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Old 11-16-2018, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Gainesville, FL; formerly Weston, FL
1,161 posts, read 1,219,030 times
Reputation: 1322

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Gainesvile is low-key; we moved up here from SFLA 3 years ago so that's my comparison. Slower traffic, very friendly people. We bought in a suburb west of I-75 on a third of an acre for $300k, nearly 2200 sqft. Compared to SFLA the COL is so affordable. My husband was able to retire and I work out of the home and we easily save $1000 a month, and still have money for extras.

Students control the eastern half of the city. More petty crime there too. The western half is primarily families and retirees. We visit Jacksonville Beach and St. Augustine beach fairly regularly in spring and summer. It's a 90 minute drive and we make it a nice weekend with an overnight (or 2) stay.

Lots of springs to the north of the city too. It's an outdoorsy, fitness oriented town. The healthcare and vet care is out of this world. The better schools also are on the west side of town, although Eastside HS has a highly regarded I.B. Program, and some of my neighbors have sent their teenagers there.

Good luck in your search! We love Charleston too and I wouldn't mind a report back from you as a comparison. I think COI would be lower here but not entirely sure.

As for rentals, you might find something for the summer here. I'd even look at Extended Stay type hotels, no matter where you wind up. Good idea to rent first--we rented for about 18 months and glad we did.
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:11 PM
 
2,150 posts, read 3,298,637 times
Reputation: 3119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeens84 View Post
Well we do love the heat and the water and the beach , we have friends in middleburg and st Pete. The friends in middlebur, They have similar thought process to you. And I have to say it makes sense. Honestly we just hoped we could avoid evacuation and minimize our risks for a total wipe out of our home if we live
On the coast in a wood frame house. We worried about flooding from the river and waterway if a hurricane like Florence or Harvey cane andndumped a Ton of water on the area. After research the higher elevation of areas like lake county / Seminole county seem to be fairly safe from flooding (except Orlando) and our hope was to build a cat 5 house. But you would win my wife over in a heartbeat with your points. Thank you for your great perspective.
Buy a lot in Neptune or Atlantic Beach, and hire an ICF builder to build your house. I would favor Neptune Beach, since they rebuilt the dunes from the last hurricane, but Atlantic Beach has not.

We stayed for the last 2 hurricanes (4 blocks from the ocean) and we didn't get any flooding other than the normal water in the streets like you'd get from a heavy thunderstorm.

SS
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Old 11-16-2018, 04:44 PM
 
80 posts, read 62,914 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShakenStirred View Post
Buy a lot in Neptune or Atlantic Beach, and hire an ICF builder to build your house. I would favor Neptune Beach, since they rebuilt the dunes from the last hurricane, but Atlantic Beach has not.

We stayed for the last 2 hurricanes (4 blocks from the ocean) and we didn't get any flooding other than the normal water in the streets like you'd get from a heavy thunderstorm.

SS
Shaken I have followed some amazingly informative posts that you’ve provided. Do you feel the ICF builders in the area are actually educated like the builders of times past and can deliver on quality products like they advertise? I haven’t seen a lot of ICFs for sale. I’ve done extension research on the major builders in the industry like weekly, Lennar, pulte, Dr Horton, and so on and we actually rented a few in the Charleston Sc market. In my searches I’ve been trying to find a custom builder who won’t mind to ease my paranoia . I know we can just leave and evacuate but I want to come back to a house if there’s a hurricane or even tornado. I’ll do some research on Neptune. Safety and good schools are on my list . Thanks for your recommendations !
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Old 11-16-2018, 07:15 PM
 
1,073 posts, read 1,370,900 times
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I think ICF is great if you live directly on the beach in a surge zone. There was a ICF home in Mexico Beach built to a 250mph standard and breakaway walls for surge and it barely had any damage at all while the entire block around it was demolished.

But for an inland location that's CRAZY OVERKILL and wasted money. All you need is a builder to put in some upgrades to give you piece of mind. Hip Shape Roof, Metal no shingles, concrete block, impact windows and build to the Miami-Dade code which is 180mph. Basically, they can build you a solid house to meet the code in Miami and it'll be way stronger than anything required in North Florida and save you lots of money over ICF.

If you are really paranoid about Hurricanes, Gainesville is a much safer location since it is well inland away from surge and the strongest winds. Any hurricane over Gainesville has travelled 50+ miles inland already and lost a lot of its punch. Like wizrap said, there are lots of natural springs, rivers, top notch medical, schools, activites surrounding UF. You can easily build a nice new home on acreage well within your budget on the outskirts of town. Check out towns like Alachua, Archer, High Springs, Micanaopy for land. They are all within 20-30 minutes of Gainesville.
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Old 11-17-2018, 06:02 AM
 
22,948 posts, read 34,122,306 times
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I wouldn't overlook Nassau County, north of Jacksonville. If looking for larger lots check out Yulee, which is to the west of Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island. You won't lose so much in school quality either as Nassau County has risen to the top of the district rankings (if you exempt the FSU Lab Schools), actually ranking higher than St John's County in 2018 on Schooldigger. https://www.schooldigger.com/go/FL/search.aspx You'll find many nice home options too, well within your budget. https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sal...15_rect/12_zm/
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Old 11-17-2018, 07:16 PM
 
80 posts, read 62,914 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
I wouldn't overlook Nassau County, north of Jacksonville. If looking for larger lots check out Yulee, which is to the west of Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island. You won't lose so much in school quality either as Nassau County has risen to the top of the district rankings (if you exempt the FSU Lab Schools), actually ranking higher than St John's County in 2018 on Schooldigger. https://www.schooldigger.com/go/FL/search.aspx You'll find many nice home options too, well within your budget. https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sal...15_rect/12_zm/
Thank you for directing my attention to Nassau county. No one has ever mentioned this to me. We will definitely put this on our radar . I’m trying to look at the elevation for the yulee area. Seems like it could be susceptible to flooding similar to what new bern in nc faced due to the rivers and waterways . Fernandina schools look really good. We probably can’t afford the private schools but they look good as well. Seems like less hustle and bustle up there. Thank you!
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Old 11-17-2018, 07:19 PM
 
80 posts, read 62,914 times
Reputation: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by logybogy View Post
I think ICF is great if you live directly on the beach in a surge zone. There was a ICF home in Mexico Beach built to a 250mph standard and breakaway walls for surge and it barely had any damage at all while the entire block around it was demolished.

But for an inland location that's CRAZY OVERKILL and wasted money. All you need is a builder to put in some upgrades to give you piece of mind. Hip Shape Roof, Metal no shingles, concrete block, impact windows and build to the Miami-Dade code which is 180mph. Basically, they can build you a solid house to meet the code in Miami and it'll be way stronger than anything required in North Florida and save you lots of money over ICF.

If you are really paranoid about Hurricanes, Gainesville is a much safer location since it is well inland away from surge and the strongest winds. Any hurricane over Gainesville has travelled 50+ miles inland already and lost a lot of its punch. Like wizrap said, there are lots of natural springs, rivers, top notch medical, schools, activites surrounding UF. You can easily build a nice new home on acreage well within your budget on the outskirts of town. Check out towns like Alachua, Archer, High Springs, Micanaopy for land. They are all within 20-30 minutes of Gainesville.
Thank you for the perspective. I appreciate these great points. Our first stay is going to be a couple of months in St. John’s county and I’m afraid we won’t want to leave if we go there first. We were thinking of maybe hitting Gainesville first . We may have ruled out Orlando based on my reading. We have a while to decide on a builder or buying, we are going to rent for a year or so. Thank you again!
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Old 11-18-2018, 07:54 AM
 
22,948 posts, read 34,122,306 times
Reputation: 22667
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeens84 View Post
Thank you for directing my attention to Nassau county. No one has ever mentioned this to me. We will definitely put this on our radar . I’m trying to look at the elevation for the yulee area. Seems like it could be susceptible to flooding similar to what new bern in nc faced due to the rivers and waterways . Fernandina schools look really good. We probably can’t afford the private schools but they look good as well. Seems like less hustle and bustle up there. Thank you!
Most of Yulee is not susceptible to flooding as it sits at or around 36 feet in elevation. The area is a good bit less hustle and bustle/over-development minus the trade offs of better schools and nice neighborhoods, so well worth a good look in my opinion.
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Old 11-18-2018, 09:22 AM
 
Location: PVB
4,489 posts, read 2,436,957 times
Reputation: 5042
The OP has the right idea to rent. Price appreciation has slowed dramatically in the last year due to the mortgage rate increases. Best to live in the area and get a feel for it before deciding where to settle. Welcome to the First Coast.
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Old 11-18-2018, 05:40 PM
 
1,073 posts, read 1,370,900 times
Reputation: 1466
Quote:
Thank you for the perspective. I appreciate these great points. Our first stay is going to be a couple of months in St. John’s county and I’m afraid we won’t want to leave if we go there first. We were thinking of maybe hitting Gainesville first . We may have ruled out Orlando based on my reading. We have a while to decide on a builder or buying, we are going to rent for a year or so. Thank you again!

Have you visited any of these areas or you are just looking for ideas on the internet? Before you make plans to rent, take a week or two and just visit and drive around Florida to scout locations. Gainesville really isn't that big. You can spend a few days in the area and drive around with a realtor and know pretty easily if this is a place you will be interested in or not.
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