So, you’re on the move and you’ve decided that your next destination is going to be Miami, Florida!
Although you might already be dreaming of warm weather, palm trees, gorgeous beaches, and calming ocean sounds, the reality is that moving can also be a very stressful process.
Of course, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make during this time is choosing the right place to live. As you’re hunting for your next house, apartment, condo, or townhouse, here are five essential questions that will help you make the best decision possible!
1. First, What Can You Afford?
The truth is that many factors in the home-choosing process are going to be dictated by your budget.
After a simple online search for property, you’ll quickly realize that the greater Miami area is a fairly expensive place to live. In fact, it ranks as the 10th most expensive U.S. city to live in, according to Investopedia. Whether you choose to buy or rent, you’re likely to spend at least a little more than you would in most areas of the U.S.
It’s also worth noting that, in most areas of South Florida, it’s more affordable to buy than to rent. If you’re moving to Miami and seeing it for the first time, you might be hesitant to buy property right away. But as you get acclimated to the area and decide you want to make it your permanent home, it might be in your best interest, financially, to start looking for houses to buy.
After researching the different areas of Miami, you may need to start limiting your search to more affordable neighborhoods—even if they might lie just outside Miami or a little further out from your ideal location.
2. House, Condo, or Apartment?
Today, there are various types of housing for you to consider—houses, apartments, condos, townhouses, and others. Any one of these might be the best option for you, depending on your situation.
Don’t let Miami’s recent surfside building collapse deter you from choosing a condo or apartment. These types of incidents are rare and there are many multi-story buildings that might hold your ideal home.
One of the first factors to consider is the size of your family. If you’re currently single and have no children, you might be able to look at a one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment or condo. If you have a family or plan to build a family in the near future, however, you might need to consider purchasing a larger space.
A second factor to consider is whether or not you’re ready to invest in property. You may or may not be at a point in your life when you want to settle down somewhere long-term and invest in property, rather than sinking rent money into a temporary space.
Another factor to consider is the required maintenance that comes with homeownership. Are you willing to invest in routine maintenance, such as repairing certain systems, replacing major appliances, and mowing the lawns?
3. To Beach or Not to Beach?
One of Miami’s biggest calling cards is its proximity to multiple beaches—Miami Beach, South Beach, and Surfside Beach, to name only a few. Would you prefer to live by the water or a little further inland?
Of course, there are factors to consider beyond whether or not you want a nice view and a short walk to the ocean. The state of Florida is known for its severe hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 and peaks in August and September. Those who live closer to the coast generally bear the brunt of these storms.
Additionally, property that lies near the water tends to be a little more costly than the average home. Carefully consider whether or not your desire to live by the water outweighs some of the drawbacks that come with a waterfront property.
4. Which Suburb or Neighborhood Should You Choose?
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of suburbs and neighborhoods to meet your budget, you should perform a deep dive on each of your options to determine which one is the best fit for you.
Evaluate each of the following factors as you research the areas on your shortlist:
- Walkability. Can you reach certain locations by foot, or will you need a means of transportation to get to and from various spots?
- Commute times. Are your workplaces, schools, and grocery stores within reasonable traveling distances, or is it inconvenient to travel to these locations?
- Crime rates. Is the neighborhood known as a generally safe one, or is the crime rate higher than in some of the other neighborhoods on your list?
- Vibe. Do you want to live in the heart of the city and enjoy the thrilling lifestyle that comes with it, or would you prefer a quieter neighborhood that is away from downtown Miami?
5. Do You Want to Live in a Community?
Florida is a popular destination for impending retirees and those who are looking to kick back and relax later in life. Because of this, Miami is home to many different housing communities that are geared towards people who are 55 or older.
Of course, those who opt for senior housing enjoy a quiet and safe environment that is withdrawn from the hustle and bustle of Miami’s downtown area and wild nightlife.
One misconception about these communities is that they only consist of apartments for rent. In Florida, there are senior communities that offer houses, apartments, condos, and townhouses—either for sale or rent.
Another misconception is that you must be at least 55 years old to be accepted for housing. Under Florida’s Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA), only 80% of tenants in a 55+ community must be at least 55 years old. The remaining 20% can be under the age of 55.
If you’re not yet 55 years of age but would enjoy the sense of peace and quiet that afforded by living in one of these communities, you may apply and be approved!