Move to Tampa, or not?

Old Aug 17th, 2005, 06:40 AM
  #1  
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Move to Tampa, or not?

Hi folks, my family is considering taking a job offer in Tampa. We've never been and could use some feedback on the area as a place to live. Also Clearwater and St. Petes. What are the driving distances between them and where would you want to live with two homeschooled teenagers? Neither of them want to go...
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 07:08 AM
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Where do you live now? You would definitely want to test drive the weather before deciding to move. If you can handle it in July and August, you'll love it the rest of the year!

Please...first thing... it is St Pete, not St Petes. Ouch...hurts my ears to hear that. Finances may dictate where you can live. If I had my druthers, it would be near the beach. Realistically though, although housing prices have soared all over the area, north Tampa, though still expensive, is more affordable...or rather, more house for the money. The beaches are wonderful though and the average kid would be thrilled to have easy access to them.

Where is the job and are the hours "normal" working hours? Rush hour can be brutal. Outside of rush hour it takes about 40 minutes, give or take, Tampa airport area to St. Pete Beach.

I wouldn't even think about moving unless you come down and look for yourselves beforehand. See the weather at its worst, look at housing prices and areas. We LOVED living there but it is not for everyone, year round especially!
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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Thanks for the input. We live in Asheville, NC right now. Have been all over the rest of Florida just never to Tampa. Yes, we have been in August! Its tough! We would definitely be coming down to do recon before accepting the job which is on Nebraska Ave. at E.Fowler or thereabout.
We'd be looking for a three BR in the 180's range. How likely is that? With a pool?
Sorry about the St.Pete faux pas.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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It sounds like your husband might be working with the University -- either that or the Todd-AO adult bookstore, haha.

A few areas to live come to mind and not one of them is Fowler and Nebraska (I'm sure OO is laughing at that comment). That area is very close to what is known as Suitcase City, where a lot of transient people live in decrepit apartments. Not a stable or desirable neighborhood.

But there is one area that is highly affordable, very close by, and very livable. It is called Forest Hills. There are many charming affordable homes there, some situated on the old Babe Zahariahs Golf Course, a free course now, I believe. This was a 1950s neighborhood and so the homes are spacious and rambling, and the neighborhood itself meanders around the old course, with ducks and ponds, very nice. Many are now being updated and renovated. It is located west of the interstate between Fletcher and Fowler. Also, the Lake Magdalene and Lake Carrol areas (further west) are very nice, although the traffic congestion there in the Carrolwood area is a nightmare. This is a 1980's neighborhood that has been steadily growing since it began into the outlying countryside. The homes are a bit pricier there but I imagine a realtor can surely steer you in the right direction to something in your range.

The other areas to consider are Temple Terrace, a bit of a drive but very charming. This is actually a separate city from Tampa, with its own mayor and city council. It is a 1920's and 1930's neighborhood with castle-like meditteranean-style homes, also built around a golf course. It is charming as well but the problem in this neighborhood is that for some reason the home values have not escalated as much as other areas.

If your husband doesn't mind a short interstate commute going in the opposite direction of the traffic, then you could look at Seminole Heights, an older neighborhood of wood-frame classic bungalows, lots of trees, a meandering river, and a place where lots of younger people are moving. From I-275 west to the river you can find a variety of homes and houses with some more livable and desirable than others. Definitely some variation in quality, this is a pioneering neighborhood so be prepared to be a pioneer.

One other area, but one that might be out of your price range, is New Tampa which is east of the University. It was built with the caveat that trees and wildlife and bike trails are a good thing -- but that caveat seems to be falling to the wayside. My friends family bought in a development next to an area that they were assured would not be developed. Now they are watching it being mowed down for homes.

So, depending on what type of neighborhood you want, there are many options.

As for the home-schooled girls, there are quite a number of people home-schooling here so they won't be alone. There are some really excellent youth groups at churches, if that's an option. And if you are considering putting them into an excellent high school, the international baccaluereate program at Hillsborough High School (Seminole Heights) is among the best and most rigorous in the nation -- so rigorous that few kids even get in, and even fewer survive the intense study programs. I live in South Tampa where Plant High School thrives. Many people take their children out of private schools and put them into Plant for high school. Unfortunately, I think you'll be priced out of the South Tampa/Hyde Park/Westshore area (I bought here about 20 years ago but couldn't afford it now, empty lots are $300,000 minimum). And honestly, with your husband working up there, you can find plenty closer to his job.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 08:12 AM
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About that pool. Don't buy a house with an old one -- unless it's been re-done recently the old ones had problems because of the marcite siding (now they use quartz). You can add a pool for $15,000. Patio Pools built mine, they've been in business for many many years, and I was very very happy with their work. Our pool was our best investment in terms of the family fun we've had, and the view and sound of it with its little waterfall flowing from the hot tub to the pool (and the hot tub was a surprisingly great thing too, as my husband wanted it and I didn't -- but in the winter, and even the summer with the heat off, it's really relaxing -- for that, add another $5000 to the cost of the pool but get 25% more use out of it).
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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Interesting, I never said the job offer was for my husband...funny how we assume these things.
Thank you for the good input on neighborhoods, I will look into them. We have no problem being pioneers as we were in downtown Atlanta years ago.
Is the area fairly liberal? I heard Tampa was the blue spot in the red state. Similar to Asheville here in NC.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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If you do decide to move to Tampa, I'd suggest you thoroughly study up about red tide before moving there. If you don't you risk being called an idiot by the locals.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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Tampa was sort of blue, yes. LOL Floriduh. Don't hold it against us!

oneyedrosie, I wouldn't even think about the beaches/St Pete/Clearwater if that's where you are working. It would be a tough commute. You do want to look in the northern neighborhoods and I'm just not that familiar with them. (What is it they call people who never go north of Kennedy? I was one of them.) My orthopedist was up in that area but that's the only time I went "up there"...oh yes...my car dealership too.

Seminole Heights is a lovely area, the "next Hyde Park" if it isn't already. If you are willing to renovate you could find some deals perhaps. Anywhere "up there" and toward the river you need to know there can be serious issues with flooding...I don't think Seminole Heights is one, but north of there is and this is an issue you need to be aware of if/when you get down to house hunting.

Are you familiar with the website www.realtor.com? It has all houses that are for sale in an area listed, and browsing that website in the 175,000 to 200,000 range will give you an idea of what your dollar will buy. I'm afraid you can safely rule out a pool in that range.

Nebraska Ave, parts of it anyway, are a Tampa insider joke. Who knew...not us when we first moved to town and had to find something or other for a renovation we were doing. The place was listed as Nebraska Ave and when we told people where we were going, a few eyebrows were raised...quite high as a matter of fact! Is there a better cross street you can use to describe your job...Fowler and ??? Bruce B Downs or? Parts of Nebraska are fine, but the entire street has taken on a sort of negative connotation.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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So I gather. I am familiar with red tide.
Has something to do with the full moon, yea?
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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And be sure not to post in all capitals or use run-on sentences or you will hear from Patrick.

oneyedrosie, you did not say that YOU were considering a job but rather "your family" was considering taking a job offer (and I assume your teens aren't working) so I thought you were a she-rosie and that your husband was offered a job. So now tell me -- are you taking a job at the Todd-AO adult bookstore?

Is it my imagination but are we all just a tad touchy today?
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 09:07 AM
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Sorry Tandoori Chicken, er, girl.
Really, you're right I am a she-rosie. The job is for my husband. I am simply mid-mid-life crisis. Subsequently the job at Todd AO bookstore is sounding good.
If we're touchy it's not the heat it's the humidity.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 09:40 AM
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One of my best friends, her husband, and her parents moved to Tampa about 2 years ago and love it. I do know that when my friend was looking for a house that it took awhile because the real estate moves very fast. They bid on about 6 houses before actually getting a home.

I have only been down once to visit her and loved it. SHe technically lives in Safety Harbor which seemed to be like a very nice suburb of Tampa.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 09:53 AM
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Thanks spartangirl, any idea what they love about it? Do they have kids? How did you find the people? Friendly? Open minded?
Also thanks OO.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Wow, Tandoori Girl, so you know where the adult bookstore is located? I'm going to change my opinion of you.

On a serious note, Safety Harbor is really a charming community with nice older (and smaller) homes, and I think New Tampa wouldn't be a bad place to consider. Depending on how you commute, Tarpon Springs isn't totally out of the question. I wouldn't suggest your living in Clearwater or St Petersburg, just because of the distance to drive to work.

Personally, I would look for something in the older developed areas that have a good reputation. Some of those have been named for you. There are also new houses being built in your price range, with usually about 1500-1800 square feet living area, in various locations all around Tampa, Clearwater, and St Petersburg. I would advise you to stay in the north Tampa area, though, just because of the commute.

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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 10:07 AM
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I forgot to mention that new developments are springing up all around the new north-south Suncoast Parkway. You could live almost anywhere along there north and northwest of Tampa, and still get to work pretty fast on the parkway. It's a toll road but there is some sort of commuter rate that makes it not so bad.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 10:29 AM
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If you are adventurous urban pioneers, look into Tampa Heights and West Tampa. You will be surrounded by liberal like-minded people, many who are barely able to make a living unfortunately. Tampa's democratic party-base is eroding as it is everywhere due to the lack of suitable candidates who seem to have heads on their shoulders (do I sound like a frustrated Democrat -- yes!). Oddly, the long-time latin-cuban population in Tampa is Democrat, unlike in Miami where the more recent cuban transplants tend to be Republicans. You will frankly be astounded at the varying degrees of liberal and conservative in the Tampa area -- a real hodge podge of Dodge.

You might also check out the Palmetto Beach area south of Ybor and the Ybor area north of the interstate -- these areas are good for people who home-school and are not concerned about the quality of the neighborhood schools. My friend has made some very good real estate investments of late in low-budget but slowly rising Palmetto Beach.

Wayne, I think it would be just awful for them to drive all that way on the interstate just to live in Citrus Park or some other neighborhoods along the Suncoast X-way. Surely that's a good 40 miinutes during non-rush hour. I think your mind has been clouded by visions of nymphs and cherubs at the notorious Todd-AO
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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I like a good "hodge podge of dodge."
I am curious about the Ybor area and will check out Palmetto Beach. As homeschoolers we don't really care about the school systems. Would like to not completely rehab another house though as we have done that over and over again. It would be kind of nice to live in a "new" house for a change. Thanks for your input.
By the way, I think we have no choice but to rally around Hillary.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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"I think we have no choice but to rally around Hillary."

I'm there, girlfriend. We're speaking the same language.

PS -- don't call it St. Pete'S or the St. Pete people will get their hackles up (what are hackles anyway?).

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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 11:48 AM
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I think "hackles" are those clam-type-mussel-type creature that cling to docks and such.
Or are those "cockles?"

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Old Aug 25th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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I moved here from Jersey a year ago.

I drive past Nebraska and Fowler all the time. I am on the road alot. I'm in sales.

I'd be more than happy to help you get a better understanding about the area. I did alot of research before i made the move. I was born and raised in Jersey. Never thought I would have left after 44 years. No regrets.

Contact me through me through this website to let me know if you'd like to talk a bit. We can then exchnage other e-mail addresses

Also, I am very well connected with a group of 30 various professionals that could help you with all of the things you need when moving to Florida.

Mortgage Broker, CPA, 1031 Exchange person (if you existing home will cost you capital gains taxes), Real Estate sales person, Property and casualty agent, Investment Planner, and so on.

I have 6 acres on the No Carolina-Tenn border. I love your area of the country. Asheville is great, but Florida from mid Sept to mid May simply can't be beat!!

Let me know
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