Should We Do This--Whatta You Think?

patti43January 28, 2006

We retired to our cabin 12 years ago. It's in a very isolated area. It was really enjoyable--lots of friends, boating, fishing, dinners. Then, about 4 years ago, things changed. People moved, passed away, etc. So we've basically been vegetating. We're considering selling the house and moving to a college town 50 miles away. DH's doctors are located there (pretty important) and where we could do volunteer work and at the very least, have a decent restaurant close. To say nothing about shopping at someplace besides Wal-Mart.

I would like to rent for a year to see if we like it there or not. We've looked at several apartments (those that don't encourage students) and found a couple we really like. One only has neighbors on the sides; the other we would have people above and on the sides. It was so cute, though--fireplace, two master bedrooms, nice floor plan. But maybe no neighbors above would be a better idea.

Another thing is that nights (days, too) are so quiet here and we're so used to it. However, we moved here from the Clearwater, FL area so we we were used to the noise there.

Hoping Tally Sue will see this and offer her advice. (You always seem so logical.)I'm so afraid we'll be making a big mistake. To all of you, what do you think? Have you had a similar experience? I'd really like the input.

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Is there an option besides a college town? Only reason I ask is because it will be an extreme contrast to the living situation you are used to ( as opposed to moving to a more occupied town that isn't college-student filled ). An upper level unit would help out with avoiding the noise.

I do think that if you are sitting around and feeling like you are not doing anything, a move will help out. Definitely rent first. If you can, find a month-to-month lease in case you realize your mistake sooner than a year.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 11:35PM
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Thanks xstarsfallingx. You gave me a little hope that the move would be logical instead of totally insane. ;o I like the fact it's a college town, but I just would rather not live with the partying and beer cans all over the grounds. (I know this because my nephew got his master's there. There are many benefits--sports to attend, concerts, museums. Plus those darned restaurants that we love!!

Hope some more of you reading will offer their advice.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 2:23PM
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I think your analysis and insights are right on, and I say "Go for it." I've been retired for 3 years, and love it, but the big challenge is making sure I stay active. I have parents in their 80's who are apartment-bound through choice and inertia. I'm resolved to not let that happen to me, and the best way I know how is to get out and mix with others. Your idea of renting for a year as a fallback plan is a good idea, and will help you do a better job of being impartial when you assess your situation, because you won't feel trapped if it doesn't work out.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 6:31PM
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Thanks for your input, kudzu9. (I love your name, by the way.) Do you live in an area where you can volunteer, go to movies, etc.? What do you do to keep busy? Some neighbors stopped by today and we're all sort of in the same situation. They're younger but still bored to death here. We have no decent restaurants (two diner type places and a Hardee's). One stop light in town. A couple of gas stations and a Napa and hardware store about round out what's available within 15 miles. Even then, it isn't too good. Another couple came over, too and they just can't wait to get out of here--in three years, they're going long term RVing. While we're still here, I do plan to have a brunch in the spring and, of course, one gigantic garage sale to rid years of storing stuff we don't need. Groan! Maybe a cocktail get-together, too.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 9:55PM
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As I've gotten older my desire for quiet and peace has increased. I spent most of my life living/working in a major metropolitan area in the Pacific NW, and my retirement transition has been to stay close to this area, but move about 10 miles further out to a house with a large chunk of property where I can garden and stay in shape outdoors. No one would mistake it for the country, but it has removed me from some of the traffic and congestion, and I'm still able to get into the city fairly quickly for cultural stuff. I am addicted to the Internet, because I do miss the daily interactions I had at my office, and forums like this allow me to learn and to share. I also have a large workshop for the first time, and I'm also trying to catch up on an accumulation of books that always grew faster than my ability to read them. I used to volunteer when I was working, but I've actually been busy enough in retirement that I haven't done that much lately!

Where you're living now sounds like a place I'd like...for a couple of months of the year, but I'm afraid it would seduce me into an indolent lifestyle that I wouldn't consider good for my long term health. Moving to a college town just sounds to me like a terrific way to stay vital and involved.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 11:12PM
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"college town" doesn't have to mean "surrounded by loud, rowdy students." College students tend to congregate around the college and in the cheaper part of town where inexpensive rentals are.

There are plenty of professors, insurance salesmen, grade-school teachers, etc., in college towns. Even in Kirksville, MO, where I went to school, most of the townies didn't have a college student living near them at all.

College towns always appeal to me bcs there's always so much going on, either at the college itself, or in the groups the spring up among the professors, etc. Lectures, cool movies, art exhibits, etc. There's such energy in a college town!

My folks lived in a small town in rural Iowa for a long time--that's where I grew up. When they started to get older, in their 60s, my mom decided that she didn't want to be old in a small town. She wanted to live in a city, with:

-a major medical center, so if one of them got really sick, they didn't have to travel 200 miles to see good doctors, or go to a decent hospital--they could just go across town

(guess what? they both got REALLY sick, plus both had some moderate health problems, and going to the doctor, having radiation treatments, etc., wasn't so disruptive as it would have been from my small town)

-decent public transporation, even if it was only cabs, so they could get to the stores, doctor's, etc., without having to impose on their neighbors if they got too frail to drive themselves.

-decent social services, etc., so there'd be support groups, seminars, etc. These are much easier to find in a large town or small city

-a variety of activities to choose from around them.

They're very happy--they moved while they were still young folks, so they've built up a network of friends, etc., centered around work, church, etc. If they'd waited to move when they were much older, that would have been much harder to do.

I like the idea of renting for a year to see if you like it--pick the place that seems the least noisy, in terms of the noise from neighbors AND the noise from stuff like traffic, fire trucks, etc. I think you'll adjust to the noise pretty easily, and of course you'll know in the back of your mind that, if you do move back to town, you might easily end up buying a single-family home in a neighborhood you choose (you can buy a tad farther from the college, which might end up being cheaper).

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 10:01AM
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Tally Sue--all the reasons you listed for why your parents moved are exactly our reasons. DH has wonderful doctors there and has health problems, so it'd be so much easier. And like your parents, we really need the mental/physical stimulation.

We have looked at apartments and pretty well decided on the one we like best. We will probably buy a house after a year because DH has forgotten how easy apartment living is!! I thank you and everyone for your input. Sometimes you just need a little backing to make insure what you really want isn't just weird, as everyone who visits tells us how lucky we are. (They don't drive 20 miles for groceries.) I do appreciate all your help. Thank you.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 9:01PM
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Your comment about "easy apartment living" made me think of another thing to consider: When you're a tad older, it might really be nice to be in an apartment--no snow to shovel or leaves to rake; someone else wrestles the garbage to the curb.

Of course I'm spoiled from living among co-op owners in NYC, where folks are really nice to live next door to (there's not quite the same risk of crummy neighbors as in a rental) .

But I really like, as a busy working mom, that I don't have to shovel, or rake, or take the garbage out to the curb.

I have visitors w/ a similar blindness--they come to NYC and think it would be great to live here--right after I graduated from college, a friend came for a week and announced they he knew he'd love it!

My other friend and I pointed out that, on vacation, he:
-never took the subway, only cabs (you cannot afford to do that daily)
-waited by the stage door to meet the Bway actors each night (can't do that regularly--gotta get to work)
-saw a show every night (can't do thatmore than a few times a year, bcs it's just so expensve!)
-slept on someone else's sofa and had no idea what he'd have to pay to live here.
He might really love it, and I bet he'd go to the theater way more than I do, but it wouldn't be the same.

Good luck w/ the transition! I think you're making a really smart move!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 3:55PM
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Tally Sue, I sure envy your living in NYC. I've only been there once, but it sure was an eye-opening experience for a country girl (1962). Just one day taught me a whole bunch of stuff about life in general. It was great and I'll never forget it. I know you can't do the shows every night, but it sure would be nice as a special treat. Gainesville, Fl (where we've pretty much decided to move) has the Phillips Center of the Performing Arts, which has pretty darned good entertainment. Y'all have made me so excited to move, I can hardly wait--except I have to clean this darned house out first.

Now, if anyone else has had a bad experience doing this, please come forward. I'm just anal about hearing both sides of things!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 10:20PM
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One of my friends taught me this. Go check out that particular apartment complex at least four or five times if you can. Go at different times during the day and at night. You can get a better feel for the overall neighborhood and complex which may be very quiet while everyone is away at work and may become a party town after 5pm.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 5:45PM
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mazer, I wish we could do that but we're 50+ miles away and the apartments are, for the most part, still under construction. I think the price would scare off most college students and we don't mind parties as long as they aren't the all-night variety (or unless we're invited--haha).

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 8:48PM
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Hi Patti43....

The house that you are in now, do you own it..outright? If so, then why don't you find a respectable couple (older couple who will take care of the house) to rent it to. this way if you decide that you do not like living in the city, you can always go back to your house. The rent money you get from the house will pay for your appartment.Give the house on a month to month lease. I would never want to sell my house incase I make the wrong decision and could kick my self in the butt afterwards, but the idea of renting the house and having that money to pay for your appartment sounds good.
Good Luck on your decision

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 12:32AM
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Hi superdupersuper, we do own our home outright, but we have also had the experience of renting out a home before and it wasn't pleasant. You probably know what I'm talking about, if you're a super?? The area we live in wouldn't generate enough rent to make it worth the repairs we'd probably have to make. DH and I have talked and talked about this decision, because I kick myself in the you-know-where for selling our home in Pinellas County and moving permanently up here. I love our little cabin, I just wish I could pick it up and move it closer to civilization! Thanks for you good luck wishes.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 10:10PM
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I just reread my last post and it sounds like we live in a slum! What I meant was, AFTER the renters moved out we'd most likely have lots of repairs to make. Doesn't need any at the moment. We had other property here that we rented once and the people trashed it pretty bad.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 8:47PM
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where in Gainesville are you thinking of renting?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 3:48PM
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typoqueen, we are looking on the SW side. The ones we particularly like are called Park Lane. They're being built right now, and are on the corner of 75th St. (Tower Road) and Archer Rd. Right across from a Publix, which makes me happy, happy! Do you live in Gainesville? If so, we'd appreciate any tips you might think of. Park Lane has a web site. It's We looked at the Bristol model w/garage.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 3:58PM
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I knew what you meant about the repairs--that you'd have to fix it up afterward.

I wonder if, at least in the short term, there are trusted vacationers you could rent to? for short-term rentals, like a week or so? To help w/ the transition, in case you hate it after all?

You might let folks who *do* live near you know that you'd be willing to rent to their friends or relatives? Though of course that's risky too--just not for quite as long at a time, LOL!

But, if you decide to make it permanent, you'll sell the cabin and buy in Gainesville, right? So you'll still own a home; just not one out in the country.

Also, if it turns out to be kinda loud, you're only stuck for the term of the lease--one advantage to renting for a while.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 4:44PM
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