I first visited Tampa six years ago. Two girls from school and I decided to go on a cruise together. Instead of flying we took a road trip, spent the night at a cheap motel and headed to the port the next morning to enjoy seven days at sea. It was fabulous, though I didn't get to see much in Tampa that time. Fortunately that wouldn't be my last visit to the Suncoast. My job required annual visits to Clearwater Beach for a conference, so I normally would spend an extra couple of days before or after the conference vacationing in the area.
I haven't decided yet whether I'll even move. I've been living in the same place my entire life. Until recently I always felt tied down to the city I'm in. But now I've been thinking about what it would take to uproot my flag and plant it somewhere new.
Things to Consider
- Money magazine forecasts Tampa home prices will fall over 50% from peak to trough. Some people get scared by that. I see an opportunity to find a bargain.
- Columbia restaurant. Their original location in Ybor City opened in 1905. I prefer the casual experience of eating on the patio overlooking Tampa Bay at their Clearwater Beach location. I could eat there every day.
- Lots of sun = positive mental attitude. There's a reason they call it the Suncoast: there are 238 sunny days every year. Of course, the down side is that it's pretty damn humid in the summer. There's a lot of humidity where I am now, so not sure I'd notice much difference.
- So much to do. Would I get bored eventually? It doesn't seem possible: beach, casino, botanical gardens, Orlando, Miami, beach, Ybor City, beach. Did I mention the beach?
I still have to do more research:
- Taxes and the overall cost of living. There's no income tax in Florida, not even on dividends or capital gains. Some things, like gas, cost more. Unlike where I live, there is no sales tax on groceries. I still need to look at property taxes. Property taxes will be about double what I pay now... all the more reason to find a modest house. I suspect insurance will also be higher... I'll be subsidizing the "Q-tips" drivers.
- Unemployment is over 10% in Tampa. Will it be hard to find a job?
- Assuming I don't sell all my rental properties, how much of a burden will it be to manage them remotely?