Home buying can be very stressful, whether you’re a first-time buyer or purchasing for the first time in Florida. We understand this is a large investment and finding the right home that fits your needs and budget can feel overwhelming. To help reduce the anxiety we have put together a clear step by step guide outlining the process.
Step 1: Identify a Licensed Florida Realtor
Having a Licensed qualified Realtor is the most important factor when looking to purchase a home. The right Realtor will spend time with you to understand what you need, value and desire in the price range that you are comfortable with. Building rapport and having trust and confidence with your Realtor is important when making such an important investment.
Step 2: Decide what type of Financing makes sense for you
A good Realtor will be able to provide you with information regarding your different financing options as well as lenders that offer a plan which best fits your needs. It is important if you will be obtaining financing to be pre-approved prior to finding your new home and making an offer. This demonstrates to the seller that you are a serious, qualified buyer and gives you strong bargaining power.
Step 3: Finding the Right Property for You
With your criteria clearly defined your Realtor will narrow the field of potential homes using all available technology to research the homes that meet your needs. This should go much deeper than just the MLS listing. To protect your interests, the Seller’s disclosure, all recent permitted updates, home history and any current or future assessments should be included. This information should be made readily available to you to further refine your search. Your Realtor should be available to arrange showings for properties of interest until you find your next home.
Step 4: The Purchase Agreement
You have identified your next home… great! Now a purchase agreement between you and the seller needs to be completed. At this point in the process the price as well as the terms and conditions of the contract are negotiated. What is the “right price”, what have comparable homes sold for, what else is considered in the offer? A Realtor skilled in the art of negotiation is a must to insure you get the best value. The negotiation of the final Purchase Agreement typically requires some “back and forth” however your Realtor will manage the process and communicate through the final acceptance by all parties.
Step 5: All the Details, Continued Follow-up and Communication
Arranging a home inspection: as defined in the Purchase Agreement (your Realtor should be able to provide a list of licensed professionals)
Loan Application completed: Finalizing the details with your financing company, your Loan Officer or Mortgage Broker will work directly with you to finalize funds for closing.
Appraisal: Once the Loan Application is complete the Lender will order an appraisal. Your Realtor will provide the Appraiser with a copy of the executed purchase contract. If any major discrepancies exist between the appraisal and the offer that could jeopardize the loan further negotiations may be required. This is typically mitigated if your Realtor has completed a thorough Comparative Market Analysis prior to the initial offer.
Title Company / Real Estate Attorney: Escrows, Closing Documents, Funds required for closing, Etc.
Insuring all requirements of the Purchase Agreement are on schedule and met: A Purchase Agreement may contain many stipulations. It is important to ensure all of these are met so that you close on time.
Walk Through: Prior to the closing your Realtor should accompany you on a walk-through of the property to confirm all requirements have been met by the seller. If any issues are identified the Realtor will assist you in addressing them.
The Closing: Closing in Florida typically takes place at a Florida Title company of the Sellers choice (this can be negotiated however). Prior to the close you will need to arrange to have the required funds wired to the account of the title company. The title company will provide you the final amount prior to the closing date. Three days prior to closing your lender will also provide you with a detailed closing disclosure. This document provides you details of all the costs you will need to cover at closing. Florida also has some unique taxes for buyers when assuming or obtaining a mortgage. A Realtor or your Lender should be able to provide some detail on what these will include. Your Realtor should stay with you throughout the closing process and follow up after you close to ensure all your needs have been met.