Saturday, April 5, 2008


click on the above pictures to blow them up to full screen.
Bimini Bay Condo, Port Charlotte. High of 88, clear all day. At 10:50PM it began dumping a hard rain. We love it.

House hunting:

What an experience. We got to the second house on the tour, the one we dubbed the Red Wood Deck house, and we knew the search was over. Through the front door, you walk into the living room and immediately notice the vaulted ceilings. To your right is the main portion of the living room. Straight ahead is a entryway which can lead to the back of the kitchen or going left takes you to a short hallway with the laundry room on your left, guest bathroom on your right or continue straight into the guest bedroom. Back at the front door of the house, let's go to the right and into living room. Walking straight toward the back of the house, the master bedroom entry is on the right. Continuing to walk toward the back, the front entrance of the kitchen is on your left, but continue straight back and find yourself in the family room. To your right is a lanai with an above ground spa. To your left is a second lanai with outdoor furniture and a nice bbq grill. (In case you don't know, a lanai is a screened in outdoor patio). The second lanai has a exit door to the back yard but is also connected to the shop/shed. You can enter the shop from the lanai but then exit the shop to the yard, so you don't drag the mower through the lanai. The first lanai, with the spa, has 3 points of entry/exit. There is the sliding glass door from the family room. There is a screen door exiting to the back/side yard. Finally, there is a private entry to the spa via a glass slider in the master bedroom.

The front yard shows a 2 car garage, complete with telescoping screen across the front for those nice days when you want the air in but the bugs out. There is a mixture of St. Augustine and Bermuda turf grass on both sides of the driveway, with the right side being the large portion of the front yard. In the center of the front yard is a oval, curbed, shrub bed. It features three varieties of palm trees and a few other small shrubs, with the ground covered in red mulch.

The perimeter of the house has similarly curbed shrub beds with a nice variety of plants and shrubs. Unfortunately I don't know the names of most of these tropical variety plants so I will need some help in identifying them later. I have seen bogis, roses, a sage variety and the lot has at least 20 palms around it. There are numerous hanging plant baskets around the front of the home. The left side yard has a new lattis with a variegated bougainvilla crawling around it. The lattis conceals the air conditioner, which was bought new in '07.

The back yard has five fruit trees in the center of the turf grass. Some or all of them are grapefruit. Standing at the back of the house, there is a great number of trees and shrubs, pruned naturally, lining the rear of the yard forming a natural privacy screen.

And finally . . . the part we've all been waiting for . . . the waterfront.

A walkway appears through the backyard shrubline. There is a red wood, tiered, walkway leading downward toward the water. About halfway down, on your left is a clearing with concrete pavers. This heavily shaded area has seating and serves as a natural observation point. Even during our tour, the mullet fish were leaping about. You have a great elevated vantage point to watch visiting kids fishing on the dock, some 6 feet below you. As you make your way down the rest of the deck, toward the dock, you see the 10,000 pound electric boat lift to your left. The redwood dock runs the entire 80' length of the property line back here. Across the canal, which has a width here of 50', the banks are lines with mangroves, screening our view from the 2 lane road (with no sidewalks) to the west of us. There are no homes or business across the canal from us. There's no room for lots there, only right of way for the existing street. We drove around to this street, parked on the right of way and had a very difficult time seeing our little private marina. You can't see the house at all. It is a piece of heaven.

Both homes of either side of our subject house are just as nice as ours, with similarly kept landscapes. We learned that those to the north of us are strictly snow birds. Those to the south of us are here only every other weekend. County records show they bought their house in December 2007 for 285k. We met one neighbor, across the street and to the south. This has been her parents home for 11 years. Her dad died last year and 80 year old mom asked her to move in to help out. She lives there with her 9 year old son. She said the neighborhood is largely populated by retired people, although the high school is only about a mile away. She said there was only one burglary in recent memory and that prompted the forming a block watch.

The sellers of our subject house purchased it in 2003 for 190k. They put it on the market on January 3, 2008 for 225k. Late February they dropped the price to 219. We wrote an offer for 190 and asked for a warranty, some custom made oak benches, the spa, the lanai furniture and the bbq. They agreed with our terms but countered the price with 199. We took it!

Just 8 days after closing our Phoenix house at what amounted to a 2004 price, we re-bought at what amounts to a 2004 price. With all things considered, I believe we have succesfully battled the housing recession. We have also relieved ourselves of significant debt. We will close the purchase on April 30.

For a virtual tour click here:

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