Author Topic: Relocation fails?  (Read 21481 times)

spartana

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Relocation fails?
« on: February 05, 2016, 11:53:50 AM »
Have you relocated from a HCOL area to a much LCOL area to RE or for a job and discovered you hated it after awhile and wanted to move back to to your old area but are priced out? This seems to be a very common scenario here in Calif.  With people moving to Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona to retire only to discover it's too hot, too cold, too rainy, etc... and want to move back to Calif but are priced out. Anyone have a similar fail? As  a Californian who has a sweet and very cheap setup housing wise, and who is deciding whether to move (and where to move too) or not, relocation fail is something I need to consider. Arebelspy gave a nice synopsis of the in another thread so maybe he'll copy it here.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 08:24:53 AM by spartana »

Cassie

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2016, 12:32:53 PM »
I know a woman that retired to Thailand and hated it. Eventually to get back home she had to borrow $ from friends for a plane ticket, had nowhere to go when she got here and owned nothing because she got rid of her things  before she left.  Big, expensive mistake for someone that thought they could live the good life on little $ and now too old to work. 

GrowingTheGreen

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2016, 01:43:05 PM »
I know a woman that retired to Thailand and hated it. Eventually to get back home she had to borrow $ from friends for a plane ticket, had nowhere to go when she got here and owned nothing because she got rid of her things  before she left.  Big, expensive mistake for someone that thought they could live the good life on little $ and now too old to work.

I guess the moral of the story is either try it while you're young or be damn sure you know what you're getting in to!

tj

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2016, 01:50:07 PM »
Have you relocated from a HCOL area to a much LCOL area to RE or for a job and discovered you hated it after awhile and wanted to move back to to your old area but are priced out? This seems to be a very common scenario here in Calif.  With people moving to Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona to retire only to discover it's too hot, too cold, too rainy, etc... and want to move back to Calif but are priced out. Anyone have a similar fail? As  a Californian who has a sweet and very cheap setup housing wise, and who is deciding whether to move (and where to move too) or not, relocation fail is something I need to consider. Arebelspy gave a nice synopsis of the in another thread so maybe he'll copy it here.

I guess it's a risk you have to take? The hosuing market would have to be pretty volatile for you to be priced out shortly after moving. Interested to read the Arebelspy post you are referring to.

Edited to add: You would get screwed on property taxes. If you've held a property for decades in California, might make sense to rent out initially rather than sell.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2016, 02:03:49 PM by tj »

cloudsail

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2016, 01:50:14 PM »
Commenting to follow. I moved to California from the PNW and oh, the sunshine! DH and I periodically talk about selling our ridiculously expensive home and moving somewhere cheaper, but get stuck about where to go. Back to Seattle? We were there last month and honestly, I'm not sure I could continue to put with the rain without going out of my mind, not when I now know what I was missing.... But all the other places we've lived have just as high housing costs, if not higher. I'm not sure we could just up and move to somewhere we know nothing about, unless it's for job reasons.

Eric

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2016, 02:02:57 PM »
Have you relocated from a HCOL area to a much LCOL area to RE or for a job and discovered you hated it after awhile and wanted to move back to to your old area but are priced out? This seems to be a very common scenario here in Calif.  With people moving to Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona to retire only to discover it's too hot, too cold, too rainy, etc... and want to move back to Calif but are priced out. Anyone have a similar fail? As  a Californian who has a sweet and very cheap setup housing wise, and who is deciding whether to move (and where to move too) or not, relocation fail is something I need to consider. Arebelspy gave a nice synopsis of the in another thread so maybe he'll copy it here.

I guess it's a risk you have to take? The hosuing market would have to be pretty volatile for you to be priced out shortly after moving. Interested to read the Arebelspy post you are referring to.

Here:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/post-fire/fire-on-$750k-invested/msg965734/#msg965734
« Last Edit: February 05, 2016, 06:47:44 PM by Eric »

Metta

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2016, 02:40:21 PM »
We moved from a moderately high COL to a very low COL area for a job. One of the deceptive things about low COL places is that part of what you pay for in HCOLs is that they reduce externalities that cost money. Here in Memphis, one of those externalities is crime. We are the third most dangerous city in the nation and crime is an invisible sucking force on our balance sheets that requires additional cash for home security systems, increased insurance rates, etc.

Another externality is the quality of city services. We are all watching in horror the water crisis in Flint, MI. You can buy a 5,234 sqft luxury home in Flint right now for $389,000. But I'll pass on that. One of the places I lived had water that was unfit to drink several months of every year when agricultural run-off made the water unpleasant. So we had an additional cost for bottled water. That place also has cheap housing ($75/sq ft).

Education is another cost. Most of my Memphis friends with children send them to private schools because Memphis public schools are not very good. This is another cost my family never saw since I grew up in Denver.

HCOLs typically have more free entertainment options including libraries, parks, proximity to national parks, free concerts, and so forth. LCOL, not so much. So you will pay more for entertainment than you would elsewhere.

Most things that are marketed nationwide cost the same in a LCOL as they do in HCOL but salaries are less (for example, my laptop costs the same wherever I buy it). So that is another sneaky charge to the balance sheet.

I say this to point out that there is no free lunch. If you are likely to want clean water and a crime-free environment, you will have to pay for it. Similarly, if you want well-staffed emergency services, that costs money too. Entertainment --  make your own at home or do without.

I do not regret moving to Memphis. Because we are in fields that companies nationwide compete for, our salaries more than keep pace with the COL and we invested the difference. However, we cannot move to California or Boston or Los Angeles and expect the same standard of living. I don't think we could even move back to Denver if we wanted to (which we don't). We plan to move out of the Crime Vortex that is Memphis, but our options are a bit limited because of our choice to live in a LCOL.

JustTrying

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2016, 02:42:59 PM »
I don't have a story for you, but if your concern is being priced out, couldn't you keep the house you currently own in CA and rent it out while you "try out" a new place for a year?

I'm childless and have moved many times across the country, so moving to try something out really doesn't seem like a big deal to me. I wonder if your concern is because you are considering any potential move to be potentially irreversible. To make it more reversible, holding onto your house seems like a pretty easy solution (with me not knowing any specifics).

I lived in LA and now live in the PNW. Loved the weather and beaches in LA, hated the traffic, the snootiness, and the selfishness. Here I hate the weather, but love the normal human consideration, love my short commute, and love the down-to-earth people. That being said, I still sometimes tell my husband that we should move back to LA (I miss blue sky!). We wouldn't really move back, but there is good and bad to every place you live!

Another Reader

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2016, 02:50:20 PM »
In your shoes there is no way I would sell that close to the beach, low property tax basis, paid off house, unless and until I had lived somewhere else for several years and decided to make the move permanent.  From reading your posts, I'm not sure if you have fully considered the benefits of where you live.  You are in one of the best located areas of Southern California, and the value of your property demonstrates that.

If I were you, I would take on a room mate to cover the house expenses, and travel.  See the rest of the country, especially the areas that interest you the most.  Go overseas if that interests you.  But do not sell the beach area house until you are settled permanently somewhere else.

mm1970

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2016, 02:55:05 PM »
I have not, but as a Californian (who has seen many people leave and come back)...I would keep my house and rent it out.  Test the waters for many years.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2016, 06:04:57 PM »
Thanks for starting this thread. For convenience I'll quote Reb's post here, hopefully he won't mind:
ETA: this is actually one of my big concerns - selling my house and hating any new location and not being able to move back with the same super low cost situation I currently have. Relocation fails seem to be a common problem for many who move out of Calif

I don't want to derail thread, but I'd like to hear about more about this. Another thread, just continue derailing this one? :)

I had the same concern about relocating out of the U.S. for awhile.

As I've posted elsewhere, I've seen a lot of examples of geographic arbitrage go wrong, where people discover they can live in Thailand for ~10k USD/yr or less, build their internet business to support that, move there, and then get "stuck"--they can't afford to move back to the U.S., and feel trapped there.

I always wanted to live overseas in FIRE, but have enough of a stache that the option to come back wasn't even a question.  In other words, even if we could FIRE cheaply overseas, we'd FIRE later, with more, so it wasn't our only option.

This would be similar to what Sparty's talking about: if you save just enough to relocate out of your high COL area for FIRE, but then decide you don't like that area as much, you may not have the means to go back (or would need to make income somehow, which may not be in your plans).

More specifically, if you have a nice living arrangement set up (small house you own outright that, if you sell, might be hard to purchase the equivalent later, or a landlord who's had you for years and never raises the rent cause you're a good tenant, so you're way under market, so if you came back, rent would be much higher, or whatever), and move away from that nice living arrangement, coming back might be difficult due to higher expenses in that category.

It's worth considering the various living arrangements you might have in FIRE, not just your primary plan.

Exhale

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2016, 06:55:03 PM »
Yeah prop taxes are pretty low for me but if I sell  I'd rent rather than buy where ever I lived.  I like that flexibility for the reasons posters mentioned above. But if I wanted to come back to the same area of Cali again I'd be priced out of the house rental market for sure unless I had roommates. So it something I need to consider. For me it's less about disliking a new area (I've lived in lots places so am familiar with most) but more about missing friends and family and all the close connections I have in SoCal. As a single childless person those are pretty important. Buttttt....still leaning towards selling anyways.

ETA:  I have though about renting the house out but I'm not landlord material - too much of a worry wart - so would rather keep it and leave it empty (sister lives here Thursday night to Sunday nights) and travel or live elsewhere a few months out of the year or just sell it.

Well, if you need a renter I'll be happy to rent in in few years to see if I like living in SoCal!

Exhale

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2016, 07:13:56 PM »
Yeah prop taxes are pretty low for me but if I sell  I'd rent rather than buy where ever I lived.  I like that flexibility for the reasons posters mentioned above. But if I wanted to come back to the same area of Cali again I'd be priced out of the house rental market for sure unless I had roommates. So it something I need to consider. For me it's less about disliking a new area (I've lived in lots places so am familiar with most) but more about missing friends and family and all the close connections I have in SoCal. As a single childless person those are pretty important. Buttttt....still leaning towards selling anyways.

ETA:  I have though about renting the house out but I'm not landlord material - too much of a worry wart - so would rather keep it and leave it empty (sister lives here Thursday night to Sunday nights) and travel or live elsewhere a few months out of the year or just sell it.

Well, if you need a renter I'll be happy to rent in in few years to see if I like living in SoCal!
Oh I don't think you would - massive amount of people, cars, traffic, smog, and heat.

Ugh, you're right. And, of course, the PNW has a great late-spring-to-early-autumn season, it's just the dark days of winter that can be difficult.

deborah

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2016, 09:00:09 PM »
To a certain extent, you can combat this sort of thing by buying a house at a similar price in the new location. Unfortunately this doesn't always work. Years ago, I moved from central Melbourne (HCOL) to Canberra (not as HCOL, but considered HCOL), and bought a house for about the same amount of money. In the years since I moved the price of the Melbourne house has changed to about double the current price of the Canberra house.

FINate

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2016, 09:50:32 PM »
Have you relocated from a HCOL area to a much LCOL area to RE or for a job and discovered you hated it after awhile and wanted to move back to to your old area but are priced out? This seems to be a very common scenario here in Calif.  With people moving to Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona to retire only to discover it's too hot, too cold, too rainy, etc... and want to move back to Calif but are priced out. Anyone have a similar fail? As  a Californian who has a sweet and very cheap setup housing wise, and who is deciding whether to move (and where to move too) or not, relocation fail is something I need to consider. Arebelspy gave a nice synopsis of the in another thread so maybe he'll copy it here.

I guess it's a risk you have to take? The hosuing market would have to be pretty volatile for you to be priced out shortly after moving. Interested to read the Arebelspy post you are referring to.

Edited to add: You would get screwed on property taxes. If you've held a property for decades in California, might make sense to rent out initially rather than sell.
Yeah prop taxes are pretty low for me but if I sell  I'd rent rather than buy where ever I lived.  I like that flexibility for the reasons posters mentioned above. But if I wanted to come back to the same area of Cali again I'd be priced out of the house rental market for sure unless I had roommates. So it something I need to consider. For me it's less about disliking a new area (I've lived in lots places so am familiar with most) but more about missing friends and family and all the close connections I have in SoCal. As a single childless person those are pretty important. Buttttt....still leaning towards selling anyways.

ETA:  I have though about renting the house out but I'm not landlord material - too much of a worry wart - so would rather keep it and leave it empty (sister lives here Thursday night to Sunday nights) and travel or live elsewhere a few months out of the year or just sell it.

Hire a property manager? They take about 8% off the top, but they manage it for you while you try other areas on for size. Not sure how low exactly your property taxes are, but if this property has been held for a very long time (multiple decades, perhaps passed down without triggering a reassessment under prop 13) then it would be crazy to sell. That tax advantage goes on in perpetuity and can be worth 100's of thousands of dollars over time.  Or sell it. I live and CA and I'm sure the state can put the extra tax revenue to use :)

Also, I don't understand the idea that selling will make it difficult to move back. This is true if you piss away the capital, but presumably you are mustachian and will save and invest the money. Sure, if you move a way for a long time then it may be an issue if SoCal housing appreciates faster than wherever you've relocated to. But this should only happen over a number of years, and before that happens you should know if the new location will stick.

BTW - I'm interested in this thread because I'm going through a similar thought process, except the tax basis on my primary residence is not very far from current market value. We have a rental income stream from a paid-off duplex that more-or-less pays our living expenses. We mostly love it here in coastal California, but traffic and crowds are terrible and we are questioning the HCOL. We've considered selling the primary residence and moving to LCOL while keeping the investment property, because it generates a lot of income and it would provide a foothold in case we ever want to come back. Though also considering selling both for reasons listed above...

Exflyboy

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2016, 11:17:33 PM »
Seems the guys who go mad on booze and cheap prostitutes are becoming the new beach bums in Thailand!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnR-CIG0k0Q

dinkhelpneeded

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2016, 11:39:47 PM »
This seems to be primarily a CA problem! LOL.

I am a Nor Cal resident - I came to the conclusion that we probably wont move away from HCOL, but I have a strategy. Doesnt work as well as just picking up and moving to LCOL, but may work.

Stay put, if you have a house/condo
Save money for another downpayment/some liquid investments
Wait for a correction +/- 30% (this might take a while) - buy your forever home in a "relatively" affordable area.
Rent out house #1, sell in the next 3 years - take equity and pay off new home

I havent done it, but this is what I think I will do, since I already missed the 2008 bust.

Villanelle

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2016, 11:47:19 PM »
This is the main reason we kept our home in SoCal when the military sent us overseas.  We may want to end up back in SoCal long term someday (and there is, or at least was, a very good chance we'd be back for at least a few years  in 5ish years from when we left).  We didn't want to be priced out.  As it is, our place has gone from about $425k to about $575k in about 5.5 years, so we did well to keep it. 

And for now, we are continuing to hold on to it for the same reasons, but the conversation every year when the tenant's lease is up is getting longer and longer.

If I was leaving for a fairly unknown place, I would rent.  I was hesitant at first as well, but with a good property manager (interview carefully and ask around for recommendations!) it's actually not too bad.  They really do handle everything.  Or you might even see if you know someone (or a friend of a friend) who would want to rent it, knowing it would likely only be for a year. 

FINate questions whether leaving for only a year could make it tough. Considering I bought and sold a property that nearly doubled in 2 years and a couple months ($230k to $400k--more than a decade ago), I know a year can make a huge difference.  It might not, depending on the market, but it certainly could. 

mandy_2002

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2016, 09:27:43 AM »
It's funny, really. My "failed relocation" was going to CA :). I'm not a sun person (blonde, fair skin, burns easily) but I was going to the foggy bay area. Except In in the no clouds, desert area of the bay. The pay adders have been nice, but I've been plotting my escape since my relocation payback period expired (it would have cost me over $50k, no thanks). Finding cheaper housing (rent went from $1750 alone to half of $1200 in a shared house) have severely sped up my FI plans, and now I'm off to the Republic of Georgia (think Tblisi, not Atlanta) for the Peace Corps to figure out if I want to work when I grow up.

FINate

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2016, 09:39:20 AM »
I haven't had the house for decades but bought as a foreclosure fixer with cash during a market downturn and now price has more than doubled. Prop taxes and insurance combined are around $300/month. So yeah it's very cheap to keep.

Well done! Will you also be able to take $250,000 of the profit free of capital gains (was this your primary residence for 2+ years)?

lhamo

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2016, 10:16:19 AM »
spartana,

Finding it hard to understand the resistance to renting.  Seems like a great interim approach, if nothing else.  Hire a solid property manager, get someone on a 1 year lease and get enough in rent-expenses to cover your rental in another area while you try it out.  If it turns out you love the new area, sell CA place and buy in the new area.  What am I missing?

Goldielocks

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2016, 10:25:53 AM »
I have been priced out after a move, twice now...

Each time, I moved back anyway, to a smaller place or rental.
Each time, I have recovered.   MMM ways are great for resiliency that way.

Be reassured -- you have massive MMM skills and could turn around any living situation, given a year.

tj

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2016, 10:26:27 AM »
It's funny, really. My "failed relocation" was going to CA :). I'm not a sun person (blonde, fair skin, burns easily) but I was going to the foggy bay area. Except In in the no clouds, desert area of the bay. The pay adders have been nice, but I've been plotting my escape since my relocation payback period expired (it would have cost me over $50k, no thanks). Finding cheaper housing (rent went from $1750 alone to half of $1200 in a shared house) have severely sped up my FI plans, and now I'm off to the Republic of Georgia (think Tblisi, not Atlanta) for the Peace Corps to figure out if I want to work when I grow up.

This is one of those things that holds me back from moving to Hawaii! All my damn Norwegian and German heritage isn't cut out for that level of sun exposure. I burn easily enough in California. Part of me wonders if I should give, say, Minnesota a shot. I don't like the cold though. I guess you adapt. :)

Happy in CA

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2016, 11:04:33 AM »
Have you considered keeping the house until you are 55 and then moving to a county like Ventura or San Diego where you could transfer your property tax basis?  I just looked at a current list of counties with Prop 90 ordinances and was surprised to see that Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties all allow one-time transfers as long as the purchase price is lower than the sale price of your current house - or within a small percentage above the selling price if there is a time gap between selling your house and buying a replacement.  I believe under the proposition, you have two years to purchase a replacement property.  Google Propositions 60 and 90 for further info if interested.

As to your original question, I know several people who have moved out of California and now complain that they are priced out.  But most of them also seem pretty happy in their new locations. 

For myself, having grown up in the midwest and moved several times in my twenties, the beach communities of California, whether north or south, just can't be beat, weather-wise.  I am on the Central Coast.  If I end up having to move for financial reasons later in life, I will downsize first and move inland second before leaving my beloved adopted state of California.

Dicey

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2016, 01:47:36 PM »
Another Californian, chiming in with a reminder that not all of CA is High COLA. There are lots of places in the mountains, or the foothills, or even the desert where the cost of living is a lot easier to manage.

Relocation fail: When I was about to be freshman in high school, my parents (especially my mom) were driving me crazy. My Grandmother and her brother (my Great Uncle??) lived together in the Chicago area, and were visiting us right before school started. I was too wise to run away or do anything too stupid, so I somehow convinced my parents and Grandma to let me move back with them.

I loved their home, the area, the school and the new friends I made, but it didn't take me long to figure out that my mother's apple hadn't fallen far from her tree. About six weeks in, the school called to say that some paperwork hadn't been filled out correctly. That was all I needed to skedaddle back to CA. Funny, my parents were a lot nicer to me after I'd been away a while. And I lived happily ever after. I've traveled the globe (not enough, though) but always return to my beloved Golden State.

MerryMcQ

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2016, 06:36:38 PM »
We had a failed relocation to San Diego from the PNW. The kids and I hated it there. Crowded, panhandlers on every corner, schools were severely underfunded, public services were strained to bursting, the consumerist attitude of our neighbors and coworkers, and the weather was boring. :) What can I say, we like rain and grey skies. We lasted 3 years. I think had we been smart, renting our Northwest home and keeping it as a backup plan would have allowed us to leave after the first year. We would have all been far, far happier. 

tj

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2016, 08:40:47 PM »
Quote
I think for me, unless I want to stay in my house for reasons other than financial (like family and friend connections or because I love the house or area, which I don't) I'd be better off selling and investing the profit and renting somewhere  lower cost and just dealing with the possibility I couldn't afford to move back to the same area and live the same way.

I missed this from earlier, but if you don't like your house or the area, why do you care that you might be priced out? Are you worried you might like everywhere else even less?

Midcenturymater

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2016, 12:12:13 AM »
Havi g relocated  from Europe to LA.....We were amazed how little we missed but now despite paying a fortune to live in California we do feel incredibly happy....I think it might be as simple as the sunshine and blue skies. I do fear moving to a cheaper place and not being able to replicate this level of  pretty constant happiness, except when we get sick or are exhausted, which we would be anywhere because we have small kids.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2016, 01:25:00 AM »
This seems to be a very common scenario here in Calif.  With people moving to Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona to retire only to discover it's too hot, too cold, too rainy, etc... and want to move back to Calif but are priced out.

I'm wondering about the nature of these fails. I can see a few different scenarios, and I was wondering which ones they fell into (or ones i didn't think of). For sake of simplicity I am going to just type assuming ownership, but assume it can transfer to renting by replacing rising property values with increasing rents.

  • You are not FI in HCOL. You to move LCOL where you are FI and retire. You can't move back to HCOL, because your stash can't support housing costs in HCOL, so you are stuck in LCOL. (Or you have to get a job again in HCOL area)
  • You are FI in HCOL area. You move to LCOL and invest surplus housing costs. Now you are only stuck if HCOL housing appreciates faster than LCOL housing and your investments and/or the leveraged nature of HCOL real estate makes the absolute gains larger than your investment gains
  • You are FI in HCOL area and move to LCOL area but inflate your lifestyle by using lower property values to buy bigger/fancier house and/or increasing your non-housing spending. Now you can be stuck if you want to move to back to HCOL and maintain your more inflated lifestyle from LCOL

Do those sound like the scenarios that could occur and am I missing anything? I'm sure it can also be a combination of more than one.
It seems the safest bet it to make sure you are comfortably FI in HCOL area that you like and not use moving to a LCOL area as a "trick" to call it a day. But other than scenarion 2 (where HCOL property appreciates much faster than LCOL property), are there scenarios where you do this and still end up getting priced out of original area?

On a more personal note, I worry about this too but want to know if I am making a mountain out of a molehill. We could probably move to certain other parts of the country, come close to buying a property in cash with the our current equity and live comfortably with remaining stash... but I worry about finding out later we want to move somewhere more expensive and we've been priced out. I don't necessarily think of where we live as the ultimate location I'd settle (though I like the house), but as others have pointed out, the weather in Coastal California is pretty damn nice, and at least for now, Bay Area real estate seems to be acting like a decent proxy for any HCOL area price appreciations we might encounter in areas we'd like to live.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 01:40:44 AM by CanuckExpat »

chasesfish

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2016, 05:35:47 AM »
As someone who's relocated a bunch for work, let me chime in:

Most area are about a give and take:  In a big city, there are low and high costs of living areas.  In-town, low cost areas tend to equal crime.  Low cost, exurban areas tend to mean long commutes.   The low crime, nice school, short commute areas of big cities are always expensive.

Smaller towns have different trade-offs, sometimes lower cost of living, but less social and employment options.  Sometimes small towns with excellent recreational activities have the worst of everything else:  Low incomes, high real estate prices/COL (think Durango, CO or many beach communities in FL).   If there are low incomes, you may not have major crime issues, but you have the social issues of widespread poverty.


Personally, I've decided to stay in bigger cities for my working years and take the pain of owning a small house on really expensive dirt in exchange for high income, short commute, and living around other affluent people.  We do have our funny moments, like going to Whole Foods and only buying citrus fruits because everything else is just not reasonable, or being the only person on our street that takes care of our own yard.   Post-employment, (or wealth generation years) I'll probably move to a college town.  They tend to have a higher COL for the population, but are pretty good places academically and socially to raise a family. 

startingsmall

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2016, 06:46:43 AM »
We moved from a moderately high COL to a very low COL area for a job. One of the deceptive things about low COL places is that part of what you pay for in HCOLs is that they reduce externalities that cost money....

HCOLs typically have more free entertainment options including libraries, parks, proximity to national parks, free concerts, and so forth. LCOL, not so much. So you will pay more for entertainment than you would elsewhere.

Most things that are marketed nationwide cost the same in a LCOL as they do in HCOL but salaries are less (for example, my laptop costs the same wherever I buy it). So that is another sneaky charge to the balance sheet.

I say this to point out that there is no free lunch. If you are likely to want clean water and a crime-free environment, you will have to pay for it. Similarly, if you want well-staffed emergency services, that costs money too. Entertainment --  make your own at home or do without.

I do not regret moving to Memphis. Because we are in fields that companies nationwide compete for, our salaries more than keep pace with the COL and we invested the difference. However, we cannot move to California or Boston or Los Angeles and expect the same standard of living. I don't think we could even move back to Denver if we wanted to (which we don't). We plan to move out of the Crime Vortex that is Memphis, but our options are a bit limited because of our choice to live in a LCOL.

Agreed. I grew up in a slightly high-COL area in Florida and moved to a ruralish low-COL area in North Carolina approximately 9 years ago. I've endured it for this long, but now I'm desperate to get back home.

In my current LCOL area:
- Salaries are low and job opportunities are limited.
- As a veterinarian, I see far more patients who are neglected than well-cared-for.... which not only impacts me financially, but also depresses the heck out of me.
- Due to a lack of parks and other public spaces, anytime that we want to "get out of house" involves eating out at some overpriced chain restaurant.  (Unless we have a full day free and decide to drive 1.5 hrs each way to the mountains.... which seemed super-awesome when I first moved here, but the idea of spending 3+ hours in the car with a 3-year-old just for a day hike means that we don't do it very often anymore.)
- High gas costs because everything is at least 20+ minutes away by car.
- The overwhelming majority of roads are narrow, two-lane roads full of potholes and blind curves, so biking is out of the question unless I want to drive 45 minutes each way to our area's one 10-mile round-trip bike path.
- Schools are awful. Horrendous. Safe, but totally ineffective at educating and very few people go on to college. Think Appalachia, not ghetto.

In my higher COL hometown:
- "Getting out of the house" typically involved a trip to a park, a walk on the beach at sunset, a picnic dinner on the beach, a family bike ride around the neighborhood, or other free/low-cost activities.
- If you do want to eat out, there are lots of local places with lower costs and more variety. (True story: My husband wanted to go out to eat "somewhere fun" last night. We left the house with no clear destination in mind and ended up driving around for 1.5 hours before finally settling on Salsarita's, which is like Moe's/Chipotle/etc, because there really isn't anything interesting in our town to eat. I was searching online as he drove, hoping to come up with someplace we hadn't heard of, but there wasn't anyplace and he kept swearing there would be something interesting just around the corner. There wasn't.)
- Better salaries.
- Travel times can be high during tourist season, but otherwise much lower than where we currently live.
- Amazing public schools.
- Depending on where in town you live/work, there is the potential for bike commuting. And even if you don't bike commute, there's plenty of opportunities for recreational biking (which I enjoy).... state parks within 15-20 minutes that have miles and miles of trails, many roads with bike lanes, a 30-mile greenway, etc.

My husband keeps getting sticker shock every time I show him the price of houses in my hometown, but I'm trying to get him to grasp how much less we'd spend on other areas of life. Fingers crossed.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 07:07:52 AM by startingsmall »

SeanMC

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2016, 07:28:07 AM »
I've moved around and lived in different regions and cities in the US. My experience is that it can be hard to predict what different areas will be like until you are living there, and you may not be good at predicting how you will feel about living there. Also, there are some areas that are harder to relocate to and build a new community or support network.

In general, it takes close to 2 years to be fully 'integrated' into a new place. While there are ways to get a jump on this via visiting or a short-term "sabbatical" type stay, you can't really shortcircuit this process. And while it may be clear that you hate a place and it is not for you sooner, it often makes sense to have a game plan to "bridge" this time frame to see how you really feel about the place you have moved to.

VAR

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2016, 09:33:10 AM »
I finally lost count of how many times I've moved. I can 2nd what many have said about urban vs rural on services and activites etc.
Past 2 years:
I don't have a "fail"but it can be difficult and moving costs $$ and sometimes BIGSURPRISE money. I went from rural  TN where the driver license was like 20$ to WA state  98$ I believe. I paid 2x the rent for a place half the size and counted myself lucky. Who knows when if I ever I could have afforded a house. Very pricey, sold very quickly.
Then discovered while I loved a lot about the PNW it was just too far.3 hour time difference for phone calls didn't work at all. Got very depressed. Nobody I knew could afford plane tix or time off to visit. Making friends locally was hard.
Gave up and moved to GA where I have family. Had to pay 50$ to register the car in WA right before I left.
Get to GA and find out they've passed a crazy law where you have to pay a huge tax to register your car...so new 35$ driver license plus ONE THOUSAND dollars to register the car.
The rents here are higher than what I had in WA with very sketchy apartments. Houses are much cheaper though if I was buying
Pay for what I do in GA runs 5-10k$ LESS.

I've started to long for rural TN - but the pay there for what i do would be 10K$ less than GA and much more limited choices. That just doesn't jive well my desire for independence. I'm kind of stuck right now because I know I do not like the current situation but damned if I'm gonna register the car for a grand and then move wily nilly!

All that to say -
There's a lot of numbers to run in order to compare places and just going by HCOL/LCOL may or may not hit the particular scenario you have

Metta

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2016, 11:02:08 AM »
Seems the guys who go mad on booze and cheap prostitutes are becoming the new beach bums in Thailand!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnR-CIG0k0Q

This reminded me of a relocation fail that has happened to several of my husband's colleagues. Hawaii Pacific University has an excellent program in his field and, you know, it's in Hawaii. Paradise. So newly minted Ph.D.s are attracted to the place. They get jobs and are always a bit surprised that there are openings because, you know, Hawaii. Paradise. A year later they find out that they cannot afford decent housing and other amenities on their salaries and have a hard time ponying up the airfare to leave the place. So every couple of years my husband hears a fresh story about a trapped academic who had to abase himself to his parents to get help leaving his job in Paradise.

I haven't heard the story for several years now so perhaps the university has started paying more or perhaps they found the right fit in someone.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 11:13:53 AM by Metta »

kib

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2016, 11:12:11 AM »
I moved from NYC to Arizona about 18 years ago, and while I've gotten to be reasonably comfortable here, when i think of my favorite place it's definitely back in New York, where I could never afford the lifestyle I'd like.  (I didn't have the lifestyle I wanted to retire into when I moved, which is Why I moved, but I'm definitely financially further away from NYC now than when I left.)  The LCOL area I moved to hasn't kept up as far as real estate - I hear there's a bit of a housing boom coming on, but it definitely hasn't hit my neighborhood.

And I do agree with the average definition of LCOL being somewhat limited.  There was a hospital in my az neighborhood, but it's a terrible hospital and being moved anywhere else is $$$$$$$ because they'll use a helicopter.  Housing is cheap, but food is expensive.  Professional services are either mediocre or worse, or hugely expensive because qualified labor has to travel a long way.  Some kind of BS corruption went on with the city's sewer, garbage and water contract about 15 years ago, I now pay about double in my small town what everyone else is paying in the city and there appears to be no recourse.  Just saying, "cheap" isn't always such a bargain.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 11:18:21 AM by frufrau »

Rural

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2016, 05:05:42 PM »
Go and try a place for six months or a year, and rent or don't as you see fit. Your sister chips in a bit, right? You can afford the time to be sure, I'd think.

Dicey

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2016, 06:17:04 PM »
My sister and BIL bought a teardown with a partner in SoCal when they first got married. They made good money on it and needed to reinvest, but felt SoCal was too expensive. BIL wanted to go home to TN. They bought a fixer in Knoxville, but after about five years, sold up and moved to San Antonio, TX, where they bought a brand new house. Five years there and they headed to Summerville, SC. Bought another fixer and fixed it. Had four kids along the way. Finally, as my parents aged, my sister insisted it was time to return to CA. W-e-e-e-e-l, they had to rent and save for seven long years (which happily allowed them to avoid the crash and learn the area) until they found the right foreclosure/fixer on the right property. Happily, that home has doubled in value since they bought it, but the acreage still needs a lot of work and cash to get it the way they want it.

All of this preamble is to say that they liked each of these places to some degree. All of the places had a lot to offer, including low COL. They made a genuine effort to grow roots in each place. They lived a mustachian lifestyle, joined a new church each time, made a lot of new friends, fixed up houses and made at least a little money on each of them, but never really felt "home". My sister would be the first to agree that the grass is not always greener, even where the COL is more affordable.

Villanelle

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2016, 12:43:02 AM »
We moved from a moderately high COL to a very low COL area for a job. One of the deceptive things about low COL places is that part of what you pay for in HCOLs is that they reduce externalities that cost money....

HCOLs typically have more free entertainment options including libraries, parks, proximity to national parks, free concerts, and so forth. LCOL, not so much. So you will pay more for entertainment than you would elsewhere.

Most things that are marketed nationwide cost the same in a LCOL as they do in HCOL but salaries are less (for example, my laptop costs the same wherever I buy it). So that is another sneaky charge to the balance sheet.

I say this to point out that there is no free lunch. If you are likely to want clean water and a crime-free environment, you will have to pay for it. Similarly, if you want well-staffed emergency services, that costs money too. Entertainment --  make your own at home or do without.

I do not regret moving to Memphis. Because we are in fields that companies nationwide compete for, our salaries more than keep pace with the COL and we invested the difference. However, we cannot move to California or Boston or Los Angeles and expect the same standard of living. I don't think we could even move back to Denver if we wanted to (which we don't). We plan to move out of the Crime Vortex that is Memphis, but our options are a bit limited because of our choice to live in a LCOL.

Agreed. I grew up in a slightly high-COL area in Florida and moved to a ruralish low-COL area in North Carolina approximately 9 years ago. I've endured it for this long, but now I'm desperate to get back home.

In my current LCOL area:
- Salaries are low and job opportunities are limited.
- As a veterinarian, I see far more patients who are neglected than well-cared-for.... which not only impacts me financially, but also depresses the heck out of me.
- Due to a lack of parks and other public spaces, anytime that we want to "get out of house" involves eating out at some overpriced chain restaurant.  (Unless we have a full day free and decide to drive 1.5 hrs each way to the mountains.... which seemed super-awesome when I first moved here, but the idea of spending 3+ hours in the car with a 3-year-old just for a day hike means that we don't do it very often anymore.)
- High gas costs because everything is at least 20+ minutes away by car.
- The overwhelming majority of roads are narrow, two-lane roads full of potholes and blind curves, so biking is out of the question unless I want to drive 45 minutes each way to our area's one 10-mile round-trip bike path.
- Schools are awful. Horrendous. Safe, but totally ineffective at educating and very few people go on to college. Think Appalachia, not ghetto.

In my higher COL hometown:
- "Getting out of the house" typically involved a trip to a park, a walk on the beach at sunset, a picnic dinner on the beach, a family bike ride around the neighborhood, or other free/low-cost activities.
- If you do want to eat out, there are lots of local places with lower costs and more variety. (True story: My husband wanted to go out to eat "somewhere fun" last night. We left the house with no clear destination in mind and ended up driving around for 1.5 hours before finally settling on Salsarita's, which is like Moe's/Chipotle/etc, because there really isn't anything interesting in our town to eat. I was searching online as he drove, hoping to come up with someplace we hadn't heard of, but there wasn't anyplace and he kept swearing there would be something interesting just around the corner. There wasn't.)
- Better salaries.
- Travel times can be high during tourist season, but otherwise much lower than where we currently live.
- Amazing public schools.
- Depending on where in town you live/work, there is the potential for bike commuting. And even if you don't bike commute, there's plenty of opportunities for recreational biking (which I enjoy).... state parks within 15-20 minutes that have miles and miles of trails, many roads with bike lanes, a 30-mile greenway, etc.

My husband keeps getting sticker shock every time I show him the price of houses in my hometown, but I'm trying to get him to grasp how much less we'd spend on other areas of life. Fingers crossed.

I do think that sometimes these areas of small savings are overlooked.  We are leaving in a freakishly high COL area (most homes with average finishes are $1000+ sqft) for a fairly short term.  (About 6.5 months, due to DH's job.)  We are definitely spending more than we would be even just 20 miles away, but we needed to be within biking distance of work for DH (single car).  And overall, I'm sure the bottom line is more, but not as much so as the difference in rent.  Small things, like spending less money on entertainment because we can go for long walks on the beach, >10 minutes away.  And things I never would have guessed, like a smaller grocery bill because I waste less food.  I'm not a creative or organized cook.  Here, because I can walk to the grocery store in about 3 minutes, I never feel the need to try to buy enough for the week, which means I stay more on top of what food we have.  Because we are in a furnished vacation rental, we don't pay utilities, but I know our electric bill, which can be crazy in this metro area, would be lower her than it could be 15 miles inland, because there's no need for a/c.  (Most houses don't even have it, or only have a window unit in one hours.)  There is almost nothing I could need that I can't walk to in about 10 minutes.  Our car is parked most days. 

All that is to say that there can be a lot of small things that cover some of the obvious increases in a high COLA area. 

Location is one thing I am not willing to compromise on for FIRE.  I may not live in a super high COL area, but it's not something on which I am going to make a strictly, or even mostly, price-based decision.

Johnny Aloha

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2016, 04:57:46 AM »
In your shoes there is no way I would sell that close to the beach, low property tax basis, paid off house, unless and until I had lived somewhere else for several years and decided to make the move permanent.  From reading your posts, I'm not sure if you have fully considered the benefits of where you live.  You are in one of the best located areas of Southern California, and the value of your property demonstrates that.

If I were you, I would take on a room mate to cover the house expenses, and travel.  See the rest of the country, especially the areas that interest you the most.  Go overseas if that interests you.  But do not sell the beach area house until you are settled permanently somewhere else.

+1

Here's a personal tale: moved from Hawaii to NC.  In winter.  For work, but also because everyone loves NC - mountains, beaches, etc etc etc.

I actually liked NC, but the other half of my household did not.  Aside from the weather and scenery, the people were different ... harder to meet new friends, less mustacian and more consumer minded, etc.

Lasted for almost 2 years before moving back to Hawaii. 

startingsmall

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2016, 06:05:35 AM »
Here's a personal tale: moved from Hawaii to NC.  In winter.  For work, but also because everyone loves NC - mountains, beaches, etc etc etc.

I actually liked NC, but the other half of my household did not.  Aside from the weather and scenery, the people were different ... harder to meet new friends, less mustacian and more consumer minded, etc.


So glad to hear someone else say this!!  My current LCOL area is in NC and yet it amazes me how materialistic people are here. On a recent trip to my hometown, I was driving my NC-native husband through some of the areas that we'd want to consider living in if we were to relocate. He couldn't get past the yards; I couldn't see what the big deal was. It took some back and forth to realize that the unkempt, tropical yards that I'd grown up with, and therefore looked past easily, looked awful and neglected to him. Who has time for lawn maintenance when you're biking around town and hanging out at the beach? It's just a house. But here in NC, it is completely expected that you'll spend $500-1000 at Lowe's every spring to purchase new plants/flowers, new mulch or pine straw, and all of the other "junk" needed to make your yard look perfect.  Drives me nuts, because I want to spend spring outside hiking and doing fun things, but my husband insists on spending every free day in spring working on our yard... because  that's what his family did growing up and that's what every single person around us does.

Ditto for mowing.... I'm used to thick St Augustine grass that you mow when it gets too thick to walk through, but here it's accepted that you'll keep your grass trimmed golf-course length and spend all of your summer weekend days mowing.

Same for clothing - I spend every day in shorts/t-shirt/flip flops, just like I did in Florida.... while every other woman around here gets all dolled up in true Southern style every time they leave the house.

Sorry for the rant, but thank you for validating my impressions!!  I've never heard anyone else say that... so glad to hear that it's not just me :)

rothwem

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2016, 07:09:19 AM »
So glad to hear someone else say this!!  My current LCOL area is in NC and yet it amazes me how materialistic people are here. On a recent trip to my hometown, I was driving my NC-native husband through some of the areas that we'd want to consider living in if we were to relocate. He couldn't get past the yards; I couldn't see what the big deal was. It took some back and forth to realize that the unkempt, tropical yards that I'd grown up with, and therefore looked past easily, looked awful and neglected to him. Who has time for lawn maintenance when you're biking around town and hanging out at the beach? It's just a house. But here in NC, it is completely expected that you'll spend $500-1000 at Lowe's every spring to purchase new plants/flowers, new mulch or pine straw, and all of the other "junk" needed to make your yard look perfect.  Drives me nuts, because I want to spend spring outside hiking and doing fun things, but my husband insists on spending every free day in spring working on our yard... because  that's what his family did growing up and that's what every single person around us does.

Ditto for mowing.... I'm used to thick St Augustine grass that you mow when it gets too thick to walk through, but here it's accepted that you'll keep your grass trimmed golf-course length and spend all of your summer weekend days mowing.

Same for clothing - I spend every day in shorts/t-shirt/flip flops, just like I did in Florida.... while every other woman around here gets all dolled up in true Southern style every time they leave the house.

Sorry for the rant, but thank you for validating my impressions!!  I've never heard anyone else say that... so glad to hear that it's not just me :)

Raleigh resident here (I'm waving my hand, you just can't see it).  I'm from the DC metro area, turned 18, went to NC State and stayed in the area since. 

The materialistic stuff comes from the massive growth that NC has seen in the last 10 years.  Ridiculous amounts of DC, NY/NJ, Cali, and South Florida money in a short amount of time has really changed the way the cities have grown.  In Raleigh, we've got the blown-out sprawl to the north and into Cary, and Charlotte has the same thing but worse.  When people come from HCOL areas, they see that when they sold their $500k, 1000 sq ft North Jersey home, they can come to North Carolina and buy a 5000 sq foot home for $500k.  Or they spend it on hair gel, affliction tees and BMWs. 

I'm sorry if a little bit of annoyance comes through in my tone--a lot of transplants are really disrespectful of the town they move to, and complain non-stop.  I work with one guy in particular and every comment about the city/food/people starts with, "well in Rochester we...".  When I hear that phrase I know to tune out and/or walk away.

On the lawns topic, since everything grows here so fast (including weeds), you need to keep up with it or it will look like hell in a short amount of time.  Once it gets to critical mass, you've got to pay a contractor to take the vines down or they'll pull your trees over.  If you don't like it, get a townhome. 

On women getting dolled up: Its funny, my girlfriend is from Louisiana, a true southern girl.  She will not leave the house with wet hair, and when she sees other women out in public with wet hair, she is appalled.  Must be a sorority thing?  I haven't figured it out yet.  Thankfully she doesn't do the excessive makeup thing, just a little mascara if we're going out somewhere. 

startingsmall

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #41 on: February 08, 2016, 07:58:02 AM »
So glad to hear someone else say this!!  My current LCOL area is in NC and yet it amazes me how materialistic people are here. On a recent trip to my hometown, I was driving my NC-native husband through some of the areas that we'd want to consider living in if we were to relocate. He couldn't get past the yards; I couldn't see what the big deal was. It took some back and forth to realize that the unkempt, tropical yards that I'd grown up with, and therefore looked past easily, looked awful and neglected to him. Who has time for lawn maintenance when you're biking around town and hanging out at the beach? It's just a house. But here in NC, it is completely expected that you'll spend $500-1000 at Lowe's every spring to purchase new plants/flowers, new mulch or pine straw, and all of the other "junk" needed to make your yard look perfect.  Drives me nuts, because I want to spend spring outside hiking and doing fun things, but my husband insists on spending every free day in spring working on our yard... because  that's what his family did growing up and that's what every single person around us does.

Ditto for mowing.... I'm used to thick St Augustine grass that you mow when it gets too thick to walk through, but here it's accepted that you'll keep your grass trimmed golf-course length and spend all of your summer weekend days mowing.

Same for clothing - I spend every day in shorts/t-shirt/flip flops, just like I did in Florida.... while every other woman around here gets all dolled up in true Southern style every time they leave the house.

Sorry for the rant, but thank you for validating my impressions!!  I've never heard anyone else say that... so glad to hear that it's not just me :)

Raleigh resident here (I'm waving my hand, you just can't see it).  I'm from the DC metro area, turned 18, went to NC State and stayed in the area since. 

The materialistic stuff comes from the massive growth that NC has seen in the last 10 years.  Ridiculous amounts of DC, NY/NJ, Cali, and South Florida money in a short amount of time has really changed the way the cities have grown.  In Raleigh, we've got the blown-out sprawl to the north and into Cary, and Charlotte has the same thing but worse.  When people come from HCOL areas, they see that when they sold their $500k, 1000 sq ft North Jersey home, they can come to North Carolina and buy a 5000 sq foot home for $500k.  Or they spend it on hair gel, affliction tees and BMWs. 

I'm sorry if a little bit of annoyance comes through in my tone--a lot of transplants are really disrespectful of the town they move to, and complain non-stop.  I work with one guy in particular and every comment about the city/food/people starts with, "well in Rochester we...".  When I hear that phrase I know to tune out and/or walk away.

On the lawns topic, since everything grows here so fast (including weeds), you need to keep up with it or it will look like hell in a short amount of time.  Once it gets to critical mass, you've got to pay a contractor to take the vines down or they'll pull your trees over.  If you don't like it, get a townhome. 

On women getting dolled up: Its funny, my girlfriend is from Louisiana, a true southern girl.  She will not leave the house with wet hair, and when she sees other women out in public with wet hair, she is appalled.  Must be a sorority thing?  I haven't figured it out yet.  Thankfully she doesn't do the excessive makeup thing, just a little mascara if we're going out somewhere.

I'm in a small town in the foothills of Western NC, but I definitely see your points about Raleigh and Charlotte's northern influences. Worked briefly in a popular suburb of Charlotte and it drove me insane!

Dee18

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #42 on: February 08, 2016, 08:25:16 AM »
I moved to a southern city (for a job I love) and have been dismayed by the materialism and the total lack of concern about the environment--constant use of disposables at corporate events, parties at people's homes, and even restaurants; constant rewards of tacky cheap items for school and sports successes--and being expected to buy a special tshirt for every occasion; almost no recycling, etc.  As an adult, I could just keep living the way I had elsewhere.  The hard thing was seeing my child/teen influenced by all of this.  Don't want to sidetrack your thread Spartana, as I'm now free to move anywhere and am following your posts with interest, but wanted to mention to people with children....if you move to a place, that will be a huge influence on your kids.  (Southern drawl anyone?)

Giro

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #43 on: February 08, 2016, 08:53:36 AM »
I've moved around quite a bit and my husband is retired military.  We often use the phrase "wherever you go, there you are".  To us, it means that it's not about location, it's about mentality and perception.  There are good things about every location I lived in.  My DH is just very easy to please and I will bitch and moan no matter where I am.  :)

Dicey

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #44 on: February 08, 2016, 09:03:58 AM »
The hard thing was seeing my child/teen influenced by all of this.  Don't want to sidetrack your thread Spartana, as I'm now free to move anywhere and am following your posts with interest, but wanted to mention to people with children....if you move to a place, that will be a huge influence on your kids.  (Southern drawl anyone?)
Ha! I was going to mention this but didn't want to piss* anyone off. My sister called it "sloppy talk" and didn't allow it. Now, you'd never know where the boys spent their formative years. I thought it was very wise of her and the kids are appreciative now that they're grown. Of course, she homeschooled, which made it a little easier.

*Fucking auto correct really passes, no, pisses me off!
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 10:50:51 AM by Diane C »

startingsmall

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #45 on: February 08, 2016, 09:11:06 AM »
I moved to a southern city (for a job I love) and have been dismayed by the materialism and the total lack of concern about the environment--constant use of disposables at corporate events, parties at people's homes, and even restaurants; constant rewards of tacky cheap items for school and sports successes--and being expected to buy a special tshirt for every occasion; almost no recycling, etc.  As an adult, I could just keep living the way I had elsewhere.  The hard thing was seeing my child/teen influenced by all of this.  Don't want to sidetrack your thread Spartana, as I'm nowu free to move anywhere and am following your posts with interest, but wanted to mention to people with children....if you move to a place, that will be a huge influence on your kids.  (Southern drawl anyone?)

Yes! Currently working to eliminate the word "ain't" from my 3 year old's vocabulary, but it's hard when she hears it all around her!! (daycare, church, etc.)

CanuckExpat

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #46 on: February 08, 2016, 10:00:41 AM »
I was stationed in Hawaii and while to was beautiful I really disliked living there and transferred asap - to the coast of North Carolina which I loved. Everyone thought I was crazy and didn't get it. Pretty much like when I say I don't like SoCal that much (although I love NorCal).One persons heaven canbe another's hell.

We should trade HCOL homes.. It's nice here, but I could do without the cold nights in the "winter". I'm the worst Canadian ever..

tj

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #47 on: February 08, 2016, 10:07:25 AM »
Spartana, I'm wondering why you are worried about being priced out when you say you aren't happy in SoCal. Have you not been happier in other places?

Goldielocks

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #48 on: February 08, 2016, 10:13:39 AM »
I moved to a southern city (for a job I love) and have been dismayed by the materialism and the total lack of concern about the environment--constant use of disposables at corporate events, parties at people's homes, and even restaurants; constant rewards of tacky cheap items for school and sports successes--and being expected to buy a special tshirt for every occasion; almost no recycling, etc.  As an adult, I could just keep living the way I had elsewhere.  The hard thing was seeing my child/teen influenced by all of this.  Don't want to sidetrack your thread Spartana, as I'm now free to move anywhere and am following your posts with interest, but wanted to mention to people with children....if you move to a place, that will be a huge influence on your kids.  (Southern drawl anyone?)
No problem going off track as I always think off topic threads can be the most interesting and enlightening.

No kids myself (and I'm also divorced) so all very easy for me to move on if I don't like a new place - especially since I'm a minimalist but I can that it would be much harder for families. And I totally agree with others who said it's best to stay somewhere a year or longer before making an expensive, and possibly difficult to undo, housing selection. I was in the coast guard for years and have lived many places so making a permanent selection about a place to live is probably also much easier then someone who's lived in only a few places.

My own relocation fail wasn't a fail but could have been (and this will make people want to smack me upside the head). Back in the late 1990s during an aerospace collapse housing slump in SoCal (I lived near Boeing about 5 miles from beach - and still do just different house) I bought a fixer house for $120k. Paid it off and then sold it during g the market upturn in the early 2000s and bought a place for1/4th the cost in a ski resort and retired. All good but when the parents needed help I wanted to be closer so sold the mountain house and moved back to the old town. Because of the housing market collapse after 2008 I was able to  buy my current place cheap. had the collapse not happened and prices continued to rise post 2008, I would have been priced out of the housing market. And with 3 dogs at that time it would have been hard to rent a place cheaply so more of the stash would have gone to pay for housing then I'd like. As it is it all worked out fine but I can see how it might not have.

ETA: Just to make people want to face punch me harder - the $120k house I first bought in SoCal I bought from my Mom (FMV for a fixer with no selling costs) and I was able to keep her property tax rate - a whooping $300/year! I don't regret my choice to sell and move but it is face punch worthy.

Honestly,  I see zero fails here.   "Fail" is about making a very poor decision (or actively no decision at all).  It seems to me that you made highly intelligent decisions with the information available to you each time.  The fact that the market did something unexpected is not a fail on your part, especially as you had your finances secured where your were at.   If that is a fail, y selling a condo I was renting out (only break even after 9 years! in 2002) to invest the money in another location, would have been a fail, as the market started to climb rapidly the year after.  But -- it was the right choice for us at the time.  Look forward, not back.

LAGuy

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Re: Relocation fails?
« Reply #49 on: February 08, 2016, 10:52:30 AM »
I'd like to do the same as you, Spartana and as a fellow Angeleno, I 100% support your decision to sell the place. Those that are counseling to rent it out, aren't taking everything into account. Not only is there the hassle involved with renting it out (as mentioned), but also if you haven't lived in the property 2 of the past 5 years you lose your ability to get $250,000 out of the place tax free. You'd have to eventually come back, kick the renter out, and live there for 2 years. Additionally, any profit you make above that you're going to be paying federal 15% (25% if you have a HUGE gain on the place) and up to 9.3% California. Plus, you may get socked with the Obamacare income surcharge. And the AMT. You may end up paying 33% and up in taxes on some of your gains. For these reasons, once you've seen that $250,000 gain on your property I start valuing the increases beyond that much less. Once you take into account that historically, housing has not performed as well as the stock market (yes even here in California) I believe that selling is the most rational choice.

Then, of course as you already know, there's the hassle of dealing with taxes on your investment income in California. Everything here is taxed as ordinary income. Did you plan on resetting your cost basis every year by selling some of your portfolio? Regular income in California. Dividends? Regular income. Tax rate of up to 9.3%. Also, having that much of your net worth tied up in your housing is stressful. Just make sure you set up permanent residence in a no income tax state before you hit the nomad trail. Otherwise, California will still consider you a resident and come after you for it's "fair share."

But you're right, it's tough to leave. Especially once you've got everything set up the way you like. Lot of people try to make it out here and they fail. Those that succeed, do it like you. They stay put and keep their overhead low. But look, if you sell the place and hit the road and don't like it, it's not like it's impossible to come back. That's BS. You did it once, you can do it again. There will be other good property market entrance points. The rent out here isn't THAT bad if you must, and if you're open to options (less than desirable communities, roommates, etc). People out here make it sound like if you sell your place it's the worst mistake you'll ever make in your life, but again as stated above I don't think people are looking at the full picture.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 11:00:48 AM by LAGuy »