Buying property in Florida is one of those life-changing moments. It’s also the time to keep your feet firmly on the ground. Preparation is key to ensuring your purchase is as safe as houses.
How to buy a house in Florida? Read on for the essential steps in buying a house in the sunshine state that’ll keep you on the right track for a stress-free and successful purchase.
Save a Down Payment for Buying a Home in Florida
Your down payment will be part of the price that you pay for your new home at closing. Your mortgage lender will put down the rest. A typical mortgage lender in Florida will require you to contribute 20 percent of the purchase price.
There are a number of ways to potentially lower your down payment on a house in Florida. These include:
- Government-backed schemes, such as VA and FHA loans
- Programs specific to Florida: check out the Florida Housing Finance Corporation
There can be drawbacks to some schemes, such as increased mortgage insurance premiums.
Work Out What You Can Borrow
Begin by calculating your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Make a list of your monthly expenses and add them up. These will include utilities, car loans, food, and insurance. Divide the total figure by your gross monthly income.
Lenders will want to know that you have sufficient disposable income remaining to afford your monthly mortgage repayments. Most will be looking for a DTI of 43 percent or below: under 36 percent is ideal.
Most lenders will want to see that your monthly housing costs are less than 28 percent of your monthly income. You should also know your credit score. It will be a figure up to 850. Generally speaking, anything above 750 will get you the very best terms and rates, although a score of over 620 should get you over the line.
Get Pre-Approval on Your Mortgage
Pre-approval does not necessarily mean you’ll definitely get a loan. It will give you a ballpark figure of the amount you’ll spend when buying a property in Florida.
Sellers tend to take offers more seriously from pre-approved buyers. Pre-approval does not tie you to a specific lender. You may, for example, find a better deal further down the house buying process in Florida.
Where to Buy a House in Florida
It’s all about location. Here are the key factors to consider:
- Are house prices within my price range?
- Are home values on the rise where I’d like to buy?
- Do the local amenities support my lifestyle?
Find a Great Florida Real Estate Agent
Agents offer invaluable insights into market conditions and comparable sales as well as tips on making offers and dealing with potential sticking points. They may also know of homes that are not yet publicly on the market. Check out recommendations and hire a real estate agent with experience and that whom you know you’ll get along with.
Gather Essential Documents
At some point, you will have to submit financial documentation to your lender. The sooner you start getting it all together, the better. Create a file that includes:
- Your last two years’ tax returns and bank statements
- Evidence of your income for the last few months
- Proof of funds for the closing costs and down payment for your house in Florida
- ID (preferably a driver’s license or passport)
Make an Offer and Negotiate
Rely on your agent’s expertise. Make sure:
- You’re ready to move quickly: the house buying process in Florida moves fast
- You’re open to compromise a little with the seller
Inspections and Appraisals
This is your chance to get an official steer on the value of your home before purchasing it. Here’s how they work:
- A licensed professional will check for unseen, unexpected, or potential issues
- An appraiser hired by the lender will determine how much the property is worth
Finalize the Mortgage
Once the seller accepts your offer, begin the formal mortgage application process. Be prepared to give your lender access to whatever they need. Sort out your homeowners’ insurance by shopping around.
Close On Your New Home
Congratulations! Now is the moment to cross the threshold and begin enjoying life in your new home.
Talk to Us
Nothing beats talking through your homeownership ambitions. Contact us for expert help and advice.
What Are the Steps to Buying a House in Florida?
- Save up for a down payment on a house in Florida
- Estimate what you need to borrow
- Get pre-approval for your mortgage
- Select your preferred Florida locations
- Find a real estate agent in Florida you like working with
- Make plenty of time to start house hunting
- Make a realistic offer
- Get inspections and appraisals completed
- Finalize your mortgage
- Do one final walkthrough and then close
Does Florida Have a First Time Home Buyer Program?
The state’s first-time homebuyer scheme has 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages on offer for qualifying buyers working with a participating lender. Buyers can even apply for help with down payment and closing costs. There are, however, conditions.
What Happens if a Seller Accepts My Offer?
You’ll sign a purchase agreement. This should contain a few key details like the agreed offer price and estimated closing date. The earnest money is usually 1 or 2 percent of the total purchase price of the property. The intention of this deposit is to demonstrate intention on your part.
How Long Does the House Buying Process in Florida Take?
There are plenty of dependencies. These include the time and effort it takes to find the right property. Once you’ve found your ideal home, you can expect closing to take an average of 30 to 45 days. The sooner you get your financial arrangements in place the better.