Author Topic: Considering a move to NYC  (Read 1018 times)

obstinate

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 878
Considering a move to NYC
« on: July 02, 2016, 12:43:45 AM »
Folks, I'm considering a move to NYC. The idea is to move to Manhattan. I'd be leaving the SF Bay Area, specifically the Peninsula.

There are a lot of reasons, which I'll touch on briefly. Currently, I live in the suburbs, which are not awesome. I have a fifteen or twenty minute freeway commute to work, which isn't great, and is compounded by a much less pleasant return commute that can be anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour depending on whether I'm picking up little obstinate from daycare. And I'm all the way across the country from my family. I'm not terribly excited by the culture of the Bay Area, or at least not of the suburban wasteland where I currently find myself. I do not like having and caring for a yard, or most of the other trappings of the single-family home existence.

NYC by contrast, is awesome. Trains are really cool. Being able to walk and bike anywhere you want to go is super cool. Skyscrapers are cool, and parks are cool. Not owning a car is cool. Compact living spaces are cool. Free events that you don't have to drive to are cool. Being much closer to family is cool. It has been my dream to live in a city at least since my early twenties, and a recent visit to NYC for business only confirmed the feeling.

That being said, I haven't fully decided on it. Let me give you some of the dynamics of my thinking right now, in hopes that I can get some feedback on whether I'm processing data rationally.
  • Work-wise, the company I work for has offices both here and in NYC. I could continue getting my HCOL salary here or there. It's mostly a wash. Depending on my income in a given year, NY and CA are almost exactly the same on income taxes, with NY being slightly cheaper the more I make.
  • Cost of living-wise, it seems like NYC will come out slightly ahead. I currently own a house worth a bit more than $2M, and it seems like condos that match our specifications within a fifteen minute walking distance from work can be had for as little as $1.7M. Property taxes in NYC are significantly lower than in San Mateo.
  • In terms of non-housing expenses, it seems like NYC should come out ahead on almost everything except groceries. We would sell our cars, which would save us, conservatively, $3,000 in annual TCO. Childcare seems to be about the same here or there. Flights home would likely be more frequent, but would probably cost about a third as much, which would save a substantial chunk for our little family of three.
The general plan right now is to think really hard about things for a couple more weeks, then make a go or no-go decision. If we go, we'd start looking for transfers and hope to make the move in the Spring. The idea is to rent for a year or two to learn the market, then, if we still like it, buy. We would sell our house here either way, because I have no interest in managing a property from across the country.

What I'd like to know are some questions that Manhattan or NYC-based Mustachians might be able to answer:
  • What do people do for childcare in the city? I've a sense from searching Google that maybe there aren't that many daycares. But I understand that there is guaranteed pre-k? Do people just use nannies for those first four years?
  • Any guidance about the rental market? We'd be looking for a 2-1.5 or 2-2. We are a family of three now, but planning to be four in the not too distant future. The little ones will share a room regardless of whether we have two or three bedrooms, so it seems like it makes sense to go for two. I also understand that three can be quite pricey on Manhattan.
  • Based on my research, it looks like the public schools on Manhattan are mostly pretty decent. We don't need little obstinate to go to Harvard, so while I want to provide educational opportunity, I'm not looking for a fancy private school to deliver it. Anything in particular to watch out for when it comes to public schooling in Manhattan? Please tailor advice considering it is not a priority to get into one of the top schools -- just to make sure we have access to decent ones.
  • Anything else I should be thinking about that I might not be right now?
You might wonder why I don't just retire. Well, I'm not ready yet. It's discussion for another time.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2016, 12:58:59 AM by obstinate »

naners

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 172
  • Age: 37
Re: Considering a move to NYC
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2016, 03:04:07 AM »
I don't live in Manhattan, and little banana is in utero for a bit longer. But a few thoughts: consider the boroughs. At your income level you might especially like Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights in Brooklyn; others may be able to comment on Queens.  Commuting is pretty easy by train and it's less crowded, more space in apartments, better parks, more family friendly amenities. Just watch school districts closely (true for Manhattan as well), even in expensive areas there are sometimes odd outliers in terms of schools. If you like you can hire a school consultant (google it). That seems insane to people outside NYC, especially on this forum, but the system is pretty complex and highly variable here. There are also websites like greatschools.org that provide test scores etc - that will mostly tell you the income level of the kids who go there, which may or may not be important to you.

Child care: we are planning on daycare. Again there will be more choice outside of Manhattan. In Park Slope there appear to be ~1,000,000 of them, but they do tend to have long wait lists (try to plan 6mo+ ahead). Nannies are also popular and seem to be readily available, although I haven't looked into it much.

Can't speak to renting in Manhattan. I don't think it will be much different from what you would expect in the Bay Area. Check out websites like Streeteasy and Zillow to get an idea. Not sure what it's like in SF but you do need to be nimble here - good places often rent to the first person who views them. If you can, get your company to provide temporary housing while you hunt.