If you’ve completed all the steps to closing on a house or condo in South Florida, the real estate closing is the big finale. Most buyers consider this transaction the deal of a lifetime, so make sure you know what happens at a house closing before you go. Always consult your Lang Realty agent, who’s a pro at this.

Here’s a summary of a South Florida real estate closing checklist

  • How long should this take? Set aside two hours to sign all the documents required, have them explained in advance, and answer any questions.
  • What to bring: Your photo ID and a cashier’s or certified check only (not just a personal check) to cover the down payment and closing costs.
  • Who will be there with you and your real estate agent? At this point, your agent…

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If you’re a novice at home buying, rely on an experienced real estate agent. Like any first-time purchase, never risk going it alone to avoid the biggest mistakes when buying a home.

Your agent will know the market and every detail of the home-buying transaction, from pre-qualifying for a mortgage to the cost of property tax and other expenses to factor into your decisions.   

Home buying tips for first-time buyers

Calculate how much you can comfortably afford and how much you’re likely to need for a down payment.

You’re not done yet: Most communities in South Florida are part of a state-regulated homeowner or condo association that covers the cost of amenities and routine maintenance like landscaping. So factor an expected association…

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If you’re finished with ice and snow, you’re not alone. You may want to know why people are moving to Florida.  

It’s not just the weather or the tax-free state. Florida, particularly South Florida, is no longer a sleepy enclave. Now the active, out-and-about lifestyle appeals to young families and retirees. In Boca Raton alone, the average age has dipped from the 60s to the 40s.

So not surprisingly, the U.S. Census Bureau cites Florida as “home to four of the nation’s top five fastest-growing metropolitan statistical areas and three of the top 10 that gained the largest number of people from 2022 to 2023.”

That said, here’s a few things to know before moving to Florida. Narrow down where to look and choose a real estate pro who knows the…

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With housing sales moving so quickly, your real estate professional may ask you to consider a short sale.

If that term is new to you, a short sale has nothing to do with the time it usually takes to buy a home or a condo. Think of it more like a rescue. 

In a short sale, you’re offering an asking price that’s less than the amount due on the mortgage. If the mortgage lender accepts your offer, then and only then will the deal move forward, and you’ll be helping the owner avoid foreclosure. The lender will get all the proceeds.  

Here’s what you should ask before you proceed with a short sale: 

What to know about buying a short-sale home?  

Do your own homework and follow the lead of your real estate pro who has the short-sale expertise.…

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Buyers will be happy to know the old term ‘retirement’ has retired, and South Florida’s famous 55+ lifestyle has evolved into “active adult” communities.  

Even savvy developers are building new 55+ residential communities, adding to hundreds of existing homes and condos at every price point, most in suburban Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, and further north into Port St. Lucie.

If you’re new to this designation, you’ll want to know if anyone can buy over 55 properties before you start looking.

55+ means exactly what the name implies. At least one resident must be at least 55 years old to satisfy federal and Florida legal housing requirements. Condo and homeowner associations that oversee these…

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when to hire real estate agent

They’re popular for good reasons:

Beautiful sunny weather, of course. This is the Sunshine State. Inviting clean beaches. Spacious properties. Waterfront views. Outdoor living with screened-in swimming pools. Safe, gated communities. Amenities from marinas to clubhouses with a fitness center and planned activities.

Even a dog-friendly atmosphere, from dog parks to dog beaches to outdoor restaurants that encourage dining with your dog.

Let’s not forget easy access to three airports: Palm Beach International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Miami International Airport.

And three trains, local Tri Rail commuter, private hi-speed Brightline and long-distance Amtrak stations. 

So, when is the best time to see what Lang…

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When you formally agree on a price to buy a house or a condo, and the seller has accepted your offer, you’re now officially the buyer. But it’s not a done deal yet.

What does under contract mean?

Legally in Florida, real estate brokers including Lang Realty agents have standard residential contracts. The terms include specific procedures and timelines that must be met by buyers and sellers. They range from an offer to buy and the offer acceptance, to proof a mortgage or funds are available. Here's a link to the Florida Bar and Florida Realtors association “as is” contract.

What happens when a house is under contract?

The initial deposit is held in escrow. The contract is contingent on approval of a conventional, VA, FHA or other mortgage…

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Once you’ve decided to house hunt here, your next question will be… ‘when is the best time of year to buy a house in Florida?’

Online searches only help you refine what you’re looking for, so connect with your professional real estate broker in advance to arrange for go-sees. Sales of townhouses, one-story villas, single-family homes and condos are moving fast.   

And always ask your Realtor these questions:

When is the best time to buy a house in Florida?

Is it a good time to buy a house in Florida?

Continued population growth means Florida’s housing market is no longer seasonal. The old days when “snowbirds” were just here for the winter continues to decline with tax advantages for full-time residency and more companies relocating. 

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Q&A with real estate market expert Dawn Forgione, GRI, ePRO, SRES Realtor

Q: Real Estate negotiation tips for buyers

A: Get preapproved for a mortgage. This shows the seller that you are a qualified, serious buyer ready to make a deal.

  

Q: Real Estate negotiation tactics

A: Make sure you have insight into the seller’s motivation. Is the seller a “have to” or a “want to”? Is the seller in a hurry to move because of financial trouble, a death or divorce? 

 

Q: Things to negotiate when buying a house

A: Make a reasonable, competitive offer taking into consideration recent sales, what you can afford, and a little room for negotiations. 


 Q: What to negotiate when buying a house

A: Be quick to respond to a counter offer. Time…

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If you’re here checking out the beaches, you’ll see yellow tape through October. Locals know that means be very careful to avoid disrupting sea turtle nests.

The nesting season starts in March, and south Florida residents take this ritual very seriously. There are even ordinances that keep lights low or dark along A1A, the beach highway, to keep their new-borns, called hatchlings, from going the wrong way and getting smooshed by drivers instead of ocean waves.

Like homing devices, the humongous reptiles always return to the beach where they were born to lay their eggs, and local marine life specialists and even governments are very protective.

“Litter on beaches can entangle sea turtles, birds and other wildlife. What can you do to help? …

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