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Old 01-02-2013, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA
170 posts, read 210,244 times
Reputation: 188

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Hello and Happy New Year!!

My huband (retired, moderate Republican) and myself (still got 20 yrs to work, liberal Dem) are looking to move from Northern Calfornia (we have lived in SF Bay and Sacramento areas for the last 3 years) back East. We are from Western New York and want to be in the same time zone with easy flights back home...but would like to avoid the Great Lakes Winters.

I can internally transfer for jobs, which I frequently see in Gainsville/Jacksonville, Orlando, and also available but not as plentifully in the Tampa/Clearwater area. I would take a pay cut..but the cost of living and taxes have to be less there.

I am family familiar with Florida..at least the tourist areas having visited Orlando, Tampa, and Daytona multiple times and Miami and the Keys once. (Most of the visits were in October or February...one in August)

As a tourist, I loved loved loved Florida. My hubby has only been to the pan-handle once but did live and work in South Carolina so he understands some heat and humidity. (Sacramento was in triple digits a dozen times this summer...sure...its "dry"..but 105 is still 105). He is Florida skeptical

I am just looking for some area comparisons from locals please. I will also read some past threads.

As mentioned, my husband is retired. He likes to get outside for walks, play guitar, hear local music, and simply explore. Neither of us is extremely active in sports (although we like to watch) but really enjoy Zoos, theatre, parks museums, "foodie" places. We are pretty open minded and appreciate a variety of cultures. We'd love a sense of community...maybe a place to volunteer. We are also use to suffocating traffic...and would like to decrease it some. We don't need a specific church nor do we need to worry about schools as the kids are grown and out. (I would like a college or university though, just to keep learning)

We have dogs so we'd like a pet friendly place.

Ok..heres the silly questions you are probably sick of...Will the gators eat my dogs? (I know...Yankee paranoia)...I'd ask more about the bugs and snakes but having lived in Cali and New Mexico with the spiders and snakes..I think we can adjust. Are the A/C bills a killer? (I know the heating bills could be up north from Nov -April). And which of the areas we mentioned has the most sunny days? (can't move back into 8 months of gray)

How did I forget this....how far the casinos?? really...we do love our slot machines now and then.

I know I can look most of this up...but I can only get the real skinny from the locals..thats where any community gets its energy from!

Oh, and we would rent 1st vs buy. Anything from a larger studio to a 1-2 bedroom works.

Thank you!!
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:45 PM
 
1,024 posts, read 1,598,779 times
Reputation: 971
You will want to check out Safety Harbor and Dunedin. They are very walkable communities in northern Pinellas County. They are some of the few places in the Tampa Bay area that have a real sense of community. They also have several foodie-friendly places to eat. (My husband and I are foodies too! We live in Safety Harbor and LOVE all the quaint restaurants there.) St. Pete College is the closest college. It's about 15 minutes from Safety Harbor or Dunedin. Safety Harbor and Dunedin are both VERY dog-friendly. A lot of folks there own dogs and bring them everywhere.

Quote:
Ok..heres the silly questions you are probably sick of...Will the gators eat my dogs? (I know...Yankee paranoia)...I'd ask more about the bugs and snakes but having lived in Cali and New Mexico with the spiders and snakes..I think we can adjust.
It's actually a valid question. If you live on a lake with larger gators and have small dogs, you will want to exercise caution when letting the dogs go near the water's edge. Gator attacks on dogs do not happen too often, but sometimes we do hear about them in the news.

Quote:
Are the A/C bills a killer? (I know the heating bills could be up north from Nov -April).
In the hottest months (July and August) you can expect bills of around $300 for a 2000 square foot home if you leave the thermostat at 72. I know this sounds like a lot, but in the cooler months you will not have to run the air much, so your yearly average won't be that high. Our bill for December was about $100. (Our home is about 2200 square feet.)

Quote:
And which of the areas we mentioned has the most sunny days? (can't move back into 8 months of gray)
Any of the areas you mentioned are going to be sunny. You won't have 8 months or even 8 weeks of gray here!

Quote:
How did I forget this....how far the casinos?? really...we do love our slot machines now and then.
The Hard Rock Casino in Tampa is where most people go to gamble. It's about a 45 minute drive from the areas I mentioned. You can also hop aboard a Sun Cruise Casino and sail out to where it is legal to gamble. I believe they go out from New Port Richey, which would be closer than going to the Hard Rock if you lived in Northern Pinellas.

Other areas you may like are South Tampa and Ybor City (be careful with Ybor … I don't think it is as safe as some of the other places I mentioned). Westchase is another Tampa neighborhood you may enjoy.

I'm sure others will chime in with their input. This is a great forum for getting the inside scoop on Tampa Bay! Good luck with your move!
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:02 PM
 
2,763 posts, read 5,133,220 times
Reputation: 2774
I personally think Orlando would be the better option for you with the things you're looking for.

As for what the previous poster stated, the electric bill will vary greatly based on what condition your house is in. Older house = higher bills. We have a house with new windows and somewhat new AC. Our bills in the summer never reach above 150 for electric (2000 sq foot home). Right now they're hovering around 80, and we're keeping our thermostat at about 76/77 (I also run the heat in the winter because I have a thyroid condition which makes me intolerant to the cold, so our thermostat is set to cool to 76 and if it gets below 74 then the heat kicks on)
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:08 PM
 
1,024 posts, read 1,598,779 times
Reputation: 971
Quote:
Originally Posted by rezfreak View Post
I personally think Orlando would be the better option for you with the things you're looking for.

As for what the previous poster stated, the electric bill will vary greatly based on what condition your house is in. Older house = higher bills. We have a house with new windows and somewhat new AC. Our bills in the summer never reach above 150 for electric (2000 sq foot home). Right now they're hovering around 80, and we're keeping our thermostat at about 76/77 (I also run the heat in the winter because I have a thyroid condition which makes me intolerant to the cold, so our thermostat is set to cool to 76 and if it gets below 74 then the heat kicks on)
Good point. Our home was built in the early 80's, and we haven't replaced any windows. I'm sure that has something to do with the higher cost to cool it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA
170 posts, read 210,244 times
Reputation: 188
Thank you so much for the info FLAgirl and Rez! I really appreciate the time posting.
I am very excited about a possible Florida move..i have always loved any time I have spent there. Now I have some great info from locals to show my husband.

We have until June to decide so we will see if we have a sunny East Coast future
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:08 PM
 
5,507 posts, read 9,710,437 times
Reputation: 2294
There are small pockets of things in Tampa/Jax/Orlando that you mentioned but you'll need the money to live there. You'd have to want to live in a small college town for Gainesville to work.

What about Sarasota?
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:34 PM
 
Location: North of South, South of North
8,704 posts, read 9,577,552 times
Reputation: 5122
Sounds like you would love Pinellas county. Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Clearwater and Dunedin are places you may want to look at. Gorgeous, near the beaches, access to the casino, lots of nature things to do.

It's paradise. A little slice of heaven. I can't imagine being anywhere else.
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