As much as I would love to live here till the end of my days...it would probably be too expensive for us. I don't think we will be moving soon, but would like to have an idea of a community. Is anyone here familiar with Columbia, Maryland? What about Charlottesville, VA or Richmond, VA? Want to keep it fairly East, to be not too far from what family I have left. Probably don't want to go North.
Pm ing u
Some neighbors are looking into southern Maryland, where their son remained after college at St. Mary's. Don't know if they will follow through.
We are exploring Philadelphia (Chestnut Hill and the Mount Airy sections, in particular) because 3 bed/2 bath homes go for under $250k with taxes under $3,000 a year. However, the city and state income taxes may negate any real estate savings. Ideally, we will win the lottery and live on Central Park West.
My husband is currently on a tear about the potential of Asheville, NC as a retirement destination. It's certainly beautiful and less costly than NJ, with milder weather but 4 seasons (we want). It boasts an artsy and liberal community (but very white, I think). We haven't visited yet but I think we will eventually check it out.
looking at Delaware and still be close to New York
We're actively looking at coastal South Carolina, from Myrtle down to Georgetown. We're almost ready to pull the trigger, with a 1 year rental while we make sure we're right. Housing prices are very reasonable (2k sq ft, 3b/2bt) for ~200k with taxes ranging from $500-1500, PER YEAR.
mjh said:My husband is currently on a tear about the potential of Asheville, NC as a retirement destination. It's certainly beautiful and less costly than NJ, with milder weather but 4 seasons (we want). It boasts an artsy and liberal community (but very white, I think). We haven't visited yet but I think we will eventually check it out.
We're thinking about the Chapel Hill Area.
Forgive the very long post - but ....
In a few years we will be moving to St Petersburg, Florida.
We spent several years considering and exploring options. We wanted reasonable taxes and cost of living. I wanted to be in or near a city and I wanted to get away from cold Northeast winters. My better half wanted good recreation and some nearby professional sports teams. We both love the water so although it wasn't a must have we found ourselves drawn to areas on or near the ocean or gulf. We love to travel so we also preferred some proximity to an international airport. Although we are healthy , since we were looking at our retirement years we wanted easy access to world class health care.
We considered and visited the following: Annapolis MD, Rehobeth DE ( and surroundings) , Charleston SC, Hilton Head SC, Raleigh -Durham NC, Asheville NC, Nashville TN, Houston TX. We visited many places in Florida including the Miami area, Jacksonville, Stuart to West Palm Beach and down to Del Rey, Orlando, Sarasota and Naples.
We fell in love with St Petersburg, Florida and after watching and looking at real estate there for 1 1/2 years we just purchased our future retirement home there. St Pete is part of the Tampa Bay Metro area which has 2.5 million people. It has a great arts scene including a world class orchestra, vibrant museums and galleries, abundant restaurants and night life., and so many outdoor festivals one cant keep track of them. Politically St Petersburg trends Democratic. There is a huge Gay Pride Festival there every year ( the biggest in the state). Downtown St Petersburg was a dangerous run down slum 30 years ago but has undergone a fabulous transformation and is now a beautiful, charming, vibrant city with a bit of a resort feel. St Pete is nestled along Tampa bay and has miles of breathtakingly beautiful parks lining the bay with incredible recreational facilities - a yacht club, municipal boat basin, museums, beach , one of many aquatic facilities, a nice dog run, and miles of walkways and pathways for walking, jogging and biking. There are several blocks of super luxury high rise apartment buildings along the bay, right down town - with wonderful restaurants with sidewalk cafes, shops and galleries.
There are several incredibly attractive yet funky residential neighborhoods adjoining downtown. The Old Northeast is the most desirable neighborhood that is close to town. ( other than the luxury multi-million dollar high rises apartments) On the east it is bounded by the beautiful string of parks lining Tampa Bay. The housing stock consists mainly of charming homes built in the 1920's with colonials, Bungalows and Mediterranean homes. Many of the streets are paved with brick cobblestones and are lined with old oaks hung with Spanish moss, palm trees and lush landscaping. It is a funky, diverse neighborhood. One might find a small $300,000 bungalow next to medium sized $600,000 K bungalow next to a $900,000 colonial , next to a small 6 unit mediteranean style apartment building with 1 bedroom apartments. Most of the Old Northeast is walkable to downtown. St Pete and to the bay.
There are a variety of other neighborhoods near downtown that are equally charming and more affordable. A few neighborhoods which were well located but run down and not as desirabl are undergoing unbelievable transformations with prices increasing before ones very eyes. Historic Uptown (known as the hip gay neighborhood) and Historic Kenwood are full of charming craftsman bungalows which just a few years ago were mostly under 100,000 and now range from 200K to 400K . We just bought our future retirement home in Crescent heights, which is a small charming neighborhood adjoining the Old Northeast and another wonderful park called Crescent Lake Park. Our future home is about 1 1/2 miles from Downtown (including the Mahaffey Performing Arts, Center, the Museum of Fine Arts, The Yacht Club and more) and less than a mile to the bay.
Also, just a few minutes away from downtown there are many waterfront neighborhoods with more typical florida style homes and also a wide variety of condos all ranging from affordable $200,000's into the millions. St Petersburg is about a 15 minute drive to a variety of fabulous ( often rated among the best beaches in the country) beaches on the Gulf. It takes us 16 minutes from the driveway of our future home to the parking spot at the beach at Pass a Grille Beach - our favorite beach in the area. Also 15 minutes away, Fort Desoto park is a little bit like Sandy Hook South . It is a state park with miles and miles of beaches and recreational facilities including kayak rentals, boating facilities, bike trails, fabulous beaches and even a dog friendly beach. Tropicana Field ( for now the home of the Tampa Bay Rays) is 2 1/2 miles away. Tampa airport is a 35 minute drive.
There is no state income tax in Florida. Property taxes in St Pete are higher than one would expect. When you purchase a home it is reassessed at the purchase price and we have been told to expect our taxes to be 1.8% of assessment. Taxes on a home costing $500,000 would be $9,000 per year. HOWEVER once you become a full time resident ( 6 months plus 1 day) you can " homestead" . When you homestead your assessment is frozen and will not change while you own the home - and a s a "homesteader" you pay taxes on 3/4 of your assessment. So when you first purchase your home the taxes seem high - but over the years with inflation, the taxes of homes that change hands will increase a lot more than yours. Also, homeowners insurance is very high. Much of St Pete ( and much of florida) is in flood and hurricaine evacuation zones. Our house has an elevation of 40 ft ( which is unusual) . We were not required to have flood insurance but we were required to have hurricaine insurance which is frightfully expensive. Even with a premium wind mitigation roof, an elevation of 40 ft above sea level, and a $15,000 hurricane damage deductible, the cost of hurricane insurance added $2,500 to our annual insurance premium.
St Petersburg is about 1 1/2 hours from Orlando and Disneyworld. With some flexibility , we have often been able to find very cheap flights in and out of both airports - and can often find round trip airfare for less than $200.
ETA - The weather is a big factor in the quality of life. The biggest negative is the summer. It is hot and humid. Take the 2 or 3 weeks of summer misery we have here with temps in the mid 90s and humidity like a sauna and stretch it out over 2 to 3 months and that is the St Petersburg summer. But you can go to the beach all year round. Typical January weather brings highs in the high 60s to low 70s and lows in the 50's with rare very brief cold snaps that bring overnight lows into the 30's. Water temperature at the beaches averages at or above 70 8 1/2 months a year. If you love winter florida is not for you. I am miserable in winter, but if its 95 degrees out I can still enjoy the beach or being on a boat or even sitting on a porch under a nice ceiling fan.
some photos of st pete
a few more. The last two are our neighborhood ( which is 1 1/2 miles from downtown)
to answer the OP, Maryland has very high income taxes and very high inheritance taxes. So although we have family there, we ruled it out.
sarahzm said:to answer the OP, Maryland has very high income taxes and very high inheritance taxes. So although we have family there, we ruled it out.
To address this last point, I moved from MD to NJ and found my income taxes dropped a bit but my property taxes for a similar property went up a LOT. Overall, MD was better for me financially. Also, I had an extended period of unemployment a couple years after moving here and the lower income taxes didn't do me much good, but I still had to pay the property taxes.
Also, I don't believe MD taxes retirement IRA withdrawals, while NJ does.
Also, Florida has alligators.
I looked it up. Florida has a population of 20 million people. In the past 75 years there have been 23 fatal alligator attacks. So if there are as many fatal attacks in the next year as there have been in the last 75 years, there is still about a 1 in a million chance of being killed by an alligator.
And while alligators can tolerate salt water for a few hours they are very very rarely found outside of fresh water.
So I don't think anyone has to worry if they go swimming in the gulf or the bay
Going to Asheville on Wednesday for a short vacation. Will report.
sarahzm said:I looked it up. Florida has a population of 20 million people. In the past 75 years there have been 23 fatal alligator attacks. So if there are as many fatal attacks in the next year as there have been in the last 75 years, there is still about a 1 in a million chance of being killed by an alligator. And while alligators can tolerate salt water for a few hours they are very very rarely found outside of fresh water. So I don't think anyone has to worry if they go swimming in the gulf or the bay
They still freak me out. Also, I wonder how many pet dogs they catch.
Bluffton, South Carolina..
I'm half-facetiously suggesting 'Australia', but I guess from the above you want somewhere a bit closer to home.
St Petes is wonderful.
Asheville is nice but still a southern mountain town and takes some getting used to. Ideally, St Petes for 8 months of the year and Asheville for the summers.
Florida has the most snakes per capita of any state in the country. Of the four general types of poisonous snakes native to the USA, all of them infest Florida. It also has an insane number of spiders. Florida has more tornadoes per square mile that any other state. It is also number one in shark attacks. Surprisingly, Florida is only the fifth worst place to live in the country in terms of violent crime.
And then there's the people.....
I'm living & selling real estate in St Augustine Florida. It is an unknown treasure! I am loving it! Great weather, plenty of one level homes, very low purchase prices & tax amounts, beach, historic downtown + mild weather compared with the heat of south Florida. Close to several airports. I had been in Essex county from 1993-2016. Message me if you would like more info.
Klinker, Funny, a few years ago I was looking at real estate in Jupiter and we couldn't get in to one house because there was a huge LIVE , moving snake relaxing in front of the front door. Since then I haven't seen any. As a nerdy, cultured liberal from NJ I was also concerned being a square peg in a round hole. I refused to consider any neighborhood with more pick up trucks than regular cars. HUGE , super-oversized Humvees also seem to be popular in some quarters there. I don't understand why anyone would need souped up wheels and suspension when the most challenging part of the road is the mini curb to get into your driveway.
Anyway. I am sure there are parts of Florida, like anywhere else, with more than it's share of violent crime and with people who look like the person in your picture. Actually our handyman looks a little like that but he happens to be a very decent guy.
I think it depends on where you are. We've met a fair number of people in St Pete and many of them would have been at home in Maplewood and South Orange ( if they were willing to tolerate the cold).
Be careful if you move to Florida. Google "Florida Man" and read the headlines thread. There's something in the water.
All I am saying is this: I generally don't think anyone needs to carry a firearm, concealed or otherwise, but, if I were FORCED to live in Florida, I would definitely carry the largest handgun on the market with me everywhere I went. Hell, I would sleep with it under my pillow (google "Florida, snake, toilet" or "Florida alligator toilet").
Of course, all of this is a temporary concern since sea level rise will erase most of the state in the next 75 years. With 49 decent states in the Union, why anyone would choose to visit Florida is a mystery to me.
I live in south Florida, and do not own a gun, or have alligators or snakes in my toilet. I once had a small snake in my garage, and an alligator in the lake behind my house. The lake regularly gets Sea otters, herons, egrets, ibises and turtles.
Thanks for everybody's input. Good to know about income taxes in Maryland. Will look into that as we start our search more seriously. I'm really busy for a few days here, but will come back. Hope others will share their thoughts too. --OP
BTW - Saint Augustine really is charming.
I visit Florida every year. Other than at a tourist attraction, have yet to see a gator, a snake or someone carrying a gun. I did see fire ants on the golf course and did see some flying insects but nothing that would keep me from going back. The question is ... with the insanely high property taxes in NJ, high income taxes, high cost of housing, it is NJ that has become the tough choice to make as home.
Boone NC has always struck me as a sort of undiscovered Asheville. A college town in the mountains with a relatively progressive (for NC) vibe. Houses go for about 1/3 to 1/2 what similar properties go for in Asheville.
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