This page is intended to help the first time homebuyer understand the process of purchasing a home and provide helpful tips on yard maintenance.


Title Company 

The title Company is usually chosen by the lending financial institution. This is where you will sign loan documents and finalize the purchase. The closing agent will go over your loan documents before you sign. The time to ask questions is now, before you sign the documents. Make sure you understand what you are signing.


Homeowners Association, HOA 

Your realtor, homebuilder representative, or seller should inform you if the property under consideration for purchase is governed by homeowners association covenants and deed restrictions. HOA fees are generally paid yearly for homes but can be a monthly fee for condos and townhomes. HOA fees are set by the homeowners association and non-negotiable. Be forewarned, prorated HOA fees are usually collected at the time of closing and paid to the homeowners association. The homeowner will receive a bill for the next years HOA fees sometime between November and January. HOA fees are often due to be paid by January 31st. Non-payment of this fee can incur late fees, interest charges, and possible legal fees.


HUD-1 Settlement Statement 

This document is prepared by the title Company. This form summarizes costs for the borrower and seller. This document will show the purchase price, loan origination fees, and all other costs or payments due the purchaser and seller.


ESCROW Account 

Your lender may require an escrow account. When an escrow account is setup the purchasers monthly payment includes principal, interest, taxes, and homeowners insurance payments. The monthly tax and insurance payment is deposited into the escrow account. When the property taxes and homeowners insurance are due to be paid the lender pays the bills out of your escrow account. If an escrow account is not established, the homeowner will be responsible to pay the property tax and homeowners insurance bills.


Private Mortgage Insurance, PMI


Lenders might add PMI to your payment if your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase prices. Verify this with your lender.



It is recommended to have the structure inspected for code violations or potential costly repairs. Also the home should be inspected for termite damage. Any negative findings can be discussed with the seller.


Lawn and Garden Care


Many first time homebuyers have been apartment dwellers and therefore never cared for a yard. Here are some helpful tips.


Lawn Care: St. Augustine grass can create a beautiful lawn. During summer and times of drought you will need to water. It helps to raise the cutting deck of your mower. Letting the grass grow taller helps to protect it from the affects of summer heat. If you chose not to water, the lawn will die and you'll face the expense of re-soding your yard. Applying fertilizer 4 times a year will also help in your quest for a beautiful yard. Apply Weed n Feed spring and fall, Summer guard for the summer months and Winterizer for the winter months. If your lawn receives too much water your lawn can develop fungus. During the summer months when your lawn is stressed you need to watch for chinch bugs which attack the roots from below devastating your lawn.


Trees: Trees can help add shade for your home and curb appeal to your home. Avoid planting trees too close to your house, sidewalks and driveways. As the tree grows in height the tree roots also grow. Tree roots can undermine your foundation, breakup your driveway and sidewalks.