14 Mar Home Buying Tips for Military Families in Jacksonville
If your military family has been relocated to Jacksonville, you are likely eager to find the best strategy for finding your next home. The good news is there are some great neighborhood options for military families in the Jacksonville area that will give you a great location to base as well as a great location to get to town. Take a closer look at what decisions you need to make when it comes to your home buying decision, and which neighborhoods would best suit a Jacksonville military family.
Decisions to make first
The biggest decision to think about is if you plan to rent or own. You’ll receive a tax-free housing allowance as a military family to cover your rent or mortgage payment each month. You can double check your Basic Allowance for your housing needs by checking the website for the Department of Defense based on your rank and zip code.
The decision is difficult for many since renting has its perks, such as the option to easily leave, but when you own, you get to deduct your mortgage interest while paying with the tax-free money. Many will buy homes even if they plan to live there for just a year or two, hoping to profit when they sold it during a transfer, or with the intention of renting the house out for a profit.
Consider how much house you can afford. The best thing you can do is to limit what you’ll spend o housing to a maximum of 30% of your take-home pay and to only buy if you know you’ll be there for at least three years. That way you don’t have to worry about getting transferred and losing money on your investment.
In many cases, military families end up as landlords unintentionally since they can’t sell their home in time to leave on their transfer orders. Having an emergency fund to cover the mortgage while you wait for a renter to occupy it will help solve this problem.
Popular areas to choose from
Once you’ve decided what is best for your family, you’ll want to look at a few popular neighborhoods in Jacksonville for convenience to your base and to everything the city has to offer. Jacksonville’s Navy base has been well-established since World War II and there is a station at Mayport, Jacksonville, and Kings Bay of northeast Florida. For those that plan to purchase a home, these areas are the perfect solution being just 50 miles from one another.
Naval Station Mayport
This area is a great option because it’s expecting to expand with the current plans to bring a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the area. You’ll find homes to be a dream in the Sawgrass Country Club area, while you’ll find a ton of beautiful beachy resale homes in Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jax Beach. You can choose from oceanfront cottages or older bungalows in an affordable budget just a car ride from the beach.
Naval Air Station Jacksonville
If you’re looking for waterfront properties, modern options, or affordable starter homes, you can find all of this in the NAS Jax. It’s the Westside neighborhood that offers everything from Ortega waterfronts to modern homes in Orange Park’s Eagle Harbor.
The NAS Jacksonville is right on the St. John’s River north of the Interstate making it really handy for enjoying the perks of Jacksonville while being conveniently located to base. You’ll find a mix of home styles and an average of 2,000 square feet in size.
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay
Lastly, check out NSB Kings Bay where you’ll have just a quick 30-minute commute to Georgia while enjoying no state income taxes for their working spouses due to Florida residency. You can enjoy luxury living at Amelia National Golf & Country Club or check out affordable options at Timber Creek Plantation and Yulee-Fernandina.
If you do purchase a home and want to sell your home for a profit, you will get a special benefit that civilians don’t get. A civilian homeowner would need to live in the house before the sale for 2-5 years to get the tax-free profit while military families only have to live in the house for 2 years to get a tax break. Service members can also benefit from VA loans, putting down no money, and paying the same interest rates as other mortgages.