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  #1  
Old 11-09-2013
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Living in Florida

My family is weighing the option of moving to Florida in a few years. "Canal" homes or communities with a marina or community dock is very appealing to me. We have a daughter that will be in middle school at the time of move. Obviously, the reason for moving is weather and proximity to the water. We'll be looking for something no more than $200k.

I'm looking for recommendations/reviews of specific cities, neighborhoods, or communities to research. We don't want to get stuck in a "no work" area. I've primarily considered the Tampa area south to Ft. Myers. I've also thought of Jacksonville/St. Augustine although I'm thinking we'll end up on the west side. We have family in Ft. Myers.

Please... pros/cons, your experiences, talk me into or out of this. Both of our careers are fairly mobile and we'll need to be near decent middle and high schools.

Josh
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Old 11-09-2013
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Re: Living in Florida

Much of this will pretty much depend upon your field of expertise. Some areas of Florida have fairly high demands for certain professions, while you would starve to death in others. The Fort Myers area is very nice, quite affordable, but geared more toward senior residents. Housing is modestly priced in the area as well, however, put the same home on deepwater canal and you'll double the price very quickly. You should really spend some time traveling around the various locals and looking closely at what is available, both for employment and housing, plus the school systems, which will vary dramatically. I, personally, would stay away from Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, and the Keys. While I absolutely love the Keys, the price tag on homes there are outa sight. It's touted as the most expensive resort area of the United States.

Good Luck,

Gary
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Old 11-10-2013
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Re: Living in Florida

imasaluki

You are coming from a beautiful area. I hope you aren't driven mad by the flat strip mall environment of Florida. I would do it but I am lost without the forests, mountains and rivers - except when I am on the water. Then I am fine. Its tough. Good luck and I will read with interest.
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Re: Living in Florida

To live happily in Florida, it is my suggestion to be very selective about where you choose. Towns separated by only a few miles will have entirely unique and dissimilar personalities, population profiles, amenities & conveniences, cultural norms, social & intellectual capital, and will provide entirely different lifestyle experiences.

If I could not reside in the close Tampa Bay area I would, at this point in life, probably choose to not live in Florida.
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Re: Living in Florida

St. Petersburg (Tampa area) or just north of it is very nice and seems to have the lowest cost of living for any of the Florida coastal area.

Slip cost at most marinas is under $300

Good schools and lots of great activities for the kids.

The area seems to avoid most of the hurricanes that hit Florida.
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Re: Living in Florida

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Originally Posted by Sal Paradise View Post
imasaluki

You are coming from a beautiful area. I hope you aren't driven mad by the flat strip mall environment of Florida. I would do it but I am lost without the forests, mountains and rivers - except when I am on the water. Then I am fine. Its tough. Good luck and I will read with interest.
We do love our fair city (we both were born and raised here), but we despise our winters. Words cannot adequately describe our disgust for winter for the past five years or so.... -----> Winter
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Re: Living in Florida

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Originally Posted by kedujo View Post
To live happily in Florida, it is my suggestion to be very selective about where you choose. Towns separated by only a few miles will have entirely unique and dissimilar personalities, population profiles, amenities & conveniences, cultural norms, social & intellectual capital, and will provide entirely different lifestyle experiences.

If I could not reside in the close Tampa Bay area I would, at this point in life, probably choose to not live in Florida.
We have definitely noticed the quiltwork that is Florida during our travels. There's a little bit of everything all messed about.

So, Tampa, any particular single-family areas that meet our requirements that you're familiar? Neighborhood, town, zipcode? I'll look it up! I'm trying to drill down here. Zillow and Trulia are my friend. I don't want to waste a realtor's time just yet.
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Re: Living in Florida

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Originally Posted by MarioG View Post
St. Petersburg (Tampa area) or just north of it is very nice and seems to have the lowest cost of living for any of the Florida coastal area.

Slip cost at most marinas is under $300

Good schools and lots of great activities for the kids.

The area seems to avoid most of the hurricanes that hit Florida.
Thanks MarioG!
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Re: Living in Florida

Agree with MarioG. On the west coast in FL, in general the further north you go, the more reasonable the home prices. An exception might be the Cape Coral/Fort Myers area, which was hit hard by Charley in 2004 and then again by the bottom falling out of the real estate market in a middle class area.

In terms of jobs and working, most FL west coast communities are geared to tourism and 2nd homes, and so businesses (and employment opportunities) tend to be small and geared in that direction. The largest employers are in the Tampa area, which is commutable from St. Pete/Clearwater/Pinellas County (on the west side of Tampa Bay), and also from points north in Pasco County. The sand beaches also end in Pasco, if you are a beach person. So northern Pinellas and southern Pasco Counties might be places to focus a search, as a start.

All the water is skinny around here, and shoals abound - so a shoal draft or centerboard/swing keel is almost a necessity. FWIW.

Good luck!
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Re: Living in Florida

We're in Riverview, lower-middle class rising. 25 minutes to downtown Tampa, 10 minutes to Apollo Beach. $200k will get you a brand new 2100-2400sq' single-family home in a cookie-cutter subdivision. There are new developments less than 5 minutes from my front door.
Brand new is nice; houses built to modern hurricane codes make insurers happy.

Downtown Tampa has condos, if that's appealing. Great views, city-like conveniences.

15 minutes east of 33578 will get you a few acres of pastureland and 1500sq' and position you very close to the Hillsborough river and great mountainbiking. (yes, seriously).

New Tampa, 30 minutes north of me, in northern Hillsborough county, is upper middle class. Bruce B. Downs is the major artery in New Tampa, google maps will let you browse the area.

Sarasota / Bradenton might work for you also; it's charming and has character. Smaller than Tampa but not as rural as Lakeland / Winter Haven.
I suggest staying near the coast. The further east you go the more stagnant it feels and you're just that much further from good sailing.

St. Petersburg and Clearwater are on the other side of the Bay. I drive through it often but cannot speak to the housing situation. It doesn't seem to be in "growth mode" like Riverview or New Tampa.

Hope that helps. Happy to help with specifics as you need.

Dad lives in Louisville. I'm from Lake Cumberland area. Spent time in Lexington and still have family dotted all along from Hyden to Somerset. I suspect I know how you feel.
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