The 'Couv'

The 'Couv'

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How Far Will Someone Drive to Live?

Originally posted in Real Estate with Realtor Rod, April 11th, 2014

Well that's a loaded question. I think I would drive indefinitely rather than face the prospect of not living! I guess that title needs some clarification. In real estate the general rule of thumb is that people will drive to own but not to rent. That is to say someone is often willing to make a long commute if it allows them to buy a home they could not otherwise afford. Rentals in general however, are less so. People tend to rent in close to work. These are broad generalizations of course and some markets, like Seattle that have hyper-inflated pricing are exempt from that line of thinking.
I recently took a fabulous listing in Yacolt, WA. This house was completely remodeled down to the last nail. Well, almost the last nail anyway ;) The home is gorgeous and is priced at just $198k. This house in Vancouver wouldn't last the day at that price but in Yacolt, it sits quietly awaiting the lucky person that finds her. Yacolt isn't really all that far out. In fact it is a great little town of around 1,200 people nestled in the mountains at the entrance to the forest. There is a library, school, town hall, tavern, country store, etc. For the more urban amenities one need only travel to Battle Ground about 15 minutes away. Freddies, Safeway, Walmart (opening soon) and everything else you need on regular basis is right there. Virtually everything remaining can be had in the 'Couv' or Portland. In fact PDX is 45 minutes away according to map-quest it is 31 miles. That's about the same time and distance as Hillsboro, OR is to PDX.

It is all perspective. Yacolt is a small town and up in the hills. The scenery is breathtaking whereby Hillsboro in contrast is predominately urban all the way to the airport. During rush hour, Yacolt is faster to PDX than Hillsboro. Yet there is resistance to rural areas that are essentially closer than some urban counterparts to the "center" of the metro area.

For buyers this means there could be wonderful opportunities for tremendous value in a short drive. Rural towns lack some close in convenience but gain that amazing small town ambiance that cannot be duplicated in the city. Too many buyers miss a golden chance at the kind of living most people say they want in surveys, yet act differently when it comes time to look for a home.

here in Southwest Washington we have a variety of these less populated places that offer a chance to get away from it all with out getting too far away. La Center, Woodland, Amboy, Yacolt, Rural Washougal, etc. Before you dismiss that great house in that cute little town, take a drive and check it out, you may just become a believer.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Over 55 Communities for those on a Budget

I have spent a fair amount of time chattering on about some of the spectacular places in Southwest Washington that one might choose to retire to. But what about a retiree that doesn't want to sink the whole 401k into a residence? What about retiring on a budget?

That can be achieved and Vancouver, Washington offers several affordable alternatives to high prices. There are several over 55 communities with manufactured homes in Clark County but two of them stand out as a strong value proposition for the discriminating retiree on budget.

Vista Del Rio in Fisher's Landing, Vancouver and Cascade Park Estates in Vancouver. The former is located adjacent to a very nice neighborhood of upscale homes priced well into the 300s. The park is conveniently located near Fairway Village (see post on Fairway Village here.). It is also quite close to the SR14 freeway, PDX and the amazing 164th Avenue retail and business corridor of the East side of the 'Couv'. This community is built along the gentle slopes at the bottom of Prune Hill. Some of the units offer nice views across the river to Portland and the West Hills. The area is a mix of older 1980s and newer 2000s homes. The park has a nice clubhouse with all the amenities to keep a socialite happy. It also offers a nice pool and indoor recreation as well. Homes in this community can be found between $50,000 and $120,000. Ground lease fees will probably run around $500 per month.

Cascade Park Estates offers less in the way of social and recreational activity and more along the lines of security. It is a gated community. The homes are all newer than 1993 and the place is clean as a whistle. It is also very well located at 164th and SE 1st which is right in the heart of the East side business and retail area. Everything is close, doctor, dentist, shopping the whole bit. Prices here are a touch higher than Vista Del Rio with units running $70,000 to well above $140,000. Space rent running a bit higher as well.

I sold my in-laws a unit in Cascade and they are delighted. They love the location and they love all the extra cash they have for Cruises, Travel, Dining, etc. Their home is gorgeous and the overall cost is low.

A high quality manufactured home in nice community like these can be an excellent way to free up some of the "fixed" income and have some fun.