January 22, 2006

Location, Location, Location

It's no secret that the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most expensive locations to live in the country, if not the world. I am agape at the "bargains" available in the rest of the country - where it's not uncommon to see billboards advertising homes in the "Low $80s to $100s" and beyond. Given it costs you more than $350,000 to get a 1 BR/1BA condo here, the difference is enough to make one consider other options. After all, with high speed Internet being a great equalizer on telecommuting and communication, and relatively cheap airfare available, then what difference does it really make whether one lives in Alameda or Albequerque, Mountain View or Montana?

Every month or so, we get notices telling us what prices homes and condos in our area have sold for, what the owners were asking, and what they received. On a back of the napkin calculation, one could easily guesstimate we could get more than $450k for our 2 BR/2 BA condo - provided we replace the carpets and hide all notice that a dog has been one of the primary residents.

Putting that in perspective, here's what a comparable amount of money will get you in other areas of the country:

Denver, Colorado: 4 BD, 3 BA, 2,700 sq ft $350,000

Billings, Montana: 5 BD, 3.5 BA, 3,000 sq ft $320,000

Kansas City, Missouri 5 BD, 5 BA, 1.4 acres $350,000

Atlanta, Georgia 4 BD, 3 BA, 2 story $350,000

Nashville, Tennessee 5 BD, 3.5 BA, 3,200 sq ft $350,000

Provo, Utah 5 BD, 6 BA, 4,800 sq ft $350,000

So, in theory, you're telling me I can trade up to a 5 bedroom, 6 bathroom, 4,800 square foot home with central air conditioning and a lake view, and LOWER my mortgage payments, and all I have to do is move to the Beehive State? Where do I sign up?

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