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-   -   Where to live in Florida? (https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/where-live-florida-878326/)

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 1:17 pm

Where to live in Florida?
 
Hi everyone! My husband and I would love to move to Florida, and are travelling over in a couple of weeks for 2 months to investigate further into areas etc. We have a good understanding of visa's etc and think we can make it work but are not sure where abouts in Florida to move to. We have 2 children aged 7 and 8, so if anybody has any advice or suggestions on where is a great place to live with a family that would be fantastic, thankyou in advance! :)

NatashaB Jun 2nd 2016 1:42 pm

re: Where to live in Florida?
 
What visa will you be coming on? You need to figure that out before working out where to live.


Anyway, Florida schools are not renowned for being great, but some areas are better than others. Check out Greatschools.org for reviews.

Nutmegger Jun 2nd 2016 1:43 pm

re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11962872)
Hi everyone! My husband and I would love to move to Florida, and are travelling over in a couple of weeks for 2 months to investigate further into areas etc. We have a good understanding of visa's etc and think we can make it work but are not sure where abouts in Florida to move to. We have 2 children aged 7 and 8, so if anybody has any advice or suggestions on where is a great place to live with a family that would be fantastic, thankyou in advance! :)


Welcome to BE! Usually location is governed by the job opportunity. What kind of visa are you eligible for? That will dictate everything else. If you search the forum, you will find a lot of threads about the pluses and minuses of FL.

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 1:46 pm

re: Where to live in Florida?
 
Hi, thanks for your info! My husband has his own web design business so location for him is quite flexible! We will be using that for a visa, I'm not sure what it's called, it's my husband who has been speaking to the lawyer and sorting it all out!

NatashaB Jun 2nd 2016 1:52 pm

re: Where to live in Florida?
 
I would verify what you've been told regarding visas. Unless he is opening up a new branch of his company while maintaining the UK branch, or he has hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest, I'm not sure there is a visa opportunity there. I'm no expert though.

moneypenny20 Jun 2nd 2016 1:56 pm

re: Where to live in Florida?
 
Fairly sure you can love anywhere as long as you're not too public about it.

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 1:56 pm

re: Where to live in Florida?
 
My husband has been speaking to a lawyer over there and it's all fine, I don't know the ins and outs but I know it can be done. All I'm asking for is advice on area thankyou :)

Bob Jun 2nd 2016 2:05 pm

Re: Where to love in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11962937)
My husband has been speaking to a lawyer over there and it's all fine, I don't know the ins and outs but I know it can be done. All I'm asking for is advice on area thankyou :)

Plenty of folks say that and find the reality not so much...so people do like to make sure they're not wasting their time.

Reality usually is, location will be dictated by the job.

If you're investing a boat load of cash in a throw away franchise, then it's less of a issue. If you're looking to set up a new office of your business to transfer yourself over, then you might want to see where potential clients are going to be, but that'll depend on your own network and any niche skills you bring to the table.

If he's hoping to find a employer to sponsor him for a visa, then you'd not be able to work, so that would affect the budget and likely suggestions people would have for locations.

End of the day though, advice is only going to be as good as the info you give.

Someone suggesting a place on the lakes because they love boating and fishing won't be as helpful if you prefer hiking in the mountains kind of thing. So you looking for big city life and night life or a smaller town? Want to travel and want to be near a airport or prefer to be near the coast?

Nutmegger Jun 2nd 2016 2:05 pm

Re: Where to love in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11962937)
My husband has been speaking to a lawyer over there and it's all fine, I don't know the ins and outs but I know it can be done. All I'm asking for is advice on area thankyou :)


Sounds like an E-2, which makes the stay impermanent (and with renewals necessary every few years) -- and less than ideal with children who will age out at 21. It also doesn't sound as if this is a business that will offer jobs to Americans, or even need bricks and mortar premises, criteria of the visa. A second opinion might be in order -- this attorney could be telling you what you want to hear.

NatashaB Jun 2nd 2016 2:09 pm

Re: Where to love in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11962937)
My husband has been speaking to a lawyer over there and it's all fine, I don't know the ins and outs but I know it can be done. All I'm asking for is advice on area thankyou :)


I would suggest you educate yourself on what visa options are available and whether you actually qualify for any of them (and what they mean for your children in terms of their ability to stay in the US permanently, since some of those options won't cover them once they turn 21). You don't want to throw away money at a lawyer who is telling you what you want to hear. There are basically 2 options I can see for you - one is an investor visa which involves putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into a business (your children will have to leave when they turn 21 or get their own independent visa through work/marriage), the other is that your husband sets up a new office in FL while keeping the existing office running in the UK (L visa) but as he sounds like a freelancer, that doesn't sound feasible either.

Orangepants Jun 2nd 2016 2:31 pm

Re: Where to love in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11962937)
My husband has been speaking to a lawyer over there and it's all fine, I don't know the ins and outs but I know it can be done. All I'm asking for is advice on area thankyou :)

I've heard the gulf coast has some lovely towns, around Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota. A friend just visited Manasota Key and Boca Grande and highly recommends (for vacation). I have a friend who lives just outside Tampa in Apollo Beach who loves it there.

We just booked a trip to Fort Lauderdale for early July and we'll stop off in St Augustine for a night on the way (we like the Miami, Fort Lauderdale area but I wouldn't want to live there).

If you have two months you'll find all the nice spots!

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 3:09 pm

Re: Where to love in Florida?
 
Great thankyou, will check that out!

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 3:25 pm

Re: Where to love in Florida?
 
Lol. You are making an awful lot of incorrect assumptions there that you have no knowledge about! As i have said previously, visa is not what i am asking for advice on!

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 3:28 pm

Re: Where to love in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Orangepants (Post 11962972)
I've heard the gulf coast has some lovely towns, around Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota. A friend just visited Manasota Key and Boca Grande and highly recommends (for vacation). I have a friend who lives just outside Tampa in Apollo Beach who loves it there.

We just booked a trip to Fort Lauderdale for early July and we'll stop off in St Augustine for a night on the way (we like the Miami, Fort Lauderdale area but I wouldn't want to live there).

If you have two months you'll find all the nice spots!

That definitely gives us something to think about and places to investigate, thankyou very much! :)

celticgrid Jun 2nd 2016 3:33 pm

Re: Where to love in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11962872)
We have a good understanding of visa's etc

Do you? Good.


Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11962924)
We will be using that for a visa, I'm not sure what it's called, it's my husband who has been speaking to the lawyer and sorting it all out!

Ah! So the "we" does not include you?


Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11963012)
Lol. You are making an awful lot of incorrect assumptions there that you have no knowledge about! As i have said previously, visa is not what i am asking for advice on!

Assumptions have to be made because you are not providing the information required to best answer your question. Despite prompts, you seem to want to play some sort of question game.

What's the big secret?

Wintersong Jun 2nd 2016 3:44 pm

Re: Where to love in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Bob (Post 11962946)
Plenty of folks say that and find the reality not so much...so people do like to make sure they're not wasting their time.

I know I'll get crap for this, but in the time it takes to type out a response about visas, people could actually answer the question asked. Or ignore the thread if they don't know the area.

Wouldn't BE be a much more welcoming place if people stopped making assumptions about others and simply treated questions on face value? The OP specifically said they're speaking with a lawyer about visas, so why not let her and her husband worry about that and just proceed to answer the question she has asked? Quite honestly, the responses so far have been really quite rude.


Someone suggesting a place on the lakes because they love boating and fishing won't be as helpful if you prefer hiking in the mountains kind of thing. So you looking for big city life and night life or a smaller town? Want to travel and want to be near a airport or prefer to be near the coast?
This is a good point. To the OP - I wish I could offer you some advice, but I'm on the other side of the country and have never been to Florida. Maybe if you give more info about the type of area you're looking for and which cities you'd like to be close to, some helpful folks might come along ;)

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 4:08 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 
Wow: I came here thinking that some people may be able to offer some advice on their own experiences of the differences in different parts of Florida. However, what I am reading with only a few exceptions is nothing like that at all.

Thanks for trying force the issue to be about Visas, but thats nothing to do with what I am here to ask your opinion on. I don't know why there is a need for snarky & patronising commentary but I guess I shouldn't be so naive to think that people here where looking to be helpful and not flex there intellectual muscle about a subject that is irrelevant to my question.

So lets try and get this back on track one more time. Visa's are not an issue. We do not need Visa advice. Honestly. The advice we seek is about areas....

We are familiar with Florida but would like to know if you guys have any experience of different areas... pros and cons of living there versus somewhere else in the state for a family of 4 as mentioned previously.

We love the water/sea would like to be near it but not a deal breaker to be on the beach or anything; and within maybe 1.5 hours of Orlando. Hope that helps.

I would love to hear your thoughts based on your experiences..

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 4:22 pm

Re: Where to love in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Wintersong (Post 11963022)
I know I'll get crap for this, but in the time it takes to type out a response about visas, people could actually answer the question asked. Or ignore the thread if they don't know the area.

Wouldn't BE be a much more welcoming place if people stopped making assumptions about others and simply treated questions on face value? The OP specifically said they're speaking with a lawyer about visas, so why not let her and her husband worry about that and just proceed to answer the question she has asked? Quite honestly, the responses so far have been really quite rude.



This is a good point. To the OP - I wish I could offer you some advice, but I'm on the other side of the country and have never been to Florida. Maybe if you give more info about the type of area you're looking for and which cities you'd like to be close to, some helpful folks might come along ;)

Thankyou, I thought I was going mad!!

I have just up loaded a comment with some info of what we are looking for, but are quite open minded. Thanks for your help!! :)

Bud the Wiser Jun 2nd 2016 4:52 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 
1. Visas
2.Employment

by passing the above......

next consideration............ school zones.

Pulaski Jun 2nd 2016 5:00 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11963036)
Wow: I came here thinking that some people may be able to offer some advice on their own experiences of the differences in different parts of Florida. However, what I am reading with only a few exceptions is nothing like that at all. .....

Unfortunately for you we get a lot or dreamers here, who are dead-set on moving to Florida, and given half a chance will suck up a lot of BE'ers' time with questions only to discover that there actually isn'ta route to a visa for them, so it has all been a waste of time.

It sounds to me like your husband is talking with a lawyer about an E-2 visa, which is commonly refered to round here as the "visa from hell". You have NO permanent rights to live in the US, your children will age-out at 21 and be forced to leave the US unless they can make their own visa arrangements, presumably to return to a country that they barely remember living in, and when you sell the business, or if it fails, or even if the visa renewal is declined (which can happen if your business doesn't grow as planned and/or doesn't employ enough Americans) are forced to leave. This includes when you retire - you cannot retire in the US after owning a business on an E-2 visa.

Shirtback Jun 2nd 2016 5:07 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11963012)
Lol. You are making an awful lot of incorrect assumptions there that you have no knowledge about! As i have said previously, visa is not what i am asking for advice on!


Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11963036)
Wow: I came here thinking that some people may be able to offer some advice on their own experiences of the differences in different parts of Florida. However, what I am reading with only a few exceptions is nothing like that at all.

Thanks for trying force the issue to be about Visas, but thats nothing to do with what I am here to ask your opinion on. I don't know why there is a need for snarky & patronising commentary but I guess I shouldn't be so naive to think that people here where looking to be helpful and not flex there intellectual muscle about a subject that is irrelevant to my question.

So lets try and get this back on track one more time. Visa's are not an issue. We do not need Visa advice. Honestly. The advice we seek is about areas....

We are familiar with Florida but would like to know if you guys have any experience of different areas... pros and cons of living there versus somewhere else in the state for a family of 4 as mentioned previously.

We love the water/sea would like to be near it but not a deal breaker to be on the beach or anything; and within maybe 1.5 hours of Orlando. Hope that helps.

I would love to hear your thoughts based on your experiences..

Although I think the visa question *is* valid, I'm going to ignore it, as you have requested.

That said: Florida is a bit bigger than England. Without a clue or two, what/how would you advise *me* if I asked you "where to live in England"?

ETA: I see you've now added ~1.5 hrs from Orlando. That helps.

Pulaski Jun 2nd 2016 5:20 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 
So, to location and relocation advice, what sort of school do you want for your children?

The Florida school system has a generally poor reputation, even as compared to other states, though there are some relative gems, so assuming you place any importance on your children's education, if you aren't going to send them to a private school you should focus on finding the best possible school district and look for a home there.

The address where you live pretty much determines the schools your children will attend, and unsurprisingly the best school districts have the most expensive houses. So while lookig for good schools and checking the school district boundaries is very important, as a general rule of thumb you are going to want to live in the area with the most expensive housing you can afford.

OR choose a private school, and then you can live wherever you like. :)

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 5:23 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 
If you ask me what the time is, I would tell you the time. Unlike here, where it seems I would first need to enquire about what kind of clocks you have at home, whether or not you have an understanding of the space time continuum and if you truly value the concept of time.

In all seriousness... if you asked me about places to live in England.. I would start with what I know about where I have lived and experienced and maybe... just maybe a valuable conversation may ensue whereby we all learn a little more about what you are looking for and what I can tell you about.

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 5:24 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Pulaski (Post 11963089)
So, to location and relocation advice, what sort of school do you want for your children?

The Florida school system has a generally poor reputation, but with some relative gems, even as compared to other states, so if you aren't going to send them to a private school you should focus on finding the best possible school district and look for a home there.

The address where you live pretty much determines the schools your children will attend, and unsurprisingly the best school districts have the most expensive houses. So while lookig for good schools and checking the school district boundaries is very important, as a general rule of thumb you are going to want to live in the area with the most expensive housing you can afford.

OR choose a private school, and then you can live wherever you like. :)

Solid advice. Thank you. Is there a resource to look at for information on good schools?

tom169 Jun 2nd 2016 5:26 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 
What's your monthly budget for housing etc?

Are you able to afford a ghetto or a gated community?

Pulaski Jun 2nd 2016 5:40 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11963093)
Solid advice. Thank you. Is there a resource to look at for information on good schools?

Other than Googling the local school district data, City-data.com has city/suburb/community level data not only for schools but also other things such as crime data - which can be very interesting from the perspective of someone coming from Britain* :lol: (as I did 15 years ago). There are also links on realtor.com, the "estate agents'" web site - each house listing usually has a link to school and crime data (you should still verify that information independently as it could easily be wrong).

* You will find that crime data changes dramatically over a very short distance, with the quality of the housing be a very good proxy for crime data. Some areas have frequent shootings, but a mile down the road may be a haven of suburban bliss with a crime profile similar to, or better than most of the UK.

It is unrealistic to want to live even ten miles from any center of drug, vice and gun crimes, because those crimes are present in just about every town and city across the US. The greater Orlando area is no exception, and given that much crime these days is collected around the interstates and major highways, (Orlando has several such interstates, on the routes from Miami to all points north, from Atlanta to Boston) the Orlando area is certainly not short of crime hotspots.

Shirtback Jun 2nd 2016 5:44 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11963093)
Solid advice. Thank you. Is there a resource to look at for information on good schools?

You could start here School Accountability Report, or at any other of the multiple threads on both BE & Google, then ask more specific questions depending on which areas/schools you are interested in.

Wintersong Jun 2nd 2016 5:53 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11963036)

We love the water/sea would like to be near it but not a deal breaker to be on the beach or anything; and within maybe 1.5 hours of Orlando. Hope that helps.

I would love to hear your thoughts based on your experiences..

I have an internet friend, who I met on a "mommy" forum when we were pregnant at the same time, 11 years ago, who lives in Leesburg. She has a great quality of life by all accounts - they have a nice house, she's happy with the kids' schools, they spend plenty of time on the beach and at the lakes (Leesburg seems to be surrounded by water!) and they visit Disney (land? World? I can never keep them straight) quite regularly.

Sorry it's not personal experience, but it's the sum total of my FL knowledge and may be somewhere to start for you :)

Rete Jun 2nd 2016 6:02 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 
She has been asked repeatedly about visas and her husband and their attorney are working on it.

She is NOT hear for advice on a visa but rather for information regarding different areas in Florida to live and raise children in. Isn't it at all possible for someone to answer her questions without having to discuss visas?

For the OP, I am slightly familiar with the town of Naples and Ft. Myers. Both are on the Gulf Coast. Personally, I love both those towns. Naples is a bit more expensive to live in then Ft. Myers but gulf coast weather is nice and there are so many lovely islands to visit for the day such as Sanibel and Captiva.

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 6:19 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Wintersong (Post 11963115)
I have an internet friend, who I met on a "mommy" forum when we were pregnant at the same time, 11 years ago, who lives in Leesburg. She has a great quality of life by all accounts - they have a nice house, she's happy with the kids' schools, they spend plenty of time on the beach and at the lakes (Leesburg seems to be surrounded by water!) and they visit Disney (land? World? I can never keep them straight) quite regularly.

Sorry it's not personal experience, but it's the sum total of my FL knowledge and may be somewhere to start for you :)

That sounds fantastic and definitely somewhere worth visiting, thank you very much :)

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 6:20 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Rete (Post 11963127)
She has been asked repeatedly about visas and her husband and their attorney are working on it.

She is NOT hear for advice on a visa but rather for information regarding different areas in Florida to live and raise children in. Isn't it at all possible for someone to answer her questions without having to discuss visas?

For the OP, I am slightly familiar with the town of Naples and Ft. Myers. Both are on the Gulf Coast. Personally, I love both those towns. Naples is a bit more expensive to live in then Ft. Myers but gulf coast weather is nice and there are so many lovely islands to visit for the day such as Sanibel and Captiva.

Thankyou very much

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 6:21 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 
Thankyou so much to everyone who has given us great idea's, we cant wait to start looking around and investigating in a couple of weeks!! :)

celticgrid Jun 2nd 2016 6:26 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 
Just checking, but during the 2 months you are going to be touring Florida, your husband's web business will function without him?

Pulaski Jun 2nd 2016 6:27 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Catrina (Post 11963151)
Thankyou so much to everyone who has given us great idea's, we cant wait to start looking around and investigating in a couple of weeks!! ....

Be prepared for some long and uninteresting drives between pockets of civilization. I was down there a few weeks ago and from a British perspective everything is so spread out. Things that look to be close together on a map can be miles apart, separated by undeveloped land or strip malls and trailer parks - Orlando itself is pretty much the definition of urban sprawl.

Scott33 Jun 2nd 2016 7:16 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by celticgrid (Post 11963155)
Just checking, but during the 2 months you are going to be touring Florida, your husband's web business will function without him?

You know what's coming don't you?

ExBritFL Jun 2nd 2016 7:28 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 
We live in the Sarasota area which is on the west coast. It's a beautiful city with lovely beaches.
I have to agree with the schooling situation comments - schooling is good in our area for elementary schools but I've heard it can get dicey from middle school onwards. So I wold advise you invest a lot of time into researching the schools. Also the curriculum here is different from the UK, so you should research that also.
Even though Sarasota is beautiful, the fact you have to drive everywhere gets a bit too much sometimes - I drive my daughter to preschool which takes up about an hour of my day just to get her into a good school for three hours.
The lack of any real history, hills, cooler weather (yes it's too hot to even go out the house for 6 months)' decent food, bugs/roaches etc has me homesick for the UK on a regular basis.

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 7:34 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by Scott33 (Post 11963179)
You know what's coming don't you?

I guess I don't....

but suffice to say, my husbands business is not a one man operation nor is he a freelancer as someone questioned earlier. He will be able to check in on the progress of the office in London whilst we are in the US.

I am not sure why that person asked... or what it matters to our looking for somewhere to bring up our kids in Orlando.

As for budget, we are looking for a modern development and have a reasonable sized budget that should see us not living in a slum, nor a mansion. We have looked at single family homes 4 bed, with drive/garage etc in a number of spots as a kind of litmus test and are fairly happy we could afford a 'nice' place that should see us happy. We are meeting with a realtor during our stay and will look at some new developments up close for a better understanding of the quality of the finishes etc. Trick is: where to look. We like the idea of Tampa and Sarasota... needs further investigation though. Hence the long trip to try and do our best to 'experience' these places and not just be a tourist.

I know Florida is quite wide open and we have some longer trips planned... which could be a drag.. but we have plenty of time to try and get around whilst maintaining a base near Orlando for the duration of our stay.

Catrina Jun 2nd 2016 7:37 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by ExBritFL (Post 11963189)
We live in the Sarasota area which is on the west coast. It's a beautiful city with lovely beaches.
I have to agree with the schooling situation comments - schooling is good in our area for elementary schools but I've heard it can get dicey from middle school onwards. So I wold advise you invest a lot of time into researching the schools. Also the curriculum here is different from the UK, so you should research that also.
Even though Sarasota is beautiful, the fact you have to drive everywhere gets a bit too much sometimes - I drive my daughter to preschool which takes up about an hour of my day just to get her into a good school for three hours.
The lack of any real history, hills, cooler weather (yes it's too hot to even go out the house for 6 months)' decent food, bugs/roaches etc has me homesick for the UK on a regular basis.

Hey thanks for the info. Schools are definitely something we need to look at in great detail and take our time over. I appreciate your input on Sarasota. Really 6 months of the year it is too hot?
How long have you been there for?

ExBritFL Jun 2nd 2016 7:43 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 
Yep - 6 months started a couple of weeks ago. This morning took my daughter to the park early and it was 89f and almost 99% humidity. She was sweaty, miserable and too hot to enjoy her playtime. Like most of her friends.
We spend 6 months trying to look for indoor activities with air con so the kiddos and us can keep cool and avoid the bugs! There is no such thing as "fresh air" during this time. You should perhaps visit during the real summer to get a feel of it.
That being said, the winter months (Dec - early May) are pleasant with low humidity.
Been here for about 8.5 years in total (did spend 6 months in England about 5 years ago)!

Pulaski Jun 2nd 2016 7:55 pm

Re: Where to live in Florida?
 

Originally Posted by ExBritFL (Post 11963202)
Yep - 6 months started a couple of weeks ago. This morning took my daughter to the park early and it was 89f and almost 99% humidity. ....

People seem to overlook what is pleasant/tolerable/ surprising for a fortnights holiday becomes tiresome after several months, every year.

It was a shock for me when I first experienced the heat of midsummer, when I left the house around 7am and it was already 27°C and heading for 37°C+ by late afternoon. :blink: Thankfully we only get such temperatures during July and August, (we are 500 miles north of Orlando) and not every day, but I am always thankful when things start to cool off in September.


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