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Old 05-12-2010, 11:22 AM   #21
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I would do what you are proposing in a heartbeat. I say that as a long term nomad, we are just in the process of buying our first permanent base after being a tenant for 15 years, and believe me it is causing palpitations. There is something very freeing about not having to take responsibility when something goes wrong.

Many people seem concerned about what you will do with your things, let me tell you they are just things. When we left Sydney we put our things into storage as we were only going to be gone for a year. 15 years later, thousands of dollars paid in fees, we can barely remember what those things are and why we kept them. That said, we will be dealing with these things on our return next month.

I guess if you want to be conservative you can maintain the status quo, keep all your things and repress your desire for a different life. To me, your recent posts say to me you are ready for a new adventure. Sometimes you just have to step over the edge and hope that it works out. What's the worst that can happen? YOu rent for a couple of years and hate it and have to buy something else? Can't see that you are going to miss the market based on what is going on.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:23 AM   #22
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Lot of good points. We talked to the DD about what she and her DH might want from the current home and so a lot of the furniture will take care of itself.

PLUS, let's face it, gosh some things are really just junk. Some of it was bought in the 70's and 80's.

I think the original plan is to have an apartment in a new city, either Seattle, Denver or Austin come to mind. But Seattle looks nice and a fun new place to start the adventure and because it is still close enough to our DD in Pasadena.

The one BIG unknown is whether our desire to no longer be home owners will be a lasting desire. And as some say, hard to buy back into that market.

But we are tired of the PV area of LA anyway. For those not familiar, it's like a rural retreat above the South Bay area of LA and quite a grind to get off of and back onto. Everything is a commute. Just going to the mall requires a planning session.

We've been happy with San Diego and the highrise lifestyle.

DangerMouse, I think we are contemplating the lifestyle that you are just phasing out of. It seem that both of us are very excited to be "free" of the responsibilities of a large home.

PLUS, I see two threads about neighbors with dogs making life miserable for folks, so a home is no guarantee of freedom from noisy neighbors and potentially even harder to resolve amicably.

Funny but I bet you are in for a surprise when you open you 15 year time capsule of possessions. I have heard stories of folks just dumping the whole lot of it.

It really is just stuff.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:26 AM   #23
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I dream of condo living. I spent yesterday felling some trees in the backyard. Now I have to dispatch them, drag the small branches to the street and cut the larger logs for firewood. Then I have to power wash the house and wash all the windows which I will probably have to do during my upcoming vacation. And there is still plenty to do, like changing the faucets in all three bathrooms... Why do we have 3 bathrooms for 2 people? I dunno. I should add that I am already taking care of the maintenance and yard work at MIL's house all by myself.

I have been eyeing some nice, luxury condo for sale at the local Westin, but DW doesn't want to hear about it.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:28 AM   #24
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I dream of condo living. I spent yesterday felling some trees in the backyard. Now I have to dispatch them, drag the small branches to the street and cut the larger logs for firewood. Then I have to power wash the house and wash all the windows which I will probably have to do during my upcoming vacation. And there is still plenty to do, like changing the faucets in all three bathrooms... Why do we have 3 bathrooms for 2 people? I dunno. I should add that I am already taking care of the maintenance of yard work at MIL's house all by myself.

I have been eyeing some nice, luxury condo for sale at the local Westin, but DW doesn't want to hear about it.
Then buy her a chainsaw, an axe and a few wedges and let her have at it!
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:12 PM   #25
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I dream of condo living. I spent yesterday felling some trees in the backyard. Now I have to dispatch them, drag the small branches to the street and cut the larger logs for firewood. Then I have to power wash the house and wash all the windows which I will probably have to do during my upcoming vacation. And there is still plenty to do, like changing the faucets in all three bathrooms... Why do we have 3 bathrooms for 2 people? I dunno. I should add that I am already taking care of the maintenance and yard work at MIL's house all by myself.

I have been eyeing some nice, luxury condo for sale at the local Westin, but DW doesn't want to hear about it.
Exactamundo, same feeling I had when living in my home. Never ending to-do list. And stuff I did not want to do. AND then finally, the DW decided that vacuuming 2600 sq ft of carpet once a week, and dusting/cleaning 10+ rooms was not that much fun.

Today, I have a young Mexican with a squeegee washing my windows. Cost to me as a renter = Zero.

In about 30 minutes we will head down to the corner and catch the #30 over to Pacific Beach, and just watch some waves and maybe a burger. If I lived on PV still, I'd be out in the yard raking or edging.

I'm kinda excited to give it a try. Not exactly too frugal or vagabondish but free of daily duties.
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:19 PM   #26
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I'm kinda excited to give it a try. Not exactly too frugal or vagabondish but free of daily duties.
I think freeing up a few million in home equity, and reducing your existing taxes/insurance/maintenance expenses is a significant way to be frugal.

No one has asked, but what are you getting from the home in terms of rent? Barely enough to pay your taxes/insurance/maintenance?
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:21 PM   #27
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....

Edit to add: There was a poster here years ago (OldAgePensioner) that basically did what you are talking about (well, except for selling the mult-million dollar house). After coming back to the states after a career as an expat, he lived in a nice high rise apartment for 6 months to a year at a time in a number of different large US cities (Seattle was one I think). Very little possessions, more of a vagabonding lifestyle.
You may not be able to find his posts because he "disappeared." Ah, yes, I remember it well, he would come back under multiple usernames and some old timer would shout out, "we are being OAPed."
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:27 PM   #28
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I'll supply some second thoughts here.

1. If you sell your house, that pretty much means you are going to have to sell (or otherwise get rid of) lots of household goods too. They are gone forever. Even if you have no sentimental attachments to the stuff, you have realized a big loss. If and when you decide to settle down into a home again, you will have to replace all that stuff.
If you keep your oversized house because you know you will "take a loss" when you get rid of your stuff - well, that stuff will own you forever!

We were glad to get rid of most of our stuff. It was a huge relief. Now that we are building a new place, our old furniture would not have fit anyway! So it's just as well we are buying new stuff.

I've heard other people say that when they bought a new place, they bought new stuff anyway. So I don't think it's just limited to us downsizers.

When people downsize, they have to get rid of a lot of stuff. That is a good thing!

If you really like high-rise living, then renting condos in various places sounds like a fun approach. And quite economical compared to owning such an expensive home.

Maybe 10 years from now when the real estate market finally truly recovers you'll need to worry about "pricing yourself out of a market" - but by then either you will have found a more permanent spot, or you will have settled on a completely different type of housing entirely. You never know what the future will hold!

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Old 05-12-2010, 12:43 PM   #29
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I think freeing up a few million in home equity, and reducing your existing taxes/insurance/maintenance expenses is a significant way to be frugal.

No one has asked, but what are you getting from the home in terms of rent? Barely enough to pay your taxes/insurance/maintenance?
FUEGO, the current rent covers all costs associated with owning the house and then some. But I think we are currently looking at this simply as whether we care to continue owning a home that neither of us really want to go back to.

So it's time to decide whether luxury condos in downtown highrises, are our future.

Our small sample so far, says yes.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:05 PM   #30
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FUEGO, the current rent covers all costs associated with owning the house and then some. But I think we are currently looking at this simply as whether we care to continue owning a home that neither of us really want to go back to.

So it's time to decide whether luxury condos in downtown highrises, are our future.

Our small sample so far, says yes.
It sounds like from a financial perspective, you would probably make more money investing the proceeds from sale of the house in some financial assets like stocks/bonds. And those are much easier to maintain and deal with vs. a rental house.

If it were me, I would not have a problem with a mid- or high-rise apartment or condo. I may have to drag DW kicking and screaming at first, but I think she would like it too. But for now since our kids are still relatively young it is probably a no-go for her. The kids do a lots of playing in the backyard and on the swing set while us parents sip frosty or steamy beverages on the deck and watch the wildlife swim in or fly over the lake. And we live in the city so lots of shopping and amenities are walking distance away, or a short relatively congestion free drive away.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:11 PM   #31
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Many people seem concerned about what you will do with your things, let me tell you they are just things. When we left Sydney we put our things into storage as we were only going to be gone for a year. 15 years later, thousands of dollars paid in fees, we can barely remember what those things are and why we kept them. That said, we will be dealing with these things on our return next month.
Hope it was climate controlled....
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:41 PM   #32
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It sounds like from a financial perspective, you would probably make more money investing the proceeds from sale of the house in some financial assets like stocks/bonds. And those are much easier to maintain and deal with vs. a rental house.

If it were me, I would not have a problem with a mid- or high-rise apartment or condo. I may have to drag DW kicking and screaming at first, but I think she would like it too. But for now since our kids are still relatively young it is probably a no-go for her. The kids do a lots of playing in the backyard and on the swing set while us parents sip frosty or steamy beverages on the deck and watch the wildlife swim in or fly over the lake. And we live in the city so lots of shopping and amenities are walking distance away, or a short relatively congestion free drive away.
This adventure should happen and yet it did start out the same way with both of us wary of what "highrise living" would bring. But after a month or two of seeing the night lights, from the beverage sipping area, then deciding to wander out at 9PM and finding every type of food and beverage that we could imagine, we were already thinking we are ready to do this full time.

Last week, took the 11 bus to Broadway, then the 992 to Lindbergh, flew to Seattle, caught the Light Rail downtown, stayed at the Sheraton for a few days, back the reverse route. No yard work, no getting neighbor to watch the place, no nothing, just a nice free feeling.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:53 PM   #33
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We just sold our home on Bainbridge Island and purchased in a co-op in Portland. The location is great, the building & its finances are rock solid, the cost of living there very reasonable. A number of owners have homes elsewhere. The kind of place people buy into after the kids are launched, then leave the move out to their heirs.

We considered stick framed condos, conversions, and even recently constructed high-rises. The co-op met our lifestyle needs the best.

In the Pacific NW many buildings recently constructed as condos are now entirely rentals. That may be the way to go if you are new to a community, however, almost all the developers assert that status as a rental building is temporary. Buying in a building constructed during the bubble has construction defect risk, a building that is 'seasoned' has fewer unknowns. I would not buy a condo in a building that did not severely restrict rentals because mortgages are difficult for a buyer to obtain when you go to sell.

I don't like moving household goods. It is a LOT OF WORK and hiring professional movers expensive. If I had the $$$$ there is nothing wrong with having a 'home base' then renting seasonally in places I want to experiance at a leasurly pace.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:57 PM   #34
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based on what you have posted. I wonder if a Manhattan lifestyle would be of interest to you.They have everything that you posted and then quite a bit more like art and museums, Fine Arts and the Theater, and that New York intellectualism.

The costs would be more than the other cities you have listed but then perhaps the lifestyle would be also.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:58 PM   #35
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This adventure should happen and yet it did start out the same way with both of us wary of what "highrise living" would bring. But after a month or two of seeing the night lights, from the beverage sipping area, then deciding to wander out at 9PM and finding every type of food and beverage that we could imagine, we were already thinking we are ready to do this full time.

Last week, took the 11 bus to Broadway, then the 992 to Lindbergh, flew to Seattle, caught the Light Rail downtown, stayed at the Sheraton for a few days, back the reverse route. No yard work, no getting neighbor to watch the place, no nothing, just a nice free feeling.

Yes... one of the big items to get IMO is a view... and also a balcony...

The views I had were the World Trade Center... nice for awhile... then moved to a place where I could see the Hudson... this was GREAT... heck I would stand at the window and look out... then up to the upper west side... a number of blocks from it, but could look at Central Park...

The bad... you get used to the sight and stop looking... because it was an effort if you did not have a place to sit and enjoy a beverage... to me, standing at a window looking out has its fun, but it does get old....
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:09 PM   #36
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I don't like moving household goods. It is a LOT OF WORK and hiring professional movers expensive. If I had the $$$$ there is nothing wrong with having a 'home base' then renting seasonally in places I want to experiance at a leasurly pace.
This is pretty much how we are thinking. A small (and cheap) homebase, and 6 month or even a year rentals in places we would like to explore.

For instance, Miami. We imagine sampling lots of Cuban and Central American restaurants, learning about Cubans, and their culture. Watching a hurricane season pass by and sampling all the concerts, art exhibits and such that we desire.

We figure, 30 years left. So question is:
a) Spend it very similar to the past or
b) Spend it experiencing a whole new lifestyle
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:18 PM   #37
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Texas Proud and MasterBlaster,

funny you should mention Manhattan, that seems like the dream city to me. But may be toooo big a step for the initial transition. I've visited several times and Manhattan was alive 24/7+.

Part of my thinking is say a place in Seattle or Austin or Denver or Miami, all pretty much sounding like $1,500. Then just lock it up and go travel. Some of the places we've looked at are too expensive, and I think NYC might be one of those.
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:22 PM   #38
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based on what you have posted. I wonder if a Manhattan lifestyle would be of interest to you.They have everything that you posted and then quite a bit more like art and museums, Fine Arts and the Theater, and that New York intellectualism.

The costs would be more than the other cities you have listed but then perhaps the lifestyle would be also.
Or perhaps you would be interested in Boston, like this guy:

TDawg in Boston
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:33 PM   #39
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Or perhaps you would be interested in Boston, like this guy:

TDawg in Boston
I'm not too interested in cold places, although Manhattan could tempt me. I think Seattle is about as cold as I care for.
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:39 PM   #40
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For tax reasons, consider living (at least two weeks a year) in a no-income tax state like Texas or Nevada. The advantages could be big depending on your situation. A good CPA could enlighten you on these benefits. Along those lines, I know that the 1st ex-pres George H W Bush resides most of the year in kennebunkport Maine but spends 2 weeks a year in a Houston hotel to avoid Maine state income taxes.
Two weeks is all it takes? When I was splitting time between TX and VA I was under the impression I had to spend at least 183 days in TX. Like most tax things, it doesn't matter unless you get tagged and they examine it. Now I don't remember for sure if I found that I really needed the 183 days or if that's just what made me feel safe, and I planned on living there around 1/2 the time anyway.

I actually did get an income tax bill from VA one year, probably based on property taxes on my house and car tax/license on the car I kept garaged there. Since Texas requires a state inspection for car licensing, it would've been difficult to license it there. Anyway, I returned the bill with a note that I was a Texas resident and this was a vacation home. Had they persisted, I was ready to show the dates I was in residence there, and could've backed it up with credit card charges to grocery stores, gas stations, etc, there.
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