Seek out a licensed Florida Realtor. This will single-handedly be the most important decision that you will make in the home-buying process. It will be especially significant if you are new to the state or even the city 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 gate to give you a 360 degree view of the Florida real estate landscape.

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 that's clear about the U.S. housing market, it's that it's unapologetically inconsistent from region to region. South Florida’s housing market looks entirely different than rural Missouri, let’s say. A licensed agent will help decipher the differences, however, there are plenty of options for an initial broad search online. Sites like Zillow will be your very best friend. 

Research your financial options. In the U.S. most new home buyers take advantage of a fixed mortgage, but sit down with your Realtor discuss banking or lender options they may recommend. Trust me, they have seen it all and know which one will be the best fit for you and your family. Then it's off to the races to start applications to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then the fun begins.

Time to 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.

Offer accepted: Enter the contractual phase! This is where the REAL 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! 


Posted by Andree Huffine, Sarasota Realtor on
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