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Old 12-16-2015, 08:03 AM
 
14 posts, read 22,001 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello,

I have read everything I could find on the area but I decided to post anyways in hopes you will be able to share your expertise with me and help me narrow down my search.

We have been working overseas for a while and now coming back in the US in hopes to settle down finally. My husband will be working from home so we are free to go anywhere in the US. I picked Tampa area as a place to live. Hopefully I made the right choice

We will be flying in at the end of January. Before we buy we will be renting but I hope to find a rental in the same area where we decide to settle so it would be helpful to narrow down the area. I also hope to rent a house before we arrive as we have children (elementary and middle school) and I need them get enrolled into schools and resume their routines as soon as possible.

Like I said, my husband works from home so the commute is not a criteria. What we are looking for is this:

- "A" rated schools, preferably with "gifted and talented" programs offered
- lots of activities offered for children (organised sports, art, music classes, entertainment, parks, and such)
- safe neighborhood
- neighborhood is not in a flood zone
- prefer no more than 30 min drive from the beach
- prefer no more than 30 min to shops, restaurants, hospitals / clinics. In other words not in the middle of nowhere (been there, done that)

I do love "master planned communities" but just a nice neighborhood with a pool would be good as well.

We are looking at 3 bdr /2 bath house. Our renting budget is $2100, buying budget is $380K. Cookie cutter neighborhoods are perfectly fine with us. Also if you are an agent and willing to help us out, I will be very happy. I have contacted several and none returned my emails / phone calls I guess, too much effort for such a small agent fee?

One more thing: I am a Russian and in the past I have experienced prejudice towards Russians living in other cities in the US. I found that it is easier to assimilate into communities where there are other Russian speaking people. It is not a "must have" on my list but I will appreciate if you let me know of places around Tampa where Russians have presence.

Thank you for your help!!!
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Old 12-16-2015, 11:21 AM
 
769 posts, read 596,527 times
Reputation: 887
If you want to be no more than 30 minutes from the Beach, you are going to have to be in Pinellas County.

Parts of Pinellas that fit your needs are: Seminole, parts of St. Pete, although most of the schools in St. Pete suck.

I would recommend Countryside or Safety Harbor or Palm Harbor, but I think 30 minutes to the beach from there is not possible. If 45 minutes is ok, then go there.

It's unfortunate that the schools are so bad in most of Pinellas. The best schools are up on the North part of the county, but those are father from the beach. The reason for this is that most of St. Pete and Pinellas county in general has an "older" or "younger without kids" population. There are PLENTY of nice areas, but most of those nice areas have few kids, so crappy kids from other areas get bussed in to "fill" them, and you know what that means.

You wont find a russian community so you will have to dump that requirement
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Old 12-16-2015, 12:54 PM
 
14 posts, read 22,001 times
Reputation: 15
Thank you, CubsFan20.
What about Westchase? When reading about that community, there was a statement it takes 25min to the beach, 30min to downtown Tampa... Was it just an exaggeration? Or the schools there are not as good as the ratings show?
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Old 12-16-2015, 01:08 PM
 
769 posts, read 596,527 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anasko View Post
Thank you, CubsFan20.
What about Westchase? When reading about that community, there was a statement it takes 25min to the beach, 30min to downtown Tampa... Was it just an exaggeration? Or the schools there are not as good as the ratings show?
Schools in Westchase are amongst the best in the area. However it's much more than 30 minutes from the beach. Unless you are driving at midnight, and never hit a red light
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Old 12-16-2015, 11:25 PM
 
14 posts, read 22,001 times
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Good to know! Well, one of the reason I was considering Tampa suburbs is because of the beaches... I guess 40 min drive is not too bad. Do you have any other suggestions where else to look? I really want to avoid retiree communities or mainly singles communities
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:12 AM
 
769 posts, read 596,527 times
Reputation: 887
If 40 minutes is acceptable, then:
Palm Harbor
Safety Harbor
Seminole
East Lake
Westchase (Hillsborough County)
South Tampa (Hillsborough County)
Countryside

Which Pinellas County School zones are the best is not my specialty, but I know what I posted above will fit your bill.

There are parts of St. Pete, Largo and Clearwater that are nice, but it's hit and miss and school zoning is a concern, espcially in St. Pete
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Old 12-17-2015, 07:38 AM
 
279 posts, read 431,140 times
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I'm in Palm Harbor and live 5 minutes from the Beach (Honeymoon Island Beach), 20 minutes From Fred Howard and 20 minutes from Clearwater Beach. I'm out of the flood zone.

Schools in PH are really good but you want to keep an eye out for the zoning within PH. The north part of Pinellas has a great Charter school system (Plato Charter) but it's based on lottery.

I work from home as well and is why we picked the area we are in. No remorse.

The bad on PH is no organized sports from PH because it's unicorporated. My kids are going to neighboring towns for sports. Another option is via YMCA or private sports clubs.

Dunedin downtown is about 7 minutes away and is full of activities and a lovely quaint downtown.

Good Luck
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Old 12-17-2015, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Dunedin
85 posts, read 78,869 times
Reputation: 64
Try Dunedin, its close to everything you asked for. If you are looking for charter schools the Plato Charter system is excellent. Dunedin has a great Halloween for the kids in town with movies in the park, we have an farmers market Fridays and Saturdays in the park also. Christmas parade and Christmas boat parade is always a fun time. The Pinellas trail runs right through town and offers biking and walking/running paths. It has a working town with lots of shops and restaurants to offer and the marina area is always nice to visit. Beaches are close by too. So if you have a couple of minutes to spare check our crazy town out on YouTube and search " Funedin.lippod" and enjoy. Have a great search!
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Old 12-18-2015, 08:38 AM
 
769 posts, read 596,527 times
Reputation: 887
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevo75 View Post
I'm in Palm Harbor and live 5 minutes from the Beach (Honeymoon Island Beach), 20 minutes From Fred Howard and 20 minutes from Clearwater Beach. I'm out of the flood zone.

Schools in PH are really good but you want to keep an eye out for the zoning within PH. The north part of Pinellas has a great Charter school system (Plato Charter) but it's based on lottery.

I work from home as well and is why we picked the area we are in. No remorse.

The bad on PH is no organized sports from PH because it's unicorporated. My kids are going to neighboring towns for sports. Another option is via YMCA or private sports clubs.

Dunedin downtown is about 7 minutes away and is full of activities and a lovely quaint downtown.

Good Luck
So geographically, palm harbor is a fairly large swath of land, so depending on WHERE in Palm Harbor you live, some of that might be possible. But if you are up on mcmullen booth, 5 minutes to honeymoon island and 20 minutes to clearwater beach isnt happening, LOL at that...
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Old 12-18-2015, 09:01 AM
 
279 posts, read 431,140 times
Reputation: 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by CubsFan20 View Post
So geographically, palm harbor is a fairly large swath of land, so depending on WHERE in Palm Harbor you live, some of that might be possible. But if you are up on mcmullen booth, 5 minutes to honeymoon island and 20 minutes to clearwater beach isnt happening, LOL at that...
The OP asked for anything within 30 minutes from the beach. I gave them my situation on distance from the beach.

Even if you live around McMullen you are still within 30 minutes of a beach. LOL at that...
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