South Venice is pricier than most of the country, there's no doubt about that. Most homes in the area sell in the San Diego price range, and that's just for 2 bedrooms. But the thing to keep in mind is this: South Venice is a popular vacation spot. Property values can fluctuate wildly based on how many people are looking to invest their hard earned money into a timeshare on a quiet Floridian beach somewhere.
On the other hand, if you're not interested in purchasing a place, apartments for rent are always an option. It may well be less expensive than a monthly mortgage, but with the average rent coming in around a grand per month, it won't be much less expensive.
Starting the Search
Begin your search when it's cold, of course! Winter is the quiet season around South Venice. Despite the moderate temperatures, most folks have to work, which makes the tiny beach town a very quiet place during the off-season. Everything is less expensive during this time, and not just housing, either: food, hotels, anything you can think of. Business owners are happy to see a friendly wallet -- err, face -- during this season. The number of people looking for rental apartments are much lower, and if you find a deal that you just can't pass up, try to talk the landlord into a deal. Lock in the rate if at all possible. Convince the landlord that one in the hand is better than two in the bush, and you might just get a great rate on rent that will last you throughout the year.
What to Bring
Bring along a cut-throat mindset. You aren't going to be the only person trying to find a great deal on housing or rental costs during this time. If you come across a place you like, make a move for it -- and keep an eagle eye out for the competition. South Venice is a rather small town, so it shouldn't be hard to spot other hungry house-hunters. Make sure you have copies of your credit history, your rental history, and proof of income. Most landlords and real estate agencies will require that information anyway; having it on hand just speeds up the process and gives you the edge on less-prepared competitors. Oh, and be sure to find out if they allow pets or not; it would be a shame to find a home for rent only to discover your four-legged baby isn't allowed.
Florida Pines: Florida Pines is a mobile home park found in Venice. The cheapest accommodations in the area can be found here, where studio apartments in South Venice can be had for the least cost.
South Venice: South Venice is the most varied neighborhood in the area, with homes ranging drastically in cost. Rentals can also be had. South Venice is the area where most families and retired couples live. More suburban and laid back than either Florida Pines or Woodmere Village, South Venice is probably the best place for newcomers to look for housing.
Woodmere Village at Jacaranda: This is the Beverly Hills of South Venice. With huge square footage for the individual homes and even higher prices, Woodmere Village is where you can find the largest, fanciest homes in the area. A popular choice for the wealthier residents of the area, Woodmere Village still has homes for sale, but at quite a high price.
The average day for most residents is pretty simple: wake up, grab a cup of coffee, and read the local paper while watching the sun set. Some like to go for early morning walks, and it is not uncommon to see a number of dogs roaming around in the morning, saying hello to their fellow dog friends as their owners talk amongst themselves.
Life in South Venice is a very calm, slow sort of lifestyle. The community has several restaurants to choose from, all of which are geared more toward tourists than residents. The single pub in town (TJ Carney's) is inexpensive and laid back. Residents can often be found here after a long day of work, discussing life and politics or whatever other hot topic might come up.
There's not really anything in the way of public transport. Residents walk, bike, or drive anywhere they need to go. The town is rather fitness oriented, however; the beaches are often dotted with footprints from runners who enjoy soaking up the morning air while out for a jog.
If you ever feel the need to head to a larger city, Sarasota fortunately isn't far away. Most residents plan day trips to head into town for supplies and rations before heading back to the comparatively quieter areas in South Venice. Despite the cost of housing in the area, at least 13,000 people feel as if it's worth calling home, and what better testimonial can there be than that? Take your time to look for a place to live, but when you do find one, definitely move quickly. Best of luck!