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Old 12-07-2011, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
Where will you be planning to live in Sonoma where you can find an inexpensive rent? Or, do you already own property in Sonoma? Are you planning to be living in your car (or a trailer)? Please share details as to how you will pull this off.

I agree that it was once very possible to live in southern California and not make much money. I did it all throughout the 80s and 90s. But now the rents and the price of real estate are so high that it doesn't seem doable. If there's a way, please share it because I'd love to do the same.
Google Sonoma on Craigslist. There may not be much within your price range, but there are house shares.
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Virginia
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Ah. House sharing. Great situation for singles, but not always great for couples. I'm married and my husband says once the kids are out that's the end of any house sharing for us.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:11 PM
 
Location: California Mountains
1,448 posts, read 2,590,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
Where will you be planning to live in Sonoma where you can find an inexpensive rent? Or, do you already own property in Sonoma? Are you planning to be living in your car (or a trailer)? Please share details as to how you will pull this off.

If there's a way, please share it because I'd love to do the same.
Yes, we will be renting. We're currently on the waiting list at many places in Sonoma and San Mateo County, among them:

Lesley Garden in Half Moon Bay; Lesley Plaza in San Mateo; Redwood Meadows, Terracina, Vista Sonoma, Vintage Zinfandel, Monte Vista, Olive Grove, and Grays Meadows in Santa Rosa; Winter Creek Village in Windsor; Firehouse Village in Sonoma; Downtown River, Old Elm Village in Petaluma; The Arbors and The Gardens in Rohnert Park.

Some of those have opening now, but since we are still under contract here in FL, we cannot move immediately. All the addresses have walk scores that are ranged from 62 to 92. With 62 walk score, we would not need to use the car often, and at 92, the car will never be out of the garage or carport.

The rent in every place on that list is much less than what we are paying now in FL. Living space will be much smaller (we have 1600+ sq ft now) but we've gotten rid of 80% of our extra furniture and we don't wish to maintain a guest bedroom and guest bathroom anymore.

There are also very safe areas in Southern CA where we could still live within our income now -- not beach cities -- but we rather have slightly cooler climate, easy walking to stores and markets, and save a few hundreds dollars each month. We know we can do all of that in Northern CA.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
Ah. House sharing. Great situation for singles, but not always great for couples. I'm married and my husband says once the kids are out that's the end of any house sharing for us.
Well go for a studio apt or a one-bedroom, there must be some in Sonoma that are affordable. If retirees can spend a year or more traveling in a camper, they can also live in a very small space in their preferred location, as opposed to a larger more expensive place in a not so preferred location.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,929,076 times
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OK, so I looked up a few of these places, and was intrigued that they are Section 8 apartments. I had never thought about doing Section 8 housing, but I admit that I don't know that much about it. How do you qualify for it, and has anyone lived in Section 8? How long did it take to get accepted, and did you like living in it?
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:14 PM
 
Location: California Mountains
1,448 posts, read 2,590,441 times
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We are not recipients of Section 8. According to the government, our low income is too high to qualify. Those complexes on the list reserve a percentage of their units for Section 8, but the rest is open to all with income restriction.

It's the same with 55+ or 62+ tax-credit housing, which we explored in depth in another thread (I don't remember the name). The companies who built the housing complexes receive a certain tax break when they don't charge an arm and a leg for the rent. Almost all seniors with restricted income pay the same rent, except seniors who are Section 8 recipients. The rent for these seniors is 30% of their income for the same units as others who pay higher rent.

We checked out many senior complexes and decided we might like to live in family complexes better. If we later find out we don't like it as we think we would, we will move to a senior complex.

Many of these housing complexes have very strict rules and regulations (one strike and you are out) so the "bad" tenants are not likely to be around long enough to cause troubles. Almost all complexes have homework club and tutoring sessions for children every weekday, to me that shows deep commitment to the tenants and the community, not only in the low rent but also in regards to the welfare of the youth. My belief is if the children receive plenty of care from the family and the community (the owner and management of the complex), they would in turn behave accordingly, and the complex would be a good place to live.

Last edited by Ol' Wanderer; 12-07-2011 at 05:33 PM..
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
8,816 posts, read 7,722,693 times
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I haven't read this whole thread, but thought I should mention another way to have inexpensive housing that may not have been mentioned. Many rural towns on the great plains and other parts of the country have been shrinking. These towns often have either very inexpensive homes that can be purchased, since there is little interest in anyone moving to these towns. Some homes have been abandoned, but can be lived in and improved to make them liveable. I know this because my church is in one of these towns. One home across the street from the church has been abandoned for since we came 8 years ago. Someone is restoring it now. Several on our street have recently been redone and appear very nice. Obviously, someone is going to have to be somewhat handy, but with a little sweat, a willingness to try to fix things you never fixed before, or money to hire someone else, it could be done. Since its an old house, it doesn't have to look professionally done, just be functional. These towns are not all ghetto towns either. Many are nice towns, with parks stores, low crime rates etc. This would be true of many towns in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:15 AM
 
Location: the AZ desert
5,037 posts, read 7,761,480 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post

1. Niceness of the area, aesthetically
2. Driveability (traffic factor, distance factor)
3. Ease in access to basics: supermarket, library, P.O., stores, entertainment
4. Quality of medical facilities and senior living options
5. Affordable (all things considered, all kinds of taxes) for retirees of modest income, say $50K or under/year

Looking forward to responses.
I think Mesa, AZ is a great place for many retirees.

Mesa is a huge city in the Arizona desert. Some sections of Mesa are a bit sketchy, but it is not those areas to which I refer.

There are many, many different housing options for seniors. There are easy-access apartment buildings, twin homes (side by side, semi attached private homes), and, in most abundance, there are beautiful manufactured home communities.

Most of the manufactured home communities are unlike others many others I have seen in other places. Most are very large, have paved roads, sidewalks, and are immaculately clean. Some have 9 hole pitch and putt golf courses on premises, which are free to residents of the community and their guests. Most also have heated pools and spas, billiard rooms, libraries, card/game rooms, big screen tv rooms, and large areas where they hold activities for any who wish to participate, such as concerts, bingo, pot luck dinners, Sunday brunches, etc. Most plan activities and those who sign up for them pay their own way, but they are usually obtained at a group discount rate and include hiring a bus, i.e. for a day trip to an AZ casino or a weekend trip to LV or to Sedona. Some of these communities are gated, others are not.

Many of the communities allow only ground-set homes, which keeps the area from looking like some other, more conventional "trailer parks". Some also only allow homes to face the street, the way a stick-built house would face on a public street. Some houses have garages, others have carports, but they usually have one or the other. The main modes of transportation around the premises are by foot, bicycle and golf-cart.

Aesthetically, one would have to like the desert look. Most home sites are landscaped with rocks and small desert plants and cacti. The upside is there is nothing to mow and just an occasional weed to pull. Some communities, or at least some houses within some communities, have mountain views.

Mesa is a very drivable city and so are the cities/towns which surround it, but driving to Phoenix isn't quite as pleasant - especially during rush hour. Fortunately, one wouldn't have to drive to Phoenix, unless they wanted to.

There are supermarkets every couple of blocks, as well as post offices, physician's offices, and several nearby shopping malls. The mall I like best is Superstition Springs. I understand there is a $1 theater there, although I haven't been there personally. There is a library nearby, many restaurants which offer senior discounts and/or early-bird specials, several drug store chains, as well as businesses which cater to the retired/disabled, such as mobility stores which sell scooters/power wheelchairs and install ramps, grab bars and the like. Additionally, two different supermarket chains deliver. You shop online, (full aisle shopping, including meat, dairy, produce, frozen, grocery, etc.), choose the 1 hour delivery window you want and voila - they come in a refrigerated truck, bring your bags right into your kitchen, and they're not permitted to accept tips. (I find groceries to be less expensive here than where I lived in NY and TX.) Some of the local restaurants also deliver. (You cannot get the early-bird or discount rate then. You can, however, get the regular "lunch specials" delivered, if you order before 3 PM at some of the restaurants.)

The nearby medical facilities are reportedly excellent and are in abundance. Thankfully, I have no first hand knowledge of them.

Affordability is where Mesa really shines. You can buy a conventional home in today's market for $100k or you can buy into one of the manufactured home communities for as low as $10k. Of course $10k buys a smaller, older home which probably needs at least the kitchen updated. If you move into the $40k range you can buy a much newer model with well over 1200 sf., 2 bedrooms/2 baths, a formal dining room, den, updated appliances and have a washer/dryer included. For $60k and above you can buy brand new.

Manufactured homes here are considered cars, rather than houses, so you are taxed annually at auto rates. For example, a 1500 sf home built in 2000 would run less than $500/year in taxes. Land rental fees would be park-dependent and run anywhere from $350/month to $650/month. The greater the price, the more park amenities are offered.

The weather here is a blessing for some, while absolutely not for others. Summer is VERY long and it is not unusual to see many days over 100 degrees. There is little humidity here, so while 110 here may sound like a nightmare, it is the equivalent of perhaps 90 somewhere humid. The bigggest difference I find about the lack of humidity is, no matter how hot it gets, you never get that "kicked in the chest" feeling, or have trouble breathing. Still, hot is hot. Another difference is the lack of humidity is great for old bones.

The remainder of the year, the weather is glorious. There is no snow to shovel and if you like outdoor activities such as golf, you can do it year round. (In summer golfers usually play early in the mornings or late evening.) Electricity here is very expensive for 6 months of the year, when you pay the "premium rate". On the flip side, you seldom use heat and when you do, it is very, very inexpensive to heat.

Culturally speaking, while there are museums, concert halls, stadiums and theaters within a moderate driving distance, (an hour or less by car), I do find it a bit lacking. However, there is a wonderful local dinner-theater and other area entertainment to keep one busy. There is a large, lovely lake a short drive away and area casinos, (with shows), as well.

Last edited by CheyDee; 12-08-2011 at 12:26 AM..
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:49 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,929,076 times
Reputation: 42862
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Wanderer View Post
We are not recipients of Section 8. According to the government, our low income is too high to qualify. Those complexes on the list reserve a percentage of their units for Section 8, but the rest is open to all with income restriction.

It's the same with 55+ or 62+ tax-credit housing, which we explored in depth in another thread (I don't remember the name). The companies who built the housing complexes receive a certain tax break when they don't charge an arm and a leg for the rent. Almost all seniors with restricted income pay the same rent, except seniors who are Section 8 recipients. The rent for these seniors is 30% of their income for the same units as others who pay higher rent.

We checked out many senior complexes and decided we might like to live in family complexes better. If we later find out we don't like it as we think we would, we will move to a senior complex.

Many of these housing complexes have very strict rules and regulations (one strike and you are out) so the "bad" tenants are not likely to be around long enough to cause troubles. Almost all complexes have homework club and tutoring sessions for children every weekday, to me that shows deep commitment to the tenants and the community, not only in the low rent but also in regards to the welfare of the youth. My belief is if the children receive plenty of care from the family and the community (the owner and management of the complex), they would in turn behave accordingly, and the complex would be a good place to live.
Very interesting program. Thanks for sharing this.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairieparson View Post
I haven't read this whole thread, but thought I should mention another way to have inexpensive housing that may not have been mentioned. Many rural towns on the great plains and other parts of the country have been shrinking. These towns often have either very inexpensive homes that can be purchased, since there is little interest in anyone moving to these towns. Some homes have been abandoned, but can be lived in and improved to make them liveable. I know this because my church is in one of these towns. One home across the street from the church has been abandoned for since we came 8 years ago. Someone is restoring it now. Several on our street have recently been redone and appear very nice. Obviously, someone is going to have to be somewhat handy, but with a little sweat, a willingness to try to fix things you never fixed before, or money to hire someone else, it could be done. Since its an old house, it doesn't have to look professionally done, just be functional. These towns are not all ghetto towns either. Many are nice towns, with parks stores, low crime rates etc. This would be true of many towns in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.
Good idea, but isn't this Tornado Alley?
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