buy a house, townhome or condo in florida

House, Townhouse, or Condo – Which is Best for You?

For some, a single family home is the only thing that pops in their mind when they think of home ownership and this makes perfect sense BUT there are other options. Depending on your situation a Condo or townhome may be the best option for you. In fact I bet there are a number of people that like the idea of not having to deal with regular maintenance and mow the yard every week!

There is no right or wrong answer when you are choosing the type of home you are looking to purchase but rather what works best for you in your individual situation. We will go over just some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of home.

To start off, the single family home besides being the flagship of the American Dream has many advantages but also has just as many disadvantages:


  • You will have access to your own yard
  • Single family homes are typically larger
  • Single family homes have more storage, including a basement, attic, and garage
  • It is easier to obtain financing compared to a condo
  • Less rules such as animal sizes, parking situations, and exterior requirements


  • Any maintenance issues including repairs, landscaping, and snow removal is your responsibility
  • Single family homes are typically more expensive than condos and townhouses
  • Utility bills are usually considerably higher due to the larger size
  • Homes may still have an Home Owners Association as aggressive as one of its townhouse or Condo counterparts

The townhouse is referred to the type of construction for a building that is 100% owned to include the property it sits on while sharing one or more walls with the adjacent building. By owning the land the building sits on, no ownership can happen above or below unlike a condo. The advantages and disadvantages to living in a townhouse are as follows:


  • Lower utilities
  • Much of the exterior maintenance including yard, landscaping and exterior paint is included
  • Typically has common areas such as parks and even pools with club houses that can be utilized with no up keep of your own
  • Enter Directly into the unit from the outside with a garage and patio with back yard
  • Lower home owners insurance due to the HOA being responsible for the exterior


  • Typically higher HOA fees
  • Sometimes difficult to qualify for financing depending on additional fees which are included during the qualifying process
  • A lot of restrictions including pets such as animal breed and size
  • May have more renters in the community
  • Could have sound issues

Last but not least would be a condo, the “simplest” of living. The condo is somewhat very beneficial to some but may not be for everyone.


  • Little to no maintenance
  • Usually secure with both cameras or an onsite security guard
  • Typically attached parking garage with assigned spots
  • Fees can include water, sewer, garbage and outside maintenance
  • Most have conference rooms, gyms, pools and even tennis courts


  • Privacy at times seems difficult with many units in one building sharing hallways, elevators and other common areas
  • Could have sound issues
  • No attached garage
  • Less storage
  • Typically if the building hasn’t been managed properly it takes many years of good management to turn around which can greatly affect your resale value
  • Also may have high HOA fees

Any of these types of homes have pros and cons to consider but shouldn’t be too difficult of a decision based on what you are looking for and the lifestyle you enjoy. The condo is the most worry free option that enables you to pack a bag and travel with the ease of locking the door behind you, no lawn to take care of and little up keep is necessary. The single family home is the epitome of upkeep and cost but for some they wouldn’t have it any other way.

We hope this has helped you determine the best type of home for you. If you are looking to buy or rent in Florida make sure to check out to research valuable information about your potential new home and the surrounding neighborhood and community.

4 Serious Warning Signs To Look For When Buying A Home

Buying a home is one of the most stressful things a person can go through. But for some people the stress doesn’t end when they finally close on what they thought was there dream home. Occasionally there are instances where new things to look for when buying a homehomeowners find major issues with their home that were not known by the previous owner leaving them stuck with even more expenses and frustration. Well we want to try and prevent that from happening to you! There are some specific warning signs you should look when searching a home that may save you from the above situation.

There are items that may seem to be “warning signs” but in reality are things that are just unappealing and can, for the most part, be overlooked such as outdated appliances, cabinets and what I consider “misguided” paint selections.  What we are going to focus on in this post are more serious problems that are much more costly to fix.

The first line of defense and probably one of the most important things you should do when buying a home is to get a home inspection! The home inspection needs to be completed by a licensed professional and they will be able to point out most problems but you will still need to go through the inspection reports and determine whether you are comfortable with the problems or if you would want to walk away from the deal.  Keep in mind some of the issues may be great opportunities for negotiating a lower price but some of the issues could be REAL deal breakers.

1. Roof replacement – although roofs can last for many years, the weather is very harsh particularly in the state of Florida where the heat is extreme and the rain and storms can be even worse.  Even if the report shows the roof is not leaking nor has no history of problems it is wise to potentially get a second opinion from a roofing contractor.  Even if the roof has a 30 year shingle on it does not mean it will hold up for 30 years.  Oh and for the record the replacement cost could range anywhere from $8,000-$30,000 depending on the size of the house and type of roof.
2. Flood Zones – Even though the entire state of Florida is pretty much right at sea level does not mean you are in a flood zone….technically.  The biggest issue with being in a flood zone besides the water potentially coming into your house is the previous damage that could have already happened that you may never know which could cause mold and rotting wood.  Just remember you can’t predict the weather but if you are buying a house in a flood zone you could be setting yourself up for problems in the future.
3. Electrical system – It doesn’t take an electrician to know if the electrical system is old, your first clue will be the age of the main panel box and the age of the house.  Typically if the panel looks as old as the house and the house is close to 30 years old, there is a huge chance you could have a fire hazard on your hands.  Replacement cost is in the thousands of dollars.
4. Plumbing system – This is just another part of the infrastructure that will be thoroughly inspected by the home inspection.  Some plumbing issues could be easily overlooked by the inspector for instance if the toilet flushes slowly, this goes the same for any of the sinks or baths if they don’t drain properly.  The inspector could make a note of the minor issue they noticed and you may find out later on that drain-o isn’t the solution and there could be a larger issue with pipes and plumbing system.  If there is any question I would hire a professional to further investigate.

Bottom line is, if you don’t ask you will never find out.  It seems like a lot of work but do as much due diligence as possible, remember you are making a huge investment and we want to make sure you make the right decision!

Above and beyond issues with the house itself you will also want to do some research on the neighborhood and community that your potential new house is in…That’s where MoversAtlas comes into play! Our interactive MoveMap shows you all sorts of useful information that will help you determine whether the Florida neighborhood or community that your potential house is in is right for you!

Tips On Managing Your Money To Help Save For a New Home

For most peoples, when you were a kid, it would only take a few dollars to get through the week. The household chores or saving up to buy a housepart time job enabled you to buy pretty much anything you wanted because your overhead was much lower.  After you get through school and get your first full time job the majority of people want to get rid of that heap they have been driving since high school and look for something new. Most folks tend to finance the car and thus beginning the subtle escalation of ones overhead or cost of living.

The cars, boats, bikes and then the apartment, townhome, or house is next.  As time goes on that $150 per week part time job that used to cover your expenses begins to barely cover your gas and food.  These are the reasons it is difficult to save for a new home, but it is still possible to complete this task.  It is important to understand that managing your money while saving for a home is only a temporary sacrifice that will set you up for a lifetime of good financial stability.  The corners you will cut, the lunches you will pack for work and the movies you rent from Redbox will all be worth it in the end.

The first task is to have a written budget. Have you ever gotten that paycheck on Friday and by Monday it’s all gone without even a simple goodbye?!  The reason is because you didn’t keep track of your spending and for this reason the money spent itself without you even knowing.  Writing down a list of where your money is to be spent BEFORE you receive it is the way to go.  Simply list everything out while leaving some room for fun things and stick to the list!

After the list is complete it would be worth going back a month or two to see where you actually spent your money.  After you realize that the budgeted amount you wrote down for eating out should be no more than $150 a month and that number ended up being triple what you budgeted in past months will be your starting point.  Some people believe they are very conservative and just don’t make enough money but after you find the past months you spent $300 on restaurants or bars along with $75 on coffee shops, $150 on miscellaneous clothing and $150 on entertainment this all adds up to over $600!

The example may seem a bit excessive but try to write down your expenses and look back to see what you actually go through each month, remember you are saving for your very own home! What most don’t realize is after the budget is created and tightened up is when the magic happens. On paper you may have only a few hundred left over to put in savings each month but when you have actually lived it and stayed dedicated there is usually MORE money left over, this is because you are aware of where the money is going and you begin to surpass your own penny pinching.

A written budget is most important but being disciplined over time will be the toughest challenge.  The best way to keep this going is to set a small goal, maybe save an extra $100 for the week and celebrate the small win.  Developing a bar chart you can fill in as you go and place it on the refrigerator or a place you see every day right next to a picture of a house you always wanted or even a picture of a BBQ grill in a back yard with a group of friends to keep your goal in mind.  These actions will keep you concentrated when you feel like going out to the movies with friends or a restaurant you will look at your chart and see that $25 or $50 would be better saved and staying in doesn’t seem pointless.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be living on scorched earth while saving for something like this but keep in mind if you need clothes or miscellaneous items you can still purchase them but be sure they are in the budget, set a limit and stick to it!  Don’t go to the mall with an open checkbook, have a plan for the work pants or shirts and don’t go over the designated dollar limit you predetermined.

Remember each extra dollar spent on the polo shirts you wanted will just push you back even further and considering your closet is full of the entire last year’s line just continue wearing them for a little while longer, this is all temporary!  The closer you look at the person in the mirror the sooner you will find the problem with the spending.  In the meantime continue to research properties, neighborhoods, and communities with the MoveMaps on