While Florida is known for its sunny weather, fabulous beaches, and amusement parks (hello, Disney World!), it’s the Floridian community here that leaves a mark on its visitors. No wonder more people are moving to the Sunshine State! And while the process of buying a house in Florida for the first time can seem daunting, it will all be worth it in the end.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when buying a Florida home for the first time:
- Am I financially prepared?
Buying a home is a big investment, and it requires careful planning and budgeting. Knowing how much you can actually afford will make a huge difference when it comes to the house hunting later on. There are also other expenses to consider, such as property taxes, home insurance, and most importantly, home maintenance. A lot of first-time buyers don’t realize that maintaining a home is also part of the cost.
It’s best to meet with a financial advisor to come up with a reasonable budget based on your cash flow and credit score.
- Does Florida have any first-time home buyer programs?
Florida has great housing programs for first-time home buyers that make the buying and paying process easier. One of their helpful programs is the Florida Housing Mortgage Credit Certificate Program (MCC) and it’s available to first-time home buyers such as yourself. With this program, you get to save more money for each year of living in your new home.
For more information on Florida’s home buying programs, check out their First Time Homebuyer Wizard app.
- What kind of neighborhood do I want?
Florida is home to many diverse neighborhoods, and choosing one depends on your personal goals. If you have kids or are planning to have kids, a family-friendly neighborhood with good schools and public parks should be a top priority. But if you want a fast-paced city lifestyle, then a major metropolitan area may be the right one for you.
Also, consider the weather of the area you’re looking at. Some cities have sunshine all-year round while others are more prone to rainfall.
- How do I evaluate a house?
You’ve chosen a couple of neighborhoods narrowed it down to a few places, and now it’s time to take a look at the house! When checking out your potential homes, have a checklist in mind of what to look out for:
Outside the house
- Landscaping: Surveying the landscaping outside the house – whether it’s the backyard or the front lawn – will show you how much (or how little) work you’ll need to put in fixing them.
- The neighbors: Talking to your potential neighbors will give you an idea of how life beside them will be like.
Inside the house
- Kitchen: Inspecting the kitchen appliances is a must because replacing them would be costly. Check for faulty drawers and cabinets as well.
- Bathrooms: It’s also important to do a thorough check of the bathrooms for any signs of leakage, water damage, or rust buildup.
- Bedrooms and living room: Now is the time to evaluate whether you can envision yourself living in the house.
Having a Realtor is a must for first-time homebuyers. Realtors know the neighborhoods pretty well and they can find suitable homes that fit your needs and wants. They are also here to help you with the nitty-gritty process of house buying. But make sure to get a reputable agent that you trust and are comfortable talking to.
About the Realtor
Francine Kidder is no stranger to the real estate industry in Florida. For the past four years, she has been selling homes to first-time buyers, the military, and retirees. To know more about buying your first home in Florida, contact Francine at 772 925 9587 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.