Author Topic: Moving to cheap house in rural area  (Read 3045 times)

malacca

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Moving to cheap house in rural area
« on: April 25, 2019, 10:20:19 AM »
I have been FIREd for over a decade. I have a decent house in the suburbs of MN.

As per our posts, we travel overseas a LOT. We do rent out our house when abroad. But the return is half of our other rentals. In general, higher priced properties = lower return.

We really don't need the house anymore. If we need a place to stay in our home town we can always stay in one of our rentals.

So we will sell our beloved house. But we have a bunch of "stuff".

Instead of putting our "stuff" in storage, we will buy a rural house in Minnesota or Iowa. Prices are stupidly low. And property taxes can be extremely low, too. COO should be low.

We actually want a 'county' home anyway (instead of a cabin). I want my kids to know rural America a bit.

The move should free up a lot of $$ to invest elsewhere.

Oh, BTW it is best to buy a property in these areas in the middle of winter. Summer prices are much higher! This winter was brutal and many houses went for next to nothing.

 

I'm a red panda

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2019, 10:28:03 AM »
Do you have a plan to secure the home while you are aware for a huge amount of time? Make sure it is not adversely affected by weather? (Flooding has been a major issue all across Iowa, for instance). Do you plan to have a property manger since it isn't a rental, but you won't be there most of the time?


Also, as a non-rural Iowan, I wish I had these stupidly low property taxes you talk about. Mine are out of control. I've compared to relatives in Bergen County, NJ. They are astonished at what I pay, they do pay more, of course.  The rural houses do have stupidly low prices, but the ones in cities don't. It's actually kind of getting ridiculous.

Parizade

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2019, 12:29:26 PM »
I downsized from a larger home in the Twin Cities to a small condo in tiny rural town on the MN/IA border. I was first attracted by the beauty of the Driftless area, then awed by the genuine friendliness and warmth of the people, then blown away by the LCOL. I've been here 3 years with no regrets. Having a condo makes it a little easier to go south for the winter (heading to Mexico this year) because someone else is watching out for the exterior of the building, but if you choose a friendly town you will soon have friends and neighbors you trust to keep an eye on things for you.

PM me if you are looking for a real estate agent, I can give you a couple of names.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2019, 12:35:22 PM by Parizade »

Laura Ingalls

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2019, 08:45:42 PM »
You might want to consider SD too.  The property taxes arenít too bad but you would completely eliminate state income tax.  Iowa also doesnít tax social security or the first $6k or $12k of pension if married.  Long term capital gains are taxed like regular income though. 

malacca

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 02:57:54 AM »
Income tax is not an issue for me. I own RE and that is pretty tax free with all of the deductions. And RE is taxed in the state you earn it - not where you live.

I have discovered that the deals are during the winter, not summer!

Laura Ingalls

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2019, 08:45:38 PM »
Income tax may not be an issue now.  I am not a tax expert, but I have filled both MN and IA state income taxes in the past and I am deeply suspicious that Iowa would tax the crap out of any capital gains from real estate without regard to where on the planet the property was located.  I know South Dakota would take none.

startingsmall

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2019, 07:34:26 PM »
Have you actually lived in a rural area before?

I'm in the South, so maybe it's different, but around here there are MASSIVE cultural differences between city and country living that can be difficult to overcome. If you're used to living in a city, it may or may not be easy to make friends, etc. in the new location. I'm sure it depends on exactly HOW rural you're talking and a lot of other cultural factors, but just something to consider. I never imagined how challenging it would be for me to "fit in" in my current rural/small-town area and I'm eagerly looking forward to the day that we can move to a bigger city. (Bigger to me is still a small city.... but somewhere more progressive/educated/bike-friendly/greenspace-friendly/etc.)

I-Ranger

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2019, 09:06:44 PM »
I have been FIREd for over a decade. I have a decent house in the suburbs of MN.

As per our posts, we travel overseas a LOT. We do rent out our house when abroad. But the return is half of our other rentals. In general, higher priced properties = lower return.

We really don't need the house anymore. If we need a place to stay in our home town we can always stay in one of our rentals.

So we will sell our beloved house. But we have a bunch of "stuff".

Instead of putting our "stuff" in storage, we will buy a rural house in Minnesota or Iowa. Prices are stupidly low. And property taxes can be extremely low, too. COO should be low.

We actually want a 'county' home anyway (instead of a cabin). I want my kids to know rural America a bit.

The move should free up a lot of $$ to invest elsewhere.

Oh, BTW it is best to buy a property in these areas in the middle of winter. Summer prices are much higher! This winter was brutal and many houses went for next to nothing.

I live in northern MN and I know of this already happening. Instead of spending $300k on a lake home, I know of a couple from Chicago and a family from Minneapolis that bought homes up here just to use in the summer. They can get a decent house for a song, and still only be a short drive away from all the lakes and woods they'd ever want to visit. One of them leaves the house closed up Sept-Apr, and the other pays a house cleaner to go in once a month to check in and spruce up when they're away. I'm expecting to see more of this happening because houses are so damn cheap.

I bought a 1400 sq ft, 3 BR home with garage, new furnace, new central air, and newer appliances last June. It's in town, three blocks from my job, and it has a 0.5 acre yard. I paid 77k for it. I put down 20% to avoid PMI, and my monthly payment for mortgage, tax, and insurance is $430. As you said, stupidly low prices.

spartana

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2019, 08:46:35 AM »
I'm kind of doing the opposite of the OP. I've also been FIREd for over a decade but sold the suburban house and looking to move into some tiny digs in a HCOL ski town or right downtown in a small city. I like the option to just lock up and go without worry for as long as I want, to be able to walk or bike or use public transit around town, to not have constant maintenance and house chores (and expenses), and the availability of more social activities - especially for singles/childless people like me.

Cassie

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2019, 10:46:17 AM »
We did the opposite too. Moved into town from the burbs. We walk downtown all the time for events, etc.   We love it.

malacca

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2019, 07:40:26 AM »
Sorry, been busy trying to get my Taiwan visa extended.

Well, I usually rent out my place when not using it. I have a corporate housing company and am familiar with the business. I am renting out my house in the suburbs now.

That said, I don't know how much demand there is for short term housing in smaller towns. I am sure there is for St. Cloud or Mankato type towns (Two random MN towns for the folks not familiar with MN).

I am not interested in a downtown setting at all. I have lived in many huge cities around the world. Done with them.

And I have two young kids. I want them to experience the rural life a bit.

 I-Ranger - what area are you in?

Parizade - what area are you in?


erutio

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2019, 08:54:50 AM »
And I have two young kids. I want them to experience the rural life a bit.

I ended doing the opposite.  We were living in BFE in the middle of Missouri and moved 2 years ago to chicago.  My kids were 3 and 5 when we made the move.

I'm curious what about rural life you want your kids to experience.  Maybe you have an idealized version of rural living envisioned in your head, but we were developing concerns losing out on educational experiences.
As resourceful mustachians, there's never "nothing to do" no matter where you live.  However, in a rural area there's a feeling of lack of breadth of experiences. You can't learn city or street smarts in rural america. But you can experience that in a city and then I take my kids camping regularly and teach them bushcraft on my own when the opportunity arises.  We make the kids do as much chores living in a city vs sticks.  The only thing they will not learn is lawncare, which I think is a wasted skill anyways. 
We were also developing a concern for lack of exposure to diversity.  There's a serious lack of diversity in most rural places, not just race, but also lack of diversity in ethnicity, culture, religion, political views, even as trivial as food choices, clothes people wear, or cars.  I could say these things because I actually lived in rural missouri.  My wife agrees and she grew up in rural illinois in a town of less than 200 people. Of course this was just my own personal experience, and shouldnt apply to everyone.

caleb

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2019, 09:23:45 AM »

That said, I don't know how much demand there is for short term housing in smaller towns. I am sure there is for St. Cloud or Mankato type towns (Two random MN towns for the folks not familiar with MN).


How about Bemidji?  160k buys a reasonably nice place a block from the lake, not far from Bemidji State: https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/house,condo,apartment_duplex,townhouse_type/124351023_zpid/pricea_sort/47.548639,-94.834285,47.507374,-94.896083_rect/13_zm/0_mmm/1_fr/

You'd have access to the lake, the state park, and town all within biking distance.

startingsmall

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2019, 09:08:36 PM »
And I have two young kids. I want them to experience the rural life a bit.

I ended doing the opposite.  We were living in BFE in the middle of Missouri and moved 2 years ago to chicago.  My kids were 3 and 5 when we made the move.

I'm curious what about rural life you want your kids to experience.  Maybe you have an idealized version of rural living envisioned in your head, but we were developing concerns losing out on educational experiences.
As resourceful mustachians, there's never "nothing to do" no matter where you live.  However, in a rural area there's a feeling of lack of breadth of experiences. You can't learn city or street smarts in rural america. But you can experience that in a city and then I take my kids camping regularly and teach them bushcraft on my own when the opportunity arises.  We make the kids do as much chores living in a city vs sticks.  The only thing they will not learn is lawncare, which I think is a wasted skill anyways. 
We were also developing a concern for lack of exposure to diversity.  There's a serious lack of diversity in most rural places, not just race, but also lack of diversity in ethnicity, culture, religion, political views, even as trivial as food choices, clothes people wear, or cars.  I could say these things because I actually lived in rural missouri.  My wife agrees and she grew up in rural illinois in a town of less than 200 people. Of course this was just my own personal experience, and shouldnt apply to everyone.

YES. To all of this. We're in a rural area on the outskirts of a town of 10,000 and I'm amazed at all the things that my daughter will never experience here.

My husband grew up in this area.... he had never met a Jewish person until he went off to college! (Maybe it's just because I grew up in a community with a decent-sized Jewish population, but that astounds me.)

85% of our community voted for the same presidential candidate. While I'm sure part of my shock comes from how abhorrent I found their selection, I also can't get over the degree of uniformity that those results represent.

I've lived in this area for 13 years and I still get "you aren't from around here, are ya?" on a semi-regular basis.

We're looking to move towards a bigger city. Not a BIG city, but hopefully large enough to tolerate a wider variety of attitudes and opinions. Currently targeting a college town with a population of 120k, though we're still in the preliminary stages of our research.

Parizade

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2019, 09:53:48 PM »
I live south of Rochester, close to the Iowa border. We have daily commuter bus service to Rochester (home of the Mayo Clinic) and I can fly anywhere in the world from the Rochester International Airport. So while I'm living in a very rural area I don't feel claustrophobic about it at all.

@erutio is right about the lack of diversity though. Although my little town feels as safe and cozy as Mayberry, I'm uncomfortably aware that it is my white priveledge that lets me feel safe and cozy here. Sometimes my neighbors shock me with their facebook posts about non-white/non-christian/non-heterosexual people and I wonder if I really want to be a part of this.

I've heard Willmar MN is embracing diversity, maybe that's the place to be a rural mustachian.
Willmar is the future of a more diverse Minnesota


Syonyk

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2019, 03:50:59 PM »
As one who willingly moved from various built up areas (most recently the Seattle east side) to rural farm country to be near family and a place we actually enjoy living (instead of hating)...

A big part of it is simply that my wife & I weren't happy in dense areas.  We've tried it, we tried the stuff people insisted we should do, and... after 4 years in the Seattle metro area, we hated it more than when we moved there.  The money was nice, but we were both stressed out, and simply didn't enjoy the place.  The stuff we care about (generally being left alone, quiet camping in the middle of nowhere, family, etc) it didn't offer, and the stuff it did (Chinese delivery at 3AM seemed very important to people for some reason, a variety of restaurants, etc) we simply didn't care about.

Most activities seemed to be "Sitting in traffic to stand in line to spend money."  Those who liked the area informed us that we were doing it wrong, and we should be taking public transit to stand in line to spend money - didn't really alter our core problem with the concept.

A favorite sport of mine, when people talked about all the art galleries and museums and (etc) they loved living by, was to ask them when they'd last actually gone to those places.  Almost universally, the answer was some awkward noises that eventually translated to "Well, never, but... I do like having the option!"  I live near plenty of little museums and art exhibits, but they tend to be small town museums (great fun for the free summer festivals most towns have), and more private art collections/murals/etc.  Out here, a good amount of that is actually from my wife's grandmother - she was quite active for many years, and she's been part of countless murals out here.  Unlike in dense areas, murals can survive quite nicely for decades out in farm country.

I'm curious what about rural life you want your kids to experience.  Maybe you have an idealized version of rural living envisioned in your head, but we were developing concerns losing out on educational experiences.

What educational experiences can't you create?  Our cost of living is low enough that we can (and likely will) home school, travel during the school year to museums, etc. 

Rural living is a whole hell of a lot of work, which is also quite nice to teach kids.  Seattle was, for me, a horrifying place - nobody could do anything.  I watched two grown men struggle (and fail) with the concept of using two wrenches to loosen a pipe connection - though, admittedly, they were only trying to do that because they listened to the sales guy instead of reading the manual that came with the tankless hot water heater.  Nobody had thought through using a propane tankless hot water heater indoors either, and the particular facility had to inform them that, no, they were not going to be lighting that thing in their exhibition hall, there's the door, here are some hoses, thank you very much.  It was a long night babysitting that thing for me... since I forgot that whoever solves the problem now owns the problem out there.  But it was alternately comedic and sad, seeing how little grown adults were either willing or able to do themselves when it came to the physical world.

Out here, repairing and fixing your own stuff is just a normal part of life.  I specialize in a bit more esoteric repairs than many people (small electronics, battery packs, etc), but I can wrench on a vehicle quite competently as well.

Quote
As resourceful mustachians, there's never "nothing to do" no matter where you live.  However, in a rural area there's a feeling of lack of breadth of experiences. You can't learn city or street smarts in rural america. But you can experience that in a city and then I take my kids camping regularly and teach them bushcraft on my own when the opportunity arises.  We make the kids do as much chores living in a city vs sticks.  The only thing they will not learn is lawncare, which I think is a wasted skill anyways. 

Alternately, you can't learn agriculture, animal husbandry, and an awful lot of other things in the city.  If you're out towards the edges, there might be a 4H club (unlikely to find FFA near in), but they're pretty hard to find.

It's easy to visit cities for a week or so and see what they have to offer.  It's pretty hard to get to learn a rural lifestyle without actually living out there for a while.

Though, in cities/suburbs, an awful lot more people care about the state of your lawn than in a rural area.  HOAs tend to be really cranky about letting your lawn be anything but chemically synthetic green.

Quote
We were also developing a concern for lack of exposure to diversity.  There's a serious lack of diversity in most rural places, not just race, but also lack of diversity in ethnicity, culture, religion, political views, even as trivial as food choices, clothes people wear, or cars.  I could say these things because I actually lived in rural missouri.  My wife agrees and she grew up in rural illinois in a town of less than 200 people. Of course this was just my own personal experience, and shouldnt apply to everyone.

And... how often do you actually bother immersing yourself in that diversity?  We certainly lack a diversity of cars that cost more than our house, but I don't really feel my kids are missing out on that front.

On the other hand, my tractor does cost more than an awful lot of my cars - and it's not that expensive a tractor.

GuitarStv

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2019, 05:13:20 PM »
Check your insurance policy carefully if you plan to do this.  With most regular policies you are not covered after much more than a week out of your home . . . so if something were to happen to all that stuff (burglary, frozen pipes in the wall, fire, etc.) you might be out a lot.

Syonyk

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Re: Moving to cheap house in rural area
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2019, 05:50:14 PM »
Check your insurance policy carefully if you plan to do this.  With most regular policies you are not covered after much more than a week out of your home . . . so if something were to happen to all that stuff (burglary, frozen pipes in the wall, fire, etc.) you might be out a lot.

Could be cows...

https://www.abcfoxmontana.com/butte/family-says-cows-broke-into-their-new-house-in-montana/article_8a94ee38-83c3-11e9-9323-c369d40bb683.html

I haven't had cows in the house, but I've definitely had to point some cows in the right direction before - one of them had gotten out and was wandering down the road.  A couple of us got it pointed down my driveway, since I had some clue as to where it came from (the cattle transfer station down the hill is... well, when I called the fire department for their cob pile being on fire, I just said it was the cattle place on xyz road, they'd know the place), and I just routed it back more or less to where it came from.  Not my problem at that point.