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  • Writer's pictureDon Magruder

5 Tips for House Hunting in Florida’s Winter Selling Season

Normally, February and March in Florida is one of the hottest time periods to buy and sell a home because our winter visitors and residents are starting to make plans for the year. The holidays are over and many of our Northern friends are figuring out that Florida is a wonderful place to retire especially if the cold weather makes arthritic bones ache.

The 2022 Florida winter home selling season is probably going to be one for the record books due to pent up demand, the huge number of new retirees entering the marketplace, overall migration to the state, and the historic low housing inventories. Finding your dream home will require a lot more leg work and effort, and home sellers are fully in the driver’s seat. Plus, ask any builder, and they will tell you, there are virtually no spec homes on the market for sale. Every new home that is being constructed, more often than not, has a buyer in place or is sold at the foundation stage.

What should you do if you are ready to make the move to Florida in 2022? Here are 5 helpful tips that could land you a home in the Sunshine State.

First, if you find a home you like, and it is within your budget, make an offer - Now! If you are an indecisive person who must mull over every aspect of the home and deal, chances are the home will be sold while you are thinking about it. Homes are selling fast, and slow decision makers will have one disappointment after another.

Be ready to sign a contract by having cash or financing in place up front. Cash in the home buying market is King, and if you are not fully approved with financing, the cash on the table will prevail. Homes are closing quickly with cash, and most home sellers will have little patience with a 3-month financial approval process.

Do a home inspection, but don’t expect a seller to fix anything. Most homes are being sold “as is”, and while a home inspection is a great idea to ensure the condition of the property, buyers should realize that leaking faucets and miscellaneous items will not be fixed in most cases because there is normally a buyer waiting to take the home “as is”.

Don’t be afraid to bid above asking. Cash offers over asking price are common especially on great deals. If a cash buyer finds a perfect home, it is not uncommon for the realtor to advise them to bid above asking price. If you love a home, don’t delay. Sometimes the sellers don’t realize they have their home underpriced until they see the number of offers they get on the first day of listing.

Finally, search by all methods. Many buyers only use the internet or realtors to search for available houses, but there are many people who will display a “For Sale by Owner” sign in the front yard during hot selling times like this to avoid paying 6-percent realty fees. If you like an area, go take a drive and just start looking. You will be amazed by some of the great deals you can find by owners who are selling a house on their own. While the internet is a great tool for home searches, nothing beats driving through neighborhoods because you may find a home for sale that has not been posted on-line.

The most important thing to understand is that Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the country and Florida’s great weather and beautiful beaches are the allure for millions. A home that you believe you are paying too much for this spring will probably be a great deal next year. Don’t expect this market to cool off anytime soon because we are in a true housing boom of high demand, very low inventory and thousands of people wanting to move to the Sunshine State.

Happy house hunting and get ready to work hard to find your Florida dream home.

Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.

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