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Old 10-31-2006, 05:47 PM
 
432 posts, read 1,761,474 times
Reputation: 135

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Hi everyone,

I am originally from Miami and have lived in NYC/northern NJ for many years. I am looking to return to FLa and leave this nasty north behind next year when my youngest graduates. I don't think I can live in Miami again - I love to visit there, but it has gotten crowded and expensive. I like the area in Navarre/Ft Walton and wondered what "real life" is like there. Sure you have great beaches and your schools have a good reputation - but how much traffic is there? What are property taxes like? Realistically, what am I looking at for homeowners insurance? How bad is the corruption in local government? Are there good people?

I don't commute, I work out of a home office, so I am just looking for a place where the traffic is not as conjested as it is on side streets in north Jersey.

I live in a racially, ethnically, and generationally mixed area and really like that. I have to be close to a beach, but not necessarily on the water. So tell me, what's it like year round?
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Old 10-31-2006, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Living in Paradise
5,702 posts, read 22,732,721 times
Reputation: 2996
Navarre and FWB are great locations in Northwest Florida and they have grown a bit. So let me answer your questions.


How much traffic is there? A lot, because 98 is our main route in the area. I live in Navarre work in FWB (15 miles) this is a 20 to 30 minute drive. But if you don't have to drive and can do your city visits outside the rush hours is no problem.



What are property taxes like? Property taxes are less than south Miami, but I would say that is a bit high. For a $200K you are paying $1,700.00 per year.


Realistically, what am I looking at for homeowners insurance? My home is valued at $250K and I pay $1,500 per year. No bad compare to other areas.

How bad is the corruption in local government? I lived in the area for 8 years and is not bad, not perfect but I can't remember corruption as a negative indicator.

Are there good people? This is a well integrated community. Most of us are in the military or retired, many senior folks, lots of students due to PJC and OWCC sites.

I don't commute, I work out of a home office, so I am just looking for a place where the traffic is not as conjested as it is on side streets in north Jersey. We don't have the NJ problem.

I live in a racially, ethnically, and generationally mixed area and really like that. This is a well diversified community from Pensacola to FWB.

I have to be close to a beach, but not necessarily on the water. The closer to the beach the more you paid for housing and insurance. I'm located 6 miles from the Gulf of Mexico by Navarre Beach.


So tell me, what's it like year round? Relax, is up to the person needs. Spring break is our most wild time of the year. Lots of people in the area. If you like the nigh life Destin has everything that you are looking for. Pensacola has all the music concerts and the historical town. FWB is developing the infrastructure to accomodate the tourist needs. Crestview is 30 miles north of FWB and is also growing to accomodate the aerospace industry.


Overall is a great place to live, visit the sites below:

http://www.santarosa.fl.gov/
http://www.co.okaloosa.fl.us/
http://www.co.escambia.fl.us/
http://www.co.walton.fl.us/default.asp?ID=2 (broken link)
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:30 AM
 
Location: in the southwest
13,394 posts, read 41,912,582 times
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cmsvmom
I live 2 and a half hours further down 98 from Sunrico. Gulf County.
They call our area the Forgotten Coast--for good reason.
My region is much as Sunrico describes his, except less traffic and amenities.
I have never seen such gorgeous beaches or incredible wildlife, and crime barely exists at all. OTOH, this is a two traffic-light town with little shopping and no movie theater. But things are coming along. It's still good ole boy here, but it won't be that way forever. People are goodhearted and helpful.

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Old 11-01-2006, 06:55 AM
 
432 posts, read 1,761,474 times
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Thank you both. Oh, those pictures.....just gorgeous. Love the white sand in that area.

I had been considering the "forgotten coast" but have not explored it as fully as I have the Pensacola area. I really like Navarre and FWB. I saw the traffic on 98 at rush hour and that's a definite negative. For me, I am more concerned about local traffic and density.

Right now I live in NJ. The homeowners insurance you quoted is high, but combined with the taxes it is less than half of what I pay overall. I have a 2 bedroom cape with no garage or carport on a 50x100 lot in northern nj. The house needs work, as many homes built in the 1940s do. The school system is lousy (getting better), the roads continually need repair, and I send my kids to private school where they are scholarshipped. The drive to the school each morning (4 miles one way) take 20 minutes on local roads and is a constant obstacle course with traffic and potholes. The cops, fire, sanitation are all really top notch and at these prices they should be. I pay 6700 in taxes, and 700 insurance. Around here, that is considered "good". When someone buys my house, they will likely knock it down and build a new one right up to the property line. The taxes will then double. So compared to here, even Miami looks good tax wise.

Corruption is a huge concern for me. This is likely to be my last move, and I don't want to be in a place where I am paying more every year for "public servants" to steal from me and my neighbors under the guise of "home rule". "Tony Soprano" is actually in the wrong business, he would make more money in NJ politics. HOme rule here means that every little 4 square mile densely populated town is run like someone's private fiefdom. You have to know someone to work for many of these municipalities. Same for the schools. Often the municipalities combine part time jobs for one person and they collect a 6 figure salary for seldom showing up. This is common. The only people who yelp about it want to shove someone aside so that they can do the same thing. I am really tired of the mafia mentality here. My kid graduates in June 2008.

What are your experiences with homeowners insurance claims after the hurricanes? Did you get your money's worth? And if you were to buy a house today in your area for around $250 or under, what type would you buy and where would you go?
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Old 11-01-2006, 08:07 AM
 
Location: in the southwest
13,394 posts, read 41,912,582 times
Reputation: 13344
We are not homeowners here. Only been here a year. Hurricane season was quiet this time around, but people definitely were affected last year.
The housing market has crashed and burned but so far prices barely reflect it.
I think we are far from seeing the bottom.
My husband was laid off and we will have to leave, we may move to Tallahassee, we may move to Amelia Island (on the Atlantic side) we're not sure yet, he still has some other interviews this week.
There are $250K homes to be found here, but they might not impress you that much! Affordable housing was what my husband was working on before he was laid off, but they were barely able to keep costs below $450K, and now the developers have pulled back. However, there are nice condos to be found in Mexico Beach.
Affordable housing is probably easier to find where Sunrico is, but might not be that low in cost.
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:16 AM
 
432 posts, read 1,761,474 times
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Thanks, cil, sorry about your layoff. Good luck with the interviews.

Yeah, everyone got a breather from the hurricanes this year. As for pricing, I really need to keep this under 250. My current home will sell for around 320 in the current market, and I have quite a bit of equity - so to keep from falling into the house rich cash poor trap I am in now, I really need to put as much of that as I can into a modest house. But better than the "castle Dinky" I live in now. I saw some homes in Navarre last spring and I really liked what I saw there - further inland in Milton the houses are nice too but you're not as close to the beach. But compared to my house, they are all palaces!

I'm glad to hear that people actually like LIVING there, despite the insurance problems and up and down employment. The mentality here is to get out if you are middle class. But the folks coming in are wealthier, so that makes it good for me as far as selling the house. I'm about a 15 minute drive from the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan, so location location location. My goal is to cash out and move to an area where the way of life is more reasonable and sustainable.
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Living in Paradise
5,702 posts, read 22,732,721 times
Reputation: 2996
I found the following home for $189K in Milton Fl. A few months back this was over $200K. Check your markets and provide feedback..

1-5 years old, 1819 SQ FT.....
Beautiful four year old home, ready to move in. Split bedroom plan, fireplace, cathedral ceilings, breakfast bar, oak cabinets, pantry, range, dishwasher and built-in microwave stay. Large master bath with walk in closet, double vanity, garden tub & separate shower, large 12x19 great room, 12x20 screened sunroom, privacy fenced back yard, roof has dimensional shingles, overhang is vynal, sprinkly system with timer. This home shows well!

http://www.era.com/media/listls/1992639_1.jpg (broken link)
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Old 11-01-2006, 04:42 PM
 
432 posts, read 1,761,474 times
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That looks similiar to the ones I saw last spring, in Navarre/FWB but they were around $250-280 then. Even Milton was also higher, and prices have really dropped. Wish I were in a position to buy now.

My house is the bottom of the market here, or near it, and nothing goes here for under 300 unless it is an apartment or something is very very wrong with it. The market has leveled here, and cut a bit off the top, but the bottom (me) is still pretty steady.

You're not as close to the beach in Milton as you are in Navarre, but there are some nice homes there and the drive may be worth it. Are there any creeks, rivers, bayous in that area that are buildable (I mean REALLY buildable to last) where new homes are going up in that price range?

Sorta have this fantasy about catching dinner once or twice a week - with a rod and reel.....

Well, can't really do anything about it until 2008. Or at least until next year after all my son's college applications are in. The focus now is on getting the nj house ready and looking some more in FL when we look at colleges in the spring.

Thanks folks, still looks like a great place to live.
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Old 11-01-2006, 05:34 PM
 
Location: in the southwest
13,394 posts, read 41,912,582 times
Reputation: 13344
Good luck to you, cmvsvmom, and good for you for finding that house, Sunrico.
If we don't end up too far away, I hope we can buy a lot here eventually.
I've lived in beautiful places before, but none like this.
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Old 04-12-2007, 07:37 AM
 
432 posts, read 1,761,474 times
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Well, I will be moving to the pensacola area later this year. And I thank you again for the pictures you posted - I have them on my desktop as a reminder. I was trying to describe how white the sand is to my son and his fiance, and I showed them the pictures - they could not believe it.

Looks like Christmas in Florida this year!
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