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NEED ADVICE: cultural differences FL EAST, KEYS, WEST

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Joe Deepwater, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. Joe Deepwater

    Joe Deepwater Member

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    My wife and I are researching buying a single family canal home within a 10 minute bike ride of a nice beach. We are currently living in northern US and probably 10-15 years away from retirement. The finances are more favorable if we buy a retirement-quality home for $1M-$1.5M and place it in a weekly rental pool to help pay the mortgage since we would only use it a few times per year. We realize it will need to be refitted once we eventually retire. We are still trying to decide between south Florida: EAST vs. KEYS vs. WEST coast. I am hesitant to buy a home with a 45 foot seawall in case we want a 50 foot boat some day. The home should appreciate while the boat is an expense. I'm tempted to forgo the home altogether until the next housing crash(if there is one in the next 10 years) for the sake of adventure (but a boat is a poor investment while a home is not), and just explore the whole area by buying a 50 footer to be kept at a marina for a few years until the next crash. Or save and wait until retirement to buy the home and skip the rental pool?

    We love adventure and socializing, so the Keys are appealing, but we are concerned that the kids and eventual grandkids will be less tolerant of the 2-2 1/2 hour drive with rental car from MIA/FLL than a home on EAST/WEST coast. Marco seems too sleepy for us, so we are considering Naples, Bonita, Fort Myers Beach on the West coast. But I like the East coast for the flights, culture, waves and convenience of hopping over to the Bahamas. What are the cultural differences between EAST, KEYS, WEST? Where is the best fishing? I'm an occasional fisherman who wouldn't mind filleting and cooking. Like snorkeling and island hopping along with the usual sun, bathing suits, and beverages. We have a bowrider and 40 foot Express Cruiser up north.

    Buy HOME first? Or BOAT first?

    Thoughts?
  2. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    When in doubt, don't. Don't buy, that is. Rent or charter until you figure it out on your own. We can't decide for you. You talk about 40-50'. Well, in some areas any lot below 80' is of greatly reduced value. I'll give you just one example. You could buy a waterfront home in Pompano Beach within your price range with 80-90' waterfront and rent the home through VRBO or similar and even rent the dock space. Other areas, such as some on the west coast, do have smaller canal lots.

    Buying a home just to rent out though is often a losing proposition if you're not in the business and don't select very carefully.

    You need to take these years to explore. I can't tell you culturally what you'll like. There's a huge difference not west to east to keys but neighborhood to neighborhood. We love the thriving yacht industry in Fort Lauderdale and all the amenities but we also love the laid back, anything goes, tolerant attitudes of Key West. Now Key West and Marathon are very different just as Pompano and Boca Raton are. The west coast is more comfortable living for many retirees and we love it but not our choice of where to live.

    You have 10-15 years to search and in that time find the perfect solution for you.
  3. motoryachtlover

    motoryachtlover Senior Member

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    I am not from Florida and have never lived in Florida but have been leaving my boat in Florida for the last 5 years or so. From an outsiders perspective these are my thoughts. From Palm Beach south to Miami it is a lot of traffic and a very busy place. So from a guy from a small town I don’t know if I would want to live in that fast paced environment. On the flip side there is a lot to do and Miami is somewhat like another country. Many different cultures which to me is not a bad thing. To me SE Florida has a big city New York City vibe. A lot of horn blowing and middle fingers in traffic and such. The sand bars will have 6 different types of music on blaring each other out. I just got back from a 3 week cruise and when in Miami a deck boat came by on the intercoastal 50 feet from my boat and a guy is standing up for a highly visible prolonged urination. I don’t think you would see that on the west coast at least not as frequently. I prefer the west coast mainly because of the many beaches that are accessible by boat. The west coast is less of a concrete jungle. Particularly like the Pine Island sound area. The west coast seems to have a slower mid western type of feel. Some people have told me that a lot of midwesterners favor the west coast where it is pretty obvious to me the New York New Jersey crowd prefers the east coast. I like the keys but the keys surprised me with the lack of beaches. Also parts of the keys are a little run down. Marathon for instance. Love Key West but it like the rest of the keys is a touch tacky. Another thing that I found odd about Florida is the close proximity of extreme wealth and extreme (for US standards) poverty being so close together. We stayed on Singer Island just north of Palm Beach and watched the parade of very expensive boats from dusk to dawn. Then we Uber to a Restaurant in West Palm cross the bridge and drove through Rivera Beach and that place was rough. Even so a cop draw his gun on 2 guys. So I am thinking by the boat and experience Florida before committing to a house in an area you may not find you like that much. In July I put my boat away in a building for hurricane season. I don’t have to manage the boat for half the year. The house on the other hand is going to require attention/management for the whole year and I don’t care to manage real estate from hours away. Especially in a hurricane prone area. Hope I have helped.
  4. Joe Deepwater

    Joe Deepwater Member

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    Love the perspectives! I feel very similar. I like the city vibe but not necessarily so much for relaxation. Thanks olderboater and motoryachtlover!
  5. motoryachtlover

    motoryachtlover Senior Member

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    Your are quite welcome. Look into the Sarasota area on the West coast. A little of the big city and a little of the slower pace on Longboat key and Anna Maria.
  6. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    Depending on what you mean by “culture”, you might want to take a look a Sarasota.
  7. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    As motoryachtlover points out, so much is perspective and history. We've never lived in a Metropolitan Area of fewer than 2 million people. We don't even consider Fort Lauderdale traffic bad. Grew up in closely packed residential areas. Not at all bothered by toplessness or nudity. Haven't encountered anywhere on the coast as crowded with boats as the lake we lived on was on July 4. Love the diversity in Miami. However, things we accept, others might find offensive. Things we enjoy, others might be overwhelmed by. Things we would find boring, others might find peaceful and refreshing.
  8. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    Do you have a transportable business/income? Have you lived anywhere in Fla, either aboard or ashore? You may be out in front of a meaningful "business plan".... will you be seeking financing, is that what you mean by a business plan?
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  9. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    Some insight on the keys-
    Unless your are in Marathon or Key west, there really are no good beaches.
    Most of Monroe County (keys) it is illegal to rent on a short term basis, I think it needs to be a month or more, once again, except for Marathon or Key West.
  10. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

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    From when we lived in between FLL and MIA... we found most of the east coast to be a combination of laid-back FL folks mixed with uptight northeastern Yankees... except Miami itself, with a much larger share of South/Central American.Islands folks... while the west coast seemed to be more populated by laid-back FL folks and a boatload of not-quite-as-laid back-but-not-quite-as-uptight midwesterners... and the folks in the 'Glades and Keys seemed to be a cross-section of embarrassingly-super-rich and groveling-dirt poor, glitzy and tacky, practical and not-yet-grownup... and folks in central FL were mostly from the really no-kidding Deep South, unrelated in temperament to native FL folks on either coast.

    Those are gross generalizations, of course, and meant to be short-hand, not a disparaging description of any.

    Didn't find anyplace in FL we didn't like. We enjoyed the diversity; some didn't. We enjoyed the weather; some didn't. (In fact, many "northerners" came... and then went... after deciding it was too hot in the summertime.)

    We also had some control over our length of time there. It was a volunteer work assignment, with a relatively short fixed initial time period that we could extend if it was working out. Not everyone would have that luxury, maybe especially after sinking $1-1.5M or more into a retirement home, then finding it's not quite the favorite cup of tea.

    I'd suggest you first spend some time in FL in various locations and various seasons -- if you haven't already -- to decide upfront whether it's really for you or not. And be sure to take a sweater for restaurants in the summer time. IOW, don't buy home first. Can't advise about the boat, but its not out of the question to move a boat you like -- either one you have now or one you decide to acquire whenever -- from north to south.

    -Chris
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  11. revluc

    revluc Member

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    Our family has had winter home in Naples since 1970, so what I can offer is the advice you are getting about the difference from the pervious is on point and good responses. The trend of seeing more midwesterners on the west and more New Yorkers/New England is a product way back when traveling to South FL was by car. Start at Naples and follow the highway all the way to Lake Michigan, with Miami to NYC. Generations have followed their parents before them.

    The best advice you are getting is to really experience them before making a purchase decision. My wife's family has had a home in Fort Lauderdale since about 1970 and more family in Miami. So getting to see both sides they are...different. Back to what is your best fit. I really like visiting Miami, but wouldn't want to live there and I have friends who are on the east coast who wouldn't find the west coast too slow. I do envy their access to the islands A LOT. Key West is fun, once a year for a weekend.

    Charter for a year, or get something small that you can dry stack and try out the different areas. If you think Marco is too sleepy, that is kind of the west coast. Sarasota though would be spot worth checking out well before writing off the whole coast.
  12. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Vacation rental rules change constantly. The trend is toward allowing but requiring a lot of registration, licenses and fees. For instance, in Fort Lauderdale which tried not to allow them for much of the time, there is a $350 Vacation Rental Registration Fee, a $75 Inspection Fee and a Business Tax License Fee which is $472.50 per year plus sales tax must be collected and paid.

    In general Florida Statutes treat vacation rentals like hotels under transient lodging licensing.

    Lots of vacation rentals in the Islamorado area too.

    One does need to be very careful as many are doing Airbnb illegally and you might be led to believe vacation rentals are allowed and find out otherwise the hard way.

    Also, you might get told it's ok and it might be today, but rules and regulations and fees might get added a month from now. I know a lot of homes in Fort Lauderdale have failed the safety inspection for transient lodging on the initial inspection.

    One other warning and that is one bad choice of who to rent to one weekend can bring all the neighbors down on you and some areas are putting in significant fines. A lot of fraternities and sororities renting through Airbnb with 20 people for a 3 BR home. Much safer through Vacation Rentals such as VRBO.
  13. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

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    We are from Vancouver Canada, kept a 43 ft Hatteras in the Charlotte Harbour area for 8 yrs and would fly in for a few months at a time and explore on the boat from Tampa in the North to Key West , West Palm , Bahamas, cross the lake and loved ever inch of everywhere we visited including 99 % of the great Americans we came in contact with either east or west, Personally we liked the laid back West Coast better but loved the adventure to cruise to Miami etc. The boat gave us great flexibility, we try to treat our lives in retirement as a continuing vacation with the least amount of property ties as we both love the water so much. We have a res. here in Canada but 50% of the time we spend on the water here on our Stephens MY , cruising Alaska and Mexico etc. so you will be entering a whole new world when you start spending long periods on a cruising Yacht, so take it slow, explore, investigate what please you most and just enjoy the adventure, that's what life really is, a true adventure. ENJOY....
  14. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    After 50 years in South Florida, I thought I had something to add to this thread but every post has been spot-on accurate.
  15. jsschieff

    jsschieff Member

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    Florida East Coast changes considerably north of Palm Beach. Stuart and Jensen Beach offer good boating and pretty good beaches, with much less traffic than areas like Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. Vero Beach is quiet and many retirees love it there. It can be fairly cool in winter in Vero and further north. I've lived in Stuart for the past four or five winters and I'm happy to be here.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I also think what everyone else said is accurate. Honestly, you already have a 40' boat. Just use it as your moving hotel and spend a week in each area, then cruise to the next one. Maybe find a yard or high and dry that can store it out of the water each place in between. I had a customer who lived in Chicago, had a house in Marco Island, but had a large Sportfish, which I moved about every 3 months...….Fort Laud 3 months, Miami 3 months, key west 3 months, and on and on...….it was his moving condo.
  17. Joe Deepwater

    Joe Deepwater Member

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    So many great responses. The business plan involves possibly buying a future retirement home and getting some help paying the mortgage by placing the home in the weekly rental pool for the next 10-15 years or so. The problem is forecasting what is most likely to happen in the hotel/Airbnb/VRBO rental industry. The 7 day minimum rule was broken once for us and several times for our friends during visits, so I don't know how they are going to police those rules going forward, especially as Airbnb/VRBO grows. Everyone wants affordable accommodations and empty homes are better than hotel prices and amenities.

    We have taken several long weekends to all 3 areas. I like Miami, but the wife not as much. We lived in NYC for school but we are not that uptight. Love the keys but there are only about 4 beaches and the drive for the future kids with grandkids is probably a deal breaker. So it looks like East vs West. Have not spent any time in West Palm or north of there so need to check it out. Is Palm Beach demographically much different than FLL/Mia? The wife thinks Sarasota and anything north of south FLorida will be too cold in winter.

    We should consider moving our 40' express cruiser down there for the winters for a few years. But we need it up here in the summers. Is it healthier for the boat to transport it back and forth for a few years on a trailer? Or up and down the Mississippi with a captain? How do the economics compare? What is the average date when hurricane season is likely to be over? Thanks to all for the responses! That's what makes these forums great!
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  18. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

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    I think I'd say FLL and PB (and anywhere further north on the east coast) are more similar to each other, MIA is a separate country. Gross generalization.

    Unless you can trailer your boat yourself, and already have trailer and truck... (and just guessing truck would likely be less expensive than an on-water deliver)...

    Might also be worth looking at chartering a few times versus hauling back and forth. Get some quotes and do the math, of course... but it could well be easier, maybe not much more expensive (if any), and it'd give you a chance to experience different boats too.

    -Chris
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Much cheaper to truck it, and less wear and tear than to run it on it's own bottom.

    I manage a house that was on VRBO. A completely redone house on deepwater in pompano with 75' of seawall and a 70' dock. We were rated #1 vacation rental house in Pompano Beach on VRBO at the time. It was a house worth around $900k and it rented for $3500 a week. It was fully booked from Thanksgiving to mid march, with only about 4 days of vacancy during that entire period. We did about $100k in rentals a year. While the house didn't make much of a profit, the house paid for itself, me to maintain it, and the rental management company took 25% right off of the top and the owner kept his yacht there for free. Owner decided to take the house private a few years back.
  20. Joe Deepwater

    Joe Deepwater Member

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    My wife didn't want to charter with a stranger on board, and I don't believe I can charter a 40 footer without a captain, but she is changing her mind now that we ran the numbers. Yes, definitely cheaper to charter a few times before a big move.

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