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Best Way to Snowbird in SW Florida?

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Old 01-04-2007, 12:25 PM
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Question Best Way to Snowbird in SW Florida?

I forsee us spending winters in Southwest Florida (Cape Coral) once our kids are out of school, in about five years. We would want a single family home on a canal with relatively quick gulf access. The question is, what is the best way to implement this goal? I see two obvious options; rent or buy. Each comes with pros and cons.

Renting may be the lowest cost option IF we can find that perfect home to secure for two months every winter. Also, it's a place we can forget about when we're back home during the summer.

Buying gives us what we want. The place is ours to fix up the way we want it. The down side is the costs associated with owning a home that you only live in two months a year.

So for those that live in the area - what are your thoughts? If we chose to buy, what is the market like now? I understand it's slowed down some. Is this the time to buy a tear down and rollover profits? Can money still be made in real estate in that area?

Thanks - Greg
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:45 PM
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Default Re: Best Way to Snowbird in SW Florida?

The market has cooled down somewhat. But, if you have a 5 year plan, that should give you plenty of time to sort out your options. I would buy, if I had the extra $$. The market is only going to rebound again soon. Especially if you don't mind buying a house that you could do some minor (or major for that matter) remodeling to get it to where you want over the next few years. The contractors are hungry now!

What kind of Gulf Access property are you looking for exactly? Do you want to deal with passing thru public locks and lifts to get to your dock? What size bridge could your boat fit under? How long is too long of a canal ride to get to the river (ICW)? "Relatively quick access" has alot of different meanings down here it seems! For me, the 3.5 minutes to the river is relatively quick, but some spend 30 min to 1.5 hours to get there...

I would be happy to offer some more information. I live in Cape Coral. What a great place to live!
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Best Way to Snowbird in SW Florida?

Greg:
There are about 10 OSO members in Cape Coral. I own a townhouse in the middle of town. Your best bet is to get into a condo or villa that way you don't have all the hassle of outside up keep. I live on a canel about a 10 minute ride to the river. Real estate is price how far and how long it takes to get to open water, plus if there are any bridges. The biggest problem I have found so far is where to keep my boat. When you tell them you have a 40 foot trailer thay go nuts. Plus the grey hairs get all upset about the trailer sitting in the front yard or the side.
Cape Corql is the place to be as the traffic is less on our side then in Ft. Myer. I thought when my wife made me buy in the Cape she had me trap because I want to be in Ft Lauderdale so I could be close to Shooter's and the night life. But after we got here and i was able to check things out this side of the state is where to be.
The real estate market is down right now so now is the time to buy aand plan for the future. I am leaving tomorrow for the Cape and staying until April. I retired last July so it is going to be play time now. I loaded my corvette on a car hauler this morning and he will have it there Sunday. Leaving with the boat behind the truck Friday hoping to pull into the townhouse Saturday afternoon. Yell if you need help be glad to advise.
Steve Aka Blondes Preferred
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Old 01-04-2007, 01:04 PM
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Default Re: Best Way to Snowbird in SW Florida?

If my crystal ball told me I could just write the check in five years, I wouldn't worry about it!

I see some tear downs that could be in my price range. If the market would support it I would roll a few of them and keep the last one for myself. Are there many tear downs left in the Yacht Club area? I'd prefer a short canal ride to the river.
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Old 01-04-2007, 01:35 PM
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Default Re: Best Way to Snowbird in SW Florida?

There are plenty of teardowns available. The premium locations haven't come down that much. Most don't seem that desparate to sell.
Just keep in mind the shorter the ride the higher the price.
Terry
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Old 01-04-2007, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: Best Way to Snowbird in SW Florida?

If considering renting vs. buying, keep property taxes and insurance in mind. You will probably spend more in taxes and insurance for the year than what 2 months of rent would be.

In Florida, if it's not your primary residence you cannot claim homestead. A homestead exemption gives you a $25,000 discount on tax assessed value and that assessed value can go up no more than 3% a year. Without the homestead, your assessed value percent increase can follow the same increases as the market. A rough estimate on yearly property taxes is 1% +/- of market value.

(Don't forget about flood insurance too. )
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Old 01-04-2007, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: Best Way to Snowbird in SW Florida?

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Originally Posted by ziemer View Post
If considering renting vs. buying, keep property taxes and insurance in mind. You will probably spend more in taxes and insurance for the year than what 2 months of rent would be.
That's what makes renting seem so practical. The down side is that I can't make improvements. The boat lift would have to be set up for my boat as well.

Unless I come into big money I won't consider purchasing a home in move in condition in five years. I don't know if renting the home out during the time we are not there makes sense (probably not). I would definitely consider the real estate angle - a couple good investments would go a long way toward getting into what we want.
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Old 01-05-2007, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: Best Way to Snowbird in SW Florida?

having lived in san diego from 81 to 05, and seeing the housing/price boom, I would say rent or buy, but also buy bare landwest of 75 and sit on it for a few years untill the developers get there.. I know a few people who did that in san diegoand turned 15k into 500k
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:18 AM
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Default Re: Best Way to Snowbird in SW Florida?

See what happens by the spring. I have a friend renting since july in cape coral and has been approached by the owner in the past couple weeks with a 150,000 reduction on his asking price of 6 months ago! It won't be long til I get my butt down there too, like next friday! Yee Haw!
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Old 01-05-2007, 10:26 AM
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Default Re: Best Way to Snowbird in SW Florida?

Hey "Frequency", we met at LOTO in the party cove this year, I was on the Baja, also at the time Hammer's boss as it was.
Hurricane / flood insurance is a killer for a first time home buyer in Fla also. I would lean toward the purchase / fix up/ sell platform that you have discussed. Work it until you have the money for your "keeper", sell your stuff here in the frozen tundra and live down there and rent back here.
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