Relocating to Florida- Advise

Jan 18th, 2011, 08:42 AM
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Relocating to Florida- Advise


My husband, our two toddlers (3 &1) and myself are thinking about relocating to Florida. We are originally from North Dakota and are done done with the weather here. We will not be moving unless we have found jobs first, that being said; Right now we are working on doing research about what places are the best to raise our family. My husband is a CPA (auditor, accountant and economist) and I will soon be an Occupational Therapist. We are planning to move by the beginning of the next year. Our Oldest child will be close to 5 yrs old and starting kinder-garden. We are looking for a low(er) crime rate, healthy environment to raise a family, churches, a city (or town) big enough to have everything (or enough) that a bigger city would have, also low(er) illegal immigration if possible (not such a big deal) and good, very good schools. These are the places we are thinking of:
Palm Harbor
Pinellas Park
Spring Hill
Fort Myers
North Fort Myers
North Naples
We looked at all the cities in Florida and these are the only ones we would consider. We now need to see which of these rank best and why. Financially we are good. So that is not a problem. We are also looking at being on the golf side as you can tell by the cities we have chosen. Any suggestions and help on these places would be so appreciate it!
Thanks in advance!
Valentina_Neufeld is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 09:47 AM
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The school systems in FL can be very uneven - so I would make your first stop an in-depth evaluation of each one - and the sub ares within each - since you don;t want to be put in the position of having to put out $10,000 or more for each kid per year for private schools.

Also - North Dakota is a very untypical part of the country in certian ways - and you are going to be looking at a MUCH more divere population almost anyplce in FL - whether legal or not.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 10:03 AM
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Hi Nytraveler,

My husband and I are looking at a private christian school for our children. So that wont be a problem, but even privatesschools do not guarantee they'll be good.. if you know what I mean. Also, we are very diverse within our own family. My husband and I both immigrated to the US almost 10 years ago. My husband from Canada and I came from Ecuador. We have traveled a lot and are used to diversity and we enjoy it.
Valentina_Neufeld is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 10:06 AM
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I think that Ocala is the least hurricane prone of your list.
What Florida has going for it is no state income tax.
Should be lots of work for an OT-PT person and a CPA with the older population.
I know nothing about the schools systems of any of your cities.
I moved my father out of Melbourne in 2009. Let us know when you narrow down your list.
The kids will love living within a few hours drive of Disney World.
tomfuller is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 10:10 AM
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Thank you Tomfuller! Great information on Ocala! Hurricanes are important! thanks.
Valentina_Neufeld is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 10:14 AM
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Simple - Sarasota

Great school system, both of you should be able to find jobs here, some of the best beaches in the country, etc. etc. etc.

I could go on but the simple fact is that this city is just wonderful.

Good luck with whatever location you chose!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 10:22 AM
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Thank you AAFrequentFlyer!
Valentina_Neufeld is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 11:26 AM
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BEFORE you get all lovey dovey with the fact that Florida "has no income tax" which it doesn't AND you rather IMO blithly are saying "we are Ok financially" which I am sure you are, I suggest (so that we aren't hearing about how "we had no idea" in one of your later posts) that you make sure you know about

the costs of INSURING a home in Florida

the way real estate tax assessments work IN Florida and the fact that you will possibly be paying a LOT more in real estate taxes for that house that that someone who just just sold it to you was paying

any and all liabilities you may have in terms of stock porfolio holdings, etc.

I am sure you will move and enjoy having done so..just be totally informed before you make the plunge, that's all
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 11:32 AM
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Thank you for this information on insuring homes. We have people that is helping us get informed on this specific topic. But again, Thank you for bringing it up. It is definitely very important!
Valentina_Neufeld is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 12:37 PM
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Valentina, coming from ND just be sure that you are prepared for 90+ degree heat for 5 months out of the year.
gmoney is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 12:52 PM
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Thanks! We love love love the heat! (and humidity, I know!)
Valentina_Neufeld is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 02:00 PM
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Ft. Myers/Cape Coral has been hard hit by the housing mess. You might be able to find a really nice home at a good price. Generally speaking, the West coast of Florida is the region that midwesteners migrate to, as opposed to the east coast being the magnet for the northeast folks.

You really should come to Florida for a couple of weeks at least, to see the areas and find a feel for which one is right for your family.
rncheryl is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 02:10 PM
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Let me add on to the insurance/tax issues that Dukey raises. And insurance is a problem - it can be hard to get and quite expensive.

You also should be aware that Florida has some odd property tax laws (which were voted in by the citizens of Florida, so we landed ourselves in this mess). Because of the Save Our Homes amendment to the state constitution, you may buy a house or condo and pay 3 or 4 times as much in property taxes as the exact same house or condo next to you. Why? Because the law favors long-time homeowners who are Florida residents. So be aware that when you ask what the taxes are on a property, they may be telling you what they are for the current owner, which can be much, much less than what you, as the new owner, will pay. SOH caps increases in assessed value for homeowners who have "homesteaded" their property. However, during times of declining values - as we have experienced lately - the assessed value can continue to increase. So you can have declining property values with increasing property taxes.

I don't want to discourage you from moving here, but I do think it's helpful if you know as much as possible when making such an important decision.

When you talk about having everything a big city has, what do you mean? Medical facilities? Pro sports? Shopping? Universities? Entertainment? Recreational amenities? What specifically are you looking for?
321go is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 02:21 PM
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I'm not sure I would agree with the statement that "The school systems in FL can be very uneven". Every state has some degree of unevenness. But, according to the Quality Counts 2011 survey released January 11th, Florida Ranks 5th in the nation in this national report on education quality.

Of course, wherever you decide to settle, you should investigate the school quality of that particular neighborhood. But, you already knew that!

Vic's travels:
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 09:58 AM
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Please, please, please don't say you love the heat until you have spent at least a week or two in Florida in August.

That would be a good time to come down and look for property because all the summer people will be gone, hotels will be cheaper, and it will be a good time to look at schools because they won't be open generally until the middle of the month so will have time to talk to you.

The good news is that you ought to be eminently employable.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 12:40 PM
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Valentina, the only reason I bring it up is that I had some visiting relatives from ND that did not take to the heat well at all. Played golf one day and thought we were going to have to take uncle to the hospital. Like Ackislander said it would be a good idea to visit (if you haven't already) at least once during the summer to be sure. If you truly love the heat and humidity you will be in heaven!
gmoney is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 01:56 PM
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The OP is from Ecuador. I think she can handle the heat and humidity in Florida.

I don't have much insight for you except that I have close family members who live in Bradenton and like it. They seem to be happy with the school system, although they do public school, not private as you're interested in.
wyatt92 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 04:22 PM
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Culturally, Pensacola has more in common with the Deep South than with southern Florida. That might still be true of Ocala as well, to a lesser extent, but it's been years since I have been in Ocala. Pensacola certainly is not the stereotyped "Florida home to old people" kind of place!

Some things to note about Pensacola and vicinity:

Population figures for Pensacola are deceptive. The city itself has a population of less than 60,000. The urban area is much larger, however (there has been a reluctance/resistance toward annexing adjacent areas). The two-county metropolitan area (urban + rural) has a population of over 450,000.

That said, Pensacola really is a small city in terms of amenities and outlook. It does have restaurants, shopping, hospitals, entertainment, small museums, a public university (plus a public college and a Christian college), but not like in a larger city such as Orlando or Tampa. I would call it a good place to raise a child, though - plenty of churches and Christian schools. And beautiful beaches!

Pensacola is also 7-8 hours from Disney, so it's not like you can just pop over for the day.

Summers are just as hot as in South Florida, but there is more of a temperature change in the winter (certainly not cold for someone who has lived in ND, but it can go down to freezing on occasion). So the hot weather starts later and ends earlier than farther south.

Look into housing in neighboring Gulf Breeze and Pace (Santa Rosa County - Pensacola is in Escambia County).

For Florida in general, don't forget to look into the cost of insurance that might not be "required" but that you would be foolish not to have (like flood insurance). Also note that sales tax varies by county, as local governments can add onto the state rate of 6%.
Cranachin is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 05:22 PM
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In this market, you can rent a home very reasonably for six months or a year and get a feel for the areas you are considering before you commit to buying a home that might be hard to sell if you change your mind.

Best of luck in your search.
emalloy is offline  
Jan 20th, 2011, 12:17 PM
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Gmoney, and Ackislander,

I do say I love love love the heat because as Wyatt92 mentioned, I am from Ecuador, very hot AND humid. Also We have already visited a few places in Florida and have stayed there up to 2 weeks in the middle of July and that is another reason why we KNOW we love love love the heat. I am not worried about the heat please. I really just would like information on the questions I initially asked.
Thank you.
Valentina_Neufeld is offline  

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