JULIE LITTLE BREWER's Blog
Whether you're raising a family or getting ready to retire, there are a lot of desirable cities in the state of Florida that are worth considering for your next home.
Depending on your priorities, age, and lifestyle goals, different parts of Florida can offer the features and environments you're looking for -- everything from bustling urban settings to communities with a small-town ambiance.
Whatever mental picture you may have of Florida, right now, you'll discover that it's a vibrant state that's characterized by immense variety, diversity, and an overall high standard of living.
U.S. News & World Report publishes an analysis of some of the best places to live, every year, and has included nine Florida cities on its 2017 list of the 100 Best Places to Live in the USA. Since this list focuses on metropolitan areas -- as opposed to rural or other sparsely populated communities -- it's probably more useful to people interested in living in or near a medium-to-large size city.
However, if you want the best of both worlds, there's always the option of buying real estate in a quiet, less populated suburb that's within a relatively short drive to good jobs, entertainment, cultural venues, and recreation. An experienced Florida real estate agent will have the knowledge and ideas to help you find a new home that meets your criteria, budget, and lifestyle. So while there are plenty of nice houses, condos, and neighborhoods within a short walk to the ocean, there are also many inland properties that could prove to be an excellent match to your goals and requirements.
The Best Places to Live list is compiled using a variety of data, including "resident satisfaction" surveys, information on average commute time, and the strength of each city's job market. Other quality-of-life issues are also factored into the rankings, including crime rates, availability of quality health care, and educational standards at local high schools. One of several key elements in the rankings is a composite score from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. This data reflects the overall level of happiness residents derive from their day-to-day lives. If you're wondering what makes people happy in a particular location, the survey addresses that question by looking at a variety of influences and factors, such as people's financial health, degree of social interaction, community involvement, sense of purpose, and physical wellbeing. Other key elements used to rank the different cities include the annual cost of living for area homeowners, median household income, and how much population growth is occurring in each city.
While those nine cities listed in the report are not the only worthwhile metropolitan areas in Florida, the list can be a helpful starting point in narrowing down desirable areas for raising a family, building a career, or pursuing a retirement lifestyle.
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Many homeowners or soon-to-be homeowners are anxious about making big purchases online. However, there’s a lot to be said for the perks of online shopping for things like furniture and appliances for your home.
As technology progresses and more and more retailers build their online presence, the selection has never been bigger. That’s why we’re going to show you how to find the nicest furniture and appliances online, get the best deals, and ensure that you’re buying from a trustworthy seller.
Read on for our tips on online appliance and furniture shopping.
The efficiency of online shopping
If done correctly, shopping online is much faster than driving to your local furniture store. The best way to achieve this is to know exactly what you’re looking for before ever opening up your browser. This will help you avoid scrolling endlessly through Ikea’s or Best Buy’s websites wondering what’s worth clicking on.
You’ll need to determine the following:
Your budget. This will narrow down the selection immensely and keep you from dreaming about unnecessarily expensive items.
Your style. Is there a specific color that you’re hoping to match? Does your furniture need to meet a specific style, such as mid-century modern? Using these search terms will help you find very specific results.
Practicality. There’s a difference between buying a washing machine and refrigerator for yourself and buying one for a family of five. Knowing the size and load specifications you need will help you narrow the search.
Take advantage of user reviews
One of the immense benefits of online shopping is the wealth of reviews that can be read. User reviews help the consumer and the company--it tells the company what products people prefer and it tells the consumer if the product met the description and quality standards of other customers.
It’s best to purchase items that have a higher number of positive reviews. A refrigerator that has a single five-star review might be of good quality, but I would trust that the refrigerator with twenty four-star reviews is consistently a top-quality item.
If you’re buying from a smaller online store, check out reviews for the retailer itself. Websites like Yelp and Google+ are both good places to look before hitting the “checkout” button.
Try before you buy
The internet is just one tool used for online furniture and appliance shopping. If possible, make a list of your favorite products and visit a local retailer who has them in stock. This will allow you to compare how the products look and feel in real life, as sometimes photos don’t quite portray the color and texture correctly.
This is also a good time to make sure the items are sized correctly to fit your home. Before leaving for the store, measure the space you have to work within your home. Remember that there often needs to be room behind your appliances for wiring. At the store, check to see if the products you looked at online will meet your space requirements.