For the vast majority of people, buying a home will be the biggest purchase decision of their entire lives. Unlike buying a TV, computer, or even a car, when buying a home you can’t just check off the features you want and choose from the available options you see online or at a store. As a first-time homebuyer, finding the perfect property in Florida requires dedication, patience, and a bit of luck. This guide will help you through that process.

Focus on what you can’t change

When looking at houses, many first-time buyers get hung up on interior details: the color of the walls, the kitchen appliances, the flooring and carpeting, and so on. However, these are all things that – with enough time and money – you can change later on. So while it’s easy to focus on aesthetics, as a first-time homebuyer you should really be focusing on the things you can’t change, like where the house is located.

Location, location, location

The most beautiful house on the block might sound like the house you want to buy…until you uncover the details of that particular block. It could very well be the case that your “dream home” is nestled in a high-crime neighborhood, or that it’s just a few yards from the highway. As a first-time homebuyer, it’s all too easy to overlook such crucial location details. Remember: you can always renovate your house if you’re not one hundred percent happy with it, but you’ll never be able to renovate your neighborhood. So choose your home’s location wisely!

Avoid “bargain” homes

The old adage holds strong even in real estate: if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably not true. If there’s a house on the market in Florida with an unbelievably low price, don’t get suckered into thinking you’re getting a great deal. “Bargain” homes are often the ones with damage or other problems that can be difficult – or impossible – to fix.