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Meet the cash buyers: Retirees find a second home

41% of Phoenix-area sales in cash

When Shirley Wasco, 67, and her husband, George, 75, saw the prospect of another long winter in northern Montana ahead of them last fall, they decided to make their move. They'd been thinking of buying a second home in a warmer climate for the past three years and the low prices in the Sun Belt states told them it was the right time to buy. And they knew they would pay in cash. "We didn't want payments and you can strike a better deal and a faster deal in cash," Shirley said. "We were losing money where it was invested." George retired from his position as service representative for IBM in 1987. Shirley retired in 1997 from the public school district in Libby, Mont., where she was a secretary. She was in her 50s at the time, but suffered from multiple illnesses she said were caused by living in a polluted area in California for over a decade. Around 1998, she received a monetary award from an environmental lawsuit. Because she had to sign confiden...

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