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Old 02-20-2013, 08:17 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
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Considering a Florida move, need local help!

We currently reside in Pa. My husband has been discussing a move to Florida, we are tired of the weather. Thankfully, I can relocate with my company and my husband is self employed and can work anywhere. We have family in Brandon and Fort Myers and a lot of friends around Tampa. We are considering as far south of Sarasota or as north as Lakeland, Brandon or anywhere in between. If you live or have any experience in these areas, I would love to hear what you love and hate about it. What school districts or areas should we consider? Thank you so much for the info, it's stressful trying to find info online and hoping you can provide some real life experiences.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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I would not move to Lakeland. A lot of retirement communities. I would consider Winter Garden. It is between Tampa and Orlando, closer to Orlando. Nice community with good schools.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:01 PM   #3
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We live in Lakewood ranch. It's like between sarasota and bradenton. There are great schools here as well and it's a very nice area.

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Old 02-20-2013, 11:28 PM   #4
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I live in Brandon, and work in South Tampa... Brandon is crowded but online it here, your no more than 45 min from the world or the beach. Anything you need can be found in Brandon. Tampa is also nice but like any city location location location, if you have the money South Tampa is nice
Fort Wilderness countless times (1990-now)
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:28 PM   #5
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" online " was an autocorrect supposed to say " I love it here"
Fort Wilderness countless times (1990-now)
Allstar resorts- couple times

Dates i can remember....
Annual pass holder in Feb 2010

Wilderness lodge- (Feb 4,5,6 2010)(Feb 4,5,6 2011)
Caribbean Beach - (Mar 2010)
Saratoga Springs- (July 2010)
Coronado- (Aug2010)
Offsite for Not so scary Halloween party (Oct 2010)
Allstar Movies for Very Merry Christmas party (Dec2010)

POP for Vey Merry (Dec 2011)
Aulani for honeymoon (Feb 4-11 2012)
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:08 AM   #6
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We moved from pa in 05. Now in venice area ( southern most of sarasota county.) The nice thing here is that it is probably the least expensive area where you can live very close to beaches. Older homes, more old florida feel, if that is what you like. Lakewood ranch is very nice also. probably more young families, but not close enough to the beach for us. After living here for a while, we found that 5 minutes from the beach is very different than 20.

Best move we ever made. We live at the beach and vacation at wdw.

We would not move to the middle of the state-- without the beaches, its just plain hot.

If your kids are motivated types, they can do very well in the public schools.
FL has great state college programs which help with tuition.

My 16 year old daughter will be a couple of credits short of completing sophmore college credits when she graduates highschool next year.

Good luck -- I recommend the move.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:33 AM   #7
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We moved to Gainesville in August of last year and don't regret it at all, although this is more of a college town. As far as the places you've listed, we visited Venice to see DF's grandma and while it is absolutely beautiful it does seem like the majority of the folks living there are retirees. We saw more than one blue-haired lady go up over a curb while taking a right hand turn to sharp. We did love how close it was to Sarasota which has a lot to do from the Ringling mansion and art museum to the St. Armand's circle area which has a ton of shopping if you can deal with crowds (again in the winter mostly when the snowbirds are down, we've heard it's much more peaceful, and hot, in the summer!)

Wherever you move in Florida, being an easy drive away to the World is a glorious feeling. We will wake up early on the weekend occasionally and just decide on the spur of the moment to go check out New Fantasyland again or see how many times we can ride Tower of Terror. It is awesome.

I can speak a bit more to the schools as I am a teacher here. The general level of education is a bit lower here at the elementary and middle school level then up north. It evens out a bit in high school. Florida actually was in the top 5 for students passing AP exams in the country, which is an awesome way to get those college credits on the cheap! Good luck with your decision!
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Oh the places you'll go:
Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Old Key West, Wilderness Lodge, Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans Resort, Saratoga Springs, All-Star Movies, Pop Century

And miles to go before I sleep:
Boardwalk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Yacht Club, All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Art of Animation

10 down, 8 to go!
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:35 AM   #8
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Location: West coast of FL
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move from PA

I moved from PA to FL 17 years ago and now live in Pinellas Cty west of Tampa. I LOVE IT!!! You didn't say where in PA but if you are in a metro area, you'll be use to the population. Tampa/Sarasota is crowded. Especially in the winter time. So be prepared.

When I moved here, the net was just starting so I did everything via phone and mail. The local area chamber of commerce of any area you are thinking about should be a place to start. Contact them for relocation packages. I was amazed at how much information they gave me. From this information, I decided on Largo, FL. I came from north east of Philly and it wasn't that much of a culture, economic or population shock. The traffic is horrible just about anywhere here but that's a small price for paradise.

Also, if you are looking for home prices, go to FloridaMoves.com to look up current houses for sale in the areas you are thinking about.

Moving to FL is the best thing me and my DH did years ago and I don't regret it one bit. Hope this info helps a little.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:14 AM   #9
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Smile moved from ny to fl 2008

how exciting for you ! ok heres what I did:

first thing was sit down with old school pad & pen and made a wish list
no children in home anymore but a horse cat & 8 dogs
first must have on list was land...rural

next how far willing to commute no job set but knew where dreamed of working
decided on a 35 mile radius one way ....no more

got a map made the commute circle w/push pin & string (told you old school)

next hit internet searches: with my must have list

initial search input: horse property central florida

narrowed it down further rent vs sale NO hoa # bedrooms etc

picked a realtor based on samples of what I saw her listing

had a WDW vacation planned for mid June emailed realtor introduced myself gave info
got a phone call that day she agreed to meet me at Discovery Cove after my pre-planned reservation (this still amazes me ! )

saw 3 or 4 possibilities that day (oh forgot she had emailed listings with lots of pics while I was still in NY) & a few the next

Now live 32 miles one way from where my dream job is, have home on 2 1/2 acres, open kitchen window horse puts nose in for a kiss & treat

14 miles from Lakeland where I shop because there is nothing in me little area except 2 dollar stores and a feed store love love love it

point to our story is do your homework and have fun with this new chapter of your lives
everything was arranged long distance via phone email & us post office from home inspection utility turn on even the closing (which was July 8) was done via phone
moved in Aug

biggest financial surprise was the expense of registering vehicles here the state gets you $$$
& unlike north you go one place for Drivers License & another license plates..correction..its called tag & its paper temp

I apologize for going on long but I also thank you for opportunity to relive it

Best of luck hope you keep thread updated...exciting !

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Old 02-21-2013, 02:50 PM   #10
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When we moved to Florida we chose the other side of the state so I can not help much with the areas that you are looking for. One thing we did was make the decision to rent for a couple years before buying anything. This gave us a chance to get to know the area and decide what we liked the best. 2 years ago we bought a great little house just 3 blocks from the beach and in an area that we loved to ride our bikes through. We are very happy and don't plan on moving again.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:19 PM   #11
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I am a REALTOR in Tampa and I would be happy to answer any questions about the area. I sell a lot of homes in the Brandon Area and South Tampa. Those are great locations with lots to do. Straight shot on I-4 to visit Disney Big bonus if you have family in Brandon. I love helping big Disney fans! www.castles2condos.com
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:24 AM   #12
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I'm SO jealous!

I would LOVE to move from PA to Florida! Unfortunately all of our family is here. Maybe once the kids are out of school and we're both retired we'll be able to do it - atleast in the winter hopefully.

I can't blame all you former PA-er's. Our winters suck!
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:58 PM   #13
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I have lived in Brandon all my life and really can't fathom living anywhere else. I think Brandon has a very small town feel till it still, even though it has grown so much.

Just some of our town hilights:
- 4th of July parade, not to be missed every year.
-Brandon Friends of Library Chalk Walk Festival
- Local you pick blueberry Farm
-Close to Plant City (20 minute drive) to take part in the strawberry festival
-Novemberfest carnival
-Campbells Ice Cream (A true mom and pop style place)
- lots of A schools in the area
-Fishhawk Fresh Market
-St. Andrews Craft fair in October
-Close drive to Tampa and surrounding beach areas
- Westfield Mall
-Regency square with AMC Theatres
-Plenty of Parks
-Close to areas with Canoeing

-I vote Brandon
Miss Figment
too many trips to count as a kid Family trip 11-03 MK MK 1st anniversary trip 9-05 Me & Mom girls day Epcot 3-07 Family trip Epcot 2-15-08 Hubby & Me Universal 4-19-08 5 day Family trip at BC thanks to Orbitz.com: 3-20-09 Daytrip just the 3 of us..12-10-10 Family trip of four @POP 5-14-11 Several trips off site, but many good memories made

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Old 02-22-2013, 05:09 PM   #14
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I have lived in Lakeland all of my life and I love it. School districts are based on counties, so even if you move into a good district, you have to watch what school you are zoned for. The thing that I love most about Lakeland is it seems like it is half way between everything and an hour of less to Tampa, Disney, beaches. But, that said due to where we work, we are looking into Brandon/Valrico/Plant City areas.
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Sept 2008 Animal Kingdom Lodge
Feb 2008 Pop Century
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:45 AM   #15
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When looking at property, especially as you get nearer the coast, you want to ask about evacuation routes and you want to get property as high as you can. That doesn't mean you have to be far from the beach either. I lived in Pinellas County (west of Tampa) from 1981 to 1993. Our home was about a mile inland from the beach, so we could walk to it if we wanted to (and did in the winter) but it was also on high enough ground that we did not have to evacuate if there was a hurricane. You don't want to be the low point in a neighborhood either. A storm doesn't have to be a hurricane to cause a lot of damage - some of the heavy rains from weaker tropical storms have caused massive flooding in low lying areas far inland. When we moved close Orlando, we built on a high hill (high enough that we actually have a basement - a rarity in Florida) specifically to be sure to avoid flood risks. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions when you meet with a realtor - Florida is a whole different ballgame to the midwest (I'm originally from Ohio).
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