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Jim Klinge
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Category Archive: ‘Where to Move’

Are Small Towns For You?

Hat tip to daytrip for sending in this article, though it somewhat contradicts what I believe – I think you should move somewhere!

Yes, many retirees are looking for a version of Mayberry, the fictional North Carolina town that actor Andy Griffith called home in his 1960s TV show. But even the best Mayberrys, like most communities, have drawbacks.

So, before you pull up stakes, here are some cautionary tales about small towns that retirees have shared with us through the years:

• “I’m here! Hello?” The ideal town is easy enough to envision: a cozy, safe and picturesque spot with—perhaps most essential—a sense of community. It’s important, though, to be realistic about your chances of fitting in with your new surroundings. While you certainly could become part of the inner circle, many transplants find themselves instead joining the ranks of other retirees in the area.

Consider, for instance, this bumper sticker seen in Florida: “We don’t care how you did it up North.” You get the idea.

• Character traits. Along these same lines, and at the risk of overgeneralizing, retirees who relocate often are more assertive, more aggressive and more likely to have been managers or decision makers than those who stay put. (After all, starting a new life in a distant locale isn’t for the faint of heart.) But a strong personality that might have been a big help in the business world might not work as well in an unhurried environment.

In short, ask yourself if the temperament of a possible retirement destination—and, in particular, a small town—is comparable to your own. “I think new arrivals are more concerned about immediate productivity and less patient than those who have been retired 10 or 20 years,” Ms. Carlson says.

• Small—but for how long? Unfortunately, the chances of any small, attractive community staying that way are increasingly slim, as word about such places gets around much faster than before. (Indeed, Ms. Carlson asked us not to identify her new home.) If you do find your Mayberry, the best place to settle—even if you find yourself paying a premium—could be in a historic district, where future development likely will be kept to a minimum.

• Health care. Here’s what Ms. Carlson told us about relocating to a small town: “We were assured, primarily by our real-estate agent, that medical care was excellent. What we weren’t told was that there was a yearlong waiting list for an appointment with most internists. We discovered that there’s an unfavorable ratio of physicians to residents because many younger doctors aren’t interested in an area with limited opportunities for working spouses and a small school system.”

In hindsight, she says, she would have done more digging about health care, as well as asking about emergency care. “Had we asked some questions at the visitor center, instead of just picking up maps and using the restrooms, we might have received more-accurate information,” she says.

“Once we arrived and discovered how hard it is to get into a [medical] practice, I asked at the local fire district: ‘What happens if I have to call the medics?’ I was told that patients with heart problems who must be hospitalized are sent two counties over from us, and that other problems requiring hospital care mean a trip 15 or 20 miles west of here.”

• Transportation. Again, some digging is needed here. A small town is likely to have fewer public-transportation options than a larger community. And remember: You could be living in your new home for a long time. With all that in mind, what happens if you’re forced to cut back, or eliminate, your time behind the wheel? Do volunteer organizations or local government agencies offer transportation programs for older adults?

Says Ms. Carlson of her new town: “Our county has some door-to-door bus service for the disabled, but there appear to be long waits to be returned home. A carwash/gas station operates a single cab. There’s no Uber and no car-sharing rentals.”

And be aware, she adds, “that many small businesses—I’m thinking, in this case, about our local dairy that sells composted manure for gardens and yards—don’t deliver, and may not be able to refer you to delivery services.”

Link to Article

Posted by on Aug 7, 2018 in Boomer Liquidations, Boomers, Jim's Take on the Market, Where to Move | 3 comments

Sierra Vista, AZ

Reader AI mentioned Patagonia and Sonoita in southern Arizona as two good places to consider, but both are really small – about 1,000 people each. Because most of this audience is made up of city-slickers, I picked a bigger town to feature as an introduction to southern Arizona.

Described by “Where To Retire” magazine as a “four-season Arizona gem”, Sierra Vista is the ideal retirement location. With a year-round temperate climate, low cost of living, affordable housing, and spectacular natural beauty, Sierra Vista has it all. To find out how you can come and sample our beautiful community for $199 for 2 people over 3 days, visit

Here’s what $325,000 will buy you – 2,670sf built in 2002 on 1/4-acre:

Posted by on Jul 13, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Where to Move | 4 comments


While we’re discussing where to move, let’s note that you don’t have to buy another home – although I recommend it!  Here’s an example:

Until six years ago, Melody Shapiro never imagined herself living out of a van.

She hasn’t fallen on hard times, nor has she pivoted into a new career as an Instagram celebrity posing next to her Volkswagen Westfalia and posting selfies from national parks.

After retiring from her job as a psychotherapist in 2011, the idea of living on the road and off the grid began to sound like the dream life for the 73-year-old from Hood River. So she went online to figure out her options.

That’s when she found Outside Van, a Portland-area company that turns Mercedes Sprinters from utilitarian cargo vans into mobile camping palaces.

For $140,000, Shapiro bought a customized Sprinter, equipped with four-wheel drive, solar panels and a queen-sized bed. She speaks excitedly of traveling across the country, unplugging from the outside world, and getting lost in the splendor of the Wallowas and the canyons of southern Utah.

“I like to travel to more remote areas,” she says. “The way it’s set up lets me pull into anywhere and live off the grid without power for four or five days. The high [ground] clearance lets me go just about anywhere. I love the freedom of that.”

Now, Shapiro is living what social media aesthetes have dubbed “#vanlife.”

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Posted by on Jul 7, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Where to Move | 4 comments

Payson, Arizona

Another small town that is within range of Phoenix is Payson, Arizona, which is at 5,000ft elevation (less heat) and has less than 20,000 people.

Can you get by with a 2,079sf log home on an acre for $229,000?

Or how about a brand-new 1,630sf house on a quarter-acre for $339,000:

Or a 2,213sf log cabin on a half-acre for $455,555?

Good living!

Posted by on Jul 6, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Where to Move | 9 comments

Prescott, Arizona

We lived in Phoenix during my high-school years, and I got to know some of the surrounding areas that might be of interest for those who are trying to figure out where to move!

I worked for a landscaping company during the summer, and we spent a week in Prescott for a job – and I loved the town (though that was back when!). They also have a big 4th of July party!

Bill and I have crossed internet paths regularly over the years, and he is a dedicated realtor. Here he gives us a sample of what to expect from Prescott, which is up in the hills and about 1.5 hours from Phoenix.

Posted by on Jul 5, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Where to Move | 2 comments

Boomers Moving Out

This story is about the same as Carlsbad folks moving to San Jacinto, where you can buy brand-new houses in the $300,000s.  But boomers want to stay within range of their kids and grandkids, so any boomer-flight could be muted.

Link to Full Article

If you’re touring a model home this weekend in Sacramento, chances are the other couple over there, the ones checking out the quartz counters and sizing up the master closet, are not locals.

Emigres from the San Francisco Bay Area will comprise one-third of house hunters in the capital region this summer, real estate analysts predict.

Call it the coastal wave. It started a year ago, and it may be about to peak.

Bay Area residents are inundating Sacramento home developer websites, clicking through floor plans, watching promotional videos and signing up for email blasts, according to Kevin Carson of the New Home Company. His firm is building in El Dorado Hills, downtown Sacramento and Davis.

“I believe this summer, when the kids get out of school, we are going to see a real increase in Bay Area sales,” he said. “We haven’t really seen the wave hit yet.”

Michael Strech, head of the North State Building Industry Association, said he’s checked with other builders and guesses the one-third figure may be conservative at some new subdivisions.

The reasons are obvious: The median price of a Bay Area home hit $850,000 in April, according to CoreLogic, a real estate data company. That’s a $100,000 increase in one year.

In San Francisco, the median price hit $1.3 million. That often buys no more than a 1,600-square-foot house.

In contrast, the April median sales price for a resale home in Sacramento County was $357,000. And the median for a new home was $433,000.

In an eye-opening Bay Area Council survey this month, 46 percent of Bay Area residents said they want to move out of the region within the next few years. They cite the high cost of living, high housing costs, traffic congestion and homelessness.

By comparison, Sacramento’s sparkling new hillside subdivisions and moderately priced midtown condos are hot properties.

Retiree Marie Diaz, 59, of San Jose is among the emigres. She and her former spouse are selling their home for $2 million after a divorce.

Diaz said she found she can’t afford another Bay Area house with her portion of the proceeds.

“Prices here are outrageous,” she said. “I can’t afford to live in this area. I’d be in an apartment.”

She bought a home under construction in El Dorado Hills for $525,000. It has the same square footage as her old home, with an outdoor “California room” and a nearby community clubhouse where she will play bingo and bunco and do yoga.

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Posted by on Jun 21, 2018 in Boomer Liquidations, Boomers, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, Where to Move | 4 comments