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Close ... BUT, where to go?
Old 07-04-2016, 01:48 PM   #1
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Close ... BUT, where to go?

Our story ...pretty boring, but would appreciate your thoughts!

Probably in last year of OMY ...no discontent at work, just increasingly boring. My daydreaming eventually coalesced around the point that I am apparently working to support a big house in an expensive place (Fairfax County, VA) with expensive taxes (real estate and Virginia state) with kids gone.

Five years ago we bought a small house on Smith Mountain Lake, about four hours from the main house - point was to get away (we do every other weekend), and, rent it out when we didn't want to use it (never have). This is our "punch out" location - where we would go when we sell the big house. We have already donated a lot of furniture and household goods, and have curb alerted (craigslist) 10K pounds of stuff. Intent is to sell off almost every piece of furniture, move the 10% we don't sell, store some at the SML house, store some somewhere else (kids live in Atlanta), etc, and then consider our navels for a few months at the lake.

I might continue to work, but under creative circumstances I haven't yet created :-)

Our previous plan was to use the lake house as a "summer place," with domestic and international travel time overlapping spring and fall with the smaller crowds. But, one can only do this for so long - and, my way better half has informed me she really wants a "home" - however, neither of use thinks the lake works in this regard. We would still use the lake for summers - very pleasant weather and nice water.

We're both from "old Florida" (her - Pensacola; me - St Pete) ... and I have always been a water person (grew up on Tampa Bay in the Pasadena area). We have been watching friends relo to gated communities across south Florida, but we have always wanted to be around a more mixed age and ethnicity group than most seem to have. We don't want the giant house and aren't trying to impress - we do want to be near a bay, a single family house, sense of community, would like a club with golf, food/drinks and social atmosphere, houses with docks or boat storage, etc ... I recall my childhood in a non-gated community now called Pasadena Yacht and Country Club, but don't have a frame of reference because I was young and my parents didn't do country clubs - we just lived there.

I've looked a lot online, but it is hard to get through the hype ... would appreciate your thoughts around this topic ... and, yeah, we'll be doing trips to investigate - probably take a few months and drag a small center console boat around Florida's bays and see what appeals.

Thanks!!
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:18 PM   #2
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First question - have you thoroughly evaluated your income vs spending situation? You do not say much about that, and there are lots of tools to do it. Regarding a location for the permanent home, a lot of suggested retirement locations are in towns/cities that have a college or university. They provide a lot of economic and cultural support and diversity.
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:03 PM   #3
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Just remember, there is no rush in deciding where you want to move to. You can take the time to investigate as many possible locations as you want to, until you find one you feel would be right for you and your wife. Investigating and visiting various locations could be fun and I hope you have a great time doing this.

Also, many/most (but not all) of us need to adjust to retirement, relax, and de-stress during the first year or two after retiring, before taking on a big project like an interstate move.

Before I retired, it sounded so idyllic to have a u-haul parked outside my workplace on my last day, ready for me to jump into it the moment I retired and drive to a new hometown.

After I retired, I realized that for me, this would have been way too much pressure and not like being retired at all. Now that I am retired I don't feel the need to accomplish things all the time any more, if that makes any sense.
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:12 PM   #4
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Have you tried out Find Your Spot?
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Old 07-04-2016, 10:51 PM   #5
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Have you tried out Find Your Spot?
FindYourSpot is awesome for finding small niche communities right up your alley. Its opened my eyes to quite a few areas including the coast of NC

I also like to use https://smartasset.com/taxes/income-taxes to check taxes to make sure these places are reasonable and taxes can be budgeted/accounted for.
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:19 PM   #6
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Sounds as if a road trip to Florida is in order. Nothing like getting your feet on the ground to bring the Floridian lifestyle back in you.

I personally love the Smith Mountain Lake/Roanoke area too. You made a good decision. I hope your real estate in the D.C. area will cash out big for you--payback for the ridiculous property taxes people there have to pay.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:33 PM   #7
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Dr Roy - while more money is always better, we are in pretty good shape with a couple of pensions and maxed out 401ks over the last 20 years ...we also like the idea of college towns ... I like the diversity of thought, access to classes and events, and the atmosphere. Thanks!


w2r - I think we are beginning to like the idea of looking for a little while. Never had the opportunity for this - military moves for 20 years, then stayed in last location.


pb4uski - will take a look at findyourspot. Thanks!


I am still torn on "gated communities" ... would appreciate anyone's opinions on their experiences ... and where ...


Thanks, again!!


Dropout - will take a look at smartasset.com/taxes .... good points. Thanks!


Bamama - we considered staying in WDC area, but too expensive and everything is magnified in complexity ... traffic is horrendous, taxes too. Good medical care, and we may revisit for that when the need arises. SML is nice, but a bit too calm in the winter ... Florida residency is probably in our future. Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2016, 02:36 PM   #8
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We had a second home at Smith Mountain Lake in the Waterfront Subdivision. When we retired we moved there full time for a few years. We liked SML in the summer but we got bored in the winter. Plus we felt we were too far from medical care. We had one friend at SML who died on the way to the closest hospital in Roanoke, he might have made it if the hospital were closer. Now we live in Chapel Hill, NC a great college town with lots to do and great medical facilities. But Chapel Hill is too hot in the summer so we spend the summer in our motorhome in the mountains in Linville, NC, very cool at 4000 elevation and lots to do.

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Old 07-09-2016, 08:33 AM   #9
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Really great thoughts by all ...

We looked at Chapel Hill around 1995 when we got out of the Navy ...really liked it, but didn't have the foresight to take a chance on retraining in a different job ... stayed in WDC area ...turned out OK, but ...
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Old 07-09-2016, 09:07 AM   #10
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Old Florida seems to be moving more southward . Maybe look at Cape Coral ?
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Old 07-09-2016, 09:28 AM   #11
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Have looked at Cape Coral area via the usual sorting tools like googlemaps, zillow, etc ... it doesn't seem to have as much of the "house with dock and pool" we were looking for. An example of a target area we like (probably because it is imprinted from my childhood) is the Pasadena area of St Pete ... lots of smaller houses still available (all new construction and post-hurricane reconstruction seems to have gone to parking on first level and elevated main level which we don't like - I get why it is new code, I just think it isn't as comfortable) with docks and very quick access to the Tampa Bay and then the Gulf.

This is gonna be hard, I think ... since I was 18 I always went where the Navy sent me ...gah ... have to decide!!!!!
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Old 07-09-2016, 11:04 AM   #12
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The thing with elevated homes is that they really lower home owner's insurance .
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Old 07-09-2016, 11:17 AM   #13
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You asked about gated communities.

I wasn't interested in one when I was hunting for my snowbird condo in SWFL. In my search I stumbled upon a condo with the amenities I was seeking, but it had a gate.

Luckily, it's an unmanned gate. As a resident/owner you get a sticker on your vehicle window that opens the gate. All others need to enter a code at the gate which rings on your cell phone and you then open the gate remotely. This has worked out well and is much cheaper than paying the wages of someone to sit at the "guard house" 24/7. Plus I feel that there's a bit more privacy than having some at a gate house quizzing your guests/delivery people/service people, etc.

Plus, I've seen some vehicles pull into the entry drive of the condo complex, and once they get far enough on property to see that we have a gate, they enter the turnaround (before the gate) and leave the property. This makes me wonder what they were there for. So I think having a gate serves to keep some folks out (the curious, solicitors, no-goodniks, random folks who might want to use the pool/hot tub/tennis courts/crash a pool party, , etc.)

I now don't mind having a gate, especially as 75-80% of owners are snowbirds. It's not a high level of security, but it does serve to keep out most folks who don't belong on property.

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Old 07-09-2016, 11:21 AM   #14
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Gated community?

Not for me. We visited a couple gated communities in FL, no way. Had nothing to do with the gates but everything to do with the people who lived there. YMMV.
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Old 07-09-2016, 11:23 AM   #15
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Moemg - yeah, the why is easy these days ...when I was a kid we had to pull carpets after a couple of hurricanes ...elevating is a reasonable thing to do ... especially given the certainty of rising sea levels over the next 30 years.

omni550 - thanks for your comments re gated ... we are just a bit concerned about becoming isolated from the rest of the community. My friends who have gated are very happy, but that may be because they entered the math wanting gates ...I guess we have to think about this a bit more.
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Old 07-09-2016, 01:35 PM   #16
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I never understood the attraction of gated communities.
My opinion is if I need a gate then the area has to much crime for me.
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Old 07-09-2016, 01:41 PM   #17
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I never understood the attraction of gated communities.
My opinion is if I need a gate then the area has to much crime for me.
I sort of agree, but my thinking is more that the (very hardened) criminals around here aren't going to be stopped by a gate across the street and a senile, friendly guard at the gate. They'd either go in some other way, or just casually blow a hole in his chest and drive on through if that was more convenient.
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Old 07-09-2016, 02:11 PM   #18
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I'll likely never live in a gated community, but the concept of having a visible, extra layer of security if sound. Solicitors, burglars, and hardened criminals are incentivized to go to another, less secure neighborhood.

Like the parable of hiking with friends and getting attacked by a bear. You don't have to outrun the bear, just be a little bit faster than your buddy.
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Old 07-09-2016, 04:15 PM   #19
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http://www.realtor.com/realestateand...-49426#photo22

No golf club but a yacht club . I think this is in Snead Island which is a pretty area .
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