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Hard Hatted House Hunting November 18, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, Life Balance.

After evacuating for Hurricane Irma, we agreed that we would prefer to not repeat the experience.  So, after restoring order to our villa, we decided to explore the options of moving out of Evacuation Zone A.

Thus far, we haven’t found any place we like better than our villa.  Either the location is wrong (too far from the beach . . . or too close to the beach).  Or the amenities and neighborhood aesthetics are lacking.  Or the purchase price and/or HOA fees are too high.

Some of the neighborhoods we’ve visited offer pluses:  higher elevations with no concern about flooding from storm surge or swollen rivers, increased energy efficiency, updated construction with better protection against hurricane force winds, etc.

But, as is often the case, upsides tend to be accompanied by downsides: too many houses crammed into the community, garages that aren’t wide enough for cars and cans (so owners must park one car in the driveway), postage-stamp size community pools, high tension wires running overhead, no privacy fences around the perimeter, etc.

For one such neighborhood, I summed up the down sides in Rhyme Time:

The neighborhood feel . . . does not appeal
The high tension wire . . . does not inspire
The lack of a fence . . . makes our teeth clench
The backyard “pods” . . . make us feel like canned cods
The diminutive pool . . . just isn’t cool
The dent in our purse . . . would make us curse

I try not to be hard-headed while touring construction sites . . . but sometimes I am hard-hatted.

Aah . . . that’s better!



1. Jill Weatherholt - November 18, 2017

You’d make a cute construction worker, Nancy. 🙂 It’s so hard to find the perfect place. Those high HOA fees can be brutal. Good luck with your search!

nrhatch - November 18, 2017

Thanks, Jill!

We really love where we live and will stay put unless we find someplace we like as well or better . . . because, after all, the “tsunami” from a hurricane storm surge may never arrive.

2. Rainee - November 18, 2017

Good luck with your search Nancy.

nrhatch - November 18, 2017

Thanks, Rainee. Now that hurricane season is winding down, we may put house hunting on hold for the time being. We enjoy everything about this neighborhood . . . except for the fact that it is located in Evacuation Zone A.

Rainee - November 18, 2017

Where I live is only 10 minutes walk to the beach but the land is below sea level and would be flooded if we were to have a tsunami. The chances are pretty slim though. We have lots of people live in high risk bush-fire zones too. Probably more at risk at being hit by a bus! However, you have had first-hand experience in dealing with a disaster – it must have been very scary!

nrhatch - November 18, 2017

Great points, Rainee. No place is 100% safe . . . and run-ins with buses occur with greater frequency than many natural disasters. It’s a good practice to keep things in perspective.

That’s why we will stay put unless we find someplace that really ticks all the boxes for us.

3. Val Boyko - November 18, 2017

Good luck with finding somewhere safe and fabulous!! Love the hard hat 😉

nrhatch - November 18, 2017

I’ve always looked good in hats! 😀

4. Kate Crimmins - November 18, 2017

Good luck with your search. Finding the right home isn’t easy.

nrhatch - November 18, 2017

If I knew there wouldn’t be another mandatory evacuation any time soon, we’d definitely stay put!

Kate Crimmins - November 18, 2017

Hard decision. Maybe a Ouija board?

nrhatch - November 18, 2017

Although past events are not predictive of future performance, this neighborhood has withstood 25+ hurricane seasons without suffering a major hit . . .

That might mean that Tampa Bay is a protected oasis from storm surge (in accordance with Native American lore) OR that we are long overdue for a direct hit. 😀

5. Nancy Wolcott - November 18, 2017

Good article, Nancy; many people at PBC would agree for the same reasons you state. Maybe a future feature article in the PBC News??

nrhatch - November 18, 2017

I don’t think I’m interested in being featured in the PBC News re our house hunting endeavors ~> too many in the neighborhood might take it personally that we’d even consider moving. 😀

6. Tippy Gnu - November 18, 2017

Always tough to find the house that is just right. Have you considered buying a vacant lot and erecting a tent, or having a custom home built?

nrhatch - November 18, 2017

Yes. We’ve also considered tiny homes, mobile homes, and moving to a cave in the mountains. One thing we haven’t considered: moving to Alaska.

Like Jimmy Buffet, we want to live where it’s WARM! 😀

7. L. Marie - November 19, 2017

Love how you expressed your frustration in rhyme, Nancy. 😄 😁 The housing search is just brutal, isn’t it? Hope you find something you love soon,

nrhatch - November 19, 2017

Thanks, L! We enjoy watching house hunting shows on HGTV and don’t mind wandering through houses, villas, and condos while imagining the possibilities, but . . . it is time consuming when there are other To Do’s waiting to be Done. 😀

I’ve released my intention (i.e., Wish List) to the Universe . . . maybe it will point me in the right direction OR leave a hint in my Christmas stocking. 😀

8. Tiny - November 19, 2017

The rhyme is great and says a lot 🙂 Thanks for this educative post – I am preparing for the same thing. Will begin my house hunting in North Florida on Black Friday – although I don’t expect to find any deals or door busters 🙂

nrhatch - November 19, 2017

Good luck! We enjoy the “journey” (most of the time) but time constraints can put a damper on our enthusiasm. Hope you have just the right amount of stamina!

9. roughwighting - November 19, 2017

My gut reaction is – if you love your place, STAY there! I suppose that’s easy for me to say, but not really. Every place has its hazards. We lived in the SF bay area for years, knowing everything could come falling down with a big quake. But we prepared. We didn’t deny, but we didn’t move either. And it was my favorite place in the world. Now I’m in New England. On solid ground. But two years ago we had over 8 feet of snow! I should have had hard BOOTS much less a hard hat. Your area is so beautiful…and warm….and sunny. xo

nrhatch - November 19, 2017

Your gut reaction isn’t far from mine, Pam. We do not plan to leave this area (because it is beautiful, and warm, and sunny).

There are 5 Evacuation Zones (A – E) with A being the greatest risk of flooding from storm surge. So we’re just exploring the possibility of moving out of Evacuation Zone A onto slightly higher ground. But we won’t move unless we find some place we like as well as our villa. 😀

roughwighting - November 20, 2017

Smart thinking. xo

10. Tammy - November 20, 2017

Sounds like you are staying put then? Share your inspired climate change living and actions with us.

nrhatch - November 20, 2017

We’re still open to the possibility of moving . . . if we find the right place. Since we’re only looking at homes/communities located in about a 10 mile radius of our villa (much of which is also in Zone A), it’s slim pickings. 😀

A few things we can do to lessen our carbon footprint: fly less, eat less meat, have fewer children, downsize, walk & bike more, eat local, plant a tree, plant a garden, decrease our commutes, eat in instead of out, etc.

11. Barb - November 20, 2017

Good luck. Moving is so hard.

nrhatch - November 21, 2017

Having moved 13+ times . . . I agree!

But, as Mary Poppins used to say, “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun . . . find the fun and *snap* the job’s a game!”

12. Ally Bean - November 21, 2017

We went through the frustrating looking-for-something-better search about 10 years ago. We weren’t satisfied with our house, but couldn’t find anything better… so we started remodeling what we had. For us, despite lots of inconvenience, this got us something better. Of course we weren’t dealing with flood zones, just real estate snobbery in a big city where some addresses are not all that. As if that mattered to us.

nrhatch - November 21, 2017

Every time we’ve moved it’s been a “long distance” endeavor ~ moving state to state, not across town.

What I’d like to do (which is NOT an actual option), is build a concrete garage under our villa to LIFT IT out of the storm surge zone AND to increase our views.

13. Debra - November 24, 2017

I admire your resilience, Nancy, and the ability to rethink the future based upon recent experiences. I know how much you love where you currently live. And I will be so eager to see where life takes you next. Lots of investigation for now, I’m sure!

nrhatch - November 24, 2017

Thanks, Debra. Life is full of twists and turns, eh? Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

14. Anne Lene @ MinimalistSometimes - November 27, 2017

Take your time, Nancy.
If you love where you are, then make sure you love where your going.
You’ve obviously found the perfect spot before, and I’m sure you’ll find a perfect spot again. Just take your time to find it. Don’t settle unless your really, really have to.

nrhatch - November 27, 2017

Perfect advice, Anne! We are taking our time and allowing “the future” to unfold. Maybe we’ll stumble onto (or into) our next best house soon.

Anne Lene @ MinimalistSometimes - November 27, 2017

I like that, stumble onto… that’s what happened with the one I’m in now.. and I love my place 💕

nrhatch - November 27, 2017

Yay! Our first one was like that ~ I KNEW it was our house without ever stepping inside. The Universe whispered to me ~ “This is it!”


The way I see it ~> The Universe knows EXACTLY what I want in our next house AND it knows EXACTLY what’s available in the local inventory of homes . . . so if I keep my ears attuned (and my mind open to possibilities) I might catch a subtle wink, whisper, or nudge that points us to our next best address. 😀

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