We have made the sad, hard, good decision to sell our Florida house. If you’re new around here, we primarily live in Logan Utah and have a second house in Florida. I thought I’d share why we’re selling and what changed. I am actually so sad to be typing this out because it means it’s real. I love this house and leaving it will be hard.
the back story
For years I dreamed about buying a house in Florida. We went on a vacation here when Don was a baby and fell in love. The next year, we rented in this same neighborhood we live in now and got to know our way around. I worked hard for years and saved up and dreamed about this house. It was my goal and when our offer was accepted, I was on top of the world.
We closed on the Florida house January 16, 2020. We had no clue that a few months later the pandemic would start. During that year, it was tricky to make money and having that collide with having two mortgages was stressful. But we carried on and did our best to get the house ready to rent out on Air BNB in 5 months. Then we headed back to Utah for the summer.
The plan was that in the fall of 2020 we’d be back to send Don to kindergarten in Florida. But our local elementary wasn’t doing in person school. After trying to do online preschool and having a miserable time of it, I knew that wasn’t a good fit. So after months of researching and getting advice and thinking about it, we decided to hold Don back. I homeschooled him.
So we enjoyed two winters at the house and loved them! We love the house, the location, our simple life here but it’s time to sell it. Here’s why-
For the 2021 school year, we let Don choose where he wants to go to school- he choose Utah. We have a good neighborhood public school and he’s been doing great! I know most families wouldn’t let their kid make this big of a decision. But we respect him and his decisions and it works for our little family.
And honestly, after spending most of 2020 so isolated, I don’t blame him for wanting to be where his friends and family are. We had a few friends in our Florida neighborhood, but they’ve all moved away.
Also, schools in our neighborhood in Florida aren’t great. There’s a charter schools nearby but they don’t do recess and that felt strange to us.
Anyway, because Don went to school in Utah, we can’t be in Florida for the whole winter. We pulled him out for a few weeks to be here now.
We’re doing school work at home. I felt that since he’s only in school for a little over 2 hours a day, it wouldn’t be a big deal to homeschool for a few weeks. But after kindergarten, it feels really irresponsible to pull him out of school for any extended time. So if we can’t be in Florida while we want to be, why have a house?
Some months, we make a profit on renting out our house as an Air BNB. Lots of months though, we lose a few hundred dollars. It’s not a big deal and we can afford it, but losing money is not a good feeling.
We feel like our Air BNB is priced correctly to be rented out as much as possible. But when someone messages asking for a discount and you think “I’m subsidizing their vacation,” it sucks.
Here’s the thing- insurance is SO expensive in Florida. We have to have Flood insurance and we weren’t prepared for the high cost.
bad Air BNB experience
In September, we headed to Florida to do our quarterly check in of our house. While we were out of our Utah house, we figured we’d rent it out. Someone booked it at the last minute and they ended up being a nightmare guest. We paid to have our house deep cleaned. We spent many days emptying out our personal belongings and doing every repair we could.
On our listing, we had a cancellation policy that they couldn’t cancel and get their money back. They ended up wanting to cancel, but because of the cancellation policy and the late request, we didn’t let them. Instead, we shortened their reservation. They seem satisfied with that.
When they came to check in, they were determined to get out of their reservation. They took close up pictures of any issues they could find.
Here’s some examples of pictures they took- they pulled a dresser away from the wall and found lint. They broke items in my house and took pictures. We bought new towels and put those out. They found one dirty towel in a hamper and took a picture of it. It was ridiculous. They submitted those to Air BNB and were refunded.
Air BNB no longer felt like a good site to host with
So I called Air BNB- I was sure they wanted to hear my side. They didn’t. I called and called over a few days, finally I was assigned someone and had to wait for them to call me. They said the house was dirty and so we were out the money. It was so frustrating. I ended up eventually getting 1/2 the money back after talking to a manager.
Here’s the worst part- I felt like Air BNB and I were a team. I was a super host that had great reviews and gave people a wonderful experience and they had my back. Through this experience, I found out that they don’t. They simply market my house and make money off a portion of the rental fee.
Why was I hosting with a company that didn’t value me? What would happen if someone did major damage to my house? It ruined things for me big time.
A few weeks later, we were having dinner and my phone started going off. I grabbed it and got all these notifications from a guest who needed immediate help with working the stove. I walked them through it- our stove is induction so the pan has to be over the burner to work. That was literally the emergency.
Then I said to my husband- let’s sell the house so we don’t have this extra stress. It just wasn’t worth it anymore.
I need less stress in my life. Moving twice a year is stressful. Never knowing what issues will come up with a second house is hard. It’s a lot and although I love the house, it is taking a toll on me.
Finding a cleaner right now is tricky. With lots of places offering higher wages, I’ve personally found it hard to keep a reliable cleaner that does a good job long term. We started out with a company who did a really good job, but over the past few months the quality of work has been lacking. And we increased the pay as the market needed it.
A rental is only as good as the cleaner. We started having issues with the house not being clean. It was not up to our standards and it was frustrating knowing that we weren’t giving our guests the experience they deserved. Even though we were paying for it.
When we got back to the house in December we found our vacuum was gone and so we went through video footage and saw our cleaner leave the house with it. It was not fun getting that resolved. And again, finding a good cleaner is one more thing I’d rather not have to manage.
I feel like I’m complaining a lot, but I just want to share the hard side of having a vacation house. There were SO MANY good parts. But this was another aspect that was trying.
Right now, the market is still good- houses were selling for a lot in the summer and there’s still lots of people relocating here. We can make a profit if we sell now. Who knows how long the housing market will stay this high? Selling now makes sense.
When we bought our house, it had been on the market for 6 months. No one wanted it. Now, it can go to someone who is looking to live in this amazing neighborhood. That feels good to me.
So the goal is to simplify- have one house and close this door. The funny thing is that our Florida house is so small that I love being here because it’s a simple life. We have less stuff and I have more time to work out and do creative projects not for work, and have quality time with my family.
One less house means I can have more money in the bank, less stress, and not have to manage a second house. I will miss this house SO much! But taking things off my plate feels good. Sometimes my life feels overwhelming. I want to spend my time doing what I love and not working to have more things- you know?
what I’ll miss
There’s so much I will miss! The location- it’s in a quiet neighborhood right by the beach. I’ll miss going on vacation here and being able to sleep in my own bed. That is the best thing ever! I’ll miss my favorite thrift shops, dinner spots, the palm trees, the sunsets, the warm winters. I’ll miss beach days and biking everywhere.
I got to decorate a house in a slightly different style! I was inspired by the Palm Beach preppy look. For this house, I incorporated Florida motifs and I just love my beach house! I poured my heart into decorating it. Being here is my happy place. I’m so sad to be selling my happy place.
But I’m making the adult decision. I know in the long run, this is wise. We can’t spend enough time here to have the expense and stress be worth it anymore.
did you plan to flip this house?
No- our intention was to buy this house, live in it part time, and have it paid off for when Don is done with school in 12 years. Then we were going to spend October-April here.
We did some big investments into this house thinking that we’d be able to enjoy them for many years to come. We installed hurricane impact windows and doors, put in a new a/c, and completely redid the kitchen.
We will have owned the house for exactly 2 years when we sell it. Is that technically a flip? I don’t know.
are you sad about it?
When I saw the for sale sign go up, I was so sad. When we decorated our Christmas tree, I sat down and had a good cry. I’m so so sad to be saying goodbye to this chapter in my life! I love this house. It’s a part of me and tells a really special part of my story. I am ridiculously sad about selling it even though I know in my bones it’s the right move.
do you feel like a failure?
From an outsider’s perspective I can see how this could look like a fail on my end. But to me here’s how it feels- something called me. I felt pulled here to live this life. I dreamed about it for years. And then I made it happen. I love it here and we made a nice life. But it no longer makes sense so I’m moving on.
I chased that dream and by selling, I’ll have more bandwidth to chase the next thing. Could we keep this house and feel it slowly drain us and not sell it so we don’t feel like we failed? Sure. But we’re making a profit, I chased a dream, and I can always buy another house in the future. We plan to when Don is in high school.
That doesn’t feel like failure, that feels like an unpredictable and beautiful life! Onto the next adventure!
will Fairview Cottage be available to rent out any more?
Our house in Logan will probably no longer be available to rent after we get back. There are a few dates on the calendar in the upcoming weeks if you want to stay before we take it off Air BNB.
There is the possibility that in the future we’ll go on a long vacation and rent it out again. It would have to be for us leaving for a multi-week trip to make the process of getting it ready to rent out to be worth it. So maybe for a bit in the summer? But who knows.
more information about buying the Florida house
If you’re interested in getting more information about purchasing Pink Palm Hideaway, contact my realtor Patty at [email protected]. We have openings this Friday and Saturday for walking through the house. The house is priced really reasonably for the area. We’re hoping that it sells quickly.
Well! That was a long blog post. Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments. I’m happy to answer most things.