If you’ve been living in an expensive metro, you may take for granted that everything from gas to housing to food is at a particular price and you just do what you need to do to make those costs work. If you’ve been scoping out Northeast Florida as a place to live and working to sell your home in an expensive city, however, you’re moving to a place that is less expensive than many of the large cities in the country. A quick evaluation of the costs in New York City versus Jacksonville shows that the cost of living index is 139.1 and Florida’s is 97.9, and that’s for the whole state. So if you’re moving between very different levels of cost of living, here are some key considerations to make your decisions when it comes to budgeting and spending well.
Begin By Looking at Local Comparable Homes that Have Already Sold
Rather than assuming that you should purchase a home in the same exact cost range as your big-city home, consider first the costs for different kinds of homes: how much do these homes cost and what do they provide? One of the key transitions to make is to stop thinking about what a 2 bedroom condo goes for in, for instance, Manhattan, and instead start thinking about what homes have realistically cost in the past six months in the areas of Northeast Florida where you are shopping. The sooner you accustom your mind to what’s typical (even in somewhat atypical market years!), the better a choice you can make for your home purchase.
Decide Whether You Want to Upscale, Downsize, or Save By Maintaining Your Lifestyle
When moving to Northeast Florida, you want to get clear on what you want: are you looking for a large place where you can host and entertain? A small, easy-to-maintain home? Something that mirrors your big-city home so that everything will fit and you’ll have the space to which you’ve become accustomed? When you realize that your budget goes farther in the home market, you may be tempted to just buy bigger, but you want to decide ahead of time if buying a larger home is truly what you want. Let your goals guide you to what you want to buy, and then let the budget concerns factor in afterward.
Calculate Budgets Based On More Than Just Housing Costs
If you are looking at a property that might increase your housing costs compared to a big city, perhaps due to wanting more land, a great view, or larger living space, remember to factor in everything. If you realize that other aspects of your budget, from parking costs to food costs, will also be lowered in the course of a move from a big city to Northeast Florida, you can make a choice to pay a bit more on a mortgage without impacting your bottom line. You want to evaluate this on a line-item-by-line-item basis, however, so that you can choose a home that you’ll be 100% satisfied with.
Talking to a great real estate agent is a good way to start doing the research needed to make a successful move from an expensive city to beautiful and sunny Florida. They can give you much of the insight into local costs that you need to know, and help you learn about other resources for continuing your calculations.