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Newly retired - need advice on home search
Old 10-29-2014, 12:45 PM   #1
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Newly retired - need advice on home search

Hi - I'm 56, and just retired a couple of months ago. DH plans to work for 3-4 more years. We currently live in Illinois, but would like to avoid frigid winters, State income tax, and high property taxes, all of which are present in IL. Our retirement income will consist of government pensions (federal and state), and social security. We also have 401(k) and 457(k) plans, but we don't intend on tapping into those resources until age 701/2. We are considering moving to North/South Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida (DH doesn't like desert). With such a large geographic area to consider, I'm looking for advice on a good method to use to start narrowing down the areas under consideration. I'm free to travel during the winter to visit/scope out locations, but DH is not. Any advice wold be much appreciated!
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:55 PM   #2
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Some friends of ours moved to SC because of the climate and they said their pension income is not subject to state income tax. While we are not relocating, if we were I would be careful to look at the total tax burden (income, property, sales, etc) as well as climate, etc. in deciding.

Have you checked out Find Your Spot?
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Old 10-29-2014, 01:03 PM   #3
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When doing a similar exercise for myself, I made a huge list in a spreadsheet of all the factors I cared about, and did web-based research to fill it out. This provided a short-list of contenders. Once we had the short list, we took a week's driving holiday (you may need multiple since I suspect you are covering more area than we did) and got a sense for each of the towns in person. We now have our final selection, but we plan to rent there for the first year just in case we don't like living there as much as we hope we will.

For us, the factors were the following:
- presence of hospital (this was a must-have)
- presence of transportation options since we don't have a car
- weather, we sampled averages for January/July temps and year-round precipitation, both inches and days of precipitation
- shopping options for things we cared about (for us, this was discount supermarkets, bulk food stores, and bike stores)
- town atmosphere (gathered using google streetview - we would first search for restaurants in the town, then use streetview along the streets that had the most restaurants)
- real estate prices
- population (including if it's growing or shrinking - we considered shrinking to be a bad sign)

To get the initial list I googled for a list of hospitals in our province and looked at each town that contained one. I did real estate prices next, and eliminated towns where the average house price was over a given threshold. Then I fleshed out the rest and based on that, we got it down to a short list of about 15.
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Old 10-29-2014, 01:22 PM   #4
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The idea of travelling to and vacationing in candidate locations is a good one. While there you can assess real estate values and community feel.

Since this is a big move - once you've made your selection it might be a good idea to rent for the first 6 months or a year. It's hard to judge a neighborhood till you live in it. I'm a homeowner, but I've made four out of state moves as an adult. For me - I didn't learn neighborhood quirks and benefits till I'd lived in the area for a while. In one case - the entire region (as well as the job I'd moved for) turned out to be an awful fit - and because I was renting, I was able to break my lease and move back to my previous state - with much less financial cost than if I'd already purchased in the new location. (I was also very fortunate that my home hadn't sold in my previous location so I was able to cancel the listing and move back in - thank you Blizzard of 96 for slowing the real estate market at an opportune time.)
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Old 10-29-2014, 01:30 PM   #5
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Lots of similar threads, here's my response to one of them. Best of luck.

Has Anyone recently migrated to Florida?
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Old 10-31-2014, 05:50 AM   #6
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Hi feeling,

Have you ever seen this: Find Your Spot | Find Your Spot
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Old 10-31-2014, 07:51 AM   #7
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Welcome feelinggreatafter28!

I did a ton of online research on Arizona and Florida, and traveled to both. I also made a short list of must haves and should haves that I used to narrow done my search. Once I settled on northeast valley of Phoenix, I contacted a realtor and told her my priorities. We looked at several of her recommendations and found one that fit very well.
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Old 10-31-2014, 08:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by racy View Post
Hi feeling,

Have you ever seen this: Find Your Spot | Find Your Spot
Be aware that after you enter all your information you are asked for personal information, including your email address.
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Old 10-31-2014, 11:05 AM   #9
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Be aware that after you enter all your information you are asked for personal information, including your email address.
And if I remember correctly receive at least one email. Think I just put it in spam. Good luck on your search. We've been looking on and off for 4 years. Thanks for starting a great thread.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Early Retirement Forum mobile app
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Old 10-31-2014, 11:19 AM   #10
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Welcome! There are lots of threads here that can help with details, but Spudd's suggestion to make your list of "non-negotiables" regarding the place where you want to live is an excellent place to start. I also second rodi's suggestion to consider renting before buying.

What a fun adventure since you seem to have few constraints! Now that you are retired, you've got time to do it right!
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Old 10-31-2014, 11:36 AM   #11
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Be aware that after you enter all your information you are asked for personal information, including your email address.
Hi Travelover,
Good point. BTW, so does EarlyRetirement.org
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Old 10-31-2014, 12:12 PM   #12
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Hi Travelover,
Good point. BTW, so does EarlyRetirement.org
Yea, but it seems a little underhanded to wait to ask until you have committed to entering all the data, before asking for your personal info.

That said it is a useful site.
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