Last week I wrote about the downsides of oceanfront condo living, so this week I thought I'd give the upside its due.
Ready? Here we go!
(Almost) No Maintenance – I love the fact that I don't own this task anymore. I think it annoys my wife because she can't make up some random outside chore just to get me out of the house anymore. Hehehe.
Obviously, you're always going to have the minor inside stuff that comes up, but outside…that's somebody else's baby now.
We have a full-time maintenance man here at the condo. He's typically here from early in the morning until early afternoon. Whenever we notice things that need his attention, we just call or email the condo office and they get him right on it.
There is also a property manager on-site too. She keeps about the same hours as the maintenance guy. She's who we go to if we need to reserve the social room, need parking passes for guests, etc.
I've Downsized My Life – The condo we live in is actually bigger than our house by about 200 sq. ft., but it has one less room, which was my office. So, our rooms are bigger, but we have fewer places to hide all of our stuff. Before we moved, we really had to take inventory of the things that were essential/important to us and ditch the rest.
First to go were my books. I had a personal library of well over 300 books that I had accumulated over the years, and they were easy to store as my home office had built-in bookshelves. But when we moved I boxed up 90% of them and donated them to the library. I probably never would have read them again, so I don't miss them.
The next thing to deal with was our wine collection. We don't have anything expensive or super fancy, just stuff we had bought at the few wine tastings we had attended or stuff people brought by during holidays and such.
We had really nice built-in wine racks with plenty of room at our old house but not so here at the condo. So we drank a few bottles and gave some others away. We now have a small liquor cabinet, but nothing like the wine racks we had before.
Last but not least we lost closet space. At our old house, we had his and her closets which worked out really nicely. Now we share a closet and things are a little tighter. I got rid of a bunch of stuff I didn't wear and I feel better for it. I like it when my shirt color choices in the morning are between blue and blue. I'm a simple creature.
Even my wife got rid of a bunch of clothes she didn't wear anymore. Oh, who am I kidding? We're still figuring the closet situation out 🙂
All kidding aside, getting rid of things may not sound like a positive to some people, but for me, it's really helped me realize that I feel better without having to find a place for so much stuff.
Watching the moon rise – Bet you thought I'd say I like watching the sunrise, didn't you? Well if you read my article about what I don't like about condo living, you know I am not a morning person. I think in the 7 months we've been in the condo I've only watched one sunrise and it wasn't by choice, I was up because I had to catch a plane.
What I truly enjoy is watching the moon rise over the ocean at night. Of course, this does not happen on as regular a schedule as sunrise, but it gives me something to look forward to. There are usually 3-4 days in a row where the moon is coming up over the ocean between nightfall and when I go to bed. Simply beautiful.
My allergies are better – I'm not sure which pharma company makes Claritin, but I used to pretty much keep them in business. I've dealt with allergies all my life, we have a lot of pollen here in Florida, and it's especially bad at certain times of the year.
But since moving to the beach my allergies have improved tremendously. If I take Claritin, its maybe 2-3 times a month as opposed to every day like I've done in the past. This isn't something I even thought about at all before moving to the beach, but I'm sure happy with the result.
I'm not positive why my allergies have improved so much, but I've read a few articles that say the salt air has something to do with it. I've even read that the salt air can help ease the suffering from more serious health problems like cystic fibrosis. Whatever it is, I'll take it!
Fresh Seafood – My favorite food in the whole wide world is fried shrimp, which is a real problem because I am allergic to shellfish.
I can eat it with only minor complications (minor face breakout) if it is fresh and has not been frozen. This pretty much rules out eating it at any of the chains like Red Lobster and others.
I can't tell by taste how fresh it is…it all tastes good to me. But I can definitely tell you within 20 minutes of eating it whether or not it was fresh.
Luckily there are plenty of seafood restaurants here on the beachside that pride themselves on serving only fresh seafood, so I'm able to get my fix at least once a week.
Breakfast Anyone? – While we're on the topic of food, I've never been a big fan of breakfast. I think this goes back to childhood when my parents would make me eat really boring and healthy stuff before sending me off to school.
But here on the beachside, we have several fantastic breakfast places. Most of them are only open until 1 or 2 in the afternoon but you can get breakfast anytime until they close.
It's hard to choose a favorite but if you put a gun to my head, I'd say the restaurant at the pier where you can sit out over the ocean and watch the waves crash below you through the cracks in the floor. We like to ride our bikes down there on Saturday mornings when they have a guy whipping up made-to-order omelets.
It's kind of funny because we never went there before moving to the beach, but we see people from our old community there almost every time we go.
Always something to see – Forest Gump would say that living on the ocean is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.
In the last community we lived in, Monday looked like Tuesday, which looked like Wednesday, which was indiscernible from Thursday, and so on.
But here at the beach, it's truly something different every day.
Maybe its a school of dolphins swimming by… a paddle boarder out for a morning journey… a Jeep parade going by… a sailboat race going on offshore… a luxury yacht people like us could only dream of floating by… a blimp floating by on its way to the race track… a rocket taking off… and so much more.
You wake up every day and wonder to yourself, “What am I going to see today?”
The ocean helps you keep things in perspective – For various reasons, the last year and a half has been pretty rough on me and my family. I'm not trying to wax philosophical, but if anything, living on the ocean has been tremendously therapeutic. Looking out at this vast, always moving, always changing body of water you definitely realize that we're all just here on borrowed time, and it's up to us to make the most of it.
The ocean is like a masterpiece that can never look the same way twice, and whether we're around to see it or not, the tide will continue to rise and fall. For me, this really helps keep things in perspective and it has given me a deeper appreciation for life, and a deeper love for this planet.
I hope you're enjoying this series on condo living. If you have any questions about living on the beach or condo living in general, let me know in the comments.
Montgomery Eileen says
Just returned from Florida. I keep Zyrtec in business. But after several days they simply disappeared! I am from Texas. Its a year round issue for me. Plan on making a move soon. If for no other reason but to be Allergy free!!
Some excellent points shared. Here are mine from my experience living in a Condo Concrete Jungle on the Intracoastal Waterway in Hallandale Beach Florida. The Pros! My unit was a Penthouse Floor. Very large 1 Br and 1 and a half bath. Facing East. The views are breathtaking! I Overlooked the tennis courts, the pool, the intracoastal and the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean would be light green, then dark green, then light blue and then dark blue the farther out the water. I never ate at my dining room table. I would eat all my meals at a small 2 person table that i put by my window to see the view. No yard maintenance was a big plus too. The gym was a very nice feature. Security was great. The grounds and landscaping were immaculate. Location to stores, restaurants, mall and things to do was awesome. Now the Cons: The Association! They practically own you. The politics is worse than in DC. Unless you have Triple A come in for a flat tire OR dead battery, you had better not open your hood or wash your car. Assessments! Get ready for them! Nothing you can do about it. Replace the roof, seawall and tar coat the parking lot are just a few. Not Cheap! Privacy! Like it or not your neighbor will hear you and you will hear them. Flushing toilets, screaming kids, sports fans, loud music and private moments are just a few. Pool! Mine was Olympic size and in the winter (Snowbird Season) it is wall to wall people. In the summer you have it to yourself. HOA Fees! Guaranteed they will go up about every 2-3 years. Convenience! You better have a trolley because when you go to Publix and spend $200 in groceries, remember you have to unload then from your car into trolley, then up the elevator and into your unit. Rentals! Just the way it is in Florida. Many investors purchase condo units just for investment, then rent them out to almost anybody. Sure the association has to approve the renter but I had the police outside my door many times for the renter across the hall. Parking! Every unit is assigned usually 1 or 2 spots. There is always people visiting that will pull in your spot or some residents will take up more than their allotted spots. To me the beautiful view was just not worth it in the long run. Less stress, the better! Hope this helps!
Cheryl S Nopuente-Yates says
These are awesome articles for retirees…look forward to learn more from you. We’re planning to do some checking out this winter! Thank you
Like your entertaining & informative thoughts on pros & cons. I am looking to move to Fl – want to be close to beach and your article helped me. Thinking a townhouse or small home within a block of beach ……not sure the high rise would be my cup of tea but sure is great for vacationing! Thank you!
I keep reading these wonderful articles & can’t wait to move to FL. Single & living on a teacher pension. I just can’t decide where. Looking at Stuart, Pensacola, someplace affordable.
Brian Inman says
I always assumed living on the ocean front would get old, looking out and seeing the same thing every day. No trees, no leaves, no green grass, just a never changing ocean. Thanks for the fresh perspective that there is always something new to see.
Ben Klemer says
The winter at the beginning of 2015 is what helped us decide to leave Massachusetts. Took a teaching position in Jacksonville and found it (professionally) much better than what I left in Mass. They honored my years teaching in Massachusetts, too, which I was pleasantly surprised by. Bought a condo next to the St. John’s river. Hurricane Irma was tough, but 30-plus years in Massachusetts prepared us. We feel our money goes a long way down here. Car insurance, utilities, and the condo itself are cheaper than metropolitan Boston (what isn’t, right?) Jacksonville is very spread out, both good and bad neighborhoods. GPS is a big help. We’ve found some long, flat, paved bike trails, a brand new downtown Y, and a number of tennis leagues. Drivers a crazy ( again- Massachusetts prepared us). Down here, you can tell someone’s from out of state because they use their directional signal. Politics are a bit scatterbrained, but ‘taste is subjective.’
Good info both pro and con. We’re moving to Florida but not sure of living arrangements yet.
Great information! Thanks! Lived in FL for awhile, thought not on the beach, but once on the intracoastal. Loved it! Live close to Emerald Isle, NC, now and often walk the dog on the beach. Was landlocked in northwest GA for seven years! Never want to be that far from the ocean, again! There just something about the sound and smell that calms the soul!
Bob Scott says
Before Penny died, our plan was to move to the Outer Banks of NC. Now that she is gone, I am looking at central Florida since that is where the grand-kids are, but I really loved visiting the Outer Banks and walking along the beach and seeing the ocean change. I am planning trips to look at developments, but maybe I should be looking for ocean front condos. My primary reason for looking at +55 developments is the social activities. I expect I would be giving that up with a condo.
Sarah Berry-Barden says
We owned a condo in Ormond by the Sea for 9 years while we worked and really didn’t do much with the folks there. After we retired found that we still didn’t do much with the folks at the condo and decided to move to a 55 plus neighborhood. We moved to Latitude Margaritaville in Daytona Beach and love it. Check out the 55 plus communities they have so much going on and the hoa fees are less than our condo fees!
Sheila Gilmore Cagle says
Have read both articles and follow up comments. Beginning to look for areas and planned vs not planned communities. The hubs will probably retire in 4 years, so beginning research now.
I enjoy reading both the articles and the comments from readers. My husband and I are planning to move to Florida in the next year or so and have fell in love with the west coast around St. Petersburg. The article and the comments from readers really have made me think of things I would not have previously. I lived directly on the ocean here in CT for my childhood until I was 25 years old. I really have missed the amazing calm, peaceful feelings the water invokes every time I near it. Find that we were more active when closer to beach due to walking a lot for just pleasure but also to store, restaurants, etc…now we have to get in the car to do pretty much anything. I don’t live to far from the beach now but find that over time due to busy daily life, I don’t get there as much as I use to and that is why I want to go back!
Have mixed feelings about condo life and how to downsize. Keep feeling like I have to have accommodations for all my children just in case. However, not many places on the water that are large enough and also within price tag!
Thanks for the read, made me nostalgic for Florida. Landlocked currently, but will be home soon. There are additional upside/downside aspects to condo beach living it depends on your view. Some owners rent out their places, so you could find yourself constantly surrounded by new faces. Which is good if you like to meet new people, bad if you like consistency. If this is Clearwater then traffic during summer or spring break could find you inches from home, sitting in traffic, not quite able to get there or leave. There is one way on or off unless you drive through Bellaire or have a boat. The drive down the coast was beautiful until a series of condos and homes now block the view of the Gulf. My intent is not to discourage beach condo life, but to add to the reality. With planning you can avoid traffic by ridding a bike or buying a boat. Like familiar faces, find a condo which regulates how much time dwellings can be rented, or my favorite buy a condo or house directly on the beach thus nothing to obscure your view of the ocean. Happy Beach Living, throw in a sunrise or sunset every now and then it’s spectacular.
Ed Simmons says
We really enjoy the south east coast of Florida. The fresh air, the mild temperatures and great neighbors, what else can you ask for. Up north in the winter we run into our houses to keep warm and very rarely say hello to those around us who are doing the same thing. Here in Florida I ride my bike for an hour daily, go for 2 mile walks around the golf course perimeter and meet up with the folks who live around us at the pool. I like to work so I am always trying to improve the interior of my unit but that is reserved for the few days we see rain or some cool weather (60 F). The only downside is that if you get an older group running your board they tend to become laid back and do not stay on top of the management staff who always seem to try to charge more money than they deserve. Beware of property management, they will take your money and try to avoid doing there responsible duties. I have become a pain to them here and make them accountable and have revitalized our board with more diligent members. You must keep in mind that condo living is community living and everyone should do their part to make the surroundings comfortable for all.
love this site! We live in new Jersey by the ocean and can’t imagine life without the beach. Just planning on 2 – 3 months in the southern part of florida – either near Deerfield Beach or on the other side near Naples. We love the condo life for that time of year and can’t wait to get back to being in Florida in February!!
Marisela Santiesteban says
We are looking at buying but can decide on what a house or a condo but what i have seen the condo fee are so so way munch to buy in a newer building the fee are high we looked into the flager palm coast area what do you recommend we are from TX
mark finne says
What are the insurance costs associated with a beach side condo?
What condos would you recommend?
Kathy C says
Enjoyed both your articles about condo living. We had stayed in a condo on the Inteacoastal in New Smyrna Beach for 3 months and loved it. We missed a very snowy New England winter and we were near the ocean in FL!! I know we would like living in a condo in the Daytona area hopefully we can do this in the near future!
Jim Myers says
Do you enjoy the ocean or gulf best.
so where is this wonderland?
David Waterhouse says
Thanks for a great read…both down and upsides. dw