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hayden2_gw

Buying a second home

hayden2
8 years ago

My H and I just can't decide what to do. We'll retire1/1/16, and we definitely know we want to move out of our current home. The question is, where do we go and should we go to 2 places?

We want to be near one child who lives in DC. But we're not sure that area us warm enough. Our options include selling our current home and:
1) buying a home in VA (either Fredericksburg or Williamsburg area) with the money from the sale of our current home
2) buying a home in VA using 66% of the sale of our current home and a home in Florida with the remaining 33%
3) buying a home in Florida at the price if our current home.

I know you can't make our decision for us but I would appreciate your thoughts.

Comments (24)

  • kirkhall
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    For any of the above options, are you looking at a mortgage? If it were me, if I could do option 2 without a mortgage, that is probably what I'd do.

    Except, I might look at a condo in the place you figure you'll live less often.

  • jenna1
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I don't think anyone can make that decision but you and your husband and what would be best for you and what would make you the happiest. But I can tell you about myself and DH and some friends of ours.

    We retired last September. We originally were going to keep our home in California and buy a small home here in Arizona. We made a pro/con list. Some of the things on the con side were the expenses of two homes, including utilities, insurances, property taxes, maintenance when we're not at one or the other. And the fact that we've gotten older with some physical limitations, don't travel very well anymore and really don't want the hassle of any of it. Then we considered the fact that we don't have kids and both our siblings and nieces and nephews live elsewhere now, many out of state. Most of our friends are also approaching retirement and are/were seriously considering moving out of California as well.

    One of the pros was that we could be in warmer winter weather and cooler summer weather when we wanted. Truthfully, that was really one of the very few pros that we had. It really wasn't hard to make the decision for us to buy a nice, comfortable home in Arizona as our retirement home so we sold our other home and bought down here. We haven't regretted a moment (except when it hit 128* here a few weeks ago). We're in very close contact with our friends and family and many have visited (a couple several times) since we moved here at the end of last November. Of course, we also now live in a terrific lake/river resort town which is another incentive for visits. In fact, next month we're having about 35 friends and family here, in part all at one time. Can hardly wait!!!

    Our friends have several grown children who live in different states now due to jobs and one in the service. The only time that they see them or their grandkids was usually if our friends traveled to see them, usually for the holidays. Most of their communication is thru almost daily emails and skype (think that's spelled correctly). They bought a vacation/snowbirder home in New Mexico and kept their other home. It didn't take them long to decide that they also didn't want the hassle of their first home and sold that as well and now live full-time in NM. Said it was the best decision they've made in a long time. They figured this was the rest of their life and it should be lived where they want to be. Their children have their own lives and careers separate from their parents so it was time for our friends to 'go solo', as they put it. Surprisingly (or maybe not), they've been visited by their children more since moving then when living in California.

    I really wish you well, hayden. It can and will be a really hard and stressful decision but once it's made, it will be exciting and a lot of fun, altho I'm sure you'll occasionally wonder if it was the right one. :) For us it's been like starting a whole new phase of our life and despite everything involved, one we're glad we made.

    Jenna

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  • ncrealestateguy
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Both you and your spouse should write down your "needs" and your "wants". These items should include everything from the desired lifestyle, to the desired climate to the desired inner emotions that you want the new place to generate.
    Or just come here to Lake Norman, NC, just outside of Charlotte. A lot of my clients are people from the North who move to Florida, only to find out it was not all that. They come back North, but only as far as Charlotte. We call them "halfbackers". Charlotte is 5.5 hours from DC, 0ne hour from the mountains and 3.5 hours from Myrtle Beach and only 6 hours from Northern Fl.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    You should take long vacations in both locations while you are still working. I don't think either location would be ideal for a retired couple for various reasons.

    VA is higher cost of living, even if you're in some place like Williakmsburg. And that is just too far from DC proper to make travel there easy for someone retired with any physical limitations. You might as well be a whole state away. Because you are. If you've never been to Virginia, NoVa is significantly different than RoVa. If you like the DC metro area, I don't think you will like the rest of Virginia all that much. And vice versa.

    If what you like about FL is the sun and sand and want a home near both, then that comes with extra insurance and high wind requirement construction that you may not be familiar with satisfying. While there is no state income tax, the sales tax can be pretty hefty. Sure, you can find a location away from the beach that is cheaper, but is that what you want? That gives you all of the charm of a prison punishment box in July and none of the advantages.

    Spend some time in a VRBO home in both locations several times before you retire. And don't get in a hurry to settle in any one spot. Heck, if you're in good health, you might prefer to have a pit stop between the two locations and motorhome it back and forth!

  • lazy_gardens
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    "We want to be near one child who lives in DC."

    That's a very bad reason, unless you really like the DC area ... because they are likely to move and then what?

    We're looking at much the same timeline and the decision was made to relocate to a community we both like, in a climate we can enjoy, and to heck with where the kids currently live.

    They can come visit when they want to, send the grandkids to visit, we can visit them when the weather is nice wherever they live.

  • live_wire_oak
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    The DC area is one of the most expensive real estate markets around. The usual goal is to go from a higher cost of living location to a lower one. Your money goes further that way. Love the area. Couldn't possibly afford to live there retired though.

  • ellendi
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I agree with lazygardens. Don't make a decision to live near your children unless it was a place that you coveted for years and planned to move anyway. With the job market, they could move as soon as you were settle.
    If it makes sense to rent a small apt or condo near them, would that be an option. If they have children, I get how you want to be part of their daily lives while they are going up.
    I also agree with the poster who suggested vacationing in a place before buying.

  • chispa
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Had my parents moved to be near us in the Northeast, they would have been stuck there as we were transferred overseas and then to the west coast. Our company gave us relocation packages, but my parents would of had to absorb all costs to have to move again.

    Also, there is no rule that you have to buy something immediately. You could rent first to test out the potential locations. Yes, it is a bit more work, but cheaper in the long run if you end up having to sell after a year because you hate the area.

  • hayden2
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    kirkhall, jenna, hollysprings & ncREguy: Thanks so much for sharing those thoughts, each of which was extremely helpful and constructive.

    As for DC, yes, it is my favorite US city. We love spending time in the Archives (I'm a genealogist) and the DAR library. I do however recognize the expense, so we were thinking of getting a home just outside the normal commuting range.

    As for our son moving - yes, I guess it's a possibility. However, unlike most people's jobs, he works for the federal government in an area that only has offices in the DC area. Sure, anyone could change jobs, but at least we know if he stays on the job, he can't be transferred, and his employer will never relocate or go out of business. And if he moves, see paragraph 2!

    The concerns several of you have raised about not knowing the Florida social environment is one that bothers me a lot, particularly right now. The two major draws of Florida were the weather, of course, but also if we lived near Orlando, our family would want to visit (a la Jenna's comments) more than if we picked a nice town in another part of the South. However, I am reconsidering Florida because your points are all well taken.

    I'm looking at Charlotte - what a nice place you have there, ncREguy.

    Thanks to each of you for your comments.

  • c9pilot
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Well, I'll have to make a pitch for Florida since it seems to be getting the short straw here.
    I retired from the Navy in 2007 with a choice of moving wherever we wanted. We are sailors and have a large sailboat, spend a lot of time in/around the water, so we were looking basically from Annapolis south, all along the coastline around Florida to the border of Mexico. We are both from CA, but the west coast is just too expensive. Our biggest factors were: tech job options for hubby, good high schools, sailing, weather, affordability.
    We didn't want to deal with the cold weather north of MD. We do not like the Tidewater area of VA, no tech economy in coastal NC (we have looked extensively in Oriental for years but could never justify it), SC - no, Georgia - maybe Savannah, but no jobs, AL/MS/LA - no, TX - maybe Corpus Christi. In FL we were considering Melbourne, but it turns out the sailing isn't so great because of the intracoastal. Friends told us to come visit them in St Petersburg and the rest is history.
    We put the financials in a spreadsheet and although insurance is high, the taxes and cost of living keep us lower than say, CA or MD. We could never afford a canal home where we keep our boat in CA or MD (they would be dock homes there), so that saves us at least $500/mo.
    The weather is milder than I thought it would be, but I live very close to the Gulf and usually have a sea breeze and lower humidity (unless it is actually raining). The pool keeps us comfortable outside except during a month in a really hot dry summer when it gets too hot (didn't happen last summer). We compare this to the 2-3 months we were trapped inside due to cold weather/drizzle/ice in MD.
    Other nice things to consider:
    - close to Tampa airport (30 min door-to-departure/arrival terminals)
    - gorgeous waterfront downtown; nightlife, restaurants
    - culture: great museums, arts & crafts district, foodie stuff
    - nearby aquariums (Winter the dolphin), Legoland, Busch Gardens (no need to go to Orlando!)
    - Tampa Bay Rays! Go Rays! (I love the Trop! - 10 min from my house)
    - 30-45 min to Tampa or Sarasota (hubby works 35 min away in Sarasota over the Skyway Bridge)
    - Sailing, biking (Pinellas Trail and others), shooting (ranges and friends with rural property), diving, snorkeling, kayaking, SUP, fishing, tubing, scalloping season is open now!, manatees, dolphins, disc golf, flying (soon, building plane in garage) with downtown airport
    - Great schools, magnets. Both boys in #24 high school program in the US (Center for Advanced Technology at Lakewood)
    - Retirement stuff, proximity to base is 35 min but I rarely go there. Medical has been easy to find local that take Tricare. Good public transportation, terrific library system.
    Saint Petersburg has many conveniences of a big city but the feel of a smaller town. Ran into my doctor at my neighbor's party. Run into friends often downtown or at my Publix, or at the library. I see the Mayor and Charlie Crist and other public figures often.

    I do have to say that I don't care for the greater Orlando area at all. In the middle of the state, it has the worst of FL weather, with no water to balance. It is one of the worst examples of sprawl in the country and traffic is a nightmare. I avoid I-4 at all costs. We have only been to Epcot for field trips (1.5 hour drive) and do not miss the Disney or Universal complex at all. We currently have a Japanese house guest and we're keeping him plenty busy so that he won't even miss Disney (and the Japanese LOVE Mickey Mouse!).

    Here's a picture of my little paradise from two years ago. I had to pull out all that beach sunflower on the right because it was growing too big for our grapevines above (made 12 jars of grape jelly the first year). We also grow key limes (that's the tree in the square pot on the deck by the lanai) and papayas and we've got so many bananas we can hardly get rid of them, mangoes, tangerines, meyer lemons, avocadoes.

    Hopefully this will give you things to consider!

    Here is a link that might be useful: #4 Most Beautiful Under-rated Towns

    This post was edited by c9pilot on Mon, Jul 15, 13 at 16:43

  • hayden2
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    c9pilot, loved your post. I love your loyalty and appreciation for your state. And what a beautiful home you have.

    I admit I'm tempted by the ability to grow citrus, and your list of fruit that you can grow is impressive.

    I live in the northeast, though, and I have to admit I'm a bit put off by the idea that there are apparently so many people carrying concealed weapons in Florida. I'm a white middle aged woman, but I still have worries about a family member visiting and getting into some road rage incident with a guy with a gun who can shoot first and claim self-defense. I'm not following that court case very much, but why move to Florida and ask for problems?

  • bullydosmom
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Well you better knock Charlotte of your list too. They also have a "stand your ground" law like Florida. I also live in the Northeast, with a second one on the SW west coast of Florida. Our home is 20 minutes from the gulf coast, in a place that has never had a direct hit by a hurricane, our insurance for a year is 895.00. Pretty reasonable I think. We bought in April 2011 when the florida market had just about hit rock bottom, we bought a 4 year old home that had been lived in for 3 sold new for 379,000.00 for $101,000.00. There are still good deals to be had but the market has started to Rise again.Visit spend some time in different areas before you plunk down any money anywhere. We took our Airstream and spend a month on the SW coast until we decided where we wanted to be. Haven't regretted it. As far as the gun thing. You have the good and the bad everywhere.

  • DLM2000-GW
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    hayden2 - I don't want to turn this into a gun issue thread but you're going to have problems if concealed carry is a hot button for you.

    Until last week, IL was the ONLY state with a ban on concealed carry so wherever you're living now, there is some kind of provision for concealed carry. Here in IL our law was drafted at the 11th hour by federal order on July 9th but will likely not be in effect till 2014. That's the latest it can be implemented and we will probably put this off till the last possible moment because that's the way we do things here in the Land of Lincoln! Want to live in Chicago till then?? Didn't think so ;-)

    All I'm saying is that may be on your *list* of considerations but I hope it's not a main driving factor for you. Live a prudently cautious life, but........ live your life.

  • hayden2
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Oh gosh, no - I have no problem with concealed carry laws. I come from a military family surrounded by guns. My brother just retired from the army as a sergeant major, so we're not a family of wusses.

    My real problem is that Florida law: it puts the burden on the state to prove someone didn't feel threatened. How can you prove someone didn't feel threatened? Other states with those stand your ground laws still have the reasonable person standard, according to my husband.

    The absence of state income taxes is pretty attractive in Florida. But you mention the other taxes and costs. Is that the reason Florida doesn't top the lists of retirement destinations? How much does hurricane insurance cost if you're not within 5 miles or so from the shore?

  • williamsem
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Since you asked...

    If you plan on moving after retirement, I'd buy one place and plan an age-in-place strategy. If you want to travel or spend certain months in a different place, buy more modestly and put money aside to do that.

    Upkeep on two homes is not a small issue. Aside from double costs, there is double housework, especially preparing to open/close locations for extended periods.

    Pick a place that could accommodate a wheelchair if needed and can fit a transfer bench in the bathroom. You may be fine now, and in the near future, but one unexpected fall with a hip fracture will change your life dramatically. Then if you had a second place, you are faced with selling it long distance and not being able to do most of the packing yourself.

    We have a lot of "snowbird" retirees here that go to FL in the winter. More often than not, they try to keep both places way too long. Then end up medically trapped in one place, unable to travel that far. Then someone else has to arrange the packing, repairs, and sale of the second home. And often personally transport them back to the primary residence if they were in FL.

    And often neither location is particularly suited to aging. Upstairs rooms become inaccessible, beds must be set up on the first floor or a stair lift must be installed. And etc, etc, etc...

    Plan now, and truly enjoy your chosen location for many years. The protracted headaches that one fall, or heart attack, or onset of dementia can cause will eat up months you could be enjoying if you perpetually say "not me".

  • Karenseb
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    We just went through this same scenario and decided we wanted to move near our two children who have both bought homes in the same city. My husband and I have always lived a day's drive from our family and when our children moved to the west coast around the same time, the three day drive seemed like too much. We waited five years to see if their move was permanent. When my husband retired, we decided one location would be best and we bought a home 15 minutes from my daughter and her husband. We gave up a beautiful home we had built ourselves and we have already adjusted to our new life in just 6 weeks!
    People and families are all different and you have to decide
    what is important to you and what will work for you.

  • oregpsnow
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I second the vote for an RV if you are healthy and adventurous. You could go back and forth between the kids and have a great place to stay while you are there. Take a trip to Florida and it it gets too hot (or windy) then go north for a while.

    Put your furniture and car(s) in storage in case you need them later and save some money to rent a place later if you need to. Then it would be relatively easy to sell the RV, rent a place and move in. Buying a house at a fairly old age doesn't make much sense to me unless you want to leave it to your kids. Renting is low maintenance and if the place blows down you can just walk away.

    I am almost 59 and this is sounding like a good idea to me, but I don't want to retire til I am 70, so I have some time to think about it.

    Best of luck to you and enjoy the family.

  • liriodendron
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Be aware that "just outside of commuting range" to DC will put you deep into West Virginia, into PA, and even on the far side of the Shenadoah Valley in VA, well south of Fredricksburg and as far west as Charlottesville. (I am not familiar with what's east of DC, but I doubt it's much better.)

    In other words two to four hours out of town during business hours. Much less on weekends, but the libraries you mention aren't open then, I think.

    When I owned a farm in Rappahannock County (less than 60 miles from DC), I was flabergasted at how long some peoples' commutes to work in DC were.

    Still depending on what you are looking for, even within the commuter zone, you might find a great little house for two.

    The whole area is blisteringly hot in the summer, though, except up in the mountains to the west. I thought it was less bearable than many of the places I've lived in tropical South America.

    Those libraries are fabulous, though. I made many trips into DC to troll through them, while I was still there..

    HTH

    L.

  • hayden2
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    These are great points. I thought we'd better get a house with a main floor bedroom and bath, but I'll admit that I had not considered the problem of an older, less capable me trying to deal with a house long distance. That's clearly something I missed.

    I also didn't realize people in the District commuted From as far away as Fredericksburg.

    This has been such a helpful forum. I really appreciate everyone's help.

  • kirkhall
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    You realize 26 of 50 states have that Florida law? (heard on NPR today... FL was first, and used as a model law).

  • stir_fryi SE Mich
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My parents spent 18 years being "snow-birds", traveling from Michigan to Florida for "the season". They golfed, biked, walked and made fabulous friendships at their FL condo.

    I truly believe escaping the harsh winters is what has kept them "young" and in great health.

    I own property in FL and personally think the insurance issue is blown out of proportion. Our condo is waterfront and our insurance is not outrageous -- I guess most is paid from our association fees but I still think it is a non-issue (especially if you are on a higher floor). We have had one hurricane in 40 years and the only damage to our unit was some torn screens.

    As for taxes -- property taxes vary greater among counties (just like anywhere else). There is no state income tax and the sales tax is 6% (not sure why someone above said it was high).

    A great idea is to rent something in FL for the season and see how you like it.

  • sewlutions
    8 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I was surprised to learn that Tennessee is the no. 1 retirement state in the country. We have MANY halfbacks near us. Those are the people who go to Florida to retire, don't like the summer heat and move half way back to where they originated. Also, no state income tax, and mild winters.

  • robo (z6a)
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My in laws bought a house near Sarasota and I love it! Little less 'Florida-y' ... Lots of Canadians. They have no option to live there full time as we are Canadian. i think their strategy for aging is to gradually get their kids to take care of the place as we all visit a lot. They also hire property maintenance people. Although they have a house (and pool), with a condo there are a lot fewer maintenance worries.

    Was there in July this year and still loved it! Yeah it was super hot, but floating around in a 88 degree ocean is SO far from what we have here in Nova Scotia (try 60 degrees in August),plus car and house have a/c anyway. Was awesome. Plus, great bird watching. Gulf coast rules!

    {{gwi:2048238}}

    This post was edited by robotropolis on Thu, Nov 21, 13 at 8:23

  • mary_md7
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    DH and I are contemplating moving out of the DC area to NC (or maybe somewhere else) when we retire. One option we are discussing is renting in our new location for a year, getting to know the area and neighborhoods.

    Yeah, paying rent is money out the door, but it's less costly that buying the wrong house.