Home Buying in Tampa>Question Details

Gina LaBarbe…, Real Estate Pro in Jacksonville, FL

Looking to relocate to Tampa area - looking for family oriented neighborhoods (in good school district)?

Asked by Gina LaBarbera, Jacksonville, FL Sun Jan 27, 2013

Hello, my family and I are looking to relocate to the Tampa area. We're in our 30s with kids under 5 years old...looking for middle class family oriented neighborhood (and not too far from the beach). Any suggestions?

Help the community by answering this question:


Tracy Hoyt’s answer

Congratulations on the relocation to Tampa. Our city is so full of life, the attractions, special events, and sports teams alone make it a great place to live. Throw in the great beaches and water sports and I wonder why people live anywhere else.

Tampa, like Jacksonville has many areas and they all have good and bad. Some have great schools but longer commutes to work. Some have short commutes but large neighborhood fees. Most of Tampa is inside the same school district. That would be Hillsborough County. Below is the link to their website. Use this link to look at state grading scale for the schools.


I live in the Valrico area. I personally love our schools. I have experience with all three levels and can help answer any questions you may have. I am on the advisory board at two local schools and work with the Chamber on the Education Committee.

Please review my profile on Trulia and send me a message with any questions you have. I would be happy to help reduce your fears and sooth your nerves about the move. Any move with children is stressful enough.

No pressure, just help with your questions.

Tracy Hoyt
Prudential Tropical Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
I am currently considering moving to the surrouning areas in St Petersburg/Clearwater Fl
My concern is that the High School Ratings seem to be low.
Can anyone help me find the best school districts (High School) in the area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 9, 2014
BEACH PARK or HYDE PARK. Both of these are close to downtown and several stores & shopping malls, safe and located in a great school districts. Beach Park is more middle class where Hyde Park is a bit on the higher end. So depending on what you can afford and what your comfort level is, I would recommend these two areas of town if you are looking to stay in Tampa Proper. Outside of Tampa Proper, I would recommend River View or Westchase.

If you should need anything else or have any financing questions, please be sure to let me know.


Antonio Barnett
Senior Loan Officer
Cell: 614.806.1659
2701 N Rocky Point Dr, Tampa, FL 33607
NMLS# 287888
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 5, 2013
Gina LaBarbera, the answers to these questions are pretty subjective, thus, try researching two websites: the Hillsborough county school website and also City-data.com (tampa) for public forum answers and responses.

The more reading and research that you conduct, the more you will be able to determine what area works best for your family, your budget and commute to work.

FYI, Hillsborough county is mostly landlocked. You will find a coast line but beaches are not in Hillsborough.

Best regards,

Lynn Brock
Brock Realty Inc.

If you would like to search the MLS like an agent, visit our website and sign up for your free Listing Book account. This powerful search program allows you to set up your personal homefinder criteria and save your favorite homes, follow recent solds all in real time! Find the home you’re searching for quickly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 9, 2013
Tampa ranked Top 10 Places to Raise a Family! http://sellingtb.com/tampa-top-10-place-to-raise-a-family/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 6, 2013
thank you for this! good to know!
Flag Wed Feb 6, 2013

I would love to assist you! I grew up in Palm Harbor in Pinellas County, have lived in South and North Tampa over the past 16 years, and have sold real estate in our Tri- County area (Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco) for the last 12 years. I cannot utilize your request to help you find a "middle class family oriented" neighborhood; however, I can help you find a home reasonably close to the beach in an A rated school district with housing accomodations I am sure you and your husband will find most comfortable and suitable for your needs. I would be gald to share a 25% referal fee with you, being you are a licensed agent, as long as you remain licensed with a broker. Any questions feel free to contact me via text, email or phone. Happy House Hunting!

Jim Myers
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 5, 2013
Hi Gina,

Have you decided which Real Estate firm you will work for in Tampa?

Are you planning to rent for the first year until you get comfortable with the neighborhoods and you can then act as your own Realtor to earn the commission?

That may be the most prudent approach, although we are seeing a rapid rise in prices so you will surely pay a higher price in a year from now. You will alleviate a lot of the risk of making the wrong decision, though.

All the best,
Alma Kee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 2, 2013
Hello Gina,

Thank you for your question and we look forward to helping you with your relocation!! We have helped many families reclocate to the Tampa area who also were looking for good schools and family oriented neighborhoods. Along with our vast knowledge of the Real Estate market and various areas that would meet your criteria we can also can suggest some awesome apps and websites for you to do your own research on various areas,neighborhoods and schools. Two great sites for schools are http://www.myfloridahomesmls.com/helpbuyingahome or http://www.greatschools.org/find-schools. Please contact us at TeamRN2@gmail.com or you can call us at 8133376819 so we can find out just what your looking for in your new home and give you access to a system for searching for homes with the most updated information!.
Have an Awesome Monday!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013

Hi, first of all congratulations on the relocation to Tampa area. I am an agent who is a native of the area. Depending on a few other key factors like proximity to work and some amenities of the neighborhood, you would like to reside in, there are many neighborhoods that may work for you and your family. While still being in close proximity to the beach. Tampa like Jacksonville has much to offer. Pinellas County has a little closer proximity to the beach and gives flexibility to the Downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg areas.

Before narrowing down a neighborhood, some some neighborhoods that may fit your criteria depending on square feet and price range, within close proximity to the beach are: S. Tampa, Westchase in Tampa, (Panther Trace, Fishhawk,and MiraBay: These are planned urban developments with desirable schools in the community) In Pinellas some neighborhoods to consider are Snell Isle, Venetian Isles, Feather Sound, parts of Clearwater & Safety Harbor.

What I would recommend is find an agent who you think you might work well with and our compatible. Let them ask you a series of questions and get some background information so they might recommend a game plan that fit your home search criteria. Then you can come up with a time frame for you to find your new home. I did not see where you stated if you were looking to buy or rent, how many bedrooms. So by talking with an agent they can further assist your families needs. Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you need an agents assistance at 813-352-6168. Good Luck.

Wendy Rosenthal
Homeward Realty

Your neighborhood Consultant
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Ministerial acts with a confidentiality pledge is all transactional brokerage is to the FL consumer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
FL is a transactional brokerage state meaning that the default agency relationship is that the agent you work with works to advance the transaction, not representing your interests above and beyond the other party. Also in FL no need to disclose this since the Jeb Bush law passed made it assumed the public knows about the different type of representation different levels of client care. Wife and i went to Miami to work with an agent last year to buy a winter place investment. That agent never had to discuss agency law, why she couldnt provide full fiduciary care, offer strategy, situation of the seller, zero advocacy placing client interests ahead of our own. after we left i googled it and was surprised FL changed the agency law without fanfare or requiring agents to disclose and sign anything. In FL, they provide you public information printed out, but under law, cannot rise to the level of full agency representation. Agency law gets wonky, but FL defaults to this neither party gets represented model to avoid the liability of representing clients. Bring up agency law and if you can find an exclusive buyer broker that doesnt list property can provide you what most people assume when they are interacting with a real estate licensee.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Hi John, Sorry you had a bad experience. The market has gone higher now and in Tampa we have an extraordinary amount of ALL CASH offers above recent comps for properties selling under $200k. Since you were an agent, I'm surprised you even needed any representation on a transaction. I would think you could have worked with a rebate Realtor and managed your own negotiations or whatever part you feel your agent failed you on.

All the best,
Alma http://www.SoldOnTampa.com
Flag Mon Jan 28, 2013
Flag Mon Jan 28, 2013
Hi Gina,
I know of several areas in Hillsborough and Pinellas county with excellent schools and would be happy to tell you more about them. I love the area that I live in and it's only 20 minutes away from downtown Tampa. The beaches can be very "touristy" but I can guide you into the more residential neighborhoods. Feel free to click on our website and explore the different areas on the map. It's a very user-friendly system and will give you a good idea of the layout of the city.

If you are a Realtor, I'll be happy to discuss employment opportunities as well with my company. We provide all the leads to you, all you need to do is close them. Call/text/email me if interested. Thanks and best of luck to you and your family!

Jenn Cook
Bahia Realty Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Hi Gina,

Since you are a Realtor, I would highly recommend considering going to work for Future Home Realty.

Also it's always prudent to rent for the first year to allow you time to thoroughly investigate the areas of Tampa Bay you may want to live.

You mentioned you needed a referral for a lender and I would highly recommend contacting Gina Harris with Iberia Bank:

Gina Harris
Mortgage Specialis tNMLS#419423
3550 Buschwood Park Dr., Suite 295Tampa, FL 33618
813-244-5685 cell
800-868-0337 fax

She will also be a good lender to recommend for your new clients in Tampa Bay because she is approved to do most of the First Time Homebuyer programs and they are an approved lender for the Florida Bond Program money, too. Not many lenders will do the Florida Bond Program. It also offers money to Veterans, take a look:


All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Future Home Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Not too far from the beach.
From your experience in Jacksonville, the beaches are always nearby. Just this Sunday morning I was running a 19 mile course that encountered sea fog on the beach. Disappearing into the sea fog was one of the most enchanting experiences I've ever had while enjoying the 'natural' environment that is characteristic of the Tampa/St Peterburg/Clearwater areas. From inside the fog it appeared I was the only person on the beach....soft, silent, peaceful. There are many attractions and activities available that will enrich everyone's life.
For real beach centric living, (don't live on beach but can visit everyday is desired) Pinellas County (St Peter, Clearwater, Palm Harbor, areas) is the destination. Even in neighboring Hillsborough (tampa) you can find locations less the a 30 dirve to the beaches.(Westchase).
It is time to schedule the 25 cent tour of the area. You will observe the natural attributes of the area and envision the ideal environment for you and those important to you. When the quality of life factors have been assessed, then you want to start looking at available housing.
Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Assocaite
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Habor,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Hi Gina. Congratulations on your plans to move to Tampa area. Pinellas County has a great variety of family oriented neighborhoods and great schools. Everywhere you live in Pinellas is close to beautiful white sand beaches. If you want to consider Pinellas, please let me help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013

there are many areas to choose from. In order to give you locations, I need to know more about your needs and price range and what type of activities are you looking for your kids. Finally, how old of a home are you willing to purchase, etc. let me know and we would be glad to help you get settled.

Bill and Lois Szydlowski
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Palm Harbor has excellent schools and is very close to Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island.

I would also highly recommend Westchase (zip 33626) and the Countryway area (33635). Another area to consider is the city of Lutz (although a little farther to beaches).

You're welcome to "search like a Realtor" by signing up for a free Listingbook account on my website:


All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Future Home Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Gina.....We have lived in the Tampa market for almost 20 years....There are so many great family neighbors in the Tampa market but one you definitely want to include in your search is Fishhawk. I have sold a number of homes in Fishhawk and no one has been displeased. The developers are constantly reinvesting money into Fishhawk which makes it such a popular area. Just a few of the family areas inside Fishhawk are...an aqua park , a skateboard park , a town center and so much more. You will be disappointed if you don't include Fishhawk in your search. Call me for more information and I will be pleased to send you additional information. Regards Dick Haczynski. Cell 813 731 7538
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Hey Gina,
Glad to hear you are moving. You will love Tampa. It is a great place with tons of things to do for all ages (and pets, too). Tampa is a very big area, so it would help if I knew if there was anything you were specifically trying to be close to. A specific job, highway, school?? A good thing to do is check out the site http://www.greatschools.org. You can check out ratings and reviews from other parents and that definitely helps in narrowing down your search a bit.

Are you looking for a single-family home, townhouse, condo? This also makes a difference in neighborhood choices. The more criteria I know about the, the easier it is to narrow down some neighborhoods.

If you would like more help from me, please feel free to call or email me anytime and I can get more details.

Thanks and best of luck to you,
Marie Barakat
Coldwell Banker Residential
Web Reference: http://www.greatschools.org
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Please find Trulia's crime tracker link below. You can also switch this to school reports and community info too!!!!


Best of Luck,

Josh Barnett, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Thanks Josh
Flag Tue Feb 5, 2013
Hi Gina. We welcome you to Tampa. There definitely plenty of neighborhoods that fit you criteria. First, are you looking to purchase or rent?Second, what is your price range? South Tampa has awesome schools and is a very family friendly along with westchase. I have lives in South Tampa all my life and used to be a school teacher. I have plenty of great recommendations for you. Please call me at 813-624-3679 at your earliest convenience. I would love to help you and your family.

Ken Allen
The Toni Everett Company
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
looking to purchase! $200-$350k. Would love a pool home...at least 2800 sqft... thanks!
Flag Sun Jan 27, 2013
Hi Gina, thanks for contacting me. I have a few questions for you regarding your search. Do you need to, or have you spoken with a lender yet? What price point do you think you are looking in? Is travel to work a consideration? I have a few other questions that will help me help you. Please contact me at your earliest opportunity and we can discuss your plans.

Dan Turner Realtor
Prudential Tropical Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Dan - have not spoken with a lender yet, if you have a recommendation, please let me know. Travel to work is not a consideration.
Flag Sun Jan 27, 2013
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