1) These are the three most important words in real estate. Florida is a state with multiple personalities, from quirky Key West to sleepy St. Joe. Lifestyles vary greatly from place to place in Florida, so it’s important to decide not only where you want to live, but how you want to live in Florida.
2) Rural areas in Florida are often laid back and quiet but may lack public transportation, cultural centers and shopping choices. Cities may offer culture and excitement, but can be very impersonal and unfriendly.
3) Lakes and rivers are plentiful in Florida, offering great fishing and boating. The drawbacks to living in Florida on fresh water are occasional floods and alligators. While living in Florida on the beach is great, the drawbacks include the high price of beachfront property, over-crowded beaches, and of course tropical storms and hurricanes.
4) There are many retirement centers in Florida for people over 55 that offer shuttle services and recreation such as golfing, tennis and swimming. If you decide to move close to a tourist attraction, be prepared for tourists and traffic.
5) Medical services, clinics and hospitals are located in or near most cities, while many well known hospitals offer satellite clinics in rural areas.
6) The winter can get cold from northern Florida to south of Tampa, with occasional freezes. The Gulf and Atlantic coasts stay slightly cooler in the summer because of sea breezes; while the center of the state can be hot and humid during summer with frequent thunderstorms.
7) Research the area you are interested in Florida. Get the local newspaper (may be available online) and read the news. Check housing prices in the classifieds and local real estate guides. Official notices may give information about bids for projects and public notices such as zoning changes, controversial businesses and future projects. You will also find information online about churches, schools, clubs and organizations you may be interested in.
Buying Your Home in Florida:
1) Will it be a single family home, a condo, a town home or mobile home in Florida? Most will buy a single family home in a residential subdivision. If your purchase is in a community with a homeowners association, please do read all the rules first. Some deed restrictions and homeowners associations are quite strict, limiting anything from the color of your home to the weight of your pet.
2) Zoning restrictions in certain areas in Florida limit the number homes per acre or whether suited for duplexes or mobile homes. Certain zoning can allow all homes, which is why you may see a mobile home next to a new home. Condos are usually situated in large buildings, similar to an apartment complex. Everything within the walls of your unit belongs to you; outside the walls are common property. You may be assessed for common repairs or problems, such as roof replacements or pool repairs. A town home is usually an upscale duplex type of home in a deed restricted area. Mobile homes can be situated on rural lots, city lots or in parks. Some of these parks have clubhouses, pools, tennis, golf and public transportation. Mobile homes offer an inexpensive alternative to single family homes, but are not safe during severe storms. Always find out if the home is in a flood zone or evacuation zone. Once you have found your dream house get a home inspection by a qualified inspector. This is well worth the money to find potential problems before you buy.