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Retire Near Water at Reasonable Cost
Old 03-08-2008, 08:53 AM   #1
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Retire Near Water at Reasonable Cost

DW and I want to live near water, either ocean or substantial lakes, so we can enjoy boating (though we probably won't be boatowners in retirement). Ideally within a half-hour if not closer and moderate weather (ie, not Florida/Georgia and not New England) and a reasonable COL. We could afford more, but to us, $350-400K for a home is our emotional upper limit - we're in the Midwest where that would buy a spectacular house. And we don't want a big house anyway, probably 1100-1500 sqft. (Ross Chapin designs appeal to us). We're thinking middle Atlantic (MD or Carolinas) - but suggestions would be most welcome. Nothing against the Left Coast, it just looks too expensive unless you go well inland, which we don't want. Hope to visit and decide in the next 2-4 years.
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:06 AM   #2
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I'm not sure how you define "moderate weather", but if you are OK with the weather in the Midwest, why not consider something in the same general area? There are several large lakes in the eastern and southern portion of Oklahoma, Lake Eufaula and Lake Texoma for example.
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:11 AM   #3
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There's a favorite vacation area of mine on the Left Coast that is worth mentioning. Washington State's Olympic Penninsula. The northeast corner is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and gets just a fraction of the rain of Seattle. Very mild climate and absolutely beautiful country! Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca nearby. It's far enough from Seattle to have more affordable real estate, yet close enough by ferry to go enjoy the big city activities.

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Old 03-08-2008, 09:11 AM   #4
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It depends on the kind of town (size, amenities your looking for). For NC, look at New Bern, NC (Fairfield Harbor) on water - although not great for shopping etc IMHO. Greenville, NC is college town with Med School and is 30 - 60 minutes from water. There are many smaller towns on or near intercoastal waterway - my favorite is Oriental, NC (sailing capitol of NC) but it is away from shopping, medical, etc. Link to local website for a feel of area:
TownDock.net | Oriental NC News

Can't help with other states, maybe you can get Sarah in SC to recommend areas around Charleston.
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:13 AM   #5
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ReWahoo forgot to add, you want to stay on the Oklahoma side so the chiggers won't get you!
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:17 AM   #6
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ReWahoo forgot to add, you want to stay on the Oklahoma side so the chiggers won't get you!
Absolutely. The very worst chigger infestation I ever endured was on a camping trip to the Texas side of Lake Texoma as a kid. I think that's was the beginning of my lifelong battle with chiggerphobia...
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:20 AM   #7
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I'm not sure how you define "moderate weather", but if you are OK with the weather in the Midwest, why not consider something in the same general area? There are several large lakes in the eastern and southern portion of Oklahoma, Lake Eufaula and Lake Texoma for example.
We're near Chicago, and we hate the weather here. It's pretty nice during summer although it can get surprisingly hot, but way too cold and we get sick of shoveling snow every winter (I think March is the toughest month for most of us here, winter wears on you). San Francisco looks like an ideal climate, but obviously the cost of living there (or anywhere near it) is orders of magnitude out of the ballpark to us. San Diego looks great too, but cost of living is absolutely out of the question there too. Looks like a fun place to live (really), but I don't understand how anyone moves to California anymore unless they are way inland (which just doesn't suit us).
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:39 AM   #8
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You can pick up almost anything available in St. Bernard Parish for $150K, even the gutted and renovated homes, and a lot of it is right on the water with immediate access to the Gulf of Mexico. Beautiful waterways, too, with good people down there and a quiet, independent, country way of life with lots of space, but only 30-60 minutes or so from New Orleans. The weather is warm all year round, and if you are on or in the water the humidity is not really an issue. But, maybe it is too warm for you.

I wouldn't live there for all the tea in China, and felt that way before Katrina as well. It's not within the levee system that used to protect us.

Frank's step sister's family lived down there in Violet, in a gorgeous new home (with a downstairs master bathroom to DIE for - - OMG, huge shower, stained glass, spa tub with a flat screen TV hanging on a swivel arm over it, real marble!!!), but it took close to 20 feet of water during Katrina. Even items on the upper shelves of the upstairs closets got soaked, and several of their neighbors on that block drowned as the water topped the roofs on two story homes by several feet. They moved to Madisonville, north of the city, as their home in Violet was a write-off.

Sorry - - guess I am being morose, and I was surprised at how open your requirements for a home seem to be.
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:40 AM   #9
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I live in Columbia, SC. We have 2 major lakes within minutes (Lake Murray on the west side of town; Lake Wateree to the north).
Houses cost around $100 per sqft which makes it $110k to $150k for the size you are looking for. I paid $950 property tax for my house ($160k) last year.
For your budget you can get a house directly on the lake.
Columibia is about 90 miles from the ocean (Charlestong, Myrtle Beach) and same distance from the mountains/hills.
The only downside is the heat/humidity in the summer (July/August). OTOH you will have great weather the other 10 months.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:06 AM   #10
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Absolutely. The very worst chigger infestation I ever endured was on a camping trip to the Texas side of Lake Texoma as a kid. I think that's was the beginning of my lifelong battle with chiggerphobia...
I've still never seen any chiggers or scorpions here.

I'm glad "near water" isn't very important to me, or else I'd probably have to w*rk a few more years to pay for that priority.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:23 AM   #11
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I have family in MD ... 350-400k is a condo even after the "correction". Probably need to push further south for a better buy.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:57 AM   #12
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There's a favorite vacation area of mine on the Left Coast that is worth mentioning. Washington State's Olympic Penninsula. The northeast corner is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and gets just a fraction of the rain of Seattle. Very mild climate and absolutely beautiful country! Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca nearby. It's far enough from Seattle to have more affordable real estate, yet close enough by ferry to go enjoy the big city activities.

Hank
I need to second this recommendation. The Olympic Peninsula is one of the most beautiful parts of the country. One can start backpacking in the peninsula and not see a town or automobile for weeks (months?).
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Old 03-08-2008, 11:01 AM   #13
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I like the Pacific Northwest too, but the water is COLD. If you want access to water for swimming that may be a factor.
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Old 03-08-2008, 11:23 AM   #14
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You can pick up almost anything available in St. Bernard Parish for $150K, even the gutted and renovated homes, and a lot of it is right on the water with immediate access to the Gulf of Mexico.
Yeah, the problem is that the Gulf of Mexico sometimes has immediate access to the property.

Ed
One foot in Bellingham, WA, (moderate climate, situated on Bellingham Bay of Puget Sound) and one foot in Iceworld.
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Old 03-08-2008, 11:27 AM   #15
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I've still never seen any chiggers or scorpions here.
Pssst. You don't see chiggers, you just experience their feeding habits. And you probably live in one of the few areas of the state where the fire ants have completely taken over the scorpion habitat.
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Old 03-08-2008, 01:09 PM   #16
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I was surprised at how open your requirements for a home seem to be.
OK, I'd say:
Has to be a city with a population of 30,000 or more, so all the basic amenities reasonably nearby.
Has to be within 30 miles of the ocean or significant lake (large enough for a boating community).
Has to be within 80 miles of a major city and airport.
Little or no snow, but not too hot or humid in summer. Midwest and NE too cold. TX, GA, OK too hot.
Most likely a college town.
COL no more than 115% of the national average (think San Fran is over 200% for example).
Good restaurants, some cultural attractions (stage plays).
Not known for hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding, etc.
Good for road biking (bicycle, not motorcycle).
Stable or improving economy, not dependent on a particular industry or employer.
Home would be small cottage/bungalow type (Ross Chapin ideal choice, for you NW folks).
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Old 03-08-2008, 01:18 PM   #17
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GOOD LUCK!

Let's see. East Coast has Huricanes, floods, snow or hot. West Coast, earth quakes, floods, snow or hot. Central floods, tornados, snow, or hot. Most tropical islands have huricanes, and they get hot in the summer. Most northern climates get snow and real cold in the winter.

AND, YOU WANT IT CHEAP!
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Old 03-08-2008, 02:06 PM   #18
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How about man made bodies of water. TVA country. I lived in Huntsville, AL in the 70's and my Sis/BIL in greater Paducah KY in the later 90's early 2000's. I have a female friend who lived on Weis Lake(the Crappie Capital of the World) near Fort Payne.

Snow and humidity - but maybe in small enough doses to make a four season climate livable?

heh heh heh
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Old 03-08-2008, 03:26 PM   #19
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Dallas Fort Worth is surrounded by lakes.
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Old 03-08-2008, 05:26 PM   #20
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Hey Niko, Hamster, don't you know the last ferry just sailed?

Jesting aside, that photo is what I see out of the study. My neighborhood wouldn't fit your budget but there are many nearby towns off island that would.

The Puget Sound acts as a heat pump: keeps us relatively cool in the summer and rarely freezing in the winter. OK, it can be 'chilly' but it isn't humid as moisture comes down as rain.

If you want sun and don't mind warm summers and cold winters look on the east side of the Cascades.

Bend, Oregon housing has been described by some as the Phoenix of the west. Personnaly I wouldn't buy anything spec built in the last 10 years because any idiot with a nail gun called themselves a home builder, but with home sales at a dead stick stall prices will doubtless decline.
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