The 6 Basic Steps To Buying A House, Condo Or Townhouse In Florida - Part III

by Ron Nedd - Date: 2006-12-17 - Word Count: 740 Share This!

In the previous article in this series I covered the second step - Beginning the financial preparations. In this article I'll cover the step that many buyers find to be the most important step to them: Searching for and finding the property that is right for you.

3. Searching for and finding the property that is right for you.

This step may be done at the same time you are doing step #2 (beginning the financial preparations).

There are two parts to step 3 and they are: 1) narrowing down the area or areas and 2) finding the house, condo or townhouse that fits your needs and wants.

Sometimes you can do a lot of your searching online by looking at listings of available properties. But chances are you'll still need to spend some time checking out areas and/or properties in person to be sure.

It is usually at this point where you will check on school districts, local activities, distance to your workplace or relatives as well as anything else you need to consider when narrowing down the area in which to look. Some buyers start to narrow down the location(s) by looking at listings from a broader area, like half of a certain county, to find the specific cities, areas or even subdivisions in which they'll be able to buy the type of property they want in the price range they've set.

A new advancement in technology in our local MLS that is very helpful to buyers working on this step now gives you the ability to get a personalized, automated property search set up for you.

All you have to do is provide basic criteria of what you are searching for such as location, price range, minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms, minimum square footage, what type of property (house, condo, townhouse or villa), etc. This information is then entered into our local MLS and an automated search can then be set up to send you every listing that meets your criteria including any new listings within a day after they are entered into the MLS. This gives you the ability to get a better feel for which areas suit your needs, what you can get in a certain price range, what neighborhoods or subdivisions best fit what you are looking for, etc. This is a tremendous tool and is especially valuable for picking out which houses you would want to go look at. That makes the step of searching for and finding the right property much easier and more efficient than if you had to drive all around trying to find which properties were for sale.

To be most effective in your search you'll need to know what will best suit you, both in relation to the location and the property. You should have a list of features for each that are 'musts' as well as features that you'd like to have but can be flexible on.

Start your process of searching by trying to find something that has everything you want and is in your price range. But if that can't be found or isn't realistic based on what you can get in your price range in the area you've selected, then you may need to extend the area in which you're searching, move the price range up slightly (unless you can't), drop some features that aren't really a necessity, etc. This will open up a lot of other possibilities that didn't show up when you were more restrictive on what you were searching for.

This is another step where it can be very helpful to work with a realtor, especially one who specializes as a buyer's agent.

Once you find a property that you're interested in buying, make sure you find out everything you need to know about it in order to proceed in making an offer. How old is the roof and air conditioning system? Is flood insurance required? What is an estimate of what the taxes will be? Are there any association fees, how much are they and how often do they have to be paid? What would the total monthly payment be, including everything? Have there been any problems with the property?

When you feel that you've found the right place and know enough about it to feel comfortable with proceeding, the next step is to make an offer to purchase it. At that point you begin the negotiation process - which is what I'll be covering in the next article in this series.

Related Tags: real estate, buying real estate, florida real estate, buying a home

To search the local MLS for Clearwater Florida and the surrounding areas and get a monthly email newsletter to stay current on how the real estate market is doing in that area, you can visit Ron's website - - and register for both MLS access and the newsletter. There is also now a link takes you to a secure site where you can start the pre-approval process for a mortgage loan either for a real estate purchase or for refinancing.

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