ERE City (US)

How to avoid signing your life over to a mortgage
lee1988
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Postby lee1988 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:03 am

Wilmington, NC: very nice weather, high quality beaches, cheap rents, University feel (could be good or bad), about 1.5 hours away from Triangle Research Park



vivacious
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby vivacious » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:52 pm

I hope you guys don't mind me reviving this thread but here are some ideas I have.

I would posit many small, west coast places as fairly good for ERE. Specifically within an hour or 2 from a city. The prices are MUCH lower at that point. You could go into the main city sometimes also.

For example maybe Sacramento or something comes to mind. It's very cheap, the weather is good most of the year (though is pretty hot for a few months), most of it would be walkable/bikeable. It's the capital so work could be had through the government. Also computers, journalism, and media are some industries there I think.

There are many places to go in northern California also. Beautiful scenery, many recreational opportunities on the weekend, etc. California is spread out so some kind of rideshare may need to be worked out.

I'm just brainstorming here but I think something like that could cover a lot of the main ERE type points.

I think more of a smaller town within range of a bigger town as opposed to an actual suburb is probably better also.

Stimulation is a factor too I think. How stimulating of a place do you guys need to be in? For me I usually like a place with a lot of things going on. Then when you have free time many things are possible.

What do you think? In general the west is less dense also and seems easier to carve out a place in.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby jacob » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:28 am

vivacious wrote:I would posit many small, west coast places as fairly good for ERE. Specifically within an hour or 2 from a city. The prices are MUCH lower at that point. You could go into the main city sometimes also.


I've been looking [obsessively] at Washington (state) lately, particularly in the Puget Sound area. There are many [declining] lumber/fishing towns (Aberdeen, Centralia, Bremerton), where dilapidated houses can be had for $20,000 paying $400/year in RE taxes. A decent house (nonfixer) can be had for $50,000/$600 and a large one for $75,000/$800. In short, housing can be ridiculously cheap. The crime stats are kinda iffy but not as bad as Chicago.

If you don't mind the tsunami bottleneck risk, then Ocean Shores was/is a developed retirement community where 4 season vacation homes can be had for around $110,000/$1200 or so.

Artsy/touristy places like Port Townsend and Anacortes start around $150,000/$1600 or so (lowest I've seen was around $60k but that didn't look too good). That's what I'm looking at, namely for the added entertainment value. I've also looked at Union, WA. Bill Gates has a house there. That's about as far away as you can get from anything in Puget Sound.

There are also rural opportunities. You can get 10a for $175,000 with a small house in the middle of nowhere.

TL;DR - Washington state is currently my favorite state due to: decent RE prices, low RE taxes, no income tax, no excessive winter heating costs, long growth season, fresh water from the sky, lots of nature.

dragoncar
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby dragoncar » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:57 pm

Keep up updated. I wonder how much the ERE hot money can raise local prices? Perhaps I should front-run and start buying in the above-listed towns before Jacob buys and drives up all the prices :-P

Seneca
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby Seneca » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:08 am

vivacious wrote:
For example maybe Sacramento or something comes to mind. It's very cheap, the weather is good most of the year (though is pretty hot for a few months), most of it would be walkable/bikeable....

What do you think? In general the west is less dense also and seems easier to carve out a place in.


I've lived all over California, Northern, SF Bay Area and Southern.

If there is a worse state for trying to live frugally, I'd be surprised. (Though ERE is a strategy independent of region in my mind)

Sacramento only seems cheap to an urban Californian (or NYC or DC). Homes actually in Sacramento, and not commuter areas like Folsom, Rocklin, Elk Grove, Roseville etc, are quite expensive compared to the rest of the country. Real estate prices are exceptionally volatile, and finding rental properties that provide decent returns on a cashflow basis is tough. Prevailing wages are nowhere near enough higher to compensate. The public schools suck.

California itself has the highest taxes in the nation now, and is still not meeting all true liabilities...pretty clear where they have to go from here. Building codes tend to be extreme, as do many city codes (regarding parked cars, green grass/landscaping, home size/shape, additions, workshops etc etc).

If you are willing to work a truly extreme program with alternative living arrangements, then CA can be good as you could benefit from higher wages. But if you wish to own property or rent a somewhat normal place, it...well...sucks.

vivacious
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby vivacious » Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:08 pm

Ya. I was just brainstorming. My main idea was what jacob already replied to.

Sac is cheaper than SF and other places though, no? Plus some of the other factors I talked about.

Anyway I was talking about the west coast in general. Jacob fleshed out some Washington examples. More could be made in various places on the west coast also.

workathome
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby workathome » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:00 pm

A state with no taxes on capital gains or dividends would be nice.

thebbqguy
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby thebbqguy » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:06 pm

I vote for Harlingen, TX. Here's how it compares to my current city.

http://www.areavibes.com/cost-of-living ... ville,+mi/

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theanimal
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby theanimal » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:48 pm

Just read through this thread...Jacob, any update on the search in Washington state?

I agree that the west seems to lend itself for better opportunities with regards to taxes, recreation etc. It would be nice if we could agree on an ERE town/city that are (almost) perfect for each region (west, midwest, east coast etc.) That may be impossible though, as stated before, since it seems like people have different preferences.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby jacob » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:04 am

@theanimal - Port Townsend, WA and Anacortes, WA. The former is an artsy Victorian town with a boating and woodworking focus. The latter is a tourist town for whale watching and the closest point to the San Juan islands. Also it's the starting point of one of the adventure cycling tours. Alternatively, Port Orchard which has close ferry connections to Seattle.

There's also Whidbye island (Vicki Robin of YMOYL lives there). Particularly the southern part as the northern part is too close to commute distance with Everett (Boeing).

I've also looked at Union, WA. Forbes magazine put that on its list of pretty towns. Bill Gates has a house there. It's in the middle of nowhere, very scenic, and seem to consist of a marina, a golf course, and the associated country club, but also cheaper housing (because there are no jobs for those who need such).

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theanimal
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby theanimal » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:59 am

Wow well from quick google searches Port Townsend, Union and Whidbey Island sure look great. Close access to national parks, small towns, on the waterfront...etc.

FWIW, I spent a lot of time over the summer with a friend who grew up in Whidbey Island. She raved about it constantly, didn't really think at the time to question her about it being ERE friendly though.

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JohnnyH
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby JohnnyH » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:26 am

jacob wrote:TL;DR - Washington state is currently my favorite state due to: decent RE prices, low RE taxes, no income tax, no excessive winter heating costs, long growth season, fresh water from the sky, lots of nature.
Hm, I am agreeing it sounds great... Of the no income tax states year round pleasant temperatures are only available in WA. Also, these RE prices/taxes are lower than anything I've seen in WY, a favorite state of mine.

Politically, I do not like WA but I suppose I could just buy WA property in LLC and "live" in any state of my choosing... But I suppose using this method the state income tax becomes irrelevant... There would also be some issues to overcome (forwarding mail).

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JohnnyH
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby JohnnyH » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:24 pm

Interesting tool trulia has here... Median sales price for 98260 zip on Whidbye island less than $166k.
http://www.trulia.com/home_prices/Washi ... -heat_map/

thebbqguy
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby thebbqguy » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:08 pm

Here's a top 10 lowest cost of living rankings I just ran through a popular screener:

1 Flint, MI
2 Laredo, TX
3 Memphis, TN
4 Toledo, OH
5 McAllen, TX
6 Waco, TX
7 Clarksville, TN
8 Lansing, MI
9 Pueblo, CO
10 Brownsville, TX


http://www.areavibes.com/best-places/america/

workathome
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby workathome » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:10 pm

I don't think cheapest necessarily equals ERE. Those two Michigan cities are pretty shitty, I'd much rather opt for one of the Washington cities mentioned earlier.

thebbqguy
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby thebbqguy » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:26 pm

It's all relative and depends on perspective I guess. Some might say that living in a cheap house in a nice area is less desireable than living in a nice house in a less desireable area.

As an example, when I purchased the house I live in now I had a choice between one of the best cities in the metro Detroit area (Plymouth) and buying a cheap house that's 60 years old for $250k, or moving to Belleville, MI which is a good commute to my work place, but not high end in any way unless you live on the lake where homes are $400k+. I purchased a 12 year old house for 1/2 price in Belleville compared to most homes in Plymouth.

I am not a "water" person at all so Washington doesn't appeal to me. I also found it interesting that the first Washington city doesn't appear on the list until #71.

Tennessee and Texas are also fairly desirable in my opinion.
Last edited by thebbqguy on Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby workathome » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:40 pm

I like Tennessee, though not sure about Clarksville. Property Taxes are cheaper than Michigan. No income tax, though they tax dividends. Washington might still be better if you count just those. You also don't have to live next to the water ;-)
Last edited by workathome on Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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JohnnyH
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby JohnnyH » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:42 pm

Reading the methodology for the AreaVibes a CTRL+F[ind] "tax" yields zero results... So if property taxes are included it's buried in the housing or rent stats. Might be OK for renters, but probably not for owners.

Case in point... The top rated city in the US is Cinco Ranch, TX which according to city-data.com:
Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with mortgages in 2011: $6,892 (2.7%)
Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with no mortgage in 2011: $5,918 (2.6%)

Ewww!!!... Absolutely incompatible with my ERE... Stable and low property taxes are the first mandatory condition for my ERE home search.

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Dragline
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby Dragline » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:14 pm

The book "Radical Frugality" by Nic Adams identifies five places that seem particularly attractive to the frugal-minded in terms of taxes, transportation and housing expenses: Juneau, Alaska; Cookeville, Tennessee; Durham, New Hampshire; Laramie, Wyoming; and Jackson, Tennessee.

I have not researched any of them myself, although I have a niece in Juneau who really loves it. I think I'd have to like the weather wherever I went and I've always been attracted to the Pacific Northwest in that regard (I like it cool, but not cold).

I'd also look at Missoula, MT, but only because I have a lot of family in that area.

None of these would be acceptable to DW by the way, so its all just idle speculation on my part.

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theanimal
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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby theanimal » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:43 pm

+1 JohnnyH and workathome

A "cheap" or low cost of living city is not entirely necessary for ERE. I think that property taxes, as JohnnyH stated, and other taxes on income/investments are important however as stated earlier in this thread.

The more I look at these Washington towns the more I like them. It seems as if the west, (possibly even more specifically the Pacific Northwest) is the ideal place for an ERE city based on most people's preferences who've commented in this thread.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby jennypenny » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:45 pm

I liked Juneau. I think it would work if you were going to split your time between two places.

I'd add parts of Idaho and northern Alabama to that list.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby thebbqguy » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:13 pm

One of my best friends lives in Cookeville, TN. One of my other best friends is from Jackson, TN. I used to live in Dickson, TN which in the middle of both on I-40. I like all three towns, but I'd also add Manchester, TN to the list.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby jacob » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:00 pm

I'm aiming for a cheap house in a nice (let's say "fun") area. Heck, I'll even aim for an RV or a mobile home if need be.

The reason is that I need/want the area to provide opportunities to do the kind of things I like to do. In particular, for there to be people around during daytime (when many people are working) to do things. I think this criteria is most easily fulfilled in bigger cities and/or in artsy/student oriented towns.

If I was aiming for solitude there are houses in central WA, around Aberdeen or Grayland that go for low tens.

But I don't think it would be very entertaining to live there for 50 years?!

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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby jacob » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:12 pm

I think the best we can hope for is picking one ERE city in each state, maybe :)

Another thing to consider is local interest or places people have already gravitated towards. Compare the sf bay area to Chicago. In the former, people would travel for hours just to get to an ERE meetup. ERE is thinly populated out there. Conversely, it's been easy to meet up with people in Chicago (despite Chicagoland metro being bigger than the state of Vermont!). Also, local interest is strong.

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Re: ERE City (US)

Postby vivacious » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:44 pm

So should we start nominating places state by state then? Or have people done that before?

Jacob you have a few ideas for Washington.

For California I would say one of the cheap parts of the Bay area or Sacramento maybe?


It's really kind of hard to say because as you say Jacob, factoring in having interesting things to do is a big factor.

Also are we talking build up to FI or after it? A good place to save money or a good place to enjoy your time etc?


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