As we inch closer to a retirement date, we thought it prudent to start searching for a retirement location.
We first listed our wants:
- Driveable distance to family (Most important!)
- Lower taxes
- Excellent Health Care
- Lower real estate pricing
- Low maintenance, one-level living
- An active community with hiking trails, salt-water pools, and entertainment
- All four seasons, but a temperate climate in the winter (i.e. very little snow, if any)
- If possible, a coastal beach
- Dog friendly.
It all started with an income tax rate search for the following states: VA – NC – SC – GA. (Although we were once smitten with Florida (which has NO income tax), that wained when I got totally triggered on my last flight from Florida — long story — but suffice it to say I will only fly when traveling for a vacation destination or when absolutely necessary.)
Out of the four southern states that we were considering, North Carolina had the lowest income taxes (and thankfully was the closest to Virginia!)
Once we picked the state, we started searching the coastal cities. Wilmington, NC popped up in the search and we decided to take a closer look into this beautiful coastal city.
We found that it literally checked off all the boxes we listed above.
- Drivable Distance to Family: Wilmington, NC is approximately 360 miles from where I am now, which would be about a 5.5 hour drive. This is about the time it takes me to get to New York to see my parents, so we know this is a very doable road trip.
- Lower taxes. This is amazing. Not only is there a lower income tax, the property tax is 50% LOWER in North Carolina than where we are in Northern Virginia.
- Excellent Health Care: Although I couldn’t find a lot of information about healthcare in Wilmington, there are plenty of hospitals and medical centers in the area. I’ll have to look further into this one.
- Lower Real Estate Pricing: Based on what we are looking for (and we are picky!), a home would cost us approximately $450,000 – $500,000. This would be a fairly NEW home with all the amenities. Our home in Northern Virginia has been valued at $900,000 (which is crazy, if you ask me). We have a very small mortgage, so we could literally walk away with no mortgage and at least $300,000 in cash. That is certainly not chump change. 😉
- Low Maintenance/One Level Living: Retiring in Wilmington is a thing, and there are many one-level homes as well as first-level master bedrooms. There are many communities to choose from!
- An Active Community/Entertainment: Most of the planned communities in Wilmington offer pools, recreation, hiking trails, and entertainment. There is also Historical Wilmington (the actual city) that offers a beautiful Riverwalk with many restaurants and pubs.
- All four seasons, but a temperate climate in winter. Although the summers get hot (they do here as well), their winters are very mild, with little or no snow. Yes. Please.
- Coastal Beach. There are three in the immediate area, all offering different experiences. Kure, Wrightsville and Carolina. A nice grandchildren draw….
- Dog Friendly: After doing a bit of research, I found this article about dog friendly places in Wilmington. It would appear that Wilmington is VERY dog friendly. I also found The Dog Play Spot for when we would vacation, or just need a weekend away. I was impressed.
We’ve already spoken to a realtor and planned a visit. I have a good feeling about this one. 😉