Making The New York Times’ 2014 list of must-see world destinations, St. Petersburg is nestled on Florida’s Gulf Coast southwest of Tampa. The city has undergone an extreme population makeover in the last eight years, from being called “God’s waiting room” to having a median resident age of 43, almost half of whom are single, thanks to recent college graduates avoiding the suburbs by moving to the city’s core. Now could be the time for Earnest to help you make the move to “The Sunshine City.”
Boasting almost 250 days of sunshine a year, St. Petersburg is home to Tropicana Field, where MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays play 81 home games each season. Of course, being on the Florida Gulf Coast, nearby family-friendly Sand Key Park has both legendary pure white sand and clear blue water, consistently making it one of the highest rated U.S. beaches. Or, if you want to stay indoors, check out the Dali Museum, home to the largest collection of the surrealist artist’s works outside of Europe.
St. Petersburg’s neighborhoods—from Historic Kenwood filled with green spaces and artist bungalows to the Old Northeast district with its brick streets to Edgemoor’s single-family homes, apartments, and condominiums—are a mix of new builds and classic Gulf Coast homes with plenty of easy opportunities for walking, biking, and swimming.
St. Petersburg Home Buying Made Simple
Low mortgage rates and an online application will have you on your way
Buying a home in a beachside paradise like St. Petersburg is full of possibilities but can be full of potentially anxious moments too. Just working through real estate listings, learning which neighborhoods are the best fit for you, and finding the right schools will be a handful all on their own. You don’t need a lender adding to your stress as well. That’s where Earnest comes in. Our reinvented personal lending process helps you buy the house that will become your home.
So when you think of buying that home in St. Petersburg—perhaps as you watch the dolphins in Tampa Bay, take a Segway tour from downtown to the waterfront, or catch a top touring band at Jannus Live—also remember Earnest’s ability to help you avoid unnecessarily high mortgage rates and hidden fees.
Common Questions About Buying a Home in St. Petersburg
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The average savings calculation is the sum of all projected savings divided by the number of clients included in the projected savings calculation. These calculations assume that clients’ interest rates will not change over time, that clients make all payments on-time, and that no loans will be prepaid.
Here’s what our math includes:
Projected savings for clients who provided outstanding balance, APR, and current monthly payment amount for their existing student loan(s)
Both fixed and variable rate loans
And here’s what our math excludes, and why:
Savings from any client who stated that the current interest rate on their loan was greater than 12%. (Why: this is intended to filter out any cases where client error may skew the savings calculation higher.)
For any client who stated that the projected term of their loan was greater than 25 years, we do not include in our calculation any additional savings that might be realized if their existing loan were to take longer than 25 years to pay off in-full. (Why: 25 years is the maximum term allowed for a Federal student loan, or the cap on any Federal student loan under Income Based Repayment.)
Savings from any client whose indicated monthly payment was not sufficient to pay down the loan balance over time. (Why: this is intended to filter out any cases where the client misstated either their monthly payment amount, interest rate, or both.)
All refinancings by clients who chose a longer term than their existing student loan. (Why: some clients choose longer loan terms to match their monthly loan obligations to their unique life circumstances; while we encourage clients to take advantage of Earnest’s flexible term and monthly payment features, these cases are not indicative of the savings that result from lower rates through better data.)
Explanation of Rates “With Autopay”
Rates shown include 0.25% APR reduction where client agrees to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment. Use of autopay is not required to receive an Earnest loan.
Explanation of Precision Pricing™ Savings
Savings calculations are based on refinancing $121,825 in student loans at an existing loan servicer’s interest rate of 7.5% fixed APR with 10 years, 6 months remaining on the loan term. The other lender’s savings and APR (light green line) represent what would happen if those loans were refinanced at the other lender’s best fixed APRs. The Earnest savings and APR (white line) represent refinancing those loans at Earnest’s best fixed APRs.
Savings is computed as the difference between the future scheduled payments on the existing loans and payments on new Earnest and “other lender” loans. The calculation assumes on-time loan payments, no change in interest rates, and no prepayment of loans.
Individuals portrayed as Earnest clients on this site are actual clients and were compensated for their time to participate.