How much are you currently paying in rent?  $1,000?  $1,500 a month?  If you are, then ask yourself, “Why am I throwing all of that money out the window when I could be building equity and accumulating wealth for myself?”.

Why Are You Still Renting? You're paying a mortgage, why not have it be YOURS?

Tampa Bay was recently ranked one of the top markets for affordability for first-time home buyers.  And looking at your home purchase as an investment, Tampa Bay’s home values have increased 10.6% as of April 2017 year-over-year.  

Related Content: Forbes Ranks Tampa in TOP of List for Cities Americans Are Moving To Right Now  
Are you thinking, “But I don’t have enough money saved for a down payment.” A legitimate concern, but did you know that in Hillsborough County, first time home buyers (or anyone who has not owned a home in the past 3 years) can take advantage of a $15,000, 5-year, 0% interest bond program that will assist you with down payment and/or closing and associated costs with your home purchase?  If you stay in the home for 5 years, the bond is completely forgiven.  If not, the bond is forgiven at a rate of 20% per year.   So, even if you sell the home after just 3 years, you would only have to repay $6,000.

How do I get my hands on that bond money?

The first step in the process of buying any home is to begin by working with a qualified lender.  Any lender can get you started on the pre-approval process, which you need to do before you can even start looking at homes to buy.  They will ask you to provide verifiable income, tax returns and pull your credit history to determine your viability as a buyer, and how much you can afford.  
The parameters to qualify for the bond program are a maximum (1 person) income of $82,880, and the purchase limit is $310,000.  You must also have a credit score of at least 640. Technically this program is called the HHF (Hardest Hit Fund) DPA (Down Payment Assistance) Second Mortgage Program. Heads up though - not all lenders do the bond program.  

If that is something you would require in order to purchase, be sure to ask a lender up front if they are approved for the program.  One local lender that can assist you with the bond program is The Jane Floyd Team of NFM Lending.  They have a team of experts that will find the best-fit program for you and your financial situation.
If you don’t qualify for bond, or if you are not approved, your lender will gladly work with you to educate you on ways to improve your financial situation - whether it is repairing credit, managing your debt-to-income ratio, or looking at loans that require less out-of-pocket to get you started on the path to home ownership.
Once you get that pre-approval letter — then you interview and hire a qualified REALTOR®  for the fun part - looking for your new home!  
“Why do I need a REALTOR®?  I can just find houses online myself.”
Of course, you can, but a licensed REALTOR® is your own personal advocate and educated guide to navigate you through the complexities of the actual home purchasing process.  It is easy to look at photos online, but your Realtor provides real guidance, market experience and negotiation skills that will ensure you make a wise investment for your future.  And the best part is that THE SELLER pays their fees for you!  Yes, as a buyer, your REALTOR works for you for free!  All of the research, market analysis, comps, showing you homes, and negotiating that goes into making an offer is done for you.  As for the multitude of things that go on after your offer is accepted, right up until you close — escrow deposit, inspection, appraisal, and managing any unforeseen speed bumps in the process — you definitely want someone to help you navigate those waters safely and with your best interest in mind.

For more information contact  Arlana Guckenberger - Tampa Realtor