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Hello, new member with questions
Old 03-16-2004, 08:06 AM   #1
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Hello, new member with questions

I have been reading this great site for a while now. Here's a little about myself and a few questions.

I am definitly ready to fully retire. I personally consider myself semi-retired, I work 20 hours a week (I come and go as I please and the schedule is as flexible as I need) and don't plan on going back to full-time. I've been in the corporate treadmill and am not interested in it. I'd rather paint fulltime and not care about selling my work.

My husband is a freelance artist and we have 4 children (11, 12, 12, & 14). We are 44 & 47, have rental income, pay our own health insurance, and could retire now if we sold the house and moved to a less expensive area. The calculations in the FIREcalc show that for what we will need we have 100% chance of success for the next 45 years.

We are in the northeast but luckily bought land and built our home 7 years ago so we can benefit from the appreciation of our home. Unfortunately, our town is reassessing homes to market value and we expect our property taxes to go up to $12,000- 14,000 per year. The only thing keeping us from moving is the school system, all the friends that our children have, and the sense of community for them. At the most we will probably be here for another 7 years.

I am expecting the housing prices in this area to stop rising and eventually go down a bit but in 7 years we should be at the level we are at now or a little higher. Does anyone have comments on what they think the real estate market in the northeast (NY/NJ) will be like in the next few years?

Having worked out different RE scenarios, I am looking at different states/climates, etc., that we may want to move to. One of the places is the gulf coast of Florida, specifically the Port Charlotte/Englewood area. Does anyone have info about living there? Houses don't seem very expensive, taxes are reasonable, being near the water would be nice, and no snow is fine with me. What about humidity, bugs, etc.

Any comments would be appreciated and thanks for a great site.
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Re: Hello, new member with questions
Old 03-16-2004, 08:30 AM   #2
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Re: Hello, new member with questions

Its been a while since I lived in the new england area, but I did manage to buy at the top of an old bubble and rode it all the way down and back up again.

I saw a real estate report that listed the Boston area as the biggest RE bubble in the nation. That wouldnt make me comfortable. Nor would $14000 in RE taxes. That must be a 100 acres with a 7000 sq foot house on it, yes? The home I bought there in 1985 for $160k, 55 year old 3 bedroom 1 1/2 bath on a slab with a .25 acre lot is selling for almost $400k now. The house would cost roughly $150k to rebuild from scratch and the homes are pretty tired. That piece of land isnt worth $250k.

Statistically, children who finish school in the same place and live out their childhood in one home have a reasonably higher chance of being successful. While there arent enough data sets to determine this, its likely that the value of having both parents unstressed and around all the time may be more beneficial to them than sitting still. That RE tax nut coupled with the RE bubble would have me down buying boxes and packing by the end of the day.

Have you done a detailed budget to determine actual real costs, and have you factored in the net present annual costs of longer term items? Replacement cars, tires, major appliances, furniture replacement, major dental work, new roof, etc. can really boost your real costs when annualized. I just did a major budget analysis and my numbers were hard costs (utilities, health care, food, etc) were roughly $16k, elective spending was about $8k, and annualized major purchases were $6k. These are very conservative numbers, but the 6k annualized number was a little eye popping.

With all due respect to our beloved Floridians, the keys are the only place I've found interesting. The humidity and bugs in the summer are killers, the hurricanes dictate the need for a fairly sturdy house. You might consider areas in the southwest and northwest. Parts of texas, nevada, california, oregon and washington are reasonably priced, out of the snow belt, decent weather and interesting local places to explore. As artists, I would imagine you would really like Californias Marin County just north of san francisco...which is predominately peopled with well to do retired artists. Hard to find a low cost property there, but they can be had. The area between santa cruz and monterrey just south of SF is also a haven to laid back artist types and reasonable priced properties can be found with a little investigative work.

One of the biggest variable costs in retirement is travel and vacationing. Considering the area within 100 miles of SF has dozens of major areas that are vacation hotspots, and hundreds of interesting tourist attractions, the ability to day trip your "travel" and "vacations" is a real cost benefit. We take a couple of day trips a month to places from the Hearst Castle in San Simeon up to Muir Woods at the Marin Headlands, to downtown SF's fishermans wharf, to Napa Valley wine tastings, and skiing/hiking at Lake Tahoe.
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