Miami Homebuyer

What Every Homebuyer in Miami Should Know

Feb 20 2017

Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or a seasoned property investor, buying a home in South Florida entails as much risk as it does opportunity. While every transaction is unique, nearly all of them entail the same complex requirements, procedures, and potential liabilities for which you must be vigilant. Here are some of the key considerations and preparations every Miami Homebuyer should know.


Hire a Miami Title Company

Title companies like Marina Title specialize in a broad range of services and solutions that protect buyers from possible liabilities and issues with the properties they buy. As an attorney owned and operated company, Marina Title is especially well suited for spotting risks and taking the necessary preparations and safeguards. Being based in Miami gives us an additional edge, since we know the particular challenges and conditions of this large and dynamic market.

Have Your Title Company Order a Lien Search

Also known as a Municipal Lien Search, this comprehensive and in-depth search will uncover any recorded tax or financial issues connected to the property that may end up being your responsibility once your own it. These include code enforcement violations, unpaid utilities, and taxes owed. Every property should be subject to a full lien search, especially real estate owned (REO) or short sale properties that are more likely to carry such liabilities. Don’t neglect this critical and money-saving service.

Be Aware of Potential Property Issues

Aside from the above mentioned liens, there are plenty of other issues that can make getting a loan, home insurance, or successful closing difficult: termites, older roofs, an outdated electrical system, rotting wood, illegal additions, and lack of storm shutters are just a few examples. Keep these and other potential issues in mind when conducting your inspection.

You May Not Get a Loan for Some Condo Purchases

Only a handful of condominiums in Miami-Dade are currently approved for FHA financing, so if you are purchasing a condo unit with the intention of putting less than a quarter of the purchase price as a down payment, the chances of getting a loan will be small. Always ask your lender in advance before making an offer on a unit to determine if it will qualify for financing.

Read All Condo or HOA Documents Carefully

A prerequisite to purchasing a property that is part of a condominium or homeowner’s association is obtaining an official Estoppel Letter, which contains vital information on regular maintenance fees, special assessments, parking rules, unit violations, and other details relating to the association. Condominiums will additionally have a range of other documents, such as the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and FAQ pages, which will outline every rule, procedure, or code worth knowing. Needless to say, you must examine all of these official documents thoroughly to make sure you know what you are getting into.

Apply for a Loan the Smart Way

Don’t bother trying to get a loan through a toll free number or at your local bank branch: neither approach typically works, as the loan process is best carried out by professional mortgage brokers and home loan specialists. Also be cautious with web-based lenders such as Quicken Loans and Rocket Mortgage, which, although legitimate and licensed institutions, usually lack the experience and knowledge of South Florida’s unique real estate and lending markets. Save time, money, and hassle by simply employing a dedicated mortgage / home loan officer recommended by trusted contacts or real estate professionals.


Ask Your Lender for a Good Faith Estimate of Costs

Don’t let yourself get blindsided by closing costs. Ask anyone you know and trust who their lender was for a recent closing and how much the costs were. Then ask for a loan estimate from one or two of those recommendations to get a comparison and make sure you are getting a good deal.

These considerations only scratch the surface of what it takes to ensure a smooth and successful real estate closing in Miami. If you’re a homebuyer or investor seeking to maximize your opportunities in this exciting but complicated real estate market, turn to a title company that can deliver on all these requirements and more: contact Marina Title at (305) 901-5628 or today!

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