Saturday, February 15, 2014

2009 - As a ‘Snowbird’ or to be more accurate ‘Frozenbird’

This journey actually got it’s start back in 2009 when my boyfriend and I bought a house outside of Fort Myers Florida, we got it at a time when the foreclosure boom was in full swing. (We never would have been able to afford it otherwise)

I am getting ahead of myself, so lets start at the beginning…

In October 2009 my boyfriend’s buddy needed help to replace the roof on his vacation home in Florida. (It was nice to have the opportunity to escape Canada as we had already gotten our first snowfall!) So in the afternoons when it was too hot to work on the roof we started just driving around the area and noticed how many houses were for sale, so on a whim we found a beautiful home!

Ok, it really wasn’t a total whim, we had been looking online for a while and had planned on checking into it further when we got there. (The thought of spending another long cold winter in Canada was a our biggest incentive) We eventually hooked up with a local realtor (another friend had recommended him) It did happen kind of fast though, we were only in Florida for two weeks but we managed to find a nice 3 bedroom, 2 bath house that was built in 2006. Other than having to put in a pool (who wants to winter in Florida without a pool!) the house still had everything in tact and all the appliances, including a washer and dryer. Getting a pool was fairly easy to do too.

{Interesting fact: Most foreclosed or short sale properties that were available in Florida could be quite the ‘fixer uppers’ they were completely stripped of fixtures, including kitchen cupboards and even floors were missing. Also some had no water systems (Water systems just sit on the outside of the houses here) and the air conditioning units were also removed}

The property we found was banked owned, (in my opinion, foreclosure is easier than a short sale – foreclosure the bank owns the property already, short sale you deal with the owner and the bank)

It was only a couple of days before we were leaving to go back to Canada and our realtor suggested that offering what the bank wanted would probably make the deal go through (not to mention there was no financing to deal with either) Sure enough with one day to spare the bank accepted our offer and we now had our winter home! (We finalized some of the transfer back in Canada). Before we left we found a local pool company to build our pool. We made our colour and size choices for the pool the day before we left. He was fine with us finalizing the job when we returned to Canada – he was great, he even took out the permit on our behalf.  We planned to come back to Florida in February of 2010, so we let him know when we were coming and he made sure that the pool was built and ready for us when we arrived.

We are now official ‘snowbirds’ !

Everything had gone pretty smoothly, or so we thought. It was just shortly after we had returned to Canada that we got a call from our property manager telling us that we had a break in – would you believe that they stole our front door! (I loved that door, it had beautiful etched glass in the center of the door) The other thing they took was the washer. Guess someone had dirty clothes… Lucky for us that was all that was stolen (probably something scared them off before they could take the kitchen sink…) A sad reality is in this area when a break in does occur, they take pretty much everything, even if it is nailed down!

(We are also lucky to have a friend here who permanently lives in Florida, so we had hired him to take care of our house when we are not there. – he took care of replacing the door and making everything was secure again.)

Bad things can happen anywhere, so don’t let a little set back ruin your dreams…

Geesh, now I have one more thing to add to the long list of setting up our new winter home, a washer!

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