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Old 10-25-2012, 12:59 PM
 
4 posts, read 16,602 times
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So I have been reading all the posts on this and finally had to break down and ask my own question.

Most people were asking from the perspective of a family, or the perspective of a single. I am a combo of both so my needs are different.

First off - my demographic is college educated, professional career woman with an infant son. I work from home as a software engineer so commute to work is a non issue.

I am coming from living in Atlanta in a cool intown neighborhood with tons of local, eclectic restaurants and bars nearby (by bars I mean pubs, wine bars - not nightclubs). However to own a single family home in a great school district in this neighborhood would not be feasible - I would have to move to the suburbs - 16 to 20 miles from the neighborhoods I love. Since I am thinking about doing this - I am also thinking about relocating to Tampa area since my family is in FL. I guess of all the areas in FL I am thinking Tampa will have most of the stuff I like doing (except perhaps Miami but I have never liked S. Florida)

My ideal locations would have been downtown St. Pete or South Tampa. But my housing budget is 200-250k - so Hyde Park and Old Northeast are out of the question. I am hoping to find something in the surrounding areas that are a nice commute to South Tampa or St. Pete when I want to go out for social opportunities...

Here is what is important to me:

1) Good public schools and neighborhood where my son can grow up and ride his bike, play with nearby friends, etc...
2) Proximity to good restaurants. I am a foodie! Shops too!
3) Proximity to the water. If I am going to move back to FL I want to be near water! Especially because I know that if you are not close to the beaches you tend never to get out there...
4) Other professionals in my age range 30s and 40s. Especially the single ones....so when I do get back into socializing I can find folks to do it with. I am a bit afraid of being the only single person in the family burbs...
5) Not too far to South Tampa or St. Pete - again for when I do get out and socialize - that seems to be where most meetups, etc congregate...This goes with # 4. Id like to be able to take a cab home if I have a few glasses of wine..
6) Not too far to drive to the arts - seeing broadway shows, opera, symphony. Seems like this is all in downtown Tampa? This goes hand in hand with 5

I guess from looking at a map you can be closer to South Tampa or St. Pete but not both..? And the distances seem to be 20 miles...but there can be a quick 20 mile drive or a rough 20 mile drive...so I cant tell where the best commute it..

From what I was looking at here is what I have come up with. Correct me if I am wrong

Westchase seems to fit my demographic and seems to have both singles and marrieds based on the townhomes/apartments? Also seems to have stuff to do locally as well as good access to Tampa. Kinda far from the beach...

Safety Harbour - seems to have the cool, eclectic downtown I am used to, as well as good schools and nice suburban areas...Seems like it might be a bit far to SoHo but not too bad to St. Pete. Good beach access...

Dunedin - seems to have the cool downtown, the beach, good schools. Seems like it might be more of a retiree demo though? And seems like worst commute to Soho or St. Pete?

Oldsmar is kind of a wild card. It seems like it is good for schools and has good proximity to Safety Harbour/Dunedin and their downtown scenes and beach, as well as good proximity to Westchase social scene. But maybe far from St. Pete and kinda far from S. Tampa....

Anyway - I guess it is one of those things where you cant have everything ....I am wondering what you folks that live there would advise me to choose if you were in my shoes?

(Yes, I am thinking of renting first before I buy - but Id like to rent in the area I am leaning toward so I get the feel)

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:22 PM
 
82 posts, read 188,303 times
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I'll try to help even though I am not a resident down here just yet. Of all of the towns you listed, I don't think any of them would be an "easy" commute to St. Pete. I also don't think any of them would be a short taxi ride. To me it depends on how often you plan on being in Tampa or St. Pete.

As for your list, after reading this forum for a long time to get ideas for my own move coming soon, I think Dunedin fits your bill the best, with Safety harbor a close second. Just my opinion of course. I would think if you work from home and you really want to be close to the beach and St. pete that you might also consider Sarasota.....Again, that would depend on how often you plan to venture into that area.

Good luck.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Toledo, OH
1,725 posts, read 3,149,682 times
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My personal opinion, which is only worth about 2 cents, is:

Westchase, Safety Harbor, Dunedin, and Oldmar. That is just how I would rank them.

Westchase - Some very nice subdivisions and fantastic townhomes/apartments.
Safety Harbor - Nice looking small town feel with very nice surrounding homes/townhomes/apartments. Bit of a drive for your Social Life.
Dunedin - Nice feel but to me very different from Westchase feel. Still have what you're looking for - beaches, but a bit of a drive for your Social Life.
Oldsmar - I think you hit it very well. Wildcard. Look and feel is different from the other three.

Not sure if you have looked at Carrollwood or New Tampa, even into parts of Odessa as well. I think you will have plenty of options for certain. Since Atlanta isn't that far, would highly recommend a quick weekend trip just to see the areas. I think you will be able to narrow it down to two or so and that would make the search so much easier for you.

GOOD LUCK!!!
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:14 PM
 
4 posts, read 16,602 times
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I think Sarasota is very charming and would be perfect if I were not still single. In fact in general it would be easier to pick a place if I had that built in companion of a spouse...

Im not exactly looking for an ultra active social life - but to make good friends, since I am starting over, and to date would be nice. Making friends (of both sexes) and finding coed activities and organizations to participate in is the priority.

As for how often I would go into S. Tampa or St. Pete - I am not sure. As a mom, its not that frequently that I get to go out A few times a month I would hope. But the closer those amenities are the easier it becomes! And if restaurants are nearby I can take my son (sometimes) - and since I work from home getting out at lunch time is big for me..

If anyone is familiar with Atlanta - I currently live in the Va Highlands area and I guess I am looking to find a place in Tampa similiar to Vinings or Ashford/Dunwoody or Roswell... Both of which have lots of upscale singles and families, are suburban from a housing point of view, but not too bad of a highway jump to go out in Atlantas popular areas on weekends (16-20 miles)

Of all the areas I mentioned - do any of them have a decent social scene for 30-40s professionals on their own (without having to go into St Pete or Tampa)?
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,485,340 times
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A few thoughts, from a (younger) retiree who winters in Dunedin.

Westchase is not near the water, and traffic back and forth can be pretty bad.

Dunedin has a retirement vibe, yes, but it also has a very healthy night-time club scene that involves people half my age. It's one of the attractive things about it to me--it's not sleepy at night, but quite lively.

Nothing I've noticed about Safety Harbor seems similar--it seems more family oriented, but a bit quieter. It is a shorter drive to St. Pete's and Tampa, however.

I'd wait to hear about school districts as well.
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:51 PM
 
5,256 posts, read 3,881,210 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLErin View Post
I think Sarasota is very charming and would be perfect if I were not still single. In fact in general it would be easier to pick a place if I had that built in companion of a spouse...

Im not exactly looking for an ultra active social life - but to make good friends, since I am starting over, and to date would be nice. Making friends (of both sexes) and finding coed activities and organizations to participate in is the priority.

As for how often I would go into S. Tampa or St. Pete - I am not sure. As a mom, its not that frequently that I get to go out A few times a month I would hope. But the closer those amenities are the easier it becomes! And if restaurants are nearby I can take my son (sometimes) - and since I work from home getting out at lunch time is big for me..

If anyone is familiar with Atlanta - I currently live in the Va Highlands area and I guess I am looking to find a place in Tampa similiar to Vinings or Ashford/Dunwoody or Roswell... Both of which have lots of upscale singles and families, are suburban from a housing point of view, but not too bad of a highway jump to go out in Atlantas popular areas on weekends (16-20 miles)

Of all the areas I mentioned - do any of them have a decent social scene for 30-40s professionals on their own (without having to go into St Pete or Tampa)?
I wouldn't give up on South Tampa. Maybe not Hyde Park, but Palma Ceia maybe, Plama ceia Park probably, Belmar Shore for sure, Virgina Park maybe. For 250k you could find a 2/1, If your situation changes you would have a lot easier time selling than in the other parts.
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:16 PM
 
1,106 posts, read 2,065,495 times
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Westchase and Oldsmar are about an hour drive to downtown St Pete in most cases. I can't imagine what cab fare would be for that trip. $80-100 each way?

Dunedin's downtown is nice, but it is extremely small. I suppose if you are one of those people that can go to the same place every night, like a retiree...

You can get a nice house in Snell Isle (just north of Old Northeast) in the $200-250k range. I know people in these neighborhoods that are a block from the water. They find a spot nearby to throw the kayaks in, and they are on the water for the day. Heck, a quick MLS search brought up a 2500 sq ft 4/3 at 919 Snell Isle Blvd for $229k. That's a block from the water and within walking distance of downtown St Pete.

A 2/1 for $250k is robbery anywhere in the Tampa Bay area.
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Beach
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Maybe Gulfport?
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:41 PM
 
5,256 posts, read 3,881,210 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chi_tino View Post

A 2/1 for $250k is robbery anywhere in the Tampa Bay area.
The OP had expressed that S. Tampa and NE St Pete were places she had interest in but thought that she was priced out. I think that she can find something in South Tampa in her budget, especially if its just her and a child. There are plenty of neighborhoods in Tampa were 2/1's and 2/2's go for 200k-300k and held that value even after the bubble burst. At some point they are no longer overpriced but its just what they cost. I agree that you can get a lot more value in a plenty of different neighborhoods, but to a great extent that is subjective, while you can get more house in NE if you are a young family with children, you are most likely going to have to try your luck with the magnet schools or pay for private schools. Every area has it's pro's and con's, I am personally over the whole x vs y threads. My belated point being if you find a nice 2/2 in a beautiful South Tampa neighborhood for a single mom, or a young couple with 1 kid @220k-250k seems perfect to me.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:43 AM
 
2,727 posts, read 4,661,771 times
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My $.02 is rent in south tampa or st pete and when you decide to buy perhaps with bigger family size than what you now have, , go and buy in the suburbs such as westchase. I don't think you will get what you are looking on those places you mentioned out in the suburbs.

Also "overpriced" is in the eye of the beholder. What's overpriced for one may not be for the other. So, if you rent for some time close to the two places you pretty much know what is overpriced and what not.

Good luck!
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