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House Recon - OK, So Not a Cruise Blog...


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I am bored and tired of not having any live blogs to read, so I’m going to create a live blog about coming to Florida on a house-hunting recon.

While no one is interested in my house-hunting per se, I will devote this blog to discussions on travel and public discourse.... I mean, being out and about ...during the plague.

We left Virginia on Thursday morning.

Uber to the airport - Uneventful.  This was the first time we had gone north (in, towards DC) since the lockdown, so we had no idea what rush hour traffic would be like. We gave ourselves plenty of time, but it was unnecessary. Traffic was a breeze (for NoVa).  Part of that could have been b/c it is a holiday weekend, but primarily I just think people are still working mostly from home.

Airport - This is the first time I have EVER seen zero-zilch-nobody in line at TSA.  There was not a soul waiting to go through security.  It’s the first time I have not needed Cleared to breeze though. The bad news...since I now have a fake knee, I can no longer go through the Pre Check scanner.  I have to go through the regular line, therefore negating my TSAPre Check advantage.  Not happy about this. Had to take off my shoes and everything.  Major bummer.  The good news is, the AA Admirals Club in Terminal C was open.  The bad news is, it’s pretty meager.  No more buffet breakfast (we got a breakfast “box” with some stale crackers and nasty cheese).  No avocado toast !  What is this world coming to ?!  It was still better than waiting at the gate but not like the good ol’ days.

Flight - so much for social distancing !  Completely sold out flight.  Uneventful...had to wear a mask the entire time but nothing untoward happened.  One of the smoothest flights I’ve ever taken.  DCA-PBI.  First time flying into West Palm.  Very nice airport.  Must be b/c Trump moved to FL.  Just kiddin’

Hotel - Residence Inn in Port St. Lucie.  Very nice.  Must wear a mask in the lobby and when in the elevator. No food service at all.  They also subscribe to the box meal philosophy. No idea what’s in their box.  We declined.   No housekeeping service unless you give them 24 hours notice and you must vacate the room at least 3 hours prior to service (not sure how you’re supposed to know when they’re coming...).  I can get replacement towels at any time.  This works for us, just fine.  I don’t care for housekeeping bustin’ in on us anyway.  I can make my own bed !

Restaurants and other public spaces - Honestly, if it weren’t for the masks, you would not even know there was a plague.  It’s pretty much business as usual, as far as I can tell.  The restaurants seem to be blocking off every-other table, but basically, that’s it.  People are extremely compliant with the whole mask thing.  I’ve been very pleasantly surprised that I have seen NO one out in public without a mask.  As far as I can tell, everything is open....except for the cruise terminals.

More on the first day of house hunting later.  It was a long day.  It’s hot in Florida.  Why am I moving here again ?

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Well, we did it !  Put down a down payment to get started.  Picked out a house and lot.  Should be ready in just a bit more than a year.  Meanwhile, we must return to VA and sell our house.  We will m

I am bored and tired of not having any live blogs to read, so I’m going to create a live blog about coming to Florida on a house-hunting recon. While no one is interested in my house-hunting per

Negative....but look for us on America’s Most Wanted b/c someone is likely to die before it’s over. 😢😢😊😁

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4 hours ago, cruisellama said:

Good luck on the search.    Need to be driving distance to ports I imagine.  Did your Uber HOV'it?  All Admiral's clubs are pretty weak at this time, at least now they're open..    

Yes, we did use the HOV but honestly it wasn’t necessary.  We chose Port St Lucie precisely b/c of it’s equidistant between the 3 major cruise ports. We literally looked on a map and picked it by geographical position.  Turns out to be a nice place, luckily !

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24 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Yes, we did use the HOV but honestly it wasn’t necessary.  We chose Port St Lucie precisely b/c of it’s equidistant between the 3 major cruise ports. We literally looked on a map and picked it by geographical position.  Turns out to be a nice place, luckily !

Perfecto!  (used to live in NVA - former "slug")

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20 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Restaurants and other public spaces - Honestly, if it weren’t for the masks, you would not even know there was a plague.  It’s pretty much business as usual, as far as I can tell.

I work in for a major northern New England supermarket chain as a meat cutter/butcher.  My coworkers and I have been saying this for almost two months now.   

Social distancing is pretty much non-existent now among the customers we see shopping.  People seem to have no concept of any space much less personal space.

It's like it was pre-Covid 

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The house-hunting has been a mixed bag.  It’s extremely stressful and let’s just say, Dan and I have each had our limits tested with each other.  I know that relocation rates right up there with divorce and death in the “stress-level” events.  I can vouch. 

The builders are very strict about keeping the masks on at all times.  Sometimes it’s very hard to hear when we’re discussing details and breathing outside in a mask when it’s as hot as the surface of the sun out there, is not particularly enjoyable but we learned to pace ourselves better on day 2 than we did on day 1.  Coping.

We learned a new “living with COVID life lesson” on the first night.  We were both SO tired and exhausted from traipsing about looking at what seemed to be 10,000 model homes which all looked exactly the same inside, that we decided that a back and foot massage was just what we needed.  Note to self:  Do NOT plan on any more face-down massages while masks are required !  It’s hard enough to breathe lying face down on one of those massage tables when you aren’t wearing a mask, but add that mask, and you are now gasping feverishly to breathe the entire time.  The only way to breathe is through your gaping mouth and that puts tremendous pressure on your jaws.  It was probably the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been.  I couldn’t wait for the back massage to end.  At least I was lying on my back for the foot massage !

Last day of house-hunting tomorrow. Fly home on Monday.  I guess we’re making progress.  As with all of the previous recon events, we are determining where we DON’T want to live, which is something, I guess.  Hopefully we will head back to Virginia with a basic plan in place.  Either that or divorce is in our immediate future. 😣😢

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Well, we did it !  Put down a down payment to get started.  Picked out a house and lot.  Should be ready in just a bit more than a year.  Meanwhile, we must return to VA and sell our house.  We will move into something temp locally and move to FL when our new house is ready.  

We will be in a brand new phase of the development so right now, there is nothing but dirt and sand there.

So, flying back early tomorrow. Upgraded to FC so happy about that.

What a whirlwind !  It might sound like an impulse buy to some, but truthfully, this is our fourth trip to FL house-hunting. We tried the west coast.  Nope...the drive from Tampa to the Port of Miami was horrific.   Tried central Florida but only Port Canaveral was really convenient.  I knew that we would not be able to afford the Miami area, so after just 1 perusal in south Florida, we moved on.  Not only was it expensive, but they didn’t really have the type of “Active 55+ community” that we were looking for.  We finally tried the south-central east coast (Port St Lucie) and it was Juuuust right.  Almost exactly half way between Port Canaveral and Miami.  Dan kept saying that when we found the right place, we’d “know it”.  I guess he was right.  I have bought and sold many homes in my life but this will be the first brand new/build home for me.  Very excited !

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2 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Upgraded to FC so happy about that.

Hubby and I have decided that for our trip to visit the grandbabies in Nov. and our cruise in May we are flying FC.  The cost was @$75 more pp rd trip out of Dulles compared to economy.  I told him that I am ok with it since I will have more space @ me than in economy.  Plus, we get 2 checked bags pp for free instead of paying 25 per bag.  For the cruise that means it actually only comes out to about 50 pp more (if I take 1 bag pp)   

It seems that airlines are doing upgrades at a low cost now.  I have never seen them this low when you look at Econ/Econ Plus/Bus to 1st class. Albeit, we are not flying a 767 or Airbus250.  However, we are also not flying puddle hoppers either.  

Congrats on the new house.  

I am sure that where you live your home will sell within a day, week or month. The market is really hot in your town, speaking as an ex-realtor for your zip code.  The mtg rates are driving the market to be a sellers market.  My DD just purchased a home, it was on the market for 1 day, and she had to write an escalation clause.

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2 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Well, we did it !  Put down a down payment to get started.  Picked out a house and lot.  Should be ready in just a bit more than a year.  Meanwhile, we must return to VA and sell our house.  We will move into something temp locally and move to FL when our new house is ready.  

We will be in a brand new phase of the development so right now, there is nothing but dirt and sand there.

So, flying back early tomorrow. Upgraded to FC so happy about that.

What a whirlwind !  It might sound like an impulse buy to some, but truthfully, this is our fourth trip to FL house-hunting. We tried the west coast.  Nope...the drive from Tampa to the Port of Miami was horrific.   Tried central Florida but only Port Canaveral was really convenient.  I knew that we would not be able to afford the Miami area, so after just 1 perusal in south Florida, we moved on.  Not only was it expensive, but they didn’t really have the type of “Active 55+ community” that we were looking for.  We finally tried the south-central east coast (Port St Lucie) and it was Juuuust right.  Almost exactly half way between Port Canaveral and Miami.  Dan kept saying that when we found the right place, we’d “know it”.  I guess he was right.  I have bought and sold many homes in my life but this will be the first brand new/build home for me.  Very excited !

So not following in the steps of Super Mario (yet)?  Guess no one can until the bug is gone.

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1 hour ago, Pima1988 said:

Hubby and I have decided that for our trip to visit the grandbabies in Nov. and our cruise in May we are flying FC.  The cost was @$75 more pp rd trip out of Dulles compared to economy.  I told him that I am ok with it since I will have more space @ me than in economy.  Plus, we get 2 checked bags pp for free instead of paying 25 per bag.  For the cruise that means it actually only comes out to about 50 pp more (if I take 1 bag pp)   

It seems that airlines are doing upgrades at a low cost now.  I have never seen them this low when you look at Econ/Econ Plus/Bus to 1st class. Albeit, we are not flying a 767 or Airbus250.  However, we are also not flying puddle hoppers either.  

Congrats on the new house.  

I am sure that where you live your home will sell within a day, week or month. The market is really hot in your town, speaking as an ex-realtor for your zip code.  The mtg rates are driving the market to be a sellers market.  My DD just purchased a home, it was on the market for 1 day, and she had to write an escalation clause.

You have really helped ease my anxiety with the encouraging real estate news. We put ourselves at a slight risk by making the offer here before selling our place, but I think the risk of not selling the house is far outweighed by the hot market and the value of locking in the outrageously low interest rate.  Even though we could pay cash for the new house, we are keeping our cash secure since it’s nearly free money to take out a mortgage. We went round and around about this and the realtor helped us decide.  She said it would be silly to pay cash when money is so cheap right now.  I hope we made the right decision. 

Wow !  On the excellent FC upgrade.  That is an awesome upgrade rate.  No-brainer !  Yippee !!!

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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

We put ourselves at a slight risk by making the offer here before selling our place, but I think the risk of not selling the house is far outweighed by the hot market and the value of locking in the outrageously low interest rate

That is why the market is now considered a "sellers market"  My DS purchased a new construction home in Feb. and he got a 2.875 rate  DD purchased her 1st home (re-sale) in July and got the same rate.  We re-finance last fall (jumbo loan) at 3.375.  

1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

We went round and around about this and the realtor helped us decide.  She said it would be silly to pay cash when money is so cheap right now.  I hope we made the right decision. 

I agree with your realtor.  Long term on stock market your ROI will be 10% over a 10 yr period.  Keep your cash for more cruising.

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On 9/4/2020 at 9:58 PM, WAAAYTOOO said:

While no one is interested in my house-hunting per se,

Poppycock.  Plenty of  us are interested!

I'm so happy you found what/where you were looking for!!!

The seller's market for houses here in the Twin Cities is insane too.  One of my coworkers sold his house in under two hours and then couldn't find anything to buy!  Everything they wanted to go look at was sold within hours (literally hours) of it hitting the real estate site.   The ended up getting wind of someone who was considering selling but hadn't listed it yet, so they got in to see it before they put it on the market and made an offer.  It's unreal!

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6 hours ago, SpeedNoodles said:

Poppycock.  Plenty of  us are interested!

I'm so happy you found what/where you were looking for!!!

The seller's market for houses here in the Twin Cities is insane too.  One of my coworkers sold his house in under two hours and then couldn't find anything to buy!  Everything they wanted to go look at was sold within hours (literally hours) of it hitting the real estate site.   The ended up getting wind of someone who was considering selling but hadn't listed it yet, so they got in to see it before they put it on the market and made an offer.  It's unreal!

Holy cow !  That’s insane.  I guess it’s a good problem to have (selling your home so quickly).  Throw me into that briar patch !

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Congratulations!! Why are you guys moving? (did I miss that?). A brand spankin' new house is amazing! Every little space is yours and no one else has touched it.

It's a great time - I'm in NY. One of the co-ops in where I live sold in hours and the previous owners missed out on two opportunities to buy a new house because everything is going so fast. My friend just sold her house that we thought would take a while because of the work needed..sold in 2 weeks.

 

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Congrats on not just finding a place, but one that’s going to be brand new and all yours!

I agree about the crazy good rates, too good to pass up. Last week we applied for a 15-year refi at 2.875%, vs my current 30-year (20 years to go) at 4.75%. We plan to stay in our house at least through the start of retirement, so we’ll be free and clear of a mortgage when that day comes! 😁

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2 hours ago, ellcee said:

Why are you guys moving? (did I miss that?).

To quote the famous @twangster, to do more cruising, duh !

I retired on my birthday (July 31) and Dan will be retiring next spring so we said, “why not ?”.  We are tired of paying to fly to cruises. Now we’ll be able to take advantage of more casino comps (primarily in the form of “shorties”).  Of course this is all predicted on the cruise lines actually remaining in business !  What’s the worst that can happen ?  We end up confined to the land in beautiful Florida !

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Well this is bad news...I wanted to try suites because of @WAAAYTOOO, then I could not pass up Star Class because of @WAAAYTOOO's blogs and posts, now I am reading a @WAAAYTOOO moving to Florida blog...I want to move too!!! 😄

Very envious Raye, and also very excited for you and Dan.  The house that Hubby and I live in right now we moved in when it was brand new.  Same, all dirt and sand and not much else in the area.  I can tell you that 8 years later, it still brings a smile when I look around and see how the area has evolved and how much our own property has evolved.  There is a lot of headache in starting from the ground up, but so worth it in the end.  Happy building!  And then happy cruising!  And I really want to move to!  Or at least become a snowbird lol. 

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Thanks, Sabrina.  We are looking forward to the fun parts but not so much, the hard work that’s in front of us.  This community is very much like you described. Everything is just getting started so the Clubhouse, Sports & Rec centers, etc are still being built....but hopefully, getting in on the “ground floor” will pay off. The only thing this community won’t have is golf courses, but we intentionally steered clear of communities with golf courses since neither of us plays golf and we didn’t want to pay for their upkeep.

You've got your own building project going on right now !

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@WAAAYTOOO, so excited for you! Yes we have bugs...hardscape. Hot, heck yes but the air conditioning everywhere takes care of that! The most beautiful weather when it's not oppressively hot, and the lifestyle is just glorious. The sunshine, the palm trees, the birds and  the proximity to multiple cruise ports, (The best) we don't play golf either and we just love it here. 

Beware especially in the months after initial move family and friends come out of the woodwork to visit, and then they try to stay......Enjoy!

move leading GIF

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