Cashflow in Jacksonville Florida

17 Replies

My girlfriend and I are selling our current home in Colorado. We are relocating to Jacksonville, Fl this spring. 

We intend to buy one single family home to live in for the first year, that will transition into becoming a rental once we target our favorite area of town to buy our new primary residence in. 

Our biggest concern is locating the ideal neighborhoods to purchase a rental in, in terms of cashflow and high ROI, and appeal to families with kids that will hopefully rent long term and keep our vacancy very low.

Our budget on the first property is a max of 35k down.

Jacksonville is such a huge place that we really need suggestions on where to start our search. Although we live in Colorado at the moment, we will visit Jacksonville for a week with a realtor before new years, and will go once more if necessary in January to get boots on the ground and get a feel for the area in person. Where would you look to buy?

Hi @Trace Garretson can you help us understand what your "ideal neighborhood" looks like? What are the things that make up "ideal" for you? Also, rather than a budget of your down payment, what is your budget for selling price?

@Marty True Hi Marty, thanks for the quick response. 

Because the property is going to become a rental a year from its original purchase, we are looking for a neighborhood and house that would appeal to a mid sized blue collar family with children. We have the impression that this demographic may rent year after year, and is less likely to move when they are grounded with children in school and long term employment. The home should be a 3/2 or 4/2 with a back yard. Pools are something we would like to avoid. The neighborhood must have the impression of a safe place for people to raise their children, and preferably is zoned for a quality public school.

Our budget for a selling price is 175k, although we are happy to go cheaper. This however is an absolute max. We are looking to repeat this process in the future so the less we can spend now, the sooner we can get the next property.

Cool, thanks for clarifying. I lived in Jax for 3 years and know the markets quite well. And you do have to be careful because there are lots of nuances about investing in Jax. I'll try to put a list of neighborhoods/zips for you based on your criteria. Will be later today though...

@Trace Garretson there are lots of neighborhoods here that will fit your criteria. Riverside, Murray Hill, & San Marco to name a few. Are you looking to house hack or are you looking for a stand alone SFR? Feel free to PM me if you would like some more detailed info.

Edit: I just saw your follow up post. You should be able to find somewhere that meets that criteria in almost every zip code in town. You are going to need to consider things like amenities, activities, etc. Jax is a huge city so you can find almost anything you need but the commute can be brutal. I live just a little west of town and our favorite beach is nearly an hour away and it’s all within Duval County.

@Marty True thanks Marty I'm looking forward to it!, and @Chris Carson I should mention that although we don't expect anything right on the beach, we would like it to be within 30 minutes or so. I tend to forget that Jacksonville is so large. I grew up in SoFLo and most of the communities I lived in were all much closer to the coast.

@Trace Garretson my wife and I are in a similar situation. We aren't moving to the area till late 2018 but we are doing our due diligence now. We actually want to buy a rental now and house hack when we move to town. I'll be interested to see what the BP community suggests for neighborhoods. 

I'm from Amelia Island just North of Jax. The Springfield area may be a good area to explore my brother and his family are house hacking there. They've never had a vacancy in the upstairs apartment in the past 4 years. The area has some less than desirable parts put seems to be improving in value as many hipsters are moving and improving the community. You may find low prices for the proximaty to the city.

I’ve lived in Jacksonville since 2000, and I️ track real estate here almost daily.

You’ll have difficulty finding a 3/2 or 4/2 for 175k max, and in a good public school district. There are areas with homes that size and in that price range, but they won’t be the most desirable.

Someone mentioned Riverside and San Marco, but both areas are amongst the most desirable in all of Jax. You’d be very lucky to find a decent 3/2 in Riverside for under 225k. San Marco is even more expensive.

Murray Hill and Springfield are cheaper options, but safety is an issue for some.

I’d recommend you check the below zip codes for possible options.

32204 (Riverside in this one)
32206 (Springfield in this one)
32207 (San Marco in this one)
32205 (Murray Hill in this one)
32246
32208
32210

Some of these have very questionable areas, so you’ll have to perform a detailed search to find what you’re looking for.

I would look at (2) things to determine Schools in Duval County. Look at the map here. Then to determine the grade of the school, look here at the grades of the school for 2016. There are many A and B schools in the zip codes provided by @Gregory L.  

I would add 32244 to the list to help with some good schools in these zips. You can also look at Charter Schools in Duval County and are very popular with many in the school district. 

I have a current SFH in 32210 and would say you have a couple options;

1) Do what I did and buy an older house (mine was a 3br/1ba)  with ability to add value. Purchase a house like this add a renovation budget to get to your end state within your budget (also you will probably get better cash flow this way. For me I converted an old 3br/1ba to 3br/2ba and it worked out well. Property rented for next two years and cash flows. These older properties with renovation/value add potential are numerous in riverside, ortega/venetia area, and san marco and you can't go wrong with these locations for the most part.

2) Mandarin area/ St. Johns County have the best schools in the area, if you want family friendly this is your ideal spot. Mandarin may be pricey for you but if you look in the right places you can get a deal and that area is booming. Not as many older homes in this area so there may be less opportunity for value adds (but they are still out there).

3) I would personally stay away from downtown/northside, westside, and in my opinion orange park.

4) Live out here and rent for a short period of time before you buy, or get your realtor to give you virtual tours of homes in your areas of interest to gauge the neighborhoods for yourself. 

5) I second the notion of checking the school districts in the area and starting your search there, JAX has plenty of houses on the market just be patient until you find the right deal and remember the 70% rule. Good luck!

-Aaron Ingram

Thankyou so much to everybody for all your suggestions! In about 3 weeks I will have boots on the ground and be taking 5 days to get a feel for Jacksonville in person. The zip codes mentioned above will be a huge help in places to start looking. After hearing all of your opinions, considering the crime rates in certain areas, and doing our own due diligence as to where "work" will be for us, We are prioritizing east of the river. 

I will post updates when I arrive and begin my search in person!

I 100% agree with what @Gregory L. wrote. Note that I fall on the side of loving Springfield and Murray Hill, but certainly some folks might find them still too early in transition for their own comfort. I would say they are no longer too early in transition to be a risk though...they've passed the tipping point in that regard, but still might be too rough for some people to live in themselves. 

If you need to be on the cheaper side, try Lakeshore (32210) as close to the river as possible or the cheaper fringes of 32246. Good luck to all!

@Gregory L. and @Jack Bobeck whats your thought about Urban Core, which is the area of 32206 North of 8th Street W and E 8th. in the middle of Main St North. ??

the closer you are to 8th street the better. Main St between 8th and 3rd is becoming a commercial hotbed as businesses have finally (recently) started flooding in. By the summer there should be two new micro breweries, one new restaurant, a Walgreens express and possibly a grocery store to go along with the restaurant, microbrewery and coffee shops that opened recently. We've been waiting and expecting this for many years and it's finally happening.

That said, prices in this area have already gotten very high...the cheap stuff is mostly a bit farther away. 

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