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Old 06-17-2013, 06:52 AM
 
157 posts, read 280,457 times
Reputation: 300

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We are a couple in our early 50s and looking to retire sometime within the next 5-6 years, so we are planning ahead.

Currently, living a suburban lifestyle of stress and traffic in the DC area and now looking forward to moving South - we have friends and relatives all over the state of Fla...

We are looking for a T-shirt and flip flops lifestyle...low key, casual. We don't place much value on material based lifestyles and are a bit bohemian.

Our semi-retirement lifestyle will be middle-class in style - living on pensions, savings and eventually SS and we hope to supplement our income part time in some fashion...we are highly educated, but not afraid of manual labor.

We have been thinking Southwestern FLA may be the best fit for our tastes and lifestyle.

We are bilingual, both speak English and Spanish.

All suggestions are appreciated.

Carolina
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Illinois and Florida
180 posts, read 235,551 times
Reputation: 213
Hi. We're in the same boat. My wife and I are in our mid-fifties and plan on becoming snow birds. Last summer we bought a house in North Port and currently have it rented out. This is why we decided on North Port.....

1) Relaxed, laid back town. It's kind of rural compared to the costal towns.

2) It's definitely middle class with a good mix of retirees and younger families.

3) It's 20 minutes from beautiful beaches if you don't mind driving a bit and not living right near the coast.

4) Homeowners insurance is about half of what you will pay compared to Sarasota, Venice, Englewood, etc. since you're outside of the flood zone.

5) Houses are about 25%-50% cheaper than comparable ones in Sarasota, Venice, Englewood, etc.

6) North Port is really spread out. There are a lot of nice areas but sometimes you have to look for them. A Real Estate Agent (and this board) will be very helpful.

7) We chose a house in the Jockey Club HOA. The Jockey Club is in the older area of town and for a HOA it's pretty cheap ($200 annually) and not overly restrictive. But as such the properties are well maintained and there's a community pool and clubhouse.
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Port Charlotte, FL
3,979 posts, read 9,544,785 times
Reputation: 1914
Yes, this area of Southwest Florida - North Port, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda has a very laid back style, affordable living, plenty of things to do and close enough to the beaches. We moved here from NY nine years ago and still love it. The area does not have near as much traffic as Venice, Sarasota or Ft Myers.
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Sarasota/ Bradenton - University Pkwy area
3,912 posts, read 5,861,607 times
Reputation: 4363
If you want something in or close to Sarasota, there are several neighborhoods that you might want to look into, depending on your price range, which you didn't mention.

North of downtown Sarasota, running all along the west side of US41 to north of the airport are a number of neighborhoods in what is generally called the "museum area."

The best known neighborhoods in that area are Indian Beach and Sapphire Shores. The area is known for it's mix of both home styles and residents. Regarding residents, you'll find a bit of everything - retirees, families, college students, college teachers, artists and some of Sarasota's most socially prominent (and richest) families.

Indian Beach is probably one of my favorites because most of the streets are lined with century old oak trees, many with dripping moss (yes I know it's not really moss, but that's what most people call it). The homes are a mixture of mainly older cottages and bungalows, although you will find some mid century ranchers and 2 story "colonials" thrown in the mix. There are also some spectacular mansions along the bay front.

There is a little beach on Indian Beach Drive with a little observation area.


Sapphire Shores trends into less tall oaks, more pine trees mixed in, more "newer" homes built in the 1960's - 1980's can be found mixed in with the 1920's - 40's bungalows and cottages. There are also some beautiful mansions, some 1920's John Ringling era and some that have actually appeared in architectural magazines.

Sapphire Shores has a small, somewhat hidden park that has a playground.


North of the Crosley Estate, in south Manatee county is a group of small neighborhoods, with Ballentine Manor & Whitfield Estates being the best known. Ballentine Manor was originally a pineapple plantation by the way. This area is similar to Sapphire Shores in style and residential mix.


Indian Beach - Saphhire Shores has an association, as does Ballentine - Whitfield. Both of the associations have websites.


Not all of the homes in these neighborhoods are expensive, you can find listings now and then under $150,000.

For people wanting to be close to downtown Sarasota but hate cookie cutter, deed restricted neighborhoods, this is definitely an option.



Another popular area for it's mixture of home styles and friendly neighborhood atmosphere is the Alta Vista - Paver Park neighborhoods located within the eastern Sarasota city limits. These are located south of Ringling Ave and west of Tuttle. Both are close to Payne Park, which offers walking paths, sports fields, tennis courts and a skateboarding park.


Just south of there is the "South Gate" area. South Gate is an actual neighborhood with some deed restrictions (basically 1 page) and if you pay membership dues plus just under $100 extra per year you can use the community pool located on the Tuttle roundabout just south of Webber.

However, many call that general area west of South Gate part of the South Gate area. These include a number of small neighborhoods such as Hyde Park, Cottages in the Pines, South Side Park, Loma Linda Park, Battle & Turner and Rustic Lodge.

These streets have a mixture of homes form the 1930's all the way to almost new constructions, but mostly bungalows, cottages and 60's ranchers. Many are reasonably priced.

Arlington Park is located within this area, which offers a walking trail, community pool and sports courts.

The South Gate area is popular because it's just minutes from downtown Sarasota and also the north end of Siesta Key via Siesta Drive.


There are other similar neighborhoods, but these will give you an idea of what can be found in Sarasota.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:49 AM
 
Location: SW FL
92 posts, read 208,487 times
Reputation: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaGoose View Post
Hi. We're in the same boat. My wife and I are in our mid-fifties and plan on becoming snow birds. Last summer we bought a house in North Port and currently have it rented out. This is why we decided on North Port.....

1) Relaxed, laid back town. It's kind of rural compared to the costal towns.

2) It's definitely middle class with a good mix of retirees and younger families.

3) It's 20 minutes from beautiful beaches if you don't mind driving a bit and not living right near the coast.

4) Homeowners insurance is about half of what you will pay compared to Sarasota, Venice, Englewood, etc. since you're outside of the flood zone.

5) Houses are about 25%-50% cheaper than comparable ones in Sarasota, Venice, Englewood, etc.

6) North Port is really spread out. There are a lot of nice areas but sometimes you have to look for them. A Real Estate Agent (and this board) will be very helpful.

7) We chose a house in the Jockey Club HOA. The Jockey Club is in the older area of town and for a HOA it's pretty cheap ($200 annually) and not overly restrictive. But as such the properties are well maintained and there's a community pool and clubhouse.
My husband and I--both 61 and still working--are currently looking to buy a retirement getaway somewhere in the Venice-North Port area. We plan to keep our home in Maine and use the Florida place to run away to in the winter. Snowbirds! We haven't seen North Port, but we have seen Sarasota and Venice. Love both places, but prefer not as big a city as Sarasota.

I am not familiar with the Jockey Club. Are the homes villas or single family? We keep waffling back and forth as to which would be better. We don't like the idea of the HOA restrictions we have read about.

We plan on making a trip down there again sometime this summer to check out North Port. I see lots of foreclosures listed still. Don't want to be in a neighborhood where that is prevalent.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Illinois and Florida
180 posts, read 235,551 times
Reputation: 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by alkaleka View Post
My husband and I--both 61 and still working--are currently looking to buy a retirement getaway somewhere in the Venice-North Port area. We plan to keep our home in Maine and use the Florida place to run away to in the winter. Snowbirds! We haven't seen North Port, but we have seen Sarasota and Venice. Love both places, but prefer not as big a city as Sarasota.

I am not familiar with the Jockey Club. Are the homes villas or single family? We keep waffling back and forth as to which would be better. We don't like the idea of the HOA restrictions we have read about.

We plan on making a trip down there again sometime this summer to check out North Port. I see lots of foreclosures listed still. Don't want to be in a neighborhood where that is prevalent.
Well if money's not an issue then you might prefer Venice. It's a bit more crowded and compact but it's a lot closer to the beaches. Since money's a bit of an issue you'll get a lot more "dollar for dollar" in North Port.

I feel the same way about HOA's. But I felt a lot better about the "Jockey Club" after looking around the area and going over their "rules". They're not overly restrictive and the annual cost is very reasonable. We didn't particularly look for a house in a HOA but we didn't let that stop us from buying in one either. There are lots of nice areas in North Port that isn't in a HOA. The house we fell in love with just happened to be in one. It helped that we spoke to a few of the neighbors first. And to answer your question the Jockey Club is mostly all (if not all) single family homes.

Simply put we just wanted the most house for the money, not be in a flood zone (insurance reasons), less congestion and don't mind driving 20 minutes to the beaches. North Port fit our needs best but that doesn't apply to everyone.

BTW....We had a TERRIFIC Real Estate Agent and I will PM her your name if you like. She can help you find a house in Venice, Englewood, North Port or beyond. And from what I've seen SoFLGal on this board also helps a lot of people.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:21 PM
 
Location: North Port
697 posts, read 1,061,055 times
Reputation: 169
I agree with most that have posted. We just bought in North Port in March. I'm VERY computer literate, do much due diligence. Sounds like schools are not important to the OP. Demographics appear to be more important. So, As TamRE stated...North Port, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte would "fit" better.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:32 PM
 
16,247 posts, read 34,817,555 times
Reputation: 21051
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunshine Rules View Post
If you want something in or close to Sarasota, there are several neighborhoods that you might want to look into, depending on your price range, which you didn't mention.

North of downtown Sarasota, running all along the west side of US41 to north of the airport are a number of neighborhoods in what is generally called the "museum area."

The best known neighborhoods in that area are Indian Beach and Sapphire Shores. The area is known for it's mix of both home styles and residents. Regarding residents, you'll find a bit of everything - retirees, families, college students, college teachers, artists and some of Sarasota's most socially prominent (and richest) families.

Indian Beach is probably one of my favorites because most of the streets are lined with century old oak trees, many with dripping moss (yes I know it's not really moss, but that's what most people call it). The homes are a mixture of mainly older cottages and bungalows, although you will find some mid century ranchers and 2 story "colonials" thrown in the mix. There are also some spectacular mansions along the bay front.

There is a little beach on Indian Beach Drive with a little observation area.


Sapphire Shores trends into less tall oaks, more pine trees mixed in, more "newer" homes built in the 1960's - 1980's can be found mixed in with the 1920's - 40's bungalows and cottages. There are also some beautiful mansions, some 1920's John Ringling era and some that have actually appeared in architectural magazines.

Sapphire Shores has a small, somewhat hidden park that has a playground.


North of the Crosley Estate, in south Manatee county is a group of small neighborhoods, with Ballentine Manor & Whitfield Estates being the best known. Ballentine Manor was originally a pineapple plantation by the way. This area is similar to Sapphire Shores in style and residential mix.


Indian Beach - Saphhire Shores has an association, as does Ballentine - Whitfield. Both of the associations have websites.


Not all of the homes in these neighborhoods are expensive, you can find listings now and then under $150,000.

For people wanting to be close to downtown Sarasota but hate cookie cutter, deed restricted neighborhoods, this is definitely an option.



Another popular area for it's mixture of home styles and friendly neighborhood atmosphere is the Alta Vista - Paver Park neighborhoods located within the eastern Sarasota city limits. These are located south of Ringling Ave and west of Tuttle. Both are close to Payne Park, which offers walking paths, sports fields, tennis courts and a skateboarding park.


Just south of there is the "South Gate" area. South Gate is an actual neighborhood with some deed restrictions (basically 1 page) and if you pay membership dues plus just under $100 extra per year you can use the community pool located on the Tuttle roundabout just south of Webber.

However, many call that general area west of South Gate part of the South Gate area. These include a number of small neighborhoods such as Hyde Park, Cottages in the Pines, South Side Park, Loma Linda Park, Battle & Turner and Rustic Lodge.

These streets have a mixture of homes form the 1930's all the way to almost new constructions, but mostly bungalows, cottages and 60's ranchers. Many are reasonably priced.

Arlington Park is located within this area, which offers a walking trail, community pool and sports courts.

The South Gate area is popular because it's just minutes from downtown Sarasota and also the north end of Siesta Key via Siesta Drive.


There are other similar neighborhoods, but these will give you an idea of what can be found in Sarasota.
Sunshine provided excellent info - my husband and I live up in Whitfield Estates and love it here. We too, are laid-back and a bit bohemian, and so are most of our neighbors. I find that all of the areas north of downtown and west of Trail are more "bohemian" if you will than the ones further south - but really, you should visit and see what "vibe" strikes you. You might even like some areas of Bradenton, which has wonderful "old Florida" beaches.

Good luck!
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:06 PM
 
3,622 posts, read 8,711,632 times
Reputation: 3700
We just moved here from DC area - in our early 50s so husband still works and luckily found an engineering job here - good jobs are very hard to find here. I love it here - but you must be prepared for culture shock - it is NOTHING like the DC area here. People are very laid back - beaches are beautiful - population is older - I had my kids late and have an 8 and 10 year old and working hard to find them friends before schools starts - not many children around

What I like is people live simply - kinda like living on an island or something - people bike a lot and play golf and go to the beach - mostly people are retired - happy with their little house and their simple life - just what I like! Not to mention how cheap houses are down here -
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