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Old 06-14-2009, 11:57 AM   #1
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Florida information -

This question is for Floridians on the board, although others are welcome to chime in!

I'm looking at Florida - Tampa / St. Pete more or less - as a possible area after I retire.

I would be looking for a 2 or 3 br house, not a large space.

I know that the a/c is going to be on for the summer -

What are your electric and water bills like?

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Old 06-14-2009, 01:21 PM   #2
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My electric is high but I have a large house that has a two story living room ( Looks good but a pain to cool ) so my electric runs $275 a month . I am on a budget plan so I pay the same amount every month . My water bill is usually under $50.00 . When I lived in a smaller house (1800 sq.feet ) my electric was half that amount . All my appliances are electric . Make sure you get somewhere that has a well or reuses water from one of those phony Florida lakes because to use tap water for your lawn will be expensive .The ac in my house is on from mid April to whenever it gets cooler usually late Oct. early Nov ..I rarely have heat on maybe a few times a winter . I live on the border of Sarasota and Bradenton and I would be glad to help you with any questions just PM me .
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Old 06-14-2009, 01:58 PM   #3
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We run about $180 per month for a 3200 sf house, plus we have propane for hot water. We have reclaimed water service so that's not a problem for irrigation. Our impression is that it's not cheap, but compared to heating our house in Wisconsin back in the day, it feels like a bargain. A well-insulated newer home should be just fine. Cost of living here is about the national average, and the lack of a state income tax pretty much neutralizes the additional hurricane insurance, etc.

I'd make your choice based on where you want to be -- cost of living here is pretty much standard, all in. (not true in South Florida, by the way). We like it a lot. I PM'd you with more information.
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:25 PM   #4
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Look for a newer more energy efficient home if you are buying. We did not run our AC from Nov thru about the 1st week of March on the east coast (Indialantic)

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Old 06-15-2009, 08:16 AM   #5
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Good comments so far. Do you plan on having a pool? That makes a big difference.

South Florida seems comparable with other parts of the country - you spend in summer a/c what you save in heating. Home efficiency is very important and can save lots but is not present in much of the construction. Also, a house built after '02 meets much higher hurricane protection standards.
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:55 PM   #6
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things to think about -

- what is the weather like in January, and can you cope with a few cold weeks in the north (ie. St. Petes, Tampa, Orlando, Coco). Port Charlotte down to Naples is warmer.

- check your flood zones carefully and insurance costs.

- for snowbirds, consider that the insurance requirements for houseminding is waived if in a gated community

- consider convenience of flights to your hometown, and in the off season. This may impact visitors and the ease with which you can visit back up north.

- check for Chinese drywall (black copper wires, health issues)

- these days, consider the monthly outlay more than the capital cost. Taxes, HOA, insurance, electric, cable, and don't trust the agent to disclose the full cost.

- check out your neighbours very carefully. Some very rough types are renting in high end neighbourhoods.

- check out the hurricane surge risk. I had a particular attraction to the St. Petes historic downtown...until I realised that it was vulnerable to a 30 meter surge if a cane hit at the right angle. There are some global warming sea level charts you can consult online as well.

- Also check out homelessness in historic neighbourhoods. I think certain parts of St. Petes and Orlando have a particular problem, especially in the parks.

- consider rather your interests, hobbies, and move to a nieghbourhood that is close to an activity you are particularly interested in.
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:04 PM   #7
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We are on the central east coast area. In 3 years this past winter was the 1st time we turned the heat on. In the Summers we run about 300 a month in the hottest months with a 2600 sq ft house. We had a pool put in last fall so I would guess we will run around 350 a month this summer. In the winter we run about 150 a month or so.

Still a lot cheaper than NY and I'd pay more to stay here.
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:06 PM   #8
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Still a lot cheaper than NY and I'd pay more to stay here.
Stick around a few years and I'm sure you'll get your wish...
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:59 PM   #9
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although we recently bought in Florida to take advantage of the fire sale, there remains a lot of risk, and maybe the smart money is to rent and enjoy the climate while keeping the smallest economic footprint possible.

I get the impression that Texas or Arizona are much better run.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:06 PM   #10
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Thank you, everyone, for your posts!

Anything else I should know?

ta,
mew
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:22 PM   #11
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I get the impression that Texas or Arizona are much better run.
Can't speak to Texas, but I have lived in both AZ and FL and my experience is different. Both are financially stressed and have their issues. Florida, OTOH, has no state income tax. My dealings with state bureaucracies are comparably bad. Also, discussing states is not as useful as comparing the cities or areas you are looking at. Both states places I would not care to live as well as several I would be very happy in.

BTW, we liked both states very much, though we favor Florida.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:27 PM   #12
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Thank you, everyone, for your posts!

Anything else I should know?

ta,
mew

The only thing I would add is that Florida is a large state with lots of different towns and cities . You just have to match your needs and wants to the correct area .
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:29 PM   #13
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I get the impression that Texas or Arizona are much better run.
Impressions are often inaccurate...
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:18 PM   #14
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Does anyone have any input on Solivita in Poinciana just south of Kissimmee? Seems like a well planned community...over 55, gated, etc. Just curious if anyone knows any pros and cons?
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:27 PM   #15
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Impressions are often inaccurate...
what's happening in Texas? I am only hearing stories of relatively ok state budgeting, low taxes, jobs holding up.

I am noticing much hotter summers and cold winters, compared to Florida.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:30 PM   #16
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Does anyone have any input on Solivita in Poinciana just south of Kissimmee? Seems like a well planned community...over 55, gated, etc. Just curious if anyone knows any pros and cons?
maybe try City Data Orlando forum?
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:43 PM   #17
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what's happening in Texas? I am only hearing stories of relatively ok state budgeting, low taxes, jobs holding up.

I am noticing much hotter summers and cold winters, compared to Florida.
It's been a while since I trotted out the list, but since you asked...

Texas is infested with scorpions, rattlesnakes, fire ants, crazy raspberry ants, cockroaches on steroids, killer bees, mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, tarantulas, brown recluse spiders, love bugs, swarming crickets, copperheads, cottonmouths, rabid skunks, wild hogs, alligators, oppressive heat & humidity, bleak desolate scenery, dirty beaches, polluted air, dust storms, drought, wildfires, water shortages, recurring floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, rednecks, huge piles of flaming mulch, spontaneously combusting playgrounds, roads hot as flowing lava, the stench of natural and unnatural gasses, amoebic meningitis lurking in area lakes, recurring Ebola virus outbreaks, flesh eating bacteria, staggering homeowner insurance rates, unbelievably high property taxes, mandatory death sentences for DUI convictions, polygamous religious sects, and, lest we forget, doesn't look kindly towards Yankees (per Orchidflower).
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:09 AM   #18
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It's been a while since I trotted out the list, but since you asked...

Texas is infested with ....
But you have to travel to Stockton, CA to see the image of Michael Jackson on a tree stump.
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:02 PM   #19
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It's been a while since I trotted out the list, but since you asked...

Texas is infested with scorpions, rattlesnakes, fire ants, crazy raspberry ants, cockroaches on steroids, killer bees, mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, tarantulas, brown recluse spiders, love bugs, swarming crickets, copperheads, cottonmouths, rabid skunks, wild hogs, alligators, oppressive heat & humidity, bleak desolate scenery, dirty beaches, polluted air, dust storms, drought, wildfires, water shortages, recurring floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, rednecks, huge piles of flaming mulch, spontaneously combusting playgrounds, roads hot as flowing lava, the stench of natural and unnatural gasses, amoebic meningitis lurking in area lakes, recurring Ebola virus outbreaks, flesh eating bacteria, staggering homeowner insurance rates, unbelievably high property taxes, mandatory death sentences for DUI convictions, polygamous religious sects, and, lest we forget, doesn't look kindly towards Yankees (per Orchidflower).
All too true. Despite it all, the Texas economy is holding up reasonably well. Real estate in Austin remains stubbornly expensive.

Austin Real Estate Blog

We have been following the downtown condo market. It has gone through the looking glass into true absurdity. $400/sq.ft? Yikes!

AustinTowers.net Downtown Austin Condo Guide
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