Phil Aitken
Phil Aitken
Owner/Broker

How to Buy a Jacksonville House For the First Time 

Wondering how to buy a house in Jacksonville for the first time? Understanding how the home-buying process works before getting started can help you have a successful experience.

In this post, our Jacksonville real estate experts at Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Phil Aitken Home Team will break down the steps of buying a home for the first time. That way, you can know what to expect and purchase your dream home for the best possible price.

Key Takeaways:

  • The first step to buying a home is taking stock of your financial situation. Evaluate how much you have saved up for a down payment and monthly mortgage payments.
  • As a buyer, you can expect closing costs to be anywhere from 2% to 5% of the final sales price.
  • Buying a home can be complex, and any number of issues can come up during the process. To avoid any stress or mistakes, it’s important to work with an experienced local realtor.
  • Once you find a home you’re interested in, your realtor will help you submit an offer. They’ll help you outline your purchase price, contingencies, and closing timeline. 
  • A key part of the closing process is completing your mortgage application and receiving your loan amount. To do this, you’ll need to meet certain lender requirements, which can vary from lender to lender.

How to Buy a Jacksonville House For the First Time 

Getting Started

Evaluate Your Financial Situation

The first step to buying a home is taking stock of your financial situation. Evaluate how much you have saved up for a down payment and monthly mortgage payments. 

In addition, think about how much you can set aside for other home-buying expenses like closing costs, moving costs, and repairs. As a buyer, you can expect closing costs to be anywhere from 2% to 5% of the final sales price. 

Lastly, it’s important to budget for homeownership expenses like regular maintenance, property taxes, and HOA fees.

Make a List of Your Preferences

It’s important to make a list of your home preferences so you know what you’re willing to compromise on and what’s non-negotiable. Having a clear list can help you make difficult choices later. 

It can also streamline your search by narrowing down potential neighborhoods that have the types of homes you’re interested in. Think about location, size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, neighborhood amenities, and commute distance.

Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Realtor

Buying a home can be complex, and any number of issues can come up during the process.  For example, unexpected financing problems, last-minute negotiations with the seller, or title issues with the home. 

To avoid any stress or mistakes, it’s important to work with an experienced local realtor. A Jacksonville realtor will be familiar with the local market and can communicate with you, your lender, the seller, and the seller’s realtor. They’ll handle all the paperwork, juggle deadlines, and keep the process on track.

Explore First-Time Buyer Mortgages

There are many down payment assistance and financing options for first-time home buyers. For example, special loans from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), along with low-income options provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Additionally, if you are a veteran, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several loan options.

In Florida, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation handles mortgages across the state and provides assistance programs for first-time home buyers. The Florida Assist program is one option, which offers up to $10,000 on FHA, VA, USDA, and conventional loans for buyers that qualify.

Many cities and counties in Florida also offer their own loan programs to first-time home buyers. In Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority has a First-Time Homebuyer Program that offers up to $20,000 towards down payment and closing costs.

Apply For Mortgage Pre-Approval

The last step to prepare for your home purchase is getting a mortgage pre-approval letter. You’ll need to submit financial documents such as income statements, credit reports, and bank statements. 

Getting pre-approval helps determine your loan eligibility and borrowing capacity. It’s a crucial step because it clarifies your budget, strengthens your purchase offer, and speeds up the buying process. 

Finding a Home

Look for Listings

Now, start house-hunting by looking for homes in your desired neighborhoods. Your realtor can help you find listings that match your budget and preferences quickly since they have access to exclusive databases.

This allows them to keep up with the latest listings as they enter the market, including off-market homes. Other ways to find homes for sale include subscribing to real estate newsletters, joining community forums, looking for open houses, and asking on social media groups

Submit a Competitive Offer

Once you find a home you’re interested in, your realtor will help you submit an offer. They’ll help you outline your purchase price, contingencies, and closing timeline. 

Your realtor will also ensure your offer is compelling, reflects market value, and meets legal requirements. They’ll also make sure to safeguard your interests when it comes time for negotiations.

Sign a Purchase Agreement

The seller can respond to your offer in three ways: accept it, reject it, or present a counteroffer. If they decide to counter, you’ll start negotiating. This process often involves several rounds of back-and-forth discussions alongside both parties’ realtors to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. 

During these negotiations, your realtor will actively represent your interests, providing expert advice and strategies to help you secure a fair and favorable deal. They’ll also handle all communication, so in many cases, you won’t be negotiating directly with the seller. 

After negotiations are over and the offer is accepted, you’ll move into the closing process.

The Closing Process

Complete Your Mortgage Application

A key part of the closing process is completing your mortgage application and receiving your loan amount. To do this, you’ll need to meet certain lender requirements, which can vary from lender to lender.

First, they’ll need to take a look at your financial situation again to make sure nothing has changed from when you first got pre-approval. As a result, they may ask you for additional financial information.

Other requirements include a home appraisal, title search, and purchasing homeowners insurance.

Hire a Home Inspector

Another part of the closing process is reaching out to a home inspector and scheduling an inspection. A home inspection identifies potential issues and costly repairs before purchase. 

It ensures the property’s condition matches its listing and if it doesn’t, helps you negotiate repairs or price adjustments. This ultimately ensures you avoid surprise expenses, safeguarding your investment and peace of mind.

Final Closing Day

At the end of the closing process, you and the seller will meet one last time to complete any remaining paperwork, pay closing costs, and officially transfer ownership of the property. 

Once everything is in order, you will transfer the funds to the seller, typically through a wire transfer or cashier’s check. After the financial transaction is confirmed, the seller will hand over the keys, officially making you the new owner of the property. This marks the end of the home-buying process, allowing you to take possession of your new home.

Moving Into Your New Home

Now, you can start moving in your belongings and begin settling into your new home. This is also the best time to address any necessary repairs or improvements you’ve planned, such as painting, renovations, or upgrades. Additionally, you’ll need to set up utilities like electricity, water, gas, internet, and cable services.

Once these tasks are complete, you can start enjoying your new home and the exciting new chapter it represents!

Buying a Home For the First Time is Easy with Phil Aitken

Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Phil Aitken Home Team. How to Buy a Jacksonville House For the First Time 
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At Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Phil Aitken Home Team, Phil Aitken and our team have been rated as the best realtor in Jacksonville. We’ve been in the business for many years and have helped hundreds of clients buy their dream homes in Jacksonville, including many first-time buyers.

We make the home-buying process easy and risk-free thanks to our Buyer Satisfaction Guarantee, which ensures you end up with a home that meets your budget and preferences. 

Have more questions about buying a home in Jacksonville with our team? Give us a call at (904) 544-5252 or send a message to [javascript protected email address]. You can also fill out the form on this page. Get ready to start packing!

To Discuss Your Home Sale or Purchase, Call or Text Today and Start Packing!

Phil Aitken, Owner/Broker
Phil Aitken is the Owner/Broker with Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Phil Aitken Home Team and has over 13 years of Real Estate experience. Phil’s faith and desire for his family’s continued security fuel his business growth and leadership. The Phil Aitken Home Team continues to profoundly impact the people of Jacksonville via supporting several faith-based organizations. Phil gives back a portion of every real estate transaction to The Tim Tebow Foundation and Rethreaded. Find Phil's full story here.