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Midnight home buying

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#51 bjkaras

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Posted 11 June 2022 - 10:16 PM

When you were in the process of looking for a new home for whatever reason did you check candidates at night? Did you check the back yard lighting of the houses on each side of you? What about street lights? During he day did you also check out  how much sky you could see? Was your partner aware of you doing this? Were they OK with it?

 

When family issues forced me to move back to Chicagoland from the country my wife did not exactly approve of the house I found acceptable. Actually I really got lucky as my daughter had just bought a home in a small unincorporated subdivision in the middle of the northern suburbs and the home next door to her became available. With a golf course to my east, my daughter to the west , a tree line to my rear and no streetlights, direct light pollution was not a problem, I also have a nice view of the ecliptic. Yes it's a red zone but still enjoyable. 

 

Gary (old-timer)

There are two things I look for when house shopping, decent night skies and as clear as possible a view of the southern horizon. Right now I don’t have either of those things. But since I expect to be house hunting in the next year that will be a priority.


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#52 firemachine69

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Posted 12 June 2022 - 05:15 AM

My wife and myself have been slowly looking at houses that would work better for our lives, and she's finally starting to budge a little on me not wanting to be close to neighbours. She struggled to understand the big deal with light pollution, which was my fault as I originally showed her a light pollution filter and she thought that worked for everything. Slowly but surely, I've noticed her and the realtor are sending me houses further and further away from the suburbs. 

 

Big disclaimer I have to add, is that buying a new house would likely mean selling camp and take me away from my secluded back country site (both Bortle 2). Finances dictate we can't afford both. 


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#53 Starlady

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Posted 12 June 2022 - 07:07 AM

Many realtor sites now include walkability scores, the possibility for solar on the roof, risk from flood and fire, and the noise level. How much harder would it be to also include a light pollution level? The data from satellites isn't fine enough yet for an accurate view from individual houses, but you could get an idea of the skyglow over the general area. 

How would we go about lobbying for this change? 


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#54 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 12 June 2022 - 08:07 AM

My wife and I plan to buy a “country home”. Land out here is cheap and we would likely wind up buying something on 1-200 acres far from any of the cities near here. Bortle 2 is achievable in about an hour and change here.



#55 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 June 2022 - 08:58 AM

There are two things I look for when house shopping, decent night skies and as clear as possible a view of the southern horizon. Right now I don’t have either of those things. But since I expect to be house hunting in the next year that will be a priority.

 

An existing house with a good well, power, a septic system and a reasonable access are at top of my list. At our place in the high desert, I see people buy property and then discovery how much it costs to get water and power.  

 

The best thing about our little place are the neighbors. Our closest neighbor quickly became a good friend and is a huge help.

 

One morning, I woke up after a night of star gazing and I find that he's all setup and putting new shingles on our roof where some had blown off. He even knew we had a bundle of shingles in the pump house, something I didn't know.

 

When you're out in the sticks, you depend on your neighbors.. 

 

Rollie on the roof 1.jpg

 

 

Jon


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#56 jcj380

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Posted 12 June 2022 - 09:18 AM

There are two things I look for [...] as clear as possible a view of the southern horizon.

waytogo.gif  I have a view to the south, but I didn't consider how high and wide some trees would grow.  A neighbor's place whose backyard comes close to mine has a totally clear view to the south and west, and of course it came up for sale shortly after I bought mine.  tongue2.gif

 

Maybe a couple trees will get knocked over in a storm or something.  Or next time I'll buy in the middle of a soybean field.



#57 dx_ron

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 08:41 AM

I'm going to have to make compromises when it comes to deciding on a retirement location (maybe 5-6 years out for the actual move). As much as I would love B1 or B2 skies, I also want a bit of civilization, tolerable winters and access to health care. And affordable houses - selling our house here won't fund much in California, for example. My local club's remote observing sites are both about upper B4, and I could live with that for both observing and imaging. An active astronomy club would be a nice bonus, of course.

 

Feel free to chime in with suggestions :)


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#58 jcj380

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 11:13 AM

Feel free to chime in with suggestions smile.gif

Dunno, I think someplace with darker skies within an hour or 90-minute drive from a major university.   For example, U of Iowa and U of Wisconsin - Madison both have excellent hospitals, there's plenty of shopping, and there are a multitude of cultural activities if you want them.


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#59 dciobota

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 12:11 PM

I would not recommend Iowa or Wisconsin, they have brutal winters, worse than Ohio tbh.

 

As mentioned before, there are some places in Arizona and New Mexico that are reasonably close to civilization and healthcare.  Actually, most of the states that are "retirement states" usually have good healthcare.

 

You could also try the southeast, but not my personal favorite.  There are some areas there that are pretty dark and fairly close to major cities like Memphis, Nashville, Birmingham.  Not too sure about Atlanta though, you may have to move a bit out to avoid that light dome. But housing is pretty cheap in the southeast, that's for sure.  I'm talking rural or semi rural of course.



#60 dx_ron

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 12:11 PM

Dunno, I think someplace with darker skies within an hour or 90-minute drive from a major university.   For example, U of Iowa and U of Wisconsin - Madison both have excellent hospitals, there's plenty of shopping, and there are a multitude of cultural activities if you want them.

Both examples fail the "tolerable winter" test smile.gif

 

But yeah, having spent my life at universities - a college town is likely to have concerts and health care and such. The trick is finding one with darkish skies close enough to keep both me and my wife happy. Don't think my wife is going to want a 90-minute drive each way to civilization and back.



#61 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 12:28 PM

My dark site is a 75 minute drive from a major university. The winters here aren't horrible.


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#62 Kfrank

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 12:39 PM

All of this really can be summed up in one simple question:  

 

How much are you prepared to give up to further the pursuit of a hobby?

 

This is a major consideration when considering the purchase of a retirement home.  What may seem like a perfectly acceptable drive at age 65 might well become completely unacceptable as you approach 80.  At any age, the rule is: The closer good healthcare is, the better.  The difference between a 10 minute drive to a good trauma center, or cardiac care unit and a 1 hour drive could very well spell the difference between life and death.  Same is true of access to basic necessities. While life and death isn’t the issue, ask yourself "Do I really want to drive 20, 30 or more miles to buy groceries, get to a hardware store, etc?"

 

I am not just approaching 80, I'm standing at its threshold .  Some things  that I didn’t mind doing a decade ago are are just a major chore now and I don’t see that changing.

 

As I read the many threads on relocation here on CN, I am continually amazed at the apparent short-sightedness of some folks when considering where to move to for dark skies.  Looking back, I compare myself at 60-65 and now and I am amazed at the attitudinal changes I have undergone.  I would urge anyone contemplating relocating at retirement to VERY CAREFULLY consider what you wants and needs might be 10-20 years into the future.  


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#63 dx_ron

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 12:50 PM

Yeah - that's why I'm trying to keep the "compromise" part in mind. I *think* there should be reasonable (meaning B4 to the good end of B5) skies within reach, somewhere.

 

Nevermind the other part of me - to whom the ideal retirement place is an old apartment in the Garden District in New Orleans... That fails my wife's "no hurricane evacuations" requirement.

 

Looking at the map, outside of Fayetteville is interesting. Not a direction we normally travel, so some special trip would be needed to check it out in person.



#64 Stargezzer

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 01:11 PM

I absolutely checked everything related to AP when we were looking for a new home in AZ. My son attended the U of AZ so I was aware of the night sky from our many visits with him along with the seasonal weather conditions. I was also aware of the NO street lights and downward facing lighting regulations. I walked off true north from my front and back yards. I chose the best place to have a pad installed that gave me an almost 360 view above 30 deg. I have been here going on 4 years now and have enjoyed the new home on so many other levels. Things have work out wonderfully. The summer monsoons can be an AP problem but even they are spectacular. 


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#65 dciobota

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 02:10 PM

If I had to move ten minutes from a major hospital just to anticipate turning 80 I might as well pack it all in and check into a nursing home lol.  No thanks.  If it comes to where I can't drive to the nearest hospital comfortably, I'll buy a vehicle with full autonomous driving and just hop in.  If it's bad enough that I won't survive 20 minutes to a hospital, well I'm most likely done for anyway, so I'm at peace with that.

 

One good compromise I found healthcare wise is to be within 20 minutes of a small hospital that has excellent airlift and emergency care.  My biggest worry is not turning 80 and having a major health issue (can happen of course), but an accident, especially since I've already had a (not too close) encounter with a mohave green.  Honestly, we all have an idea of acceptable risk.  To some, even getting out of the house is taking too much risk, while to others, climbing El Capitan is perfectly acceptable.  No need to judge others as to what constitutes acceptable.

 

Set your priiorities, your acceptable risks, and compromises, then scour the country (or even the planet) and find your sweet spot.  It's really up to the individual.

.

One other compromise that I had to consider moving where I am, and that was proximity to my daughter and grandkids.  Living in the boonies does make it harder for them to visit me (although I do have plans to make my property grandkid attractive lol), so I have to go visit them.  I accepted that compromise in my case.  Once I fully retire, it'll just be a good excuse for an extended trip.  :-)



#66 Kfrank

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 05:24 PM

I'm not worrying about death, disease or infirmity due to turning 80.  It’s just that I've grown used to having amenities nearby. I like having the grocer a few minutes away.  I enjoy having a selection of restaurants to chose from when I go out for lunch.  I like to pop in at a local brewpub for a pint or two on a lazy afternoon.  I can have all that and still have decently dark skies only an hour or so away.  I can be in the mountains in about 20 minutes.  The climate is relatively decent.  
 

Yes, the thought of living on some acreage in a peaceful mountain valley is attractive.  Or living where there are no neighbors to light up their yard or play loud music.  Or many other scenarios.  Each of us has to decide what we want in our life and why.  And to each, his own.  


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#67 Arcticpaddler

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 06:05 PM

I would not recommend Iowa or Wisconsin, they have brutal winters, worse than Ohio tbh.

 

 

Iowa has brutal winters? LOL 

They are 300 miles south of me, and I consider them mild...



#68 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 06:31 PM

Iowa has brutal winters? LOL 

They are 300 miles south of me, and I consider them mild...

I think Arkansas winters are cold....you would think them what?



#69 dx_ron

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 07:37 PM

I have lived in California, Kansas, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and, for the past 25 years, Ohio. I have a decent grasp of various types of winter - and I know what my preferences are.

 

To me, the only thing crazier than the fact that so many people choose to live in Minnesota and North Dakota is the completely baffling fact that there's a whole country full of people living north of there.


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#70 csrlice12

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 11:47 PM

Maybe look at Laramie, Wyoming....Univ of Wyoming, Medical, the usual stores....surrounded by cheap land and dark skies



#71 seryddwr

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 12:51 AM

Maybe look at Laramie, Wyoming....Univ of Wyoming, Medical, the usual stores....surrounded by cheap land and dark skies

And the wind blows like the dickens-- all. of. the. time.


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#72 kevin6876

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 04:57 PM

Many realtor sites now include walkability scores, the possibility for solar on the roof, risk from flood and fire, and the noise level. How much harder would it be to also include a light pollution level? The data from satellites isn't fine enough yet for an accurate view from individual houses, but you could get an idea of the skyglow over the general area. 

How would we go about lobbying for this change? 

 

^^. Best idea mentioned in this thread! 


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#73 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 05:12 PM

Good luck with that.  Any time I mention light pollution, I get told I'm crazy and a fool.

 

That is, unless I am talking to another amateur astronomer. 



#74 Nucleophile

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 12:25 AM

Evaluation of the night sky at my new abode was absolutely a major contributor to my purchasing decision.   It is decidedly darker here at my new, rural location; however, it is also windier and the seeing is not quite as good.  It is 10-15 mins to my son's University and the Home Depot.  No more sitting in traffic for 1.5 hours every work day like I did in Austin.   Even though it is not that rural, it is very hard to get any reliable contractor help here--which is why I do almost everything myself (plumbing, electrical, framing, walls, floors, etc.)

 

I have a 360 degree view of the sky and can see hints of the Milky Way even under a full moon--I didnt think that was possible.  At best, my skies are Bortle 3--good enough for me!


Edited by Nucleophile, 15 June 2022 - 01:00 AM.


#75 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 02:52 PM

As much as I would love B1 or B2 skies, I also want a bit of civilization, tolerable winters and access to health care. And affordable houses - selling our house here won't fund much in California, for example.

 

 

Urban California housing prices, they're insane. Our home is a tract house built in 1959 as military housing. It cost about $15,000. The lot is 6000 sq. ft. It's a stucco house on a slab. Three bedroom two bath houses on our street are selling for a million dollars.  

 

But there's another side to California that's not 5 miles or even 40 miles from the beach, where the skies might be dark and clear and houses are a whole lot cheaper.

 

Jon


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