Doris Arnold | Nocatee Real Estate, Ponte Vedra Real Estate, St. Johns Real Estate


When it comes to finding a place for you and your family to live, there have never been more options available than today. Banks and property owners have made living arrangements available and accessible to people of any lifestyle; whether you plan on staying in a home for just six months, or for the rest of your life.

It isn’t always easy, though, to determine which option is best for you. In this article, we’ll break down the financial and lifestyle characteristics of the four most common living situations: condominiums, townhouses, apartments, or owning your own home.

Condo living

Condominiums are a type of community living. But, they’re more than just an apartment that you own. Most condos are attached; meaning they’re not separated by yards and driveways. Some, however, are detached. One thing that is true for all condos, however, are the common areas throughout the development. This can include things like a park, yards, gyms, pools, or lounges and cafes. The best part about those amenities? You don’t have to worry about their upkeep.

So, since you own the condo, who pays for the common areas? Odds are, you’ll be paying a monthly fee or a homeowners association fee to upkeep the amenities your condo came with. Expect higher fees for better amenities and prime real estate location.

What about maintenance? Since you own the condo, you’re responsible for much of the interior maintenance, such as appliances. However, outdoor issues like roofing or siding are usually the responsibility of the homeowners association or property manager.

Condos are ideal for people who are somewhat committed to an area, and who want independence over their home without having to take care of all the landscaping.

Townhouses

Townhouses are in many ways the opposite of condos. They are often rented but they look like single family homes, complete with a driveway and front yard. There are also typically homeowners association fees for townhouses, but they can be significantly less since there are fewer amenities in a townhouse living environment.

Depending on your long-term plans, you can either rent or buy townhouses. Renting is usually a better choice for inhabitants who don’t plan on staying in the residence for more than a couple of years.

Homeownership

If what you truly seek in a home is independence and privacy then traditional homeownership might be the best option for you. If you own a home outright and don’t have to answer to a homeowners association, you get to choose what you do with your yard. There are of course, some limits to this, like getting additions approved by zoning boards, or trampolines signed off by your insurance company.

Financially, homes can be a good asset. They typically increase in value and allow you to build equity. You might also find them more financially dependable; rents can increase year after year, but your monthly mortgage payments typically won’t unless you choose to refinance.

Ultimately, buying a home is going to benefit you more the longer you stay there. So, if you plan on moving for work in the next few years, you might be better off renting.


Finding the ideal home for your family's needs is no easy task, but if you stay organized and focused, the right property is sure to come along!

One of your most valuable resources in your search for a new home is an experienced real estate agent -- someone you trust and feel comfortable working with.

They'll not only set up appointments for you to visit homes in your desired price range and school district, but they'll also help keep you motivated, informed, and on track. Once you know and have shared your requirements (and "wish list") with them, your agent will be able to guide you on a path to finding the home that will best serve your needs -- both short- and longer term.

In addition to proximity to jobs, good schools, and childcare, you'll probably want to pick a location that's close to supermarkets, recreation areas, and major highways. If you have friends or family in the area, then that would also be a key consideration.

While your immediate needs are a good starting point for creating a checklist of requirements, it's also a good idea to give some thought to what you may need in the future. Plans to expand your family, possibly take care of aging parents, or adopt pets are all factors to consider when looking at prospective homes to buy.

If you have college-age children or recent graduates in the family, you might have to save room for them in your new house. Many grads need a couple more years of financial and moral support from their parents (not to mention home-cooked meals) before they're ready to venture out on their own. Houses with a finished basement, a separate in-law apartment, or even a guest cottage on the property are often well-suited for multigenerational households.

In many cases, people tend to buy a home based on their emotional reaction to it, and then justify the purchase with facts. For example, if the price was right and a particular house reminded you of your childhood home, then that combination of elements could prompt you to make an offer on the house -- assuming those childhood memories were happy!

Sometimes prospective buyers might simply love the look and feel of a neighborhood or the fact that there's a spacious, fenced-in back yard in which they can envision their children or dogs happily (and safely) playing.

According to recent surveys, today's buyers are attracted to homes that have energy efficient features, separate laundry rooms, and low-maintenance floors, counter tops, and backyard decks. Gourmet kitchens, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink, a home office area, and outdoor living spaces are also popular features. Although your tastes may differ, many house hunters also like design elements such as subway tiles, hardwood floors, shaker cabinets, pendant lights, and exposed brick.

When it comes to choosing the home that you and your family will live in for the next few years, your top priorities will probably include a sufficient amount of space, plenty of convenience, and a comfortable environment in which you and your loved ones can feel safe, secure, and happy for the foreseeable future!


If you have plans to buy a house as quickly as possible, it is important to maintain flexibility. That way, you can adjust your homebuying timeline at a moment's notice.

Ultimately, there are many instances where you may need to modify your homebuying timeline, and these include:

1. You are struggling to identify your dream home.

It generally is beneficial to enter the housing market with homebuying criteria. These criteria can help you hone your house search and may be modified as you attend home showings and open house events.

Also, think about where you want to purchase a house. If you would prefer to own a home in a big city, you can tailor your house search accordingly. Or, if you want to live in a small town, you can focus exclusively on residences in areas that match or exceed your expectations.

Even with homebuying criteria in hand, however, changes to your homebuying timeline may be required. But if you remain patient and persistent throughout the homebuying journey, you can eventually discover your dream house.

2. Home sellers are rejecting your offers to purchase.

Once you find your dream residence, you may submit an offer to purchase it. Yet if your offer fails to hit the mark with a home seller, you are unlikely to receive an instant "Yes."

If you find that your offers to purchase houses are rejected time and time again, you may need to adjust your homebuying timeline. Furthermore, you may want to rethink your homebuying strategy.

To submit a competitive homebuying proposal, you should consider a house's condition and age, as well as the current state of the real estate market. This information can help you craft an offer to purchase that accounts for a variety of factors and likely will meet the needs of both you and a home seller.

If a home seller rejects your offer to purchase a house, there is no need to worry. Remember, the real estate market offers many opportunities, and homebuyers who are diligent can continue to search for the right house at the right price.

3. You have yet to find the right real estate agent.

A real estate agent may hold the key to a successful homebuying journey. He or she can help you set realistic homebuying expectations and ensure you can achieve the optimal results.

If you need to adjust your homebuying timeline, a real estate agent can help you do just that. Plus, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns and set up home showings. And if you decide to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent will help you put together an aggressive homebuying proposal.

Ready to streamline your home search? Reach out to a local real estate agent today, and you can get the help you need to pursue your ideal residence.


Looking to move out of a big city? Relocate to a small town, and you can enjoy the simple joys of small town life.

Many people prefer the small town lifestyle, and for good reason. In a small town, you won't have to worry about excess traffic or noise. Plus, many homes are available in small towns nationwide, ensuring you should have no trouble discovering a wonderful residence without having to worry about breaking your budget.

Kick off your search for a small town home today – here are three tips to help you secure a terrific small town house.

1. Study the Local Housing Market Closely

What are you looking for in a small town home? Ultimately, you'll want to consider exactly what you'd like to find in a small town house before you conduct your search for the ideal residence.

Creating a checklist of must-haves is essential. With this list, you'll be able to examine available homes in a small town and narrow your search accordingly.

Also, don't forget to examine the prices of recently sold houses in a small town. This housing market data will enable you to differentiate between a seller's market and a buyer's market.

2. Get Financing Before You Start Your Home Search

Can you afford a small town home? It all depends on the financing at your disposal.

Meet with several banks and credit unions to explore your mortgage options. That way, you can learn about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and obtain financing.

If you ever have concerns or questions about home financing, be sure to ask a lender for assistance.

Remember, banks and credit unions employ mortgage professionals who are happy to help you in any way they can. These mortgage experts can teach you about different types of mortgage and offer personalized mortgage recommendations, ensuring you can get the financing you need to make your homeownership dreams come true.

3. Collaborate with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

When it comes to the real estate market, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Fortunately, real estate agents are available in small towns and big cities alike and will do whatever it takes to help you find a great house.

Hiring an experienced real estate agent who understands the properties that are currently available in a small town is vital. This real estate professional will offer tips throughout the homebuying process, guaranteeing that you can make informed decisions at every stage.

Perhaps best of all, an experienced real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a small town home. He or she will set up home showings and open houses, keep you up to date about new properties as they become available and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. As a result, this real estate professional will streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Take the next step to acquire a home in a small town – use these homebuying tips, and you can locate a small town home that can serve you well for years to come.


After you accept a homebuyer's offer on your residence, he or she likely will complete a home inspection. Then, the homebuyer may choose to move forward with the home purchase, rescind or modify his or her offer or ask the home seller to complete home improvements.

Ultimately, a home seller is likely to have many questions following a home inspection, including:

1. What did the homebuyer discover during the home inspection?

As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to enhance your residence before you add it to the real estate market. By doing so, you can boost your chances of generating substantial interest in your house. Plus, when a homebuyer performs a home inspection, he or she is unlikely to find any problems that may slow down the home selling process.

An informed home seller may conduct a home appraisal prior to listing his or her house on the real estate market. This appraisal enables a home seller to identify potential trouble areas within a residence and explore ways to address such problems.

If you failed to perform a home appraisal, there is no need to worry. For home sellers, it is important to see a home inspection as a learning opportunity. And if a homebuyer identifies problems with your residence during a home inspection, you should try to work with him or her to resolve these issues.

2. Should I stand my ground after a home inspection?

Be realistic after a home inspection, and you'll be able to make the best decision about how to proceed.

For example, a home seller who goes above and beyond the call of duty may address major home problems prior to listing his or her house on the real estate market. This home seller will dedicate the necessary time and resources to correct home problems and ensure a homebuyer is able to purchase a top-notch residence.

But what happens if a homebuyer identifies problems during a home inspection, despite the fact that a home seller already tried to correct various home issues?

A home seller should consider the homebuyer's inspection report findings closely. If minor home repairs are needed, he or she may be able to fix these problems to move forward with a home sale. Or, if a homebuyer is making exorbitant demands, a home seller may feel comfortable allowing the homebuyer to walk away from a home sale.

3. How should I proceed after a home inspection?

A home inspection can be stressful for both a home seller and a homebuyer. After the home inspection is completed, both parties will be better equipped than ever before to make informed decisions.

If a homebuyer encounters many problems with a residence, he or she will let the home seller know about these issues. Then, a home seller can complete assorted home repairs, offer a discounted price on a home or refuse to perform the requested home maintenance.

Working with a real estate agent is ideal for a home seller, particularly when it comes to home inspections. A real estate agent will negotiate with a homebuyer on your behalf and ensure you streamline the home selling process.




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