Question Info on moving to South FL

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markbmullins

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I am 26 and currently live in Charleston, SC and I am thinking of relocating to SE Florida so I can dive more often. My housing budget would top out around 350k. How can I find out about the best areas/neighborhoods to live?
 

Lostdiver71

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The best ocean diving is in SE Florida but the housing costs are excessive for anything in a decent neighborhood. Your best bet to be close to diving would be either Martin or St. Lucie counties, you can get a house in a good middle class neighborhood and only have to drive about 30 minutes to 1 hour to get to good diving. Be advised that wages in South Florida tend to be lower, because everybody wants to live here, so there are more people than there are good paying jobs.
 
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markbmullins

markbmullins

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The best ocean diving is in SE Florida but the housing costs are excessive for anything in a decent neighborhood. Your best bet to be close to diving would be either Martin or St. Lucie counties, you can get a house in a good middle class neighborhood and only have to drive about 30 minutes to 1 hour to get to good diving. Be advised that wages in South Florida tend to be lower, because everybody wants to live here, so there are more people than there are good paying jobs.
Fortunately I am able to work remote so the job market won't affect me much. I appreciate the recommendations.
 

Ana

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How can I find out about the best areas/neighborhoods to live?
I can't imagine going to a place and buying right away. It would take me about a year on a rental to figure out where do I want to be. The good thing about S. Florida is the variety of places available.

You could have a McMansion out west (30-40-50 minutes from the ocean), for the cost of a smallish place right by the water. A condo in a very small building or one in a hi-rise, with lots of amenities or so bare bones the only common property is the driveway.
Typical each small city within the 3 counties (MiamiDade - Broward- Palm Beach) has a nice area and a not-so nice one.
On top of that there's the stuff that is vital for you as opposed to someone else, even the best intention person would have a hard time to guide you well. I don't mind dealing with train crossings to get to my house but waiting for bridges daily would drive me up the wall.
 
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markbmullins

markbmullins

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I can't imagine going to a place and buying right away. It would take me about a year on a rental to figure out where do I want to be. The good thing about S. Florida is the variety of places available.
Good point, I did this in Charleston and could have chosen a better area with the knowledge I have now.
 

tekkydiver

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This year 350k doesn't get you what 250K did a year ago
 

Divin'Papaw

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Southeast Florida is a HUGE geographic spread and has everything from high rise condos to single family homes with acreage if you go inland a bit. There are lots of options between Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach & Martin counties that are all within 30-60 min of great diving.

As @Ana suggested, if you're serious, move down and rent for a year or two. Learn the area, the diving, and get a feel for what works best for you. Then buy after you know what you really want.
 

scubalys

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housing market in FL is insane right now. If you find something in South FL for 350k (in a safe area), please let me know who your realtor is!
 

Divin'Papaw

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Another point you might want to consider. You don't have to live right next to the areas with the best diving (coastal Palm Beach & Broward counties and the upper Keys). The closer you get to the coast the more affordable areas aren't very desirable (ie. higher crime, less amenities) and the more desirable areas are price prohibitive for most mere mortals like most of us. You can live 30, 60, or 90 minutes away and still have ready access to great diving any day you wish.
 

Ana

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Another point you might want to consider. You don't have to live right next to the areas with the best diving (coastal Palm Beach & Broward counties and the upper Keys). The closer you get to the coast the more affordable areas aren't very desirable (ie. higher crime, less amenities) and the more desirable areas are price prohibitive for most mere mortals like most of us. You can live 30, 60, or 90 minutes away and still have ready access to great diving any day you wish.
Desirability sometimes can be tricky. This is why I suggested to be in the area for a while.
Obviously #1 is YOUR definition of desirable, some factors are 100% objective and can be found in public records , how many sex offenders in street X or is it next to a halfway house, to mention extreme cases... but others factors can be subtle and very important to you. The vibe of a street on a Monday mid-morning is very different to Saturday afternoon.
If you go for ocean access, it will take even more investigation. I've seen places on very good areas with nice streets and what appear to be nice houses but are in the path of jerk boaters... you don't want to be chilling in your backyard and some loud idiot flies by leaving a serious wake behind, or maybe sleeping Saturday morning and Mr. Jerk is going by, again fast with loud music before sunrise. If you are in the main path that would be a typical event, not the exception. There are nice areas tucked away with fairly quick ocean access with like minded boaters, you just have to look for them.

Also 350K may be tight for an ocean access place in a decent area but not impossible, it all depends on the requirements in addition to being ocean access. Do you want to just bring your tooth brush and start living or are you willing to get a dated bathroom or something else broken? again I'm going to extremes but those factors matter.
 
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