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What do you think about Florida????
Old 07-22-2008, 09:50 AM   #1
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What do you think about Florida????

I live in Wisconsin, I have a summer home in the woods, that I want to keep, and nice home in a large city. I am going to retire in two years, both homes are paid for and I have the cash for another home. I want to sell my city home and move to Florida for the winter only. I have friends in Sebring and a few more interested in moving there also. I am looking at mobile homes, with owned land, I don't want to pay high land rental fees.

My questions are: Is now the best time to buy? Or should I wait until I get closer to retirement? Is the bottom here on realestate prices? Are they going to drop further?

I don't mind holding the mobile home for two years, the holding costs are very low, and I can pop in for a week or two in winter, for a get away. My friend wants us to fly down and he will take us around to show us homes and I can stay at his house as long as I need to. I also wondered if summer or winter was a better time to buy?

My thinking is the winters are nice, I could get a golf cart and put around. Have fruit trees and a garden. The area is close to shopping and doctors. I am 59 and so is my wife, we are both in good health and active.

I hate winters and the cost of heating is outrages. I love being outside putting around. No state tax in Florida, will pay my proterty tax, utilities, and insurances on both homes and then some. The property tax on a mobile home is very cheap.


Any insight you can offer will be well apprecitated and I thank you in advance.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:54 AM   #2
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Just as with stocks, it is difficult to time the bottom of the real estate downturn. But real estate in Florida has gone down quite a bit, from what I understand. I think that if I were in your shoes, I would consider buying this year.

Sounds like a great plan, for someone who prefers having two homes!
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:33 AM   #3
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Lynx, I lived in Florida in my thirties. Was glad to leave for Georgia---found I missed the change of seasons. It was an adjustment, though, to start paying state income taxes!

I'm no real estate maven, but it seems like prices are dirt cheap now. Just remember that homeowner's insurance, especially in the coastal areas, can be very high.

We have several members here from Florida who can provide you with more information, but I thought you would find this article interesting about the problems Florida has been experiencing:

Is Florida the Sunset State? - TIME
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:38 AM   #4
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Lynx, I lived in Florida in my thirties. Was glad to leave for Georgia---found I missed the change of seasons. It was an adjustment, though, to start paying state income taxes!

I'm no real estate maven, but it seems like prices are dirt cheap now. Just remember that homeowner's insurance, especially in the coastal areas, can be very high.

We have several members here from Florida who can provide you with more information, but I thought you would find this article interesting about the problems Florida has been experiencing:

Is Florida the Sunset State? - TIME
Wow!! After reading that, I am thinking maybe it would be best for lynxville to rent down there for a year or two before buying. Pretty sobering article.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:56 AM   #5
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lynxville, it sounds to me like you are thinking about buying a very inexpensive place in the subelt and that hopefully you have enough assets that the total purchase price is not a big deal to you. Assuming this is the case, I would at least go down to FL and take a look. If you start looking now, you should have time to get an idea of what you like and want in a location. That way you won't feel inclined to rush, since you have two years to find something.

As for insurance, if you find that premiums are ridiculous, you may wish to consider going naked if you can afford the loss. After all, moble homes aren't exactly all that expensive.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynxville View Post
I am looking at mobile homes, with owned land, I don't want to pay high land rental fees.

My questions are: Is now the best time to buy? Or should I wait until I get closer to retirement? Is the bottom here on realestate prices? Are they going to drop further?
[...]
I hate winters and the cost of heating is outrages. I love being outside putting around. No state tax in Florida, will pay my proterty tax, utilities, and insurances on both homes and then some. The property tax on a mobile home is very cheap.
I don't really relate to mobiles homes, so I can't comment on that lifestyle. Why not just buy a decent house (or condo) in FL instead?

FL real estate is very cheap now, as Want2retire said, and you never know when it's the absolute bottom. But, there are plenty of homes for sale in FL, and the sellers are negotiable.

While FL home prices are down, that is mostly because of the property taxes being particularly high. On top of that, there is a high cost of homeowner's insurance, due to the hurricanes.

Also, while heating bills are not an issue, there are high costs of air conditioning.

Overall, FL is a beautiful place to live, especially South FL in places like Boca Raton.

If I didn't already live in a place with even better weather and equal natural beauty, I'd consider going back to live in FL.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:07 AM   #7
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Well-written article - thx for the link.

Yes, FL does have its problems. The real question in my mind is when the situation gets so bad here that FL starts cutting muscle instead of fat. Fat = real estate speculators and the many sub-industries they spawned, bloated state and local government staffs, etc. Muscle = folks making a real contribution to the local economy / quality of life.

On the positive side, it's hard to worry about pending Armageddon when you can walk out of your condo in your shorts & t-shirt on a winter day while it's -25F in Minneapolis.

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Old 07-22-2008, 11:09 AM   #8
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On the positive side, it's hard to worry about pending Armageddon when you can walk out of your condo in your shorts & t-shirt on a winter day while it's -25F in Minneapolis.

-25... please, that's barely enough reason to put on a long-sleeve shirt.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:16 AM   #9
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I lived in Florida in my thirties. Was glad to leave for Georgia---found I missed the change of seasons.
My DW/me lived in Florida in the late '60's early '70's (military).

That's good, since we both found that we did not care for the "seasons" (hot, hotter, hottest ), and returned to our mid-Atlantic "home" after I was discharged and did not consider it as a place we would want to move to in retirement.

Many years later (especially with the "change in climate") we find that our home in PA is quite nice, thank you. While I understand that where we live would not be for most folks, the closeness to NYC/Phila, while living in the "country" is what we like. Additionally, we still do enjoy the "change in seasons" (normal ones! ).

Additionally, since PA does not tax my IRA distributions (nor locally taxed), it's a bit more tax friendly for retirees.

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Old 07-22-2008, 11:43 AM   #10
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bottom's a tough call. generally, i think we are either at or at least we can see bottom and i think some areas are below bottom. all depending on area and product.

my palm beach county property is in an excellent area which seems to have bottomed about 30% below peak. there are few buyers but those who do seem well-qualified. for that product (deepwater, single family) there are zero bank owned properties available and currently maybe less than five preforeclosures within miles north or south of mine so i don't expect prices to drop much lower but for the impatient few. based on past typical 20- & 30-year projections of normal appreciation rates, i'd say this area is now below where it should be, even with all the bottoming going around. but sales are, of course, very slow. only two houses have sold near mine this year (though there are not that many for sale). a new build directly on the icw a few blocks away got over $8mm & a nearby teardown got just over $1mm. back in the day, they likely would have gotten more than $11mm & about $1.5 respectively.

my friend who once was very nervous about his house (a few miles from me in fort lauderdale) has calmed down because he is finally seeing numerous sales go through. though, most of them are short sales and bank owned and the discounts are scary, as much as up to 40% off peak prices. it happens that his area had a lot of turn-over during the bubble and i believe that is reflected now in the pop. also you'll see an occasional 50% off, most likely reflective of a prior scam.

my area seems to be holding its own by florida standards. currently also down about 30% but in the end i expect it will fare not too badly because i believe most of our increases were created not so much by the bubble but by the complete change of character of our neighborhood which, while facilitated in part by the bubble, has nonetheless created permanent change & momentum by developing from a cracktown to an incredibly successful gayborhood. no more section 8 housing. no more drug rehab center. our mainstreet is busy every night until 2 in the morning. in-season this year was insane. two banks are getting ready to build on our mainstreet. we have a new shopping center. starbucks is keeping this store open, even wth two other coffee shops within walking distance from them.

some of the new condos & townhouses here can be had at very good prices. single family is cheaper than it was. during peak there was not a single family house for sale under $300k. today (checking right now) there are two under $200k and 12 under $300k out of the approx 52 total for sale here.

though i haven't yet confirmed, i'm told my neighbor cattycorner from the front of my house just got his asking price of $679k in, i think, less than 4 months. he had bought a dilapidated structure in 2001 for $150k and, being a talented carpenter (who redid the interior of my house), built a 2,800sf magnificant gated home of it.

i don't yet know if that sales figure is correct though i do know he had previously refused $550k. the neighbor directly across from me was asking $799k, supposedly just got a contract but the house wouldn't appraise. he rebuilt the 1950s structure and added to make 3,000 sq with pool and it truly is a work of art. but i believe he is going to lose his decorator butt on the project. likely he would have gotten over $1.1mm in the day, but that day is done.

other areas like miami beach are probably at bottom because it is still a very desirable place to live and lots of international types invest there even now. however, places like miami downtown with the extreme overbuild of condo units likely will continue to see prices drop further.

inland properties are a tough call for me as i don't live there. i understand from what i've read that inland areas which gained much value during the boom should fall even harder during the bust because they don't have the natural draw that coastal areas command. i do know that's true for coastal areas which never should have risen as high as our coastal metropolitan areas in the first place, areas like port st. lucie and cape coral. so i suspect that inland areas and those coastal areas without even an international airport might suffer a bit longer than previously established, tourist-drawing destinations.

florida in general rose about the fastest and the farthest and subsequently fell the soonest and the hardest. i've read some economists interpret that to mean that we should be one of the first to recover. but that will be tempered by our property taxes (which seeem to finally be coming under some measures of control), insurance costs (they rip us off even on liability & auto, never mind wind) and population growth (we can't truly recover until other areas recover so they can sell and buy here).

the general economy in florida is gloomy for the next year but optimistic into the long-term future. we just lost more jobs than anywhere else in the nation (though probably much of that was, as to be expected, construction-related).

so i don't know if this is at all insightful, but speaking as a deputy representative of the florida chamber of commerce, with two houses of my own to sell, i'd say now is the perfect time to buy in florida. as bob barker used to say "come on down!" the price is right.

(as to the sunset state article. out of one side of the guys face he claims we are not pouring enough money into the everglades, out of the other side of his face he claims florida will sink into the sea. very well balanced--not, i'd say.)
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:06 PM   #11
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I agree with Lazy . I'm starting to see life in the realestate market and it's a great time to buy a condo or a house . I would not buy a mobile home in Florida . You might as well take that money and flush it down the toilet . I 've seen mobile homes get damaged in even small storms and they are pretty much uninsurable so you would probably have to self insure . Every time there is any storm they are the first to be evacuated so some residents spend a lot of time in the shelters .They do have some nice social activities but so do most condos & developments .
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:06 PM   #12
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Too humid, too flat, too many hurricanes and only one season (unless you count 'hurricane season' and 'non-hurricane season' as two).
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:56 PM   #13
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Too humid, too flat, too many hurricanes and only one season (unless you count 'hurricane season' and 'non-hurricane season' as two).
oh really. well, let's review current conditions, shall we?

fort lauderdale fl 89 degrees 63% humidity
tampa 84 degrees 70% humidity
jacksonville 89 degrees 57% humidity

dallas 95 degrees 37% humidity
galveston 80 degress 85% humidity
houston 90 degrees 59% humidity
brownsville 87 degress 65% humidity

hello dolly

(hoping the folks in texas do not get hurt.)

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Old 07-22-2008, 01:01 PM   #14
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Yeah, but the thing is, it's only *coastal* Texas that has the Florida stickiness and humidity. There's a reason why I left Houston for the Hill Country as soon as I could.

Dolly looks like it'll only be a cat 1 when it hits. If it stays there, I'm sure the folks it hits will, by and large, appreciate the rain that it looks like we're not going to get now here in parched Central Texas.

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Florida
Old 07-22-2008, 04:46 PM   #15
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Florida

We lived in S FL for 2 yrs and now 2 yrs in N FL (Jax)....All 4 corners of FL and the center, Orlando are very different. We love it all...the weather is outstanding. I feel your winter pain....my son lives in Milwaukee. The heat and humidity is overstated by most...highs usually in the low 90's, winters are EXCELLENT. In Jax we had 3 days to freezing the last 2 yrs....never in S FL.
I would recommend that you spend some time in the different parts of FL, renting until you decide where to buy....SW is more laid back, but expensive, Miami...high energy, diverse and crowded. NE has some seasons but still great weather. I like the 100 mile range north of West Palm on the beach.
Good luck.
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:21 PM   #16
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oh really. well, let's review current conditions, shall we?

fort lauderdale fl 89 degrees 63% humidity
tampa 84 degrees 70% humidity
jacksonville 89 degrees 57% humidity

dallas 95 degrees 37% humidity
galveston 80 degress 85% humidity
houston 90 degrees 59% humidity
brownsville 87 degress 65% humidity
Geez.... 79 F, 40% humidity, and it's way too hot and humid (mostly too humid) for me. I suppose it's easier to justify a pool down south, though, and that must provide some escape.
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:06 PM   #17
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Several tips:

-ignore "advice" from folks who have never lived here (no disrespect intended, but the quality of such advice is "variable")

-Florida is like a whole country it is so big and diverse. More or less, you get what you pay for. If you pay only to be in warm weather, that's all you'll get. If you want more you pay for it.

-We find the weather to be mostly spectacular, but then again we enjoy sultry months as well as the milder winter months.

- housing market timing is risky, but DW is a realtor and her business has soared in the last 2 months. I wouldn't personally put off purchasing if the decision is otherwise right.
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:09 PM   #18
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Geez.... 79 F, 40% humidity, and it's way too hot and humid (mostly too humid) for me. I suppose it's easier to justify a pool down south, though, and that must provide some escape.
Yes, they have this newfangled technology called "air conditioning" -- all the rage. It's a little like furnaces up north

But seriously, looking at 79 and 40% and calling it way too hot, well how do you describe 8 degrees up north

Let's just agree that it's all subjective. It's all good.
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:27 PM   #19
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. I have friends in Sebring and a few more interested in moving there also.
May I ask you why Sebring ? I've lived in Florida for 13 years and it really is pretty diverse so you need to think about what you want . If all you want is nice weather anywhere may fit but if you want some decent amenities Sebring may not be a good fit . I second the opinion to visit different area of the state and see what you like .
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:01 PM   #20
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Yes, they have this newfangled technology called "air conditioning" -- all the rage. It's a little like furnaces up north
Yes, but that's hard to take with me "outdoors". Although, I hear they're working on it.

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But seriously, looking at 79 and 40% and calling it way too hot, well how do you describe 8 degrees up north
Oh, you mean March, when it's finally warm enough to put a jacket on and put the parka in storage.

Actually, today is pretty decent with some wind and shade. I'll manage. Enough hijacking, continue on.
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