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Old 08-03-2020, 07:41 AM
 
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The wife & I are looking to retire to PA. We absolutely love the Lancaster (Rt 30) area. However, we are looking for other surrounding towns around Lancaster. Looking for ranch or a condo. Budget 300k-400k

Thanks!
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:13 PM
 
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There is much to like in Lancaster - what floats your boat? What do you look forward to when you come: Small city charm? Rustic village quiet? Amtrack/highway convenience? Rural hideaway?

There's a form to fill out at the top of the page that will help guide us a lot. And, of course, budget.

Pennsylvania is terrific for retirees.
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Old 08-04-2020, 04:42 AM
 
Location: Huntsville Area
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I'd suggest moving to Lititz or Ephrata--out in the county. I retired from a Lancaster County company, and that's were many of my co-workers lived.

The schools are excellent, and the society very stable in those communities.
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Old 08-04-2020, 07:16 AM
 
2,355 posts, read 3,551,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanie Beanie View Post
There is much to like in Lancaster - what floats your boat? What do you look forward to when you come: Small city charm? Rustic village quiet? Amtrack/highway convenience? Rural hideaway?

There's a form to fill out at the top of the page that will help guide us a lot. And, of course, budget.

Pennsylvania is terrific for retirees.
I think you summed it all up! LOL. However, not concerned about Amtrack, Highways, Airports. As far a rural, well quiet is good but would like to be close (short drive) to civilization, lol. Such as food stores, restaurants, box stores ect. Basically everything on Route 30 but 1-5 miles +/- away from it.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-04-2020, 07:18 AM
 
2,355 posts, read 3,551,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamaman1 View Post
I'd suggest moving to Lititz or Ephrata--out in the county. I retired from a Lancaster County company, and that's were many of my co-workers lived.

The schools are excellent, and the society very stable in those communities.
Thanks! Will definitely check it out!
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:09 PM
 
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Couple of things are play here. In 2016 the wife and I did exactly what you are planning. We spent eight months actively looking at existing homes in Lancaster county, and ended up in the Strasburg area. We looked at hundreds of homes online, dozens in person, (as drive-bys without the realtor) and a handful inside, in person. At that point, anything that was decent and better, and suitable for a retiree, as in a ranch or cape with a first floor master suite, was sell for asking plus, in days. Typically for cash, quick closings, and little demanded of the seller with inspections, repairs, etc.

Sadly, for buyers, things were a bit slower, and less of a seller's market at that point. Now it's just flat out insane, with a local broker telling me that the last forty years have never seen a local market this crazy. Inventory is less than half of what it was a year ago, and just about everything on the market sells in hours to days, over asking. A house is often is shown for a couple of days. Then the seller and agent sit down at a pre-arranged time to open the pile of bids, and find the one that best suits the seller. From what I've heard recently from my agent, if you don't have the cash readily available, aren't willing to pay over list for most desirable listings, and can't make a snap decision, you are out of the game when it comes to the majority of what's available.

My guess it that this market, like most others in the states, is heading for some ugly times. This might calm things down here. Be aware though, that when a lot of the state took a real hard hit in the last recession, things slowed a bit and prices dropped a bit here, nothing like the rest of the country. There is a perpetual shortage of homes, strong desirability to the area, intense land use restrictions that prevent a lot of sprawl, and some odd demographics like an Amish/Mennonite population with a ton of cash. As a result, some of the normal economic rules fail to apply. Good luck.
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Old 08-04-2020, 05:50 PM
 
2,355 posts, read 3,551,977 times
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Originally Posted by wharton View Post
Couple of things are play here. In 2016 the wife and I did exactly what you are planning. We spent eight months actively looking at existing homes in Lancaster county, and ended up in the Strasburg area. We looked at hundreds of homes online, dozens in person, (as drive-bys without the realtor) and a handful inside, in person. At that point, anything that was decent and better, and suitable for a retiree, as in a ranch or cape with a first floor master suite, was sell for asking plus, in days. Typically for cash, quick closings, and little demanded of the seller with inspections, repairs, etc.

Sadly, for buyers, things were a bit slower, and less of a seller's market at that point. Now it's just flat out insane, with a local broker telling me that the last forty years have never seen a local market this crazy. Inventory is less than half of what it was a year ago, and just about everything on the market sells in hours to days, over asking. A house is often is shown for a couple of days. Then the seller and agent sit down at a pre-arranged time to open the pile of bids, and find the one that best suits the seller. From what I've heard recently from my agent, if you don't have the cash readily available, aren't willing to pay over list for most desirable listings, and can't make a snap decision, you are out of the game when it comes to the majority of what's available.

My guess it that this market, like most others in the states, is heading for some ugly times. This might calm things down here. Be aware though, that when a lot of the state took a real hard hit in the last recession, things slowed a bit and prices dropped a bit here, nothing like the rest of the country. There is a perpetual shortage of homes, strong desirability to the area, intense land use restrictions that prevent a lot of sprawl, and some odd demographics like an Amish/Mennonite population with a ton of cash. As a result, some of the normal economic rules fail to apply. Good luck.
It’s like that EVERYWHERE. As I look at other states too. As I am in no rush.

My friend sold his home this weekend at an open house with multiple bids above asking. Another friend called me at said his neighbors brother knocked on his door last week and offered him 625k CASH for his home. Friend told me it’s worth about 550K

30 year fixed Mortgage rate Is 2.875%. I refinanced exactly last year at 2.875 for a 15 year fixed. I hope this doesn’t turn into 2008 all over again.
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Old 08-05-2020, 09:37 AM
 
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I am mostly struck by the lack of homes on the market right now. My husband and I had been looking at the Lancaster market for about a year now, and although never saw it with many homes that met our criteria, there were at least always some, with them selling fairly quickly but new ones popping up too.

Very recently though there's been almost nothing. We found a place we're really happy with and have just moved into, however I think we got very lucky. Because I've been checking the real estate websites compulsively for a year or so, I haven't yet kicked the habit even though we're in the new house. I feel like if this hadn't happened for us, we'd still be looking, perhaps looking for months more, and we were cash buyers. There's just very little available, especially if you have some features that are non-negotiable for you.
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Old 08-05-2020, 07:21 PM
 
588 posts, read 267,400 times
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Originally Posted by Spanky25 View Post
It’s like that EVERYWHERE. As I look at other states too. As I am in no rush.

.
Yea, glad I took the time to actually give some information that hopefully somebody else will actually get some value from? First, it should of been clear, but I'll repeat. In many ways, what goes on in LC is nothing like anywhere else in the the rest of the US real estate market, sure as sheet, LC isn't like EVERWHERE, and yes I am aware that a lot of markets in the country are hot right now.

First, a lot of what happens here in the world of RE transactions, you will never know about, until its over. In the last five years, over half of the homes in my neighborhood were sold in quiet, non-listed transactions. When you get to know the locals, eventually you develop a small group of folks who "want to be the first to know" if you decide to sell your place. I will be selling as soon as I see some stability in the pandemic and the economy, if that is next spring or two years from now. When I decide to make the move, it will be sold by the end of the day, for full market value, in cash, and it will be a month or longer, before anybody knows it even happened. There are entire townships in this county where Realtor.com and Zillow show little to no listings, yet millions of dollars change hands every month due to quiet transactions and auctions.

Next, few (if any?) other counties not only have a huge plain sect. population, but are blessed with plain folks that are extremely well off, and who have a giant impact on the overall local real estate market. Ever meet an Amish kid who isn't old enough to drink, but just added a $400K rental to his personal portfolio, and hopes to be like his older brothers and holding $2 million or so worth of income properties, in a few years? There is a young Amish guy building what is essentially a "hobby farm" in my backyard. The property is simply too small to ever turn a profit, and the giant new farmhouse and massive new barn are part of maintaining a culture, more than making money. It comes with a Mortgage of about $5K a month. Something your average doctor might struggle to afford, but this young guy is covered in cow manure while working a small dairy herd from before dawn until long after dark, while building furniture sixty hours a week, his income is one of several in the household. Before the recession, plain sect. names were nearly non-existent on the rolls of Lancaster City landlords, now they own one in five rental properties there.

TLDR: Amish and Mennonite investors and buyers have a multi-hundred million dollar impact on this market, spend exponentially MORE for things like small tracts of farmable that any rational, non-Amish farmer would ever dream of, and are huge players in the income property game. And no they are far from EVERYWHERE, as you put it.

Next, very few markets in the state, or nationally, have the preservation pressure you will find here. You might have noticed that most hot markets have big new construction players like Ryan, Pulte, Horton, Toll, etc... well represented. They are not seen too often here for one reason. They can't get enough ground to build on, and make an economic case for going through the grind of finding developable property, of reasonable size, AND avoiding a never ending battle with everybody from Amish farmers to local environmental activists, trying to keep it from happening. In some markets of this size, a player like Horton homes will have hundreds to thousands of buildable lots tucked away, in their inventory. I have seen local developers spend years, and years to get the final approval on subdivisions that are only a handful of lots. There is a multi year battle going on over a project here that is worth tens of millions or more, suitably zoned and approvable, but needing a fraction of an acre of preserved farm land to create a wide enough access road to the project. Neighbors have spent huge amounts of time and money battling the whole thing, and the preserved land is simply a no go zone.

It's good that you are in no hurry. Inventory is close to non-existent here, and obviously a national real estate crash is a virtual certainty. For the LC market, that may or may not mean a slight drop in prices, but it should lead to an increase in inventory. Spend some time actually learning what goes on here, or you take the chance of getting burned. I've discussed it on there threads here, but some dope just "won" the right to grossly overpay for what is essential a poorly build, worn out, should be torn down, single family home in my neighborhood. For less money they could of had a nearly new townhouse that didn't need $100K plus in work, or for $60-80K more than they paid, they could of had a stunning older single family, in a great location. They apparently got a bad case of FOMO, and really got one nasty, self-inflicted wound. Good luck, and like you said, don't be in a any hurry.
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Old 08-06-2020, 08:43 AM
 
1,055 posts, read 846,700 times
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Great info provided Wharton. I moved here in early March and I just now learned from a neighbor how many locals sell homes without even listing them with an agent or in the MLS listings. Pretty wild.

Funny, I see Mennonite women at the Costco parking lot all the time packing up their Lexus or Infiniti SUV's and it's comical in a sense on how wealthy some of these families really are. Honestly, I have no problem with it. They work hard, are humble people, and keep to themselves for the most part, and have earned their way in life.

I think your crazy to try and buy a home in the Lancaster area right now. There is no inventory at all, and if a nice home in the 250K to 400K price range comes on the market, an offer has already been accepted within 1 day and it goes for either asking price or higher with multiple bids. It's crazy.

I would rent first, esp since you are looking to retire. Where I live in Manheim Township, there are many rental communities available now, and most of them are really nice places to live.
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