I moved to Florida from New Jersey in 2010. I always promised myself that when I retired early I’d get out of the cold to enjoy some beautiful weather. And, my move to Florida did not disappoint. Even though I settled in the same small beach town that some of my friends were in, retirement soon got a little dull. Believe it or not, I craved having a project to focus on.
I decided that what I needed was a new career. It had to be something that I could pursue on my own schedule, with hours I could set. I also wanted to be my own boss. After a lifetime of mid-level management, I was tired of being caught in the middle. And, it had to be rewarding, a career where I could create something both valuable and useful that others would love. That’s when I discovered that Florida is one of the best places to invest in real estate—especially if you have qualified leads coming in.
The Best Places to Invest in Florida Real Estate
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when talking about the best places to invest in Florida real estate is the housing market downturn of 2008. But, the market has made a healthy recovery across the state and, really, there aren’t any poorly depressed markets left. So, if this has been your barrier in investing in Florida, worry no more. Job growth is good around the state, and in areas like Orlando or Crestview, it’s very good.
What you want to do is avoid investing in markets where the price of homes isn’t significantly higher than local incomes, as you will be hard-pressed to find a buyer for your rehabbed property. These over-priced markets are more likely to follow boom-then-bust patterns, as seen across Florida in the pre- and post- 2008 real estate boom and crash. So, stay out of Miami. But there are many wonderful opportunities across the state, if you know where to look. Here are my picks:
If you’re looking for a small town that has a low cost of living for residents, you can’t do any better than Fort Meade. Dating back to the 1850s, Fort Meade is an old, Floridian small town that offers historic charm as well as year-round warm weather. And, it has some of the state’s cheapest real estate, making home buying within reach for the average worker. Not to mention, the cost of living is lower than the national average. It’s no wonder why Polk County is growing quickly. The influx of new residents to the county means that demand for housing will remain high in the coming year, providing you with a ready-made market for homes that you buy, renovated, and sell.
On the Southwestern coast of Florida, and right in between the drive from Miami to Tampa, lies the city of Cape Coral. What began as a planned community became a very popular area as the Gulf of Mexico and the Caloosahatchee River offer endless recreational opportunities and a large number of waterfront properties. Cape Coral is not nearly as rural as Fort Meade and has higher real estate prices to show for it. But, the reason why I’ve included it on this list is because it’s in a high-demand, high-growth area. Because of its projected growth, in 10 or 20 years, it’s set to become the West Palm Beach of Florida’s West coast. And, that means now’s the time to invest in properties here. Whether you hold them as rentals or sell them right away, Cape Coral is a strong area for finding investment properties, including reasonably-priced waterfront houses.
Like Fort Meade, Okeechobee is another historic Floridian town. Dating back to the start of the 20th century, Okeechobee is a town that sits on the Northern bank of Lake Okeechobee. This iconic body of water is beloved by South Floridians not only for its recreational possibilities and natural beauty, but also because it’s a key source of fresh water. Luckily, Lake Okeechobee flows south, placing the town of Okeechobee out of the flood plain and making it an even safer area for investment.
Okeechobee is another town where you can acquire real estate for low prices. And, if you get a good lead on a distressed property, prices are low enough to attract a wide range of buyers. While Okeechobee County is not growing as quickly as Polk County, it’s still an attractive place for families looking to escape the hectic life of the tri-county areas of Dade/Broward/West Palm Beach. Where there’s population in-flow, there’s opportunity for selling houses your investment properties.
While the Gulf of Mexico offers a calmer, more laid back way of life, some people swear by Florida’s Eastern coast. However, the east coast has the state’s highest real estate prices and, for those set on buying on the Atlantic seaboard, it can be smarter to go farther up north.
Palm Coast is a mid-sized city just south of Jacksonville and St. Augustine. It offers reasonably-priced real estate in a growing area. The median home price currently hovers just above the $200,000 mark, and if the trends of the past 10 years continue, your buy-and-hold property should increase in value. Solid returns can certainly be made from an investment property in Palm Coast. But any time you are dealing with potentially smaller, profit margins, make sure to consult with a trustworthy real estate investing mentor.
And, that is exactly what I did when I first started investing in real estate here. I had my doubts in the beginning: How could a retired lady, no matter how energetic, purchase, renovate and sell houses? Everyone knows that there are risks to residential property investing, and I didn’t want to go into a new field alone. So, I sought help.
Get the Support You Need to Invest in the Sunshine State With Confidence
When I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, I received comprehensive training, ongoing mentorship from a seasoned mentor, and some of the best marketing tools for investors. So, when qualified leads from the nationally-known and trusted “We Buy Ugly Houses®” marketing campaign came my way—and, believe me, there was more than plenty—I was able to evaluate the deals confidently. Now, I am proud to be making a difference in the communities I work in while achieving my goals as a professional real estate investor.
Do something you love and enjoy in your retirement years that is both lively and potentially lucrative. Contact HomeVestors and learn how you can work at your own pace with the support of HomeVestors and our “We Buy Ugly Houses®” marketing campaign.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.
HomeVestors of America® is the nation’s only real estate investing franchise, providing business opportunities to real estate and investment professionals across the nation.