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Tips for Buying a Home in Florida

Tips for Buying a Home in Florida

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Purchasing your first home is too important to let anything go amiss. Laws, insurance policies, and incentives differ from state to state. Thus, buying a home in Florida will run smoothly only with careful consideration of its every aspect. Timely preparation for the endeavor, of course, is indispensable.

Get professional help in the process of purchasing a real estate in Florida. Furthermore, make sure you hire an expert, local real estate agent. Only a reputable, licensed agent who knows the current real estate market well and has sufficient experience will close the deal quickly and efficiently.

Now, let’s take a look at what buying a home in Florida involves. 

Team with a real estate agent

Even though we’re repeating, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of working with the right real estate agent. The agent will be your transaction broker in the process of buying a house but also much more than that. Having access to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) makes it easier for the broker to gain insight into the current local real estate market. He or she is supposed to serve you with a few listings that fit your image (and budget) of a perfect Florida house almost immediately.

Moreover, a good agent should provide you with valuable information regarding the whole house-buying process. However, a great agent should advise you according to this information and work in your best interest. Additionally, as your transaction broker, a real estate agent facilitates a transaction and, thus, an attorney is not necessary at closure.

Ideally, they should take care of everything with the minimum of your involvement while you focus on your relocation. With that in mind, be careful when hiring movers and always ask for free quotes from several local moving companies. Also, check if they have a license with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) before you commit.

Financing: the next important step

The following tips are for the vast majority that needs some kind of financing to purchase a house. While buying with cash is the fastest, it is not an option for many first-time home-buyers.

It will please you to know that all three counties in South Florida offer incentives. Namely, Broward County assists with a down payment, Miami-Dade County subsidizes mortgage loan, and Palm Beach County provides favorable mortgage rates.

More good news is that Florida homeowners can submit a request for a homestead exemption that reduces the amount of property taxes they need to pay. Additionally, it limits the increase in their yearly taxes. The exemption worths up to USD50,000, but only if the home is a primary residence.

Furthermore, getting mortgage pre-approval will rank you higher with the Florida sellers. Mind, it is not the same as being mortgage pre-qualified. The letter of pre-approval certifies that a lender has thoroughly examined your financial status and credit report. On the other hand, being pre-qualified for a mortgage means that you only received an estimate from the lender of what you can afford according to your financial details.

Selling your current home to move and buy a house in Florida is a great financial asset but it is not an option for people who rent. In all honesty, a mortgage is a long-term obligation and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Before the signing

It is vital to make a few more checks before you make an offer, and especially before you sign a contract. You should focus your attention on

  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Home inspection
  • Property survey

Homeowner’s insurance

Depending on the area in Florida and the price range, it may prove difficult or expensive to obtain residential insurance for certain casualties. If the house you wish to buy is positioned in the flood zone and predisposed to be frequently flooded, insurance is necessary but will be costly. Additionally, it is most likely that you won’t be able to obtain hurricane insurance if the hurricane is imminent. Before you sign a contract, review these topics and the costs and if the contract discusses them. Home insurance (and its availability) may be a starting point for price negotiation.

Home inspection

Even though the sellers are obliged by law to reveal any issues about the property as well as conditions that are not easily noticeable or discoverable by a buyer, you should hire an accredited building inspection company to perform a thorough inspection of your new residence. Your broker should obtain the “Seller Disclosure Statement” from the seller and provide it to you so you can approve (or disapprove) the disclosure statement upon inspection.

It is an additional expense, true, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If you wonder what kind of issues to expect, Florida is prone to water damage and mold, termites, damage from hurricanes and tornadoes, sinkholes, plumbing defects, and roof damage.

Property survey

You shouldn’t take anything for granted. Take time to hire a professional surveyor, licensed by the State of Florida, to confirm the exact boundaries for the property you plan to buy. That way you can be a hundred percent sure that there aren’t any unusual circumstances affecting the home and that you are truly purchasing the house and the land you believe you are purchasing.

Finally, the Contract

Note that there are two types of property purchase contracts in Florida, Standard and “As-is” contract. If you’re buying a home in Florida, you’d be expected to pay a small deposit, to show you’re sincere and serious about the purchase. That is where the differences between the contracts become vital for the buyer.

According to the Standard Contract, the seller is required to fix any issues discovered during the home inspection. Additionally, it grants a default of 1.5 percent of the purchase price for said repairs. On the other hand, the “As-is” Contract doesn’t make such demands from the seller. However, it allows the buyer to withdraw if not satisfied AND receive a full refund of the deposit. With Standard Contract that wouldn’t be possible.

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