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Old 09-03-2012, 06:15 PM   #21
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I have three friends here in greater Kansas City who sold their houses within the last two years and bought/moved into high rise condo's. All in their 70's or older. One whose husband could no longer drive. Visited all three - beautiful views (of Kansas ) and tastefully decorated. No idea of costs.

Now when I get old - 70 next year - one last great act of defiance. Recaputure the Burbs - a neighborhood with drive-in's more funky butt than Sonic. Like my old neighbor in Louisiana, join a car club, get a cool set of retro wheels(they had a 55 T Bird), go cruising Friday nights with the club, pot belly, grey hair and all. 50's rock and roll on the stereo system.

Dirt is back also. Another trend here (like eslewhere) is urban farming. I went to a potluck Labor Day feed - other than the usual KC BBQ, hot dogs there were about 3-4 dishes made with 'heirloom' tomatoes, vegatables or beans. A couple were pretty good.

Soooo - a high rise, a faux 32 Ford in covered parking, and a patch of dirt.

Right.

heh heh heh -
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:16 PM   #22
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We are going to make the move to a small urban environment on the island of Cozumel. We'll have two grocery/department stores are within a block plus many good restaurants and most other services within an easy 10 minute walk out the front door of the condo. And we are both fed up with taking care of a house and are looking forward to letting the condo management deal with cleaning and maintenance. It can be a little noisy but, thankfully, it's gets fairly quiet by 10 PM most nights.

You might consider Vancouver. Wonderful large city option with a ton of positives. Not sure on the pricing but I would guess somewhat expensive.
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:32 PM   #23
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We just bought in a ca. 1976 high rise in San Diego, though we're not retired yet (all our neighbors seem to be, and they're a happy lot). We had rented in this neighborhood for 4 years after selling our home in a car-intensive suburb in MA. Renting helped us figure out whether apartment living was as freeing as we remembered it from our grad school days, and it also helped us figure out a neighborhood, how high we wanted to live, what kinds of amenities were desirable for us & for this city and, most importantly, how stable the different condo complexes / HOAs are. We're in the honeymoon phase of condo ownership and don't have kids or grandkids, but we love it. Walking distance to Whole Foods and restaurants, two underground parking spots, short drive to the freeway ramp and w*rk. Noise is an important consideration - if you won't be working, maybe you can be a little further away from freeways and loud main streets. We've found that the traffic sounds don't bother us.
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:10 PM   #24
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Further commentary on living in an urban environment. But, first---I must say that I want to be like Unclemick when I'm 70---cruisin' in my classic ride and listening to tunes.

So, DW and I live in a downtown condo in a refurbished 100 yr old bank building, in a medium sized college town in the SE US; a wonderful environment. We watched an art installation today, in the park below our balcony, walked the dog thru a downtown park with a stream running thru it, past the square where they're setting up for live jazz, then stopped at the local microbrewery where we paid a whole $10.90 for 2 IPAs, lemonade and dinner sized nachos. On the way, we talked to Mark, the city employee who mows our lawn and tends the garden in our park; a great guy. He's working tonight because of the jazz concert.

The point being that, although city life is not for everyone, a wonderful urban life can be had for a fraction of the cost in big east/west coast cities. And, the fact is, the people are generally nicer here; they actually slow down and talk to you.
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:26 PM   #25
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More compact "streetcar suburbs" can be a good compromise. I live in this one in East Dallas: http://www.candysdirt.com/neighborhoods/lakewood/

Many here really don't like Walmart, Target or other big box stores or for that matter, most chains or franchises. There are many mom-and-pop and other independent businesses - some of which are neighborhood institutions. Lakewood is between Downtown Dallas and White Rock Lake.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:21 PM   #26
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We did the whole downsize-move-to-the-city in 2008. We love it for a lot of the reasons described by others. I agree about trying it out first, but you don't have to keep your old place for long unless you want to. We rented a furnished corporate apartment for a few months to try the whole thing out. Planned a 3 month trial run but we were hooked after 3 weeks.

You need to feel comfortable without a yard, although in the right places there are plenty of parks. Parks don't need to be mowed by you! We no longer own a lawnmower, ladder, or backup generator. We bought a nicely sound proofed condo and don't hear neighbors, although there are some siren noises that you get used to. We don't have parking for guests, but they still come see us.

Mostly city life is easy. Anything you need is just a walk away, you get spoiled by not driving. This morning we took a walk to a nearby waffle place for brunch, wandered along the waterfront, making dinner tonight with veggies from our local market.

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Old 09-03-2012, 10:53 PM   #27
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I suppose there is a possibility we may sell our home and live in a condo one day... But for now, the chance seems slim.

DH enjoys tinkering in the garage and I love to work with my flowers. I don't know about the rest of the folks on this forum, but DH and I need our own space. I'm not sure living in a condo would work well for us.

But who knows....you/we won't know unless we try it and see if it's a good fit.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:52 PM   #28
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Another reason to abandon the suburbs for the city in retirement is that eventually you won't be able to drive. And then you are stranded. I saw this with my parents when they aged.

I lived for 35 years in NYC until we retired to Bangkok. It's hard for me to see any advantages in suburban living. I would recommend that the OP sell both cars and the house to rent in a place where they want to live. If they want to live in NYC, they should go there. Once you are free of the baggage of the cars and house-that-must-be-maintained you can experience a different kind of life.

Basically, suburban living is about having while city living is about doing. Seems like no contest to me.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:56 AM   #29
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Another reason to abandon the suburbs for the city in retirement is that eventually you won't be able to drive. And then you are stranded. I saw this with my parents when they aged.
I have mentioned it here before but another aspect related to aging is that many urban neighborhoods are forming "villages," membership based non-profit organizations that provide support and social activities designed to help seniors age in place. I am both a member and a volunteer in our village and hope the community and services it offers will enable DW and I to stay here unless we become extremely ill.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:46 AM   #30
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We live in a 30th floor highrise condo in Beijing that we bought about 3.5 years ago. For the most part we are very happy with it. Didn't really have a lot of choices other than apartment living, as we can't afford villa prices. But we pretty much knew the minute we walked in (after having seen close to 30 other apartments on that particular search) that this was going to be "home" for us.

On the downside, I agree with many of the cautions Nords raised. Our flat has floor to ceiling windows on the west side (living room) and while the views are great it gets extremely hot in the summer and cold in the winter. So we have pretty high AC bills. On the plus side, we have windows on three sides of the building and also porches on north and south, so after the sun goes down we can open things up and get a good cross ventilation, which cools things down pretty well except during the hottest weeks of summer. The layout of our building is such that we are the only unit on our side, which reduces noise from other tenants coming and going. There is a slight noise from the elevator that we can hear in the master bedroom (elevator shaft on the other side of the bedroom wall), but I have mostly gotten used to it. Our development is along one of the big "ring roads" in Beijing (circular freeways that are a major transit route) and we did notice real noise and dust problems in units close to the road. We hear the noise when the windows/doors are open, but it is kind of a dull sound so not too disturbing. Know from living in a coop in NYC that it is MUCH better than living in the middle of the block right where people can see the traffic light turning green and the cars not moving (recipe for regular honking outside your window at all hours of the day and night....).

The one thing I dislike about our neighborhood is that it isn't quite as walkable as I'd like, but its getting better. I've made some compromises with shopping, etc. and don't try to get the best prices, but instead do a little route with a pull along shopping cart from Ikea once a week and stock up. A big mall has just gone in about a 10 minute walk away, and that will eventually have a big supermarket that will increase our options. We have already started enjoying the restaurants there, including a decent food court that has very affordable selections of a wide variety of regional Chinese cuisines -- had lunch there with DS on Sunday for about $6 for the two of us, and we were stuffed. there will be a subway stop in the mall in about another 2 years, which will make the rest of Beijing much easier to access (currently use taxis, which are plentiful and relatively cheap).

All in all I have found apartment living to be fine, even with two young kids. We do have a nice secure compound where they can go out to play, and a gym with a pool that we use several times a week.

Do agree with the suggestions to rent before you buy, though. We had been living in apartments in China for almost 10 years before we decided to buy this one, and our past rental experiences had taught us a LOT about what was important to look for.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:35 PM   #31
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Another reason to abandon the suburbs for the city in retirement is that eventually you won't be able to drive. And then you are stranded. I saw this with my parents when they aged.
I saw the positive and negative of this aspect, with my parents living in city on bus routes near shopping, library, doctors, dentists and hospitals, and my former wife's parents living in a no sidewalks suburb. Big difference.

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Old 09-04-2012, 04:15 PM   #32
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That's another good point. We're way out at the end of a cul-de-sac, a mile away from the nearest bus stop. However it's only 1.4 miles to the local shopping center, and even when I'm 82 years old I hope to be able to stagger that round trip for my daily constitutional.


Or have a jazzy with a large battery....
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:22 PM   #33
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As others have pointed out.... Nords first post has a lot of the issued covered... but be aware of the monthly fee as >$400 might be very low in some areas and even some buildings...

It was paid for by my mega when I worked for them, but I think the fee was >$1,000 for a 1BR in NYC.... and there was not a lot in the building such as gym or pool... but we did have 24HR doorman, maintenance etc.... I think this was only on the floors my mega owned, but I also had free washer and dryer....

My mom lives in a highrise that is not walkable, but has pool, tennis, gym etc. with 24HR doorman... and her 1BR fee is $450.... it covers water, but not electricity...
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:00 PM   #34
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We live in a 30th floor highrise condo in Beijing that we bought about 3.5 years ago. For the most part we are very happy with it. Didn't really have a lot of choices other than apartment living, as we can't afford villa prices. But we pretty much knew the minute we walked in (after having seen close to 30 other apartments on that particular search) that this was going to be "home" for us.
Very interesting to hear about Beijing first-hand. We looked at close to 35 apartments here in Bangkok before we chose our current place, which is a rental. Although Bangkok is a noisy town, our place is very quiet and we never get direct sunlight. Interestingly, here in Bangkok we hear that landlords don't raise the rent at renewal time. Indeed, when our place came up for renewal the landlord offered the same rent.

Would be interested to read a fuller account of your life in Beijing.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:56 PM   #35
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We live in a high rise co-op in a large urban area, downsized from a large home in a larger metro area. Our unit is 2 bedroom, 1,640 square feet. We are in our early 70s. Most of the residents in our building are 55+ professionals. Many of the men continue their professions late in life because they are very good at what they do and IMHO like the socialization. My husband would go nuts if he didn't have our son's property to maintain.

There are lots of lifestyle options out there, not all mean forgoing gardening.

I have a dear friend who purchased a condo in a medium-rise development locally. He has gotten involved in his HOA and is now their President. He is active in a local canoe club.. and doesn't need to walk a block to do that. Bored? Not on your life!
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:55 AM   #36
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I also live in a high rise condo in a large city and love it. I like the convenience of having the grocery store next door.
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We live in a high rise co-op in a large urban area, downsized from a large home in a larger metro area.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:15 AM   #37
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We sold the suburban mcmansion two years ago and downsized to a rental bungalow back in the city. Also moved the work office from the airport to the same neighborhood. Wouldn't change anything for the world. We now live 250 metres from the lake, 500 metres from the grocery store, 1 km to the library and about 2.5KM from work. I most often walk or bike to all of them. Quality and pace of life are very important. I also now know 8 neighbors on my street. Something suburban living most definitely did not lend itself to. When we sell or shutter the business, the intent is to move to a rural town with the same sort of amenities at the same sort of distances.
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:59 AM   #38
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We are going to make the move to a small urban environment on the island of Cozumel. We'll have two grocery/department stores are within a block plus many good restaurants and most other services within an easy 10 minute walk out the front door of the condo. And we are both fed up with taking care of a house and are looking forward to letting the condo management deal with cleaning and maintenance. It can be a little noisy but, thankfully, it's gets fairly quiet by 10 PM most nights.

You might consider Vancouver. Wonderful large city option with a ton of positives. Not sure on the pricing but I would guess somewhat expensive.
Vancouver and LBYM do not mix!
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:02 AM   #39
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Vancouver and LBYM do not mix!
I guess that depends upon what your "means" are but, yes, I would guess the cost of living there is somewhat on the high side.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:32 AM   #40
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Austin has really begun to embrace the concept of downtown condo living in the last few years. While it's not something I'm interested in (yet), I have noticed how it's getting all the favorable attention in terms of zoning, ordinances, development, city services, and incentives, all intended to heavily spur growth in high-density urban living.

What used to be a very isolated, singular lifestyle amongst nightclubs and music venues just a few years ago has evolved into a pedestrian focused dining, shopping, entertainment, and living experience for many.

And the prices are still somewhat reasonable, since primarily all of the new construction is focused on more and more condos.
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