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!



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    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

$289,000, 3 Beds, 1 Baths, 1,368 Sqr Feet
You will Fall in Love with this Freshly Updated Mid Century Modern Home. Situated on an Oversized lot (.22 acre) with ALL NEW Impact Resistant Windows & Garage Door, New Roof May 2018, New AC June 217. nothing has been overlooked in bringing this beauty back to life. Plenty of room for a party in th

St Petersburg

$288,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,206 Sqr Feet
Pre-construction to be built in Historic Kenwood. This home could be yours if you take advantage of this great deal for a brand new home. Enjoy the benefits of a new home such as lower insurance cost and energy efficiency. Buyer can pick own colors, custom cabinets, granite countertops and Energy St

St Petersburg

$285,000, 5 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,510 Sqr Feet
Spacious block home located adjacent to the up and coming Gulfport Marina District . New kitchen with lots of granite counter space Tile floors throughout Fenced in yard Bring your boat , public boat ramp is right down the street Easy access to the highway if you're a commuter 35minutes to Tam

St Petersburg

$285,000, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,632 Sqr Feet
Great location just a 10-minute drive to Treasure Island Beach, near the Tyrone Mall and plenty of excellent restaurants and grocery stores. Located in a quiet street, this remodeled, move-in ready home has its own private porch to enjoy the good weather and greet the neighbors. The open floor plan

St Petersburg

$284,000, 3 Beds, 1 Baths, 1,416 Sqr Feet
WOW this is Awesome! Updated & Ready for YOU to move in! ROOF is 5 yrs young and Air Conditioner is only 2 yrs! Located in the Heart of St Petersburg approx. 5 minutes to the Mall, 15 minutes to the Beachs and 30 to the Tampa International Airport! Other UPDATES Include…. Double Pane Windows, Flo

Largo

$280,000, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,542 Sqr Feet
Get ready to host the best pool parties in the neighborhood! This 3-bedroom, 2 bathroom home has a 2 car garage and a very large pool under a screen enclosure. It has been freshly painted on the interior and all the carpets have been updated in soothing, neutral gray tones. Enjoy breakfast in the la

St Petersburg

$279,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,206 Sqr Feet
BRAND NEW home just finished in May of 2018 located in a Historic Uptown neighborhood. This 3 bedroom 2 full bath home is high and dry on a non-flood zone lot in St. Petersburg. This terrific new construction home is spacious and ready to be yours.

Largo

$276,500, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,716 Sqr Feet
Beautiful 3 Bedroom 2 bath block home with Oversized 2 Car Garage located in a great, quiet neighborhood with easy access to everything. This home has an open floor plan with Kitchen, Living and Dinning are spilling over into a large glassed in Florida Room. Home is perfect for entertaining and fami

St Petersburg

$275,000, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,809 Sqr Feet
Beautiful, unique home in Garden Manor, Tyrone area. This home features an open floor plan. Living/dining combo with a gas fireplace. The kitchen is a must see with laundry room, two refrigerators, eat-in area, many built-ins, breakfast bar, very modern and tasteful. Larger bedroom currently used as

St Petersburg

$272,500, 4 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,442 Sqr Feet
Location, Location, Location! This home is located minutes away from the wonderful beaches of Treasure Island and it is NOT IN A FLOOD ZONE. Completely remodeled and move in ready, this house has an open floor plan. The door opens to a foyer/sitting area and the open kitchen with its breakfast cou

Largo

$269,900, 4 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,678 Sqr Feet
This is the perfect opportunity to own a home only a short walk to Indian Rocks Beach and it’s great shopping, popular restaurants and parks. Completely renovated and located on a quiet dead end street which is high and dry – no flood insurance required. Sky lights brighten up the open floor pl

St Petersburg

$269,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,886 Sqr Feet
Put your own personal touches on this home to make it your own! Recently painted inside and out, this 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home is awaiting your furniture and appliances! The high ceilings allow for lots of natural light to flow through the house. The sliding glass doors off of the dining area open

Largo

$269,500, 2 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,552 Sqr Feet
Location , location just a short drive to the Beach and Gulf of Mexico. Come see this beautifully upgraded solid block single family home. Freshly textured and painted, recent improvements include, new roof, new AC system, Sparkling Granite counter tops, new solid bathroom vanity tops and sinks as w

St Petersburg

$259,900, 2 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,333 Sqr Feet
Location, location, location!!! PRICE TO SELL! Come see this charming ranch with an open floor plan located in the coveted Jungle Prada, Colonial Lane subdivision. Completely renovated Kitchen & baths. Brand new roof, windows, and HVAC. This property features 2 master suites with en-suite bathrooms

St Petersburg

$250,000, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,293 Sqr Feet
You Will Love this 3 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Concrete Block Swimming Pool Home!! This Wonderful Home is Centrally Located in a Popular St. Petersburg Neighborhood and is in a Non-Evacuation/Non-Flood Zone!!! This Well-Maintained and Quality-Built Home sits on a Large (73x100) Beautifully Landscaped Lot!

Largo

$249,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,210 Sqr Feet
Gorgeous beautifully updated 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage home in desirable Bardmoor area of Seminole. House shows like a model home with vaulted ceilings, new Ac, new dimensional shingle roof, and a new beautiful gourmet kitchen, complete with matching Gallery Series stainless steel appliances,

St Petersburg

$249,000, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,708 Sqr Feet
Just a couple of minutes from the most Southern Tip of Pinellas County in desirable Pinellas Point. Beautiful water front park is just a short walk away and Fort Desoto Park near by. This home features 3 bedroom and 2 baths with family/living room and dining room right off the kitchen. There's entra

St Petersburg

$245,000, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,348 Sqr Feet
Bring your floats and sunscreen! Less than 15 minutes to the beach or stay home and lounge in your private pool! This 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1 car garage, block POOL home is ready for you to call it yours! Located in highly desired and centrally located Disston Heights, this little slice of paradise sho

St Petersburg

$239,900, 2 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,428 Sqr Feet
Turn key move in ready 2 bed 2 bath home centrally located on the north side of St. Pete. Everything in the home has been updated, windows, AC, water heater, and stainless appliances. All that is needed now is your own personal touch with landscaping. This home is priced to move quickly!

St Petersburg

$239,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,092 Sqr Feet
Wow! Paradise found in this fabulous, completely remodeled, pool home in North St Pete! This gorgeous split-plan home offers 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and an open floor plan. It's perfect for entertaining and family living with its flowing layout. You'll note the beautiful, new, waterproof, vinyl floors t

St Petersburg

$239,000, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,202 Sqr Feet
Come see this fully renovated 3/2 home. Brand new roof! Large fenced yard. Perfect location, close to 4th street and downtown St. Pete. Attached 1-car garage. Granite throughout, stainless appliances. Open floor plan to living and dining room.

St Petersburg

$235,999, 3 Beds, 1 Baths, 1,152 Sqr Feet
Affordable Historic Kenwood home that is great for a starter or improve for an investment. Drive through driveway provides wonderful opportunity for the boat owner that needs a place to park the boat. 2 car garage or workshop that has a bath. 3 bedroom, plus bonus room for office. You choose front

St Petersburg

$232,000, 3 Beds, 1 Baths, 948 Sqr Feet
Make this charming smart 3 bedroom, 1 bath home yours today! .Completely remodeled.From top to bottom the interior has been redone. kitchen with beautiful granite counter tops,Farm sinks, stainless steel appliances. The bathroom features custom tile work and the home has new paint inside and outside

St Petersburg

$230,000, 4 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,452 Sqr Feet
This home is ready for YOU! Spacious living room welcomes you, complete with tile floor and a fire place. Kitchen is open to living room area or another part of the home, which could be made into a secondary living space. The bedrooms are all a good size, and have spacious storage closets. What was

St Petersburg

$230,000, 3 Beds, 1 Baths, 1,128 Sqr Feet
This meticulously maintained home offers an open floor plan& tons of natural light. The kitchen has been updated w/stainless steel appliances & butcher block countertops. Several upgrades in the past few years: roof, windows, A/C, electrical, fresh paint(In&outside)& much more. The bath has been upg

Largo

$229,000, 2 Beds, 1 Baths, 1,019 Sqr Feet
REMODELED STARTER - LARGE CORNER lot with potential to expand - 2 BEDROOMs + DEN / OFFICE, 1 BATH, 1 CAR GARAGE single family home in KEENE PARK subdivision! - NEW WHITE shaker style kitchen cabinets with GRANITE counter top and STAINLESS-STEEL appliances by Samsung - CEILING MOUNTED exhaust - PANTR

Gulfport

$225,000, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,042 Sqr Feet
On an OVERSIZED CORNER LOT, this 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath, Garage home is a short 1.5mi to GULFPORT BEACH and all of the dining and shopping the ART DISTRICT has to offer! With a hurricane-resistant, COVERED TIKI BAR AND DECK WITH MISTING SYSTEM and TV/SOUND SYSTEM, your Florida days and nights will be enj

St Petersburg

$219,900, 3 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,194 Sqr Feet
Welcome home to this fantastic 3 bedroom 2 bathroom 1 car garage home in Lellman Heights! This residence sits on a nice sized lot and is located on a street with street lights and has easy access to the interstate. Step inside and fall in love with this light and bright gem, it features an open liv

St Petersburg

$218,000, 2 Beds, 2 Baths, 1,078 Sqr Feet
WOW what a fantastic transformation of this charming 2 bedroom 2 bath, large lot home with tranquil, unobstructed views of Little Lake Maggiore and a 22.4-acre park bordering a protected wildlife sanctuary. Murilla Way S residents enjoy a splash pad and huge playground at the end of the block. Extr

Largo

$209,900, 3 Beds, 1 Baths, 1,366 Sqr Feet
Open 3 bedroom 1.5 bath home with an oversized 1 car garage in Mill Pond community! Living room AND family room plus a bonus office/storage room/den off the family room. Freshly painted throughout! Roof May of 2015, A/C May of 2016. Perfect home for first-time home buyers! Half bath could be easily




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Location & Address

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