So you are thinking about taking that big step towards becoming a first-time homeowner in Florida. For some homebuyers, the process can be overwhelming and you will have many questions. This is to be expected from any first-time homebuyer and to help we have outlined some tips and advice to consider before taking the plunge and purchasing your first home in Florida.
First and foremost you must remember that buying a home is the most important financial decision you will ever make. It’s important to ensure you have true professionals assisting you along the way. The home buying process will generally always start with the mortgage pre-approval. You must determine if you are qualified and for how much before you start looking for that special home. What type of loan will best fit your needs? FHA loan? 100% no money down USDA Rural ? Maybe if you are military the VA home loan option will be the best choice. What type of down payment or cash would be needed from you? This is an example of some of the questions involved in the mortgage loan prequalification process.
Ensure you speak to a trained mortgage professional before contacting a realtor to show you property. Generally, any home sellers will require to see that the homebuyer is pre-approved for their mortgage before considering any offers. Most real estate agents will also require you have loan approval before working with you. Remember, everything starts with the mortgage financing and all parties need to ensure you are qualified to close on the transaction. Take time to understand the different loan options available to you like FHA, 100% USDA Rural Housing, etc
Work with a local mortgage professional. If you are looking to purchase a property in Florida, ensure you work with a mortgage professional located here in Florida and not a toll-free call center located in Michigan. Each state has different “twists and turns” on the way mortgage financing works. Working with a mortgage advisor in your state will help ensure you have a smooth transaction as they know the requirements related to taxes, insurance, closing costs, etc.
Your realtor – this is another important part of the process for many reasons, especially for first-time homeowners. Keep in mind, if you find a house you want to see, you are not required to work with the realtor that has the listing. Many first time buyers assume they must call only the realtor that is listed on the sign – this is false. Some even argue that this is a bad idea as the listing realtor generally represents the home sellers interest first and foremost.
We recommend that you have your own licensed Florida realtor that is representing you and only you. Your realtor can show you any home that is listed in your area regardless of the real estate company that has the sign in the yard. They can even assist you with new home builders. You realtor will assist you with scheduling all home showings, contract negotiations, etc. If you need assistance finding a great real estate agent in your city, just contact us and we will be happy to make the connection for you.
Many properties listed for sale on the market today in Florida are some form of a distressed sales or short sale, etc. These properties will require full approval by the bank before anything happens. Remember to never pay for any upfront costs like home inspection, appraisal, etc until your home contract is fully approved by the selling investor or bank.
The only exception to this is the customary earnest money or “good faith” deposit. Getting the full bank approval can sometimes take months to complete depending on the bank or investor that owns the home. For short sales especially, the current homeowners approval only is NOT a full approval when secondary bank approval is required. This is important to remember.
USDA Mortgage Source specializes in first-time buyer programs throughout the state of Florida. 100% USDA Rural Development, FHA and VA home mortgages. Please contact us 7 days a week at 800-743-7556 for more information. You can also just submit the quick info request form on the right side of your screen to have a specialist contact you today. Please visit www.UsdaMortgageSource.com for all the latest USDA loan eligibility requirements here in Florida.
Serving the following FL cities and counties: Alachua County – Gainesville, Baker County – Macclenny, Bay County – Panama City, Bradford County – Starke, Brevard County – Titusville, Broward County – Fort Lauderdale, Calhoun County – Blountstown, Charlotte County – Punta Gorda, Citrus County – Inverness, Clay County – Green Cove Springs, Collier County – Naples, Columbia County – Lake City, De Soto County – Arcadia, Dixie County – Cross City, Duval County – Jacksonville, Escambia County – Pensacola, Flagler County – Bunnell, Franklin County – Apalachicola, Gadsden County – Quincy, Gilchrist County – Trenton, Glades County – Moore Haven, Gulf County – Port St. Joe, Hamilton County – Jasper, Hardee County – Wauchula, Hendry County – LaBelle, Hernando County – Brooksville, Highlands County – Sebring, Hillsborough County – Tampa, Holmes County – Bonifay, Indian River County – Vero Beach, Jackson County – Marianna, Jefferson County – Monticello, Lafayette County – Mayo, Lake County – Tavares, Lee County – Fort Myers, Leon County – Tallahassee, Levy County – Bronson, Liberty County – Bristol, Madison County – Madison, Manatee County – Bradenton, Marion County – Ocala, Martin County – Stuart, Miami-Dade County – Miami, Monroe County – Key West, Nassau County – Fernandina Beach, Okaloosa County – Crestview, Okeechobee County – Okeechobee, Orange County – Orlando, Osceola County – Kissimmee, Palm Beach County – West Palm Beach, Pasco County – Dade City, Pinellas County – Clearwater, Polk County – Bartow, Putnam County – Palatka, Santa Rosa County – Milton, Sarasota County – Sarasota, Seminole County – Sanford, St. Johns County – St. Augustine, St. Lucie County – Fort Pierce, Sumter County – Bushnell, Suwannee County – Live Oak, Taylor County – Perry, Union County – Lake Butler, Volusia County – DeLand, Wakulla County – Crawfordville, Walton County – De Funiak Springs, Washington County – Chipley, FL, FLA