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Buying a house in Seminole- what you need to know

Seminole is a small city on the western coast of Florida. It is just across the bay from Southern Tampa and a town that has seen a meteoric rise in house values over the last year. From just February this year the median price for a house has gone from $172,500 to about $210,000 in October. If you are interested in land value appreciation, this is just the perfect time to invest here. The price per square foot has also gone up significantly this year, right now it is at $138.
The old Florida State Capitol building as seen from Monroe St and Apalachee Parkway with the New Capitol in the background

Seminole- an ever growing city

Beautiful beaches and quiet neighborhoods

The region that surrounds Seminole has been under habitation for many centuries. The Seminole tribe made this part of Florida their home and European settlements happened around the 1840's. It is located in the Pinelass County with the town of Largo to the north. It is a town that has seen a lot of fluctuations in population over the years. The town gained new prominence after St. Petersburg College came here with a new campus. The campus and surrounding areas have strengthened the economy of the city and because there is no on campus accommodation, the rental population is on the higher side. In spite of this 82% of the residents here are homeowners. The median age of the city is 47; lower than the surrounding cities. The town is not a big tourism draw being mostly comprised of large residential neighborhoods apart from the beaches
The old Florida State Capitol building as seen from Monroe St and Apalachee Parkway with the New Capitol in the background
Brother sister and dog playing on sandy Florida beach in the summer sun

You can start looking for a home in Seminole today

Ocean views and plenty of peace and quiet are Seminole's big draws

What is the biggest, most important determinant in a house buying decision? Size of the house? Number of rooms? Locality? Garage? Proximity to schools and parks? Shopping? Sadly, for most, it is simply based on the amount of money that they can get on their mortgage. It prompts first time home buyers to settle for a house that is lacking in some way or just not the one they really wanted to buy. Earnest is well aware of this conundrum and has come to realize that the method in which most lenders gauge their clients is through the credit score. We use more than just the credit score to create a financial profile and setup a mortgage plan that is fair and balanced. There are a number of metrics that we employ including your current and future earning potential. With Earnest, the house you love will be the house you can afford.
Brother sister and dog playing on sandy Florida beach in the summer sun

Common Questions About Buying a Home in Seminole

All The Answers You Need to Settle Down Sooner

Should I choose a fixed or adjustable rate?

It depends how long you expect to stay in the home. Adjustable rates are good for people who may not be in the home long, whereas fixed rates are ideal for people who are confident of settling in.

Do I need a home appraisal?

Probably—in most cases, the homebuyer must use an appraiser to evaluate the value of the home. Appraisal costs vary depending on the value of the property, as well as the state the house is in. Buyers cannot choose their own appraiser—the bank makes the decision.

What is PMI?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required when a homebuyer makes a down payment of less than 20%, or when a borrower refinances with less than 20% equity in the home. PMI fees vary according to your down payment and credit score, and adds a premium to your monthly mortgage payment. Please note, PMI is tax-deductible in 2015 and 2016 for certain income brackets.

What does Loan-to-Value mean?

Loan-to-Value (LTV) is the percentage of your home’s value that your loan represents. When refinancing, the calculation is simply the loan amount divided by the appraised value. When buying a home, the LTV is found by dividing by either the purchase price or appraised amount, whichever is lower. When the LTV is less than 80%, the lender generally requires PMI.

For example:

Purchase price: $100,000
Down payment: $15,000
Loan amount: $85,000
Appraised value: $110,000
LTV: $85,000/$100,000 = 85%

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are standard fees associated with a real estate transaction. You will typically pay about 2-5% of the purchase price in closing costs—the exact amount depends on where you are buying (or refinancing), as well as number of extra fees involved in your particular transaction. Earnest charges no lender fees, so the borrower is only responsible for 3rd-party fees.

What should I consider before refinancing my mortgage?

Refinancing your home loan is an attractive option when rates are low. A simple rate and term refinance can help you lower your monthly payment and potentially eliminate your PMI premium, as long as you have built up enough equity in the home. You might also use a cash-out refinance to access some of the equity you’ve built up in the home (which may result in a higher monthly payment on your new loan).

However, keep in mind that refinancing a mortgage does involve several fees (closing costs). Before refinancing, you should calculate the ‘break-even’ point at which your refinanced loan makes up for the closing costs. If you plan to leave your home before this time, it’s better to stay with your current mortgage.

Knowledge Is (Buying) Power

Further Resources from the Earnest Blog

People around a computer

The intelligent home loan

When it comes to finding the right home loan, Earnest works hard to ensure that the process pain-free. We use an industry-leading and intuitive online-only application (meaning most times no scanner or fax machine required), a 5-star client service team, and a unique rolling pre-approval that stays current while you track down that perfect home. At Earnest, the home loan process is like no other.