Florida - relocating

Old Jan 30th, 2005, 08:44 AM
  #1  
nll
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Florida - relocating


My question is to all you Tampa/St.Pete/Sarasota residents. I plan on selling my TH in the DC area in the next month. I have done some research and spent 2 weeks there last year but it's really not enough time to see all the different areas..

St. Pete is my first choice, second choice Sarasota area. I plan on renting and looking for employment first. Hopefully, I would like to purchase within the year because I have noticed prices are soaring. It is my understanding that property taxes are approx. 1.9% of the purchase price. It seems exceedingly high, where is the balance then compared to high priced areas, i.e. DC, Boston. Florida seems to becoming (except prices of homes) to be up there in taxes like the northeast. Where is the savings. Just curious!

I'm 50 something and my questions are as follows:...Can one still find a nice condo/home 2/3 bedroom for (under $350/K Since the hurricanes of last summer, have the prices of home insurance gone exceedingly high. I'm single and would like suggestions of areas to concentrate on and any and all advice for someone who is new to your area.

One condo area that I loved was the area where Point Brittany condos are. I, believe it's the Pass A Grille area. Is anyone familiar with this area and know the prices?

I have spoken with realtors but prefer to hear first-hand from folks that live in these areas.

Hope to hear from you.
Another Baby Boomer girl...
nll is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2005, 09:03 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,289
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Can't tell you about the real estate in your chosen areas but I can tell you there is no income tax in Florida and that is constitutionally prohibited. The real estate taxes are high because of this. This is also a way to extract taxes from seasonal home owners. LMF
LilMsFoodie is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2005, 09:33 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,336
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The way to have low taxes in Florida is to live here for a long time. I have a home that is appraised at least half what I could sell it for, and I pay taxes on the value from when Save Our Homes was adopted (can't exactly remember, a few years ago). This terrific law helped all of us whose taxes were rising because of rising real estate values. Once you buy your home, it will not be re-assessed for I think it's 5 years (need to check on that exactly). And when it is reassessed it can only go up a small percentage (need to check on that too). This has been a terrific thing for those of us who have lived here for awhile. You will not see appreciating real estate taxes while around you houses will continually go up, up, up in value. But it is true, you will have to pay current tax rates when you buy. Also, in FL there is a $25,000 homestead exemption but this amounts to little in a $350,000 condo.

Passe-a-grille is lovely but pricey. If you want St. Pete, then buy now. Things are still affordable there but everyone's looking at the area as being highly desirable because of the livability of its downtown, the museums, the new condos going up downtown, its great school system. I think you can find a condo for $350,ooo. The area of St. Pete that I'd be looking at close to the beach are:

-- area next to downtown of city of SP Beach (not SP) on either side along the Blind Pass Road. I've a few friends from Tampa who've found 2-3 bdrm. smaller houses in this cute area for under $300,000. You're very close to the beaches and amenities yet you have the feel of a neighborhood.

-- Check out the islands on the bay side of St. Pete Beach. I don't know their names but these are areas where people are buying homes and renovating. Prices are much lower than on the Gulfside. Also the island bayside of Passe-a-grille. Get a detailed map.

--the only way to have waterfront in this area is to be in a condo for $400, maybe $350, or to plunk down $700,000-$1million.

Also, check out the old Northeast. There are still many bargains to be found in SP.
Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2005, 10:09 AM
  #4  
nll
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you both so far for your responses. It really is helping me a lot as far as my questions concerning taxes and some areas of SP.

Although, I mentioned St. Pete, I'm not opposed to other areas outside of Tampa proper. One area I thought was lovely was Countryside and I heard to check out Feathersound. These areas I'm also considering because I will be applying for jobs from Tampa to St. Pete.

A couple here in DC just boughtt bought in Grand Bellagio (snow birds). I looked it up on the internet but I think it may be out of my price range. I, believe it's on 19 not far from Clearwater.

I should mention I would like to buy in a place that has amenities i.e. club house, mainly because it would be nice to be in a place where I can meet people socially within my own neighborhood, until I get more familiar with Florida and join outside activities such as Golf...I'm a newbie at this sport.

Keep your suggestions coming. It's so informative.

Thanks again for your helpful suggestions.
nll is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2005, 10:38 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,336
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In Tampa area, check out Westchase and FishHawk Ranch subdivisions. These places are highly desirable new construction. I don't know about prices. There aren't as many "other" areas around SP because it was built out long ago, and was for many years the most densely populated county in FL. But there are places in Pasco County. Keep looking.

Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2005, 10:42 AM
  #6  
GoTravel
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
As far as insurance is concerned, hurricanes are not covered under a regular policy. You must purchase Flood Insurance and that price depends on your proximity to the ocean and the FIRM (Flood Insurance Rating Map) index by FEMA.

I know several carriers in my area (I'm on the Atlantic Coast) have stopped writing homeowner policies. At one time our Flood Insurance was underwritten by FEMA.

I know several of my oceanfront neighbors do not have flood insurance because it is so high. It is cheaper for them just to rebuild than to continue to insure year after year.

These are not house that they live in but vacation rentals they've probably never stayed in.
 
Old Jan 30th, 2005, 11:15 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,665
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Actually, GoTravel, here in Florida (I thought it was this way all over) the flood insurance is very reasonable, because it is federally subsidized. That is assuming your ground floor is above the "flood line" - in other words, your house is elevated. (All new construction must be elevated) The real killer is wind insurance. Homeowners ins does not include wind anymore, and that is the policy that costs an arm and a leg, and has a huge deductible in the event of a claim (2% of the insured value on a named storm).

nll, the area you first described, Point Brittany, is on the causeway leading from St. Pete to St. Pete Beach, and it's generally called "Isla Del Sol". The older complexes (Point Brittany is one) are lackluster, and restricted to over 55. The newer ones are gorgeous, not restricted, very expensive unfortunately.

My MIL used to live in St. Pete Beach Yacht & Tennis Club. This waterfront complex is well located at the end of Blind Pass Road, where TGirl recommended (I agree with what she said - surprise!). Maintenance is excellent, nice pool and tennis, boat docks, there's no age restriction (even tho you are 50, be careful of the over 50 places - ask the median age - some are like 80 +) Anyway, a google search shows selling price at $250K - $310. I guess you know, the higher the floor, the higher the price.

Best of luck, and welcome!
joan is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2005, 11:56 AM
  #8  
GoTravel
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
joan, my house is on pilings and is elevated. I thought flood was still subsidized by FEMA but wasn't positive (I need to look at my rider).

The majority of the homes on my island are vacation rental homes and aren't primary residences. They are these big ugly 6-8 bedroom boxes that rent out weekly. I imagine they don't have mortgages or they would have to be insured.

I'm sure when my policy comes up for renewal I'll be hit with all kinds of new fine print. yipee. As of this minute, wind is still covered in my home owners. I think.

Drat. I need to go dig that up.

 
Old Jan 30th, 2005, 01:58 PM
  #9  
GoTravel
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
joan, thank you for pointing this out to me. I have discovered that I cannot find my homeowners policy, Mr. GoTravel is still iced in Atlanta, and now I'm tearing the house apart! Aaaccckkk!

 
Old Jan 30th, 2005, 03:31 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nll, if you go a bit farther north you will find some lovely areas with affordable condos, like Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs. We lived in that area for many years before moving back to Georgia, and we still miss Florida very much! St. Pete's downtown has struggled for economic survival for years and is still marginal. Downtown Clearwater is being taken over by the Scientologists (a pseudo religion) who are buying every bit of real estate they can. I'd go a little farther north to one of the aforementioned areas. Westchase and Fish Hawk Ranch in the Tampa area (actually north Tampa and Riverview, respectively) are located far from the water, in Hillsborough County. Schools are less desireable in Hillsborough than in Pinellas. I know that you don't have children to attend the schools, but quality of school system has a profound effect on resale later on.
kswl is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2005, 05:19 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,336
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
kswl, you really need to make a visit to St. Pete. It is quite a different place than it was even two years ago. As nll knows. There's lots of things going on here you must be unaware of. And I don't agree at all with your assessment of the schools. What are you basing that on? Plant High School was listed a few years back by Time magazine as one of the nations' best. Many South Tampa schools are blue ribbon schools, which is a highly competetive achievement. I've also heard a lot of good things about SP's excellent schools.
Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 06:24 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,665
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
GoTravel, you're probably fine. Can you get a hold of last year's insurance info? Even the billing page will show wind coverage or exclusion. Besides, if you home is mortgaged, your lender is probably on top of this, especially if they escrow your insurance - I know mine is!
joan is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 08:29 AM
  #13  
E
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,356
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We're relocating to Tampa this summer, so I'm very interested in this thread! (nll, I started one myself many months ago and got some interesting responses--you might try doing a search.)
My question concerns traffic: if we're working in downtown Tampa, would the commute from the northside be too terrible? That's what we've been told--avoid the north side, stick to south Tampa. What do you all think?
E is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 09:28 AM
  #14  
nll
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi to "Everyone" who has responded:

I'm getting lots of great advice on here. I know a little about some of the areas.

Palm Harbor - Landsbrook was very nice... East Lake Woodlands. I can't remember some of the other developments. Everything has been built up in Palm Harbor and what I noticed, no newer construction. I did check out the condo conversion at Innisbrook Tuscany. I did not like them...very small inside for the price.

Safety Harbor - parts were very nice.
Clearwater - I liked Countryside

As far as proximity to the beach, as long as it's not more than 20-25 min.

What is this Feathersound area that someone mentioned to me that I work with here in DC. They said it's also a nice area...

The answers you have given on homeowners insurance has been quite helpful.

Keep your suggestions coming. You are all great and so informative.

I'll be coming down there in a few weeks for 10 days, to look at rentals. I'll probably be staying around St. Pete where I have friends who just moved there...(Point Brittany condo)...yes, loaded with very elderly people but it's a great location and fabulous views. They bought 5 years ago and got it at a steal and upgraded it to the "nines". I think she's a little sorry though it's an over 55+ community.

I will take notice from the poster who suggested not to purchase in an over 55+ community. It really would be too elderly a community for me.

Look forward to hearing more. Thanks so much to all of you.
nll is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 09:53 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,665
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Feather Sound is a large development, including office and retail, located on the eastern edge of Pinellas county, where Rte 275 enters from Tampa Bay. My kids had a few friends there, some gorgeous upscale homes, also some nice condo's. Kind of a professional bedroom community. This webpage shows a median age of 38!
http://www.city-data.com/city/Feathe...d-Florida.html

Also, nll, I'm not suggesting you NOT purchase in an over-55 place, rather you should ask the median age. Some have low medians, some are in the 80's. My MIL made that mistake upon moving to Naples, to a small complex. Turned out our lively mom had only 80-somethings as neighbors, whereas some places - look for tennis court and boat docks for amenities - have a very "youngish" population. Ask the realtor!

Here's another waterfront complex I like. Harbourside. On the causeway from St. Pete Beach to South Pasadena, prices from $250 - $410 according to this condo sales website: (look for the address of 7862 Sailboat Key Blvd)

http://www.gulfcoastcondoreport.com/SouthPasadenaFL.htm
joan is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 10:05 AM
  #16  
nll
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Joan,

Great, your a wealth of info. Yes, I agree with you about asking the "median age".

I, also noticed that Clearwater is being bought out by the "Scientologists"...and the place is becoming so overpriced. My favorite place down there is the Clearwater Beach Hotel. I got to know the conceige and the bartenders at their great lounge when I stayed there. Wonderful folks that have been there for years.

Now, that is sad to see that place torn down.

I will most definitley check out the websites you sent.
nll is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 10:09 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tandoori, you are right that Plant High school is one of Hillsborough County's best high schools. That's one. There are several good ones in Pinellas: Palm Harbor, Eastlake, Countryside, Clearwater. St. Pete schools consistently underperform in Pinellas County. I have been away two years but still read the St. Pete Times online, have many friends in the area (most with high school age kids) and visit about 3 x per year. Happy to hear, though, that the downtown is picking up in St. Pete. A friend moved her art gallery down there about three years ago to join the growing artists' colony. But--in terms of a working, vital, businesses other than tourism, I imagine it still has a long way to go.
kswl is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2005, 10:18 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,336
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Joan and I should probably post together under one psuedonym, we seem to agree on everything I like Pasadena too.

I don't know the SP area as well as I know Tampa. I've never ventured into Feather Sound, but it's always looked more like an office complex from the road than a residential area. IMO, that would be the primary drawback there -- it seems to have no focal point, no "city". But maybe you can check it out and venture in and look around, find what I've missed.

As for E's question about traffic, I'd agree with your friends. You can access downtown from South Tampa in a myriad of directions -- via the interstate, via Bayshore, via Kennedy Blvd, via the Crosstown (you need to get a map of the city and check this out). But if you're commuting to downtown from north of downtown, you're stuck taking whatever interstate is available to you. Unless you go back roads, and it can be a long commute on back roads. So if traffic continues to get worse, which it assuredly will, your best bet will always be to live close to downtown in South Tampa, where you're never further than 20 minutes away. South Tampa is surrounded by water and so it fairly built out. For now.

There are a couple of areas that seem to be thriving and reviving north of Tampa close to downtown that I would consider. Tampa Heights and Seminole Heights. They are just as close as South Tampa. Housing values are not as high and there are some wonderful historic homes in those neighborhoods, if you'd be looking for that.
Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2005, 04:06 PM
  #19  
E
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,356
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks again, TG--yours were some of the very helpful replies I recall from my last post!

The fact that south Tampa is built-out, essentially, is what freaks me out--I worry about prices, what's available in our range, etc. But on the other hand, the kinds of things we like to do on weekends will likely be in Tampa proper as well, so living too far from the city will really make no sense. We'll take a look at Tampa Heights and Seminole Heights, too--going househunting in February, keep your fingers crossed for us!
E is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 08:23 AM
  #20  
nll
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks again for all the advice and I'm booking my flights today. Hope to spend at least a min. of 10 days. I want to check out the area that "Joan" suggested Harbourside and the area there along the causeway to Pasadena.

It's very helpful to get as much info as possible from you folks that live down there.

If you have anymore suggestion, I'll keep checking bach here from time to time.

I plan on looking for a job in the future. Administrarive work, so, I think one could find something in that arean around St. Pete. I know salaries are low but it's the medical insurance that more important as this time in my life and being productive.

Thanks again everyone!
nll is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:10 AM.