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Old 07-13-2009, 12:48 PM
 
7 posts, read 44,658 times
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My wife and I have been doing extensive research trying to find an area of Florida suited to our needs and interests. We're in our early 50's, currently living in a rural town in Maine, and live a fairly simple lifestyle. We're looking at Florida as we're tired of the cold, snow, worrying about our heating needs 3/4 of the year, and just the lack of friendliness we've encountered where we're currently at. Although originally from New England, we've lived in several different states to include Texas, Virginia, and North Carolina. So we've experienced extreme heat and humidity, cultural differences, etc. The Brooksville/Royal Highlands/Weeki Wachee area appeals to us as it seems a little off the beaten path, offers some nice properties for sale at very reasonable prices, yet isn't far from amenities such as shopping, restaurants, and beaches. Taxes for many of the properties we've researched are about on par with what we pay for taxes here in Maine. We do have some concerns however which I'm hoping we can find some answers to (and although we've looked at older threads, we were hoping for some updated information).
1. Firstly, can anyone provide some actual figures on what insurance costs are running in this area? We'd be looking at purchasing a home between 1500 to 2000sf, hopefully with a pool (or we'd put one in), on around 1/2 to 1 acre lot.
2. I've read alot about the crime in the Spring Hill area, and although it doesn't seem much worse to me than many other cities of it's size, I'm curious if the crime rate is less in the Royal Highlands/Weeki Wachee/Brooksville area.
3. I know sinkholes are an issue in Hernando County. I've read they are less prevalent north and east of Spring Hill. Is this true?

Any input on the above questions would be most appreciated. My wife and I aren't expecting that we're moving to utopia, but we're hoping Florida will be a nice place for us to settle and call home. Please, no Florida bashers. I know a lot of people have been hurt by the bursting real estate bubble and rising taxes and insurance rates. And although we'll both need to work, she is in the medical profession so should be able to find a job, and I plan on transferring with a major home improvement retailer.

Thanks for your feedback!
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Hernando County, FL
8,488 posts, read 17,932,473 times
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I am right across US 19 from Royal Highlands. Some of the prices you see will be short sale prices and some are foreclosures.
The area was hard hit by investors but that makes the bargains better for the current buyers.

There has been a slight spike in crime lately just so you are aware but the majority is break ins to foreclosure homes where they have been stealing appliances. I have not heard much about other homes getting broken into. The crime rate is definitely lower in the Highlands and as I stated it is mostly the vacant homes being broken into. There have been some grow houses also but I haven't heard of any recently being caught.

Insurance for a newer home between 1500-2000 sq ft will run about $1500-$1700 (maybe a little less) and that is with the comprehensive sinkhole insurance. If you went with the catastrophic coverage which does not cover as much you will get down around $750-$900.

Sinkholes will still occur here and there in the Highlands but once again they are not as prevalent as in Spring Hill and further south into Pasco.

As far as work, just south on S.R. 50 are a slew of medical offices as well as Oak Hill Hospital, the new Brooksville Hospital is not far either and then about 25 minutes south is the Bayonet Point Medical Center. If the home improvement retailer is Lowes or Home Depot they are right across from each other about 4 miles south of U.S. 19 and S.R. 50

Just let me know if you have any other questions. I know The Royal Highlands pretty well.

Last edited by faithfulFrank; 05-20-2010 at 01:21 PM..
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:17 PM
 
7 posts, read 44,658 times
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Thanks for the insight Mike! Sounds like homeowners insurance will be about the same or just a bit more than I pay now. From what I've read, Florida is no more expensive (and maybe even a little cheaper) than Maine. Add in the cost of heating fuel and I think Maine is actually quite a bit more expensive.
I'm not surprised about the grow houses and vandalism. That seems to prevail in several areas of Florida that have suffered from the economic downturn.
My wife and I are looking forward to coming to Florida in September to check out the Royal Highlands area. If it appeals like we hope it will, we might try to make our move next spring.
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Hernando County, FL
8,488 posts, read 17,932,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rural-Maine View Post
Thanks for the insight Mike! Sounds like homeowners insurance will be about the same or just a bit more than I pay now. From what I've read, Florida is no more expensive (and maybe even a little cheaper) than Maine. Add in the cost of heating fuel and I think Maine is actually quite a bit more expensive.
I'm not surprised about the grow houses and vandalism. That seems to prevail in several areas of Florida that have suffered from the economic downturn.
My wife and I are looking forward to coming to Florida in September to check out the Royal Highlands area. If it appeals like we hope it will, we might try to make our move next spring.
I am originally from NYC and moved down here 19 years ago. I traveled around Florida quite a bit to find the right area for me and this is where I built my home.

My electric bill last month was $167 for a 2500 sq ft house though I admit I like it warmer than many people. If you have a newer home here about 2000 sq ft you should expect about $150-$200 a month electric in the summer going down to about $100 in the winter. Maybe lower, I get to around $85 in the winter.

If you have any questions just let me know.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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The utilities here in Maine are expensive. My wife and I are very careful with our energy use and still have a hard time breaking the $100 barrier with our electric bill. It typically runs about $100 in the summer and $150-180 in the winter. Between oil and pellet fuel (we have a pellet burning stove for heat in addition to an oil furnace) heating runs about $2000+ a year the past 2 winters we've been in Maine. So $100-200 per month electric bill that includes cooling and heating would be great!
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Full time in the RV
2,867 posts, read 6,403,332 times
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Rural-Maine:Keep in mind if you have a pool the pump will cost you extra $$ in electric costs.
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Hernando County, FL
8,488 posts, read 17,932,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMD3819 View Post
Rural-Maine:Keep in mind if you have a pool the pump will cost you extra $$ in electric costs.
I was figuring in a pool since he mentioned he would want one and I do have one that runs 6-8 hrs a day depending upon the season.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:57 AM
 
7 posts, read 44,658 times
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Yeah, we've had a total of 5 pools (currently in our 12th house.... we've moved around a bit!) and they do indeed add to the electric bill, probably more so down there as it needs to be run more. Here in Maine I only run the pool about 6 hours every other day and it adds about $15 on to the bill.
Another question that comes to mind though, I've seen some threads talking about the pros and cons of a pool screen. Are the mosquitos bad in that area, and would a screen be advantageous? I've seen posts mentioning $10 - 15K for a good pool screen. Are they really that expensive?
Although I hope to find a home with a pool already, I'm going to check on pool install prices as I assume they've gone up from when I last had an inground put in, about 15 years ago in North Carolina.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:26 AM
 
Location: Hernando County, FL
8,488 posts, read 17,932,473 times
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You will definitely want a screen enclosure. Not only for bugs but for debris. You can get a decent size pool with screen enclosure for about $21,000 total.

I went with the bells and whistles, heater(which I never use), salt system, waterfall, pavers instead of cool deck, increased the size of the enclosure and mine ran $39,000.
That $39,000 was when things were busy so the price would be lower now.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Florida
244 posts, read 614,441 times
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Just wanted to add that if you're not comfortable living off a lime rock road, Royal Highlands may not be for you. While the occasional road is paved, the majority of Highlands is not. Hubby and I decided to drive around one day to see if we could live with it. It was a decided no for us. As we are driving by this guy mowing his lawn, some guy is a jacked up truck flew by and "sprayed" him with limerock. I can't imagine that is good for your lungs? I was just just thinking about how dirty a pool would get, although I noticed many people had their pools "walled" in.

I'm sure one day they will pave the area(at the home owners expense). We liked the size of the lots and the privacy, the lime rock in the gas tank just killed it for us.

Good luck with your decision!
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