U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Vermont
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 12-20-2016, 10:53 PM
25 posts, read 34,971 times
Reputation: 152


Hey, all. I hope this finds everyone warm and well.

So down the road a few years, if I make it, early retirement glows. I'm leaning most toward Upstate NY, but I love Vermont and New Hampshire, too. (Yes, I know the weather: I grew up in Buffalo, and I'll trade some of that degree of cloudiness for more clearer but colder. And I love snow.)

My income then will be at lifetime-under-achiever levels of "very modest" (a state pension, small savings, Social Security). But I already own what I need and want, and my tastes are simple. My aim is to have a small (old) house in a pleasant middlin'-size town or small city--a place with character--with a moderate yard, or a small (old) house on a few pleasant acres between a couple of decent-sized towns/small cities. It would have to be something I'd own; I like to fix, tinker, and be my own person too much to be a renter. A fixer-upper, probably. Would be just me, the dog(s), books, a kayak and row boat, old musical equipment, etc. The kids would visit for a week here or month there, but we like each other enough that small quarters would be fine. (A porch, though, that's a necessity to have or to build.) The kinds of towns/small cities (and the countryside around them) that interest me are, say, Cooperstown, NY; Vergennes, VT; Saranac Lake, NY; outside of Burlington; Plattsburgh, NY; Exeter, NH, etc. A walkable, not-too-modernized, civil old town/small city with northern forests and lakes and farmland nearby is my quest. I know the areas mentioned fairly well culturally and geographically, but not too well cost-of-livingly(?).

So, all told, which of these three states would offer the most for the money, more in terms of taxes than in real estate? Sorry to be crass, since I'd be going there for quality of life, this would be my last chance to become sensible about it.

I know that NY and Vermont have relatively high income and other semi-hidden taxes. How are their breaks for seniors? How badly is this tax situation compounded by NY nd VT's respective local real estate taxes?

I know that NH compensates for having no income tax by having relatively high property taxes, but how severe is the range of those local rates? Any other hidden NH taxes that would ouch-snag a senior?

I've excluded Western Mass. here on the assumption that Mass.'s notorious overall tax misery is a real thing. Is that so, or should I include Western Mass. in my considerations?

Thanks VERY much for your patience reading through this, and for any advice you might give.

Take care!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 12-21-2016, 08:16 AM
809 posts, read 672,154 times
Reputation: 1332
You MUST check out Springfield. Average asking price, $173,000; average sale price, $113,000. What you save in mortgage expenses will more than pay your property taxes.

Or, if you're the handy person type, get a tax sale house. One retiree here picked up a tax sale house for $4,800 and is renovating it completely, on his own, including raising it three feet. If you feel like a pioneer, you're probably capable of doing the same.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-21-2016, 09:46 AM
35,325 posts, read 24,979,656 times
Reputation: 32369
Originally Posted by 58Belvedere View Post
I've excluded Western Mass. here on the assumption that Mass.'s notorious overall tax misery is a real thing. Is that so, or should I include Western Mass. in my considerations?
Massachusetts is middle of the pack for states tax burden wise. Taxachusetts is definitely a misnomer.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-21-2016, 12:50 PM
2,779 posts, read 996,922 times
Reputation: 3678
If you are of modest means, the State will subsidize your property taxes in VT. 2/3's of property owners get subsidies under that program. The income tax rate is low for modest incomes too. It is high income folks that get whacked in VT.

A big difference between NY & VT is that the folks in upstate NY that culturally have more in common with VT than they do NYC/Westchester/Long island are still subject to NY State's penchant to regulate every aspect of your life. If you want to own a gun don't even think about NY.

I would add that if you do want NY, take a look at Schroon Lake. It is a beautiful town in a beautiful setting.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-23-2016, 12:55 PM
4 posts, read 2,869 times
Reputation: 15
I've lived in upstate NY half my life and had to register simply to post another opinion from the poster above: lots (and lots) of people own guns upstate. I don't and don't care to. My realtor - a registered Democrat and a great guy - owns many semi-automatic weapons, which he enjoys firing in the privacy of his home compound. Of course you can own guns in NY.

As for taxes however: beware. NY has some of the highest in the nation. New York has been losing 300,000 permanent residents per year for the last 20+ years. It doesn't "show" because so many hopeful immigrants come to the city every year: on paper, the numbers may look like they're holding, but they're really not:

Population is dropping faster in upstate New York counties : Empire Center for Public Policy''

New Yorkers leave for states with lower taxes

Escape From New York? High-Taxing Empire State Loses 3.4 Million Residents in 10 Years

(The last article is from 2012: same story, different year.)

In a nutshell: school taxes are horrific. A house w/assessment value of 200K will run you roughly anywhere from 4,500 to 9,500+ a year for all taxes combined, depending where you live. (I'm no expert but I've been looking for over a year upstate, and that's what I'm seeing.) Be VERY careful to research this stuff beforehand. Most of the poorer areas still have "manageable" taxes - i.e. right around 4,000 a year, give or take 500 depending on whether, say, you live in a manufactured home etc. They're mainly that "low", however, because there aren't many services in those communities. And if you can work with that, there are still many pretty and cool places to live here. But not if you're looking for work, or worried about cost of living going up. Which, y'know... it pretty much always does.

NY does offer the (fairly lame, imo) "Star" exemption, which is max 500 a year. You used to get that off the front (i.e. would take it off your taxes before paying the state): now they've changed it so you have to pay everything up front then wait for a refund check. :/ Obvs if you're a vet, you'll also get substantial exemptions. Combined, if you're a senior and a vet, say, you can see real savings on taxes. But they're still high and getting higher, and I simply don't see that changing.

So to answer your other question: being a senior will certainly help. Some. It should cut your school taxes in half. But if your bill is 5500 school + 4000 city and county combined... the math ain't great. Assessments are going up very fast in many places. I force myself to do a rough estimate for every house I look at online that I'm even passing interested in. The results are usually sobering. Entire counties are out, far as I'm concerned. Then I start looking in a more "granular" way: finding which county combined with which school makes a tax-range within which I can search comfortably. That's what I do, anyways.

Hope that helps!

Last edited by noob2; 12-23-2016 at 01:12 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-23-2016, 01:32 PM
2,779 posts, read 996,922 times
Reputation: 3678
noob2, I know many folks in Upstate NY have lots of guns. Culturally the Adirondacks and other areas bordering VT have a lot in common with VT. On the gun issue it is just that Upstate NY'ers are still subject to extremely onerous laws NY has, amongst the worst in the nation. VT on the other hand is amongst the most gun-friendly States.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-23-2016, 02:13 PM
Location: The Woods
16,935 posts, read 22,198,202 times
Reputation: 9019
Not only the gun laws but I know people in upstate NY who've lived off their land for years and now can't build anything with their own lumber sawn from their own trees anymore because NY adopted all the restrictive codes NYC uses. NY over-regulates everything.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-24-2016, 03:58 PM
Location: Venus
4,706 posts, read 3,153,560 times
Reputation: 7807
No matter where you chose, if you want a fixer-upper, you can pick one up VERY cheap. I just saw one in Whitehall, NY for only $6,000. Don't know the extent of fixing it needs. With the housing market still in the slumps, you can probably find a decent house under $100K.

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-25-2016, 06:11 AM
68 posts, read 59,226 times
Reputation: 232
Moral of the story is there is no utopia in America for retirement. Just pick a place and live. The real cost of living is not realized until you actually live in a place for over a year or two. To many variables to consider when retiring and moving. The one major consideration is to do a massive downsizing and instead of worrying about the cost of living. Consider on lowering your expenses, cashing out retirement before age 65, paying off a house, renting, and collecting social security as early as possible even if that means going on disability.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-25-2016, 01:49 PM
56,248 posts, read 80,408,935 times
Reputation: 12407
Upstate NY, depending on where you look, likely has a lower overall COL. Only NYC and Yonkers has a city tax in NYS. Many of the people that leave the state are either retirees or live in other states that are still a part of the NYC. NYS's population has actually been growing, with a slight estimated dip this past year(under 2000 people).

This may help: https://www.retirementliving.com/tax...#SOUTHCAROLINA

Property Tax Map | Reforming Government (Includes all forms of property taxation)

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Vermont
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top