Almost all of our neighbors have retired, sold their homes and have moved away. In their place, young families with young children, middle aged families with college age children and top notch, highly successful (and bleeding heart, super rich) people have moved here in their place. Except for these two pictured below, my husband and I are the only two remaining ‘original’ residents:
Hubby and I were contemplating the other day if we should try again to move away. We tried twice already and each time was a total disaster. We keep coming back to our estate in upstate New York and finding the peace, solitude and affordability that we so wontingly crave. We tried a beach house in Newport Rhode Island. After ten years of ownership (we customarily have always owned two homes thinking that the 2nd home would eventually one day become our retirement home) we realized that the RI government was NOT conducive to retirement. Rhode Island taxes your retirement income AND your social security. They tax practically anything that isn’t tied down, such as your car annually and tower over your home ownership as if you’re a constant, available, sucker piggy bank. Plus, your property doesn’t increase in value. We sold our RI home after 10 years of ownership at a $100,000 LOSS! You read that right. The home lost $50,000 in value (can you imagine that?) plus the state government forced us to replace our septic system or the property would be condemned and never suitable for a sale, ever! at a cost of $37,000 and the real estate genius who sold our home for us got a $13,000 commission. That’s a one hundred thousand dollar loss in my book!
Next, hubby and I tried owning a condo in Florida…..which was my lifetime dream. We bought a magnificent condo in Sarasota (2 bedroom, 2 bath at pre-building pricing) that had spectacular lake views and every single amenity that could ever be imagined on the face of this earth. We thought we had it all figured out. Till after a month or two, when ALL the residents moved in to the 4 story building. Anyone who smoked in the building had a pipeline (no pun intended) directly into our unit. We got so much second hand smoke entering our condo that I became deathly ill (had to be rushed to the ER with constant, debilitating nose bleeds and breathing problems). We tried the legal way, the friendly neighbor way, the mafia way, but it all came down to this: you can not regulate nor control what other people do in their own living space. End of story. PLUS after one year, the HOA fees AND the property taxes increased by 42.8%. What started out at $7,000 in annual costs turned in to $10,000 in only a year and a half. With increases such as that, how could anyone, on a fixed income, we asked ourselves, afford to live?? We couldn’t. Thus we sold. We closed on our condo in less than 30 days and finally, we came out ahead. We didn’t recoup the $100,000 loss BUT we came out AOK on the condo sale.
So, needless to say hubby and I are very hesitant to ever move again. We’re older now, hopefully much wiser now. We know exactly where we stand in our NY upstate home. No matter what happens here, we can afford it. The only problem here are the winters, which we solved with a very livable RV which we board down in Florida for the winter months. We’re on the Atlantic Ocean side, so we feel we have the best of both worlds: the Florida ocean and the Catskill/Adirondack mountains of upstate New York. Yes, New York is known for their extremely high taxes. We should know because we just got hit with a 116% increase in our property taxes. However, NY is kind to retirees who have a low income (below $86,000 jointly per year) and our qualification has kept those high taxes at bay. With the reductions, its still very affordable for us to live here. When I add up our taxes, home insurance, electricity, heating and property monthly maintenance costs, it comes out to $793 a month. Where can we go for only $793 a month? Our home is paid for and as long as hubby and I can keep up with maintenance and repairs, we are AOK.
As hubby and I were still discussing should we stay or should we go, we decided to go for a walk. When I opened our side door to exit, this is what I saw:
Our property is magnificent this time of year. We have everything: a home, a barn, a shed, an RV, a vehicle to tow it with and another car that’s good on gas so its fun to drive around in. Who could want for anything more? We’re getting our RV ready for the winter where we two become beach bums and hang out at the ocean.
It’s not our fault that our previous neighbors couldn’t find happiness here. One of them moved to Punta Gorda in Florida and hates it so much is already looking to move yet once again. Personally, hubby and I adore ALL our new neighbors. It’s been great getting to know the younger crowd! They’re energetic, enthused and psyched. I’ve mingled with two of my new lady neighbors and we’ve gone for long walks together (socially distanced, of course). It’s been great talking to people who aren’t complaining about their aches and pains all day long! Another neighbor has been renovating an old barn (I’ll follow up with upcoming photos, Click here to see how they started out). Two of our neighbors put in amazing in-ground pools (to die for!) Another neighbor completely gutted and remodeled their home, which just happens to be a historic home dating back to the likes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This home belonged to a good friend of FDR and Franklin used to come and visit our block often. How cool is that? (Note: we live in FDR territory)
Another new neighbor just put in a $10,000 hot tub. Yeah baby! And another neighbor just built a chicken coop and has oodles of chickens. Can’t wait to buy/try one of their eggs! Plus, it is so nice to hear children playing during the day! Often times the good clean mountain air is filled with children’s laughter. I’m sorry, but how cool is that?!! Plus, we have an established church round the bend and every fifteen minutes we hear the church bells ring. Sometimes I feel as if I am on the Italian country side which oftentimes rings the air with church bells. No worries. The chimes last ring at 9PM. Everyone here loves their peace and quiet!
And last our daily post delivery person, who spreads the gossip shamelessly to all of us, tells us about the newest and latest celebrity to enter our precious neighborhood. Behind these gates is a rich, powerful mogul who made his billions through the sports world. Don’t ask because we don’t tell. At least he’s pumpkin friendly!
If we need any more reasons why we should stay and not go, here they are:
Lastly, I’ll leave you with one last photo. Our neighbor left this view to go, where? I don’t know. But they left behind this great view for the rest of us to love and cherish. Thank you.
May God continue to grant good health on both myself and my husband. May God continue to grant us the strength and the income to always afford to live here. If not, may God show us the way to our next place on this great, green earth. Hubby and I are most grateful for the blessings our Father, the Lord Jesus has bestowed on us and our family.