Pop quiz – What’s the single fastest growing state in the United States today? If you didn’t already know, it’s Florida. Long playing a role on the U.S. Census Bureau’s fastest growing states list, in early 2023, Florida took the number one spot. Just last year, the state was growing by more than 8,000 people every single week, and it’s not hard to see why. Florida offers beautiful weather and some of the best beaches in the United States. If you’re thinking of buying a home here, though, understanding the steps to buy a house in Florida and the pitfalls of buying property in Florida are both a must.
The Steps to Buy a House in Florida
If you’ve never purchased a home before, you’re likely to be a bit lost when it comes to purchasing real estate in this state. If, on the other hand, this isn’t the first time you’ve owned a home, the good news is that buying a home in Florida is a lot like buying a home in other locations. It begins when you take a hard look at your finances.
What You Need to Know About Finances and Credit Scores
Keep in mind that your creditworthiness is a key factor that lenders in Florida will consider when they decide if you qualify for a mortgage. Before you even speak to a lender, you’ll want to know what your credit score is because if it’s fairly low, you may need to work with a broker to get a loan.
Once you know what your credit score is, the next step in the process is to choose a lender. You’ll want to shop for the best rates, so look at several different lenders to figure out which products are going to be the ideal way to meet your needs. Once you select one, you’ll want to get pre-approved for a mortgage.
During the process of being pre-approved, you’ll know exactly how much you can spend, and that can help narrow down the Florida homes you consider. Your lender will ask you for quite a bit of documentation when it comes to your income and your assets, and in return, you’ll obtain a letter of pre-approval, which may help you win a bidding war in Florida’s hot real estate market.
When you have your financing in place, it’s time to start thinking about the home of your dreams. Create a list of the things you’re looking for in your new home like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the perfect layout, the size of your yard, and any other amenities you might want.
When you’ve made your list, it’s time to connect with a real estate agent who can help you find the perfect Florida home. They’ll be able to send you lots of different homes in your search area that will help you decide on the perfect home to meet your needs. They’ll then schedule walk-throughs and tours so you can get a good feel for each property and determine how they fit into your thoughts on the right home. If you find one you love, you can make an offer.
Making an Offer
An offer is a bit scary, but it’s the best way to let the seller know you’re interested. Your real estate agent will help you decide on the right offer for the home, then the seller will either accept or reject it. If he or she rejects
it, feel free to make a counter offer.
Even if the seller accepts your offer, you’ll still have the right to renegotiate it if the home inspection reveals any potential problems. Keep in mind, though, that you won’t have the right to renegotiate if the seller lists the home in “as-is” condition. In those situations, you’re going to have to handle any potential repairs or changes on your own.
Home Inspection and More
The home inspection is the next step in the process of buying your Florida home. While it’s not legally required, it can help you identify any potential issues or defects. Even if you have a home inspection, your lender will also require an appraisal of the property. The appraisal is simply to determine the value of the home based on its characteristics and comparable sales in the area. The lender will schedule this, and it will become part of the closing costs on your loan.
If all goes well with the inspection and appraisal, the final step in the process is to sign your mortgage paperwork and handle all of the other paperwork associated with the sale of your home. Fortunately, your real estate agent and your title company will handle most of that for you. They’ll explain each document, then you’ll sign it when you close on the house. Eventually, the seller will hand over the keys, and the Florida home you wanted will be yours!
The Pitfalls of Buying a Property in Florida
As easy as the entire home buying process sounds, there are some pitfalls associated with buying a home in Florida. One is the potential for bad weather. If you’re relocating, you have to remember that hurricanes are something Florida homeowners face on a regular basis. Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover the flooding that is associated with hurricanes, so you may need to pay a bit more for a flood policy.
Another potential pitfall you may face only happens if you’re buying oceanfront property. There are laws associated with the land if you’re facing the ocean. Some vegetation cannot be removed, and if it’s sea turtle nesting season, you’ll have to eliminate your outdoor lighting and be very careful about your window coverings. Additionally, anything below the mean high tide line is state property, so you’ll have to be careful about restricting access.
There are also a number of deed restricted communities in Florida with HOAs that create and enforce various rules about your property. Be sure that you are familiar with those deed restrictions so that you know exactly what you can and cannot do.
Finally, it’s important to note that closing costs on your loan in Florida are among the highest in the nation. To avoid those, there are options to pay in cash or roll them in with your mortgage, but you absolutely want to understand what that looks like for your budget.
Buying Florida Property
Florida is one of the most beautiful states, and the population growth means more housing options than ever. There are lots of great places to consider, and whether you’re interested in purchasing a home as the perfect place to vacation or you’re looking for a primary residence, this is a great place to do it. Know what to expect, then start doing your research so you can find the right home to meet your needs.
Source: Synergy Homes Florida