Also I wanted to mention that if you have at least a 640 credit score and are able to qualify for an FHA, VA, Conventional or USDA mortgage and are a first time homebuyer (can't have owned in the past 3 years), the State of Florida has Bond money that can give you up to $7,500 to buy a house. You MUST work with an APPROVED lender to get this money but there is plenty of money available so do not let a non-approved lender tell you otherwise!
Call or send me an email and I'll send you the details. Or if you have had a short sale or other credit issue that may prevent you from getting a typical mortgage, try GTE Financial credit union. One of my tenants was able to get a mortgage just 3 months after closing a short sale.
All the best,
Alma @ SoldOnTampa.com
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Future Home Realty
If you are looking for a rental it may be difficult to find a Realtor willing to help you unless you agree to compensate a Realtor from your own pocket. Sometimes the listing Realtor will only offer $100 to a realtor on a rental. With the high cost of gas, it may not even cover the cost for the agent to pay for her gas.
Also be very careful when renting from an individual owner that you do a background check to verify the owner has equity. Even if an owner currently is not in foreclosure, they may decide to do a Short Sale. You may then be required to allow Realtors in to show the property with their clients, not fun.
If you are just needing "temporary" housing until you can become an owner, I highly recommend simply renting in an apartment complex.
Otherwise if the landlord purchased in the last year or two you should be okay. Or if the owner has lots of equity. If not, if let's say the A/C breaks, he/she may not have the money to fix it. It gets very hot in the Summers in Tampa.
All the best,