With spring approaching and school vacations on the horizon, you may be considering a move for your family. Whether this is your first time buying a home or the fifth, going through the home buying process can be daunting. How do you find a home that meets both your lifestyle needs and your budget?

Luckily, on our website you can find all Lakewood Ranch homes for sale that can give you the best of all worlds. Read on to learn more about the home buying process and what to expect when you buy your new Florida home. 

Decide on Your Budget 

The first thing you need to do when you’re buying a house is to decide on what sort of budget you’re looking at. Most of us would love to have a big, beautufil house, but the last thing you want is to end up house-poor. As a rule of thumb, you want to keep your monthly mortgage price at no more than a third of your net monthly income. 

When you’re figuring out your mortgage budget, there are a few factors you’ll have to consider. First of all, take a look at current mortgage interest rates and estimate what rate you’ll be able to get based on your credit score. You’ll also need to factor in costs for mortgage insurance if you don’t have a 20 percent down payment, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and closing costs.

Arrange Finances

As you start to get an idea of the budget you’re looking at, you’ll need to start making some additional financial arrangements. Start by saving for your down payment as soon as possible. Ideally, you want to have at least 20 percent of your budget price, plus closing costs, saved as a down payment before closing day.

You should also apply for mortgage preapproval  before you begin looking seriously for a home. During mortgage preapproval, a broker or lender will take a quick look at your finances and decide whether or not they’re likely to approve you for a mortgage at a certain price. Having this preapproval can help to simplify your mortgage application process later and give you a better idea of what you can actually afford. It will also be necessary for your real estate agent to inlcude a pre-approval along with any offers you make on a home.

Home for Sale

Find a great agent

With your finances in place, you’ll be ready to start the process of finding your dream home. You’re going to want to work with a Realtor as you begin your home search. Although keeping a weather eye on the market yourself is a good idea, and looking at homes online is fun, a great agent will help you identify communites that will work for you, and will also show you homes either in person or, in some cases, virtually on Zoom or FaceTime.

Look for an agent who’s experienced and who knows the local market well, and who ideally is a Licensed Broker (a higher level of licensure than Salesperson). You want someone who you can trust and who you feel understands what you’re looking for in your home. Most importantly, you need an agent who will be in your corner during negotiations during the offer and inspection phases of buying. 

Go House Hunting 

Once you’ve found your agent, you’ll finally be ready to start the most exciting part of the process: house hunting! Before you dive into listings, it’s a good idea to make a list of your needs, wants, and ideals. Your needs are the things your new house absolutely has to have, your wants are the non-critical elements that are important to you, and your ideals are the bonus features that would be fun to have. Be sure to communicate all important criteria to your Realtor.

As you tour potential homes, be sure to take plenty of pictures and notes. After a few house tours, all the homes will start to run together in your head, and you want to make sure you can keep straight what you liked in each. Also, try to go in with a critical eye, looking for the problem areas, rather than caught up in falling in love with the home. A good, experienced agent will help you by identifying any potential problems they see in or outside the home.

Make an Offer

You’ve found your dream home, and now you’re ready to take the next step towards making it your own. At this point in the process you’ll need to make an offer to the seller. This initial offer will act as a starting point for negotiations between you and the seller over the final price of the home. You discuss the offer with your agent, and then he or she will draw up the contract, get your signature(s), and send it over to the listing agent for presentation to the sellers.

Many buyers prefer to make an initial offer that’s somewhat lower than the list price. However, you don’t want to make an offer that’s so low that it will be rejected rather than negotiated. Work with your agent to decide an appropriate initial offer based on the listing price, recent comparable sales, and the amount of time the home has been on the market. 

Get Inspections

Once you and the seller agree on a sale price, you’ll need to get your potential new home inspected. While not required this is a very important step. A good inspection can reveal problems that you might not have known about until long after closing day.

If possible you should attend the home inspeciton so that you can see any potential problems with your own eyes. After the inspection report is in, if there are any serious issues with plumbing, structure, electricity or HVAC there may, depending on the contract, be another round of negotiations with the seller. You may ask them to fix some of the issues that came up during the inspection, and they might choose to fix them or counter by offering to drop the sale price somewhat.

Get Final Approval and Close 

Once all the inspection negotiations are done, you’ll be in the final stage of the home buying process. You’ll need to get final approval from your mortgage lender, and then you’ll be ready to set a closing date. A title insurance company or attorney's office will handle all details of the transaction, including drawing up the deed and registering the sale with the county. On closing day, you and the seller will sign all the paperwork, transferring ownership of the home to you and locking you into your mortgage.

Discover Lakewood Ranch Homes for Sale

Buying a home is an incredibly exciting process, but it can also be a little overwhelming, especially if you’ve never been through it before. Be sure to get your finances in order before you begin shopping, and work with an agent you can trust during the house-hunting process. Get a solid inspection, and work to find a price that works for you and the seller during negotiations.

If you’d like to start the process of finding your dream home, check out the rest of our site at The Daniel Bacon Group. We have all Lakewood Ranch homes for sale and will help you find the best home for you and your family. Shop our listings today and discover some of the many good reasons you should call Florida home.