Palm Harbor Homes for Sale, Steps to Buy a Home

Have you thought of looking at Palm Harbor homes for sale, or perhaps Dunedin homes for sale or some other area? Did you wonder how easy or difficult it might be to see what each community has to offer compared to the place you live now, or the place you would like to live? If you are interested in a quick comparison, take a look at our shortcut for comparing communities.  Go to this link, click on the tab that says “compare areas”, then enter in the zip codes for any two communities you want to compare. Enter the desired zip codes in the blank boxes and get the basic comparisons. It is a great place to get started on your new home search. Do you want to check out whether one is a coastal community or not? How can you find out about the school systems?  There are lots of websites available that go into depth about any specific community. This link will help you get to a number of links all on one page so you can begin your search in one place and do a comparison of schools, find things to do in the area, find various community links all to help make your research efforts on where you want to live a little easier.

What kind of housing are you looking for? If you have a couple dogs and other pets, you may not want to look at condos, since most condos are not overly pet friendly, especially when you have multiple pets. In fact, many condos are pet free zones, or will allow one cat, maybe even fish. Some have size restrictions on dogs, for example, no dogs over 25 pounds, or more than 14 inches high at the shoulder. Some condo associations are run more efficiently than others, so you may want to learn about the budget before making a commitment to a condo complex. A well run condo association will have adequate reserves and will have budgeted for planned expenses, such as painting the building exterior or putting on a new roof  every 15 years.  Some associations do not plan ahead, perhaps to keep the condo fees low, and then have to make special assessments on each owner to have the parking lot repaved, or to install an elevator.

If you want to live in a 55+ community, it is wise to enlist the advice of a Realtor who can show you the appropriate houses. If you have small children, a fifty-five plus community is not for you. Some 55 plus communities restrict the number of days children under 18 can be in your home and others are a little less restrictive. This is again, your responsibility to read the HOA documents so you know in advance what is and what is not allowed within that specific community.

If you have small children, what about the community amenities available, if the house you are looking to buy does not have a pool, for example. Is there a community pool in the neighborhood, or is there access to a pool, such as the local YMCA. What are the Homeowner Association dues? Some of the questions you need answers to apply for a HOA as well as to a condo. How strict are the rules of either the HOA or the condo association. What is prohibited and what is allowed. Some HOAs are happy if you keep your yard neat and pay your dues. Some HOAs insist on monitoring the color of the houses, the color of the doors, whether or not you can have a truck or motorcycle on the property. It is never wrong to insist on seeing the HOA or condo rules and regulations, and budgets, before finalizing an offer for a home. After all, it is where you will be living and it makes sense to be sure it is an neighborhood you want to live in before you invest the money to buy the house.

Palm Harbor sunsetKnow what to expect and be prepared. Ask questions, not just of your Realtor, ask the neighbors around the house. Do price comparisons of various areas and take the time to find out what your current home is worth. Do not make the mistake many sellers make and assume that because a house nearby sold for a specific value that your house is worth the same amount. First, be sure that the price you were told is accurate. Then be realistic on the value of your home. When you find your dream move up home, and your current house has already been on the market for 100 days, because the price was set a little too high, there is a chance you will lose out on the dream move up house you found and the owners of that house will not accept a contingency on the sale of your home, especially if it has been on the market for a long time and is still not under contract.  As with almost every situation, cash is king. Second to that is the idea that a buyer has a pre-approved loan and can close quickly.

Getting a pre-approval letter is excellent, and making a sizable down-payment is also an excellent way to get a seller to take your offer much more seriously that someone who is putting down the minimum and then asking for lots of concessions and repairs. When making an AsIs offer on a house, if you really need to request repairs, be sure they are needed and probably structural or safety issues and not just cosmetic. The longer the list of repair requests on a contract, especially if the repairs are to paint a room, or patch a small hole in a closet wall, the less likely the seller is going to be to seriously consider that offer.

Just because a house looks great and has the “right” color scheme does not mean that it is the right house for you. The lifestyle is critical. Find a neighborhood that seems to reflect the way you want to live. Neat yards, well maintained homes, and specific neighborhood amenities are all good indicators of what you can expect when you move in. If you have to commute to work, take the distance to drive into consideration. You may not want to make a 45 minute commute into the sun going in both directions. A nice house in a bad location will not make anyone very happy over time.

Are there schools, shopping, entertainment you like near enough so it is convenient to your particular lifestyle? If schools are not important, because you are an empty-nester, you may not want to have a high school a quarter mile up the street where you live. Is the street your prospective house in on a busy thoroughfare or a quiet road where there is little to no noise to drown out a back yard cookout.

You also have to consider property taxes.  A dream house may come with nightmare property taxes. Check that out too.

So often people buy a house for the wrong reason and then for several years may have to endure a long commute, or a noisy road, or unexpectedly high maintenance expenses, or just plain old bad neighbors. When looking for a house to call home, do your homework and get the advice of professionals, from your professional Realtor, your home inspector, check out the school system, ask the HOA very specific questions that are important to you, and if at all possible, walk around the neighborhood and talk to the people who live there. They will tell you the good as well as the bad so you can gather as much information as possible to make an informed decision. After all, it is your money, your home and your responsibility.

If you do your part, you will have a great place to live and it just might be your dream home.

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