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Old 01-23-2012, 03:06 PM   #41
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I'm eager to see what the ladies have to say about this...
Where did that quote come from? I don't know what you're talking about.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:21 PM   #42
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One thing they missed in their renovations was how use of the place changes if mobility becomes an issue. They could have incorporated more mobility accommodations: larger hallways and adequate door widths, easy to use handles, planning for usage patterns that avoid stairs, accessible bathrooms, and the like at the time of their original renovations very easily. Instead they went through several additional projects as these became more important to them.
+1

It costs very little to incorporate such features into a new home or major remodel from the get-go, and a lot more to do it later on. It's not just important for the residents, but also for visitors. DH must now use a scooter at all times due to progressing MS and we are therefore excluded from many social events we would previously have enjoyed.

The concept of "visitability" doesn't get much press, but the idea is that a home should have one entrance with no steps (nothing higher than a door sill), access to a living and eating area, and at least one bathroom with a 36" door, chair height toilet, and room for a wheelchair. I'd add a sleeping area to this as well if the house is not 1-story.

Personally I think a 1-story house, preferably one-level inside (no sunken living room) is best for retirement as it is most flexible to various mobility issues. If only 2-story is practical, make sure it has room for either an elevator (residential elevators are becoming more common and affordable) or a chair lift up the stairs (more affordable but a bit of an eyesore IMHO).
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:22 AM   #43
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I work a lot on residential construction and I have no interest in building a house. I have seen what a nightmare it can be. However, to get the features we want, we may have to go this route.
We were so close to building but have really decided it just isn't worth it.

Yesterday -- to my surprise -- we saw an existing house (Montgomery County) that meets almost all my criteria. It is 1 story with only a game room upstairs. At least a couple of bathrooms could be easily made handicap accessible (important since my mother who is in her upper 80s may need to move in soon).

It is close to the amenities I want it to be close to (thank goodness for a Target with grocery store within 10 minutes) and even has the double shower that I wanted.

It really does have a number of criteria I didn't think I would get without building. It needs a few changes but nothing is perfect.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:06 AM   #44
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That is great!
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:07 AM   #45
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Yesterday -- to my surprise -- we saw an existing house (Montgomery County) that meets almost all my criteria.
I hope it all comes together for you.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:46 AM   #46
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We were so close to building but have really decided it just isn't worth it.

Yesterday -- to my surprise -- we saw an existing house (Montgomery County) that meets almost all my criteria. It is 1 story with only a game room upstairs. At least a couple of bathrooms could be easily made handicap accessible (important since my mother who is in her upper 80s may need to move in soon).

It is close to the amenities I want it to be close to (thank goodness for a Target with grocery store within 10 minutes) and even has the double shower that I wanted.

It really does have a number of criteria I didn't think I would get without building. It needs a few changes but nothing is perfect.
Wow, it sounds terrific! I hope this works out for you.
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:50 PM   #47
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Our answers, which turned out well for us.

Do we stay near family, if we do, does this mean in the same county or same state?

No. Closest relative is several hours away.

New or used?

Used. I hated building a house. Lena enjoyed the experience.

Big, medium or small?

Small.

If new, tract or custom?

Doesn't matter.
If used, remodeled or do-it-ourselves?

If you have to ask, you probably wouldn't enjoy remodeling.

Pool or no pool

Not relevant to us.

Urban or suburban or rural?

Rural for us.

Acreage, normal lot or zero lot-line?

It depends.
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:39 PM   #48
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When I see this oft-repeated advice, I always wonder: what does one do with one's house and belongings in the meantime? I think this is great advice for people who don't have a lot of possessions, or have some place to stash them while renting!

Amethyst

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2. Wherever you go, rent for at least 6 mos before buying.
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:32 PM   #49
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If you are going to downsize, downsize stuff before moving. Allow yourself a year and plan on 3 well organized garage sales. When we did that it added about $3T to our bank account. Plan on sparse furnishings when you market your home, it will look larger to boot. We used our son's covered trailer for storage but there are Pods and u-store-its all around the country. If you don't use something, and it isn't something your heirs will want, sell or give it away now.

Many a guy has 'credited' wife for excess stuff but in my experiance it is husbands who have the most difficulty letting go.
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:35 PM   #50
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Wherever you go, rent for at least 6 mos before buying.
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
When I see this oft-repeated advice, I always wonder: what does one do with one's house and belongings in the meantime? I think this is great advice for people who don't have a lot of possessions, or have some place to stash them while renting!

I realize it's not always feasible, but what we hope to do:
  • Move to new location and rent a furnished place 6-12 months, leave our major belongings at the old house. Don't put old house on the market (yet).
  • Spend a few months to decide a) confirm we do want to live in the new place and b) evaluate neighborhoods to pin down exactly where. I'd expect this to take 3 month minimum.
  • If yes, several months before rental contract expires, put old house on the market. Find a house to buy in new location.
  • If old house does not sell, extend rental with month to month (fingers crossed).
  • If old house sells before we're ready to move into new house, belongings may have to go into storage (old or new location).
  • If we're incredibly lucky, old house will sell and we'll move directly into new house - though we realize them's long odds.
I know there are many reasons this may not work, but at least we have a (workable) plan. We can dream...
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:21 PM   #51
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When I see this oft-repeated advice, I always wonder: what does one do with one's house and belongings in the meantime? I think this is great advice for people who don't have a lot of possessions, or have some place to stash them while renting!
Amethyst
Put your precious stuff in storage (which will help you define just how precious that stuff is) and rent the place out fully furnished for six months (which will ensure that you give your new location at least six months).

Or you could try for a softer approach using house swaps and house sitters.
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:47 PM   #52
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It really does have a number of criteria I didn't think I would get without building. It needs a few changes but nothing is perfect.
Even if you designed and built a perfect home, you would realized soon after moving in that in fact it is not perfect :-).
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:48 PM   #53
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When I see this oft-repeated advice, I always wonder: what does one do with one's house and belongings in the meantime? I think this is great advice for people who don't have a lot of possessions, or have some place to stash them while renting!

Amethyst
I thought moving was an excuse to sell everything and start over!
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:51 PM   #54
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My DW's dream was to build her dream home in a warmer climate. With that being said, we found a lot we both loved in just one weekend (This surprised us, as we often have a hard time making big decisions without weeks of weighing the options). We spent the last year of our working lives overseeing the construction of our new home from afar. For many this would be an extreme hassle. We found it refreshing. It was hard, but it kept us going in that last year. We made monthly trips from Chicago to SC, to check on things. We drove! Sometimes in a long weekend! Many thought we were nuts. We found the time spent was very worthwhile. We talked, we dreamed, we really connected over this project.

We always thought that we should rent and live in our new found environs, before we bought and built. You know, to make sure we really like the area, that we would fit in, and could make the transition from the north to the south. That opportunity never became a viable option. In fact, it was steamrolled by the fast paced circumstances we found ourselves in.

In the end, I left work on my final day of employment on August 31, 2009. We drove nonstop, through the night, to SC where we began our new life on September 1, 2009. To date, there have been no regrets. We love the area, the people, and the multitude of activities and possibilities available to us.

Just one story of many.
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:52 PM   #55
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When I see this oft-repeated advice, I always wonder: what does one do with one's house and belongings in the meantime? I think this is great advice for people who don't have a lot of possessions, or have some place to stash them while renting!

Amethyst
Or people who don't have family members to periodically check on their fully furnished house in Chicago while they're renting a furnished place for six months of the year--this would be a problem for us.
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:24 PM   #56
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Or people who don't have family members to periodically check on their fully furnished house in Chicago while they're renting a furnished place for six months of the year--this would be a problem for us.
I wonder if realtors might do this? I am pretty sure they do it for sellers who are out of town, so I am thinking that for a fee, they might do it for others.

Down here, realtors are having a pretty tough time making ends meet, and the slow real estate market might push them to consider such arrangements.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:06 PM   #57
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Based on our 3-year experience with property managers, they never actually visit the property to check on anything unless a tenant asks them to, and then they charge extra for doing so. I wouldn't dare depend on any property manager in our area checking on a vacant property. What good is it if they come out to check, 3 weeks after your pipes have frozen and burst, or vandals have broken in and ransacked?

Neighbors are too preoccupied with their own affairs, and no relatives live nearby. This is also why we don't feel we can go south for the winter, leaving our house empty.

Lately I have been fantasizing about webcams in every room, over the water heater, etc. but even that would only "alert" us to disaster far away - it wouldn't actually do anything to stop it.

Amethyst

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I wonder if realtors might do this? I am pretty sure they do it for sellers who are out of town, so I am thinking that for a fee, they might do it for others.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:26 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Brdofpray View Post
My DW's dream was to build her dream home in a warmer climate. With that being said, we found a lot we both loved in just one weekend (This surprised us, as we often have a hard time making big decisions without weeks of weighing the options). We spent the last year of our working lives overseeing the construction of our new home from afar. For many this would be an extreme hassle. We found it refreshing. It was hard, but it kept us going in that last year. We made monthly trips from Chicago to SC, to check on things. We drove! Sometimes in a long weekend! Many thought we were nuts. We found the time spent was very worthwhile. We talked, we dreamed, we really connected over this project.

We always thought that we should rent and live in our new found environs, before we bought and built. You know, to make sure we really like the area, that we would fit in, and could make the transition from the north to the south. That opportunity never became a viable option. In fact, it was steamrolled by the fast paced circumstances we found ourselves in.

In the end, I left work on my final day of employment on August 31, 2009. We drove nonstop, through the night, to SC where we began our new life on September 1, 2009. To date, there have been no regrets. We love the area, the people, and the multitude of activities and possibilities available to us.

Just one story of many.
Great story!
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:54 PM   #59
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I wonder if realtors might do this? I am pretty sure they do it for sellers who are out of town, so I am thinking that for a fee, they might do it for others.
Down here, realtors are having a pretty tough time making ends meet, and the slow real estate market might push them to consider such arrangements.
Heh. That reminds me of a story.

In 1984 when I was in submarine school in New London, CT, I got orders to Charleston, SC. Looking through our alumni magazine gave me the name of a realtor down there, and she happened to be married to a submariner.

I took a trip down there for a whirlwind real estate review, and we hit it off. We found a place, I signed the papers, and she closed the deal while I finished school. Back then I spent something like $49.5K for a Mount Pleasant condo called "Village Creek".

A few months later I was getting ready to go on patrol and my place would be vacant for 107 days. I happened to notice her ad in the alumni magazine where her company offered to put up sub school officers in a hotel for the weekend for free. I was at a time in my life when I had few possessions and no sentiments. I offered her the keys to my place to rent to these officers (and their spouses) for the weekend they came down to look at real estate, or for the few weeks that it would take for them to close.

When I came home, the place was immaculate. There was a check on the kitchen counter for my share-- over $1000. I ended up doing this for five more patrols over the next three years. Then I moved to California and sold the condo for something like $50K.

So, yeah, the right realtor might be willing to use your place as a crash pad for clients.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:56 PM   #60
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When we decided to move from New Jersey to Florida we rented a two bedroom condo and took just enough to furnish it . All the rest of our furniture we sold before we moved . Got rid of tons of stuff but still had a moving van packed . We made sure the condo had a garage so the unpacked boxes lived there for the year. It was hard . I never felt settled until we found our house and moved in.It did help us find the perfect location so that worked out well . If I had to do it again I would get rid of even more before the move .Different areas require different furniture and life styles.
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