5 things to know BEFORE moving to Sanford, Florida

May 23, 2023 | By Chuck Shaver
The Truth about Sanford

Do you want to hear “the other side” about Sanford, Florida? So many people, including myself, are always raving about how GOOD Sanford is. But today, I’ll be taking just a few minutes to address 5 things you should know BEFORE you move to Sanford, Florida.

I’ve lived here on the north side of Orlando for many years and I love Sanford, and some of you will think I’m nuts for what I’m about to say. But stick around, because I’m betting that some of you will agree with at least a few of these items and #5 is the one that may be most impactful to YOU if you’re thinking of moving here! Then at the tail end, I’ll be including a bonus concern for locals living near the downtown area.

 1. Beach life isn’t so great

First, the weather is one of the main reasons most of us moved down here in the first place. No snow to shovel or ice to contend with, right? I was expecting that I’d be sitting on one of those beaches just 45 minutes up I-4 all throughout the year. REALITY CHECK! I’m probably on the beach no more than like… twice a year!

In fact, I don’t even LIKE the beach! I know I sound like the grinch and I’m sure I’ll get plenty of HATE from the locals for it, but sitting in a giant sandbox in 95-degree heat, sweating while my skin blisters just isn’t for me. I’m sure most of you will think I’m nuts, but I can guarantee you that I’m not the only one down here that feels this way.

If you’re THAT person, make a note in the comments section below and let the other listeners know that I’m NOT alone here! While you’re at it, take a quick second and hit that Like button as a show of support for this channel and its effort to provide two-sided information about our area.

Yes, getting into the ocean DOES provide MODERATE relief, but I don’t care for the salt that just seems to burn my eyes when the sweat comes rolling down my forehead as I sit in my beach chair or worse yet, on some sort of blanket right on the sand. There are some days when the heat isn’t such a thing, but isn’t that the VERY reason you’d even go to the beach-to get away from the heat? Plus, I believe the best beach close to Sanford is New Smyrna Beach, and that is a beautiful beach and a beautiful little town, but it’s also known as the shark bite capital of the world!

2. Weather

Another reality of this weather is that most of us WORK for a living, we don’t get to spend our days running from the heat on the beach or in a swimming pool somewhere. I’m fortunate that these days I’m usually in an air-conditioned office, but I am often out showing vacant land, or maybe a farm and when it’s well above 90 degrees, it’s just not fun. With regular highs around a muggy 94 or 95 degrees from May through September, this heat is not what I signed up for.

The weather here in Sanford is generally amazing from October through April, when the highs are in the low 80’s. But it freezes here, too! Some years it won’t freeze at all, then other years it’ll freeze 4 or 5 times. I’ve probably planted 20 or 25 citrus trees over the years, and just TWO of them are still alive as I record this. Maybe you’ve seen some of those tropical plants? Most of them don’t grow here. For the most part you’ve got to go further south for that, but that’s also where you’ll get MORE of that heat!

3. Critters

Sanford, and all of Central Florida has all sorts of critters. Sanford sits on the south shore of Lake Monroe, and it’s a beautiful lake. When I was in high school I water skied out there quite a bit. I don’t know if the alligators are worse now or not, but sometimes I’ll look out over that water and all I see are gators, and it doesn’t seem like I see as many people water skiing out there anymore either.

We’ve got Palmetto Bugs, which are one of the local varieties of cockroaches. They can be up to almost two inches long and they’re everywhere. I don’t care how clean you keep your home; you’ll deal with them sooner or later.

I cannot talk about bugs without addressing the mosquitos here. Mosquitos seem to thrive here in the Sanford area, especially on the occasional years when we DON’T have a freeze. Plus, with Sanford sitting on the shores of Lake Monroe, there’s plenty of breeding territory for them. If I go outside on a warm evening, sometimes I literally feel like a piece of fresh meat!

In Sanford, especially down near Lake Monroe,  a few times a year you’ll have to deal with midges, which we usually call blind mosquitos. They don’t bite, but 2-4 times a year, they swarm at dusk for about a week and you might want to stay indoors as it can be like another Biblical plague. The spiders and birds love the feast, but they’ve got their set of problems when this is happening.

Downtown Sanford has a bunch of old homes, and this area is beautiful. But what do you get with an abundance of OLD homes? Termites! That’s right, we’ve got termites down here, too and if you’re a homeowner, especially in the historic area, or you just have an older home, you’ll do well to keep an eye out for them. Even if a home is tented to remove the termites, as soon as that tent is removed it’s prime food for the next swarm of them that happens to fly by. Of course, like several of these things, termites aren’t specific to Sanford per se, but they are more prevalent in areas with an abundance of older homes like Sanford has.

And Bats! Bats love Sanford, which some might think is a good thing. They do eat a lot of mosquitos. But when you get one in your house, or have a couple hundred living in your soffit getting guano all over your house, it’s not great. If it’s April through August, you’re stuck with them until August 15 when the bat maternity season is over. Getting rid of those bats can be costly too if you aren’t a do-it-yourselfer.

We’ve got about every sort of snake known to man, and those beautiful beaches are loaded with sharks. Now, to be honest, they’re pretty much harmless, at least that’s what the odds say. But several times each year there’s a report on the news of somebody being bitten by one. Just the other day I heard a story about some REALLY unlucky guy that was bitten on TWO separate occasions. Locals, what are some other critters that I’m leaving out here, because I’m SURE I don’t have them all?

4. Crime

I don’t really like to talk about crime. It’s kind a dirty word, and nobody wants to think it’s a problem. This is an area that I believe Sanford has GREATLY IMPOVED on over the years and I considered not even mentioning it. However, I used to have to come down 17-92 3 or 4 nights a week and it seemed like those blue lights were ALWAYS flashing somewhere.

Back in the day, I worked in an area of town that some of my co-workers thought was pretty shady and I had a specific route that I took that I felt safer taking. Today, that same route feels better to me personally, but if you’re thinking of moving to Sanford, you should definitely do some online research AND drive the area BEFORE moving here.

Some areas of Sanford, especially west of I-4 are very nice, and I don’t ever hear anyone even mention crime, although I’m sure it’s present over there, too. It seems like the downtown district has done an about face. It’s bustling with people out enjoying some of the good that Sanford has to offer, and my wife and I love going down there quite a bit. Crime is an issue with most larger towns, and I consider Sanford to be a large town, so it’s here, too. Here’s a link where you can check out the crime stats here in Sanford so you can form your own opinion.

5. Cost of real estate

Thinking of living here? You’ll need a thick wallet for that. If you want to live in a nicer area of Sanford, say, west of I-4, it’s easy to find numerous options well above $1M. Now, they’re nice homes, but they aren’t cheap! There are some gorgeous homes in downtown Sanford, but they’re pricey too. There is plenty of inexpensive real estate here in Sanford, but most of that is in older, smaller homes.

It should be noted that the Central Florida area, and Sanford is included in that, has an overall cost of living that is just below the national average, so it’s not that it is expensive per se. But you CAN head north just 15 minutes or so across the St. Johns River and find a comparable home for quite a bit less.

Bonus: Living in the downtown area? Events might seem wonderful, and Sanford does a great job with their events. Downtown can be quiet and peaceful during the week, but the weekend or a second Thursday can bring swarms of people from out of town, creating a traffic nightmare with the road closures, not to mention the risk of not even being able to find a place to park. As such, if you’re living close to that downtown area, this is something that can get annoying really quick.

I know I said it before, but I really do LOVE Sanford and most of these items are more indicative of the AREA, and not Sanford itself. Sanford has much to offer and I’m grateful to live here in Central Florida. If you have questions about Sanford, or have real estate needs anywhere here in Central Florida, feel free to give me a call me directly.

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