Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Great Location or Great Home
Old 07-11-2012, 07:41 AM   #1
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 12
Great Location or Great Home

Longtime lurker, strayed away after market meltdown of '08-'09, used the crash to deploy remaining capital into accidental high-yielders and real estate, now more or less back on track for 2020-ish ER, recently returned to this forum.

No kids, a few relatives dispersed around the US, have been steadily downsizing over the past five or six years.

We are now beginning to research and visit potential places to end up. The single non-negotiable variable is that we must be in a sunny place walking distance to a beach where we can swim in the ocean 9-12 months out of the year.

Beyond that it seems to get more complicated.

There are plenty of places well within our housing budget of up to $700K (in today's $$) that could work. The challenge is that these spots seem to involve a trade-off between housing options and general quality of life factors.

For example, we have a strong preference for being in a walkable community and preferably a city. So, places like Barcelona and Honolulu would be nice. But, within our budget those places have so-so housing options; mainly small condos or houses in marginal neighborhoods. Maybe OK for five or six years of walking to local markets, parks, restaurants and bars; but as we get older and possibility of health issues become more real, will we end up feeling stuck with neighbors in close proximity who have barking dogs and throw loud parties?

On the other hand, places like most of Florida's Gulf Coast, Portugal north of Lisbon, and Hawaii's non-Oahu islands have great housing options within our budget near the water, but are seemingly not especially walkable and don't have many cultural amenities. On a map, places like St. Pete or Naples in Florida seem to be good options, but we have visited both and found it fairly difficult to get to the water from any part of those cities that are walkable. So too for Sarasota, which otherwise remains fairly high on our list (we did an experiment a couple years ago by staying in downtown Sarasota without a car for an entire week and found that getting to a nice public beach where we could swim took about 1-2 hours one way either on bike or public transportation). For less metropolitan areas, during the last 10 or 15 years of our lives, will we want to be isolated in a great house with or near ocean views (Anna Maria, FL; Puna or Captain Cook, HI) but no other place to go, especially if we face mobility challenges?

For those of you who have faced or pondered similar trade-offs, what have been your deciding factors?

Thanks for your thoughts.
__________________

__________________
yabking is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 07-11-2012, 08:33 AM   #2
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 728
try the Cayman Islands.....not cheap but when you take taxes away, it isn't bad....to me it's the most beautiful place in the world. Nice small downtown, condo's in your price range.......a little bit of work to immigrate .....I've vacationed there many times and always leave wanting to come back.
__________________

__________________
jerome len is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 12:00 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 10,035
Lido Key Beach is less than 4 miles away from main st. Sarasota . An easy bike ride !
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 12:14 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,862
I'd consider a nice active place to start, then consider moving to a nice house in a less active place when you feel like it. Rent if you're unsure how long you might stay or it works better financially. No need to do everything in one place.
__________________
Animorph is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 05:24 PM   #5
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
Lido Key Beach is less than 4 miles away from main st. Sarasota . An easy bike ride !
You're absolutely right. I misremembered that -- we did ride our bikes there but it was part of a longer ride that day. Also, we went on a nice weekend afternoon and had to deal with a lot of beach traffic. If we lived there we could go during the week to avoid traffic.
__________________
yabking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 05:57 PM   #6
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,914
Quote:
Originally Posted by yabking View Post
The single non-negotiable variable is that we must be in a sunny place walking distance to a beach where we can swim in the ocean 9-12 months out of the year.

Beyond that it seems to get more complicated.

There are plenty of places well within our housing budget of up to $700K (in today's $$) that could work. The challenge is that these spots seem to involve a trade-off between housing options and general quality of life factors.
I am sorry to hear that.

I decided that living within walking distance to a sunny, swimmable beach was not a non-negotiable requirement for me, even though I grew up in such a location. I have other non-negotiable requirements instead, ones that are less financially devastating. With different non-negotiable requirements in mind, it would not be that hard for me to find a "Great House" in a "Great Location", without having to give up one for the other.

Here's the way I see this dilemma, and I don't mean for it to sound too depressing or critical so I hope it doesn't. Longing for something one really can't afford is a losing proposition, IMO. Personally I have found that my happiness comes from dreaming of what is realistically affordable for me, and not something that I can only halfway handle financially. Choosing either house or location sounds like an impossible choice; one without the other would never be the whole package, at least from my point of view. For me, accepting the reality of my circumstances is the non-negotiable requirement.

So, if you can find both house and location on Lido Key or the Cayman Islands or a similar place, then great! But if not then I wouldn't accept just house or just location but would rethink my dreaming.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 06:42 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 10,035
Sarasota is a great place to live . Very nice downtown , lively art community , great medical facilities and close enough to a major airport . When I first moved to Florida I lived in Venice which is much smaller than Sarasota but has a lot to offer . Walk able downtown , easy walking distance to beaches , a nice community theater , good restaurants , nearby Sarasota . It may be worth a look !
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2012, 06:14 AM   #8
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post

Here's the way I see this dilemma, and I don't mean for it to sound too depressing or critical so I hope it doesn't. Longing for something one really can't afford is a losing proposition, IMO. Personally I have found that my happiness comes from dreaming of what is realistically affordable for me, and not something that I can only halfway handle financially. Choosing either house or location sounds like an impossible choice; one without the other would never be the whole package, at least from my point of view. For me, accepting the reality of my circumstances is the non-negotiable requirement.
Great points. I think in my original post I made the choice seem too stark. We could definitely go either way and be happy. For years we have lived in large cities with neighbors two feet away, but we have also lived in the country where closest neighbor is about half a mile away. Both work for us.

Luckily, our physical housing requirements are relatively modest. Over the past decade or so we have pared down to a little over 1,500 SF and can easily be comfortable with less. That really helps expand our housing options.

Your thoughts are helpful, though, in giving us a different perspective. I appreciate it.

BTW, the non-negotiability of the sunny climate is based on DW's increasingly severe SAD. It seems to be getting worse as the years go by -- last winter it was nearly debilitating. And that was during a mild winter in the mid-Atlantic area. Personally, I think the upper Great Lakes are just magnificent year 'round, but that is just not a physical possibility for us.
__________________
yabking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2012, 06:26 AM   #9
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
Sarasota is a great place to live . Very nice downtown , lively art community , great medical facilities and close enough to a major airport . When I first moved to Florida I lived in Venice which is much smaller than Sarasota but has a lot to offer . Walk able downtown , easy walking distance to beaches , a nice community theater , good restaurants , nearby Sarasota . It may be worth a look !
Yes, I agree entirely. We have been on several "fact finding" trips there. The downtown is not only walkable, but seems very livable. We especially like Laurel Park with its neighborhood feel but close proximity to all downtown and waterfront amenities (and Shelby!).

I also think that even though it takes a little while to get there, the beaches on the north end of Anna Maria are just magnificent. I know that Siesta and Lido get all the attention, but we found them crowded and dense compared to Anna Maria.

Thank you for the comments.
__________________
yabking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2012, 10:52 PM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 229
Vero Beach or Port St Lucie area.
__________________
Shanky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2012, 11:28 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
Setting aside the specifics of the setting you desire location is the most important, assuming you can find neighborhoods in your budget. You can always adjust your dwelling desires when you love a community.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2012, 12:21 AM   #12
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by yabking View Post
We are now beginning to research and visit potential places to end up. The single non-negotiable variable is that we must be in a sunny place walking distance to a beach where we can swim in the ocean 9-12 months out of the year.
Thanks for your thoughts.
Around here, we refer to that walking distance as the "tsunami inundation zone".

Why is it non-negotiable, and how much extra are you willing to pay for that? The price of a taxi or a bus ride from a few miles away would more than offset the higher price of beach-area real estate and flood insurance. I'm not sure that the conditions you've set up can be accomplished on a budget.

If you don't have to be urban AND within beach walking distance then you might be able to find places like Ma'alaea, Napili, Kapalua, Pahoa, Brenneke's Beach, and other neighbor island rural districts. On Oahu there's Waialua, Mokuleia, Waimanalo, some parts of Kaneohe, or even Waianae, Nanakuli, & Makaha. But whether or not you're away from the urbanity, out here there's still that nasty ocean proximity problem after every earthquake...

We live 30 minutes away from the closest beach in what's essentially a bedroom community. I still spend 2-3 mornings in the ocean every week, and our Central Oahu neighborhood is very walkable without being urban.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2012, 10:58 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 10,035
Quote:
Originally Posted by yabking View Post
.

I also think that even though it takes a little while to get there, the beaches on the north end of Anna Maria are just magnificent. I know that Siesta and Lido get all the attention, but we found them crowded and dense compared to Anna Maria.

With your budget you could afford to live on Anna Marie Island but frankly the traffic during season gets horrendous and it lacks the walk ability of Sarasota . You may find once you move to Florida you really do not go to the beach as much as you thought you would .
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2012, 03:33 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,386
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat View Post
Setting aside the specifics of the setting you desire location is the most important, assuming you can find neighborhoods in your budget. You can always adjust your dwelling desires when you love a community.
I agree with this. Over time, one will usually be happier living in 1/2 (X) ft2 in a primo neighborhood than in (X) ft2 in a lesser one.

My girlfriend is looking at condos now. There is one in a very nice building with excellent reserves and management by Volunteer Park and down the street from $3-4-5 million homes, but she doesn't like the kitchen layout. How could this matter when weighed against safety, quiet, neighbors, prestige location etc etc?

Studies in England have even shown that one's longevity is tied to the quality of neighborhood s/he lives in. And of course 99% of these people get medical care free from the NHS, so it is not likely to be an issue of access to care. Another really interesting bit- even a well off person living in a poorer neighborhood has an impaired life expectancy, compared to a similarly well off person living in a higher quality neighborhood. I am sure a study like this would be hard to do well, and this one may not be all that good, but it does make you think.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2012, 07:45 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
For a primo location in a well managed building the cost of a kitchen remodel is chump change.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2012, 07:27 AM   #16
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post

Why is it non-negotiable, and how much extra are you willing to pay for that? The price of a taxi or a bus ride from a few miles away would more than offset the higher price of beach-area real estate and flood insurance. I'm not sure that the conditions you've set up can be accomplished on a budget.
Nords: Thanks for the comments.

The ocean swimming thing is more a proxy for being in a place near the water that has a lot of year round sun. My wife really suffers in the winter from shorter daylight hours. Right now we are both active and do a lot of cycling, swimming, hiking, kayaking, etc. Inevitably as we get on in years we will need to cut back on some of these activities, but swimming seems the one that we can do well into our golden years (at a Y I used to swim at there was a woman, maybe 85 or 90, with one leg, who would swim laps and get out of the pool with a huge grin on her face).

So, it would have been more accurate to have said that the non-negotiable variable is that we need to be in a place with plenty of sunshine that is more or less convenient to a place we can swim but needn't be right on the water. In fact, given our budget being on the water is simply out of the question. As long as we can hobble down to a beach and paddle around in the water we'd be happy.

Thanks for confirming viability of Neighbor Islands. We're going to do a fact finding trip to the Big Island this winter.

Cheers
__________________
yabking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2012, 07:36 AM   #17
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat View Post
Setting aside the specifics of the setting you desire location is the most important, assuming you can find neighborhoods in your budget. You can always adjust your dwelling desires when you love a community.
Brat: Thanks for these thoughts. Yes, we have generally found this to be true of the places we've lived. We have also found that with a little patience and a willingness to compromise on size we can find a good home in a good neighborhood. Granted, plenty of so-called great neighborhoods don't have smaller houses, but some do.
__________________
yabking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2012, 07:40 AM   #18
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
With your budget you could afford to live on Anna Marie Island but frankly the traffic during season gets horrendous and it lacks the walk ability of Sarasota . You may find once you move to Florida you really do not go to the beach as much as you thought you would .
Agree on all points. Better to be based in walkable Sarasota, ride bikes to Lido Beach if we want to swim in the Gulf, and ride bikes or drive up to Anna Maria for those occasions when we just want to sit on an empty beach and relax.
__________________
yabking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2012, 08:49 PM   #19
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by yabking View Post
Nords: Thanks for the comments.
Thanks for confirming viability of Neighbor Islands. We're going to do a fact finding trip to the Big Island this winter.
In that case I'd definitely recommend Kapoho Beach in Pahoa.

Not to worry about the subterranean lava flow under the tidepools-- it hasn't erupted for 50 years, and it keeps the water (and the honu) nice & toasty warm!
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2012, 09:09 PM   #20
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,044
Choosing a great neighborhood is always the priority for me. Homes can be improved.
__________________

__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:19 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.