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Old 07-17-2016, 09:46 AM   #1
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Where to live?

I've got several years of planning left before embarking and among the decisions is where to live after here. It occurred to me that living somewhere with a dock and access to the water would ease the challenge of prepping the boat. Back in the day my grandparents lived on the Caloosahatchee in North Ft. Myers. That's probably why I'm typing here today. For better or worse, Grandpa's place isn't in the family nor in the budget.

So is living on a canal or river or lake somewhere with access to bigger water what you non-live-aboard folks do? Would you if you could? A condo without a lawn to mow or driveway to shovel makes sense if being gone for long periods is in one's future. Any pitfalls I'm missing there?
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:03 AM   #2
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So is living on a canal or river or lake somewhere with access to bigger water what you non-live-aboard folks do? Would you if you could? A condo without a lawn to mow or driveway to shovel makes sense if being gone for long periods is in one's future. Any pitfalls I'm missing there?
Most waterfront property in SW FL is fairly expensive. There are waterfront condos that can be had but finding one with a slip or a newer modern unit can be a problem. You might want to send a PM to FF. His winter home is on a canal off the Caloosahatchee between Labelle and Moore Haven and he has mentioned canal front lots can be had quite reasonably. Doubt if there are condos in the area but check with FF.

The pitfalls are that most the reasonably priced property is off the beaten trails. If you aren't hung up on SW FL, you might be able to find a place on the St. Johns between Green Cove Springs and Sanford.

The unfortunate things is a lot of retirees are looking for the same thing you will be looking for and that will restrict supply and drive up prices.
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Old 07-17-2016, 12:10 PM   #3
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There are a number of ways to approach it and meet your objectives. I'd visit various areas and perhaps rent a VRBO and get an idea. There are some more moderately priced areas near some very expensive. Stuart or Fort Pierce vs. West Palm. St. Lucie. Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Sarasota. Marathon vs. Key West. You can sometimes go ten miles and get an entirely different price. As an example, while Pompano isn't cheap by normal standards it sure is vs. Fort Lauderdale.

So, slightly less desirable waterfront that either involves a little trip to the ocean or gulf. Older home vs. newer. Then one other thing to balance as you look to manage overall costs. Properties close to the water but not on them. Even a few hundred feet reduces cost greatly and boat can still be at a very near marina.

Some of the better retirement areas have a lot to offer. They cater to people on limited budgets and who want minimum maintenance. Condos fall into two groups. "Luxury" as in every amenity possible and charges very high for them. You can end up with condo fees equal to mortgages. Then there's the "affordable" where you might not have the pool, the fancy clubhouse, the fitness center and the spa, but you have a good home and you have a condo fee that is no more than it would cost you to maintain a home yourself.

I've generally found that not too far from every outrageously expensive place to live you can find one that is more moderate. We have friends who followed us to South Florida and live about 15 minutes away from the water, but paid less for their homes than they would have in the area we came from in NC. We have friends who live on a canal just off the ICW but a few miles north of Fort Lauderdale and their house was about 1/3 what a similar property in Fort Lauderdale would be.

And you know the real estate people have this great place to look that's much like Yacht World. Wonder if they copied them. lol. Seriously, just go explore on Realtor.com. Pick an area and price range and you'll be surprised.
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Old 07-17-2016, 12:25 PM   #4
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I retired, 2 years ago, and we are looking where to retire, so we bought a, motor home and been traveling mainly the gulf coast. We like Texas from Galveston to the south tip, Brownvill, because winter storms do not go that low. many of the rv parks have water acrss, right on the beach.

We also like the upper gulf but many storms seem to pass thru and flooding. Love Pensacola, Panama city, orange beach down to mid Florida as south Florida is to popular and expensive. October thu March lower gulf and March thru june upper state's. July thru September fly to Seattle to live on the boat.

We like the motor home park live and moving around at least for a couple more years.
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Old 07-17-2016, 01:08 PM   #5
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I'd also say not to overlook the coast of NC. (or perhaps SC or GA). Some very reasonable property there and it's great cruising grounds. You can go north to the Chesapeake or even New England and come south to Florida and the Bahamas. It gets colder over the winter but there are a lot of very good days during the winter. I think year round boating is very possible there.
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Old 07-17-2016, 01:22 PM   #6
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We just left Oriental, NC after retiring there 5 years ago- too remote and quiet for my wife. But water front real estate is cheap. I just saw a 2 bedroom waterfront condo with boat slip listed in "downtown" Oriental for $185,000. You can't beat that for waterfront living with immediate ICW access. And a bunch of nice people- retired cruisers live there.


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Old 07-17-2016, 01:34 PM   #7
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We just left Oriental, NC after retiring there 5 years ago- too remote and quiet for my wife. But water front real estate is cheap. I just saw a 2 bedroom waterfront condo with boat slip listed in "downtown" Oriental for $185,000. You can't beat that for waterfront living with immediate ICW access. And a bunch of nice people- retired cruisers live there.


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I think "sleepy" is the word often used. I have a cousin who lives on a creek between Beaufort and New Bern. We enjoy the small town areas but we'd be like your wife and miss the city too. We've lived in a small town area but it was part of a large Metro area. We've neither lived in a Metro area of less than 2 million people.

We find it shocking where my cousin lives in eastern NC and has a 13 mile drive to the nearest grocery or store of any sort.
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:21 PM   #8
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Oriental is quite remote and sleepy, however, Beaufort, Morehead City and New Bern are small cities with full services, such as medical and real supermarkets and other stores.But still sleepy compared to a big city? Absolutely. A noted above, great cruising grounds right there (and well beyond the ICW) available almost year around. The ability to boat in our preferred style (anchoring out in fun and beautiful places) in a nice area year around is an important parameter for us.

In general, if you are not going to live aboard, better to have the boat near as possible to the cruising, and the house further inland if that is more economical or otherwise preferred) as opposed to the boat well away from the cruising. Much faster and cheaper to drive the car to the boat than the boat to the cruising grounds. For instance, we unscientifically observed that boats in inland New Bern tend to leave their slips much more seldomly than the boats in the marina we used in coastal Morehead City.
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:53 PM   #9
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Oriental is quite remote and sleepy, however, Beaufort, Morehead City and New Bern are small cities with full services, such as medical and real supermarkets and other stores.But still sleepy compared to a big city? Absolutely. A noted above, great cruising grounds right there (and well beyond the ICW) available almost year around. The ability to boat in our preferred style (anchoring out in fun and beautiful places) in a nice area year around is an important parameter for us.

In general, if you are not going to live aboard, better to have the boat near as possible to the cruising, and the house further inland if that is more economical or otherwise preferred) as opposed to the boat well away from the cruising. Much faster and cheaper to drive the car to the boat than the boat to the cruising grounds. For instance, we unscientifically observed that boats in inland New Bern tend to leave their slips much more seldomly than the boats in the marina we used in coastal Morehead City.
And a home away from the waterfront in Morehead City or Beaufort would be quite reasonable. While it's nice to have the dock in your backyard, I'd rather have a boat in an ideally located marina and drive 30 minutes to it.

Yes, still sleepy compared to big cities, but most everything you would need. Can always make periodic trips elsewhere if needed. Some things depend on your health and other considerations too. He mentioned medical in the Morehead City and Beaufort area. Everything you'd need on a normal basis and Carteret Hospital. However, if you have a need for a teaching and research hospital, then not your place. For that you'd need to drive 175 miles or so.

I have a cousin who lives in the Beaufort area, actually a good ways outside of Beaufort in a more rural area. They love it there. Their boat is perhaps decently located for the type fishing they enjoy, but it is lousy for cruising. He is 18 miles from the ocean.

Perhaps I'm prejudiced being from NC but there are quite a few areas along the coast I think would be very good for most people, those not requiring the lights of a big city.
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:38 PM   #10
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You can pick up a waterfront cottage with your own dock here on Mount Desert Island, ME for 1.5MIL+. The best cruising area on the east coast. The winters are a bit fresh though. I have friends who have a house here and one in Florida. They keep a boat at each house or move their boat seasonally.
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:44 PM   #11
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My (current) plan is to spend some trial cruise time getting the wife (and me) comfortable with the boat, and then embark on a Loop. That Loop may end with us trading the boat on an RV and "cruising" on land, or it may end with us agreeing that cruising is the best thing since sliced bread and living on the boat for years.

The dock access house/condo is more home base and warehouse for our stuff than it is retirement property. The sort of place that we might be gone from for months at a time. When there, I'd want to have the boat tied up at the house and plugged into the house. Seems like the best way to make repairs or improvements. When gone, I'd want the house to sit patiently until we return.

Folks tell me I'll "be fine and acclimate," but I've never seen myself living in Florida year round. If folks are right, we would probably move from the dock/warehouse/home base type house/condo to something more permanent or comfortable.

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The unfortunate things is a lot of retirees are looking for the same thing you will be looking for and that will restrict supply and drive up prices.
I suspect that retirees are "retiring" in Florida at a rate similar to the rate that they retire to Florida. There is population growth, but it is in other demographics. Unless I missed something recently?
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:12 PM   #12
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When I lived in NC, we were in Greenville about 75 miles inland. We kept our boat at Morehead City. It was about an 1:20 drive.

The Washington area on the Pamlico could be a good location. However, for boating Beaufort/MHC have much to offer.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:05 PM   #13
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LEAVING a boat in a canal, behind someones home is a great way to handle an off season dock.

LIVING on a boat behind someones home is like being part of their family

NO privacy at all.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:21 PM   #14
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We just bought a house on the west coast of Florida, in New Port Richey. Prices are reasonable there, and we'll be less than 1 mile from the gulf. No canal just a home on a small pond. We'll keep the boat in Ct to live aboard for the summers, at least for a couple, then we'll see.
Whether I get a small (20ft) boat is Fl is TBD. I think we'll have enough to do without one.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:34 PM   #15
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If you are planning doing the loop why do you have to move your home base? Be a snow bird like millions of US. When the time comes take the time to travel and temporary live in the areas. Also when you retire you might want to down down size and smaller area. I find Texas offers more for less.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:38 PM   #16
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We retired a couple of years ago and went through a similar process but wanted to keep our home in the North Georgia mtns. So we shopped for a condo with docks and found several options but found a small town between Savannah and St Marys Georgia. It's name is Darien. Steeped in history and local lore. It's about five miles off the ICW and a mile off I-95. Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByTrawler Forum1468863451.069432.jpg
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ID:	54321. Condos on right. You can find one too! Good luck.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:45 PM   #17
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I find Texas offers more for less.
Can you elaborate a bit on that?
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:48 PM   #18
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It's about five miles off the ICW and a mile off I-95. Attachment 54321. Condos on right. You can find one too! Good luck.
Looks just right. Love the photo too.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:49 PM   #19
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If you are planning doing the loop why do you have to move your home base? Be a snow bird like millions of US. When the time comes take the time to travel and temporary live in the areas. .
I've known couples that used the Loop to help them decide where they wanted to live. One couple that reached Marathon, FL and that became home. One that completed the loop and then went up the coast to settle somewhere on the Chesapeake. One that ended up in Fort Myers. We met a couple as we came through the Erie Canal that when someone asked them where their home was, they said they hadn't decided yet.

Now, some would rather have a stable base established up front rather than deal with uncertainty.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:20 PM   #20
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We've always had a stable home base, but in retirement we want to wander for a year or so at a time. Not sure what the goal is, if there is one, but perhaps it's to decide where to set up the next stable base.
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