General Area in 33647>Question Details

Itsme, Other/Just Looking in Connecticut

Selling house on East Coast, relocating to FL and need to know the best areas around Tampa. Best answer = our new buyer's agent.

Asked by Itsme, Connecticut Wed Apr 20, 2011

This is what we need:
Schools: best, A-rated
Crime: low crime and low number of sex offenders
Distance: <25 minute commute (max) to central Tampa
Looks: gorgeous, upscale
Ghetto areas: none
Shopping: plentiful
Nightlife: Don't care
Restaurants: plentiful

Thank you SO MUCH!!!!

Help the community by answering this question:


I wanted to suggest something for your temporary housing. I have had some foreign consulates needing temporary space when they couldn't find a long term rental. Show Homes. it uses you and your furniture to stage a home. Plus you keep the home clean and presentable. Your cost is utilities and maybe HOA fees. The seller can keep home nice and at a small fee to show homes. You save on rental and storage of furniture. You may have to move to a new show home with 30 days notice but I know people who have done this for over a year. It also let's you sample an area with no commitment! Check them out.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 22, 2011
Land, Pool and 3 car garage are commodities in South Tampa. In fact Westchase may not fit your needs either if you want land. Westchase is a zero lot line community through the majority of it with a few homes in "the Greens" with 1/4 to half acre lots. Seeing your comments and description of your current residence - I think you would be better served in the lower edge of Odessa. Larger lots, smaller communities and small estate homes. You would want to stay close to the Veterans Expressway which will give you the 25 minute commute you are looking for. Look between Race Track Road, to between North and South Mobley, Gunn Hwy to the Veterans Expressway and down through Westchase. I wish you the best of luck on getting a contract on your home soon.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 21, 2011
Thank you for your consideration. Yes I would be more than happy to help you from start to finish. To answer your questions in order:

There are a few options for furnished housing. Since we deal with a lot of military and International clients we have a few resources for short term housing. Ranging from apartment complexes in South Tampa that include temporary housing to some independent companies like Nika or Avalon have contracts with condominium owners and apartments to do short term rentals. I have worked with a number of relocating military, professionals and physicians who have no time to visit and I have not only sent pictures - but computer generated floor plans with room measurements. I love technology!

Brandon, Valrico and Lithia are great areas too. Valrico and Lithia both have great High Schools - Bloomingdale High School and Newsome. Lithia has some great new shopping plazas but the only close mall is Brandon Mall. Valrico is also surrounded by little shopping centers but the restaurants would be in Brandon by I-75. Both areas are closer to 35-40 minutes to Central Tampa.

Lastly - I do have plenty of experience with short sales on the Buyer and Listing side. My only concern would be to have your children settled by School time and this could be a hinderance if the wrong house is picked. In the areas that have been recommended - there is a definite stabilization of prices that are occuring. Which means more regular sales and fewer distressed. But you can still find good deals. I am available tomorrow to speak further if you would like to send me an email through my profile page. I look forward to speaking with you and helping you with your home search.

Lisa Reeves
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
Well, I guess everybody trying to serve "you" their area..........
I wouldn't move to New Tampa, if they would give me a free house, that's pretty much what they're worth; check the depreciation and if you plan to resale any time soon.........
Shall we talk about commute, gas prices and beaches proximity?
Definetely S. Tampa, there're new construction too, and I may add...... Westchase holding up pretty well.
Talking about S-Sale, I negotiate my own without lawyers junk fee and get them going within 3 weeks, not months.
I'm also an REO agent and investor, I'll be glad to provide you my certifications, and clients feedback.
one last note........we should first prioritize your most important needs, define a price range, and spot the best bang for the buck!
Best regards,
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
But I should add that what I "want" and what I'll "get" are probably two totally different things. I am sure i'll be looking at cookie-cutter homes in planned communities because otherwise i'd have 5 old houses to choose from!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
Based upon your criteria, there are a few areas of Tampa you might be interested in. While most Elementary and Middle Schools get "A" grades its the high schools that you really want to look at. A's are harder for high schools to maintain because of the testing requirements and you usually see good schools go back and forth between A's and B's.

The first area I would pick is Westchase. Currently sits in the boundary for Alonso High School which has had an A in 08 and a B in 09. This is a master plan community and so all the retail, businesses and homes are very nice and less than 25 years old. Little mini subdivisions of homes within a larger community. Cute town center area with Starbucks, retail and fountain area.

Right next door is Citrus Park area and the edge of Odessa. There are smaller subdivisions but a newer mall and I travel to this are to go to Olive Garden and other restaurants not in S. Tampa. Sickles High School also had A last year and A and Be the years before. A lot more newer construction.

Carrollwood is just on the otherside of Citrus Park and it is an older area - the first subdivision of Tampa. Gaither High School has maintained A's and B's. The subdivisions are not as restrictive as the newer ones but great shopping and restaurants. Easy to commute to Veterans Expressway or Dale Mabry.

Most subdivisions are very vigilant about crime and we have great legislations for housing of sexual preditors. Florida has enacted some great new legislation to protect children.

One area that has almost everything you have listed is South Tampa. It has the top schools including Plant High School. it has great shopping - Westshore Plaza, International Plaza, and Old Hyde Park. It has great Restaurants including many local establishments. It is right next to downtown. It has many areas that are very beautiful including, Hyde Park, Beach Park, New Suburb Beautiful, Harbour Island, and Davis Islands. However it is an older area and includes the Historical District. There is more of a mix to the homes and has the exact opposite of the suburb feel. But its really great and you need to take a look at it too.

Some areas that are really nice and new such as New Tampa I would recommend however the high schools have had a C here and there. Areas like Lithia may just be outside of your 25 minute commute request but have shopping and great schools.

I hope this information will help you with your search. I am happy to answer any questions you might have and send you the grade reports for the schools I have mentioned above.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
Oh and Tampa Palms in New Tampa, 33647 is an upscale community. Also Hunter's Green in 33647 is very nice and an upscale, manned gated, highly desirable neighborhood.

You have to be very careful in New Tampa (33647) because many of the communities pay high extra CDD Taxes. Arbor Greene for example will cost you about $2,500 extra on top of normal taxes to live in that community. It may be worth it if you value their amenities, clay tennis courts, resort style community pool, workout rooms, party room for rental and a manned, gated entrance.

All the best,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011

Do you have a closing date for the sale of your home in Connecticut?

What is your price range? Your price range will dictate the areas available to fit your criteria. Above $400k is South Tampa, $250k-$700k Westchase (although middle school is not in the top 3), $800k and above Davis Islands, $200k-$2 million Cheval (city of Lutz). Take a look at a $300k short sale listing I have in Lutz, it's maxed out with gorgeous upgrades throughout, marble floors downstairs, hardwood floors throughout upstairs, granite, cherry cabinets, built in hardwood cabinets in gigantic master closet, etc.:…

If you want to consider buying a Pre-Foreclosure, Short Sale you will need to rent first because there is no certainty when or if it will ever close. It may take 30 days to close or it could drag out 6 months before it can close. Once a short sale is approved, you normally MUST close no later than 45 days. So make sure your lease will allow you to cancel by paying a penalty.

Also if you want to consider a bank owned bargain, you also must rent because you need to get out to see the proerty the same day it is listed for sale and also write your offer the same day or you will miss out on the best deals. Some of the asset managers are lazy and will not even wait a week before accepting an offer. Also oftentimes the bank owned listings are price well below market and they attract mutliple offers. It may be as long as two weeks before you'll know if you have the winning bid.

Really the only way you can just move here without renting is if you only look at "normal" listings by the few sellers that still have equity. i don't recommend that you limit yourself but it is your decision.

If you would like to "browse" properties "like a Realtor", sign up for a free Listingbook account:

All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Future Home Realty
Westchase Office
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
I would recommend the South Tampa, Westchase, Carrollwood Village and Cheval areas. There are some nice areas in Pinellas County (the other side of Tampa Bay), but the commute would be closer to 35-40 minutes. There are a couple more, but depending on your pricing and style of home, they may or may not come into play. Once you pick an address, you can look on line to get the grade of the schools that serve that neighborhood and you cn also find about the sex offender location, if any. Did you want a pool with the home??? Bedrooms, baths, square foot size of home, waterfront, etc. are all questions that would help pin down an area. Hope this helps.
Please feel free to contact us to that we can help you in your search.

Bill and Lois Szydlowski
The Szydlowski Team
Future Home Realty, Inc.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
Good morning Itsme, while I understand that the high schools surrounding Tampa Palms are not Highest rated, the community of Tampa Palms offers the highest quality match for you and your family in terms of housing & lifestyle (walking/bicycling trails, 2 different options for community clubhouse, pools, social exchanges & shopping/dining) than most of the other area options.  

If you review the community as a whole and the demographics, many of these families choose the home and it's neighborhood and opt for application for their children in one of the IB or Magnet schools nearby. 

Also, please know that I work in all of our Tampa Bay communities, South Tampa, Westchase, Cheval, Carrollwood, New Tampa, Fish Hawk...etc..I'm proud of all the choices and personalities each community offers. But as you know, my first task is to help you identify from this large area, which community will truly be the closest match. Of course we can also visit more than one area together to know with certainty which community is
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 22, 2011
Good luck with your move, if you haven't chosen an agent to help you in the process, Nothnagle Realtors maybe be able to help you relocate. They will contact a broker in the area of your chose, then that broker will contact you and show you what's available. They can also help you market your place in Connecticut by contacting a broker there as well. This is a free service it's called they're RELOCATION SERVICE. Contact me and I would glad to help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 22, 2011
Hi Again,

It isn't that common for Realtors to team up when they work for two different Brokerages. Basically what we would do is both Lisa and I would be available to show you properties and help you with getting settled as a team. Lisa is a specialist in the South Tampa area and my expertise is Westchase, Lutz, Odessa, Oldsmar, New Tampa and Palm Harbor. We both would be able to help you in all of these areas. The good thing is you would have twice the service and although Lisa and I will earn half of our normal commiossion we are both willing to do this because you will likely purchase at least a $300k property. We couldn't afford to split the eventual commission on a $100k property but in your price range it is feasible for us and you can expect to get stellar service from two very experienced Tampa Bay agents.

I look forward to working with you and Lisa!

All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Future Home Realty
Westchase Office
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 22, 2011
Hi Lisa Prisco,

I looked at the 30 homes for sale in Tampa Palms. They are lovely. I like that they are older construction and not cookie cutter looking (from the 30 I saw anyway).

But the schools aren't very good. Freedom High School only has 3 stars on I believe - pretty mediocre. I've purposely overlooked every home I saw that belonged to Freedom, Gaither, Chamberlin, Wharton and others based on the current high school ratings.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 22, 2011
Thanks Lisa and Alma,

I didn't realize sharing is commonplace in Florida. I've never worked like that before - realtors here make us sign "exclusive" buyer's-agent contracts for a home search. What would each of you do? Take different areas, or???
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 22, 2011
Harbor Links within Westchase may be a good option. Most of the homes have tile roofs, 3 car garages and are on significantly larger lots. The price of admission is about $500k but there are sometimes bank-owned or pre-foreclosure short sales that may work. It's less of a cookie cutter production builder area of Westchase with higher end custom builders.

I still think you should take advantage of the expertise of two Realtors. I've spoke with Lisa Reeves and she is comfortable working together as a team to help you get relocated, settled and find your new home!

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 21, 2011
Hi Itsme, this is Lisa Prisco again...I had submitted a reply earlier today recommending Tampa Palms as a community for you to consider. Tampa Palms is located minutes from I-75 and I-275, and is not to be confused with New Tampa, which puts you too far out for an easy commute. It is one of the original master planned communities created in the late 1980's with newly constructed homes also available in your price point. Tampa Palms beautifully incorporates all of the desires or criteria that you listed for the perfect home.  

I welcome you to look into the age of home, size of home and the upgrades you can get in Tampa Palms and then compare to South Tampa. 

South Tampa is a fabulous area but as you mentioned, the prices, size of homes and the lot that you want may not be found there. The other area you may like is the Westchase/Citrus park area...again, without knowing exactly where in central Tampa you are commuting to, this would be my initial thought. 

-Lisa Prisco KW
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 21, 2011
Hi again,

In New Tampa, Wharton High is actually "A" rated, (it was C in 2009). The schools with consistently good ratings in the past few years are:


Steinbrenner High in Lutz is new and has not yet been rated but it expected to score exceptionally high due to the demographics.

We also have 4 International Baccalaureate High Schools. Admission is highly competitive and only the top students will get in. We also have fantastic Charter Schools for elementary through 8th grade. There is a lottery process to get into one of these schools, though so you will not have any assurance your child will get to attend. For that reason it's important for you to identify the area of town you will ultimately buy so you can be within the school boundary lines of the school(s) you want your children to attend.

And there is the Pepin Academy Charter School that is geared to helping children with certain learning disabilities.

Lisa is correct about South Tampa not having the typical cookie cutter homes but of course in your price range it will be difficult to find a new home as you will find in Westchase, Waterchase, Cheval, Valrico and New Tampa.

I have experience with representing buyers on Short Sales and bank owned listings and know certain tactics and contractual provisions to help expedite the short sale process. I have also enable my buyers to be the lucky winner in multiple offer situations on bank owned bargains--and they were competing with ALL CASH buyers.

So I have a proposition for you (and Lisa Reeves)..why not hire both of us! We can all work together to make your transition to Tampa as smooth as possible.

All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Future Home Realty
13045 Linebaugh Ave.
Tampa, FL 33626
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 21, 2011
Good morning! Thank you for giving me an opportunity to consider your needs and to suggest a gameplan for you and your family to find the best area for your move to Tampa. I moved from NJ to Tampa over 20 years ago and have experienced living in different areas here and feel that I can offer a unique perspective to assisting you in your home search.

I have been giving your criteria some thought and feel that your commute time requirement of less than 25 minutes to Central Tampa is a big factor on where to start us out. Where in Central Tampa will you need to commute to? It may be possible depending on your answer to look at a community called Tampa Palms, with great access to I-75, I-275 and other major roadways that could potentially meet your commuting needs. Tampa Palms certainly meets all of your other criteria and I know you'd be quite excited to see what is available there in terms of housing, schools & shopping.

Please feel free to call me as your Tampa Palms/New Tampa expert:
Lisa Prisco Keller Williams Realty New Tampa 813-766-8734. Thank you again for your consideration. I look forward to having the opportunity to be your Realtor. Have a great day!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 21, 2011
Here is a helpful blog about buying your home.
Thank you
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
BTW - If you dont like cookie cutter - you will love where I live. South Tampa. I would suggest the following area. Bayshore Beautiful - the part in Plant High School District, but also Virginia Park, Sunset, New Suburb Beautiful and Beach Park. You may also like Davis Islands. All in the Plant High School District. Great walkability and great restaurants - we love Pane Rustica, Ciccio and Tonys, Timpanos and the Wine Exchange just to name a few. It is a little harder to find a house with everything but there have been some really good finds that have popped up in the last few months. Looking forward to talking to you soon.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
You have had many suggestions for areas to look in for your new home, however many will push the limits on your criteria of a 25 minute commute (max). South Tampa is the only area that would "generally" qualify and even that could be a push depending on your definition of "Central Tampa"; Downtown, Westshore, Macdill AFB...etc. Since you only gave a criteria of <$500 K in your reply below and no others, I have setup a search for you based on the following criteria:

$300 - 500K
4 Bed
3 Bath
3 Car Garage
A circle centered in Carrollwood, stretching N/S/E/W approximately 10 miles.

Use the link below to view these properties:…

This list is only for homes listed as Active in the Multiple listing Service, there are a similar number of Expired, Withdrawn and FSBO homes that may fit your needs which are not included.

As you will see, there is quite a variety of home styles and neighborhoods to look at on the list. Once I have a better idea of your wants and needs in your next home, we can narrow down the area and whether the commute and schools fit your needs.

Let me know if I can help you further!

Steven J. Pahl e-PRO
Keller Williams Tampa Properties

813-319-6423 Office
813-763-7245 Cell

Referrals Welcome !
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
I am native born in Tampa and know the area very well as well as the surrounding communities. The most important thing you did not mention is what you will be looking for and what price range you want to be in so anyone who helps you or recommends an area to you will know what to look for.

Do you want to be in a newer subdivision, an older established area of the Tampa Bay Area or do you want to be on the water, etc. I would need to know the answers to those and many other questions before I could intelligently recommend an area.

My credentials are in my resume so go to to see my involvement in the community as an architectural design, as a building contractor, as a land developer and as a REALTOR(r). You can reach me by email at if you have any direct questions.
Tom Scaglione, ePRO, SFR, REALTOR(r)
Future Home Realty, REALTORS(r)
Cell: (813) 310-8200 - Fax: (813) 909-2915
~ Tampa Bank Owned Team ~
Certified Bank Owned / REO Sales Specialist
Certified Short Sale Specialist
2006/2007 President, My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service
2001 District 6 Vice President, Florida Association of REALTORS(r)
2000 President, Greater Tampa Association of REALTORS(r)
2000 Director, National Association of REALTORS(r)
2000 & 2001 President, Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay
Everyone Is Buying Real Estate
Some For Themselves
Some For Their Landlord
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
Hi, here are some awesome websites that will help you formulate your own opinion. For schools,, For crime stats, demographics, etc visit or for restaurants, nightlife, etc visit and I hope you find all the information you need and have fun doing it!

Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
GREEN Designated Agent
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
Hello Itsme

Tampa has many great areas, after reviewing your request. I think Wesley Chapel would be a perfect fit, newer construction, brand new outside mall shopping, new hospital under construction, Gated communities with plenty amenities for big and small. Great restaurants, away from the ghetto...and great education..can verify schools rating on county web-site.Here are a few links that might help.

Second I would say Soho area of South Tampa,Older homes and very over priced at times.You would most likely battle cash buyers in this area in order to get the home you want.But if you don't mind the dog and paddle show..than it can work for you.Just being honest..for every home in this area get about 5 + do the math..Great food...I must say in this area..and near to downtown..very desirable..

WestChase,Palm Harbour, are also great areas..…

If you have kids I would say look into Wesley Chapel and West Chase areas..kid friendly..YMCA...and plenty for kids entertainment..

Hope this helps..
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
Hello and welcome to New Tampa (33647). You should carefully review the answers herein. Call your prospective agents and interview them. See if you have chemistry and are comfortable with what the answers delivered to your questions. You need an agent who knows this specific are of Tampa. An agent who understands current property values so that you do not overpay for your new home. A skilled negotiator will represent you and solely your interests. As noted below, there are areas within New that have huge CCDs. Other communities have fallen property values due to the dip in the market. New construction with builders can be very enticing and loaded with incentives. Lastly, there are communities with and without the heavy traffic that exists along Bruce B Downs. With integrity and honesty, you will find someone who will educate you on the various areas of Tampa, be it New Tama, South Tampa, Westchase or Brandon. Each community aforementioned has an abundance of desirable attributes. Please give us a call. We live in New Tampa. Nibal Elsaadi, Licensed Real Estate Broker | SI Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
Lisa and Alma -

Great answers! No, we don't know our closing date. Yes, we will need short-term (furnished) housing. Yes, you picked the best areas and the areas I was considering. I was also considering Brandon, Valrico and Bloomingdale because of the proximity to Tampa and Bloomindale schools. Are these not amazing areas? Yes, you are right on - we will want to look at all the options (short sales, bank owned). Would one of you be able to help us from start to finish? Are you experienced in short sales (since half the houses in FL seem to be short sales)? Would you find us short term housing in a fantastic area (email me pics) and then help us find a house and make offers? Will you help us with other relocation needs like finding storage? There will be no opportunity for us to come to Florida until it's time to MOVE to Florida. All of this would have to be done with you as our rep.

About us: 20% down, perfect credit (780 & 800 median), pre-approved financing via Countrywide, need a pool, HATE communities, hate cookie-cutter houses, price TBD but probably < 500K.
Let me know!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
Hey there... I'm a direct lender working the Tampa area and saw your question come across cyberspace. I highly recommend the Fishhawk Ranch area. City is Lithia, we are just shy of 30 miles from downtown Tampa. Elementary school in the community (Bevis Elementary) is #1 in the state of Florida and nationally recognized. There is another elementary school in the community along with middle and high schools. All of them are tops in Hillsborough County. Crime is minimal to almost non-existent. Shopping is 20 minutes away in Brandon with large, upscale mall (Westfield Town Center) and tons of restaurants. The community and surrounding area is second to none.

We moved here 9 months ago from Ft. Myers and specifically looked in the greater Brandon area for all of the aforementioned reasons that are important to you as well. Fishhawk Ranch was the last place we looked... the moment we drove into the community and learned about the schools we were sold and never looked anywhere else. 9 months into we love this place. So much so, I started a new website - check it out.

You can also find information at

If Fishhawk Ranch doesn't fit, anywhere in the eastern part of Brandon has neighborhoods and schools that match your criteria. Check out Valrico, Lithia, Brandon and parts of Riverview.

I'd love the opportunity to help you with financing the purchase of your home. You can get more information on our website at - I beat the banks everyday and you'll experience none of the hassle that people and real estate agents deal with when using the banks. We are a direct lender.

My direct business line is: 813-438-2428
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
We welcome you to Tampa. I taught for 4 years here in Tampa so I can definitely help you out with the schools, as well as the other requirements. Tampa is a great place. I was born and raised here and absolutely love it. There are many pockets/parts of Tampa that fit exactly what you are looking for. South Tampa, New Tampa, Dana Shores, to name a few. What are you looking for as far as bed/bath, sq. Footage, and price range. Please get in touch with me either by email or my cell. Email is or my cell is 813-624-3679. There
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
Couldn't get easier than this.....
S. Tampa 33611,33609,33629,33606 depending on your budget.
Area keeps their value, best schools, easy commute to everywhere!

and it comes with all the bells and whistles you mentioned.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
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