Meet Our Members: How Diana Used Her Landing to Trial St. Augustine Before Buying Her House
Buying a home can be a complicated (and costly!) process and can be particularly intimidating if you aren’t entirely positive you want to commit to a certain area without spending time there first. Fortunately, many people have been turning to flexible living options like Landing to test out their new home in advance so they can feel confident in any long-term decision they make.
Landing member Diana was kind enough to sit down with us to talk about how she was able to live with Landing for six months to ensure St. Augustine was where she wanted to settle down—before hauling an entire house of belongings from New Jersey to Florida. Here’s her story!
How did you come to start living with Landing?
I always wanted to live in Florida. My husband lost his job after COVID-19 and I worked from home, so we decided to sell our house and move to St. Augustine so my husband could work with his cousin. I was up at night worried about how I was going to manage a move across states with two kids and all of our stuff.
When you sell a house, you don’t get any money until after you close, and you have to be out before then. It would have cost close to $10,000 to move our house from New Jersey to Florida, which is a big expense in the middle of selling a house. It was so daunting to me, and I wished there was a temporary place where we could settle for a little while and figure it out.
I came across Landing when someone else was talking about their experience with temporary housing in St. Augustine and started looking into it. It almost sounded too good to be true. I signed up and felt like I had nothing really to lose because it cost me the membership fee, and then I didn’t have to pay anything until I was actually moving. It was such a relief.
It gave me the feeling of, “I’m moving to Florida but nothing’s permanent.” If we hated it, we could always go back. It gave me a sense of calm. I wasn’t stuck there. I wasn’t paying a mortgage. I don’t know how people move from one place to another and immediately buy a house somewhere else where they’ve never lived. That sounds like a lot to me!
How long did you live with Landing, and what was your experience like?
We lived in our Landing for six months from September to March. We basically had a little trailer with all of our stuff and kept everything else in storage up north. I didn’t even need to bring as much as I did—we just brought our clothes, their toys, and our stuff, and we moved right in. I didn’t feel like I moved, really!
My kids thought the Landing was so cool because it kind of felt like living in a condo/hotel for a while. They loved the community. We made friends with our neighbors, and actually, our neighbors upstairs from us there now have a house in the same complex we’re in. Our old neighbor downstairs pretty much wanted to adopt my kids as her grandkids. Not only do you have a place to live, but you also have a sense of community when you move to your next place, especially someplace like Florida where everyone is from somewhere else and looking to make new friends because they’re from all over the place.
My dog was also living his best life at our Landing. We had a dog park in the complex, and he had the best social life out of all of us. At 5 p.m., everyone would get out of work and bring their dog to the park.
The apartment was great, and I was happy to be there for a while. The house we sold was three floors, and I was just sick of cleaning it. The apartment literally took me two minutes to clean, and you don’t have to worry about taking care of a lawn and that kind of stuff.
How did you come to buy your house in St. Augustine?
We actually weren’t even looking for a house. I met somebody at a car dealership who said they were all buying houses in a new development, and once they told me about it, I knew it was the kind of house for me. There was no hassle or bidding, and they wouldn’t increase the price once I signed, even if something like the cost of lumber went up.
I wasn’t planning on buying, but then I saw interest rates start to rise and saw the housing market getting competitive, and I didn’t want to get priced out of the area since we had decided that’s where we wanted to live. We wound up buying new construction so we had to wait until it was finished. It was three streetlights down from our Landing—our kids didn’t have to change schools or anything.
Thinking about moving somewhere new but want to test it out beforehand? Learn more about what a Landing membership can do for you, and learn about other Landing members’ stories in our blog post, “How Flexible Living Is Enabling Prospective Homebuyers to Test New Cities.”