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Where to live in Florida?
Old 12-19-2016, 01:49 PM   #1
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Where to live in Florida?

As a boater and someone who hates the cold I am considering relocating to Florida when I FIRE.

Where do you think the best place to live in Florida and why?

Does it make sense to buy now and rent it if I don't plan to live there for a few more years?

Thanks
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Old 12-19-2016, 02:42 PM   #2
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We like Cape Coral. For your boating needs, there are 400 miles of canals to explore, along with Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, St. James City, etc. We have all the retail stores and dozens of restaurants all within a few miles of us. It's busy in season, but the whole state seems to be getting that way.


There are many folks buying houses in our area, gutting and updating them and renting them out by the week or month. Presumably some are for personal use later in life. If you don't mind putting more money in the house later, I suppose this approach reduces the acquisition expense depending on how beat up the house gets. We use ours in the peak season so never considered renting it out.
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Old 12-19-2016, 02:48 PM   #3
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I prefer the southwest coast of Florida. Fort Myers, Naples, Marco Island.

Having said that, look to northeast Florida. I do not need any more competition for properties when I am ready to move there.
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Old 12-19-2016, 03:33 PM   #4
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Do you enjoy boating on the open Atlantic Ocean ?? Or would you like the more often calmer waters of the Gulf ?? Or do you prefer interior Rivers and Canals ??

I know the fresh water might be easier on your outdrive, but maybe you like to open the throttle every once in a while.

Only you can answer. But your next vacation destination should be easy to choose.
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Where to live in Florida?
Old 12-19-2016, 04:23 PM   #5
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Where to live in Florida?

We bought a place in a small coastal town between Ft Lauderdale and Boca Raton. Plenty of shopping and restaurants. Lots of canals and oceanfront condos. Plenty of marinas with many condos including docking spaces. Close to major airports and cruise ports. Atlantic coast nicer than gulf waters IMO. We had a place near Tampa for ten years but decided to move to the east coast. Traffic much better here than in Tampa area.
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Old 12-19-2016, 08:23 PM   #6
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From Sarasota south to Ft. Myers/Naples would be the preferable area. Any farther north, and it actually gets a little cold from time to time.

Get up in the Panhandle, and winters are blustery and downright cold.
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Old 12-19-2016, 08:41 PM   #7
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From Sarasota south to Ft. Myers/Naples would be the preferable area. Any farther north, and it actually gets a little cold from time to time.

Get up in the Panhandle, and winters are blustery and downright cold.
+1. Sarasota to Naples is best area. If I could afford it i'd buy in Sarasota and snowbird very winter. Siesta Key beach is the best i've seen. Miami Beach is pathetic by comparison IMO. Traffic is worse on the East side from Fort Lauderdale south.
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Old 12-19-2016, 08:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by djr59 View Post
As a boater and someone who hates the cold I am considering relocating to Florida when I FIRE.

Where do you think the best place to live in Florida and why?

Does it make sense to buy now and rent it if I don't plan to live there for a few more years?

Thanks
There are a lot of different communities in Florida, and it's best to experience them for yourself to decide. Any place south of Orlando is going to be warm most of the time. We are in Dunedin, west of Tampa, and it was 80 degrees today. We have low temperatures occasionally, but nothing that is really "cold" by northern standards.

As far as buying now and renting, I would say no, since you don't even know where to buy. There will be plenty of housing available always, so look at it as an investment. If the market was soft, like it was in 2011, then a different story. But now, prices are relatively high again. Wait of the next bubble to burst if you can.
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Old 12-19-2016, 08:58 PM   #9
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The humidity scares me. Oh ya, and the hurricanes. So for now I need to stay in California.
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:44 PM   #10
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Don't listen to any of these people. SWFL is a miserable place, full of gators and snakes and fire ants and slow left lane people with their turn signals on for miles and miles. The east coast is much better, but I suspect you'd be even happier in TX.
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:59 PM   #11
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The humidity scares me. Oh ya, and the hurricanes. So for now I need to stay in California.
You must be shaking in your boots

Sorry it must be my fault
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:06 PM   #12
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Don't listen to any of these people. SWFL is a miserable place, full of gators and snakes and fire ants and slow left lane people with their turn signals on for miles and miles. The east coast is much better, but I suspect you'd be even happier in TX.
Don't forget the lines of tourists. Can't go out to dinner till they go home.

Someone else asked. What do you think it would look like?
Endless golf, beaches, fishing?
On saltwater or fresh? Deep sea or flats? Ever think about the Keys? My in laws left a dream home after Hurricane Andrew and being blocked from going north.

Point is you can probably narrow down some of what your looking for. Do that then make some visits in peak season.
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Old 12-20-2016, 04:11 AM   #13
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We like the Ft.Meyers/Cape Coral area, all the way south to Naples (good luck affording that!). I was in Ft. M last week when the arctic cold hit up north. It actually got down to the low 50's (daytime) ONE day, the worked back up to 83 two days later. The Ft. M/CC area has grown population 40% between 2000-2014, BTW.

We owned a condo between FT. M and Naples a few years ago. If you are selective on what you buy, you can rent your place out to snowbirds (Jan-March/April) and pick up about 1/2 of the cost of your payments (mortgage) and fees. You then have the rest of the year for personal use, letting family use it etc. You can even buy it as an investment rental, and get some great deductions (it does limit personal use each year, however).

We had great luck renting ours for about $3500 a month. And at that rate (plus they pay the entire amount UP FRONT), you get a class of renters that usually take care of your stuff. We used VRBO and had excellent results.

Our plan was to rent it out for 15-20 years then retire there. The plan changed and we sold it, but it wasn't because of the condo we bought or problems with renters.
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Old 12-20-2016, 06:22 AM   #14
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The terrain, communities, cost of housing, cultural opportunities, types of outdoor activities, people, places most affected by tourists, and even weather are very diverse in the state. It's both a long (Jax to Keys about 500 miles) and wide (Jax to Pensacola about 375 miles) state. To make a informed decision it would be best to experience a few different areas at different times of the year before you consider buying.

Cheers!
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Old 12-20-2016, 06:50 AM   #15
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The humidity scares me. Oh ya, and the hurricanes. So for now I need to stay in California.


I was hit by three hurricanes while in Pennsylvania since 1998. Have yet to be touched by one in Florida (knocking on wood) since we first bought down here in 2006. Grew up in California and had several earthquakes, neighbors affected by mud slides, and taxes going through the roof.
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Old 12-20-2016, 07:04 AM   #16
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Don't listen to any of these people. SWFL is a miserable place, full of gators and snakes and fire ants and slow left lane people with their turn signals on for miles and miles. The east coast is much better, but I suspect you'd be even happier in TX.
+1 everything that harley says is true.
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:08 AM   #17
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each florida town is different, and each subdivision withing each town is different. I would not buy until you've made a decision of exactly what you want. I've been in jacksonville since 81 and love most everything about it. It's different than the rest of Florida. If you would like to live in "the biggest little hick town in the world", this place is it!
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:09 AM   #18
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If you like boating, move to Seattle. Florida is humid and too flat! We got very excited when our vehicle climbed a overpass, which I think was the highest point for 200 miles in all directions.

Nothing like waking up in the summer in Seattle with a cup of coffee, brisk 70 degree day and seeing the snow capped mountains in the distance. Oh yeah, and you are having your coffee in the cockpit of your sailboat moored in Friday Harbor.
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:19 AM   #19
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You must be shaking in your boots

Sorry it must be my fault
50ish years in California and have felt less than 10 earthquakes and had zero damage to date (knocking on wood as I type). I don't think about them until someone from another state mentions it. Lol.
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:21 AM   #20
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I live in Jacksonville. Northeast section of Florida. I have been here since 1993 (Navy) and will probably die here. The cost of living is relatively inexpensive here compared to the southeast and southwest areas of Florida. Plenty of beaches, surfing, fishing, and sun. I guess it kind of depends on how much money you want to spend. It was 81 and 83 here this past weekend. It does get cold, but nothing like the north.

Mike
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