Heading to Englewood (Miami, Tampa, Orlando: insurance, condos, sex offender)
Sarasota - Bradenton - Venice areaManatee and Sarasota Counties
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I have people say to me, "come on it can't all be good." Tell me something bad about Florida. So here goes, the negative side to living in Florida. Well, negative for some people.
Some people find it to hot for their liking, especially in the summer months June-August. It does get really hot here. I usually plan my day and if I'm gonna go for a jog it's probably not going to be at 12 noon, if you're gonna mow the lawn it's probably best to do it in the early morning or late afternoon. I suggest planning a trip here in the summer to make sure you are comfortable with the heat. You don't want to move here and then find out you're not all that fond of hot weather.
It's a tropical climate and tropical climates bring bugs. You will find a myriad of different species of bugs in Florida. There are many natural remedies to getting rid of the pests as well as having your home sprayed for bugs on a quarterly basis.
Mosquitoes are one of the most talked about bugs in Florida. Mosquitoes are most prevalent in in the rainy season, June-August. They lay their eggs in standing water of ditches, buckets of water and stagnate water. This area has airplanes that fly over in mosquito season and they spray for them. To cut down on the mosquitoes around your home make sure you eliminate any standing water around your house. There are many sprays, candles and bug zappers you can use to get rid of the pesky bugs.
Snakes are an issue that I hear about regularly. There are 45 different types of snakes in Florida with only 6 being venomous. Most won’t bother you and just eat things like small rodents, rabbits, rats, mice, and other types of small animals. The majority of snakes are good to have around the yard and control any over abundant rodent populations.
Many of the venomous snakes like to live in wooded areas under rocks or around swampy, marshy areas. Generally, they don’t want to be bothered when encountered, so if you leave them alone usually they’ll run the other way. Often times when people get bitten is when they try to handle a snake, not realizing that the snake is poisonous. If you kill a snake the snakes reflexes are still “live” for a short period after you have killed it, so don’t immediately handle it or you might get bitten.
The six snakes that are venomous are The Southern Copperhead, which is only found in the panhandle area and not in SW Florida. The Cottonmouth, commonly called a water moccasin, which is primarily found around brackish water and marsh areas. The Eastern Diamond Back, they like palmetto thickets, under brush and Gopher Tortoise holes and are found throughout Florida. Next is the Timber Rattlesnake which is only found in 9 counties in Florida and SW Florida is not included in it's range. Moving on to the Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake, which is found throughout Florida around ponds and in underbrush. And lastly we have the Eastern Coral Snake, which of my 37 years living here have never seen one. Supposedly they are found throughout Florida. If you absolutely hate snakes you could get this stuff called Snake-Away and I heard this keeps them away from your house or where ever you put it.
The latest news reports state that there is now an invasive species of Burmese Python known to inhabit the Everglades and they are large enough to eat goats. Although they are not poisonous they can be a danger to humans due to their large size. I have never seen this type of snake in SW FL.
Another animal that some people are concerned about is alligators. Alligators tend to stick to the rivers where the water is brackish (a mixture of salt and fresh waters) and they also like the golf course water traps.
Alligators seldom attack humans, and fatalities from such attacks are extremely rare. Alligators are naturally afraid of humans, but they lose that fear when people feed them. There has been several alligator attacks due to people feeding them.
The most likely time to see alligators is at dusk. Often during the day you can catch them sunning themselves on the shoreline. Once the sun goes down they become more active. I wouldn't recommend swimming in a place known to be inhabited by alligators. It's also wise to keep dogs and cats away from the shoreline of waters known to be inhabited by alligators. Most dogs and cats are about the size of the animals alligators prey on-raccoons, birds, fish, turtles, etc Stay away from any small alligators or nests because the female alligators can become extremely dangers when protecting their young. Also don't go trying to get a lost golf ball a golf course water trap. They love to hang out in places like that.
If you live on a freshwater or brackish water canal and have small children or pets I always recommend getting a fence as an extra precaution.
You can greatly reduce your chances of being attacked by an alligator by just using some common sense. Generally speaking, if you don't swim in the rivers or the water traps you should be pretty safe. If an alligator shows aggression toward human you can call Florida Fish & Game and they will remove it.
Then you have the Chinese Drywall. This certainly has been an issue. Most of the CDW was imported from Chine between 2001-2007. Hundreds of millions of sheets of Chinese drywall were imported from 2004 to 2006, but Chinese drywall has recently been found in homes built or remodeled as early as 2001. Chinese Drywall has been found in 30 states and the District of Columbia and is estimated to have been installed in over 100,000 homes in the United States. See Map. Unfortunately, this does not paint an accurate picture as most affected homes have a mixture of safe and tainted drywall.
The majority of Chinese drywall is 1/2", but not always. Here are some clues that the home has CDW. Does your home smell like rotten eggs or ammonia (sometimes a sweetish smell)? I've also been in homes where it smelled like raw sewage. Is it more noticeable when entering your home and then seems to dissipate? The level of odor varies greatly in each home as does each person’s ability to detect the odor. Of course, the strength of the odor also depends on how much drywall was used in the home. The home may not smell and still can be affected by CDW. In short, do not rely on your nose alone, particularly since many develop olfactory fatigue after being exposed to Chinese drywall.
Chinese drywall corrodes electrical wiring. Check the electrical receptacles in your walls to see if the wires are blackened. Pull off the electrical plate and look inside. Obviously, do not touch anything - you could get shocked. There should be a copper wire inside. The wires in this photo have been corroded from Chinese drywall. The breaker panel should also be checked. I've also seen plumbing fixtures that are pitted and if the A/C has been replaced and the home is relatively new-that's also a clue that the home may have Chinese Drywall. Some of the sheets of drywall are stamped Knauf or National Gypsum on the back.
Signs of an electrical problem include, a circuit breaker which frequently needs resetting without an apparent cause (particularly a GFCI or AFCI); lights that flicker without any apparent cause; bright flashes or sparks anywhere in your electrical system (this may indicate arcing conditions in the wiring); buzzing from electrical systems, switch plates, dimmers and outlet covers that are discolored from overheating; and a smell from overheating plastic. CDW was manufactured during the time that hurricane Charlie hit so even if your home is older it could be effected. I always recommend a home inspection
Moving on to the next concern I hear is hurricanes. Really a hurricane can hit anywhere in Florida. I think that the Miami and Key West have the highest possibility of a hurricane strike. You need to be prepared where ever you live. I am a native Floridian and have lived in or close by Sarasota county my whole life and have never evacuated, not to say that I wouldn't but I've never felt the need to.
Anywhere you live in the world you will be faced with some kind of natural disaster-tornadoes, typhoons, tidal waves, earthquakes, blizzards, etc. At least with hurricanes you will have advance notice before they hit. If you choose to leave you have the opportunity to do so. This is not the case with most other weather situations.
Since 1992 Hurricane Andrew, the Florida Building codes have been up graded in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 to deal with damage from wind. Even new manufactured homes are safer than site built homes pre-94 The newer the home since 94, the less insurance you will pay. Insurance for pre 94 homes is difficult to get/keep and you will pay a lot of money for coverage.
Some hurricanes are large and can cover the whole state, while some like 2004 Charley was an oversized tornado. Some years we have to watch for a dozen and other years only one or two. The hurricane season runs from June to November with the peak amount in September.
Here's a chart that shows the probability of a hurricane strike in each area: Florida Hurricane Coastal Strike Probability
Hurricane strike probabilities are only statistical
estimates. Be prepared as storms approach.
Another concern I hear is about sharks. I get asked quite a bit if I’ve ever seen a shark at the beach or if it’s dangerous to swim out at the beach. Fact is that since they have been keeping records on shark attacks there has never been a fatal shark attack from Bradenton to Naples. If you're talking shark attacks, the Atlantic side has far more attacks than the gulf side. One reason you get more attacks over there is the amount of surfers. Surfers mimic a wounded animal and in turn look like lunch to a hungry shark. Most of the sharks that are off the coast of New Smyrna are Tigers, Spinners, Bull, Reef and Blacktips. Ponce Inlet is specifically known to be pretty active with sharks. You really don't have that great surfing on the gulf side unless a storms brewing. The gulf side is also much warmer than the Atlantic side. http://www.underwatertimes.com/news....id=10863094725
Speaking of beach. What about the stingrays and riptides or what about red tide? Well, I always recommend doing the "stingray shuffle" when entering the water. To do this you shuffle your feet along the sand instead of lifting your feet up and placing them down. The shuffling motion usually scares the stingrays off so you don't step on their poisonous barb. If you do happen to get stung, soak the area in hot water.
Rip tides are unusually strong currents that run perpendicular to the shore and can be very dangerous. If you're caught in one, don't panic or try to swim back to shore against the tide. Swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current or it has subsided, then return to shore.
Red tide is a naturally occurring algae that blooms and can kill marine life and cause respiratory irritations in humans. People with respiratory problems should avoid the beach when red tide is present.
Florida is the lightning capital of the world. Folks, if it starts lightning and you're golfing or at the beach, it's time to come in. And don't go hide under a tree and wait for the rains to end. That's probably the worst place to be during a lightning storm.
Next concern I hear is about the job market. Yeah it's pretty bad here. The unemployment rate is hovering somewhere around 10% right now. It's usually easier to find a job on the medical field then some other markets. The construction market is pretty tough right now. I would not suggest moving here without a job lined up.
There are some areas of town that are better than others which is pretty easy to figure out in the Sarasota area.
On the sex offender issue. I wouldn't say there are any more here than anywhere else. I just think we have a better system of keeping track of them. Which I think is a good thing. You can go here to check to see if any live in the neighborhood you are considering: http://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/off...yyt!-928531442
So, if you can live with the the bugs, the heat isn't an issue, aren't afraid of mosquitoes, snakes, sharks or gators, can prepare for hurricanes and stay away from lightning, have a stable job lined up, are willing to have your home inspected for CDW, you can go to the beach and stay clear of the stingrays and not get caught in a riptide and can figure out where you want to live...you should be good to go
Thanks! That was great! I used to live in Southern Mississippi, so I'm familiar with everything you stated (except, perhaps for sharks!) So much for the bad.... we still have good and ugly to cover. Any takers?
If you're looking for good things...here's my list.
Siesta Key Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with it's power white sand, which is nearly 100% quartz. I know some people would disagree but I'd much rather have powder white sand in the winter than powder white snow. No matter where you are in Florida you're never more than 2 hours or so from the beach.
I love all the sunshine, warmth and bright sunny days. You know that the local paper used to give out free papers if the sun didn't shine. They didn't have to give out too many.
Florida is full of tropical foliage and is a great place for gardeners, year round. People can also enjoy outdoor sports all year long-hiking, biking, walking, kayaking, golfing, etc We have the huge Legacy Trail for walking and biking.
In southern Sarasota county there's Warm Mineral Springs and Little Salt Spring. Warm Mineral Springs is one of the oldest tourist attractions in FL and people come from all over the world to visit.
There are many other festivals and fairs just a short drive away.
Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey has canoing, camping, hiking, birding, swimming. Myakkahatchee State Park in North Port has trails where you can bring your horses, you can hike along the trails. Myakka River State Park in Sarasota has tons of great FL wildlife, the Myakka Canopy Walk, which is a bridge that is suspended 25 feet off the ground. It extends 85 feet through the canopy and Myakka also has 38 miles of hiking trails. Manatee County has Little Manatee River State Park which runs right along the river. It has camping, hiking, canoing, etc. Don Pedro State Park you can only get to by boat and is like a private beach. I happened to have the great pleasure of living right beside it as a kid. Venice has Brohard Park (http://www.venicegov.com/Park_links/brohard.htm - broken link), one of the only dog friendly beaches around. Venice is also home to Woodmere Park a 36 acre park where you can let your pooch run and play under the big oak trees. These areas are a haven for photographers, bird watching and outdoor enthusiasts. Sarasota county has more than 200 parks, 109 athletic fields and 16 recreation and community centers.
Also for all the photographers and gardens, Selby Gardens is a must see. It has over 20,000 plants and displays and was named one of America's Top Ten Botanical Gardens.
The Sarasota area is also very kid friendly. We have GWIZ a science museum that caters to kids. The Children's Garden, a whimsical outdoor play area for children. Then there's Jungle Gardens, which is one of the oldest attractions in FL and has flamingo feeding, bird shows, alligators and many other various animals. Spanish Point is a historical site where they have Indian mounds, early pioneer homes and a lots of summer activities for kids. There are YMCA's in every city from Bradenton to Port Charlotte. Sarasota has Mote Marine Aquarium, which gives a wonderful look at the native sea life. They also to a great job with rehabilitating injured animals and returning them back to the gulf. Bradenton has the South FL Museum, Bishop Planetarium and the Parker Aquarium. Stop by and say "hi" to SW FL's very own manatee, Snooty. The Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota is a wonderful place to visit and see the amazing job Rosaire's do with the animals.
Many restaurants offer waterfront dining all the way down the coast. Speaking of restaurants, this area has lots and lots of wonderful, restaurants for any taste. Many mom and pop restaurants. You could spend a whole day out on St Armand's Circle shopping, browsing and stopping in at Kilwin's for some great ice cream. St Armand's has more than 130 shops, restaurants and galleries.
Good: very casual lifestyle---you will never have to worry about going out in public without makeup or hair done, can wear flip flops and bathing suits to the grocery store. It's safe; I keep my windows open from November to April with no fears and I let my son play in the yard without supervision. The beaches are amazing, although if you're 6/6 snowbirds, you'll miss the Gulf in the best months! It's quirky with a mix of people from all over the Country and lots of locals. No traffic- especially in summer. Good local restaurants. Not a lot of chain restaurants, housing developments, or condos. It's definitely a locals-type community.
The ugly: Lots of locals are on "island time" which is hard for northerners to get used to. Don't expect quick service at restaurants, or basically anything. During season, expect to wait for a while to eat. I don't eat out during season for this reason, but I have a young child. Some locals are rude to snowbirds. Just be aware of it. People drive horribly during season here; find an extra set of eyes for the sides and back of your head. You'll learn that Bealls and Walmart (although I don't shop there!) are considered our local "department stores".
That's all I can come up with at the moment! Have fun!
It's so nice to find this forum!!! I've been reading the posts and everyone seems so nice and helpful!
I wanted to post that after visiting the SW FL area for more than 20 years, I've finally decided to act on my dream and am moving to Englewood!!!! I was planning on moving July 1st but the tenant changed his mind about leaving at the last minute! Shooooot! Anyway, it may be for the best as I still have to get my work lined up and start bringing in paychecks, if you know what I mean!
I'm a nurse and specialize in home care. Seems this field is in high demand and with the population of Venice and Englewood being more than half over the age of 65, I shouldn't have any trouble.
By the way, I'm from the Orlando area. Have lived there most of my life but it's now time for a change. Can't wait to get settled in!
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