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Buying a House in St. Petersburg Starts Here

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.”
Hollywood Florida, illuminated buildings at sunset reflected in the water

St. Petersburg Hits a Home Run

Baseball, beaches, and a boatload of sunshine

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.
Hollywood Florida, illuminated buildings at sunset reflected in the water
Young woman and two children at the waters edge in a candid

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.
Young woman and two children at the waters edge in a candid

Common Questions About Buying a Home in St. Petersburg

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.