If you are one of the many people relocating to Florida this year, here are a few tips for moving during the pandemic and buying a home.
- Many Americans have been buying Florida homes since the pandemic began
- 5 tips for moving to Florida:
- Find the right home with the help of an agent
- Make the moving process safe
- Use technology to your advantage
- Follow market trends
- Learn Florida's laws
Americans from around the country have been flocking to Florida over the last year since the pandemic hit and remote working made it less important to stay near an office. There are many reasons to move to Florida, including lots more space, affordable homes, sunshine year-round, and zero state taxes.
Many people are deciding to make Florida their permanent home after traveling there for years during the summer months. The state is attracting new residents from New York, especially, in addition to states across the Midwest.
If you are moving to Florida, here are five tips for making the move and buying a home.
1. Find the right home with an agent
First and probably most importantly, you need to find the home that fits within your budget, meets your biggest priorities, and will prove to be a valuable investment. This requires finding the right location with plenty of access to the things you're looking for, like the beach or the city center.
Working with the right real estate professional will help you locate homes within your budget, which is especially helpful if you're not yet living in Florida and cannot view all available properties yourself. An agent will stay on top of the market for you, looking to fulfill all your desires and send you homes that are within your budget. Tell your representative specifics about how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need, what kind of outdoor space you're seeking, if you're open to one or two stories, and location priorities.
Once you find a home you're ready to buy, you'll go through the offer process with the help of your agent. Remember that putting in an offer and waiting on acceptance requires lots of patience, and sometimes the outcome isn't in your favor. You'll also have to get the home inspected, which may uncover some unfortunate issues.
Working with a real estate professional will help you through all of these steps, and after the final agreement has been made, they will help you manage the closing process, too.
2. Make the moving process safe
Some people may be putting off moving or buying a home until the future of the market is more certain and social distancing restrictions are completely lifted. However, if you're planning a move while the pandemic is still a reality, here are a few tips for a safer move to Florida:
- Wear a mask when outside of your vehicle as you're traveling.
- Wash hands and sanitize surfaces often.
- Ask movers to stay socially distant as much as possible and to wear a mask.
- Ask your moving company what their safety procedures are during COVID, including their cancellation policy.
- Consider renting your own truck to minimize contact with others.
- Postpone the move if you become sick.
Even while you're ready to get into your new home, make sure the process is safe, so you're not putting yourself or others at risk.
3. Use technology to your advantage
The real estate industry across the country has turned to new tools when in-person interactions are not possible. This includes virtual home tours and open houses, so potential homebuyers can recreate the experience of viewing the home.
These trends can work to your benefit if you're not yet living in Florida. When everyone is looking at a home via video or virtual tours, you're no longer approaching the home purchasing process at a disadvantage.
4. Follow market trends
One reason that many people are buying a home right now is the low mortgage rates. In 2018, they reached over 4.5% and, at the beginning of 2021, they were down to 2.65% and hovering below 3%.
While it does seem like a great time to get a mortgage because of these rates, still be cautious about what could happen in the market. Anytime there is an economic downturn, like we saw in 2020 because of the pandemic, there could be significant negative effects on the Florida real estate market. If you are planning to purchase an investment property, for example, remember that eviction moratoriums in effect could make it more challenging to collect as much rent as you need to stay afloat.
5. Learn Florida laws
When buying a home in any new state, you need to carefully consider the state and local laws. Florida has certain laws for the buying and selling of homes to be aware of. These include the following:
- Sellers must disclose information about their property's conditions that may impact the value of the home, including electrical and plumbing systems, structural issues, legal disputes, appliance condition, and more.
- Other seller disclosures are required, like whether the home is part of an HOA or condo association and what their rules are, and tax disclosures stating that property taxes could change after the sale.
- You will need to sign the Florida Realtors Association Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase when buying the home. Make sure that all agreed-upon details are covered in this agreement.
- Make sure you receive a title search that tells you about liens or issues with the property before you purchase it. You can then state in the agreement that the seller will take care of the problem before closing.
The local jurisdiction you move into may have many other requirements, so always talk through your obligations with your real estate agent or attorney.
Working with a real estate attorney
If you are buying a home in Florida for the first time, make sure you talk to a real estate attorney who can help you with the home purchasing process and protect your interests at the negotiating table. The team of board-certified attorneys at PeytonBolin is ready to help you understand all of your obligations as a homebuyer. We'll help you review the purchasing agreement and assist in the closing.
Contact PeytonBolin to learn more about our Florida real estate services.