So you’ve decided to buy a house in Florida. Congratulations! In some ways, this is the hardest thing you’ll do, because you’re making a decision that will affect your immediate and long-term future.
There are some common mistakes that you can make—and that you can avoid.
- Not Getting Mortgage Preapproval. This is the first thing that you should do, even before you start looking at properties. Going into a Florida real estate office with a preapproval in hand is best for everybody involved. Your real estate agent knows that the sale is a real possibility, as you have the means on hand to purchase an appropriate property. And your mortgage advisor knows that you’ve been matched up with the best possible financing for your needs.
- Buying a House That’s “For Sale By Owner.” Unless you really feel that you know what you’re doing, this can be a mistake. The seller is not going to give you as much information about the property as he or she would have to give a Realtor representing you, and that can be problematic. Your mortgage preapproval does not mean that every property will meet your lender’s requirements; a Realtor can help determine which ones do and don’t.
- Looking at Houses on Your Own. What if you’re not even looking in the right area? Driving around randomly looking for “for sale” or “open house” signs can be fun, and maybe it would work to give yourself one Sunday doing just that … but then on Monday take your mortgage preapproval and head into the real estate office.
- Not Knowing Your Real Needs. People grow frustrated when they’re shown house after house that isn’t right for them by a real estate agent who doesn’t know exactly what they’re looking for. This isn’t a question of “I’ll know it when I see it,” because nine times out of ten you don’t see the potential of any Florida property when you’re vague about what you want. Make a list with several columns that will include things that the house must have as well as things that it would be nice if it had but aren’t dealbreakers if it doesn’t.
- Not Communicating. If you withhold information or give erroneous information to your mortgage specialist, it’s guaranteed to come back and bite you in the end, and that’s not a surprise you want to confront at closing! And you’re wasting your time and that of your Realtor if you don’t go through the list from #4 with him or her… or if anything on that list changes while you’re looking.