My wife and I have been talking about moving out of Ohio ever since she first arrived here from South Africa in 2000. To be honest it was mostly her talking about moving but for the past 3 years it has been a mutual discussion. We talked about Texas and Florida and in the end we decided on Jacksonville, Florida. None of it was easy and how do you decide where to live in just a few days of visiting a town? I have a friend that lives in Jacksonville and he recommended Florida as a good place to live, I also have a few other friends that have lived both in Texas and Florida. Since I am planning on retiring in 6 or 7 years I decided that Florida would be better than Texas. Jacksonville has a climate similar to South Africa and the hot summer days are just what my wife loves. It is also the right time for my wife to get the dream kitchen she has always wanted. For me I just won't have to deal with snow and cold weather that requires packing up everything in the yard and moving it to the garage or under tarp, just to redo it all over again in a few months. A lot of time, money and effort just to enjoy the outdoors for a few months. Looking forward to 9 months of good weather instead of 3. I guess I should have kept my convertible a bit longer instead of selling it in 2014.
If you are doing everything long distance you need to work with someone to help you. We found an incredible real estate team in Jacksonville that helped us plan our two 10 day trips for house hunting. If you are looking to move to the Jacksonville area we recommend Josh Rogers Real Estate. This is his website and this is his YouTube channel. We did emails, instant messaging, phone calls and FaceTime to bring it all together. We also did a lot of research on the internet and a lot of driving around the Jacksonville area before we decided on the place to call home.
We liked the idea of a master planned community with all the amenities it brings with it, verses a housing subdivision. Specifically we were looking for a fitness center with organized activities, pool, golf cart road, parks, nature areas, visiting food trucks, farmers market, etc. We liked the Bartram Park area but it wasn't providing the master planned community that we were looking for. Finally we narrowed our selection down to Shearwater, RiverTown and the biggest and probably best master planned community in the Jacksonville area Nocatee, in fact it is the third best selling in the United States. We were leaning toward selecting Nocatee but in the end it was a bit too big (planned full build out is 12,000 home sites) and the price to live there increased significantly in the 1 year that we started looking. We visited Shearwater but most of the homes were priced above our starting range or did not have a designed that we liked. That took us to RiverTown and several model homes that my wife really liked. We had narrowed down the selection to two homes and then selected the home based on the lot we wanted.
As mentioned we worked with Josh Rogers Real Estate and made use of all the videos he has on his site. The below drone tour really peaked our interest in RiverTown. In fact watching the video again we can see the lot we selected. Great! These are the extras that Josh provides for his out-of-town clients that really help you get the feel of the neighborhoods and model homes.
The club house was what we were looking for and includes internet connecivity if you are looking to get out of the house and still get some work done.
The fitness center has everything we need
So our 1 year search to find a community in Jacksonville to live in has come to an end, but now starts the building phase and being one of the first people to live in the new neighbor of RiverTown. Watch for future posts and pictures of RiverTown.
I took this picture of the RiverTown pier on St Johns River during our last visit. There is another amenities center (RiverClub) being built along the river and is scheduled to be completed later this year.
Now we just need to sell our house and get down to RiverTown.