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Old 08-21-2014, 04:49 PM
 
Location: St. George, Utah
756 posts, read 883,936 times
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Thank you, popcorn247, that's helpful! I imagine being closer to the beach drives the insurance rate up considerably, and the flood zone issue is still there for almost all the houses within our reach in FL. This will bear more research in the coming months!
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:09 PM
 
2,626 posts, read 4,952,863 times
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Originally Posted by Montanama View Post
Thank you, popcorn247, that's helpful! I imagine being closer to the beach drives the insurance rate up considerably, and the flood zone issue is still there for almost all the houses within our reach in FL. This will bear more research in the coming months!
There are areas in the town of Miami Beach where the sea water is infiltrating drains and is coming UP and flooding roads! Sea level rise is happening now. I would not want to live on or near the beach.

Yes, Homestead is way inland and still has high homeowners' insurance rates. This is just one of the many reasons that I plan on moving north (out of Florida) when I retire.
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:12 PM
 
2,626 posts, read 4,952,863 times
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Originally Posted by Montanama View Post
I've done some more research. We can afford a condo in most FL locations, but I am very much partial to a single family home. Looks like maybe the Cocoa Beach area would have some cute places under $300k within a few blocks of the beach, but I have only ever passed through the area. Other than that, it looks like Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach, or Panama City Beach for anything very close to the water. I know virtually nothing about those areas.

The big difference we see between coastal NC & coastal FLA is that the places we have looked at in NC are compliant for flood insurance, so it would be high but not sky-high. The places in Florida are single level, ground level. So we're looking at the newly escalating flood insurance, I assume, PLUS the hurricane/storm insurance.

Anyone who lives in Florida near the beach willing to share their actual insurance costs for a small (under 2000 sf) home?

Bugs, humidity, extra costs--not sure it's worth trying to own in Florida (or NC for that matter) rather than just visiting the beach every year. That idea of "home on the beach" might just be a fantasy.

We're very happy with Phoenix, so if it doesn't pan out we'll be fine and we have plenty of time (RE market rising notwithstanding) to decide. I do feel some pressure to make a purchase in one of the few remaining affordable beachside areas, though....
I have a friend who has a beach house in Port St. Joe. A friend and I stayed there for a couple days. The house is 1 block from the beach. It. is. beautiful! A lovely beach and not crowded at all. I highly recommend this area - has some lovely parks, too.
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:40 AM
 
Location: ☀️ SWFL ⛱ 🌴
2,433 posts, read 1,668,181 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montanama View Post
I've done some more research. We can afford a condo in most FL locations, but I am very much partial to a single family home. Looks like maybe the Cocoa Beach area would have some cute places under $300k within a few blocks of the beach, but I have only ever passed through the area. Other than that, it looks like Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach, or Panama City Beach for anything very close to the water. I know virtually nothing about those areas.

The big difference we see between coastal NC & coastal FLA is that the places we have looked at in NC are compliant for flood insurance, so it would be high but not sky-high. The places in Florida are single level, ground level. So we're looking at the newly escalating flood insurance, I assume, PLUS the hurricane/storm insurance.

Anyone who lives in Florida near the beach willing to share their actual insurance costs for a small (under 2000 sf) home?

Bugs, humidity, extra costs--not sure it's worth trying to own in Florida (or NC for that matter) rather than just visiting the beach every year. That idea of "home on the beach" might just be a fantasy.

We're very happy with Phoenix, so if it doesn't pan out we'll be fine and we have plenty of time (RE market rising notwithstanding) to decide. I do feel some pressure to make a purchase in one of the few remaining affordable beachside areas, though....
We live two miles from the ICW and ride our bikes three miles to Manasota beach on the Gulf side of FL. Our house was built in 2000 and is 1730 sq ft. Insurance including wind is $1700, plus we carry flood at $400 year, both increased $100 this year. In our zone, flood insurance isn't required but we do.

Numbers you get will tend to be all over the place, depending on value of home, the area, actual coverage being purchased and the insurance company being used.

Near the beach or inland are both going to be high in insurance costs because of wind coverage that is required. Being in high rated flood zones will be costly with flood insurance added on. Of course without a mortgage, the option of going bare without insurance is there if you like to gamble or save to self insure. but that would be on a single family, not an option for a condo.

Last edited by jean_ji; 08-23-2014 at 06:49 AM..
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,783 posts, read 4,838,667 times
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I think if we want to do any time in FLA, it would just be for a month or so each year and we will just go the rental home route. I know that it's possible to rent homes through sites like VRBO for a few weeks or a month. That way we can visit many different areas and not be stuck with a particular location each year. People in our neighborhood also own condos down there that they only use a few months a year, so we can probably find a rental in the shoulder months when it would be vacant anyway.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,689 posts, read 33,695,295 times
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Originally Posted by GeneR View Post
Dare Bing that subject and you'll be overwhelmed with articles and "best of" lists. I'd rather we be practical about the choice. Each retiree or person soon to retire will have their own sets of priorities as they search for the perfect place to spend those years in the autumn of life.
What are your considerations?
About the cost of government, you might consider who is moving to some places these days (where they are coming from) and how the cost of government may change because of them. Some move to states because they are cheaper than the ones they fled and then when they get there, they want the same stuff that made the old state so expensive.

Keep in mind, that as a retiree, you'll be outdoors more in the daytime compared to when you were working. Besides considering hot summers and cold winters, keep in mind the length of these seasons in some places. My state, for example, has 4 distinct seasons (and that's how it's touted) but the summer is looooong and the Fall and Spring are very short. You'll run the air conditioner here more than you'll run the heater over a period of 1 year.

This is from an old post of mine on how to research retirement:

A lot of people ask, where should I move (in the state forums). Instead of making town/city suggestions I have offered suggestions over the last few years on how to research relocation places based on my experience. So, I took all of my old relocation posts and combined them. These are just suggestions for how to research retirement relocation. Maybe they can be helpful. Some of these items may not apply to retirees looking to move to big cities.

How to Research Retirement Relocation

Moving in retirement is not just about fleeing the perceived intolerable conditions (examples: snow, taxes, high cost of living, traffic, etc.) in the town you are leaving. It’s also not just about pretty, cheap and good weather in the new town. It’s about moving to a new place that offers you things to do when you will be home now for a big chunk of time. Know what it is you want to do in retirement (how you are going to fill up a 40 hour former work week with other daytime activities). Don't compromise because of cheap and pretty. Examples: If you like to go to plays and ethnic restaurants, don't move near the ocean or to the mountains just because it's pretty there or it's cheap, if you have to drive 30 - 50 miles to do the things you like to do. If you enjoy museums, don't move to some place where the taxes are cheap and the trees are pretty but there are no big museums for 50 miles.

1. The very first thing you should figure out is what’s important to you. It shouldn’t just be the anti-intolerable condition because after a few months after you are settled in to the new place, you’ll be asking yourself, “Is that all there is?” You may take some things for granted and not realize they are important to you because you’ve always had them. (Example: You like to walk. You can do that anywhere, right? But the new town doesn’t have sidewalks and you never thought to check because you’ve always lived in a place with sidewalks. You moved and now you find you have to walk in the street and you aren’t happy.) Sometimes you don't discover what's important to you until you visit a place that's not suitable.

2. For the things you like to do and the things you like to have, the new place should offer those things in the abundance, variety and quality that you are used to having. (Example: Let's say you like hunting and fishing and bowling. Your spouse likes scrapbooking and singing in the church choir. You both enjoy going to "all you can eat" buffets, going to the movies and volunteering at the annual town fair where you help with the set-up and your wife works the information booth. You move to a highly touted retirement location that is also affordable, pretty and has nice weather. The new town has everything you want on paper. But, when you get there you find that although there is a big lake there are no fishing clubs in town and bank fishing is restricted to a particular area of the lake. There are large wooded areas but hunting is frowned upon as evidenced by every other article in the town newspaper. There’s a nice church with nice people but it has no choir. There's a craft store but it has limited variety of the items your wife needs for scrapbooking and there are no scrapbooking groups in town that she could join. There's an annual town fair but it is controlled by a business who hires people to do the set-up and booth work. Your services are not wanted/needed. There are a slew of restaurants but no buffets. The nearest bowling alley is 4 towns away in a traffic congested area and the movie theater in town is not a multiplex. You assumed because it had everything you have in your current town, you’d be happy. You were wrong.)

3. When doing research, do a “City Compare” (Google it) and compare where you live now to the places you are considering because you know what it feels like where you live now. Data is good to figure out if the potential new place is better/worse or has more/less or is less expensive/more expensive than what you are used to. Use research to make your visits to potential new retirement locations more productive. Instead of driving around from town to town like a chicken without its head, on a one week visit, use research to rule out towns that are absolutely not right for you before you visit, so you can spend more time in the towns that have a better potential to be right for you.

4. When you ask questions in a forum like City Data’s State forums, ask specific question that won’t elicit a feelings response.“Do you get a lot of snow?” is not a good question. A responder formerly from Florida may think 6 inches is a lot of snow and a responder formerly from Minnesota might think 2 feet of snow isn’t much. Instead ask something like, “How many inches of snow do you get a year?” so you are the one deciding if it’s too much snow, not the responder. “Is the town overcrowded?” may get a different response from a person formerly from Chicago versus a person formerly from Smalltown, USA. So ask, “What’s the population density (population divided by square miles) of town XYZ?” so you can decide if it’s overcrowded or not instead of the responder.

5. Subscribe to the local newspaper or read it on line for at least 6 months. Specifically read the local/community news, the community calendar of events and the town planning information. What do people do in the town for fun? Does it sound like your idea of fun? What's important to the people in the town? Are they the same things that are important to you? Does the town celebrate traditional holidays or are their fairs/festivals generic? Is either important to you? What kind of crime is in the town and where is it? Mark the street map you picked up from your visit (see item 8). Take a look at the letters to the editor. See any patterns over a period of months that may spell out this town is not for you/for you? Community planning news: Are they planning to widen the road or build a new school or hotel around the corner from that house you were considering? (If you are considering a big city for your new location, skip this tip.)

6. If you want to know what’s in a town, check the online yellow pages for that town.

7. If you are relocating to escape some intolerable condition don't overcompensate. Just because you can't stand traffic, rude people and crowded conditions in your current city of 800,000 it doesn't mean you are well-suited to ABC Mountain Town, population 2,000. It will feel like paradise for the first 3 weeks then what do you do with yourself? Consider a smaller city. Just because you are trying to escape shoveling snow, doesn’t mean you’ll be happy with 6 months of 90 to 100 degree temperatures.

8. When you visit, don't visit like a tourist, visit like a potential future resident. Visit the supermarkets and clothing stores. Do they have what you like (products, brands)? If you are religious, attend a service. If you like to golf, play while you are visiting. When you are in your hotel room, watch the local nightly news show. If you can attend a local event do it and take a look at the people. Do they look/act like your type of people? You know, if you are all duded up in designer fashions with sprayed hair and make-up, hoping for wine and cheese and an orchestra, and you get there and there are a lot of plain people in jeans drinking beer and listening to bluegrass (or vice versa), then you might not be in the town that's right for you. If it's an outdoor event and groups have their booths are you looking for the boy/girl scouts, NRA, Disabled Veterans, some ATV sales booth and corndogs, but if the booths are Stop The Nukes, $2000 Antiques, Save the Squids, frozen yogurt and the local yacht dealer (or vice versa), it might be a clue that the place isn’t right for you. If you like to garden, visit the local nursery and look around. If you like to read, visit the library and bookstores. Do they have the variety of the type of books you like? Are the books new enough to suit you? Buy a street map at the local gas station convenience store and mark it with your observations while you are driving around. (example: like the run down part of town). Bring a camera.

9. Going on vacation to a town is not the same as living in that town no matter how many years you've visited. Driving 30 miles down a mountain road in July to go to an annual fair is not the same as driving down the same icy mountain road in January to go to the supermarket every week. What time of the day are you most likely to be out doing things? You know, if you are a night person and the town shuts down at 6PM in the off-season maybe the town isn't right for you even though you spent the last 10 years vacationing there for 2 weeks in July. That pretty beach place in July may have roads prone to flooding in September. Check it out in the off season.

10. If you see a house or apartment you might consider, go sit in your car and observe the area at night when kids are home from school and adults are home from work. Maybe, after people get home from work and kids get home from school, the nice quiet place is really noisy.

11. Assess your potential town and home in terms of the impact of escalating fuel prices. Maybe living 20 miles from the things you like to do often, is not such a good idea these days. Maybe oil is a bad heating choice. Maybe unloading a home heated that way will be difficult 5 - 10 years from now. Maybe you can afford a McMansion after you sell your house up north but will you be able to unload it when you're ready to leave if it's oil heated?

12. If you are close to your family ask yourself, "If I move to be near my children, am I sure they are staying put?" If you plan to return "home" for frequent visits, where's the airport? How close are you to the Interstates? How long is the drive?

13. Don't be discouraged about retirement based on what you see in retirement destination magazines. They are trying to sell things to upper middle class people (by their advertisers). Ask yourself when was the last time you read a retirement magazine that told you how great the hunting was in Town X or how many baseball diamonds there were in town, how the bass fishing is, or where you can see bluegrass and country bands play in the park? If you came from outer space and read retirement magazines you'd think the only things important to all retirees are museums, marinas, the theater, shopping and golf. There are plenty of both kind of places but the magazines only address one kind of retirement. Also, consider that a lot of retirement book authors live in big cities. What you consider to be a great retirement may never have even occurred to them to address in their books.

14. How hard is it to get a doctor to take you as a new patient? Specialists for a condition you might have? Find out before you move.

15. Do a YouTube search of the towns you are considering as well as a Google Images search. Some people don't even know that Google has a separate search engine to search for photos only or that amateurs and sometimes the chamber of commerce post YouTube videos of towns.
Google Images

Last edited by LauraC; 08-23-2014 at 12:02 PM..
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Old 08-23-2014, 12:37 PM
 
639 posts, read 1,745,429 times
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Originally Posted by Heidi60 View Post
When I existed there, I would have night mares that I died at my desk and no one even noticed. After work I would sit out on my patio and watch the sun setting, which drove me to near insanity as I knew that it was also setting over the wonderful Pacific Ocean, and redwoods, and Santa Cruz and San Francisco, and Napa...oh yes, it nearly drove me mad. So, I to relieve my stress I would get the flashlight, can of spray, and go after all the black widow spiders around the house naming them after my boss or ill tempered coworker...it was maddening I tell you to not be where my heart belongs.

On too few weekends we would go horseback riding in the Superstions, San Tan Mnts. or Sedona but the temporary relief would end and going back to the concrete, electrified city to watch the cacti grow was my fate.
Intel???
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Old 08-23-2014, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Originally Posted by GeneR View Post
Dare Bing that subject and you'll be overwhelmed with articles and "best of" lists. I'd rather we be practical about the choice. Each retiree or person soon to retire will have their own sets of priorities as they search for the perfect place to spend those years in the autumn of life. I'll start by laying mine on the table:
1) Climate-I've lived in various parts of the country including Iowa where I spent childhood, then California where I began and ended a 30 year career in radio broadcasting, then moved into a motorhome and traveled throughout the U.S. and the Maritimes for 3 years. About a decade ago I landed in MN just south of the Twin Cities. Having lived in various climates I know for sure I want no part of humidity or severe storms such as tornados, hail, blizzards.

2) topography-An old friend of mine who is a sociologist once professed the idea that cultures are born from the land in which they live. His claim was people in the midwest tend to be more docile and accepting, unchanging, because they live on a land that is primarily flat (with a few hills) and unchanging. Coloradans, he exclaimed, are more likely to be aggressive in life because they survive in terrain that requires aggressive efforts to move, i.e., going up and down mountains. I don't know how much truth there is to this theory but I do know that I bore easily in the midwest. I much prefer some topographical relief such as mountains or seashore.

3) Cost of Government-There's just something in my (Libertarian) DNA that prevents me from supporting high-tax governments.

4) Friends and Family-In our earlier history this would have been much more important than it is now. One can choose a location just a couple hours from family and that could be driving or flying. Given the low cost of air travel now it is easy to locate half a continent away and be as close (time wise) as it once was to stay within a two or three hour drive. This is not a major issue for me.

5) Medical Quality-We may be healthy now but when you're in your 60's, 70's and so on there's a good chance your body may need some service. I don't want to have to travel far to find a good doctor or hospital.

These are some of my first priorities in the choice I'm making for a retirement location. So here are my results:

ARIZONA is hands down the best place for retirement. I've considered other locations but Climate tends to rule them out.

Among my other considered locations were Arkansas; great cost of living, natural beauty, friendly people. The downside: Climate! Don't want the humidity, storms or bugs.

I've looked at Texas also. There's much I love about Texas starting with it's climate of self-reliance. There's something about a state that has a legislature that doesn't meet year round. No income tax! This is a big deal but there are lots of states that do not tax Social Security income. Cost of housing is pretty good but oh, watch out for those property taxes! Property taxes in some of the retirement communities more than make up for the 'no income tax' advantage of Texas. Also climate is a big negative for me here.

California has some real advantages. First is climate. I don't think there's a better climate (year round) than some parts of California. The Golden State is gorgeous with it's mountains and sea shore. But I won't even consider this as a place to live in retirement because of the insane politics and the cost that structure is placing on residents and the toll it takes on the private economy.

Looked at Nevada but I can get everything Nevada has in Arizona except gambling. I don't gamble and have no interest in being near it. My search of retirement (age-restricted) communities revealed that housing is much more expensive in Nevada than Arizona.

What are your considerations?
GeneR, I ended up in Colorado which I dearly love, but does have some blizzards (not much humidity), it is outlandishly expensive and the 401k money is pouring out through a sieve, and it taxes social security, you almost have to take out a mortgage to pay car registration every year, and in many ways is NOT the place to live. On the other hand, our only son and his family live here and if we want to see them in these later years we need to be here.

But I seriously considered SE Idaho and visited there twice. It is very inexpensive to live, does not tax SS, has a more libertarian state government, and is only two hours from Yellowstone/Grand Tetons which is our favorite vacation destination. In addition, both of the small cities in the area, Pocatello and Idaho Falls, have hospitals (and we are up on health care as the wife just retired after 24 years as a hospital administrator). COL is outstanding, and we would have been almost at median income with our social security draw alone.

Scenery is a bit better in Poky, but IF is closer to Yellowstone--AND it has an inside mall, not just a strip mall! Then again, they get some cold weather up there--not so much snow--but very cold weather--and it appears you are into "hot" by considering Arizona/Texas. Idaho does not have much humidity, however. There is a desert 30 miles west of IF, mountains 50 miles NW, and hills to the north and east. We also found some of the friendliest people we've ever met in our time visiting there.

So, if it weren't for my son and his family, that's where I would have parked my butt.

Good luck!
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Tucson
446 posts, read 571,791 times
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When I was growing up it seemed so simple. When my relatives retired, they moved to Florida. That is what you did back then if you were from NY or Boston. Now there seem to be way too many options! Right now we are focused on Tucson. And let's be clear, the desert is not all rocks and sticks. The plant life and the wild life are amazing there. It may look like rocks and sticks to some but to me it is a most beautiful place. Hopefully we will make it there someday.
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Old 08-23-2014, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Originally Posted by RobertaWa View Post
When I was growing up it seemed so simple. When my relatives retired, they moved to Florida. That is what you did back then if you were from NY or Boston. Now there seem to be way too many options! Right now we are focused on Tucson. And let's be clear, the desert is not all rocks and sticks. The plant life and the wild life are amazing there. It may look like rocks and sticks to some but to me it is a most beautiful place. Hopefully we will make it there someday.

You are absolutely correct--much wildlife and plenty of desert beauty. Make sure you visit in late July/August, however, when it is not unusual for it still to be 100 degrees at midnight.
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