Not sure if we should make the leap

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by wesimkins, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. wesimkins

    wesimkins Active Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Hi,

    I dont usually post here, but I visit daily and enjoy so much the information from these threads. My problem is this we are a family of 6 living is southern california (I know dont flame me). We live in a quiet suburban neighboorhood, in a cookie cutter house though it is on about 1/4 acre (thats more than most around here). My husband grew up on 30 acres and although we have long planned to leave this area we are having hesitations. First dh has a very good job. Pays the bills, allows me to stay home with the kids, have 2 small rental properties that aren't making profit each month but are paying for themselves, we pay nothing for insurance, his commute is only about 40 min so its really not too bad, and lastly most of our family is here. There are bad things too, living too close to LA, no one having same interests as we do, bad air quality, and we really cant afford a large parcel of land unless we went further up in northern california. We really had decided this year was the year to pack up and leave but at the same time feel we are blessed to have a good paying job with benefits that we are scared to leave it. Sorry for the long post we just dont know what to do next.....How did you decide to leave the city? What did you leave behind?
     
  2. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,665
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    I've never been a city person so others will have to speak to the trepidations of that.

    What I want to address is this: do you have a mortgage on any of your properties? If so, now is the time to cash out -- NOW, not next month or next year. The RE bubble is about to burst, along with a whole lot of other things. What kind of work does your husband do? Is it something that he might be able to find another job in somewhere else? Do either of you have some other skill that might be useful almost anywhere (teaching, nursing, mechanic, carpenter, etc.)? If I was you I'd be selling those places so fast the fur would be flying and get out of there and onto some land -- FREE and CLEAR with NO MORTGAGE -- where my family could at least feed itself. I'd live in a tent if I had to in order to be free and clear. This is NOT the time to be caught with a mortgage on a tiny piece of land if you have any other option, and it sounds like you do.

    Kathleen
     

  3. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

    Messages:
    577
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Highly Variable
    Wesimkins, Is there compelling reason to limit yourself to California locations?

    If you sell your real estate at California prices (before the likely coming decline), you can probably buy a nice piece of property without mortgage in another state AND have money left over to make up for any salary reduction your husband might suffer.

    Being hesitant to leave a "secure" location is understandable; however, giving in to fear sentences one to living differently than one might choose.

    That said, “taking the leap” isn’t for everyone. There are many things to be considered. Most people are more comfortable staying where they are than they would be making big life changes. That you are reading here daily says something – you will decide what it means.
     
  4. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    854
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Location:
    Western Washington
    wesimkins you are saying exactly what I was saying just over a year ago. We lived in So. CA, had a good paying job with all the perks, nice but still a "cookie cutter" type house, and bad air, lots of traffic, high crime that went with it. We wanted OUT! But it was hard to give up the security of our jobs, home, etc. Finally we said "heck with this!", we weren't living, we were surviving. Sold the house, cars, just about everything we owned and left. With the money we made on our house we were able to buy 10 acres with a bigger house. Sure, money is kind of tight sometimes, we aren't makeing the same wages, but our living expenses are less and more important, we are much happier. It was scary, and we miss the family (DD, SIL, and grandkids)... but not enough to go back. They now come here to see us and are even planning to make the move within the next couple years as well.

    With prices what they are in the area your in, (LA, Orange, Riverside, & San Diego Counties) you should be able to sell all your real estate at a good price. Unless you have mountains of debt you should be able to pay off everything and still be able to afford to move out of there. If your DH is in a field that will allow him to continue working, although maybe not for the same wages, then why not just go for it. I discovered that the cost of living here is so much lower then what I expected. If you can find a place that will allow you to live on less then you don't need to be making as much, right?Also, is it possible for him to find a job someplace before you actually move? Do you have to stay in CA?
     
  5. wesimkins

    wesimkins Active Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Thank you for the replies. The primary reason for staying in California is I have a daughter from my first marriage who must fly down to see dad monthly. I like the idea of the shorter flights and was thinking this would be easier on her. My husband grew up in northern california and believe it or not there is still some pretty remote reasonable acreage there. 1-4 thousand per acre. We will consider some neighboring states though. I guess my biggest fear though is that we will have to work twice as hard for less money, be without insurance, and the better quality of life we are searching for will actually become less ( I do enjoy staying home with the babies). My hsuband works with computers, so there is a reasonable probablility he could find something...even working remotely. I think we will get there, were just trying to think of everything and be as cautious as possible. My dh parents left LA when he was four and it was the best thing they ever did :)

    Thanks again for the posts...the encouragement helps
     
  6. wesimkins

    wesimkins Active Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    JanO, interestly we have the most family in Washington near Tacoma. DH sister, brother and 8 neices and nephews. We looked for land there but honestly nothing jumped out at us. Can I ask where you decided to settle down at? and how easily did you adjust to the rain?

    thanks :)
     
  7. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

    Messages:
    577
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Highly Variable
    Wesimkins, when you say, "we will have to work twice as hard for less money", are you considering that in many (most) rural areas you will need far less money to have a very satisfactory quality of life? Subtract all "city-related" costs (things you won't have to pay in a rural location) from your present income -- and that is more like what you will need (or less, possibly far less, if you live economically, produce some food, etc)
     
  8. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,490
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    You should get a couple market analysis' done on your properties. Get the facts of how much money is in them.

    Your husband should start looking for work. He doesn't need to take any jobs, but looking and interviewing will give him a good idea of what there is.

    Contrary to popular belief...most people in rural areas have insurance through their employers, same as city people. Just as everywhere else, the cost and quality of the insurance varies, but one thing I have not seen since leaving CA is an HMO!!!

    Some aspects of cost of living are less outside of CA, some are equal, some are more. Your mortgage, if any, is likely to be less. Your taxes may be more, you gotta check. I don't know of any other state that has Prop 13 to keep property taxes in line, they go up every year. Insurance was less for me in IN, about the same as CA in IL. Clothing is cheaper, while food is more expensive. Gas is less, energy costs are less.
    Car licenses are way less ($78 a year here in IL).

    You cannot make a decision without doing the research. Get as many hard numbers as you can and as much information as possible. If it looks like it will work, keep researching about the specific area you want to go too. Research will answer most of your questions.

    Jena
     
  9. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

    Messages:
    577
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Highly Variable
    Rose, what a nice and helpful response. Your advice is good and your "can do" attitude should be contagious.
     
  10. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    854
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Location:
    Western Washington
    We are in Lewis County, south of Olympia. We also have some land over in Grays Harbor County, which is kind of NW of us. We just moved here last summer, although we've been vacationing up here for years. This last winter was our first full season and overall it wasn't too bad. The locals all said that we had more rain, and it was colder, then normal but I guess we were too ignorant to know better. :shrug: The rain really didn't start to bother me until after Valentines day. By then I was ready for some sun and pretty tired of the mud. (we really don't have any mud control here. That will be fixed by next fall though.) But, even though I was getting tired of it, all I had to do was remind myself that this summer while you all are dealing with the smog, and wicked heat I'm going to be comfortable and breathing clean air. :p The last couple of weeks we've been getting some beautiful days, had some rain over the weekend, and today was beautiful again. That makes it all worth while in my opinion.

    That is very true. Although a lot of my expenses are lower...electric is much lower ( I was paying over $150. a month and 2X's that much in the summer months, for elec. in CA. But, I've never had a bill over $80. here even in the months when we ran the heat or A/C.) I don't pay for gas (natural) anymore, car insurance dropped drastically, and I'm not paying as much for medical services. Other things are more though... gas for the vehicles is more, partly because now a trip to town for any major shopping is a 50 mile round trip and mostly because we have a 6 cent per gallon state tax on the stuff. :flame: (That went into effect shortly after we got here.) Some food items are more, but I'm pretty good about stretching the food budget anyway, and this year I'll have the proceeds from my garden and a steer in the freezer to help us.

    I guess I'm saying that in a lot of respects it balances itself out. But the most important thing is this... and it's priceless. (I sound like those comercials on TV :) ) When we were in CA my DH was diagnosed with high blood pressure and they had him on 2 different medications for it. About a month after we got here he went in for a blood pressure check and his new Dr. took him off of the medications. :hobbyhors His blood pressure has been normal ever since! That all by itself was enough reason for me to be very happy about our decision to move. Not only that, but the wonderful changes I've seen in my children! My son hardly ever stepped out of the house in CA, now I can't keep him home! He's always off doing something at school, or with the church. We have a really good youth group here and both of my kids are very active in it. He's playing sports now, and before all he was interested in was video games. It's wonderful! We chose a quiet and more simple life in a small town, and it's paid off in many, many ways.
     
  11. Arklady

    Arklady Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    104
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Just the act of moving has a way of making you afraid in more than one way. Because you need to do so many things at once. But you will find if you just make that decison then things will tend to smooth out. If you decide not to move then things smooth out but if you decide to move the next decision comes along. Where and the benefits of that area and then eventually packing and the losing things you don't need via a garage sale. It's amazing how much you don't need. I have moved several times in my life. Kansas to Idaho, Idaho to Alaska, Alaska to Oklahoma, Oklahoma to Arkansas where I am now. All of the times I moved I felt exhilerated and excited. I was never afraid! Nervous but not afraid. Because I moved my family.... My personal family is in Kansas... I moved away... it's not so hard not living close. It's interesting how much closer you are when they aren't next door. Because they say well I can talk to her tomorrow but funny... tomorrow doesn't come lol... Each time I moved I had to decide what I couldn't live without. Sometimes I moved with nothing... just my kitchen, leaving the rest behind. My point is... moving can be exciting and an adventure... So don't worry... it will all work out. Plus ppl living in CA should look at it as a brass ring... Take it and get the cash prices are right for you to a great new beginning... I would if it was me. I don't have much land but my land payment is like 206$ a month. Since I am still paying for it I don't know what the taxes are for it. But the elec is kind of high sometimes because they don't produce their own. So sometimes when they buy it, it can be expensive but on the whole it isn't. I live about 10 miles from a nice sized town. They got a walmart two years ago. Its tolerable. I should have my place paid for in the next 2 years or so... but if I had 15k I could have paid it in full.... It had all utilites on it. I though it was kind of high. But I was in a hurry so I got it.

    You should look at this as an adventure!

    Arklady
     
  12. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

    Messages:
    2,148
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    flatlands of Ohio - sigh
    If you are waiting for the "right time" to come to make the move, it will never happen. Life can't be lived waiting for the big "something". Life is a journey, lived every day. If you can't enjoy the day-to-day part, what's the purpose?

    That said....are you enjoying the day-to-day part, or are you dreaming of the big future? If you are dreaming, it's time to make the move.

    I used to think that when I got a divorce, I'd live my dream. Then it was when the kids got out of school, then it was when I had the money. I finally decided all the "when this happens" was silly and to just go for it. I'm the happiest I've ever been. Nervous, scared, poorer (in money only, not in the important stuff!), you name it.... but happy!

    With email and such, I talk with my children more now than when they lived nearby!! And seeing them is a holiday to me. :)

    Chris
     
  13. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

    Messages:
    577
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Highly Variable
    Echoing the attitudes conveyed above, if you wait until everything is "right" and you are not apprehensive, you will never make a move. There are always unknowns that frighten people and cause them to stay as they are no matter how unpleasant or unproductive.
     
  14. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

    Messages:
    3,516
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    Location:
    AR (ozarks)
    If I were you I would sell your houses as fast as possible and get the heck out of that area relocate to someplace better and cheaper on more land.NOW
     
  15. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

    Messages:
    1,735
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    PA
    The folks who said that the RE bubble is going to pop are dead right, it will and soon, if you wait you may not get as much as if you sell right now. If I were you I'd bootscoot, sell and don't look back. Always remember, don't sweat the small stuff, and everything, looked at in the right light is small stuff. It'll all fall together, you just have to put it in motion. We are so happy out here on our hill, we never want to leave, no regrets, we don't even talk about our 'other' life anymore. Good luck
     
  16. headwaters

    headwaters Member

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Location:
    Soon to be NE Missouri
    The other side of the 'burst bubble' coin is that while wesimkins can get more for his house now, if he puts that money directly back into land he's still going to take a hit once the market drops.

    My $0.02 would be to sell the place in So.Cal. with all due haste, then bank the proceeds. When you settle on a new location get yourselves and your stuff out there and rent until you find the right place for you. Hopefully by the time you find it the market will have corrected and the $200k you made from selling the So.Cal. place will buy 80 instead of 30 ac.

    Worst case scenario: we're all wrong and the market doesn't correct. You're still already in your new location, poised to purchase the first perfect spot, and will still be converting high-cost low-value suburban living to a low-cost high-value country life.
     
  17. wesimkins

    wesimkins Active Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    your posts all mean so much to us.. we have been dreaming of moving for years and living here feels so wrong I think its time to go. One house is already for sale. The other has a renter in who is waiting for her property to be graded and expects to be out early summer, so still an ok time to sell. We hope to keep one of the three rentals for an emergency, now deciding which one. We have always put every penny into our rentals, we really feel like the poorest on the block (maybe thats a good thing :) so now where do we go from here? I know visiting the areas we are considering is necessary BUT we have four little ones and it is almost impossible with my husbands work to do it. We have family in washington and california and thought oregon might be a good "middle" place so we could easily visit both, but land prices are high there too. Hoping to find 40 acres in the mid 200's range. How do we know a good piece of land from a not so good piece?? I know water is important...electricty? Again, these posts are so helpful, more than you know.

    thank you again,
     
  18. Buffy in Dallas

    Buffy in Dallas Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,447
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Tx
    Holy Cow! 40 acres for 200,000$ :eek: I bought my 14 acres for 24,000 and its a great little piece of land in a great location! Get your buns to texas! :hobbyhors Or even better, we are looking at property in Oklahoma thats 40 acres for 20,000.$. Gorgous mountain land too. :dance:
     
  19. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

    Messages:
    577
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Highly Variable
    Buffy, $200,000 may not buy much in the western states. Those of us who are accustomed to land prices in the southeastern quadrant of the nation can hardly comprehend the prices asked for land in many other states. We are spoiled. Some say we shouldn't tell others or encourage more immigration that will drive prices up (more than they have already increased).
     
  20. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    Those prices are very doable,with a water source,in Northern Ca.For LAND,house is a different critter all together.

    Ive seen em.

    BooBoo