Buying a new home is a big deal. It can be scary and overwhelming. We’re here to help first time home buyers in Florida with everything you need to know. Follow along to see if you are considered a first time home buyer. We will also explain if co-signing will affect a first time home buyer in Florida.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
If there’s one thing notable about Florida, it’s that the Sunshine State is very popular and very populated. Florida is the 3rd most populated state in the country, behind only California and Texas. It’s really no surprise when you consider everything Florida has to offer, including over 1200 miles of stunning coastline.
It’s also not surprising that many people move here to start a new life under the Florida sun. If you’re one of those folks buying your first Florida home, the information below is for you! It’s everything you need to know as a first time home buyer in Florida!
Who Is Considered a First Time Home Buyer in Florida?
The first thing you need to know is what the term first time home buyer in Florida means. This can be confusing; the term ‘first time’ home buyer includes anyone who has not bought a home in the last 3 years. So even if you bought a home 4 years ago, you would still be considered a “first time home buyer”. It’s confusing, we know, but we are here to help you navigate this process.
Does Co-signing Affect First Time Florida Home buyers?
This is another tricky question. In most cases, if you are a cosigner on another mortgage, it will not affect your status as a first time home buyer. That’s because, in most cases, the loan is fully assumed by the borrower, not the cosigner. As a co-signer you do not own a home, so you will still be a first time home buyer. If you cosigned on a mortgage, but now you want to buy your own home read these tips:
- You will need to prove that you have the financial ability to pay. Banks require that home buyers prove they have enough income to take out a mortgage. You will have the added challenge to prove you have enough income for the cosign and your new home.
- One trick to make this process easier is to wait 12 months after cosigning to buy your own home. After 12 months of on-time payments, you can ask the bank to remove you from the mortgage for which you cosigned. To do this, the existing mortgage will need to be refinanced without your name on the paperwork. This would end your cosigner status and would simplify your home buying experience. This lowers your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and will help your new mortgage be approved.
Tips for a First Time Home Buyer in the Sunshine State
There are many things to consider as a first time home buyer in Florida. Three of the most important things are your credit score, price range, and financing options. You will also want to make sure that the home you plan to buy is in good condition. This is important to make sure that you will not need to do costly repairs or face damage from storms. Below are some top tips and advice that will help you make the best choice.
1. Find and Hire an Excellent, Experienced Real Estate Agent
Unless you know the local area, hiring a local and experienced real estate agent is essential. The best real estate agents offer insight into the city. They will know the neighborhoods, restaurants, and communities. They also know the best school districts, which parts of town are safest, and more. Experts and locals are a great resource for a first time home buyer in Florida. If they have lived locally for a long time they can also help you avoid areas that are prone to flooding during storms. It is important to be aware of storm risks as a first time home buyer, especially in Florida.
2. Do Your Research
Do your own research before you buy. Asking for advice is a great way to get insights, but nothing will beat your own opinions. Spend a few days driving around the neighborhoods you’re looking at. You can go to local restaurants, explore parks, and meet with potential neighbors. This will show you firsthand what it’s like to live in each neighborhood. You can also use websites like Niche and Best Places for valuable data and details about where you plan to buy. The more research you do, the better your experience will be. We always say it’s better safe than sorry, so take the time to research before buying.
3. Determine Your Price Range Before You Start
Do you want to know one of the worst things that can happen to a first time home buyer: finding your dream home and discovering you can’t afford it. Instead of looking at houses first, you should always determine your budget first. It’s like when you went shopping with your parents as a kid; they never let you try on clothes that weren’t on the budget. This way you can avoid disappointments or overspending on your new home.
4. Research Available Financing Options in Florida
Florida offers many different grants for first time home buyers. This can be a great way to save money. You will need to do your research about available grants to see if you qualify. For example, Veterans Affairs Loans offer loans if you are a first time home buyer. The USDA guarantees loans as well. But USDA loans are only for low-to-moderate-income families who buy in rural Florida. Every loan or grant will have different rules like this. So you will want to research each loan to see how much the loan will cover and what you need to qualify.
5. Have Your Home Professionally Inspected
As a first time home buyer, this is probably the biggest investment you will make in your lifetime. So you need to make sure that you are making a good investment to last you a long time. That’s why you need to have a professional inspector come to see the home BEFORE you buy it. The inspector will come and spend a few hours looking over every detail and tell you about the quality of the house. For example, the inspector can tell you if the roof is 15 years old and may need replacing soon. Or maybe the inspector will tell you that the hot water heater is getting old. You never know what the inspector will find, which is why it is so important to have an inspection. After you have the inspection, you can use the results to negotiate to get the best deal on your home.
6. Conduct Renovations Before Moving In
Experts suggest conducting necessary renovations to your home before moving in. Some people opt to do renovations after they move in. This can be difficult for both the contractors and your family. You should consider renting a Florida storage unit while you have renovations done. That way, your furniture, and belongings will be safe from dust, debris, and damage while renovators do their thing.
7. First Time Home Buyer Landscaping
Beautiful landscaping can make any house look like the perfect house. But before you buy, you have to keep in mind your home upkeep. Think about the amount of gardening and landscaping that you plan to do in your new home. Stones and gravel make for the easiest upkeep if you’re worried about difficult landscaping! For a first time home buyer, you may not have had to do landscaping in the past, so make sure you’re up for the task.
Good Luck to You, First Time Home Buyer
We hope the tips and advice we’ve given today will be helpful when buying your first Florida home. At HideAway, we’re the self-storage leader in Florida, with locations throughout the Sunshine State. All of our Florida self-storage locations offer clean, safe, and secure Florida storage units to store your household goods. You can also store boats, RVs, jet skis, and more with HideAway self-storage to keep them safe and sound.
If you have questions about storing your things in Florida, please chat with us online. Better still, visit the HideAway self-storage location in Florida near your new town. The on-site managers are a fountain of self-storage information and can be very helpful. Until then, best of luck buying your first Florida home! We wish you many years of laughter, love, and fun here in the Sunshine State!