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Old 02-23-2009, 12:29 AM
 
Location: Greenwich London UK
10 posts, read 72,147 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello,

We are currently living in London, UK but we are seriously considering emigrating elsewhere as we have had enough of the cold.

We love Sarasota and we want to give it serious consideration. Our situation: 1 couple in their thirties with 1 daughter of 2 years old and 1 dog. Husband music producer and we own several businesses which we can operate remotely, although we would have to hire some staff locally. We are quite arty and used to living in cities but husband loves the beach and water.

We would like to purchase a 3/4 bedroom house with a decent size office, preferably with some guest accommodation. Budget is $450K-500K (cash so we can move quickly). Excellent schools have to be close by with lots of sport, music, dance facilities etc. High speed broadband is must for business purposes.

I am concerned about home insurance, from what I can gather the cost can be quite high as well as the annual property taxes. I understand that insurance is cheaper if the home is build after 2002, is this correct?

Can anybody advice if this is feasible, and what neighbourhoods to look out for? We will be back in Sarasota in May so I want to do some research beforehand.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:26 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 21,678,759 times
Reputation: 2855
You are correct insurance will be cheaper with a newer home. A few other things that you might want to consider in your home search are the style of roof (hip roofs are best for insurance), what type of hurricane protection the home has-shutters, impact resistant glass, how close the home is to a natural body of water or fire hydrant. The state of Florida gives discounts for making your home wind resistant. You can go to www.MySafeFloridaHome.com and have an inspector come out to rate your home. I believe they are still doing it for free. This will usually lower your insurance rates substantially.

Looking at your requirements I think the closer you get to downtown Sarasota the better you'll be. Towles Court-downtown is the Sarasota artist colony. Downtown has all the eclectic shops, restaurants, arts, etc. Most of the homes in this area are historical but there are a few newer homes sprinkled throughout. Some neighborhoods you might want to look into are Aqualane Estates, Bayview, Cherokee Park, McClellan Park and Harbor Acres. Many of these neighborhoods are in the South Side School district which although I don't have any kids attending, I've heard great things about.

Another school worth checking out is Pine View School. You can live anywhere in Sarasota county to attend but you need to "test in" to attend. You must have an IQ of 130 or above to attend and pass the required testing. Pine View has won numerous awards for academics. The school starts in 2nd grade and goes though 12th. I have a 5th grader and 10th grader at Pine View and we couldn't be happier. We love the school. Here's some more info on this school:

Pine View Website
Duke University Letter
US News-Best High Schools
Genius Denied website
City-Data
Wikipedia
Herald Tribune article
Newsweek
Public School Report
Truila Schools

To give you an idea of taxes and insurance, I'll use my home as an example. My is in North Port (southern Sarasota county). It is built in 2003, has hurricane shutters, hip roof, less than 1000 ft from a fire hydrant, no pool, 2127 under air. My insurance is $737 per year. My taxes annually are $2,651.62.

Good luck with your adventure!
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Greenwich London UK
10 posts, read 72,147 times
Reputation: 15
Wow, that is excellent info, thank you! I will definately look into these areas!

We are looking for a better quality of life, with a more spacious house, access to beaches, sports and nature.

The cost of taxes and insurance sound very reasonable, much less than I expected.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:36 AM
 
16,512 posts, read 35,765,751 times
Reputation: 21639
SoFlaGal has given you excellent advice; and I will only add that if you and your husband are "arty" you will REALLY love it here in Sarasota - this is an artist's dream town. And the beaches are the nicest in Florida, IMO.

You should have no problem finding a nice home within your budget. Good luck to you!
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 21,678,759 times
Reputation: 2855
Thanks Gypsychic!

Here's a link to Towles Court: towles court artist colony and since you have a little one I thought I'd throw in a link to The Children's Garden (http://www.sarasotachildrensgarden.com/English/frames.html - broken link). It's a really cool whimsical place for the little ones that is within walking distance of the downtown area. My four year old loves it there.

A few other places with in walking distance of downtown or a very short car ride that you should visit while here are:

Selby Gardens
Sarasota Jungle Gardens
Ringling Museum
Mote Marine
Selby Library (http://suncat.co.sarasota.fl.us/Libraries/Selby.aspx - broken link) -it has a huge curved fish tank going into the children's section which my little one loves.

Here's a link to the Sarasota Downtown Assoc. Here's Burns Square downtown. And then there's the Farmers Market downtown.

Can anyone tell I'm a huge fan of the downtown Sarasota area?
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:08 AM
 
Location: sittin happy in the sun :-)
3,640 posts, read 6,632,091 times
Reputation: 1856
a word of caution - make sure you get your visa sorted before commiting such a large sum. It sounds like you will qualify for an L1 which in turn leads to he magical Green card, which in turn leads to citizenship (if wanted) which = stay forever.

The other route E2 does not guarantee a GC .

The company you use for your visa must have been a going concern for at least 12 months and employed (one of) you for 12 months minimum in the past 3 years.

good luck
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 21,678,759 times
Reputation: 2855
Since we were talking insurance I thought I'd post a link on insurance and a link to the Sarasota County Tax collector, where you can see the taxes on any address in Sarasota county.

The Sunshine's would be one of your best resources for figuring out visas/citizenship since they live in the UK and are going through the process right now.
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:49 AM
 
Location: sittin happy in the sun :-)
3,640 posts, read 6,632,091 times
Reputation: 1856
and throw a bloody good party too !!!!!!
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:17 AM
 
127 posts, read 280,426 times
Reputation: 21
I can tell you that when I got my GC it was a long and drawn out process that cost my company quite a bit of cash. I'm going to be starting my citizenship this year - it doesn't looks as bad but I wish I had done it sooner.. - It's now $600 to apply.
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Old 02-23-2009, 12:04 PM
 
Location: sittin happy in the sun :-)
3,640 posts, read 6,632,091 times
Reputation: 1856
I would happily pay ten times that to get it right now !
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