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Where to Live: An Experiment
Old 06-03-2021, 04:33 PM   #1
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Where to Live: An Experiment

Like many others here, DH and I haven't decided where we want to live. I can't believe that we pulled the plug 8 months ago, wow! That was a great decision so I know we're capable of figuring this location thing out.

So here are our current options and here's the plan for figuring it out. I'll let you know if it's actually helpful in another 6-8 weeks. In the meantime, you might want to try it out and tell me if it helped YOU, ha.

We currently have two homes; one in the city and one on 30 rural acres about 25 min from the closet small city. We bought that property in 2007 as a fixer upper weekend place. It is STILL a fixer upper though all in all in better shape than we found it.

I have never really liked having both places except I like them both. Does that makes sense? Wherever I am, I am happy. If I'm in the city, I'm generally happy. If I'm at the farm, I'm generally happy. They are just SUCH DIFFERENT lifestyles. We've talked about selling the whole lot and moving somewhere completely different but I think we've about decided (partly based on comments here) to stay put for now and then if we want to move somewhere wildly different down the road then all the more power to us. Right now though, I simply do not want to own and manage two places anymore. I am so done with managing so much.

So my exercise is this: Each day or two I sit down and write a page entitled I love living in... One page describes a day in the life of living in our city home and the other will talk about a day in the life of living on the farm. It is a total brainstorm - I can pretend, project, imagine... I figure this way I'll get to run through most of my highs and reservations about each place and at the end of, say 6 weeks or so, I'll just read through the whole thing and look for patterns and see what jumps out at me.

There are definitely pluses and minuses in both categories and I'm hoping this will help me pinpoint them in one place. Yes I can make a pro/con list, but I think doing it this way will help me fully appreciate the emotion around each decision and those emotions are a crucial factor in our decision making. DH is doing the exercise too.

I'll keep you posted...
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Old 06-03-2021, 05:01 PM   #2
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Sounds good to me.

When I retired a co-worker asked me where I was moving to. Nowhere I answered, I'm staying right here. He thinks CA is too expensive.

But I like it here and the place is mortgage free. Don't want to do the frying pan and fire thing.
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Old 06-03-2021, 06:05 PM   #3
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Great exercise steady! It will be interesting to see how your notes compare to your DHs. Keep us posted.

I should have done (or do) the same thing. We have a semi-rural home on 5 acres on a lake in Illinois and had a townhouse in Scottsdale. Quite the opposite. Sold the townhouse, but interested in moving to Az. I need to write down the pluses and minuses.
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Old 06-03-2021, 06:22 PM   #4
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While you two are brainstorming...and because you have the time, try adding a 3rd page called "The perfect place" which is neither of your current places, but the ideal "forever home" that each of you will need to be taken out in a box.

While costs, weather, medical will be important, add a few things that will help you get up each morning whether you are 60 or 90 years old.

This 3rd option may never happen, but may help you evaluate the other items you have written about the city and the farm.
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Old 06-03-2021, 06:45 PM   #5
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...

I have never really liked having both places except I like them both. Does that makes sense? Wherever I am, I am happy. If I'm in the city, I'm generally happy. If I'm at the farm, I'm generally happy. They are just SUCH DIFFERENT lifestyles. ...

I'll keep you posted...
I completely understand. I grew up on a small farm, but really loved living in the city too. Each have something to offer. And some of us enjoy those differences.

And I completely understand not wanting to maintain two places, one is more than enough for me!

So keep us posted. Maybe what you will find is it makes sense to live in one place and visit the other to get a taste of what you like about that place. Could work either way, live on the farm, visit the city (a nice hotel occasionally would be far cheaper than maintaining a 2nd home!) - or live in the city and visit the rural areas (B&B?).

-ERD50
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Old 06-03-2021, 07:41 PM   #6
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Great idea
When I retired, sold the house, and moved into our motorhome we both wrote listing the reasons we did and didnt like owning a house and where. The thinking was we would choose the next place remembering the positives and negatives. I keep thinking the next time we roll into another town or area well see the perfect place. Every once in a while well run across the lists and still feel the same way we did when writing them in august 2000.
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Old 06-03-2021, 08:54 PM   #7
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While you two are brainstorming...and because you have the time, try adding a 3rd page called "The perfect place" which is neither of your current places, but the ideal "forever home" that each of you will need to be taken out in a box.

While costs, weather, medical will be important, add a few things that will help you get up each morning whether you are 60 or 90 years old.

This 3rd option may never happen, but may help you evaluate the other items you have written about the city and the farm.

We actually did that years a few years ago (We titled it "My Perfect Life") and it would be a good thing to do again eventually. The main reason we're choosing between these two options right now is that we have sons in their 20's that are reasonably close to both homes and we have friends and casual acquaintances in both places. I place a high priority on being near our boys (especially) for now (and our longtime friends) that but am open to rethinking that later on.
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:09 PM   #8
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I completely understand. I grew up on a small farm, but really loved living in the city too. Each have something to offer. And some of us enjoy those differences.

And I completely understand not wanting to maintain two places, one is more than enough for me!

So keep us posted. Maybe what you will find is it makes sense to live in one place and visit the other to get a taste of what you like about that place. Could work either way, live on the farm, visit the city (a nice hotel occasionally would be far cheaper than maintaining a 2nd home!) - or live in the city and visit the rural areas (B&B?).
Yes, exactly! I really do love both places and for different reasons. If DH felt strongly one way or another I'd happily agree and I know he feels the same way. I am just so, so very tired of being pulled between two places and maintaining them both is a pain. With the Big Freeze this year, we found ourselves without power in the city for 4 days and no water for almost 10...But at the farm we had power but no running water for a month! Then there was the a/c that died, etc. I feel like we spend most of our time "managing" everything. It's not how I want to spend my time.

One thing I'll add is that we have another small house on the farm property that we are currently renovating (it was either that or let it fall apart). It is a really cute house and we're turning it into a guest cottage but honestly have considered a seasonal B&B. (Always something we thought we'd like to do and we figure we could do it now without the stress of having it be our income source. But that's another topic...) So yes, crazy that even if we sell the city house we'd still own 2 homes; they'd just be a pasture apart, ha.
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:11 PM   #9
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Arizona1, you're living a fun life, seeing all kinds of places from the comfort of your home on wheels! Sounds like a grand adventure!
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Old 06-04-2021, 07:05 AM   #10
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We are presently traveling from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon NP and Zion NP with 9 &13 year old grandchildren. We are in Page, AZ tonight.

I accept that rooms are higher priced, but food prices are about twice that of restaurants in the Mid South. A chicken nuggets meal is over $10 for the 9 year old with tax. Food in casinos exceed $25, even for a burger.

The lack of workers remains a very serious issue for all companies. Hertz workers and their locations are part time. Restaurants cannot find enough workers--even with the inside seating closed.

There is such a variance in costs of traveling regionally, and not all areas are affordable.
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Old 06-04-2021, 09:40 PM   #11
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I completely understand. I grew up on a small farm, but really loved living in the city too. Each have something to offer. And some of us enjoy those differences.



And I completely understand not wanting to maintain two places, one is more than enough for me!



So keep us posted. Maybe what you will find is it makes sense to live in one place and visit the other to get a taste of what you like about that place. Could work either way, live on the farm, visit the city (a nice hotel occasionally would be far cheaper than maintaining a 2nd home!) - or live in the city and visit the rural areas (B&B?).



-ERD50


I like the idea of trying actually living in each property for a few months, without visiting the other one. Im not sure how much time youve been spending in each location, but forcing yourself to stay 100% in one and then the other for at least a month each might be enlightening.
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Old 06-04-2021, 09:45 PM   #12
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I like the idea of trying actually living in each property for a few months, without visiting the other one. Im not sure how much time youve been spending in each location, but forcing yourself to stay 100% in one and then the other for at least a month each might be enlightening.
+1 That sounds like a great idea! It would require a firm decision to be made (however temporary), and then the outcome of that decision might be clearer.
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:58 AM   #13
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I like the idea of trying actually living in each property for a few months, without visiting the other one. Im not sure how much time youve been spending in each location, but forcing yourself to stay 100% in one and then the other for at least a month each might be enlightening.
Scuba, we've done that recently. We were at the farm for 6 weeks before going back to the city home (though 10 days of that, admittedly, was traveling out of town for DH's father's funeral unfortunately). Wherever we are, we are happy (and we miss things about the other place). Last week we were in the city and we thought "why are we living at the farm? too much work, let's just sell it"...then we came back here and we're thinking "why would we even go back? We can visit for the good stuff but farm living is so peaceful and easy and actually a healthier lifestyle." So the experiment continues...

Since starting the experiment, I've already gained some insight about things that are important that I hadn't thought of, along with something that I'm challenged to figure out how I'd need to get creative and "work around" if we moved to the farm for example. I do feel pretty confident that the farm move wouldn't be a forever move as we got a lot older but I wouldn't want to miss out on living here if that's what we chose, simply b/c health issues, for example, called us to a different living situation later on. I have found that trying to cover every base only serves to immobilize me.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:09 AM   #14
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Is there a financial or health reason you need to choose one over the other?
If you enjoy them both, why not keep them for now and spend time at each one when you want. Many folks have two homes.
Are your sons close enough to each place to check on it during the times you are not there?
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Old 06-05-2021, 11:49 AM   #15
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Is there a financial or health reason you need to choose one over the other?
If you enjoy them both, why not keep them for now and spend time at each one when you want. Many folks have two homes.
Are your sons close enough to each place to check on it during the times you are not there?
That's a fair question but, as I said, I don't want to manage two places anymore. It's just too much. I'm just reminded of a saying that goes through my head now and then..."just because you can doesn't mean you should."

I'd rather spend that time (and money) doing other things in this next chapter of my life. As long as I have two places to maintain, I'm making the decision by default NOT to do other things.

One thing DH and I want to do is a little traveling and between having so much to keep up with plus a 15 year old dog, that's not happening right now. So while we're enjoying what I'm guessing is the last golden year with our sweet dog, we're making our plans for what we want our life to look like next.

We're trying to move away from managing stuff and enjoying experiences more.
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Old 06-08-2021, 09:43 PM   #16
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Scuba, we've done that recently. We were at the farm for 6 weeks before going back to the city home (though 10 days of that, admittedly, was traveling out of town for DH's father's funeral unfortunately). Wherever we are, we are happy (and we miss things about the other place). Last week we were in the city and we thought "why are we living at the farm? too much work, let's just sell it"...then we came back here and we're thinking "why would we even go back? We can visit for the good stuff but farm living is so peaceful and easy and actually a healthier lifestyle." So the experiment continues...



Since starting the experiment, I've already gained some insight about things that are important that I hadn't thought of, along with something that I'm challenged to figure out how I'd need to get creative and "work around" if we moved to the farm for example. I do feel pretty confident that the farm move wouldn't be a forever move as we got a lot older but I wouldn't want to miss out on living here if that's what we chose, simply b/c health issues, for example, called us to a different living situation later on. I have found that trying to cover every base only serves to immobilize me.


Perhaps if you extend the duration of your experiment - maybe to 3 months? Try living on the farm for 3 months without going anywhere else and see how you feel. Might make your decision clearer, if you can commit to really living there without going back and forth between places or traveling during that time.
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:10 AM   #17
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What about this idea: sell both and get a place that is compromise of the two. Buy something in the far suburbs that has minimum 1 acre. Preferably with some farms around the area. Lower traffic and noise, with just enough land outside to take care of and enjoy without being a overwhelming. But still closer to the city for shopping, medical and entertainment.



You don't say what your current city housing is. In high density area or near a downtown hub? Or just typical suburban neighborhood on 0.1 acre lot single family home? That can make a big difference in your view on what city life is.
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:55 AM   #18
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Perhaps if you extend the duration of your experiment - maybe to 3 months? Try living on the farm for 3 months without going anywhere else and see how you feel. Might make your decision clearer, if you can commit to really living there without going back and forth between places or traveling during that time.
Scuba that's an excellent idea and really what we were trying to do. The challenge is that we've had to go back into town to check on things. One of us goes in every couple of weeks for a day or two. (A neighbor that we might normally ask to do that is on a 10 week road trip and planning another after a two week break in July...) We are getting our mail plus much of our inlaw's mail. DH's father recently passed away so now we get more forwarded - but we were already having to take care of their mail. Just more of a hassle to have already forwarded mail forwarded and for not a long period of time.
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Old 06-09-2021, 09:45 AM   #19
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What about this idea: sell both and get a place that is compromise of the two. Buy something in the far suburbs that has minimum 1 acre. Preferably with some farms around the area. Lower traffic and noise, with just enough land outside to take care of and enjoy without being a overwhelming. But still closer to the city for shopping, medical and entertainment.



You don't say what your current city housing is. In high density area or near a downtown hub? Or just typical suburban neighborhood on 0.1 acre lot single family home? That can make a big difference in your view on what city life is.
Bingo. That has very much been on my mind. We are living in two extremes now. Rural property is 10-12 minutes from closest small town that has a post office, gas station/feed store and a Dollar Store... The closest small city (pop. about 17,000) is 25 min away, so not bad, I just have to allow almost an hour to and from on top of my actual time in town. It's a nice little city - no Target for example, but has a big Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot. Restaurant options are pretty limited.

In our house in town we live literally right in the heart of a huge city, near everything...medical center, shopping, university...very dense population. We live in a SFH in an historic neighborhood. Our 2400 sq ft house is on the small end of the spectrum in this neighborhood; it is the perfect size for us. I love our house but it definitely needs some TLC. We are near a bayou and have never flooded but it came pretty close during the last hurricane. I love the neighborhood, I love the conveniences, I love the medical center in my backyard...I'm tired of hurricanes and flooding. And crime. And mosquitos...

Our house at the farm definitely needs a major makeover or we need to tear it down and start over. There is a second small house on the property that we are currently totally renovating as I said earlier. It is going to be really cute! Lots of porches! Now I'd just like to have a home that I live in all the time that is fixed up!!! (As a side note; It might seem stupid to fix up the little house now, but we just really felt like we needed to do this for several reasons: 1) mainly so it didn't continue to fall into disrepair, 2) so we'd have a place where friends could come stay, 3) we used to always think we'd like to have a B&B and that is a possibility now, though not a done deal, 4) it would create value for our property and make it easier to sell if we chose to and 5) it would give us a place to live if we did, indeed, decide to do a major renovation on the main house or if we thought this was our forever home more or less, if we decided to put the $$ into tearing down and starting over.)

So yes, I've often thought that if we had 2-3 acres near a larger city, close to people and conveniences that could be ideal. We have always loved and gravitated to old houses, but a big part of me is ready to start fresh with a new home built to look like an old house. I have looked and continue to look, but so far haven't found it. Our next approach is to start looking closer to the Austin area where our boys are. Anyone have suggestions near there?

The pluses of the farm: I love the peace and quiet here. I love the privacy. I can be really happy with my own company...that said, I miss seeing/being around more people, even just people you meet on the street, at the library, at the grocery store. i love people and I love observing them. I like to work on my own but then I love to break it up with a drive to the coffee shop or a walk around my block, having chance meetings with people. And while I love the sanctuary of the farm, I miss the opportunities for engagement with others and their ideas that I get in the city. I know they're here too; I just haven't gotten both my routine down and my adventuring/networking hat on yet. There's an awful lot to do on a farm, and we don't even have our own animals (chickens) yet...just a friend's cows.

That was a long-winded reply to say, yes, you're on to something there...
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:02 AM   #20
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I certainly do not want to live in a rural area.

We have been considering to move to Las Vegas or Tampa in retirement.
Well, we checked out Las Vegas last month and basically ruled it out. It is too hot, houses are too small with virtually no backyard, and more importantly, slot machines in casinos are too tight.

We will be checking out Tampa soon.
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