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Old 10-28-2013, 05:01 PM
 
1,024 posts, read 1,482,950 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thefishes540 View Post
Hi all. My wife and I will be visiting the area in mid November as a scouting mission for a hopeful move this coming summer. We are both in our early thirties with two elementary aged children. I am currently a branch manager for a local bank and my wife is an accountant. Based on online research as well as a short visit last year we have decided that we would like to learn more about Safety Harbor as our possible future home. We will really only have one day to scout. We have never made a move such as this and are hoping that you could give us some advice as to what to try to see and do in the area that day. We will most likely rent for a while initially as that seems to be a common theme of advice on this forum. Any thoughts or advice you could give would be much appreciated. Thank you!
My family and I live in Safety Harbor and just adore it here. Do you know what day you will be visiting? I'm asking because there are different activities going on throughout the week festivals, markets, and the like.

You will definitely want to check out Whistle Stop for lunch or dinner. A lot of locals hang out there. The food is excellent and everyone there is super friendly. There's live music on the weekends.

Another great idea is to grab a picnic lunch and head out to Phillippe Park. It is hands-down one of the most beautiful parks in Pinellas County. Your kids will have several great playgrounds to explore, and the park has lovely views of Tampa Bay.

You'll also want to set aside time to stroll down Main Street. It's very eclectic - lots of little restaurants and shops to check out. Our downtown area is lovely, so be sure to wander the side streets and have a look around. You'll also want to stop in the museum and cultural center to learn about the history of the area. Grab some ice cream at Cold Stone or Crispers and head down to the pier.

If you drop by the Safety Harbor Spa, you can rent bikes there and take a ride along the paved trail that parallels Tampa Bay. You'll get to see loads of georgeous homes and some very lovely views. I believe you can also rent kayaks there if you'd like to experience the bay up close.

One thing to keep in mind is that Safety Harbor is very "old Florida". If you are looking for new and modern, you will be disappointed. Most of the homes here are older and the neighborhoods are very well-established with huge oak trees. It's also quite expensive here. It's rare to find rentals for under $2K per month, and it won't be easy to find a place to rent directly in Safety Harbor because the area is not very large.

Most people who move here stay here. It isn't unusual to see generations of families living in Safety Harbor because once people live here, they fall in love with the area and do not want to leave. We've lived all over the Tampa Bay area, but we love Safety Harbor the most. It's such a great place to raise a family, and it has a really strong sense of community.

I hope you enjoy your visit!
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Safety Harbor FL
62 posts, read 58,506 times
Reputation: 46
Thank you all for the wonderful advice. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. We will definitely take time to visit the places you all mentioned such as The Whistle Stop.

We really enjoy the "Old Florida" established feel. I think that is part of what drew us to Safety Harbor. That said, we are not totally ruling out a newer neighborhood if that is what works best.

Floridagirl, we will be visiting November 11th and 12th. Thank you to both you and Kyle for such detailed info. I have followed your posts in the past and appreciate your passion for Safety Harbor. I have gained a lot of knowledge about Safety Harbor through your past posts.

Prius, we have also looked into Palm Harbor and that is still very much a possibility as well. Part of where we end up and what we end up renting/purchasing will depend on how our pay range changes from Indiana to Florida.

From reading this forum and researching it does seem that we will take a reduction in pay and certain expenses will be higher. We are anxious to see where these numbers actually come in at. This goes right along with your point Floridagirl in that I have noticed the prices in Safety Harbor are on the higher end. If our incomes do not translate in a way that allows us to be in Safety Harbor we will look in the surrounding areas and hopefully find something that fits our budget.

Does anyone happen to know how the banking job market is in this area in terms of demand and pay? Any advice on how to go about securing a banking job prior to our move?

Once again thank you all for your time!
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:14 AM
 
Location: North of South, South of North
8,706 posts, read 8,780,113 times
Reputation: 5072
Quote:
Originally Posted by thefishes540 View Post
Thank you all for the wonderful advice. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. We will definitely take time to visit the places you all mentioned such as The Whistle Stop.

We really enjoy the "Old Florida" established feel. I think that is part of what drew us to Safety Harbor. That said, we are not totally ruling out a newer neighborhood if that is what works best.

Floridagirl, we will be visiting November 11th and 12th. Thank you to both you and Kyle for such detailed info. I have followed your posts in the past and appreciate your passion for Safety Harbor. I have gained a lot of knowledge about Safety Harbor through your past posts.

Prius, we have also looked into Palm Harbor and that is still very much a possibility as well. Part of where we end up and what we end up renting/purchasing will depend on how our pay range changes from Indiana to Florida.

From reading this forum and researching it does seem that we will take a reduction in pay and certain expenses will be higher. We are anxious to see where these numbers actually come in at. This goes right along with your point Floridagirl in that I have noticed the prices in Safety Harbor are on the higher end. If our incomes do not translate in a way that allows us to be in Safety Harbor we will look in the surrounding areas and hopefully find something that fits our budget.

Does anyone happen to know how the banking job market is in this area in terms of demand and pay? Any advice on how to go about securing a banking job prior to our move?

Once again thank you all for your time!
Depends on what you are doing in banking. Tellers don't make much, as is the case most everywhere. However our son moved from North Carolina to here this year and got a new job making 25% MORE than he was making. He now makes really good money. So don't assume you will make less based on what you may have been told.
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Safety Harbor FL
62 posts, read 58,506 times
Reputation: 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by PriusH8r View Post
Depends on what you are doing in banking. Tellers don't make much, as is the case most everywhere. However our son moved from North Carolina to here this year and got a new job making 25% MORE than he was making. He now makes really good money. So don't assume you will make less based on what you may have been told.
Thanks Prius. I have been a branch manager for five years and would hope to find a similar position in the tampa area.

It was mentioned a couple of times that the size and popularity of Safety Harbor limits the number of houses available and in turn raises housing prices. Are there surrounding areas that may be a cheaper alternative to Safety Harbor that we should check out on our visit?
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:32 PM
 
Location: North of South, South of North
8,706 posts, read 8,780,113 times
Reputation: 5072
Quote:
Originally Posted by thefishes540 View Post
Thanks Prius. I have been a branch manager for five years and would hope to find a similar position in the tampa area.

It was mentioned a couple of times that the size and popularity of Safety Harbor limits the number of houses available and in turn raises housing prices. Are there surrounding areas that may be a cheaper alternative to Safety Harbor that we should check out on our visit?
Cheaper usually means not as good. You can find some cheaper places in parts of Clearwater, but you will see why. However the Countryside area is very nice and prices will reflect that. Palm Harbor is very nice and has excellent schools and the prices will reflect that. Dunedin is quaint and nice and Oldsmar is a great opportunity many people are not aware of.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:27 PM
 
1,024 posts, read 1,482,950 times
Reputation: 969
Quote:
Originally Posted by thefishes540 View Post
Thanks Prius. I have been a branch manager for five years and would hope to find a similar position in the tampa area.

It was mentioned a couple of times that the size and popularity of Safety Harbor limits the number of houses available and in turn raises housing prices. Are there surrounding areas that may be a cheaper alternative to Safety Harbor that we should check out on our visit?
Try Countryside and Oldsmar. Those areas may be a bit less expensive and may have more inventory.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:25 PM
 
425 posts, read 1,087,989 times
Reputation: 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by gulfer View Post
Just think all those new subdivisions that planted all those trees (that I guess will probably never grow), roundabouts with gazebo's and play areas in the middle, longer walking trails, etc...
I used to live in such a neighborhood up in Jacksonville- it was built out in the late 90's. The last time I went back to look at it, it looked almost the same as 15 years ago when they slashed-and-burned all the pre-existing pine forests to build out the area.

Many times the developers install very specific, bulk, boilerplate landscaping and trees. They're more likely to use Crepe Myrtles or smaller trees than large shade trees like Live Oaks. This is why the streets will never be canopied by trees.

Also, HOAs often discourage or outright prevent many types of landscaping.

Lastly, the homes are oftentimes built by one or two developers, all but ensuring that most houses look alike. There will likely be several "copies" of your house in these neighborhoods.

These are some of the reasons why one of these subdivisions will never (regardless of age) look like South Tampa, Old NE, Pass-a-Grille Beach, Safety Harbor, etc. Even most of the neighborhoods in Pinellas that were built out as late as the 70's and 80's have custom homes and other features that differentiate them from the tract-home subdivisions that seemed to become so prevalent during the big housing explosion in the 90's to early 2000's.

Anyway, nothing against those neighborhoods. There is something to be said for the affordability and newness (read: lesser maintenance burden, energy efficiency, sq. footage, etc.) of the homes. At least in St. Johns County, many of these areas come with their own brand new schools that are top notch. I was quite happy living in my old hood in that past life, and quite proud of my house... didn't matter much to me that it was one of 13 duplicate houses on my street- I knew which one was mine
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:39 AM
 
1,024 posts, read 1,482,950 times
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As lovely as all the oak trees are, I will say they are a PAIN to deal with. I'm dreading acorn season when I'll have about a bazillon of the little suckers pelting my roof and littering the driveway!
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Old 10-31-2013, 06:39 AM
 
21,114 posts, read 30,196,960 times
Reputation: 19483
Quote:
Originally Posted by floridagirl777 View Post
Try Countryside and Oldsmar. Those areas may be a bit less expensive and may have more inventory.
I agree. Oldsmar in particular has the East Lake Woodlands subdivision which offers some great values and is in my opinion the best deal in the area with the best schools (East Lake High School district) and terrific location off of Tampa Road's commercial corridor which has virtually everything, as well as easy access into Tampa.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:53 AM
 
Location: North of South, South of North
8,706 posts, read 8,780,113 times
Reputation: 5072
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
I agree. Oldsmar in particular has the East Lake Woodlands subdivision which offers some great values and is in my opinion the best deal in the area with the best schools (East Lake High School district) and terrific location off of Tampa Road's commercial corridor which has virtually everything, as well as easy access into Tampa.
Very nice neighborhood with a great location and lots of nice trees.
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