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Old 01-17-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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We're thinking of moving to Florida. Sarasot, Port Charlotte or Cape Coral area. We've been reading a lot more bad comments than good, is life in Florida that bad?
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Old 01-17-2010, 06:08 PM
 
Location: FL
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Generally good. If you don't like hot muggy weather for 6 months/yr look elsewhere. We love to swim and go to the beach to cope, it's fun!
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Old 01-17-2010, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,482 posts, read 19,405,965 times
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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 is another issue that I hear about. Although 45 species of snakes are found in Florida, only the 6 listed here are venomous and a danger to humans— The remaining 39 species (and 41 subspecies) are harmless and should be protected for the beneficial role they play in natural ecosystems, eating insects, rodents, rabbits, and other small prey.

A word of caution is warranted here. If you find a snake and you do not know whether or not it is venomous, the safest thing to do is leave it alone. Florida snakes are not aggressive and, unless they are cornered, most will flee when humans approach. Occasionally, you might encounter one that is reluctant to leave because it is basking in the sun to get warm. Among snakebite victims, an unacceptably high number are bitten on the hands and arms when they are handling the snake. Do not catch a snake and do not handle one unless you are sure it is not venomous. In addition, for a short time after a snake is killed, its reflexes may continue to work. Those reflexes typically cause the body to writhe slowly for awhile, but they can cause a convulsive contraction and a bite, so you should not handle a freshly killed venomous snake.

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 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.

At least one of the alligators that caused a human fatality was fed by humans prior to the attack. By tossing food scraps to alligators, people actually teach the reptiles to associate people with food. For that reason, it is illegal to feed wild alligators and crocodiles in Florida.

Alligators tend to feed mostly at dusk or during early evening. It is wise to avoid swimming in waters known to be inhabited by alligators during that time of day, particularly during summer months when alligators are most active. Since dogs and cats are the size animals that alligators tend to favor as prey, people should not allow their pets in the water if alligators are known to inhabit the area. In fact, a small animal on the shoreline is a tempting target for a hungry alligator and might draw the reptile's attention to a human swimmer nearby. Also, cleaning fish and discarding parts in the water is likely to attract alligators. Females can become dangerous when protecting their young or a nest.

Swimming or even dangling feet in the water where fish have been cleaned can be extremely dangerous. Using your feet or hands to search water bodies for golf balls can be dangerous also.
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. Alligators feed on small fish, birds, and mammals.
Conflicts with alligators can be greatly reduced by using common sense and following simple guidelines. 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. Accordingly, this phenomenon cannot be explained solely by the shortage of American-manufactured drywall. The presence of Chinese drywall has been reported 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)? 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. Significantly, some homeowners report no smell, but their home clearly has Chinese drywall. 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.



This website is also pretty helpful-- Florida Hurricane Info

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

New Smyrna Beach over in Volusia County on the Atlantic side is the "Shark Capital of the World" North America's top shark-attack beaches - USATODAY.com But you have more chance in winning the lottery than getting attacked by a shark. Map of Florida's Confirmed Unprovoked Shark Attacks

Next concern I hear is about the job market. Yeah it's pretty bad here. The unemployment rate is hovering somewhere around 12% 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, have a stable job lined up, are willing to have your home inspected for CDW and can figure out where you want to live...you should be good to go

Last edited by SoFLGal; 01-17-2010 at 07:52 PM..
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Old 01-17-2010, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Bernanke's Financial Laboratory
513 posts, read 1,052,706 times
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Hey SFGal, time to update the snake portion of your welcome and include the new species:

'Super snake' fears on the rise in Florida - latimes.com
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Old 01-17-2010, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Punta Gorda and Maryland
6,102 posts, read 12,743,294 times
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Oh Man! That it! I'm leaving right after I get done biking, kayaking, fishing, swimming, playing golf, and finish my last beer!

Moderator cut: comment

Last edited by Keeper; 01-18-2010 at 06:35 AM.. Reason: realtor comment
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Old 01-17-2010, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,482 posts, read 19,405,965 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamy46 View Post
Hey SFGal, time to update the snake portion of your welcome and include the new species:

'Super snake' fears on the rise in Florida - latimes.com
Thanks for the heads up Dreamy! I just amended the post.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:17 PM
 
228 posts, read 427,690 times
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I guess life in Florida is going to be good or bad depending on your personal wants and needs. It's impossible to tell someone whether they will like it or not.

Some people love hot weather, so people can't stand it. I will say that at the height of summer it is disapointing to try and go out looking and smelling nice after just taking a shower, but being sweaty from walking to your house to your car. The heat is downright oppressive, but if someone was moving from Jamaica they might think it's just fine. People from Florida might say the same type of negative things about winter in the north, yet there are people in say Colorado that live for the winter so they can ski, snowboard, etc. It depends on YOU.

Some people love suburban living, some people hate it. I got sick of the senseless over-development of Mchouses and strip malls that now sit empty due to the economy. How many gas stations, grocery stores, furniture stores, walgreens etc. do people need? They can't literally drive 1 mile further down the road to get to one? It is nice to know that there ARE other places in the country that value the building/designating of certain areas as protected parks for people to enjoy instead of building another big box store or applebees.

Many move down here for the beaches, which are incredibly gorgeous. But unfortunately when the weather is perfect to be at the beach, there are thousands and thousands of other people thinking the same thing. Think of how big the population of Sarasota is with the year-round residents and tourists combined. Now think of how many actual beaches there are and how small they are in proportion to the population. While SW florida could be filled with beautiful parks (the vegetation and wildlife of Florida is so unique) and endless beaches open to the public, it is instead over-developed. For example, the entire coast of Oregon is open to the public, but in Sarasota most of the areas that could be huge beaches are filled with mansions that literally sit empty for all but 2 months of the year and act as some super-rich persons 10th vacation home. The result of this is tons of people crammed onto the relatively minimal beaches at the height of the season.

Crime is another issue. A person from Detroit would view crime in Sarasota as a joke, while someone from a quiet country town in Vermont would see it as horrendous. Check City-Data for Sarasota and you will find that it has OVER DOUBLE the amount of crime than the US national average. If you are used to living in rough areas of Atlanta, New Orleans, or Youngstown, then this might not phase you, but for many others it is a serious consideration.

Do you like to bike/walk? Well Florida is one of the most unfriendly places for pedestrians. Orlando and the Tampa Bay area ranked as the number 1 and 2 most dangerous places for pedestrians in the entire country (there is a link to this on another thread, but google it and verify for yourself). I am sure Sarasota and Port Charlotte do not fair so well either.

If you are moving from rural Kansas where devastating tornados can touch down without more than a ten minute warning, then hurricane season and its days of warning might not be much of a problem. But for many others it can get old, especially a few years ago when the hurricanes were constant. Even more frustrating is when you get all prepared worrying about boarding of your house and stocking up on supplies and then you get nothing more than a rain shower.

These points are just a few of the things to consider before deciding to move to Florida. A visit during the summer wouldn't harm you either. You can get a feel for the weather as well as see what kind of "vibes" the place gives you.

For a lot of people this place is paradise and they will never leave. For others it is the last place they would ever want to move and you couldn't pay them to move there. After living and visiting many other parts of the country, what I personally saw and heard (just my own experience) is that most of the people I spoke with about Florida had very negative feelings towards it and would never even consider moving there.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,482 posts, read 19,405,965 times
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Here's a thread that was just started on the main FL page talking about how people like in FL after moving. Looks like the general consensus is that people like living here: Any regrets moving to Florida ?

I'm a native Floridian and would never move.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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SoFLGal, that was the best thread I've read on here! Thanks for ALL of that info! I wasn't the OP, but I really appreciate it since we (my husband and I) are still in the researching phase of our 'relocating to Florida plan!'
So much good info!



Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,482 posts, read 19,405,965 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by { Nico } View Post
SoFLGal, that was the best thread I've read on here! Thanks for ALL of that info! I wasn't the OP, but I really appreciate it since we (my husband and I) are still in the researching phase of our 'relocating to Florida plan!'
So much good info!



Thanks!
Thank you! I figured I'd just wrap it all up in one post since I seem to get the same questions all the time. I know it may scare some people off but I'd rather be upfront with what to expect then try to gloss it over like it's not happening. Glad you liked it
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