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Old 04-17-2021, 07:22 AM
 
31 posts, read 20,772 times
Reputation: 19

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Hello all, my wife and I are at that "let's get out of upstate NY and into a nicer climate for the retirement" stage and we're considering both SC and Florida. As an accountant, I'm totally into the gathering of way, WAY too much numerical data (taxes, cost of living, etc.) but ran across this site and wondered if I could gather more first hand thoughts. As a little background, we're an upper middle class, relatively active couple, enjoy some culture but enjoy biking, hiking, a day at the beach or an afternoon in front of a barbeque with friends as well. Real estate goal would be a single family or large condo (aiming at maybe 2k sf or so) with a small yard. Suburbs but somewhat close to a large town or city. 30 - 60 minutes to the coast would be preferable. Been looking at 55+ communities for the included maintenance but I also realize that that comes with a cost. Budget might be somewhere in the $300 - $350k range but that could shift up or down as I see what the potential is. Specifically I'm looking at the Bluffton, SC and Sarasota, FL areas to see what potential they might have. Hope that all helps but feel free to ask more if you think it might help.

Hope that's enough to elicit some thoughts - good, bad, indifferent - all thoughts and comments are welcomed. Thanks!
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Old 04-17-2021, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Florida
373 posts, read 235,377 times
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Bluffton, SC and Sarasota are pretty different places. Food for thought:
- SC will still get somewhat cold in the winter. Sarasota will have a few cold nights, but that’s basically it.
- Sarasota boarders a tropical climate, SC doesn’t really have any tropical characteristics.
- As I’m sure you know as an accountant, FL has no state income tax but relatively high property taxes. SC has a relatively low effective income tax rate, and low property taxes
- Sarasota has arguably the best beaches in the continental US. SC is meh.
- Sarasota is a day trip from Tampa and Orlando. Bluffton is near Charleston, Savannah, and Jacksonville. Sarasota has a surprising amount of cultural activities, but it can’t match the history of Savannah and Charleston.
- Low country food in SC/GA is better than FL.
- Culturally, you’re in the Deep South in SC. Sarasota is loosely Midwestern.

Last edited by FL_Expert; 04-17-2021 at 08:44 AM..
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Old 04-17-2021, 08:54 AM
 
16 posts, read 15,787 times
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choose anywhere in almost coast SC, over Sarasota FL for the money-Sarasota now much too crowded and overpriced, too many exiles from NY like you - many people now move out of Sarasota and take big profit and leaving the area for south GA, and south Carolina, N Carolina and eastern to central part TN - people look for less crowd, more privacy/property. Both areas are nice, but very different. People very different too, FL beginning to have many people with very bad attitudes than even 10 years ago. Very noticeable now.
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Old 04-17-2021, 09:09 AM
 
16 posts, read 15,787 times
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personal opinion is that the part of SC you're looking at has far more character than around Sarasota. More history and identity. FL's character is losing its true southern identity - that is far from happening in SC, not so much. It's also becoming more dangerous even on senior scammers. House insurance prices just got increased, many paying 25-30% more now in 2021 than in 2019-2020. All costs in neighborhood HOA dues and CDD tax are very very high now. It's not all bad but getting there in costs. People are selling left and right to people like you.
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:04 AM
 
31 posts, read 20,772 times
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Thanks for the great responses. Exactly what I was looking for. Much appreciated.

Any others would be as well!
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Old 04-17-2021, 11:48 AM
 
199 posts, read 208,212 times
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We've lived and have had homes in both areas mentioned, Siesta Key and Beaufort,SC. The above comments and thoughts are pretty spot on and very informative.
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Old 04-17-2021, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Venice, FL
12,916 posts, read 4,457,840 times
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Our final 4 were:

-Bluffton/Okatie
-Southern Sarasota County
-Santa Rosa Beach in the Panhandle
-Vero Beach's barrier Island (zip 32963)

Our situation, & wants/needs differed from yours. Our price point was $500k+, no 55+, & I'm semi-retired so our income makes state income taxes a factor. We also have family in Jupiter & Port St. Lucie, and we both lived in Florida before, & liked it.

We vacationed on HHI 40+ times during our 20+ yrs in Atlanta, so that tells you how much we liked it. My wife's 1st choice was Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, or Oldfield in Okatie, or Colleton River Plantation. Our Son's in college nearby too, so that was pulling my wife.

I preferred anywhere in FLA due to lower cost of living/taxes, & better winter weather. Most of the homes in SC were frame on crawl space, & not cinder block; I wanted block for Hurricane safety. I also didn't like how dependent drivers are on state roads 278 & 170 in Bluffton/Okatie area. Proximity to Savannah & Charleston was A+. I could see us doing 3-day vacations in both regularly, for a change of scenery. You will not find restaurants/food in Florida like that IMHO. My wife LOVES the decorating style of the Low Country too.

SW FLA won out, but I had to compromise on where we wound up in Southern Sarasota County. We rented for 1.5 yrs first in Palmer Ranch (great location), but wound up 25 minutes further South. We built a new home 2 yrs ago, & are mostly happy. Our home value has gone from $550k to $800k

We spent the last 2 September's on HHI in a VRBO. We're leaving soon for Savannah to visit our Son who is still attending college nearby. The Low Country keeps pulling us back, it seems.

Our next, & last stop, will likely be Bluffton/HHI, or Vero Beach's 32963. I insist upon a Ocean view next time

You have 2 such great states to choose from. I don't think you can go wrong in either place. Florida's explosive growth is a bit unnerving, so consider that.
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Old 04-17-2021, 01:38 PM
 
31 posts, read 20,772 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GretnaGreen View Post
I don't think people from upstate NY would consider Bluffton SC cold, even in the winter.
Lol! Spot on. It's 52* here today and I mowed the lawn in a golf shirt. As a lifelong CNY'er, there's probably not much that SC could throw my way that would make me cold enough to reconsider living there.

To the others, great stuff. I appreciate all of the thoughts and comments. Thanks for taking the time to throw them out there!
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Old 04-17-2021, 04:17 PM
 
16,219 posts, read 34,748,419 times
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Well, you probably can't go wrong with either place. It all comes down to personal taste and what you are looking for. I am not that familiar with Bluffton, but I do think SC has a lot to offer. However, I am a Florida native and love it here. Spent many years in Sarasota/Bradenton but we moved to central Florida (Lakeland) recently for retirement and love it here. Not on the coast but we have gorgeous lakes, forests, small hills and a more relaxed lifestyle. Easy to get to either coast when we want. Just visit both places and see what appeals to you. Each place will have its strong points.
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Old 04-17-2021, 04:48 PM
 
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When living in the North East, Bluffton looks warm, until you live there, for a couple of years.....then Fl looks so much better. Bluffton is cold in the winter.
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