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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:47 AM
Location: Sammamish, WA
4 posts, read 2,632 times
Reputation: 20


Hi Folks - looking for some location advice. Having lived in the Seattle metro area for 20+ years, we're looking to move back east. I'm originally from Maryland and on a recent scouting trip was surprised how much we liked Lancaster County compared with Pittsburgh, Columbus, Louisville and other revitalized / up-and-coming medium-sized cities.

We like the local farms, country roads, the growing restaurant scene, lower cost of living, easier pace of life, proximity to Philly, Baltimore-Washington DC, NYC, upstate NY and dare I say... Scrapple. So far we like Lititz, Town of Manheim, Manheim Township, and Mount Joy.

That being said, we're liberal and would like to be in an area that is open and accepting to people of different faiths (or of no faith), ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Lancaster City seems diverse but we want to live some place quieter and with a little physical space between homes.

We don't know that much about other areas to the west, such as Harrisburg, Camp Hill, Carlisle, Hershey, Gettysburg, etc. so thoughts about these areas vs. Lancaster area would be welcome.

When are you moving? End of July - yikes!
Where are you coming from? Eastside of Seattle metro area (Bellevue, Redmond, Issaquah)

Why are you moving? Cashing in on house, cutting costs, taking a semi-sabbatical working part-time while figuring out what I want to do next work-wise. Plans are that this will be an interim move, that we'll likely pull up stakes again in 1-2 years.

Where will you be working? Self-employed - plan on working from home to start
Have you been here yet? Yes

Will you buy or rent? Buy if the value point is right and we can sell easily; otherwise rent a house to preserve capital and stay flexible

If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? How much can you spend? House, $250,000-$325,000
If renting, are you looking for an apartment, a townhouse or loft? How much can you spend? Preferably a house - $1,200-$1,650/month
Do you prefer hi-rise or walk up? n/a

Are you married or single? Do you have children? Married, no children
Do you prefer public or private schools? Want to be near good public schools
Do you have pets? No
Do you want or need a yard? Some yard would be nice
Are you keeping a car? Two cars + one motorcycle
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? Calm & quiet home, surrounded by nature (mature or wild vegetation & backyard critters), good walking around neighborhood, good restaurants within 10-20 minute drive, decent access to highways... but living near traditional farms would sway us a bit

What do you want to be closest to?
Restaurants (chef-owned, featuring local agriculture)
Food shopping (local / organic)

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood?
We prefer diversity but tolerance of different ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. is highly valued

Other: Good cell phone reception (Verizon) and high-speed internet

Phillies, Pirates or Orioles? Orioles (grew up in MD)

Last edited by scoran; 06-22-2017 at 10:48 AM.. Reason: Formatting paragraphs
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Old 06-23-2017, 04:15 PM
Location: Midwest transplant
2,048 posts, read 5,330,741 times
Reputation: 1613
Manheim Township (MT schools) would be my 1st choice, just because of the reputation of the school district. Followed by Lititz, and the other two. I think you'd get the other amenities you're looking for almost anywhere. Lots of farm markets (local and the most famous is Roots) and the restaurant scene is good in the area (even as far west as York and north into Hershey). Not sure you'll get critters in a walking around neighborhood (although many people complain about raccoons and deer that eat their vegetation, skunks that live under their decks) but there is plenty of farmland to enjoy the encounters with nature. Lititz has a nice downtown and great community center.

Property values might not increase as drastically as they are in the Seattle area, so my advice would be to rent for at least a year until you feel as if it's worth it for you to invest again or keep your options open. The 5 year rule (if you're not staying that long) is a good indicator as to whether or not you'd break even or move forward on investment. Might be better to pad the IRA's.

Just one thing to note~if you don't have direct heirs (children) the PA death tax is staggering~no breaks and is pretty hefty.
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