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Old 04-11-2020, 12:14 PM
6 posts, read 3,538 times
Reputation: 20



We may be moving to Tampa at the start of the new year.

We are looking for a safe, family friendly area with highly-rated schools. We want to live in an area with lots of kids, along with a community pool and playground. Our budget is $500K or less.

My husband’s office would be located just outside of the airport.

We are leaning toward Cheval/Lutz that feeds into Steinbrenner. It looks like Cheval/Lutz has a competitive housing market, as most of the houses that fall within our criteria that were recently listed are already in pending status.
What are your thoughts on the Birchwood Preserve community?

We are also considering the Fishhawk area that feeds into Newsome Highschool.
I understand the commute to Fishhawk would be twice as long as the commute to Cheval/Lutz. Do you think the commute would be worth it to live in Fishhawk? There seems to be a lot more inventory in Fishhawk, which appears to be due to the military personnel moving in and out.

Are there any other areas to consider? I understand that Plant is a top high school, but it seems like the homes go from small and old to multi-million dollar homes with not much in between.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-11-2020, 01:17 PM
Location: Not the end of the Earth, but I can see it from here
3,945 posts, read 4,191,551 times
Reputation: 3726
You pretty much nailed the south Tampa market sub $500k. Forget about it, you'll get far more for your money in the suburbs.

The time of day can have a significant effect on commutes here. Driving to the airport area from Lutz during peak commuting times could easily be 45 minutes, depending on the streets and route taken.

You can say the same for Fishhawk, but in the price range you've identified you'll find a lot of nice homes in the Fishhawk area and if your husband can alter his commute time outside of the peak times 35-45 minutes to the airport area from Fishhawk is realistic. Even at peak times it's at best an hour, if that.

Fishhawk has a community center with pool along with a very vibrant "town centre" that has entertainment and community activities on a regular basis. You should definitely visit and check it out.

One thing to be aware of, depending on where you're coming from:

Large developments like Fishhawk and others often have a Community Development District, or CDD, that is responsible for maintaining the common areas. This is in addition to each neighborhood or section having an HOA. CDD fees are like property taxes in that you're required to pay them and your mortgage holder will escrow for them as well. CDD fees can be several thousand dollars per year, adding several hundred dollars a year to your mortgage payment. It has a direct effect on what you can afford as it has to be considered as a part of your monthly mortgage payment.

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Old 04-11-2020, 08:40 PM
6 posts, read 3,538 times
Reputation: 20
Thanks for the feedback! To clarify, his office would be 10 minutes north of the airport on N Mawbry. Would that cut his commute down from Lutz or is traffic just really bad during peak times?

What are your thoughts on Westchase and Palm Harbor?

And yes, I am aware of the CDD fees, although I never heard of it until I started doing my research on Tampa area homes.

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by RJAM08; 04-11-2020 at 09:02 PM..
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Old 04-12-2020, 08:49 AM
Location: Not the end of the Earth, but I can see it from here
3,945 posts, read 4,191,551 times
Reputation: 3726
I presume you're speaking of North Dale Mabry.

This would make it closer to Lutz but also could compound the commute issue depending on the cross streets he would have to use. It would be closer to Lutz, however. You might consider looking as far north as Trinity, which is in Pasco County. Not sure about the quality of schools.

Following that subject, you don't say where you're coming from, but if it's north of the Mason-Dixon Line, lower your expectations when it comes to education. It's not bad here, especially if you're involved parents, but the rigor is lacking compared to schools in the northeast and midwest.

Westchase, no.

Palm Harbor would be a poor choice for a lot of reasons, mainly the commute. The minute you have to start crossing a bridge to commute around here things can get ugly very fast.

CDDs are what the developer sets up to cover the cost of shared amenities, like a community pool or community center. It might also be referred to as a "taxing district", too, but the more common term is CDD. Quite common in large communities such as Fishhawk Ranch and others. You'll have an HOA on top of that, too, but the fees are typically low, like maybe a few hundred dollars a year.

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Old 04-12-2020, 09:53 AM
Location: Raymond James Stadium, FL
413 posts, read 135,669 times
Reputation: 495
I was considering the Lutz/Cheval area but then saw just how many sinkholes seem to form there and that was enough for me.
Attached Thumbnails
Cheval/Lutz or Fishhawk-screen-shot-2020-04-12-11.51.59  
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Old 04-12-2020, 10:34 AM
26,746 posts, read 41,075,240 times
Reputation: 14893
Originally Posted by TB12inTB2020 View Post
I was considering the Lutz/Cheval area but then saw just how many sinkholes seem to form there and that was enough for me.
Many on that list were paid out as sinkholes, as years ago every claim was honored, but turned out to be settlement cracks. Not sinkholes. But these houses will always be labeled “sinkhole”.

Elsewhere in the Country there are areas with Tornados, excessive flooding, earth quake concerns.

To make it sound like an entire area is a sinkhole area, is absurd.

Some people should not live in Florida as they have not much good to say...

I’ve been in Florida for over two decades and have seen people move here and move back as they seem to think that their Disney experience is what Florida is about.

Floridians, enjoy the weather, outdoors, lower taxes, pool or beach, etc., and we take a bit lower income over the stress of NY or CA with extreme high taxes and everything as high and unaffordable that comes with that.

Depending what you like is what you can find in Florida.

Steinbrenner school zone, comes with higher priced homes due to the school zone and area.

Stay in shelter is more bearable in Tampa Bay Area, than in NY City.
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Old 06-04-2020, 01:11 PM
59 posts, read 25,931 times
Reputation: 35
We moved to Fishhawk from Massachusetts almost a year ago as my daughter was in 11th grade - we are renting. She is at Newsome. We found the academics at Newsome and Randall (the middle school) to be just as good, and some subjects better, than Massachusetts. My daughter was also in AP classes though and my 6th grader in all Advanced classes. Fishhawk is interesting. Not sure I would buy a house in this neighborhood. The houses are so close to each other. Yes, the community pool is amazing, like a resort, but is often times very crowded in the summer. I am glad we have out own pool. The town center is a lot of fun and the walking/biking trails are absolutely gorgeous. There are actually multiple pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, skateboard park, dog park.... There are a ton of kids in this neighborhood for sure. There are other area neighborhoods around Fishhawk that feed into Newsome that are worth checking out. Lithia Ridge, Twin Lakes, River Hills etc. I have come to really like Bloomingdale as well. I believe that area goes to Bloomingdale High but I have known kids that went there that had great educations and went to great colleges as well. You can also look at Channing Park, they are zoned for Newsome as well. I actually love the location more than I thought I would. We can get to Tampa in 25/30 minutes for a night out, Disney in an hour, a plethora of gorgeous beaches in an hour, a lot of farms, and almost any store imaginable in 25 minutes. Let me know if you have any questions I can help you with.
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Old 06-11-2020, 12:38 PM
6 posts, read 770 times
Reputation: 10
I wouldn’t go to sleep on areas like Countryside in Clearwater, Palm Harbor or Safety Harbor. They have more than enough options in your price range.
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