Relocate during the pandemic or after?
Sounds like you already know the answers, @dwhitedesign20 and please forgive my tone. Your original post listed three factors, all interest rates and property values. That’s why I asked my questions and it looks like our posts crossed each other too.
For me, these factors would be the tie-breaker if I needed one. If the only thing holding me back from taking action was the interest rates or that the property might become even cheaper, maybe, I think I’d make the move. My family is planning a move to Maine. We vacation there and have friends there. We intend to leverage this familiarity and the connections we already have.
I hear you @thors-hammer — my family has vacationed in Mexico many times, even the Christmas holidays. We stayed in Sayulita, a fishing village outside of Peutra Vallarta, an area popular with Expats. I hear you on health care too. I have a friend living in Mexico now and it all started with his health care needs. Health care can be a motivating factor for leaving one country for another.
If living a more self-sufficient life style is your main motivation and you want to move sooner rather than later AND you already have familiarity with an area and family there to boot… again, it sounds like you already know what you need and want to do.
You aren’t asking the right questions.
Climate and taxes will have a significant affect on your resiliency.
If you choose to stay in the USA, then look for states and locales with low taxes, and a climate that allows you to grow and sustain food crops year round.
Now or later? Well, there will be a lot of folks looking to get out of densely populated areas as the endemic nature of COVID is finally sinks into the collective conscious.
I’m from New Jersey, but I’m now in Tennessee and own multiple large rural properties with incredibly low taxes (less than $1000 per year!) and very friendly neighbors (including Mennonites and Amish) who have been very helpful.
I started acquiring these properties 5 years ago and they have all increased in value 100% t0 200%.
There are a LOT of people who will be moving out of cities soon.
Thanks everyone for your feedback. Always open to additional ideas and thoughts. Stay safe.
ZDub, my somewhat disconnected ruminations:
I say, move now. If you shake it all out, your motivations and goals don’t seem very different from what moved Chris to make his move despite the pandemic.
Regardless of whether the pandemic ends in 8 or 18 or 28 months, or never, there is an economic problem coming. Again, who knows whether that’s in 8 or 28 months, or in our children’s lifetime? It is coming. (Personally, I think sooner rather than later.)
Cities are not going to become easier, safer places to live. Rural settings are far safer – if for no other reason, then at least because there’s less concentration = fewer possible bad characters. Beyond people, cities themselves are unsustainable constructs. As resources become dearer provisioning cities becomes more difficult. It’s already breaking. How badly broken must it be before you decide you want out?
You very well might not get the best possible price if you move now. Bottom line: so what?
Plus, of course, purchasing power is certainly going to be inflated away over time, which will make both purchasing and provisioning your place more expensive. Unless your savings are going to increase at the rate of inflation, or more, waiting puts you slowly further behind.
I suspect the longer we’re in monetary and health crisis the less likely will be people to move who don’t have to, which will steadily decrease available property.
You want to be as self-sufficient as possible as soon as possible. Certainly long, long before the resources and infrastructure you want has become in short supply.
You’ll discover you can live well very inexpensively. If, as I sometimes do, you produce more vegetables or eggs or meat chickens than you eat, you can sell some. I’ve had years where my eggs and chicken meat have been better than free, the sale producing profit, and they’re raised organic, on field grass. I buy organic, grass-raised beef for $5.35/lb right off a farm – that’s cheaper than store-bought feedlot hamburger! I do pay for field-raised organic lamb ($11/lb), but often half that cost is offset from the extra I’ve generated growing my own veggies, eggs, and chicken. Quality pork costs about $4/lb. With a smoker, I’m in hog heaven!
Best of all, I’m in my best health since graduating college. Daily exercise, good food, no stress, the deep satisfaction of making my own life rather than buying one off the shelf.
So what if you pay a little more than rock-bottom for your place in the country? The quality of life you can realize will leave you thinking you got the best bargain of your life – even if it turns out you paid top dollar.
Millions of people pay huge dollars to come to Vermont for a couple weeks a year. I live here on a fraction of that full time. I almost never go anywhere any more because it’s all right here. We stay on-grounds weeks at a time, and only travel for family. We have no desire to vacate our daily lives.
I live in a small rural village in Vermont. I’ve been here over a decade, now. My experience: if you move into a rural area with a respectful attitude – meaning, you recognize you are moving into someone else’s cultural “house” and need to learn how to be a good member, need to learn what the local culture teaches about how to live and thrive in the local environment, need to learn what informal social taboos exist, you’ll do well. I’m saying, go in with ears open and mouth mostly shut; you’re not there to teach the “natives” how to live better in their own setting, but you’re there as an apprentice, looking to learn from those who know how to make it work there, where and who are resources, who to avoid, etc. Be friendly and welcoming if and when folks stop by to see who you are and what you’re doing on the “old MacDonald farm”. Don’t be shy about introducing yourself at the post office, general store, town meeting; have a brief “elevator pitch” indicating why you made the move and what you hope to learn and do. They’ll watch to see if you take steps consistent with your words, and if you do you’ll get help and advice.
Find a way to volunteer locally without trying to take leadership. I volunteered to coordinate an annual Strawberry Festival for a couple years while it was in transition from one set of purposes to another. I didn’t define the new direction, I just gathered the various parties in my house so the organizing was done, and they could just talk about what they wanted the event to accomplish going forward. Later, I was asked to direct the new Community Center as it began in the closed 3-room schoolhouse. I did that for 3 years, then passed it on to a young woman who has been able to draw in the new young families in the area and help knit them together and into the older community. Most recently, I was asked to take over pastoring the little village church (15 members; I’m retired 2nd career clergy, now 1/4 time active again); I’ve been able to draw about half the older membership online since Covid hit. All of these are supportive, not directive. However, in this latest area of ministry, I am – a decade after landing here – expected and desired to exercise some local leadership.
I’ve moved multiple times in my life. I know this: it takes about a year to learn your way around the social landscape. It takes about 3 years to uncover all of the hidden social landmines. It takes about 7 years to become a part of the locale – longer in more traditional areas (that is, areas with less population turnover). On the other hand, I am not a native of this area. I will always be on the edge of local society, never sitting close in with the multi-generational families. My grandkids might sit there, especially if some of them marry locally. I’m fine with that; it’s not my “house.” I’m a guest; I want to be a good guest.
Related to that: my father-in-law bought this property in 1984 from a man named Moore. During the rest of my wife’s parents’ lives this land was always known as “the Moore place.” We came to live here during the last 7 years of their lives, to help them and to learn about the land my wife was to inherit. No sooner was the last of her parents buried than folks started referring to this as “the Captain’s place.” (My wife’s father was a ship captain.) I suppose it will be called my place when my wife and I are both buried near Calvin Coolidge in the cemetery a half mile from our homestead, and our daughter and her husband (who will join us here within a decade) take ownership. But somewhere down the line it will shift and be known by the name of whomever of our descendants is then alive on the place. I think around here that indicates they’ve been fully integrated into the community.
It’s not dangerous here – I don’t even bother to lock up when we go off property for a couple days, or when we go to bed at night. On the other hand, winter before last we got a call from an uphill neighbor because they’d noticed our driveway remained snow covered for most of a week, neither plowed nor marked with car tracks or footprints. Wanted to make sure we were alright. That’s community; it’s not just living among neighbors.
My adopted and adoptive community is exactly the reason we explored, then did not move to Costa Rica. We are home. We’re building a 100-Year Survival infrastructure, and we know our kids want this place to continue in the family. By family agreement, our daughter will own it next, the two boys will have life rights to visit (the house is large enough and designed for both private and public spaces). My daughter’s daughter has already said she’d like to be the land’s steward for her generation’s family after her parents die.
Settled here, now, we are almost untouched by Covid. We are also set up so the market economy could die tomorrow, and the public utilities could go down, and our on-premises supply of gasoline could exhaust, and we’d continue on just fine. Let me ask you: honestly, how does that kind of sustainability and resilience stack up for you against maybe paying more for a piece of land than you later realize you could have gotten it for “if only” you’d waited a week or a month or a year?
Take the plunge. If you’re truly called to it you’ll only wish you’d acted last year, market be damned.
Take a look and make a list of pros and cons of moving now vs later. You might try PA instead of upstate NY. I’ve lived in both.
I don’t know where Thor goes to the dentist but my root canal cost me about $250 here in the USA. I have dental insurance that I pay a few bucks a month for. Also, I used to play in a sports league in Canada when I lived close to the border and one of my friends tore her ACL. She was still on crutches 6 months later having not had the surgery yet because of their managed care system. She was in the US when it happened and said afterwards she wishes she would have just had the surgery before going home. I could go to the VA for free but I’d rather PAY for insurance and deductible than be at the mercy of the VA hacks. You want government managed healthcare? Look no further than the VA system.