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Old 30-12-2018, 09:40   #1
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Water Access Property Game Plan

Here's our scenario:
We are in our mid 40's and plan to be used 40'-45' Cat owners in about 6 years (we charter typically 2 times a year now). We plan to live-aboard/cruise the Carib for 2 years and then sporadically in the following years. We decided to look into buying an investment single (or multi) family property in Southern FL that has a seawall or dock to store the boat when we're not using it. Thus avoiding high Marina costs in the future. The thought is: we can get a piece of real estate that close to pays for itself with renters, that we can use ourselves in the future (or re-sale), and not have to pay Marina fees.
I've made 3 trips to Southern FL looking - Ft Pierce to Ft Lauderdale, Port Charlotte, Cape Coral. The east side is nice for quick access to the Bahamas but pricey and seems a bit more risky with future hurricane hits. The west side you definitely get more for your $ but seems like fighting the gulf stream to get home from Bahamas or Carib would be a pain.
A concern with both sides of FL is high annual operating costs - 5k-8k in property taxes, FEMA flood insurance 2k-3k, HO insurance 2k. You can definitely spend 1,000/mo just to cover the above. With the right property and rental market it still seems feasible. Not expecting to make a profit, just breaking even or small loss. "Hopefully" property appreciation would make the gap on a net small loss.

We would love to get any advice on:
Returning home to the west coast of FL from the Carib/Bahamas.
Feasibility/critique of our game plan.
Advice on other areas to look at.
A better strategy? Dry dock southern areas, etc

Thanks much!!
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Old 30-12-2018, 09:55   #2
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Re: Water Access Property Game Plan

St John’s River in the Jax area. Property is still reasonable and a cat probably will get by with a shallower draft and be able to dock at home.
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Old 30-12-2018, 10:13   #3
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Re: Water Access Property Game Plan

Are you sure of your long term plans? And even if you are, what's the rush to buy if cruising full time is the more immediate plan? Why not cruise for a couple years and then see what you guys want after that? A lot can change in two years on the water.
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Old 31-12-2018, 00:16   #4
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Re: Water Access Property Game Plan

Financially, just skip the chartering. Someone today posted something like, "Chartering in a nice comfortable place to sail is like having a honeymoon to prepare you for marriage". There's a nugget of truth there.

Plus, the $$ can be spent on a boat sooner. Imho, and this may feel controversial to some of you, elders embarking on a cruising plan, really, really should leave as young as possible, for a number of reasons: 1)what you learn about the sea and handling conditions while you are physically agile and quick to respond will inform your later years. 2) A catamaran will have its own balance issues to teach you; if you're a monohullist, then there are still issues.

To me, the critical thing is that if you start at 70, your impairment is in your future, and you haven't got the sea hours to know what to do. Sorry to be negative, but I've spoken about this issue with many cruissers, many of whom are over 70, and there is consensus. Therefore, be warned. Yes, Jim and I are over 70, but, we've been sailing for very many years. We have routines for coping with *stuff* worked out. And, we are very careful, but <thinwater's> thread about ageing and competency has relevancy here. Each year we keep cruising adds to our risk, but at least we understand that; newbies tend not to.

Ann
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Old 31-12-2018, 00:41   #5
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Re: Water Access Property Game Plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by laika View Post
Are you sure of your long term plans? And even if you are, what's the rush to buy if cruising full time is the more immediate plan? Why not cruise for a couple years and then see what you guys want after that? A lot can change in two years on the water.
Agree with this...
- What happens when you decide florida is not where you want to be?
- Do you have experience as a landlord? Long distance landlording with no experience is a great way to lose a lot of money.
- When you add up all the costs to maintain, insure and pay taxes...good chance you pay as much as a marina. Make sure you look at the accounting honestly...it's easy to fudge the numbers to make is sound better than it is.
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Old 31-12-2018, 04:07   #6
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Re: Water Access Property Game Plan

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, 'Pilot.
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Old 31-12-2018, 09:37   #7
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Re: Water Access Property Game Plan

As for location, rather than going west, think about going north. St Mary's, GA, or St Simons, GA. Less expensive than FL, avoids some insurance issues, and you are only a couple of days from being in the Bahamas. Depends on how you want to cross the Gulf Stream, but if you want a straight shot from, say West Palm to Abacos, it's only about 2-3 days from St Mary's to West Palm. You are at least as close to a Gulf Stream crossing from GA as you would be from west FL.
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Old 31-12-2018, 09:56   #8
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Re: Water Access Property Game Plan

I grew up in St. Pete. I remember many days in the beach cat totally becalmed and just frickin hot. The east coast is windier and because of that a little bit cooler, at least it feels cooler.
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Old 31-12-2018, 14:23   #9
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Re: Water Access Property Game Plan

I live on the FL west coast, Punta Gorda. We live on a canal in a condo with the boat is the backyard canal. In this area, you are allowed to have a dock on an empty lot. In fact there is a Pearson 365 docked at an empty lot across our canal. Also, many owners are willing to rent their dock space.
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Old 31-12-2018, 15:28   #10
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Re: Water Access Property Game Plan

Did you look at Stuart, Florida? And nearby town of Hobe Sound? Many waterfront properties meet your description, 66 miles from Bahamas, good rental potential, and nice area. North of the higher prices of Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. We own waterfront property with 5 boat slips.....slip rentals cover taxes and house expenses. Several properties have multiple boat slips and even multiple rentals on same lot....
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