getting a mortgage in florida

What Monthly Mortgage Payment Can You Afford?

The majority of people always shop price verse quality, you may ask yourself such questions as; “Is this better deal?” or “What’s the unit price on this BOGO?” On the other hand there are times where you might say “the more I spend the better product I get” but this is when you must ask yourself, is the sky really the limit? What about when you are looking to purchase a home, do these rules still apply? No matter what your situation is, there are guidelines that will help steer you into YOUR affordability range for a home.

There are several “rules of thumb” often used to help people estimate the size of mortgage for which they might qualify. Besides understanding that you will have to pay for this every month, even if money gets tight, there are items that lenders look for. Lenders will often qualify people to borrow between 2 and 2-1/2 times their gross annual income. However, keep in mind that lenders are often willing to approve a larger loan than homebuyers feel they could comfortably afford or want to assume. This is what I like to refer to as the grey area where there is a huge chance you shouldn’t encroach on but you may want to just to see the difference between what you can comfortably qualify for and what would “make things tight” each month.

Another rule of thumb is that people should spend no more than 28 percent of their gross monthly income on housing expenses. (Monthly housing expenses include the principal, interest, property taxes, homeowners insurance and private mortgage insurance, when required). These are the expenses that typically are not carefully considered and can fluctuate greatly and push you into that grey area I was referring to. The information on these variable expenses is not hidden you just need to be aware of them. For example if your taxes are $2K a year and the HOAs are another $240 each quarter that this literally bumps your payment another $250 each month.

To put this into perspective you may be purchasing a smaller place in a more convenient location with a mortgage of $1450 each month while you could be searching in a different area with no HOAs and cheaper taxes bringing you closer to a $1200 mark. One more additional tip is that your monthly housing expenses and other long-term debts should not exceed 36 percent of a household’s gross monthly income. The best examples for long-term debt could be items like student loans and car loans. Of course you have already considered this against your monthly budget but when qualifying for a home loan these are items that are added during the process.

We will consider this the very first step on the road to homeownership. The nice thing is that when you are able to complete your footwork upfront you allow yourself no surprises and a confident look into whether this is something you can really afford or if the timing just isn’t right.

If you are currently in the process of buying a new home in Florida make sure to use the resources on to help you make an informed decision on where exactly you want to live!

buy a house, townhome or condo in florida

House, Townhouse, or Condo – Which is Best for You?

For some, a single family home is the only thing that pops in their mind when they think of home ownership and this makes perfect sense BUT there are other options. Depending on your situation a Condo or townhome may be the best option for you. In fact I bet there are a number of people that like the idea of not having to deal with regular maintenance and mow the yard every week!

There is no right or wrong answer when you are choosing the type of home you are looking to purchase but rather what works best for you in your individual situation. We will go over just some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of home.

To start off, the single family home besides being the flagship of the American Dream has many advantages but also has just as many disadvantages:


  • You will have access to your own yard
  • Single family homes are typically larger
  • Single family homes have more storage, including a basement, attic, and garage
  • It is easier to obtain financing compared to a condo
  • Less rules such as animal sizes, parking situations, and exterior requirements


  • Any maintenance issues including repairs, landscaping, and snow removal is your responsibility
  • Single family homes are typically more expensive than condos and townhouses
  • Utility bills are usually considerably higher due to the larger size
  • Homes may still have an Home Owners Association as aggressive as one of its townhouse or Condo counterparts

The townhouse is referred to the type of construction for a building that is 100% owned to include the property it sits on while sharing one or more walls with the adjacent building. By owning the land the building sits on, no ownership can happen above or below unlike a condo. The advantages and disadvantages to living in a townhouse are as follows:


  • Lower utilities
  • Much of the exterior maintenance including yard, landscaping and exterior paint is included
  • Typically has common areas such as parks and even pools with club houses that can be utilized with no up keep of your own
  • Enter Directly into the unit from the outside with a garage and patio with back yard
  • Lower home owners insurance due to the HOA being responsible for the exterior


  • Typically higher HOA fees
  • Sometimes difficult to qualify for financing depending on additional fees which are included during the qualifying process
  • A lot of restrictions including pets such as animal breed and size
  • May have more renters in the community
  • Could have sound issues

Last but not least would be a condo, the “simplest” of living. The condo is somewhat very beneficial to some but may not be for everyone.


  • Little to no maintenance
  • Usually secure with both cameras or an onsite security guard
  • Typically attached parking garage with assigned spots
  • Fees can include water, sewer, garbage and outside maintenance
  • Most have conference rooms, gyms, pools and even tennis courts


  • Privacy at times seems difficult with many units in one building sharing hallways, elevators and other common areas
  • Could have sound issues
  • No attached garage
  • Less storage
  • Typically if the building hasn’t been managed properly it takes many years of good management to turn around which can greatly affect your resale value
  • Also may have high HOA fees

Any of these types of homes have pros and cons to consider but shouldn’t be too difficult of a decision based on what you are looking for and the lifestyle you enjoy. The condo is the most worry free option that enables you to pack a bag and travel with the ease of locking the door behind you, no lawn to take care of and little up keep is necessary. The single family home is the epitome of upkeep and cost but for some they wouldn’t have it any other way.

We hope this has helped you determine the best type of home for you. If you are looking to buy or rent in Florida make sure to check out to research valuable information about your potential new home and the surrounding neighborhood and community.

4 Serious Warning Signs To Look For When Buying A Home

Buying a home is one of the most stressful things a person can go through. But for some people the stress doesn’t end when they finally close on what they thought was there dream home. Occasionally there are instances where new things to look for when buying a homehomeowners find major issues with their home that were not known by the previous owner leaving them stuck with even more expenses and frustration. Well we want to try and prevent that from happening to you! There are some specific warning signs you should look when searching a home that may save you from the above situation.

There are items that may seem to be “warning signs” but in reality are things that are just unappealing and can, for the most part, be overlooked such as outdated appliances, cabinets and what I consider “misguided” paint selections.  What we are going to focus on in this post are more serious problems that are much more costly to fix.

The first line of defense and probably one of the most important things you should do when buying a home is to get a home inspection! The home inspection needs to be completed by a licensed professional and they will be able to point out most problems but you will still need to go through the inspection reports and determine whether you are comfortable with the problems or if you would want to walk away from the deal.  Keep in mind some of the issues may be great opportunities for negotiating a lower price but some of the issues could be REAL deal breakers.

1. Roof replacement – although roofs can last for many years, the weather is very harsh particularly in the state of Florida where the heat is extreme and the rain and storms can be even worse.  Even if the report shows the roof is not leaking nor has no history of problems it is wise to potentially get a second opinion from a roofing contractor.  Even if the roof has a 30 year shingle on it does not mean it will hold up for 30 years.  Oh and for the record the replacement cost could range anywhere from $8,000-$30,000 depending on the size of the house and type of roof.
2. Flood Zones – Even though the entire state of Florida is pretty much right at sea level does not mean you are in a flood zone….technically.  The biggest issue with being in a flood zone besides the water potentially coming into your house is the previous damage that could have already happened that you may never know which could cause mold and rotting wood.  Just remember you can’t predict the weather but if you are buying a house in a flood zone you could be setting yourself up for problems in the future.
3. Electrical system – It doesn’t take an electrician to know if the electrical system is old, your first clue will be the age of the main panel box and the age of the house.  Typically if the panel looks as old as the house and the house is close to 30 years old, there is a huge chance you could have a fire hazard on your hands.  Replacement cost is in the thousands of dollars.
4. Plumbing system – This is just another part of the infrastructure that will be thoroughly inspected by the home inspection.  Some plumbing issues could be easily overlooked by the inspector for instance if the toilet flushes slowly, this goes the same for any of the sinks or baths if they don’t drain properly.  The inspector could make a note of the minor issue they noticed and you may find out later on that drain-o isn’t the solution and there could be a larger issue with pipes and plumbing system.  If there is any question I would hire a professional to further investigate.

Bottom line is, if you don’t ask you will never find out.  It seems like a lot of work but do as much due diligence as possible, remember you are making a huge investment and we want to make sure you make the right decision!

Above and beyond issues with the house itself you will also want to do some research on the neighborhood and community that your potential new house is in…That’s where MoversAtlas comes into play! Our interactive MoveMap shows you all sorts of useful information that will help you determine whether the Florida neighborhood or community that your potential house is in is right for you!