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End snowbirding?
Old 07-13-2009, 09:25 AM   #1
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End snowbirding?

We purchased a place in FL 4 years ago -- 1st year spent 3 months, 2nd 4 months, 3rd 6 months, and last year 7 months. Our home up North is about 60 years old and we're concerned about leaving it empty in the winter months. We winterize the place before leaving and thus far, no problems. However, we are surrounded by very large trees and worry when there is an ice storm. Kids do not check on place very often, but promised they would. Don't have many social networks here now because of us leaving them in the winter. Do you think it would be wise for us to just become permanant Florida residents?
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:37 AM   #2
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(I guess each of us would answer this question differently, but really what matters is what you think, not us.)

Some might consider snowbirding to be the ultimate in indecision. I can't possibly imagine why someone would want the worry and hassle of keeping up two single family homes in two different states. One is bad enough!

Now two condos would be easier, I admit, but then that's an awful lot of money just to have the desired outdoor temperature when everything (house, shops, even your car) is climate controlled these days.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:44 AM   #3
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wlaker, have you actually spent much time in Florida during the summer? If not, you might want to spend some time there in July and August before making your decision.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:44 AM   #4
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That's a decision only you can make. Maybe you sell your home and rent an apartment up North, that takes away some of the worry factor.

Jim
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:49 AM   #5
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Could you get a Grad student tenant for the school year? What about having a chat with the postman or a neighbor in return for a small stipend to keep an eye on it and notify you should there be an issue? At some point you will want only one property to maintain, the question would be is that now with the depressed real estate prices or a year or two down the road.
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:43 AM   #6
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Maybe you can keep an eye on the weather there via the local paper online or weather.com, and after a storm remind your kids to check on it soon.

Depending on how your local police force is, you might even be able to tell them you're gone and leave them contact info so they can call you or the kids if they notice a problem.
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:03 PM   #7
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How about splitting the difference and trying Western NC or North GA?
Summer is more tolerable and there is just a little winter.
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:09 PM   #8
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How about splitting the difference and trying Western NC or North GA?
Summer is more tolerable and there is just a little winter.
Ah, yes -- they can become "halfbacks."
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:21 PM   #9
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Ah, yes -- they can become "halfbacks."
We make the trek from Atlanta to the Space Coast Area, we call ourselves "coldbirds".

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Old 07-13-2009, 12:25 PM   #10
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We make the trek from Atlanta to the Space Coast Area, we call ourselves "coldbirds".
Those of us who want to "summer" in cooler climates could be "firebirds," then?
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:06 PM   #11
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We make the trek from Atlanta to the Space Coast Area, we call ourselves "coldbirds".
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Those of us who want to "summer" in cooler climates could be "firebirds," then?
Instead of "snow-birds", perhaps those like me who want to live in one state could be called "no-birds".
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:14 PM   #12
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Or those of us who, like Zig, want to head north/west for the summer but cannot - "singed birds". After 22 days of 100 or higher temps so far this year, my goose is cooked.
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:55 PM   #13
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We purchased a place in FL 4 years ago -- 1st year spent 3 months, 2nd 4 months, 3rd 6 months, and last year 7 months. Our home up North is about 60 years old and we're concerned about leaving it empty in the winter months. We winterize the place before leaving and thus far, no problems. However, we are surrounded by very large trees and worry when there is an ice storm. Kids do not check on place very often, but promised they would. Don't have many social networks here now because of us leaving them in the winter. Do you think it would be wise for us to just become permanant Florida residents?
How close are you to the kids? Do you have the means to fly back and forth several times a year to visit? Everyone has a different opinion about weather. I would take a FL summer over a northern winter so i'd say stay down in FL year-round but fly up a couple times in the spring and summer to visit family.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:08 PM   #14
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I'm a dyed in the wool Northern gal, who lives here all year 'round. I used to enjoy the snow, then hated it due to the commuting. Once I FIREd, I've settled on tolerating it.
I find that I am going out into cold weather less and less because I don't have to.
Long range plan is to relocate to warmer climes completely, for the very reason you give - worrying about the house unoccupied in the winter.
I look at it this way - if I'm going to be housebound due to weather extremes, I'd prefer heat spells over bitter cold and shoveling snow, any day, no contest.
I spent a year in Orlando FL one summer (j/k), and I know what high humid heat is about. I've been in Scottsdale AZ in July. Short of a massive power outtage, you can always find A/C.
The decision is yours of course, and it all depends on how much you can afford to continue maintaining 2 homes. It's about more than money if worrying about the northern home is increasing your stress.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:18 PM   #15
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I look at it this way - if I'm going to be housebound due to weather extremes, I'd prefer heat spells over bitter cold and shoveling snow, any day, no contest.
I can see prefering heat spells over cold, or vice versa, (even though most peole live in climate controlled spaces for most of the day). But whereas you shovel snow in cold weather, don't forget that in warm climates you will be mowing the lawn which grows really fast down here.

You can always hire someone to mow (or shovel snow). That is how I intend to deal with snow shoveling in the north, just as I deal with mowing down here.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:22 PM   #16
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You can always hire someone to mow (or shovel snow). That is how I intend to deal with snow shoveling in the north, just as I deal with mowing down here.
My neighbor has offered to use his riding mower on our half acre for $15 per mow. Seems like a bargain except (a) I'm a little paranoid about liability issues and (b) there's nothing green here to mow. There was in May after we had good rains in March and April, but not any more.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:34 PM   #17
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You can always hire someone to mow (or shovel snow). That is how I intend to deal with snow shoveling in the north, just as I deal with mowing down here.
Are you going to hire someone to drive you to the store after 6 inches of snow or 1/2 inch of ice?
The reason I think extreme winter is worse than extreme summer is more because of road conditions than temperature.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:48 PM   #18
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Are you going to hire someone to drive you to the store after 6 inches of snow or 1/2 inch of ice?
The reason I think extreme winter is worse than extreme summer is more because of road conditions than temperature.
When you're working snow can be a pain, you have to get up early to shovel, take great care driving to avoid an accident, and then get to work on time. When you retire, you can just look out the window at the 'purty snow' until you want to go out. Shovel when you want or wait for it to melt. Someone here made me realize that in a thread a while back.

I lived in FL for 3 years (Lakeland specifically), I wouldn't go back there ever again, but that's only my POV and I realize I'm probably in a minority.

And like everyone said, only the OP can know what to do for him/herself. I wouldn't want to own/maintain two properties - that's money that I could put towards improving my quality of (retirement) life or FI security.
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:04 PM   #19
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...Shovel when you want or wait for it to melt.
Um...the melting part never happens at my latitude.

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Old 07-13-2009, 07:16 PM   #20
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When you retire, you can just look out the window at the 'purty snow' until you want to go out. Shovel when you want or wait for it to melt.
If you wait to go outside until the snow melts then you'll be inside from Thanksgiving until April if you live north of Chicago. Also, around here, if you don't shovel/plow your sidewalk by noon the day after a storm then the city does it and charges you excessively high fees. Also, if you don't plow around your mailbox then you don't get your mail. The mail carrier does not have to deliver your mail if they can't reach your mailbox while in their vehicle.
That said, I agree that in retirement, living in the snow belt wouldn't be nearly as bad without the mandatory daily commute. Shoveling isn't a big deal I just hate driving on the highway in a snow storm.
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