Learn About Buying A House in Florida


How Do I Buy a House?



Everyone asks themselves this question at least once in their lives…we call those people 1st time home buyers! To make buying a home feel a little less intimidating, we’ve broken down the process into several clear steps. See below, and don’t forget, we’re here via phone, email and text to answer all your home buying questions!



Search Homes Now




    1.See a Lender- Find Out What Your Credit Score is and talk to a lender (it’s free!) to find out what you can qualify for with your income. This quick, usually 15-20 minute chat, will tell you how much of a mortgage you can get and if you need to work on your credit score to qualify.



    2.Save, Save, Save- Save money for a down payment! Another good reason to talk to a lender first. Once you find out how much you can qualify for, your lender can tell you what kinds of loan programs are out there to meet your needs. FHA loans will let you put down as little as 3% as a down payment when you buy a home. Convention loans usually (but not always) require 20% down. So for example, a $200,000 home with 20% down means you’d need $40,000 as a down payment in addition to your loan and closing costs to get that house. For FHA, if you were only required to put down 3%, that would be just $6,000, plus closing costs in addition to your loan.



    3.Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage- Once you’ve completed the above 2 steps, go back to your lender and get a loan pre-approval letter. You’ll need it to shop for homes and submit offers.



    4.Find a Top Real Estate Agent- Now that you have your loan stuff all figured out, find a great Realtor! (We can help with that!). Tell your Realtor what you’re pre-qualified for and meet with them in person to go over neighborhoods and home styles you prefer. At Sandy Hartmann & Associates, we set up a search with you that alerts you via email every time a new home listing comes onto the MLS. You’ll always know when homes for sale hit the market that match your home search.



    5.Start Searching for Homes- When you see homes you like in your price range, contact your real estate agent to set up appointments as soon as you can. Good homes go fast and home inventory is low in places like Pinellas County and Hillsborough County. You can also drive around on weekends to open houses to get a better idea of which neighborhoods you like. Our website conveniently has a search option to see properties offering open houses, price reductions and more. You can also do a map search and look up home value trends on our City Pages (See the bottom of our homepage for this).



    6.Write an Offer- Found the right home? Once you know which home you want, you and your Realtor need to write an offer. If the home hasn’t been on the market long, it needs to be a competitive offer to motivate the seller to accept yours over any others. This is also where you need your loan pre-approval letter. Make sure it’s submitted with your offer so the sellers know you’re approved for a loan and a ‘real’ buyer. If the letter is dated more than 1 month old, ask your lender for an updated one if nothing has changed in your employment , savings and debts. If your offer is accepted by the sellers, you’ll have to give a deposit check to your agent as well. This goes towards your closing costs and down payment and is refundable until certain periods in the contract if things go wrong (see below).



    7.Schedule Home Inspections- Once your offer is accepted, you’ll have a specific amount of time to inspect the home (this amount of time is negotiated in the contract when you write it up with your real estate agent). Make sure you find a reputable inspector that will thoroughly inspect the home- you’ll want them to inspect all major components, including but not limited to the roof, plumbing, electrical, A/C and Heat system, pool (if there is one), windows & more. If you’re buying a waterfront home, you’ll also want to hire a seawall inspector as well. Review the inspection results thoroughly with your real estate agent.



    8.Negotiate Repairs- If anything is amiss in the home you’re buying, based on the home inspection results, you’ll want to negotiate any home repairs to be done. As long as this is done during your inspection period, you’ll have the opportunity to negotiate. If negotiations don’t go the way you want, you may still get back your deposit and cancel the contract during this time. Ideally everyone will be able to agree on requested repairs (this is negotiated by the agents for the buyer and seller). Be flexible and try not to ask for too many minor ‘cosmetic’ items. Stick to major items that could affect the insurability, safety, or value of the home (Roof, A/C, Heating, Windows, Plumbing, Electrical, etc).



    9.Loan Approval- Once you sign a contract, and schedule inspections, your lender will begin to ask you for payroll and tax documents pertaining to your income. It is important to get this information to your lender as soon as possible. They’ll want to go over all your financial debt and review your creditworthiness. DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT make any large purchases, buy a car, change jobs, or take out ANY other loans or credit cards until AFTER your closing. Your lender will check your finances, bank statements and employment status up until the day before closing. Any changes in your financial status could result in your loan being denied at the last minute.



    10.Final Walk-Thru- This generally happens the day of closing or sometimes the day before closing. This is when you walk thru the home you’re purchasing (with your Realtor, always) to make sure the sellers have 1) cleaned out all their belongings and not left piles of old furniture, trash, etc. behind 2) maintained the home properly until closing (it should be in the same shape as when you 1st saw the home 3) completed any requested repairs that were agreed on. If anything is not as agreed on or if the home is no longer in the shape it was sold in, you need to fill out a sheet called a ‘Final Walk Thru Form’ and take it to closing with you. Any changes in the home’s condition or repairs that were not made properly will have to be re-negotiated with all parties.



    11.Closing Day!- When the big day gets close, you’ll want to contact the Title Company that’s handling the closing (they prepare the settlement statement that goes over all your charges, fees, and loan amounts. They also issue clear title on the home and prepare the deed among other ‘paperwork’ related items that facilitate the sale). The title company will tell you exactly how much money to wire to them for closing, which needs to be done prior to getting to the closing table. At your actual scheduled closing, you’ll go over all the loan docs, title information & more with your settlement agent and real estate agent. Once you sign and the funds are at the title company from your lender, the keys are yours!


Search Results

St Petersburg

$298,900, 3 Beds, 3 Baths, 1,656 Sqr Feet
Lovely, totally updated and well maintained home in an exceptional location! You don't want to miss your chance to see this 3 Bedroom, 3 FULL Bath home that has so much to offer! The charming front porch leads inside to the spacious Living Room and right into the updated Kitchen which features ALL

St Petersburg

$279,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,673 Sqr Feet
This well-maintained 3 bedroom, 2 bath Historic Kenwood gem is finally available again for the first time in a quarter-century! Less then a minute walk to the locally famous Seminole Park, this Tudor-style home sitting on a large lot boasts above average square footage for the neighborhood & awaits

Largo

$242,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,400 Sqr Feet
MOTIVATED SELLER ALERT!!! This meticulously maintained spacious three bedroom, two bath block home has many recent updates, including central heat and air (2013), ceramic tile throughout (2014), new vanities in both bathrooms (2014), stainless steel appliances (2014), and sliding glass door (2014).

Largo

$240,000, 2 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,124 Sqr Feet
This lovely 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, POOL home also has a BONUS room off the master bedroom that makes a great office or nursery. This home truly shows like a MODEL! It is 100% move-in ready. As you pull into the driveway, you will notice the pride of ownership in the well manicured landscaping. The l

St Petersburg

$239,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,453 Sqr Feet
Pre construction, to be built. Easy access to I-275, Downtown St. Pete and all of the amenities that St. Pete has to offer. This "Finch" model by Domain Homes features a great island kitchen with designer granite counters that opens to a breakfast area and a spacious great room. Incredibly energy ef

St Petersburg

$239,900, 2 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,295 Sqr Feet
Beautiful 2 bedroom, 2 bath and 1 car garage home in sought after Pasadena Estates! This home was built in 1990 and has vaulted ceilings, open floor plan, granite countertops, wood cabinets, stainless steel appliances, nest thermostat, wired for surround sound, screened in porch, fenced in yard, roo

Largo

$235,000, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,635 Sqr Feet
This adorable, well-kept 3 bedroom 2 bath home is waiting to be yours! As you enter through the front door you are welcomed by the large family room with views of the kitchen. This 1,329 sq. ft. single-story home also includes a large, air-conditioned sunroom, making the total living space over 1,60

Largo

$235,000, 2 Beds, 1 Baths, 1,421 Sqr Feet
This adorable 2 bedroom 1 bath has over 1400 Sq Ft of living space. The large Living area has a wood burning fireplace and sliding doors that lead to the screened porch that overlooks a large fenced backyard. This home has beautiful terrazzo flooring throughout for easy up keep. Both the master bedr

St Petersburg

$229,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,025 Sqr Feet
Recently remodeled 3 Br 2 Ba Pool home with spacious backyard located in Jungle Terrace close to schools - shopping - gulf beaches and local conveniences. Seller has recently completed the following: Completely rewired home with new electrical service and breakers. New double paned insulated windows

St Petersburg

$229,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,295 Sqr Feet
NEW Roof, NEW PAINT inside and out and New microwave. YOU MUST SEE INSIDE! This 3 bedroom /2 bath 1,295 square foot home located in the highly sought-after Disston Gardens area of St. Petersburg is centrally located and close to North West Youth Center, Tyrone Mall, St. Petersburg College, resta

St Petersburg

$225,000, 2 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,239 Sqr Feet
UNIQUE LAKEWOOD ESTATES GEM - GOLF COMMUNITY HOME - GREAT LOCATION - Enjoy morning walks in this beautiful community. Your new home is steps from the St Petersburg Country Cub and situated on one of the larger lots in the area and very close to a quaint city owned park. 245-acre Boyd Hill Nature Pre

St Petersburg

$224,999, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,056 Sqr Feet
Look no further! This newly renovated 3/2 block home with bonus room, sits on a double lot! Bonus room can be used as fourth bedroom. The huge private backyard has room for a pool and more. Boat, RV and camper parking as well. Inside laundry hookup. Plenty of storage. Room for future additions. Mast

St Petersburg

$220,900, 2 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,536 Sqr Feet
NEW TO THE MARKET, Take a look at this cute 2 bedroom/2 Bath Home in the highly desired El Dorado Hills St. Petersburg Neighborhood. NOW is your chance to make this house your New HOME! This property had New Flat Roof installed in 2013, New Electrical Panal installed by the power company in 2014, A/

Largo

$199,950, 3 Beds, 1 Baths, 1,173 Sqr Feet
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Freshly painted inside this home is move in ready. This home offers nice size bedroom with cedar lined large closets, eat in spacious and bright kitchen with updated wood cabinets and granite counter tops and updated bathroom just to name a few. Easy maintenance terra

St Petersburg

$177,500, 2 Beds, 1 Baths, 1,073 Sqr Feet
Great Location! Well built block home on corner lot offers 2 bedrooms, 1 full bath, 1 car oversized garage with garage door opener. Garage has walk in closet large enough to add a half bath. AC replaced 2017, and hot water heater is newer. There is a private open patio off garage, and yard has n

St Petersburg

$172,900, 2 Beds, 1 Baths, 816 Sqr Feet
Cute cottage home remodeled and updated. Located in a quiet and safe neighborhood. Home has an open floor plan making it feel much larger and is nice for entertaining. Home has solid maple hardwood floors throughout home except the Dining Room which has travertine. The bathroom has new bath tile

St Petersburg

$160,000, 2 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,094 Sqr Feet
Charming home with enormous potential. Generous sized rooms and large corner lot. Quiet location is accessible to 275 and the beaches as well as shopping and amenities. A must see!!!

St Petersburg

$159,900, 2 Beds, 1 Baths, 720 Sqr Feet
Live 5 miles from beautiful beaches! This 2 bedroom 1 bath home is located in a GREAT location just minutes from St Pete beaches, Downtown Gulfport, and MUCH MORE! The house has been freshly painted inside and out and features tile flooring throughout to keep it cool on hot Florida days. This home i

St Petersburg

$159,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,060 Sqr Feet
Now Available! Come see this charming & clean 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1060 (sqft), 1 car garage-- with a spacious split room layout and a nice backyard! This is the perfect home for those looking for space-- it's move in ready! The home has a spacious floor plan with plenty of room and clean kitchen and

St Petersburg

$142,000, 3 Beds, 1 Baths, 968 Sqr Feet
This is a great opportunity to own a beautiful newly remodeled home in St. Petersburg. This home features 3 bedrooms and 1 full bathroom, with a new roof, new windows, new AC, new electrical, new plumbing, new doors, new garage door, new paint, new flooring, new stainless steel gas appliances, and

Largo

$134,000, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,326 Sqr Feet
Two Bedroom Masonry Home with Separate One Bedroom Apartment Located South of Largo Central Park. Situated on Fenced In Tree Shaded Lot this Property Awaits Its New Owner or Investor. With More Than 1300 Square Foot of Total Living Space, There’s Plenty of Elbow Room Here. Each Unit Has Separate M

St Petersburg

$125,000, 2 Beds, 1 Baths, 736 Sqr Feet
Investor special opportunity. Requires some TLC which is reflected in price. Part of a larger investor portfolio that is for sale. Details for other properties in portfolio available through agent..

St Petersburg

$124,900, 3 Beds, 1 Baths, 933 Sqr Feet
Remodeled 3 bedroom, 1 bath home on a corner lot. Ceramic tile throughout. Close to schools, bust stops, downtown St. Petersburg, shopping center, and the beaches.

Largo

$120,000, 2 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,160 Sqr Feet
GREAT LOCATION WITH AN AWESOME VIEW OF THE LAKE. HOME HAS A SPLIT BEDROOM PLAN WITH EACH ROOM NEXT TO A BATHROOM. OPEN CONCEPT AND NICE NEWER FURNITURE THROUGHOUT. NEWER WINDOWS AND NEUTRAL CARPET IN ALL ROOMS. IF LOCATION IS WHAT YOU WANT THIS HOME IS WITH IN WALKING DISTANCE TO EVERYTHING. THIS HO

St Petersburg

$119,900, 4 Beds, 1 Baths, 1,064 Sqr Feet
Nice 4 bedroom house centrally located between downtown and the beaches. This wood be a great starter house or investment property. New flooring in living areas and the buyer can choose the color of the carpet for the bedrooms.




Saved Properties

This is a list of your favorite properties. We will email you if a property is reduced or leaves the market.

Click 'Save' to add a property to this list.

Register / Login

New & returning visitors please enter your information to login.

By clicking 'register' you are agreeing to our terms of use & giving us expressed written consent to contact you.

Questions? Comments? Complaints?

This message will go directly to the head of our team.

Location & Address

Sandy Hartmann & Associates Real Estate Team of Tampa Bay FL
5666 Seminole Blvd
Seminole, FL
727-400-3315