Thinking of moving to the hills? Here are a few small towns to consider:
Are you thinking of a move out of California?
Cashing in your home-equity lottery ticket and escape the tract homes of SoCal? Move to a quieter, more laid-back area and get yourself a smaller yet comfortable home with an ADU on some land, all for $300,000 to $400,000 and bank the rest to live on?
You may want to get going.
Long-time reader Susie is a former Californian who has lived in Boise, Idaho for 10+ years and has watched it grow tremendously. She sent in this latest listing as an example of what people can expect:
I called this one earlier today! Saw it as brand-new listing 4 hours ago. Never heard of $487/sf for the upscale North End but here’s a cute remodel. Now more will follow! Notice small sq. footage and tiny lot. So many folks want to live near Hyde Park (restaurants) and the park. See agent remarks. Yep, signed $800/mo lease in back for ADU.
TEN HOURS and it goes pending!
Take a look at the ADU thing in the backyard too:Link to listing with photos
Susie – how is the anti-Californian sentiment?
A guy who just moved to Oregon from here grew a full beard to help with the assimilation.
Where to move? How about roaming around for a while? Hat tip Drew!
According to the BBC, “Bermuda is among a handful of small territories and nations around the globe which, after successfully managing the first wave of the virus, are now launching year-long remote worker visas in hopes of cushioning battered economies with an influx of monied foreigners.” The Work from Bermuda certificate costs $263 to apply for and, if accepted, covers 12 months.
Bermuda’s residency visa program is in good company. Georgia (the country) recently announced its own new project, Barbados’s Welcome Stamp plan has a higher bar for entry but also caters to remote workers, and Spain’s Self Employment Visa offers entry into all the perks of living in Europe. Finally, Estonia’s Digital Nomad Visa (in progress long before the pandemic) is among the most flexible of the new visa schemes.
The kicker is, this time around it’s not just millennials. In Bermuda’s case, they are seeing “well-heeled businesspeople from major East Coast hubs in North America who have been weekending on Bermuda for years” now applying for visas. And the relatively high income thresholds for the Barbados visa likely entices established professionals over 20-somethings just starting out (those digital nomads flock to places as diverse as Bali, Mexico, Thailand, Portugal, and Colombia).
Are you of the age (40+) where you might move one more time? Here are my resources to assist you.
Reasons to move again:
- Be closer to family (primarily to be near the grandkids).
- Change from two-story to one-story home.
- Better neighborhood for you.
Being closer to family, and especially to be near the grandkids, is high up the list of reasons for seniors to move. Not only will it be easier for you to get some help from them as you grow older, but they will appreciate the free babysitting and help around the house!
If that means you will be leaving San Diego County, then Donna is the best at finding a quality agent in your new neighborhood. We are part of two different agent networks, and she will screen agents from those and make a recommendation. Cut & paste her email: email@example.com
Are you thinking about buying a single-level home around here?
I input the best one-story homes from the MLS into my public collection here – it might ask you to sign-in but I promise I won’t call you every day until you buy or die:Link to Jim’s Favorite One-Story Homes For Sale
If you want to buy and wouldn’t mind getting a reverse mortgage with no monthly payments, then Dean Jones is your guy. There are other private lenders that can do larger amounts but they cost more and the lenders want a piece of the equity – Dean only does government-backed FHA reverse mortgages:
You may already be in a terrific neighborhood, but it may not be the best for you at this age. There are several active communities for those who are 55 and older – both for sale and for rent. Some examples:
I can help you with the ones that are for sale.
If time got away from you, and now a senior facility is needed, then one of the most popular websites to search for alternatives around the country is A Place For Mom.
We just had a fantastic experience with seniormovemasters.com in San Marcos. They moved the belongings and set them up in the new home for $1,000!
If you need senior-moving help in other areas of the country, then check the website of the National Association of Senior Move Managers:Link to NASMM website
If you need to donate stuff to a good cause, rather than move it to your next home, then Rancho Coastal Humane Society is a good option because they take most everything.
Hauling the remainder, including mattresses, can be done by Junk King in Carlsbad.
One more thing – if you are thinking about giving your house to your kids, read this:
Here is a resource for checking the costs of assisted living in each area:
This is my first draft, and I’ll add more as time goes on. I’d love to hear your suggestions!
In San Diego’s north county region, Vista has the highest ranking at #111:
We’re sending people off to Oregon and to Prescott, Arizona this week, and in both cases it seemed like it will now take $400,000+ to buy a decent home. The new residents of Prescott said it’s filling up fast with Californians, and many long-time San Diego police and fire professionals have been heading that way to retire. Here are other choices that might be less expensive:
Forget the gleaming, high-rise towers in the nation’s most glamorous cities and those sprawling, palm tree–ringed residences with killer ocean views. Today’s hottest housing is located in towns and small cities that aren’t usually a part of the national conversation.
The realtor.com® economics team identified the 10 hottest ZIP codes in the country where demand is surging and homes are flying off the market—sometimes within hours of being listed. These places tend to offer cheaper homes, or less expensive prices per square foot for those seeking more spacious abodes, than the rest of their respective suburbs—which themselves are bargains compared with the nearby cities.
Top 10 Hottest ZIP codes in the U.S.
Thinking of leaving America? Here’s an sample – and Italians hold out on price too!
On June 4, just a day after Italy opened its borders to European Union citizens, real-estate agent and reality TV star Fredrik Eklund boarded a plane from Los Angeles to Milan, with a pit stop in Paris. With Covid-19 fears still high, the airports were nearly deserted, with restaurants and lounges shuttered and passengers scuttling around in face masks. The experience was like being in a sci-fi movie, said Mr. Eklund, 43.
An L.A. resident with both American and Swedish citizenship, Mr. Eklund was visiting Italy on a personal mission—to scour Tuscany for the summer estate he had dreamed of for decades. With Northern Italy hit early and hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the real-estate market in the region had been stalled for months, and he thought there might be bargains.
“I’m not there to take advantage of a situation, but the reality is that there has been no local activity because the market has been shut down,” said Mr. Eklund, an agent at Douglas Elliman.
Mr. Eklund is one of many potential home buyers looking for deals in Tuscany amid the pandemic. Real-estate agents in the region said they’ve seen an enormous surge in inquiries for rural Tuscan retreats as the nation has begun to recover from the Covid-19 crisis, predominantly from British and American nationals looking for vacation homes as well as Italian urbanites dreaming of more space after having been stuck in apartments for months. Agents now forecast that, if it keeps up, the third quarter of 2020 could eclipse last year in terms of transaction volume for luxury homes, spurred in part by new laws that limit taxes on foreign income for Italian residents.
It’s a much needed injection of activity for the Tuscany market, which has struggled in recent years as the eurozone economy has slowed and more recently as Brexit fears and exchange rates stymied investment from the U.K. Then market activity dropped by about 90% in the spring as a result of the virus, said Mark Harvey, the London-based head of the international department at brokerage Knight Frank.
“It’s a bit of a feeding frenzy, which is not at all what we were expecting,” Mr. Harvey said of the recent influx of interest, noting that the pandemic forced many people to re-evaluate their living arrangements.
Mr. Eklund had very specific criteria for his new home, which he plans to visit in the offseason and rent out in the summers. He was looking for a historic estate in the countryside within driving distance of an international airport, with at least five bedrooms for his family and their nanny plus guests. He wanted a home that was private but still within a few minutes of a town with restaurants and shopping. In terms of budget, he was trying to keep it under roughly $3.5 million but also looked at more expensive properties. And, most importantly for Mr. Eklund, who has an enormous following on social media thanks to “Million Dollar Listing,” it had to have that Instagram magic.
“This might sound a little materialistic, but it needs to have a certain look, like Instagram-friendly,” he said. “It needs to have this ‘I need it, I want it, can’t live without it’ look.”
In part, that’s because Instagram could be a crucial tool for renting out the property when he’s not using it, he said, noting that social media is now more powerful for him than any listings service.
Ultimately, Mr. Eklund’s favorite property was a more modest, 17th-century farmhouse in San Casciano dei Bagni, a rural region known for its hot springs about 40 miles southeast of Siena. He loved the panoramic views of the region from the hilltop, the large outdoor swimming pool, the kitchen with its huge central island, and the “warm and cozy” palette of the décor, he said. With just four bedrooms, the nearly 5,000-square-foot house had slightly less space for guests than Mr. Eklund originally wanted, but it had been recently restored and was the only house he saw with central air conditioning and heated floors. To make it perfect, he said, he would add outdoor furniture and do some landscaping. The asking price was $1.5 million.
After seeing the property, Mr. Eklund felt sure it was the one.
“I found it,” he told The Wall Street Journal by phone after the showing. “I’m actually crying in the car—super emotional. I’m completely obsessed.”
Mr. Eklund, who calls himself spiritual, said that the purchase seemed meant to be, and that he could envision himself retiring at the property. It was the same overwhelming reaction he recalled having when he first saw his family’s estate in Connecticut.
Mr. Eklund submitted an offer on the house, but the deal was complicated in part by travel restrictions, since he wants his husband to see the property before they buy. They may hold off until next year to move ahead with a purchase to see how the market is then, he said.
It’s not clear if the deals Mr. Eklund envisioned will materialize. Bill Thomson, chairman of the Italian Network at Knight Frank, said his sellers are standing firm on their asking prices despite the pandemic fallout, while Ms. Romolini said she’s seeing them loosen up a little in light of the circumstances.
Mr. Harvey said he’s not sure if this surge of activity will last, or if it’s simply a blip.
“What happens after this wave,” he said, “is anyone’s guess.”
Tips on the best towns in California:
A comprehensive assessment of the housing and community of an area. This grade takes into account key factors of a location’s housing market, including home values, taxes, crime rates, and quality of local schools, in an attempt to measure the quality and stability of an area’s real estate market:
A list of the more affluent towns – Mill Valley is #1, and Solana Beach is #10:
My favorite list – San Diego is ranked #1:
We are #24 on the Top 30 markets to be affected by the coronavirus, which is pretty far down the list – and we’re still relatively affordable when compared to other higher-end areas.
For those who are thinking of moving to a more affordable area and aren’t affected by the statistics, here are my favorites that still have a 2020 median SP under $300,000, in order of how they rank on the list:
Las Vegas – $283,000 (1st)
Miami – $275,900 (5th)
Orlando – $245,000 (6th)
Ft Myers – $235,000 (8th)
Fresno – $265,000 (12th)
Lakeland FL – $193,000 (13th)
Memphis – $145,000 (21st)
Jacksonville – $210,000 (25th)
Daytona Beach – $202,000 (26th)
Phoenix – $288,000 (28th)
And their surrounding suburbs might be an even greater value!
It always seemed to me that if ADUs were selling for $50,000 or less, there would be lots of interest. Literally the first one I ran into (below) at the Tiny Fest was priced at $50,000, and people were standing in line to experience this 8.5 ft x 30 ft home with kitchen and full bath (seen in right window).
This one was tall enough that it had two lofts:
For those who want to do it themselves, these guys will sell you the kit for $63,000. The vaulted ceiling added some extra luxury:
This was my favorite granny flat because of the porch. The upgraded version costs $65,000:
This was the deal of the day. For $15,000 you get the building with full bath and the trailer:
Here’s my tour of the homes: