Whether you’re buying Florida property to use for your own holidays or simply as an investment to broaden your portfolio, it can be an exciting experience. If it’s a holiday home you’re looking for, you get a place of your own in the Florida sunshine with the space and comfort that no hotel can offer. If you’re buying as an investment, the choices are widespread and the potential is enormous.
But your chances of success are tremendously increased if you just get the basics right from the beginning.
Well, there are many ways to approach the buying process but most successful buyers that we’ve talked to and worked with (and that’s a lot) have reported that a focus on the following key points was fundamental to making the right choices:
1. Research is essential.
The Internet provides an excellent source of Florida property information, for example:
- A simple Google search using phrases such as “buying Florida property”.
- Surfing the sites of local newspapers (e.g. orlandosentinel.com) will generate even more data.
- Specialist sites such as realtor.com or rightmove.co.uk have seemingly countless listings of properties.
2. Lots of web content is out of date and downright misleading.
Take what you read with a pinch of salt and be determined to verify whatever you read. And maintain an open mind until you actually visit the properties you’ve already seen on-line. For example, you would never know that the highly-desirable bargain-priced luxury home is overlooked by a motorway flyover unless you saw for yourself – however well-presented the web site is and no matter how convincing the sales person! (And that’s a real-life example, in case you’re wondering!).
3. Understand the process
Terms, conditions and the overall process are very different in Florida, compared to the UK. For example, the legal commitment to buy takes place at a very early stage in the Florida system, so you need to know what your rights and obligations are before agreeing to purchase. And what happens after you’ve “exchanged contracts”?
4. Sort out your financing up-front
If you’re like most buyers and you’ll be raising a part of the purchase price via a loan, consider in advance whether you will raise this in the UK (e.g. through a re-mortgage of your existing UK home) or by taking out a US mortgage. Both options have pros and cons – think carefully about what meets your needs the best and speak to someone who can explain the pros and cons.
5. Get some help
Independence is fine, commendable and very British, perhaps – but unless you know the local market, the buying process and the pitfalls to avoid, the price of your independence could be high. And think about this: how well would the average US citizen coming over to buy for the first time in the UK do without any advice and guidance? So cut down on the risks by finding a local Florida Realtor to advise you: under the Florida system, Realtor fees are almost always paid out of the Seller’s funds, even when that Realtor is acting solely on the Buyer’s behalf. It may sound strange to UK buyers, but if the help is free, why not use it? Find a Realtor who you are comfortable working with and who does not pressure or manipulate you into buying.
All of the above is obviously a very brief summary and it only scratches the surface. For more free information and advice, Contact Us for more information.