First-Time Home Buyers

If you are a first-time home buyer, use the guide below for helpful hints and tips and learn how to avoid common mistakes when buying your first home in Tampa, FL.

  • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.
  • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
  • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes - things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
  • Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller.
  • Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:
  1. One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
  2. A list or file of the properties that your agent has shown to you.
  3. Paper and pen for taking notes as you search.
  4. A camera to snap pictures of homes you have toured to help you remember your favorites and features you really liked.
  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
  • Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
    1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
    2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
    3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
    4. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).

All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please contact us directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.

From Our Blog - Mortgages and Financing
What Information Is Needed for a Mortgage Application?

Okay, so you have browsed Tampa homes for sale and are thinking about buying a home. But, you have no idea what information will be asked when you talk to a lender about the actual mortgage application. No need to worry, I have answers for you! To make things easier, most mortgage ... Read more about What Information Is Needed for a Mortgage Application?

How Are Mortgage Interest Rates Determined?

Mortgages are common for those looking to buy a home in Tampa. But you may be wondering what impacts mortgage interest rates. There are many factors that influence mortgage interest rates, including mortgage bonds, the economy, inflation, and the Federal Reserve. I will split this into 2 ... Read more about How Are Mortgage Interest Rates Determined?

What Information on My Credit Report Would Hurt My Chances of Getting a Mortgage Loan?

When you're browsing Tampa homes for sale, have you ever wondered about how certain information on your credit report would affect you getting a mortgage loan? Well, that’s a great question and I have some answers for you! Student Loans The biggest question is about student loans. There are ... Read more about What Information on My Credit Report Would Hurt My Chances of Getting a Mortgage Loan?

Which Home Financing Option is Better? FHA or Conventional Loan

Find out the ins, outs, pros, and cons of these two popular mortgage financing options. When you look ahead to your home purchase, you probably think of the search itself as the most important aspect of the process. However, it’s important to remember that while you can always change out a ... Read more about Which Home Financing Option is Better? FHA or Conventional Loan

From Our Blog - Buying a Home
Home Buyer FAQs

As trusted Tampa Bay real estate agents, we wanted to answer 10 of the most frequently asked questions we get about buying a home. Check them out below! If you have any more questions you want answered, feel free to contact us anytime and we’ll be happy to chat. FAQs: When should I ... Read more about Home Buyer FAQs

How much CASH does it take to buy a home today?

The Real Cost of Buying a Home  What does it “really” cost to a buy a home today?  That’s the question that many people are thinking but afraid to ask out loud.  A first-time home buyer, that is getting financed with a conventional, FHA or VA loan, is going to ... Read more about How much CASH does it take to buy a home today?

The Home Inspection Process

Find out how the home inspection works and how it can provide valuable information for years to come. Whether you are looking at Tampa homes for sale, South Tampa real estate, or the best neighborhoods in Wesley Chapel, you may think that the home search and contract negotiation are the most ... Read more about The Home Inspection Process

The Home Appraisal Process

Understand the criteria for a home appraisal and how it impacts your real estate financing and purchase. So you’ve found the home of your dreams in one of the best neighborhoods in Wesley Chapel or Tampa. Among the documents you will encounter as we put together an offer package for your new ... Read more about The Home Appraisal Process

Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Potential homebuyers are always cautioned to be aware of mortgage lending standards and the difficulty they might face when trying to obtain a mortgage. Credit availability is expanding, making it easier to get a mortgage now than it was a year ago. The market is still tight however, and ... Read more about Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Common Things to Look Out for Before Buying Your Dream Home

It is easy to become overwhelmed when you enter the home buying market. Friends, family, colleagues, and even acquaintances will give you their opinions if you are a first time home buyer. While most of them are looking out for your best interest, they are not fully aware of what is happening in ... Read more about Common Things to Look Out for Before Buying Your Dream Home

Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices?

There has been some discussion recently on home prices in relation to mortgage rates. Some believe if there is a rapid rise of mortgage rates, home prices should decrease. Logically it makes the most sense for the price of the house to drop when interest rates are rising, but this is not always ... Read more about Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices?