CSANews 82

Spring 2012 » Issue 82

Two mothers, two dogs, Pat & me, lots of baggage, a new winter home and four months in Florida. We made it! We can now, officially, be called “snowbirds.”

After visiting many places in Florida, Arizona, Texas and California over the past 25 years, for what we considered to be very short jaunts, we finally “bit the bullet” and decided that we would try to spend our winters on the Gulf Coast of Florida. As you all know, the U.S. real estate market has been suffering terribly over the past few years and we felt that properties on the water had finally reached the lowest they could possibly go. They may still go lower, but the values were too compelling to pass up. It took us approximately three years of looking and searching in our spare time to find that ideal spot. It turned out that the great search was actually fun, rather than a chore, and it has been an interesting and exciting three years.

To give you an idea of values, we ended up paying 68% of the asking price for our new home and both seller and buyer were happy with the result. So don’t be afraid to offer a low price, if you are looking, but you should offer what you think is a fair value, too.

What has surprised me the most was that these were possibly the best four months of my life. We met dozens and dozens of new friends, explored many new restaurants, parks and events and had our kids and grandkids show up at the appropriate times to share in our happiness. We bought bicycles, walked the beaches and even played several games of golf. I have never quite believed snowbirds when they said that they were
incredibly busy. How could that be? Snowbirds are retired - what could they possibly do with all that time? I now know what they meant. There is just not enough time to do everything you want to do. And the time goes by much too quickly.

All I can say to those people who are considering the snowbird lifestyle is, “Go for it.” Take a chance. It’s an exciting, rewarding and special lifestyle surrounded by friends and endless activities. My mother’s words define it perfectly - “We are flourishing.” And thanks to all of our readers who showed us the way.

J. Ross Quigley

Read questions and responses from this issue »