What type of Florida home are you considering buying? Or, for that matter, what type of home are you considering buying in your Canadian snowbird destination?
When we determined that we were going to spend more than a few weeks in the South each winter, and were realizing that we were going back to the same part of the United States every year, and taking into account the cost of rentals which were escalating rapidly as the economy in the U.S. improved, and if you could even find a decent rental where you wanted to go, we decided to buy a home in Florida.
Besides trying to determine what type of Florida home to buy we soon learned that the process of doing so created a number of complexities which we had to address.
We are Canadians and as such are used to using Canadian dollars. If we were to acquire a home in the United States, that would require us to convert Canadian dollars into US dollars. That process can get quite expensive. The linked page “How We Converted Enough Canadian To U.S. Funds” covers how we converted enough money from Canadian dollars to US dollars to purchase a home, how we got that money into the US, and how we saved money on the exchange rate.
But for now, let’s get back to what type of Florida home we acquire.
We had some requirements for a home. We wanted to be located in south central Florida mostly because homes in that area were within our budget and even though, like many, owning a home on either Florida coast would have been pleasant we expect, the cost of those homes far exceeded our ability to purchase them.
We also determined that in order to be fairly warm in Florida all winter long it was necessary to locate our snowbird home south of Florida I – 4 highway.
Locating where we did is a personal preference. You of course will have your own.
It is useful, if not necessary, to start your search for a home knowing what your budget in US dollars will be. If you do not have a budget in mind, you may find many homes that would suit you only to find their price may be prohibitive. Knowing what your Florida home budget may be in advance allows one to perform an Internet search, using many common browsers and real estate websites, to zero in on homes that suit the budget you have available.
On the other hand, not having a firm budget in mind allows one to search a broad range of homes to get a sense of what the home price will be in the area in which you would like to over – winter.
This was the procedure we used when looking for our home. We knew about how much it cost us each year to rent for the months we spent in Florida, and using that as a guideline tried to determine what we could afford to spend annually to acquire a permanent Canadian snowbird winter home.
BUYING A TRADITIONAL HOME
Let’s talk a little bit about buying a traditional home.
If you own a home in Canada already then you are well aware of the process needed to buy that home. It is a similar process to acquire a home in Florida or some other snowbird destination although some of the steps may vary depending on where in the world at your winter destination ends up being.
We learned that buying a home in Florida typically requires the use of a real estate agent, although there are some homes for sale by the owner, using the MLS real estate site we could then talk about a specific home that we found with a realtor.
There will be the requirement for purchasing the home, financing the home in the destination if you haven’t got the cash readily available to buy out right, land transfer tax, closing costs, all of which can add up to many thousands of dollars by the time you purchased your home there.
There is also the issue of owning a home and how complex it may be to divest yourself of it when the time comes.
All of those considerations, coupled with the higher cost of traditional homes in Florida, directed us to a path that many might consider not taking. Here is why you may want to change your mind.