What to expect when buying a home in Jacksonville, FL

Whether you are shopping for a condo in the Southside, an affordable family home in Orange Park, or a luxury estate in Jacksonville, the home buying process will require a significant amount of legwork. Those interested in buying a home in Jacksonville for the first time need to follow some specific steps as they shop for, make an offer on, and finally close the deal to purchase a property. Before you begin your search for Jacksonville real estate, you want to make sure you understand the process in its entirety.

Set a Realistic Budget

The first step in the process is to determine how much house you can afford. This answer will depend largely on your personal situation (e.g. your debt to income ratio).  What's more, knowing the current Jacksonville real estate trends can help you determine what type of home you can afford based on your budget. Properties in Jacksonville are fairly reasonable,  the average sale price was reported to be around $100,000 between December of 2012 and February of 2013. Keeping this price in mind, you can have somewhat of an idea as to how much you will need come up with in order to buy a home in Jacksonville. 

You can better determine your budget by getting pre-approved for a mortgage, but in the meantime, you can get an estimation of how much you can borrow by utilizing Zip's mortgage calculator.

Search for the Right Property

Once you've set your budget, you can start searching for homes within that budget amount. Consider working with a buyer's agent when searching for a home in Jacksonville.  A local buyer's agent is well connected with other realtors in the area and will be able to present you with an extensive range of possible listings that match your needs. Check with your local real estate agent, but also search online for MLS listings yourself to see the properties that are available. When you find properties you are interested in, you can schedule to attend some showings/open houses to determine which house is right for you.

Have the Home Inspected

Once you find a piece of Jacksonville real estate that fits your needs, you can start looking into hiring a reliable, licensed home inspector in order to make sure you don't get stuck with any unwanted surprises. Using a licensed inspector will give you peace of mind that all important components of the house have been considered. What's more. if the inspector finds a problem, you can adjust your offer accordingly.

Make and Negotiate Your Offer

Once you have the inspection results for the home you are interested in buying and know what the condition of the home is, it is time to make the offer. This component of the process can become complicated and may require quite a bit of tact, so you want to enter do so carefully. Purchase agreements are complex, legally binding contracts, and you want to have a professional real estate agent or real estate agent help you draft one or help you understand exactly what you are signing. Working with a real estate agent or real estate attorney helps ensure that you do not make any costly mistakes when buying a home in Jacksonville.

Close on Your New Home

The seller will either accept your offer, counter it, or reject it completely. If a counter offer is presented, you can accept it, deny it, or counter it again. If at the end of this process you can agree on a purchase price with the seller, then you are ready to close.

On the day of your closing you will need all of the paperwork given to you through the home buying process, including the title search, good-faith estimate and the inspection report. You will also need the appraisal report and your proof of insurance. Finally, you will need the money for your down payment. At the closing you will sign many documents and agree to the terms of your mortgage.

When it is all over, you will walk away with the keys to your piece of Jacksonville real estate. Home buying is a complex process, but when you break it down into steps and have the right professionals helping you, it becomes much easier to navigate this sometimes-confusing path.

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