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HELP us find a new place to live! (Warning: even more long-winded than usual!)


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OK, here's the story: I want my dh to retire. He has been "going to" retire for years now, but he never actually gets beyond the "going to" stage. His biggest excuse is that if he stops working, we won't have as much money to live on, and things are expensive here in the NYC area, so he needs to keep working so we can maintain our lifestyle and continue to save more money.

 

The reality is that he can retire and we can still live just fine, but he's a worrier, so there's really no convincing him.

 

He did, however, suggest that he would retire if we moved to a place that had a lower cost of living than where we are now. So... please, please, please help me find the right place!

 

Here's what we need in terms of the area (well, OK, here's what we want:)

 

1. Lots of homeschoolers in the area

2. Low crime

3. Good air and water quality

4. Low property taxes - $10,000/yr or less (the lower the better! We pay a lot more than that now, but really want to reduce our costs.)

5. Excellent medical care/hospital nearby (within 15 minutes or so)

6. Good colleges within 1-2 hours drive (closer if possible)

7. Shopping nearby (5-10 minutes max away from things like a grocery store)

8. Decent cultural opportunities within 45 minutes or so

9. Good private high school within 15 minutes, in case ds ever decides he wants to go to "real" school. (This is sort of optional.)

10. Not a super-religious community -- where we live now, no one ever asks you where you go to church or tries to get us to go to their church, and we like it that way! FWIW, dh and I were both raised Catholic, but we are non-practicing right now, so we don't need to be near any specific church.

11. Not too much snow. Some snow is OK, as long as it melts away pretty quickly, but I would hate to be in a place where there's snow on the ground for months at a time.

12. No frequent weather disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or earthquakes. (I know storms can happen anywhere; I just mean we'd like to find a place where really bad stuff is rare, not a regular occurrence.)

 

As far as homes go, any style would be OK, but our main requirements are:

 

1. At least 3,000 square feet (preferably more, but that's the bare minimum)

2. Private yard (If it's in a city neighborhood, just a bit of private outdoor space, but in a more suburban/rural setting, we would want 2 or more acres.)

3. Somewhat upscale neighborhood but not super-snobby if we can help it

4. Priced at around $600,000 -- less is better, a lot less is even better than that, but we can also go higher if necessary. I'm trying to keep the budget pretty low, because I know it will make it more enticing to my dh, and I'm not one of those people who likes to brag about what I spent for stuff, so the less we spend, the happier I'll be!

 

We wouldn't mind living in a city or a suburb. A rural area with lots of property would be great, too, if it's close to a city or large town.

 

The thing is, we're used to having all of the conveniences (including major malls) within a few miles of our home, so we are pretty spoiled. OTOH, our "town" isn't at all walkable, so you have to go to a mall or a large shopping center for pretty much everything. We would love to live in a place where we could walk to coffee shops or bookstores, or whatever. It could be a city or a really pretty town, or a short drive from a rural area. The walkability is more of a "nice to have" option, though; it's not an absolute necessity.

 

A big priority for me is finding friends for ds12, and it is very important to me that we live in an area where there are lots of homeschoolers, and that some of them will be homeschooling through high school. Ds isn't into sports, so it would be great if there were other activities available.

 

Finally, one of the main reasons I have for wanting to be close to a large town or a city is that as ds gets older, I don't want him to be bored to tears because there's nothing for him to do. He's a city boy at heart, so I think he would be unhappy without a town or city to visit.

 

Sorry I'm rambling, but I'm trying to be as specific as I can, in the hope that I'll get some ideas. A few friends have suggested Denver and Nashville to us, and both places look pretty cool, but other than that, we are relatively clueless. I assume we will probably end up moving out of our "comfort zone" of the NY/NJ/CT area in order to find a more reasonably-priced home and lower taxes. (Also, I think we're due for a big change.)

 

One last thing -- I know it may sound silly, but I also want to be sure we move to a place where people won't pre-judge us because they think NY/NJ people are all like the Sopranos or those complete morons from Jersey Shore. We just want to move to a place where we can settle in and adapt to the way things are. We're not the type to harp on how "we did things differently in NY," but I know the stereotype is that we're all pushy and rude and obnoxious, and so that's why I'm mentioning that we want to move to a place where we'll be accepted as long as we don't act like idiots. (We're not expecting anyone to roll out the red carpet for us, but making friends will be a big priority, especially for my ds.)

 

If you're still reading this... THANK YOU! :001_smile:

 

Please post any and all suggestions you may have -- and I would also like to hear about the places you don't recommend, as well. If you've read this post and thought, "Wow, she would totally hate it here," definitely let me know! (Sometimes it's as important to know where not to look, as it is to know where to look!)

 

Thanks again!!!

Edited by Catwoman
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Charlotte, NC - it has everything you have described, and you could buy a monsterous house with what you'd like to spend. You could get an absolutely incredible house for $400K and still have money to spare. LOTS of people from NY/NJ have moved down here. Union County just south of the city has very low taxes, much less than Mecklenburg where Charlotte is located. It is a very practical commute. With what you'd like, the Weddington/Marvin/Wesley Chapel area would be perfect. If you want to be a bit closer to the city, and pay higher taxes (nowhere near what you are paying now) then the South Charlotte/Ballantyne area would be great.

 

The only issue here is sometimes in the summer we have air quality action days, but they do not last long, and with every place having AC, it really becomes a non-issue.

 

Tons of homeschoolers in this area as well! Many places have special days/rates for homeschoolers. This state requires little in terms of mandates as well.

 

We moved from NH to here, and it's been worth every moment!

 

eta - I just re-read your list... There are lots of Christians here, BUT it is not required that you are one, and there are MANY non-Christians as well. It's diverse here.

Edited by jenL
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I was going to say my neighborhood would be great, until you said upscale, but not snobby. I have to say the people are pretty snobby around here. Not like Manhattan snobby or anything, but they can get under my skin pretty quickly! But, unless you're an orthodox Jew, it's not too religious-y around here. I've never had anyone ask me where I go to church.

 

I live in a suburb of Cleveland and we have great museums, great theatre, great orchestra, good universities all over the state and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. We have excellent health care facilities, most notably the Cleveland Clinic. You could get a beautiful house in my neighborhood for around $400,000 - $500,000. You could get a fairly decent house for around $300,000.

 

Also, it usually snows non-stop and is freezing cold in winter, so I can't recommend that.

 

Moving farther south sounds great for the weather.

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Seattle. Seriously, checks every single item off your list. Either the city itself or the bedroom communities surrounding it.

 

I haven't been to Seattle since the mid-'90's, but I remember that I liked it there. I'll put it on my list! Thanks! :001_smile:

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Charlotte, NC - it has everything you have described, and you could buy a monsterous house with what you'd like to spend. You could get an absolutely incredible house for $400K and still have money to spare. LOTS of people from NY/NJ have moved down here. Union County just south of the city has very low taxes, much less than Mecklenburg where Charlotte is located. It is a very practical commute. With what you'd like, the Weddington/Marvin/Wesley Chapel area would be perfect. If you want to be a bit closer to the city, and pay higher taxes (nowhere near what you are paying now) then the South Charlotte/Ballantyne area would be great.

 

The only issue here is sometimes in the summer we have air quality action days, but they do not last long, and with every place having AC, it really becomes a non-issue.

 

Tons of homeschoolers in this area as well! Many places have special days/rates for homeschoolers. This state requires little in terms of mandates as well.

 

We moved from NH to here, and it's been worth every moment!

 

eta - I just re-read your list... There are lots of Christians here, BUT it is not required that you are one, and there are MANY non-Christians as well. It's diverse here.

 

Thanks! I have heard about NC being a nice state to live in, but I wasn't sure where to look. The Charlotte area sounds like it has a lot of what we're looking for, so I will definitely check out the areas you mentioned!

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I was thinking NC but I have no experience with that.

 

I have had homeschool friends move to GA and FL and there are TONS and TONS of opportunities for homeschoolers. Bth places could get you a beautiful home in your price range. hurricanes would prevent me from moving to FL. I grew up with earthquakes in CA and am not fond of weather related disasters.

 

The other obvious choices would be TX or AZ.

 

I have been very close friends with someone from NY for 30 years. it is amazing how little you get for your money in NY or NJ. You will do fine.:001_smile:

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I think Ann Arbor, Michigan would meet most of these quite well!

 

Do you get a ton of snow in Ann Arbor? It looks like a gorgeous area, but I worry about the snow because it's a nuisance to find people to plow and shovel all the time. Also, I don't mind some snow if it melts away pretty quickly, but I would hate having snow on the ground for months on end. (I should have mentioned that in my original post. I think I'll go back and add it!)

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I was going to say my neighborhood would be great, until you said upscale, but not snobby. I have to say the people are pretty snobby around here. Not like Manhattan snobby or anything, but they can get under my skin pretty quickly!

 

LOL! I'm used to Manhattan snobby, so I could probably deal with your neighbors -- although they'd probably annoy me, too! I don't have a lot of patience for that sort of thing these days. I used to be One of Them, but since my mom passed away, the whole snob thing has lost its appeal. :tongue_smilie:

 

Also, it usually snows non-stop and is freezing cold in winter, so I can't recommend that.

 

Moving farther south sounds great for the weather.

 

You almost had me, until you got to the SNOW part! :D I just realized that I'd better go back end edit my first post to mention that I don't like too much snow. I'm such a wimp!

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I was thinking NC but I have no experience with that.

 

I have had homeschool friends move to GA and FL and there are TONS and TONS of opportunities for homeschoolers. Bth places could get you a beautiful home in your price range. hurricanes would prevent me from moving to FL. I grew up with earthquakes in CA and am not fond of weather related disasters.

 

The other obvious choices would be TX or AZ.

 

I have been very close friends with someone from NY for 30 years. it is amazing how little you get for your money in NY or NJ. You will do fine.:001_smile:

 

Denise -- thanks for the ideas, and also for mentioning the Weather Disaster thing! I'm going to go add that to my original post. I'm really not into hurricanes, earthquakes, or tornadoes. :D

Edited by Catwoman
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Minneapolis/St. Paul area :001_smile: I think I got everything there checked off for you.

 

Thanks! I know it's a great place; we have a friend who has a business there and travels to visit it quite often. But you get a ton of snow, right? (I know it wasn't in my original post that we don't want too much snow, but I just went back and added it.)

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Arizona, if you don't mind the heat. It is such a mix of cultures here. There are tons of friendly people, malls nearby, shopping, community pools, and inexpensive homes in nice neighborhoods. I would recommend Gilbert area. It is upscale, but also has some farms. Such a mix! Good places to eat! One was on Food network on the Guy show :) We have tons of homeschoolers and homeschooling is so easy here. We also have private and charter schools here.

Can you tell I love my state? :D

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Frisco, TX would fit all of that. You could.get a LOT of house in that price, it is a really nice area. There are lots of transplants too so you wouldn't get weird looks for being from the north. Its just a 30 min drive down to Dallas for any of the cultural things you could want. Shopping can't be beat in N.Dallas area but there are a lot of small town area with very cute downtown areas really close.

 

There are a ton of hsers in the area as well. Home Educators Resource would.be in easy driving distance. They offer all sorts of classes, sell new and used curriculum and offer a wealth of info for hsing through highschool.

 

I could go on but I'm on my phone and its making me crazy! Please excuse any typos!

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Agree with Washington, North Carolina, and Georgia. If you search homes.com, it will often include data about the area.

 

When we move, our two top choices are Washington (Seattle area) and North Carolina (research triangle, Asheville, Charlotte).

 

Good luck with your search!

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OK, here's the story: I want my dh to retire. He has been "going to" retire for years now, but he never actually gets beyond the "going to" stage. His biggest excuse is that if he stops working, we won't have as much money to live on, and things are expensive here in the NYC area, so he needs to keep working so we can maintain our lifestyle and continue to save more money.

 

The reality is that he can retire and we can still live just fine, but he's a worrier, so there's really no convincing him.

 

He did, however, suggest that he would retire if we moved to a place that had a lower cost of living than where we are now. So... please, please, please help me find the right place!

 

Here's what we need in terms of the area (well, OK, here's what we want:)

 

1. Lots of homeschoolers in the area

2. Low crime

3. Good air and water quality

4. Low property taxes - $10,000/yr or less (the lower the better! We pay a lot more than that now, but really want to reduce our costs.)

5. Excellent medical care/hospital nearby (within 15 minutes or so)

6. Good colleges within 1-2 hours drive (closer if possible)

7. Shopping nearby (5-10 minutes max away from things like a grocery store)

8. Decent cultural opportunities within 45 minutes or so

9. Good private high school within 15 minutes, in case ds ever decides he wants to go to "real" school. (This is sort of optional.)

10. Not a super-religious community -- where we live now, no one ever asks you where you go to church or tries to get us to go to their church, and we like it that way! FWIW, dh and I were both raised Catholic, but we are non-practicing right now, so we don't need to be near any specific church.

11. Not too much snow. Some snow is OK, as long as it melts away pretty quickly, but I would hate to be in a place where there's snow on the ground for months at a time.

12. No frequent weather disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or earthquakes. (I know storms can happen anywhere; I just mean we'd like to find a place where really bad stuff is rare, not a regular occurrence.)

 

As far as homes go, any style would be OK, but our main requirements are:

 

1. At least 3,000 square feet (preferably more, but that's the bare minimum)

2. Private yard (If it's in a city neighborhood, just a bit of private outdoor space, but in a more suburban/rural setting, we would want 2 or more acres.)

3. Somewhat upscale neighborhood but not super-snobby if we can help it

4. Priced at around $600,000 -- less is better, a lot less is even better than that, but we can also go higher if necessary. I'm trying to keep the budget pretty low, because I know it will make it more enticing to my dh, and I'm not one of those people who likes to brag about what I spent for stuff, so the less we spend, the happier I'll be!

 

We wouldn't mind living in a city or a suburb. A rural area with lots of property would be great, too, if it's close to a city or large town.

 

The thing is, we're used to having all of the conveniences (including major malls) within a few miles of our home, so we are pretty spoiled. OTOH, our "town" isn't at all walkable, so you have to go to a mall or a large shopping center for pretty much everything. We would love to live in a place where we could walk to coffee shops or bookstores, or whatever. It could be a city or a really pretty town, or a short drive from a rural area. The walkability is more of a "nice to have" option, though; it's not an absolute necessity.

 

A big priority for me is finding friends for ds12, and it is very important to me that we live in an area where there are lots of homeschoolers, and that some of them will be homeschooling through high school. Ds isn't into sports, so it would be great if there were other activities available.

 

Finally, one of the main reasons I have for wanting to be close to a large town or a city is that as ds gets older, I don't want him to be bored to tears because there's nothing for him to do. He's a city boy at heart, so I think he would be unhappy without a town or city to visit.

 

Sorry I'm rambling, but I'm trying to be as specific as I can, in the hope that I'll get some ideas. A few friends have suggested Denver and Nashville to us, and both places look pretty cool, but other than that, we are relatively clueless. I assume we will probably end up moving out of our "comfort zone" of the NY/NJ/CT area in order to find a more reasonably-priced home and lower taxes. (Also, I think we're due for a big change.)

 

One last thing -- I know it may sound silly, but I also want to be sure we move to a place where people won't pre-judge us because they think NY/NJ people are all like the Sopranos or those complete morons from Jersey Shore. We just want to move to a place where we can settle in and adapt to the way things are. We're not the type to harp on how "we did things differently in NY," but I know the stereotype is that we're all pushy and rude and obnoxious, and so that's why I'm mentioning that we want to move to a place where we'll be accepted as long as we don't act like idiots. (We're not expecting anyone to roll out the red carpet for us, but making friends will be a big priority, especially for my ds.)

 

If you're still reading this... THANK YOU! :001_smile:

 

Please post any and all suggestions you may have -- and I would also like to hear about the places you don't recommend, as well. If you've read this post and thought, "Wow, she would totally hate it here," definitely let me know! (Sometimes it's as important to know where not to look, as it is to know where to look!)

 

Thanks again!!!

 

 

Except for the SNOW (which we didn't actually get too much of this year and so WHO KNOWS what that means for next year), you are describing Ann Arbor, Michigan with it's lovely college town, cultural feel from University of Michigan. U of M ranks in the top 40 in the nation and in the world as well. M.S.U. is only an hour away (especially when you learn the back roads in which saves time) and again, world class, top notch school.

 

You are a comfortable distance from an international airport, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Henry Ford and Green Field Village, Cranbrook institute, some excellent private high schools and at least one boarding school if that is of interest, and a cheap Amtrak ride from Chicago. Since the housing market tanked in Michigan, you will find many, many houses that meet your specifications in good neighborhoods for well under $600,000.00

Lots of homeschoolers and Michigan is a MEGA friendly homeschool state. I think you'd be within 30 minutes to an hour of Jennifer in MI (Grosse Pointe) so you might be able to get to know one another.

 

Beaumont Hospital in Troy (north Detroit area) just made the top 200 hospitals in the US. I can't say enough good things about this hospital. University Hospital at U Of M is very good too, and then there's children's at Wayne State University. Children's is excellent, though I have to admit to not being all that fond of Wayne State itself.

 

If want rural and still very close to Ann Arbor, try Brighton...you'll probably love it!!!

 

Faith

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Really, Kalanamak? I would say not to go to Cheyenne. I love that city, but they were always expecting me to act like a New Yorker. Also, there is no great high school. Your son would probably be bored; there is not a lot for teens (who aren't into 4H or ATVs) to do.

 

Albany, I think, fits all your criteria, except that high school again. The best senior high in the area is a lottery. No one can be sure of getting in.

Edited by dragons in the flower bed
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I think California fits all of your requirements --

 

coastal, like Monterey or Santa Cruz

 

San Francisco Bay Area -- 15 or 20 microclimates and almost as many -- or more -- different communities, from hip urban like Berkeley to real hippie to yuppie to very rural (next to horse farms and cattle ranches, with generators for power), all within an hour's drive of the SF Symphony, SF Ballet, SF Opera, not to mention all manner of private high schools from Waldorf to French or German or Chinese, plus UC Berkeley and Stanford, who host various enrichment events for kids every month or so, plus the Maker Faire, Dickens Fair, Fleet Week, etc. ...

 

Los Angeles is growing on me, too ... so many different neighborhoods, including hipster places like Silver Lake and Los Feliz; world-class universities such as Caltech, USC, UCLA, etc., and the Getty Museum, the Huntington Library, etc. (Traffic is a bear, of course! You have to time your trips around peak rush hour ...)

 

Not a native -- grew up in Buffalo, and I still miss the snow -- but California is growing on me LOL

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Do you get a ton of snow in Ann Arbor? It looks like a gorgeous area, but I worry about the snow because it's a nuisance to find people to plow and shovel all the time. Also, I don't mind some snow if it melts away pretty quickly, but I would hate having snow on the ground for months on end. (I should have mentioned that in my original post. I think I'll go back and add it!)

 

I see Faith already got back to you about this. Keep in mind that I come from Maine, so.... the snow here really isn't bad. This year year, as Faith wrote, there was almost none. Most years, it lasts about 2 months or a little longer, but it's not deep like I was used to in Maine. I teach university, and we rarely have snow days. It's easy here to find someone to plow/shovel as well.

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I think California fits all of your requirements --

 

coastal, like Monterey or Santa Cruz

 

San Francisco Bay Area -- 15 or 20 microclimates and almost as many -- or more -- different communities, from hip urban like Berkeley to real hippie to yuppie to very rural (next to horse farms and cattle ranches, with generators for power), all within an hour's drive of the SF Symphony, SF Ballet, SF Opera, not to mention all manner of private high schools from Waldorf to French or German or Chinese, plus UC Berkeley and Stanford, who host various enrichment events for kids every month or so, plus the Maker Faire, Dickens Fair, Fleet Week, etc. ...

 

Los Angeles is growing on me, too ... so many different neighborhoods, including hipster places like Silver Lake and Los Feliz; world-class universities such as Caltech, USC, UCLA, etc., and the Getty Museum, the Huntington Library, etc. (Traffic is a bear, of course! You have to time your trips around peak rush hour ...)

 

Not a native -- grew up in Buffalo, and I still miss the snow -- but California is growing on me LOL

 

Really? I lived in CA until I turned 21. I can't imagine getting a 3000 sf house and a private yard in her price range!!!

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Central NC. Specifically Cary or Apex, NC area. I think it meets all of your requirements and has a large concentration of "relocated Yankees" (myself included).

 

I would also suggest Chapel Hill, NC or Asheville or Charlotte.

Edited by MamaAkins
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Northern Colorado hits every item on your list. Well, I don't know about property taxes because we don't own a home.

 

There is snow, but it melts off the next day (sometimes the same day). And here in the foothills we only get a few inches at a time.

 

There are 3- great classical charter or private high schools in the area (depending on where you settle).

 

The area is not particularly religious. There are a few mega churches, but I've never been asked about religion.

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I would also look at the quality of the state universities, if you think your son might be headed in that direction. It seems to me you would want a strong university system and also a well-balanced economy if you would like your son to stay in the area you end up relocating to.

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I think Ann Arbor, Michigan would meet most of these quite well!

 

No doubt.... if you don't mind the weather, it's one of the nicest places. I LOVVVVVE Ann Arbor. They have Zingermann's which is worth moving there just for their deli. Great spot.

I think you could purchase a house for way less than $350,000. People who've purchased houses lately may differ.... :)

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:iagree:

 

I live in one of the areas Jen mentioned. :D

 

Do you want acreage too?

 

Charlotte, NC - it has everything you have described, and you could buy a monsterous house with what you'd like to spend. You could get an absolutely incredible house for $400K and still have money to spare. LOTS of people from NY/NJ have moved down here. Union County just south of the city has very low taxes, much less than Mecklenburg where Charlotte is located. It is a very practical commute. With what you'd like, the Weddington/Marvin/Wesley Chapel area would be perfect. If you want to be a bit closer to the city, and pay higher taxes (nowhere near what you are paying now) then the South Charlotte/Ballantyne area would be great.

 

The only issue here is sometimes in the summer we have air quality action days, but they do not last long, and with every place having AC, it really becomes a non-issue.

 

Tons of homeschoolers in this area as well! Many places have special days/rates for homeschoolers. This state requires little in terms of mandates as well.

 

We moved from NH to here, and it's been worth every moment!

 

eta - I just re-read your list... There are lots of Christians here, BUT it is not required that you are one, and there are MANY non-Christians as well. It's diverse here.

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Thanks! I know it's a great place; we have a friend who has a business there and travels to visit it quite often. But you get a ton of snow, right? (I know it wasn't in my original post that we don't want too much snow, but I just went back and added it.)

 

Minneapolis/St. Paul barely had snow this year! :D I think we shoveled about twice which is actually quite pathetic. We ARE x-c skiiers and we were literally not on our skiis once this past winter. I'm not happy.

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Portland Oregon

 

 

1. Lots of homeschoolers in the area Oregon and Washington are both easy states to homeschool in.

 

2. Low crime Not too bad at least.

 

3. Good air and water quality Mountain run off.

 

4. Low property taxes Depends on the area, but nothing like you are used to, much lower.

 

5. Excellent medical care/hospital nearby Several teaching hospitals and good quality specialty care. OHSU, Dornbeckers, Legacy Emanuel, etc.

 

6. Good colleges within 1-2 hours drive (closer if possible) MANY good colleges in the city and more with in 2 hours.

 

7. Shopping nearby You can buy just about anything your heart desires in this area.

 

8. Decent cultural opportunities Not like NYC, but very, very good!

 

9. Good private high school Many to choose from. If you want to look at a couple Google Catlin Gable or Jesuit. If you want more, I can come up with a list. 10. Not a super-religious community Liberal ok?

 

 

11. Not too much snow. A few days are likely, a week is common, two weeks within the normal range....A month....not common at all.

 

12. No frequent weather disasters MOst of our weather issues can be minimized but smart planning when purchasing a home. Snow run off can cause flooding, so don't buy in a flood plane. Icy weather does happen, so don't buy on a steep driveway or off of a steep hill. Very little violent weather, it is the exception.

 

Portland International Airport is here, we have that covered too.

As far as homes go, any style would be OK, but our main requirements are:

 

1. At least 3,000 square feet (preferably more, but that's the bare minimum)

2. Private yard (If it's in a city neighborhood, just a bit of private outdoor space, but in a more suburban/rural setting, we would want 2 or more acres.)

3. Somewhat upscale neighborhood but not super-snobby if we can help it

4. Priced at around $600,000 -- less is better, a lot less is even better than that, but we can also go higher if necessary. I'm trying to keep the budget pretty low, because I know it will make it more enticing to my dh, and I'm not one of those people who likes to brag about what I spent for stuff, so the less we spend, the happier I'll be!

 

We wouldn't mind living in a city or a suburb. A rural area with lots of property would be great, too, if it's close to a city or large town.

 

 

 

Look at the Beaverton/Lake Oswego area.....but there are Many, many areas that match your wants in the Portland, Oregon-Vancouver, Washington area. I would talk to a tax accountant before retiring here. One state may be better than the other and there is just a river dividing us.

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Albuquerque or Santa Fe, NM

 

1. Lots of homeschoolers in the area

Check; super easy state to HS in

 

2. Low crime

Not low in the middle of the city, but there are very safe neighborhoods.

 

3. Good air and water quality

Definitely

 

4. Low property taxes - $10,000/yr or less (the lower the better! We pay a lot more than that now, but really want to reduce our costs.)

Most areas will be waaaaay less than that.

 

5. Excellent medical care/hospital nearby (within 15 minutes or so)

Two major hospitals, including a university teaching hospital in Albuquerque.

 

6. Good colleges within 1-2 hours drive (closer if possible)

UNM is within 1/2 hour of most parts of the city. The major bonus of living in NM is free tuition at state colleges & universities if the parents are residents (for at least a year) and the student graduates from HS here (including HSers).

 

7. Shopping nearby (5-10 minutes max away from things like a grocery store)

2 large malls, lots of bookstores and trendy shops in the university area, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Anthropologie, a large Apple store, etc. There is also a PHENOMENAL organic CSA that will deliver organic produce/eggs/dairy/meat to your door for way less than the prices at Whole Foods.

 

8. Decent cultural opportunities within 45 minutes or so

3 major museums in Alb (art, science, natural history), and many more in Santa Fe.

 

9. Good private high school within 15 minutes, in case ds ever decides he wants to go to "real" school. (This is sort of optional.)

Top private high schools include Sandia Prep and Bosque School (they both have websites). There are a couple of WTMers who attended Sandia, I think.

 

10. Not a super-religious community -- where we live now, no one ever asks you where you go to church or tries to get us to go to their church, and we like it that way! FWIW, dh and I were both raised Catholic, but we are non-practicing right now, so we don't need to be near any specific church.

No one cares where (or if) you go to church.

 

11. Not too much snow. Some snow is OK, as long as it melts away pretty quickly, but I would hate to be in a place where there's snow on the ground for months at a time.

Occasional light snow in the winter, usually melts within a day or day. But there's plenty of skiing, snowboarding, etc., in the mountains (Alb & Santa Fe) if you want.

 

12. No frequent weather disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or earthquakes. (I know storms can happen anywhere; I just mean we'd like to find a place where really bad stuff is rare, not a regular occurrence.)

No hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, or other extreme weather. Days are hot in the summer, but evenings are cool. Winter nights are very cold, but the days are mild & sunny.

 

1. At least 3,000 square feet (preferably more, but that's the bare minimum)

Easily found.

 

2. Private yard (If it's in a city neighborhood, just a bit of private outdoor space, but in a more suburban/rural setting, we would want 2 or more acres.)

Also easily found.

 

3. Somewhat upscale neighborhood but not super-snobby if we can help it.

Lots of choices.

 

4. Priced at around $600,000 -- less is better, a lot less is even better than that, but we can also go higher if necessary. I'm trying to keep the budget pretty low, because I know it will make it more enticing to my dh, and I'm not one of those people who likes to brag about what I spent for stuff, so the less we spend, the happier I'll be!

That kind of money would get you a really big custom house on an acre or more. Here's an example of a 4000 sq' house on an acre in a super safe little community on the outskirts of Albuquerque for $550K: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/788-W-Meadowlark-Ln_Corrales_NM_87048_M20511-75884?source=web Taxes would probably be around 5k/yr for that property. The village has several restaurants and shops, a Village Mercantile (with everything from horse feed and baby chicks to hardware and nursery plants), it's 10 minutes from major shopping (mall, B&N, Starbucks, tons of restaurants, etc.), about 30 minutes from the university and museums, and an hour from the ABQ airport.

 

Santa Fe is smaller and, in some ways, prettier and more upscale, but also colder (higher altitude) and more expensive. But still a really really nice place to live, and an excellent place to retire to.

 

Jackie

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In and around the Colorado Springs area sounds like it would meet all of your requirements. I know CSprings tends to be known as having a heavy Christian element but to be honest this hasn't been an issue for me, it just hasn't come up.

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Really? I lived in CA until I turned 21. I can't imagine getting a 3000 sf house and a private yard in her price range!!!

It's definitely possible in many very nice areas. However, even though I like it here, it wouldn't be my top choice.;)

 

 

I would look at Kansas City. We live there for 9 years and really loved it. It's possible to have tornadoes but not super common. In your price range, you could look at beautiful, older homes in Kansas City (some very good private schools close by) or really nice suburbs like Leawood, Lenexa, or Overland Park, KS.

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It's definitely possible in many very nice areas. However, even though I like it here, it wouldn't be my top choice.;)

 

 

I would look at Kansas City. We live there for 9 years and really loved it. It's possible to have tornadoes but not super common. In your price range, you could look at beautiful, older homes in Kansas City (some very good private schools close by) or really nice suburbs like Leawood, Lenexa, or Overland Park, KS.

 

The coast, SF suburbs and LA would seem like impossible areas to meet her criteria on financial grounds only IMO.

 

It also wouldn't work as far as natural disasters. Earthquakes were one of the driving forces which made me leave CA.

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Seattle, Bellingham, all nice choices...think airports as well here, because once in a while those awesome fares come along and you just can't NOT go..lol

 

Sea Tac airport would be excellent for that. I'd add major airport to your list if you like to travel.

 

Ann Arbor really gets under your skin fast, and is perfect with the exception of snow. Culture vulture heaven, you get walking around downtown and you feel like your absolutely drunk the atmosphere is so awesome and intellectual, but friendly..whoo whee, yep. Summer there cannot be beat, truly marvelous place.

 

Detroit airport is close by, but the fares..eh..not so great as compared to Sea Tac.

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Austin area in Texas

 

We are in a suburb and live within 7 minutes of a community college campus (and within 30 minutes of two more). We are 30 minutes from downtown at a nontraffic time. I go to a grocery store that is 15 minutes away, but there are 3 within 10 minutes of my house (I just don't happen to like those stores). The library is 10 minutes away.

 

UT is 30 minutes away, although during traffic times it would take about an hour to get there.

St Edwards and Southwestern University are both within 30 minutes as well (and you can get to SWU in 30 minutes even when it is a traffic time).

 

I don't know about good private high schools, so I can't help you there.

 

In our suburb, you should be able to get a 3000sqft or larger home on 2 or more acres quite easily for $600,000 or less. We're on a slightly larger than normal lot, but on the other side of the street that runs behind our house are homes on acreage, so we can see cows and sheep and goats over our back fence. We have even had a cow wandering down out street once, a sheep once, and goats three times since we moved here 8.5 years ago.

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