If you can’t see yourself staying here in South Florida for at least three years, now might not be your time to own a home. The costs involved in buying and selling add up fast; you may lose money in the transaction if you sell before then—even in an up market.
Check your credit—and shore it up
Most buyers will need a mortgage. To get the best interest rate (or financing!) possible, you want your credit to be as strong as possible. Get a copy of your credit report and check it for accuracy, as errors are not uncommon. Removing errors can take 2 to 3 months.
Fall in love with what you can afford
Setting your budget is complex, though the rule of thumb is two and one half times your annual salary. Calculators such as this one on Zillow are common on the web and can give you a ballpark figure. For a more accurate number, get pre-approved by a lender.
Know your South Florida mortgage options
Typically, Treasure Coast lenders want to see a 20% down payment. If you cannot afford this, you are not out of options: various agencies like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Department of Veterans Affairs offer as low as 3% up front.
Look for great South Florida schools
Even if you don’t have children, look for an area with good schools. This criteria is often very important to buyers, so when you go to sell, your property value will be higher and your home more desirable.
Use a professional in the South Florida
Online resources are growing in number for do-it-yourself buyers. However, most new buyers (as well as more experienced buyers) are better off with a professional agent familiar with the Treasure Coast in South Florida. An agent can focus on your needs and your interests with an informed ear and help you strategize throughout bidding.