The Florida housing market is at a 5-year high with nearly $11 billion in sales during May 2019.

With over 5,000 homes on the market averaging at $350,000, now is the time to start thinking about moving to Florida. 

But, there are some things to consider before taking the leap in purchasing a new home. From finding the right location to getting the best deal, you want to make sure you do some research before making a decision. 

Here are seven things to do when buying your next home in the sunshine state.

1. Take a Vacation

Believe it or not, when it comes to buying a house in Florida, the hardest part is deciding where to live.

Every city has its own charm and culture. If you are going for the warm weather, then consider moving to central or southern Florida. North of Orlando can still get chilly during the winter months. 

Places like St. Augustine hold historical value and is a good distance away from the busy tourism of Orlando. Then there are places like Tampa or Miami that would be good if you are moving to look for a new career and an active nightlife. 

So, before you embark on your house hunting journey, take a trip to the peninsula and visit several cities. You could rent a car and spend a few days experiencing the vibe, food, atmosphere, and local life. 

2. Think About Financing 

After you decide where you want to look for a house, the next requirements to buy a house in Florida is to consider how much you want to spend, and how you will finance your home. 

Financing depends on the location of the home as well, especially if it is a new home or if it has waterfront property. Your credit score can also affect the length and amount of your mortgage.

And if you are selling your current home, you can factor in its value into your budget. If this is your first home, then remember that mortgages are a huge responsibility that will have you making payments for many years.

It is best to speak with your bank about a home loan where you can analyze your income, assets, and debts. 

Finally, you will need to secure a pre-approved letter from the bank stating that you are in the process of getting a home loan. This will be used to hire a realtor, which we will discuss in the next step.

3. Find a Realtor

If you want to know how to buy a house in Florida, a realtor can be your best guide. They are experts in the housing market and can assist with your search, help with negotiations, and finalize the purchase of your home. 

While they take a fee for their service, you will know that someone is constantly on the lookout for your perfect home. Plus, they work directly with the seller’s realtor in your best interest.

Think of a realtor as your lawyer while buying a home. You sign a contract with them, and they are legally obligated to help you as best they can. 

4. Make an Offer

You have found your next dream home, now all you need to do is make an offer to the seller and see if they accept it.

Consider your budget and the asking price. Also, factor in any noticeable repairs that would be part of your budget. If the house needs repairs, your realtor can use this as a negotiation tactic.  

Some realtors make an informal verbal offer before putting it in writing. This makes it easier if the seller counters your offer. Once a final price works for both parties, then a formal written offer will be placed.

Then, it is time to wait for acceptance and begin the process of writing an official contract.

5. Reviewing the Contract

When buying property in Florida, there are two types of housing contracts. 

One type requires the seller to fix any problem with the house found in the home inspection prior to finalizing the deal. Another type is an “as-is” contract where the seller is not responsible for repairs to the home. 

The second contract allows the buyer to withdrawal easily from the contract if there are major problems found in the inspection. The buyer would receive a refund of any deposits made on the house.

Be sure to review the contract in full before signing to see which type of contract it is offering. You also want to review the offer price, the deposit amount, time to accept the contract, closing date, and your mortgage financing information.

Your realtor can review the contract with you to ensure you understand the details and your financial obligations. 

6. Home Inspection

While you did an initial inspection of the home before you made an offer, there is a formal inspection done during your contract period. 

Property in Florida is susceptible to flooding and roofing problems. These are issues that a professional home inspector can discover. 

You can use this resource to see what else a home inspector might find during their property evaluation. 

7. Closing Time

After your review of the contract and the inspection of the house, it is time to close the deal on your new home. 

You or your realtor will attend final meetings to sign or acquire paperwork for you to sign. You should also get final approval from your bank for your mortgage by this time. 

Once the paperwork is in, the money will go into an escrow account and you will get the keys to your new home. The whole closing process may take 30-45 days, so be patient.

Enjoy Your New Florida Home

Now that you have your dream home in Florida, it is time to fill it up with your possessions to make it comfortable. Once you are all settled in, take advantage of your new location by visiting local restaurants and attractions.

Check out the entertainment section of our blog to find new ways to enjoy your fresh start in Florida.