Tampa is an awesome area. As you have children school age, visit the Hillsborough county school board site,
The site allows you to input a property address to learn which schools service that neighborhood.
Also, visit the Hillsborough county Sheriff's website:
And, City-Data.com (Tampa) there you will find public forums with questions, answers and commentary that you can read and post your own question. Check the date of the comment, frequently a comment posted in 2006 is not relevant in 2013.
Brock Realty Inc.
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I would be more than happy to speak with you about the Tampa area. I relocated many times as an Army wife and completely understand the stress that moving with children can add to a relocation. I am on the School Advisory Board at two local schools and a Chamber of Commerce member. Please review the recommendations and profile I have on Trulia and give me a call at 813-352-6219.
Prudential Tropical Realty
If you're planning to work in the proximity of Tampa Int'l Airport or Westshore Business District I would suggest Westchase and West Park Village:
If you're working in Brandon, Riverview, Valrico you should be able to find a complex in that area. Likewise with New Tampa (near VA Hospital, USF).
Otherwise if you want to take a risk renting from an individual owner it would be best if that investor just recently purchased the property (for CASH).
It's not fun to have to suddenly allow Realtors to traipse through with clients because your landlord tell you after you sign your lease that he is doing a short sale!
So just be cautious.