The 'Couv'

The 'Couv'

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Getaway destinations for the winter blues...

I posted this a few years ago and it still rings true today!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Warm Getaways that are Close!
As we transition into the dark and gloomy fall and it's colder big brother, Winter, some of our residents begin to think about getaways to warmer climates. Sometimes a trip to Hawaii or the Caribbean are just a little too much dough or maybe just too long a trip. Sometimes a weekend getaway is just what the doctor ordered.

Here in Southwest Washington we have great access to one of America's favorite airports. From PDX there are many destinations that are less than three hours air time away.


Las Vegas, NV

753 miles flight @ 2:05 or drive 1054 miles from the 'Couv'

January average temps run 39 low and 58 high. January averages just about a half inch of rain; so dry is almost guaranteed. Vegas can be chilly as it sits at an elevation around 2500 feet. It is high and dry and still much warmer on average than most of Washington State in January

Vegas is a great getaway destination. Flight times out of PDX run about two hours flat. Vegas isn't just about gambling. This town draws people from around the world for food, spirits, conventions, shows and yes even some gambling from time to time.

Los Angeles, CA

824 miles flight @ 2:20 or drive 970 miles from the 'Couv'

January average temps run 48 low and 68 high. January averages just a hair over 3 inches of rain. Generally it all comes in one storm. So again dry is likely. And daytime temps in the upper 60s, Yeah, that doesn't happen here in January. LA is basically at sea level.

LA is huge, They have more people than Northern California, Oregon, and Washington COMBINED! I am pretty sure you can find something to do there. The area is served by multiple airports. It will be crowded however so keep that in mind.

Palm Springs, CA

868 miles flight @ 2:15 or drive 1075 miles from the 'Couv'

January average temps run 45 low and 71 high. January averages just about an inch of rain. This is not high desert as many people think. Palm Springs sits at just 440 feet above sea level. It can get chilly at night but not as bad as Vegas and daytime highs averaging in the 70s in the dead of winter is tough to complain about. Palm Springs is not afraid of tossing around some 90s in January either.

If you like golf, then this is your ticket. This area has over 100 golf courses.

San Diego, CA

930 miles flight @ 2:25 or drive 1090 miles from the 'Couv'

January average temps run 49 low and 65 high. January averages just shy of 2 inches of rain. San Diego has what could easily be considered the best all round weather in North America. Of course I like four seasons and San Diego has only one; pleasant. It sits at sea level.

San Diego is a big city with much to do. It is less crowded than LA but more so than Portland/Vancouver.

Phoenix, AZ 

1000 miles flight @ 2:35 or drive 1341 miles from the 'Couv'

January average temps run 46 low and 67 high. January averages just shy of an inch of rain. Phoenix is not technically high desert as it is situated just above 1000 feet. It can be a bit nippy overnight but temps will average in the upper 60s by day.

This is another great golf getaway but Phoenix is one of America's largest cities and if golf isn't your thing there are plenty of other opportunities for getaway relaxation.

There it is in a nutshell; five great getaways to consider when the cold, gloomy winter gets you down!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Big Washington Choice!

In my everyday dealings with clients I often come across a wise person looking to retire to our magnificent state. In fact I have such a person right now. The state of Washington is pretty big and we have an enormous diversity of climate, terrain, and landscape. The biggest issue can sometimes be, 'where in Washington shall I move'?

I have a coastal blog where I write about our wonderful beach towns and the immense value they bring to retirees. I will be showing homes on the Long Beach Peninsula tomorrow. Today however I travel to Goldendale to view some awesome big acreage properties. A couple with 20 acres in fact. Goldendale is quite a bit more dry than the locales on the west side of the Cascades. It makes for more sunshine but colder winter temps as well. Furthering the dilemma, Washington offers both east and west cascades mountain locations with rich forests and spectacular mountains.

This amazing diversity makes Washington State hard to beat for a very wide variety of retirees and climate and topographical desires. No my friends this isn't the southern sun belt so it will get chilly in the winter no matter what part of the Evergreen State you choose to reside.

Today I show this cool log cabin style home on 20 acres in Goldendale. It's small but hey 20 acres and $165k heck yeah!

Tomorrow I'll be out at the beach showing this $160k delight just minutes to the crashing Pacific.

From Vancouver each of these is in near opposite directions and both about 120 miles away. The beach will have moderate temps year round with little snow but tons of rain and clouds, while the Goldendale property will see loads of sunshine, hardly any rain, but some very cold winter temps and a fair bit of snowfall.

Pick your poison my friends because Washington has something for everyone and the lack of an income tax lets you keep MORE or your retirement cash!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Retiring with Land

There are some who want to retire to a little bit of a "spread." You know, some land, small acreage. You work, commute to a job and then reach a point where it's time to settle in for the golden years on a nice little plot somewhere. Southwest Washington State is an ideal place to do just that.

Although five acreage build able lots have crept up in value over the last 20 years they are still had for $150-$300k depending on location, level, views, perc, etc. Finding a home already built on a five acre parcel is not difficult at the $500k level. Although half a million dollars is steep when measured against the national median home price, it is not too heavy when contrasted against a West Coast typical suburban house in Portland, Seattle or most coastal California areas. A retiree can sell their three bed two bath ranch in the Seattle 'burbs for $450,000 to $650,000 and find a comparative palace on five acres in Battle Ground, WA

Small acreage that is level and grassy will require some maintenance but lots that are heavily treed or steep with a view are easier to maintain in general. The latter however is often less usable land. It all depends are what one is looking for. Use of a large space or privacy. Maybe a little of both.

Clark County, Washington offers a great variety of small acreage lots with or without homes and reasonable prices and most importantly, very close in to the city level services. Having a five acre spread and still making it o the airport in 30 minutes is wonderful. Having close in access to medical services and shopping is nice too.

Maybe you don't want five acres. Perhaps an acre is more your style. That's OK as these smaller parcels are around as well. The house shown here is listed at $589k and is a fabulous property with privacy and in real close to freeways and services.

What ever a retiree is looking for there is a great chance it can be found in southwest Washington.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Allergies? We aren't bad at all!

I suffer from spring allergies here in the metro Portland-Vancouver area and much to my surprise nearby Portland, OR was ranked last on a list of 100 worst cities for allergy sufferers in a 2013 report. Link here. Ranking last by the way, is a good thing, so this came as a bit of a surprise and in fact San Francisco CA was considered quite a bit WORSE than either Portland or Seattle the two Northwest cities west of the Cascades on the list.

We have so many flowering plants and trees I figured we would be up near the top. Yet there we are at the bottom of a list you don't want to top. It appears to be yet another reason to consider the Evergreen State as your final destination. Your place to retire. Seattle is a bit crowded, and VERY expensive leaving Vancouver as an ideal spot as the second largest city in the Portland,OR-Vancouver, WA metro area, and the defacto second largest city in the state.

With all the things we have to deal with as we get older, the aches and pains, the bum knee, sore back, yada, yada, yada... why suffer through allergies also? Well apparently here in the Evergreen State you get all the gloriously beautiful trees, bushes, flowers and leaves without that nasty allergic stuff. As if the natural grandeur of the Northwest, favorable tax environment, and relatively mild weather weren't enough, we are a bit easier on the eyes and nose as well.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Tax Laws, Could Make the Evergreen State even Better

The new Federal Tax Laws offers a much larger standard deduction for all citizens. This is highly beneficial for retirees and empty-nesters that often have too few deductions to take advantage of itemizing. Now with the standard deduction nearly doubled retirees will keep more of their money and Washington's no income tax policy is that much better as the Feds eliminated a large portion of the state tax exemption. 

Washington again looks good against many of its Western State rivals. Our moderate climate on the Pacific side of the Cascades is a plus as well. Washington State also has a booming economy and that means local governments are flush with cash to keep roads, parks and other local services well funded.

Locally here in Clark County, Washington much is happening including the amazing Vancouver Waterfront project with the first five buildings rising up along the Columbia River. Thousands of housing units are coming online including senior housing both downtown and all over the area.

Vancouver and Southwest Washington are enjoying the fruits of the state and regional economic boom and a strong positive migration. This all points to good reasons to consider the area for retirement.

The local area has excellent health care facilities and a great deal of both indoor and outdoor activities to lead a healthy and active lifestyle well into the retirement years. Washington State is back as a top choice for retirees.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Retire to the Coast?

Originally posted 2/6/2018 on Evergreen Coastal Living, by Rod Sager

Many people that move to the Southwest Washington Coast are retired. It makes sense, really as retired people do not rely as much on the availability of high paying jobs as do those still in the working years. The coast is not exactly a hotbed of high tech nor is it filled with factory jobs. The only real stumbling block is that the coast is a fair distance away from the larger cities along the Oregon-Washington Interstate 5 corridor. The Long Beach Peninsula enjoys very reasonable housing costs and that can be a big bonus for fixed income retirees.

However there does come a time when we get older and need to visit our doctors a little more often. It is here that living on the quasi-remote coast can be an issue. There are plenty of physicians operating a practice on the Long Beach Peninsula and on the northern Oregon Coast, but hospitals and specialists may require an inland run to Longview which is 60 miles away.

This is probably the primary concern for retiring to the coast. If the medical services are adequate for your needs the rest is easy. Who doesn't want to enjoy the spectacular Pacific Ocean coastline? The weather at the coast is also more mild with wintertime temps a solid 8-10° warmer overnight and summertime highs an easy 10-15° cooler than most of the Portland Metro Area. Although the temps tend to be better moderated the rainfall is not. The coast can take a lickin' from frequent winter storms and that can mean a lot of rain and wind. Long Beach receives on average 79 inches a rain a year and that is double what Portland and Vancouver get on average. It's not that it rains more often, but more that it just rains harder.

But the coast is not that much different in terms of weather patterns and a nice long period of relatively dry conditions which arrive in July and stick around through the middle of September most years.

Yes friends, retiring to the beach isn't for everyone, but it could be just the ticket for you so check it out!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Washington Losing Favor Among Best Place to Retire?

I have noticed that Washington State has the appearance of falling out of 'favor' among the many magazines and blogs that write up all those best places to retire lists we are bludgeoned with on a routine basis.

So what happened? I'll tell you what happened, Seattle happened. Washington State has a population of roughly 7.5 million people. King County is one of 39 counties in Washington. It has 2.2 million residents. One county that has more than a quarter of the states residents. The metropolitan Seattle Area has over half the state's population. Housing in Seattle is now among the highest in the united state. In fact of California's 58 counties, only seven have a median home price higher than King County. The primary reason California has been nearly eliminated from those retire to list has been the combination of high housing costs and high taxes, the "deadly duo" if you will.

One might expect that Washington State has approached California overall in housing costs, yet that is simply not the case. According to Zillow's latest reports, the state wide median for Washington is $359,100 against $535,100 in California. Washington State is very high on real estate costs when compared to the nation as a whole, but falls well under California once you get out of Greater Seattle. Seattle suffers from the "deadly duo" as well with high taxes and high housing costs. But King County has a lot of heavy local taxes that are simply not applied elsewhere in the state.

Let's take sales tax for a moment. The sales tax rate in Seattle is 9.6%. Let's contrast that with the sales tax rate in White Salmon, WA in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge and it's only 7.5% That's a big difference! Wenatchee, WA recently landed on Forbes list of best retirement cities, it has a sales tax rate of 8.4% which is equal to our area here in Clark County Washington and well below the rate paid in Seattle. But unlike Seattle, Wenatchee has a very cool and reasonable median home price of just, $267,200.

When retiring to Washington State, one has to contrast where they live now against the costs in the place they choose to retire. People coming from say Iowa where the median home price is $132,600 will have sticker shock in any of Washington State's 39 counties. People coming from California and not moving to King County, will likely find the property values manageable in Washington.

Washington State has two distinct sides, the wet side and the dry side. On the dry side rainfall totals are in the arid range with cities like Goldendale, Yakima, the Tri-Cities area and Wenatchee seeing well under 20 inches of precipitation annually. These areas tend to be much more sunny and have warm bordering on hot summers and cold winters with significantly more snow than Western Washington cities. The wet side has very mild temperatures year round. Wenatchee is on the dry side so that may have played a role in Forbes ranking.

Locally here in Clark County Washington, the median home price sits just under the statewide average at $334,300. We have close proximity to Portland, OR that borders Clark County and Vancouver, WA. This is a solid choice for retirees as the housing costs are still manageable, services are excellent including health care, shopping, proximity to Oregon's no sales tax and devoid of any state income tax. Rainfall is moderate with Vancouver seeing on average 40 inches a year of rain. We do have extended cloudy periods as does most of the "wet side" of Washington. But we enjoy warm and dry summers that are to die for and lush greenery year round. The mountains are spectacular, the Columbia Gorge is right next door and the famous Oregon Coast is as accessible to us as it is to Portland.

Yes friends, Washington may not be the "best place to retire" list darlings like we were a couple years back, but that is more about metrics and magazine sales as it is about actual retirement living. Southwest Washington remains a great place to retire.