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Old 18-10-2020, 01:24   #61
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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Buying real estate in the Keys is apparently a bit different from buying real estate elsewhere. I've long wanted to buy a place there and every time I'm there, I'm always kicking a few tires and talking with area brokers and come away with mixed emotions about the matter. For starters, it is quite pricey there and off course every one is aware of hurricanes and flooding, but we looked at a house two years ago, now back on the market at a substantial higher price...plus taxes, insurance, utilities, HOA fees, etc.
It would be worth it for a potential buyers time to thoroughly investigate other Keys besides Marathon. Marathon does have a large " rental " base as they can rent by the week there....I'm told that Islamorada for instance can only rent by the month....

I've always liked Marathon, but also have friends that live in Big Pine Key next door as well as Key West and Key Largo...just about any Key is bound to have some appeal. Marathon does have an airport though...

Spend some time down there yourself is the key...things you may like would not fit my agenda and vice versa....

as smj has pointed out, there are are several homes and condo's along Boot Key, that sport docks and various boats, but it is hard to see these places as a bystanders as they are typically all private with big "no trespassing signs"...I have tried to walk along these units and it rarely takes more than a few minutes for someone to come out and enquire as to my presence there..

The thing to do would be to rent a small boat and go sightseeing from the water...you'll see a lot more than driving around in a car..
Glad you got a chance to investigate a bit.

After speaking to a realtor and a few other folks familiar with living in the Keys, we have ruled out buying there.

The combination of hurricane issues, flooding issues, high insurance/ property taxes, and lack of proper trauma centers have killed it for us.

Also, you probably already know that your boat can't be wider than 25% of the canal width. So if you have a 25' beam cat, you would have to find a 100 foot wide canal. Not an issue for most I guess, but a consideration for us.

Well, it was worth looking into.
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Old 18-10-2020, 06:48   #62
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

I didn't think of a 25' beam cat trying to get into one of those canal's, but I can see it as a problem, especially if you are at the far end of a canal, and then turning the thing around to get it back out would likely be challenging. Probably the same reason you don't see any large sailboats back in there...you could back it out, but it would take some skill, especially trying to get around the myriad of fishing boat lifts, docks, etc..

Nonetheless, I feel as you do, property prices, taxes, insurance, etc is quite high there and this C-19 thing has caused quite a dent in area businesses.

The house rental we were at, was one house from the mouth of the canal, but there are homes that don't front on a canal, but rather a smallish lagoon...the pic with the tri in the water was in front of the house next to us, that house did not front on a canal, but rather some "open water", where you could get a beamy boat at dock. Boot Key, likewise has homes, condo's that could fit a beamy boat.

It is possible to do, but you'd have to find the right house in the right location for the right price.

There was a large mobile home community there, which got demolished during Hurricane Irma and the mobile home lots have been selling and people building new stilted homes there. A consideration....build your own.

There is small plane service their, as well as helicopter service and in the event of trauma, you could be airlifted out, so there is that. There are a number of small jets on the apron there as well.

I had some friends in Big Pine Key that elected to stay in their stilted house during Hurricane Irma. They survived, but have elected to move away from the Keys now.

The realtors were telling me, that in the event of a hurricane, the make the only road there, into a two-way road, going out, and they try to arrange the evacuation on a Key by Key basis so as to avoid a traffic jam.

I could not say why, but I'm very fond of the Marathon area and always find myself gravitating there. I enjoy doing a lot of fishing and most likely will end up getting a place there, but just about any Key is a good spot for that.
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Old 18-10-2020, 06:57   #63
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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Saleen,

I will not try to rain on your plans....they sound okay....but, I'd like to add a bit to the discussion...

I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale in the 60's and 70's....(and sailing/boating/cruising SE Florida/Keys, the Bahamas, Caribbean, N. Atl., and the Med)....and have lived/worked in central Florida and south Florida ever since....(except for college out-of-state)....and have been a Florida property owner (and submerged-land-lease-owner) for decades...

So, I do have some experience and can back many (but not all) of your observations....

But, before I get to them, please take a bit of advice from a Floridian who has realtors as acquaintances.....do not take advice from realtors in regards "where to live", nor "what are the disadvantages"....

Also, please remember the Keys are a bit of a culture of their own....not a bad thing, mind you....just be aware there is a world of difference between the Keys and most of the rest of Florida...and some actually love this, and strive to keep it that way....so, if you'll be living in the Keys, just know upfront that it's a bit different.


You may find the Keys, are perfect for you....that's up to you...


Now some specifics:

1- Hillsboro Inlet: Not an issue for any seasoned yachtsman....of course like all small inlets along the east coast, if you have a strong wind against tide it can be "fun"! Btw, many say worse things about the St. Lucie Inlet, where I keep my boat these days, and I think it's an easy-peasy inlet...and Hillsboro is even easier... And, while I'm not a circumnavigator (only done a few Atlantic crossings, etc.), it certainly doesn't take a world-cruiser to make it thru the Hillsboro Inlet, just a competent skipper....

Fyi, years before I could get a driver's license, my friends and I would run that inlet all the time, in lots of wind....and we would "fly" quite often in 10' - 12' Zodiac's and 13' Boston Whalers....probably shouldn't have done many of the things I did as a kid, but experience (especially the kind that almost kills 'ya) does teach, and after all these years, I can still handle a boat (especially sailboats) in a surge / crossing a bar / etc....so, maybe it did teach me something...



2- Hurricanes.....in over 50 years, I've been through many, including a few on-board....and it's a subject that fills volumes....so, just a few quick thoughts...

Please remember, there is more to consider than "insurance" here....in my opinion, those that simply build or buy anywhere (and/or decided to keep a boat anywhere), and just have enough insurance, are a bit short-sided and unfortunately have been one of the causes of increased insurance costs for all of us....so, please, if moving to Florida (and/or keeping a boat here) we will welcome you, but please don't just rely on "insurance".

a) No place in Florida is completely "safe" from hurricanes.....but, that's not really a big deal for most of us....I mean there's about than 22 million people here, and almost a million boats (915,000 registered in Florida), so while no place is "safe", we do live here just fine....


b) If you're looking to be "on the water" / "waterfront property", ocean front, ICW, open canal, near an inlet, etc...(not an inland lake), then it doesn't matter where in Florida you are....you and your waterfront property will need to be prepared (concrete block home, secured roof, approved hurricane shutters, flood mitigation plans, etc...), west coast, east coast, Keys...it matters not! (of course the Keys will require more thought)

c) If looking in the Keys (and/or barrier islands of Florida)....any significant hurricane will flood any low-lying property....now, if you can find a "high-spot" you might not get much, but I'm not aware of any "high spots" down there...and, yes houses on "stilts" can be a good idea, but even they've flooded (the realtors don't want to talk about it, but it has happened)


BTW, I laughed when I read what the realtor told you ("some have flooding issues"), that's the biggest understatement of the year!! No matter what a "realtor" says, please just know and accept that in the Keys you will get flooded at times....and not just in hurricanes!

This means that if you have a boat down there, when a hurricane is predicted to track near you, you'll need to have somewhere to put the boat, and then you get out of the Keys...

Opps, where are you going to put your boat? Certainly tied-off well in a canal is typical, but just be aware that nowhere is completely "hurricane safe" down there....so, it means that you should be prepared to sacrifice your boat and accept some damage (flood, rain, and wind) to your home....if you are okay with those choices, then the Keys are great for you!
Heck, there are many folks down there, and many that would love to afford it, but cannot....so, you're not alone in wanting to live in the Keys....just make sure you understand the trade offs....

{BTW, as someone who has ridden out direct hits from Cat 3 hurricanes (on-board and on-shore), I can share some helpful insights....if you like, please get in touch, as it's a bit too involved to write it all here...}



3- Diving is of course better along SE Florida and the Keys....but, I prefer SE Florida...


4- Sailing is also better in SE Florida (and the Keys), and of course the Bahamas are right there in front of you....if you have good wind, From SE Florida you can make the Bahamas in a Friday overnight, and enjoy a weekend there, returning Sunday night if needed for work / school....


5- Property taxes of waterfront property in SE Florida will surprise you!!!! Actually this is one of the largest expenses most have....
(if you'd like some details, please get in touch directly....just be sure you're sitting down, 'cuz it might cause some skipped heart beats....remember, we don't have a state income tax, and sales tax is 6% state-wide, so it's property taxes that pay for a lot!)


6- Insurance for waterfront homes, and for boats kept there, will also surprise you....albeit not as much as the property taxes, but just know it ain't cheap!


7- Weather in SE Florida and upper/middle Keys is nice!! No question about it....I mean it's not an accident that places like Palm Beach, Miami Beach, Key Largo, etc. were developed a century ago...the water off SE Florida is warm all year....and while in decades past, the further south the less severe the cold fronts were, these days, even the Keys can get chilly after a front passes in wintertime....yes, after a front passes Lauderdale might be a few degrees cooler at night than Key Largo, but not by that much...





8- No see 'ems....they are less if near salt water in SE Florida....and if you live on a well-circulating salt water (good flow, tidal and/or river) and are near other like homes, with well maintained property, you might never be bothered much by them....





Saleen, as a wrote above, if you'd like more details and/or some personal stories, etc., please get in touch directly.

fair winds...

John


P.S. I'm not sure if property taxes in Calif are as bad as the grapevine says, but in SE Florida they're pretty high....depending on the county, down in SE Florida figure on $13k - $20k per year for each $million of assessed value...(fyi, a house 2 doors down from my Mom's place is on the market for $3.5M, and it's 5 feet lower in elevation, and smaller dock, etc.....I think the realestate tax est was ~ $45k/yr...waterfront, deep-water canal / river, just one mile from inlet....and that's just "average"...)
Shipmate, You sound as if you certainly know what you were writing about. My problem is locating a place anywhere in Florida that I can get in with my 110' LOA with 10' DRAFT. My best friend tells me that in Florida there's not any place that a yacht with Ten Foot Draft can go. I am looking to purchase a well constructed home with it's own dock/pier for my 110' Cutter with 10" Draft, which in practice means I'll need a bit more than just Ten Foot. If you would I will appreachate hearing from you. I am a retired Navy Senior Chief at: FREEMAN <Sailing4Jesus@gmail.com>.
God Blessed The USA.
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Old 18-10-2020, 07:01   #64
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

So other than the obvious that itís a foreign country, why not the Bahamas? The boating is on such another level there, it seems worth the sacrifices and home values reasonable.
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Old 18-10-2020, 07:45   #65
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

Hurricane Dorian put the kibosh on that idea. The Abaco's, being close to the USA, had become a haven for sailboats and powerboats, both personal and chartered boats. Even recognized "hurricane holes"....ie, Hope Town, Man-o-War, Marsh Harbor, Treasure Cay, etc, were obliterated during Hurricane Dorian. I don't believe a single boat survived the carnage.

I don't think there is such a thing as a "safe" hurricane hole anywhere on the east coast or Bahamas.....Dominican Republic maybe...

I have been in the St.Lucie area, there are some mighty big boats there....might be worth a looksee for a large boat....not sure about the 10' draft though....I know a guy that keeps a 9' draft boat in the J'ville area.....Palm Beach another spot.....big boats there...downtown J'ville also has a deep draft marina...COJ St. Johns Marina...there are other spots.....Ft. Lauderdale hosts many large boats....Biscayne Bay.....gotta look around...
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Old 18-10-2020, 07:58   #66
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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Hurricane Dorian put the kibosh on that idea. The Abaco's, being close to the USA, had become a haven for sailboats and powerboats, both personal and chartered boats. Even recognized "hurricane holes"....ie, Hope Town, Man-o-War, Marsh Harbor, Treasure Cay, etc, were obliterated during Hurricane Dorian. I don't believe a single boat survived the carnage.

I don't think there is such a thing as a "safe" hurricane hole anywhere on the east coast or Bahamas.....Dominican Republic maybe...

I have been in the St.Lucie area, there are some mighty big boats there....might be worth a looksee for a large boat....not sure about the 10' draft though....I know a guy that keeps a 9' draft boat in the J'ville area.....Palm Beach another spot.....big boats there...downtown J'ville also has a deep draft marina...COJ St. Johns Marina...there are other spots.....Ft. Lauderdale hosts many large boats....Biscayne Bay.....gotta look around...
I get that Dorian obliterated the Abacos, we were actually there for a couple weeks the year prior and have followed the recovery process. But that was a direct hit by a Cat 5 monster that just sat and hovered over the area. What about the FL keys would yield a better outcome if St. Lucie took the same direct hit? I think the advantage would be it gets rebuilt faster because of proximity to resources, but devastation would be similar.

Having lived through a direct hit of Odile in Cabo a few years back and walking the streets then being stranded without food or water Iíve learned you donít want to be there when these things hit. Very scary.
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Old 18-10-2020, 08:19   #67
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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So other than the obvious that it’s a foreign country, why not the Bahamas? The boating is on such another level there, it seems worth the sacrifices and home values reasonable.
I've given that some thought. How nice it would be to have that beautiful cruising ground in your back yard. Tax wise I think it would be a good move, but there are issues of course.

Waterfront homes are relatively expensive, even though most if not all come furnished. Living costs are high ( beer is like $52 a case ) and of course there are bloody hurricanes. We had sailed in the Abacos the year before Marsh Harbour basically got wiped off the map.

Medical MAY be an issue, but haven't really researched it. And then there is the whole island living lifestyle...not for everyone.

I would be interested to hear from anybody that has a home with yacht in the Bahamas or any of the Caribbean islands. I did do a little investigating of the US Virgin Islands and a couple of other islands like Antigua. Lots of pros and cons.....unfortunately for us, a few more cons than pros.

Hurricanes and all the related issues being the biggest con.

BTW, not only had we sailed around the Abacos just before they got blasted by Dorian, but we also had been sailing in the BVIs a year before Irma devastated that area. We were also in the Keys right after IRMA and witnessed much of the damage. Oh...and we were on Captiva Island as Hurricane Michael passed by and then went on to flatten Mexico Beach. So these hurricanes are no joke for us, in fact we are starting to develop a complex.....Just hope Tahiti will be OK since we just sailed there back in March.

Sooooo....now we are looking at Hawaii. More pros and fewer cons for us and not too many bloody hurricanes. Too bad it's not very cruiser friendly. Besides the high cost of living, we can pretty much forget having a yacht in our backyard there.

PS. I took too long to respond....see you already addressed the hurricane issue.
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Old 18-10-2020, 08:55   #68
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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I get that Dorian obliterated the Abacos, we were actually there for a couple weeks the year prior and have followed the recovery process. But that was a direct hit by a Cat 5 monster that just sat and hovered over the area. What about the FL keys would yield a better outcome if St. Lucie took the same direct hit? I think the advantage would be it gets rebuilt faster because of proximity to resources, but devastation would be similar.

Having lived through a direct hit of Odile in Cabo a few years back and walking the streets then being stranded without food or water Iíve learned you donít want to be there when these things hit. Very scary.
We have been sailing out of an area where Hurricane Hazel made land fall in 1954. I read up on the storm out of curiosity and heading to/from the marina to the inlet we cross the hurricane's track.

The strong side was in NC, and from the SC/NC border to Cape Fear, everything was wiped out. Just gone. The storm came in on the highest tide of the year and the storm surge was around 20 feet. Survivors who were on the coast of NC said the barrier islands were under water and could not be seen.

Course in 1954, very few people lived on the barrier islands or along the coast. Today that is certainly not true. Some of the islands lost 75 feet of land/beach.

If a Hazel hit and followed the same path today, it would make the original Hazel look tiny in comparison.

What surprised me about Hazel was how bad the storm was in Canada. Almost as many people died in Canada from Hazel as died in NC but it was Haiti that had the most deaths.

Hazel was "only" a Cat 4 storm. And she was moving FAST.

Later,
Dan
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Old 18-10-2020, 09:00   #69
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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I've given that some thought. How nice it would be to have that beautiful cruising ground in your back yard. Tax wise I think it would be a good move, but there are issues of course.

Waterfront homes are relatively expensive, even though most if not all come furnished. Living costs are high ( beer is like $52 a case ) and of course there are bloody hurricanes. We had sailed in the Abacos the year before Marsh Harbour basically got wiped off the map.

Medical MAY be an issue, but haven't really researched it. And then there is the whole island living lifestyle...not for everyone.

I would be interested to hear from anybody that has a home with yacht in the Bahamas or any of the Caribbean islands. I did do a little investigating of the US Virgin Islands and a couple of other islands like Antigua. Lots of pros and cons.....unfortunately for us, a few more cons than pros.

Hurricanes and all the related issues being the biggest con.

BTW, not only had we sailed around the Abacos just before they got blasted by Dorian, but we also had been sailing in the BVIs a year before Irma devastated that area. We were also in the Keys right after IRMA and witnessed much of the damage. Oh...and we were on Captiva Island as Hurricane Michael passed by and then went on to flatten Mexico Beach. So these hurricanes are no joke for us, in fact we are starting to develop a complex.....Just hope Tahiti will be OK since we just sailed there back in March.

Sooooo....now we are looking at Hawaii. More pros and fewer cons for us and not too many bloody hurricanes. Too bad it's not very cruiser friendly. Besides the high cost of living, we can pretty much forget having a yacht in our backyard there.

PS. I took too long to respond....see you already addressed the hurricane issue.
We most likely have sailed right by one another! Your sailing travel itinerary is nearly identical to ours, although we sailed French Polynesia exactly this time last year and were in Hawaii this spring. We really like the idea of Hawaii as well, itís just the lack of boating thatís a real bummer and itís so bloody far away from everywhere. We have about 6 years before we pick our retirement spot unless there is a huge market correction that creates a buying opportunity sooner. We will most likely end up with a hybrid 2 spot set up.


What were your negatives for the USVI? St John is on our shortlist as well, other than cost, it ticks a lot of boxes.
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Old 18-10-2020, 09:22   #70
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

Like others here, I've long considered "retiring" in the B'mas. I know the area well, and if I had to add up all the time I've spent there, it would number in the years.

My thought is just living on a boat there. Forget the house. there are countless islands, anchorages, marina's, etc...and really....you are only a short distance from the USA.

Medically, yes, it's not the USA, but if needs be, flying you out is always an option.

A certain amount of self sufficiency is required, but hey.....keeps you on your toes.

I've got 60-70 countries under my belt now, but it's tough to beat the B'mas. Puerto Rico is another favorite place.....several places there you can get a large, deep drafted boat in. I love PR, probably the friendliest place I've been too.

If you are on a boat...many options....forget the house !!!
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Old 18-10-2020, 09:50   #71
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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We most likely have sailed right by one another! Your sailing travel itinerary is nearly identical to ours, although we sailed French Polynesia exactly this time last year and were in Hawaii this spring. We really like the idea of Hawaii as well, itís just the lack of boating thatís a real bummer and itís so bloody far away from everywhere. We have about 6 years before we pick our retirement spot unless there is a huge market correction that creates a buying opportunity sooner. We will most likely end up with a hybrid 2 spot set up.


What were your negatives for the USVI? St John is on our shortlist as well, other than cost, it ticks a lot of boxes.
Sounds like we didn't miss each other by much.

Most of my negatives had to do with St Thomas....infrastructure issues, lack of water issues, electrical reliability issues and expense, TRAFFIC believe it or not, esp when a cruise ship arrives......and of course just the normal issues one has on an island.

St Johns seems really nice in so many ways and would definitely be my choice between the two. But you are on an island without an airport or many of the conveniences we are used to at home.

I have 1 year to go before I retire and we are actively looking around the globe. Funny thing is that my lady says she wants her Trader Joes. Funny because she lives in Hong Kong where there are NO Trader Joes. But her point is that she likes to be semi close to civilization where she has access to big grocery stores, Walmarts, box stores and nice restaurants etc.

Oahu fits the bill pretty much except for the yachting issues. The place that ticks ALL our boxes is Australia. I've mentioned this before somewhere. Problem is they are not accepting retirement visas...even before Covid.

So the search continues. We too will have 2 places as there is no way she will sell her townhome in Hong Kong. Our planned retirement time there has now changed however because of the Chinese Commie political crap thats going on...but that's another thread for another forum.

Cheers!
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Old 18-10-2020, 10:03   #72
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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Like others here, I've long considered "retiring" in the B'mas. I know the area well, and if I had to add up all the time I've spent there, it would number in the years.

My thought is just living on a boat there. Forget the house. there are countless islands, anchorages, marina's, etc...and really....you are only a short distance from the USA.

Medically, yes, it's not the USA, but if needs be, flying you out is always an option.

A certain amount of self sufficiency is required, but hey.....keeps you on your toes.

I've got 60-70 countries under my belt now, but it's tough to beat the B'mas. Puerto Rico is another favorite place.....several places there you can get a large, deep drafted boat in. I love PR, probably the friendliest place I've been too.

If you are on a boat...many options....forget the house !!!
Yes this is actually a strong possibility that seems to make a lot of sense. Covid19 has taught me though it sure is nice to have a land based spot to hunker down in when shtf.
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Old 18-10-2020, 11:19   #73
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

I've lived on a sailboat for most of my adult life. Between boat # 1 and # 2, I did get house, but I had no furniture, not a thing...nothing...nada....slept on the floor first few weeks on an air mattress. Friends started to donate furniture...beds, tables, chairs, lamps, etc...and I did the rounds going dumpster diving. Then met a girl, and she moved in, and before I knew it, that house was filled from top to bottom, side to side with " stuff".
I had a storage unit with a variety of tools and boat stuff and this too ended up in the house...the garage really...I was stunned at the amount of " stuff" we had. We had become " stuff-o-ligists"

Fortunately, besides my tools, I'm not very attached to "stuff", but girlfriend, now wife, is attached to a variety of odds and ends, so when it was time for boat # 3, there was some drama. This takes some tricky negotiation.
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Old 18-10-2020, 12:46   #74
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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This takes some tricky negotiation.
LOL.....understatement of the day.
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Old 19-10-2020, 02:45   #75
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

Shipmates,
It may be my poor knowledge of searching through Google Search, what ever, so far I cannot find any info insofar as what the depth of water is in the BVI's. Or could I learn much insofar as real costs of purchasing in The BVI's. I'm guessing they do not dare give out costs in hopes of not scareing possible buyers away. I'm beginning to think that the best possibility is to just Stay Aboard and look only at short stays in port, anyway, with the CORONA DEVIL growing worse staying aboard is probably not an option but a MUST. It's just too bad that The Cayman Islands just do not have sufficient depth of water for boats with a Ten Foot Draft, not to mention Her 110 Ft LOA. Maybe I can fit Wheels to her keel? (That's Just A Joke, Mates) We all have much greater problems facing us in these days when banks are authorized to confiscate ever penny we have in Banks. Like it or not, it is what it is. No wonder that pirates buried their treasure. Right?

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