This Is How Much?

Hubs and I have been casually looking at homes and because of that, I have taken an interest in the shows on hgtv.

I especially like House Hunters, Property Virgins, Hidden Potential, and Curb Appeal. It's really fascinating for me to see how far the same amount of money can stretch at different locations across the US.

Last night on House Hunters, we watched a couple searching for a home near Tampa, FL.

Holy cow! In the $350-$450K range, they looked at new-ish single family homes that all have at least 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a spacious kitchen with granite tops and stainless steel appliances, guest wing (!!), formal dining room, formal living room, family room, a pool, and a big yard!

We looked at each other and unanimously said, "Lets move there."

Let me explain why.

Our own budget is $450-$500K and in the DC suburbs, you will, without a doubt, NOT find something like that.

For example, this townhouse is literally across the street from where we live (roughly 15 miles outside of DC). Although a good location, close to metro, nice neighborhood, it is ridiculously priced at $445K (2358 sq ft).

So for fun, I did a little research today.

Here are some places hubs and I have talked about moving to -

{Greater Orlando Florida}

This little house, priced at $380K, has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and is 1,697 sq ft. It is located in Celebration, FL, which is developed by The Walt Disney Company and minutes away from Disney World. In fact, there is a road that connects Celebration directly to the parks that residents can drive to the Disney property without having to use any busy streets! Wow.

Celebration is a lot pricier than the rest of the Orlando–Kissimmee Metropolitan Area because of its prime location. There are shops, restaurants, and a town center all within walking distance.

But, just merely 10 miles away from Celebration, this 5 bedrooms and 4 baths house, located at Kissimmee, is selling for $424K (crazy good!). Oh, and it has a pool.


Heading west to Cerritos, CA (an hour outside of downtown LA), the same money definitely won't get you as far. This house, built in 1970, has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and is 1170 sq ft. It is listed at $425K, more expensive than that gigantic house above!

However, from what I have heard, Cerritos is one big Chinatown, which is a big plus in my book.

In Encinitas, CA, about 30 miles away from San Diego Zoo, this 10-year old house has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and is only 1,386 sq ft big. It is listed at $475K.

I also did a quick search for houses in Cupertino, CA (roughly 45 miles outside of San Francisco) with criteria of anything less than $500K. I did not get ANY results back, which seems unbelievable to me. Maybe I did something wrong?

Really, I have always known that California would be just as expensive as DC (if not more) and Orlando is a lot cheaper. However, now I have a clearer idea what $450K can buy in these places.

Hey Mickey, hire me please.


  1. Oh House Hunters was my show!! I loved guessing which one they'd go with. Too bad I haven't really watched it in the last year.

    All those houses look ginormous to me, but of course I'm going with my NYC viewpoint here. And Orlando sounds cheap, but remember the cost of insurance and hurricane season! Then again California has its earthquakes.

  2. Guessing which one they'd go with is my favorite part too! I am almost always right!

    I guess another thing, besides the $$$, to consider is what the location offers you. Even though San Diego maybe be expensive, but I think having the option to take my dogs to the beach on the weekend will be very nice!

  3. I feel your pain!! If you only knew what we paid for our little 1,000 sqft apt in nyc - I swear my heart flutters every time I even think about it. It's just insane!

  4. I love watching those shows too! Houses are so expensive. We just bought one in Salt Lake City, in August. It is worth it as long as you can make the payments:)

  5. Yep that sounds right for Cupertino. It has ridiculously good schools, so you won't find anything cheap. Even the condos and townhouses are expensive.

    If you want a laugh, search "Palo Alto." For an even bigger one, try "Atherton, CA."

  6. Like I've always been saying, it's mind boggling how much you can get with your money in the rest of the country compared to the northern VA area. And even in places in CA or NY, your dollar won't go as far either, but you get so much more in terms of ancillary benefits. Whether it's warm weather and beaches or walking convenience to everything from entertainment to work, and most importantly, real culture, paying a premium actually gets you something. From my perspective, DC metro has jack going for it other than a somewhat stable cash cow in the form of the federal govt. Living expenses are high for what you actually get, you HAVE to have a car to live and work here, winters are cold and summers are humid.

    Am I whining again?


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