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Old 05-18-2010, 04:03 PM   #1
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Downsizing

DW and I have decided to become year round residents of Florida. Spending time between three homes has gotten old quick. We both have a desire to call one place home and it is difficult when you are coming and going two or three times a year...

So, we have contacted our previous real estate agent to begin the process of listing our Atlanta home for sale. We think that we may be lucky enough to sell it this year. We know we might be dreaming but several homes in our development have sold quickly, several have not.

Our plan is to sell some mountain property we have outside of Asheville NC, sell our Atlanta home, then sell our Florida home. We know that this may take several years to complete, so in the meantime we will be returning to Atlanta to clean-up and stage the house to make it presentable, then return to Florida, while the Atlanta house is on the market. (With a German Shepard and three cats, we don't want to do the cleaning necessary for showings)

After we have sold both the mountain property and the Atlanta home, we will place our Florida home on the market. We like the location of the home, so its possible that we end of buying another home in the development. We don't like the layout of the house, we need a three car garage(just to park two cars in it), and DW wants to be able to play in the dirt outside. We may end up buying a home before we sell this one, but if we do that, it will be a fixer upper that is in the right location but one that we can pay cash for.

Financially, buying the lake property in South Carolina was probably a bad decision. (We had to take out a loan and sell stock pretty much at the bottom of the market.) But it turns out that by squeezing us financially, we were forced to make a decision (on where to live) we both knew we wanted to make, but were afraid to commit to. We really like Atlanta and Florida, but we hate the logistics of going back and forth and the fact that neither place seemed like home. After spending so many years moving for the Military, we have a real sense of finally feeling at home in Florida.

So I guess we will still have two houses, the vacation rental lake property in SC and a Florida residence which we will call home.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:10 PM   #2
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Sounds like a good idea. Sometimes a little simplification in one's life can mean a lot more fun.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:12 PM   #3
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WOW! That's a big project! We're just building one home, and I am overwhelmed and look forward to being "done". We live in an RV otherwise.

So you own 3 homes plus some mountain property? And you are "downsizing" to 2 homes?

An RV would simplify the logistics of going back and forth - especially with pets - LOL!

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Old 05-18-2010, 05:39 PM   #4
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We simplified but didn't downsize. We owned two homes, a mountain cabin (only 40 minutes from home), and a mountain cabin lot (an hour and a half away). We loved these properties, but they got too much to handle. We sold the cabin and are in the process of selling the cabin lot, but we are keeping the two homes. They are both paid for, have held their value okay, and are both used by our large family (seven married kids and 20 grandkids). We totally love everything about both homes. In addition, the logistics of going back and forth between the two homes (separated by 3.5 hours) is minimal, because we live almost full time in our main home and then just go down to the second home to get away (to better weather and to active recreation). We keep doing this until we get too old or too poor to aford two homes!

Jim, it sounds like what you're doing is best for you and your DW in your situation. Good luck. May your properties sell quickly.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:20 AM   #5
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WOW! That's a big project! We're just building one home, and I am overwhelmed and look forward to being "done". We live in an RV otherwise.

So you own 3 homes plus some mountain property? And you are "downsizing" to 2 homes?

An RV would simplify the logistics of going back and forth - especially with pets - LOL!

Audrey
No way I could get DW to go along with the RV... Yes, the Florida property we bought as a rental/potential future second home about 10 yrs ago. We had great success for 7 yrs with the rental, then after we got our last tenant out a few yrs back, which happened to be our worst tenant, we decided that after doing the approx 4k in repairs we would use it as a 2nd home. Its a big project alright, fortunately we are experienced at moving...
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:23 AM   #6
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We simplified but didn't downsize. ...

Jim, it sounds like what you're doing is best for you and your DW in your situation. Good luck. May your properties sell quickly.
Perhaps I should have called it simplifying as well. We will be looking for a larger home than either of the ones we plan on selling.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:04 PM   #7
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Perhaps I should have called it simplifying as well. We will be looking for a larger home than either of the ones we plan on selling.
Believe it or don't, I kind of envy you. Mostly because OUR two "homes" are separated by almost 5000 miles - 2500 of which are in the Pacific ocean. We really need to get rid of 95% of our "stuff" at the old place and then get rid of the place itself. In theory, we could move our "stuff", but where would we put it going from a 3 BR house to a 2 BR condo which is already furnished and full (of stuff - George Carlin was right!) Unfortunately, the old place is the family "homestead" and has stuff in it from deceased parents (both sets), siblings, kids and our own stuff dating back to childhood.

So how DO you get rid of stuff that you can recall from the time you were 4 years old? Who is worthy of your mom's piano or your dad's rocking chair? I couldn't sell those things. We're weighed down by stuff, but can't seem to get rid of it. I don't want death or poor health to make the decisions for us.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:14 PM   #8
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Good luck to you. I went camping this past week and was talking to one of my camping buddies. He's been trying to sell his house in Asheville for nearly 3 years now. Not only no takers, no lookers either. They've dropped the price by ~25% over that time period. He's in the three house club too, trying to do the same thing you're doing, except with Asheville and Bluefield WV.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:25 PM   #9
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Believe it or don't, I kind of envy you. Mostly because OUR two "homes" are separated by almost 5000 miles - 2500 of which are in the Pacific ocean. We really need to get rid of 95% of our "stuff" at the old place and then get rid of the place itself. In theory, we could move our "stuff", but where would we put it going from a 3 BR house to a 2 BR condo which is already furnished and full (of stuff - George Carlin was right!) Unfortunately, the old place is the family "homestead" and has stuff in it from deceased parents (both sets), siblings, kids and our own stuff dating back to childhood.

So how DO you get rid of stuff that you can recall from the time you were 4 years old? Who is worthy of your mom's piano or your dad's rocking chair? I couldn't sell those things. We're weighed down by stuff, but can't seem to get rid of it. I don't want death or poor health to make the decisions for us.
It's a tough decision, and how this is handled varies from family to family. In my family, after discussing with everyone we decided to give almost all of it to charity.* That was tough to do but it was the right decision for us. I don't miss those things, and really I have them in my memories.

*I ended up with just one item: a white handkerchief with red hearts on it, that I bought my mother for Valentine's Day with several of my ten cent a week allowances in 1955 when I was seven years old. I had no idea until after her death that she kept it all those years and I was so touched.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:26 PM   #10
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*I ended up with just one item: a white handkerchief with red hearts on it, that I bought my mother for Valentine's Day with several of my ten cent a week allowances in 1955 when I was seven years old. I had no idea until after her death that she kept it all those years and I was so touched.
That is so sweetly sentimental it made me tear up a bit.

As far as divesting oneself of sentimental items like furniture, I too would probably just pick one or a few items to remember someone by. Your loved ones wouldn't want their stuff to weigh you down, I'm sure. And you can take photos to trigger good memories, before you donate or sell it.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:51 PM   #11
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So how DO you get rid of stuff that you can recall from the time you were 4 years old? Who is worthy of your mom's piano or your dad's rocking chair? I couldn't sell those things. We're weighed down by stuff, but can't seem to get rid of it. I don't want death or poor health to make the decisions for us.
When we decided to go fulltime in a motorhome, somehow it because so much easier to get rid of all that stuff that before seemed so hard to let go.

We did work hard at times to find good "homes" for our stuff that had more sentimental value. Schools, charity second-hand stores. There are places to take your stuff where someone who really wants it will have access. That's the best you can do.

And then you are free of it.

Most of our stuff was given away. The obvious things were sold such as computer equipment, camera equipment, nicer furniture, a few collectibles. But I also knew we could spend years trying to sell every last thing and time was too precious so we just focused on selling that 10% that really had a market.

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Old 05-20-2010, 05:30 AM   #12
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Good luck to you. I went camping this past week and was talking to one of my camping buddies. He's been trying to sell his house in Asheville for nearly 3 years now. Not only no takers, no lookers either. They've dropped the price by ~25% over that time period. He's in the three house club too, trying to do the same thing you're doing, except with Asheville and Bluefield WV.
We're selling about 9 acres of mtn property. Yes, we know about dropping prices and slow market. We had the property on the market previously, we missed the bubble, when the going price was about 2x what we are currently asking for it. We just dropped the price again yesterday. Acreage and building lot prices have very broad price ranges for example, lots in some subdivisions go for several hundred thousand, while 20 or 30 acre parcels in other areas go for similar amount. Our property is in a desirable location, but not on a ridge, it has great views and has a stream. Incidentally, Gladys Knight owns part of the original property (88 acres were divided into four 22 acre lots, we have a portion of one) she has disadvantaged children out to here horse stables, probably a tax write off.
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:45 AM   #13
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Believe it or don't, I kind of envy you. Mostly because OUR two "homes" are separated by almost 5000 miles - 2500 of which are in the Pacific ocean. We really need to get rid of 95% of our "stuff" at the old place and then get rid of the place itself. In theory, we could move our "stuff", but where would we put it going from a 3 BR house to a 2 BR condo which is already furnished and full (of stuff - George Carlin was right!) Unfortunately, the old place is the family "homestead" and has stuff in it from deceased parents (both sets), siblings, kids and our own stuff dating back to childhood.

So how DO you get rid of stuff that you can recall from the time you were 4 years old? Who is worthy of your mom's piano or your dad's rocking chair? I couldn't sell those things. We're weighed down by stuff, but can't seem to get rid of it. I don't want death or poor health to make the decisions for us.
We watch the house hunters international frequently and most of the time we laugh at the people buying vacation homes thousands of miles away from their primary home.

. Our plan is too have a yard sale to unload those items that we really won't have a place for or just are not needed or wanted anymore, those items we don't sell we will give to charity, much of the garage items and some boxes of clothes and books etc we will move to SC. DW just informed me of the must move items from our place in Atlanta these items we will move to Florida, once we have a contract/closing date. She has a bedroom full of antiques, and a dining room set, and our master bedroom furniture, all other furniture we sell.

Of course, prior to moving the items to Florida, we will need to make room....so we will be selling or giving away one bedroom set (from what I refer to as the wicker room), a dining room table, and a few misc pieces of furniture.
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:25 PM   #14
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Just make sure you don't start house hunting for a new place in Florida until you have disposed of your current properties.
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Old 05-20-2010, 02:53 PM   #15
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Downsizing

Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
It's a tough decision, and how this is handled varies from family to family. In my family, after discussing with everyone we decided to give almost all of it to charity.* That was tough to do but it was the right decision for us. I don't miss those things, and really I have them in my memories.

*I ended up with just one item: a white handkerchief with red hearts on it, that I bought my mother for Valentine's Day with several of my ten cent a week allowances in 1955 when I was seven years old. I had no idea until after her death that she kept it all those years and I was so touched.
After my mother passed, I was going through all her pictures, letters, etc. I found all the letters I had ever written to her - back from when I was a child. I never would have guessed that she would save all those....Gee, I miss her.

Regarding family valuables such as silver, we want it to go to the children who will pass it down to their children. One of these days I would like to make a "scrap book" that includes stories and photos from the late 1800's to the present.
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:15 PM   #16
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When my Mom downsized she gave me her crystal wine glasses . I love having them . They bring back so many happy memories of holidays when we would use them .
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:09 AM   #17
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We recently purchased a condo in Arizona, making it our 2nd home. I'm looking at early retirement (age 62) in about a month. After putting our house here in central MA on the market, and trying to price it reasonably, we were amazed to get a buyer in 5 days! Yeah, we too watch the HGTV shows religiously and I'm a firm believer that if your place isn't selling, then it's priced too high. There may be some exceptions to the rule, but lots of sellers judgements are clouded by small amounts of equity and the need to at least "break even." And though my wife can have her own hoarding issues, we've been able to sell much of our stuff and are now on the road to a minimalistic lifestyle. We'll be packing the remainder into a U-haul and driving cross country in 5 weeks!
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:39 AM   #18
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We recently purchased a condo in Arizona, making it our 2nd home. I'm looking at early retirement (age 62) in about a month. After putting our house here in central MA on the market, and trying to price it reasonably, we were amazed to get a buyer in 5 days! Yeah, we too watch the HGTV shows religiously and I'm a firm believer that if your place isn't selling, then it's priced too high. There may be some exceptions to the rule, but lots of sellers judgements are clouded by small amounts of equity and the need to at least "break even." And though my wife can have her own hoarding issues, we've been able to sell much of our stuff and are now on the road to a minimalistic lifestyle. We'll be packing the remainder into a U-haul and driving cross country in 5 weeks!
Well congratulations!

That truly is a tremendous accomplishment.

Audrey
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:40 PM   #19
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Update:

I guess "we" weren't as ready to downsize as I thought "we" were. DW exercised her right to change her mind. So...we are still moving to Florida....but we are going to keep the Atlanta area house and try keeping it as a vacation rental. Her position was that we should try renting it vs selling since it would probably be on the market awhile anyway and we would not get a great deal on selling it at this time, plus she just wasn't ready to sell it. So... we've already completed much of the necessary cleaning out of "old stuff" and have had a yard sale as well as making several trips to goodwill and selling some things on Craigslist. We still have some work to do, but we've already listed it on a vacation rental website, with availability starting in October. We've had a very successful first year with vacation rental in SC, I guess that experience helped us make the decision regarding the Atlanta home. We still plan on buying a different home in Florida, but we will have to wait until we sell our NC property. I won't be surprised if we revisit our plan again, and again....
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:35 PM   #20
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Update:

I guess "we" weren't as ready to downsize as I thought "we" were. DW exercised her right to change her mind. So...we are still moving to Florida....but we are going to keep the Atlanta area house and try keeping it as a vacation rental. Her position was that we should try renting it vs selling since it would probably be on the market awhile anyway and we would not get a great deal on selling it at this time, plus she just wasn't ready to sell it. So... we've already completed much of the necessary cleaning out of "old stuff" and have had a yard sale as well as making several trips to goodwill and selling some things on Craigslist. We still have some work to do, but we've already listed it on a vacation rental website, with availability starting in October. We've had a very successful first year with vacation rental in SC, I guess that experience helped us make the decision regarding the Atlanta home. We still plan on buying a different home in Florida, but we will have to wait until we sell our NC property. I won't be surprised if we revisit our plan again, and again....
Nothing quite like keeping it simple.
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