Home Buying in Sarasota>Question Details

World Wide W…, Home Buyer in Lakeland, TN

We are looking to move w/in 1 hr of the Fort Myers or Tampa Bay airport. 1 child so schools matter. And we'd like to live on a canal.

Asked by World Wide Weber Design, Lakeland, TN Tue Feb 7, 2012

Can anyone give me insight on where is a good place to live? I posted this in the Ft Myers section and got a lot of "It's great here, move here!" But not a lot of reasons why. We are planning a trip down the coast of FL to check out the area, but I'd like to hear from people why one area is better than the other. So far I've heard that Coral Springs is really nice and we have a friend who is also a FedEx pilot that moved to Sarasota and loves it. We only want to spend $450k, is that even possible on a canal?

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you gave a lot of agents permission to come up with answers aplenty here and a chance to brag about our areas. Lee County, specifically Fort Myers/Cape Coral metro areas could be for you. Here is a little bio on the 2 areas.

With over 400 miles (640 km) of navigable waterways, Cape Coral has more miles of canals than any other city on earth. With more than 162,000 residents in 2009, Cape Coral is one of the fastest growing areas in Florida and the U.S.

In its early years, Cape Coral was known as a community with many retired residents. This changed with a population and construction boom in the 1990s, which brought in younger families and professionals. Twenty percent of the population are seasonal residents. Nowadays, the city has a wide variety of businesses, retail shops and restaurants on its major arteries: Cape Coral Parkway, Del Prado Boulevard, Santa Barbara Boulevard and Pine Island Road. Recent years have seen national restaurant chains such as Bonefish Grill, Carrabbas and Outback Grill move in to the area. This is significant as businesses such as these will only place stores in areas with emerging demographics

The city features a sandy beach and fishing pier on the Caloosahatchee River at the public Yacht Basin & Club. Cape Coral is home to the expansive SunSplash Water Park, more than 30 recreational parks, and seven golf courses. Cape Coral offers a variety of Gulf beaches in its immediate neighborhood, such as Sanibel and Captiva Islands and Fort Myers Beach as well as Venice Beach to the north. The area is known by birding enthusiasts for a wide variety of wildlife and the largest population of burrowing owls in the state of Florida.

Fort Myers is a scenic city nestled along the shoreline of the Caloosahatchee River. The city has become an energetic blend of young and old, with a median age of 32. Extensive renovation of the historic downtown waterfront is underway, with new restaurants, nightclubs, apartments, and artistic venues, and cultural events overlooking the river at Centennial Park and the Fort Myers Yacht Basin. The recent expansion of RSW International Airport has opened up travel and tourism with regular flights to many international destinations.

With more than 2,000 royal palms on McGregor Boulevard alone, Fort Myers is known as the “City of Palms,” a tradition started by plantings of Thomas Edison. Edison’s 14-acre Winter Home estate includes the famous inventor’s laboratory, botanical gardens (rubber plants were particularly important to him), and a museum. Next door is the Winter Residence of Edison’s friend and colleague Henry Ford. Legend has it the V-8 engine was dreamed up here. The two homes offer a combined Holiday House festival of lights over the holidays.

Boating, fishing, and golfing are just some of the recreational activities that Fort Myers has to offer. But, favorable business conditions combined with the expansion of Southwest Florida International Airport have made Fort Myers an important commercial center with strong and steady growth projected for the future. Fort Myers proximity to major retail centers such as Coconut Point, Miromar Outlets, Gulf Coast Town Center, and Edison Mall is also a major convenience.

Education is also an attraction for many as evidenced by the growth of Florida Gulf Coast and Edison State Universities. Information on Lee County Schools can be found here. http://www.leeschools.net/home.aspx

To sum up this area against other areas is difficult as each has its positives, so simply put, affordability is stronger here, the pace of life is not hurried, the strength of future appreciation is greater, and the area big enough to enjoy but not too big for one to feel lost.

Be sure to work with someone with whom you feel comfortable and who listens, ask the tough questions and put whoever you choose to work for you.

Here is a list of current homes available within the parameters that you described.

Neil G. Blair-Bennett
(239) 645-3798
Managing Broker
Web Reference: http://Hope4HomeBuyers.info
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Dear WWW,

This question is asked almost everyday, so for anyone reading through -- take advantage of the tools on Trulia to view maps, schools and neighborhoods.

Nothing beats visiting....and with testimony from your friends who live in the area , well, that is icing on the cake! During your visit, consider your drive times with highway access and rush hours . Certain areas are only congested during school hours.

University Park & Lakewood Ranch have Tampa commuters because of the beauty, country living, new amenities, nicely valued homes....not to mention you can get to 35 miles of beach very quickly.


Sandra LaFlamme, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 30, 2012

With a budget of $450,000 and in the present market you should have the pick of locations. The bottom line is that you have many great options that should turn up locations with great schools, excellent housing opportunities, and a quality of life that is second to none.

Our recommendation is to slow your search down...it's impossible to base your decision on what others will share from their experiences. Consider visiting for the purpose of developing an appreciation for your options not making an immediate decision. Renting initially has saved many from making a decision that they would regret later.

It's amazing how clearly you can see things once the pressure is off.....be kind to yourself!

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 16, 2012
If you haven't heard of Naples or Bonita Springs, FL you need to check them out! We are on the Southwest, gulf coast of Florida. If you would like to see some homes while you are in the state please let me know! Please let me know if you would like more information on our local real estate, as I see you are getting information on the areas to the North of us but nothing from our area yet. Take Care.

Daniel K. Wyka
Cell: 239.398.5667
Email: DanWyka@KW.com

Keller Williams Elite Realty
24851 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 1
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
The Gulf Coast in Florida is a nice area in general. I am from Germany an live for 19 years in the Sarasota area, because it comes close to paradise. I settled in Sarasota after I checked Miami, Naples, Cape Coral, Tampa and Smyrna Beach on the east coast. I never regret my choice I made. Sarasota is the Cultural Capital of Florida. The entertainment is tremendous (Opera, Movie Festival, Ballet, Symphonic Orchestra, etc) and the greatest beaches ( Siesta Key is named #1 beach in the US!!) are endless. Great schools! You can believe me there is no comparison at all. If your $450,000 don't buy a house on the canal, join the Freedom Boat Club, but if you choose Sarasota, you will thank me later on.

Kind Regards

Broker Associate, CRS, GRI, CIPS, TRC, SFR
Web Reference: http://WernerUntrieser.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Mrs Canal Buyer

Please call me 9419939729. I am an highly active agent for buyers looking for canal properties. I can easily explain the positives and negatives of the options you have and the areas that your requesting. There are great choices in your price range. I can't go into details on a public forum.

Thanks and hope your home hunting is going well!!

Ken Ipox Sotheby's International Real Estate
Web Reference: http://www.Kenipox.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, and Cape Coral have a lot of canal homes that would certainly fit within your price range. There are several communities to choose from. Punta Gorda Isles is mainly made up of intersecting canals that lead to the Gulf.

Cape Coral is in Lee County. Here is the link to Lee County Schools - http://lee.k12.fl.us/home.aspx
Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte are in Charlotte County. Here is the link to Charlotte County Schools - http://www.yourcharlotteschools.net/. Charlotte County and Sarasota County schools are both “A” rated districts.

Money Magazine has named Punta Gorda as one of the best places to live in America several years in a row. Why? The city has been transformed since hurricane Charley in 2004. It has a charming and historic waterfront with restaurants and shops. Boating and fishing are also major attractions. The harbor leads out into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It has clean air, 129 square miles of sparkling water, sunshine, and a sub-tropical climate. The crime rate is low and it offers great values on waterfront properties.

The city is located on the shores of Charlotte Harbor in sunny Southwest Florida between Sarasota to the north and Ft. Myers to the south. It is a destination for visitors, residences, and businesses alike. Charlotte County has approximately 17,000 people, including young families, singles, and seniors. The city is convenient to airports such as Charlotte County, Southwest Florida International, and Naples Municipal Airport.

Punta Gorda is considered a waterfront paradise. You can find affordable living in single family homes, mobile homes, townhouses, and condos. Or you can purchase moderately priced luxurious waterfront homes and condos in upscale and gated /golf communities. There are also reasonably priced lots to build that dream home. If you would like additional information on this wonderful city or are thinking about moving here, contact me today at tammyhayesre@gmail.com.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor
Green Lion Realty, Port Charlotte, FL
E-mail: tammyhayesre@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
I can confidently say that Cape Coral has the second lowest crime rate in the state of FL.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Well, it sounds like Sarasota isn't realistic for us, but that helps me narrow things down and I can look further south. We are moving because we want to, not because we have to. We've got an amazing house here, but there is nothing to do, Memphis is extremely high crime, and it's not the lifestyle we want. I don't see a point in being house poor in Sarasota. If we are moving for a lifestyle change I want to be able to afford that lifestyle.

To answer Pam's question, we will sell our boat here and buy one that is more suitable for open water when we move. We have a wakeboard boat right now. I don't need to buy a house that fit's our current boat, just a house that will fit a boat.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
I must have missed your question in the Ft Myers area. Cape Coral is the "waterfront wonderland" across the river from Ft Myers that offers over 400 miles of canals. Buying a home on a Gulf access canal would easily be a reality for 450k or less.

Ft Myers/Cape Coral is a great place to live (of course I'm partial). Beaches, lots of activities, competitive cost of living compared to many other areas. I do not have children and cannot say whether the schools are better than TN but there is a lot of info available at http://lee.k12.fl.us/home.aspx. It is school of choice and the high schools each have individual programs geared towards preparing kids for graduation and a career. There are also a few charter schools and numerous private in addition to public. The bus system is also very extensive.

I'm a big fan of the Cape. Average age is early 40s with 25% of our population being under 18 years old. Both cities have a lot of great events for families (farmer's market every Saturday, tree lighting, boat parades, sand sculpting competitions, the list goes on!).

Sorry to hijack this thread in another city.

If you do have questions about the area feel free to contact me. I'm not one to pull any punches - it may or may not be a good fit for you but maybe I can give you some insight.

Best wishes!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Dear World Wide Web Designer:
There are a number of reasons why people choose Sarasota.
- We have one of the top school systems in Florida
- We are a cultural mecca - ballet, opera, theater, arts, museums
- It's a small town with a big city feel
- #1 Siesta Key Beach (and other fantastic beaches also)
- fun boating area
- There is always something to do here or something going on
- wonderful restaurants
- the weather!!!
- the people!!!

$450 is going to be tough on a canal. Do you currently have a boat? If so, what kind?

Let me know what I can do for you


Pam Sweeney
Michael Saunders & Co
1801 Main St
Sarasota, FL 34236


0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012

It's probably not going to happen in Sarasota County. Manatee county might be a possibility around Snead Island. That would be within an hour of TPA.


To the south, there are really some nice homes on the canal system in Punta Gorda. That would be a within an hour of Ft. Myers. Here is a list of the newest canal homes in Punta Gorda.


If you like what you see, you can also select "Boating Homes" under "Water Extras" and then enter the price range, year built, location etc in the advanced search.

I hope this helps with your home search.

John Woodward
Sarasota Real Estate Group
Web Reference: http://www.sarasotaone.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Sounds like it's probably too expensive for us then. Our friends paid $450k for their home on a canal, but maybe the market has changed since then. I would rather look elsewhere rather than go up in price because I like to have money for fun stuff (like a boat) and we'll have to buy a condo in Memphis for a crash pad for my husband. Thanks for being honest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Hi World Wide Weber,

Sarasota is great because it offers a small city with many outdoor cafe's and fabulous restaurants. It is also the cultural capital of Florida and offers world class ballet, symphony, performing arts, opera and art museums. It is physically one of the most beautiful areas in FL with so many panoramic views between our Keys with beaches and bayside mainland. We also house the number one beach in the Nation, Siesta Key Beach.

Sarasota is situated in the middle West of the state which makes it a bit warmer in the winter than Tampa and cooler in the summer than Naples and Ft. Myers. Sarasota is a young city undergoing great growth and establishing itself not only nationally but globally as well. If you want canals, I think we might have more canal's than most other areas in FL. It is also within an hour of both Tampa and Ft. Myers airports as well as St. Petersburg. Other area's of FL offer the usual, tennis, golf, boating and sunshine but Sarasota offers so much more.

Depending on what your criteria is, you should be able to find a canal front home within your price range.

My best,

Teresa M. Fellows
ERA Waterside Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
It's going to be very difficult in the Sarasota area to get on a can for $450,000. Anything at that figure or slightly below will be a fixer-upper. And there won't be much to choose from. Hate to be the bearer of bad news but that is the economic reality in Sarasota.

Sarasota has beautiful beaches (Siesta Key was voted No.1 in the U.S.A. for 2011), lots of restaurants and shopping, a lively arts & cultural scene and a nicely mixed demographic. If you come here check out the downtown Bayfront.

There are certainly great homes available in the area under $450,000 if you can live without the canal.

If you'd like additional information, email me or visit my website.

Good luck!

Steve Del Viscio, MBA
RE/MAX Alliance Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Thanks for your inquiry. There are so many wonderful aspects of the Sarasota area in terms of culture and great activities for a family notwithstanding a safe community. Sarasota is also within 1:15-1:20 minutes in either direction to TPA or Ft. Myers so you would have not two but three different airports as choices to plan your flights in and out. I just sent out approximately 7 properties with canal/boat capability to a customer of mine and they do fit your criteria in which you are looking. I would be happy to assist you with your search when you come to the area and share all the benefits of living in this area!

Lee Rugh
941.320.0677 Direct
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
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