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Old 02-21-2015, 12:39 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
2,414 posts, read 2,285,580 times
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Hi! My husband and I are in our mid 20s, no kids. We plan to move to florida within a year or two and are doing research now. We currently own our house in ohio, about 40 min north of Dayton. Our town here is smaller(27k pop) Reason for moving is to be closer to family, plus we have been to parts of FL and enjoy what it has to offer(sarasota area is where we visited) We are not really concerned about jobs either. We have rental property's in ohio, we plan to maybe get part time jobs after settling in but we are not dependent on it. I use to work for a bank and my husband has experience with management in retail.

Our budget for a house would be right around $100,000 because we plan to pay cash, otherwise we would need a loan which I do not want to do. House needs to be 3bed, 2 bath, at least 1200sqft. We are looking for an area that's not very big, we do not need clubs/bars/nightlife/ect, but we do enjoy restaurants, shopping, festivals, farmers markets, museums, anything outdoors. I do not want a town that's real touristy or anywhere that's a spring break destination. Were looking for a more relaxed area but still somewhat close to many other things(30min to hr) Of course we also want a safe area, away from any known bad sections/towns. We liked north port because it's not far from many other activities, sarasota, beaches, port charlottes close and I understand has quite a bit of dining and shopping. We have been to sarasota and I liked it, but it seems you can't get that nice of a house on our budget.. I also didn't like the heavier traffic when we were there(July & august)

My main questions are:
- Is $100k enough to get a decent house in a good neighborhood in North Port(or other towns you may be able to suggest)
- is there anywhere else we should consider living that would fit what we are looking for, we are open to central and south florida(would like to be closely to sarasota as we visit longboat key a lot, again within an hour or so)
- what can we expect to pay monthly in florida? Here we have water, electric, gas.. Usually altogether less then $200 a month for us now. We are pretty careful about not leaving lights on, ect. We also are not home very often. Would we need to budget for more in FL?
- since we won't have a mortgage, we won't be required to have certain coverage for insurance. We will have homeowners insurance of course, but do we really need additional? Right now we are in a flood zone in ohio and pay an additional $1000 a year for just flood and in the 4 yrs we lived in our house we never even seen a puddle around us. I guess I'm not really sure types of insurance there yet and what's best to have. Is there hurricane ins or is this all included in homeowners or is that flood.. Sorry I'm just not sure about all this yet.
- Does North Port have a lot of traffic(like sarasota can have) is there any info on north port I should know?

With being able to live just about anywhere in FL I really want to learn a lot and not just pick the first place. We are making a list of cities right now to visit when we come down. We are just beginning the process and will most likely have many more questions later on but better start with this. Any advice at all would be wonderful!

Also, I am sorry this is so long!
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Old 02-21-2015, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Sarasota/ Bradenton - University Pkwy area
3,895 posts, read 5,836,933 times
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The actual city limits of North Port covers over 100 square miles of land, but a large portion of it is not developed. North Port was originally laid out in the 1950's by a company called General Development Corporation. They laid out grids of roads within the huge land area of their city of North Port, then started selling lots to winter visitors. Things didn't go as planned and the company eventually abandoned North Port. So outside of the more established subdivisions you will find miles and miles of crumbling roads with few homes and many vacant lots. More of the development is west of I-75, where there is more access to water/sewer (much of North Port is on septic systems and well water). North Port actually has an entire state forest located within the city limits. North Port does not have a downtown area like those in Venice or Sarasota, most of the shopping areas are smaller retail centers or strip retail shopping centers.

Many of the individual, vacant lots are vacant because of the cost of running electricity to those lots is expensive. Developers have bought up a lot of the less expensive plots of land and several are building new construction. Prices in general are lower in North Port compared to Sarasota or Venice, partly because of location being further away from Sarasota but also because North Port was "ground zero" in Sarasota county for foreclosures when the real estate bust hit in the mid 2000s, so lots of foreclosures and short sales over the past 6 years. Investors have bought up a lot of the less expensive homes, some to fix and flip but a lot became rentals. You may wish to have your agent check individual streets around homes you are interested in to see how many are owner occupied and how many are rentals.

North Port has been in the news lately due to the planned changes in the FEMA flood maps. According to the new flood maps, a number of properties in North Port will now have a small portion of the lots (along the drainage canals) located within flood zones if preliminary maps are adopted in their current form. Most lenders will not require home buyers getting mortgages to carry flood insurance if the home itself is not in a flood zone, but some will require it if any portion of the lot is in a flood zone. Since you intend to pay cash that will not be an issue now for you. However, should you decide to sell later on, flood zones can have an impact on future home buyers for your property, so as a buyer I would want to check the new maps for future flood zone designations of any homes I am considering.

If you're looking for more of a quiet, small town feel, then North Port may be an option. Englewood and Port Charlotte are other areas worth exploring. Perhaps Venice if you are willing to consider older homes, built in the 1960's - 1980s.



I suggest that buyers do as much research as you can on any community you are thinking of purchasing a home in. If the positives outway the negatives for your individual needs, then that community may be a good option for you. One size does not fit all.
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Old 02-21-2015, 03:15 PM
 
2,375 posts, read 2,675,647 times
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I've found electric to be less expensive than in the Northeast. Our bill has not been over $85/mo for a 2400 sq ft house. Water and sewer on the other hand are high. We are just 2 and run about $65/mo. Since you don't need heat very often, there is no gas or oil just additional electric for the heat pump.

The newer the house the lower the insurance. Home insurance does not cover flood (that's a separate policy) but it does cover wind and newer construction holds up better. Homes built after 2002 will have lower insurance premiums. Our house was built in 2008 and we pay around $1200/yr. We do not carry flood insurance, so I can't help you with that cost. Also plan for extermination services or plan to do it yourself- not everyone up north does it, but there are more bugs down here as there is no winter to kill them off. You should have the perimeter of your house sprayed every 3 months to keep the creepy crawlers outside.
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Old 02-21-2015, 06:02 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 21,307,079 times
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North Port would be a very good option for you. I own a home in North Port and think it's a great little town. I'll address a few of the above mentioned concerns. The city has been paving many of the roads that were in disrepair, in fact, they've paved miles and miles of roads in North Port. North Port is the second largest area land wise in the state of Florida but much is vacant land. If you want reasonably priced homes without the congestion and traffic of the Sarasota area, North Port would be a great choice.

In the area located between Biscayne Blvd and Toledo Blade Blvd you will find that it's quite populated with many homes on the each street and a few vacant lots here and there. Once you go out past Toldeo Blade Blvd the homes get more sparse. Most of North Port is a well and septic, which I am fine with.

There is a lot of new commercial development coming into North Port-Starbucks, Panera, Ross, etc.

In regards to the flood zones in North Port, the newspapers reported that there are 22,000 new homes being rezoned into a flood zone when in actuality there are less then 500 homes being rezoned in a flood zone in NP according to the director of FEMA for southern FL. So that's not exactly accurate either.

I suggest you go on Facebook and look up North Port FL. There are several really great groups who discuss issues, happening, in the NP area. I would link them here but it's against the TOS because FB is a competing site.

You might also want to check out Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Englewood and South Venice as other potential areas.

Good luck!
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Port Charlotte, FL
3,979 posts, read 9,525,962 times
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You will definitely find more homes in North Port and Port Charlotte in the $100k price range. Englewood and Venice are above that for a 3 bed 2 bath 1200+ sq ft. The homes will be older though built in the 70's through the 90's. Most of the newer homes built 2002 or newer will be in the $120k range and above in North Port. The area is growing rapidly with new construction and new businesses coming in. It is not a resort area, yet is convenient to the beaches, shopping, restaurants, farmers market, medical facilities, parks, golf, and more. On your next visit you should take a look at some homes and drive through the area to see if it is a good fit for your desired lifestyle. Check out some of the North Port web sites too.

City of North Port - City of North Port, FL : Home
North Port Chamber of Commerce - http://www.northportareachamber.com/
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Old 02-23-2015, 01:12 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
2,414 posts, read 2,285,580 times
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Thank you all for the info and advice! We will really be checking out all these areas when we come down to visit. So far we will visit Englewood, North Port, PC, Punta Gorda(sounds like a nice town, not sure about housing prices yet there) and maybe Cape Coral.

I have seen very nice houses in Cape Coral in our budget but the crime rate seems higher there.. also is quite a ways from Longboat Key which we like to visit.
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Old 02-23-2015, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Rotonda Florida
1,393 posts, read 1,334,446 times
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Here are a couple of sites for checking flood zone status of an address.

New Sarasota County proposal maps (which include NP): sarasota floodzone map

Gov address site (no clue about it's accuracy): Flood insurance by address


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Old 02-25-2015, 11:30 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
2,414 posts, read 2,285,580 times
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Thanks for the links!

This might be a stupid question but iv never had experience with hurricanes. What happens during one in florida? Or even a bad tropical storm? I mean, here in ohio if we have severe ice/snow I'm still expected to get to work.. Does everything shut down during a hurricane? Is there always evacuations? Do most people just stay inside and wait it out..? We are still concentrating on north port area which is pretty close to the coast which is why I am wondering.
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 21,307,079 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icemodeled View Post
Thanks for the links!

This might be a stupid question but iv never had experience with hurricanes. What happens during one in florida? Or even a bad tropical storm? I mean, here in ohio if we have severe ice/snow I'm still expected to get to work.. Does everything shut down during a hurricane? Is there always evacuations? Do most people just stay inside and wait it out..? We are still concentrating on north port area which is pretty close to the coast which is why I am wondering.
I was born and raised in SW FL and have never left or missed work due to a hurricane. That being said, if I knew Charley was going to take a quick right turn into the harbor, I would have probably evacuated. I lived in North Port when Charley ripped through and I had a daughter who was a week old at the time as well as two other kids and a house full of pets. We got a few tree branches blown down. My In-laws who live on Midway Blvd in Port Charlotte, lost their entire roof, pool cage, etc. It was unreal.

Generally what happens is that the weatherman will say--"We have a tropical storm off the coast of Africa and here are the spaghetti models of the projected track". Nobody really pays much attention because it's too far out. Then in a few days they will say, "Looks like it going to be heading in the direction of FL, Bahamas, LA, etc" and maybe it's a Cat 1. Once the spaghetti models start to track anywhere in FL I start looking at wind speed, direction. NOAA is a good site to track the storms: National Hurricane Center School closings are left up to the Emergency Management and school board of each county. They often cancel class when there is a hurricane warning. Here's a list of a few items that you would need if you plan to hunker down: Basic Disaster Supplies Kit | Ready.gov Keep in mind that these items are in short supply and the closer the storm gets, the more scarce they get. In addition to that list, you need to have a full tank of gas. Evacuations depend on the track, wind speed, potential flooding, etc. They usually evacuate the barrier islands and coastal areas first and head inland from there.

Oh yeah...and then there's the hurricane parties

Hurricane / Tropical Storm Alerts
Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement that tropical-storm conditions are possible within the specified area.

Hurricane Watch: An announcement that hurricane conditions are possible within the specified area.
Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Action: During a watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation in case a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Warning is issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.

Tropical Storm Warning: An announcement that tropical-storm conditions are expected within the specified area.

Hurricane Warning: An announcement that hurricane conditions are expected within the specified area.
Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Action: During a warning, complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.

Extreme Wind Warning - Extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour.

Action: Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:38 PM
 
2,076 posts, read 2,802,557 times
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I visited Sarasota in Sept 2013 in the middle of a tropical storm. Heavy rain poured almost continuously for 4 days. The water was deep on some streets so you crossed carefully. My realtor traded her Lexus for her hubby's SUV to navigate the waters.

My bestie and I were going to check out a private school on Siesta Key for her darlings. The school was closed because it flooded. I think the flooding is worse on the keys. That school was about the only thing I saw closed.

We had appointments and meetings and life went on as usual, except everyone behaved and felt like a wet dog. And all conversations begin with the obligatory conversation about the weather. There is a sense of shared misery and comradery. And you can kiss your favorite shoes goodbye if you wear them then. There is a reason flip flops are popular.

There are videos from youtube taken each day during the tropical storm I experienced. They give you a sense of the relentless rain. I am posting this one from 2012 cause it gives you a sense of the depth of the water in the streets in some locations. I have seen flooding videos that show people riding bicycles through deep water. Mostly the streets are ok, but some spots are deep.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heIEcQ7mjhk

haven't experienced a hurricane so have nothing to tell you. Have experienced unbelievable lightning.
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