A Foolproof Guide to Making Home Buying an Exciting Experience​

If recent statistics are anything to go by, then what we have right now is a housing market that’s gradually shifting in favor of would-be home buyers. In Tampa, Florida, for instance, the median home price currently stands at about $339,000.

While home values here have appreciated by 3.2% over the past year, this is expected to decrease by -0.6% within the next year. For prospective buyers, this is definitely a great time to buy.

Buying a home in Florida or anywhere for that matter is no piece of cake. 

But it shouldn’t be a frightful mess instead. That’s why you can’t afford to go into this uninformed and unprepared. You have to tick all of the boxes in the right places if you intend to make your Florida home purchase a blessing rather than a burden. 

Steps to Buy a Home

Angie Inzerillo Welcomes You to Blue Sun Realty

This guide on how to buy a house has been compiled to help you make sense of the home buying process in Florida and most other markets across the United States. 

This is needed to help you make informed decisions that will simplify every step of the process and help you get value from your home purchase. 

1. Getting started with your research

Buying a home requires a lot of effort and may be one of the most challenging processes you’ll be involved in within your life.

Research - Blue Sun Realty

The earlier you begin, the better. You have to start your research as soon as you’ve made up your mind to own your home. You have to make yourself familiar with the trends of your preferred market(s).

It pays to know what’s involved before going too far into the process. Start by going through real estate listings online as well as scouring the area Tampa Bay area for open houses in your ideal neighborhoods. 

Some of the more popular communities and areas to find Tampa real estate include:

Or, if you are looking for specific types of real estate – for instance homes with land, Luxury homes or beach houses in Tampa, you might also search these links as well:

As you search for homes and real estate, make a list and of properties that appeal to you so you can follow their progress on the market. If you use our website at BlueSunRealty.com, you can create a free account and save your homes and searches in your profile and then automatically receive updates on their status.

In addition, by setting up an account on BlueSunRealty.com, you’ll also get access to homes and real estate properties not yet available on the market or in Zillow. This is because we work with many property investors and , when they decide to sell these house, we post them as “coming soon” properties while we are getting the house cleaned, updated and staged for them.

It’s an excellent opportunity to find deals before they hit the market.

By simply following little details such as how long they’ve been on the market or changes in their asking prices, you’ll be able to get an idea of what the market actually looks like in your preferred neighborhood. 

2. Determine how much you can afford

Buying a home is both an emotional and financial decision.

It’s, however, necessary to determine how much you can afford before you get emotionally attached to any property. This is especially necessary for most buyers who would need mortgage loans when buying a house in Florida.

When it comes to deciding your budget and affordability, there are two important financial tips to buying a house in Florida, and elsewhere;

  • If you’re putting down 20%, it’s best to find properties that cost no more than three to five times your annual household income
  • Also, you should endeavor to make sure your monthly housing costs, taxes, HOA fees, and insurance costs inclusive, do not exceed 25% of your monthly income.

Although these tips help in most cases, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for every single financial situation. This is one of the reasons why you may need to work with experts that can range from your insurance company to your real estate agent in estimating how much you may be able to afford.

3. Prequalification and preapproval for a mortgage

We are now at the point where you have to get serious with your home shopping. 

But before you start looking around for the best Florida homes for sale, it’s important that you have a clear picture of exactly how much you have to spend on this. 

This is why getting prequalified and preapproved for a mortgage loan comes in as the third step in this guide on how to buy a house in Florida.

Mortgage prices across the country have dipped lower than analysts initially predicted for this year. While it’s a great time to make your move to buy a house, getting prequalified and then preapproved will give you a big advantage in the home-buying process, going forward. 

Some of these advantages include;

  • Having a clear idea of what you can afford
  • Making sellers more receptive to your offers, and
  • Staying competitive with other prospective buyers

Both prequalification and preapproval are clearly different from each other. However, all you’ll need for either of these is a critical examination of your debts, income, assets, and financial history by your lender. 

4. Buying a home with a real estate agent

We can’t stress this enough but working with a local realtor is one of the most important tips for buying a home in Florida. There is a great value that comes with hiring the right real estate agent to help with your home purchase, regardless of your experience in the market.

But you can’t get away with working with just any realtor. You need someone with local knowledge of the market so you can make market-informed decisions. 

Buying a home with a real estate agent, a good one for that matter will greatly simplify the otherwise complicated steps to buy a home. But then, there’s a lot more to benefit from hiring the right real estate agent. These include;

  • Leveraging their expertise and robust knowledge of the local markets
  • Their access to information and resources that are not even accessible to the public
  • Their superior negotiating skills and familiarity with the home buying process in the locality
  • Best of all, this probably won’t cost you a thing since realtors’ commissions are most often paid by the seller. 

5. Shopping for your ideal Florida home

Once you’ve made up your mind on buying a home with a real estate agent, then it’s time to start looking around for homes for sale. 

This next step in this guide on how to buy a house is where you start looking around for homes in your price range. Along with your real estate agent, you’ll have to shop around for homes that fit your criteria. 

This next step in this guide on how to buy a house is where you start looking around for homes in your price range. Along with your real estate agent, you’ll have to shop around for homes that fit your criteria. 

These may include checking out real estate listings or even attending open houses in your preferred neighborhoods.

It makes sense to see multiple homes and also keep a checklist of every home you visit. 

You’ll probably not find a home that meets all of the single criteria on your wishlist. This is why it’s important to prioritize the most important things you really want. 

6. How to make an offer to buy a home

You’ve finally found your ideal Tampa, Florida home. The next tip in this ‘how to buy a house’ guide has to do with making your offer. You have your preapproval in place already and now that you’ve seen a house you want and can afford, all that’s left is to make a competitive offer within your budget.

Doing this correctly may be a challenge for most first time buyers. This is one of the many reasons why buying a home with a real estate agent is always a good thing. 

Make Your Offer Stand Out

You can easily rely on the expertise of your realtor in making your offer.

It’s better to make your offer competitive.  You’ll want to accompany this with your preapproval letter as well as your proof of funds for the downpayment. 

You may even accompany this with a personal letter to make your offer stand out among the other multiple offers. This makes so much sense, especially in highly-competitive real estate markets.

Dealing with counteroffers

Sellers may also counter your price, terms or contingencies, usually within 24 hours. You can either choose to respond to the offer or reject it and move on. 

So, what if the seller accepts your offer?

If the seller ends up accepting your offer, you’ll have to sign a purchase agreement with the seller. This should contain basic details such as the agreed offer price and the estimated closing date. 

Earnest money deposit

The earnest money is usually 1% or 2% of the total purchase price of the property. The earnest money deposit is intended to show seriousness on the part of the buyer.

You should, however, understand that the seller may get to keep this deposit if you back out of the contract later on. 

You’ll need contingency clauses, however, to ensure you can easily back out of the contract for valid reasons without incurring penalties. Contingency clauses are designed to protect buyers and are usually tied to appraisal, home inspection, and financing, in case any unexpected surprise shows up. 

Generally, there are a lot of things involved as far as how to make an offer to buy a home goes. The key is taking your time to find the right home and then working with your real estate agent to negotiate a fair offer after a careful assessment of the property’s value.

7. Getting home inspection

Many properties may have structural and mechanical issues that may not be so obvious. This is why a professional home inspection is needed to have a clear picture of which part of the property has issues that may need minor fixes or extensive repairs. 

You’ll typically need to conduct a home inspection no more than two weeks after you might have signed a purchase agreement.

While it’s important that you work with a credible and experienced professional inspector, your real estate agent can easily arrange this for you.

Once done, you’ll get a report (along with the seller) detailing the inspector’s findings. In case there is a contingency for this in your contract, you can easily renegotiate your offer or even withdraw without any penalty in case the inspection report reveals less than impressive findings of extensive material damage.

This part of the ‘how to buy a house’ guide may come across as formality but it’s very important.  It will determine what happens next, whether this is asking the seller for repairs, renegotiating the deal, backing out completely, or preparing for repairs after closing. As important as this seems,  professional home inspection costs no more than $300 to $500 on an average.

8. Getting the property appraised

Except you’re paying cash for your Tampa, Florida home, it’s normal that your lender would want to be sure you’re paying a fair price for the property. This is why an appraisal is needed.

The appraisal will be arranged by your lender to provide an independent estimate of the property in question. The report here will make it clear to every party involved that the property is really worth what is being paid for it.

9. Preparing for closing

We’ve discussed most of the important tips for buying a home in Florida already. You’ve come a long way to this point and now you have to tidy the few remaining things before your dream home is finally yours. 

By now, you should understand that the home buying process involves a lot of paperwork. You’ll have to submit all of the important paperwork while your lender is busy with the underwriting process. 

First, you’ll have to secure financing by getting final loan approval so you can keep your finances in line during the underwriting phase. 

Additionally, your lender will also get a title company to handle most of the paperwork involved. Once all of the legalities involved have been properly attended to, you’ll have to do a final walkthrough of the property to be sure it’s in the same condition as agreed upon.

10. Close on your house

The last part of this guide on how to buy a house has to do with closing on your house. Now that contingencies have been met and you’ve gotten a nod of approval from your closing agent, you can easily close the sale. 

You’ll have to go through all of the documents involved and append your signature where necessary to complete the purchase. Once the paperwork is completed,  your loan funded, and the check delivered to the seller, this home becomes yours!

How long does it take to buy a home?

Knowing how to buy a house is one thing. Having an idea of how long this may take is another thing. As thrilling as the home buying process may be, you’ll find out it takes longer than you would expect at times. 

A lot of time and effort and effort will go into finding a home that meets your preferences and specifications. This is not even taking into consideration the financial hoops you’ll still have to pass through before the key is finally yours.

This can sometimes be frustrating, especially when you’re finding it hard to figure out how long before you can finish or when it appears you’re stuck somewhere in the process.

But just how long does it take to buy a home?

Well, there’s no definite answer. It depends on a whole lot of things.

Take the preapproval process for example; this usually takes a few days to process. You’ll still have to shop around for homes for sale in the neighborhood. This can also take you anywhere from a few weeks to some months. When you’re finally lucky to find the ideal property, you can expect closing to take about 30 to 45 days on an average. 

However, a lot of other things can come into the mix to slow or quicken the process. These can include various factors such as your local housing market, your financial condition, the number of available homes in your price range and other factors such as the time of the year. 

You have to understand the different moving parts involved in the home buying process as well as how they may delay or expedite the whole process. A proper understanding of these different factors will help you get a realistic idea of how long it will take you from home shopping to homeownership. 

Generally, the earlier you start, the better.

Bottom line

For most people, buying a home will be one of their biggest financial decisions. This is why you can’t afford to go wrong at any point when it comes to making the right decisions. This is also why it has become necessary to have a guide like this on how to buy a house that won’t turn out to be a burden, going forward. 

Prospective home buyers have to take advantage of all of the resources readily available to them. Again, a reliable local real estate agent also brings so much value to the table that it’s always necessary to find one to work with. 

While we won’t deny the fact that navigating these steps to buy a home may come across as challenging, knowing what’s involved and being prepared from the onset will make things a whole lot easier.

Looking for the perfect Tampa, Florida home?

You’re not alone. According to the State of Florida, more than a thousand people move into Florida every day to enjoy the good life here. It’s no doubt that Tampa, Florida would be more than a great option if you’re looking for the perfect place to enjoy life the Florida way.

There’s so much to love about Tampa.

Whether you’re looking for a great place to raise a family or a healthy market for investment, Tampa has it all. The buoyancy of the economy, steady job growth, affordability, and the beautiful weather, made Tampa the third-fastest growing metro area in the US, behind only Dallas and Phoenix. 

As beautiful and impressive as this seems, you’ll still need expert assistance to navigate this diverse market. This is where we come in to help. We’ll leverage our robust experience and expertise to help you make market-informed decisions so you can get real value whether you’re buying or selling property in Tampa, Florida. Feel free to contact us so we can discuss the various options before you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *