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Old 05-02-2021, 07:14 AM
 
Location: MI
172 posts, read 429,148 times
Reputation: 207

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Hi I live in Michigan I'm a single man in my early 30s (I was active on this forum years and years ago and considered relocating from Michigan then but ended up staying).My parents are retired in their mid 60s (just retired) and middle class I'm guessing their house is valued in the 300k range. My sister and her husband are late 20s and have young kids.

My parents talked about moving to Florida or somewhere warm for a long time and we would go about every other year I stopped coming along but they've been going most years. They've been all over Florida mostly the Gulf side but also Daytona. They stayed put for various reasons notably being too close to retirement and not wanting to quit and work five years plus my dad's mom was still living until two years ago. My sister and her husband want to make the move themselves especially when the kids are young and it won't be as big of an uprooting experience (since they haven't really formed attachments etc. especially with Covid).

The thing is we haven't decided where we want to be. I'm a chronic researcher. Basically they want is an area that's not too much of a big city feel but also not in the middle of podunk nowhere. We don't have the budget for waterfront property but everyone prefers to be a reasonable drive to the coast. I work in manufacturing but I'm new to it, my background is retail management and my heart's just not in manufacturing so I might go back to something closer to what I did before or find a new career altogether. My brother in law works as an RV mechanic now but since its a service business I'm guessing there's jobs like that around the state. My parents are leaning toward Spring Hill area and aren't really chronic researchers. We've gone to Tampa quite a bit and they're going to visit Spring Hill in the fall.

I've got some concerns about Spring Hill after doing a bit of research. I've read its more run down than it looks on the surface and some realtor might sell my family members houses (because I'm single I'll probably go the apartment direction for now) that look nice but are in an area with a lot of underlying issues. My parents will probably downsize a bit and like I said I think they'll get about 300k. My sister and her husband are probably going to be looking at starter home type situation in the mid 100s to low 200s range. They've got a similar starter home up here.

The main areas I'm thinking of are Spring Hill but I'm trying to get my family to reconsider and be open to other areas. Some other areas I've researched are the Port Charlotte area, Palm Coast, Port St. Lucie and the Space Coast. My parents are skeptical about the Atlantic side because they think it's all busy like Daytona or Miami but I think its because they've been to the Gulf side more and don't know about the wide variety on the Atlantic side. I really don't care as much about what "side" we are on but it matters to me where we go because I want to be reasonably nearby.

So far here's my impression of all the areas.

SPRING HILL AREA

Seems like it has what my family is looking for in affordability and proximity to the coast (it's nearby but not as expensive or busy) plus its a pretty quick commute to Tampa for more options. However my concern about it is that it seems like it may be a bit more run down than it looks on the surface. I've heard about drug and crime problems. A specific video I saw said that a lot of people make the mistake of assuming because its mostly white people and newer homes it can't be that way but they discover the seedy underbelly later. I realize Florida in general has its pluses and minuses a minus being that a lot of unattached and rootless people tend to move there is going to be petty crime here and there but Spring Hill seems a bit too much in that direction. I've heard it described as a "Florida Man" type of town.

PORT CHARLOTTE/NORTH PORT/PUNTA GORDA AREA

The area of Charlotte County and southern Sarasota county is fairly appealing to me. PC and North Port seem pretty suburban like Spring Hill but maybe a bit denser in the center. Punta Gorda's proximity is nice as it has a walkable downtown. It also is in a great location on the Gulf Coast but because its not directly on the beach it is a bit more affordable and a bit less busy. My impression is there's a bit of petty low level crime here and there but less than Spring Hill and it's a bit more upscale but still within our price range. Maybe the downside being there's a bit more traffic (but nothing compared to a resort area). Maybe you'll pay a little more for a similar house but nothing too crazy and a better environment to raise a family than Spring Hill.

PORT ST. LUCIE AREA

This area seems to fit that overall suburban feel that my family definitely wants. Seems maybe a bit more expensive than Spring Hill and maybe even Port Charlotte but there seems to be more options in terms of types of housing for the size of area and also more job opportunities. It is also located closer to the coast than either one but because the beaches are clearly separate from the town it shouldn't be too much traffic. Its also close to Vero Beach and the South Florida area without being too expensive. Seems like its an overlooked gem. I've read its one of the safest cities in Florida for its size.

PALM COAST

To me this one of the hidden gems on the list it is close to both St. Augustine (which to me looks amazing) and also Daytona without being busy but Flagler Beach is nearby. Doesn't seem busy at all maybe a bit boring but my parents like it boring. Looks like it is pretty safe and high quality of life. My biggest issue is getting my parents to look at it as they have this perception that the east side is packed with endless crowds. It seems like it is a bit less trashy and doesn't attract the rootless crowd who is just looking to get away from their problems like drugs etc. and ends up getting back into them that seem drawn like magnets to Florida (and also states like NV, CA and AZ). As I said I see pluses and minuses in Florida but it seems like its got all the pluses with the only major minus being that it seems boring and feels every bit a late 20th century master planned community.

TITUSVILLE/SPACE COAST

I've also looked into this area a bit. Titusville and that area has really affordable rentals and housing probably because Cape Canaveral takes up all the direct oceanfront beach access. It also has less of the master planned community feel of the other places on this list. Seems like the Space Coast has a bit more of a diversified economy than the other places but some of the places I see make it look old and run down a bit. Like its stuck in some 50s time warp.

I'd like a few recommendations for our situation. I really thing Spring Hill is not the best choice especially for a family with kids and I'm trying to convince them out of it because the rest of my family aren't heavy researchers or data people, I'm "that guy" in my family and I'm worried some slick realtor will sell them a hill of beans. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 05-02-2021, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Tampa
80 posts, read 29,829 times
Reputation: 105
I’d add Venice and (west) Bradenton to your list. Vero Beach could also be a good option though I’m less familiar with it.

I think your concerns about Spring Hill are valid. I didn’t see you mention sinkholes, but that’s a significant problem there too. You need to really read up on them if you’re considering a home there because they’re common.

I’m not a huge fan of the North Port area. It’s not too bad, but not really good either. I think you can do better.

Palm Coast isn’t a bad choice at all, definitely worth considering. Titusville not so much.
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Old 05-02-2021, 07:40 AM
 
Location: USA
2,390 posts, read 912,539 times
Reputation: 6729
You will find a more mid-western vibe on the central west coast compared to the New York/Northeast vibe on the east coast, especially the more south you get on the Atlantic side.

I-95 starts in Maine, hugs the east coast, and continues to Miami. People just hop on it and drive south to find a Florida neighborhood.

I-75 starts in Michigan, travels through Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, into George and then Florida. It hugs Florida's west coast to Naples, before making a sharp turn to cross the peninsula to end in Miami.

So you can see definite patterns from the interstate system.
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Old 05-02-2021, 07:56 AM
 
4,410 posts, read 1,912,862 times
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As one of the posters said, Spring Hill is known for sinkholes, as are other areas in Florida. Sinkhole ins. is available, but I was told the home owner, is responsible for the first 25k
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:01 AM
 
164 posts, read 114,384 times
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I think you should be looking into how much jobs pay in each area in addition to how much housing costs will be in relation to that. I live in Cape Coral which typically has lower housing costs than the other cities mentioned and there aren't really 100-200k starter homes any longer since everyone wants to move to FL now. If a house is priced at 200k it doesn't last long.

Don't rely on a real estate agent to not sell your family a hill of beans, you're going to have to really stretch your research skills on this one as anything low priced for a certain area probably has something wrong with it. You'll have to start digging into local crime maps based on housing everyone can afford, what realistic job opportunities there are for those that are still working, etc. Don't listen to people on here to give you sound advice about all the different areas in comparison to one another unless that person has recently lived in each and every one of those cities because otherwise they don't really know and are just speculating. You'd be better served to do your due diligence first, narrow down an area, then ask in those specific cities.
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:28 AM
 
Location: MI
172 posts, read 429,148 times
Reputation: 207
Quote:
Originally Posted by FL_Expert View Post
I’d add Venice and (west) Bradenton to your list. Vero Beach could also be a good option though I’m less familiar with it.

I think your concerns about Spring Hill are valid. I didn’t see you mention sinkholes, but that’s a significant problem there too. You need to really read up on them if you’re considering a home there because they’re common.

I’m not a huge fan of the North Port area. It’s not too bad, but not really good either. I think you can do better.

Palm Coast isn’t a bad choice at all, definitely worth considering. Titusville not so much.

Yeah I think I saw something about Spring Hill being in "Sinkhole Alley" and then I looked the map WOW! It seems Hernando, Pasco and Hillsborough are the centers of sinkhole claims in the USA. Sinkholes scare me more than hurricanes because they come out of nowhere and are potentially more damaging (building to modern standards can't really stop them from destroying your house) and deadly. You can brace for a hurricane and I don't plan on living right on the beach.

Venice looks pretty good. How are housing costs there? Is Titusville a dump. What are some areas I'm missing.

Here are our top five must haves.

1) Houses in a reasonable price range. My parents will probably downsize a bit but my sister and brother and law have a starter home budget.

2) Low density suburban to medium density.

3) Not too crime ridden. We come from a medium sized city so we aren't in a place with no locked doors but we are realistic about Florida. Seems like there's a lot of areas of low level petty crime not so much the stuff you see in cities like Flint, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, South Chicago etc. but as I keep coming back to there's a lot of people who move there looking to get away from their problems and don't have strong family ties or a career tying them down (which sociologically where I think the Florida Man stereotype comes from, I think other areas like Las Vegas share this trait). I know there's no place in Florida we can afford and be totally away from this element but the lesser the better. We can't afford to live in Palm Beach, Longboat Key or Key Biscayne and its obvious to us all what to avoid. We've been to Immolakee and inner city Pensacola before and its definitely obvious that those are rough places. I just got my concerns that a place may not look bad on the surface but be seedier than imagined. Spring Hill seems like this.

Please note I'm not trying to stereotype Florida. There's a lot that's attracting us there obviously like weather, low taxes etc. We aren't coming here to escape our problems. We just are sick of the downsides of the Midwest and for us the downsides outweigh the upsides.

4) Schools that aren't absolute dropout factories. We aren't looking for schools that are super elite obviously it would be a plus but we probably can't afford those areas. I myself went to a private school that pushed 4 year university at all costs back in the 2000s but I got to college and dropped out because I just followed "the plan" and didn't have motivation so school is what you make it. But at the same time I don't want my nieces or my future kids attending some run down school where they will get the wrong influences. I think that kids are influenced as much by the kids they are around as the parents themselves. Hopefully more the parents but I think everyone here understands what I am getting at.

5) Traffic that isn't absolutely insane. Again just with crime I realize that Florida is our 3rd most populated state and attracts a lot of people because of its many good sides. Any place in Florida that isn't in the middle of nowhere is going to have some traffic I'm just trying to avoid the absolute worst of the worst. I could live in an urban area myself as a single guy but the rest of my family is not going to just up and move to downtown Miami.

There's also a couple things that are nice to have but aren't absolute musts.

1) It would be nice to be closer to the ocean as we are used to the Great Lakes and being near a beach although some of the inland lakes area of central Florida seems interesting. However these areas seem sinkhole prone.

2) I'd like a decently diversified economy. It shouldn't be hard for me to get back into retail and I'm sure a company will take me on as a manager soon given my background. I'm kind of sick of factory life and gravitate more toward jobs where you work directly with the public since I have the gift of gab and honestly am more of a right-brained person than a left-brained person. My brother in law is a mechanic (trained in the military) currently working on RVs so those are the primary two people who will be working and I'm sure these jobs aren't too hard to find. However if there's any areas of Florida that have a more diverse pool of jobs other than in services I'd be interested to know.

I'd like to see if I've overlooked places.
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:49 AM
 
Location: MI
172 posts, read 429,148 times
Reputation: 207
Quote:
Originally Posted by SellingNWCape View Post
I think you should be looking into how much jobs pay in each area in addition to how much housing costs will be in relation to that. I live in Cape Coral which typically has lower housing costs than the other cities mentioned and there aren't really 100-200k starter homes any longer since everyone wants to move to FL now. If a house is priced at 200k it doesn't last long.

Don't rely on a real estate agent to not sell your family a hill of beans, you're going to have to really stretch your research skills on this one as anything low priced for a certain area probably has something wrong with it. You'll have to start digging into local crime maps based on housing everyone can afford, what realistic job opportunities there are for those that are still working, etc. Don't listen to people on here to give you sound advice about all the different areas in comparison to one another unless that person has recently lived in each and every one of those cities because otherwise they don't really know and are just speculating. You'd be better served to do your due diligence first, narrow down an area, then ask in those specific cities.
I have noticed a reasonable price for a starter home in these areas seems to be around 250k. My brother in law makes good money as an RV mechanic up here and I'm guessing there's more of a market down there anyway. We are leaving an area that has a really hot housing market and my parents have theirs paid off so they will come out good and make money if they downsize even in FL. I'm guessing they'll get about 350k for their 4 bed, 3 full bath home on about 3/4 an acre. But they are paying like 4k in property taxes a year and people over 65 are exempt in FL. So as long as it isn't crazy we are good. I myself am looking at rentals in the 800 to 1200 range.

Where we are at right now (West MI) has a red hot housing market and more jobs than people. Prices have inflated massively recently. The biggest problem we see around here is that most of the jobs are entry level factory jobs and you get massive turnover. In my factory I'm always under stress because of the endless turnover and I'm not getting any specialized knowledge because I'm working in a different job every day covering people quitting, calling in etc. My area seems to be attracting mostly other Midwesterners though because there are so many rough cities in the Midwest (like Saginaw, Flint, Detroit etc.) plus a lot of people are coming up from Chicago. Not like Florida where people are coming from nationwide. Unfortunately just like you see Californians moving to Colorado, Arizona and Nevada etc. for a better life and then trying to make it like what they left you are seeing with Chicagoans in the Grand Rapids area.

Cape Coral I have never been to. We've been to Ft. Myers quite a bit and a lot of our relatives go there every year but I've never really explored Cape Coral. I've read about the fiasco around Lehigh Acres during the housing crisis and it seems like Lehigh Acres is getting on the rough side but Cape Coral seems nicer. Obviously I can't see it from the internet the way somebody on the ground. How does Cape Coral compare to all these places? Is it actually cheaper/safer? How is the economy?
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Old 05-02-2021, 09:20 AM
 
2,417 posts, read 1,242,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARPARP View Post
<snip>But they are paying like 4k in property taxes a year and people over 65 are exempt in FL. <end snip>
There is property tax in Florida, I'm not certain what you mean that people over 65 are exempt. There is however a "Save Our Homes Cap" and 2 Homestead exemptions for 25K each that lower taxes a bit. I have County Tax (I'm in Miami-Dade County) that has a 50k exemption value, School Tax has a $25k exemption value and a Regional Tax with a $25k exemption value. I have a condo I purchased at $300k in 2016 and I pay approximately $3600 a year in total real estate taxes.

Here is the link for the tax collector in Miami-Dade, you can google to find this type of tax information in other counties.
https://www.miamidade.gov/global/fin...ctor/home.page

Here is the link to the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser, you can search properties by name or address. You can find other county sites also by googling County Name Property Appraiser. https://www.miamidade.gov/Apps/PA/propertysearch/#/
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Old 05-02-2021, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Gainesville, FL; formerly Weston, FL
1,256 posts, read 1,317,142 times
Reputation: 1524
OP, have you compared these cities with a COL calculator? I think you’ll be able to narrow your search down quite a bit by doing that.

Another poster mentioned where people locate, depending on where they came from. If your family likes the idea of being with others who relocated from the Midwest, then the west coast of Florida is where you should consider.

I lived in SFLA for decades before moving up to north central Florida so my experience with Port St. Lucie comes from friends who live in the area. You’re correct about the allure, which primarily comes from SFLA transplants. Housing is less expensive, and you also get more land than SFLA. However, as you are coming from a hot real estate market, so is Florida. Even in my sleepy section of the state, houses in the $200k-$400k range are under contract in days, rather than months. I suspect Port St. Lucie’s home prices have also escalated accordingly.

So you’ll be going from one hot market to another. The financial gain for your family may not be as large as you have estimated.
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Old 05-02-2021, 01:29 PM
 
19,495 posts, read 12,746,161 times
Reputation: 6631
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanyBelle View Post
There is property tax in Florida, I'm not certain what you mean that people over 65 are exempt. There is however a "Save Our Homes Cap" and 2 Homestead exemptions for 25K each that lower taxes a bit. I have County Tax (I'm in Miami-Dade County) that has a 50k exemption value, School Tax has a $25k exemption value and a Regional Tax with a $25k exemption value. I have a condo I purchased at $300k in 2016 and I pay approximately $3600 a year in total real estate taxes.

Here is the link for the tax collector in Miami-Dade, you can google to find this type of tax information in other counties.
https://www.miamidade.gov/global/fin...ctor/home.page

Here is the link to the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser, you can search properties by name or address. You can find other county sites also by googling County Name Property Appraiser. https://www.miamidade.gov/Apps/PA/propertysearch/#/
I think if some peeps over 65 make under the amount of money needed they can skip prop taxes. So someone living on SS and making under 30k a year may get by with taxes.
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