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  1. #1
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    Default Considering Job in Miami but hesitant

    Hey folks, your forum seems an ideal place to try and find answers to my many questions.
    Been offered a very good position and paying job in Miami, office on Brickell Ave. I'm moving from Houston but have only been there 1 year so no roots. Of Latin desent and my wife is latin as well, but I'm a gringo by up bringing but love the latin style of life and culture.

    My first question is where to look for decent housing. I'd like to buy but would consider leasing to get a better feel for Miami before jumping in. I have heard real estate is way high but could be coming down now. Is this true or not?

    I am not one to commute, 15-20 min tops if possible. I require a 4 bedroom (wife +3 kids) and need about 2,500 sq ft min. I am safety conscious and would like decent public schools if possible, vs private. Am i dreaming or can I find and afford such a place. I'm thinking in the $400k+ range or $3k/month rent.

    Could use some pointers.

  2. #2
    Suzanne C
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    Hey Flyingman and welcome to MB 411!

    For starters, congratulations on the job offer! Miami is a great place to explore your heritage and I'm sure you're kids will love that!

    The real estate market in SoFLA is crazy but some areas NEVER take a hit- generally the nicer areas. The parts of Miami where real estate fluctuates is the "up and coming" areas. Places like Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Coco Plum, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay just keep getting more expensive by the year-in some cases, property values have almost doubled in the past three years. Leasing for a year could be the best option if your unsure about "rooting" down in Miami. With your $3K/month allowance, you'll be able to find something quickly provided you make a few adjustments.

    The kicker for you though will be the "schooling" options. Sadly, for as FABULOUS as it is to live in Cocount Grove, the schools SUCK and some are in REALLY BAD sections of the Grove. You may have to sacrifice your commute time for the education of your children. Areas with best public schooling: Coral Gables and Pinecrest/Palmetto Bay. You might also want to try looking at apartments/condos on Key Biscayne although I'm not sure you'll be able to find something within your price range. I lived there my whole life. It's great for families. Lots of police enforcing a 20 mph speed limit. Yearly membership to the Key Biscayne Beach Club and/or Key Biscayne Yacht Club are available. I attended Key Biscayne Community School (public elementary) and loved it. I rode my bike to and from school daily. Who does that in Miami? I did attend catholic schools for JR High and High School but the elementary school education was my base.

    What ages are your children?

  3. #3
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    Suzy, thanks for the reply. I have a 16 yr old boy, will enter Junior year, then a 4 almost 5 yr old girl and an almost 2 year old son. I'm most concerned with the HS and if Private Catholic is the best indicated for him, will consider.

    As for housing, I think everyone dreams of that "Florida" style home, stucko walls with tile roof, open floor plans, etc...Today just about any major city you have to move way out to find affordable new housing and then you are commuting 1+ hr/day. My future boss lives in Weston. What will his commute be like into Brickell?

    I have a good friend living in South Miami City(?) He is real up beat about living in Miami but then he is a Cuban from Miami. Has an older remodeled house on 2 acres! The house is not anything special but 2 acres of land sounds criminal.

    I like townhomes if newer and good ammenities, not too small. We call them Patio Homes in Houston.

    I just really dread commuting much more than 20-30 minutes one way.

  4. #4
    Gus
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    Hi flyingman, welcome to Miami Beach 411.

    Driving in Miami is not always bad, it depends on what time you're on the road.

    What time will you have to be at work, and what time can you leave?

    Is it possible to work a few days a week remotely?

    I have an area to recommend (closer and better than Weston), but the drive to Brickell is 25 minutes with no traffic.

  5. #5
    Suzanne C
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    Hey Flyingman!

    Your boss is in for one HECK of a commute via the Turnpike and/or the Palmetto and Dolphin expressways. He can figure close to an hour. For as upscale and 'new' as Weston is, he's going to be banging his head on the steering wheel after the 2nd week!

    With reference to your price range, desired commute time and your son's high school options, sounds like maybe you should be looking in the Morningside or Miami Shores area. In Morningside, there's a gated community with niceR homes that you can either rent or purchase. You are roughly 20 minutes from Brickell AND there is a catholic High School, Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame, within proximity.

    I don't want to knock public schooling, because I know plenty of people that have done well and I myself attend one in my early years. It's just that they're overcrowded and limited government funding sometimes causes for run-down, outdated campuses. The private schools have a smaller student to teacher ratio and can also afford to update materials and such more often.

    I suggest researching the Dade Schools website and the Archdiocese of Miami's catholic high school list.

    Also, there are other private, non-denominational schools available to your son. They're pricey but the education can't be beat. You have Ransom Everglades in Coconut Grove and Gulliver in South Miami. I remember wanting to go to Gulliver when it was my time for high school...but only because they had the best girls high school soccer team in the city!

    Is your son into any sports, academic clubs or activities? Maybe we can suggest something appropriate. I can tell you that the catholic high schools are big on having their students involved in community service programs...some even require parental participation.

    And as a worst case scenario, there are tons of private, school bus/transportation companies that can pick up your son and take him to the school of your choice if the school(s) you choose are not close to your home.

    I say 'schoolS' because of your almost 5 year old daughter. She's old enough for Kindergarten. She just has to be 5 years old by September 1st to qualify.

    Incidentally, my almost 4 year old (4 on August 7th) has been in catholic schooling (ok, it's just a preschool but it's still catholic and they've taught him that "God is in everyone's hearts") for a year now. I like the small class size. I like the fact that I have to pay for him to attend classes there as it makes me feel that my son is being cared for better than kids in public schools. (I'm snooty when it comes to my son, what can I say?) I'm not too sure how much he actually understands about religion or if, at 3, he grasps the concept of God, but I was raised in a VERY religious family so you gotta start somewhere!

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingman
    I have a good friend living in South Miami City(?) He is real up beat about living in Miami but then he is a Cuban from Miami. Has an older remodeled house on 2 acres! The house is not anything special but 2 acres of land sounds criminal.

    I like townhomes if newer and good ammenities, not too small. We call them Patio Homes in Houston.

    I just really dread commuting much more than 20-30 minutes one way.
    Hi flyingman! I can't give you much info on schooling, but I can tell you South Miami (east of US1) is a very nice area for families. There are a number of townhouses there. Also, your commute to Brickell would be facilitated by Metrorail/Metromover.

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    Gus,

    It is a new job so I am not sure of the hours but I assume I will have some flexibility when I come and go (I would assume 9-5 or 8-4 as a basis). I've never been one for mass transit, unless you call a school bus in grade school. I like to come and go as the job demands. I will have to travel overseas frequently, so easy access to MIA is also a plus.

    Suzy, my friend recommends La Salle High School, that is where his boys went to.

    My company will offer a relocation service, just don't know yet with whom. When I moved to Houston I leased a corporate for 3 months while we looked around for something more permanent in an area we liked, so I may do something similar here. It just makes better sense to get the feel of what is out there.

    Does Miami have a traffic control website like Houston Transtar? You can see live what is the realtime traffic flow on all the major arteries throughout the day. That was really helpful to decide where not to live.

    Houston also has a central real estate website called HAR. There you see all MLS listings, schools, etc...you can get demographics, police stats, income level, median home prices, etc...that was an excellent tool but in the end a real estate agent found the right place for us.

  8. #8
    Suzanne C
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    Flyingman:

    SoFla does have a similar system for traffic info- it's called 511.com and you can also reach it by dialing 511 on a cellphone. Actually, I think it's valid for the whole state.

    As for MLS listings, MB411 has that too plus you may want to speak with Gus's dad, Jim. Pm Gus for more info.

    OH, and last but CERTAINLY not least: this is a former La Salle Royal typing here...Even family members in the generation before mine attended. Back then Immaculata was the girls school and La Salle was for guys. Granted, my opinion is EXTREMELY biased, but there is no other high school in Miami that can boast about their campus the way La Salle can. With a student parking lot that has breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay and Key Biscayne, state of the art gymnasium/weight/basketball facilities courtesy of the Miami Heat (they used to practice there before the AAA was built), and Royal Palms that appear to touch the sky, your son will have a great time. Oh yeah, the percentage of students who go on to higher education (i.e. college) is in the high 90s-which is probably more interesting to you than a cool basketball court is. Students are not allowed to leave campus for lunch so you won't have to worry about where he'll be (staff actually locks the student parking lot so they kids can't escape). Also, the Youth Center adjacent to the school is such a nice facility that other schools come there for their retreats.

    Tuition when I attended (89-93) was roughly $450/monthly not including any special fees. Books are an added expense as are uniforms. My mom always said she spent less on uniforms than she would have had I been privy to high school fashion wars. I have many fond memories of high school and have considered sending my son there when it's his time (provided I can't afford Gulliver).

  9. #9
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    Suzy, great news so far. My friend lives in City of South Miami I think. He is suggesting City of West Miami and Schenley park. Sound good to you?

  10. #10
    Suzanne C
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    Those are nice areas (especially lush Schenley Park) but your commute will be hectic. You are no where near an expressway (Note: the Palmetto is not an expressway in the mornings but rather a parking lot).

    Your major arteries, Bird Road and Coral Way, are always backed up. Coral Way through the Gables is one lane and takes a few twists and turns. Bad Idea. Bird Road, ugh. Your commute to downtown on Bird will take you in front of Gables High through a 15mph school zone that's jam packed with school buses, kids waiting to pull into the parking lot and parents dropping off kids and that's all before you hit the madness on US1. Roughly, you'll be in the car for an hour.

    The closest metrorail station would be either the South Miami station or the University Station-but you still have to get there.

    If you live in the Schenley Park or West Miami areas, unless you plan on making a pit stop in the mornings to drop off your son, check out Christopher Columbus High School on SW 87th ave and 16th street as it's closer than La Salle. It's an all boys, catholic high school. Next door is St Brendan High School and although it's coed, it's predominantly girls. On second thought, your son might like the 12:1 female to male ratio!

    One more tidbit: Schenley Park is also where Miami Children's Hospital is located. You might hear the occasional helicopter or ambulance.

  11. #11
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    I spent a late night at Miami Childrens when our daughter was about 1 year old. She had a stomach virus so about 11pm on a weeknight we went to the emrgency ward since we were staying at a hotel and did not know where else to go. What a circus. Took about 3 hours of waiting before we were seen, a doctor looked at her for about 2 minutes, prescribed an injection and she was released. Got a bill for about $800!

  12. #12
    Gus
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    Hi Flyingman, sorry for the delayed reply. The areas I wanted to mention are Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay? They're south of Brickell, down US 1 about 15 miles. With no traffic, the drive is less than 30 minutes.

    You should also consider Miami Shores and Morningside which are just north of Brickell. (see: map)

    Here's a link to a good discussion about local private and public schools:

    http://forums.miamibeach411.com/inde...viewthread/535

    Before you make a decision about the job in Miami, do you plan on visiting first to look for housing?

  13. #13
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    Definitely will have to come with my wife and look around. I do have some friends and family so I'm not totally on my own in Miami. I must admit that the real estate prices are significantly higher than the Houston area. Interstingly enough salaries are higher in Houston than Miami but the cost of living is higher in Miami than Houston. I suppose it is all about quality of life, beaches and the weather.

  14. #14
    Gus
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    "I suppose it is all about quality of life, beaches and the weather."
    Excellent point, flyingman!

    What type of recreational activities do you and your wife enjoy?

  15. #15
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    Wife and I enjoy our wine!

    I used to be an avid sailor, racing all different types of sail boats. My friend still races in Miami so I should be able to pick that back up. I also just like to cruise, island cruising is great fun.

    I used to be a weekend tennis player, club stuff, nothing competitive. Wife and I like to bike as well, we have one of those chariots to haul the kiddies behind us. I hope we can find some good biking routes without a lot of cars.

    Wife loves to dance, perhaps a bit more than I. I recall spending a late night out at SoBe at a place called Mangos, that was fun. We stayed at one of those neat hotels on the beach with an infinity pool, just stayed one night after a 3 day cruise to the bahamas. It was next door to Madona's place, or what was her place. I can't recall the name but it was very nice and expensive.

  16. #16
    Gus
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    Hey flyingman, it sounds like you and your wife are going to fit right in.

    Give us a shout if you need anything.

  17. #17
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    OK, it's official. I have accepted the position in Miami, hope I won't regret this!

    Offices will be 1221 Brickell Ave.

    Not sure when I will be moving, but probably around September time frame.

    I'll continue to pick your guys brains!

  18. #18
    Gus
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    Felicitaciones por tu nuevo empleo, y bienvenidos a Miami, flyingman!

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    Habla espanol, excellente!

    By the way my name is Tito Giron, my wife is Francia. I am a Marine Engineer by education and work in the Electrical Power Sector.

    I (we!) are really excited about this new opportunity. Look forward to many new friends, starting right here.

    Tito

  20. #20
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    Congratulations to you and Francia! We look forward to welcoming you to our City of Paradise!

    I'll continue to pick your guys brains!
    Continue to ask away; we are happy to help. ;-)

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