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Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-16-2006, 10:53 PM   #1
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Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

The wife and I are hoping to be able to retire in a few years. Our dream is to have a winter place and a summer place. We're fans of the southwest and mountain states. We won't consider the east coast or mid-west and probably can't afford to do two places on the west coast (and it would probably be redundant anyway). Some of our many criteria: the ability to find 30 acres or more of land for under $250K, we want sun and lots of it. We'd probably like to live in a smallish town or small city, but no more than 100 miles to a bigger city with hospitals and a major airport. College town would be nice. Low taxes, crime, pollution and traffic. Gorgeous scenery and/or National Parks are very important to us. We're big fans of the great outdoors..love to hike and gaze at nature's wonders.

The summer place would be somewhere probably high up, where the summers are very sunny, dry and moderate in temperature...warm days and cool nights. We're considering Colorado, but in some parts of CO, you can't get 2 acres for $250K (never mind 30 or more!). Would welcome any suggestions in CO, NM, MT, SD, ID etc.

Our winter place will probably be in Southern AZ, south of Tucson in the mountains of Santa Cruz County where you can probably still find 30 acres for $250K, but would welcome any other suggestions. Also considered southern UT, but prices are probably too high for a big piece of land in Red Rock country. Thanks for all help and suggestions!!
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-16-2006, 11:49 PM   #2
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Draw a 100 mile circle around Spokane. Spokane is the backup to SeaTac - has the facilities you mention, is on the dry side of the Cascades. Have no clue about land prices but you should be able to find what your are looking for. BUT make sure you have good, solid, water rights.
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 05:06 PM   #3
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Are you sure that 20 acres would not be as fulfilling? 10? 5?
Just curious because if you are going between these two places, I imagine that you will not have livestock or other things to put on 30 acres.

Or how about on a lake? You could sort of have 29.5 acres of water and only 0.5 acres of land.

... wait a minute. I think I get it now. You are going to build your own golf courses. Smart thinking!
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 06:24 PM   #4
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

I would look at southern CO or northern NM. Economically depressed, but beautiful and cheap. Somewhere outside of Taos (Ojo Caliente, for example), or maybe on the San Luis Valley, like Alamosa.
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 06:27 PM   #5
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
Are you sure that 20 acres would not be as fulfilling?* 10?* 5?
Just curious because if you are going between these two places, I imagine that you will not have livestock or other things to put on 30 acres.
In a number of states that I'm familiar with (CO & AZ), developers can basically carve up large ranches into parcels of 35 acres or more without having to comply with all sorts of regulations that would apply in a more dense subdivision. As such, there are lots of these parcels available and typically much cheaper on a "per acre" basis than smaller lot sizes. I've looked at a lot of these and have just gotten used to the feel of 30-50 acre lots. However, you're right. a 10 acre parcel might even be big enough if neighbors weren't staring you straight in the face, or if you're next to BLM or Federal land that you're free to walk on. Each lot situation is unique. We just like to walk on our land without worrying about trespassing.
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 06:29 PM   #6
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Ft. Myers, FL

San Marcos, TX
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 06:32 PM   #7
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
I would look at southern CO or northern NM.* Economically depressed, but beautiful and cheap.* Somewhere outside of Taos (Ojo Caliente, for example), or maybe on the San Luis Valley, like Alamosa.
Have done some looking in southern CO, but much of it is quite a distance from a legit airport. We're actually considering the Canon City area which is near Colorado Springs. Still cheap with low taxes, nice weather and some pretty land available. As for NM, anything within an hour of Santa Fe is pretty darn pricey!
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 06:50 PM   #8
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Quote:
Originally Posted by ejalret
We just like to walk on our land without worrying about trespassing.
You trespassing or someone trespassing on your land?

My sister used to live in Colorado and had a house that backed up against a national forest. For them it was unlimited hiking and cross-country skiing right out the back door. I don't think they were concerned with hikers and bears that they could see from the back porch.
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 06:52 PM   #9
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
You trespassing or someone trespassing on your land?
Trespassing on someone else's land. Sounds like your sister had a great set-up.
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 07:15 PM   #10
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Having a lot of land subjects you to liability risk and the whims of the municipality that decides it needs more property tax. Pretty big risks and costs associated with what is likely to be a non performing asset.
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 08:40 PM   #11
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

I think having that much land in 2 places is high maintenance and highly vulnerable to trespassers. What happens when you are not at one of the two places for a number of months? Someone could camp out and virtually destroy the place without a neighbour even being aware. I can't imagine taking those risks.
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 09:58 PM   #12
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

I had a boss who retired to Silver City, New Mexico in 2000. Sold his house here in So. Cal. for $600,000 and bought a nicer newer house with some horse property for $150,000. I don't remember the acreage but certainly not 30 acreas.
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 10:00 PM   #13
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Quote:
Originally Posted by AltaRed
I think having that much land in 2 places is high maintenance and highly vulnerable to trespassers. What happens when you are not at one of the two places for a number of months?* Someone could camp out and virtually destroy the place without a neighbour even being aware. I can't imagine taking those risks.
There may be some truth to that, but that's what neighbors, friends and security systems are for. As far as liability goes, you have just as much liability with a home on 1/2 acre as you do with one on 40 acres. In fact, the smaller lot would probably indicate a higher population density and more strangers walking around with lawsuits on their mind.
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-17-2006, 10:07 PM   #14
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Ejalret,

I once did some thinking along the lines of your post and had two scenarios. *One if I got filthy rich on stock options and the other if, well, I didn't.

The plan if the options came in was Monterey and Lake Tahoe. *This probably isn't going to happen *

The other plan was St. George and Cedar City, Utah. *I know that you mentioned that S. Utah may be to expensive but I'll give you my reasoning anyway.

St. George is at about 2500' and has a climate near that of Las Vegas or Tucson.

Cedar City is at about 6000' and has a climate more like that of Denver or Salt Lake.

Both have a lot of sun.

The best part is that they are only about 60 miles apart on I15 so you can move from the summer to winter location on a daily or even hourly basis.

The elevation difference drives the climate difference. *A much better situation IMHO than on the east coast where many go to Florida to affect a similar change.

Brian Head ski resort is outside Cedar City and the mountains there exceed 10,000' so it may be possible to get a high elevation place in the mountains with a very mild summer climate.

Southern Utah University and the Utah Shakespeare festival are in Cedar City.

Dixie College is in St. George.

St. George in particular has grown rapidly in recent years (it is the place where Utahns go to retire away from the snow) and a couple of years ago I recall an article where some of the long time residents were having problems adjusting to the cultural changes caused by out of state immigrants. *Some would consider that a good thing *

I am Utahn by birth and Californian by choice and lived in conservative SLC and liberal Berkeley don't have problems with the culture either way so it isn't a big deal for me.

Las Vegas is the nearest large city.

Zions and Bryce are practically biking distance. *All of the Four Corners Nat'l parks are nearby as well as Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

I expect that real estate prices may have gone up recently particularly in St. George. *I haven't watched them.

Also I don't have a strong desire to own a lot of land. *Remember that a lot of the land in the west is owned by the govenment. *Unless you are a farmer or a rancher you really don't need that much. *Having a couple of acres of grass in front of your house is really an east coast thing and in the west in particular is environmentally irresponsible. *And if you are going to keep it "natural" anyway then you might as well let the government own it, care for it and let everyone use it. * *

I would much prefer, a situation like that mentioned by another poster, say, a house on a normal size lot, maybe acre if you want some distance from your neighbors, in the mountains outside Cedar backing up to National Forest land (unless you are Ted Turner you just can't buy that) and a town house or condo in St George.

The other option along these lines that I have heard of is Colorado and Moab. *I have read of several "professional" outdoors types that have a place in Colorado in one of the mountain towns and a second place in Moab where they can go to temporarily escape the snow and get in a winter mountain biking or trail running fix.

Costs could be an issue here also. *Of course the resort areas in Colorado are very pricey and I suspect that Moab has also gone up a lot since it has been discovered but the "athletes" that I have heard doing this generally don't make a lot of money so I think that it is probably do-able. *I suspect that you have to think along the lines of Leadville rather than Aspen. * Just like when REing in a foreign country, live where the "workers" live rather than where the "tourists" stay.

Good luck,

MB
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Old 09-17-2006, 11:05 PM   #15
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Southern Utah has one major problem. Utah's income tax is about 7%. If you go just a few miles south to Mesquite, NV, you get 0% income tax.
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Old 09-17-2006, 11:13 PM   #16
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Quote:
Originally Posted by rodmail
Southern Utah has one major problem. Utah's income tax is about 7%. If you go just a few miles south to Mesquite, NV, you get 0% income tax.
Good point Rodmail. NV doesn't have state income taxes.

Maybe ejalret should consider Vegas and Reno?

However I recall going through Mesquite in the 60s and 70s and it didn't really impress me as a place where I would want to live. Maybe I'm wrong? Haven't been there in a long time.

MB
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-18-2006, 01:22 AM   #17
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Wow, I drove through Saint George the other day and thought the region was beautiful. They have a Super Walmart, too, which is always a plus. But a 7% income tax basically knocks Utah out of contention. Here are the rates:

http://incometax.utah.gov/rates.php

http://www.taxadmin.org/FTA/rate/ind_inc.html

The 7% rate kicks in at $4300 for singles!!! I am sure that there are a few deductions, but that is incredible. I can't be sure of the details without researching further, but for an ER with a mix of dividend and cap gains who is a ways into but not near the top of the 15% bracket (most common situation), your Utah state tax bill might 2/3 of your federal tax bill.

Kramer
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....
Old 09-18-2006, 01:55 AM   #18
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer
The 7% rate kicks in at $4300 for singles!!!
Not real progressive is it? Close to a flat tax. Obviously bad for low income earners and many ERs.

I'm at 9.3% in CA but it doesn't max out until about $40k.

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Old 09-18-2006, 08:00 AM   #19
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mb
Good point Rodmail.* NV doesn't have state income taxes.

Maybe ejalret should consider Vegas and Reno?

However I recall going through Mesquite in the 60s and 70s and it didn't really impress me as a place where I would want to live.* Maybe I'm wrong?* Haven't been there in a long time.

MB
We have considered NV, but can't seem to find a town where we can get large spectacular acreage at a "reasonable" price and still be within 75 miles or so of a major city or at least a small city. Any suggestions??
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Old 09-18-2006, 10:20 PM   #20
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Re: Best Places to Retire?; Need Two....

Gosh, to tell you the truth Nevada has been mostly a "drive through state" for me.* Mostly at very high speeds with gas and bath room stops only.* I used to joke with DW that unless she was out of the bathroom by the time the tank was full she would be hitch hiking. But it is an underrated place in terms of outdoor activities.

I guess I would start with the Reno/Carson City area.* The Sierra would be your back yard.* My suspicion is that prices there are cheap compared to CA but perhaps expensive compared to many other places.* I do know one person from the Bay Area that has bought some land there for retirement.* He has horses and I think that his parcel is around the size that you are looking for.* I don't know the cost.

Except for Vegas, which doesn't appeal to me even though it does have Lake Mead, 12,000' Mt. Charleston and good rock climbing near by, most other towns are pretty small and a long ways away from cities.* Vegas prices have gone up a lot there recently.* Maybe they'll go down a lot in the near future?

I have heard that the Ruby mountains outside of Elko are nice and relatively undiscovered because people either go to the Sierra to the west or the Rockies to the east.* My family used to go to Elko for weekend get aways when I was growing up and it seemed like it was an OK town as far as I could tell.* Maybe a little less focus on gambling and a little more focus on ranching and farming than the "border towns" that cater to the gambling tourists.* If I was forced to pick a town between metropolitan Salt Lake and Reno to live it would be Elko. If I recall correctly it is about 3 hours from either Reno of SLC.

MB
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