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Sorry, this is a bit long! I tried FindYourSpot but it wasn't really helpful.

 

We are a military family, and my husband has only three years left before he finishes his 20 years in the military, and transitions to the civilian world.

 

We currently live in San Diego and really enjoy it here. We are renting, but thinking about buying a house. If we do though, we are committing to staying here for a good long time. He has loads of job contacts here, so that shouldn't be a problem at all. But he also has contacts lots of other places, so I don't think he'd have a shortage of jobs.

 

I am originally from Western Canada (super cold). We lived in San Diego four years (loved it), North Carolina four years (didn't like it), Hawaii for three years (liked it a lot but were ready to leave), and now back to San Diego.

 

Pros of San Diego:

- great homeschooling groups and resources

- lots to do

- nice weather year-round (no humidity - I HATE humidity)

 

Cons of San Diego:

- housing is crazy expensive

- over-crowded; lots of traffic

 

In searching for homes to buy, I feel so torn about whether we should plan to stay here or wait it out for three years and try our luck somewhere else. I just don't know where else we'd be as happy, so I thought I'd ask for help and suggestions as to places we might want to consider.

 

What I know for sure:

- I HATE humidity

- I like seasons but I don't want EXTREME winters. I had enough of them growing up. Snow is okay to a degree. I think we could handle Colorado. My husband grew up in Denver so we do have family there.

- I want to have easy access to the arts - good symphony, ballet, theatre, museums, etc.

- homeschooling friendly; not too overly conservative

 

Any advice?

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What I know for sure:

- I HATE humidity

- I like seasons but I don't want EXTREME winters. I had enough of them growing up. Snow is okay to a degree. I think we could handle Colorado. My husband grew up in Denver so we do have family there.

- I want to have easy access to the arts - good symphony, ballet, theatre, museums, etc.

- homeschooling friendly; not too overly conservative

 

Any advice?

 

Even before I saw Denver, I was thinking DENVER!

 

Since your dh is from there, you already know that it has everything you are looking for

- low, low humidity.

- snow but no extreme winter; loads of sunshine, and that snow will melt the next day.

- family (is this a plus?).

- art museums, symphony, theater, all of it.

- homeschool friendy; not super conservative.

 

Dh and I are both from Littleton; my kids were born there. We began hsing there. It's home.

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As a southern California girl, I would say that San Diego is ideal. Truly. And I don't think you would find housing prices much different in Colorado....and the re-sale value of a San Diego home will hold. I am completely biased, but I just don't think you could do better than San Diego. But I would buy there sooner rather than later. There must be some incredible deals there these days.

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is it should be a place with easy access to a military institution. He will have benefits that could greatly reduce the cost of living. I've known soldiers who lived no where near a facility and when they needed medical services etc it was hard to find someone to take their medical insurance and even less who knew what you were talking about. Also keep in mind that not only will medical needs be easier to meet but you'll have access the PX and Commissary that could make it considerably cheaper than going to local stores. My cousin lives near a major metropolitan area and had no problem getting a job but lives within an hour of a military base so he gets lots of benefits more easily for himself and his family. Also keep in mind that living in a city with a major military institution can also work against you. It may look like their are plenty of job opportunities but not only will your husband be looking at them but so will all the others leaving the military and not wanting to move. My Dh works at our state's unemployment office as a veterans representative. It is at a major army base and the military have an extremely hard time finding a job because their is so much competition for them. Many employers prefer military applicants because not only do they qualify technically for the job but they are also more adaptable and more confident and more likely to put effort into it. So if you're military your application often goes to the top of the pile unless the pile is full of military applicants.

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What does your husband do? Can he get a job anywhere or are there only jobs in specific places?

 

My dh has 24 y next month and we are having another PCS this June. He thinks it may be his last. If he gets one assignment, he wants to buy a house, work at this assignment and then retire there and work as a civilian in the area. My deal is if that is the place, I will only temporarily retire there (ten years max). I tell him that the place I want to move to is also a possibility and I expect him to find a job there before ten years is up. I really don't want to spend my final days in the place we might be going for our next assignment. I am trying to have dh understand how important this is for me. Hopefully, you all will be more in agreement as to where to live.

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He is a COO-equivalent and a pilot. He has a lot of experience and education, plus great networking skills and lots of contacts, so I don't think actually getting a job will be the hard part (we hope anyway, you never know what life can throw at you) :) This "where to live" stuff is the hard part.

 

Funny that the two initial comments are Denver and San Diego. Those are the two places I've always said we'd end up in in the end. But DH also has opportunities in places like Portland, Oregon (I've never been), Seattle area (I like it a lot, close to home, but the rain might get to me after years of it), North Texas (i always said no to Texas but he says there are places I'd like?)

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Someone mentioned access to military installations. My husband is national guard, and we don't live near a base. We have had Tricare Prime Remote when he is activated, and Tricare Reserve Select when he's not, and either way we use civilian providers without a problem.

 

Portland is pretty nice. Lots of homeschoolers, not too conservative. Well, homeschoolers seem to either be conservative Christian OR liberal unschoolers. I haven't found much in the middle yet. Humidity is not an issue except maybe a week each August. PCPA is Portland Center for the Performing Arts, and there are numerous smaller organizations. The housing market is good for buyers (but very disappointing for those of us who have seen our values plummet!).

 

The one big drawback to the Pacific Northwest is the rain. Oh my gosh, I like almost everything about Portland other than the weather. My ideal place to live is outside of Boulder. I used to live in Longmont and to me, that is the ideal climate.

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Even before I saw Denver, I was thinking DENVER!

 

Since your dh is from there, you already know that it has everything you are looking for

- low, low humidity.

- snow but no extreme winter; loads of sunshine, and that snow will melt the next day.

- family (is this a plus?).

- art museums, symphony, theater, all of it.

- homeschool friendy; not super conservative.

 

Dh and I are both from Littleton; my kids were born there. We began hsing there. It's home.

 

This was my first thought too. We LOVED living in Aruora, Denver was only a few minutes away. So much to do, FANTASTIC libraries, lots of green space. It's big city without that "big" city feel. The humidity is lower than Pheonix (didn't really realize this until we went to visit the grandparents and our hair curled again.:lol:) When it snows, it's a "dry" snow and we were able to just blow it off the cars.

 

This is probably our top choice right now when it comes to retirement, but that's still years away.

 

(We loved San Diego too, but agree with your cons.) It was fantastic for raising our son in his first few years with passes to the zoo, Sea World, Legoland, all those trips to the beach. Ahhhhh.

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I grew up in Santa Barbara and I would love to retire there ... there is an airport there and it is not far to Lompoc (don't live in Lompoc!) - Vandenberg Air force Base.

My son is military in San Diego now too. He and his wife hae been searching for a house for about a year now. Prices there just keep dropping. Still, the 4 bdrm/3 car garage they recently put an offer on was around $320K.

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I grew up in Santa Barbara and I would love to retire there ... there is an airport there and it is not far to Lompoc (don't live in Lompoc!) - Vandenberg Air force Base.

My son is military in San Diego now too. He and his wife hae been searching for a house for about a year now. Prices there just keep dropping. Still, the 4 bdrm/3 car garage they recently put an offer on was around $320K.

 

From when we were in San Diego, that would have been dirt cheap! We had to move out of our 1000sq foot apartment in 2002 because they were turning it into an condo and selling it for 275K. I met a lady at swim practice who was excited to be finally moving into their house--a million dollar fixer-uper. Needless to say, we HAD to leave.

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Even before I saw Denver, I was thinking DENVER!

 

Since your dh is from there, you already know that it has everything you are looking for

- low, low humidity.

- snow but no extreme winter; loads of sunshine, and that snow will melt the next day.

- family (is this a plus?).

- art museums, symphony, theater, all of it.

- homeschool friendy; not super conservative.

 

Dh and I are both from Littleton; my kids were born there. We began hsing there. It's home.

 

:iagree:

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This has been really helpful in clarifying my thoughts, so thank you so very much to everyone who offered feedback! I do think I'd be happiest either here in San Diego (we have a lot of friends and a good support system) or in the Denver area (I think I would be really happy in Boulder also - totally my type of place!)

 

I guess we'll continue to look at homes for sale, and if the absolute perfect place and the right price shows itself, then we'll consider, but so far I haven't found what I'm looking for. The problem is I am looking for our dream house and am comfortable renting the home we're in if we don't find it. It might be that our dream house isn't here, but rather in Colorado, and time will tell. I'm very particular in what I want (a product of moving around the country so much and feeling like the next house we buy, I want to be for a very long time) and finding that, even while the prices are a bit lower, is hard unless you have $1.5 million and up :) Which we unfortunately do not!

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