Moving to Florida Pros Cons of moving and living in Florida Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:53:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The 5 Most Affordable Places to Live in Florida 2015 Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:53:42 +0000 We Chose the Most Affordable Places Like You Would

There are more “best places” lists than ever because they draw page views, that in turn sells advertising, which is the real purpose of most websites and blogs that put out the lists. Many of these lists are worthless but unfortunately some people will end up making important life altering mistakes based on them. I just saw a list that named three of Florida’s cities with the highest crime rates as their best places to retire. They didn’t feel crime was important enough to use as a criteria. Stupid.

The places we name here are among the most affordable places to live in Florida now and in 2015, but they may not be the absolute cheapest. Why? Because we did not include places that have high crime rates. I don’t think you want to try to save money by greatly increasing your chances, or that of your family, of becoming a victim of a violent crime. There are still a few places in Florida that are affordable and safe, but they are disappearing quick.

We also did not include places where you may be safe, but it takes a two hour round trip to get to a grocery store or there’s nothingsponge docks in Tarpon Springs Florida to do outdoors except swat mosquitoes and sweat profusely. So we didn’t include places where the population would double if you moved there.

If a place had a lower cost of living and the crime rate was lower or about average for Florida (which is higher than most other states) then it was considered. The place had to be what most people would consider “livable” because it has shops, restaurants and maybe even parks so you can enjoy your life. There are better and worse schools in just about every town in Florida, but a place had to have average or better schools overall to make our list. So overall, the following five places are the “best” most affordable places to live in Florida in 2015.

A Warning about “Most Affordable” Places in Florida

If you are lucky enough to buy a home when prices are low, that’s great. Just be aware that by law, Florida’s home value’s are reassessed every year. In a high growth state like Florida, home values can skyrocket faster than you ever saw in the state you’re moving form, taking your real estate tax bill into the stratosphere. High tax bills has forced people out their Florida homes in the past and it will in the future too. It forces landlords to raise rents too.

In the beginning of 2014, the insurance industry awarded Florida the distinction of officially having the highest homeowners insurance rates in the country. This is after a record 8 years of not having a major hurricane make landfall. A major hurricane could wipe-out a big chunk of Florida the first hurricane season after you move in, causing rates to shoot up. Insurance rate hikes of 100%, 200% or more in the past has forced people from their homes in Florida, and I personally see that happening again. It could happen your first year in Florida.

After hurricane hits and during recessions, oil spills washing up on beaches, jobs in Florida can disappear quicker than most states and people leave Florida. Even if your Florida property increased in value dramatically when times were good, during these times your home value may sink lower than you paid, possible far lower. During bad times (like after the last recession) the sellers can drastically outnumber the buyers in Florida, making selling any home almost impossible.

Sea-level rise, sink holes and a host of other issues that you may face in Florida, that you don’t where you live now, could make a “most affordable” place very unaffordable in the future. Any life altering long distance move should be thoroughly researched, especially if you aren’t wealthy and a move to the wrong place could end up causing financial distress.

If it’s your dream is to move to an affordable place in Florida in 2015, these are the places in Florida to consider. A couple places are also on my best small towns in Florida for 2015 I did a few weeks ago. A quick check of available properties showed that many of the best properties in the lower part of the range just went under agreement of sale in towns on the that list. When small towns get hit with buyers, affordability can change quickly. Learning all you can about what it’s really like to live in Florida before you commit and choosing the right place to live is critical.

#1 Dunedin Florida

Bike-able, walkable and just plain likeable, this is one of the safest towns in Florida that’s close to both beaches and a major city. This was also a pick on our recent best small towns 2015 list. A quick check showed there were still plenty of condos under $100,000, but the better single family homes $200,000 were selling quickly. A small town with good schools, low crime, low cost of living, average job prospects near beaches and all the amenities you could want, Dunedin is what most people move to Florida for, but never really find.

See a video about #1 Dunedin, Florida


#2 Tavares Florida

This is a great choice for affordable living in a very safe town with plenty of amenities. It’s close enough to do day trips to enjoy the theme parks in Orlando and even the beaches on Florida’s east coast, but not close enough to suffer from the drawbacks of living there, as covered in the Florida Move Guide. The area’s schools are slightly better than average for Florida and job prospects are OK too, and may improve the more you’re willing to commute.

Watch a video about #2 Tavares, Florida.


#3 Edgewater Florida

This is our only Florida east coast pick and a great choice if you’re moving to Florida for the beach or you’re a NASCAR fan. Mostly quiet uncrowded beaches are just minuets away and if you want more excitement, Daytona Beach isn’t far either. Edgewater is right off I-95 so trips north are convenient. Affordable, very safe, good schools, average job prospects all add up to a town worth serious consideration.

See a video about #3 Edgewater, Florida


#4 Tarpon Springs Florida

How could you go wrong with a town in Florida named after a fish? The last time I was in Tarpon Springs I drank a little too much ouzo after a fine meal at a fantastic little Greek restaurant down by the “sponge docks”. Tarpon Springs is just a few miles from the #1 town on this list, and also close to towns on our best small towns list for 2015, so this general area is probably the best in Florida to be looking at right now. Tarpon springs is very affordable for Florida, has an average amount of crime for Florida, and better than average schools and job prospects. Sandy beaches and access to everything in Tampa and St Pete isn’t far away.

Yup, got a video for #4 Tarpon Springs for you too.


#5 Niceville

Who wouldn’t want to live in a town with the word “nice ” right in it? Sure beats a place called Rottenville, right? Niceville is different than most of the picks in this list because it’s a small town nowhere near a larger Florida City. It’s like a modern day Mayberry, if there were such a thing. It is close to great beaches with warm clear water and a very laid back lifestyle. There are lots of mom & pop restaurants, shops and tiki bars in the area. It’s Ideally suited for folks from rural areas and big cities refugees that really want a slower pace of life. Niceville is very affordable and has a very low crime rate because most of the people that live there are, well, nice. The schools are great, job prospects are surprisingly good. Located in Florida’s panhandle, its an easier trip home by car to states west of Florida than the other towns on the list. Well worth taking a look.

Time for a Video on #5 Niceville, Florida

]]> 0
Best Places to Live in Florida 2015 Small Towns Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:28:12 +0000 Despite what most people believe about Florida being the best place to live, Florida is only the 31rst best place to live out of the 50 states according to the book “How to Retire Happier”, due out late September 2014. That’s not just some author’s (me) flawed view, it’s the result of examining and ranking all of the quality of life data that one should consider in deciding if a place is worth leaving family and friends behind and spending lots of cash to move to, backed up by national polling. Did you know that most Florida residents don’t feel Florida is the best or one of the best states to live in according to Gallop polling? If anyone would know, it would Florida residents.

That said, the book also says that even if a state ranks low, there are towns in every state where the quality of life is better than the state as a whole. While the book says your chances of being happy with a move to Florida is less than 50% (backed up by data, polling and in/out migration statistics and more), moving to the best places in Florida are likely to increase your odds.

To find the best small towns to live in Florida, we looked for places with a population under 50,000 to try to get that “small town feeling”. That’s not as easy in Florida as it is in many other states. Much of Florida has been developed more recently and many towns don’t have a proper downtown but instead have busier roads with strip malls and big box stores. Many small towns are just a suburb of larger cities and if you miss the “welcome to” sign you wouldn’t know you were in a different town. Florida has a very transient population so finding a town with a sense of community or community spirit can be difficult.

The following small towns in Florida are where I believe you’ll have the best chance of finding what you’re looking for in a move to Florida in 2015. They all have lower rates of crime and other things you don’t want when looking for a place to live, and more of what you do want that improves the quality of life for it’s residents. To make our list, the towns had to have a lower cost of living than Florida in general. Providing a list of great places that only the very wealthy can afford to live in wouldn’t serve most people. Although these towns may cost less to live in than the Florida average, they aren’t cheap. Choosing the right place to live in Florida is critical. This list is a good place to start if you’re looking for the best small towns to live in, in the sunshine state.

Best Place to Live in Florida 2015 Small Town #5 Temple Terrace, Florida

If you’re looking for a “small town” but want to be close to all the amenities that a large city offers, then Temple Terrace deserves your

"New Temple Terrace entry tower, 56th Street" by Tlalock446

“New Temple Terrace entry tower, 56th Street” by Tlalock446

serious consideration. Florida has a higher violent crime rate than most states, but Temple Terrace’s rate is lower than Florida’s average. The cost of Living here is slightly lower than Florida as a whole, but school graduation rates are considerably higher.

The reason I chose Temple Terrace is that it ranks higher in all the quality of life data than Florida overall, but it’s also just a short drive to Busch Gardens, professional sporting events, all the shopping and dining that a large cities like Tampa and st Petersburg offers, and you’re near beaches too. So while living in Temple Terrace you’ll benefit from less of what you don’t want like traffic jams and crime, but close enough to big city amenities so you won’t be sacrificing excitement or opportunities.

See a Video of Temple Terrace Florida


Best Place to Live in Florida 2015 Small Town #4 Niceville, Florida

If the perfect small town in Florida for you would be a place far from big city lights and issues, Niceville Florida may be your best bet in 2015. Located in Florida’s less populated panhandle area just a short drive to beautiful Gulf of Mexico beaches, Niceville is a great choice if you want a quieter more relaxing small town and won’t miss large city amenities. This general area has been the subject of other posts on this site because of it’s low unemployment rate.

This area offers residents more of the enjoyable old time Florida that has disappeared from most of the rest of Florida. The crime rate is far lower too. It’s a great area to enjoy less crowded beaches, fishing and seafood shacks. There are beaches and towns in the area that are popular with spring breakers if you want to partake in a little craziness a couple weeks out of the year. Who wouldn’t want to live in a place called Niceville?

See a Video of Niceville Florida


Best Place to Live in Florida 2015 Small Town #3 Safety Harbor

Safety Harbor is another town in the Tampa St Petersburg area that offers residents a lower crime rate, a slightly lower cost of living (but slightly higher home prices) and better high school graduation rates than the rest of Florida. Safety Harbor is just a short ride to large city amenities, the Tampa airport and beaches, so you can enjoy smaller town living with out giving anything up.

Safety Harbor is right next door to more affordable Dunedin our #2 pick, so if you don’t have a lot of time to shop for a new place to live in Florida, exploring this area is a great choice. If you’ll need to work after moving to Florida, Safety Harbor offers easy access to both the Tampa and St Pete job markets. Schools in the area have a lower ratio of students to teachers and a higher high school graduation rate than Florida in general. If small town living with good schools and job opportunities in Florida are what you require, Safety Harbor may be ideal for your family.

See a Video of Safety Harbor Florida


Best Place to Live in Florida 2015 Small Town #2 Dunedin, Florida

Why should you consider Dunedin, Florida when searching for a great small town to live in Florida? Well Dunedin has a lower cost of

ball park in Dunedin Florida

“Knology Park” by User Mikerussell on en.wikipedia

living, a much lower violent crime rate, a lower commute time and higher high school graduation rate than what you’ll find in most of Florida. Dunedin has a real downtown that was recently voted as being among the most walkable small towns in the US. If you’re looking for a place to live where you can park the car and walk to a safe downtown with shops, restaurants and pubs, Dunedin might be for you.

Dunedin is right next door to Safety Harbor, another pick on this list, and just a short drive to our #5 pick of Temple Terrace. This area certainly offers those seeking the ideal small town in Florida something special. Actually together with Venice our #1 pick for the best small town to live in in 2015, 4 of the 5 best small towns are all within an hours drive of each other. That can make investigating these towns much easier and less expensive to accomplish.

See a Video of Dunedin, Florida


Best Place to Live in Florida 2015 Small Town #1 Venice Florida

Venice Florida has made one of our best places to live or retire in Florida list every year, for years. A historic downtown area on the “Island of

sunset over water venice florida

“VeniceSunset”. Via Wikipedia

Venice” within walking and biking distance of parks and public beaches makes this place special. The cost of living and housing are just slightly less than average for Florida, but there are areas off the island section where less expensive homes and condo can be found.

The high school graduation rate in the Venice area is higher than most of Florida. Venice residents can commute to Sarasota, St Petersburg and Tampa in less than an hour so there are opportunities for employment. But it’s the miles of bike paths, many different beaches and the very walkable island of Venice that make this a great place to live. Golf courses, boat ramps and properties with access to the Gulf of Mexico add up a great quality of life. Venice is only about an hour from 3 other picks on this list, so this area of Florida is the best bet for better small town living in Florida.

See a Video of Venice Florida

Have You Ever Been to any of These Towns?

]]> 0