It’s easy to give you the steps you need to buy a house. You know the drill. Get financing, make an offer, get home insurance and have a home inspection. Buying a house in Florida, though, is an entirely different experience. Follow our steps to understanding the most unique and trusted advice tips for buying a house in the Sunshine State.
Buying a house in Florida is different than buying a house anywhere else. You need the trusted advice of a Florida Realtor® to help you navigate Florida house buying hurdles like Florida homestead exemptions, hurricane insurance, flood zones, home inspections and more.
While you’re looking for the right real estate professional, follow these steps to buying a house in Florida and you’ll be breathing easy at closing time with your newfound knowledge.
Buying a House in Florida for the First Time?
If this is your first time buying a house in Florida, you have a lot to learn. Follow this guide to become a Florida house buying guru:
DO YOU WANT A POOL?
Can we answer that for you? With temperatures in the 90s in Southwest Florida, you want to consider owning a home with a pool to stay cool during the hot summer months. If you don’t own a pool or a boat in Florida, the rule in Florida is to find someone that does own a pool or a boat so you can experience Florida in style and comfort.
PATIOS ARE NOW LANAIS
Here’s a tip if you live up north and are looking to buy a Florida Home. That concrete slab or screen-enclosed area you call a porch up north is called a lanai in Florida. We know, we know. It’s just a different name but the same thing. Just roll with it and your Realtor® will be impressed that you know what it is. Lanais, especially those with screens to keep out bugs, are coveted in Florida homes and allow you to enjoy Florida’s beauty year-round.
WINDOWS AND SHUTTERS ARE IMPORTANT
It gets hot in Florida, especially from May through September. A Florida home amenity that is underrated is having windows that have UV-ray protection and tint. Good quality blinds and shutters also help to block out the sunlight, which keeps your Florida home cooler to help with your air conditioner bills.
WILL YOU BE A FULL TIME FLORIDA RESIDENT?
If you are moving to Florida permanently, your real estate agent can inform you about the perk of having a homestead exemption on your property. State law in Florida allows property owners to claim a maximum $50,000 exemption on their primary residence, which applies to all taxing authorities. A second $25,000 can exclude School Board taxes and that exemption applies to properties with values greater than $50,000.
IS THE HOME IN A FLOOD ZONE?
Real estate agents can help you navigate the process of flood zones, which require an additional insurance policy for homes that lie in areas that are more prone to flooding. A rule of thumb is the closer you are to the water, the more you should be prepared to allocate annual costs for a flood insurance policy.
DON’T FORGET HURRICANE INSURANCE
Known as wind mitigation insurance, a policy known to Floridians as hurricane insurance covers your home from severe wind damage and flooding that is a direct cause of a hurricane wind event. Check with your Realtor® and insurance agent to decide what policies will be needed on your future property beforehand so you can budget accordingly. A windstorm inspection can help you outline what you need and tell you what insurance credits the home is eligible for.
Is It Hard to Buy a House in Florida?
With the new tips you have above, you are on your way to buying a house in Florida. It’s not hard to buy a house in Florida despite what you may hear or read. As long as you have a real estate agent, mortgage lenders with options and a closing agency that knows the ins and outs of the Florida real estate market, purchasing a home in Florida should be a breeze.
Is Buying a House in Florida a Good Investment?
Buying a house in Florida is always a good investment because there is always demand for homes in the Sunshine State. People choose to move and retire to Florida because of:
- No state income tax
- Low cost of living
- Warmer temperatures and no snow
- Home prices in Florida that hold their value more than the national average
What are the Requirements to Buy a House in Florida?
There’s no real requirements to buy a house in Florida other than to make sure you meet the following parameters:
- You want to have a credit score of 620 or higher to apply for a mortgage with a good interest rate.
- Find a Realtor® you can trust.
- Get mortgage pre-approval to make the process smoother.
- Draw up a valid contract with a real estate agent.
What Questions Should You Ask When Viewing a House?
Viewing a house that you are interested in is a big step in the process. To make sure that you are not forgetting some important questions to ask when touring a property, we have created a list of questions that you can take along with you:
HOW LONG HAS THE PROPERTY BEEN ON THE MARKET?
If the house you like has been on the market for a long period of time, don’t be afraid to ask why. Is there a problem you aren’t seeing? Asking questions at this time in the process is important.
HOW MANY SHOWINGS HAS THE HOUSE HAD?
To help you answer the above question, you can ask how many showings the listing has generated. You can also ask if the home has had any offers that have fallen through. A telltale sign of a property with a lot of viewings is one where you see a lot of Realtor® business cards on a table or kitchen counter.
WHAT ARE THE NEIGHBORS LIKE?
This is important. You want to make sure the neighbors are quiet and that the homes around you keep up their properties. It’s OK to ask questions and even to come back at different times during the day and night to see how the street looks and if all is to your liking.
HOW LONG HAVE THE NEIGHBORS LIVED THERE?
This is another key neighbor question. Neighbors that have lived on the street a long time means it’s a good street and everyone gets along.
HAVE THERE BEEN ANY RENOVATIONS?
Make sure an inspection of the property unearths any renovations. You want to make sure everything is up to code.
IS THE HOME IN A CONSERVATION AREA?
Make sure you know the rules ahead of time. Sometimes homes built in conservation areas have special rules for improvement approvals.
WHAT’S THE WATER PRESSURE LIKE?
Don’t be afraid to turn on the showers and tubs and check the water pressure. You can test appliances too.
WHAT UTILITIES IS THE HOME CONNECTED TO?
You want to be comfortable with your utility providers. Some people want nothing to do with being hooked up to an underground septic system that you are responsible for cleaning out and maintaining. If that’s the case, you want to look at homes connected to city sewer systems only.
WHAT ARE YOUR BILLS LIKE?
It’s OK to ask what an average power bill looks like for a homeowner in the summer and in the winter. Keep in mind an August power bill in Florida will more accurately depict peak energy use because of the amount of energy it costs to cool a Florida home in summer.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PURCHASE PRICE?
Make sure you know which appliances are included in the purchase price, including fixtures and items like the washer and dryer.
ARE THE SELLERS READY TO MOVE?
It’s important to know ahead of time if the sellers have already found their new home so you can rest easy knowing the sale will move smoothly and quickly.
What Are the Requirements to Buy a House in Florida?
Buying a house in Florida is really no different than buying anywhere else in the nation. For some average statistics, you can remember the following:
HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED TO BUY A HOUSE IN FLORIDA?
The average annual salary needed to buy a home in Florida is approximately $70,360.
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED FOR A DOWN PAYMENT ON A HOUSE IN FLORIDA?
This is all contingent on if you are paying with cash or what kind of conventional loans you are eligible for based on your credit history. The minimum down payment for those buying a home with an FHA loan is 3.5 percent of the property’s purchase price.
What Do I Need to Buy a Home in Florida?
To purchase a home in Florida, you need the following:
BUYING A HOUSE IN FLORIDA CHECKLIST
- A qualified Realtor® that knows the area
- A property in the neighborhood you want
- A home inspection
- Mortgage loan and mortgage rate pre-approval
- Acquiring mortgage insurance
- An Offer
- An accepted offer with agreed upon closing costs
- A Closing Date for the buyer and seller to sign your contract, title insurance and other documents
It’s that simple.
Buy a Home With Royal Shell Today
Royal Shell Real Estate Realtors® that know the area and are ready to help you with your move to Southwest Florida. Royal Shell is the No. 1 Southwest Florida real estate agency to trust with buying a home in Naples, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Fort Myers and more.
Let us help get you started today. We can help you find out what your home is worth. We know exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to choosing a real estate agent.
We can also offer you advice when you are buying a home as an investment and looking to buy a house online. Take a look at all of our Naples real estate and Sanibel Island beach houses to get started.