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Old 16-12-2009, 07:21   #1
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Best South Florida Home Base?

The Admiral and I are starting to look at retirement and relocating from central Ohio to south Florida in the next year or two. This subject gets more play between us as the thermometer drops here into the teens as it did today.
The plan is to move to a boating and retirement friendly community spending half the year cruising and the other half as C.L.O.D.s. The other criteria in our search are the quality of life and being in an area that our children would want to visit and spend time at. But being in Ohio and not having a whole lot of time to spend in each possible community we are not sure where to start to look.
Has anyone else made this move and have any recommendations as to the better/best areas?

Mike
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Old 16-12-2009, 07:51   #2
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If you dont mind a city thats about 100 miles long packed with millions of people, very high proprity tax, very high insurance rates, high crime, lots of gangs- you will like it here, Ive been here near 50 years , and if i was thinking about moving to a place I had no ties with it would not be here, im here 5 months a year now, and i come back because on my family lives here and i have a home there--
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Old 16-12-2009, 07:53   #3
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If I had the budget for a slip Fort Lauderdale is certainly a place I'd consider if I wanted a home base in SE Florida for a while. The beach, restaurants, shops, and great swimming pool are all an easy walk from the marinas on the ICW. One can take a dinghy to many places via the canals. The bus system isn't bad from what I've seen.

I also like the atmosphere of Key West but the anchorages there wouldn't appeal to me as a retirement winter lifestyle.

I'm personally hoping for early retirement winters in the Bahamas. Much more my style than Florida.
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Old 16-12-2009, 07:53   #4
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I live in Tampa and like this area very much. The Ft. Myers/Punta Gorda area is also very nice.

I would, however, suggest that you spend a good bit of time visiting before you move. Some people prefer the Gulf coast (my wife and I, for instance). Others prefer the Atlantic coast. The Keys are also very nice, though a bit pricey.

A word of warning, though. I read some time back that almost 2/3rds of the people who move to Florida, move back to where they came from within two years. Basic reason? They visit in the fall, spring, winter and find it lovely. Then they get a load of a Florida summer--hot, humid, buggy--and they simply cannot tolerate it.

So, before moving down here, I would suggest a couple of things...

1. Visit both the east and west coasts to see if you have a preference.
2. Visit in the July/August time frame to see if you can adapt to Florida summers.
3. Also visit in the Feb/March time frame to see if you can tolerate the crowds of snowbirds. I can tell you from personal experience that Sanibel Island in August is a VERY different place from Sanibel Island in March! My wife and I enjoy it in the summertime, but steer clear when it is packed wall-to-wall with snowbirds.

Good luck!
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Old 16-12-2009, 08:00   #5
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some areas on the southwest coast are still worth looking into .. there is a rumor that they are not as exposed to hurricanes but that is still up for discussion. the summers are rough that is for sure.
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Old 16-12-2009, 08:43   #6
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Unless your funds are virtually unlimited, and maybe even if they are, I can highly recommend the west coast, or the panhandle. Sorta depends on what you like. You might even consider the gulf coast of Ala. or Miss. If you like the hustle and bustle head farther south. If you like quaint little towns, and a much more laid back lifestyle, the panhandle may be what you want. If you go for the more laid back style, check out Carabelle, Appalachicola or Port St. Joe, in the panhandle. The number of dollars you have, and the lifestyle you prefer will guide you. If you like arts, opera, and upscale living, the panhandle is not for you.
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Old 16-12-2009, 09:31   #7
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Florida's west coast has a lot of appeal, but it lacks the closeness to the Bahamas that SE Florida offers. Maybe if one planned only one round trip to the Bahamas per year, or less, it would not be such a significant difference. Compare about 10-12 hours from Ft. Lauderdale to several days from SW Florida, correct?
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Old 16-12-2009, 10:01   #8
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Thanks all so far!

The initial plan was to find a place on the east coast because of the proximity to the Bahammas. Ft. Lauderdale was toward the top of our list (the yachting capital of the world? lol) but have heard rumors of what has been mentioned previously. We've expanded our area from Jupiter south to Marathon, but are afraid the keys are going to be a bit too pricy.

As I said, we intend to be cruising the better part of the year, especially when the south Florida climate is not so pleasant. Basicly looking for a nice place to store our stuff, park the boat and ourselves a few months out of the year and entertain kids (and hopefully grandkids ).

Mike
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Old 16-12-2009, 10:15   #9
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Quote:
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Thanks all so far!

The initial plan was to find a place on the east coast because of the proximity to the Bahammas. Ft. Lauderdale was toward the top of our list (the yachting capital of the world? lol) but have heard rumors of what has been mentioned previously. We've expanded our area from Jupiter south to Marathon, but are afraid the keys are going to be a bit too pricy.

As I said, we intend to be cruising the better part of the year, especially when the south Florida climate is not so pleasant. Basicly looking for a nice place to store our stuff, park the boat and ourselves a few months out of the year and entertain kids (and hopefully grandkids ).

Mike
s/v Fair Wind
Port St Luce is the place its not crowed houseing has dropped off a cliff , you can buy a nice house for $100k there now and its very close to the bahamas(Walkers cay)
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Old 16-12-2009, 10:42   #10
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Port St Luce is the place its not crowed houseing has dropped off a cliff , you can buy a nice house for $100k there now and its very close to the bahamas(Walkers cay)
IMO, if I were looking at the PSL area, I'd look a little further south (5-10 miles, depending on where you're measuring) in the Jensen Beach/Stuart area. We very nearly moved to that area a couple years ago. Martin county is a little nicer, has better schools, and would be a better investment for virtually the same money.

$.02
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Old 16-12-2009, 11:07   #11
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Mike,

Take a hard look at Stuart. I have lived in Fort Lauderdale for 11 years and love it, however it is a dense urban environment. Stuart is better suited for retirees. In addition you have a lot of boating destinations that do not require going off shore.
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Old 16-12-2009, 11:13   #12
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Mike,
I moved six times while living in Florida. I loved it, but would highly recommend the Pan handle area. Prices are lower, and you are off the beaten path of tourism. However, wherever tourists go have nice amenities for example restaurants and night-life. After Florida I continued moving and eventually found myself in Marion, OH and then Columbus for a short time. I understand the difficulties of Ohio living since I traveled just over 2 hours to get to Sandusky, where the boat was docked.
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Old 16-12-2009, 12:16   #13
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For sailing SE Florida is a great place. As said before easy access to the Keys and Bahamas. The real estate prices have dropped like a rock and good bargains in homes are everywhere. The real estate people here are predicting a further drop in home prices in the next year to year and a half. Some estimates are 30% and lower. Not good news for us that are already here but might be worth holding off a little bit to see what happens. But the important thing that has also been mentioned before is the south Florida summers. Good advice to stay here for a summer first before committing. The heat here can be oppressive even for us natives. Also don't forget hurricane season and where you'll keep your boat. There are private docks behind folks homes that are becoming more available as the economy suffers so finding a place to dock should be getting easier by the month.
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Old 16-12-2009, 12:24   #14
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I had the same plan about 5 years go, took a week off and went to the Ft Myers area to look around. There was alot to like. My search range went from Naples area to Punta Gorda.
(with only a week, I had to narrow it somewhat)

5 years ago, the market was at or about its peak, the prices were way over inflated, the math wasn't working. So I backed away. ( good thing, because it all came crashing down) Today, I believe the prices might be the best you'll ever see, and I'm considering another trip down. I have also heard that prices in the keys are better than ever.

I found alot of mid-westerners on the west coast. There seems to be alot of easterners, NY, NJ, Canadians etc on the east coast. I ( A new Jersey guy) Happen to like the west coast, it seemed more laid back, friendlier, less dense. Yes, more difficult to access the Bahamas though. A boat though, is movable, a home less so.

Many people recommend renting for awhile, or spending time in a place 1st before buying. Sometimes you can't judge how well it works for you, on a short visit.

However, the Prices are very appealing now. Florida is Huge, though, and there are an infinite number of options. I wouldn't wait to start the process of exploration and elimination. Decide East Coast or West Coast, and then get down there and explore.

As someone who remembers Ft Lauderdale in 1970, it's unrecognizable today, way too dense for me. There were more..construction cranes there 5 years ago, than the feathered type....If I were thinking east coast, I would explore further north as some have said here. I hear that from friends in Ft Lauderdale too.
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Old 16-12-2009, 12:38   #15
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If you are an avid sailor, I can tell you that the sailing is much better from points south of Ft Lauderdale than from anywhere north of there on the southeast coast. The reason is that with few exceptions (Lake Worth comes to mind), the inlets north of Lauderdale are narrow with fast moving currents, standing waves, etc., very difficult to navigate with a small diesel and lots of displacement. Also, they are fairly far apart, and there are no anchorages in between (just exposed coast). So it's difficult to go anywhere, especially for a shorter trip. I live in Jupiter and my boat is in Miami. It's worth the drive for me, I don't daysail, so adding a 90 minute commute to the trip is no problem. However, real estate in Ft Lauderdale or Miami (or anywhere near the populated areas of the SE coast) is high. If you want to have places to sail to AND reasonable real estate costs, you'll need to move further west or south of the cities, out of the populated areas. You will still be within an hour of a marina. Speaking of which, these are not cheap either, but some are less than others, and a mooring will save lots of bucks. There are numerous threads here already on this topic. Good luck!
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