Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boomers Go Green With Cohousing

No doubt about it, green is in. And not just the color...the movement. And why shouldn't it be baby boomers at the forefront?

Read about the Wolf Creek Lodge [via TreeHugger] in Grass Valley, California. The Wolf Creek Lodge is a "Cohousing" community for active adults. If you've never heard of cohousing, here's a description from the Wolf Creek website:

"Cohousing communities are small-scale neighborhoods that provide a balance between personal privacy and living amidst people who know and care about each other. Individual dwelling units enjoy convenient access to shared space including a common house with facilities such as a gourmet kitchen, dining room, laundry facilities, guest rooms, library and sitting areas, and workshops. Each home is entirely self-sufficient, complete with a kitchen, but residents often prepare common meals together in the kitchen of the common house."

The environmental benefits of cohousing are achieved through the sharing of resources and space.

While there are currently less than 100 cohousing communities in the United States, look for that number to grow as boomers look for ways to go green and also look for alternatives to the traditional retirement community concept.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Retirement Community Politics

Great article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune about the massive effect retirement communities can have on elections.

The article focuses on The Villages and the 2008 Republican primary.

A large majority of "Villagers" are republicans, and candidates regularly stump there.

Even this guy made a stop there leading up to the 2004 election.

The Villages Homes May Exceed Standards...Get an Inspection Anyway

Came across this article in The Villages Daily Sun about homes that have been built since 2002 in The Villages exceeding the required construction standards.

While homes in the area where The Villages is located need to be built to withstand 100 mph winds, they are engineered and built to withstand 110 mph winds. Wa-la-ya but...

The article implies that you shouldn't bother having a home inspection done...that all home inspectors are crooks and aren't licensed anyway. If you've read any of my books, you'll know I strongly recommend having a home inspection done before buying a home matter how it was supposedly "engineered and built".

Lots can happen once "certified" house plans leave the building department office. Always best to be safe and get an extra set of eyes on the house before going forward.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bloomberg: "Market to get worse in '08"

On the heals of my post the other day about possible real estate market optimism for 2008, Bloomberg has a report today saying things will get worse in 2008.

According to some experts quoted in the article hope for a turnaround in best. Bad news for homebuilders, mortgage lenders and the like.

Good news if you're a boomer looking to get a good deal and don't have a house to sell first.

Boomer Golf News

Wanted to let you know about a new website

The goal of this new site is to cover the world of golf as it relates to the largest segment of the population playing golf, baby boomers.

Look for articles and features on boomers still making a living on the tour, ways you can enjoy the game more as well as improve, new courses to check out in your travels and more.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What will the real estate market do in '08? Who can you trust?

I'm skeptical when I hear that all of a sudden, despite credit and mortgage woes galore, that the housing market is all of a sudden going to get better in 2008. Especially when the folks preaching this info. are "in the biz".

Believe me, I want it to get better too. But pretending like it will get better is about as good as praying for it to happen.

I ran in to this article today in the Herald Tribune (Southwest Florida) about a report saying that New Home sales have reached a bottom. Thankfully, the report is from a researcher at the University of Florida, and not from the Association of Realtors or the Home Builders.

So, hopefully we can trust this report without being too skeptical. While it certainly isn't exceptionally cheery (sales sales will be flat for the next year, but not declining), it isn't the worst news one could receive if they've got Florida real estate on the brain.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Think Airport Security is Bad Now?

If you think airport security is bad now, just wait until TSA gets its grimy hands on even more of your private data.

Read this post from about TSA's push to get even more control of your private data.

It's sure to tick you off...

Picture from nedrichards on flickr

Pet Showers, No Smoking HOA's, Oh My!

Here is an article from RISMedia on the hottest homebuying trends for 2008. Two of them really caught my eye and I wanted to share them with you here.

Shower for Fido
The first is pet showers. Maybe you've heard of this before, or maybe you thought yes, I put my pet in the shower too, so what?

That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about an dedicated shower JUST FOR your pet. In some cases these have marble tile and the highest level of shower fixtures. Pretty cool if you're a pet lover.

No Smoking by Order of The HOA
The next trend for 2008 which we're starting to hear more about is "Non-smoking HOA's". What like you mean I can't smoke at the clubhouse? Ok, I'm used to not being able to smoke in public anyway.

Nope, I mean you can't smoke in your own home. This rule was already upheld in one court case but I'm sure we'll start seeing lots more cases being tried on this topic before long.

So, let me ask my readers: Any interest in a shower just for your pet, or desire to live in a no smoking allowed HOA?

Photos by bchow and wizardhat respectively on flickr

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Try Mahalo For Online Travel Research

Online travel research can be pretty frustrating, especially if you've never been to the destination your headed and don't know much about the area.

For example, try searching "Las Vegas hotels" in Google. Now, some of what comes up for you may be relevant, but a lot of it is not. This is simply because this search engine result page (serp) is based on an algorithm, with little to no human attention paid to what is displayed.

Mahalo is a new human-powered search engine that guessed it...ACTUAL people to create their serps.

This is great for the baby boomer who just doesn't have the time or patience to sift through spam search results mixed in with relevant content. If you search for "Las Vegas hotels" in Mahalo, you actually get listings of Las Vegas hotels as well as websites for further research (ie: Frommers, Fodor's, etc.). What a concept!

Check out Mahalo's Travel page today. And who knows, you might just get hooked and start using it for all your web searches. Plus, if you happen to search for a topic not in their results (remember, Mahalo's results are being built by hand and not every possible destination or search term is covered yet) you will be shown results from various other search engines.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Baby Boomer Jobs has an article/slideshow featuring seven "ideal" jobs for Baby Boomers.

Obviously not all of them will appeal, but you might get some good ideas. I especially like the prospects of "Move Specialist" Wellness Coach", and "Travel Coordinator".

Some Florida Banks to Avoid just ran an article about some Florida banks that are feeling the squeeze due to not only bad mortgages (as you've heard by now Florida has a lot of) but also bad construction loans that developers are defaulting on.

I'm all for the local bank. I believe in supporting the little guy. And I know my money would be safe (FDIC insured, etc.). But for now my money is with one of the big boys, at least until we learn a little more about this mortgage/construction loan fallout.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Luxury RV Parks - Home is Where You're Parked

Despite gas being over $3 a gallon in most parts of the country, many boomers are shunning the once popular idea of choosing one great place to retire and making it their life to travel (in style mind you) to wherever they feel like.

The luxury RV travel market is on fire in recent years with luxury rv parks popping up all over Florida and other Sunbelt states.

The nomadic lifestyle that rv-ing affords used to be for the budget conscious. But not anymore. Fancy RV's these days cost more than most houses. And getting a space at one of the premier luxury rv parks can be quite an expense as well.
(Image Credit: Aaron Jack on Flickr)

But then again, we're not talking about a simple concrete pad with power and water hookups. We're talking about championship golf courses, clubhouses, swimming pools, all the amenities you could want or need.

So where should you set out finding information about the luxury RV lifestyle? Here are a few links to start with:

Wireless and Internet Security Systems Great for 2nd Homes

A recent broad daylight break-in and robbery in my gated Florida community reminds me that everyone needs to be careful and vigilant when it comes to keeping you, your loved ones, and your property safe. As I've said before, crime doesn't discriminate based on location. Just because you live in a gated community doesn't necessarily mean you're safe.

I recommend having a security system installed (make sure you are given a yard sign and window stickers which can act as an added deterrent). Most people only set it when they are away from the home or when they go to bed at night, but now we'll be keeping ours on during the day as well, and you should too.

Security systems are available through companies like Brinks and ADT. Personally I use a system through that uses wireless signals (much like a pager) so that if a phone line is cut, it will still notify the authorities in case of emergency.

This type of wireless security system can also be controlled through the internet, which is great for a second homeowner. Through an online interface you can see system activity, arm and disarm if necessary, and more. Check it out if you're looking for a great wireless internet security system.

Be safe!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Boomers version of "Born to be W-i-i-i-ld"

Sort of off topic but who could resist. The best laugh you'll have today. Enjoy:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Trip

Boomers on the Move took a trip last month to the annual Balloon Fiesta in ABQ New Mexico.

What a trip! Here are some pics and the low-down on what to do and where to stay if you ever decide to go.

Try to go on the weekends (Thursday through Sunday) because this is when most of the events are held like the Mass Ascension or launch of all participating balloons (held early in the morning), and the Balloon Glows and Fireworks (at night). The early and middle part of the week is more for competitions.

We stayed at the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. It was very close to the balloon fiesta and near everything we wanted to see and do. We paid $169 per night for a Junior suite which was very nice, and we thought the rate was reasonable considering all the people in town.

BUT, next time, we will stay at the Sandia Resort and Casino. We were very impressed by how modern and clean it was. Just as nice and spectacular as the finest casino/hotels in Vegas. It's a little further away from all the Balloon action, but we think the few extra minutes of drive time will be worth it for us if we ever go back.

There is lots to see and do besides the Balloon is a good guide from the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Plenty of authentic Mexican food to choose from in Albuquerque, so you won't go without some great meals. Ask your hotel or locals you meet for recommendations as there are just so many to choose from. Whatever you order be sure to ask for "Christmas on the side". We'd tell you what it is, but it'll be more fun for you to see for yourself. Live a little!

The best part was the balloon ride we took with Rainbow Ryders (the official flyers for city) which cost $170 per person. One thing that surprised us was that there are 12 people in the balloon (11 passengers and 1 pilot). We went early in the morning, which is recommended because the winds tend to pick up later in the day. The balloon co. picked us up at the hotel and dropped us back off afterwards.

Floating is just too cool (and we are scared of heights!). You hardly feel like you're off the ground and moving. The basket is extremely sturdy.

You pretty much land where you land. There is a chase truck that follows you wherever the wind takes you. We landed on a dirt road, but we saw one balloon that found its way onto a football field.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

North Carolina Transfer Tax Goes flames

A few months back I blogged about the proposed North Carolina transfer tax and what it would mean to buyers and sellers in North Carolina.

Yesterday the people had their say in 16 North Carolina Counties and unanimously defeated the measure.

This paves the way for North Carolina to continue to be a lower cost alternative to baby boomers thinking about where to hang their hats for their glory years.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Spot the bad neighbors before you buy in a retirement community

The saying has always been..."You can pick your house, but you can't pick your neighbors." Well not anymore.

A new real estate search site has emerged and you can find it at

You start by entering either the name of a city, and exact address or street name, even a zip code, then hit search and you'll be shown a google maps mashup with reports of "bad neighbors" in the area you searched for.

I did a quick search of a couple areas, and most had little to no activity yet, but where there were complaints they were often pretty amusing. You'll have the best luck in and around bigger cities.

But as more and more people find out about the site, it might become another important information site for those wanting to get the lowdown on a retirement community before they buy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

E-Book for The Villages Florida is ready now

Just got done with an e-book about The Villages Florida.

It's 117 pages, and is available for instant download. Some of the content is similar to Florida for Boomers, but I really went through section by section and tailored it to folks considering moving to The Villages.

Check it out...hope you enjoy it and learn a lot...I promise you will!

Florida Double Homestead Exemption is really Double-ish

After months of back and forth like they do best, the Florida House and Senate came to a compromise on a new property tax plan to send to voters on January 29th.

And there's nothing like waiting until the last minute. The plan had to be approved by both the House and Senate by the end of October 29 (90 days out from the special election). They made it by a couple of hours.

Here are the basics that could impact homeowners if the bill passes in January:

(Not Quite) Double homestead exemption: Homestead property owners will get a second $25,000 exemption on the assessed value on the value of their homes over $50,000. BUT, because this doesn't apply to school taxes (and because school taxes account for nearly 1/3 of the tax bill) the net result is closer to an additional $16,000 exemption.

Every politician I've heard touting this plan keeps saying "double" because it sounds so good...but its NOT double! Not saying voters should reject it, just calling a spade a spade.

This was one of the key issues that politicians and real estate agents *think* is really going to spark the Florida housing market. Homesteaders will be able to take up to $500,000 of Save Our Homes protections to a new home purchase. If you are downsizing you can take a pro-rated portion of the tax protections.

While some folks will now be able to downsize their homes as well as their tax bill, I don't see this being the boost to the housing market that some would hope.

Assessment cap for non-homestead property: Assessments would increase no more than 10 percent each year on non-homestead property.

This could have been the boost the Florida housing market needed. The original plan was to cap this at 5% but that didn't get accomplished. The fact that people who buy homes in Florida to enjoy as second homes, not primary residences and therefore unable to Homestead, don't have better protection than this, simply means that places like the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee will continue to siphon off lots of the boomers that originally had their sights set on Florida.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Retirement Communities Holding Nintendo Wii Tourneys

I covered the retirement community nintendo wii phenomenon before in another post, but this video I saw on youtube was just too good to pass up.

These people are obviously older than baby boomers, but I think its cool for boomers to see where the future of retirement communities is headed. Hang up the tennis rackets...sell the golf clubs...pick up the controller.

We're on the lookout to bring you articles about any wii related injuries.

I'm going to kick some serious butt in Halo 39 in the year 2045 when I hit the RC (retirement community). Watch out!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Everyone's Leaving Florida?

Have a nice weekend?

Maybe you read the most viewed AND most emailed story from The Wall Street Journal this weekend, "Is Florida Over?"

Now, I'm not here to yell "agree" or "disagree", as the author made some valid points. But I do think everyone thinking of Florida as a place to move to and retire or buy real estate should read it.

However, do not forget the fact that:

1) The WSJ is in the biz of selling newspapers. The link bait title of the article did exactly what it was intended to do...get people reading...and talking.

2) If you agree with the article's premise, that Florida is "out" as a destination, just remember an important lesson learned from just about every boom and bust cycle this country has ever seen:

The people who usually make out the best are the ones doing the OPPOSITE of what everyone else is doing.

Friday, September 28, 2007

How to estimate Florida real estate taxes video

Just put a quick video up on Florida for Boomers about how to figure out what your Florida real estate taxes might be.

The tax calculations are based on certain criteria that you input such as sales price, and whether or not you qualify for the homestead exemption.

Not all Florida counties have this feature on their website, but I'd say most do by now.
  • Start at the Florida Information page of
  • Click on "List of County Property Appraiser's Websites
  • Select the county you are interested in
  • Look for a link to "property tax calculator"
  • Fill in the required data like price, millage rate, homestead and click calculate

Monday, September 24, 2007

Boomer Alert: $1.35 to call 411?

This post is a Boomer Alert!

Wow. This just shows how busy I am. I just discovered that 411 isn't free anymore from my house phone. Where have I been? And how long has AT&T been charging me for this?

AT&T charged me $1.35 EACH for 3 calls to directory assistance. I didn't even really have to use 411. I could have got off my lazy duff and went to the computer, or even pulled out the 'ol phone book. I'll think twice next time!

Recently saw a few posts in the blogosphere about Google's 411 service. 1-800-GOOG-411.

Tried it. Works great. Connects you directly AT NO CHARGE. Has some neat features such as ability to receive a text message about the business you selected (address, phone number etc.)

Best of all is the price...FREE. Put it on speed dial and also program it into your cell phone for use while on the road.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A reason to HATE Construction Loans

When you are having a new home built, ideally what will happen is that you'll pay a deposit (usually 10-20%) of what the price of the house is, and when the house is complete, you'll pay the rest of the price at closing.

Sometimes, usually with smaller builders who don't have large enough credit lines at their banks, you'll have to get a construction loan. This means you'll be paying out the entire time your home is being built, with payments coming due at different points of the construction process.

Here is a perfect illustration of why I hate this concept. Having to get a construction loan will sometimes be unavoidable, but you should try!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Casa Monica in St. Augustine a great choice for a late summer trip

The Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine is a "can't miss" for baby boomers thinking of heading to Florida soon. The hotel, while on the expensive side, is worth every penny. Located in Florida's most historic city, The Casa Monica is part of the Kessler Collection and a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts.

There's plenty of walking around, trolley tours, and sightseeing to do in St. Augustine, but whatever you do, DON'T MISS this... right inside the hotel. 95 Cordova has one of the best filet mignons on the east coast of me.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Your key to first class low cost airline tickets

School is back in session in most parts of the country and that can only mean one thing...boomers like you who have been hibernating all summer to avoid the crowds are ready to take that long awaited and much needed trip. Maybe you even want to do it why not fly first class but dirt cheap this time! is a site my wife has been playing with for a while. We read about it in this article in Fast Company and we've been hooked ever since. will help you find little known airfare option known as the "Y-up fare". Besides the silly name, these fares can save you hundreds off of normal first class fares. While they won't be as low fare as coach, we've found them to be a happy medium. Give it a try!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Insuring Your Second Home

Here is an article from The New York Times Online that reiterates some of the main themes of the Homeowners Insurance chapter of my "for Boomers" books.

The main tips:
1) Start shopping for insurance early in the home buying process.
2) Do plenty of research.
3) Don't forget about flood insurance.

Continue reading:
Insuring Second Homes - New York Times

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thinking Florida? Be sure to check out On Top of the World

Wanted to let all Boomers on the Move readers know about this great community in Central Florida...

When you’re On Top of the World you’ll discover truly unsurpassed, active adult living in scenic Ocala, Florida. Amid gently rolling hills, magnificent horse farms, majestic oak hammocks and crystal clear springs, On Top of the World Communities brings every homeowner Excellence Above All...conveniently located in central Florida near Tampa and Orlando. We have choices and amenities you won’t find anywhere else.
Keep reading... or Visit Community Website

Monday, August 13, 2007

New UF Hurricane Simulator

The University of Florida has introduced a new hurricane simulator unlike anything that has been available before it. The $500,000 machine can simulate the force of a Category 1 through Category 5 Hurricane with the flick of a switch. Continue reading about the UF simulator...

Texas Tech has a Wind Science and Engineering Research Center whose website is worth checking out as well if you are interested in hurricane research.

While researching this post I found two hurricane simulators that you and I can use to see the types of damage different levels of hurricanes can cause. One is on the National Geographic website and the other is through the Associated Press. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Forbes ranks three Carolina cities "most affordable"

If you're a baby boomer thinking of retiring to the Carolina's or buying a second home there, you won't only be choosing a great location, but it might make sense financially. Forbes just ranked three Carolina cities "most affordable" as far as real estate is concerned.

My next book, Carolinas for Boomers due out later this year will give you all the information you need to find a place and buy in the Carolinas.

Read more:
Forbes ranks Raleigh as 12th most affordable real estate market - Triangle Business Journal:

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Reunion Resort Lens is Live

Back today with another lens for you to check out. This time we explore Reunion Resort, near Orlando, developed by the Ginn Company.

View the Reunion Resort Lens at

Readers of Florida for Boomers will recognize Reunion as one of the "Resort and Club" communities mentioned in the book.

Just like our lens for The Villages, the Reunion Resort Lens has lots of great info. including a brief overview, Reunion Resort links, a tv commercial, a map of Reunion Resort, and more. Check it out today!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Villages, Florida: A Complete Guide

Do you know what the internet's most searched for Florida retirement community is? It's The Villages, located in central Florida. The internet is loaded with information about The Villages but sometimes searching online can just get overwhelming.

To solve this problem, I've put together a complete 117 page guide for The Villages at:

You'll find a ton of great information including a complete detailed community overview, useful links, information about buying a home in The Villages, what it costs to live there, golf in The Villages, and much more. Check it out.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ave Maria: Have some Jesus with your retirement community

ABC News had a segment Saturday night on a "faith-based" community being developed in Collier County Florida (east of Naples) named Ave Maria. While not being set up or marketed as a Florida retirement community, it might be a place for "true believers" to consider settling down into their retirement years.

One of the men heading and funding the development is Tom "30 minutes or less" Monaghan, founder of Domino's pizza. As a devout Catholic, Tom's vision for Ave Maria is for it to be a faith based community... The ABC segment even dubbed it "a City of God". The centerpiece of the community will be a Catholic University, Ave Maria University comprising 20% of the 5,000 acre development. According to the community's website Ave Maria University is "the first new major Catholic University in the United States in 40 years."

The planned 11,000 homes are being built by the Pulte Family of Homebuilders (Pulte, Del Webb, and DiVosta). The community uses the "town center" concept (everything within walking or biking distance from your home), which is growing in popularity across the country.

The community has not been without controversy, as the ACLU and others are keeping a close eye on it to make sure that no civil rights laws are being broken. As a real estate broker, I see the potential of Fair Housing law problems creeping up for real estate salespeople selling homes in Ave Maria. Hopefully Pulte Homes and others will take strong measures to ensure their salespeople are highly aware of potential problems in this area, and trained on how to avoid them.

More info:,_Florida

Friday, June 29, 2007

Buenos Aires: "The Paris of South America"

For any of you considering moving to South America, namely Buenos Aires, I've recently discovered a great blog written by Will Bonner. Actually I found this through a daily e-zine I subscribe to called Early to Rise, available at

If you go to Will's blog, what you'll find is a true and unflinching daily account of what it's like to live and work in what many describe as the "Paris of South America." Will doesn't just cover the good, he will gladly and freely fill you in on all the bad as well. Check it out at

I've found it to be a good dose of entertainment, even though i have no plans to move to South America. He's also got several links to other Buenos Aires and Argentina blogs and websites.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Florida's New Property Tax Laws Explained

Well, if you follow Florida real estate at all, you've probably long since heard that Florida passed some new property tax laws a few weeks ago. What you may NOT know, however, is what to make of it. For what it's worth, here's my take on it.

1) To begin, what was done probably wasn't enough to cause any real change in Florida's lousy real estate market. Homesteader's in Florida were helped out a little. By that I mean a 3-9% reduction on their next tax bill. So at the most, if your tax bill is $5000 you MIGHT save $450. At the most. That's a night in a fancy hotel, dinner, and drinks...maybe even top shelf drinks. In my book not enough to get me too excited.

2) If you live outside of Florida but own property here (non-homesteaded) you didn't get much help either. By most accounts I've seen, you won't save anything. But, your taxes might not go up like they have been because...

3) Millage rates will be rolled back to 2006-2007 levels. (Basically 1-year). Most Florida taxpayers were hoping for much more, legislators are telling us, hey, at least its something, and city leaders (who have to roll back their spending) are saying its too much...Go figure!

4) Up next for Florida voters will be a chance in January to increase the homestead exemption (currently $25,000 in most cases) to what is called a super-exemption or, 75% of the first $200k in value (Minimum of $50k exemption)

As always, we'll keep you posted as things progress. But for now, put away any immediate hopes of huge property tax reform in the sunshine state.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

New Florida homeowners insurance option for the rich

If your home is worth $1 million or more, there is a new company that wants your homeowners insurance business. The company is called PURE. Read an article about it from the Naples Daily News. PURE says that they can offer the owners of "high-value property" better insurance rates than they might otherwise find on the market.

I don't know how many Boomers on the Move readers this will apply to, but it is worth noting that there are other options available for insurance if you've got the money.

Maybe something else like this will come along soon for the rest of us.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

More rave reviews!

The reviews keep rolling in:

"If you're a baby boomer thinking about buying a home in Florida, this is your blueprint."

-Barbara Corcoran, NBC's Today Show Real Estate Correspondent

“…over the next 25 years or so, the Sunshine State can expect over 22.5 million new boomer residents. Each and every one should own a copy of Ryan Erisman's book."

-Richard Croker, Author, "The Boomer Century; 1946-2046"

“In the old American Express Commercial, Karl Malden advised people not to leave home without their card. I think no one should buy a home in Florida without reading Florida for Boomers. It is that good."

-Steve Weisman, Author, "Boomer or Bust"

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Florida for Boomers featured in Miami Real Estate Update

I'm proud to say that Florida for Boomers has just been featured in Mark Zilbert's Miami Real Estate Update newsletter. For those of you not familiar with Mark, he is one of the premier condo brokers in South Florida. He has been featured on the
Today Show, 20/20, The Wall Street Journal, and I interviewed him about his boomer clientele for Florida for Boomers.

Here's what Mark had to say in his newsletter:

Florida for Boomers: A Guide to Real Estate Author Ryan Erisman has created a great new guide to buying real estate in Florida. It's targeted at Baby Boomers, however, it's a well-written overall guide that will suit anyone. The book teaches you everything from finding a real estate agent to understanding how property taxes work. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Sorry, Charlie: No Florida property tax relief yet

Florida Governor Charlie Christ's first legislative session has ended without any sign of property tax relief in the immediate future. A special session has been called for June, but consensus here is that not much will come from it. The best most lawmakers think they can agree on in that session would be a roll-back of property tax rates and a cap on them rising. Better than nothing.

But any real reform will have to wait...perhaps for a while. The House and Senate cannot come to an agreement on what is the responsible solution to Florida's property tax problem. Lawmakers are citing a desire to cross the t's and dot the i's properly this time. Once they do agree, or at least come to a compromise, voters would have their say. If lawmakers can't come together on it this June, this may not happen until November 2008.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Florida for Boomers Just Released!

My new book, Florida for Boomers: A Guide to Real Estate has just been released on Click here to buy it!

In celebration of its release, I'll be posting free excerpts on this blog from the book in the coming days and weeks. If you prefer not to wait, you can read the excerpts all at once here.

Now go buy the book, and make your dreams of Florida come true!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Florida Property Tax Gridlock


"TALLAHASSEE -- Legislative negotiators officially declared gridlock Tuesday on the radical idea of abolishing all property taxes on resident homeowners by raising sales taxes - the centerpiece of House Speaker Marco Rubio's reform.
House Republicans have refused to budge from their demands to give a whopping multibillion-dollar relief plan to voters, while the Senate has steadfastly refused to consider a sales tax increase."

It sounds to me like Governor Christ's more conservative plan of rolling back property taxes and then capping them has a better chance of meeting with both House and Senate approval.

Read the full story here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Zillow Under Fire in Arizona, the home pricing service I talk about in Florida for Boomers, is coming under fire in Arizona. The Arizona Board of Property Appraisers has just issued cease and desist letters to Zillow.

The service has drawn the ire of many real estate professionals because they fear it may undermine their stranglehold on home price information. Now Appraisers are jumping on the bandwagon. But with a reported 4 million users a month and lots of venture capital, look for Zillow to put up a pretty strong fight here.

Read the full story.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 "When you buy before its built"

The New York Times has been coming through with some good (relevant) articles for boomers relocating or buying second homes. Today, they tackle the process of buying a new home or condo before its built.

"Buying into a development before construction has begun is not a new phenomenon, but with the slowdown in the real estate market — and in condo sales in many areas — the rules are changing. A few years ago, the incentive to condo buyers was clear: You would buy early, sit back and, by the time the building was in place, be pretty certain that the unit’s value had increased substantially. But the days of buyers lining up for a condo in a building that might be years from completion are long gone — and developers are facing a new reality."

Read the full story

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Possible Flood Insurance Reform

There's a whole section in my new book Florida for Boomers about flood insurance and how important it is to have flood insurance regardless of where your home is located. There may be some changes to the National Flood Insurance Program coming up:

"Currently, homeowners can obtain up to $250,000 in coverage for their houses or condominiums, plus up to $100,000 in coverage for their contents. But last year, the House voted to raise those limits to $335,000 and $135,000, respectively."

It's anybody's guess whether or not these changes will be enacted by Congress, but the wheels are in motion. Read the full article

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Snowbird Property Checklist

Great article at about what snowbirds should do to prepare their homes and properties for the months that they will be away from them. Read the article here.

The article mentions turning off the main water valve and the hot water heater, and while I agree with this advice, when you return make sure to turn the water back on, before the hot water heater. The hot water heater has coils inside that can burn up if they are on with no water passing through them. I mentioned this in my new book Florida for Boomers: A Guide to Real Estate

Sit on Trump

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is invading your home. Pretty soon, you can furnish your new home in the sunbelt with the Donald Trump line of home furnishings, "Trump Home" by Lexington Brands. It certainly begs the question... what's next? Appliances... plumbing fixtures (toilet that says "You're fired!" everytime you flush?)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

North Carolina "Home Tax" transfer tax increase in the works

Buying and selling a home in North Carolina might get a little bit more expensive later this year if some local leaders and legislators have their way. NC already has a .2% deed stamp tax (by comparison, Florida's is .7%). But some people in local and state governments are saying thats not enough to fuel North Carolina's growth and want to add an additional transfer tax (Realtors opposing the measure are calling it a "Home Tax") of up to 1% ($1,000 for every $100,000 of the sales price).

Read the full article in the Greensboro News-Record

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Retirement "Spotlight Shines On The Sun Belt"

(Photo from
Found this article in Investor's Business Daily about the Sun Belt being the ideal destination for retirees.

"Florida and its beaches remain a popular place to spend the sunset years, yet the current hottest retirement destination doesn't even have a coastline: It's Arizona."

A study by a University professor spotlights the top areas the over 60 set are moving to. "According to Wake Forest University professor Charles Longino, a gerontologist who studies the migration of people 60 and older, the top retirement destinations for Americans are the counties that include the following metropolitan areas:
• 1. Phoenix.
• 2. Las Vegas.
• 3. West Palm Beach, Fla.
• 4. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
• 5. St. Petersburg, Fla.
• 6. Fort Myers, Fla.
• 7. Tucson, Ariz.
• 8. Los Angeles.
• 9. Sarasota, Fla."

I had planned the first follow-up to Florida for Boomers to be Carolinas for Boomers. But after seeing this perhaps Arizona for Boomers will be the next book in the for Boomers series. Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Retirement Community Amenities: Clubhouse, tennis, shuffleboard, swimming pool... Nintendo?

What sort of amenities are you looking for in a retirement community? A recent story highlights the hottest new amenity in retirement communties: The Nintendo Wii. The race is on to see which builder/developer will give one away with every house sold.

Copy and paste this into your browser for the full story:

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Thinking of starting a new business when you retire?

If you are, I've got good news. Several top states for retirement are also ranked as the most business-friendly states.
Here's the top five: 1) Virginia (it's for lovers...and businesses) 2) South Carolina 3) Florida 4) North Carolina and number 5) Utah

Read the full story

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

UF: Florida single-family housing hits bottom

From an article in the Jacksonville Business Journal
A University of Florida study suggests the state's single-family residential housing market has bottomed out.
"If you're thinking of buying a house, there's probably not much to be gained by holding out at this point," said Wayne Archer, director of UF's Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. "It doesn't look like prices are going to fall anymore." Read the entire article.
My take:
It's certainly starting to look like the perfect storm: Lots of homes to choose from, great incentives, we haven't had a hurricane in months!, and if they do away with the property taxes look for demand (and pricing) to start heading back up. If you're still on the fence about Florida, it might be time to start thinking about getting off.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

No More Property Tax

If you've been reading this blog regularly, you know that property taxes will be a hot topic in Florida for the foreseeable future. Here's more on the subject:

From the website

"Skyrocketing property tax bills, combined with the high cost of insurance and energy, are breaking the backs of Floridians. The cumulative impact is hurting our economy and threatening our quality of life. As our wallets get skinnier, government gets fatter. Since 2000, government income from property taxes grew by 99%, while Floridians’ income only grew by an average of 44%. Floridians have the power to stop the out-of-control property tax bills and out-of-hand government spending. But we need Legislators to give us the chance to let our voice be heard. Learn more about the plan, calculate your savings under the plan and tell your Legislator you want your chance at the ballot box to vote NO to property taxes."

To learn more, and to sign a petition endorsing the plan to eliminate property tax in Florida, visit No More Property Tax

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Psychology of a real estate market crash

Real estate crash or no crash...if you own real estate in Florida, or you're considering buying some, you're interested in what's going on with the market. This article from the Herald Tribune provides some good insight into the psychology going on behind the scenes of the Florida real estate market.
Theorist: As real estate investors emerge from denial, expect grief

Friday, March 9, 2007

Baby Boomer Moving and Housing Trends

Good article at on where baby boomers are moving to. The article suggests that most boomers will be moving "across town" rather than to other parts of the country.

Read the article here

So, where are you moving to?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"I'll even throw in the horses"

Maybe it really is a great time to buy a, I According to this article, there is a huge supply of unsold homes, prices are coming down, and one lady will even throw in her horses!
The News-Press: Real Estate

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More on the possible tax revolution in Florida

Details and commentary of the Florida Legislatures Property Tax proposals can be found here:
Tax revolution in Tallahassee - Orlando Sentinel : State News Tax revolution in Tallahassee - Orlando Sentinel : State News

Whoever said 2007 would be a boring year in Florida never saw this coming.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No more Property Taxes in Florida?

Republicans in the Florida Legislature are proposing eliminating the property tax, and raising the state sales tax to make up the difference.
Read: | 02/21/2007 | Tax switch could bring relief, pain

Friday, February 16, 2007

Potentially bad news for Charlie Christ (and Florida property owners)

I previously posted about Governor Christ's plan to make Florida's property tax cap portable. Now it looks like this plan may run into some trouble.
Report doubts legality of property tax portability - South Florida Business Journal:

Good deals to be had in Nevada?

Good news for boomers thinking of moving to Vegas or other parts of Nevada. Sounds like there might be some great deals right now and for the foreseeable future.
Nevada Shows Biggest Drop in National Housing Slump - KRNV-TV -

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Florida Homeowner's Insurance Update

97.8% of you heading this way are concerned about Florida's Property Insurance "crisis". Here's the latest update:

In January 2007 Florida legislators passed a bill that could lower property insurance premiums and bring other insurance relief to millions of property owners. Among the highlights of the 167-page bill are means to lower rates for homeowners by allowing owners to exclude windstorm and contents coverage, allowing owners to choose higher deductibles so that their premiums will be lower, removing the requirement that Citizen’s charge the highest premiums, and allowing non-homesteaded properties to be eligible for Citizen’s.
In order to further protect policyholders, the bill requires insurance companies to give 100 days notice of their intent to cancel a homeowner’s policy that would be effective during hurricane season, requires insurance companies to expedite payments of claims after storms, and prohibits excess profits by insurers.
The bill also makes an effort to expand the property insurance market in Florida by requiring insurance companies that write homeowners policies in other states and auto insurance policies in Florida, to write homeowners policies in Florida.
Insurance companies lobbied heavily against this bill, and there are fears of companies pulling out of Florida altogether. Just like the property tax issue, it’s a matter of “wait and see” before we can determine the effects of this legislation.

Read More:
Governor Christ Press Release

Insurance Companies Response

Sunday, February 11, 2007

East Texas for Retirement

Saw this article about East Texas' push to lure more baby boomers to the area. Like Florida, Texas has no state income tax, which will be very appealing to most baby boomers.

Read the full article:

Saturday, February 10, 2007

BOTMblog @ IBS Part 2

The other day I told you about the Baby Boomer concept home at the International Builders' Show in Orlando, FL. Today I want to share with you one of the many new and impressive products available to you that you may want to consider using in your new home.
The product is called Smart Vent and you can read more about it at It looks like a pretty impressive product, and the company claims that you can save money on your insurance by installing these vents on your home.

From their website...
"Smart Vents Are Code Compliant, FEMA accepted and ICC Certified
That's why hundreds of homeowners across the country are realizing huge savings on their NFIP insurance premiums after they install SMART VENTS in their homes to bring them into compliance.No one can stop the deadly forces of nature, but for anyone living in a flood prone area, this is one easy way to save money on flood insurance, and buy yourself some peace of mind.

Here's How it works:

Flood Protection:The Smart VENT® door is latched closed until flood water enters. Entering flood water lifts the patented internal floats which unlatches and rotates the door open. This allows the flood water to automatically enter and exit through the frame opening, relieving the pressure from your foundation walls.

Ventilation: A bimetal coil (like a thermostat, no electricity is needed) automatically opens and closes the ventilation louvers as temperature changes. They will be closed when it is freezing outside and open when it is warm outside to provide natural ventilation.

Important note:SmartVENT® does not rely on the louvers to let flood water in and out. Regardless of the louvers' position, opened or closed, when flood water flows into the door, the internal floats release the door to rotate open to relieve the hydrostatic pressure. The louvers and pest screen are rotated out of the path of the flood water. The temperature controlled louvers are for ventilation purposes only. "

Friday, February 9, 2007

Baby Boomer Home @ International Builders' Show (IBS)

BOTMblog visited the 2007 International Builders' Show in Orlando yesterday. Over the next few days I'll be bringing you the highlights of the show, products that you may want to incorporate into your new retirement or second home.

But today, I want to share with you the IBS Show Village "Baby Boomer" home, built by Nationwide Custom Homes.

From the show brochure:" About 78 million Baby Boomers looking for value along with luxury, space and comfort may find it the the likes of this home by Nationwide Custom Homes. This 4,568 Square foot beauty showcases a first-floor master suite with double spa tub and a second-floor family space built around a game room, office and home theater."

Looking at it, and even standing in it, you'd never guess that this was a modular home built primarily in a factory and assembled on site. It was very impressive.

I'll add interior pictures to this post when they are available. For more info:

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Where the hottest retirement spots are has just released a special report titled: "Where the hottest retirement spots are".
Number 1? Gardnerville Ranchos, Nevada.
Full Story:
Where the hottest retirement spots are --

Florida Real Estate Taxes: Help on the way?

Boomers who are thinking of moving to Florida but have hesitated because of the rising price of property and subsequently the higher real estate taxes, may get some much needed relief soon. Governor Charlie Christ recently announced several proposals for Florida property tax reform. Among them:

• Doubling the Homestead Exemption from $25,000 to $50,000.
• Make the Save Our Homes cap portable statewide, meaning that Florida homeowners can take their current tax rate with them when they move.
• Place a cap on property taxes for businesses and landlords of the lesser of three percent or the rate of inflation. This is similar to how the Save Our Homes legislation currently protects homeowners.
• Exempting small businesses from tangible personal property taxes.

Most impacted by these proposals are local governments who would have to trim the fat and possibly a whole lot more from their budgets because of a lower property tax increase each year. Their budget will still grow, just not any faster than three percent per year. For some local governments this may not be enough to keep up with rapid growth.
We will all have to stay tuned to see whether Florida voters approve these proposals in a special election in 2007. Then, it will probably take a couple of years before we are able to determine how exactly these measures are impacting Florida property owners and local governments.

You can keep your eye on major developments of this issue by visiting the “Florida Resources” page at

Read more: Crist calls for sweeping property tax changes