market. By considering the season, you’ll have more options to choose from.
5. Make Your Offer
If you find the home you want, you might need to act quickly to make an offer. However, in Florida, most houses are on the market for an average of 79 days – which is higher than the national average.
When making an offer, don’t forget to include an inspection requirement. The last thing you want to do is buy a home with hidden problems that will need expensive repairs. Get the property’s foundation, HVAC, roof, and plumbing looked over by a professional.
6. Close the Deal
Before closing the deal, take one last walk-through to ensure everything’s in order. Buyers in Florida are required to have a real estate lawyer.
Get your real estate lawyer to go through and explain the sale contract before you sign it. Once you’ve signed, you can begin making plans to move into your new home.
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