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Old 12-05-2015, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Cape Fear, North Carolina
192 posts, read 201,412 times
Reputation: 141

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Apologies in advance for the long rambling post.

Others new to the forum may find this interesting and perhaps of value......

My wife and I have been devouring the wisdom found on the CD Forum for the past month as we launched our program to relocate from NJ to DE. The information found here has been invaluable in educating us on where to look, what to watch for, etc. A special thanks to those who have sent private messages to help us in our effort.

We just returned home from a two day concentrated 'look & see' trip to Sussex County. The objective at this early stage was not to find 'the' house for us, but rather to narrow down the area in which we want to live (Sussex County is a large and varied area!), do some drive-bys of houses we found on the Internet and to get a feel for the character of the different sections. It was enlightening to say the least! The original semi-plan was to contact a recommended Realtor on the second day of our exploration in order to initiate Phase two of the program. After checking out a dozen or so developments and a few non-development homes in a wide swath between RT 1 and Rt 113 on day one we decided it was premature to go to the next step. Quite honestly, it was somewhat disheartening to see in person the houses that were described as being Cinderella's castle on the web and finding the online photos and descriptions were so optimistically presented. We did find one house that we both liked and found it by chance as it was down the road from another online property that sounded good. We called the Realtor shown on the sign out front only to learn the property was off the market because it either was in or about to go into foreclosure. We ended the first day of learning feeling rather discouraged but thankful we invested the time and effort. At least we were able to strike some areas and developments off our our list of candidates.

Day two was pretty much more of the same until, again by chance, our path took us past some interesting looking developments that were not represented in our pile of a couple of dozen house listing printouts from the web. Driving through them helped us really narrow our scope to where we would consider to be right for us. I am purposely not going into specifics for a couple of reasons: What we consider good, bad and ugly is our view of the world and certainly differs from that of others. That became quite clear when reviewing comments of others on the forum as to what they considered to be a really good area/community. The other reason is it's not appropriate for me, a newly-minted outsider, to say any anything about the desirability of an area or community one way or the other. This trip allowed us to find what feels like it may be the leading communities we would like to consider as the program continues.

If there is any one learning that stands out it is that you never know what to expect until you gets eyes on the various areas and develop a feeling for what it would be like to live there. There is no substitute for actually being there. We have an advantage over those that are a long distance from Delaware in that we are only three and a half hours or so away by car. I anticipate at least several more overnight trips as our search for Nirvana continues.

A couple of closing points for others who may be in the same neophyte stage as us:
1. The online real estate resources are incomplete. The desirable communities we found on day two were not reflected in our web search. Maybe my Google-fu is weak and I'll be digging into that further.
2. When you find a possible home candidate, it may be good to start an increasing diameter search around the property. Do you really want to settle in only to find your new home is a quarter mile from a [fill in this space with your worst nightmare]? Google Earth is a good tool to begin that evaluation. The best surprise in no surprise!
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Delmarva
124 posts, read 236,656 times
Reputation: 159
Sounds like you are taking the right approach.

There is no substitute for actually visiting each community and neighborhood, at different times of the day.

One thing I didn't see mentioned in your post was that you talked to existing homeowners in the community you liked. Just to get a feel for friendliness of neighbors, activities, and any problems.

We found that very helpful as we found out about a radon issue in a new community. In another community we found out they had a problem with fleas on several lawns.

As you mentioned, feel free to ask here as there is a wealth of knowledge.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Cape Fear, North Carolina
192 posts, read 201,412 times
Reputation: 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaponies View Post
Sounds like you are taking the right approach.

There is no substitute for actually visiting each community and neighborhood, at different times of the day.

One thing I didn't see mentioned in your post was that you talked to existing homeowners in the community you liked. Just to get a feel for friendliness of neighbors, activities, and any problems.

We found that very helpful as we found out about a radon issue in a new community. In another community we found out they had a problem with fleas on several lawns.

As you mentioned, feel free to ask here as there is a wealth of knowledge.
Absolutely spot on advice, Seaponies. I ran across a property management worker when looking at one house that appeared as a possible. I did ask him about the house condition and his view of the property. His rather open and interesting reply that the interior was dated (subjective) and in need of a lot of repair and maintenance (objective). I believe the word he used was 'neglected'.

We didn't speak to others yet, but certainly will as the search narrows. There's no substitute for local knowledge and getting a feeling for neighborhood friendliness.

Thanks!
Jack
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Long Neck , DE
4,903 posts, read 3,461,002 times
Reputation: 8048
Excellent post Daedalus-NJ. I would just like to throw one more thing in here. Visit during different seasons and talk to locals . Stop in the stores . Check out the restaurants. I do see many people come on go. I do feel sorry for those who did not do this and are now trying to sell what was their dream property because _______. Take time to check things out.
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Ocean View, DE
1,859 posts, read 3,381,227 times
Reputation: 1282
I actually plan on knocking on doors when I "think" I have found my next perfect home in a few years. I want to know who my neighbors would be--are they drug dealers/addicts? Loud and obnoxious renters? Party animals? Have a barking dog outside that will drive me nuts? I also plan on doing midnight and early morning drive-bys. Just some tips for those who may be extra finicky like me.
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Old 12-05-2015, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Cape Fear, North Carolina
192 posts, read 201,412 times
Reputation: 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachliz View Post
I actually plan on knocking on doors when I "think" I have found my next perfect home in a few years. I want to know who my neighbors would be--are they drug dealers/addicts? Loud and obnoxious renters? Party animals? Have a barking dog outside that will drive me nuts? I also plan on doing midnight and early morning drive-bys. Just some tips for those who may be extra finicky like me.
Sounds right, beachliz. I also will be sitting in the driveway or down the street at AM and PM rush hour and see how that works. I didn't do that in our current so now I know better!
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:15 PM
 
Location: the north eastern seaboard
3 posts, read 3,942 times
Reputation: 10
Interesting and thoughtful discussion thread, Daedalus-NJ. There's much to consider when making a move. If only we could make "hindsight" present sight.

I haven't been on here for a while but your thread caught my interest right away, Much appreciated!
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Conn.
905 posts, read 1,057,586 times
Reputation: 840
Like you, I don't like a lot of noise, so when I looked at some houses here, I would park and walk up one side of the street for a block or two, then back on the other side. A few times I heard loud barking as I walked by houses, loud motorcycles, loud music, etc. I liked one house at the very end of a cul-de-sac (no traffic) then saw that the adults on the street had put one of those basketball hoops on a platform right in front of the house so all the kids could play there with no traffic. It is so hard to find a suitable place.

Good luck in your search. I think you will eventually find a great place.
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Old 12-05-2015, 06:28 PM
 
1,491 posts, read 1,129,986 times
Reputation: 2846
Great thread.

I agree it is best during the early stages of a search to just drive the area. You can waste entire days looking at a few houses with a realtor.

I walk around target houses. Met my realtor in Lewes doing this, he was walking his dog. If a neighbor is available I ask questions. People like to talk about their neighborhood.

I always walk grocery stores.
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:16 AM
 
415 posts, read 275,342 times
Reputation: 547
Thanks so much for this great update Dedaulus NJ. We are in the same position. Trying to decide to leave Maryland. It's difficult when you have been here for so many years, but there are several factors. Weather, taxes etc. Unfortunately, Maryland offers very few financial incentives for retirees. The search will probably be a long one. Many of the points you mention are so helpful. Like you, we have been to several areas: Virginia, Florida, Delaware and found the homes and communities look so much better on the internet. We have found going to coffee shops, restaurants and even libraries really give us a chance to meet people and get an honest opinion. We recently went to Rehoboth and spoke with several people about the area hospital and learned many drive to Wilmington or Maryland for medical care. I think being so close to great hospitals, airports and activities has hurt us in our search and we are realizing we will probably have to make concessions. Anyway, thanks for a well written update!!
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