Thank you for reaching out to the Trulia community. I see that you already have a lot of informative answers and I agree it is a tough call to pick one over the other. First of all, be assured you won't regret your relocation to Florida and you have narrowed down your search to two GREAT communities. I personally live in Winter Garden which is like a best kept secret. I love the area and the quaint, charming downtown, as well as the newer Fowler Grove shopping center minutes from my house. Windermere continues to have a superb reputation and is more well known, however they received a lot of bad press today in regard to the local police department and reportedly will be regrouping. (Google search for details) For your price range, your options are unlimited and I would suggest since they are neighboring towns that you explore both and take the advice of other Realtor's comments. Both cities have desirable school districts and there several prestigious and sought after gated neighborhoods in both vicinties. Once I know additional information regarding your personal preferences: # of minimum bedrooms/bathrooms, desired square footage, one or two story, etc., I will be happy to begin to send you properties that either match or exceed your expectations so you can begin house hunting and compare offerings. I would appreciate the opportunity to find you a new house to call home. Feel free to call me anytime morning until midnight or e-mail me and I will promptly respond. I look forward to discussing your endeavor, sharing more details & feedback once we personally talk and will anticipate having you as a neighbor. :)
Thank you kindly,
KIm Setzer, REALTOR
CENTURY 21 Elite Home Finders
If someone asks you to eliminate certain areas based on any of the protected classes, you cannot legally follow their instructions, even if you are a Buyer's Agent.
(definition of steering on about.com: http://homebuying.about.com/od/fairhousing/a/showing_homes.htm)
Nowhere did the question bring these issues up, now you could say 'stay away from', 'safe', 'more desirable', 'good schools' are code words but I don't think so as those don't fit protected class and doesn't seem to be the buyer intent.
Now you are right about the school issue and anything dealing with crime but that isn't in the definition of steering that's a whole separate issue that agents need to be careful with and you where right to point to county school and police (county, city) websites.
Dave Lowe, Broker
Community and Family Values
Windermere is easily the more desirable community but your question can have a complicated answer. Because parts of Windermere and Winter Garden are across the street from each other and both send their kids to the same schools. I should also say that depending on where your home in Windermere is your kids could goto two different sets of schools, and more importantly a different set from where the million dollar homes are located. I donâ€™t believe Windermere has bad communities but its lower end ones are Summerport and Lakes of Windermere. In Winter Garden you want to stick to Independence(legal name Signature Lakes), Wintermere pointe, Stoneybrook West, Belle Meade and Black Lake Park. I would stay away from new construction in these areas if you care about price and remember these Winter Garden communities will have lower taxes than Windermere Homes with relatively the same location. I hope that helped
Below are some links regarding the schools in the Winter Garden and Windermere area!
Hopefully you are getting the information you need to help form your decision on where to begin your home search! The metro Orlando has many attractions to offer in a variety of forms! Best of luck!
I would suggest looking up the school districts, property values across several years, and whatever else may help you decide between the two areas.
I also work in these areas. If you need any additional help with anything feel free to contact me. (my website below)
I spend time in both areas with buyers and sellers and the best fit would be the area between Windermere and Disney that's zoned 'Horizon West'.
The Horizon West area is located within Orange County, the county where the City of Orlando is located, and is one of the largest counties in Central Florida.
Homes & Communities in the area; http://mfr.mlxchange.com/Pub/EmailView.asp?r=1612412883&
Link to latest news about Florida Schools; http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-quality-cou
Hope this helps,
Dave Lowe, Broker
For any safety concerns, do contact/visit the local authorities and ask all your questions, hear all there is to hear firsthand--For schools see link--http://www.greatschools.org/ and you may also wish to visit the schools, ask for a tour of the facilities, speak to the superintendent, principal, teachers, etc., and ask all your questions--then make a determination, where will your comfort level best be reached. If you don't have an agent of own, do consider the idea, as he/she can best guide you.....
Great concerns and question, I actively work in both areas and they both offer great school systems. As Raquel mentioned you can check the crime rates on line, talk to the local police departments or if you are in town you can drive through the neighborhoods of interest.
For a direct comparison one thing I have noticed is that in Winter Garden you can get more home for your dollar and pay less in property taxes. However Windermere is a great area and has a very good reputation.
At the end of the day it all comes down to what you are exactly looking for so you can compare apples to apples. If you need help comparing any properties or have any other general questions please feel free to contact me.
Best of luck with your search!
Both Windermere and Winter Garden have good schools. Windermere I understand is a 5 star school district.
With your budget you should be able to get a good property in either of those two areas.
In order to find out about safety you should look at the crime statistics in both areas. They can be found on the internet.
I would be delighted to help you in any additional way I can.