Nicknamed “The City Beautiful”, Orlando is an amazing city that has a lot to offer to its more than 2 million residents, not to mention that it is also the number one tourist destination in the world and the number one location for foreign investors. Located in the center of the state of Florida, Orlando is just a 45-minute drive to the East coast beaches and a couple of hours away from the West Coast. With over 20 theme parks, 26 golf courses, more than 350 outlet stores, and around 5,000 restaurants, it is apparent that this city is a great place to call home. If you’re a first-time homebuyer who’s in the market to invest in a property in Orlando, here’s a guide to help you throughout the entire process so you get the best deal from your purchase.
Step 1: Hire a Florida Realtor
When buying a home in Orlando, Florida, it is best to hire a realtor to represent you. Having the right realtor by your side will ensure a smooth process, at practically no cost to you, the buyer, as commissions are paid by the seller. They will make sure that you have all the information you need as you begin your search for your next home and guide you through every step of the property purchase process.
Step 2: Start Your Property Search
Home prices are rising at a steady pace, so it is likely that the deal you get today won’t be as well priced tomorrow. While your realtor will proactively use their expertise to find listings based on your preferences, it is also good for you to do your own search online so you can familiarize yourself with price points and realize what’s really within your budget. Be open to your realtor’s inputs with regards to neighborhoods and streets. Being the expert on the ground and having actual experience, your realtor would be the best person to rely on for assessing if the information you see is too good to be true, if the property is overpriced, or if the location is ideal for your specific lifestyle. Once you’ve found some listings that fit your criteria, go check them out in person. You may opt to attend open houses, or your realtor can book showing appointments with the listing realtor on your behalf.
Step 3: Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage
Unless you intend to pay in cash, another important step in purchasing a home is to get pre-approved for a mortgage so, when you find a property that you really like, you’ll be prioritized by the seller, in case there are several offers.
Step 4: Make an Offer
Once you’ve found the right property and read through the seller disclosure, the next step is to make an offer. In Florida, an offer is done with a formal contract that outlines all the requirements and terms of the buyer and the seller. In some instances, your realtor may approach the seller’s realtor with an oral offer first to see how the other party responds before putting a formal offer in writing.
Step 5: Pay Earnest Money
Upon accepting your offer, the seller would expect you to pay earnest money – a small amount of the deposit that demonstrates that you are serious about the purchase. Depending on the terms indicated on your contract, you’ll need to pay the remaining deposit for the property within a specific period after the execution of the contract. It is important to note that, if your offer is accepted and you decide to pull out of the deal later on without the provisions stated in the contract, you’ll forfeit the earnest money that you have paid the seller.
Step 6: Draw Up the Purchase Contract
Your realtor will be the one to draw up the purchase contract for you. There are two types of purchase contracts in Florida: the standard contract and the “as-is” contract. In the standard contract, the seller is required to fix the problems listed in the inspection report or give credits to the buyer for such repairs. On the other hand, the “as-is” contract does not obligate the seller for such repairs. In this type of contract, the buyer has more flexibility to pull out. Should you decide that the house is not right for you, you are entitled to receive a full refund of your deposit if you are not happy with anything in the due diligence phase.
A Florida purchase contract includes the following:
- The price being offered by the buyer.
- The percentage or value of the earnest money that the buyer will put down, as well as the value of the full deposit due at the end of due diligence.
- Response time to the offer by the seller.
- Proposed closing date. In Florida, most closings occur within 30 to 45 days of going to
- Number of days allotted for due diligence. The default amount in the standard contract is 15 days.
- Repair limits. This is only applicable if you’re drawing a standard purchase contract.
- Financing contingency and time frame. The contract should specify that the sale will only go through if the buyer’s mortgage is approved. The contract should also indicate the maximum interest and the terms of the mortgage that are acceptable to the buyer.
- Inventory of items included in the purchase.
Step 7: Sign All the Paperwork During Closing
Closing is the final step in executing a real estate transaction. You will have to attend a closing meeting with a closing agent or a real estate attorney and sign all the necessary paperwork. The funds will then be transferred from escrow and you will get the keys to your new home!
The process of buying a new home can be quite daunting, especially for first-time homebuyers. With an experienced and professional realtor assisting you in every step of the process, you can look forward to a great experience and a much better deal. If you ready to buy your new home in Orlando, I can help. Please don’t hesitate to give me a call at (407) 388-4427 or send me an email at [email protected]