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Old 06-21-2023, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Corinth, TX
429 posts, read 1,484,620 times
Reputation: 252

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Hi there... OK, so I'm a project manager and research & planning is what I do... so I'm driving my husband nuts with looking at retirement options so far in advance. Especially since I have him onboard with looking at Santa Fe (or surrounds) for potential retirement opps. And so, I'm looking for opinions and/or facts about moving the SF (or surrounds).

We are looking (hoping) to 'retire' in 5 years but if the SO can get his job to agree to a WFH situation full time, we could move sooner, which is my ultimate goal.

Currently living in the DFW, Texas area and it's too dang hot. TOO. DANG. HOT. And due to the heat and humidity, and lack of owning a boat... we don't find there's lots of stuff to do here in the summers. NM has more of the outdoorsy stuff we like to do - hiking, sitting with nice coffee on the patio or an evening under the stars with an adult beverage, mountains, visiting historical landmarks, etc. We would much rather be outside than in though we do enjoy museums and such. We are not cultured art-scene aficionados either but do enjoy the occasional galleries.

Born and raised in TX, lived several years in the Seattle area and then moved to Bernalillo in the midst of the 2008 economic crisis and ended back in TX after two years of trying to find jobs. My family homesteaded in Eastern NM in 1906 so to me, NM is "home". My husband... meh, depends on WHERE in NM he is as to how he likes it. He would move back to the PNW if I would but the weather finally wore me down (plus a few other things not worth diving into here).

We have visited SF several times, & loved it; I spent a part of every summer in the Pecos wilderness camping with my parents. And my husband and I camped quite a bit while living in Bernalillo. LOVE the culture and the history of New Mexico. When I'm there, I feel like I've come home. Peace and harmony and all that stuff. HOWEVER, I'm also a realist and know visiting is WAY different than living somewhere.

OK - so as we near retirement age (we'll be in our upper 50s in reasonably good health, if our retirement plans holds) we need to think beyond, "oooo wouldn't it be cool to live here" and think about some practicalities... I already know from looking that housing is crazy, it was in 2008 too, so we'll deal with that later (renting vs buying, acreage vs small city lot, etc) & keep our fingers crossed our place here continues to go up in value.

1). Healthcare accessibility - If you live in Santa Fe do you typically use healthcare facilities there, or do you prefer ABQ? Primary care docs vs specialists (cardiology, etc)

2). Taxes - I know there is a state income tax (around 5%, correct?), but what about property taxes? I've read that Santa Fe is around 0.64%, is that correct? That seems incredible to me when we are currently paying almost 3.0% in prop taxes in TX. I keep thinking there is a catch...

3). Utilities - What are they like? What I can remember in Bernalillo, they seemed about average (coming from the PNW where there's an abundance of hydro-power and mild weather our electric bill was negligible; Texas not so much).

3.a). Water/Sewage - If you are not in SF proper, are you typically on a private well or with a small water company/co-op? Do you have private septic or are you on a 'sewage line'? If you are on public sewage is it part of your water bill? We've always been on private septic system so the public sewage thing is new to us.

3.b). Cell phone/Internet accessibility - I don't remember it being an issue in Bernalillo but we were in Bernalillo, not rural. Are there areas in/around SF that are lacking in that respect?

4). What do you love most about living (or having lived) there and what do you hate most about living there? (and if its crowds/tourists or the influx of transplants, I get it - I feel the same way where we are now. People moving in, driving up prices, destroying wildlife habitat, etc.)

5). What should I be asking/thinking about that I am not asking or thinking about?
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Old 06-21-2023, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Santa Fe, NM
679 posts, read 1,471,275 times
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Lots of questions, which is a good thing. The number of people I have met or heard about that have moved without doing their due diligence……and then found it to be less than they had hoped…..is frightening.

Health care: I think things are getting better. Presbyterian is increasing their presence here and Christus St. Vincent looks like they are trying to up their game. So, the outlook would seem to be on the upswing. However, finding doctors that are accepting new patients can be a challenge. I am on primary care doctor #7 in less than 7 years. They keep leaving the area. On the other hand, I see a cardiologist that has been rock solid for 6 years, and I am happy with him. Same for a dermatologist and our eye doctor. I do not know if any of them are accepting new patients. In short, we have too few doctors, in my opinion. I do not think Santa Fe is alone in that. Albuquerque is certainly an option and I know people who do travel there for some of their doctors.

Taxes: The state income tax is graduated, but 4.9% on any amount over $16k for an individual or $20k for a couple. So, just figure 4.9% on the whole thing. As of 2022, Social Security income is not taxed for individuals making less than $100k or couples less than $150k. It is taxed above those incomes. Property taxes are based on 1/3rd of the assessed value. When I look at our 2022 bill, without our water district surcharge it calculates to .72% of the assessed value.

Utilities: That is a function of what you are used to. I generally find then “unremarkable” with the exception of water and trash collection. Those two will probably vary from our numbers depending on where you wind up in the area. I can pull numbers from last year and DM you our “average” bill, if that will help.

Water/Sewage: We live in Eldorado and are on the Eldorado Water and Sanitation District. So, we use a common water system but have our own septic system.

Cell/Internet: We use Verizon for cell service and have not had any problems, or at least any more than anywhere else we have lived. Internet is from Xfinity (Comcast) and is generally reliable and fast. We both work out of our house and are on the internet a lot. We do see some very short disruptions (literally 30 seconds to 2 minutes) from time to time. We have had longer outages, but that is usually due to somebody digging up a cable somewhere. Overall, it is not perfect but has been pretty reliable for us.

What do we love & hate: We moved here because we have a strong appreciation for Native American culture. That has not waned and has grown. “Traffic” is generally minor league compared to any big city. We also like the desert natural landscape. High tourist season can test one’s patience, but we moved here from a place with a similar problem so at this point it is almost a given and we adjust. Getting people to show up to do work can be a challenge, but again, that is not unique to this area. About once a year my wife laments not having a lot of “green” to look at, so we drive a few hours north and she gets her quota for the next year.

What else to consider: A lot of this you probably have already come to grips with since you lived in Bernalilo.

Altitude. If Bernalilo caused you no problems, the extra elevation of Santa Fe is not likely to bother you. I think Bernalilo is around 5,000 feet, Santa Fe roughly 7,000. Everybody has their “ceiling” that will cause them issues. Some will adjust over time to elevations beyond that, some won’t.

If you have allergies, they won’t disappear here. They may get worse. Chamisa hits many hard.

Since others considering the area will read this, a high-desert climate is not for everybody. It can be windy, dusty, and dry. Some don’t do well with that after a couple of years. Late March through about mid-May tend to be the windiest, so if somebody wants to visit in a time that will give them a snapshot of “the worst,” that may well be it.

I always recommend to people that they spend some time walking through a grocery store when they visit somewhere they are considering moving to. Grocery costs are very dependent on what they are being compared to.

I am sure I am overlooking something fairly obvious and hopefully others find my gaffe. Dissenting views are also encouraged, since everybody has their pet peeves.
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Old 06-22-2023, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Corinth, TX
429 posts, read 1,484,620 times
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@TheMule - Thanks for the quick and lengthy response. Lots of good info. Especially good tip about visiting the grocery stores. I shop in Portales, NM for my Dad occasionally but never really think about it when I'm doing it. I know there isn't a Costco in Santa Fe... could be a deal breaker. LOL And I know about the wind... my Dad lives in Eastern NM and a light breeze is 30 mph, that is one of our few hesitations.. UGH, the constant wind. I don't remember it so much in Bernalillo but I could be romanticizing our time there, or we were so protected it wasn't as bad.

What about veterinarian care? Do you have any opinions on those? We have a Lab and while he's a healthy 2 year old now, I also know he can tear knees and other crap as he goes along.

@riverdad - Thanks for the info... it's always encouraging to hear other retirees from Texas point of view. Yep, we are well aware that part of the state is very blue and while we don't like it, we are able to get along with most everyone (we lived 16 years in Seattle and made it just fine) and we'll just have do our part to make it purple. ;-) Yes, the milder heat temps and low humidity (and the mountains, and the outdoor stuff to do) is a HUGE draw for us. When we lived in Bernalillo, we never got a lot of snow so that is our one concern about moving up in elevation. Good to know about the propane cost, electric would be higher in the winter if you didn't have propane. And it can't be any more (I hope) than what we pay for electric here in TX. Especially in the summer.

And thanks for the info on the prop taxes and homeowners, that is what I found through my research but it just didn't seem right. Good to know it's true.

So in the Cedar Crest/Sandia Park area - do you feel like you have a good selection of restaurants or do you have to trek into ABQ? We have looked in that area and some of the views... amazing.
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Old 06-22-2023, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Santa Fe, NM
679 posts, read 1,471,275 times
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Veterinary care is hit and miss. The problem seems to be getting staff to maintain their hours. We recently switched vets because our 11-year old girl had an issue on a Saturday, and our nearby vet was not open weekends. They had been, but they simply don't have the staff. We took her to Smith's (not the grocery store) and she got excellent care.

That said, I am in another conversation elsewhere with a couple thinking of moving here and the subject of emergency vet services came up. The closest one is about 45 minutes from us, in Algodones. There used to be one in Santa Fe, but it closed during Covid and never reopened.

You didn't ask about the sales tax, but that is part of the whole tax equation. In Santa Fe, it is 8.3125%. I know, could it be a stranger number?

We have friends that have a Costco membership, and when they go, they do what we do when we go to Albuquerque....make an afternoon of it and have dinner. It is easy to get hung up on how far it is in miles, but after living in larger cities (for me Washington DC, the Bay Area in California, Phoenix, and St. Louis over the years), realizing it is 45 minutes to an hour offers a different benchmark. That length of drive was about what I would spend to do much of anything in the DC area or Bay Area). And the drive to Albuquerque is one of the easiest drives on the planet, I think. I always joke with people about my drive to ABQ airport, that I could do it in my sleep. Given that I have caught my share of 6am flights, I probably have.
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Old 06-22-2023, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Corinth, TX
429 posts, read 1,484,620 times
Reputation: 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mule View Post
Veterinary care is hit and miss. The problem seems to be getting staff to maintain their hours. We recently switched vets because our 11-year old girl had an issue on a Saturday, and our nearby vet was not open weekends. They had been, but they simply don't have the staff. We took her to Smith's (not the grocery store) and she got excellent care.
Good vet info... I had a similar issue when my Dad's dog was bitten by a rattler several years ago on as Saturday - all the vets were closed and no emergency vet unless I went to Lubbock. One in Clovis was closing in min and I said I could be there in an hour and they were like, we'll be closed... really? I just told you a 10 wk old puppy had been bitten by a rattler and you can't stay open for me??? Anyway, I nursed her through it and she made it, and kept her leg. Do not recommend getting bitten.

And while we are on the subject, what about dog boarding? We try to travel with him but there are times when its not feasible. We currently have a woman that watches him in her home for CHEAP, like $30/day. She works from home so it's like he's still with us (we both WFH too). Is there 'easy' access to relaible and good boarding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mule View Post
You didn't ask about the sales tax, but that is part of the whole tax equation. In Santa Fe, it is 8.3125%. I know, could it be a stranger number?
I didn't ask about sales tax because I figured our was about the same or higher... it is 8.25% so not too much difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mule View Post
We have friends that have a Costco membership, and when they go, they do what we do when we go to Albuquerque....make an afternoon of it and have dinner. It is easy to get hung up on how far it is in miles, but after living in larger cities (for me Washington DC, the Bay Area in California, Phoenix, and St. Louis over the years), realizing it is 45 minutes to an hour offers a different benchmark. That length of drive was about what I would spend to do much of anything in the DC area or Bay Area). And the drive to Albuquerque is one of the easiest drives on the planet, I think. I always joke with people about my drive to ABQ airport, that I could do it in my sleep. Given that I have caught my share of 6am flights, I probably have.
Funny you mention the drive... when we lived in Seattle, everyone was like, oh that's 20 min away you won't want to go there.. and I'm like, I'm from Texas, we drive 60 miles to a Dairy Queen. LOL And we are about the same distance (maybe 10 miles closer but not time-wise) to the DFW airport as we'd be to ABQ so that's not an issue. Costco - meh, it is what it is. Maybe if we have to drive further we'll save more, sometimes convenience isn't a good thing. LOL

Speaking of convenience... what about deliveries (i.e. Amazon)? I know my Dad (in Pep, NM) has issues getting stuff delivered. And heaven help me, I'm an Amazon junkie... again, convenience isn't a good thing. haha
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Old 06-22-2023, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Santa Fe, NM
679 posts, read 1,471,275 times
Reputation: 1120
Quote:
Originally Posted by WasSoggyInSeattle View Post
Good vet info... I had a similar issue when my Dad's dog was bitten by a rattler several years ago on as Saturday - all the vets were closed and no emergency vet unless I went to Lubbock. One in Clovis was closing in min and I said I could be there in an hour and they were like, we'll be closed... really? I just told you a 10 wk old puppy had been bitten by a rattler and you can't stay open for me??? Anyway, I nursed her through it and she made it, and kept her leg. Do not recommend getting bitten.

And while we are on the subject, what about dog boarding? We try to travel with him but there are times when its not feasible. We currently have a woman that watches him in her home for CHEAP, like $30/day. She works from home so it's like he's still with us (we both WFH too). Is there 'easy' access to relaible and good boarding?

I didn't ask about sales tax because I figured our was about the same or higher... it is 8.25% so not too much difference.

Funny you mention the drive... when we lived in Seattle, everyone was like, oh that's 20 min away you won't want to go there.. and I'm like, I'm from Texas, we drive 60 miles to a Dairy Queen. LOL And we are about the same distance (maybe 10 miles closer but not time-wise) to the DFW airport as we'd be to ABQ so that's not an issue. Costco - meh, it is what it is. Maybe if we have to drive further we'll save more, sometimes convenience isn't a good thing. LOL

Speaking of convenience... what about deliveries (i.e. Amazon)? I know my Dad (in Pep, NM) has issues getting stuff delivered. And heaven help me, I'm an Amazon junkie... again, convenience isn't a good thing. haha

We use a place called Top Dog Pet Resort when we board our girl. I think they are $55 a day, so not cheap, but they seem to know what they are doing. They are on a frontage road of I25 off Cerrillos Road. There are pet sitters around, but we've never used one. Some are supposedly pretty good.


FedEx, UPS, Amazon, and the Post Office are regulars at dropping off packages here. The biggest problem we have had is with our regular mail. We are on a first name and text basis with the guy who lives on a different street, but his address has the same numbers. That seems to have gotten better recently.
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Old 06-24-2023, 06:29 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
5,127 posts, read 7,584,649 times
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Sounds like Albuquerque has more of what you need: Costco, 24-hour veterinary services, more health care options, lower COL. If you are used to larger cities it will feel very manageable. Or, you could try Bernalillo again since you are already familiar with it, or nearby Rio Rancho or Corrales.
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Old 06-25-2023, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Corinth, TX
429 posts, read 1,484,620 times
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@aries63…

Costco is about the only thing we’ll miss from the city. We def aren’t City people, living a development (that doesn’t have acreage) is our last resort (we are on 20 acres now). The only other concerning thing is medical stuff & I only bring it up because of where my Dad lives & the lack of it as he has gotten older. So I know for our retirement we’d like to be within an hour of decent med care. Otherwise we’d be up in the mountains, off-grid. And Rio Rancho isn’t an option, just not what we are looking for.

I’d be OK with Placitas but the hubs prefers SF.

We have some time, just trying to research & plan.
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Old 06-25-2023, 11:04 AM
 
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If it weren't for the healthcare situation and the wind, I'd probably move back to northern New Mexico. I found where I lived (Mora County and San Miguel County) very windy all year round. It gets old really fast, especially if you live on a ranch where all your work is outdoors and you have to stay inside for sometimes 4 days at a time unless you want to bundle up against the wind, but even then it's difficult. If one isn't too outdoor oriented or needing to work outdoors and has adequate shelter, it's a really wonderful place to live.
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Old 06-25-2023, 02:18 PM
 
Location: 5,400 feet
4,932 posts, read 4,923,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WasSoggyInSeattle View Post
I’d be OK with Placitas but the hubs prefers SF.

We moved to Placitas 24 years ago. We looked at maybe 30-40 houses in the ABQ and Santa Fe areas before moving. Housing prices in Santa Fe were easily 25-30% higher than comparables here in Placitas. Placitas is also in an unincorporated area, so property taxes are lower than both ABQ and SF.
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