Home Buying in Jacksonville>Question Details

Lauren, Home Buyer in Jacksonville, FL

We are moving to Jacksonville, FL in two months. We are really debating on whether or not to purchase. We are

Asked by Lauren, Jacksonville, FL Thu Feb 5, 2009

military and will only be there 3 years. We will drain our savings to purchase, but can replinish it over three years. We know we need to keep the home longer so we will have to rent it out. It makes me very nervous to drain savings and also to deal with renting out a home in a potentially unstable market in 3 years. Any advice?

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17
You have several questions. Before giving advice I would need to discuss with your what you mean by "draining your savings", renting, etc. Home values differ in Jacksonville from other areas and there are great opportunities out there which may not drain your savings. What you want is a location that is not only a great place to live but one that also has a history for servicing the rental market. Give me a call and I'd be glad to assist you. Sherry (904) 651-2194
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
If you are only going to be in JAX for three years, you definitively should not buy. All the large studies suggest that it takes at least five years to make a return after purchasing when the market is in non-bubble mode. The housing market in JAX is incredibly weak--I have been looking to buy for the last two years and have held off because the price trend has been relentless down, down, down. Why deplete your savings and take the risk? There a large number high quality affordable rentals--condos and homes due to the high inventory. Check those out first.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 7, 2009
Have you tried for 1st time homebuyers the tax credit up to 8000 for loan costs. its about the time to buy and interest rates are at their lowest . You can pick up a house for as much as you can rent at this time. Its a buyers market. You can get a loan with little or no money down with FHA for qualified borrowers . For example 80,000 loan at 5.5 rates are about lower for 30yrs. 3.5 down (you may be able to get downpayment assistance for the 3.5%) loan amount 77,200 Principle/interest 438 month then you need to calculate taxes ins. and mi which could estimate at total monthly at 705 mth. If you picked up a property for less you would have a cheaper payment. Julie
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 30, 2009
I understand your concern in this market. Not knowing what your family's requirements are, I don't know if this is a valuable suggestion -- but I have a gorgeous 2/2 waterfront condo for rent beginning late March or early April. It is 1448 sf., ground level at The Lakes Condominiums. Pool, clubhouse, tennis, et al. It is about a 20 min drive to either Mayport NAS or Jax NAS. I'd be happy to show it to you, if you think it's an option. I've lived at The Lakes for ten years and have just purchased the condo that will be available for rent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 10, 2009
Lauren,
The first thing I would suggest would be to talk with a Mortgage Broker to see several things: 1) if you can use your VA loan, 2) how much you would need to put into a house, if the contract is written up asking the seller to pay your closing costs and pre-paids you would not have to use much of your money you get into a home. Deciding whether to buy or rent is what you feel most confortable with. Purchasing a home has always been a good investment. People that buy at a right price should be good in 3 years. The problem we are seeing now is people paid top dollar for a house that isn't worth that amount any more plus many had 100% loans so they were really in over their heads to start with. If you have an agent that gets you all the details on a home, helps with negotiating the best possible price, getting the seller to pay for most of your cost, then in 3 years you should be in good shape. If you are a first time home buyer you may qualify for the $8000 refund from the government also. With interest rates being at an all time low, a large inventory of homes priced very low, now is a good time to purchase. I specialize in the relocating military family. As a native of Jacksonville I will help offer the pros and cons of all the areas so you make a wise, informed decision. If you have any other questions or concerns please call me Patty Trantham (904) 449-2403 or email me at pattytrantham@vanguardgmac.com.

Thank you for your questions. Patty Trantham
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
I specialize in the Riverside, Avondale, Ortega areas of Jacksonville on the westside near NAS. Will you be there or near Mayport? If you click on my website at http://www.ortegaexpert.com, you'll see a link to homes for sale in various price ranges on the front page. You should have a mortgage professional take a quick look at your finances to see if it makes more sense to rent or to buy based on your budget. I can have someone call you to do a 5 minute telephone interview if that would be helpful or you can use the mortgage calculator on my website to see what your monthly mortgage payments would be. If you buy, you can deduct the mortgage interest and property taxes which are two of the main benefits of purchasing.

I don't know where you live now, but prices in Jacksonville are very reasonable and NE Florida is in a growth mode so you will likely see some appreciation over the next few years if you are careful about what/where you buy.

Call me on my cell at 904-252-5181 if you'd like to talk. Thanks. Allison
Web Reference: http://www.ortegaexpert.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Lauren,

Our advice is to not make a committment to rent or buy until you have thoroughly investigated both markets. The housing market is going through a "face lift" to the likes it has not seen before and there are some incredible opportunities for today's buyers.....opportunities that can make the renting option more costly than the owning option.

We just sold(closed yesterday) a 2001 constructed home, 3/2/2, move in condition for $59,500. The owner's mortgage payment will be in the $300 range. Granted, this is not in the Jacksonvile market but we have every reason to believe similar opportunities exist there.

Contact a local real estate professional for reliable information and the best opportunities.

Good luck
The Eckler Team
Michael Saunders & Company
billeckler@michaelsaunders.com
941-408-5363
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 7, 2009
Dear Lauren,

Three years is the historical tipping point, rent vs. buy. You should buy this time because there will be gov. incentives to home buyers coming out of Uncle Sugars latest efforts. So the low interest rates, deductions to taxes, etc. make this a BUY -- this time.

Regards,
Blaine
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Hi Lauren,
As an USN Retiree, I know and appreciate where you are coming from. I would suggest you way all the options after realizing that real estate is always a good investment in the short or long run. If the need is to lease out your home after three years I offer property management to my customers. I personally manage the property, so it will be loving maintained as if my own.
If the market is unstable in three years then renting the home will make more sense and would not necessarily perclude you from buying elsewhere.

Fair skies and following seas,
Larry R. Atwell

direct line 904-710-1574
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Hello Lauren,

Certainly you want the best deal available and there is so much I have to share with you guys before you buy. Maybe I can help you find a nice rental first.

Jorge Nunez, Realtor, RECS
Web Reference: http://www.rentingfirst.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Hi Lauren. This is a great question. The important things to consider are where you want to live, how much you have budgeted for housing, and what the market conditions are in your preferred location. Right now the overall market heavily favors buyers, which should give you the upper hand in basic negotiations. Asking prices have dropped and there is, in most areas, plenty of inventory. Just as important are interest rates, which are near historic lows. This all points to great market conditions for buyers. If you are lucky enough to find a fantastic home that meets all your needs in a location that also works for you, buying might be the way to go. You get the benefits of ownership with the added bonus of affordability that our current market conditions support. Also, if you own for at least 2 years, any profit you make upon selling (up to $500,000) is tax free. Even if your profit is much smaller, you get to keep it all. While it is nearly impossible to predict the future, over the next 3 years there are better than average chances your homes value will rise. The benefit of renting is the ease in which you can leave, although you also have the limitations that most landlords impose on tenants (i.e. no smoking, pets, parking,,,,) . Also, most landlords reserve the right to incrementally increase rents or terminate leases as they see fit. Please check out my profile on Trulia and if you would like to talk further, I'm only a phone call away.

Best of luck, Thanks, Jason Lindsay, REALTOR
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Hi Lauren. This is a great question. The important things to consider are where you want to live, how much you have budgeted for housing, and what the market conditions are in your preferred location. Right now the overall market heavily favors buyers, which should give you the upper hand in basic negotiations. Asking prices have dropped and there is, in most areas, plenty of inventory. Just as important are interest rates, which are near historic lows. This all points to great market conditions for buyers. If you are lucky enough to find a fantastic home that meets all your needs in a location that also works for you, buying might be the way to go. You get the benefits of ownership with the added bonus of affordability that our current market conditions support. Also, if you own for at least 2 years, any profit you make upon selling (up to $500,000) is tax free. Even if your profit is much smaller, you get to keep it all. While it is nearly impossible to predict the future, over the next 3 years there are better than average chances your homes value will rise. The benefit of renting is the ease in which you can leave, although you also have the limitations that most landlords impose on tenants (i.e. no smoking, pets, parking,,,,) . Also, most landlords reserve the right to incrementally increase rents or terminate leases as they see fit. Please check out my profile on Trulia and if you would like to talk further, I'm only a phone call away.

Best of luck, Thanks, Jason Lindsay, REALTOR
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Lauren, you pose an excellent question. We are working with four military families right now (some from Japan and some from Maine) who are opting to buy a home because of the tax deduction and stability it gives them. There are builders who give military families a $1 move in with a VA loan - no closing costs, no down payment, no prepaids, just move right in! If your husband is being stationed at Jax NAS near Orange Park, that is the area where we live and work.
If you would like some area information, we would be happy to send you a Relocation Package. You can also visit our web site which has local information and market reports, along with my blog which has articles about the Orange Park/Fleming Island area. Our web site is: http://www.teamalters.com
Schools are great in Clay County also if you have children. No need to drain your savings if you find the right house! Seller-paid closing costs or new construction with $1 move in will help you and your family keep your savings in the bank.
You can sign up for our new MLS search tool which allows you to search the MLS like an agent, changing criteria as you wish. The site is: http://www.OrangeParkHomes.Listingbook.com and is free to you and a very powerful assist in your search. Of course, new homes won't always be on there. We sell a lot of new homes as well as resale and keep up with the incentives the builders are offering.
Please contact us if we can help you with your relocation here and references are available if you would like, as well as testimonials on our web site.
Best regards,
Sharon Alters
904-673-2308
sharon@teamalters.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Lauren,

With your VA loan and the price of homes at the lowest prices we have seen in years, now would be a great time to purchase. One option you may want to consider is asking the seller to pay your closing and pre-paids then your out of pocket expensives would be at a minimum. I would not want you to use all your savings. In three years if the market has stabilized and you buy in a good resale area you would be able to sell or worse case rent. Vanguard has an excellent property management department that advertises to the military. If in 3 years you decide to go in that direction. I work with many military families and give you my 100% satisfaction guarantee in writing that I will exceed your expectations. As a native of the area I point out the pros and cons of the areas so you make a very informed decision. Which base will you be stationed? NAS Jax, or Mayport Naval Air Station? Both areas offer wonderful areas that are close commutes to the base.

If you make a list of things you must have in a home in order of importance and things that would be nice I can start sending you emails with listings so you get an idea of what is available in our area so you can decide whether to buy or not.

If you have any other questions or concerns I believe in honest and sincere answers to you quickly.

I look forward to helping you in the near future. If you would like to look at some homes, I invite you to visit my website: http://www.pattytrantham.vanguardgmac.com. You can find valuable school, homes, community etc. information.

Warm Regards,

Patty Trantham
(904) 449-2403
pattytrantham@vanguardgmac.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Hello Lauren

First let me thank you for the sacrifices you and your family in serving our country. I am retired Navy and have faced the exact situation you descibed. I would like to address the issue of draining your savings. I would say that it is never a good idea to empty your savings account. Every family needs some reserves to handle unexpected circumstances and emergencies. With that said I don't think it is necessary for you to drain your account to purchase a home. Since you are a military family you are eligible for a VA home loan which does not require you to make a down payment. You may also structure your offer so that the seller pays your closing expenses. You can buy your home with no money out of pocket. Even when renting a home the landlord normally requires a security deposit of some sort due at move in. As far as market conditions go you, as a buyer, are definately in control. There are many great homes to choose from and sellers who need to sell are very willing to accomodate your needs. Home prices and interest rates have come way down in the last few years making this a great time to invest in a home. Three years ago things were very different. Three years from now things may be very different.

If you do decide to buy a home and plan on returning to Jacksonville at some point in the future then renting your home may be a good option. Home prices are low enough now that you should be able to rent your home for enough to cover your costs during your absence. Just be sure to screen your tenant carefully. When you return to Jacksonville your home will be waiting for you.

Feel free to contact me if you and your husband would like to discuss this further. Thanks!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Lauren,

It is good to always have your emergency fund cushion. VA is 100% financing, though you do not have to use it. There are still conventional programs that you only need 10% down, but will incur PMI. FHA is 3 1/2% down , but with a purchase price up to $307,000. Having said that, Jacksonville's economy is not like that of the nation. Our unemployment rate is only 4.4% and especially with the nuclear carrier coming that will start to add so many contracted jobs in 2010. If you were to decide to buy in Jacksonville you will be buying the most house for the least amount of money and with the lowest interest rate. For a primary residence or investment, 2009 is the best time to buy. I hold a short sale certification, so if you think a property liek that might interest you I can give you all the information necessary. You don't have to buy right when you get here. If you have never been to Jacksonville there are so many areas of town to get to know. It's a good idea to check around the area to see what is important to you for your home to be close to. Whether it's shopping, school, the beach, or entertainment. I was born in Jax so if you have questions about a particular area of town just let me know. I would hate fro you to drain your savings, but on the other hand, the potential equity you would stand to gain could be more. Good luck with your decision.

CC Underwood, Realtor
Keller Williams Realty
904-401-8481
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Lauren,

First and foremost, thank you and your husband for your service. I have spent ten years in the military myself and understand some of the hardships you go through.

If you know you will be only staying for three years, I highly recommend that you do not purchase. The reason for this is that there isn't enough equity buildup in the home before you have to leave again. No if you were able to put a substantial amount of money down, then this may be ok.

Typically, a homes value doubles in ten years or so. With the market the way it is today, you don't really know what is going to happen to the market within this short time. I typically tell people that they should plan to stay in the home for at least seven years before they decide to buy.

My suggestion is to stay on post housing or off post housing if it's economically feasible. Save what you can and after the both of you leave the military, use the savings for a downpayment.

Hope that helps.

Terrence Charest, e-Pro
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
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