The Florida housing market continues to be hot, and most would say there aren’t many signs of it slowing down any time soon. Whether you just love warm weather or want to be close to some of the nation’s most beautiful beaches, the sunshine state is a go-to destination for tourists and home buyers alike. If you’re looking to buy a Florida home as a primary residence or as an investment, here are some tips to get you started.
South Florida Home Buying Tips
As Florida continues to be an increasingly popular destination for home buyers, be sure you come prepared, so you make the right decisions, and the process goes as smooth as possible.
- Know the Current Real Estate Market: timing is everything when buying real estate, so it’s important to research the areas you are interested in. It’s important to know whether it’s a seller’s or buyer’s market, if certain areas are outside of your budget, if a neighborhood is up and coming, and how just how competitive the market is in the areas you are looking.
- Use a Trusted Real Estate Agent: working with a credible and expert real estate agent will make the buying process more efficient and less stressful.
- Explore Available Financing Options: if you plan on taking a mortgage, explore what financing options are available. First time buyers might be eligible for certain loan assistance programs. It is always a good idea to get pre-approved as you begin your search.
- Understand Florida Property Taxes: know and understand property taxes so you can factor them properly into your expenses. They will vary by county and certain exemptions will apply.
- Factor Zoning and Weather into Insurance: when projecting your homeowner’s insurance, make sure you factor in weather events such as hurricanes and flooding, which will require additional coverage.
- Know Your Closing Costs: closing costs in Florida are among the highest in the country. In addition to title fees, there are government and recording fees that need to be paid at closing. As part of the negotiation, buyers can try to have the seller pay some or all of them or see if they can be rolled into the mortgage.
- Know Who Pays for Title Insurance: the party generally responsible for paying title insurance varies by county but is negotiable. On average, the seller pays for it in 60% of the counties, but in counties like Miami-Dade and Broward, the buyer is generally responsible.
- Know Your Seller: since many sellers are not residents, transferring titles can be trickier than usual. Make sure to keep an open line of communication with the seller directly or through your agent to make sure the process goes smoothly.
- Expect to Make a Bigger Down Payment: In a sellers’ market like we are currently in, you may need a 20-50% down payment to have your offer accepted.
- Include a Reputable Real Estate Attorney on your Team: Although not required, hiring a knowledgeable attorney who knows the details of Florida real estate law will make the buying process that much easier, and safer for your investment.
Buying a new home is both exciting and stressful, so going into it prepared will make it a more positive experience. Like any other state, Florida has its own set of rules and laws so make sure you have knowledgeable and trusted professionals to guide you along the way.
When choosing The Law Office of Donna Hearne-Gousse, P.A. for your closing, title, and escrow needs, you’ll enjoy all of the benefits associated with an attorney-based title agency at similar, and in many cases, lower costs than a standard title company will charge.
If you are in need of a real estate attorney, we welcome you to contact us for more information.
The Law Office of Donna Hearne-Gousse
Royal Palm Beach, FL