Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Two Year Plan

So how do you go about jumping ship from an area you have lived in for 37 years?

This was going to take a lot of planning, time and preparation. In the fall of 2005, I started formulating The Two Year Plan. I figured it would take that long. I was just hoping that financially I could hold on and the South Florida real estate boom would continue.I was born and lived in South Georgia until the age of ten and then moved to Miami. Huge leap in lifestyle. So now I planning to do the same but in reverse.

After much discussion with my two girlfriends that were living in the same community and life circumstances it boiled down to research. Both of my daughters were out on their own and my only other family was living a short distance north in an area I couldn't even afford prior to the hurricanes so where ever I went, I was going to be on my own. Being that every part of Florida was being affected by the rising costs, I was going to have to look elsewhere.

I nixed returning to South Georgia due to the miserable summer weather. After much time spent on the internet and talking to people I knew living in different parts of the country, the Piedmont area of North Carolina fit all my listed requirements. (And yes, I truly DID have a list).

I was looking for something rural but not too far from the perks of a large town, major airports easily accessible, good job market, affordable taxes and cost of living, lower crime, affordable housing, beautiful scenery and temperate winters. This Florida girl never did well under 68 degrees so unless I was looking at Mexico, I was making an adjustment. Having traveled to western North Carolina several times, I had always enjoyed pretty much everything about it and it had been high on my retirement list. When reviewing the winter climate history, the Piedmont was a much better fit.

Luckily for me, I had gotten my first show dog from a breeder in the very area I had narrowed my search down to and we had remained in contact through the following years. I contacted her with a "Guess what? I am looking to move to your area in the next couple of years and I need a realtor".

Over the next few months, and I had a very meaningful relationship. I asked and it delivered listings from Charlotte as far north as Raleigh, just in case.

I looked at pictures of land, farms, cabins, houses, manufactured homes and trailers. I even found a river front community of travel trailers with extensive built on rooms and porches which unknowingly at that time would be within 5 miles of where I would land. I learned terms like "perked". And every so often, the realtor would send a new listing.

Even though when I purchased my villa I had no intention of moving until retirement, I always looked at it in terms of resale value. Being hooked on DIY home improvement shows, believing I could do anything and truly enjoying home improvement projects I had constantly upgraded my home and yard as I could afford. Add to that the true joy of a trip to any home improvement store to drool over tools even a small project gave this hardware store junkie my next fix.

So I finished up old projects, started new ones that I thought would increase value and make it more attractive to a buyer.

And I cleaned out closets.

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