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Thread: Relocating: South Dakota?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    532

    Relocating: South Dakota?

    I am hoping there might be some SD residents here, or maybe others who know the state?

    I'm sorting through my options of finding a suitable place to relocate to and retire within the next 24 months. I have lived all over the country, but my driver's license has been AK since I first got it. I grew up in Montana, with summers working on the family ranch in Nevada. I like rural areas, and detest excessive traffic lights. A handful are OK, but every block? - no. City life is not for me. Traffic jams are not for me. But I also want to be close to amenities and supplies. Within an hour's drive at any rate. I like and enjoy the arts, but am in no way "woke". My political views are pretty much dead center, with a general dislike of extremes in either direction.

    I spent five years looking for a spot to build a retirement home on (and a workshop). My criteria was a climate with four seasons (mellow winter) at least one acre of land, no dirt road journeys to my property, and an unobstructed water view. Ocean, lake, or river - in that order. Ended up buying a lot in southern Colorado about three years ago on a small lake. At the time, "nice", (quality - not luxury) building costs were roughly $250 per square foot. Seemed high at that time, but that's what I budgeted for. Now, I'm being told to budget for $400. That does not include the land or any other fees, costs in prep. And, if I could afford $400 per foot, I can't get anyone to commit to building the thing. I can't even get a surveyor to commit for TOPO work before July. Architects, nope, so now I'm drafting the thing myself. This area of the state has gone nuts. COVID has created an environment where folks can work remote, so many big dollar earners from Cali that can work on Zoom, but don't want to deal with Cali craziness, have found this place. It's only a matter of time before these folks make this part of Colo just like the place they are moving from. So now I'm thinking I'll sell this lot (I am constantly being asked to sell it) and find somewhere else to relocate to.

    I had planned for an early retirement at 55, build myself a dedicated work shop and learn high to fly fish. That is not happening in Southern Colo anytime soon. So now I'm looking for a piece of land again. A friend of mine said I need to look at SD. He bought some land in the Black Hills and can't stop talking about how great it is. I have not spent any time in this part of the country though. Only passing through while getting from point A to point B. Are there places where I might find a piece of land with a water view? Some trees, mountains, fishing/hunting, etc? What's the economy like? Taxes - income and real estate? How bad are the winters? I can, and have research some of this, but living there and Google searches are two very different things. Looking for thoughts/input from residents or others who have personal experience.

    I plan to spend a couple weeks in a rental car, driving around this part of the country this spring. I'll expand my search grid accordingly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Somewhere in the Land of Lincoln
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    2,077
    There are many areas in Missouri that are appealing. You can be totally rural and be within a couple hours of a major airport. There are several large lakes and two major rivers. If my grandkids weren't here I'd be across the river. I know of several areas that real estate is still a bargain by most peoples standards. Another plus is there is a lot of sawmills producing native hardwoods too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    60,566
    I would imagine that SD might work for you, although winter might not be as mild as many other places farther south. In some cases, that central, northern part of the US can be colder than the more maritime parts of Alaska! But on a more positive note, sq ft cost of building should be noticeably less than in Alaska and that's a whole lot about material logistics. You can also use some good innovation for your home, such as considering quality post frame that can be super insulated even before internal walls go in. Check out RR Buildings on YouTube and the current residential build they are doing.

    I do think your idea of exploring via a driving vacation is a sound idea for sure. If I were going to move to a completely different part of the country, I'd surely want to do something like that myself.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
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    14,169
    Having lived near the Black Hills, I can assure you that the winters there do not meet your: "My criteria was a climate with four seasons (mellow winter) at least". I don't think you are allowed to use the word mellow and Black Hills winter in the same paragraph.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    11,650
    Michael,

    I've spent time in much of the country, work and travel, and lived in five states. Moved to East TN in the '70s and never left. For some reason people are moving to TN from all over the country, maybe tired of frozen winters, high taxes, wildfires, dense population, I don't know. No state income or wheel tax, inexpensive land can be found especially in rural areas, mountains and lakes and rivers all around (we just sold a level building site lot on one of the best fly fishing rivers in the area), lots of culture (museums, music, theaters, etc), high in tech, low in crime, good medical care, reasonable utility cost, gas prices are currently about 30 cents cheaper than the country average and often much less. I pay no attention to the politics, no one bothers me and I bother no one. Winters are mild with several snows (I still have grass for the horses), summers are humid, spring and falls are incredible.

    The terrain in East TN is generally rolling hills, low wooded mountains. This part of the country is hardwood heaven with a LOT of woodworking/woodturning activity - I have a sawmill behind my barn.
    To give you an idea of the area this is the extra river lot we just sold, a view from deck at my house and my gate on a rare snow day (maybe 2-3 times/winter), and a friends place nearby (we can see the Smoky Mtns from his deck).
    D_DJI_0287_es.jpg rainbow_sharon_IMG_1535.jpg snow_gate_IMG_20150226_093758_705.jpg PaulM_DJI_0103_es.jpg

    BTW, I'm 72, retired at age 56, we live on a 27 acre farm with a timberframe house on a dead-end road which set us back less than a typical home in a subdivision outside a TN city like Knoxville. We have horses, llamas, peacocks, honeybees, and more. I designed and built my 24x62' shop myself, everything from ground prep to wiring the lights. We are in a rural area but still less than 3 miles from drug stores auto parts and such, 6 miles from a Walmart, etc., easy access to I-75. Knoxville with everything you can imagine is maybe 30-40 minutes away, Atlanta about 4 hrs. My house is within an 8 hr drive from Northern Florida, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Lake Erie, St Louis, and the South Carolina beaches. You might do a drive-by if you get this far south. Or stop in an take a llama for a walk. But if you come in the spring you might not want to leave.

    I took these pics around the farm late February one year:

    2017_Feb.jpg

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Drew View Post
    I am hoping there might be some SD residents here, or maybe others who know the state?

    I'm sorting through my options of finding a suitable place to relocate to and retire within the next 24 months. I have lived all over the country, but my driver's license has been AK since I first got it. I grew up in Montana, with summers working on the family ranch in Nevada. I like rural areas, and detest excessive traffic lights. A handful are OK, but every block? - no. City life is not for me. Traffic jams are not for me. But I also want to be close to amenities and supplies. Within an hour's drive at any rate. I like and enjoy the arts, but am in no way "woke". My political views are pretty much dead center, with a general dislike of extremes in either direction.

    I spent five years looking for a spot to build a retirement home on (and a workshop). My criteria was a climate with four seasons (mellow winter) at least one acre of land, no dirt road journeys to my property, and an unobstructed water view. Ocean, lake, or river - in that order. Ended up buying a lot in southern Colorado about three years ago on a small lake. At the time, "nice", (quality - not luxury) building costs were roughly $250 per square foot. Seemed high at that time, but that's what I budgeted for. Now, I'm being told to budget for $400. That does not include the land or any other fees, costs in prep. And, if I could afford $400 per foot, I can't get anyone to commit to building the thing. I can't even get a surveyor to commit for TOPO work before July. Architects, nope, so now I'm drafting the thing myself. This area of the state has gone nuts. COVID has created an environment where folks can work remote, so many big dollar earners from Cali that can work on Zoom, but don't want to deal with Cali craziness, have found this place. It's only a matter of time before these folks make this part of Colo just like the place they are moving from. So now I'm thinking I'll sell this lot (I am constantly being asked to sell it) and find somewhere else to relocate to.

    I had planned for an early retirement at 55, build myself a dedicated work shop and learn high to fly fish. That is not happening in Southern Colo anytime soon. So now I'm looking for a piece of land again. A friend of mine said I need to look at SD. He bought some land in the Black Hills and can't stop talking about how great it is. I have not spent any time in this part of the country though. Only passing through while getting from point A to point B. Are there places where I might find a piece of land with a water view? Some trees, mountains, fishing/hunting, etc? What's the economy like? Taxes - income and real estate? How bad are the winters? I can, and have research some of this, but living there and Google searches are two very different things. Looking for thoughts/input from residents or others who have personal experience.

    I plan to spend a couple weeks in a rental car, driving around this part of the country this spring. I'll expand my search grid accordingly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
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    24,884
    Blog Entries
    1
    My home is in Southwest Washington State. There are homes close by with views of the Columbia River. To the west there are homes with ocean & river views.

    Washington does get a lot of rain. Close to the coast there may be some snow.

    No income taxes in Washington.

    Along the southern coast your closest shopping might be across the river in Astoria, OR. Oregon has no sales tax.

    The maple trees do turn colors in the fall.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    1,103
    My BIL lives in Hermosa, SD. It is fairly inexpensive, but you'll put a ton of miles on your vehicle. It takes him a hour each way to go to Rapid City, which is the nearest "real town". Also, there is nothing "mellow" about winter in SD.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    532
    My idea of mellow is snow on ground for Christmas, but it doesn't stick around for months.......Sounds like the Black Hills might just be more or less what I want to get away from. This is looking out my LR window.....



    I was a bit hesitant to ask on a public forum, as I do like my anonymity, but I'm glad I did. I thought SD might not scratch the itch. My 'friend' can be a bit of a salesman. I do like the rocky mountains, which is kinda what inspired me to look at Colorado. But as I mentioned, I'm not all that confident I can pull that move off anymore.

    I have not ever been to Tennessee or Missouri. I was stationed in Virginia Beach and Newport RI, and lived in New Hampshire for a year. Travelled all over the east coast. Too crowded for me, but I did enjoy my time there.

    I think I might just throw some darts on the board and go for a long drive. Any particular areas of Tennessee and Missouri I should target? I might get in trouble in Tennessee though, I love a good bourbon, and it's pretty close to Kentucky......

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
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    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Drew View Post
    My idea of mellow is snow on ground for Christmas, but it doesn't stick around for months
    One more thought, Snow in South Dakota doesn't melt it wears out from blowing around all day and all night every day.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  10. #10
    We had a similar plan. I bought land in west central CO. While we saved up to break ground, the building costs were going up. Sat on that property for five years.

    Then we found an existing house that checked off 8 of our top 10 wants. We sold the land, bought the house and wish we would have done it sooner.

    Might there be an existing house if you are willing to compromise on a few things?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    11,650
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Drew View Post
    ...
    I think I might just throw some darts on the board and go for a long drive. Any particular areas of Tennessee and Missouri I should target? I might get in trouble in Tennessee though, I love a good bourbon, and it's pretty close to Kentucky......
    A gentleman I know did this. He said years ago he and several friends decided they would move south from their area that was getting too crowded. They got out a map and one guy closed his eyes and pointed to a spot. Turned out it was in Virginia, towards the south west. They all moved to that area and love it.

    I've never tasted and know nothing about good or bad bourbon or whiskey but I read there is a controversy over which is which. I found some stuff about TN bourbon: https://www.thedailybeast.com/is-ten...ave-the-answer I know when we travel to Europe when people find out we came from TN they almost always light up and say "Jack Daniels!"

    Anywhere close to the big cities of Memphis or Nasheville will be loaded with people. Chattanooga and Knoxville are significantly smaller. The areas between can be out-in-the-sticks rural or with farms everywhere. A LOT of people seem to be moving to the areas around Crossville and Cookville and friends there say the prices are rising like crazy, probably in other areas too. I'd still say take a look at East TN. Areas both east and west of Knoxville have a lot of gently rolling hills covered with farms. Take a drive through the mountains, maybe on the Foothills parkway and stop at the overlooks. You can get way out in the sticks if you don't want neighbors or fairly close to an interstate if you like to be out and about. The far east towards NC and Asheville and south can be pretty mountainous (or "hilly" if you are used to the Rockies), expensive to build on but the views can be incredible.

    There is a huge amount of rural land between the TN cities. If you zoom in and scroll around the satellite pictures you can get an idea of what areas are less dense and likely to be less expensive, if that is an issue. If you want land on the water it seems sky high everywhere. For example a realtor friend told me undeveloped land along the Clinch River below Norris Lake is generally appraised at $100,000 and acre for tax purposes and that's not any where near the selling prices. Other rural land can be far less expensive, sometimes downright cheap if undeveloped. If you are looking to buy developed land with a decent and fairly new house it still will be nothing like the prices in many other states. There are lots of web sites that compare home prices in different areas and states.

    I like areas in North Carolina and Kentucky too - we lived between Winston Salem and Greensboro for some years and went to school in Berea KY - both great areas, very similar to TN of course.

    JKJ

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    2,112
    Missouri has two zones. The northern and western half (roughly) are rolling hills, plains, and very agricultural, with Kansas City and Springfield the two urban areas. The southeastern and southern half is Ozark hill country, with oak and hickory forest, springs, caves and whitewater rivers. St Louis is the gateway there. The southeastern corner (known as the bootheel) is flat Mississippi Delta country. Most people consider the Ozarks as the place to retire too. Its culturally like a remnant of Appalachia.
    Last edited by Stan Calow; 01-23-2022 at 10:57 PM.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    3,082
    Areas in the Smokey Mountains are nice, but starting to stray away from good medical care. Never lived in Knoxville, but medical care is excellent there and easy access to other areas with I-75 N/S and I-40 E/W. I used to drive through there monthly to my vacation house. John could tell you far more than I could, but I always thought that area had promise for a vacation home. One of my ex-partners did that, and loves it. He'll be moving there full-time when he FINALLY retires.

    Chapel Hill, NC area is nice, also with top-notch medical care.

    Not really four seasons weather for me in Tampa/Clearwater, FL area, but has some benefits. Decent food, and getting better, some museums, great sports teams, beautiful beaches. Much less pricey than CA, NY, NJ, but certainly not as cheap as Tennessee, SD, etc...

    Avoid the rust belt areas. I lived there for 10 years, and the incredibly cheap cost of housing is more than offset by the lack of culture and mediocre food.

    Put nearby quality medical care at the top of your list when choosing locations. And I'm not just saying this as a doctor. I'm saying this as a retired 62yo.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    The Hartland of Michigan
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    7,536
    You want 4 seasons and land.
    Michigan has it. I've lived here all my life. Never considered leaving.

  15. #15
    Don't come to central NC, unless you want to be in New Jersey / New York South. Our area is over run with those leaving these areas. In the county we live in, people are moving in at the rate of over 100 per day. 40+ years ago, we bought in one of the most rural areas of the county. Because of a nuclear plant, zoning was minimum of two acres. Closest town, of about 500 people was seven miles away. Now town has EXPLODED! 20,000+ people. Million dollar homes (on golf course) are just across the creek from us. Track of land (100 + acres) behind us is potentially for sale. Two new light industrial plants, that cover about 100 acres each are being built within two miles. Worse part is refugees from north move here, and then want to make it like where they came from. Why didn't they just stay where they were. Would the last person leaving NY /NJ turn out the lights.

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