Different states have different rules and laws, as well as common practices and routines when it comes to buying real estate properties. And because buying a home would be the biggest single investment you will do at this point of your life, or maybe in your lifetime, it pays to know these laws and customs to make the process as smooth and as stress-free as possible. If you’re planning to buy a home in Florida, then here are five of the most important things you need to know before you start scanning the listings and your search for a realtor.
Your Realtor Is Your Transaction Broker
In Florida, your real estate agent is also your transaction broker, which means aside from helping you find a good home that fits your needs and budget, he will also facilitate the transaction for you. As transaction brokers, they can represent the home buyers, the home sellers and even both.
In this state, brokers are obliged to work ethically and fairly for both parties involved. They are compelled to disclose all known facts that can materially affect the value of a real estate property.
Also, in all over Florida, licenses of real estate agents are presumed to be of transaction brokers, unless there are specific arrangements being made into writing, such as single agency for buying or selling, or non-representation.
You Don’t Need to Hire a Lawyer for Closing the Home Purchase
Most realtors in Florida are closed with only the help of the agents, this is because you don’t need to hire a lawyer for closing a home purchase in this state. They state made it this way to facilitate transactions and help buyers and sellers close out their deals faster. Also, many title companies have in-house real estate lawyers as their staff for consultation. You can of course, always retain the services of a licensed realtor attorney at any point in your transaction, at your cost.
Getting an Insurance Can Be Challenging
Aside from the homeowner’s insurance, your mortgagee may demand for flood insurance. As we all know, weather in this state can be crazy at times. Thus, properties with old roofs, or roofs that failed to meet certain wind mitigation standards, will have a hard time getting an insurance, and usually requires higher premiums. Also, many insurers charge higher rate for properties with older plumbing systems (such as galvanized pipes), antiquated electrical system, and homes without hurricane straps, etc. Thus, to secure the home’s value, it is important that you get an insurance quote as soon as you have signed the contract and finalize every detail well way before your closing date.
Foreclosures Can Be Slow
In the state of Florida, foreclosure is a judicial proceeding, and can more than a year to complete. Foreclosure listing sites are more often than not, inaccurate. They can show incorrect details, such as prices. Some even show homes that are not even listed yet, or have been sold already.
Also, you should know that tracking a bank that may or may not get a specific REO property to change an offer is almost impossible – you need to wait until the property comes out to the market.
It’s a Homestead State
Homeowners of this state can file for homestead exemptions and get up to $50,000. The home of course, must be your primary residence. Exemptions will save homeowners from property taxes and puts a limit on how much one’s taxes can only increase every year.