Any non gated community in Florida safe enough to leave doors unlocked? (Jacksonville: buying, construction)
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Thanks for all the varied responses. We are in our late 30's, have 2 kids a 5 year old staring K in the fall, and an 18 month old. My husband is a licensed general Contractor here in Hawaii, and will be applying for his license in Florida. (I know this is a dismal profession right now, it is here too.) My husband is first a surfer always then a dad, husband, contractor etc.. so being within a 20-30 minute drive to surf is a must. We're not wealthy but after cashing out our house will have about 160,000 to get us started. We'd like to buy a simple house 100,000 or less so we have excess cash on hand. We figure we'll narrow it down to where we THINK we want to live, rent first, get a feel for the area, then decide if it's right for us and if we want to buy. I've been thinking about working on getting teacher's license, have a bachelor's in English/Spanish. Maybe try substituting frist to see if it's right for me. We are earthy people, i'd rather play in the dirt in my garden and have a few egg laying chickens than live in a fancy house in a gated community. We like rural areas, but common sense dictates that for construction purposes we'll need to be within 30-40 minute drive to areas of wealth in South Florida. So we've sort of narrowed it down to somewhere in the south east area of Florida. We don't need amenities other than a surfing beach within a 20-30 minute drive. I surf too, but it's not as important to me as it is to my husband. We like to hike, but with wee little ones, that makes me nervous in Florida with all the critters. We are spoiled here in Hawaii to have no snakes, or any predators other than sharks. I guess that maybe sums us up a bit.
Our main reasons for leaving Hawaii, we've been here 16 years now and love it, but the economy has tanked and there are no good public schools on our island. In fact all but 2 are failing NCLB schools. When things were good we thought we'd have the option of sending our son to private school , but that is no longer an option. Housing is still ridiculous here even after the bust. For the crummiest house in the crummiest neighborhood, it's still over 200,000. We are one of the few blessed to have a very small mortgage and lots of equity in our house when we do sell. With that equity we wouldn't be able to buy anything here without carrying a mortgage, but could buy something outright and be mortgage free in Florida. I have family in MI, and family in Boca Raton so I would be a lot closer to them than we are now. Holidays are tough and now as a family of four we can't afford to fly to MI on say Christmas, but from Florida it would be roughly a 2 hour flight as opposed to the 15 hours it takes now. probably more information than you all needed to know, but hope this helps. I used to work for Delta Airlines prior to be laid off in Maui, and did see they were hiring in West Palm Beach, so I applied there, we'll see what happens with that. Thanks everyone for all your help. Angela
If you are looking to move to anywhere near Boca Raton you will find it quite difficult to buy a single family home for under $100K. I would not recommend leaving your doors unlocked anywhere in Palm Beach County. You can probably find a 1BR condo in Bocal for $100K.
We're not interested in living in Boca Raton, but would like to be within a 30 minute drive or less from Palm Beach County areas. Thanks! Angela
You can probably find 3 bedroom homes in the low $100,000's in Martin and Saint Lucie Counties.
A just did a quick search and found the following listings:
**** Spacious 3 Bed/2 Bath Single Family Home in Port St Lucie! (http://treasure.craigslist.org/reb/1600619500.html - broken link)
AWESOME NEWER 4 BEDROOM HOME (http://treasure.craigslist.org/reo/1598841583.html - broken link)
-3/2/1-Inground Heated Pool-Fence-Not a short sale (http://treasure.craigslist.org/reb/1598313281.html - broken link)
Investor opportunity. (http://treasure.craigslist.org/reb/1590395577.html - broken link)
Remodeled 3bed/2bath Home For Sale or Rent to Own-PSL (http://treasure.craigslist.org/reb/1594574014.html - broken link)
I believe these are all about a 30-minute drive to Palm Beach County. I doubt you will find anything in decent neighborhoods for under $100,000 IN Palm Beach County itself unless you are open to living in a 2 bedroom condo with no private yard/garden area.
We left our doors unlocked frequently in Winter Park....however it was NEVER intentional. Someone went out the door and neglected to relock it. We never had a problem but I wouldn't advise doing it intentionally.
100k won't get you much in PBC as far as neighborhoods that you can "leave your doors unlocked". Which for most people in South Florida isn't highly recommended even in the nicest of neighborhoods. Not that it's a bad area, you just never know who's roaming around.
Theres a few areas in West Boynton/Lake Worth that would work for you in the low 100's especially if you have the time and patience for a short sale. An overall safer bet would be to put 80k down and finance a small mortgage so you can get something a little nicer. This would leave you 80k to make the payments if times ever got tough.
This area is also known for having high rated schools.
I would say finding a 6 month rental would be your best starting point and then figuring out which area you would like to live in.
If you have kids, you need to have your doors locked - always, period. Why risk it? How bad would you feel if something happened? There was a horrific story recently from New Hampshire of all places about some teens who targeted a house and broke in at night. Things can happen anywhere, anytime these days.
I am a stay at home mom here in Georgia and I keep the doors locked even when we are home. I also never open the door during the day if someone knocks.
I grew up in Central FL and hope to move back this summer. When I called a former co-worker, she mentioned that one of her friends had her car stolen from the driveway on a Sunday night. I also know someone who had a laptop stolen from their car in the driveway. I don't know if either of these people had their car doors locked, but even if they didn't, that would mean predators are walking the sidewalks, mere feet from your house, trying doors until they find one that opens.
We plan on getting a home alarm when we move back to FL (we had one there before but don't have one now). I mainly want it so we would have an alert if someone tried to break in at night. We also have 2 small dogs that would bark.
One thing I would worry about is the possibility that lower priced homes can lead to increased crime in a neighborhood. Very low prices leads to more rentals and more residents and owners who may be more unstable. (ie a neighborhood with $90k homes would have more crime then one with $300k homes)
Maybe we are all focusing on the comment of leaving the doors unlocked, rather than what is a safe community in FL to raise a family. The reality is with the $100,000 housing allowance the areas of purchase are going to be restricted. Than wanting to live 30 miles from PBC creates another hurdle.
But at least you are narrowing down your area. At this point I would hit some of the real estate sites for St. Lucie and Martin Co. and see was is available. Tradition is a nice area, but I don't know the price of the property. Once you start finding homes in your price range, check police and crime reports for that area. Finally come back to the site and ask people about this community or that.
Why in god's name would you strive to NOT lock your doors? Or better yet, with kids?
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