People choose to move for many reasons. Some are common, like needing more space for a new child or changing cities for a job.
Other times, the decision to move begins with something unexpected.
That’s the case for Jim and Rob, who decided to move from a beach community in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, almost as far as it’s possible to move and still be in the US … 3,286.5 miles away!
For 25 out of 29 years living with his partner Rob in a Fort Lauderdale, Jim couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
The beach is just across the highway from their current home, where Jim is a self-proclaimed “house spouse,” retired from the modeling agency business.
So, why did Jim start to think about moving? Mainly because of what happens when the short-term rental trend combines with a spring break mentality.
In Fort Lauderdale, investors are buying luxury homes to rent out to large groups of people who visit for a week at a time with one main purpose: to party.
The house next door to Jim and Rob’s became a short-term rental property four years ago. With only 10 feet between the homes and next door’s swimming pool a few feet from their fence, boisterous groups that change on a weekly basis make for difficult “neighbors.”
“I’m tired of living on top of people,” Jim says. “It’s been one party after another.”
Jim and Rob are far from alone in their complaints. This 2017 article explains the South Florida luxury rental situation in detail.
Finding the northwest
Jim’s partner Rob is an ER physician. In 2007, the couple visited Seattle for a conference of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
Jim says, “The first time I went into the city, I just fell in love with it. People are so considerate!”
He and Rob were looking for Pike Place Market when a local woman noticed their confusion and walked them a few blocks to the Market rather than just giving them directions. That kindness was a welcome change from the atmosphere at home.
Over the years, Jim and Rob continued to visit Seattle. In December of 2018, they got serious about looking for a condo in the city for themselves and their two pugs, Kevin and JJ.
A new paradise
After almost a year of looking for a home in Seattle, Jim and Rob were back for a visit in October of 2019. Sitting at a cafe near Pike Place (which they now know how to find!), they looked up the listing for a nearby condo and ended up getting in touch with Flyhomes.
That day, they saw two condos with Tiffany, a Seattle-based Flyhomes Field Agent who specializes in touring homes.
They also met Jack, one of Flyhomes’s Seattle-based Client Advisors.
“We just continued from there,” Jim says. “Tiffany showed us a few houses on Bainbridge Island, too. They were waterfront with great properties but not the nicest homes.”
Something about the island, just a short ferry ride across Puget Sound from downtown Seattle, appealed to Jim and Rob. When they spotted a listing for an open house at another Bainbridge home that weekend, they went.
The spacious home has more than an acre of land of its own that backs up to 100 acres of protected open space, perfect for the privacy and peace the couple has been craving.
“Our initial wishlist was to be in the city,” Jim says. “But the shift came in the fact that the condos we looked at were nice, but we want more space to have our own alone time in the house.”
Plus, their two pugs can be on different schedules. Walks in the city could become a chore when paired with elevator rides and two dogs with minds of their own.
When they discovered that Bainbridge offers lots of land only a short distance from the city, Jim and Rob saw their new lifestyle begin to take shape. They could enjoy the city while going home to their own oasis.
“Besides,” Jim asks, “Who doesn’t love a boat ride?”
He continues, “After the open house, everything we looked at, we sort of compared to the Bainbridge Island house … I talked to Jack and told him this is the one.”
Winning the home
Negotiations started and proved to be difficult. The deal almost fell through with a $2,500 difference in price between the seller’s bottom line and their offer.
“I think Jack called me as late as 12:30 east coast time,” Jim says. “It was at least 9:30 pacific time. He just wanted to assure me we’d get back on it in the morning.”
Meanwhile, a few hurdles came up with the mortgage.
“Libby, our loan officer, is great at what she does,” Jim says. “One lender backed out and she ended up getting us a better rate with another lender. She wasn’t phased at all.”
Jack and Libby worked with everyone and closed the deal.
“We were selling a home we owned in Daytona at the same time, so I was dealing with a different agent there, a mortgage company, and a title company,” Jim says. “Selling was more difficult than buying because Flyhomes seemed to pick up a lot of the slack. I don’t think it could have been any easier for me.”
Welcome to Washington!
Jim and Rob’s move across the country will officially happen this spring. They’re looking forward to a quieter, healthier lifestyle, hiking around their yard and in the adjacent woods.
“I can see myself going to the farmer’s market to get fresh groceries and seafood,” says Jim. “ I see so much there that I will enjoy doing.”
The Flyhomes team will wave to Jim, Rob, and the pugs across the Sound from our HQ to Bainbridge!