Tag: mortgage

To Buy or to Rent? That is the question…

Answering this question will involve taking a lot of factors into consideration, however with rent costs rising, buying is becoming more and more appealing. Some questions you should consider when making this decision:

How long do you plan on living there? If it is a very short period of time, renting may be the right answer for you. Consider your career and whether it requires you to move frequently or not. Buying and selling a home is a process, but if you are going to be there for an extended period of time the benefits are worth it.

What percent is your rent increasing by each year? Your monthly rent may start out lower than a mortgage payment, but it can also increase much quicker and suddenly be higher and you get no return on a rental!

Consider the tax savings. With the tax savings of home ownership, the homeowner’s payment is can be significantly less than the rental payment after only 3 years.

What kind of down payment can you put down? If you can put less than 5% down renting may be the best avenue for you.

Consider your credit score and income stability. If you have steady income and a solid credit score, owning a home may be the way to go for you. Buying can help you build equity and be eligible for homeowner tax breaks and credits.

The decision to buy or rent depends on three main factors: current financial situation, future plans, and your lifestyle choice. In comparison to renting, buying a home may appear to be a more complicated financial decision when you begin looking, but it can be a much better deal.

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The start of a new year always brings on thoughts of starting fresh and making goals to achieve for the year. If you are a home owner or intend to become one in 2015 here are five resolutions you may want to add to your list!

  • Try cutting back on some of your extraneous expenses and putting that money towards extra mortgage payments. Making additional mortgage payments will allow you to finish paying in a shorter period of time, which means you end up paying less in the long term. Even just a few additional dollars a week put aside for your mortgage can make a big difference.
  • Check your credit score and try to raise it. If you want to prepare to buy a home in 2015 your credit score is important. Your credit score and credit history are two of the biggest factors banks look at when you apply for your home loan. A year is plenty of time to get your credit score in order. Focus on paying your bills on time and your credit card balances off in full each month. Also be sure to close any credit cards that you haven’t used in months that have a zero balance. A good rule of thumb is to only have 3 open credit cards at a time. Having too many credit cards can negatively effect your credit score.
  • Did you make some big improvements on your home last year? Give your home insurance agent or carrier a call and see if there are ways you can save money this year because of the improvements. Having the latest information about your home on file will make sure you are getting the best price. Looking back on 2014 can help you save in 2015!
  • Start saving for a down payment on a home. For first-time home buyers, the median down payment is 6 percent, and 13 percent for repeat buyers. This can take months to save for, but if you make it your goal in 2015 it can be achieved if you cut back in other areas. Most Americans say they cut back on entertainment and clothing in order to save for their first home down payment.
  • Feel your finances are in order already? As a first time home buyer a good goal then for 2015 is to obtain a pre-approval letter from a financial institution indicating approval for a loan up to a specific dollar amount. These letters do not guarantee anything, however it will open up the door to seriously begin your home buying process.

Whatever your resolution may be, try sticking to it for all of 2015! We wish you the best of luck and Happy New Year!



Home-buyers, especially first time buyers, report that one of the biggest challenges they face in the home buying transaction is understanding the mortgage process. This issue may be that lenders aren’t doing their best educate borrowers through the process, but it also comes from inexperienced buyers not knowing the right questions to ask. Here are some tips to help navigate you through the process:



  1. Find a lender who will sit down with you and explain each step of the process. If you don’t personally know any lenders ask for referrals. Your Realtor is always happy to assist in finding you a lender match!
  2. Be willing and prepared to provide the information your lender needs. Financial information is a very sensitive subject for many, but you need to be willing to be honest and prepared. The more information your lender has the better they can assist you in finding the right loan for you.
  3. Have a timeline in mind for how long you want to stay in this home. If it is a small home that you plan on moving out of in two years when you start a family, let your lender know. They can help recommend and tailor the loan to fit your plan.
  4. Don’t try to get a loan that is beyond your current means. This not only doesn’t leave room for financial surprises in life, but you’ll build equity and wealth much more quickly if you buy a home you can comfortably afford.

Applying for a mortgage loan is a big life step, but a lot of the pressure can be eased if you take the time to educate yourself on the process and ask for help when you need it! Great Florida Homes is happy to be one of your resources in your home buying process.




Becoming a homeowner does not happen overnight. It is one of the largest purchases most people make in their lifetime and as a buyer you will receive endless advice from family and friends. If you have already expressed an interest in buying a home you have already taken the first step. There are a few questions you should know the answer to before beginning the home buying process. Evaluating factors in the current market and in your current personal situation will help you make an informed decision.

Why am I buying a home?

This may seem like an obvious question, but it is one of the most important ones. Are you buying because you want a place to raise a family? Do you need more space? A space that you are in control of? Make a list of the benefits you will gain from buying a home, and not just the financial benefits.The emotional and personal benefits of buying a home are very crucial to your decision.

What are homes worth today and where are home values headed?

After considering the personal and emotional benefits to home buying you need to delve into the financial side of the process. There are many resources available to home buyers that will give average projections of the markets. Ask your Realtor and check out online real estate market journals to find indications on what’s to come in the housing market.

What can you reasonably afford?

In order to figure this out you need to take a calculated inventory of your income, expenses, assets, savings, and debts. After you have this laid out it is best to sit down with a financial adviser and find out what price range is reasonable for you situation. You don;t want to find the perfect home only to discover it’s out of your price range. It is best to know this before delving into the search to deep. Along with this, don’t only consider the listed price of the home, but how much it may cost in the long term. Mortgage rates have gone from one extreme to the other in years past. Before going into the home search learn about where interest rates are now and where they might be headed to understand what you really will be paying for a home.

If you can answer all these questions you are most likely ready to start your home buying search!


Never be afraid to ask your Realtor too many questions. Only you and your family can make the final decision to purchase a home, but it is best to make the decision in the most prepared and informed way possible. Contact the GreatFloridaHomes team if you want us to help answer any of your home buying questions!

Here are some tips to help you determine a realistic budget for your house hunt!

Different lenders will qualify you for different amounts. Going with the biggest mortgage option is not always the best option. There are some things you should consider before jumping into a large financial decision such as a house mortgage.

  1. Think ahead. This is of course easier said than done, but think about any life events that may be coming up in the next few years. Do you want to go back to school? Will your child be starting a new school that could cost more than their current school? Major life events and changes affect your budget.
  2. The general rule of thumb that people use to get a number on what they can spend is a home priced two to three times your gross income. If you earn $100,000, you can typically afford a home between $200,000 and $300,000. This is not always the case though as everyone has different expenses that need to be considered.
  3. Down payment. This is key.The lower your down payment, the higher your loan and
  4. Check out different online calculators. there are tons of websites that will help you calculate what your mortgage payments should be. For example CNN Money has their own calculator accessible here for you: http://money.cnn.com/tools/houseafford/houseafford.html
  5. Consider your debt. Your overall monthly payments for your mortgage plus all your other bills, like car loans, student loans, utilities, and credit cards, shouldn’t exceed 41% of your gross annual income. Exceeding 41% is how homeowners can get in over their heads.


Image Source: http://www.buytolet.com

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make, so take time to consider your options! The team at GreatFloridaHomes is always ready to help you with any questions you may have and get you comfortable and ready to buy the right home for you!


Everyone has a checklist for our personal goals, whether it is written in a journal or just being kept as a secret in the back of your mind. Although time will always march on, you cannot deny the fact that you and your family want to enjoy the holidays and all the things that make life worth living in the place you call your own home. There is no better time to start looking for that “place to call home”, than the holidays.

Start your search from this list of Single Family Homes in Florida.

With the help of GreatFloridaHomes Team, finding and finally owning your first home is attainable. You just need to know how to get the best mortgage possible to secure your home. Below are a few things that you need to know before you apply for a single family home mortgage.

Single Family Home Mortgage

How much monthly payment can you afford?

Look at your budget and see how much additional expense is a viable option on top of your household expenses like groceries, gas, and medical insurance. By simply knowing how your money’s is spent, will help you determine where to start and pinpoint your search

Do you know your credit score?

This is one of the largest determining factors whether your application for a home mortgage will be approved by the bank or not. Start resolving any discrepancies on your credit rating and make sure to request your FREE credit report every year.

Know in advance how much is the average home value in the area where you want to buy your single family home 

Your credit score and your ability to pay the mortgage back to the lender will be large determining factors in how the loan officer and underwriter will use this data to analyze how much you can borrow from them. By doing some preliminary homework, you will have an idea as to how much you should ask to borrow when you submit your mortgage application, or worry not, because when you give them the facts about your income and debt, they lender will easily be able to tell you what you could qualify for. Often this figure is larger than you would be comfortable with in a payment. It is ultimately up to you, how much you wish to borrow in order to be comfortable paying the monies back to the bank, so that you in the end are the owner of the home you want to enjoy with your family.

The GreatFloridaHomes Team can provide you expert assistance on estimates for homes you may want to consider. For listings and other home buying tips, you can visit our website or read our blogs for more details.