SEARCHING FOR YOUR TAMPA, ST PETERSBURG or CLEARWATER HOME
Meet as Many of Your Family’s House Needs and Wants as Possible
Now that you know what you can afford, it’s time to start looking at houses. Keeping in mind that no single property will offer everything you want, the home you finally purchase should meet as many of your family’s needs and wants as possible. You might want to start your search by creating a “wish list” of features and appointments that you consider absolute priorities for your day-to-day living.
A full-time professional real estate agent is trained and qualified to provide the appropriate questions, guidance and suggestions to help with your home search.
WHERE TO BEGIN: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Your home’s location is one of the most important features to consider. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you weigh the pros and cons of choosing a location:
- How far are you willing to commute to work?
- How accessible is the home to highways or public transportation?
- How close are shopping, houses of worship, day care facilities and recreation areas?
- What is the quality of the public schools and where are they located?
Realize there are always trade-offs when making such an important decision.
LOCATION AND ITS IMPACT ON YOUR FINANCES
There is more to determining affordability than simply being able to make your house mortgage amount. Aside from a mortgage, transportation and commuting costs to work or school can be significant. Seriously consider the location of your new home and how day-to-day transportation costs may affect your budget.
SHOPPING YOUR OPTIONS
When looking at prospective homes, consider the neighborhood, the home’s exterior, interior floor plan, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, commuting distance to work and school, and the reputation of the schools and overall community.
For example, is the dining room large enough to entertain family and friends during holidays? Is there enough closet space? The closer your chosen home matches your lifestyle needs and wants, the happier you’ll be when you’re living in it.
First, you need to decide what type of home you want. There are several housing types to suit your specific needs, including:
Single-family homes are the most common property type chosen by prospective homeowners. There are two options: a newly constructed house or an older home in an already established neighborhood. Older homes may be roomier, more affordable, and centrally located to in-town amenities, but may require renovations and updating. Externally, keep in mind that any full-grown, mature trees typical of older neighborhoods will require maintenance which, over time, could prove costly. Newer single-family homes, on the other hand, are likely to have more efficient heating systems, better insulation, and lower maintenance costs.
- HOME OWNER ASSOCIATIONS (HOA)-MANAGED COMMUNITIES
Many singles, couples, empty nesters and retirees who don’t want to deal with the upkeep and maintenance of their home exterior, including the grounds and amenities, are drawn to communities managed by Home Owner Associations (HOA). HOAs can include condominium, townhome or single-family home communities.
Residents of an HOA-managed community pay an annual, quarterly or monthly fee for services and oversight, with the understanding that they will abide by a set of rules and regulations meant to preserve the community’s aesthetics as well as ensure a decent quality of life for all.
This is a 2- to 4-unit property offering a personal residence in addition to other units that serve as investment property. Along with the potential tax and income advantages of multifamily homes come the added responsibilities of acting as a landlord, such as conducting tenant search and selection, initiating leases, collecting rents and security deposits, making repairs and possibly being forced to initiate and manage evictions.
Fixer-uppers are generally older homes in need of updates and repair, that are often found in older, more established neighborhoods, and show signs of neglect. If you decide that a fixer-upper is for you, be prepared for the numerous costs involved in rehabilitation work. Once work begins, you may uncover additional issues. Rehabilitation costs can rise quickly and significantly, increasing the amount of time needed to get the house in good working order. Before deciding on a fixer-upper, first have a contractor or home inspector detail the extent of rehabilitation work needed and estimate the costs. The cost to repair the property will impact the price you pay for the house.
GETTING PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE IN YOUR SEARCH
After identifying towns that fit your needs and knowing your budget, you may want to get professional help by contacting a Realtor® who can inform you on market trends, property conditions, and many other aspects of home buying.
FlareGlobal’s licensed Realtors® in the Tampa, St Petersburg, Clearwater Florida will search for your dream home based on your current location, or by several criteria provided.
To explore homes with “for sale by owner” signs, you will deal directly with the current owner/seller to tour the home and get questions answered.
For those who already own a home and are shopping around for another – whether it’s to trade-up to a larger residence or trade-down to a smaller one – check out how FlareGlobal can help you find the prefect new home to fit your new lifestyle.
OPEN HOUSE ADVICE
Don’t be shy about taking the opportunity to tour homes for sale during Open Houses that are normally held on weekends by real estate agents. Open House signs are posted on boulevards or near street corners inviting potential homebuyers to stop in and look over a particular property. These properties are usually listed online in real estate sections of newspapers to bring increased exposure to the property. Remember that an Open House is a sales tool. Here are some tips to keep you organized:
- Bring a notepad and map so you can mark each home’s location and note its special features.
- Pick up a property listing sheet whenever one is available. After spending a day attending Open Houses, you may find that one or another home has more or less appeal than you initially thought.
- Pace yourself. Visit too many homes without a break and you’ll start missing details.
• Bring a camera and snap pictures of the houses that appeal to you. Grab any available brochures with photos.
• Remember, there are no foolish questions. Ask away!
Be prepared to find out everything you can about each property. One question about pipes, heating/cooling systems, taxes, or recent repairs may lead to other questions. You may uncover areas of concern about a specific property that, on the surface, looks trouble-free. It’s far better to know about a home’s problems before you buy than to discover them once you own the property.
When you are confident that your search has ended and you’ve found the home that’s right for you, it’s time to make an offer.
An offer is a legally binding commitment stating that you will buy the home for a specific price provided that certain terms and conditions are met. Once the seller accepts your offer, it must be signed both by you and the seller.