4 Step Process to Buying a Home in Florida

Buying a home in Florida includes 4 basic steps.  Every home buying process is different but in general it includes the following 4 steps:

1. Decision on location and mortgage pre-approval

Before you start seriously looking at buying a home, there are some questions you might want to answer.

Decide on a Location:

  • In which part of the Central Florida area are you interested?  This can depend of course on where your (future) job is located, the school situation and/or other amenities in the area.
  • What are you looking for in a new home (e.g. 3 bedrooms, pool, 1 story etc.)?
  • How many months do you have prior to your move? This is especially important if you prefer to build a new home instead of buying a resale home.
  • Are you considering paying cash or are you going to take out a mortgage? If the latter is the case, you are probably interested in what certain monthly payments can buy you. Use our mortgage calculator to find out more about your possible monthly payments or contact one of our preferred lenders to discuss your mortgage options and to get a so-called pre-approval letter. After the pre-approval process, you will know in what price range you should be looking for a new home and your pre-approval letter shows the seller that you have the ability to proceed with the purchase of the home if your offer is accepted.

Questions about your home mortgage:

  • What will my mortgage be?
  • Why Get Pre-Approved?  Pre-approval provides you a definite idea of what you can afford and shows sellers that you are serious about buying. In addition to documenting your financial ability to close on a transaction, pre-approval shortens the time needed to close on a loan and makes you a more attractive buyer for sellers who want a quick and efficient escrow.

Don’t know where or how to start the pre-approval process? Don’t worry.

Tell us a little about yourself and we can help you get started. We have trusted mortgage professionals of the highest caliber on our team.

2. Find an agent and start home search

Finding a real estate agent is easy, just contact Henin Realty and you can rest assured that your real estate agent will be dedicated to finding your next home.

As soon as you have met with one of our real estate agents and they have a good idea what you are looking for the search for your new dream home can start. Based on your price range and your real estate needs, your real estate agent will select homes available in the Orlando area—this can be any property currently listed for sale by Henin Realty and by any other real estate company—and set up appointments to show you the homes. If you are thinking about building a home, we also can support you—at no cost to you the buyer.

If you not ready yet to make a decision but you would like to be informed about homes coming on the market?

Use our Search for Homes page and sign up for receiving automatic updates!

3. Make an Offer

After you have found your dream home, you are ready to make an offer! Together with your real estate agent, you will complete an offer that will be presented to the owner’s real estate agent. At this point, you will be expected to include a check as a deposit—the so-called escrow check. Your real estate agent will help you define the amount of the deposit.

Your offer may be accepted, rejected, or the seller may make a counter-offer. Because counter-offers are common (any change in an offer can be considered a counter-offer), it is important for you to remain in close contact with your real estate agent so that any proposed changes can be reviewed quickly.

After both parties have accepted the offer, it’s considered to be a legally binding purchase contract.

4. From offer to closing table

In general, the time between signing the contract and the closing date is about 30-45 days for a resale home. (If you are buying a new home it might be 12 months before you can move into it.) During these 30-45 days the following important activities will take place:

  • Home inspection
  • Mortgage approval including appraisal of home (if not a cash transaction)
  • Homeowner's insurance
  • Title work and survey
  • Final walk through

Of course, your real estate agent will advise and support you through the entire process.

In general, the home inspection should be completed within ten days of the contract being signed. Your real estate agent can provide you with names of certified inspectors, which you can contact to set up an appointment. The buyer is responsible for the cost of an inspection. Normally you and your real estate agent are present at the inspection, which can take up to 3 hours.

The following inspections are common in Florida:

  • Inspection for termites and wood-boring insects
  • Mechanical and structural defects.

As soon as the inspection report has been received, your real estate agent will address any issues immediately.

At the same time, you are taking care of the inspection, your mortgage application should be finalized. This will result in your final mortgage commitment. Typically, this is a process of approximately 30 days.

To assure that the current owner has clear title—free of any liens, claims or competing and adverse interests to the property you soon will own, a title company, which is normally chosen and paid for by the seller, begins the title search.
Your real estate agent will advise you to take care of your homeowner's insurance immediately after your signed the contract. This is especially important in a state known for tropical storms, hurricanes and tornados.  Insurance companies will not accept new applications if a hurricane or tornado are expected to hit the area.

In general, one day prior to closing, your real estate agent will schedule the final walk-through of the home you’re about to purchase. The walk-through allows you to re-confirm the condition of the home before the closing takes place.

Now you are ready for the settlement at closing:
After all parties have been identified (don’t forget to bring your driver’s license and/or passport) a brief process in which the necessary paperwork to complete the transaction is signed by both parties. Title to the property is transferred from seller to buyer. The buyer receives the keys and the seller receives payment for the home. Deeds, loan papers, and other documents are prepared, signed and filed with local property record offices.

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