Choosing the Right State in the Southeast
As you retire and consider relocating, it is likely you will want to be closer to your children, grandchildren or retire in places you enjoyed vacationing over the years. With today’s economy and squeezed pensions, cost cutting measures at retirement have become a necessity. No doubt, retirees are searching to reduce their cost of living and taxation during fixed income retirement years when deciding where to retire.
You probably already know, several states with no state income tax. This cost saving alone can save you as much as 30-40% annually. But before you base your choice on economics, we suggest you place your lifestyle choices first because this is where you will find your true joy at retirement. With more time on your hands, your hobbies come greatly into play. If your lifestyle includes boating, gardening, hiking or a swim, be sure the climate you choose is conducive to these activities. No matter what your retirement lifestyle, we are confident we can recommend a quality master planned community in the Southeast to fit within your budget.
We see a pattern of buyers being either ‘easties’ or ‘westies’. Which are you? If you are an 'eastie' loving the coast and are unsure of which state would be best for you, think about how much time have you spent in Florida, Georgia or the Carolina’s? Do you really know the area? The same question applies to the 'westies', those who love the mountains and lake regions. For example, have the 'westies' visited all three sides of the Blue Ridge Mountains; Western North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee and Northern Georgia to see what each have to offer?
Are the 'easties' aware the west coast of Florida is distinctly different than the east coast, both weather wise and the beach topography? In the coastal states, it's reasonable to expect hotter weather in the summer and maybe you’ll endure a hurricane. Are you willing to trade it off for gorgeous weather the majority of the year? Many say “yes”, Florida is the best state to retire since the early 1900’s, cars set on autopilot at age 65 bee lining south.
In the mountain regions, cooler weather can be found in the summer months decorated by four distinct seasons. Scenic forests, crystal clear South Carolina lakes, winter sports are amenities sought in the mountains. Considering mountain elevations is important because there may be climate hazards and steep driving issues you may not have thought about.
Buyers have asked us "where can I find a place to live with no natural disasters or environment issues"? The hurricane madness of the mid 2000’s and the BP Oil Spill in 2010 showed us clearly, no place is a guaranteed safe haven. In reality, any location you choose to live will have pluses and minuses throughout the year. Yes, southern charm is real and found in the Carolina's and Eastern Tennessee. The friendly button quickly turns down as you arrive in Florida, the snotty Boca attitude a perfect example. Is it the heat that causes it? Who knows? Buyers share with me their concerns about sharks in Florida, alligators in South Carolina or bears in Western North Carolina. Critter common sense: Don't hang fish from your waste while wading in the ocean fishing, don't sunbath on the shore of lakes known to be alligator habitats and don't leave trash in a plastic bag overnight outside in the mountains. It's really that simple. When you educate yourself a little bit more about these animals, you will find rare instances of human attacks which all could be avoided with critter common sense.
So assuming all things are normal, we suggest you spend a good amount of time in the states you are interested in most, time being at least a week in each area, to start. Unless you are retired today, this may take you a year or two to visit all the areas you may be interested in. And silly, don't just go there during the prettiest time of the year. Go visit during the less desirable times too so you know what you are up against. In the larger coastal states like Florida and North Carolina, you may want to make two or three trips to several regions before you decide where to retire.
Finding a waterfront community in the best of Wilmington North Carolina which appeals to you is distinctly different than considering Albemarle Sound on the Inner Banks, even though both areas on the coast of North Carolina. Oceanfront condominiums on the white powder beaches in Naples Florida displaying brilliant sunset views are truly different than living in oceanfront condominiums on the east Coast, beaches with rose colored sand and beautiful Palm Coast homes.
On your first serious exploration trip, we suggest not rushing out to see specific homes with a real estate agent. Why not? To put it bluntly, the depressed real estate market has real estate developers and real estate agents anxious to make a quick sale and do whatever it takes to get you under contract right away. Understandable because everyone has bills to pay. But if you buy too quickly, you may regret an impulsive decision made under a pressured environment you could have avoided.
Take your time. After you narrow down your favorite areas and states, we will connect you with colleagues we personally know and trust who won't pressure you. It makes no difference to us where you choose to buy. It does matter to us that you are happy with your decision and had a great experience shopping around. Once we know your 'short list' of where you want to be, let us help you compare the cost of living, medical care, social opportunities and other important factors, so you have all the information you need to make the right decision.
Believe it or not, the easiest part will be finding the right real estate community in your budget with the lifestyle choices you desire, after you determine which state is right for you. Use the Quick Search Tool on our website to help you with your search. Read our Community Reviews and scores to see our opinion of the neighborhood.
Forget the New York state of mind. Head south to enjoy the best time of your life in the best states to retire.
Margie Casey Founder