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Old 08-11-2011, 11:07 AM   #21
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audreyh1's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
We are most likely going to relocate in the next few years, and the places on our short list are all cities we've never lived in. It certainly makes sense to rent first, months if not years, but the thought of moving twice within a few years (or less) and throwing away money on rent is hard to fathom. We rented an apartment once when we moved and built a house, it was a big hassle, but at least Megacorp paid for moving and storage - not this time of course.

Have any of you actually rented when relocating, and thoughts if you did.
I can't imagine relocating to a new area without trying it first and at least having already established some rapport with the new area.

The concern about "throwing away money on rent" IMO is kind of penny wise - pound foolish. Just consider it part of the "cost" or "down payment" of making a much better long term decision. What if you don't like a new area. What if you spend a year or more invested in buying a new house, moving, etc. and when the dust finally settles, you realize you're just not really that into the new place?

Fortunately for us when we "moved" we already lived in our RV with some stuff in storage, so part of the work was done. HOWEVER, we still had spent some good chunks of time in the new area over several years and already had friends there, etc., so that we already new we would be happy (enough) there.

I don't think the amount of "research" that we did is essential. But I do think you need to spend some time in the area as a tourist/vacationer at various times of the year before starting to seriously look for a house. It takes a while to get to know an area - it can't be rushed, and no matter how much book or internet research you do, it doesn't substitute for physically being present. Use your travel as a way to check places out.


Well, I thought I was retired. But it seems that now I'm working as a travel agent instead!
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:13 AM   #22
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How about doing some vacation in your target geographies and do more of a deep dive to see how you like it? Not quite as extreme as the rent before buying approach.

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Old 08-11-2011, 11:17 AM   #23
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Moving twice is definitely the big issue with renting before buying. Besides the cost,there is the risk of damage/loss. However, when moving within a city, you could move your more precious items by yourself & save the stress.

Rent need not be wasted money as there are some things that may offset the rent money. Owning home costs money - property taxes, repairs etc. Then there is the paltry interest on the equity of your sold home which can offset the rental costs. In this market, the price of your prospective home will probably not increase by much, and may even decrease a little.

Like others have pointed out, the cost of a real-estate mistake is much larger than rental costs for a year.

Having said all this - we are having a hard time deciding how much house to buy - size, single family v/s town home, cost. I think we are settled on location.

Edit: One more point. In retrospect, we should have tried for a 6 month lease. I would suggest trying for a 6 month lease with the option to extend month to month with a 2 month notice.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:18 AM   #24
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The first month or two are critical. In that time you can get a real good "feel" for the potentially new place. I have rented small "vacation rentals" which have everything from beds to blenders. You don't need to worry about a move. That puts you in a much better frame of mind about what to do in the future. When you get back home then, you can are very familiar with the town, check out any questions you have, then make more firm decision.

You still have all your options without having paid the price of a move, only to discover the place is really not what you want. You can always check out another town, rent if you are not sure, or buy if you loved the place.

Even if your first impression is great, I have lived in places where some factor is hidden beneath the surface. For example, the town has a social structure of old, established families. It takes years (if ever) to really feel like you are really at home.

Another tip: if you have kids, it may be time to distribute the family memoirs, particularly big, heavy pieces of furniture, stuff in the attic, etc. My son and daughter both were at a stage in life where they wanted the usable memorabilia when I moved. Also have a serious garage sale so you can start to downsize. At some point your kids will have to figure out what to do with everything you own when you hit the end of the road.

When my mother died, I had to break up the family house of 40 years consisting of a huge array of stuff! It was really hard to just give it to the neighbors. The death of the last parent means a ton of details to take care of. A lot of valuable stuff was sold or given to people who sell on E-bay, just to get rid of it - really hard times.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:25 AM   #25
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Rent with an option to buy? (If people still do that.)
Greg (retired in 2010 at age 68, state pension)
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:07 PM   #26
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You all have me pretty well talked into renting for a variety of reasons.

That being said, I was an 'Army brat' growing up and we moved without knowing anything about the new location every 3 years or so, though we were in Army housing mostly so there was never a real estate factor. As an adult, I've relocated 5 times, always to areas I had never lived, and DW and I made a home buying decision based on a one week house hunting trip every time. Not ideal, but doable.

It will be nice to have the luxury of renting first after 57 years of not really having that option. Thanks everyone...
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:11 AM   #27
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DW and I are planning to move to FL upon retirement (~2014) and plan to rent. Here's our rationale.

We are very likely going to retire in a beach community where we lived for a year about 20 yrs ago, and we've returned twice on vacations since then. So, we know something about the community, thus placing it at the top of our list. However, we are still not 100% sure. And, we've calculated the monthly housing cost renting and buying; renting is clearly cheaper in our situation (condo). Buying would cost at least 30% more per month. So, for us, it's a way to save on housing cost early in ER (we've disccussed renting for 2-5 yrs), ensure that "this is the place", and be able to watch for a buying bargain.

We've moved A LOT so, the prospect of one more move isn't daunting to us; I know this is not so for all. And, financially, the $$$ we'll save renting will more than pay for the move when we buy.

So, renting first is almost all upside for us.

You may be whatever you resolve to be.
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