Author Topic: Living in/moving to W. NY state...  (Read 6236 times)

Holyoak

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Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« on: August 26, 2014, 03:33:32 PM »
Howdy,

Anyone living the ER lifestyle in W. NY state, say around Chautauqua lake, and can comment on the experience, cost of living, anything?  I have not been in this area for a very long time, but as I remember the vibe was enjoyable, as was the location to enjoy so many water sports with beautiful scenery.  Home prices seem reasonable, but taxes seem a little steep, even with me coming from W. PA.

I know, lots of snow; I know about lots of snow, having lived in Utah, where the snow was piled 7-8 feet next to my driveway, and I'm no stranger to shoveling; before I left my home in the Laurel Mountains in 2012, I hand shoveled my 165' driveway that had 3 parking spots for years!  i figure since I no longer will have to work, winters will not be such a big deal dealing with a daily commute.

Looks like my 4% SWR is around $48,000, which is I think pretty far above the avg income of the area?  Looking to buy a very modest home/manufactured home in the country for around $100k if possible.  I look forward to your insight.  Thank you.

Gin1984

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 04:43:43 PM »
I am in WNY, buffalo specifically.  I think $48K for one person is more than enough.

eman resu

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2014, 07:12:47 PM »
Hi Holyoak,

I'm living a pre-potential-ER lifestyle (sad face) in that general neck of the woods.  Right around Chautauqua Lake can get a bit price-y, relative to the surrounding area, but you're right that $48k/yr is more than chicken feed more or less anywhere outside of the Chautauqua Institute itself.  Broadly speaking, if you stay outside of the village limits throughout the county your prop. taxes won't be so bad.     

There's also Cassadaga Lake and Findley Lake (a dry town, I believe, if that matters!) close by if you want to be right on the water. Those are lower key than Mayville (Chautauqua) or Bemus Point during "the season".  And there's Lake Erie, of course---but that isn't really the same kind of vibe as the mid-county lake communities.

Basically, there's stuff to do all over the place in the summer, and it is freakin' beautiful and comfortable. Winters require a little more inventiveness to keep entertained unless you are in Fredonia area (local state college with music, theatre, etc. throughout winter months) or maybe Jamestown/Lakewood area.  Dunkirk is a city in name only.  Nothing doing there.

Everything is closing that isn't tourism related.  Wineries and breweries abound while every factory is closing. Several municipalities are kinda up in arms over the lost commercial stuff (see above note about staying outside villages...).  Lots of public space, hiking/XC skiing, free water access, etc. pretty much anywhere in the county.   

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions a local can answer... keeping in mind that I'm not a real estate expert or a local historian or anything like that.  :)

teen persuasion

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2014, 09:45:18 PM »
Hey, welcome to WNY!

I'm in Niagara county, but I grew up in the Southtowns (not the Southern Tier), and have extended family in the Silver Creek/Fredonia areas.  LES storms can hit different areas heavier, and leave other areas only lightly touched.  South of Bflo tends to get hit with more snow, and along the lake Erie shoreline (route 5), but it can travel depending on wind direction.  The Southern Tier tends to be cooler due to elevation, and of course there is more snow in ski country around Ellicottville.

Some of the area is reservation land.  Good to be nearby, for cheaper gas (at least, cheap for NYS).  Some villages are built on reservation land; I believe that you can't own the land unless you belong to the tribe, so you lease it long term.  I'm not sure I'd go for that, but I really don't know any details.

Since you are unfamiliar with the area, you might rent for a while to get a feel for where you'd really like to be: closer in, further out, Amish areas, wine areas, populated, secluded.  We moved from Bflo to rural Niagara county, and one regret I have is that I'd rather be in the village than three miles outside.  The ability to walk to the kids' school, library, church, etc. would make things so much easier.  Take time to figure out your preferences and priorities before buying.  And watch local taxes - there was a village that was forced to raise village taxes some outrageous amount, like 150%, due to some repair that needed to be done.

Romag

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2014, 04:57:28 AM »
I am looking to retire from the military to the same area (Dunkirk, to be exact) for a specific post-FI employment opportunity. I grew up in Southern Erie County - Buffalo 'burbs -  and have lots of ties to neighboring Cattaraugus County, too.

Cost of living and housing prices are pretty low. I don't think you will have much trouble finding the kind of housing you are looking for. Agree on local taxes - property taxes and NYS sales tax are high. As others have said, if you are looking for work the employment situation is tough, but I think it is a reasonably good place to retire.

The winters are all they are cracked up to be, but I kind of like it. Lots of great outdoor opportunities. I plan to deviate from strict MMM car guidance and purchase a new or newer AWD vehicle.

The Institution is great - I have a cousin who spends the whole summer there every year.
I really like the area and it will work well for my particular situation.

Gerard

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2014, 05:25:50 AM »
I've thought about that area -- maybe in Buffalo itself -- because the house prices are pretty low and I can get back to Toronto fairly easily.

But I've worried about taxes and how services get paid for. If houses are only $60K, obviously property taxes can't be 1%, right? And as the rust belt depopulates, aren't there fewer people left paying for more stuff?

Romag

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 06:08:24 AM »
Gerard,
Those are valid concerns.

IMO, the population in Buffalo is stabalizing. I think the long-term trend is still down, but the loss has been very small in the last three or four years and there has been some business revitalization. Antecdotally, there seem to be lots of people who moved away in the 1990's who are coming back to the area.

Look at Buffaloniagarahomes.com for MLS listings and you can get some idea of what typical property taxes are in different areas. No denying they are pretty high. 

Gin1984

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 06:46:13 AM »
I've thought about that area -- maybe in Buffalo itself -- because the house prices are pretty low and I can get back to Toronto fairly easily.

But I've worried about taxes and how services get paid for. If houses are only $60K, obviously property taxes can't be 1%, right? And as the rust belt depopulates, aren't there fewer people left paying for more stuff?
I paid $60,500 for my duplex and my property tax is $2600 annually.  My insurance is about $500.

historienne

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 09:44:24 AM »
I've thought about that area -- maybe in Buffalo itself -- because the house prices are pretty low and I can get back to Toronto fairly easily.

But I've worried about taxes and how services get paid for. If houses are only $60K, obviously property taxes can't be 1%, right? And as the rust belt depopulates, aren't there fewer people left paying for more stuff?

Not in Buffalo, but down the road in Rochester, our tax rate works out to about 3%.  If you buy a very cheap house, though, it's effectively lower, since the STAR exemption excludes the first $30,000 of value of owner-occupied properties from school taxes (where we live, school taxes are about half the total property tax bill).  The exemption is higher for seniors, at $64,500.

eman resu

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2014, 10:45:23 AM »
Cool to see several people are thinking about WNY as a possible retirement destination.  Don't get too caught up on the tax burden; cost of living is really low unless one decides he or she wants to be house-poor.  Employment is tough and some villages/cities and school districts are on shaky financial footing, for sure.  But do your DD and you'll find a wonderful spot to enjoy retirement at a reasonable cost.

teen persuasion

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2014, 10:49:51 AM »
I've thought about that area -- maybe in Buffalo itself -- because the house prices are pretty low and I can get back to Toronto fairly easily.

But I've worried about taxes and how services get paid for. If houses are only $60K, obviously property taxes can't be 1%, right? And as the rust belt depopulates, aren't there fewer people left paying for more stuff?

We loved living in North Bflo, in the Parkside area.  Beautiful Victorian era homes, Delaware park, the zoo.  Really, we bought out of the city when our kids reached school age.  We would have done Catholic schools for the kids otherwise, but couldn't justify the expense (for what eventually became 5 kids) when there were great public districts elsewhere.  Plus, we wanted some acres to sprawl.

We still go back each year for Shakespeare in the Park.  Love free theater!

infogoon

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2014, 11:58:21 AM »
I've thought about that area -- maybe in Buffalo itself -- because the house prices are pretty low and I can get back to Toronto fairly easily.

But I've worried about taxes and how services get paid for. If houses are only $60K, obviously property taxes can't be 1%, right? And as the rust belt depopulates, aren't there fewer people left paying for more stuff?

I live in Buffalo proper -- my taxes are about $2,200 a year (city and county) on a house appraised at $80k.

Taxes are much higher in the suburbs, from what I hear from my coworkers.

Gin1984

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2014, 12:10:45 PM »
I've thought about that area -- maybe in Buffalo itself -- because the house prices are pretty low and I can get back to Toronto fairly easily.

But I've worried about taxes and how services get paid for. If houses are only $60K, obviously property taxes can't be 1%, right? And as the rust belt depopulates, aren't there fewer people left paying for more stuff?

I live in Buffalo proper -- my taxes are about $2,200 a year (city and county) on a house appraised at $80k.

Taxes are much higher in the suburbs, from what I hear from my coworkers.
I'm in Cheektowaga and they are.  And most are not for the school (I think it is more for the cops).

Holyoak

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2014, 01:43:21 PM »
Thanks so much everyone.  I do want to know if their is annual car inspection and emission testing, and firearm laws.  I figure this area to be pretty hunter/shooter friendly, but I ask just the same.  I own 'assault rifles', and not sure how this might work moving to this area.  Thank you.

Gin1984

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2014, 01:50:39 PM »
Thanks so much everyone.  I do want to know if their is annual car inspection and emission testing, and firearm laws.  I figure this area to be pretty hunter/shooter friendly, but I ask just the same.  I own 'assault rifles', and not sure how this might work moving to this area.  Thank you.
My friend moved from Georgia and quickly learned that his gun was illegal in the ENTIRE state.  I would not trust this site for that info, go on the state page.

lizzzi

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2014, 02:16:48 PM »
New York does have a yearly car inspection--they give you a different colored sticker each year, with a hole punched into the month you are due. It is easy to get the inspection done--lots of car places do it--and unless something has changed since 2012, the inspection is $14.95. The yearly inspection sticker and your NY registration sticker go on your front windshield.

Gin1984

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2014, 02:32:38 PM »
New York does have a yearly car inspection--they give you a different colored sticker each year, with a hole punched into the month you are due. It is easy to get the inspection done--lots of car places do it--and unless something has changed since 2012, the inspection is $14.95. The yearly inspection sticker and your NY registration sticker go on your front windshield.
$21 as of yesterday.

historienne

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2014, 02:37:25 PM »
Thanks so much everyone.  I do want to know if their is annual car inspection and emission testing, and firearm laws.  I figure this area to be pretty hunter/shooter friendly, but I ask just the same.  I own 'assault rifles', and not sure how this might work moving to this area.  Thank you.
My friend moved from Georgia and quickly learned that his gun was illegal in the ENTIRE state.  I would not trust this site for that info, go on the state page.

The relevant law for guns is probably the NY SAFE Act, wikipedia page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NY_SAFE_Act.

I don't know the provisions well, but I know that it has been controversial in the rural area around us, based on the signs I see in peoples' yards.  T

Gerard

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2014, 03:11:01 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the quick and useful responses.

I've liked Buffalo when I've visited, perhaps (to be fair) because my expectations were low.

And I love my membership in the Albright-Knox gallery... not only is it a good gallery, but if you get the "reciprocal" membership you get free admission to hundreds of museums across North America, including the expensive ones in Toronto!


eman resu

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2014, 06:43:55 PM »
Thanks so much everyone.  I do want to know if their is annual car inspection and emission testing, and firearm laws.  I figure this area to be pretty hunter/shooter friendly, but I ask just the same.  I own 'assault rifles', and not sure how this might work moving to this area.  Thank you.

Yep, annual inspection including emissions testing (<$20)---plus biennial registration and use tax.  Under $100 for those.  First time registrants are dubbed an additional $75 or so for plates, etc: a  "welcome to NY" fee, if you like, lol. 

Chautauqua county is very hunter friendly.  I am not a gun guy, so have no specifics.  I do know there is literally one lady who handles every pistol permit in the county... so start that process early, if it applies.  State gun laws/punishments seem draconian --- even to someone like me who is largely ignorant on the subject --- so research those like crazy before you bring anything in. 

Romag

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2014, 05:47:21 AM »
Pretty much no issues with long guns except what the SAFE Act deems as "assault weapons".

There is a 10 round magazine limit. Larger magazines are generally illegal. There was a provision in the SAFE Act that said you could only load 7 rounds, but that was overturned in court.

For handguns, you need a NYS pistol permit which is issued by the county sheriff. Requirements vary by county and often require a class. 

Holyoak

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Re: Living in/moving to W. NY state...
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2014, 05:23:20 PM »
Thanks everybody.

The assault rifle issue may be a deal-breaker; I have many rifles that are/would be banned, many 30+ round magazines, and many handguns.  What a difference compared to my three years living in Utah, and every other state I have resided!  Even here in PA seems as if a world away from these seemingly NYC heavy laws.  Going to have to see how/if as a person perhaps wanting to move in-state, can have something arranged to at least keep the weapons, and sell the 30-50 round capacity magazines.  I even have a federal firearms license, and it seems this does no good.

Again, thanks!