Question Info on moving to South FL

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NothingClever

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I’m up in Tampa so I might not be a relevant source of purchase info but I’ve lived with three different Florida HOAs since 2011.

Although my HOA annoys me and all my neighbors with the periodic notices about palm trees needing a trim, the driveway needs to be pressure washed or a wheelie bin was left out, in the end I don’t mind them.

They don’t charge egregious fees.

I can park my cargo van (for SCUBA diving and track motorcycle weekends) in the driveway whereas some HOAs prohibit any service type vehicle.

The gate guards keep out the random solicitors.

The community center staff is friendly and the facilities are nice.

My wife trained on SCUBA in the community center pool. Other HOAs won’t allow this.

Everybody’s lawn looks pretty decent.

The landscaping on entry is tidy and always fresh.

I DO appreciate the Christmas decorations and the flags on national holidays. Maybe I’m a boring and stodgy citizen but I’ve spent my teenage and adult life appreciating other cultures and their traditions and so I find nothing wrong with enjoying a community where the HOA celebrates American traditions (even if totally diluted so as not to offend some itty-bitty special interest group).
 

deeper thoughts

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Oh yes, "HOA" fees down in south Florida can be ridiculous. Eventually you come to realize that "HOA" in many cases is actually just the neighborhood developer's code for "secret rent", that there is no actual homeowners association per se, and that most of your fees are siphoned off as somebody else's profit and do not get churned back into the neighborhood. It's pretty scummy.

So, always closely check for HOA and other monthly/annual fees. Expect them to be there, but possibly hidden and/or difficult to find.

Often times, a pretty great house will stay listed for weeks and you can't figure out why nobody has purchased it. But drilling down into the details, there will be something like a $700 monthly "HOA fee" stashed in the fine print. Bleah.
Our friends live in a 55 and over community in pt st lucie.
They absolutely love it and it is a reasonable drive for some to dive from jupiter to the keys
 

DanBMW

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A lot of good advise above and here is my 0.02..... At 26, I would hesitate to put down roots by purchasing a home, unless you know you will be in the area for at least 4-6 years, have a great job, are married with/and or have plans kids. Some can make money in real estate, but most don't. There is a loaded or caring cost of all properties that gets ignored like taxes, insurance maintenance and buying/selling costs. Rent for a while first.
 

NothingClever

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I am 26….

@markbmullins

Duh….I didn’t read your post closely enough to see that you shared your age.

I agree with @DanBMW . I’d steer clear of buying right now.

I’m going to make an assumption that you’re still single and answer your question with that in mind.

Book a small hotel in Lauderdale by the Sea, the shore diving capitol of Florida. You can get a hip little place for a week at something like $90 a night.

Rent a scooter and just go cruise up and down A1A to get to the know the area. Get off A1A and head west along major roads to get to know those areas, also.

Use Zillow to find places that interest you and go check them out.

I’d focus on renting a condo. If you want to live ”on the water”, I think views towards the intracoastal waterway will be cheaper than views of the Atlantic. Sunrise or sunset - both are beautiful views.

You might consider checking in with Aqui Water Sports. Both owners (Landon and Ryan) live in the area, are fully invested in shore and boat diving and will give you a good local analysis of areas they’d choose to live.

If you don’t fancy the area, during your stay you’ll figure out the next focal point for the next reconnaissance trip.

Don’t wreck the scooter while rubber-necking at the parade of gorgeous young ladies milling about on A1A.
 

archman

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I'm starting to wonder if the housing market is pricing itself into another artificial bubble that will soon pop.

Most all of the listed homes around me are running at least 25% higher than they were compared to just last year. One of my neighbors is moving, and she just listed her home for nearly *double* the expected price for a house that size and in our area. I don't know if anyone is nuts enough to buy a home at that price, but the fact that the house is being listed at that price is saying a lot about how ridiculous the homebuying market is becoming.
 
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markbmullins

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Appreciate the advice everyone. As for those saying not to purchase a home, I already own a home in Charleston, and the housing bubble has given me roughly 80k in equity in the past two years.

As for condos, I have looked into them, but the regime fees on top of the purchase price feels like throwing away money. I think I will hold off on making any decisions for at least one more year, but it's looking more and more like I will end up slightly more north, maybe in the West Palm/Jupiter area.
 
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markbmullins

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You might consider checking in with Aqui Water Sports. Both owners (Landon and Ryan) live in the area, are fully invested in shore and boat diving and will give you a good local analysis of areas they’d choose to live.

Ryan is a great guy, he hooked me up with my XDeep bp/w. I might have to reach out to him for advice on the area too. Thanks for the shout.
 

NothingClever

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I'm starting to wonder if the housing market is pricing itself into another artificial bubble that will soon pop.

Most all of the listed homes around me are running at least 25% higher than they were compared to just last year. One of my neighbors is moving, and she just listed her home for nearly *double* the expected price for a house that size and in our area. I don't know if anyone is nuts enough to buy a home at that price, but the fact that the house is being listed at that price is saying a lot about how ridiculous the homebuying market is becoming.

Yeah, this is what I’m thinking. My wife keeps reminding me our house has appreciated $100k in the past two years. I just don’t buy it. My neighbor across the street is a new real estate agent (but in his 50s) and he enthusiastically asserts the market is not false but his enthusiasm seems more emotion based than analytical. I concur it’s a seller’s market in Florida but unless I’m moving to Dogpatch, I’m not sure I‘d come out ahead if we were to sell and move down to Sarasota, Naples or over to the other side to Stuart, Jupiter, WPB or Boca Raton.
 

Divin'Papaw

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I concur it’s a seller’s market in Florida but unless I’m moving to Dogpatch, I’m not sure I‘d come out ahead if we were to sell and move down to Sarasota, Naples or over to the other side to Stuart, Jupiter, WPB or Boca Raton.

Exactly. All of those areas have appreciated just as much or more so you’d be at a net loss when you add in the cost to sell/move/buy.

When I look at our equity, given that this is our one and only abode, it’s really just a paper exercise. It’ll be our kids that benefit not us.
 

Ana

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Exactly. All of those areas have appreciated just as much or more so you’d be at a net loss when you add in the cost to sell/move/buy.

When I look at our equity, given that this is our one and only abode, it’s really just a paper exercise. It’ll be our kids that benefit not us.
I have similar feelings about our place. The plan is to go from here to the crematorium but you never know ... I told my 2 sons to not count on the place until they have our ashes in their hands, just in case either my husband or I need to go to an old farts home, there's a nice one right by the intracoastal not far south from us, I'm sure is stupid expensive but a house with ocean access should get us few years there.
 
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