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I presently live in Hawaii, which is amazing, but the cost of living (housing in particular) is out of control.  It's simply not possible for me to live here without going greatly into debt.  I can't justify spending $800k for a 3 bed 1.5 bath house built 50 years ago.  I'm hoping for some suggestions from the FW community.  These are some loose parameters:

  • Housing budget of ~$300k although lower would be great
  • I'm okay with a small house but would like a good amount of land (1 acre+)
  • Focused on the Pacific NW or Colorado.  Willing to consider other areas but would prefer to stay close to the west coast and away from hot and humid climates (had enough of that)
  • No children so schools and such are not a factor
  • I'd like to be within 30-40 minutes of a medium to large size city (closer the better)
  • I work in finance.  My wife is a dental hygienist.  She would want to continue with that career, I'm a bit more agnostic.  We are in our 30s. 

I can narrow it down further if that's still too general.  Just looking for some suggestions that I can research further so any assistance would be appreciated!

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Check out Fort Collins, Colorado.

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Come to detroit

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Portland, eastside.

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I know you don't want to hear Texas... but we have great air conditioning.

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Family and friends, one the most important factor for me, where's that for you?

Your wife should be able to get job just about anywhere but you could have more problem in a smaller town. Some of the best places I seen are in Eastern WA or OR but unless you can tele-commute, job could be an issue.

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Check out Sandpoint Idaho.

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I would think Boise may qualify if you are willing to be 30-40 minutes from the city.

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Tacoma WA seems adorable.

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matrix5k said:   Tacoma WA seems adorable.
  yes, routinely featured on COPS

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S197 said:    I can't justify spending $800k for a 3 bed 1.5 bath house built 50 years ago.  
  Just a one minute look on Craigslist  shows plenty of lower priced houses. This one for $209K and a little land looks good. https://honolulu.craigslist.org/big/reb/d/hilo-home-offered-at/6277614908.html  and the stripper pole is a nice touch. If only the bathroom had a urinal, it would be perfect.

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Most of Washington and Oregon would work except for Seattle and Portland proper. You aren't getting 1 acre in city for 300k. If you are flexible on lot size you can find something cheap in Portland probably.

Salem, Vancouver WA, Spokane would all be reasonable choices.

Note the weather in East and West in Washington and Oregon is quite different. Lots of rain in the West and more typical 4 seasons with snow in the winter in the east.

Oregon has high income tax and no sales tax. Washington has the opposite, no income tax and high sales tax. This can matter a lot.

Washington schools are generally better.

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atikovi said:   
S197 said:    I can't justify spending $800k for a 3 bed 1.5 bath house built 50 years ago.  
  Just a one minute look on Craigslist  shows plenty of lower priced houses. This one for $209K and a little land looks good. https://honolulu.craigslist.org/big/reb/d/hilo-home-offered-at/6277614908.html  and the stripper pole is a nice touch. If only the bathroom had a urinal, it would be perfect.

  
Stripper pole.. That's the home gym... 
 

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There are actually tons of places that would probably work. But finding employment might be the harder part. Maybe pick a few reasonable candidates then test the waters in the job market for each. Moving won't work very well if you can't find jobs.

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letsspendlotsofmoney said:   
atikovi said:   
S197 said:    I can't justify spending $800k for a 3 bed 1.5 bath house built 50 years ago.  
  Just a one minute look on Craigslist  shows plenty of lower priced houses. This one for $209K and a little land looks good. https://honolulu.craigslist.org/big/reb/d/hilo-home-offered-at/6277614908.html  and the stripper pole is a nice touch. If only the bathroom had a urinal, it would be perfect.

  
Stripper pole.. That's the home gym... 

  better check how far it is from the volcano

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matrix5k said:   Tacoma WA seems adorable.
  I was an EMT there.  Trust me, adorable was not a word I EVER used to describe it.
 

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Cost is just one aspect of the issue. You also have to look at your earnings. In places where it is expensive to live, the salaries are generally higher - companies kind of compensate you for the cost of living. So if you move to podunk,IA where the costs are low but the salaries are 30% lower, how did it really help? With two people earning and if both are getting a cost of living adjusted salaries, it may not be bad to stay put. The chances are your 800K property will also appreciate faster than in podunk. Personally, I would not mind paying a bit extra to live in a great place. In fact I do that - I pay more in HOA fees and paid more for my property but my community is HOA maintained. Everytime we step out of the home, everything looks so nice - spic and span, well maintained, no junky frontyards etc.

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San Antonio, TX

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Cheyenne, WY

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jerosen said:   Most of Washington and Oregon would work except for Seattle and Portland proper. You aren't getting 1 acre in city for 300k. If you are flexible on lot size you can find something cheap in Portland probably.

Salem, Vancouver WA, Spokane would all be reasonable choices.

Note the weather in East and West in Washington and Oregon is quite different. Lots of rain in the West and more typical 4 seasons with snow in the winter in the east.

Oregon has high income tax and no sales tax. Washington has the opposite, no income tax and high sales tax. This can matter a lot.

Washington schools are generally better.

  live in PorVan and get the best of both worlds?

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House looks like a toy structurally. Got to be something off about it 209k is cheap.

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Bay area.

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ryoung81 said:   I know you don't want to hear Texas... but we have great air conditioning.
  and the bay area has great earthquake protection

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rufflesinc said:   ryoung81 said:   I know you don't want to hear Texas... but we have great air conditioning.
  and the bay area has great earthquake protection


OP has nothing to complain about. 1br 1.5 ba 891 sq ft. One and a quarter million.

https://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Francisco/113-Hoffman-Ave-94114/home/1993131

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opop26 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
ryoung81 said:   I know you don't want to hear Texas... but we have great air conditioning.
  and the bay area has great earthquake protection


OP has nothing to complain about. 1br 1.5 ba 891 sq ft. One and a quarter million.

https://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Francisco/113-Hoffman-Ave-94114/home/1993131

  "On Redfin: 14 minutes " Lol what

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S197 said:   I presently live in Hawaii, which is amazing, but the cost of living (housing in particular) is out of control.  It's simply not possible for me to live here without going greatly into debt.  I can't justify spending $800k for a 3 bed 1.5 bath house built 50 years ago.  I'm hoping for some suggestions from the FW community.  These are some loose parameters:

  • Housing budget of ~$300k although lower would be great
  • I'm okay with a small house but would like a good amount of land (1 acre+)
  • Focused on the Pacific NW or Colorado.  Willing to consider other areas but would prefer to stay close to the west coast and away from hot and humid climates (had enough of that)
  • No children so schools and such are not a factor
  • I'd like to be within 30-40 minutes of a medium to large size city (closer the better)
  • I work in finance.  My wife is a dental hygienist.  She would want to continue with that career, I'm a bit more agnostic.  We are in our 30s. 

I can narrow it down further if that's still too general.  Just looking for some suggestions that I can research further so any assistance would be appreciated!

  You can move to socal, where it's a little cheaper, $750k for 3 bed, 2 bath built 50 years ago.

All kidding aside, your best bet would be Oregon or Washington near major cities like Seattle or Portland.  Those states have a LOT of land and weather isn't too bad, although Seattle has a lot of cloud/rain year round.

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With dual income and no kids, you can live virtually anywhere you want at the 300k price point, outside of major cities like NYC/SF. Why not build a short list based on your interests and take some weekend trips to check some places out?

I'm in love with the idea of the little town close to the big city as a retirement spot. Far enough that you couldn't commute daily for work, but close enough to visit if you want via train. For instance, Providence, RI for Boston. Philly for NYC, etc.

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TravelerMSY said:   With dual income and no kids, you can live virtually anywhere you want at the 300k price point, outside of major cities like NYC/SF. 
  I'm not sure thats such an impressive fact given that huge caveat

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Also, why do you need a big house if you both work outside the home during the day and aren't having kids?

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TravelerMSY said:   Also, why do you need a big house if you both work outside the home during the day and aren't having kids?
  ? op explicitly says small house is ok

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If you are going to need a new job, you have pretty much restricted yourself to a metro area. I don't know why people think finding a new job is walk in the park. Seattle, Denver, Portland. Take your pick and look 30 to 40 miles out. You may also get more specific info on the City Data forums.

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For $265k you can have 1.4 acres and this lovely abode out in Gresham :
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/8541-SE-172nd-Ave-Gresham-OR-...

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Flagstaff, AZ or Scottsdale, AZ (not humid, but hot for 3 months).

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BucknifeJones said:   If you are going to need a new job, you have pretty much restricted yourself to a metro area. I don't know why people think finding a new job is walk in the park. Seattle, Denver, Portland. Take your pick and look 30 to 40 miles out. 
  OP said 30-40 minutes, not 30-40 miles. If I get lucky, certain metro detroit commutes can average 60mph . But those areas? No way. Maybe 30mph if you're lucky. But I guess anything is better than honolulu which has the worst traffic

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jerosen said:   For $265k you can have 1.4 acres and this lovely abode out in Gresham :
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/8541-SE-172nd-Ave-Gresham-OR-97080/54006118_zpid/?fullpage=true

  That house be stank!

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Thanks for all the responses, I'll try and consolidate my answers to one thread.

-- Family and friends are here in Hawaii, which makes it tough to move but something has to give. My parents are near retirement so there's a small chance they would move but we've never talked about it.

-- Hawaii is a bit unique in that pay is not commensurate with cost of living. It's not like your other high COL cities, believe it or not, a lot of jobs here pay less than the mainland. I know for a fact I could make more in another state.

-- That 800k house was bought 3 years ago for 550k. There were 24 offers on the house, including all cash offers. The market could correct, but it's an island so supply is limited and demand is always high. Even during the financial crisis, the market wasn't impacted very much. It's only going to get worse.

-- Day trips aren't really an option with 2,500 miles of Pacific Ocean between me and anywhere. Once I narrow it down, I do plan on visiting multiple places, I'm just looking for a jumping off point.

-- I realize I'm not going to find something for 300k in a city, I'm okay with being on the outskirts. That figure is flexible but that's about the amount of equity I have in my condo (maybe not quite that much). So essentially I could own something free and clear or with a small mortgage. And that's more or less my motivation. Live simply with better quality of life.

-- Sorry TX and AZ are out. I'm sure it's great for a lot of people but not for me, I'd prefer green mountains to desert climate. I also love to ski.

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In the Portland market, you may be hard pressed to find an area you would want to live in for $300k, especially if you want at least an acre.  The market has definitely gone through a boom.  Even if you are on the outskirts, traffic is pretty bad here (not L.A. bad) so 30 - 45 minutes may not be possible during commute times.

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I'm currently vacationing near Kona, but stayed in Pahoa last week.  We saw some real estate listings for acres of land near (well, not exactly near) Hilo and Pahoa for $7500/acre.  I don't know what you get for that, maybe pure volcanic lava runoff that is unbuildable and uninsurable, and at risk of future lava flows, but my wife and I are dreaming of buying an acre and custom building a vacation home on it..............not really, but it's nice to dream,

I'm starting to look between Seattle and Birlington, WA for a small retirement home.  We will keep our primary residence in SoCal.   Anyone familiar with the small communities in that region of WA?  Can the OP find a $300k home there with an acre?  I know a couple that moved to Burlington 10 years ago from SoCal and they both love it there.  Their allergies and migraines significantly declined after leaving the SGV region of SoCal for Burlington.

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ryoung81 said:   I know you don't want to hear Texas... but we have great air conditioning.
  El Paso Texas is very dry with no humidity, very low crime, surrounded by mountains with lots of outdoor recreation opportunities.  It is always ranked as one of the safest US cities.  

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