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Real Estate, etc.

February 5th, 2013 at 06:19 am

**My dh was right - can renew library books 3 times. I was surprised - I don't tend to renew. If I seek out a book I generally read it through right away, or I decide not to bother. But I am reading a book to the kids and is taking *forever.* Not sure if we will finish but can always re-check-out.

**Our neighbors had an oyster party for Superbowl. I can say I tried it, but can't say I see the draw. These oysters are legendary, but I think with the Superbowl and all the oyster converts, they were happy to just eat them raw. The stories I had heard were about the BBQ variety. Apparently winter oysters are the best - they were delivered straight from the ocean. So, that was interesting.

**Dh went to a Superbowl party about 45 minutes away. One of his script writing friends was visiting from LA and so he wanted to put in some face time (they have been working together through skype). I had already grasped that the guy's family had money, but they apparently moved recently. Dh said, "OMG - you need to look up what they paid for their house," when he got home. I said, "It's probably not that exciting, they live in the middle of nowhere." But we were still both surprised when we looked it up. There were listing pictures online so I got a feel for the Estate. Is about 3 or 4 acres, rather isolated, with a lake view. (It doesn't matter what kind of home is on the property - that is some serious acreage with California land prices. But it was a very large, by CA standards, 3000 liveable square feet). The value of the home? $600,000. That's it. My feeling was, "Holy Crap, that is a lot of house/land for $600k." Dh said, "That's it!?!" Financial wise, not terribly impressive. They could have bought a home in the 1980s very modestly and just made a lateral move to this place in the middle of nowhere. IT speaks nothing to big incomes. I suppose kind of like our own experience - trading a condo for a more luxurious home in a cheaper city. People always guess we are far richer and we paid far more than we did. I believe they are from the Bay Area as well, where $600k might buy you a starter home if you are lucky.

We were just having a long talk about where and how we may downsize in the long-term future. So I think this was a good example for dh. I told him, "See - exactly what I was talking about!" If we are retired and don't need to be near lots of employment, it seems there are many cheaper havens that aren't much farther out. Some are closer to the Bay Area. Some are closer to Tahoe. We would not be buying several acres - our plan is to downsize into a condo. Though I doubt this town has condos, at those land prices, they'd probably be priced about $50k. Maybe lower...

It boggles my mind that real estate this "cheap" exists in pockets of "insane expensive" real estate. Dh's family owns a cabin not far from this place dh asked me to look up - I have always been surprised how little that is valued at, considering the location.

Mr. Money Mustache has also talked extensively about this:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/12/26/cure-yourself-of-t...

It is amazing sometimes the reasons why people are willing to pay a small fortune for a house. Dh and I have always been the "Dig a little deeper for the substance" types, so has boded very well for us when it comes to real estate. Whether we made such a drastic low-cost-of-living move or not really doesn't matter. We always have a knack of seeking out a deal on a property - something the herd has overlooked for some illogical reason. Just as an example, when we bought our first home, all I heard was we would be in an insane bidding war and to expect to have to offer six figures above asking price to get a foot in the door. This was not our experience in the slightest. We bought an updated to the hilt/move-in ready home. WE were the only ones putting in an offer. We had more than 5 minutes to think about it. It was a sellers market and we moved fast - but we had the luxury to sleep on it, at least! Our current home - people turn up their noses at our school district. Our kids attend the most AMAZING school just a few blocks from our home. We bought because we were willing to seek out the infinite public options in the big city. Just turns out we didn't have to. To this day I still get comments about our school district. Rolleyes Frankly, I don't think we could have bought a better education - I have no idea how to improve on our kids' K-8 school. My older child has basically had a custom education, at a PUBLIC school. Thanks to technology and the amazing administration and teachers. We also saved a fortune by buying on the outside of a gated community (did not personally see the draw or $$$$$ of buying inside the gates - and can attest many years later the gates add not real security - if anything those larger hoity toity homes are targeted far more for theft - probably takes the bullseye off of us entirely). We also went with a non-name-brand builder, so saved a fortune there. Stuff like that. It all adds up and up and up!

Our strategy for our next home (when kids are done with school) is to ditch the land (I've seen very large and nice condos for $100k-ish), and if retirement ready, to ditch the city. We still want to be relatively close to our parents and kids and the city. But can certainly go for the low prices 45 minutes out if we are no longer commuting on a daily basis.

It's tricky. It is not as simple as "anything further out is cheaper." This is actually largely not true (that further out is cheaper) because we live between so many "more deireable areas." But there are definitely some hidden frugal gems - we've got a good decade to seek them out. {& frankly, staying put may be most cost effective - for whatever reason I feel the city we live in now is far overlooked and under-valued, maybe being in close proximity to so many highly sought out cities}. I am not going to move somewhere just because it is cheaper - I want to know the "why" - we may even rent a place in the interim to see how we feel about the place - stuff like that - we will be digging deep and doing our research.

1 Responses to “Real Estate, etc.”

  1. snafu Says:

    We've lived in several cities and always sought a home in the university district or at the very least an easy subway ride. It's a small 'village' where we worked, socialized, took courses, met guest lecturers, concerts, sport activities as participants or spectators and relatives counted on us to arrange facilities for events.

    We weren't really prepared when technology suddenly whacked us on the head and instead of lecturing, career became creating, marketing and delivering on-line Master courses to English speaking students anywhere e-line courses could be delivered. When the offers came to work overseas for various semesters house and yard care turned into a barrier when the people we hired created drama and stress.

    The house sold faster than expected and I needed to buy a condo whose criteria had to reflect our new, totally different lifestyle. DH was already working in China and it was nerve wracking to work out priorities. It's like trying to guess what health issues you'll face as a senior. Do you have good genes?

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