Sorry I didn't get going on this earlier. Much to my surprise (and delight!) my lovely wife has all of a sudden become rather "antsy" about moving to Colorado, and relegating the wonderful People's Democratik Republik of Kaliforniastan to the dustbin of history.
I guess it started a few days ago when I was looking at real estate prices in the Fort Collins/Bellvue/Laporte/Wellington area, and saw some rather nice properties for about $75~100k less than what we'd walk away with if we sold this place.
She ran the numbers again, and confirmed my SWAG about the valuation vs what we owe, and realized she could retire early.
ANYWAY.....we could get a nice 3br 2ba on at least one acre of land, and if we moved a bit further out, we could get the same thing on 2~3 acres, and be well within our comfort zone regarding PITI, and other matters that she understands very well.
Here's one on 2.6 acres for $290,000:
Here's one on a 13,000 sqft lot for $250,000:
I noticed there's a trend towards Manufactured Housing in some areas, like the 2.6 acre property shown above.
I have no real opinion on Manufactured Housing (different link than above), other than I know it's improved tremendously over the last 25 years. My step son's future Father-In-Law (great guy) owns a construction company and builds "custom" homes, and has an excellent reputation in the area, so I'll talk to him about manufactured housing as used in that area before I make any final decision on it.
As an Engineer, I believe that if it was properly designed, properly assembled with quality components, and properly transported and installed, it should be OK.
As a potential buyer, I have a lot to learn!
And of course you can get real "fixer-uppers" in the $150,000~$200k range, but I'm just too damn old to take on another "fixer-upper" house!
Some more Good Things:
Colorado sales tax is 4.5~6.5%, compared to 9+% here.
Gasoline is 75 cents to a buck a gallon cheaper.
Food is cheaper.
Colorado state income tax is a flat-rate 4.63%, compared to 13.3% here.
Colorado property tax is generally under 1% (varies GREATLY by county), but on a less expensive home, it would be less than we're paying now, and it could very well be half of what we're paying now.
And I found several references to a "Senior Exemption" on the property tax, but as of this time, I have no idea what that means.
Our current house payment is in the $1800 range right now, and after she ran the numbers (again), she realized our payment would be in the $800~$1000 range.
The last thing she wants me to research are utility rates, and I want to look into "High Speed" Internet access.
We might possibly be out of here in two years, or less, compared to the 3~5 years she was looking at before.
I just hope things hold together that long........