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Old 01-25-2011, 11:25 AM
 
Location: East Tennessee
3,924 posts, read 10,293,842 times
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There's a very good thread started by xbillyx that you can read through for some ideas. Link here My thoughts so far (on relocating)
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
110 posts, read 241,853 times
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We did the same thing when considering moving to the area. We came down in march to check it out and moved in July. It's really hard with just a few days. What we did was research neighborhoods we thought we were interested in, narrow it down to maybe 3 neighborhoods if you can. Then look on Realtor.com for rental houses. You can get a good feel for prices in certain neighborhoods. You could also contact the realtor to actually see the houses. We did all that BEFORE we got here. That way we could best utilize the daylight hours we had while in St. Pete. Tyen when we got there We walked through grocery stores & target to get a feel for the people in the neighborhood. The weather was nice when we were there so we talked with people who were outside to ask about the area. When having dinner ask the staff how they feel about area. Drive by the schools and parks in the neighborhoods you're interested in.

If you really want to learn as much about the area for relocating purposes I would suggest skipping all the hot, fun spots. The beaches, museums and all that will be here when you move here. Utilize the daylight hours to learn the areas your interested. But try to have somewhat of a limited area in mind otherwise you'll mindlessly drive around and get nothing accomplished!

Good luck!
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Iowa
16 posts, read 16,162 times
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@BBI, Moni74, and TampaKaren, thank you so much for the info, it was extremely helpful!!! I have been doing my homework over the last few days on neighborhoods (through zillow) and schools. My big project (read: excel spreadsheets) is now on schools. We will have a 4th and 9th grader, so I'm in the process of finding the good elementary and high schools. Greatschools.com is a fantastic site for finding out pretty detailed info, though some of it is outdated. Thanks again for the info, I got some more homework to do now!
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:28 AM
 
22 posts, read 43,511 times
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My search is nearly identical but I think I will get out there next week to try and get something lined up in time for the magnet school lottery. I know Old Northeast neighborhood is 33702, what are the zip codes for Snell Island and Crescent Lake. My husband will be commuting to Bradenton at 7a so I am thinking the mileage is long but the timing will be ok. Do you know if we have an offer on a house or signed agreement for rental, will the schools consider that enough to register?
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Iowa
16 posts, read 16,162 times
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Since I will be working near Feather Sound, and I am not wanting a commute of more than 30 minutes during late morning, should we even bother checking into the Tampa area for schools and neighborhoods? We have our sites set on a few locations (Seminole, Safety Harbor, in/around SP, and Largo). I think I'd be willing to sacrifice a bit more of a drive knowing my kids were in a great public school. Also, do the Pinellas and Hillsborough sides offer PRETTY much the same thing when it comes to parks/beaches/schools/fun kid things? Or is one definitely better than the other? We are focusing more on the Pinellas side b/c of my job being located there and I'd rather not have to cross the bay every day (never thought I'd say that) even though I'm sure the view is probably out of this world...I'd start taking it for granted after the first few months living there and get road rage if some grandma and grandpa decided to take their time crossing the bay.
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
110 posts, read 241,853 times
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@ jennemmy-yes once you have an address/rental lease you can register your child for school. Once you get here you'll have to show them the lease along with birth certificate, proof of immunizations, social security card and those sorts of things. We didn't enter our son in Magnet/Fundamental lottery, we missed the deadline. Good luck!
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
110 posts, read 241,853 times
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@jtgoffe-No, you do not want to be crossing the bridge everyday if you don't have to! I commute across the Howard Franklin bridge everyday and it can be tough, especially in rain/wind or if there's an accident. You'll be able to find good schools in those neighborhoods you listed and stay in the same side of the Bay!

The coolest thing about my commute is often times I can see dolphins playing and jumping right along side of the bridge (it's one of those low bridges). But when I get home an hour or more after I get off work I'm full of rage and tension, not worth it!

Also, I found that I had many more specific questions when I returned from our "scouting" trip. This site was instrumental for me as I had more and more questions (about neighborhoods, schools and commuting). Many members on this site were SO helpful so you came to a good place to help with your relocation! I honestly don't know what I would have done without this site!
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Iowa
16 posts, read 16,162 times
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@Moni74...When did you move to FL? Your location says St Paul MN. What did you find most enlightening about your scouting trip?
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
110 posts, read 241,853 times
Reputation: 77
We got here July 30, 2010. So it's been about 6 months now. It was my 1st time moving out of state. I'm 36 and although I dreamed of "escaping" MN for years, I'd lived there my whole life. We chose to rent a Budget truck and drive ourselves, all our stuff, our kid & dog there ourselves! Fun....

The most enlightening part of our scouting trip I'd have to say is (1) we were fortunate to meet a few very friendly people who chatted with us and answered our many questions. One day in particular we were driving through an area we though we might be interested in and saw a woman having a garage sale. We could see she had kids so we stopped to see if she'd talk with us. She gave us like 45 minutes, it was great! (2) The second thing I learned from that trip was how much I didn't know & how big a task this was really going to be! I was a bit overwhelmed and stressed. It's funny cause when we flew to Tampa/St. Pete to look around in March I hadn't been offered the job yet and was still interviewing at several places so we couldnt narrow down where we were going to live. So we ended up renting a townhome in an area that we did not "scout"! We did however do a lot of research on the area (looked at police calls, crime stats, schools, etc) and I asked LOTS of questions on this forum so it all worked out! Well sortof....you ask "then why the h*** are you driving across the bridge everyday???". Well the 1st job I took was super close to our townhome (8 miles) my commute was 15 minutes BUT the job was nothin like what was sold to me. I was miserable there so since I was in a probationary period, I quit. Fortunatley I found another job right away. But the downside is it's on the other side of the bridge, way on the other side!
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
110 posts, read 241,853 times
Reputation: 77
@jtgoffe-another thing that was interesting to me when we came to visit in march was how some of the areas/neighborhood looked. Very different from where I lived in MN. As we drove around in areas we were interested in all of a sudden we'd turn a corner and the neighborhood could drastically change and sometimes not in a good way! Where I'm from it's just good neighborhoods and bad but they are more spaced apart! That sort of freaked me out at first but it's just how it is here, unless you're well off or live in a gated community.
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