The closing/settlement costs are usually split in some way between the buyer and the seller. If the buyer is obtaining a loan, then customarily the buyer pays for the costs associated with any loan expenses (appraisal fees, recording fees, governmental, and other fees associated with the loan). The Seller usually pays for the costs of transferring the property to the buyer such as State Documentary Deed Stamps. The costs of title insurance and the fee for closing services are negotiable, as are all closing costs. However, the custom in the area often governs who will pay these costs. The party paying the costs of the title insurance will usually designate the Title Company and Closing Agent.

The Seller or the buyer can pay the real estate commission. Usually, the seller lists their property with a
Realtor and agrees to pay the commission. In that case, the listing Realtor typically places the listing into
the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and agrees to share the commission with the selling Realtor

Typically, the buyer selects and pays for a professional home inspector to perform a thorough inspection of the property and provide a comprehensive written report. The buyer will also pay for detailed inspections of equipment (such as the air conditioning system) at the buyer’s discretion.

Two or more offers at the same time are common when the housing inventory is low, especially when interest rates are also low. This can occur in large market areas as well as popular small communities where homes rarely come on the market. Buyers may need to be prepared to make their offer attractive by offering incentives to the seller by waiving contingencies for financing and an appraisal. Be aware that waiving these contingencies could result in the loss of the buyer’s deposit or litigation if the buyer fails to complete the transaction. Buyers should consult an attorney about the consequences of omitting contingencies in an offer. Buyers may also consider making an offer above the seller’s asking price to be competitive.

Before even starting to search for a new home, it is essential that a buyer who needs financing obtain pre-approval from a potential lender. Most sellers will not consider an offer without a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter from a lender. A pre-approval letter is preferred and may help make your offer stronger when you are negotiating. With a pre-approval letter, the lender checks your credit and verifies your income and assets, and will issue a written commitment for a loan (subject to property qualifications). With a pre-qualification letter, the lender gives you an estimate of the loan amount they are willing to give you based on what you have told them. A pre-qualification letter is not a guarantee that you will be approved for a loan. Even with a cash sale, the sellers today want proof that you have the funds for closing such as copies of your account balances or a letter from your banker.

The homestead exemption and Save Our Homes assessment limitation help thousands of Florida homeowners save money on their property taxes every year. When someone owns property in Florida makes it his or her permanent residence or the permanent residence of his or her dependent, the property owner may be eligible to receive a homestead exemption that would decrease the property’s taxable value by as much as $50,000. Portability allows (if you are eligible) most Florida homestead owners to transfer their benefit from their old homestead to a new homestead, lowering the tax assessment and, consequently, the taxes for the new homestead. Further benefits are available to property owners with disabilities, senior citizens, veterans, and active-duty military service members, disabled first responders, and properties with specialized uses.

Property tax millage rates vary from city to city and even from tax districts within cities. These taxes are also subject to increases or decreases each year. For the coastal communities of Northeast Florida, the property tax rates in 2020 varied from about 1.33% (13.3 mils) to 1.85% (18.5 mils) of the assessed value.

The Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) Program is important if you plan to build or buy a home within the CCCL. The CCCL is an essential element of Florida’s coastal management program, protecting Florida’s beaches and dunes while ensuring reasonable use of private property. Recognizing the value of the state’s beaches, the Florida Legislature initiated the CCCL Program to protect the coastal system from improperly sited and designed structures that can destabilize or destroy the beach and dune system. Once destabilized, these valuable coastal resources are lost, as are important recreation, upland property protection, and environmental habitat values. Adoption of a CCCL establishes an area of jurisdiction in which special siting and design criteria are applied for construction and related activities. These standards may be more stringent than those already applied in the rest of the coastal building zone because of the greater forces expected to occur in the more seaward beach zone during a storm event.