The Cost of Housing In Tallahassee 2023
According to RentCafe, and numerous other sources, the cost of living in Tallahassee, Florida is 5% lower than for the State of Florida. It is also 4% lower than the national average. Making Tallahassee one of the most affordable cities in Florida.
There’s a lot to love about Tallahassee. Much of it is more in tune with the agriculture and Southern hospitality of our northern neighbor, Georgia. People moving to Tallahassee want to know what it costs to live in a safe neighborhood. Rental prices are rising as the demand has increased. The costs of groceries have increased, as well as insurance and gas.
How can parents lower the cost of their students’ college education? USDA Mortgages.
Today I want to tell you the secret that helped a mama virtually eliminate her daughter’s FSU housing costs. Mama is a bank VP and not only helped her daughter almost eliminate her housing costs, but now, eight years later, her daughter is selling the house for more than twice what she paid for it.
Hello there, and welcome back to LivingInTallahassee. My name is Abbe Flynn and I am a broker associate with Ketcham Realty Group in beautiful Tallahassee, Florida. One thing Tallahassee is known for is its colleges. Our population in Tallahassee is approximately 170,000 people. That does not include the approximately 70,000 students who are in Tallahassee to attend FSU, FAMU, or TCC.
When Looking for Housing for Tallahassee Universities, Look Early in the Year
I know from working on my graduate degrees at FSU that housing is one of the biggest concerns and expenses associated with college. Today, I want to share with you what I wish I had known then about how to save on housing costs. The house we are talking about today is listed at $175,000 and costs approximately $1400 a month in total.
It was early in 2015 when mama called. Her daughter would be attending FSU in the fall. She was excited and talking fast. What I picked up on was that housing was a big unknown and a huge concern for her. She had attended FSU herself but knew that Tallahassee had changed. I got the impression she had not gotten much sleep, having been worried about finding a safe place for her daughter while she was so far from home.
We Started Searching in January for Affordable Housing
No worries, I said. We can check the Tallahassee crime map, and we will have two weeks to decide if the neighborhood will work. Real estate had three years of growth by then, and the market was fairly balanced between sellers and buyers. Mama wanted her daughter to stay under $100,000 and have a yard. The yard was important so she could take her dog with her to college.
We scheduled showings for two weekends in a row. I’ll be honest. The first weekend was pretty depressing. It was early in the year, and the listings had not started to pop up yet. What was out there on the market was a train wreck that would not qualify for traditional first-time home buyer financing.
We Found Housing by March for Less Than the Rental
Mama was close to panicking about housing. The other mothers had told her during the FSU tour that they had already rented their kid’s apartment and signed a lease. Those mothers also told her that if her daughter didn’t find something soon, there would be no guarantee she would be able to find a safe place in the fall. The best places rent the fastest, of course.
So, mama found a backup apartment just in case nothing came to the market in time. I was more optimistic than mama, but I appreciated her caution.
The second weekend was better. We found this adorable little house on a quiet street in Autumn Woods. It had two bedrooms, a single bath, and a large, fenced backyard. The house was just under 900sf and was owned by a construction company that had bought it to flip it. It was listed for $68,900. We made an offer for $68,500 and asked the seller to pay part of the daughter’s closing costs and a home warranty. The sellers agreed.
After Inspections, the Cost of Her BUYING a House Was Less Than Her Rental
We had inspections and made sure the daughter was comfortable with the neighborhood. Then we went to closing. Since she was a first-time home buyer and the seller paid a portion of her closing costs, she bought the house with way less than $1500 out of pocket. I do not know the exact number, it’s not any of my business, but I do know that it was less than the first and last month’s rent of the backup apartment they had picked out. That rent was $700 for a room and shared common area kitchen, living room, utilities, and a single parking spot.
Her monthly mortgage payment was approximately $450 for the whole little house and yard. She moved in and found a job and a roommate that paid the lion’s share of the mortgage. She loves this little house to this day.
A couple years ago, she moved to Atlanta for a huge job opportunity and has since met the love of her life and agreed to become his bride. That has left this little house to be a rental for the past couple of years. On last year’s lease, the rent was $1250. While her loan payment has not changed since 2015, her insurance costs have increased. Her monthly payment is now approximately $650.
The Autumn Woods Community Increased Median Home Values 44% in 36 Months
She is reluctantly parting with her former home. It has been a wise investment for her. We believe this house is still a solid investment. The Autumn Woods neighborhood median estimated home valued increased almost 44% in the past 36 months. The market has cooled, but it has not quite gotten back to a balanced market. There are still more buyers that want to live in Tallahassee than we have homes to sell them.
This house qualifies for USDA mortgages with zero down payments. Financing approximately $175,000 with a USDA loan would require no money down on the mortgage. That means the buyer would only be required to pay their inspections and closing costs of approximately $7,500. The monthly payment, including an estimated $2000 yearly in property tax and $1400 in hazard or homeowners insurance is $1400.
Thanks for joining us today. If you are a proud Tallahassee college parent, we would love to help your students and family find affordable housing. Join us next week when we talk about another mama from last summer who loves her daughter’s new home near campus. If you are considering selling your home, we would love to hear from you.
Abbe Flynn, Broker Associate,
Ketcham Realty Group