My Neighborhood Is Changing. The Rich Are Moving In. And That Might Be A Problem.

In 1987, I bought a home in The Hamptons, NY. At that time, any home located south of the dividing line, which happened to be Montauk Highway, was considered only for the super wealthy, since the south side was the ocean side. The north side, which was the bay side, was where the locals and laborers lived, since it was considered the ‘poor side of the tracks’. And that’s where our Hamptons home was located: where the working poorers lived. Fast forward 16 years, and most of the land south of The Montauk Highway had been built up. Where did the Rich and Famous feast their greedy eyes upon next? You guessed it: the north side.

It worked out well for me because I was able to sell a home I paid $135,000 for in 1987 at an upper six-digit price point. I made so much money in equity I was able to retire at the age of 50 in 2001. In reality however, I sold because I couldn’t compete with my new super rich neighbors. Their high prices forced all property taxes sky high and eventually I couldn’t afford to live where I was living. To this day, my daughters have not forgiven me for selling their childhood home because they lost easy access to a beach. If they wanted to spend a weekend in The Hamptons now, it would cost them upwards of $1500, from a Friday night to a Sunday morning.

Oh well.

I used my Hampton Home equity to purchase land in upstate New York and custom build a modular home upon it. All for cash. Up where I live now, you’re not judged on the car you drive, the clothes you wear or the jewelry you adorn yourself with. You’re judged on how many acres you own. Since I only own 3.5 acres, I’m considered, yet once again, the poorer folk. Again, fast forward to today, eighteen years later since we all moved to The Hudson Valley, I am again facing the same materialistic, greedy, financial upheaving as I did back in 2001. Almost all of my original neighbors have sold and moved onward on to their own retirement bliss. The last original home across the street from me just posted a ‘For Sale’ sign and with him gone, DH and I are the last original standouts. In the replacements coming to become our new neighbors, each and every one of them are super, super rich. They have taken homes that they purchased for $250,000 and turned them into $800,000 (and rising) multi-million dollar Hamptonish-styled mega homes, complete with pools and security guards. The homes around the corner from us have now all been priced in the millions and severe electronic security gates have been installed. Celebrities, sports stars, movie moguls, Wall Street vampires have moved into our neighborhood by the Mercedes-loads.

With this influx comes the higher property prices AND the higher property taxes to match. Currently our neighborhood has had their property prices re-evaluated and we will get the results in 2020. While maybe it might be nice to rake in another huge influx of cash should we sell, but what if we don’t want to sell? Indirectly, we are being forced out of our home. It’s just a matter of time that no matter how we will qualify for any senior citizen discounts, our days of living here may just be about over.

The rich have destroyed yet another neighborhood due to greed. They’ve destroyed New York City. Because of the high property prices and higher yet rents the rich can pay, they have forced many people out on the streets and have become the new homeless. They’ve decimated The Hamptons and now they have aimed their architects and interior designers upon The Hudson Valley.

neighbor pool.JPG

 

One of our new neighbors (whose home sits on 10 acres) had a welcoming party at the end of last summer. I wrote about it (click here) (and no! I was never invited back). At the party, I met another new fellow neighbor who just purchased a home, with a horse barn on its total two acres. He asked me what living up here meant. I told him that I found out the hard way when I first moved up, that you’re not judged by the clothes you wear, the car you drive or the jewelry you adorn yourself with. Your status in the community is judged by how many acres you  own. “I only own two acres” he said to me. “I only own 3.5” I replied. “Guess we’re the two brokesters on the block” I finalized the conversation.

Obviously, he thought about what I said and didn’t like it. Next time we met (wife was walking her dog), the wife told hubby and me that they bought the connecting property next to theirs. Without batting an eyelid, my hubby asked the wife “How many acres?” She rolled up her eyes, as if she was counting and then replied: “We bought 57 acres. We bought everything.” And with that, they became the richest people in the ‘neighborhood’. “We bought it because it had a barn on it. We want to fix up the barn and join the local Barn Historical Society and be a part of their annual barn tours.” Sure enough, when we drove by, there was the barn, built back in the 1800’s being revamped and revitalized. They had just received a shipload of new barn wood that hubby estimated to be worth in the tens of thousands of dollars. The new neighbor, being a hot shot, licensed PE (Professional Engineer) from New York City was probably enchanted to have a new hobby that interested him. And a matching bank account.

And with that, the wife yanked in her precious, trendy, double mixed pedigree breed (a pedigree poodle and pedigree labrador that produced the ugliest but super expensive mixed-pedigree dog I have ever seen @$3600) got into her 2019 Maybach Mercedes  (The V12-powered S 650 Maybach will cost you around $200,000, plus another $1,700 in gas-guzzler tax) and drove back to the city. “We only come here on the weekends” she boasted. They arrive Friday night, dine out every Saturday night at THEE most expensive restaurants in town and hurry back home to their New Jersey Estate. I asked if she and her husband had any intention of moving here permanently? “Never” was her response. Nice to be rich, isn’t it?

I won’t be inviting any of our new neighbors over for coffee in my home anytime soon. Nor will hubby and I ever be invited again to any other neighborhood get-togethers. It doesn’t take a genius to see that hubby and I no longer belong or fit in to our own neighborhood. We don’t drive a Mercedes. We don’t have an inground pool. We don’t own horses or goats or chickens. We didn’t plant any apple or peach orchards on our property, Our RV is parked right out there in plain sight. Our dog is a rescue mutt. We can’t afford to dine at those chic, super expensive, gourmet exotic local restaurants in town. We don’t have an elaborate gated security system. We don’t have a landscaper. We don’t have a gardener. We don’t have a maid nor employ any help whatsoever.

The earliest we can sell is in two years when hubby qualifies for Social Security and Medicare. The great part is that we will have so much equity built up we can retire a bit richer ourselves, than planned. But we will have been priced out of yet another neighborhood because we couldn’t predict the future. And my daughters and granddaughters probably won’t talk to me for another year or two because I sold our country home and they lost access yet once again to a great area up in the mountains. (The hotels and B&Bs here charge between $275 and $400 a night!)

Oh well.

Here are some photos of the barn my new neighbors plan on re-vitalizing and adding to the town’s historical register. They have cleared out the land surrounding the barn array as well as empty out all the barn structures of debris and decades of garbage. Yay for the community! Yay for them! Nay for me.

 

 

 

16 comments

  1. Hi there – What a timely blog as I sit here this morning listening to tree after tree fall on the 188 acres behind my house. A house that we have lived in for 21 years and raised our daughter in. We are not in NY but in a metro Atlanta county – 40 miles south of Atlanta. Used to be the boondocks. I remembered when we moved up from West Palm Beach so long ago. It didn’t matter what way I went it was 10 miles one way to the nearest town. It was a busy day if you passed a car mid morning coming back that way. You have highlighted exactly what is happening to high growth areas. 100 homes are planned for that land behind me, in addition to the 100 planned for the next street over and 54 planned for the end of the street. Property taxes are soaring year after year. I have been retired for 2 years and my hubby has 1 or 2 left to go. Of course we are selling and getting out of here. This has never been an area for seniors. So we look to north GA -away from all interstates because of the criminals which use them bring drugs, gang activity and all sorts of criminal activity to the nearby areas. Keep up the good work – I really enjoy your point of view on so many issues that you write about. You give me much needed food for thought.

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    • Hello Patricia. I’m saddened to hear about what has happened to your area. What do they want from us? Where can we go? I’m not looking forward to moving BUT I would like to move to someplace warmer.
      Thanks for your comment and the kindly words of praise. 🙂

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  2. Sorry to hear that. I know how disheartening that is.
    We were perfectly happy here on our 15 acres out in the country in our small 30 year old mobile home, and a Floridian bought 5 acres behind us, built a big fancy house, and big tin barn that is gorgeous inside, with half of it set up as living quarters, with an Italian marble bathroom. He runs a hunting lodge, bringing 10-12 guys a couple of times a year to hunt for 2-4 weeks each time. Did I mention the house is less than 75′ from our living room door?
    We pay our land off in 2 years, and I’m thinking we could make enough on selling this land to him to buy a small house elsewhere if we decide to move.

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    • I wonder, Robin, if the 75 feet from your living room door is even legal? Maybe he violated the building codes?
      When I first moved here, the code was one house per 3 acres. Then it was increased to one house per five acres. They just recently upped the requirement to 10 acres! So, I am very happy for that. At least this town board is aware of what is going on and are trying to stop it. Many of my neighbors have admitted to buying up all these parcels of land specifically so no one else can build on it. That’s another good thing.
      We’ll see what is going to happen for us in the near future, one day at a time. We can only hope.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the same reason we bought our land, so we wouldn’t have any next door neighbors. We chose not to have any yard lights, but they have 3 huge street lights and bright lights over all their doors, so it lights up our whole yard between us. Plus we now have to have curtains on most of our windows.

        This is a farming community on the poorer end of the county. Didn’t know that at the time we bought it. Seeing as there are lots of small clusters of houses along the highway we live on and all of the surrounding county roads, It’s a safe bet there are no building codes. Although we don’t like it, we’re learning to accept it. Knowing we could potentially double our money on our place makes it bearable. 🙂

        Good luck with your neighborhood!

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      • Thanks Robin. Whether we like it or not, looks like we will have to sell because of the rising taxes (which is what NY is known sadly for) We’ll count our money and run, run, run to someplace less expensive. We still don’t know where we are going to go. All I know is that the weather will be warmer!
        Thanks for your comment.
        Hang in there!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Although the property tax will go up (only the land portion for you which is a govt. issue), it appears that you benefited from their improvements. You know I adore you Cindi, but I don’t understand the hate. People who can afford bigger and better are just people with more money. They aren’t better than you. Who cares? I would imagine that their large bank accounts also bring in larger problems (self esteem with needing more acres, for one). I might be in the minority, but I don’t think the super wealthy are evil. We have super wealthy people in our area as well. There are some wonderful rich people (some of the attorneys in Joe’s office are SUPER rich) and there are some nasty ones. BUT there are nice and nasty middle class and poor people in our area as well.

    People with humility, integrity, and honesty are the ones I want to be around, whether they have millions or hundreds of dollars.

    I would challenge you to invite one of your neighbors for coffee, and tell them about all the wonderful history in the area. One bite of your delicious food would be all they need to be your ‘best friend’.

    Enjoy your 3 1/2 acres with your sweet husband and keep on keeping on.

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    • Sharon, when I was ‘rich’ I didn’t mind the rich. I was one of them. But now that I’m ‘formerly rich’ I see them in a different light. You forget that I lived in the Hamptons for 16 years….the land of the super duper rich plus I owned a company there for 4 years. The rich really aren’t such nice people. They are, for the most part, very abusive and truly take advantage of people below them. Sorry.
      It’s the rich landlords who want to get richer who are greedy and pushing out the tenants. By the rich coming up here where I live and buying up ALL the land, they have left nothing for anyone else. The code here is one house per 10 acres (used to be three). So, by buying 57 acres, 5 families will never be able to build here. Does this neighbor need almost 60 acres for himself? I think its great that they are remodeling and repairing the barn and placing it under the historical label for future generations to see. But that barn tour cost $25 a person. That would be $50 for Nick and I to look at the old barns we used to see for free.
      Other than you and your husband, I have never met a nice rich person in my 60+ years of living. They have no idea what living on medicaid or food stamps is like. They have no compassion for most anyone who is less than them. I find the rich I have met to be heartless and abusive. Demeaning to say the least.
      I know if I invited one of my neighbors in my home and they saw my white kitchen appliances, they would snub me. There’s nothing of status in my home. Nothing. Nor could Nick and I afford to go out to dinner with them. Trust me. They’re NOT going to the diner for the Senior early-bird $10.99 special.
      I worked for 8 years at a super wealthy lawfirm in the Hamptons. The attorneys always bragged about their $40,000 dining room tables, $100,000 kitchen renovations and yet they went out to eat almost every day/night.
      One winter, after spending my vacation for 10 days at St. Croix, the senior partner called me in to his office to discuss it. He asked me how a woman such as myself, who only made $480 a week could afford to go to St. Croix with her whole family. The nerve, right? I used to lie and tell people that since my husband worked for Disney, he earned a lot and that was how we could do things. “Well”, he said (and I’ll never for get it) “If you save up your pennies, maybe you can go again.” to which I replied, and it was the truth “If you book again for the next year, you get a 20% discount. So, I’ve already booked for next year.” and with that I got up and walked out of his office. I’m a financially savvy girl, that’s how I got things done. Using my brain. Also, I ran a computer company for 4 years there. I can write a book alone listening to all the shit those rich bastards used to pull on me: like buying a printer in May and then telling me in September the darn thing never worked and requesting a refund. Which meant they used a free printer over the summer at my expense. I can’t tell you how many of those friggin rich bastards would order computers from me, I’d deliver and set them up and then they would tell the credit card company they never received the computer, thus reversing the charge and I’d have to spend hours proving they did indeed receive those computers. I’d have to spend hours in paperwork. The rich aren’t rich by accident. They’re bottom feeders and yes, more and more I despise them. They seem to be getting worse and more greedy with each passing day. I should take a walk through my neighborhood and take pictures of how these super rich are building extreme mansions, some are also putting in massive B&Bs on their property because they all want to cash in that $400 to $450 a night charge. They throw a goat or two on their property, claim it’s farmland, thus avoiding paying the residential tax bill.
      The only good part is that I have been savvy enough to pick out great areas to live in NY that have increased in price. That’s my only benefit: to sell, count my money and get out.
      Not really what I had in mind.
      BTW: I did invite two of the neighbors over for dinner and they both declined. Also, over the years I have given ALL my neighbors presents for Christmas, like boxes of chocolate or baked items. Plus I sent each and every one of them Holiday Cards. Also, my next door neighbor had a stroke and was incapacitated for a while. I left a note in her mailbox, along with my cell phone number that if she needed anything, I was home all day and could help.
      No, Sharon. Not one person reciprocated.
      I’m beneath them. And they certainly let me know that I am.
      Since that welcome party of the newest neighbor last June, there have been several garden parties. Nick and I can see them when we drive by. And no, we’ve never been invited ever back.
      It’s painful, to say the least.
      Makes me happy knowing that in 2 years, we’ll be gone from here.

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  4. When I was a little girl, we moved from Boston to Memphis. We had never had a house before and all of a sudden we had a 6 bedroom, 3 bath house on a third an acre with pasture land, two ponds and a barn on the property behind our home. My parents paid $33K for that house.

    Three or four years later, the barn was bulldozed and the ponds were drained and a new subdivision was built on what had been such a lovely pasture. The horses were moved and never seen again. Such is progress, I guess. My parents sold our home for about 6X what they paid for it but the whole neighborhood has deteriorated now and they were thankful to escape in time.

    So sad.

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  5. I find that when I hold hard to past memories can ruin the future.
    I am sorry you have never met a nice rich person. Maybe it is a regional thing? Maybe that is why we long to be back in the West. The rich and poor work together and live well. No one knew which child would be rich in the next generation. In my little, pretty rich, world of my youth I found that everyone put on their underwear the same way I did….one leg at a time.
    We bought land in an area that had never been built on before. The owner, Mrs Bader. was old money- like in the $100 million money- besides the land. Every day she walked her dog. I really wish I had taken a picture. Her long grey hair was in a messy bun. She had a pair of fleece pants and a little house dress. In the winter she wore a large (she was quite small) work coat and mud boots. She came to our house, occasionally, to just share a cut of tea. Guess what? She simply loved company. Certainly no reason to hate her.

    Instead of worrying what your neighbors will snub you for, just don’t. Those who snub you were not worth your time anyway. You don’t need to keep up with the Jones. Every year go to the tax court and plead that your income has not changed – so neither should your tax. Maybe New York is one of the only states that does not listen to that plea. Maybe that is an Eastern thing as well?

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    • Janette, my experience has been that the Neuveau Riche of NYC are some of the nastiest people on the face of the earth. Their mantra is: “now I’ve made it, so F you”. Truly.
      My neighbor would have never gone out and bought all those acres if I didn’t tell him that that was the way the rich were judged in this particular part of the sate.
      Go figure.
      All of our original neighbors from 18 years ago when we first moved here, are all gone. And so will we.
      Thanks for your comment.

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  6. The only folks around here who drive the latest Mercedes are drug dealers….seriously. I am a social moron so I decline all party invites, except what I am required to go to….family functions (funerals lately), and work functions. I get all the people contact (and more) that I want at work. I could happily hide in a small mobile home in the middle of the woods and only come out for groceries and to see my kids occasionally. I was thinking about your situation and maybe if you sell, you could head to either East Tennessee, or Northwest Georgia? I am thinking being close to Chattanooga might be good because of your husband’s health issues. Nashville (Vanderbilt Univ.) and Atlanta (Emory Univ.) have excellent medical care, hospitals etc., Tennessee has some of the lowest taxes of any state, and you could take RV easily to either Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, or North Florida coast for the beach, and you would be living in the beautiful mountains of Tennessee/Georgia. Lots of retirees in the area from all over because of the tax structure.

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    • Hi Cindy. My husband’s closest cousin just moved to Tennessee. Last time we were there (Dollywood) we LOVED TN. So, yes, it’s on the table as one of our choices. Next time we drive down south we’re stopping at my husband’s cousin new house. We know lots of fellow retirees who have relocated there so it’s a possibility.
      We were also thinking of Georgia. Many retirement active communities popping up and we intend to check those out as well.
      Thanks for the tips. It’s good to know we may be on the right track after all!

      Like

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