Home Buying in 33617>Question Details

mhartuf, Other/Just Looking in Tampa, FL

What advice can you offer first time home buyers when starting our search?

Asked by mhartuf, Tampa, FL Wed Dec 19, 2012

My fiance and I are looking to purchase a home in early part of 2013, and are both first time home buyers. Are there any great resources out there that would help with us estimating property taxes on a house or average home insurance costs we could expect?

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Hi, Congratulations on the engagement and on looking to purchase a new home! This is an exciting time in your life and one of the most important investments you can make! Some great resources are the hillsborough county appraisers website. You put in the location of the home and it estimates taxes.
the link is below:

However your realtor can tell you as well taxes will be on your mls printout for the home you are looking at. (Remember if you are looking at new construction with a builder, the taxes will reflect only the lot not the new improved house so you will want to budget for that.)

As a first time homebuyer I would recommend getting an agent they can save you time and money. They can guide you through the process, get you qualified and assist you with taxes, insurance, builders incentives closing cost statements, down payments ,mortgages, Hoa or CDD and so on. Basically they will furnish you with a buyers net sheet so you can calculate all costs and not be suprised at the closing table. They can also negotiate some fees be paid for you depending on your purchase.

On insurance it depends on location, cost of the house and your contents to insure. If you are looking in an area Call these companies give them the zip and they will ask you a few questions they can give you an approximate price until a permanent address is found. My clients have used this agency they have excellent customer service.

Hope this helps! If you are searching for an agent feel free to call me, I will answer any questions you have. 813-352-6168. Congrats again on everything and what a great time to buy interests rates are at an all time low. I also have great mortgage brokers to work with if you need to get qualified. Good Luck!

Wendy Rosenthal
Homeward Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
Also it's important to know that the amount of property tax a current owner pays may be more or less than you will pay. Whenever a property is sold it is "re assessed" and if you're buying from a long term owner that has the Save our Homes Homestead discount, you could pay substantially more. Also if the current owner has not filed for Homestead Exemption you may pay approx $700 less. The property appraiser's website can give you an estimate. Ballpark rule of thumb is about 1.7% of the sale price.

Also it's important to be aware of any "extra" taxes, i.e. Community Development District Taxes. CDD can add as much as $2k or more "extra" to your property taxes---depending on the community.

Here's Gina Harris's (IberiaBank) contact info, forgot to include it in my earlier post:

Gina Harris
Mortgage Specialist
NMLS # 419423
3550 Buschwood Park Dr., Suite 295
Tampa, FL 33618
813-244-5685 cell
800-868-0337 fax

If you would like to browse "Like a Realtor" with the most info and full details (i.e. Active with Contract is not available) and you haven't yet chosen a Realtor to help you, please sign up for a free Listingbook account on my website: http://www.SoldOnTampa.com

All the best,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
My best advice to you would be to start working with a Realtor and Lender that you feel comfortable. Realtors are a free service to buyers and very helpful. They walk you through the entire process, help you understand how everything works, and really make you feel like you have someone on your side. They can show you all the resources you are looking for. Speaking with a lender would be great too. You will figure out exactly what range you are in and know which houses to eliminate from your search, how much you want to put down on a home and learn more about monthly payments you would be making on a home.

If you are just looking for property taxes, you can look on public records for the county you are looking into. For example, if you are looking at a home in Hillsborough, you can look up the public records for that property and see the taxes for the current year.

Please let me know if you have any more questions or would like any help with your search.

Marie Barakat
Coldwell Banker Residential
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
Wow, shows how little we know. We figured we would pay a commission on having a realtor help us in finding a home.
Flag Wed Dec 19, 2012
Mhartuf, Get pre approved!

By entering the mortgage pre approval process, you will learn a lot about your personal finances and each other.

If your credit history(ies) require repair you can address these issues now before entering into a large financial purchase together.

Looking for a home and selecting the home will be the fun part. Dealing with how to pay for it is the realistic part.

Get pre approved first.

Best regards,
Lynn Brock
Brock Realty Inc.

If you would like to search the MLS like an agent, visit our website and sign up for your free Listing Book account. This powerful search program allows you to set up your personal homefinder criteria and save your favorite homes, follow recent solds all in real time! Find the home you’re searching for quickly
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 5, 2013
When you're work with an experienced realtor, he or she can assist you with the information with no problem besides he or she can provide you the most accurate information of the homes available for sale in the areas by selecting the most suitable to your criteria to narow down the list of homes that you need to focus on. Congratulation to your family and real estate plan.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 4, 2013
I would suggest attending a free homebuyer class. It will also allow you to get a certificate to allow you to get 3% closing costs on Freddie Mac owned foreclosed homes.


The Homebuyer class may also satisfy the class requirement to get up to $7,500 from the State of Florida Bond Program. You MUST work with an APPROVED lender to get the Bond money and you must have satisfactory credit and for a couple cannot earn more than about $70k per year, take a look:


I would suggest contacting Gina Harris with Iberia Bank, she's very experienced with first time homebuyer programs and is one of the approved lenders for the bond money. There is plenty of bond money available so don't let a non-approved lender lead you to believe otherwise! Lenders don't like the bond program because it limits the profit they can extract from a homebuyer in the way of fees or higher rates.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Future Home Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
The single more important piece of advice I tell prospective home buyers is:

Figure out and know what you can COMFORTABLY afford, don't blindly trust that you can afford what a lender pre-approves you at. You'll realize soon after closing that buying a home comes with unforseen expenses almost every month.

That said, I believe that buying a home still remains one of the single best investments you can make! Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
Hi mhartuf,

You really don't have to estimate amounts for a home's taxes and insurance. This is information that your agent should be able to provide that comes directly from the listing agent.

Remember, Florida has a "Homestead" exemption that allows its residents to apply for a discounted tax amount. For an approved Homestead exemption applicant the standard deduction is $50,000. This plan allows people qualifying to decrease their assessed value by the deduction amount(commonly $50,000.) So, if you purchase a home with an assessed value of $200,000, the actual amount that is taxable is $150,000. You can do an internet search for additional information.

Our recommendation is for the best service always consider using an experiences real estate professional for your buying or selling needs. Should your needs extend into Sarasota County, we would be happy to hear from you.

Hope this is helpful. Good luck.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
1st is financing. You need to determine before you look what you can afford and if there are any credit issues that need to be fixed on your reports. 2nd a mortgage professional will help you determine if you qualify for any 1st time home buyer assistance. Once you have all this figured out, then start looking. A good realtor will help you find the right mortgage professional and be your resource for understanding and estimating taxes and insurance for the houses you have interest in. I'd talk to a mortgage professional today and not wait till next year. Call Kevin Reeves at 813-728-4992, he will take the time with you, knows about special programs and has 10+ years in the business.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
Congratulations! It is an exciting journey to find and purchase your first home. Many years ago when I purchased my first home I decided to do it on my own. Big mistake for me. The work involved in finding the perfect home for me was tiring and very time consuming. After working long hours at my job, I found myself putting in long hours searching public records, doing research, looking at new listings, making phone calls and much more.

If I could go back in time and know then what I know now I would have worked with a good buyer's agent and let the agent do all the work for me. There's nothing like first-hand experience...lesson learned. Best of luck to you and have a wonderful holiday!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
Find a Realtor you fell good about working with. Then interview lenders and do the same. Once you have someone you feel has your best interests at heart, you will have a number range to look in, then start looking at homes.

Every house has a different taxable value, thats why you bhave an agent, its their kjob to provide that to you.

Good Luck

Kevin Cloutier, REALTOR
A HouseSOLD name
Southern Premier Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
Find a Realtor you feel comfortable with and let them do the work for you. As buyers, the services of a Realtor are basically free to you (since sellers pay all commissions). This agent will be able to give you all information on property taxes, insurance and all other related items. The agent must be local to your zipcode to have the best knowledge of the area.

But the very first thing prior to starting your search is to speak to a lender and find out how much home you can actually afford. That also is a free process. It could be the bank where you keep your checking and savings, or an independent mortgage company. They will give you a letter that is required when placing offers on any property. Your agent/Realtor will need this letter to know which homes they can show you. Was this answer helpful? If so please click on the "green thumbs up" or the "best answer".

Tony Vega
La Rosa Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2012
Wow, shows how little we know. We figured we would pay a commission on having a realtor help us in finding a home.
Flag Wed Dec 19, 2012
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