Determine What You Can Afford
At any given time, there are over three thousand houses for sale in Tampa Bay alone. One of the most difficult components of home buying is narrowing down the vast catalog of options. The fastest way to slim down your choices is by approximating a price range that you can afford. In Florida, the median single-family home price is about $250,000, though this figure may be significantly above or below what you can afford. Home affordability calculators, which are freely available to all Tampa Bay home buyers, provide a detailed report and price range particular to you. These calculators take into account your annual income, reserved money, debt, and credit score. As a rule of thumb, the property you are looking to buy should not cost more than three to five times your annual household income, and your monthly housing fees should not exceed 25% of your monthly income.
Consider Additional Expenses
Most home sellers will (intentionally or unintentionally) conceal necessary renovation costs. Houses that are over twenty years old require upgrades that can often be expensive and even deal-breaking. Before committing to buying or even considering buying a certain house, be sure to ask about the age of the roof, HVAC, windows, driveway, and seawall. If the air conditioning system is over eight years old or the roof over fifteen years old, ask the seller if they are willing to update before selling or adjust the closing price in your favor. However, if you find yourself drawn to a particular house in need of expensive updates and the seller is unwilling to negotiate, be sure to budget accordingly.
Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage Loan
Though home affordability calculators can be useful, as you become more serious about buying a house in Tampa Bay, pre-approval or pre-qualification for a mortgage loan is necessary. Your lender will examine your income, debts, assets, and financial history to provide a more accurate affordability rate. When you are pre-approved, sellers are generally more responsive to offers, giving you an edge over other prospective home buyers.
Prioritize Specific Household Features
It’s unlikely that you’ll find one house that meets all of the criteria to qualify as your “dream home.” However, making a list of which qualities are the most important to you and your family can simplify the home buying process of comparing and contrasting houses on your shopping list. Some things to consider are location, price range, school boundaries, distance from employment, yard usability, and space. How far over your affordability rate are you willing to pay? How far are you willing to drive to get to work? Is it more important to you to have a nice yard or a lot of indoor space? What kind of neighborhood would you like to live in? Is there a specific school you would like your children to go to or not go to? As you examine different houses on the market in Tampa Bay, be sure to reference your list of priorities to find the home that best suits your needs and preferences.
Joe Homebuyer is a team of reputable Tampa Bay home buyers who can give you an all-cash offer for your home, no matter its condition or your circumstances.