Scouring the internet, you will find an abundance of information on how to buy a house. However, finding a state-specific guide on how to navigate buying a home is much more difficult. If you are a first home buyer in Florida, here’s what you need to know.
Where is the Ideal Place to Start?
If you are a Florida first time home buyer with a low credit score, you can start by taking a look at some Florida housing programs, provided by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. The available housing programs are tailored to assist first time home buyers with securing mortgages and down payments for their ideal living space. The Florida Housing Finance Corporation was established to assist citizens with financial difficulties in buying a home they can call their own.
8 Steps to Buying a House in Florida
Since the market has a lot to offer, it can be easy to settle for a house that is “good enough” at the time. However, since many people stay in the same house for a majority of their lives, it is imperative that you make an informed choice you won’t regret years later.
1. Take Your Time
Go through real estate listings on local realtor websites to find out what is trending in the housing sector and additional housing information for that area.
2. Know Your Budget
With your annual income and monthly expenses in mind, figure out how much you can comfortably afford to spend each month on your new home. It is important to keep that flexibility of comfort here since your utilities and certain other bills, like car insurance, may increase or decrease when you move. For example, in some Florida towns, if you live within the city limits you are required to use city power, which can be noticeably more expensive than FPL.
3. Get Approval for a Mortgage
Work with your lender of choice to assess your financial status and find out how much you are eligible to receive. By sticking to houses in or near your price range, you’re saving yourself from wasting time and effort looking at homes you can’t afford.
4. Choose a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent will play an essential role in the whole process. They will help you make light work of canvassing the area and will ensure that you get a reasonable deal.
5. Identify Your Ideal Home
Only you will know what your ideal home looks like, and when you find it, you can move on to the next step.
6. Get a Home Inspection
Before you buy this house, you want to make sure it is in good condition. A home inspection will reveal any issues with doors, windows, walls, roofing, electric, plumbing, and more. If the inspection reveals a lot of problems, you may reconsider the home. Your real estate agent will be able to help you with getting the home inspection done.
Pro Tip: Some of the most common problems found during a home inspection can be hazardous to your health and have costly repair fees.
7. Make an Offer
Once everything else is in order, you’re ready to make an offer. Choose a suitable loan deal and carry out an appraisal for the home to ensure you aren’t getting a raw deal from the whole process. Most homeowners go for third parties to do the appraisals for them.
8. Close the Sale
Your real estate agent will help you take care of all the paperwork and close the sale. You’ll need to sign all the necessary documents for ownership of the house to officially change hands.
How Long Does it Take to Buy a House?
The home buying process is never the same for any two home buyers. Depending on many factors surrounding the sale, the process may be prolonged or expedited.
Once the contract has been accepted, you will have to wait for the contract to close period to end. This period, also called the loan approval period, tends to be longer for mortgages because it involves a lot of paperwork and the approval of your mortgage. Typically, the loan approval period does not last more than two months, and once it has been closed, your first mortgage payment will be due at the end of the first month.
How Do Mortgages Work?
A mortgage is a loan from a bank to help you purchase a house. Florida has numerous loan programs that first-time owners can take advantage of, including:
- Conventional Mortgage
- Federal Housing Administration Loans
- Veterans Affairs Loans
- Florida Assist Second Mortgage
- And More
All of these mortgage programs have different interest rates and different terms and conditions, but they share the characteristic of low down payments that will be due before you move into your new home.
Once you have the keys to move into your new home, you will have a payment due every month. This payment will reduce the loan, reduce some of the interest, and increase your equity. Fixed-rate mortgages are often preferred because their interest rates will never change, so you can rest assured that you know when the payment will be complete. On average, most fixed-rate mortgages are for 30 years.
Homeowners who fail to maintain their mortgage payments risk losing their homes to the lenders in a process known as foreclosure. However, with the amazing deals on homes in Florida, this is less likely to occur than in other states. If you keep all of this in mind, you’ll be sure to enjoy a seamless experience as a first time Florida home buyer.