View Full Version : Floridians Needed
January 6th, 2004, 9:05pm
My best friend who just moved to Largo, FL called today. After speaking with her, my usual yearning to move south resurfaced. I have vacationed in FL before and I have lived in the south before and I love it. I hate the NY winters. (In fact, I don't much care for the spring or fall here either.) I like HOT weather. I'm not bothered by the creepy crawlies (I've lived with Palmetto bugs before.) I like to see the sun. (Not usually visible in Rochester.) And I love the southern attitude.
So, my husband and I are considering moving to FL. Any advice, tips, etc. are appreciated. We are thinking of either the Orlando or the Tampa area but are open to suggestions. My husband is a chef so there has to be a good fine dining scene. We have a 5 year old so good schools are important. Also, cost of living info would be greatly appreciated. I know that there are wage median calculators online but they never seem accurate. The "supposed" average wage for a chef in Rochester is $56,000. That's about $20,000 over the actual wage. So, I guess I'm looking to hear straight from the horse's mouth. Pros, cons, affordable neighborhoods, local tidbits, whatever! TIA!
I know a move to FL would mean less sweeps available to me but I'll have to live with it! :laugh:
January 7th, 2004, 12:08am
Well, you are in luck, as I live in both Orlando and the Tampa area. I go to school in St. Petersburg, which is just over the Howard Franklin bridge from Tampa, so I live there part of the week during the school year.
Where do I begin? I LOVE St. Petersburg. They have alleyways between the houses, and it is sort of a kitschy (sp?) place. I don't know about how much they have in the way of fine dining, but if your DH couldn't find a job there that he cared about, Tampa is 30 minutes away. Should you look in the St. Pete area, I recommend the Old Northeast section. It is beautiful, and is on the bay side rather than being on the Gulf side of St. Pete. They have great schools there also, though I haven't checked them for ratings, I know my friend who lives in Old Northeast said the realtor told her they were in an "A" rated school district. (The school ratings are based on a test called the FCAT, and schools who don't do well have to raise their passage rates or risk losing certain school funding.)
I don't know whether I would say that I LOVE Orlando the way I love St. Pete. I like quirky, and St. Pete is more of that, and more laid back than Orlando. St. Pete, of course, is really close to the beach if that persuades you at all. But, other than traffic, I really can't complain about Orlando. It is just sometimes hard to get across town, depending on which route you have to go. Lots of fine dining, the best being Emeril's out at Universal's City Walk (I have eaten there twice and I could rave about it for hours). There are several upscale restaurants in downtown Orlando, and scattered all around the suburbs, especially the suburb called Winter Park. The bulk of Winter Park is a high dollar area, and it costs a LOT by Florida standards to get into a house there, but your house appreciates in value VERY quickly there. The area where I live is wonderful, except they are zero lot lines, so you are pretty much crammed close to your neighbors. But, the schools are all A schools. The area is Waterford Lakes, and it is growing and growing, and is quite a popular area of Orlando, so housing is starting to rise. We bought our 3 br, 2 ba home in 1996 for $95k, and it is now worth $160k. Houses here sell within weeks of being listed, and some sell before the actual listing hits (especially when it gets to be about time for the kids to go back to school). I don't know what chefs make in this area, and I don't know any to ask. But you can have a nice house in a nice neighborhood with neighbors who care, and have great schools for your kids for about $130k in this area. Right next to Waterford, and still in the A school ranges, are Eastwood, Stoneybrook (also sometimes called Stoneybrook East because they made a Stoneybrook West on the other side of Orlando), Avalon. All of these areas are on the east side of Orlando, and you'll be about an hour away from Cocoa Beach and less than 30 minutes away from Disney, Sea World and Universal Studios.
I hope this helps a little. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! I am starting back to school tomorrow, so I don't know how often I'll be on OLS. You can always email me though at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 7th, 2004, 2:08am
Well, why didn't you say so earlier?? My BF and I just sold our house in Orlando. It was located in Thornton Park which is a really cute neighborhood. Nice lakes, nice neighbors, bricked streets. Kinda pricey, though. Jacksonville is charming but not too much of a fine dining scene here. You might want to also consider Miami. Lots of heat, lots of restaraunts. Good luck to you and keep us updated!!
January 7th, 2004, 11:29am
Been here for 14 years and guess I like it or I would have left by now. Before getting into the legal field, I was in the restaurant biz for 8 years down here in tourist land. Can tell you your hubby probably won't make that kind of money but cost of living has to be cheaper down here. My advice on that front would be for him to check out the big hotels here and maybe even Disney. There are restaurant headhunters here but can't remember the name of the company...will require more research. As far as location in Orlando, I live in the Southwest tourist area really, really close to Universal Studios. I was able to purchase a home in 2001 (that I rented for 8 freaking years) for $100,000 but live in an area where the homes are anywhere from $200 up to millions. Therefore, schools are pretty good here (well, except for the high schools). Unfortunately, Orlando hasn't handled the massive growth well and there is overcrowding but in my son's school for example, it's not bad. He's one of 19 in 1st grade and the teacher is superb! Please feel free to pm with any other questions I can answer. :cool2:
January 8th, 2004, 11:37pm
Thanks for all the great info all!
I should have explained myself better. I WISH we could afford to buy a house but alas we are stuck as renters for now. We're paying $610 for a smallish 2 bedroom in a 1970's complex in a good suburb right now (that includes heat and hot water and it's a pretty good deal for this area.) It's also got a pool but there's only about a month and a half where it is actually warm enough to use it! :laugh: I've searched apartments in FL on the net and they seem gorgeous in the $600-$700 range. Pools, fitness centers, raquetball courts, gazebos, etc. Is that truly the case?
We're still in the considering stage but I find FL to be a very attractive place to live. My DH just interviewed at a job up here with a company that also has locations in Melbourne and Daytona Beach. So we're hoping that he can work for the company here for a year or so and then get transferred. Melbourne looks very nice to me.
LLamas: It sounds like we have the same type of taste in quirky, funky towns! :) The reason I was focusing more on the Orlando area is because it seemed cheaper. Is that right? We tend to move around a lot so as long as we end up in a decent area we can better explore FL after we move there.
Thanks all so much.
I'll be thinking of you all soaking up the rays :cool3: and watching the palms blow in the breeze while I dig my car out from the 2 feet of snow we've gotten in the past couple days! :laugh: :snowman: It's supposed to be in the single digits tomorrow! :cry2:
January 9th, 2004, 5:47am
Yes, I would say that Orlando is generally cheaper. But, for it's location, St. Pete is a great deal.
There are tons of apartment complexes in Orlando with all those amenities in the $600 to $700 price range. Size of the apartments in those ranges will vary widely, depending on their location. I bet you could almost get a mortgage for that right now here in Orlando. If not a regular mortgage, perhaps with an interest only mortgage (I don't know much about those, but a friend of mine has one, and it sounds almost too good to be true).
January 9th, 2004, 9:59am
I live in FL- my husbands family lives in Orlando- most of them... We were debating on moving to Orlando, because we are not in the best area job wise for either of us- He currently spends weeks on end out of town working and staying with other relatives because the top pay here is so poor- but, our closest friends moved down there, about a year ago- He was promoted to manager just last month and is making better than I do here, and she is also doing quite well- we are kind of jealous because we are better educated and more experienced! The basic 'livable' starting price we gather is around 160,000 in areas that are safe- this coming from family and both couples we are friends with who both recently purchased homes... St Pete I would agree probably has a higher demand for chefs'- my x's sister is a chef there and does very well. It all depends I guess on HOW & WHAT YOU are willing to do- we can advise all day- but who knows- you might like to live on the outskirts of these areas which can get a little less costly, or even as someone said commute to Miami for work- long drive- but substantial increase in the payscales...
January 11th, 2004, 10:40pm
I live in the Orlando area (just outside actually) but as a heads up...don't move to this area without a job in this economy!...if you want I would be happy to PM you with a list of companies and places I know are currently hiring :)
January 12th, 2004, 8:08am
I live in the southern part of sarasota, other coast. Just wanted to let you know that the electric and water/sewer runs almost as high as my heat bill up north. So I don't save any monies on utilities. However, I came from the midwest so my heating and yours may differ some. Jobs on this coast are poor for pay scales. I make approx 4-6 bucks an hour less than what I did up north; even tho what I do is the same. The "good ol' boy attitude" that you get to work and play in paradise means that financially you suffer some. I've been blessed however and I love Florida! It's 40 something this am but it will go up to almost 70 today. Our lows here, seem to be the midwest highs. Great luck in your endeavors!!!
January 12th, 2004, 9:34am
The panhandle of Florida near Destin is most beautiful. There are alot of resorts here so that people can vacation and they are very busy March-September (so getting through the winter months might be a bear as far as a job is concerned. Housing is much cheaper on this side of the coast and the beaches here have sugary white sand (when we took my son's picture with the dog's at Christmas most people I know asked if it was snow because it was so white! The water is blue green, not murky blue-grey looking like the Atlantic Coast.
I've lived in Jacksonville. With over a million people (and highways that were not meant for that amount of traffic). Jacksonville big malls, nice restaraunts, an NFL team and lots of things to do year round but I never felt safe there. Crime was at it's peak in the 1990-2000. I would not go back. However, if you choose to live in this area, I would reccomend the San Marco area/Hendricks Avenue area.
I've lived in Cocoa and Merritt Island. I loved it there. Our 2bedroom/2 bath apartment ran $680 a month when I left just last March. It had a pool, racquetball court and the maintainance of the apartments interior wasn't so hot. Appliances like the dishwasher never worked. It put me ten minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and about 45 minutes from Melbourne. An hour from Orlando. The nice part about Merritt Island is that there are casinos and cruise ships where chefs are needed out at Cocoa Beach. They pay well. My friend's brother lived there and worked aboard one of the boats and made big time cash.
Florida is nice. I love the place where I live now the most. The schools are good here. We'd love to have you and as far as the sweeping in Florida is concerned.......I think a group of us just need to make a trip to Tallahassee.......LOL :laugh:
January 12th, 2004, 8:16pm
Thanks so much!
I guess the several feet of snow and temperatures in the negative have really spurred thoughts of moving south. We're still working on saving up money to move but it is definitely our goal to get there in the next couple years. We both grew up in this kind of weather but neither of us care for it anymore. Not only is this info great for us but I can share it with my best friend in Largo since she is brand new to the area also.
You all are great! :gvibes:
January 13th, 2004, 8:55am
I've lived in Tampa for several years now, and it definitely has developed some more charm over the years. Culturally, there are usually at least a few things to do but we could use some improvement there, and the city is in the midst of trying to revitilize the dowtnown area, which is a ghost town after 5 p.m. and on weekends for the most part unless there's a special event going on (like Gasparilla - woohoo!). There are some very good restauarants here, particularly in the South Tampa area, specifically in the SoHo area (for South Howard) and Hyde Park and Palma Ceia, and also Ybor City. The drawback is that the best area(s) in the city to live in are getting VERY expensive for the average person. But you always have the option of just living in a less expensive area and then working/playing in the more exclusive areas. Good luck with your search!
January 13th, 2004, 3:56pm
My sister lives in Cocoa Beach which is 40 minutes away from Orlando. If you live on the outskirts the living expenses are affordable. Very safe. 10 minutes from beach. :smile9:
January 13th, 2004, 6:43pm
I live in an area of Ocala that is absolutely beautiful. We are 70 minutes north of Orlando, 45 minutes west of Daytona, and 90 minutes away from the Gulf, and 45 minutes from Gainesville. The city is not near as big as Orlando, but is growing rapidly. It is a central location and is great for a start up business (you almost can't go wrong here). We have multiple beautiful rivers, lakes, and landmarks. Our horsefarms rival Kentucky's and many famous people call this area home (including John Travolta...OOOOOOhhhhhhh!) Another good thing is that the cost of living is very low here (hence the huge growth). There are a few downsides too.......but just pm me if you're interested at all. Good luck! :smile9: