Florida Will Bounce Back!

By: Marci McFarland

The volume of homes and condo sales in Florida has just jumped up this spring, according to figures released by the Florida Association of Realtors. There is more good news - the increase was not because of price drops - the median price of a condo crept up slightly in the one month period!

Florida has seen its share of real estate boom and bust cycles and a group of Florida businessmen were reminded of this in Orlando as Florida still struggles with the nation-wide foreclosure crisis.

Florida's Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, called for unity when she recently addressed a group of Florida businessmen and told them that Florida businesses and the government need to hold hands instead of being on opposite sides of the table.

Florida's historic ability to weather realty storms is partly due to its unique combination of natural beauty and incomparable climate; half of the USA wants to live in this fair state! At the moment the tough part for home owners in Florida as well as nation-wide, has been trying to hang in there!

With the curve on an upward turn, now is the time for investors to start looking. This upward turn is indicated by a 20% increase in sales for April 2008 over March 2008 sales. In a sea of grim figures both nation-wide and locally, this is a much needed turn of the tide.

For those home-owners who may be lamenting the lower prices we have seen nationwide, remember if you bought your house five years ago, it still shows a profit; the drop in Florida is reflecting the recent large price increase bubble. This has now burst!

Certain desirable areas such as Florida will pick up first and if you are considering a second home, it is wise to start looking now. Looking is not the same as buying, but it does mean that you can familiarize yourself with the current market prices and therefore be more aware of a good buy.

Whether you are buying out of your local area or within it, it is invaluable to have a local real estate agent who knows your every wish to be working for you. Realtors will often get to work and see a great bargain listed on their screens long before you even get a whisper of it yourself. A quick phone call to you and a viewing is arranged.

Bargains go quickly, so it is always advisable to have your finances pre-approved and a down payment in your hot little hand. If the seller sees that you are prepared and can close a quick sale, they will not be tempted to weigh other offers.

This advice also applies to first time buyers who seem to recognize the enduring qualities of Florida. Thirty-eight per cent of all homes sold in Florida last year were to first time buyers and most of them were between the ages of twenty five and thirty four years old.

This is an ideal time to buy if you are planning to get one foot on the property ladder. As a first time buyer you may be waiting for the very bottom of the dip - but so is everyone else! It is the seasoned cash buyers who will be able to jump fast enough for those deals. If you plan to stay in the area and you negotiate a mortgage at a fixed rate that you can easily afford, the time is is soon so start looking around.

Two key words in the last sentence were 'fixed rate'. You should choose a mortgage type that will guarantee no increase in the monthly repayments. This is a fixed rate mortgage.

Another key point was 'one that you can easily afford'. It is tempting to choose the best castle that you can afford, but what if one of you looses their job? Choose a little cottage that you can keep in a crisis, it will still increase in price at the same rate as the castle.

Finally get yourself a discerning real estate agent who will filter through the undesirable homes and inform you immediately when a bargain shows up. Then you must jump - with your financing already pre-arranged (your realtor can also guide you in this) you could be moving into your first home!

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