First-Time Sarasota Homebuyer Advice
Home sales are booming in Sarasota. The Sarasota-Bradenton market saw an annual 14.4% jump in single-family home sales in 2012, and a corresponding 15.4% increase in condo and townhouse sales. More than 1,000 homes sold in Sarasota County alone in December 2012, and 2013 is off to an impressive start. Itâ€™s a perfect time to join those buying the condos and luxury homes for sale in Sarasota. Interest rates still hover near historic lows, and all the economic indicators, nationally and locally, are up. If youâ€™re buying in Sarasota for the first time, these tips may help.
Determine what you can realistically afford, then establish what your monthly costs will be after a home purchase. Include insurance and taxes. Spend a maximum of 28% on housing; 30% is too much. Unforeseen roof or plumbing repairs, concealed appliance costs, and other unanticipated hassles can quickly exhaust a budget.
Find an Exclusive Buyer Agent (EBA) who knows Sarasota. EBAs focus wholly on finding a home that's right for you. EBAs can exclusively represent you because they avoid the conflicts of interest that other agents normally face. Once youâ€™ve decided to buy in Sarasota and youâ€™ve chosen an EBA, youâ€™ll probably narrow your search to 2 or 3 neighborhoods. You'll want to know if theyâ€™re safe; ask the local police, sheriff, or newspaper for neighborhood crime stats. Be sure the neighborhood is economically viable. Your EBA can help you determine if income and property values are rising or falling.
An EBA will also help you compare the prices of homes in communities you like. Learn what your closing costs will be; they may include fees imposed by a lender, taxes, title and settlement fees, and homeowners insurance or HOA fees. Thorough financial records are imperative with today's high-end market subject to more scrutiny than ever.
Sarasota is the home of superb schools, hospitals, and health-care specialists. If you have children, visit the schools they may attend. Lastly, visit the neighborhoods you like. Are the lawns neat, the traffic slow, and the streets quiet? Strike up conversations with people who are outdoors if possible. Before reaching a final decision, find out if any changes like a new school or highway are planned in the community.Â
Scores of prospective buyers who've been undecided are now buying luxury homes, especially in Sarasota. If youâ€™re about to buy your first Sarasota home, in the years to come you'll congratulate yourself for getting a low interest rate and a great deal on the Sarasota home of your dreams.Â