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Moving - Suburban, or Rural???
Old 08-22-2014, 08:10 AM   #1
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Moving - Suburban, or Rural???

Just passed my three year FIRE anniversary! Financial plan looks more solid than ever, thanks to the markets. What daily routines I have are good and hobbies are still going strong. I do have occasional early morning concerns about how to fill the day, but then the day just seems to take care of itself.

We'll be heading to Florida for the 4th winter on New Years eve! We really enjoy what is essentially a 2-3 month vacation from our daily, local "vacation".....

Just the DW and myself now with the kids doing great for many years and gone for good. We had always considered moving, but wanted to minimize the number of changes right after retirement. We are now setting our sights on early spring 2015 for buying and selling.

Here are some of the reasons:

  • We probably have two more moves in us (I'm 60, DW 59), with the 2nd one being in our mid-70's to a condo or patio home. Neither of us want to do a house-to-house move much older than what we are now.
  • We have lived in our current location for 17 years and want to have a new area to explore and experience.
  • Neighborhood is 20+ years old and is getting turned over to younger families now.
  • Our current suburban home has a huge amount of landscaping and DW wants out of trimming, mulching, etc.
  • We no longer live in about 1/3 of the house. It is a two story architectural styled house. Beautiful, but not practical. DW wants a smaller, solid brick ranch with a walk-out basement.
  • I want more privacy and less neighbor noise, but would still like to be somewhat socially active. However, I have found myself a lot less tolerant of noise intrusions on my peace and quiet since I retired (anyone else?).
We both like running around and would locate within 30-45 minutes of a city, even if we moved to a rural location. We will probably stay in the mid-west. I'm torn about looking for the house on 5-10 acres with only 1-2 acres to mow, or trying to find the rare location with privacy on the edge of town. We do have three vehicles and a boat.

Just wanted to hear from anyone with some experiences on rural versus suburban retirement living. Is it truly more relaxing and quiet in a rural setting? Any discussion on retirement moving is also welcome, but I've seen recent posts discussing some of the pros/cons.

Retired 8/12/2011
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:37 AM   #2
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Well I wasn't retired yet but I loved our rural home. Twenty acres, outside a town of 243 people. Sixty miles to downtown KCMO. Totally surrounded by crops, pasture, and wooded areas. Total privacy, closest neighbors were 1/2 mile away. Noise, if a farmer was planting/harvesting crops you'd hear a tractor. Three ponds, catfish would literally come up to be fed as I drove my truck up. Sometimes I'd feed them close to the bank and scoop up 4-5 in a 5 gallon bucket.

Wildlife was incredible, we'd have bucks fighting in the front 'yard' during the rut. Wild turkey, the Toms putting on a mating fight/dance for the hens and us. Bobcats slinking within 20 yards of the house. Coyotes howling at night. Listening/watching great horned owls. Hummingbirds would be all over DW when she added food. DW was in the driveway one day when she saw 5 or 6 'wild chickens' running in and out of the tall fescue. She's an animal lover, gets out to see if they wanted to play. That ended quickly when momma turkey charged at her.

Taxes about 80% less then we pay in this county(smaller house there). I can't say enough about the 10 years we spent out there, it was paradise. I only mowed 3/4 acre, brush hogged a couple more once a year. Farmer would cut hay twice a year for us.

Downsides, 2 miles of gravel road, we were a long ways back so we didn't get dust, but vehicle was always filthy. Since I was working, 125 mile daily commute. Groceries 25 mile round trip. Home was small and 2 story, DW's knees forced us out. If we could find something similar (1 story) I'd move back.

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Moving - Suburban, or Rural???
Old 08-22-2014, 09:37 AM   #3
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Moving - Suburban, or Rural???

I like quiet and privacy and feel like I have it while living in a small town cul de sac. Neighbor house on one side, empty lot on the other and woods directly behind my house. I personally couldn't go rural to achieve privacy. That means to me excessive lawn mowing with bigger tracts of grass to mow and being more organized on trips to town for supplies and food. I would become quickly annoyed with 10-15 minute trips into town for basic supplies and constantly mowing the grass. Plus many rural homes here are bigger and on the usual 3-5 acres of land. If you continue yearly winter trips to Florida having someone checking on the house may be more of a problem in rural area. Of course people have different opinions of what "rural" means.

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Old 08-22-2014, 10:30 AM   #4
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I live outside city limits, just county area. I am on 2.5 acres, in a neighborhood of all similar size lots. My property is mostly trees and about 3/4 acre I keep mowed down couple times per year, and only small lawn to regularly mow around the house. I have always liked being out a bit from the city. Yes it does have more maintenance than a small city lot, but I really do not mind yard work. Trimming some 1-2 times/year, and then general clean-up and misc property work.

My house is not real big, even at 2000 sq ft is more than my wife and I really need. I have a big detached garage around 1200 sq ft, works good for me and my old cars hobby. Nearest neighbor is about 400 ft away, no serious noise issues. My dogs can run the whole property and almost all of my neighbors have pets also.

It really is just what you like and want. Some people thrive in middle of big city with an apt and no land whatsoever. I would die in that situation, while the urban dwellers would hate my location. If you want to go see plays, music, entertainment then being closer to a city is good. I can do those if i want, but it is a bit of drive. Having a yard is important to me, I just can't do apt style.

I am only 6 miles to a grocery store/Wal Mart/Walgreens/general physician/dentist/other small businesses. About 20 miles to be in middle of big city Albuquerque for anything that requires. Works for me, being forced to drive bit more is worth the benefits of low noise, great air, see more stars than you can imagine, and no nosey neighbors.
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:06 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by zaqxsw View Post
trying to find the rare location with privacy on the edge of town.
That describes where I live, and it's truly wonderful.

If you have some general areas in mind, it might pay you to talk to a few good real estate agents and ask them to be on the lookout for properties that might come up. They will find them before you could.
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:52 PM   #6
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My wife and I lived in VT for 8 years, having moved there from the 'burbs outside of Baltimore. (Both from New England originally although not VT; game plan was always to move back to NE.)

Long story on why VT but not relevant here. Bought a nice post and beam house on 11 acres, about 2.5 needing mowing, trimming, etc. Located in a rural town about 35 minutes to VT's largest city (Burlington) and 20 minutes to a college town (Middlebury.) Really liked living there but as time went on a few things drove us to move:

- the work on the yard. Even after I gave up mowing/brush hogging myself and hired someone, there was still a lot of care.
- rural nature of area. Although none of these things are gross hardships, couldn't get a pizza delivered, limited choice of stores without going to Burlington, no bumping into neighbors, etc. If we were going to Burlington, it made sense to accomplish a number of errands, so it would be a minimum 4 - 6 hour trip.

Made the decision to move last year to a more suburban area in a nearby state (MA). We are in a coastal community with access to the beach, Boston almost as close as Burlington was (going to the Red Sox game tonight!), many more things to do.

On the downside, traffic is a bummer around here, particularly in the summer when people are headed to/from Cape Cod and we need to use the major arteries. Not to disparage rural VT as it is a beautiful state with lots of great outdoor activities and more cultural advantages than you might imagine. But, for us, the move to a little busier place was the right move.
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Old 08-23-2014, 07:50 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for all of the replies!

Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
That describes where I live, and it's truly wonderful.
We used to live on the edge of a small town in NW Illinois. The house was on top of a ridge, at the end of a cul-de-sac. Larger, wooded lot. Loved it too except for mountains of acorns and leaves!

Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
If you have some general areas in mind, it might pay you to talk to a few good real estate agents and ask them to be on the lookout for properties that might come up. They will find them before you could.
Good idea! I think we may be leaning this way. We have become use to having everything within 10-15 minutes away and do like.

Appreciate any additional posts! Thanks again.

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