With a sunny climate, beautiful beaches, and diverse communities, Florida is a vacation darling for folks from around the United States and beyond. Many say it is also a great place to live or own property. With its reputation for enjoyment and recreation, loads of people dream of living there.
Florida indeed offers a unique living experience. However, buying a house is always a significant decision that requires careful consideration. Your first step should be to find a good realtor to assist you on your journey. Beyond that, it’s essential to be aware of various factors that can influence your decision-making process before diving into the Florida real estate market.
Luckily, we have you covered! With a little bit of brainstorming and some time to go over your preferences and needs, the decision to buy a house located in Florida will be easy and stress-free. Whether purchasing a single-family mansion or a small condominium and regardless of the region you hope to move to, here are 15 factors you should know before buying a house in Florida.
Here are the 15 key factors people should know before buying a house in Florida in 2023.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Region
- 2. Specific Location
- 3. Climate and Natural Disasters
- 4. Home Insurance
- 5. Property Taxes
- 6. Affordability
- 7. Homeowner’s Association (HOA) Regulations
- 8. Local Cost of Living
- 9. Schools and Education
- 10. Transportation Options
- 11. Healthcare Facilities
- 12. Amenities and Lifestyle
- 13. Resale Value
- 14. Neighborhood Safety
- 15. Your Choice of Realtor
People who aren’t native to Florida tend to think of it as all beaches and theme parks. Still, not all communities around the state have these specific features. First, consider Florida’s various regions: the Panhandle region, the Northeast region, the Central region, and the South region. Each area varies when it comes to climate, population, tradition, and economy.
The Panhandle and the Northeast regions of the state tend to align closely with the traditions and culture of the American South, while the Central region is where many of the attractions and theme parks are located. Miami and the Keys characterize Southern Florida.
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2. Specific Location
Look closely within each region, and you’ll find a diverse mix of cities and towns, each with a unique charm and lifestyle. Research the neighborhood, proximity to amenities, schools, employment opportunities, and transportation options to ensure it aligns with your preferences and needs.
Want to live near the beach? Figure out which areas might give you the best access. Are you more interested in the urban areas of Florida? Then look more closely into those. The more upfront research you do, the easier it will be to make your decision later.
3. Climate and Natural Disasters
Florida’s climate is predominantly warm, with high humidity regardless of the specific region. Be prepared for hot summers and the potential for big storms like hurricanes. When researching a potential property, be aware of the area’s history of flooding, tropical storms, tornados, and wildfires to help inform your decision. Even Florida’s frequent heat waves can potentially cause issues and damage property. These risks will undoubtedly affect the requirements for homeowner’s insurance as well.
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4. Home Insurance
Florida has unique challenges regarding home insurance, mainly due to the natural disaster risk stated above. Before making the life-altering decision to buy a home, you should understand the cost and availability of insurance coverage for the property you intend to buy, as it can significantly impact your budget. Rates will vary according to region and neighborhood, so be thorough when investigating this issue. Don’t forget to find a helpful agent to guide you through the process.
5. Property Taxes
On the whole, Florida residents pay just about the average amount of property tax compared to the rest of the United States. The state’s rate of 0.98% is also slightly lower than the country’s average. However, property taxes can vary significantly across different counties, so you should familiarize yourself with the laws and the rates of the community. Choosing a home in your desired area will be a lot less stressful.
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Affordability is a massive consideration for any prospective home buyer, no matter where the property is located. Florida’s cities tend to have a wide range of housing options, from luxurious waterfront properties to more modest, affordable homes. Everyone should determine their own financial limits and explore areas that offer the types of property they want that still fit within their price range. With more and more Americans falling into the category of “house poor,” it’s as important as ever to consider your budget before signing those ownership papers.
7. Homeowner’s Association (HOA) Regulations
It doesn’t take a lot of internet research to find many stories of residents who have had conflicts with their HOA. While the folks in these groups are typically well-intentioned, working together to keep neighborhoods looking nice and running smoothly, sometimes their rules and regulations can rub people the wrong way.
Since HOAs govern many Florida communities, you should understand what you’re getting into before moving to a neighborhood with one. Review the regulations, fees, and any rules regarding pets, parking, home modifications, and potential future assessments. After all, you’ll want to know that your lifestyle and preferences fall within the guidelines to avoid conflicts and future headaches.
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8. Local Cost of Living
When moving to such a large, diverse state, evaluating the overall cost of living in the specific area you are considering is a good idea. While some regions in Florida may offer lower housing costs, other expenses such as utilities, healthcare, groceries, and transportation costs could be higher. Consider all of the possible factors when determining the feasibility of purchasing a house in a particular area.
9. Schools and Education
Education is especially important if you already have children or are planning to start a family. Florida’s public schools typically rank in the center compared to the other states. Still, there are apparent differences in the quality of schools from community to community.
Florida also offers a mix of public, private, and charter schools, each with its own performance standards. Don’t forget to consider Florida’s college and higher education options. Consider the educational opportunities available to ensure they meet your expectations and your children’s needs.
10. Transportation Options
Do you own a car, or will you rely on public transportation to get around? Every city in Florida has its own options for transportation, and many places have layouts that facilitate the need for a personal vehicle. Before purchasing a house, take into account the travel time to your workplace and the availability of buses, ride shares, taxis, and railways. Remember that traffic varies from place to place too, so it wouldn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the traffic patterns of the local roads and highways.
11. Healthcare Facilities
It’s always a good idea to consider the proximity and quality of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and specialized care centers. Access to good healthcare directly correlates to the quality of life, and quickly reaching these places is crucial, especially if you have specific medical needs or requirements. You never want to be caught up in a situation where you can’t access timely treatment in case of an emergency.
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12. Amenities and Lifestyle
Determine the amenities and lifestyle offerings that are important to you. Florida is renowned for its recreational opportunities, including golf courses, parks, beaches, and entertainment venues. Aside from the climate, it’s one of the big reasons why so many retirees decide to relocate there. Research the availability of such amenities in the city you are considering to ensure the options align with your interests.
13. Resale Value
If you’re purchasing a house as an investment property, or even if you plan to live there, the intelligent long view is always to think about the future potential for appreciation. Factors such as location, school district, and proximity to amenities can influence the property’s future marketability. You never know what the future will hold, but you can ensure you are as prepared as possible.
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14. Neighborhood Safety
Prioritize your safety and the security of your future neighborhood. Research crime rates, police presence, and community initiatives that promote safety. Online resources and local law enforcement agencies can provide valuable insights into the safety of the area. Many folks in Florida also value community, so if possible, try to get a feel for your potential new neighbors. This due diligence is vital for all, but especially for those with families and children to consider.
15. Your Choice of Realtor
When making a life-altering decision, such as moving or buying a new house, it helps to have the right person on your side as an advocate, a guide, and someone to anticipate any unforeseen obstacles. Be diligent when choosing a professional to work with, as it can make or break the entire process. By selecting a group like SquareFoot Homes, you’ll minimize stress and smooth out the whole home-buying process.
Purchasing a house in Florida can be an exciting and fulfilling experience, but it requires careful consideration of various factors. By considering the location, climate, insurance, taxes, amenities, and other essential aspects, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle, preferences, and financial situation. Remember, thorough research and professional guidance can help ensure a successful and satisfying home-buying journey in the Sunshine State.
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