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Old 07-12-2013, 12:53 PM
KK6 KK6 started this thread
 
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Hi all,

We are relocating to the Lake Mary area in the August time frame... looking for some help to decide between neighborhoods to buy a house. Our budget is in the ~$400K range (would love to stay at 350K, but can go as high as 450K) - ideally 5 Bed / 3 bath (but can go with 4 bed + bonus or office) We haven't had a chance to explore the area much (other than driving around for a couple of hours), and most of the research has been online. Appreciate any help with the following

(a) Heathrow seems to be a nice neighborhood..but supply appears to be short (like 2 houses that meet the above specs currently in the market). At $150/sq ft, seems like there is a bit of premium to be paid (?) . Any thoughts on Heathrow vs. other neighborhoods in the area (upsides , downsides)

(b) There are a few neighborhoods north of Heathrow (between Markham road and FL-46), with slightly lower prices. How are those neighborhoods compared to Heathrow ? (safety, landscaping, future price appreciation etc.)

(c) Our older daughter will be starting kindergarten this year. While Heathrow neighborhood is zoned for Heathrow elementary (which apparently is rated high); some of the other neighborhoods north of Heathrow are zoned "North west cluster". I am not very familiar what "cluster" means but after some reading , 3 elementary schools are listed as part of the cluster - Wilson, Iddlywide, Bentley. Does this mean we can pick any one.. or is it that the school district randomly allocates ?

Thanks much... any input is greatly appreciated
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:51 PM
 
Location: SoCal
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Heathrow is a premium neighborhood that you will pay a price to live in. Ideally if you find a home that you like cheaper north of Heathrow go for it. The entire area is extremely safe, and the Elementary schools Wilson, and Heathrow are highly rated. The entire area is pretty much upper midde-class to high class. The north west cluster means there is no zoned school you can choose where you want your kids to attend. The landscaping in Heathrow is absolutely beautiful, and in many of the northern Neighborhoods. I would suggest Buckingham Estates, Berrington Club, Wilson Park, Rivercrest, and Wekiva Park. Many more neighborhood also. You really cant go wrong in this area I love it, and Good Luck!
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:04 PM
KK6 KK6 started this thread
 
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Thanks Sean1the1 for your quick reply.
On the elementary school front, if I understood you right we have the option to choose any one of the three schools (Wilson appears to be the best of the 3, based on ratings etc.) ? Or is it that we can indicate the preference, but the school district makes the final decision ?
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:41 PM
 
Location: SoCal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KK6 View Post
Thanks Sean1the1 for your quick reply.
On the elementary school front, if I understood you right we have the option to choose any one of the three schools (Wilson appears to be the best of the 3, based on ratings etc.) ? Or is it that we can indicate the preference, but the school district makes the final decision ?
It depends on how many kids are currently attending the school. If you apply early around October than you are guaranteed spot. I would not worry too much about elementary schools in the area most are above average quality. If you live in Heathrow I am pretty sure you pretty much go to Heathrow, but you still have options for other schools. If you cant get your child into Wilson, or Heathrow the next best option is Crystal Lake winch is also a highly rated school. Essentially the district will make the choice for you if you do not. When we moved here they gave us a choice of nine different schools.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:21 PM
 
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You certainly cannot go wrong living in Heathrow. However, you are paying a bit of a premium, but IMO the location is more than worth it. The neighborhoods on Markham Road is technically in Sanford which are zoned for Wilson Elementary and Markham Woods Middle, both very good schools. Heathrow would be zoned for Heathrow Elementary and Markham Middle as well, Seminole for high school. As Sean1 said, the elementary schools are not generally a concern as most are very highly rated throughout Seminole County. If you would like a bit more house for your money and stay within Markham Woods area, I would recommend some of the older neighborhoods on the Longwood side of Markham Woods. There are some older neighborhoods on huge lots that may sell for less than 400k. Although houses that are in move in condition and updated will sell for way more. There are also some real nice neighborhoods on the Sanford side bordering Lake Mary that may command a lower price. Some other neighborhoods to consider are Timacuan, Magnolia Plantation, Wingfield, Wingfield North, Alaqua Lakes...if you are willing to spend north of $500k it would open up some other neighborhoods to consider. We recently moved to the area and I found it quite interesting to really take a comprehensive look at all neighborhoods that are above and below our price range. Good luck.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:33 AM
 
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I agree with the above posts and would suggest Sanford's west side neighborhoods around Sylvan Lake and the Wekiva River and also those along Orange Blvd north of SR46....which are all zoned for NW Cluster. Bear in mind that both school districts are largely equal and finding the "better" schools all the way through high school will be like splitting hairs. In my opinion the smart money is on those areas mentioned as they bring in a better value in terms of dollar per square feet ($125-$130), while delivering a similar quality of home and school quality versus simply the "prestige".
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:24 AM
KK6 KK6 started this thread
 
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Thank You all for the feedback. What are the typical Annual HOA dues in Heathrow and the other neighborhoods in the Markham Woods corridor ?
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KK6 View Post
Thank You all for the feedback. What are the typical Annual HOA dues in Heathrow and the other neighborhoods in the Markham Woods corridor ?
HOA fees for a single family home in Heathrow start at around $2,000 and I believe they do not exceed $2,800. The HOA fees for the whole community are around $1500 - $1600 and depending on which subdivision you live in, would also be an additional $500-$1000. The total fee is mainly dependent on your lot size. I am referring to only Heathrow, Heathrow Woods ( which starts at around $800k ) would probably be a bit more.
The HOA fee covers your typical common area maintenance, manned gate, security guards that patrol the neighborhood and a home alarm monitoring service. If you wish to use the pool, gym and tennis court, you will have to join the racquet club and all that other fun stuff that will also require a quarterly food and beverage minimum. A full country club membership would give you access to all the typical country club stuff and I think there are some resident discounts available.

Now I imagine this HOA fee would be more or less what other gated neighborhoods are paying around Markham Woods Road. I have a few friends in Alaqua Lakes that pay over $3000 in HOA fees, homes in Alaqua Lakes start at over $500k from what I have seen. I would think that the non gated/smaller communities would be less than $1,000.

There are plenty of options as mentioned in previous posts, if you like the manned gate and might want to play golf and join the country club then it might be worth the premium.
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:51 PM
 
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I would recommend Sylvan Lakes Reserve, it's non gated, half-acre lots, low HoA fees, under $1,000 per year and non-intrusive while still maintaining property asceticism.
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Old 07-14-2013, 04:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbieheretoflorida View Post
I would recommend Sylvan Lakes Reserve, it's non gated, half-acre lots, low HoA fees, under $1,000 per year and non-intrusive while still maintaining property asceticism.
+1

Good choice. Many of the smaller communities on the far west side of Sanford (west of I-4) have similar set-ups.
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