real estate in dunedin florida

7 of the Best Small Towns in Florida

You may have had the experience of living the big city life and bouncing around places like New York, Los Angeles, or Miami. You may also have lived the downtown high rise building condo or apartment life style. Depending on your age and personality that can be a great time and perfect for your situation, with the easy access to public transportation, your workplace and tons of hot spots for food and drinks.

Big cities definitely have their perks but these next 7 places are rated among the top 20 small cities in Florida. I can’t say whether you would like living in a small city but you should really consider these amazing little Florida towns. Even if you live in Florida currently or visit here a lot you may not have a clue where any of these places are.So keep reading to discover some of the best small towns in FL!

1. Dunedin

Dunedin small town near Tampa, FL named after Edinburg, Scotland. An active town hosting more than 25 festivals each year. Dunedin has beautiful beaches and is home to Caladesi Island Park which is only accessible by boat and is actually one of the last undeveloped barrier islands. The beaches in this park are often listed in travel guides as some of the best in the entire world.

2. Fort Myers

Fort Myers, Florida is a city that many are familiar with, this place is a favorite for many as it sits on the Gulf of Mexico offering excellent golfing and yachting that can be enjoyed almost year around. Fort Myers was a winter home for both Henry Ford and Thomas Edison and was a favorite destination in the early 20th century.

3. Islamorada

Of course a destination being in the Florida Keys would have to be included in this list. Islamorada It is located in the southern part of Florida just after Miami. The city is a “Village of Islands” with a population of 6,500 the community hosts a steady stream of short and long-term visitors swelling the population.

4. Safety Harbor

Safety Harbor, FL has a true small town flavor with fewer than 17,000 permanent residents. The closeness to Tampa provides access to all the amenities and attractions of an urban area while allowing this small town to be untainted for decades.

5. The Villages

While this town is not on the beach it does have a lot to offer while still being just a jump and a skip away from the shore. The Villages has a population just over 8,000 and is quickly growing with excellent economic benefits, small businesses and light industry. The town continues to call itself Florida’s Friendliest Retirement Hometown and considers itself the healthiest hometown with numerous health facilities and medical services.

6. Naples

Naples, Florida is another small town that is fairly well known, the upscale Florida city has a population of 20,000 and boasts the 2nd highest concentration of millionaires per capita of any American city and the 6th highest per capita income in the country. Many homes in the area sell for $50 million or more. Although Naples does not just house the wealthy, it also has a large number of retiree residents and many residents that work in the tourist industry.

7. Bonita Springs

Located on the Gulf Coast, Bonita Springs is known for being the northernmost Florida city with a tropical climate. The most popular beach, Bonita, is actually a barrier island separating Estero Bay from the Gulf. According to the Florida Tourist website, one of the most popular attractions is also a well-known eco-tourist destination, The Everglades Wonder Gardens. This attraction first opened in 1936 and has numerous exotic animals and birds, including flamingos and bears.

By all means this list is not inclusive of all the great small towns in Florida but these are definitely some of the best little cities! You may love the big city you live in but these places could be an excellent destination for vacationing or a great place to move when you get bored of the big city or decide to settle down and start a family! The majority of them are on the water but the cost of living is still reasonable and will support most any income. Their economies are also doing very well and have many great opportunities much like other larger cities in the nation with great jobs and economic growth.

If you are considering moving to one of these awesome small towns in Florida make sure to research the neighborhoods and communities on!

flood zone research for florida

Florida Flood Zone Map Now Available on the MoversAtlas MoveMap!

The MoversAtlas team has been hard at work over the past few months and we are now excited to announce that the move map now has a flood zone map for the state of Florida! The new flood zone feature can be turned on by going to the MoveMap page and then clicking on the Heat Maps section on the left hand side and then turning on the flood zones radio button. Once you have the flood zones turned on you will see an overlay of four different shades of color appear on the map, red being the highest risk and light blue being the lowest risk and then yellow indicating unstudied areas.

flood zones in florida

Click to visit the MoveMap!

The biggest deal with flood zones(besides the possibility of your house being filled with water) are that they are typically reported back to insurance companies and even if it’s not in a high hazard zone the rates can still be much higher than other areas. The flood zones on the MoveMap are geographic areas that FEMA has defined the different level of flood risks.

If you have been in the state of Florida for a while you are probably familiar with the many marshes, wetlands, everglades and other low areas that are wet just about year around. With that said you should remember that the entire state is right at sea level and to a point there are reasons why that some flood zones are important but some do not necessarily need to be worried about.

Flood zones or hazard areas are identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). In essence the SFHA are defined as the area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The 1-percent annual chance flood is also known as the “100-year” flood, subsequently the .2 percent is known as the “500-year” flood.

The SFHAs are labeled Zone A, Zone AO, Zone AH, Zones A1-A30, Zone AE, Zone A99, Zone AR, Zone AR/AE, Zone AR/AO, Zone AR/A1-A30, Zone AR/A, Zone V, Zone VE, and Zones V1-V30. Moderate flood hazard areas are labeled Zone B and X (shaded) and low are Zones C and X (unshaded) along with Zone D which are undetermined risk areas but still could flood or have higher insurance premiums.

The highest flood zone area is known as a “V-Zone” which is typically first row beach front, this is obvious due to the high winds, possible waves and low areas.

“A” zones are the next most volatile which are subject to rising waters or near lakes and rivers. These areas are also known as high risk and require flood zone insurance coverage. Each letter and numbering distinguish different requirements for building construction and your surroundings.

We hope this information will give you better knowledge of the flood risk of your home, neighborhood, and its surrounding areas. We encourage you to use the new flood zone feature when searching for a new home in Florida so you can have an idea of the risks and potentially higher insurance premiums before you buy your new house! Also, make sure to check out all the other great information and tools on to help make your home search easier!

3 Good Reasons Why You Should Wait To Buy A Home

Most would agree, why would you rent if you could buy?! With interest rates as low as they are it should be a no brainer right?  Let’s just find a place and lock it in for the next 30 years… seems like a long time? That’s because it renting vs buying a homeis.  The following are reasons why you should NOT buy unless you know you are ready. You may not be thinking purchasing is all it’s cracked up to be after you read the top 3 reasons to rent.

1. Location, Location, Location – It may seem like you have found a good area that is safe and close to everything you enjoy on the weekends but what about your career?  Are you confident you are set up in a place that you will continue working for many years?  Since you like the area so much have you looked into the property tax rates and other local fees like insurance rates to own a home in the area?  What about your dream job or school you have considered for the past few years?  I will tell you that if you rent none of the previous items would be an issue, things like tax rates or your ability to be mobile would not be an issue.  I would suggest to really consider your future plans before you look to buy because getting out of a 30 year mortgage or selling a place you just bought is a huge hassle.

2. Affordability – If you are renting for $1200 a month you can afford a $1200 a month mortgage right?  Not exactly, there are a lot of costs that renting a place includes that you may not be aware of.   Just a small list of why being a homeowner may not be what you want right now; HOA fees, property taxes, mortgage fees, home insurance, yard maintenance and home maintenance.  These items may not seem terrible but when you add all of them up you could add another 50% to the mortgage costs.  Even if you feel like you could budget for it keep in mind some of these items are not announced and the leaky roof that could cost thousands of dollars as a home owner would cost you ZERO as a renter and the $1200 monthly payment stays that way.

4. Sensibility – If you decide the above reasons do not directly impact you or your decision to rent or buy, the last reason is sensibility.  Sensibility is more than just the numbers adding up it comes down to truly being able to make the purchase and be comfortable with your quality of life and standard of living.  Keep in mind you want at least 20% saved up for a down payment and ideally all the rest of your debt paid off, if you are in this boat then buying a home maybe your next step.  Sensibility also reflects the peace you have each month and the feeling that you aren’t stretched to pay your bills, save for retirement and to give when others are in need.

Not to make buying seem like a bad thing but if you are not ready than the purchase will end up being a curse more than a blessing.  Buying a home can also be one of the greatest investments you make in your life but if you make it at the wrong time it can be the biggest disaster.  I highly recommend purchasing a home but keep in mind it is still OKAY to rent for a period of transition, saving or relocating.  In the meantime do your research and continue to use tools like when you look to rent or buy a new home.