Author Topic: How do you determine where you live?  (Read 5143 times)

Mike Key

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How do you determine where you live?
« on: February 17, 2012, 08:03:23 AM »
I'm curious to hear from other folks who've gone thru their own trade offs on where to live in comparison to lifestyle vs commute. What considerations do you factor in? When is it ok to have a commute that you can not bike or walk?


The reason I ask, where we live now is conducive to our active lifestyle and proximity to family, friends and church. It's also conducive to my working from home. If their are any local clients who want to meet, I have more than a dozen places and about 4 star bucks all within riding distance of my home.


Almost all of our shopping could be done via bicycle or walking. It's 1.2 miles to a Walmart, 1.8 miles to a grocery store. .7 miles to a Walgreens, etc.


We have access to a large park at the end of the street, where I walk my dog and take her to the dog park there every day of the week. My wife and I have begun enjoying evening walks there as well. We also are within walking distance to water way access and one of the one time investment hobbies we'd like to take up is Kayaking. (some point down the road)


However, our present location is no conducive to my wife's commute. Presently she drives 11 miles one way to her job. And we found out just recently, her company is considering moving into the Federal building in Down Town Tampa.


And while bike riding is awesome and Mustachian, we don't want to live in the ghetto so she can walk or bike ride to work.


As I stated in an earlier thread, we're selling both our cars to replace them with something smaller and more fuel efficient, such as a Kia Soul or Scion xB.


I'm curious how others have come to the decision on savings vs lifestyle trade offs.




kolorado

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2012, 08:37:25 AM »
When we bought our home 11.5 years ago, we initially looked near the workplace. It was, however, surrounded 5 miles on all sides by industrial parks, terrible neighborhoods and extremely limited consumer services. The area was also 20 miles from our parents' homes. So we settled centrally to all those points(10 miles to each in different directions). We are 5 miles to abundant consumer services. I would not feel safe biking to them however as I'd have to pass though a heavy crime area. Hubby has been able to bike to work during several brief periods of our life where we were car-less. For being young and not knowing much about how it would work out, I can say now that it was an awesome choice.
We are moving in a couple months, with the company. The new location is in a major city. I hate the city, the noise, the smell, the lack of privacy. Finding a home within a decent commute that has more than a postage stamp sized yard is proving to be very difficult. Ideally I'd rather live within 5 miles of the new workplace so my husband would be home more and so that biking would become a regular thing. This would allow us to go to one car and save even more.
I'm having a hard time believing I'll be happy enough in the city to justify the savings though. We plan to rent for a while to see if I can handle it before buying. I grew up in the country where "going to town" was a big deal. I still think this way even though we live 5 miles from everything. I rarely go out. Being close to services isn't important at all to me.

Mike Key

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2012, 08:55:15 AM »
I can really relate to that. My wife is from upstate New York, and I'm used to having access to wide open country myself. We moved to what is the most densely populated county in Florida. Moving to Tampa is not an idea we like. For one, anywhere close to her work for easy commute means ghetto or apartment dwelling. We are not apartment dwellers, especially with our Husky.

Although, my wife drives a Trailblazer now, which we are selling. And we might be able to make up the cost when we buy a more fuel efficient car.

catalana

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2012, 09:20:09 AM »
We've got a similar dilemma at the moment.  We rent in a great location - OH cycles to work and I walk and catch the bus.  OH's commute is short enough to return home at lunch time and walk our two dogs.  Our neighbourhood is safe, friendly and got some nice local shops as well as being walking distance to city centre.  In case you are wondering, we're in the UK! 

BUT......  our rent is high.  Higher than I would like it to be, and to buy our house would cost the equivalent of about $550k.  That gets you a modern detached home with a small garden.

To buy a more affordable house (I'd like to keep it down below $400k) means sacrificing something.  We can stay in the area, and buy somewhere old that needs work (and will cost more to run), move further out and pay commuting/dog walking costs, or live somewhere less safe/friendly.  Either that or move into an apartment, but that is really a no go as me and the dogs have no outdoor space to capture what sun is available!

At the moment, I'm leaning towards the older / more upkeep house......  although I do wonder whether I am doing it because I can ignore the future costs and the time and hassle involved in updating it on day 1!

There is no way I could live in a "ghetto" so that is an easy choice.  I like polite and friendly neighbours who look after their homes and gardens, and are peacefull and law-abiding  ;-)

Soooooooooooo ..... to get a modern hassle free house (at a decent price!) we would have to give up the nice mustachian commute.  I used to live much further out and have a 45 minute public transport commute, which I did for about 3 years and found it okay.  I didn't think I would enjoy living in a city suburb, but do you know what?  I do!  I enjoy the walk to work - more so in summer than winter, admittedly.  Living so close also means that we don't need to pay a dog walker.

It all feels very mustachian ...... until I look at the associated housing cost. Hmmmmmm.

velocistar237

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2012, 09:26:51 AM »
I had a 20 mile L.A. commute for a year, and I said never again. Living near work was my number one priority. I live two miles from work. This morning, I got a flat tire, so I just walked my bike the rest of the way. My wife works much less than I do, so it's a four mile ride for her. Church is less than two miles away. It takes minutes to walk to the grocery store.

When we were looking for a place to live, we were only willing to buy something that was comparable in price to renting, using a buy/rent comparison calculator. That put us in a less desirable neighborhood, but we were okay with that. The more "acceptable" neighborhoods would have cost about twice as much. We passed over some cheap options in a more ghetto area farther from work. The car-free thing was definitely a factor, but we were willing to buy a car for a sufficiently cheaper house. If we were any farther from friends and church, we would have bought a car from the start, and as it is, we'll probably get one soon anyway. The only nut we haven't cracked is schools, but I'm confident it will work out.

As for the bigger question of why don't we move out of this expensive city, we have some roots here now, and the other places that have jobs in my field are either just as expensive or very uninteresting. It would take a bigger salary for a more interesting job in a cheaper location, near family, with the ability to walk or bike to work, for me to consider moving. After I retire, the job issue would obviously go away, and we might move near family, since all of our family lives in cheaper areas.

onehappypanda

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2012, 10:12:04 AM »
I work on a college campus and currently live within 1 mile of it. But I'm getting sick of listening to 18 year olds get drunk and party outside, so I'll most likely move a bit further away next year.

My choices basically come down to: Live closer and pay higher rent, or live further and pay higher gas. Since I hate driving and parking is a b*tch in my area (and also expensive), I'll probably opt to live closer. Generally, I save money by getting an older, slightly more run-down apartment with a local landlord, versus a big company as those tend to charge more. Generally that comes with the trade-off of having to do more repairs and updates to the place myself, but I'm handy enough (and, er, know enough other handy folks) that I can generally pull that off.

I see it as a series of trade-offs. I want a manageable commute, stores nearby, rent I can handle, and a 'hood I don't mind living in. If I can find a place that has most of those things, I consider whether I can make do with the things it lacks.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 10:36:48 AM by onehappypanda »

Shandi76

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 10:34:24 AM »
Until 7 years ago I always lived within a mile of University or work. That had a to change when I got a new job in a much more expensive location. I've had a 16 mile commute for the past 6 1/2 years, which I kind of regret, but it was the only way I could afford to buy a house here. Petrol prices have nearly doubled over that time, which makes the commute less of a worthwhile sacrifice.

Boyfriend has just got a new job hundreds of miles away and we are not making the same mistake again: we have found an apartment to rent that is 1/2 mile from his work. It's also near the town centre so supermarket and recreation are all within walking distance.

It's always hard when there are 2 people with careers to consider. He and I both work in pretty specialized fields so we find it really hard to get work close enough together that neither of us would have a commute.

AJ

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 10:48:11 AM »
I would trade just about anything to be walking distance from friends, family, church, and the grocery store. But, alas, such a location does not exist. Even if it did, my friends and family are pretty mobile. We will probably always live in the same metropolitan area, but not the same neighborhoods.

That said, we traded location for land. We moved to the edge of town to 3 acres for a STEAL. The downside is, it isn't on a bus line and since its a country road it is unlit, full of blind corners, and has no shoulder or bike lane. 

I would love to live out here forever (beautiful country setting, walking distance from the mountain for hiking), but we may move back into town soon. We're thinking that the location that will serve us best in retirement (land in the country) may not serve us well while we are still working (no time to work the land, and farther from work.) Anyone else feel like their criteria for housing will be different in retirement?

slugsworth

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2012, 05:40:33 PM »
I bought a house before ERE and mustachian ideas came into my head, but I've always been pretty opinionated about where I would live:

As far as city goes- I like mountains and I like a city with some vitality.

As far as where in the city- I'm not willing to live more than a mile or two from a place I could go grocery shopping, and I also want to be able to walk home from a bar - because while drinking too much isn't mustachian, run-in's with the law or hurting someone is even less so.

I bought my current house about 6 months after my car got totalled by an uninsured motorist (thankfully it was parked!), that was 3 years ago and I haven't had a car since.  At this stage, only needing a car to get to the mountains is pretty much a requirement for me in a place to live and the only tradeoff I think I make.  If I was to relocate I would look seriously at a city that had the ability for me to do all of these things without a car.

With regard to the ghetto - unless a place is actually unsafe I would not be diswaded from living there. Sometimes places have a reputation that is wholely unwaranted because of some weird tendancy of people to need to feel superior to someone else, or some place else.  There are unsafe places, but not half as many as people seem to think.

Mike Key

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2012, 08:28:10 PM »
With regard to the ghetto - unless a place is actually unsafe I would not be diswaded from living there. Sometimes places have a reputation that is wholely unwaranted because of some weird tendancy of people to need to feel superior to someone else, or some place else.  There are unsafe places, but not half as many as people seem to think.

I've been on mission, there is a difference between those who are have no opportunity available and those who chose to be broke and live like trash.



And there comes a time in your life when you get tired of looking at other peoples trash pile up because they don't share similar values.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 08:53:51 PM by mikekey »

lastwaysleft

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2012, 10:18:59 PM »
I live in a neighborhood that I love in Minneapolis.  It's 4 miles from the university, which is where I'm attending grad school and also where I work.  I think 4 miles is an ideal commute, because it allows you to get some time outside in the fresh air exercising every day as a necessity.  There is an express bus that goes to the U (and I get a very discounted pass as a student) that I take in the winter, but even the express bus takes much longer than biking.

For the 1.75 years between undergrad and grad school I had a job that was 12 miles away, and during summers I did my best to bike as there were really nice trails all the way there.  I would encourage anyone with a 10 mile or less commute to at least try biking a couple times a week during the summer.  Sure it's harder, and takes longer, but my 12 mile commute only took 30 minutes longer each way than driving, which at 1 hour a day was much less time than I would have otherwise probably been spending at the gym.

After car commuting (and compared to many 12 miles against the flow of traffic is not that bad) I would never do that again.  It's such a waste of time.  I think I'll set my commute distance at 7 miles and hopefully will find a job after graduation that is within the 4 mile range.

Steve Ainslie

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2012, 01:15:51 PM »
I bought my house in 2008 several years before I became Mustachian.  We picked a neighborhood within 5 miles of the airport (for my work), within 10 miles of my kid's house and in a middle income neighborhood that we could afford.

One week after closing I was let go from my sweet work-from-home job and I took a job with a company that is 20 highway miles from the house.

I detest my commute. Even though I switched from driving to taking the commuter train, it is still 1.5 hours a day of wasted time.

Unless I lose my job and have to relocate, we're sticking here for a few more years to payoff the mortgage. When that's at zero, we'll have a lot more options for either moving or me switching to a lower paying job closer to home.

If I relocate for a new job before paying the mortgage off, we'll be renting for at least a year.  I want a place within 5 miles of work, and within 2 miles to the grocery store, hospital, park and library.


Mike Key

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Re: How do you determine where you live?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2012, 06:27:55 AM »
We think we'll be staying put. We don't know if we'll continue renting, but right now this is the area we want to stay in. We started to factor in moving over to Tampa, and because my wife is working in the downtown area, she literally gets on the main road here, drives a straight b line over the bridge and gets off the exit and is at her office.

Downtown doesn't have much, and so as we looked for housing, you end up 5-6 miles outside of the downtown area before you find anything reasonable. And to match what we have here, you have to look 10-12 miles out, which now puts you even further heading towards the center of the state, which means that we'd be 10x further from family, friends and church. Not ideal for us.

We have considered moving across St. Pete to a closer point where she jumps on the bridge. But as you head that direction you enter some higher priced neighborhoods.

Given our desire to start biking and being so close to everything, selling the Audi now, and soon the Trailblazer, we think a more fuel efficient car, combined with hyper-miling will spare us the cost of the increased commute. If you can't avoid it, offset it, right!