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Old 09-13-2007, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
811 posts, read 1,773,380 times
Reputation: 197

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Hi and Thanks for stopping by.

We plan on relocating from NYC down to the
Clearwater
St Pete
Largo
Dunedin
Palm Harbor
etc area

Any feedback on these areas as to living.

I am work anywhere so that is not a concern.

Just want a nice place to live (we are 30's/40's) 4 bedroom home

Concerned about crime, property tax, homeowners insurnace

But basically curious to hear about comments/feedback to the various areas I meantioned Please

Thanks

Michael
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:18 PM
 
Location: palm harbor
471 posts, read 1,545,085 times
Reputation: 238
I rent so can't give you much info on taxes and insurances, but I am familiar with all the areas you mention.
We would have accepted any of these areas + Oldsmar, Tarpon Springs, and Safety Harbor to live in, but found what we wanted first in Palm Harbor.
After almost a year here and exploring the other areas, if we were looking now Palm Harbor would be our first choice. Great neighborhoods, convenience to the beaches, Tampa and St.Pete. Palm Harbor has lake Tarpon, the Pinellas trail and wonderful parks for biking, walking, picnics and boating.
As big as it is, where we live-and it is a quiet neighborhood-we can walk or bike to Dr's, bank, church, grocery, seafood market, retail shops and top rated restaurants.
Safety Harbor would be second choice, then the rest would still be good depending on location.
Though a lot of Largo is congested-typical urban sprawl-there are still some lovely areas. I would probably avoid downtown Clearwater, but there are some very nice areas in countryside and on the borders of Safety Harbor, Dunedin and Palm Harbor.
There are no bad/unsafe areas in Palm Harbor, at least to my knowledge.
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Tampa Bay Area
169 posts, read 1,013,670 times
Reputation: 172
Hi Michael,

Welcome to the area. Looks like you're interested in Pinellas county as all the areas you've listed are located on the mainland of that county.

Tax wise the county taxes will be the same all over and they will run you aprox $26/$1,000 of value (so estimate $2,600 for a $100K house if not homesteaded and protected by "save our homes" but all of this is up for a vote in January so all bets are off. The idea is to bring taxes down but who knows for sure) If however you also live in an incorporated area (a city limits) then you will also pay city taxes and those will vary by city but none of them are astronomically higher - a few dollars per thousand usually. If you're buying a home (which I am assuming you are planning to do since you care about taxes and insurance) you should know that what the current owner pays in taxes will probably give you very little indication of what you will pay. Make sure whoever you work with knows how to calculate the millage rate on your property or get your title company to give you an estimate in advance. Among other requirements, you have to own the property (deed in your name) by the 31st of Dec. to be able to claim the homestead on your primary residence - this has a variety of advantages not the least of which is a discount on your taxes.

Insurance costs will depend on a couple of things, the underwriter or course - age and replacement value of the home and the zone you buy in. The county is narrow so there's a lot of low lying A through C zone property (lower elevations). You'll only pay flood insurance if you're below a certain elevation or within a certain zone (V or A zone for sure) and it really will depend on the location of the property you fall in love with. If you decide to buy here, make your contract is "subject to" an approved insurance provider and a not to exceed number that's reasonable and customary for the area - that way you won't be trapped in a contract by any surprises.

Pinellas has a lot of different personalities and it's an hours drive from S to N or vice versa. It's also very narrow, so you can go from beach to bay in about 20 minutes from the widest area. There are four major bridges - three go to Hillsborough county (Tampa) and one (toll bridge) down to Manatee county (which is/was rapidly expanding).

Clearwater has distinct areas of charm and some rough spots. A good bit of it is older as it was originally built up in the 20's. I have a historic map of Clearwater from the 40's and I love to see how much it's changed. There's a large presence of Scientologists in downtown Clearwater. They don't bite - it's just that some people find this objectionable. The west side is older than the east side but pretty much all of Clearwater is older (architecture from the 20's to the 80's - it's pretty rare to find a home built after 1990 - there are some but not many) There's a couple of crime ridden areas near the north east part of the downtown area.

Largo is on the west side of the southern portion of the county. It has a real mixture of charm and old. It has a wonderful city park and a nice cultural center but this isn't Carnegie Hall - everything's relative. The city has worked hard to beautify the area and I think they've done a good job of it - but they are small and bordered by some areas that don't care as much (Pinellas Park and parts of Seminole are kind of neglected). There are some dingy parts of Largo but you'll spot them easy. Housing here is older and not too well organized (no real subdivisions, just neighborhoods) but there's some charm to the area and if you have kids it's a nice suburban town. Prices will go from below $100 a ft. for older fixer uppers to close to $200/sq.ft. for a really nicely restored historic property. No real waterfront in Largo.

Cariad has some excellent points on Palm Harbor - which is lovely - centrally located and pretty much has all the necessary service you would want from a sub-urban area. Homes in that area will run you from $145 to $175/sq.ft. for average homes. They can swing as low as $100 per ft. for a distressed sale to well over $400/sq.ft. for luxury waterfront. You can find pretty good deals at the moment. There are plenty of rentals too. Most of the housing stock on the west side of Palm Harbor (but not Gulf front) was built from 1978 to the mid 90's with a few rare subdivisions in the new millennium. Most of what you'll find are ranch style block homes with the typical "Florida feel" stucco with tile roofs. Check out Westlake, Autumn Woods, Oak Trails, Enniswood, Highlands of Innisbrook (yes, with the "famous" PGA Copperhead golf course among the 4) just to name a few. You didn't mention school needs but the best schools are on the west side of PH.

The east side of Palm Harbor is newer there are a number of lovely larger planned communities - check out East Lake Woodlands, Lansbrook, Tarpon Woods, and Wentworth to name a few. There are many others that are not so large and organized. It will depend on what you're looking for. Homes are newer here and the schools are good. Most of the crime is domestic disputes and kids/vandals.

There is nothing about Palm Harbor however that will even remotely feel like NYC. If you're ok getting away from an urban setting then you'll love it. You'll be about 45 minutes into downtown Tampa or St. Pete from PH also.

Tampa is radically different than most big cities and most moderate cities are still radically different than NYC so you're definitely in for an adjustment. Culturally, there's not much near Palm Harbor. In fact, the further away from downtown St. Pete and downtown Tampa you get, the further away you'll find yourself from arts/theaters/good dining (although there are always pockets of charm).

There are some lovely parks scattered throughout Pinellas county (Clearwater, St. Pete, Dunedin, Largo, Palm Harbor and Safety Harbor all have some really wonderful ones)

Dunedin is a small (as are Safety Harbor and Largo) charming city with some good restaurants and interesting shops (good place to have brunch on the weekends). There's some pre-war housing stock there if you like that sort of style and it's right there on the gulf/inter-coastal but has more of a Nantucket style than a "beachy" feel to it. Schools are hit or miss. There are some great elem. schools but the middle and high schools have a little ways to go.

There's not much in the way of private schools in N. Pinellas by the way. If you're a private school candidate, expect to drive in to Tampa or S. county. There are some great S. county private schools - Shorecrest, Admiral Faragut Academy, St. Paul's.

St. Pete has a little something for everyone and it's pretty urban as far as mid-sized US cities go. Some nice museums and restaurants downtown. Some wonderful high-rise living if you want that. The northside is nice (called Old North East/Placido Bayou and Coffee Pot Bayou), theres a pocket on the south side (south of the hospital district) that is pretty crime ridden and close to the Stadium (Tropicana Field) there are some homeless shelters so we have an awful problem with homeless people sleeping in the downtown parks but we're working on it. Stear clear of anything "s. Ave." in Pinellas (Streets run N/S, the Ave. run E/W and the numbers climb as you move away from downtown) - Central Ave. is the main central street through the downtown district. Past about 7th Ave. south, it gets rough.

The Pinellas Trail is popular if you bike/walk/skate. The largest library is the John Germany library in downtown Tampa but there's a reciprocal library system between the three counties so you can get a book brought to you from anywhere in the metro area if you're willing to wait long enough. You can get to a beach from anywhere in the county in 40 minutes or less and to the airport (in Tampa - there are a few in Pinellas just not the major airport for the area) in less than 45 without traffic problems. Shopping basically stinks in the entire county except some great boutiques in downtown St. Pete (I'm spoiled what can I say) Plan to go to Tampa or frankly anywhere else (Miami anyone?) for some great off the beaten path stuff. Buy all your furniture before you get here or plan a weekend in Atlanta, there are three decent furniture stores here and even that's a stretch.

It's going to feel very very laid back compared to what you're use to.

Hope this helps - Welcome to town, bring your sunscreen and your bug spray.
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
811 posts, read 1,773,380 times
Reputation: 197
Thanks for the helpful feedback.
I am leaning to the areas You like and mention,
and Yes it seems best to rent till it takes to get to know the area... 6 months, 1 year what ever... so scout around once there.
Rent or purchase a condo to rent out after we purchase the house we want.
I got a feeling to stay away from St Pete... just use it to visit as we do Manhattan.
And Clearwater might be a bit congested and commercial.. but will scout out Clearwater, Largo, Dunedin, Palm Harbor etc
And stay South of Paso Cty as I hear insurance is very high ?
Sounds like a plan so far... we will be there the 28th for 12 days
Cannot wait

Thanks for the feedback,, it is very much appreciated.

Michael

PS I also heard to stay away from Sarasota and Bradenton ?
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
811 posts, read 1,773,380 times
Reputation: 197
Default Thanks !

Thank You for that Wonderful rundown on the areas, prices, commentary. It really was wonderful and very informative to read. Thanks for taking the time and interest.

We have no need for Manhattan anymore and therefor would not miss it, nor seek it in Tampa etc.
Restaurants mean nothing as we would rather cook and shopping means dip to us... but Thanks for the heads up.

We both want to simply chill and find a nice 4 bedroom home to live and have kids. I am a Pharmacist and lucky I can work anywhere... but we shall see

I am leaning towards Clearwater... but more so.. north of it... as in Dunedin, Largo, Palm Harbor etc. a slower pace and less crowded and no need for waterfront property.

I was first initially open to Sarasota and Bradenton,,, but after some feedback from people.. realize it might not be for us ?

Same as St Pete.. as someone said.. simply use St Pete to visit as we do Manhattan when we want... so I am thinking to knock St Pete out to live ?

Thanks for the advice of pretty laid back and maybe something I am not used to or would want, coming from NYC,, but after growing up in the streets of Brooklyn.. I can certainly chill and luv it down there (I did live in Upstate NY for 12 years and luved it, so I know what I am in for) !

Sunblock and bug juice are packed
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Tampa Bay Area
169 posts, read 1,013,670 times
Reputation: 172
Sarasota and Bradenton are lovely, don't rule them out - especially Sarasota. I find the laid back nature combines with a slightly higher level of education there. Maybe it's just me. Go visit, you might like it. I know you said you don't care about shopping but the outlet malls are in Bradenton (it's just over the bridge).

Definately rent for the first year (there are some amazing deals right now) and just visit a new area each weekend. You'll get a great feel for what works for your lifestyle. My hubby is from NY (upstate born and raised then a few years in the city) and there are a lot of NY transplants here. You'll find good company.

Apartment rentals go for about $1/sq.ft./mo. But you can get a better deal on a house with a yard. Probably even a newer home maybe even with a pool - even in Palm Harbor. You can expect to pay between .90 and $1.15/sq.ft. per mo. for a rental home.

And Oh yeah, there's a pharmacy on two corners of every major intersection here (there's banks on the other two corners). I'm cracking up. It will be like Mecca here for you. Total job security.
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Old 11-05-2007, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
811 posts, read 1,773,380 times
Reputation: 197
Default Thanks for all Your replies and feedback.

Thanks... we are well back now from our trip and it was really great.
We went to Sarasota and liked it and stayed 3 days instead of the planned 1 day... but overall decided it is not the place for us. There is no community feeling and did not like the suburbs, which we ventured all over. Just seemed like a plot of houses and some strip mall stores... so as I said.. did not care for the suburbs or the city itself. Great to visit for its cultural offerings.. but not to live. We then went to Tampa and did not care for the city to live, we looked South of Kennedy if I remember as it was recommended. Also went to Westlake and the other suburbs up north and just seemed like sub-divisions, no community feel. So we went back to Safety Harbor which we really liked. Walked around the Spa there, a bit over our tastes, but nice.. and also saw the sometimes vast difference in housing,,, some really nice ones, over our budget... then make a turn and it reminded me of neighborhoods I would not walk through. So next trip concentrate more on Palm Harbor, Dunedin. Largo was very nice as was Seminole and some others. And as You agreed, rent for the first 6 months to a year and make trips to all the towns and neighborhoods and literally criss-cross the map.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ntfeldman View Post
Sarasota and Bradenton are lovely, don't rule them out - especially Sarasota. I find the laid back nature combines with a slightly higher level of education there. Maybe it's just me. Go visit, you might like it. I know you said you don't care about shopping but the outlet malls are in Bradenton (it's just over the bridge).

Definately rent for the first year (there are some amazing deals right now) and just visit a new area each weekend. You'll get a great feel for what works for your lifestyle. My hubby is from NY (upstate born and raised then a few years in the city) and there are a lot of NY transplants here. You'll find good company.

Apartment rentals go for about $1/sq.ft./mo. But you can get a better deal on a house with a yard. Probably even a newer home maybe even with a pool - even in Palm Harbor. You can expect to pay between .90 and $1.15/sq.ft. per mo. for a rental home.

And Oh yeah, there's a pharmacy on two corners of every major intersection here (there's banks on the other two corners). I'm cracking up. It will be like Mecca here for you. Total job security.
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Old 11-05-2007, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
133 posts, read 502,259 times
Reputation: 39
I would also like to suggest visiting the Odessa, Lutz, Land O Lakes, New Tampa and Wesley Chapel area. Each area (Tampa, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Saftey Harbor, etc...) all have a little something to offer which makes them all unique. I think you are taking the right approach by visiting these areas several times and renting something until you are sure.

Welcome to the Tampa area and the best of luck on your search!
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Old 12-01-2007, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Clearwater, FL
65 posts, read 334,193 times
Reputation: 78
Michael, I just must add that you will want to check Dunedin for sure! I live and work there, and it's a great place. If you Google the phrase Dunedin Daily Photo you will find a lot of photos and information to give you somewhat of a lifestyle feel about the place.

Good luck, and welcome.
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:59 AM
 
6 posts, read 6,976 times
Reputation: 10
I'm looking at this area to possibly relocate. Any updates for 2014?
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