Maybe you go to Florida quite frequently to visit family or friends or just for a little relaxation and you just love it. There are so many things to do like fishing, golf, amusement parks, and the weather’s great year round. Have you ever thought, “I wish I had a 2nd home in Florida?”, but then forgot about it shortly after arriving home?
Mortgage rates and home inventory in Florida favor the buyer right now, so it’s not impossible to buy a second home, even in this economy. But, where do you start? Here are 5 questions you should think about concerning a second home in Florida.
1.) Why Buy a Second Home?
Ask yourself why you want and need a second home. If you visit Florida once a year, and usually stay in a hotel, it might not make financial sense. If you live in another state and choose to stay in Florida during winter months, a second home definitely makes sense. You need to evaluate how much time you will spend in this second home and whether you really want to go back to that same place year after year.
2.) How Much Will Owning a Second Home Really Cost?
Sure, there’s the purchase price of the home, realtor fees and closing costs on your mortgage, but have you thought about ongoing costs? Is the home exactly the way you want it? If not, you’ll have to factor in the cost of renovating to suit your needs. Has the home been there awhile? Consider the cost of repairs and ask when the roof, windows and doors were last replaced. Find out the cost of property taxes (they are usually higher on second homes) and home insurance (especially if the home is near water). What about the cost of home decor? Think about the style you want to convey inside the home. Is it a nautical getaway or a woodsy cabin? These items can take a toll on your pocketbook if you don’t have a set budget. Florida’s temperatures can really heat up – are you comfortable with the monthly cost of air conditioning?
3.) What is the Best Location?
Whether you want to buy a house in Daytona Beach to be close to the NASCAR action or want to be near resort territory on the Gulf Coast, you must ask yourself what areas give you access to the places you visit most. Having a second home that’s far from your favorite activities or attractions can make owning a home away from home more stressful. Are you looking for culture and exciting nightlife? Miami might be for you. Retired and ready to relax? Perhaps Fort Lauderdale or Key West is a good fit. Have kids or grandkids who love adventure? Orlando and Tampa may be great places to find your new vacation home. While you might not want to be in more “touristy” parts of Florida, you’ll have to consider travel time to your favorite locations if you select less populated areas.
4.) How Do I Find a Good Real Estate Agent?
You could hop in the car and cruise around town for “For Sale” and “Open House” signs or you could go online and try to navigate through pages of homes on the market. There are a few options you should try first. If you have friends or family that already has a home in the area, ask them for referrals if they had a good experience. If you do cruise around the neighborhood, jot down the names and phone numbers located on “For Sale” signs and have a list of questions ready to see if that realtor is right for you.
5.) How Do I Qualify for a Mortgage on a Second Home?
It’s important to find the right mortgage to suit your needs and pocketbook. The Home Loan Experts at Peak Home Loans have helped over 300,000 clients for more than 17 years and are available to help you find a home loan with a comfortable monthly payment. A pre-approval can give you more bargaining leverage and can help you know how much house you can afford. If you already know your budget but aren’t sure about the other qualifying factors, here are a few things to consider: You not only need a strong credit score, but you need to illustrate a history of timely bill paying on your revolving debt. You need to have document-able income and your percentage of your monthly gross income that goes toward paying debts must not be a burden. If you still have a mortgage on your primary residence, it’s important to demonstrate that you can responsibly handle both mortgages in addition to any other debt you carry.
There are definitely other factors to consider when buying a second home in Florida, but these five questions can help you decide if it’s time to get a piece of real estate in the Sunshine State!