Moving two hours north to country/rural area temporarily to save $50k+ for a couple years

TL;DR: Move two hours north/away from family to save $24k+ per year?

So, this does definitely jive with my buying land thread, but is a bit different. This scenario just came upon us, and so I figured it was worthy of its own thread, since this is a topic around our primary house rather than a “vacation” house.

Current situation: live an hour from wife’s parents, and an hour from mine, and pay $2900/month to live in a 1300sqft townhouse (2bedroom/1.5bath). ($2623 is PITI + $300 HOA). Owe $340k~ on the condo, can probably sell it for about $370k. Have put hardwoods in, redid master bath, new moulding, added 110sqft office in basement, great schools, one car garage.

Proposal: buy 1400sqft house (plus 300sqft 3-season room) on .3 acres two hours north of us. The nearest city is an hour away, and we’d be in a ski town. Grocery store, etc. is nearby but otherwise it’s just a small town in the mountains. The kicker is: PITI goes to under $900/month. Schools in this area are horrendus. No real resale or rental probability for schooling purposes, but certainly AirBNB potential in the winter months ($1-2k/week in winter months). We would be 2:40 from her dad+step mom, 2 hours from my family, but only 15 minutes from her mom. She has a pretty good relationship with her mom, and her mom being so close would allow us to have some help for our child (date nights, etc.).

HHI is about $200k this year between my work from home job and wife’s work from home freelance gig, while she stay at home mothers our 10-month old. Maxing my 401k, HSA, and will do IRA for wife this year since we’re eligible again.

Current savings plan has us saving about $50k by sometime in 2020, in addition to our existing savings. If we were to move into this rural house for two years, we’d add another $50kish on top of that. Ideally, we want to buy a $500k home somewhere near our current location, but maybe a bit more north–definitely not where the rural house is. However, I just can’t stomach saving $150k to dump it all into a house and then we’re back at $0 savings with a $350k mortgage.

Since our child is just under a year old, we have at least three years before we have to worry about school districts. My wife is semi-on board with the idea. The house has been in her family for quite a while, and the aunt owns it outright. She is looking for $150k, but we’re thinking to come in at $125k contingent on a satisfactory inspection (roof and foundation are my two largest concerns).

Thoughts? If you need any more info, just ask. I have been talking about this with my wife, and have ran it by some friends, so my mind is pretty scrambled up at this point. I may have left something out.

Plan A: buy house and close by December 2017, AirBNB it this winter, move into the house in spring 2018, sell condo spring 2018, stay for two~ years and save money, buy “forever home,” keep ski house as AirBnB (or sell it, whatever at that point). Buying the house would eat into a significant chunk of our current savings, but we would recoup that quickly via a more pared down lifestyle, less housing costs, etc. Also, HELOC is a possibility.

Plan B: buy house by December 2017, AirBnB it, remain in condo, hope AirBnB rentals can pay mortgage+expenses+profit a bit, keep it as an investment house. Buying the house would eat into a significant chunk of our current savings, but we would recoup that eventually, and could tap the equity via a HELOC if we needed to. We would use it in the off season as a summer house, at our will.

Plan B.5: buy house, move into house, rent condo (I think renting the condo leaves us at about negative 300-500 per month, cash flow wise).

Plan C: don’t do this is at all because it’s a dumb idea, but then i tell myself that I’ve had car payments more than $900 per month, making less than I make now, so somehow that rationalizes it?

Cmon FWF crew. Poke holes!

ETA: we have discussed about being far from friends, family, activities, etc. Also, if I lost my work from home job, we’d be incomeless (I guess her freelance gig is income, but not enough to support us), but at $900/month for housing, we could live quite a long time on savings in the house. In the condo, our current savings would be eaten up within a year.


WHOA! With your edits, you’ve answered all my non-finance questions!
Let us know when you’re done editing. :slight_smile:

Forget the rationalization under Plan C.


Sorry. I was going to just ETA everything, but figured I’d edit in-line, so it was easier for anyone to read. I was hoping I was typing fast enough to get in before anyone asked questions. Sorry for making you reread.

Yes, I agree 100% about the rationalizing thing. But, I’d be lying if the thought hasn’t crossed my mind a few times. Not justifying because of my old silly car payment, but perhaps not seeing the forest through the trees.

I’m done editing.

Only because you asked to poke holes:

I was sort of on board until I read this. I thought you were going to look for a place on the market and buy that. I didn’t know you were buying a family home.

What if the market jumps up big time and the house is worth $200k when you go to sell it? You’re setting yourself up for a family feud. Or if the place is a moneypit and your Aunt is laughing while you replace the roof, the septic, the furnace, etc.

I’m not saying don’t do it, but if you’re looking to ‘save’ $50k consider everything, including the absolute dirt cheapest rent in a 2hr radius of you. That way you can bank the $24k without something major like a furnace going out hitting you hard. Since this is family home you could probably buy it in a few years anyway.

What kind of date nights are you gonna pull off 2+ hours from the city?

Have you ever moved everything you own with a 1-2 year old? Not fun.

Also not 100% convinced this will be a 24k a year savings. Your heat bill, groceries and misc. expenses will probably go up as cabin fever sets in. Cost to move 2hrs away and back, Snow tires, etc. etc. etc.

A pared down lifestyle doesn’t need to be caused by living in the middle of nowhere. You could set a really tough to hit budget and throw out all non-necessary spending and move into a 1bedroom apt for 1 year and probably save $50k in 1 year. That’s a rough 1 year but if the plan is $50k more in the bank for some reason then go hard, or go home.


Any chance you could move to another state? Save enough more money on property taxes and state income taxes. Not have to deal with NY state laws. And better weather.

Personally, if you’re not living directly in Manhattan, I don’t see the benefit of living in NY State. You’re subject to the same heavy taxation, over regulation and over restriction and government over reach, same terrible weather, but none of the benefits of living in NYC. It’s literally the worst of all worlds. It would be like living in Rural California if the weather was bad.


Why move at all if not into the forever house? Moving twice in two years is hard regardless of financial reasons.


Not trying to be dense, nor an ass, but did you miss the part where we save an additional $50k in two years, thus getting us closer to the forever home by two years? This is literally the entire reason for this situation.

It’s not as bad as you say, but I understand your point. The reason is, this is here now, and it’s an opportunity to do something without agents, thus saving on transaction costs. Then when we leave, we can rent it out seasonally and have an investment property.


I guess what I’m saying is that to do it, you and your wife should really think it’s worth $25k/year for the trouble. At least compared to just renting a $900/month place within the same 2 hour radius.

It’s really two decisions. Should you buy the country house and/or should we downsize our housing payment?


I have and heartily agree. Not fun. With a little one underfoot, it takes much longer to get all your stuff settled in the new place, too.

Generally, if I didn’t absolutely have to, I wouldn’t choose to move knowing that I’d have to do it again in 2 years. But I realize that it might not bother some people. That’s just my take on it, not considering any money angles.

This is 110% about the money at this point. There is a lot of sacrifice on our quality of life, but it may be a small toll to pay to get us closer to our “forever home.”

I’d say if all the non-financial reasons we’ve mentioned don’t talk you out of it, to just go for it. Even if you merely break even on the country house, you’re automatically ahead by the lower living costs. Who knows? You might like it out there and want to stay a while :slight_smile:

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It’s good that you have an idea of your priorities. If your wife is on board with this and you don’t mind 2 moves in a short period of time, why not? :slight_smile:


You really think it’s possible to blow through 2an extra 24k a year, when that’s the sole purpose of making such a move? I’m looking for possible ways this could happen, aside from a major medical issue or whatever.

There is no “forever home.” The only forever home is the grave, and you will like it very little no matter how nice :stuck_out_tongue:

A better “deal” in my mind, is to crank out a second baby while your wife is already home. The first baby would thank both of you immensely, and the extra cost is marginal. No need for play dates. Your kids will just play with each other!

I would drop the country home idea. It’s boring for someone unused to country life. The cheap price will be there even 10 years from now.

You might be able to gain $50k by putting in some sweat equity into your current condo. Look for ways to make your condo nicer, more desirable, and try to do most of the work yourself.


Depending on appreciation in your current locale, the $500k forever house might be $550k in 2.5 years…I would not make this move. $500k house on $200k salary is sustainable…if you buy your for ever home now, you enjoy it for 2 more years.

I read MSY’s comment as talking about a break even on the house itself, buy at 150k, sell at 150k.


I suggest thinking a lot harder to find an easier way to make 25K / yr. I’ve done something similar and would not do it again. I usually do the pro - con lists. Please let me assist with your con list.

Unless you’ve lived in the country before, it will be harder than you think. From shopping to services to healthcare to activities, there will be a lot less than you’re used to. Date night? Ha! Think of a 3 month date season, otherwise known as shoveling the driveway. It’s good exercise, though.

Expect your house to be less well insulated than your condo, and HVAC costs to be higher. If there is a wood stove to assist with heating, you’ve just found another 3 month date season, otherwise known as wood chopping, splitting, and stacking. It’s good exercise, though.

If your home based business / employment is dependent on reliable, high speed internet, good luck.

Even though your yard will be tiny, you will still need (to purchase): a lawn mower, weed eater, axe, rake, shovel, snow shovel, etc.

You’ll need an extra set of rims and tires, unless you already have a winter set.

You’ll probably need heavier outerwear and boots.

Your alcohol bill will go up.

Wow! Even I feel like I’ve gone too negative. :sunny:


That situation sounds miserable.

That also seems like a lot of face time with your SO, if the house is as isolated as it sounds. 24/7 wihgiut a bunch of natural breaks in between is a lot of time to spend with just 1person.