The decision to relocate is very personal and complex. We were open to relocation for several reasons.
- Obtain more space, privacy and a one-story home.
- We had substantial history with Arizona and New Mexico. I lived in Tucson Arizona earlier in my life and we visited once or twice every year. We also visited New Mexico nearly every year.
- We enjoy “the Arizona lifestyle” which is characterized by a lot of outdoor living, sunshine and open floor plans.
- We believed that our retirement dollars would stretch further outside of California.
- More available and less costly health insurance
Given this back drop, we had two potential places to relocate to. To help us, we worked out way through a book called Retirement Places Rated: What You Need to Know to Plan the Retirement You Deserve. It rated possible retirement destinations and also provided exercises to help understand what matters to you. I remember that my top requirement was security and CeCe’s was cost. Overall, we were pretty much in agreement.
Armed with the insights gleaned from our personal assessment and all the data provided in the book, we first traveled to Albuquerque. We had hooked up with a realtor and arranged to look at houses with him. We always enjoy looking at houses so it was a fun thing to do. We found one house that we liked but weren’t absolutely crazy about. And then there was our adventure in a community north of Albuquerque called Placitas. The roads (at least at that time) were pretty rough and not well signed. Our realtor wanted to assure us that he was up on technology which included his GPS. We were following him in our car as he led the way. We were having difficulty finding this one house when CeCe said, Hey we’re going in a circle! So we actually called him to point that out! Good thing we did or we may have run out of gas!
Next we visited Arizona. We were out driving around in the rain in Fountain Hills. We stopped by an open house where we met our eventual realtor by chance. We looked around and generally felt more encouraged than we were with Albuquerque.
We then discussed whether we would choose NM or AZ. There were two big things that led us to AZ. The first was that we could drive in one day back to the Bay Area. The second was that nearly all of the stores that we were familiar with were also in AZ.
We decided that our first step would be to sell our CA house. After it sold, I flew to AZ to meet with our realtor. The purpose was to find a one bedroom furnished condo to rent on a monthly basis. Since it wasn’t prime time for the influx of winter visitors, I was able to find a decent place in one day.
The timing was such that our house closed and we moved after we had leased the condo in AZ. We had our mover put our furnishings in storage and we loaded up our cars and drove to our condo.
Living in the condo enabled us to go house hunting in a relatively leisurely manner. We had looked at tons of houses online before we went out to look at houses with our realtor. We found the house that we are living in sooner rather than later. We were able to cut the seller some slack in terms of a closing date because we had the condo. So when the time came we simply called our moving company and had them bring out our furnishings.
In retrospect, we have no regrets with our decision to relocate.