The housing market in Central Florida is looking up, according to OrlandoRealtors.org, home sales shot up by 22% in August 2015, and the median home value has increased by 11% to $182,000. If you’re among the many people currently shopping for a home, here are some tips to help you:

  • Check Your Credit: A solid credit score could save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of your mortgage. Your score is calculated by the major credit-rating agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) based on your credit history. Borrowers with low scores usually face higher interest rates. Order a free copy of your credit report, and check it for mistakes.
  • Save up Your Down Payment: A substantial down payment saves you money by reducing the amount on which you’ll be paying interest. If your down payment is 20% or more, you may also be able to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). And the less you owe on your house, the more easily you’ll be able to sell it if you need to relocate.
  • Get Preapproved: A mortgage preapproval shows sellers that you’re a legitimate homebuyer. More importantly, it shows you how much you can afford, so you’re not wasting your time with homes that don’t fit your budget.
  • Plan for Your Home: Think about exactly what you need from a house. It’s tempting to get the biggest house you can afford, but that may not make sense for you. Remember, you’ll be responsible for maintenance and upkeep, and you’ll be paying for any major repairs your home needs. A popular rule of thumb says you should set aside 1% of your home’s value each year for ongoing maintenance. So if your house costs $180,000, you should plan to spend $1,800 annually on maintenance.
  • Research, Research, Research: A home is probably the biggest purchase most people will ever make. It only makes sense to research locations, schools, roads and transportation, local amenities, crime rates, and anything else that will affect you. You’ll also need to research your mortgage options, particularly if you qualify for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veteran’s Affairs (VA) mortgages, down payment assistance, or other programs.

Talk to the Experts

If this seems like a lot for you to handle, talk to the experts. At Embrace Home Loans, we’ve worked in the Central Florida real estate market for years, and we can help you review your options and plan your purchase. Call us at 407-733-6425, or browse the Embrace Home Loans’ blog for more information.