The Home Buying Process
Your Dream Home Awaits
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The Home Buying Process
Getting Started with Your Home Search
Many families dream of buying a South Florida home. Between our year-round warm weather, the luxury of living close to the beach, and our appreciating real estate market, there’s a lot to love about the area.
Just as there are many inherent benefits to buying a Florida home, there are also many ways to maximize your search and purchase when you finally decide to buy. That’s why we created this buyers page: to help Florida home buyers navigate the local market with confidence and to ensure you get the most out of what the East Coast has to offer.
Below are several actionable steps and tips to help you find a great home, save money on the property you choose, and ultimately enjoy a streamlined homebuying experience as you navigate the local real estate market.
Step One for Buyers: Financial Preparation
These are financial steps you can take to help you save money upfront and over the life of your mortgage.
- Check your credit report from all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and your FICO® score. Keep an eye out for unrecognized transactions: mistakes from credit bureaus can hurt your credit score, leading to higher interest on your mortgage.
- Pay down existing debt to ensure that you have a sufficient debt to income ratio. An ideal DTI is 36% or less.
- Determine your down payment and how much you can afford. Lenders traditionally prefer a 20% down payment, but there are many low down-payment options available. If you qualify as a first-time homebuyer, you may also receive special help with your down payment.
- Apply for mortgage pre-approval through a lender. A lender will evaluate your financial history including your credit report and score to determine the loan that you qualify for.
- Have a sufficient emergency fund set aside to deal with any unexpected maintenance and moving expenses. These tend to be higher costs than many families expect, so it’s best to have more available than you expect to need.
Step Two for Buyers: Set Clear Goals
Buying a home is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. It’s wise to enter the real estate market with clearly defined goals so that you make the best decision for your future.
Once you’ve set some goals, sort the “Must haves” from the “Hope to get.” You won’t find a home that satisfies your entire list. Remember, the more narrowly you define the parameters, the fewer homes you may find that are available.
A good way to view home satisfaction is through the 85% rule. You should love 85%, be able to change 10%, and not be able to do anything about 5%. Think about what your “must haves” are and where you can make a sacrifice.
To define your focus and vision, try to be flexible and divide the categories into
Common home factors buyers should consider on your list:
How many bedrooms do you need? What features are you interested in: a ground floor master bedroom; en suite bedrooms, etc.
How many bathrooms do you need? What features would you like in the Master bath?
What is your ideal square footage for the house itself as well as the property?
What style house do you desire to live in? Consider:
There are many other styles to explore that can be accessed through our custom home search. This can be found under General Features.
What type of house are you looking for?
Types of Locations
What type of environment do you like?
Do you want a home with a private pool, a community pool, or no pool?
Are you looking for a large backyard or private acreage?
Do you want an attached garage? Off street parking?
Are you looking for exclusive access to the Intracoastal? Features you can find include: boat lifts, docks and mooring for easy access.
Are there particular neighborhoods you are interested in? If so, what types of features are you looking for in a neighborhood?
How far are you willing to commute to work and school? Do you need easy access to major highways?
Are there particular school zones that interest you?
Would you like your community to be part of a homeowner’s association (HOA)? Each association will have its own unique rules, fees, and policies. It is important that you are aware of the community’s covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) and bylaws.
If so, how much are you willing to pay per month?
Do you want to live in an age restricted community? A 55+ community is set to accommodate older individuals and limits the age of residents.
Do you want to live in a private, gated community? A gated community tends to be more expensive but will offer more security and quieter streets with less traffic.
Features for Buyers on Our Custom Home Search
Here are several ways we go the extra mile to ensure you find the property you love:
- Social Search-Create a Search Party with your family and friends to share and organize your home search together. It’s easy to leave emoji feedback and comments on any listing for other members of your search party to see.
- Organizational Tools-Organize and track your home search with the dashboard timeline to track all your activity.
- Subscription-Subscribe to a search through email and be notified as often as you would like about new properties.
- Data-Homes are updated every 15 minutes from the MLS
- Advanced Features and Criteria: Customize a very advanced search that includes general, exterior, interior, and community features.
- Map Search- Customize your home search through a map and even layer your features. (Think particular school district.)