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Thinking of a home in Land O’ Lakes, Florida?

With a population of 31,145 (accurate as of the 2010 census), Land O’ Lakes is located just 20 miles from Tampa. In fact, more than half this population moved here after 2000. The reasons are not too hard to find – affordable housing and good schools. According to listings on Zillow, a four-bedroom 1,480 square-foot home in a gated community costs $178,000 to own. For $259,900, you could get a three-bedroom 2,105 square feet home with amenities like a swimming pool, spa and a tennis court.
Palm tree reflection in a corporate building.

Life in Land O’ Lakes

True to its name, there are more than a hundred lakes in the area

If you are an angler, you will love living here because of the lakes. Waterskiing is something that you can enjoy at Bell Lake and Lake Saxon. For golf enthusiasts, there is the 156-acre Plantation Palms Golf Club, with its challenging 18-hole course (seventeen of them have water); and The Groves Golf and Country Club. You can also shoot skeet at the Tampa Bay Sporting Clays and Archery; and enjoy Cuban, Italian and Mexican food downtown. There is a Starbucks in Land O’ Lakes, as well a brewery and a winery. If you like getting close to nature, there is the 7,400-acre Cypress Creek Preserve, which also allows for camping, horseback riding and off-road bicycling. At Conner Preserve, you could also fly model airplanes. Compared to the state average, Land O’ Lakes has a higher graduation rate, plus lower crime and unemployment rates.
Palm tree reflection in a corporate building.
View of St. Petersburg. Saint Isaac's Cathedral from Palace Square in night

Own a home in Land O’ Lakes

With simplified paperwork and low rates, Earnest makes the process easy

Earnest pre-approves your mortgage so that you look at the right homes in the Land O’ Lakes area, specifically, the ones that your qualify for. Mean temperatures range between 60 °F and 82 °F, so living here is guaranteed to be pleasant all throughout the year. There are several schools that serve PreK-12 education needs; and for the purposes of higher education, there are seven colleges located within an 18-mile radius, including the University of South Florida. The 18,000 square-foot Land O’ Lakes Branch Library regularly hosts the Library Anime and Manga Enthusiasts Convention, the largest free conference in Florida. It also offers public access to 3D printers and a virtual reality environment. With interest rates at an all-time low, the best time to own a home in Land O’ Lakes is now.
View of St. Petersburg. Saint Isaac's Cathedral from Palace Square in night

Common Questions About Buying a Home in Land O’ Lakes

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

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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.