On the Season 12 episode “Second Chance Lottery,” Bromstad meets with Bettyann and Jerry, a couple who live in upstate New York but are shopping for a vacation home where they can eventually retire.
Rather than win the lottery, this couple received a settlement from Jerry’s motorcycle accident. And since they’re big fans of Bromstad’s show, they are thrilled to have his help finding a new place.
“When I was in the hospital, in rehab, trying to get better, I was in a really bad place,” Jerry explains to Bromstad. “And I watch your show all the time, and you’re such a genuine person.”
With a budget of $500,000, Bettyann and Jerry will need to find a sun-filled paradise that isn’t overly expensive, and Bromstad knows where to look: St. Augustine, FL.
This coastal town south of Jacksonville is filled with homes in their price range, and Bromstad shows them three options with very different pros and cons. Find out which property catches their eye, and why—and learn what to look for in a retirement home of your own.
It doesn’t take long to grow your own greenery
When Bettyann and Jerry first meet with Bromstad, Bettyann mentions that she wants mature landscaping.
“I want the outside to be beautiful, ’cause it’s Florida—you know, something that has a lot of plants around it,” she says.
However, the first house he shows them, a four-bedroom, two-bathroom listed at $469,000, doesn’t have the foliage Bettyann is hoping for.
“It’s a newer community, so we’re not having really tall trees,” Bromstad says. “But listen, things grow like weeds here and they grow all year-round. So creating that lush paradise will be a really fun affair.”
The take-home lesson here is that a vacation home doesn’t need the perfect foliage right away. As long as a property has space to plant, you could watch your lush greenery grow year after year.
An open floor plan makes gathering easy
One thing vacationers want is space to gather after a day at the beach—and the key to an organic gathering space is an open layout.
“Obviously, you can see there’s so much space here,” Bromstad says when he shows Jerry and Bettyann the kitchen and living room of that first house.
Indeed, the common area is big, making it perfect for hanging out with family. It’s a reminder that while a lot of people focus on the location of a vacation home, buyers should make sure the living space is functional, too.
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Wood paneling can add beauty to a bedroom
The second house Bromstad shows Jerry and Bettyann is another four-bedroom, to-bathroom priced a little higher, at $415,000. This home is older than the first, but it’s been renovated to look new. The home features beautiful attention to detail, including wall paneling along one wall in the living room and the headboard wall in the main bedroom.
“Look at this beautiful detail,” Bromstad says. “Isn’t it lovely?”
Paneling like this isn’t too hard to add (in case the perfect home doesn’t come with elegant finishes like this), and it makes a big impression.
A swimming pool and a fireplace are vacation-worthy perks
Bettyann and Jerry say that one thing on their must-have list is a pool. However, a home with a pool is hard to find in their price range, so Bromstad is happy to show them this home’s backyard, which has both an elegant fireplace and plenty of space to install a pool.
“I could see the pool right here,” Jerry says when he steps outside.
The lesson here: A vacation home doesn’t need to have every single feature on your list, but as long as it has room to change and upgrade, it could be a perfect choice.
A bathroom near the pool is a big plus
The last home Bromstad shows Bettyann and Jerry is a large four-bedroom, four-bathroom with everything on their wish list, including lush greenery in the front yard. However, it’s over budget, at $535,000. Still, they are enticed by the pool in the backyard and the extra bathrooms in the house, including one that opens right to the backyard, offering easy access from the pool.
“This area makes wonderful sense,” Bromstad says when he shows this restroom. “Pool, and then come in here, take a shower, dry off, so you’re not getting the whole house filthy.”
Which house do they pick?
In the end, Bettyann and Jerry decide to buy house No. 3, despite it being the most expensive.
Bromstad loves their choice.
“The best we’ve hit by far! It had your lushness, the Florida vibe. It just had space,” he says.
Four weeks later, Bettyann and Jerry are happy with their new home.
“The trees got me, just everything outside,” Bettyann says. It looks like these two are now set to retire in style!