Five Things to Think About Before You Buy a Vacation Home in Florida
There is no shortage of fun things to do in Florida. Not to mention, the weather is relatively nice all year long. There’s a reason why it’s called the Sunshine State, after all! It’s no wonder so many people choose this state when planning their next vacation.
But, what if you want to make your vacation plans more permanent? There are a lot of people who have vacation homes in Florida, but that doesn’t mean owning a home in this state is right for you. Here are a few things you should think about before you take the plunge and buy that house in Florida.
Is the Area Safe?
The very first thing you should consider is whether or not the area you’re interested in moving to is safe. Just like any state, some areas are safer than others.
It’s not just crime you should consider, although it is important to look into the crime rates and police response times in the neighborhood you’re interested in, you should also look at other things as well. For example, did you know Florida is home to six of the ten most dangerous highways in the United States? If you will be doing a lot of traveling, and your travels will require you to drive on one of these highways frequently, you may want to consider a different area of the state.
Do You Want to Be on or Near the Beach?
The biggest question you will have to ask yourself is whether you want property on the beach? There’s no denying that’s the dream of many vacation homeowners, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for you. In addition to beachfront properties costing more, they can also be more expensive to maintain. You can save a lot of money if you’re willing to live a short drive from the beach instead of right on the sand.
You should also consider Central Florida as well. You may not be right on the beach, but with so many parks and natural areas throughout the state, it can be just as beautiful to live away from the water.
Is the Property Part of an HOA?
Deed restricted communities are common in Florida, which means they are part of a Home Owner’s Association (HOA). This can be both a good and a bad thing. They can offer benefits like:
- Well-maintained common areas
- Community areas, like gyms and pools
- Gated access to the community
- Utilities, like the internet
It is the HOA’s job to make sure properties in the neighborhood retain their value, which means certain things are and aren’t allowed, and proper maintenance is required. Both of these things can be difficult to monitor with a vacation property. Not to mention, they can be expensive.
What Kind of Insurance Do You Need?
Insurance is always an important consideration, as it can greatly influence what you’re willing to pay for a home. That’s especially the case in Florida where special insurance policies are often the norm. For example, many people get hurricane insurance, which is an extra policy that you must pay for in addition to your regular homeowner’s policy.
Not only do you have to consider long-term insurance costs, you also have to consider more short-term costs. Title insurance may be paid by the seller, but it may also be paid by the buyer. Make sure you know if you’re responsible for paying, and how much it’s going to cost before you buy.
Do You Have Enough Money Upfront?
It is always important to consider your down payment before buying a home, no matter where that home is. However, there are some unique considerations if the home you want to purchase is in Florida.
Because Florida is a beautiful place where many people want to live and vacation, it isn’t uncommon for buyers to have a difficult time finding private mortgage insurance for conventional loans. That means you may have to pay a hefty down payment. Not to mention, you may have to worry about title insurance and higher closing costs as well. It’s important to make sure you have more than enough cash saved up before you buy.
You aren’t alone if buying a vacation home in Florida is a dream of yours. Just don’t let that dream disappoint you by jumping in too soon. Consider these tips before you purchase your property to ensure it is the right choice for you and your family.