If you’re considering purchasing a home for the first time, you’re not alone. There was a huge surge of home sales to first-time buyers in 2020, with an estimated 2.38 million Americans taking the plunge. That’s up more than 14% from 2019! With this red hot real estate market, there’s no doubt about it… now’s a great time to purchase a home for the first time, and Tampa is a great place to make that purchase.
With Tampa’s great weather, sunny skies, and proximity to activities, first-time homebuyers get a lot by settling down here on the Gulf coast. Use our top five tips for planning your home purchase here in Tampa and you’ll be enjoying the sun and fun in no time:
Figure out what you can afford
Purchasing a home is a huge undertaking, and when you’re financing that purchase, it’s also a lengthy commitment. You need to be honest with yourself about what you can afford to pay out each month for your new home. Don’t forget to budget for those other expenses of homeownership, such as insurance and property tax, too. There are handy online tools you can use to help you with this step.
Take advantage of first-time homebuyers programs
Tampa and Hillsborough County both offer first-time homebuyer incentive programs to entice prospective homeowners come to see what we have to offer. For example, the City of Tampa has the DARE down payment assistance program, while Hillsborough County offers several financing options through its Housing Finance Authority. There may be other federal or private programs you are also eligible for.
Make a list of needs and wants
We all want a mansion with inground pools and a 10-car garage, but in reality, we can live with a lot less. Make two lists: one named “Needs” with all the things you can’t live without in a new home, and the other named “Wants” with things you would like but aren’t critical. On the “Needs” list, include things like the minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need for your family, handicap accessible entrance and parking, or pet-friendly. On the “Wants” list, include optional items, like pools, mudrooms, or fireplaces.
Start saving now
There’s no better time to start saving for your new home purchase than right now. In addition to the down payment, closing costs, mortgage, insurance, and taxes, you’ll also need cash for movers, utility deposits, and maybe even new furniture. These bills can get really high, really fast, so be prepared with a nest egg designated specifically for these extra expenses.
Get professional advice
Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, there’s nothing like the professional advice you can only get from a qualified, reputable realtor. Realtors can help you come up with a price range you can afford, sift through needs and wants, find local assistance programs, and get a feel for local neighborhoods so you find one that you love. The advantages of using a realtor far outweigh the cons, and since realtor fees are typically covered by the seller during the closing, there’s no risk to the buyer.
If you want the best team of realtors in Tampa, look no further than 360 Realty. Check out our featured listings, then call us at (813) 938-6593, or contact us online to start searching for your first home here in sunny Tampa Bay today!