How to find the most affordable home in the safest neighborhood

Posted at 11:55 PM, Feb 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-23 23:55:12-05

It's been a month of exhaustion for Jennifer Johnson and her family.

"It's a struggle," she told ABC Action News.  "It definitely is. Trying to find the right home at the price where we need it to be."

The moving boxes still stacked in the garage, it took months for her to find a home for her family of eight. Homes realtors show her were safe but in many cases, totally beyond her price ranges. Others were well priced but in neighborhoods she was scared to live in.

"Sometimes, you have to raise your prices because of that," Johnson said.

ABC Action News crunched the numbers for you and found these areas: New Port Richey, Largo, Pinellas Park and neighborhoods around Brandon, Riverview and Seffner all got people the most home for their money.

Take for example a home in Seffner.

"It's a three bedroom, two bath home," said Raquel Zapata, a realtor with Majestic Real Estate Services. "It's a concrete home."

Priced at $155,000, it is not only affordable for many families but in a safe area with a good school nearby.

"You can live here for under a thousand dollars a month," Zapata said.

There are also newer construction townhomes in Riverview available starting at $189,000.

There are also single family homes just one street over starting around $200,000.

We also found homes in Brandon. One street shows a home for sale at $182,000. It was next to a well-rated elementary school.

"You can still find affordable homes in the Brandon, Seffner, Riverview and some areas of Valrico," Zapata said. "They're still there."

There are also many great safe options in Pinellas County.

In one quiet Largo neighborhood, there is a three-bedroom, two bathroom home that is 1800 square feet. It's priced at a very competitive $225,000.

There are others more affordable just around the corner.

However, realtors say these homes go quick.

"If you see a property that meets your needs, by all means put an offer in and try to get it," she said.

For those worried owning a home is beyond their reach, Zapata says there are great options for buyers.

There's state money available through Florida's Hardest Hit Fund. The money is there to help with down payment and closing costs.

To qualify, you must have at least a 640 credit score and not owned a home in the last three years.

You can also put as little as 3.5 percent down on a home through an FHA loan.

However, for those who commute into downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg, you could end up stuck in traffic and paying for gas to live in these neighborhoods.

In some cases, traffic can tie you up for 45 minutes or even an hour in some cases going back and forth.

But for families like Jennifer Johnson's, it's worth it.

"It's an amazing feeling," she said. "I'm thankful. And very grateful that we are able to provide for them that way."