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Thread: The house you will die in

  1. #1
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    The house you will die in

    Today, we were talking to a neighbor and he said that intended to stay in his present house until his death...however far in the future that may occur. I found solace in his statement. It is something that has bothered me as I don't feel like where we are at is where I want to grow old. I would so love to find that place and give it my all until my final breath but this is not it. Have you thought about this? Is it near family, familiarity or someplace that has always stirred your heart? I suppose it depends on our age and "station" in life. I will stew over it this winter and then come spring, I want to find that place, accept and stay put, grow old and watch my gardens grow. Thoughts??

  2. #2
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    As you know, I have picked up like you and permanently moved away from my long-time home. While I still own that home, my son has made it his, and if he ever decided to move out, we could not move back because of the high taxes. We simply can't afford $1k a month JUST for property taxes after I retire. So, even though DH used to say about our former home "I want to die in this place" and I wouldn't have ruled it out, it's not possible.

    I would not mind growing old here at all, but I haven't been here long enough to say that this is where I want to grow old. Regarding the move we made last year and the draconian downsizing we underwent, it's interesting, pinkytoe, but every now and then I feel a pang of loss. Nothing serious, and there is no one thing that I wish I had kept, but I'll think about something that wound up in the dumpster, and I just feel a little sad. I'm not yet over those micro-losses, so it's hard for me to feel completely attached to this new place.

    Yet, I have definitely started to feel a sense of place here, even though when people say, where are you from, I still feel I have to qualify that: "I'm from Vermont, but I just recently moved from NJ." I wonder how long it will take before I say, "I'm from Vermont." I'm not FROM Vermont. I've just lived here for a couple of years. I'm FROM Connecticut, where I spent 22 of my earliest years. I'm FROM New Jersey, where I raised 4 kids over 33 years.

    Then there's the limbo we're currently in with regard to our winter status. I hear from everyone that it would be hell to stay here. Not just in Vermont--in our particular neighborhood where all the neighbors go to their primary homes, so we'd be isolated, and that cold North wind would blow across the lake all winter and then in mud season the lake would rise to just a few feet of our door. So the indecision about what to do this winter gets in the way of our thinking of this home as our forever home, too.

    Otherwise, it's a fine place to stay and grow old. I can see my grandkids coming up for years and enjoying everything the island has to offer. But my tread marks from the move are still fresh, so I'll have to wait a little while before I can answer your question.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  3. #3
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    After DH passed away, I moved from the dream we shared of a farm with a woodlot and land with simple new house we built and his dream workshop. It took two years of trying to continue on my own for me to realize that it was time to move on. We had decided after we had both moved around a lot in our earlier lives that this area was finally HOME.
    I made a list of what I needed for the next 30 years living on my own and found the perfect 1300 sq ft little house, recently finished by a quality builder, within walking distance of everything important to me in the nearest town.

    My list included:
    - one floor simple easy-to-clean plan with three bedrooms
    - large entryway that will accommodate a wheelchair or walker for friends if needed
    - easy entry access that could be made into a ramp if needed
    - two car garage for my car and all the tools needed for yard and snow
    - small yard but I need a garden area
    - short paved driveway
    - AC
    - gas fireplace
    - light and windows on all four exposures

    Bonuses that came with it
    - chainlink fence separating back neighbours and setting boundary between the old and new neighbourhood
    - neighbours on each side already had their fence up
    - large conifer trees along back giving privacy
    - overhead fan in living room area of the open concept design

    I added:
    - a TV room downstairs plus sewing room, a large bathroom and a large bedroom with the builder doing the addition. This could be a granny flat with the sewing room converted into a little kitchen.
    - landscaping that is simple for me to maintain or easily done by contractors

    Because my little dog needs a space to be active, I will add a completion to the fencing next spring. At some point, I will need to replace the roof and the garage door so will include that in my budget planning.

    I hope to stay here until the end but am realistic about needs that may need to be addressed.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    I likely will stay where I am. There are costs to moving. My state has a strong safety net including a tax credit for low income seniors for a portion of their property taxes. Unlike a neighboring state we have both an income tax and a sales tax, so property taxes are kept down. There is also a limit of a 2 1/2% per year increase in them unless the voters in a municipality vote for an override. My city is strongly anti-tax and in the 39 years the law has been on the books has never voted for an override.

  5. #5
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    Well, cyberworld ate my lengthy response.

    Yes, we are in our forever home. Purchased in 1991 as a 10 y home but in 2003 we determined the 'hood was the perfect location for us and our neighbors said they are here for life. So here we are 16y later, loving it still and yes, those neighbors are still here.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    We bought this house 7 years ago as our forever home. It’s 1400 sq ft, one level, 1 car garage with huge shed. Our yard is low maintenance with Astro-turf. We totally renovated it before moving in. We are in town and walking distance to places. If my husband dies before me which is unlikely since he is 5 years younger than I will move into a condo with a secure entrance. We recently added simply safe security system. We skipped paying for monitoring since I figured a alarm going off should be sufficient.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    Catherine, I thought you were going to move into a apartment in town for the winter? Ideally it would be furnished.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    We're here. Well, I'm here. DW always says she would have a for-sale sign on this house before my dead body cooled off because the place does not foster the warm memories of the bungalow she owned when we married (the bungalow with the teenie-weenie one-car garage that always flooded in the spring and the almost-useless wet basement which had an upside-down mortgage when the housing crash hit. The place wasn't all that and a bag of chips.). It's a fond memory for her but it really didn't do much for me.

    We stay here because the structure meets our needs, we're in a great location, we live in a real neighborhood with good neighbors, and the house is relatively cheap to run and to pay off. DW decided a couple of years ago that she wanted to pay off the mortgage before she retired but that wasn't going to be an option unless we put about $4 grand a month into the mortgage for the couple of years she had left or unless she worked some more years. Neither choice was palatable to her so we'll have a mortgage. But there's not that much left on it and we'll have the income to cover it. Besides, there's nowhere near here we could move that would be of interest to us and cheaper to buy or fix. So we might as well stay. I think the only thing which could move us out is a physical or dementia-related issue that we could not address within the house.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

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    This is such a good topic to ponder. Having broken my hip in June I see our lovely little rancher, bought in 1973 is almost perfect for limited mobility, BUT the dooways aren't wide enough for a wheelchair and the tubs aren't very easily accessible. I was sitting on the porch this morning thinking of what would need to be done to make it totally accessible. The other major issue is transportation. We live in the country- closest town with library, grocery, bank, hair cutters etc. is a 15 minute drive...Dr. are at least 30 minute drive along with most of my social life. (not the Dr. but those people who are part of my circle.) At 70 we are lucky to be in good health (except for the hip) and still driving. He does the mowing and I plan to be able to do the gardening next year. The thought of being in a condo sometimes sounds great, but then I think about people and I don't want them very close...so for now the plan is to die here and hire out the stuff we cannot do. Just finding people to do it. I enjoy following the journeys you have taken Catherine , Fazz and Pinky toe.

  10. #10
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    Catherine, I thought you were going to move into a apartment in town for the winter? Ideally it would be furnished.
    Yes, that's the #1 option, but DH keeps talking about the extra money it's going to cost vs us just toughing it out here. He has weird ways of looking at spending, because last year at this time, I was spending thousands on two mortgages and now my big mortgage is just about covered by my son. A rental would be far less, and we would need it for 2-4 months. He doesn't understand that we paid much MORE money than we did last year for housing, so we can afford a couple of months in a 1200k/month rental. But he just doesn't see it that way.

    I don't know what cheaper option there would be.. other than hole up here with the wood stove and Netflix.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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