Now that our children are grown and self-sufficient (at least most of the time, lol) it is time for us to think about our future. That future definitely includes Florida’s Gulf area for the long term, and we intend to take advantage of the down housing market to find a bargain-priced place in the sun that we can use in the interim before retirement age comes along.
My husband works with a road construction company, and we live in Ohio, so work is sparse around here in the wintertime. Roadwork is always plentiful in the spring and summer, but of course, the winters and the snowstorms are what create the need.
Apart from the fact that money is a little tight in the wintertime, it allows us to spend lots of good quality time together. For the last few years, we have been driving to Florida with our Labrador retriever and spending a few weeks at the beach. Of course, hotels are expensive and many do not allow pets to stay.
We have started looking into purchasing a winter place so that we can actually “live” in Florida in the winter. Nothing fancy- just good and basic accommodations where we can cook the majority of our meals, our Max will be welcome, and we'll be close to the beaches and the barrier islands on the Gulf Coast that we love. We can furnish it simply and leave our things there for use—pool floats, lounge chairs, dishes, bedding, beach towels, our bikes—all of these things can be there without us having to drag them with us each time we visit.
We have narrowed our search to the area from Clearwater Beach-- Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Largo, and Indian Rocks, south to Fort Myers Beach. Along this area are enjoyable and peaceful small towns that remain affordably priced. There are condominiums and villas available in those areas starting at just around $50,000. We have also found many mobile homes available in good quality and well run mobile home parks starting at under $10,000. Both of these options include water, trash pickup, and a swimming pool that someone else has to maintain! Both condos are mobile parks are typically run by an onsite manager who could let us know if there is ever a problem with our holiday home, which gives me peace of mind.
Other areas in Florida have seen rapid declines in housing prices as well, so bargains and foreclosures abound all over the state. Many of the homes are recent construction, and some have never had furniture in them yet. No matter where in the state you are interested in, realtors can show you some great value for your hard-earned dollar right now.
Please wish us luck finding a good place to land our minivan each winter, until it is time for the big move when retirement comes. I am so excited that we have the opportunity to find a place in a warmer area for the brutal winter months, and I've already checked into holiday home insurance
and found out it is quite reasonable.