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Thread: How to decide where to live

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    How to decide where to live

    I think I have finally gotten DH on board to sell our house within the next year or two, pack up and go to VT. He shockingly said to me that if we sell both BIL and our houses, we can clear ALL debt (including mortgage debt) if we buy a house with a budget of $200k. So we're seriously considering just that. The idea that we could be in a place with no debt and then every project I take on is money in the bank.. wow.

    Question is...how do I decide which of three routes to take:

    #1: Small home on small piece of land (.25 to .5 acres) within 20 minutes to Burlington, more of a densely populated area but also closer to stores/amenities
    #2: Bigger piece of land on one of the northern Lake Champlain islands; more remote, within an hour of Burlington.
    #3: Buy land when we we see a good deal and build

    You guys who have made moves recently, how did you decide where to go?? My gut tells me that I prefer being close to civilization, but I can see the value of a more remote place, too. This is definitely going to be a tough, tough decision.

    Thoughts? Advice?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    I think I have finally gotten DH on board to sell our house within the next year or two, pack up and go to VT. He shockingly said to me that if we sell both BIL and our houses, we can clear ALL debt (including mortgage debt) if we buy a house with a budget of $200k. So we're seriously considering just that. The idea that we could be in a place with no debt and then every project I take on is money in the bank.. wow.

    Question is...how do I decide which of three routes to take:

    #1: Small home on small piece of land (.25 to .5 acres) within 20 minutes to Burlington, more of a densely populated area but also closer to stores/amenities
    #2: Bigger piece of land on one of the northern Lake Champlain islands; more remote, within an hour of Burlington.
    #3: Buy land when we we see a good deal and build

    You guys who have made moves recently, how did you decide where to go?? My gut tells me that I prefer being close to civilization, but I can see the value of a more remote place, too. This is definitely going to be a tough, tough decision.

    Thoughts? Advice?
    I will check in later with feedback on the 3 routes, but may I say, clearing all debt, including mortgage, and being able to take on what projects you select--

    HOORAY FOR YOU!!! This is fantastic news and a great plan!

  3. #3
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I will mention that there is a lot of snow drifting in the Champlain Islands- which could be a significant impediment if you need to travel to Burlington frequently, either for work or medical appointments. Its really beautiful there in the summer, but winter driving can be treacherous.

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    Why those three options? Why not look at houses first, before limiting yourself to those three options?
    Point being, if you found a house that you considered "perfect" on either point and you had to adapt to the other one, would it matter that you had already made up your mind the other way?

  5. #5
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Why are you interested in "land?" What will you do with it?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    Can you buy something cheaper and put the difference into retirement or emergency funds?

    When I was young I lived paycheck to paycheck for a number of years (and sometimes unexpected expenses like car repairs exceeded the available funds.) Being able to have a financial cushion now is huge. The relief and peace of mind is enormous. If I had a choice, I would choose a smaller house/land and buy that peace of mind instead.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I dont have any wisdom to impart. I always look at real estate, but this week we looked a little more seriously than usual, in that we drove to a small town I love to look at a potential place (it was bad) and also drove across the river to look at a place in a mid sized city.

    I am thinking of leaving here because so many of our friends have left, and another close friend will be gone in two years. She is finally moving out to the country to get acreage, but it is only 3 acres. Also,I now fear for the future of our neighborhood because no one volunteers any more, we can't fill board positions, people dont understand that the physical improvements they see are carried out by our neighvorhood organization, their taxes are not funding it.

    I also tire of the political rhetoric surrounding crime in my city. It is not the crime itself that really bugs me, it is the apologetics surrounding it.

    The easy fix for us is to move out to a country place with a few acres, easy peasy! But I *hate* the idea of driving everywhere, I will not move out to a place where I have to drive 40 minutes to get to civilization. What "civilization" means to me is architecture of note, and social institutions such as a public library, garden club, civic organizations for volunteer opportunities.

    I really like Hermann, MO because it has all of that in a tiny package and it has scenic hills as well, where you can have a house on a hill and look at church spires that remind me of Europe. But I want acres. yes! an acre, in town. So that is pretty much impossible. Oh, I also want a small house, must be under 2,000 sq feet. Another cool thing about Hermann is that the passenger train goes from there to St. Louis. I would rent a small apartment in St. Louis if we bought real estate in Hermann.

    There is a lot more I could say about where I am house hunting, maybe more later. But in the end, it is unlikely we will move.

    already two sets of people who moved from our neighborhood are dreadfully unhappy, and one set has already moved back from the suburbs. The other couple may return, them from a country place. I know that I cant do country. I dont even want a weekend place in the country, its just more maintenance.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 8-14-17 at 11:34am.

  8. #8
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    The closest I ever lived to "the country" was in a tiny coastal resort town. I don't need or want more land than it takes to buffer me from neighbors, and from a distance, country life has no appeal. I agree with Iris Lily that I need to be close to civilization, with all that entails.

    If you live an isolated life on an island with harsh weather, will you just have to move again when age encroaches on you? I would pay close attention to your visceral reaction to each property you see. Don't go overboard with logic, but do consider the big picture.

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    I second the advice to consider more options, especially since it's a long-distance move. I've made three of those. Maybe rent for a while and try a couple of things first? I've bought land and built. Way too much trouble and headache. I've lived in remote places. Not at all what I call simple living. I don't even want to own anymore. I rent in town and love it. Lots of flexibility, and I can change my mind at any time -- buy, rent elsewhere, try other parts of town or state, etc. I'm debt-free too. It's great, but it's possible to trade one kind of freedom for another and end up strapped again.

  10. #10
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    IL, you brought up my sentiments exactly. The idea of a country place in the middle of nowhere seems really appealing, especially if there is SOME small town nearby. But I know myself well enough to know that I get claustrophobic in car-dependent places. That's why I love Ocean Grove, NJ, because it's an adorable town with Historic Landmark status, it's on the beach, very community-minded, but you can also walk to a train in about 10 minutes and be on your way to NYC. Problem is, even little tiny houses cost $300k.

    So, that's also why I love Burlington, but we want a place that will entice the kids to visit us. That's why near/on the lake would be ideal. Tybee had provided a link to a house in just the right spot a while back and I actually pursued it a bit but while I was jerking around trying to decide, someone bought it. It was $134,000 (fits Geila's recommendation), was across the street from a beach in a nice community, and was only 20 minutes from the kids. The two downsides were it was on leased land (big red flag) and it was seasonal only.

    Frankly, the seasonal thing doesn't bother me because I would just come back to NJ for the winter to see my other son/grandkids. I'd rent a winter place in OG. October-May rentals are very cheap on the beach.

    But yeah, we keep seeing amazing values way up north, but there's a reason they're that cheap. I'd have to drive miles to get to a supermarket. Been there done that when I lived in upstate NY and I didn't like it a bit.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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