Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in Florida
Florida, the beautiful Sunshine State, is an idyllic setting for first time homebuyers. With charming beach towns, almost 1,200 miles of pristine coastlines, world-class theme parks, and gorgeous islands, Florida has something for everyone. The state boasts thousands of timeless communities, like Sky Cove of Westlake, filled with new friends waiting to welcome you.
Buying your first home anywhere is an exciting experience, but in sunny South Florida, it is nothing short of amazing. As you make plans to purchase your first home in Florida, let’s explore some valuable tips to help you with your purchase.
Find a Place That Says Home to You
Whether you are looking for an oceanside bungalow, a single family home with theme parks nearby, or a multigenerational home, there is a place that says home to you in Florida. As you begin your search, you should look past the house alone and focus on the community and lifestyle of the surrounding area. You want to find a place where you (and your family) feel you belong, a residence that feels like home, where you will be content and happy. Choosing a home means going a little deeper than simply attending an open house or touring a model, but exploring the neighborhood as well. You’ll want to see that all you need is nearby – schools, stores, recreation, entertainment, and more. Research the area, too, checking for crime rates, along with school ratings and other factors important to you and your family.
At Westlake, all public schools are top-rated and there are nearby private and charter schools, as well as college and universities. You’ll also find nearby shopping centers such as Loxahatchee Groves Commons or Acreage Shopping Centers, and if you are looking for premium shopping centers, take a short drive to Wellington.
Credit Scores, Down Payments, Prices, and Financing
As you begin your search, you’ll want to start with the knowledge of how much you can afford, as well your credit score. Obviously, you want to be in the best financial position when you find the home of your dreams and plunk down a deposit. Whether you are planning to secure a mortgage loan or opting for owner-financing, your credit score is a crucial factor in being approved. As you search for your home, get copies of your credit reports, have errors corrected, keep your payments on time, and try to avoid adding any debt.
How much house you can afford is more than your perfect mortgage payment. After all your monthly payment for home ownership will include property taxes, insurance premiums, and possibly homeowner’s association fees. In addition, you’ll have to factor in a down payment, as well as closing costs. In most cases, you’ll need to pay these upfront, unless you’ve negotiated otherwise.
Never fear, first-time buyers have lots of options including local, state, and federal programs which may help you qualify for financial assistance. Florida offers first-time home buyer grants which may help with your down payment, closing costs, and other related home buying expenses. Veteran’s Affairs Loans are available to U.S. military veterans with 100 percent financing, and USDA Guaranteed Loans are available for families purchasing in rural areas.
The Real Estate Agent – Yes or No?
A trusted real estate agent brings a wealth of knowledge to the search and will likely prove a valuable resource for first-time homebuyers. A well-qualified real estate agent not only has knowledge of the market and access to numerous resources, he or she also has inside information for all things Florida. Plus, a successful real estate agent can help you negotiate and manage your transaction from start to finish, saving you lots of time and money.
Due Diligence, Home Inspection, and the Walk-Through
There are many legal issues which can affect the sale of a home, from liens to property line violations, to unapproved renovations, and much more. Do your due diligence to ensure there are no liens against the property, that no installations or renovations have violated property lines, and that all renovations and improvements were performed according to local guidelines, and up to code with the proper permits.
Your home inspection is important. A licensed home inspector will evaluate the home for issues and potential problems. Issues could include unwanted pests, problems with plumbing or electrical, structural soundness, and more. If you have concerns, ask for additional assessments in those areas. If the inspection raises concerns, your real estate agent can advise you.
And, lastly, just before you finalize the purchase of your home, perform a thorough walk-through with your real estate agent. You’ll want to verify that items mentioned in your contract are still present, as well as perform checks on appliances, plumbing, and electrical outlets. It is important to verify that any agreed upon work needed as a result of the inspection has been performed properly and that no mold, leaks, or pests are found. Once the walk-through is completed to your satisfaction, all that is left to do is sign, move in, and enjoy your Florida home!
At Sky Cove, you won’t find these issues because all of our homes are brand new with $20,000 worth of standard features! Along with our beautiful homes, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy our private amenities: a fitness center, a half-court basketball court − and a unique, lushly landscaped, Euro-style Park with undulating pathways perfect for strolling, dog walking and relaxing.
Schedule a Virtual – or Private, In-Person – Sky Cove Tour Today!
Sky Cove of Westlake in West Palm Beach has the perfect home for you and your family. Our floor plan includes a spacious, luxury kitchen with quartz or granite countertops, hurricane impact glass windows, oversized backyard, and more!