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selling home and simple living question
Old 05-11-2015, 08:03 AM   #1
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selling home and simple living question

hi everyone
I am just curious.....anyone just sell their larger home, downsized and move to a less-expensive location?

Any regrets? How's it working?

Wondering if we can retire earlier by making those simple changes. Also, I am sure hubby and I would still work (just less and less stressful occupations).

Thanks!!
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:24 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by moneymama View Post
hi everyone
I am just curious.....anyone just sell their larger home, downsized and move to a less-expensive location?

Any regrets? How's it working?

Wondering if we can retire earlier by making those simple changes. Also, I am sure hubby and I would still work (just less and less stressful occupations).

Thanks!!
I retired end of February 2014, sold our 2800 sq. ft. Chicago suburb home in August 2014 and moved in September 2014 into a 1500 sq. ft. single story ranch style home in a less-expensive rural location.

Any regrets? Miss the wide selection of restaurants and close to home shopping but the lower cost (primarily property taxes) and less traffic and congestion far outweigh that. There is always that nagging question of whether we should have moved to warmer climate, but I am not sure we would/could ever do that. I think snow-birding might be a good compromise.

How's it working? So far, so good. I have been a bit stressed by all the remodeling and labor required to get the new home to our liking, but that is winding down now. We are in a good neighborhood with friendly neighbors. DW has joined the local Women's Club and Garden Club. I have yet to venture too far from the home projects yet. To me this is home and there is no looking back. For DW she is adjusting fairly well, but misses some of the features of our old home.
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:51 AM   #3
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There are several people on here that have done what you suggest. One that comes to mind is a guy that lives in Canon City, CO. He posted a thread about low-cost living in Canon City. He is retired and doesn't work, but you can learn from his thread.

edit: searched and here it is. Posted by kevink
Low-cost living in Caņon City, Colorado
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:54 AM   #4
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We downsized in 1995 and rent a penthouse apartment. After getting used to our friends saying how long must we live "poorly" until they had seen our place, it has been fine.

Subsequently, in 2007, we bought a winter home down south. Now we rent out the winter apartment and our budget has declined by 40%. So 4% SWR became 2.4% and we have made a bunch of great new friends to boot.

We fully expect inflation to eat up those savings eventually but the buffer is a comfort factor.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:13 AM   #5
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We moved to a less expensive location - NJ to Denver CO.

We love it here - the people, the outdoors, the progressive community, the friends we've made and the lower cost of living. We have a slightly larger house, but the annual spend on it is much lower.

I think the place you're moving to is more important than the downsizing. Do your homework. Plan to rent for a while. While expensive, it is cheaper than buying in the wrong place. And don't underestimate the stress of this decision/move. In the end, it may be worth it all.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:31 AM   #6
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We sold a 15 year old 4000 sq ft home and downsized to a 2400 sq foot home. Yes, it's still large but it's home to 20 family members every holiday/birthday dinner. Downsize didn't hurt a bit since it's layed out perfectly. Homes built before the 2009 downturn were excessive in size.....homes built before the upturn are smaller and more efficient. we save a bunch on utilities, taxes, and time......walking a lot less going from one part of the house to another.

We probably could downsize further if someone else had a home large enough the the parties a few times each year......but, we also have an excercise room.....long term it's quicker and cheaper than joining a gym.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:47 AM   #7
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The dream home I am in the process of buying is 44 square feet smaller, but that square footage does not include the additional 450 square foot detached garage. The neighborhood is nicer, safer, and more walkable. Value of my home (and consequently, taxes and insurance) will go up substantially. So, that probably doesn't qualify as downsizing.

So, I guess I upsized after retirement. Oops! Leave it to me to do things backwards.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:05 AM   #8
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Yes. We had an almost 4500 SF house with 2 detached garages and a guest house and a pool on almost 3 acres.

We now have an almost 3000 SF house with a 2 car attached garage (with storage room) on 1 acre.

The area is a little less expensive, but not hugely so.

No regrets. The biggest thing I don't like is that we are about 15 minutes from any grocery store and about 20 minutes from the one we actually go to. I wish it was closer, but everything else is great.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:06 AM   #9
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I'm in the middle of the process. Basically we sold our expensive (but not large) starter home in San Jose and are currently traveling to see what areas we might want to settle in (e.g. other areas of CA plus some western states).

Like W2R, depending on where we move our new place might actually be bigger although we are quite fine with small sq ft.

Main regret is that we didn't do more scouting before we retired.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:21 AM   #10
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So far we ended up staying but are glad we went to open houses and looked around and ran the numbers. We decided to keep the house we have for now since it is in a good location and has had a nice appreciation rate over the years. We have worked on lowering our other expenses, like energy and water use, instead. We have some anomalies here that make downsizing not particularly cost saving for our situation, like Prop 13, a low fixed rate mortgage, and smaller homes and town homes being pretty pricey per square foot.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:23 AM   #11
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We moved from a 2500 sqft house to a 1100 sqft apartment - although, in our case, we went from a fairly cheap location to a very expensive one). As far as the downsizing goes, we have no regrets at all. In fact, we are considering downsizing even further in the future as we currently make little use of our second bedroom (used as a guest bedroom).
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:33 AM   #12
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hi everyone
I am just curious.....anyone just sell their larger home, downsized and move to a less-expensive location?

Any regrets? How's it working?.....
two out of three for us.... sold our larger 3,400 sf home and downsized to a ~2,400 sf lakeside "forever" home (our former vacation home that we demolished and rebuilt to be year-round) but our new home is only about a half hour from our old home so our costs are about the same except for property taxes, which are higher because our new home has a higher assessed value... the tax rate is only a couple pennies higher.

No regrets for us at all. I love the smaller space and being on the lake is wonderful. We did it for lifestyle reasons, not to reduce our expenses but having one home rather than two makes a world of difference in your expenses.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:42 AM   #13
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Perhaps a little more than what is expected, but our first move was into a campground. Sharing 23 years of Frugal Retirement

excerpt:
Quote:
I'm backing up a bit to tell you how we started out in the early days. We had lived in the Chicago Suburbs, Next to Naperville... an upscale town... high prices, taxes, traffic congestion, and one of the highest average (non California) incomes in the nation. We knew we wouldn't afford to stay there... so made our choice... to Really downsize...

We bought into a campground (the nations largest family campground) where you own your land... but can only live there for a maximum of 185 days/year. We bought a beautiful spot on a small lake. It's a "Park Model"... (look that up, if you don't know what it means) it's just a permanent type camper, similar to a standard manufactured home, but just 12 feet wide and 34 feet long. (400 square feet)... add a 400 sq foot add a room and a 400 sq. ft deck...

Now here's where the savings come in... even today, you can buy a used unit similar to mine for as little as $15 to $20 thousand dollars, including the land. (We paid somewhat more, because of the lake setting). The really nice part is the cost of staying there... Campground annual dues $1100... including use of all facilities... um-metered water and sewer. Taxes $500, insurance $500... All inground utilities. Total annual "resort" costs = about $2400.

Amazing place... quiet as the moon... despite the 6500 sites. 43 miles of roads, 18 miles of wooded trails, two Olympic sized pools, dozens of playgrounds, 10 tennis courts, 16 "comfort stations" (large bathroom/shower buildings)... a very large campground store... 7000 sq ft. ...our own Tru Value Hardware and lumber store, our own gas station, propane station, and a full service bank... A fully gated community with a 24 hr. security staff of 25 -35 people, 7 small lakes, a fishing sporting goods store, two restaurants, a nature center, three craft and meeting centers, two large outdoor pavilions, two senior centers, seven computer "hot spots", canoe rentals, a large sand beach... and a fully staffed activities department... Snow mobile trails, Sledding hills ice rinks (in winter)... and the whole campground is nestled in a climax black oak forest... trees, fields, wetlands and almost every temperate zone animal, bird, and plant. To us it's Shangri-la... it's a working man's park... which means that on any given day less than 10% to 20% of the units are occupied. It's a weekend/week off type of vacation retreat, with perhaps 200 snowbird seniors, who live there for 1/2 the year.

BTW... all of this in a township with a population of 204 people.
The website has more details, with real estate info.

It's something to consider for anyone on a limited budget. This type of community (though perhaps not so large)... exists in many other states... The Tip of Texas, and Arizona come to mind, as many of our friends do the 50/50 annual winter/summer move.
Found an old link to some pics of our park: last pic from my deck.
lghbob.tripod.com/woodhaven.htm
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:04 PM   #14
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We downsized two years ago from a large home in the suburbs to a 1300 sq foot rental condo close to downtown and rapid transit. Great move. Not certain if we will buy again. We were able to go down to one vehicle.

It was so liberating to get rid of so many things that we did not use and space that we did not need.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:32 PM   #15
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I didn't have to sell at the time of retirement because had I lived out of a suitcase for 20 years prior to retiring and therefor rented most of the time. However, moving to an affordable retirement location was the first 3 things on my list.

I had my list of requirements of course. Had to be a small to middlin' Metro, not a rural area. Sound economy. No runaway crime problems. Things like that. Weather and taxes were secondary. Cost of living was the main requirement.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:38 PM   #16
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The dream home I am in the process of buying is 44 square feet smaller, but that square footage does not include the additional 450 square foot detached garage. The neighborhood is nicer, safer, and more walkable. Value of my home (and consequently, taxes and insurance) will go up substantially. So, that probably doesn't qualify as downsizing.

So, I guess I upsized after retirement. Oops! Leave it to me to do things backwards.
I think southern MO would have been cheaper for you.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:38 PM   #17
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Upon retirement we moved from the Washington, DC suburbs to West Virginia. The house we bought was a lot larger but slightly less expensive and includes an attached two-car garage, which spoiled us quickly. No more heat-soaked car in the summer or scraping ice & snow in the winter!

It's working great for us. The stress levels are way down because we don't have to plan our daily lives around traffic and the Friday rush hour here looks like 10:00 Sunday down there. Really. And before FIL passed away it was almost half the travel time to his place in MD via the back roads even on Friday afternoon, something one would never attempt where we used to live unless you wanted to sit in traffic for three hours.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:47 PM   #18
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The dream home I am in the process of buying is 44 square feet smaller, but that square footage does not include the additional 450 square foot detached garage. The neighborhood is nicer, safer, and more walkable. Value of my home (and consequently, taxes and insurance) will go up substantially. So, that probably doesn't qualify as downsizing.

So, I guess I upsized after retirement. Oops! Leave it to me to do things backwards.
We're on that same path. We currently have ~3000 square feet, and downsizing to ~1800 square feet and a much smaller yard will cost us about 3x what our current behemoth home will sell for. But, we're thinking maintenance free (lawn, trash & snow), less steps to navigate and less home maintenance (at least for a while) are worth it. I feel like we've earned it.

Let us know what you decide. I find these conversations fascinating.
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:08 PM   #19
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We downsized about a year ago - and I would recommend it. We had a house that was really over-sized for us, even though we have three sons at home. We moved to a older/smaller house (but still 3,000sqft plus) in the same town/school district, so really not much impact on the kids, but for us, it was a big plus:

- lower property taxes/expenses
- retired our mortgage
- able to bank some $ from the transaction
- less work keeping clean/picked-up
- got rid of a huge amount of accumulated stuff in the move
- less time looking for stuff when misplaced in the house
- fewer stairs
- less stressed about finances

We brought the percent of our total net-worth tied up in our home (now fully paid for) down to below 10%, which had a good impact on investments available/timing for fire.
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Old 05-11-2015, 03:28 PM   #20
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Thank you all for your responses!!! They are so interesting to read and very helpful.




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