Work with an agent, to help you determine where you'd like to live, the amenities and your price point.
Brock Realty Inc.
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And if you're doing the smart thing and renting before buying you should rent the least expensive apartment in an apartment complex in a safer area. This is just a "temporary" living arrangement so you may want to find a nice safe inexpensive place near your work. If you decide to rent, you will have little to no assistance from a Realtor because in Tampa Bay it's not uncommon for a tenant's Realtor to receive only $100 compensation. That wouldn't even pay the gas for the car!
Also if you decide to rent from an individual owner versus in an apartment complex you MUST do a background check on the owner before handing over any money or signing a lease. You may even want an attorney to review your lease agreement when renting from an individual. You see we have a lot of properties in pre-foreclosure status and some owners will not tell you that once you move in and sign a year lease that they will then decide to sell it via a Short Sale and you will be required to allow Realtors inside to show prospective buyers--not fun!
Trulia has a very helpful tab at the bottom of a property listing that will show the crime statistics.
Also if you decide to buy and have a 640 credit score and ability to qualify for an FHA, USDA, Conventional or VA mortgage, the State of Florida has a Bond program that may be able to give $7,500 towards your downpayment and closing costs. One of my clients put $1k down and actually got $375 back at closing and a beautiful newer single family home for her and her son. They are no longer subjects to a Landlord (with rental increases) and after their tax deduction are also paying significantly less than renting a much smaller place in a crowned complex with higher crime.
All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
There are many great areas and neighborhoods to consider in the Tampa area. I always ask my clients to consider thir lifestyle when thy relocate. What types of activities do you participate in? Do you need a great running park? Are you active in your church or religion? Do you need to be close to certain people or places? These answered questions can help a a realtor guide you to the right neighborhood for your life.
Please review my profile and if I can help, just send me a messge or give me a call.
No pressure, just help.
Prudential Tropical Realty