When the time comes to buy a house in Florida, it is vital to know what the process entails. While it isn’t always a difficult process, it can be complicated at times if you’re not sure what you’re doing.
Luckily, it’s easy to know what is needed to buy a house in Florida when you have all the right resources prepared ahead of time. From learning about first-time homebuyer programs to house-hunting in Florida, you can make this exciting time as smooth and simple as possible.
How to Buy a Home in Florida
Once you’re ready to purchase a house in Florida, it’s time to learn the standard procedure that is involved. While everyone’s journey to becoming a homeowner in Florida is different, there are a few specific steps that pretty much everyone will need to follow.
1. Find a Reliable Florida Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is there to guide and support you as you go through this often confusing process. They are specially trained to know what to look for and how to best protect you as you go. Their education and experience will be crucial to getting the best price for your Florida home while also ensuring all of the necessary paperwork is in order.
When choosing a dependable real estate agent in Florida, take some time to ask for referrals and do your research. Look through online reviews to see what customers have had to say about specific agents and how they helped these individuals through the process. You can find key information online that will help you make the right decision about who can help you buy a house in Florida.
2. Choose a Lender
Finding a professional and trustworthy lender is pivotal to having a positive home buying experience. Their job is to help you through the mortgage application process and determine how much you can afford when it comes to buying a house in Florida. From there, they will also ensure you are qualified based on your income, current debt, and creditworthiness.
Your real estate agent may have a lender they prefer but you can always make this choice yourself. Similar to choosing your realtor, research will be essential to pick the right company to assist you.
Look through online reviews on Google and Yelp to see what local lenders have a strong reputation for serving customers in your area.
3. Search for the Right Home
This is where your real estate agent’s knowledge and expertise come into play. Speak to them about what you’re looking for in your new home. The more details you can give them the better so they can narrow down your options around the city you’re relocating to. One of the first decisions you need to make is whether you plan to build your own home or purchase one that has already been constructed.
Discuss key features you would like the property to have including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether you want a pool, the size of the yard, a single story or two stories, and others. You can even ask your agent what they feel is the best place to buy a house in Florida.
From there, you’ll get the chance to look through various homes and see what the areas have to offer. If you have kids, you’ll want to consider the local school systems. And if you already have a job opportunity in town, you will need to see what your commute will look like from the location.
4. Make an Offer on the House
As soon as you find the place that you simply can’t live without, it’s time to put an offer down on the house. This is as easy as telling your real estate agent which home you want and then discussing the amount you would like to spend on it.
They will then write up a contract and submit the offer to the sellers. Depending on the property, the contract will sometimes contain conditions regarding the purchase. This may include things like repairs you want to be completed beforehand, appliances you want to be left at the location, as well as the timeframe you’d prefer for closing.
At this point, the seller has the option to either accept your offer, reject your offer, or make a counter-offer. Your real estate agent will help you know what is realistic during this process so that neither side of the negotiation is taken advantage of.
5. Go Through the Closing Process
As soon as both sides come to a final agreement, the home will go into escrow and the closing process will begin. A date will be set and specific conditions must be met by that time for the purchase to be finalized.
You will schedule for a home inspector to visit the home and check both inside and out. They will look for structural issues and other concerns like termites or broken windows. Any problems that are found will then be negotiated to determine whether the seller will fix them or not. Sometimes they will simply provide a credit to compensate for a portion of the costs involved.
Before closing, you will also want to do a walkthrough to ensure there are no other problems that would prevent you from moving into the location.
6. Close On Your New Home
Once the closing date arrives, you’ll be able to finalize and sign the papers. At this point, your Florida home-buying process will be complete and you’ll get the keys to your new house. The only thing left will be for you to get all of your belongings and move in.
How Much Does it Cost to Buy a House in Florida?
Over the past year, people buying a house in Florida have seen the prices rise by about 5%. These numbers are projected to go up nearly another 5% in the next year as well. This has been a common theme over the past few years as average home prices in Florida were as low as $137,000 back in 2011.
Currently, the median listing price for a home in Florida is about $349,900. Depending on where you decide to purchase your home in Florida, you can expect an average price per square foot of about $164.
Where to Buy a Home in Florida?
With its fantastic beaches, access to popular theme parks, and beautiful weather, it’s tough to go wrong when buying a house in Florida. Every part of the state has its own special benefits that will make it a great place to live.
Some of the top places to buy a home in Florida include:
- St. Petersburg
Florida First-Time Home Buyer Programs
Based on your previous history as a homeowner, you may be able to qualify for a handful of different first-time home buyer programs in Florida. These options provide a wide range of advantages including down payment assistance, lower monthly payments, and better chances of being approved.
Florida HFA Preferred Conventional Loan
The biggest perk of the Florida HFA Preferred Conventional Loan is the lower mortgage insurance premium, which decreases your monthly payments. Buyers simply must be able to qualify and take care of a minimum 3% down payment of the purchase price. As a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, this is a great option for a first-time home buyer in Florida.
Florida HFA Preferred 3% Plus Conventional Loan
This option has all the same benefits as the standard Florida HFA but also takes care of an additional aspect of the deal. It is one of the best first time home buyer grants in Florida because it handles the 3% down payment and closing costs as well.
HFA Preferred Grant
If you take out the perk of the lower mortgage insurance, you get the HFA Preferred Grant. This option is a grant that offers a total of 3% or 4% of the purchase price that can be used for either the down payment or the closing costs.
Florida Mortgage Credit Certificate Program (MCC)
Many first-time homebuyers in Florida have used the MCC over the years, which allows them to claim anywhere from 10% to 50% of their mortgage interest up to a maximum of $2,000.
Military Heroes Government Loan Program
Both veterans and people who are active-duty military have a handful of options designed to help them with buying a home in Florida. The benefits range from lower interest rates to down payment assistance.
National First-Time Home Buyer Programs
Along with the local Florida first-time homebuyer programs, other options are available at the national level as well. These programs offer various down payments, interest rates, and closing cost agreements.
- Conventional loans
- FHA loans
- USDA loans
- VA loans
Need Help Moving into Your New Florida Home?
Once you’ve finished buying a house in Florida, it’s likely that you’ll need help with the relocation. We have a top-rated team of professional movers who are fully trained and ready to assist you! Give 2 College Brothers a call today at (813) 922-1528 or complete the Request a Quote form above to get a free moving estimate!