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Friday, October 31, 2008

First Time Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions

Purchasing a home can be a stressful time. To the "rookie" buyer the entire process seems daunting. Almost scary (had to throw that out as this is being written on Halloween.).

As a real estate agent serving buyers and sellers in the Viera, Rockledge and Suntree areas of Brevard County Florida, I frequently run into many of the same questions from buyers. Some of these include:

  1. Where do I start? The most important step in the process is to identify your ability to obtain a mortgage. A lender will work with you in identifying the type(s) of mortgage, payments and terms you can afford. You can't go shopping without knowing what your budget is!

  2. How much will taxes and insurance cost? I always recommend contacting a local insurance broker to discuss insurance rates. The cost of insurance varies based on construction, age, location, cost and other factors. As for taxes, these are based on the actual cost of your home - not what the current taxes are. Taxes are established in January every year. The tax for the current year have been set already but will probably change for next year. Taxes and insurance are complex issues with no cookie cutter answer.

  3. How long does the purchase process take? Normally the time required from getting a property "under contract" to closing is 30-45 days. Of course this may be longer if you are looking at purchasing a short sale property.

  4. Should I have a home inspection done? OF COURSE! The purchase of a home is a significant investment and due diligence is necessary. You must protect yourself and a good place to start is with an inspection by a reputable, reliable, conscientious home inspector!

  5. How much do I offer as a downpayment? When working with buyers I always advise to put down enough to let the sellers know you are a serious prospect. I do not know of any defined percentage. Like everything, this is negotiable as part of the negotiation. By the way, this escrowed money will go toward the purchase (closing costs, etc).

  6. How safe is this neighborhood? I am pretty familiar with the Viera, Rockledge and Suntree areas however I always recommend potential buyers contact the local law enforcement authorities to have their question answered.

  7. Which school will my child attend? The school that is the nearest to your home may not be the one assigned for the property. School assignment lines change. Again, I recommend buyers contact the local schools or school district office for this answer.

I am not an attorney, tax professional, insurance agent or home inspector. I always recommend consulting the appropriate professional for advice on these issues.

If you are considering purchasing a home in the Viera, Rockledge or Suntree areas of Brevard County I would appreciate an opportunity to work for you. Please give me a call of drop me an email.

Gary Waters, Florida licensed real estate agent, Century 21 Baytree Realty, Rockledge, Florida, 321-693-3850 or email

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