I’d lived in Arizona since 1996. I started being concerned about the environment there in 2020 when the news reported that the water levels were dropping in the reservoirs. The more I heard about the drought and the dropping water levels, the more I felt like I really needed to leave.
Even though they’ve got water now, there’s no guarantee that they’re not going to run out.
Some places already have. There are places where people’s wells have run dry. There was a settlement outside of Scottsdale, Arizona, that’s been in the news. They had been getting their water from Scottsdale, and Scottsdale doesn’t want to give them water anymore. So that’s a pretty miserable situation.
I was really worried that, at some point, I may not be able to live the lifestyle that I was accustomed to. My neighbors in Sun City, Arizona, were also aware of the situation but for whatever reason, they weren’t as alarmed by it as I was.
I was able to take advantage of a hot real-estate market in 2021
For many years, I realized that the market in Arizona was pretty hot. I figured the best thing I could do would be to wait until the property that I owned appreciated in value and then go look for something somewhere that’s not as desirable.
I listed my two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo in August 2021. It was a pretty crazy market then. I got an offer within five days. That deal fell through, and when it went back on the market, somebody else grabbed it up immediately. Originally it was listed for $185,000. It was purchased for $184,500.
After I put my condo on the market, I took a trip to Ohio. I observed what portion of the country was most appealing to me and that happened to be eastern Kansas. There was a lot of greenery there.
Initially I was considering just about everything including Canada, New Zealand, or Europe.
Before I left Arizona I checked out Realtor.com in a number of different towns to look at the crime rate, geography and so forth. I really had nowhere specific to go.
I looked at the map and saw the town of Riley, Kansas. My best friend’s last name is Riley and my sister-in-law’s dog’s name is Riley so I said, “Okay, I’ll start there.”
It was important to me to not have a mortgage
I’m 72 years old and I’ve either rented or have had a mortgage all my life.
I’m a medical transcriptionist. I thought it would be a lifelong career. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of tumult in the industry. They’ve started shipping work out overseas. There’s no guarantee that I’d be able to continue doing that kind of work.
I really want security and I wanted to know that my home would be mine and I wouldn’t have to worry about income.
The realtor met me there, but it turned out to be in not very good condition. The realtor told me about another home in Junction City, which is just south of Riley.
I was very fortunate that the second home I looked at was the one that I knew was right for me and that it was a home I could pay cash for — $70,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom. It’s only 720 square feet.
It was livable, but I replaced the flooring in the two bedrooms and I remodeled the kitchen and I’m on the verge of remodeling the bathroom. So far, I’ve spent $12,000 fixing things up.
Turns out that the house I bought is four miles from a reservoir to the east and 20 miles from a reservoir to the west. So when I saw that they were going to provide me with an unlimited supply of water, I was very happy.
The best part is how wonderful the people are. The other day I was trying to get some firewood from a grocery store. They had it piled up front and I paid for it and I picked up the first bundle and immediately somebody going into the stores asked me if I needed some help. And that’s that’s the way it’s been the whole time.
This is the place I need to be for the rest of my life.