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Rent vs Buy in Florida: Which Is Right for You?

Are you trying to decide if you should rent or buy a house in Florida? Everyone has different real estate needs that are based on a variety of factors and are unique to your current situation. If you’re trying to decide whether renting or buying in Florida is the best option for you, keep reading.
Are you trying to decide if you should rent or buy a house in Florida? Everyone has different real estate needs that are based on a variety of factors and are unique to your current situation. If you’re trying to decide whether renting or buying in Florida is the best option for you, keep reading.

Deciding whether you should rent or buy in Florida will essentially come down to a few factors. First, you'll want to look at the current market conditions, your financial standing, and your life situation. Every person has a different plan and real estate needs to fit their lifestyle and family.

Right now, the real estate market in Florida is a hot seller's market. A hot seller's market results in more competition amongst buyers, which tends to lead to higher housing prices. The market is going to affect not only how much you pay for a house, but if you were to pay for an apartment or townhome.

The median home value in Florida is $233,700. Florida home values have gone up 6.3% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.6% within the next year. The median price of homes currently listed in Florida is $295,000 and the median price of homes that sold is $227,800.

The median rent price in Florida is $1,850. This is good if you are looking to buy a house and eventually sell it. But, you will need to do some serious negotiating to make sure you pay a fair price on the house. As you can see, houses are fairly priced right now and rent isn’t incredibly inflated. But, you should still do your research and see what option best suits you.

Renting

Renting is definitely a more favorable option for people who are not looking to be tied down to a property. It might not also be the best option for someone who doesn’t have the financial assets to buy a home. If you are only in the area for a few months or years, it might not make sense to buy a house.

Also, not everyone will want to buy a house because of the number of expensive upfront costs that are associated with it. You have to make sure you can afford to pay closing costs, a down payment, and any real estate commission fees. After you get past the initial costs, you are in charge of paying for your own repairs and upgrades going forward.

Advantages of Renting

If you choose to rent, you aren’t responsible for as many costs at the beginning. Typically, a landlord or property management company will only require a security deposit and first months rent. You might have to pay a special deposit if you have pets, but normally this isn’t more than a few hundred dollars.

When renting, you also don’t have to worry about paying for repairs or upgrades. Normally, if something breaks, you will have to call the landlord or property management company to report the problem to have someone come out to fix it. But, it’s important to consider that you are renting out a house that someone owns and they can take away your security deposit if you cause significant damage to the house.

Disadvantages of Renting

Unfortunately, with renting you have to deal with the existing conditions of the residence. If the carpet is old and the paint on the walls is chipping, you don’t have the authority to fix it. You also are at the mercy of the landlord and property management company when you need something replaced. It can sometimes take days for them to have someone come out to make a repair an upgrade.

For a state like Florida, that is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, renting can relieve the responsibility of paying for damages from a storm. You also won’t have to worry about having to buy a new house if the damages are severe. However, if a storm causes minor damage, it might take weeks or months depending on the repair and how many houses the property management company is in charge of.

Buying

As we discussed previously, the housing market in Florida is booming and based on market research, it will continue to do so for years to come. This means if you buy a house in Florida, it can prove to be a profitable investment. Housing prices are not incredibly high and are selling for around $227,800, which is affordable given the average income in Florida. Buyers in Florida can also take advantage of building a new house for around that same price, which will also prove to be a great investment.

Advantages of Buying

One of the common benefits of buying is having control of what you choose to do to your property. If your house has a homeowners association (HOA), then there are limits to what you do with the exterior, but the interior is usually fair game. You also get to make repairs and upgrades on your own time and aren’t at the mercy of the property management and landlord schedules.

Buying is also appealing to people who want their monthly payments to pay off one day. For example, in Florida, the average rent payment is $1,850 a month. This means in one year, you will have paid over $22,000 without gaining anything in the end. To some people, this is not worth the money to be paying that much to not even own the property after all that time.

Disadvantages of Buying

However, buying a house does have its negatives that tend to deter people away from buying immediately. Owning a house comes with a lot of responsibility that some people might not be ready for. For example, you have to pay for your own repairs and upgrades and are in charge of paying property taxes and homeowners insurance.

If you do decide to buy a house in Florida you need to be aware that you might need to pay for a decent homeowners insurance bundle. Due to the fact that they are highly susceptible to flooding, tropical storms, and hurricanes, you might be paying more every year for good coverage. You will also want to make sure you have money saved to cover any potential damages caused by frequent storms.

Overall, buying a house in Florida is not a bad option. The market is doing really well and you would be more likely to profit from the sale of your house down the road. You might also be saving more every month than you would if you rented, depending on how much you put down on your house.

Whether you decide to go down the path of buying or renting, it's important to do your research on the current market conditions and take a look at your financial standing. Buying a house can be a tricky process if you have never bought before, so it’s important to connect with an experienced, local real estate agent for guidance and support throughout the process.

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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