| Sierra Redmond | May 1, 2019
Ready to purchase your Florida Home? Making the decision to move into your forever home is an exciting experience. For the first time you’re choosing your location, decorating the home without a housing penalty, and settling in for the long haul. However, the business of purchasing a home is serious and you’ll want to make sure that your decisions allow you to enjoy your new Florida home later. After all, purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your life. Here are some important things that you’ll want to consider before purchasing your Family residence.
Nailing Down Your Budget
Everyone gets excited about choosing the home in which you and your family will plant roots. You’ll have a desire for what it will look like and where your dream house is located. But before you discuss the aesthetics, it’s important to nail down your home budget. For a transitioning military family, nailing down a budget can be difficult and come down to a couple of factors. If you’re moving to Florida as your last duty station before transitioning out and purchasing a home early, keep in mind that your BAH will change or even go away as you’re changing from the military to a civilian career. You will want to consider this when thinking about how much you’re comfortable paying for a monthly mortgage.
If you’ve already transitioned out of the military, you’ll want to be sure that you’re settled into your new place of employment first. To save yourself the trouble of figuring out a budget for your mortgage, go ahead and reach out to a VA loan company to get pre- approved. Your loan officer should be knowledgeable and honest with you about how much you can afford to pay for a monthly mortgage based on you and your spouse’s income.
Figuring out your budget could include more than just the expenses of your mortgage. Also consider: home and car insurance and monthly toll bills if they apply, to name a few. These are common Floridian expenses.
Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent
Speaking of VA loans, it’s also important to choose a real estate agent that understands the VA loan. Whether you know it or not, all real estate agents are not created equally. While some may have a general knowledge of what the VA loan is, others may not. You’ll want to choose one that has knowledge or specializes in this area. Do some research before choosing your agent. You can get realtor information and an agent referral list from a local Military installation housing office. Luckily, Florida is home to about 20 Military installations so you’ll never be far away from one.
With resources like expedited licensing, Veterans Florida Career Services, and veteran preference for federal/DOD jobs Florida makes a great place to transition from the military and into the career force.
Second, be sure to constantly communicate with your real estate agent. Who you choose will really make or break your homebuying experience. Sometimes, you can’t make it to Florida to view homes. You’ll want to choose a real estate agent who is trustworthy, someone who understands your vision and who’s willing to view properties while sending photos/videos back to you in this case.
Taxes and Insurance Increases
Before choosing your Florida home, you’ll want to do extensive research about taxes and insurance. You’ll find that while all Floridians are exempt from state income tax, property taxes can vary based on where you live. Your property tax is determined by how much the appraiser quotes as your “Just value or Market value”. This means seeing an increase if you own a boat dock by chance, that large home, a swimming pool, a ton of land or an ocean view. Knowing this information could save you a headache later and reduce your mortgage budgeting stress when searching for the right family home.
Also, consider the fact that Insurance prices could be affected by various factors. Having an oceanside home sounds like a great idea but June to November is hurricane season and you’ll want your property heavily protected. These things cost and naturally, you will pay more the closer you live to the coast. Car insurance could rise for you as well. For example, living in South Florida sometimes equates to higher premiums and a clause that protects you against uninsured motorists and hit and run accidents. Unfortunately, these type of automobile accidents are common the further south in Florida you go and you will see sticker shock in the car insurance quotes. This is something to prepare for and keep in mind.
What Regions in Florida are the Best Fit for Your Family
Almost as important as choosing your physical home is choosing the region that’s the best fit for your family. Florida is a large state and no one area is alike. What kind of vibe are you looking for? Slow and relaxing or a bustling city? Easy access to either? These are important questions to answer when figuring out what part of Florida you’re going to settle in, and Veterans Florida has these regional spotlights:
The good news is, although large; Florida is a charming state and you can easily drive from one region to the next experiencing all that the Sunshine state has to offer. No matter where you choose to live, you are no more than 60 Miles from the beach.
The State of Florida welcomes your Military family to paradise. For more information about the Career, Living and Education benefits of Florida; visit http://www.veteransflorida.org/