Dave learned of the Free State Project from the 2002 article about it by Walter Williams and was very intrigued by the idea. He visited their website from time to time and sometime after New Hampshire was chosen as the state, he decided to sign up. That was in 2005 so we have been planning an eventual move to New Hampshire for all that time. We both also knew though that because of family and career obligations the move would be a long way off. Nevertheless, we started attending PorcFest regularly beginning with our first one in 2007. On most of the trips we would then spend a few days in Hampton Beach before heading home. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to live close to the beach in a seacoast town. We spent the last 25 years living 3 blocks from the ocean in the resort town of Belmar, New Jersey. Dave likes to joke that he needs to live near to ocean to make it easier for him to escape. So every year after PorcFest we would drive up and down the 18-mile coastline in NH although we always knew that Hampton Beach was where we wanted to move to because it reminds us so much of our 25 year hometown of Belmar.
We started coming to Hampton Beach during midsummer too, spending time at the beach and driving around all the neighborhoods to determine where about we wanted to live. We knew it had to be walking (or running) distance to the beach or Dave wouldn’t be satisfied. Eventually we narrowed it down to North Shore Road…the end of North Shore Road that’s closest to the beach. It’s a beautiful, quiet neighborhood and it’s right near a couple of really nice beaches and so, of course, nothing decent ever goes up for sale there.
It wasn’t a big issue though because the whole while Karen was still hesitant about making the move. Her entire family was in NJ, our daughters were still attending school in NJ and of course she was worried about jobs and money. Basically all the same stuff that other potential movers face. Time has a way of working things out though and now our parents are all gone, some of Karen’s other relatives have moved out of the area and others are planning to, our daughters are both out of the school system and Karen became virtual office at her job so she wasn’t pinned to a certain location.
Even with all that stuff working its way out we still weren’t thinking that we would be here anytime soon because despite being on several real estate email alert lists, for years nothing came up that was even close to being our “it” property. We would look at stuff when we were up here anyway but none of it was really what we wanted and what we wanted most was a nice patch of land so we could build a new house just the way we want it with a first floor master bedroom, a study for Dave with an exhaust fan for his cigarette smoke and a 3 car garage. Because we were so particular about what we wanted and where it had to be, many years went by and even though we weren’t really thinking too seriously about moving, nothing was ever available anyway.
This past January everything changed.
On January 3 we received an email from one of the realtors with which we had set up an automatic notification account. We would receive these emails almost every day, but they were always no good for one reason or another. This one was different.
We couldn’t believe our eyes. It was a nice, dry, 100X100 lot with a crappy old house on it. It was located exactly at what we called “ground zero”, the exact location on exactly the street we wanted to live on. Because the house was so small and in such poor condition we were really only paying for the land. We immediately called the realtor who was kind enough to send us lots of pictures of the lot and the surrounding area.
We knew that it wouldn’t last long especially with an open house being planned for that very weekend. There was no way we could get to New Hampshire in time to prevent somebody else from buying it so we decided to make an offer, sight unseen, with the contingency that an engineer determines that the property would be approved for building the house we wanted to build on it. The house was owned by an elderly widow who could no longer live alone or even manage her own affairs, so her nephew was handling the house sale for her. He came back with a counter offer which we happily accepted.
The following weekend after we put in our bid, and after the seller had accepted our offer, and after an engineer confirmed it was a perfectly buildable lot, we took a trip up to NH to actually see the property. It could not have been more perfect, far better than anything we thought we could have hoped to find. Not only was it a short walk to the beaches, it backed against some really nice woods frequented by deer and wild turkeys.
We also found out that one of the neighbors there had been patiently waiting for years for that property to go up for sale, as it was owned by an elderly lady who would be needing to move to an assisted living place. The neighbor told us that as soon as the “for sale” sign went up, she put in a bid at the asking price, but was shocked to find out that someone (we) already signed a contract to buy the house. Apparently it was a day or two between when it was listed on the web and when the sign went up. Good thing we acted so quickly! She was very nice about it though and forgave us for (unwittingly) buying the house out from underneath her. We have become good friends and I may start going to the shooting range with her husband and son.
After returning home from that visit Dave went to see his boss to tell him we were moving. Even though Dave was already telecommuting a few days a week he was still expecting to lose his job and figured he would just have to find something to do locally even if it was for a lot less pay. Amazingly Dave’s boss wanted to keep him on even if it meant he could only come to the office a few times a year. So now he and Karen both work full time from home.
Between the time we purchased this property in NH and when we moved to NH, we took several trips up here to meet with an architect and with some builders in the Hampton area. We found an architect we liked and worked with her to come up with a great set of house plans. We met with several builders and decided on a very well-known and reputable builder in Hampton area and this begins our journey.
Move forward a few months, we sold our house in NJ the end of August and found a rental house in Hampton 3 miles from the building site. We moved in August 29. Members of the Project should be glad we hired a moving company and didn’t ask the Welcome Wagon for their help unloading as we filled an entire United Van Lines moving van!
We have been living here ever since, while we wait for our new house to be built.
We have 2 college-aged daughters. One stayed in NJ to finish college at Rutgers. The other one is attending WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) in Worcester, Mass.
We are loving living here in NH and so happy to be away from that tax crazed state of NJ. We both got immediate raises in our paychecks as New Jersey’s income tax no longer applies to us. It’s beautiful here and we anticipate many happy years together in our new house.
We haven’t made it to any Free State meetings yet, but do plan on doing that and joining FreeCoast. We already are on Facebook groups for both. One problem for Dave is that fans of his popular blog won’t let him stop reporting about politics in Belmar and two months after moving away he still has over 800 readers and thousands of hits every day. It takes up a lot of his free time, but he doesn’t want to let down his readers and his friends down there.
It’s been a long journey, but we finally made it home and are loving it here!! Our only regret is that we wish we could have done it sooner.
David Schneck and Karen Oliveri, Hampton, NH