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Old 03-07-2007, 07:55 AM
 
317 posts, read 1,166,034 times
Reputation: 167

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Hi all. Now that it appears my 10 year old son and I may indeed be moving from NJ to one of "the", if not "the" most expensive places in the US to live (with a job in Naples, close to downtown area)...........can you all who are familiar with these areas please help me with some regional specifics?

How far can one reasonably commute to/from downtown Naples? I HAVE experienced the incredible grid-lock traffic so I am keeping that in perspective. Since my son and I will be "brandy new" and alone, I "think" it would be best for us if I could keep my place of employment, his school, and our home as close together as possible so that he does not feel geographically estranged from me when he is at school --- and I won't panic about getting quickly to him should I need to. However, there may be overriding factors that are more important, i.e., friendly, kid-oriented community, schools, safety, etc. We will be renting for awhile until we figure out the area and hopefully prices go down....but where would be a good place to start?

Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero, Marco Island?
Are there any particular communities within these towns that you can suggest? Thanks!

ps. LOL about Marco Island. ...but just wanted to hear what it is like there. I know it is for the extra extra extra extra rich, over and above the already extra extra extra rich in Naples, etc.

Does anyone know anything about The Seacrest Country Day Scool in Naples?

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

....if you help me...........I'll send you NJ pizza!!!!!! LOL!
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:53 AM
 
65 posts, read 377,644 times
Reputation: 43
OK as much as I can:

Marco Island wrote the book on EXPENSIVE.
Naples studied it very well and are trying to copy the expensive part.
Estero is affordable.
Bonita Springs is trying to be like Naples.

Remember this is just my OPINION.

Marco is a great community if you are very rich. Schools, I don't know.

Naples is a great community if you are over 65. Traffic is a frigging nightmare from November to April when the snow birds are here. Other than that it is great. Schools in Naples are as good as they come around here. That is not saying very much, believe me on that one.

Bonita Springs is very similar to Naples in traffic. In fact the whole are is busy with traffic during those times I mentioned above. You will have someone driving 12MPH on the interstate in the fast lane, everyday. When you pull up behind them you will see they are looking under the steering wheel as the cannot see over it. LOL, funny but true. Schools in Bonita, the best one is Charter school on OLD 41. Someone help me with the local street name, I can't remember it. I will tell you we took our children out of that school because "touchy feely" is considered acceptable. That is what we were told. That she (my daughter) would have to learn it somewhere. Now they are home schooled.

Estero, is the most affordable area on your list. The traffic is not as bad as other areas, even during "season". The schools are hit and miss. Meaning you have to put your name on a list on a preselected day. That day has now passed. You put your name on a list as to what schools you want to attend. They select your name and put you in whatever school is not full. BELIEVE ME there is a preference on schools here. Some children live across the street from an appropriate school and they go to school 10-15 miles away from their home. It is THE MOST SCREWED UP SYSTEM in the history of public schools, period.

If I had to choose what areas from your list I would say Naples by far. Yes it a little , heck a lot more expensive there but the schools are better and it will be closer to your work. You will learn that in Naples the closer you are to where you are going will determine IF you get there at all.

Fort Myers is another choice you have. See Estero above for information.

Cape Coral is another but it is my opinion that is is too far away to drive everyday. I know some people do it every day but for me it is too far away and you have to cross a toll bridge. The homes are more affordable than anywhere here. I do not know about the schools. Traffic is not too bad crossing the bridge.

Naples is your best bet if you can afford it.

Good luck. Remember this is just my opinion. We have two school aged children. I believe that we only get one chance to raise our children, if we screw that up, NOTHING we accomplish in life will matter, and we have failed in our jobs as parents. My children will NEVER go to school here. If fact we are moving out of this area in two days because of it.

As for leasing a home. There are literally a hundred thousand to choose from. You will not have any problem in that area. Just remember they will negatiate on the asking lease amount. In some cases by a very large margin. Just ask. The homeowners association here is quiet different from other places as well. In that here Cable TV, lawn care, and a whole host of other items are usually included. Make sure that the HOA fees are included IN your lease payement as they cane be $400-500 a month. I know of a couple places here they are over $800.00 a month, just for the HOA fees.
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Finally made it to Florida and lovin' every minute!
22,677 posts, read 18,048,203 times
Reputation: 17572
Hey, NL...why not move to PL in N. Ft. Myers??? :-) JUst kidding. I know it would be too much of a commute. BUt it would be nice to have you as a neighbor.
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Old 03-07-2007, 09:25 AM
 
232 posts, read 843,788 times
Reputation: 53
First I have heard....congratulations on landing your job!!!! Good Luck!
I bet your son is also nervous!
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Old 03-07-2007, 12:06 PM
 
317 posts, read 1,166,034 times
Reputation: 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by carnut View Post
OK as much as I can:

Marco Island wrote the book on EXPENSIVE.
Naples studied it very well and are trying to copy the expensive part.
Estero is affordable.
Bonita Springs is trying to be like Naples.

Remember this is just my OPINION.

Marco is a great community if you are very rich. Schools, I don't know.

Naples is a great community if you are over 65. Traffic is a frigging nightmare from November to April when the snow birds are here. Other than that it is great. Schools in Naples are as good as they come around here. That is not saying very much, believe me on that one.

Bonita Springs is very similar to Naples in traffic. In fact the whole are is busy with traffic during those times I mentioned above. You will have someone driving 12MPH on the interstate in the fast lane, everyday. When you pull up behind them you will see they are looking under the steering wheel as the cannot see over it. LOL, funny but true. Schools in Bonita, the best one is Charter school on OLD 41. Someone help me with the local street name, I can't remember it. I will tell you we took our children out of that school because "touchy feely" is considered acceptable. That is what we were told. That she (my daughter) would have to learn it somewhere. Now they are home schooled.

Estero, is the most affordable area on your list. The traffic is not as bad as other areas, even during "season". The schools are hit and miss. Meaning you have to put your name on a list on a preselected day. That day has now passed. You put your name on a list as to what schools you want to attend. They select your name and put you in whatever school is not full. BELIEVE ME there is a preference on schools here. Some children live across the street from an appropriate school and they go to school 10-15 miles away from their home. It is THE MOST SCREWED UP SYSTEM in the history of public schools, period.

If I had to choose what areas from your list I would say Naples by far. Yes it a little , heck a lot more expensive there but the schools are better and it will be closer to your work. You will learn that in Naples the closer you are to where you are going will determine IF you get there at all.

Fort Myers is another choice you have. See Estero above for information.

Cape Coral is another but it is my opinion that is is too far away to drive everyday. I know some people do it every day but for me it is too far away and you have to cross a toll bridge. The homes are more affordable than anywhere here. I do not know about the schools. Traffic is not too bad crossing the bridge.

Naples is your best bet if you can afford it.

Good luck. Remember this is just my opinion. We have two school aged children. I believe that we only get one chance to raise our children, if we screw that up, NOTHING we accomplish in life will matter, and we have failed in our jobs as parents. My children will NEVER go to school here. If fact we are moving out of this area in two days because of it.

As for leasing a home. There are literally a hundred thousand to choose from. You will not have any problem in that area. Just remember they will negatiate on the asking lease amount. In some cases by a very large margin. Just ask. The homeowners association here is quiet different from other places as well. In that here Cable TV, lawn care, and a whole host of other items are usually included. Make sure that the HOA fees are included IN your lease payement as they cane be $400-500 a month. I know of a couple places here they are over $800.00 a month, just for the HOA fees.
Carnut - thank you!
Wow. Very insightful. I agree with you completely on the shool issue. Are you living in Naples (proper) now, and where are you moving to? Please tell me exactly what school (if you don't mind) - even via PM - your children went to that was totally unacceptable. Gosh - I can't believe the touchy feely thing. Whoa. That is totally unheard of here.

Thanks again
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Old 03-07-2007, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Philly to Odessa
436 posts, read 1,284,494 times
Reputation: 177
Hi Nancy,
Congratulations on your job offer. I had no doubt that you would get it!. When the decision was final that we were locating to Florida, I looked on the web for the county schools. (In Florida, schools go by the counties). When I got to the cite, it listed the schools and then you click on them and it tells you the rating and there is even a spot for reviews. I found that really helpful. I then went to individual school websites. As far as location goes, in my searches I discovered that although Naples is beautiful, as everyone said, it is very expensive, plus I think the median age is like 60. For your son and even you who may want to meet somebody, I don't know...I think the pickings would be rare...however you could meet some wealthy old guy...lol, just kidding. Anyway, I think Bonita Springs is like 15 minutes away from Naples and Estero is a little further. From what I researched, both of them are more affordable and younger than Naples. I guess you need to go back down and take a look at those areas yourself. Look how exciting that is...another mini vacay! Good luck in whatever you choose. I am jealous that you will be down there before I am.
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Old 03-07-2007, 04:48 PM
 
Location: The Conterminous United States
22,583 posts, read 50,427,900 times
Reputation: 13546
I've lived in Bonita Springs and Estero. The place clears out in the summer. I had a 40-hour job and come May they would knock us down to 15 hours a week. THAT'S how many snowbirds they have there.

Besides that, I wouldn't be making too many plans until you find out how much this job actually pays.
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Old 03-07-2007, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Philly to Odessa
436 posts, read 1,284,494 times
Reputation: 177
Nancy, hopefully if this is a corporate job, your working hours shouldn't change. I know there are snowbirds all over Florida, but you have to live close to where you work because of your son, that's why you have to look around at these different places. Also wherever you rent, you want to be able to stay when and if you decide to buy so that your son doesn't have to be uprooted from friends and school again. That is why I suggested areas near Naples instead of in Naples. The cost there is really ridiculous. Anyway, again good luck and good hunting to you!
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Old 03-07-2007, 06:27 PM
 
2,141 posts, read 6,580,648 times
Reputation: 595
Nancy,
Check out the San Carlos area, Its right by I-75 and would not be a bad drive to Naples, San Carlos park ( three oaks )is still in Lee County but it would give you 41 and 75 to drive on.
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Old 03-11-2007, 09:33 AM
 
52 posts, read 275,636 times
Reputation: 29
We just moved to Estero a few months ago and my kids go to Bonita Springs Charter on Old 41. We picked our house solely because we got the kids into the school. I don't know where the "touchy feely" thing came from but it is the best school in the area. That said, it is still tough around here. The kids are snots but we're slowly meeting a few families we like. Mostly, the school system is scary. You can email me directly if you have more questions. It's been quite a learning experience but we're figuring it out and liking it more and more each day. As was said above, Estero is the most affordable but it's a hike to school and I drive them every day (by choice).
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