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empty nesters splashing in the pool

From first-time homeowners to empty nesters, buying a home is an exciting step for every age. The thrill of moving somewhere new combined with having a place to create lasting memories is something all families dream of. Yet, with mortgage rates up from their historic lows, many are questioning whether or not now is the best time to buy. As the real estate market returns to normalcy, savvy families look past the mortgage rate shifts to consider other factors. Here’s how homebuyers can stay ahead of the curve to make a smooth transition to a new home in 2023.

empty nesters speaking with a realtor

1. Explore the State’s Financial Benefits

For families choosing to move to a new area, considering the tax and financial benefits of that state can be important for saving money in the long run. Florida is an extremely tax-friendly state, as it is only one of seven states in the U.S. that do not collect an individual income tax. This also means Social Security income, pension income, and income from an IRA or 401(k) all go untaxed, saving retirees thousands of dollars annually. In Nassau County, families also won’t need to worry about private schooling for their children. The Nassau County School District is one of the best in the state, receiving A-ratings in all of its schools from pre-k to twelfth grade. At the collegiate level, the College Board recently ranked the cost of a bachelor’s degree at Florida’s public universities the lowest in the country, with programs including Florida Prepaid and the Bright Futures Scholarship ensuring top-tier education at an affordable price.

first-time homeowners family playing board games

2. Research Florida’s Homebuyer Incentives

Whether families are first-time homebuyers, veterans, or hometown heroes, Florida offers numerous homestead incentives. Launched in June 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis’s Hometown Heroes program has assisted nearly 3,500 frontline workers receive down payment and closing cost assistance in the communities they serve. For first-time homebuyers, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s program provides a 30-year fixed-rate loan through participating lenders across the state of Florida, with various loan types including an HFA conventional loan, and government-insured FHA, VA, and USDA loans. First-time buyers can also be eligible for grants that help with upfront costs, including a reduction of property tax bills or reducing the value of the home for the assessment of property taxes.

aerial of the nassau river

3. Find the Perfect Location

While finding a financially affordable house is important, selecting the town or community is equally as crucial. Make sure to do your research on the surrounding area, including commute times, nearby activities, and more. Residents at Tributary, North Florida’s newest master-planned community, are near all the best attractions in North Florida. State-protected land borders the community’s west side and provides many outdoor adventures for residents. Only 15 minutes to the south, you’ll find the Jacksonville International Airport and River City Marketplace, a major regional shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. Easy access to I-95 and Florida’s Turnpike also ensures endless historic attractions, beaches, theme parks, and more are just a short day trip away.

4. Consider Living Near a Military Base

Whether active duty or retired, living near a military base can provide the whole family with numerous benefits. The military community is known for providing a strong family presence that extends far past the base, with endless events designed to attract similar people with a strong sense of patriotism. Residents also have immediate and close access to a plethora of resources, including VA clinics that ensure quality healthcare is never too far away. In North Florida, veterans appreciate Jacksonville’s proximity to numerous military bases, including Kings Bay, Florida Air National Guard, Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, and more.

interior of the trevi home at tributary

5. Discover Builder Incentives for Master-Planned Communities

New communities with special pre-construction offerings, like Tributary in Nassau County, Florida, provide incentives to pioneering homebuyers who become early adopters of the community’s lifestyle. New construction homes have been in high demand as they are built with energy-efficient features that can reduce monthly bills, and no dated elements that could lead to costly repairs. In purchasing a pre-construction home, buyers are also able to make their home truly their own. From selecting the ideal homesite and personalized floorplans to desired finishes, buyers can create the home of their dreams that matches their family’s needs and desires.

empty nesters on the swing at the amenity center

Discover North Florida’s Newest Master-Planned Community

When it comes to buying a new home, there are so many aspects that need to be considered. Tributary makes it easy to hit all the items on your wish list, with an impressive selection of new, single-family homes from the $300s. Tributary’s Model Home Village is open daily for tours, featuring six designer-decorated model homes by three of the area’s best home builders – Dream Finders Homes, Lennar, and Richmond American Homes. Additionally, homebuyers are loving Lakeview 55+, Nassau County’s newest active-adult neighborhood.

At Tributary, residents get to Explore More with a prime natural location and private on-site amenities. The Lookout Amenity Center is the community’s stylish new social hub, featuring a fitness studio, a resort-style pool, two pickleball courts, a playground, a dog park, and more. Miles of scenic nature trails wind throughout the community and provide direct access points to the Nassau River, neighboring trailheads of the Four Creeks State Forest, and Tributary Regional Park.

To hear from residents themselves on what makes life at Tributary so unique and rewarding, watch our new Community Video or download the Digital Brochure for an overview of the neighborhood and surrounding area. You can also visit for more information.

Buying your first home is an exciting step in life. Envisioning future holiday dinners, celebrating with friends, and watching your family grow—all filled with smiles. However, there are a lot of moving parts to purchasing your first home, and it can be just as scary as it is exciting. First-time homebuyers often venture out into the market without the knowledge or experience needed to recognize the potential pitfalls to avoid in the process. Here’s a look at the most common mistakes homebuyers make, and how you can avoid them.

1. Do Your Research Before Looking at Homes

While it’s exciting to view homes, first-time homebuyers should research the area they plan to move to and get pre-approved for a mortgage before they start searching. Talking to a mortgage lender will help you navigate the Florida laws, and incentives for buying new construction homes. Florida offers numerous homestead incentives for first-time homebuyers, including reducing your property tax bill, and reducing the value of your home for the assessment of property taxes. They also do not have a state income tax or collect property taxes, creating a desirable lower cost of living.

Having a mortgage lender will also show sellers that you’re a serious buyer whose credit and finances are in good shape. In today’s competitive market, deals are often closed in a matter of days. Having a pre-approval and knowing the financial benefits of that state can help eliminate any points of delay in the process and could improve your chances of having your offer accepted.

Research Homes Before Looking at New Homes

2. Talking to Only One Lender

When getting preapproved for a mortgage, first-time homebuyers often get a mortgage from the first (and only) lender or bank they talk to. However, the more you “shop around” and compare offers, the better basis you’ll have to ensure you’re getting a great deal with the lowest rates possible. According to a 2018 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study, the average borrower could have saved $300 a year, or $9,000 over a 30-year mortgage had they compared mortgage offers. Homebuyers can avoid this mistake by comparing the rates, lender fees, and loan terms of at least three different lenders.

First-Time Homebuyers Working with mortgage lenders in jacksonville florida

3. Being Careless with Credit

When buying a home, the mortgage lender will pull your credit report at both the pre-approval stage and just before closing. To ensure nothing jeopardizes the closing and final loan approval, many lenders will advise to not open or close any accounts, take out new loans, or make large purchases while searching for a new home. Homebuyers are also advised to keep a check of their current credit score. Many banks offer free credit monitoring to their customers and give advice on what to focus on to improve your score.

4. Focusing on the House, Not the Neighborhood

While it is important that the house checks all the items on your wish list, selecting the right town or community is equally as crucial. Do your research on the surrounding area, including school ratings, commute times, nearby activities, and more. For those looking to move to North Florida, the master-planned community Tributary presents an incredible opportunity for work-life balance, through the freedom of an active outdoor lifestyle while being near the thriving Jacksonville region.

Family riding bikes

5. Don’t Overthink the Long-Term Plan

As you shop for your dream home, it’s easy to focus on the details that make you personally fall in love with the property. However, first-time homebuyers should recognize that their first house isn’t always their forever home. It’s important to keep in mind the resale value of your home, so you can always make the move when you’re ready. New construction homes provide the best value for resale, designed with today’s most sought-after features and taking advantage of current technology advances. Other important features to look for include open concept layouts, outdoor appeal, and overall energy efficiency.

Tivoli Home in Tributary Florida

Live Life on Your Terms

When it comes to buying a new home, there are so many aspects that need to be considered. Tributary makes it easy to hit all the items on your wish list, with an impressive selection of new, single-family homes from the $300s. The Model Home Village is open daily to showcase the unique styles and designs of our builders – Dream Finders Homes, Lennar, and Richmond American Homes.

At Tributary, residents get to Explore More with a prime natural location and private on-site amenities. The Lookout Lakefront Clubhouse is Tributary’s newest amenity center set to open this summer. Here, residents will enjoy a fitness studio, resort-inspired pool, pickleball courts, a playground, dog park, and more. Additionally, Tributary recently announced the start of pre-sales in Lakeview 55+, Nassau County’s newest active-adult neighborhood.

To get a full overview of the community and surrounding area, be sure to discover the Digital Brochure, or connect with Tributary on Facebook and Instagram. To view available homes or to schedule an in-person tour, visit or contact the Tributary team at 904-299-6124.