Moving to Florida

Old Jan 11th, 2021, 09:53 PM
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Moving to Florida

My husband and I are moving to Florida in the next year or so and I am feeling overwhelmed in my research and was looking for advice and insight. We believe we have narrowed down the areas to the gulf coast between from Tampa down to Naples. We will be empty nesters so schools are not really a concern but safety is. We really like Sarasota but read some negative info on the growing safety concerns there. Ideally we are looking to be no more than 15-20 min from beach. Looking for condo not a high rise. I am a nurse and have looked into employment in these areas but would love any comments on that. My husband can work from anywhere. We are in our late 40s early 50's and would prefer that be the median age. We are not adventure seekers but love nature. We spend our fee time relaxing by the pool and ocean, hiking and exploring.we love to try new restaurants as well. We'd really like to stick to no more than 350k for housing. I am aware of the pros and cons of Florida weather, taxes, etc. I'm looking more for insight into these specific locations.
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Old Jan 12th, 2021, 10:07 AM
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I"m surprised there are safety concerns in Sarasota since it seems pretty staid to me, and not on the young side. But I sure don't know anything specific, just my impressions but I haven't been there in a few years.

I have a cousin who lives in Bonita Springs, a bit north of Naples. He likes it there, I think maybe they moved there as it was somewhat cheaper than Naples. According to this, only 2 pct cheaper
https://www.bestplaces.net/cost-of-l...aples-fl/50000

Same tool says Sarasota is about 18 pct cheaper than Naples. I"m surprised it says median Naples housing is only $324K or so, it's a lot higher than that where I live.

hmm, I just read some website that says Sarasota does have one of the highest crime rates in the US for that size city and the highest in Florida. Which is kind of shocking since Miami is there. https://www.city-data.com/crime/crim...a-Florida.html
City Data claims it's about average for US cities then goes on to say it is higher than 85% of US cities ? Now I know the difference in mean and median, but that is still surprising. Median is more meaningful in this comparison, I'd say, so if only 15 pct of US cities are worse, that's pretty bad. Ok, city-data does say Miami Beach itself is higher
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Old Jan 12th, 2021, 10:49 AM
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We just relocated (6 months ago) to Bonita Springs and absolutely love it there. The community is clean, safe and very attractive. There are plenty of very nice gated communities within a 10 to 20 minute drive of the beaches, many with single family homes, attached homes, patio homes and low-rise in your price range (both pre-owned and new construction). Of course, size, age of home, community amenities, etc. will have an effect on price but there's a lot to choose from. Keep in mind, the more amenities there are the higher the price.

What's more there are 100's of great restaurants all within a short drive. For what it is worth, we've dined out at least twice a week for the past 6 months and have gone to a different place almost every time and still haven't even scratched the surface. There are scores of city, county and state parks and hiking trails within a 5 to 20 minute drive of our home and dozens more if you are willing to drive further.

In short, Bonita Springs has everything on your wish list and more. You can also look at homes in Estero which is the next town north of Bonita Springs or Lely which is just south of Naples. Both have many of the same conveniences and amenities as Bonita Springs but Estero is slightly less expensive and Lely is probably comparable to Bonita Springs as far as home values are concerned. Think of it this way - Naples is very high end (there are some enclaves with homes reaching in the $5 to $10 million dollar range although there's quite a few communities with more modest prices. Bonita Springs is a step down from Naples and more realistically priced (attached villas in our gated community start in the high $200's for new construction). Estero and to some extent Lely is a notch further down from that.

HINT: You'd be wise to consider making a pre-move visit (stay several weeks to a month if you can) before buying. Use that time to work with a competent local realtor who can help show you around. There are literally hundreds of very nice gated communities around Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero to choose from and it can be daunting to try and visit all of them without guidance to help you narrow down your search. Remember, the old adage "Location, Location, Location" strongly applies in Southwest Florida.

One caveat you should know, Southwest Florida is "snowbird heaven" - it can get very crowded with the potential for heavy traffic "in season"" (generally starting in mid-November until mid-to late April).
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Old Jan 12th, 2021, 09:37 PM
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RoamsAround, did you leave St Kitts for good? I am curious if you would be willing to share your reasons and how you chose Bonita Springs. Our daughter stills lives in St Kitts and plans to stay for another decade at least. Not to hijack this thread, but seeing your move surprised me. We are also looking to move from Baltimore. It will definitely be our last and we do not want to make a mistake. We are looking at Richmond, VA, Raleigh, NC, Columbia, SC, and Savanah, GA. We have to consider our Granddaughter’s needs as well as our own. Florida would be great for me, (I like Tampa area and Tarpon Springs, for sure on the Gulf Coast side), but DH worries about floods from hurricanes. I guess after living in the Caribbean, that was not such a concern for you.
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Old Jan 13th, 2021, 06:04 PM
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I lived on Nevis, not St. Kitts. After 15+ years we began sensing a change in local political climate that when coupled with a rising crime rate that made us feel the time was right for a change. So 2 years ago we sold our home. We were lucky as our home sold quickly (many of our friends homes have been on the market for several years). We enjoyed our time in the Caribbean but truth be told we don't miss being there and have not regrets about selling.

We wanted some place with mild to warm winters. After 15 years of living the EX-pat lifestyle in what some consider a "third world county" (there are many challenges living in the Caribbean) we wanted to stay in the US where we'd be free from constant power outages, unreliable and and sometimes slow internet, poor phone service and lack of infrastructure. Lastly, we wanted a location that would be relatively to an international airport as we still enjoy traveling. We spent about a year researching potential areas and started focusing on southwest Florida. Our research led us to Bonita Springs so last winter we made an extended (3 month) visit. We liked what we found and while there, decided to build a new home. We moved to a rental home in BS 6 months ago so it would be easier to oversee construction of our new house which was completed just a few weeks ago.

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Old Jan 13th, 2021, 11:43 PM
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RoamsAround, Thank you so much for sharing your experience. You gave me advice a few years ago, when we were going on cruises and again when we were visiting places in the Caribbean. I Knew you had been in the Caribbean a long time. Sorry, about the mistake of thinking St Kitts rather than Nevis. My daughter was thinking of buying in St Kitts, but has decided against it, just too much expense and work to maintain. Don’t know if you saw it, but recently they were doing road work or some construction and a huge house slid down a hill and another is on the edge where the hill collapsed. No one was hurt, but the house is a loss. My daughter loves St Kitts, but with COVID, is really feeling somewhat trapped. She was happy living there as long as she could travel. They have done a good job of preventing the pandemic there though. Thanks again for your insight and experience.

Cohenml, Good luck with finding a good place.
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Old Jan 14th, 2021, 06:07 AM
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Florida has high crime in so many places. When we had yoga we always walked with each other to our cars and I never pump gas or shop after dark. We had two drive by shootings during the day last week. One poor innocent man was shot and drove his car into the big truck delivering liquor at Publix. Two dead and three wounded last week. I think a lot is drug related as we have a lot of ods. My EMT friend said it isn't all in the poor sections but gated communities. It is also a very conservative state. We have a huge homeless population and our fav place to walk is this big bridge over the inlet but people have been breaking into cars. They know how long it take to walk over and back. They live in the pavillions and use the park bathrooms.
Positive, no heating cost and it is 69 high today. I live on the space coast but Fl is Fl. Make sure your house is built high enough above the crown of the road for flooding and you will not have any problems. After 2002 many building codes changed in certain counties. The panhandle doesn't have those strict codes and you saw how houses lifted right off foundations during hurricanes. A whole house generator is very nice to have.
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