Seek out a licensed Florida Realtor. This will be single-handedly the most important decision that you will make in the buying process. Especially being new to not only the state, but the country itself, this is a pivotal step to ensure that you have absolutely everything you need for a successful purchase and transition. A licensed Realtor will work diligently with you out of the starting gate to give you a 360 view of the Florida real estate buying process.
Make sure to browse the market. Being new to the state, no one expects you to know exactly what you’d like, nor would anyone expect you to have any idea of what the market has in store. If there is one thing you need to know about the U.S. housing market, is that it varies greatly state-to-state and region-to-region. Florida’s housing market looks entirely different than New York, let’s say. A licensed agent will help in this aspect, however, there is plenty of access for an initial broad search online.
Research your financial options. Here in the U.S. most new home buyers use a mortgage. Talk to your Realtor about any banks or lenders they may recommend. Trust me, they have seen it all and know which one will be the best fit for you and your family. Start applications to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This way, you’ll be higher on the sellers list of applicants for a property.
Make an offer. Here is where the nuts and bolts begin. Now is when you'll want to double check your finances and make an appropriate offer to the seller. In Florida, the offer is conducted through a formal contract, so every base is covered. Make sure your Realtor is helping with this and goes over the contract front to back.
Acceptance and enter the contractual phase. This is where the fun begins. Here is where you can start to tie up the loose ends, finalize any additional inspections, and cross the T's and dot the I's. The contract should have been drawn up by your Realtor. Often times the contract is drawn up with “earnest money” which is a quite small deposit to show the buyer you are in fact serious about the transaction.
It is finally time to close! You'll meet with the sellers and your Realtors to re-visit everything and finalize the deal. In some cases, the keys will be handed over right then and there. Then, it's time to move into your new Florida home. Welcome to the Sunshine State!