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Thinking of a month-long Florida stay. How do I find a place to live?

Thinking of a month-long Florida stay. How do I find a place to live?

Old Feb 5th, 2019, 08:30 PM
  #1  
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Thinking of a month-long Florida stay. How do I find a place to live?

We've been to Florida many times (mostly Atlantic coast) and have always enjoyed our visits. Now that my SO is retired, we're thinking of a longer stay. I'd like to start out with a month (February or March) with the idea of stretching that out to two months in the future. Two months would probably be our max.
We have friends and family on the Atlantic coast so we'd prefer to stay on that side.
My question is, other than asking our snowbird friends how they got their places (which we'll do), what are your suggestions for finding a rental? Just to give you some guidance, I'll tell you where we've been and what we like (and don't like) though we're open to suggestions at this point.

Where we've visited:
North Miami/Hallendale/Sunny Isles -- I liked this because there's so much to do in Miami. These visits were a bit different than normal for us because we stayed at my sister's very posh condo. She sold it last year so it's not available to us anymore and we certainly could never afford to rent something like that, but I do like the area.
Fort Lauderdale -- We only stayed here once and it was fine but FL seems to be getting quieter. Of course, it may have just been a little less busy on that one visit.
Boca -- I like going to cultural things and restaurants in Boca but for me it's a destination, not a place to stay. It's very quiet and doesn't seem to have a real 'downtown'.
Delray Beach -- we've just come home from two weeks there and I like it very much. It's lively, lots of music and restaurants, walkable (and free trolley!), good library, lots of things for me to do without a car for days when my SO goes off to play golf.

Preferences:
I understand why people like them because the facilities are gorgeous but I really, really don't want to live in a golf club community. I don't play and I'd feel claustrophobic and stuck there. I want a city or town with a real main street and stuff to do. Nature is not a big interest for me. Main streets are more my cup of tea. I don't have to be on the beach (though a pool would be nice) but preferably not too far 'inland'. I'm dreaming of a nice, modern condo building, one bedroom is all we really need but two would be fine.

I know someone is going to ask me how much we can spend and I can't really give you an answer because I've never rented there but let's start with $3000/mo. That may be low, I realize, but let's just start there. Also, I know that a lot of places won't rent for just a month but if we have to rent for a longer time, we may be able to split the time with friends.

So I guess I'm asking two questions here:
1. Does anyone know of an actual place I can try, and
2. How does one go about starting a search? I've browsed HomeAway, VRBO, Sabbatical Homes, etc. but I don't really know what to look for. Are there real estate agents that do this sort of thing? For many summers, we rented a house on the beach in the Outer Banks of NC just for two or three weeks and always used a realtor, so are there similar companies that can help me find a condo in Florida?

Oh, and if any of you Floridians needs a month-long house sitter next winter...
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Old Feb 5th, 2019, 08:46 PM
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When you start getting into March, you start college spring breaks so some areas can turn into party central.
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Old Feb 5th, 2019, 09:00 PM
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Yup, and while I like it lively, that may be a bit too lively for me. Although we know many people who stay for four or six months and they don't seem to mind it. Maybe that's when they stick to their golf clubs!
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Old Feb 5th, 2019, 09:33 PM
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I'd stick with Sunny Isles and here is one of many possible rental agencies:

https://www.hometogo.com/sunny-isles-beach/
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Old Feb 5th, 2019, 09:55 PM
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Thanks, dukey. That's just the sort of thing I was looking for. And I do like Sunny Isles.
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 04:44 AM
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New Smyrna Beach, great vibe, good places to eat, beautiful beach and love the downtown area.
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 05:17 AM
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West Palm Beach also has a nice downtown area. It also has museums and the Kravitz Center for shows, etc.
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 05:34 AM
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You could try www.Elliman.com. Most rentals will be for 4 months or longer but give it a try and see what you can find..
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 06:05 AM
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Thanks, everyone.
Macross, Smyrna Beach is too far north.

Even Palm Beach is a little farther north than I'd like to go, although if the perfect (and affordable) thing came up there, I'd consider it. We've been there on a couple of day trips for the theatre and an art show and you're right, schmerl, it's a very cosmopolitan place but it may be a little too rich for our budget. Still, I'll add it to my list.

It's not so much that we need more places to consider (though I'm happy to hear about them -- who knows, right?) but how to find a place. Thanks ekscrunchy, I'll take a look at Elliman.
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 09:28 AM
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Remember February temperatures and how they can vary considerably between even Central and South (Below Fort Pierce) Florida
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 09:48 AM
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You mention several websites you've browsed and also say "How does one go about starting a search? . . . I don't really know what to look for." & "It's not so much that we need more places to consider . . . but how to find a place."

I'm confused and others may be also. It isn't really clear what it is you're asking. I've used Airbnb for month-long rentals, find its search filters very useful. I also think for us on budgets, there's often a broader range of possibilities. But there is no magic way that I know, other than using the filters for your search, to shorten the process. It just takes time to go through the listings.

I'll give you my process for the Airbnb site with which I'm very familiar:

1. From the full list of rentals in a given area, put in your dates first, very important, so (a) you aren't looking at places that aren't available for your dates and (b) the prices/discounts for long-term stays kicks in and you're seeing what you'll actually pay for your time frame. Many hosts have substantial discounts for a month. Entering the dates also activates the map, so you can see approximately where the rental is and you can then move the map instead of continually entering new place names.

2. Filter for "home type". You want the whole place, not a room.

3. Filter for "price". How much you want to pay for the length of stay indicated by the dates you've put in. You can always up the ante later if you aren't seeing what you want. What you see on the first search list of results will be the daily rate, after your dates are in it will show the price for the whole month and that's the figure you'll use when you filter for "price".

4. "More Filters" are the details like parking, number of bedrooms. Checking "Superhost" is good insurance though it eliminates new listings. But you can search without that filter later to see the new ones which can be priced lower when they first go on the site.

By the time all your specific wants are in place the list of possibilities will be substantially reduced so the search gets much less overwhelming. If you don't find what you want you can adjust your priorities. In popular places in season I've resorted to adjusting my dates to what's available that I like, sometimes moving mid-stay to coincide with availability. If your dates are flexible that's always a good thing. I hope I've come nearer answering your question.

Last edited by MmePerdu; Feb 6th, 2019 at 09:52 AM.
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 09:52 AM
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You could follow the example of my father. For many years before he retired, my parents owned an Airstream travel trailer. My parents first retired with the trailer to Mesa AZ and came home to PA and later southern NY for the summer. When the cost of living got high in AZ, they moved into Port O' Call in Melbourne FL. At the time Port O' Call was exclusively for Airstreams. The land is/was property of the Melbourne Airport Authority. When Port O' Call closed, they moved into what is now called Tropical Haven also owned by the airport.
There is a wide variety of manufactured homes (some with Florida Rooms attached) in Tropical Haven south of NASA Blvd. I believe there are at least some of them available to rent for one or two months.
The rent and utilities there are relatively cheap because you don't own the land.
Having a travel trailer or motor home where you can pull up stakes within a few days, might be the way to go (YMMV).
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 11:03 AM
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Dukey, I absolutely agree with your temps comment and that's why I think Delray is as far north as we want to go. We don't use the beach very much but I do like it to be warm/hot enough to read and swim at the pool. I'm pretty much a hot weather sort of girl.

Mme Perdue, thank you for that very detailed description. I've never used AirBnB before but have rented apartments in various countries through VRBO, HomeAway and Sabbatical Homes. I will be continuing to explore those sites but what I was hoping for was something like ekscrunchy's suggestion of Elliman Realtors. In that way, I have a personal connection to someone who actually deals with seasonal rental units. It's two different ways of searching and I'll use both of them. As I mentioned earlier, we always used the same realtor for our various beach houses in North Carolina and that always worked out well.

tomfuller, RVing is not for us but boy, did we ever see some gorgeous trailers on the drive home! Many of them were towing matching cars and motorcycles!
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 11:03 AM
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Are you on the Trip Advisor forums? You can't officially look for rentals there, but I have found them. By asking around on the Destination forums of the towns you are interested in. You can certainly get recommendations for local rental agencies and sometimes even individual owners may contact you thru the PM feature there.
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 11:09 AM
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Good suggestion, suze. I'll give it a try!
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 11:12 AM
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suze, do people who post there generally use the same name they use here?
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by goddesstogo View Post
. . . do people who post there generally use the same name they use here?
(if I may) Some do, some don't. I use a different name on each forum where I post but several friends who are on forums use the same name. I guess I'm just shy.

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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 11:42 AM
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I do. Well "suze2you" since plain ole 'suze' was taken. I prefer for people to know it's me
I'm on Seattle, Solo, and Puerto Vallarta forums regularly, in the past have been on Honolulu, Cabo San Lucas, and Negril for specific trips. These forums are in a different place on the website than where you find Hotel or Restaurant Reviews. Some locations are more active than others, some are more friendly and welcoming, some are snotty... so you might have to poke around a bit (which you could do without registering).

The condos I rent in PV all came direct or indirectly from this resource.
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Old Feb 6th, 2019, 11:58 AM
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okee doke, thx!
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Old Feb 8th, 2019, 07:46 PM
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Thank you all for your excellent advice and suggestions but as it turns out our plan to be there for a month next winter might have to be delayed till the following year. My SO has been asked to teach a course in the winter term 2020 and I can tell that he really wants to do it. Plus, since he's a brand-new retiree, I think this will help him with the transition. So we made a deal -- I said I'd give up my month if he'd stretch his one week off into two by juggling his classes. So that's what we'll probably do.
I'll certainly bookmark this thread though for future use!
And thanks again.
gtg
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