Buying a home is a major decision. It’s a significant investment in your future. It’s also a rather considerable expense. It isn’t something that should be taken lightly.
There’s a lot of preparation and research involved in purchasing a house. You’ll also interact with multiple parties at different stages during the process. It can often take several weeks or months from the time that you decide to buy a home until you can successfully close on the property.
Even though it takes considerable time, buying a home in Florida can definitely be accomplished. Once you’ve set this goal, there shouldn’t be anything that prevents you from accomplishing it. All you need is a positive mindset and a good game plan.
Here are six important steps for purchasing a home:
1. Prepare yourself for home ownership.
Going from renting to owning a home is a big step. It’s a major adjustment, both mentally and financially. You can start looking at properties and coming up with a list of amenities right away if you want to.
Spend some time looking at neighborhoods that you’d like to live in and the available homes in those areas. This will give you a better picture of what to expect when it’s time to narrow down your possibilities.
2. Contact a realtor.
Another important step is working with a realtor. You could do all of the legwork yourself, but most people don’t know the market or have the experience that veteran real estate agents have. You can look for realtors in your area and interview several of them if you’d like.
Once you’ve found a realtor that stands out above the rest, schedule a meeting with them. Discuss your intentions and your timeline. The realtor will work with you to create a good plan of action to get you settled into your new home.
3. Find the right home.
Your realtor will schedule tours and open house showings for you. Attend these showings when they fitin your schedule. Take time to review the interior and exterior of each home.
Feel free to ask any questions that you may have. Learn about the neighborhoods and the local services (doctor’s offices, hospitals, schools, grocery stores, gas stations, shopping centers, public transportation, etc.).
4. Get your finances in order.
Before you can make an offer, it’s a good idea to determine just how much home you can afford. Start by getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan.
Meet with a loan officer from your local bank, credit union or other local lending institution. They will review your credit to calculate what kind of loan they could offer you. This isn’t required, but it can give you a distinct advantage over other interested parties who haven’t been pre-approved yet.
It’s also a good idea to set a budget for yourself. Keep in mind that you need to set aside enough money for a down payment and closing costs. Most down payments are about 20 percent of a home’s sale price.
Closing costs for home buyers are typically about three to five percent of the home’s sale price. You’ll also have to pay monthly mortgage payments and utility bills, as well as any homeowners association dues and other applicable charges.
Examine your current income and expenses. If there are any unnecessary or redundant charges, now is the perfect time to eliminate them. If you have credit card debt or other outstanding debt or loan obligations, they should be paid off or down as much as possible. Start setting aside a specific dollar amount from your each paycheck to put towards the costs of owning your new home.
5. Make an offer.
When you’ve found the ideal property, you can make an offer. Your offer should be realistic according to the seller’s asking price and current market trends.
The seller can reject the offer, ask to negotiate or they can accept the offer as is. Once an offer has been accepted, an agreement will be drawn up. Make sure that you read the agreement carefully before signing it.
Ensure that the seller has rightful ownership of the property. You should purchase title insurance to protect your rights. A title agent will also check current documentation to confirm this information. If you wish, you may insist that your offer is contingent on having a clear title.
6. Get ready to close.
Before the closing, a home inspection should be scheduled. Both the home buyer and home seller should be present for the inspection.
A licensed inspector will review the property and issue a report with their findings. If there are any items that need to be fixed or replaced, discuss them with the seller. You can agree to pay for those items yourself, you could have the seller pay for them or both parties could split the costs evenly.
At closing, you will meet with your realtor, usually at a title agent’s office. You will sign all final paperwork and receive the keys to your new home. The seller will receive their check for the sale.
You may opt to purchase a homeowner’s insurance policy before closing. This is a type of insurance that protects your home and your property from theft and damage. This is required insurance for homeowners in most areas.
Keep all copies of closing documents in a safe place. You may want to start contacting the local utility companies to either connect services or transfer existing services into your name. You can decide when you want to move in, start meeting your new neighborhoods and getting accustomed to the area.
The thought of becoming a homeowner can be very intimidating at first. When you look at things logically and break down tasks into manageable chunks, it’s really not that bad.
Things tend to move rather quickly once your offer has been accepted. You’ll probably have the keys to your new house before you realize it. You accomplished a major life goal! That’s something to celebrate. Reward yourself if you want. It should be the first of many memorable moments in the next phase of your life.