Feb 22, 2011

Information Bleg

MrsZ and I had a Talk the other night (with me half-asleep, always a good start), and both of us foresee a time when moving from this state is going to become not just desirable, but essential. Don't get me wrong: I *like* where I live, in the geographic sense - and even culturally to a certain extent. However, fiscally, New York is making it harder and harder for someone to make an honest go of it.

Our house is modest - 1800sf, three bedrooms, bath-and-a-half, unfinished (read "dirt floor") cellar, detached three-car, on just over an acre. There's no high-speed internet, no cable TV service, and no natural gas service. Our appraised value (according to the county) is about $115k. We are paying nearly $4,000 a year in property taxes. Almost HALF of our mortage payment goes into escrow to pay our taxes and PMI.

Plus our state income taxes. And sales tax (8%).

We are ostensibly that enviable income type of "DINK" - but we're pinching pennies to keep things reasonable.

At the current rate that New York is trying to take our money, there is no way I'm going to make it to retirement in my current job. (Hey, guess what? I'm a union employee, without a contract, stalled negotiations, no dental or vision benefits, and no raise since January of 2009. And I'm still going to work! But unions are another rant entirely.)

If we can hang tight another five years or so, I'll be vested into my retirement program and will have SOME of it coming no matter what, and hopefully we'll have finances well in hand... and then we'll be getting serious about moving.

We don't have any one place in mind yet. I can automatically eliminate New York, Massachusetts (sorry Jay), New Jersey, California, and Hawaii, on the basis of gun laws alone. The ideal place for us would be a fairly low population density, with a small city (30-50k) nearby, preferably with a reasonably-sized college (some hope of "culture" showing up occasionally), and larger cities (>100k) within a two hour drive. Enough open space that buying a 30-100 acre parcel is possible and land values aren't prohibitive. (Local real estate ad I saw this week, guy wants $8,000 PER ACRE for undeveloped ag-zoned land.)

Solid economy, of course.

I like the non-coastal Southeast (northern AL/MS/GA, mountain-ends of NC/TN/KY, etc), would consider the midwest to a certain extent, not interested in the true plains states (KS, NE, OK, SD, ND)...

Mostly just looking for suggestions, ideas, things I may not have considered.

Ready? Go!

11 comments:

bluesun said...

West, go west! Laramie, WY. College town, a few hours drive from Denver area, lots of open space. Maybe a little too windy, though...

ZerCool said...

Wyoming is beautiful country. I spent a week in Gillette on a business trip (previous life) and found the area to be gorgeous.

Wind doesn't bother me so much. While large-scale wind farms may not be practical, I would love to have a small turbine or two for private generating...

RobertM said...

I'm a fan of northern AL, but I've lived just north of Birmingham for the last 16 years. Home prices seem reasonable enough that I'm thinking about buying a place a little further north in the next couple of years.

Old NFO said...

East Texas is another option... Sulfer Springs, or over toward Texarkana. Big Thicket part of Texas.

Spikessib said...

Russellville, AR area. It's where the Ozarks end and the Ouachita's begin. It's a little small, but only 70 miles to Little Rock and for the real big city times Memphis is 3 1/2 hours and Dallas about 6. Pretty, good hunting, good fishing, reasonable housing and property prices. Check out Lake Dardanelle and Mt. Magazine State Park's website for photos of the general area.

Borepatch said...

We cut our property taxes by $8/year by moving from Massachusetts to the Atlanta suburbs. Didn't even really try to find semi-rural (we live walking distance from the old downtown in our town).

As one transplanted yankee who has fallen in love with Dixie, come on down.

Ruth said...

You wouldn't want to pay Mass taxes or real estate rates either even if the gun laws were better! Makes me consider just how closely the two issues are related.

misanthropic777 said...

We left central NY for Arizona 9 years ago and haven't looked back since.

The Phoenix metro area doesn't really fit your needs but if you head south near Tucson or north in the Prescott/Flagstaff area it gives you pretty much everything you're looking for.

Northern AZ is quite pretty, we're looking to get some land up there in the not-so-distant future so we have someplace to escape to during the summer.

cybrus said...

Keep the area east of Pittsburgh PA in mind. If you live in Westmoreland county, you'll be within a half hour or so of Pittsburgh, 3.5 hours or so from Philly, an hour or two from State College. And the property taxes aren't nearly as high as what you're paying now. Good to great gun laws and close to NY are added bonuses!

Bobby Nations said...

Monteagle, Tennessee fits your bill pretty nicely. It's one hour or less to Nashville, Knoxville, or Chattanooga, located smack atop the Cumberland plateau, and surrounded by some of the prettiest state parks in Tennessee.
The University of the South
(commonly called simply Sewanee) is 15 minutes down the road giving ready access to culture if that floats your boat; though if you are a bit more hard core, then you can drive another 30 minutes past Sewanee to the University of Tennessee Space Institute (time it right and you might get to see them test a rocket motor!)

I would recommend a vacation stay at the Edgeworth Inn. Lovely place.

Oh, and Tennessee has no state income tax, and a very pro-gun culture.

ZerCool said...

Oh, so much to consider! Thank you all!

(Borepatch - only cut taxes $8???)