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How should Broward County residents prepare to buy real estate?

As we've discussed previously, there are many indicators that residential real estate in South Florida -- and specifically in Broward County -- is beginning to surge forward while the rest of the country's housing market slowly bottoms out and recovers. In light of the good news about real estate in Broward County, a brief primer on how house hunters should prepare to enter the market seems only logical.

A recent article in Forbes details five steps individuals who are looking to jump into the residential real estate market should take if they want to ensure the strongest position to buy.

First is deciding whether you're ready to be a homeowner. This is a rent vs. own debate, and which side wins out should depend in part on where in the country a potential buyer is looking to purchase. For South Florida residents, the benefits of being a homeowner definitely look to be the better option.

The other four steps mentioned in the Forbes article deal with preparing yourself financially for a real estate transaction:

  • Check your credit
  • Save as much as you can
  • Figure out how much you can afford to pay each month
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin looking

These are all sound financial planning tips that can let potential buyers know where they stand economically, allowing for better negotiating leverage and preventing a situation in which the desired purchase is outside the buyer's financial capabilities.

To these five steps, a sixth should probably be added: ask a professional for advice when you need it. Shopping for residential real estate can be complicated. The contract terms of real estate agreements are not always easy to understand, and a professional who knows the ins and outs of real estate law will be able to explain each step of the process.

Source: Forbes, "What Every Prospective Homeowner Should Know," Erik Carter, April 3, 2012

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