Living in Charlotte County Florida

Find the perfect home in sunny southwest, Florida

Tips for buying a home in Florida

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If you are thinking about making Southwest Florida your next home, you will need to be informed and prepared.  Whether you want to make this your family residence, your second home, a vacation home, or a retirement home, you still need to plan.  Here is a brief outline of the steps necessary in purchasing a home. 

What are some of the most important things you need to consider?  Number one – Qualification.  Many of the homes in this area are short sales and foreclosures.  In today’s market you must be pre-qualified before you can even put an offer on a home.  So your first step is to meet with a mortgage lender to see if and how much you qualify for.  If you decide to pay all cash for a home be sure to meet with a financial planner.  In many cases it is not necessary or financially wise to pay all cash. 

The next thing to consider after you have your finances figured out is searching for that new Southwest Florida home.  It is recommended that you work with a Realtor.  You can search for homes using the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) on my web site at  This database allows you to search for exactly what you are trying to find without having to run around from home to home.  You want to know ahead of time what the community or neighborhood offers and not waste your time with homes you are not interested in.  The MLS provides details such as bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, location on a map, photos, and taxes.  Once you find some homes of interest, a Realtor can take you to see the homes.

Once you find a that perfect home, you must then make an offer.  A Realtor can provide you with the best possible price that you should offer for the home by providing current market data that supports its true value.  After deciding on a price to offer, the Realtor will write a purchase contract.  The new Florida Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase is 10 pages long.  Be sure to read it over carefully and ask your Realtor to explain specific details of items that you are unsure of.  The contract is then presented to the seller.  The seller will accept, counter, or reject.

After your offer is accepted, the clock starts ticking.  If you are buying a short sale be prepared to wait 3-4 months or possibly longer.  If you are buying a foreclosure home, it will take approximately 45 days.  If you are buying a non-short sale or foreclosure you can typically close in 30 days.  It is very important to make sure that you comply with the effective dates and timelines in the contract.  A Realtor can help you with a vendor selection for a home inspection and termite inspection. There are many details involved such as escrow, title company, insurance, loan processing, survey,  and closing. 

After closing, the keys are turned over to you.  You may think your work is done.   If you are going to be living in the home year round, you will need to apply for homestead.  This will give you a discount on your taxes.  And then there is setting up the moving truck, getting settled in, and locating all of your resources for acquiring phone, cable, Internet, water, sewer, power and light, garbage, and the list goes on.  Look for a future article where I will provide a list of local resources.

Contact me if I can be of service to you in locating that new Southwest Florida home or answer any of your questions at

Tammy Hayes, Realtor

Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL





Author: tammyhayes

I am a residential realtor serving Charlotte and Sarasota Counties in sunny, southwest Florida. Contact me for all of your real estate needs. I am professional, ethical, informational, and understanding. I will be with you to assist you every step of the way. Whether you are buying or selling a home, I can help.

One thought on “Tips for buying a home in Florida

  1. It’s also good to have a financial planner included in the process so you can see how much you can afford for mortgage payments. Great article, I’ll pass this along to my parents, they are looking to move into the sunshine 🙂

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