Was It Love At First Sight? When it is number 12 or is it 13…I’ve lost count, love isn’t that important. Wait a moment, I hope you don’t think I’m talking about my marriage. Heavens no! I haven’t been married a dozen times and my marriage to my husband is perfect. No, I’m talking about buying a new home. And not a home in the same town or even state but over 1400 miles away.
After living 20 years in a restored 1730’s home with a 250 tree apple orchard in a small town in New Hampshire, we were contemplating moving back to Florida where we once lived and raised our children. Considering this would be a major move, we took our time weighing all the decisions. We looked at the pros and cons of staying in our home in New England or relocating south somewhere in Florida. I thought that sharing our experience might be of help if you are thinking of buying a new home in another area of the country.
Last year’s weather in New England was brutal. In the month of February, we had more than a 100 inches of snow on the ground and the temperatures were 10 to 15 degrees below normal. While Florida’s hot and humid climate will take some getting used to, not having to deal with snow and ice for extended periods is a real plus.
New Hampshire doesn’t have a state or sales taxes but has very high property taxes. Florida has a 7% sales tax but property taxes are low. While food and gasoline prices are higher in Florida, in the long run our cost of living will be a lot less in Florida.
Our home in New Hampshire had 13 acres of land with 250 apple trees that needed to be cared for throughout the year. When I wasn’t pruning trees or picking apples, I was on my tractor mowing for days at a time. In the community we were considering in Florida, landscapers takes care of everything for you.
As you might guess, Florida won out. We found a builder that had one lot left in a gated community of 48 homes in Vero Beach, a small beachfront city on the Atlantic Ocean. While I would have loved to have built a new home where I could have been involved with all the design choices, I believed I could work with the options we were given by the builder. The process was kind of like ordering from a Chinese restaurant where you chose one from column A and two from column B. Some of the choices weren’t ones I would have considered but were certainly ones that I could easily live with in the home.
The new house was finished in April, we put our New England home up for sale in June and it sold in September. The biggest difference between our historic home and the new home is size. Downsizing from about 6500 sq. ft. to just under 2400 sq. ft. was one of the decisions we made to simplify our life but figuring out what we would take with us was daunting as the style of the two homes were so different.
We sold our truck and tractors to friends, most of our furniture to the new buyers, gave lots of our treasures to friends and charity then pack up all the rest. My husband stopped counting after 72 boxes were packed. It was hard to believe how much still got loaded into the moving van. We then packed our car and drove south to Florida.
In the past, I’ve fallen in love with homes that I’ve just had to have no matter how much work was needed before my husband and I could even move into them. I just knew that if we could buy the house, I could turn it into the perfect home for us. This time was totally different as we were looking to simplify our life and decided on buying a newly built house for practical reasons.
We have moved in now and are in the process of unpacking boxes each day and buying new furniture. While it was not love at first sight, the house is slowly evolving into a home where we will feel comfortable and secure. Entertaining new friends, having family get togethers and making memories over the years will make our new home one we will love over the years.
I know that we are not the only ones who has been in this situation or will be someday in the future. Sometimes in life, we have to be practical and let our head rule and forget about love.