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Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

U.K.
1 post
Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

HIya, im a European citizen with a few quieries about moving to Florida. First of all, is it easy to find a job there? Do u need a work permit for everywhere? What are the prices like, in terms of property and renting? Genrally what is it like to live there? Im planning on studying also, but i really needed some insight into the life there and the opportunities available. If anyone has any information i would really appreciate it. Thank you.

Raquel

Level Contributor
2,130 posts
109 reviews
1. Re: Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

Where in Florida?

The central parts of the state are somewhat less expensive than the coastal areas. Also, northern areas are less expensive than S Coastal areas.

I know S Fl in Lee, Collier, Dade, Broward. Palm Beach, and Matin Ctys are very expensive. Most workers here would be unable to buy their house now on the salary they earn. Prices have stalled, and some have been coming down.

New houses are much more expensive than new condos, in the same areas. Some builders have started building prior to the last hurricane season have been grandfatheres in on some of the new building codes. (They don't have to follow the new codes)

In central Broward, Palm Beach and Dade (nicer areas-a bit from the beach- a 2 bed 2 bath can be about $350,000 to $500,000.

Poorer areas will be a bit less. A Brand new developement called Savanah in Vero Beach has some homes from the $150,000 but they do not meet code 100% (the are modular homes)

The best possible builders will make their homes from poured concrete with rebar reinforcement ( www.pulte.com and then DiVosta). Most in S and much in Central Fl are now CBS build with reiforced steel bounded roofing (tile preferred), and Dade coded glass windows. I still like shutters...I can't believe the glass can be that strong.

Wages in Fl are generally low. Many get federal minium. Many are illegals that work for less. Your better paid jobs would be in the NE and mid Atlantic states and the west coast (Calif).

A few years ago, the low wages in the area were also compatible with lower real estate pricing, and food costs.

We live in NJ & FL and can say food and housing (on the SE Coast of Fl) cost way more than in NJ. (They don't tax food or clothing in NJ...yes in Fl...

But...the ocean (today 73 F and weather is great. If you are not too picky, you CAN pick up a 2 bed 2 bath condo near the beach for $160,000 to about $280,000...but an older condo is loaded with assessments....want to ask how much it cost per unit to re do the rebar steel supports??????

Fort Lauderdale...
Level Contributor
324 posts
13 reviews
2. Re: Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

Hi Raquel,

Well i am living proof that what you want to do is possible, if not that easy. I am from London, but have been living and working in the US for 3 years. I originally moved to Atlanta, and have been in Fort Lauderdale for 2 years.

First of all, is it easy to find a job there?

There are lots of job opportunities if you have skills and are motivated. Having an English accent is also definitely a plus.

Do u need a work permit for everywhere?

In short, yes. I have a work permit sposnered by company. The problem you will find is that most companies will not be interested in hiring someone who needs a visa. Plus, you need to have a degree to get a visa in most cases.

Your best bet would be to get a visa to study, that would allow you to also do some work. There are loads of casual jobs avaialble, especially in Florida, like bars, restaurants etc.

What are the prices like, in terms of property and renting?

Compared to London, it is much cheaper, but like all places it really depends on where you are. Location, location, location. I live in downtown Ft Lauderdale and can walk to work, and all the bars and restaurants. The ocean is about a mile and a half away. It is quite expensive, but you couldnt get anytrhing like it in London, let alone for the same price. Miami beach is even more expensive. But in Atlanta, for the same price as my 2 bed apartment here, youcould get a 4/5 bed house with a pool (altough it would be in the suburbs).

Genrally what is it like to live there?

Personally I love it. Apart from the hurricanes!

Im planning on studying also, but i really needed some insight into the life there and the opportunities available. If anyone has any information i would really appreciate it. Thank you.

I suggest you focus on finding a course to do, and look into the visa options. I think you would need a J visa. The school you want to go to would probably be able to help.

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
1,648 posts
12 reviews
3. Re: Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

MrMagee: We too are looking to move to Ft. Lauderdale but we are americans. You say you live in downtown ft. lauderdale but it is expensive? Can you give me a price range? Assuming we are renting, what can we get for the $1000 to $1200 price range? Thanks for your info and help!

Fort Lauderdale...
Level Contributor
324 posts
13 reviews
4. Re: Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

Well i am not a real estate agent, but i am paying significantly more (almost double)than that for my place - at least my company are - but it is in a new building and is a 3 bedroom.

I am not sure what you could get downtown for that. I am sure you can find something in that range, although it may not be walking distance to everything downtown has to offer. Being Americans, you may not be used to walking everywhere anyway. I get in my car maybe twice a week! Anything closer to the beach will be more expensive.

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
1,648 posts
12 reviews
5. Re: Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

MrMagee - Wow, sounds pricey. But if you are paying double for that, perhaps we could afford a 1 bed. or maybe 2 bedroom for our range. Actually, lots of Americans in cities walk quite a bit. We are city people and for many years we didn't even own a car. I sure kept fit that way! If we can walk to work and night life, we'll definitely not be driving a lot. Thanks for the info, I'll keep checking around. Oh yeah, even if we are a mile or two (or three or four!) we'd be happy. Do you know of any other neighborhoods like you described that are semi-close (you can drive there easily on weekends) to the water and affordable?

Fort Lauderdale...
Destination Expert
for Fort Lauderdale
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41,207 posts
11 reviews
6. Re: Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

I feel I must inject some reality into all the excitement being generated here. It is a well known fact that there is an extreme shortage of affordable rentals properties anywhere in South Florida. Almost one third of former rental apartments are undergoing condo conversion and almost nothing new is being built. It has created such difficulty that there are constant stories in the local paper about it and the School Board is considering building "housing villages" for young teachers because they can not afford the price of rentals. Let me suggest that you visit our local newspaper site www.sunsentinel.com and look through the archives for stories about rental housing. Finding a rental in a good neighborhood in the price range being mentioned sounds like it would be pretty near a miracle to me. If you see reasonable rents advertised it is probably in a fairly bad area or a not so desirable type of property. Please reserach thoroughly before you make a major life decision.

Fort Lauderdale...
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for Fort Lauderdale
Level Contributor
41,207 posts
11 reviews
7. Re: Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

Here's a recent story- It mentions $69,000 as the income level needed to find suitable housing in Ft. Lauderdale,

sun-sentinel.com/news/…

Fort Lauderdale...
Destination Expert
for Fort Lauderdale
Level Contributor
41,207 posts
11 reviews
8. Re: Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

Here's more info about the rental shortage from our newspaper:

South Florida condo conversions are at an all-time high, leaving renters in a tight spot

By Lisa J. Huriash

Staff Writer

Posted August 6 2005

Just a few months ago, Maggie Sullivan, 46, was told she had to pack up and move. Her unit at the Fountains in Tamarac, just north of Commercial Boulevard, is among the wave of rental apartment buildings throughout the county converting to condominiums.

"This is not a piece of property, this is my home," Sullivan said. "This is where I come after a day's work. But you can't relax when you don't know where you're going to live tomorrow."

When the 32-unit Fountains goes on sale to the public today, it will be the latest change in South Florida's housing market. For the condo buyer, the boom in conversions means more diversity in housing options. But for the apartment renter, it means pay up or move out once the lease expires. Sullivan's lease expires next month.

According to the state's office of Standards and Registration, which tracks apartment conversions, there was only one apartment building in Broward County -- in Hollywood -- in 1996 that was converted to a condo. This year, through May 19, 6,098 units converted to condos, according to a Deerfield Beach consulting firm.

Throughout Florida, "for the past two or three years, it's been a steady increase of conversions and new condos," said Rudolph Prinz, bureau chief of the state's office of Standards and Registration. "It seems for conversions it's heating up even faster. One reason is the building is already there. If you have to build the building, you're talking several years of construction time."

There were 5,880 units that went condo in Palm Beach County in 2004, according to researchers, and more are expected this year; about 3,943 units were converted through May of this year alone.

Dan Fasulo, director of market analysis for Real Capital Analytics, Inc., in New York, said his company tracked more than $10.4 billion in condo conversions throughout the United States in the first six months of this year. Of that, $1.1 billion was spent in Broward and Palm Beach counties, he said.

The surge in demand proved profitable for Ralph Getelman, of Pompano Beach, who bought the Fountains apartment building 23 years ago for almost $1.2 million. He sold it as a condominium conversion in May for $3,679,000, according to county property records. Getelman, 80, said he and his wife wanted to retire and figured this was the perfect time financially.

"It's more than we could have gotten if we sold it as an apartment complex," he said.

The majority of the current Broward condo conversions are west of Interstate 95, especially in the northwest part of the county in cities such as Plantation, Coral Springs, Tamarac and Sunrise, according to Jack McCabe, a Deerfield Beach-based multifamily analyst.

For renters, "it means they are having a very difficult time finding a place to live," McCabe said. "On average 10-12 percent of renters convert to owners when the complexes go to condo, so 80 percent are now looking for another apartment."

Renters, he said, "are being left out in the cold."

Sullivan, an ophthalmology assistant, said she doesn't have the savings for a down payment on a condo. And she worries about having to pay more rent in a new apartment. Now, for a one-bedroom, she is paying $750 a month.

The new management is offering her unit to her for $151,999 -- a discount over the $154,999 the public will pay.

Sullivan said those figures are out of her financial bounds, and she faults condo owners in general for the high prices.

"What they're doing is no different than the price gouging after a hurricane for bottled water and generators," Sullivan said. "They have a commodity people need, housing, and they're saying `here's the price, take it or leave it.'"Sullivan's neighbor, Charles Albert, 67, has been living in his two-bedroom unit since 1987. He said he cannot find a comparable place to live for the $875 monthly rent he pays. "It's hard to explain what this does to you mentally," he said.

He said he's not sure where to go other than another rental: Median prices of single family homes are $384,900 in Broward, and the median price of condos is about $200,000, according to Richard Barkett, CEO of the Realtors Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale.

At St. Andrews at Winston Park in Coconut Creek, people are snapping up apartments, starting at $899 per month, said customer service specialist Stevette Hay.

McCabe said the average rent in northwestern Broward County in cities such as Parkland, Coral Springs and Tamarac is $1,040. The average rent in Plantation and Sunrise is $1,023.

Just a few years ago, he said, it was not uncommon for apartment complexes to offer renters free massages or wine and cheese parties as incentives. "Now these types of services are nowhere to be found," McCabe said. "And we're facing a real crisis with our affordable rental housing in south Florida because we anticipate the inventory will shrink again this year by as much as 10 percent in the tri-county area." According to McCabe's agency, some of the apartment complexes recently turned into condos include the 308-unit Reflections condo in Pembroke Pines, formally known as Archstone Pembroke Pines. When it went on the market in March 23, the units sold out in five hours. Cleary Court, in Plantation, changed its name to Bela Sera when it became a 192-unit condo. Sales started in July 2004, and 180 units were sold by May 19 when McCabe's report was prepared. The 1997 apartment building Heather Glen, in Sunrise, began condo sales in November. All 234 units were gone in March.

Half a dozen conversions occurred in Fort Lauderdale last year, including the 246-unit Bridgeside Place, renamed The Tides at Bridgeside Place; the 376-unit Sailboat Pointe; and the 304-unit Waverly at Las Olas.

In Coral Springs and Plantation, the deluge of conversions has caused huge backlogs in city building departments, said Tom Herman, owner of the Sunrise-based Herman Construction Services Inc. In Coral Springs alone, almost 3,600 apartments have gone condo, city officials said.

In Pembroke Pines, 1,726 rental apartment units are in the process of conversion or converted in the past couple of months, the city's Planning Division reported this week.

The flood of sales frustrates activists who campaign for affordable housing. Laura Hansen, director of Broward's Coalition to End Homelessness, said she worries that as more apartments are being sold, workers living month-to-month would have to worry about becoming homeless.

"People have been priced out of housing in Broward for a long time," she said. "To me the significant question is what are we going to do about it?"

Level Contributor
2,130 posts
109 reviews
9. Re: Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

For all of us not able to see beyond our own circumstances:

MEDIAN SALARY FOR VARIOUS JOBS IN SE FL:

{THIS IS NOT STARTING SALARIES...which would be much lower}:

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Posted March 2, 2006

Registered nurses (RN with degree)

$50,362.00

Police officers (Most will have degree)

$ 49,188.00

Firefighters

$ 47,172.00

Elementary school teachers (Some districts req working toward Masters level)

$ 39,876.00

Customer Service representatives

$ 24,264.00

Administrative assistants

$ 24,252.00

Retail salespersons

$ 18,936.00

Waiters

$ 12,324.00 ($1.73 an hour PLUS TIPS !!!)

(Wonder why nearly every restaurant has a sign out for help....or why you wait sooo long?)

{You don't want to know what low level health care providers recieve)

Prices for RE:

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Posted March 2, 2006

Type of housing:

Single-family homes

Median price:

$ 361,100.00

Income required

$ 90,720.00

Condos:

$ 193,000.00 (Price)

$ 50,500.00 (income to secure loan)

Rentals

$1,122 a month

$ 45,000.00 (Income needed for lease)

From Sun Sentinal Didn't post right, so parenthesis include added info

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
1,648 posts
12 reviews
10. Re: Working and Living in Ft. Lauderdale

Lulutoo and limitthespreads: Thanks for all of your information and helpful articles.

However, I'm not sure if you are trying to dissuade people from moving to Ft. Lauderdale, or if you are just trying to warn us about the current living situation.

I genuinely appreciate the insight, and will be careful about where we choose to live in FL.

We were planning on finding an apt. to rent and then buying within 6 mos.