Travel Guide to Florida

2017 Travel Guide to Florida

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32 2017 TRAVEL GUIDE TO FLORIDA I f a Florida vacation is a ritual you look forward to every year, now is a great time to purchase a home or condominium in the Sunshine State. Ranging from elegant beachfront proper- ties overlooking the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico and townhouses or estate homes in golf and country club communities to retiree communities and moderately priced homes or condos, your choices are endless. Whether you're retired or working, owning a home in Florida can offer significant financial benefits; there is no state sales tax and a "homestead exemption" discount on property taxes applies to residents. Even if you're not ready to buy, you might consider a seasonal or long-term rental for your next visit. LOCATION OR LIFESTYLE When searching for a Florida home, there are two basic approaches to consider: location and lifestyle. You may already know where in Florida you want to live. If so, you should familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods, look at typical houses, townhomes or condos, get a sense of prices, and contact a real estate profes- sional who understands the local market and can help you make the right choice. Another strategy is to focus on your desired lifestyle. Do you picture yourself in a private golf community, a high-rise on the beach or in a scenic, rural location? Then, you'll want to compare homes, prices and amenities in different locations around the state. Those over age 55, for example, might want to compare the offerings at On Top of the World in Ocala with The Villages northeast of Orlando. Again, a real estate professional can help you make a well-informed decision. WORK THE NUMBERS If you're considering a move to Florida, be aware there are some differences in home design and construction compared with houses in cooler climates. For instance, ENJOY SUMMER YEAR-ROUND BY RICHARD WESTLUND VA C AT I O N H O M E S TOP: Aerial view of The Isles of Collier Preserve community in Naples. ABOVE: Living the dream in Florida.OPPOSITE CENTER: Waterfront condos in Cape Coral. OPPOSITE BOTTOM: A houseboat anchored at Silver Glen Springs.

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