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What Are The Steps To Buying A Home In Florida?

May 12 2024

Florida is world famous for its dynamic and accessible real estate market. However, this does not mean that buying a home in the Sunshine State is simple and straightforward: Even the smoothest transaction has various requirements under local, state, and federal law, to say nothing of other requirements by parties that may be involved, such as a lender, homeowner’s association, or the seller themselves.

This article will provide a basic guide on what it takes to buy a home in Florida, and how Marina Title’s real estate experts can help.

What Are the Steps to Buying a Home in Florida?

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer, investor, or a seasoned buyer, you will need to take several steps before you can acquire your dream property. The following four steps summarize the homebuying process in Florida.

1. Finding the Ideal Property and Making an Offer

Once you have a solid plan in place as to what you are looking for, it is time to find a property and make an offer. Florida has an almost overwhelming choice of properties available, including suburban homes, gated communities, oceanfront condos, downtown apartments, and many more.

In this context, the advice of a local Realtor remains extremely valuable, as a neighborhood expert with knowledge of the location may have information on the nature of a specific neighborhood, its level of security, schools, available amenities, etc.

If you decide to purchase “For Sale By Owner”, once the terms are agreed to with the seller, an experienced attorney-owned and operated Florida title company can assist you with the next steps.

2. Working With an Experienced Attorney-Owned and Operated Title Company

Buying a home is an inherently legal affair, requiring compliance with various laws and regulations. Hence, an experienced Florida attorney-owned and operated title company can assist you at every stage, since they will have the knowledge and expertise to help ensure that the transaction closes smoothly and that clear title is in place at the time of closing.  These services and solutions include:

  • Holding your initial escrow deposit in a trust account
  • Conducting lien and title searches
  • Examining the property’s title
  • Clearing title matters
  • Preparing and issuing title insurance
  • Helping with meeting the title requirements of your lender for your mortgage loan
  • Lien mitigation and resolution
  • Handling tax, mortgage, and lien payoffs
  • Obtaining condo/HOA association payoffs
  • Drafting tenant estoppels
  • Preparation/review of the closing statement
  • Drafting the conveyance documents
  • Conducting the closing
  • Assisting with ways to take title (including corporate formation)
  • Recording the deed and mortgage
  • Handling all disbursements after closing

3. Title Search, Escrow, and Title Insurance – An Essential Trio

An important role that the title company plays is to conduct a detailed title search to investigate the property’s title history. The goal of a title search is to identify title defects that may jeopardize the ownership of a property.

Common examples of title defects include liens attached to a property’s title, judgments, unpaid mortgages, third-party’s claims to a title, encroachments, forged documents, clerical errors in public records, etc.

When timely identified, the title company will seek to resolve any title defects before closing. However, some title defects may stay hidden or unforeseen until after closing takes place.

To prevent these “clouds” in the title, homebuyers must purchase title insurance. Usually paid as a one-time premium at closing, a title insurance policy for homeowners offers coverage for a homeowner and their heirs so long as they still own the insured property.

Additionally, it is crucial to hold the funds to be used in the transaction in a secure escrow account controlled by an independent party. The title company handling the closing typically also holds the escrow (i.e., acts as the escrow agent) as per the purchase contract terms.

4. Paying Attention to Last-Minute Details and Closing the Property

Once all the required inspections and procedures are completed, the buyer and the seller can proceed to closing. This process requires signing several documents, from lender documents to the deed transferring title from seller to buyer.

Given the amount of complex paperwork involved, closings require considerable attention to detail, as even a small mistake could lead to headaches and legal liability. Fortunately, an experienced title company will have the keen eye and expertise to know what to look for and help ensure that the closing takes place smoothly.

Are You Buying a Home in Florida? – Work with Marina Title

Buying a property in Florida is not something to be done lightly, given what is at stake both financially and in terms of liability. Even the simplest real estate transaction has a lot of moving parts, and the process is likelier to go faster with an experienced Florida title company by your side.

Marina Title is an attorney owned and operated title company that provides a wide range title, escrow, and closing solutions for buyers of every experience level. We will work closely with you to understand your goals and circumstances and help protect your interests.

Contact us by calling (800) 604-1871 or email us via our Secure Contact Form for a free closing cost estimate and consultation on the title and closing process in Florida. We provide title, escrow, and closing services throughout the State of Florida.

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