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Old 04-25-2010, 05:20 AM
 
5 posts, read 45,301 times
Reputation: 12

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I read some other post and I will explain before I get flamed.
I am from Florida, unfortunately my family are Yankees.
Yes, my family can afford to live there ( I think?)
Yes, I do have disillusions that it will be great.
Yes, I have been to the keys countless times and yes have driven the
US 1 stretch.


We have a 9 year old daughter, so schools are important. I was looking at Marathon over Key Largo and Key West, due to Marathon appears to be less busy? Am I right?

Marathon also appears to be have more traditional shopping (Publix, Home Depot, K-Mart). Yes Key Largo is closer to the mainland, but it did not appear to be "homey".

We eat out alot!!!! Will we starve if I do not cook?

In Marathon I was looking on line at homes in the Sombrero CC area.
Are there other areas that might interest me?

I hope to ride my bicycle 1-2 miles to "town" to get items. Is that possible??

I know that everyone has different experiences and I am looking for an honest opinion. If 3pm on US 1 is a nightmare, please tell me. If the fact that tourist can be annoying, please tell me. I live in a Summer Community now and ohhhhhh tourist cause me an extra 10 minutes to get places.

Also, Insurance......ie 2000 sq home, 1000K dedcut.....Annual cost?
My current flood insurance in 1/3 of my home owners.
Does this sound comparable? I also know by me, Allstate will not insure if you are X number of feet from water. Same??

I always rented in Florida, so I do not know the "details" of the musts.


I am looking for information and help. We are thinking of renting for a month in Marathon to see if it is the place to retire too.

TIA!
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:13 AM
 
3,849 posts, read 7,844,934 times
Reputation: 1990
Quote:
Originally Posted by obadeeobada View Post
I read some other post and I will explain before I get flamed.
I am from Florida, unfortunately my family are Yankees.
Yes, my family can afford to live there ( I think?)
Yes, I do have disillusions that it will be great.
Yes, I have been to the keys countless times and yes have driven the
US 1 stretch.


We have a 9 year old daughter, so schools are important. I was looking at Marathon over Key Largo and Key West, due to Marathon appears to be less busy? Am I right?

Marathon also appears to be have more traditional shopping (Publix, Home Depot, K-Mart). Yes Key Largo is closer to the mainland, but it did not appear to be "homey".

We eat out alot!!!! Will we starve if I do not cook?

In Marathon I was looking on line at homes in the Sombrero CC area.
Are there other areas that might interest me?

I hope to ride my bicycle 1-2 miles to "town" to get items. Is that possible??

I know that everyone has different experiences and I am looking for an honest opinion. If 3pm on US 1 is a nightmare, please tell me. If the fact that tourist can be annoying, please tell me. I live in a Summer Community now and ohhhhhh tourist cause me an extra 10 minutes to get places.

Also, Insurance......ie 2000 sq home, 1000K dedcut.....Annual cost?
My current flood insurance in 1/3 of my home owners.
Does this sound comparable? I also know by me, Allstate will not insure if you are X number of feet from water. Same??

I always rented in Florida, so I do not know the "details" of the musts.


I am looking for information and help. We are thinking of renting for a month in Marathon to see if it is the place to retire too.

TIA!

Even though I don't know all the answers to your questions, hopefully I'll at least help a bit With that said...

Your lucky your family are Yankees. Say it loud and say it proud!

Okay, now that that's out of the way...

Yes, Marathon is a lot less busy then Key West and even Key Largo. There is some shopping as well. You might just starve though because unless you want to go to the same restaurants over and over, Marathon doesn't have a huge selection.

Bike riding is a little harder in Marathon since you have to get to US1 to get to shopping, etc. People get mowed over on bikes on 1.

I would probably recommend going to Key West. I'm not sure of your budget, but you could live the quiet lifestyle, yet be able to ride your bike or scooter most places, thus being able to ditch the car all together on most days. Your daughter also will be with more students and kids her age then in Marathon.

You'll only be getting Citizens in the Keys for insurance (I think.) Not sure of the costs.

Good luck with the move
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:21 PM
 
Location: OCNJ and or lower Florida keys
772 posts, read 1,614,161 times
Reputation: 787
I just purchased a canal house on (3/2010) big pine key. For $111,000 worth of insurance with 2% deductible i pay about $3000 total. citizens windstorm $1253, flood $906 and homeowners $753 you have to carry all 3 insurance policies if you have a mortgage! it will be based on the value of your mortgage and replacement costs. You at least have to cover the mortgage amount Monroe county is the highest insurace costs of any county in florida! be prepared to pay moola! I paid just under 200k for the home.
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:32 PM
 
5 posts, read 45,301 times
Reputation: 12
Thank you Coconut1. Your reply was very helpful. Hubby loved it even more, since he wants to live in Key West. Children my daughter's age is very important...so Key West is on the list now.

Thanks Again!

bigh110: Thank you for the insurance info....I am amazed tho...I pay over 4k here, with a 2 % wind/catastrophe deduct, 1 k reg dedcut and flood insurance, on 600 k....so the keys are looking better...

I saw a BEAUTIFUL Island off of KW (Sunset Key)..but it seemed too rich for me.

Anyone else???? Please school starts in 3 1/2 months, and I have a LOT to think about.
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:59 PM
 
Location: OCNJ and or lower Florida keys
772 posts, read 1,614,161 times
Reputation: 787
i would personally stay clear of stock island and big coppit key IMHO they are two areas that appear to have a higher incidence of criminal presence/activity. but thats just my opinion go to monroe county's website you can see the last 7 days worth of mugshots. Look where a lot of the criminals list as their resident island aka home address. remember my insurance costs are based on a 111k max payout not 600k. at 600k my insurace would be well over 10k a year. I personally know people here who pay 8k a year on a home that would sell for no more than 500k. But it is paradise I can't wait to get down there full time only 20 yrs to retirement!
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Old 04-25-2010, 04:18 PM
 
5 posts, read 45,301 times
Reputation: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigh110 View Post
i would personally stay clear of stock island and big coppit key IMHO they are two areas that appear to have a higher incidence of criminal presence/activity. but thats just my opinion go to monroe county's website you can see the last 7 days worth of mugshots. Look where a lot of the criminals list as their resident island aka home address. remember my insurance costs are based on a 111k max payout not 600k. at 600k my insurace would be well over 10k a year. I personally know people here who pay 8k a year on a home that would sell for no more than 500k. But it is paradise I can't wait to get down there full time only 20 yrs to retirement!

Thank you for the reality check. 10 K is more than I would want to pay but I guess I will need to figure out all of the costs before we make a decision.

We are hope to move by July and get our retirement checks by May...so, I need reality LOTS OF IT!!!!!

Thank you for the info on Stock and Big Coppit....A Crime area is not want I am looking for.

I hope that 20 years go by fast!

Any one have info on Cable, Electric, Gas Companies??
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:44 PM
 
3,849 posts, read 7,844,934 times
Reputation: 1990
Sunset Key is expensive.

What's your budget? I have a pretty good grip on the SoFla and Keys housing market (what can I say, lots of research! ) and might be able to point you to some affordable listings. Are you interested in a multifamily home? There are some tri and fourplexes on the market which will allow you to mitigate some costs like insurance, electricity, taxes, etc. Rentals (either monthly or a regular tenant) are always popular in Key West.

In Key West cable is Comcast, electricity is through Keys Energy and there is no gas to my knowledge. Everything is electric.
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:41 PM
eyw
 
2 posts, read 21,489 times
Reputation: 11
We have a 9 year old daughter, so schools are important. I was looking at Marathon over Key Largo and Key West, due to Marathon appears to be less busy? Am I right?

With Florida schools in general ranking below the national average, Key West has a much more dysfunctional environment than the rest of the keys. Alcoholism and drug addiction run significantly higher here than the rest of the keys. this in turn affects the rate of unplanned pregnancies, and broken families. I know. I volunteered as a guardian ad litem in Key West for a number of years.

For the sake of your daughter I would want her to grow up MM17 (Sugarloaf) or higher. Maybe bay point or bluewater but only if they go to sugarloaf elementary.



Marathon also appears to be have more traditional shopping (Publix, Home Depot, K-Mart). Yes Key Largo is closer to the mainland, but it did not appear to be "homey".

We eat out alot!!!! Will we starve if I do not cook?

Key West has a huge selection of restaurants with a very large number being higher end. But if you like to eat out, you will never run out of great and different food, but you might run out of money.

In Marathon I was looking on line at homes in the Sombrero CC area.
Are there other areas that might interest me?

I am also a big fan of Big Pine Key. First of all you get way more bang for your buck there than anywhere else in the lower keys. (Key West is by far the most expensive.) Its big and roomy and rural and pleasant and you can own canal front property for a pittance. The people who actually live there are nice. there is a huge nature preserve and the little key deer are everywhere. If I didn't have to work or could work from home, this is where I would live. And for peace of mind buy a stilt home, preferably CBS. Beware of homes with "non-conforming" ground level additions, your insurance company might drop you or refuse to pay in the event of a flood.

I hope to ride my bicycle 1-2 miles to "town" to get items. Is that possible??

Key West is a bicycle town, with the highest per capita bike ridership of anywhere in the United States. There are numerous bike paths including one that circumnavigates about half of the island. The bike path extends almost uninterrupted to Bay Point MM15.

Big Pine is also a great place to ride a bike, including "to town". that is, if you can find the produce at Winn Dixie acceptable.

I know that everyone has different experiences and I am looking for an honest opinion. If 3pm on US 1 is a nightmare, please tell me. If the fact that tourist can be annoying, please tell me. I live in a Summer Community now and ohhhhhh tourist cause me an extra 10 minutes to get places.

Ahh, driving US1. US1 is different in different places. First of all lets talk about traffic accidents. Many traffic accidents close US1 and there isn't anything you can do about it. there's only one road. If your daugher is in Sugarloaf waiting for you and you are in Summerland and there is an accident on one of the bridges in between, she's gonna be there a while. Some accidents although not serious, completely block the road in the wrong place. Serious accidents often close the road until the police finish their investigation, usually a few hours. In the case of fatalities the road is usually closed a minimum of 4 hours until the coroner can complete his investigation. In the upper Keys, they have Spanish Sunday. Northbound traffic is not so much crowded, as it is littered with people from Miami creating their own miniature traffic jams. For keys which have schools, getting stuck behind a school bus can be frustrating.
In Key West, its basically a moron festival from 8 in the morning to midnight. Old town especially but also North Roosevelt and other places. None of the traffic signals are coordinated. bicycles and scooters darting in and out, trains and trolleys and golf carts lumbering about, some tourist who goes 10 miles per hour and slows down every 100 feet because there might be a free parking spot, or he's trying to read a map while driving. And if you think talking on a cell phone is dangerous while driving a car, its common for the less intelligent to do so while riding a bicycle or scooter. I could go on and on.

Also, Insurance......ie 2000 sq home, 1000K dedcut.....Annual cost?
My current flood insurance in 1/3 of my home owners.
Does this sound comparable? I also know by me, Allstate will not insure if you are X number of feet from water. Same??

I always rented in Florida, so I do not know the "details" of the musts.

Read more: Moving to Florida Keys. Questions??
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:43 AM
eyw
 
2 posts, read 21,489 times
Reputation: 11
As far as stock island and big coppitt go, it depends upon the area. On stock island on the north side of US1 its all higher end (and gated as well). south side of the island is full of trailer parks but that is being reduced. Coral Hammock, Kings pointe Marina, are two really nice places to live. after you are a resident of monroe county for a certain period of time, and your income is less than a certain amount (like 75K for a family of 3) you could live in Islander Village. Its going to be large when finished and will be mostly family with kids your daughter's age. And eventually the trailer park across the street will be turned into high end canal front housing. But I doubt you will want to live on the south side.
In Big Coppitt, the east end of the island is very very nice and almost all canal front. The scummy parts are small and are the northwest corner (Barcelona) and also Ed Swift Rd. you can tell by looking. if there's lots of old trailers crammed side by side, you don't wanna live there.

Gas companies-only propane. delivery of course. But many houses don't have any heat at all. this was the coldest winter since the 70's this last year.

Regarding insurance, find out what insurance the prospect property currently has. If it has insurance in effect, you will almost always want to go with the same carrier (immediately) to avoid inspections and being refused insurance by other companies.

Also if I lived outside of Key West in a concrete stilt I wouldn't even get flood insurance. You would still want wind especially if you are not adequately surrounded by trees. that is if you own your house outright.

As far as multiplex housing goes, the units are typically 600 square feet. its extremely doubtful you'd find something that your family would find comfortable. The biggest risk of being a multiplex landlord is multi-month vacancies due to the seasonal nature of housing demand. Non fulfillment of rental contracts is common.

Sunset key-extremely high end and your daughter would have no one to play with. you can only get there by an hourly ferry. the only restaurant is extremely high end.

I couldn't disagree more about Key West being "living the quiet life". If you decide you want to live in old town its especially very noisy. the scooters are mostly 2-cycle. they are rampant, loud and obnoxious and zoom around 24 hours a day. homes typically are not insulated and audibly transparent. living on a conch train route sucks worse. you will hear the same part of the tour speech (loud and distinct) every 10-15 minutes all....day....long....every....single....day

Key West also has a very large homeless population. Besides duval street they like to hang around bay view park, smathers beach, and higgs beach.

The police in Key West have a reputation for being overly aggressive, and I find that to be mostly baloney. I have never been a big fan of law enforcement types but I find them to be appropriately tolerant and very responsive. I could never do their job. I'd taser about 20 people a day.
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:57 AM
 
5 posts, read 45,301 times
Reputation: 12
EYW: Thank you for all of the information. I have not given up on the Keys, but I do want my daughter to have an educational and good life. Key West might not be the best for us.

I read all that you wrote and I now need to process it.

Thanks again.


Coconut1: Due to that we will both be retired. I am trying to get all of the facts and figures sorted out. Right now I think that we need to keep it around 1 million for a house. I do not want to spend more than 2500 a month on all utilities, insurance (home/Cars), and all other household expenses. We will probably not have a mortgage. After all my years of paying a mortgage, I want to be done!!! Please keep in mind that I am still learning about the keys and the expenses and I could be WAY off in my estimate.

As far as the type of home that I am looking for:
3-4 Bed
2-3 Bath
CBS construction
Off the ground
Maybe a pool
May be ocean side
Maybe a dock

We hope to make the house Green and go off the grid as much as possible. But, I do not know how to go about doing it all.

THANKS to everyone who has responded!
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