Author Topic: Mustachian Relocation Guide  (Read 30651 times)

yuka

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #50 on: June 11, 2016, 06:43:51 PM »
Can anyone do Groton/New London, CT?
I spent my share of time in those towns (and Ledyard, and Gales Ferry) in the 1970s-90s and... yikes.  The cold weather there has a special nasty quality inspired by excess humidity.

The Thames River and the Long Island Sound are also a couple of the nation's most terrifying places to drive submarines, even at slack tide.  If you're in the military I have suggestions for other duty stations.  If the military has already issued you orders then I can share what I've experienced.

No orders yet, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. I've been thinking of Groton or Washington as my top choices.  The humid heat of the Southeast points me away from King's Bay, though in every other way a SSGN from there would be ideal. My family's in VA, DC, and PA, and my fiancee's is in VA as well. And she'll be working as a physician assistant.
New London: the winds and the currents on the Thames River are just ridiculous.  It was common to head upriver at a 2/3 bell, slam over the rudder when you're abreast of the pier, put on a back full bell, and pray that your biggest, strongest, most experienced linehandlers would snag line 1 around the capstan before you lost control of the bow.  (The piers are close together and tugs don't have much maneuvering room to help.)  In the winter, it got cold enough to freeze the pierside sanitary tank discharge hoses unless you flushed them religiously with salt water after every use. Otherwise you'd try to pump a sanitary tank before morning duty section turnover and discover that you just blew apart the hose on the pier... hopefully not on anybody or on your topside.  The commercial traffic on the Thames and in Long Island sound is a huge hassle to navigate, and you're usually in a rush to catch the right tide/current in the Thames.  You're on the surface for several hours before you reach the 100-fathom curve to dive.  Oh, and the fog makes navigating exciting too.

The duty stations can depend on your personal priorities:

Family life (you & your fiancι), more regular schedule:  SSBN or SSGN out of Bangor.  But frankly boomer life under today's strategic arms limitations (which are a very good thing for the rest of the world) make it hard to be excited about 90-day patrols.  Admittedly the Straits of Juan de Fuca can be busy, and there might be fishing fleets to dodge off the channel entrance.  I'm pretty sure that I remember fog, but it apparently didn't leave scars on my psyche the way New London did.  I'm not sure about the medical employment situation. 

Tactical skills, real-world experience:  SSN out of Pearl Harbor or Guam.  (Pearl Harbor is the nation's largest submarine homeport.)  This is not so good for family life or a set schedule but you'll gain tremendous tactical proficiency.  The water around the islands gets very deep very quickly (no continental shelf) so you rig for dive pierside.  30 minutes after you get underway, you can submerge... even right outside the channel buoys.  Your spouse could work in either the civilian or military (civil-service) hospital system.  Both islands are particularly hurting for doctors and PAs.  Your family in the VA/DC/PA area can Skype, Facetime, or get on a plane.

My impression of leadership on the west coast and Hawaii/Guam is that the crew has much more authority to run the boat while the officers are expected to focus their attention on fighting the boat.  (New London's submarine officers remind me more of the stuffy owners of Downton Abbey.)  You had more independence from the benevolent oversight of squadron and the type commander, too.  Lots of people go to Hawaii or Bangor, dig in deep with the sea/shore rotation, and try to never leave. 

Admittedly New London has the Submarine Learning Center and other shore duty, as well as some employment at the shipyard or with defense contractors.  But Hawaii and Bangor both have similar opportunities and milder weather.  I'll take tropical hurricanes, typhoons, and earthquakes any day over a New London winter.

In my opinion the only place worse than New London (even worse than refueling overhaul in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard) would be Norfolk.  But you probably already know that.

I hope someone has an update on the New London area that makes all the drawbacks worthwhile.

That's the first time I've heard what you said about the differences in squadron oversight. Despite the misery of 3-section duty, I've pretty much resigned myself to SSN (unless I get SSGN) because SSBN is too boring. Also, I've spent my last year with crypto guys, so they've got me convinced that I should go on a boat that does exciting things. I was turned off SSGN for a while when I found out that they did turnover, but I figure that's not such a big deal compared to fast boat duty schedule. At least I'd still get to be home and boat-less almost half the time.

At least in part I've leaned toward Groton and Washington because they're not in such built-up areas, and in CT the base is even not too far out of town.

How was the housing situation in Pearl? Did you live out in town or use base housing?

Do you have any wisdom about San Diego or fast boats out of Washington?

Nords

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #51 on: June 11, 2016, 08:00:06 PM »
That's the first time I've heard what you said about the differences in squadron oversight.
That may be my officer bias against the New London crowd, where you were expected to support the wardroom in all social activities instead of having a life.  The spouse groups seemed much more stiff & formal, too.  The officers seemed a little too involved in the details of running the boat, and after a while the chiefs tended to spend more time in the chiefs quarters.  Three decades later, I sure hope it's better.

Or it may be my first exposure to PACFLT SSNs.  For my first underway on my first SSN in the Pacific, when I got to the bridge my CO was wearing the usual khaki shirt with all the insignia and ribbons.  But down below chest level, where nobody from the pier could see what was in the bridge cockpit, he was wearing surf shorts and slippers.  Alooooooha.

Despite the misery of 3-section duty...
My daughter kvetched once about her destroyer going from six-section duty down to five-section.  I almost tore her head off by sheer reflex before I got control of myself, but I think she understood my facial expression.

... I've pretty much resigned myself to SSN (unless I get SSGN) because SSBN is too boring. Also, I've spent my last year with crypto guys, so they've got me convinced that I should go on a boat that does exciting things. I was turned off SSGN for a while when I found out that they did turnover, but I figure that's not such a big deal compared to fast boat duty schedule. At least I'd still get to be home and boat-less almost half the time.
A submariner after my own heart.  "Once you go fast attack you'll never go back"... I'm glad I did SSBNs when I was young and didn't know that anything better existed. 

I don't know much about SSGN schedules, but my impression is that they still get to do everything a fast attack would want to do-- until it's time to ripple-offload 100+ TLAMs on targets.  The OHIO-class' greater internal volume (with not much more crew than a SSN) makes them harder to keep clean.  However their two crews give them a better (or at least more reliable) schedule than SSNs.

How was the housing situation in Pearl? Did you live out in town or use base housing?
When I was on active duty, my spouse and I both had a housing allowance and lived off-base. 

In the last decade, almost all of the island's housing has been demolished and rebuilt to modern code.  There's so much base housing (after the drawdown) that some Reserve/Guard servicemembers & DoD civilians are eligible.  Depending on what you need, the base house may be waiting for you when you get here-- or you may find a decent bargain out in town.

Off-base housing is way too expensive to buy, and rents are rising.  The bargains lead to longer commutes, but some neighborhoods are close enough to commute by bicycle.

If you get orders out here then we can dig into the details.  In the meantime your spouse can have lifetime employment out here and you could homestead on active duty or finish your career in the Reserves...

Do you have any wisdom about San Diego or fast boats out of Washington?
San Diego is getting very crowded and expensive, with nasty traffic.  Everybody wants to be stationed there, including surface & aviation as well as submarines.  I'd go for Pearl, Guam, or Bangor (in about that order) before SD, but they're all still way better than the east coast.  SD is also a smaller squadron (like Guam) so for advanced schoolhouse training you'd have to go to Pearl or Bangor.  SD SSNs also spend a lot of time doing exercises with C3F ships & aircraft, and they're probably assigned more counterdrug operations than Pearl or Guam.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but that latter is just my speculation and I'm not up on the latest ops.

As far as I know (and I'm pretty far away from my security clearances) the only SSN in Bangor is the CARTER.  If you get that duty then you will gain an awesome amount of tactical proficiency but you may be unhappy with the family routine.  You might get more info on that lifestyle from your crypto guys, who are way more familiar with it than I ever had to be.
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Systems101

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #52 on: June 11, 2016, 10:18:52 PM »
Burlington, Chittenden County, Vermont, United States

I have lived 1/2 mi south of Downtown as well as 5 mi ENE of downtown. I owned the vast majority of the time I lived there.

Average Housing Cost: Can't say I'm sure anymore, but it's above national averages.  Local requirements and zoning try to control sprawl, and a required on site dig to avoid disturbing Native American sites kept development enough in check that there wasn't the same boom/bust as other areas.  Then again, some of the lake-accessible condos downtown are just insane $ to buy. Expect higher than average property taxes as well.

Indoor Hobbies: Get one or else.  Seriously, everyone I knew who didn't ski, bowl, play serious quantities of board games, or have some other significant winter outlet moved after their first winter.

Outdoor Hobbies: You can be a 20 min drive from the lake and 20 minutes from the mountains at the same time. <3  Tons and tons of options... biking, hiking, skiing, swimming, sailing, rock climbing, etc.  A bunch of very local rock climbing with a locally owned gym and non-profit owned crags to climb.  A few hours to NH or NY for thousands of additional routes.

Weather: There are 4 seasons: Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Mud.  Summers are awesome, a few days into the 90s, but many 80s.  People joke that summer is a week long, and in many cases, there really is just one super-hot week.  Autumn is great too, with the changing of the leaves as a breathtaking event with the available mountain climbs.  Winter is COLD.  The lowest when I lived there was -38'F... and that only tied the record for that day.  (Although that is rare, expect some nights under 0'F each year).  Expect FEET of snow and once it starts, you will see your lawn again in April (or May) and piles in the shade may last until June.  The highest mountains are muddy (and shouldn't be climbed to protect the trails) until the July 4 timeframe.

Favorite things: Mountains readily available for hiking, climbing, skiing.  Lots of local stores/crafts/etc with people focused on a more relaxing life and on their community.  People let you into traffic when it's congested.  Actually, the cold winters were great in some ways because it means whole families of insects just don't live there.  The airport security line is you and the 4 people in front of you, and that's when it's busy.  Take your guests to Ben & Jerry's headquarters ~45 min away.

Least Favorite things: Snow.  The community is smaller.  If you are married/with a partner, it's an utterly fantastic place.  If you're single, especially over 30, it gets small.  You can fly to what feels like 3 places and then have to catch a second (and then possibly third) flight to get anywhere distant.  (It's not really only 3, it just feels that way)

Must Try: Hike Mt Mansfield from Underhill State Park.  Go climb Mt Elmore and look out from the fire tower.  Then swim in Elmore Lake when you make it back to the bottom.  Ripcord (especially after it's groomed) and Jester (those are ski trails) at Sugarbush.  Food: Breakfast at Penny Cluse, Pizza at American Flatbread, also VT Pub & Brewery.  City Market if you're less into the traditional grocery store for food.  Stowe and Essex craft festivals.

Stupid ordinances/laws: It's not a stupid law, but *don't* drive through a crosswalk with a person in it. I've seen police ignore speeders, moving stops at stop signs, but they protect the sidewalks.  On actually stupid things, I don't recall any good examples... but as far a suburbs be careful in Williston. They were straining under their growth (both schools and housing/taxes) and don't quite have a balanced formula worked out.  Essex, as an example, is more mature in that sense and has managed growth much better.

Words of Wisdom: Be aware about the overall area economy.  It hinges on The University of Vermont and one other major employer, although in fits and starts, it has been reducing that employer dependency for >10 years, so it's much, much better than it was.  It also never really had an uncontrolled boom, so this isn't a huge risk, just a point of awareness.

Look for more recent houses with 6" outer walls. not 4".  The extra insulation makes a difference especially in the winter.

Make sure you learn what roads close or are impassable in winter if you aren't in downtown/surburbia.

Sustainability: Yes, it's pretty much in the culture... in fact, if you do something too obviously UNsustainable, you may hear about it!  Wind commercially in some mountains in eastern VT, solar occasionally, but I'm not really sure of the ROI.  Lots of community gardens. 

You're in Peregrine falcon country, please be conscious of closures to climbing or hiking due to nesting.






yuka

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #53 on: June 11, 2016, 10:20:38 PM »

A submariner after my own heart.  "Once you go fast attack you'll never go back"... I'm glad I did SSBNs when I was young and didn't know that anything better existed. 

I don't know much about SSGN schedules, but my impression is that they still get to do everything a fast attack would want to do-- until it's time to ripple-offload 100+ TLAMs on targets.  The OHIO-class' greater internal volume (with not much more crew than a SSN) makes them harder to keep clean.  However their two crews give them a better (or at least more reliable) schedule than SSNs.



SSGNs work on the same schedules as SSBNs. The one difference is that the West Coast ones, though home-ported out of Bangor, do turnover in Guam. And yes, you have the capabilities right, except that they also have a significant capability for working with special forces. I've never been on an Ohio boat, but I've heard midshipman cruise stories of people playing cards on the floor of their berthing areas. Having only seen VA boats with their 2 foot aisles in 6-man berthings, I had no idea that there existed 9-man versions with open floor space.


When I was on active duty, my spouse and I both had a housing allowance and lived off-base. 

In the last decade, almost all of the island's housing has been demolished and rebuilt to modern code.  There's so much base housing (after the drawdown) that some Reserve/Guard servicemembers & DoD civilians are eligible.  Depending on what you need, the base house may be waiting for you when you get here-- or you may find a decent bargain out in town.

Off-base housing is way too expensive to buy, and rents are rising.  The bargains lead to longer commutes, but some neighborhoods are close enough to commute by bicycle.

If you get orders out here then we can dig into the details.  In the meantime your spouse can have lifetime employment out here and you could homestead on active duty or finish your career in the Reserves...

That's good to know about the base housing. I've always been discouraged when I've tried to size up the market out there. Maybe I'll move Pearl Harbor back up the list.

San Diego is getting very crowded and expensive, with nasty traffic.  Everybody wants to be stationed there, including surface & aviation as well as submarines.  I'd go for Pearl, Guam, or Bangor (in about that order) before SD, but they're all still way better than the east coast.  SD is also a smaller squadron (like Guam) so for advanced schoolhouse training you'd have to go to Pearl or Bangor.  SD SSNs also spend a lot of time doing exercises with C3F ships & aircraft, and they're probably assigned more counterdrug operations than Pearl or Guam.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but that latter is just my speculation and I'm not up on the latest ops.

As far as I know (and I'm pretty far away from my security clearances) the only SSN in Bangor is the CARTER.  If you get that duty then you will gain an awesome amount of tactical proficiency but you may be unhappy with the family routine.  You might get more info on that lifestyle from your crypto guys, who are way more familiar with it than I ever had to be.

So, Carter is the only Bangor SSN, but over in Bremerton they have the other two Seawolf boats: Seawolf and Connecticut. The Bremerton base is integrated into the town of Bremerton, which is itself a good size and has little development directly surrounding it. It's also easy to reach SeaTac, which is just a direct flight away from the East Coast. Then again, I might just need some cooling off time as far as worrying about flights; I've flown between San Francisco and Savannah quite a few times this year, so I probably need some recharging.

As to San Diego, we thought it would be too hard to be able to live near both Point Loma and healthcare workplaces. That, and there's a disheartening lack of green there.

In case you wanted to catch up on what's where, the Wikipedia list should be complete:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_ships_of_the_United_States_Navy

Systems101

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #54 on: June 11, 2016, 10:31:51 PM »
Raleigh/Wake County, North Carolina, United States

I live in a suburb of Raleigh, approx 5 mi from downtown Raleigh, and moved here approx 2 years ago (from Burlington, VT see above :) ).

Average housing Cost: Western Suburbs rent from 75c-$1 per square foot/month for a house.  Downtown Raleigh is more expensive for housing.  Expect apartments to be $1.50-$1.80/sq ft/month.  Lots of competition from folks working at places like Red Hat.  Eastern suburbs are cheaper, but lower quality schools, more crime.  Historically the area had a reputation for low housing cost, but you have to be farther out (Wake Forest or Fuquay Varina) to really capture that benefit now (and even those aren't really that great)

Indoor hobbies: Rock Climbing is fairly popular, bunches of Board Games folks as well.  Carolina Hurricanes hockey team in the winter.  The Durham Performing Arts Center is one of the busiest such facilities in the nation (concerts, shows, et al).

Outdoor hobbies: Biking is very popular (Falls Lake area is very popular to ride around), Hiking is available, Golf is a big thing.  Some (shallow) lakes for swimming, boating, sailing.  Good Rock Climbing is 3-5 hrs away.  So are ocean beaches.  There are often charity 5K runs going on in Cary Park (and elsewhere).  Durham Bulls (minor league) baseball for a few months in the summer.

Overall on Hobbies: There are a bunch of meetups that are fairly effective, especially if you are under 40.

Weather: Winters are mild, with a few bouts of snow here and there.  More often it's the +/- 1 batch of ice that really causes the issues.  Expect grocery stores to empty when snow is forecast - if you can plan at all,  you'll never notice.  Summers can be hot - it can reach 100'F.  It can also be a bit muggy, and we get the occasional tropical storm threat (though nothing like Florida :) ).

Favorite things: Well developed bike path systems, especially in central/western Wake County, mild winters.  Continued, conscious effort by local government to grow the system.  Big enough area [actually kind of huge area] such that I don't see the same people at every activity :)

Least Favorite things: A large chunk of the area is designed around the automobile.  This can severely impact certain areas (Western Cary is notable for this design, see Amberly!).  They are getting much better about creating smart infill - Research Triangle Park has done this recently and there are some (expensive and popular) townhouses/homes that are now within trivial biking distance to many RTP employers.  Note that rush hour can be a mess, and this includes much of I-40.  Many of the local roads are not directly east/west (they are curved), so I-40 gets congested.  Avoid it if possible.

There are few places with basements (due to the hard clay soil), those that do are on a slope.  Garages generally become storage for many families, and they park in driveways or the road.

Must Try: Going for 3 days without finding someone who grew up in Upstate/Western NY.  BBQ is supposedly famous, but I happen to like Austin, TX version of it better.  Get to Duke gardens at the right time of year, and visit Umstead State Park (or better yet, live where you can ride the bike path system to Umstead :) )

Stupid ordinances/laws: Not sure about stupid, but there is a bunch of illegal importing of fireworks from South Carolina - expect to hear these at least July 4 and new years.  I haven't seen it meaningfully enforced though (not that I care).  It's also hard to ignore pointing out HB-2 given the national news on the topic (and cancelled concerts, et al)

Words of Wisdom: The area is growing quickly - so there are opportunities for great housing that recognize folks have less interest in using a car, and on the other side, some real sticky locations that are car bound (think single digit walkability scores). 

Home schooling is a big thing in the area, partially due to school district, partially due to culture.  There is zero stigma and not unusual at all to see school age children out and about during the day.

Also be thoughtful about purchasing on the southern side of Wake County - make sure the realtor is very clear on the possible future paths of route 540 (a divided highway).  One section is known, the rest has a few possible options, and you don't want that to be a surprise.

Sustainability options: Gardens are certainly viable, though it will take some work to get set up as the soil is generally hard clay.  Expect to buy a pick axe if you need to dig.  Better yet, build a raised bed.  Solar should be viable, but I see less of it than I would expect.

Some comments on various surrounding areas:

Durham County is MUCH cheaper (housing) than Wake County, a lot of this is the school district impact (Wake = near highest in the state, Durham = near lowest in the state).  However, Downtown Durham is getting a LOT of investment from the family that owns Capital Broadcasting (and the Durham Bulls baseball team), so it is improving by leaps and bounds.  It is nothing like its (historic) reputation, but still edgy, and there is still a lot heavy lifting to do. Having said that, Durham is rather popular with younger folks for the lower costs.

The new commercial regions being built are still concentrated, but are no longer large pockets of dense commercial that rely on the driving design of the community.  Developers recognize folks want to be able to walk to stores and live near services.  Newer commercial center builds (and there are plenty of them) comprehend this mix, and some of the surrounding communities have some potential on that front (Holly Springs may be especially interesting in a few years if they get a Lowes or Home Depot in a strategic spot - certainly on my radar).

As a comment on Chapel Hill (the third part of "The Triangle") - the driving culture impacts this area too.  It's not unusual for folks to think about driving to Durham not being a big deal for events/activities.  It's not crazy far by car, but it shows the culture.  Chapel Hill really is a more of a college town anyway (UNC Chapel Hill) and it has that as a major cultural side effect.  It means some significant areas are walkable, but rent can be up there ($).

Edit: See Also: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/living-in-north-carolina-raleigh-area/






« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 05:57:34 PM by Systems101 »

dougules

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #55 on: June 13, 2016, 12:51:12 PM »
Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States

I live about 100 miles away, and this is our top contender for FIRE if we stay in the US.  It's our favorite daytrip destination when we are feeling the need to blow good money on getting the F out of town for a day.  Being as I don't live there, I can't speak to all categories, but I wanted to put it out there.  Feel free to add since I'm sure there's more to say. 

Average housing Cost: Going up a lot in some areas, but I think a good Mustachian could find a deal for well under $200k, especially if you're less picky about house size, neighborhood, or getting a fixer-upper. 

Indoor hobbies: Very fast internet.  Not familiar enough to give more answers.

Outdoor hobbies: This is where Chattanooga really shines.  The Tennessee River is big and runs right through downtown.  Great for boating or paddle boarding, and the gorge a few miles downstream of downtown is really underrated.  Also nice if you're into fishing.  Lookout Mountain looms over town and is great for views and an easy escape to the woods in town.  The Blue Ridge Mountains, including the Smokies, and the Cumberland Plateau are both within a couple hour's drive.  They have no end of hiking, camping, views, waterfalls, rock climbing, etc.  The Blue Ridge Mountains don't look as rugged as they are because they're covered bottom to top in rainforest.  The Ocoee River is great whitewater only 60 miles out of town, although it can get crowded.  Plenty of other whitewater options deeper into the Blue Ridge if you want less traffic.  Foster Falls a bit out of town has both great swimming and rock climbing under a gorgeous waterfall, although the water is freezing cold even in the summer.  Hang gliding a few miles south of town.  Chickamauga Battlefield is close for the history buffs. 

Overall on Hobbies:  Go outside. 

Weather: Just like everywhere else in the mid-South, not great.  Very hot and humid in the summer.  Temperatures are well below comfortable in the winter, but anyone from further north would think winters aren't bad.  Snow and ice is infrequent enough not to need a snow shovel, so that's a plus.  The random wild downpours keep things green, too. 

Favorite things: Strolling Walnut Street Bridge. Riding across the dam on Raccoon Mountain.  Just the vibe of the town in general. 

Least Favorite things: It's still in East Tennessee, so there are still some closed-minded uneducated people around.  The inner areas are generally fairly forward thinking, though.  Some areas of town are also a bit blighted. 

Must Try: Lupi's Pizza, Julie Darling Donuts, Taco Mamacita

Stupid ordinances/laws:  Also not familiar enough to answer this one. 

Words of Wisdom: Don't stick your finger in a light socket.

Sustainability options:  Definitely one of the more bike friendly cities in the South.  I'm sure there are several more points, but I don't know personally. 

Some comments on various surrounding areas:  East Tennessee and North Georgia... Very green, very beautiful, but the people are... not always the most educated or open-minded.   120 miles to Atlanta if you want to hit a major metropolitan area or want a major airport.  Nashville is also 130 miles away. 

« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 01:04:28 PM by dougules »

Diniecita

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Mustachian Relocation Guide-Goose Creek, SC
« Reply #56 on: June 23, 2016, 06:48:27 PM »

Goose Creek, SC
About 30 minutes to Charleston, SC down I-26


Average housing cost-Average housing costs are going up every year. When I rented an apartment 4 years ago I got a one bedroom (pre-fancy remodel) for $600. Now you would be lucky to find the same (literally, the same) apartment for less than $800. Just like with everywhere if you live with friends/roommates or a SO you will can split the rent and it's cheaper for everyone. A 3 bedroom will probably run you about $1200 to rent. Buying you can find a nice 3 bedroom home from $100,000-200,000. Depends on the area really. It's a college and navy town so there are always openings for housing. I'm sure most people reading this are either Navy or college.

Indoor Hobbies-Well, there is always reading. I like board games and card games, but I'm a nerd. Magic, D&D, roleplaying games... There is a great shop in North Charleston (about 5-10 miles away) that caters to games like this called the Green Dragon. Seriously, check it out. They have a game room that you can join new games with other people and they already have all the books there. You don't HAVE to buy them, but they appreciate it when you do. There is also an indoor ice skating rink for when it's way too hot and humid to even think about being outside, not too far from the game shop and the mall.

Outdoor Hobbies-Anything you can think of really. Hunting, fishing running, biking, skating, skateboarding, surfing(if you go to the ocean obviously), beach volleyball, four-wheeling(if you know someone) are all popular things to do in the summer. Swimming is always popular too, whether at the ocean or a pool.
Weather- hot and humid most of the time. You have 4 basic seasons, there is almost summer, actual summer, late summer, and fall. Get used to being hot and sweaty.
Favorite things-There isn't really a whole lot going on in the town of Goose Creek right now. The fact that it is in the middle of everything is what's going to help it grow. You are literally 20 minutes from everything.
Least favorite things-Since it's a transient station for Navy and College people you will meet people you like and they will leave in 2-4 years. People come and go. I did as well.
'Must Try'- Eat at Montana's in Goose Creek, yeah I know it looks bad from the outside, but it's really good. And it's a hole in the wall bar. You can drink there too. I used to live in the neighborhood behind the bar and would walk home. In Summerville, (a town close by) they have the Azalea festival in April every year. It's fun, they sell a lot of stuff and food.
Stupid ordinances/laws- To my knowledge there aren't any that are stupid.
Words of wisdom/Advice People don't understand bike laws so be careful out there. Do NOT pull into someone's driveway if you don't know them or were not invited. It's a southern thing and you might get shot if you're out in the woods. If you are near water.(..or heck, if you are in G.C you are near water) look out for alligators. They will eat cats, birds, mall to medium dogs and small children. Do not feed them-EVER! But, do try eating them. Gator is one of my most favorite things and I really miss it now that I'm in MN. I wish someone would get it up here. Maybe I'll just have to go back home to get some. And I will...my Momma lives there still.

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc)- The soil quality is amazing. The sun is always on. IF you want sustainability you will definitely have to pay a lot for it. I know there was a company who was doing solar hot water heater replacements, but as far as anything else I'm not too sure. I didn't get into much of the sustainability for energy while I was there. I did garden a lot. Just about anything you want to grow will grow without any problems.

Good luck!
Trying to create our FI homestead for a better life.

PriestTheRunner

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #57 on: June 28, 2016, 12:22:21 PM »
TYLER, TEXAS:

Rough guidelines/information to include:
City, State, Country:
Tyler, Texas, USA
Population 100,000

If a suburb, distance from city:
Self-sustaining city.  Suburbs include Whitehouse, Flint, Lindale and Chapel Hill.  Much more mustacian to live in town though.

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy):
Buy-  Varies from 110,000$ 3bd/2bath to 600,000$+.  There are many good options sub-200K for 3bd/2bath in town.
Rent-  Pretty expensive (but a good market to landlord in).  1bed/1bath around 680$-900$, 3bd/2bath around 900$-1400$+

Indoor Hobbies:

Pretty much anything.  Tyler has 2 colleges (Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler) that provide a wide berth of options in arts and sciences.  A few museums in town. Historic downtown.

Outdoor Hobbies:
Bike riding, trail riding, the occasional 5k (about 4-8 per year that are organized), a few marathons and half marathons, lake Tyler (short distance) for lake recreation, Tyler State Park for more advanced trail riding, regional airport for those who are pilots (but storage is pricey), lots of geocaching, some options for dirtbike and stunting.
Missing: skiing, mountains, anything to see but trees (lol).

Weather: 
Pretty good winters.  Rarely snows and largely stays in the 20-45F range.  Quite comfortable if you have any idea of "real" cold (as in Northern States or Canada).  Excellent spring and summer if you are OK with temps in the low to mid 80s.  Summer is and will forever be HOT.  Average in the upper 90s with 60% or more humidity.  You can get acclimated to it, but it takes time.  Fairly typical rain seasons during spring and fall.  Generally does not rain for weeks at a time like some areas - but will get a day or two of rain every week during certain times of the year.

Favorite things:
Small town character, generally nice people, a genuine desire to return to a local market.  Colleges bring in income. 

Least favorite things:
"Larger" city as in area and land-mass.  Can be annoyingly spread-out at times.  Population is growing but business growth is slightly sluggish in comparison.  Generally lacking bike friendliness but this is improving rapidly (thanks to a new city master plan demanding bike lanes and sidewalks on all roads).

'Must Try':
Stanley's Pit BBQ.  Geocaching downtown. 

Stupid ordinances/laws:

Speed limits are low.  Speed limit zones change in certain areas without warning or city approval.  This is slowly getting better.

Words of wisdom/Advice:
If you are going to try mustachism in Tyler, move into the center of town, south of Front street and inside loop 323.  From this location you can bike almost anywhere in the city within 15-20 minutes (or significantly less).  Most jobs are on the south side as well.  Hospitals are on the central-east side.  Colleges are the same.  Try to pick a location in this area that is close as possibly to your employment.  You will want to use Brookshires for groceries (better, cheaper, local and fresher) so take that into account.

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc):
No ordinances against farming/gardening.  No ordinances against solar (and Texas does offer some rebates but not much).  Lots of sun for solar and generally a good location for gardening.  HOAs may have specific requirements on solar so be sure to check BEFORE buying a house.  A house on the south side of an East-West street would be the best option (to put solar on the back side of the house).  The latitude is good enough that you can roof-mount solar without much additional angle being required.  Minor permitting required to add structures and no permitting required for detached storm shelters.  Home winery in a detached cellar is certainly an option.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2016, 01:11:17 PM by PriestTheRunner »
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jordanread

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #58 on: June 28, 2016, 01:49:21 PM »
Sorry for the delay everyone. Those are some awesome reviews. Thanks to everyone who has participated so far! I've got the main post updated. Keep 'em coming, and if I missed anything, feel free to comment here, and I'll get them added.
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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #59 on: June 29, 2016, 03:40:42 PM »
Thank you JordanRead...this is a fantastic idea!

Please can you add Nanaimo, BC (Canada) to the list? 

Is it also possible to ask the reviewer to talk about what the winter weather is like? 
I have visions of five months of cloud and/or rain.
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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #60 on: June 30, 2016, 06:16:14 PM »
City, State, Country: Oakland, CA, USA

If a suburb, distance from city: 12 miles from San Francisco, CA

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): $1500 for a 1-bedroom/studio in Oakland, $2500 in San Francisco - to rent. Rough estimate.

Indoor Hobbies: Lots of things. It's a big city area and between Oakland and SF, you can find anything to do. ANYTHING.

Outdoor Hobbies: Hiking all year round. The beach is nearby, the forest, the mountains. You can go to Tahoe for snowboarding in the winter, it's about a 4 hour drive. Tahoe is also great in the summer for water activities. Yosemite is also fairly close and is amazing. There are tons of places to fish, hike, camp, and otherwise play. Surfing in Santa Cruz is amazing.

Weather: Ridiculously nice year round. Sometimes too nice, as in we experience droughts. It doesn't seem to affect daily life very much. It's always fairly warm. This is not LA -- therefore it does tend to be cooler here. Especially in San Francisco it can get chilly and foggy at night. But overall it's very warm. You won't need a heavy winter coat here, and people do silly things like wear sandals all year round.

Favorite things: I am biased because I was born and raised in Oakland. It has the coolest mash of people. There are people of all types and all classes, living together. I like to tell people that living in Oakland prepares you for all kinds of situations. The tolerance here is unparalleled. It's very liberal, which can be good or bad; to me it's great, because I have never felt weird being myself. I think the overall vibe is laid back and chill. It's not as hectic as New York or London, not as superficial as LA. It's just the best place ever. :)

Least favorite things: The Silicon Valley tech boom is real here. It's good and bad, but as a native I see the negative effects and it pains me sometimes. Overall it's a fairly wealthy place to live, meaning it's freaking expensive. If you try to live in the city (SF) it's very expensive. Oakland is not much better nowadays, it's almost as expensive as the city now. This is one of the places where we just like to complain about rent. The traffic is also truly horrible. Personally I take BART to work. If you try to drive to work (into the city) during rush hour, it will probably take you hours to complete what should be a 20 minute drive. The public schools are not great in Oakland -- I would recommend moving further away to Fremont or another suburb if you have school age children, for the better schools and environment.

'Must Try': Greyhounds at Cafe Van Kleef. Oakland "First Fridays" art walk and festivals. In SF: Local Edition bar. Walk on Embarcadero at night at watch the Bay Bridge lights twinkle. Go see the Golden Gate Bridge and do all those touristy things. Check out Golden Gate Park if you want to have a picnic. Get out of town and see nature, that's the best part of being here. Tahoe, Yosemite, Muir Woods are all a short car ride away.

Stupid ordinances/laws: I'm not sure.

Words of wisdom/Advice: It's really expensive to live here, but it's wonderful. I don't know about buying a house -- it's probably very expensive. I haven't even looked.

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): No idea.

My perspective is really as a late-20s single millenial living in downtown Oakland. I don't have any plans to purchase property nor can I offer any real insights on family life (yes, I grew up there, but in a ghetto part of down in a less-than-ideal public school, so I'm not sure I would recommend it! It's a great place to live though. If you can get a job in the tech industry, life can be pretty comfortable.

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #61 on: July 01, 2016, 06:06:43 AM »
Thank you JordanRead...this is a fantastic idea!

Please can you add Nanaimo, BC (Canada) to the list? 

Is it also possible to ask the reviewer to talk about what the winter weather is like? 
I have visions of five months of cloud and/or rain.

I've got it added to the request list. I also changed the second post so that people can easily get a format for a bit of consistency. Weather is on there, but I expanded it a bit.

City, State, Country: Oakland, CA, USA

Thank you!! I lived in Hayward for a while, but I need to really figure out if I want to use this city to consider the request for San Francisco fulfilled.
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yuka

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #62 on: July 05, 2016, 06:48:26 AM »
For dumb laws in Oakland, you could at least add Propositions 13 and 65. 65 doesn't affect much, but 13 adds to the problems of home scarcity and high prices in CA.

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #63 on: July 28, 2016, 09:57:16 AM »
City, State, Country: Denver, CO, USA
Ask and you shall receive

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy):
I own a 3 bedroom 1 bath of 1100 sq ft on the south side of town (I-25 and Yale) that is worth about $310,000. We currently are renting it out for about $1800/month which is probably on the lower side. It's not a high end rental.
I have friends that rent a 600 sq ft 1 bedroom apartment for around $850/month by DU.
Condos aren't a thing here but it's a very long story so you either rent or own a single family home, no middle ground.
Suburbs closer to the mountains are more expensive (Golden and Boulder are ridiculous) North (Longmont, Westminister) and South (Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch) of the city are less. East is a mixed bag, Aurora and Parker are much cheaper but Stapleton is HSWTF?!?! insane for what you get.

Taxes:
(I know it isn't in the original list but I think it should be)
Property taxes are crazy low. I pay $1,800 per year on a house worth $310k. There is some lag in assessing with home prices going up as fast as they have been but if I break $2,200 in the next 5 years, I'll be really surprised.
Income Taxes: Colorado is 4.6%, Denver adds another like $100/year
Sales Tax: about 4-6% depending on the category (lots of neighboring towns don't have much of a sales tax so you there are tons of car dealerships right across the border outside the city limits)

Indoor Hobbies:
- There is a very good theater district in downtown. They get really good shows and the orchestra is decent.
- Drinking beer. Seriously. We host the Great American Beer Festival every year and we have a bazillion breweries.

Outdoor Hobbies:
Skiing, hiking, kayaking, climbing, running, biking, wind sports (paragliding is huge in Golden). Mostly people pick a few different outdoor sports so that they can cover every season.

Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun):
(All temps in Fahrenheit)
Sunny almost every day but afternoon rainstorms are common in the Spring and Fall. Winter is usually dry ground except for about half a dozen major snow events where we'll get 8+ inches and then it will just about all melt within 3 days to a week.

Summer highs: Highs in the mid 90s are common and the past couple years we've seen about ten 100+ days per summer. The good news is really really low humidity. Like single digits most of the year.
Winter highs: usually around upper 20s to upper 30s (though this past year was warmer) but lots of sun so the snow all melts. We'll usually have a week per year that doesn't get above 15 degrees with lows at night around -10

Favorite things:
The outdoors are great. The mountains are about 45 minutes to the front range and 1.5 hours to true Mountains. Public transit is good and getting better (especially now that the light rail line to the airport is open). The beer selection is better than anywhere I've ever even visited. The culture is much more laid back than the east coast where I grew up. No one wears suits for anything ever.

Least favorite things:
- Traffic is terrible. Last list I saw put us at 6th worst traffic in the country. They are doing a lot of construction to improve it but the city is growing faster than construction keeps up. Bike trails are pretty good and light rail system is very good every direction except for to the North.
- The mountains are farther away than people think.
- Homeless. There is a big homeless problem in downtown along the 16th St Mall. In the past couple months relations have gotten very bad because a couple of drug addled people have physically assaulted pedestrians for no reason and it was caught on camera and played on the news. I'm curious what, if anything is going to happen about it.
- Water. No one really talks about it but the state doesn't have enough water to supply all the people moving here and agriculture at the same time. We've been ok for a couple years now just because we've been lucky. 2 low years in a row (like 2012) and we'll have major problems. Either the cities will need to buy water rights from farmers who let their farms go fallow or the city is going to need to have water restrictions like California had last year. It also means that forest fires are a legitimate fear of most residents outside the major urban areas but even Colorado Springs had a fire take out 500 homes in a suburb (the Black Forest Fire) 2 years ago.

'Must Try':
- Marijuana. It's cheap, it's legal, it's fairly consequence free for adults. Just buy an edible and try one serving at home with some food and TV to see if it's your thing or not. A single edible wont kick in for up to an hour and will then last up to about 4 hours for first timers.
- Red Rocks Amphitheater. Even if you don't pay money to go to a show, during the day it's free to visit and has some great hiking, amazing views, and the people watching is great because tons of people go there to do workouts running up and down the seats.
- Hiking. Anywhere.

Stupid ordinances/laws:
- Only buy beer from liquor stores. All beer in grocery stores is restricted by law to be 3.2% alcohol or less. So you can buy a can of PBR from the grocery store that will be 3.2% and the can from the liquor store next door will be 6.4% but the cans will look identical.
- Rain barrels and grey water recycling isn't allowed (though there has been a bit of movement on this in the past year). The reason is that technically all water in all waterways in the state is owned by someone, so technically the water that falls on your property is owned by someone's water right. So if you use it on your property instead, you are stealing from the real owner.
- TABOR the taxpayer bill of rights. Basically any time that a politician wants to increase taxes, we have a referendum vote. Some people love it because it means they can keep their taxes low. Others hate it because it means that the government basically can never get the money it needs without doing a full marketing campaign before the vote. Also means that if we collect more money than expected (like with the marijuana tax) we then have to vote again on if the government can keep the money instead of just rolling it into schools like they wanted to.

Words of wisdom/Advice:
- Usually living here you need to decide, live near work, or live near the mountains (unless you work in Golden). You should live near work. 100%. Or live and work next to a light rail station. You'll have to drive farther to get to the mountains, but you commute to work way more often than you commute to the mountains and traffic at rush hour is TERRIBLE.
- People move here for weed, but not as many as you think. The gold rush is finishing up, most of the market needs have been filled and most of the business have the employees they need. That said, everyone from out of state will assume you moved here for the weed regardless of if you did or not. It gets annoying fast.

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc):
We have solar panels on our house. The electric company allows Net Metering which makes it cost effective. You can also pay a $0.03/kwh premium to get your electricity from a wind farm (the Windsource program from Xcel energy). The biggest way to make your life more sustainable in Denver is to decrease your water usage. Xeriscape your lawn, get efficient shower heads and an efficient washer. Decreasing your energy use is also a good idea because something like 60% of our electricity comes from coal.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 10:02:03 AM by nawhite »
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« Reply #64 on: July 30, 2016, 09:45:07 AM »
Los Alamos, NM, USA

Please note that I don't actually live here. I do own a house in Los Alamos, but it's a "bailout" in the event I get tired of my job in Park City ($$$) UT.

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): ~$250,000 to buy a 3/4 bed SFH. Lots of much cheaper attached dwelling housing available (3/1 duplexes go for <$100k). Decent rentals are $1000-1500.

Indoor Hobbies: Any form of geekery you can imagine. More nerds, scientists, and engineers per capita than anywhere in the USA.

Outdoor Hobbies: Mountain/road biking, skiing, rock climbing, hiking, trail running, ball sports of various kinds, etc.

Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun): July average high 81, January average low 18. Full 4 "real" seasons, almost always sunny. About 60" of snow annually (in town, double that at the ski area 10 minutes away), 18" of rain.

Favorite things: Incredible schools (literally the best public schools in the US) and amazing views/outdoors activities. Where else can you drive 10 minutes to a ski area with 45 runs/1300' vert and lift tickets are $30? Amazing trail networks for all forms out outdoor activities, tons of great rock climbing within a 20 minute drive. You can quite literally ski powder in the morning and then go climbing shirtless in the afternoon.

Least favorite things: Very little nightlife/limited social activities if you're not an enginerd.

'Must Try': Breakfast burritos at Chile Works, tasty microbrews at Bathtub Row Brewery (yes, there's a brewery).

Stupid ordinances/laws: None that I know of.

Words of wisdom/Advice: Great place for kids and families. AWFUL place for single adults (unless you're a lady who likes engineers!)

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc):  Good weather for gardening, loads of solar for power/hot water.

Los Alamos was rated the "easiest" (best) place to live by the NYT based on 2010 census data (looking at income, life expectaancy, poverty, education, and obesity/disability rates): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/upshot/where-are-the-hardest-places-to-live-in-the-us.html

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« Last Edit: August 03, 2016, 08:38:01 PM by waltworks »

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #65 on: August 01, 2016, 02:47:00 PM »
Very specific request if anyone can help. I'd like more information about the "Blue Hole" in Washington: Sequim, also Port Angeles and Port Townsend if they get the same rain shadow affect.

Is it as big a difference compared to the rest of the region claimed. And do you actually get more sunshine, or simply grey days with less rain?
How is it living in Sequim? We drove through quickly for unrelated reasons, and I didn't see much of a town. I really liked Port Angeles and Port Townsend, but wasn't sure if they had the same level of blue-holeness.
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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #66 on: August 01, 2016, 03:51:33 PM »
City, State, Country: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, USA

If a suburb, distance from city: it's all part of the sprawl of Orange County.  One hour from LA by car.

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy):  a 2 bedroom, 2 bath rental goes for just shy of $2k.  Houses vary but can be had for as "little" as $500k.


Indoor Hobbies:  it's SoCal, why would you be indoors? Because of Orange County's large population you can probably find fellow enthusiasts of your favorite hobby nearby.  Thanks God for indoor ice and the beer belly men's hockey leagues.

Outdoor Hobbies: Mountains for hiking and biking and rock climbing.  The ocean and harbors for surfing, kayaking, swimming boating.  Great biking and skateboarding and tons of parks for soccer and softball, etc.. The one thing I've noticed lacking is the absence of trap/skeet - you gotta drive a ways to do that. 

Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun): Summers can be hot but not miserable like other parts of the country. I have seen temps dip into the 50's and even the 40's in the winter...brrrr....  Generally we vacillate between "really nice" and "perfect". 

Favorite things: the walkability of my town - a rare thing in SoCal.  And although utilities might be pricey on a unit cost basis, you don't need to turn your AC or your heat on all that much.

Least favorite things: housing is expensive.  Traffic can be a problem.

'Must Try':  enjoying the beach, free concerts in the park, walking around the lake in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Stupid ordinances/laws: I'm sure we have plenty of them but I haven't encountered any. 


Words of wisdom/Advice:  Lots of material for the "Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy" to be found here as in much of California, but exercise your Mustachian muscles and skills and you will be rewarded. 

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): If you have a house with a yard you can grow stuff all year round - just keep it on the drought tolerant side.  And of course we get tons of sunshine for solar.

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #67 on: August 03, 2016, 02:54:56 PM »
Very specific request if anyone can help. I'd like more information about the "Blue Hole" in Washington: Sequim, also Port Angeles and Port Townsend if they get the same rain shadow affect.

Is it as big a difference compared to the rest of the region claimed. And do you actually get more sunshine, or simply grey days with less rain?
How is it living in Sequim? We drove through quickly for unrelated reasons, and I didn't see much of a town. I really liked Port Angeles and Port Townsend, but wasn't sure if they had the same level of blue-holeness.

I've got all 3 added.


Thanks for the participation so far. I really like how the love that people have for where they are come through in some of these posts.
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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #68 on: August 09, 2016, 02:50:21 PM »
This post is effing awesome. I'll be checking back here in a year or so when there may be an opportunity to find greener pastures. (And a greener wallet.)

A possible item for your resources section: http://www.numbeo.com

It's crowdsourced information showing the cost of all sorts of things. I find it invaluable, because I can compare cities based on the things I actually spend money on instead of some averaged value across all things. Paired with walkscore.com, which can help you figure out how car-dependent/bike friendly an area is, you can get a good sense of how living in that place would affect your lifestyle and your bottom line.

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #69 on: August 15, 2016, 10:00:05 AM »
Great post idea.  I would be interested to know more about Northwest Arkansas (Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers area).  I have been there a few times and know a little about the activities but very little about the cost of living.  It would be great to get the perspective of another Mustachian.

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #70 on: September 02, 2016, 06:45:20 AM »
City: North Delaware/West Chester PA area  (Outside Philladelphia, south-east)

•  Average housing cost  - all over the place.  This little area between Newark DE - Valley Forge, PA runs the gambit from country, to little city (Wilmington, West Chester), to big towns (Newark DE, Valley Forge, Wayne, PA, Kennett Square, PA etc) to little suburb nooks (North Wilmington, Arden, Brandywine Hundred, Hockesin, Chadds Ford, etc).    Basically depending where you want to be you are looking somewhere between $900 - $2500/mo to rent or housing between $180,000 - all the way up over $2 mil if you want.    Most the stuff around here falls in the $1200 range for rent and $200,000 - $300,000 for housing which gets you a lot for your money. 

• Hobbies – Lots – Sports (30 mins from Philly, plus U Delaware, West Chester U, and local teams).  Lots of bars, breweries, outdoor events, music, arts.  Basically lots of perks of living near NYC and Washington DC (1 1/2 hours) without the HCOL.  1 hr away from the beach or mountains, but hilly and beachy areas inbetween for biking, hiking, kayaking.  Lots of museums in the area (especially the large amount of Dupont & such related properties - Winterthur, Nemoirs, Hagley, Longwood, etc).   Philly is close and mass transit is pretty great, plus philly is a drivable city so you can always just go on in if the mood hits you.

•  Weather – All 4 seasons. Summers can range from 80-90ish, with a handful of 100+days and it can get humid, especially in July/Aug.  If you are from the east coast of the US you are used to this, if you are from West Coast, it will be hellish. Spring and fall are beautiful and the temperate will be in the 40-70 degrees range. Winter can get COLD but not freezing usually.  Sometimes we get snow, sometimes we don't. Rarely we get into single digits here.

•  Favorite things – Fun area and it's a helluva lot cheaper then NYC or DC while you can still bring in the $$$ income, especially with all the banks in DE and the pharmaceutical companies in the Philly-area.   Not hard to make over $100k here so much cheaper tax wise then NYC/NJ/CT/NY suburbs.   Lots of easy travel and big arts culture in/around philly so there's always something to do.   There is i think a festival of some sorts every weekend here, it's really unbelievable.  Easy to go from mountains to beach to rivers quickly and lots of biking here.   Also big drinking community (beer, wine, cider).  Traffic isn't crazy here like NYC suburbs where i came from.   Whole Boston - DC corridor is connected via train so it's easy to get anywhere around here.  IT jobs a plenty, you can trip over them.

•  Least favorite things – Can get pretty humid in the summer, find a friend with a pool.  Also, Delaware especially doesn't have towns per say, so it can be difficult to foster a community in parts of DE because there are lots of developments vs actual towns.  (not alot of sidewalks depending where you live).  On top of that, DE public schools are pretty much crap so if you live here instead of the 20 minutes over the line in PA, you are likely sending your kids to one of the many private schools or home schooling.  If you don't have kids (like us), you an enjoy some of the cheapest taxes in the NE.

•  'Must Try' -    Many many dupont musuems and their events like Point to Point, Longwood Christmas, Longwood Fireworks, etc.
                        Any sports in Philly - Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, 76ers - be prepared to scream with the best of them.
                        XPonential Music Festival - our favorite every summer
                        Dewey Beach, DE - all the partying you can imagine, sans the NJ Shore people
                        Cape May/Wildwood NJ - Victorian and 50's vintage, fun for families and couples, really close
                        Philadelphia Flower Show
                        All the phily outdoor fests and food/drink events.
                        Wilmington - loops and food fests  - lots of fun
                        Arden, DE - Labor day fest, plays, dinners, pool, arts, fun place to visit or live.


•  Words of wisdom/Advice – Rent before you buy anything. There's tons of neighborhoods in Philly and in the suburbs, all with their own different style and flair.  Visit and figure out what you want before you buy.   Avoid DE if you have kids in public schools unless you want to go down below the canal in Delaware (country-ish), because you'll be paying to send them to private school.


For the schools in the Philly suburbs, look to "The Mainline" -  a string of towns along the the R5 Septa train line. These schools constantly rank top in the State and sometimes in the nation. Lots to do and lots of employment ops with companies in the suburbs ( avoid the Philly tax ;) ) , good public transport with direct trains to NYC from certain stations. House prices can be expensive with everything from 400K to the millions for a family home, for renting you would be hard pressed to get anything less than 1K/bedroom. Property tax about 1% for older homes and 2% for new construction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadelphia_Main_Line

More detail on each town - something for everyone?

http://mainlinetoday.com/core/pagetools.php?url=/main-line-today/march-2011/our-29-best-towns/&mode=print

Meowkins

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #71 on: September 10, 2016, 02:59:04 PM »
I don't know quite how to phrase this, but could you also add a section to these reviews that speak about political climate or how safe minorities feel in that area or any information on diversity (race, religion, orientations, etc)? It would be interesting to know for many people, I think.

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #72 on: September 10, 2016, 03:02:00 PM »
I don't know quite how to phrase this, but could you also add a section to these reviews that speak about political climate or how safe minorities feel in that area or any information on diversity (race, religion, orientations, etc)? It would be interesting to know for many people, I think.
Let me think on a good way of putting that, and I'll add it to the main post. Those who have already reviewed a place, I link to your initial comment. If you have some of the new info requested, feel free to just edit your post.
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zolotiyeruki

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #73 on: September 19, 2016, 08:29:56 AM »
Can I put in a request for Knoxville and/or Nashville, TN?

Can I also suggest a section in the review regarding taxes (property, income, sales), since that figures heavily into retirement calculations?

JG in Hangzhou

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #74 on: October 08, 2016, 10:40:48 PM »
City, State, Country: Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): Rent 1000 -2000 /month in nice gated community  Buy: $1M+

Population:   6 Million and growing

Indoor Hobbies: lots of health clubs, swimming, skating rinks in the malls, you can find it here.

Outdoor Hobbies: West Lake area and XIXI wetlands park are two of the big attractions here.  Wonderful natural beauty, short hikes, exploring historical neighborhoods.  Also, every day living in China is a day with some unexpected and unbelievable event. 
Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun): Moderate for 10 months 30-80F, two months of dry hot summer, 90-100F.  It snows every other year.

Favorite things:  Strong but relatively small international community enjoy alot of activities.  Learning Chinese language and culture.  Interesting food.  No expectations on how you should live (as you are not Chinese, so people don't expect you to be any certain way).

Least favorite things:
Traffic can be bad, but the subway is in progress.  National Holiday events are extremely crowded.

'Must Try': Come visit for up to 6 days without a Visa. Walk around West Lake, it's no wonder the Chinese call this "Heaven on Earth".

Stupid ordinances/laws: You can't get permanent residence.  Either you need to work for someone, or you need to register a business.

Words of wisdom/Advice:Come see it.  It's not like the China you see on TV, or read about, this is the new young vibrant China, site of Jack Ma's Alibaba Headquarters and the 2016 G20 meeting.

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc):?? Yikes I'm not sure I know what this means. 

yuka

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #75 on: October 13, 2016, 06:13:23 PM »
Are foreigners required to somehow get a hukou to establish permanent residence in China? Is it Hangzhou in particular that's bad, or just China in general?

JG in Hangzhou

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #76 on: October 13, 2016, 09:25:28 PM »
Are foreigners required to somehow get a hukou to establish permanent residence in China? Is it Hangzhou in particular that's bad, or just China in general?
For the most part, foreigners can't get permanent residence in China. 
We registered a company, and hence get a 5 year business visa.  We renew it every 5 years.  It's a pain, but we've made it through tax audits, etc.
Why would a foreigner in China want to have a hukou?  With my residence work visa, my company (me) can do work anywhere in China.  I do have to pay for private schooling for my daughter, but it's fairly cheap. 

yuka

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #77 on: October 16, 2016, 03:18:17 PM »
Are foreigners required to somehow get a hukou to establish permanent residence in China? Is it Hangzhou in particular that's bad, or just China in general?
For the most part, foreigners can't get permanent residence in China. 
We registered a company, and hence get a 5 year business visa.  We renew it every 5 years.  It's a pain, but we've made it through tax audits, etc.
Why would a foreigner in China want to have a hukou?  With my residence work visa, my company (me) can do work anywhere in China.  I do have to pay for private schooling for my daughter, but it's fairly cheap.

OK, interesting. And I didn't know how it worked for foreigners, as I've only ever spoken to Chinese nationals about the hukou system. As to why you'd want one: maybe it'd be worth having in Shanghai or Beijing? Most of the people I spoke to seemed to regard that as quite the valuable thing (they were mostly from guangdong). Though the only Beijing person I met went to school at Penn state instead (rich parents I guess.)

JG in Hangzhou

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #78 on: October 17, 2016, 06:28:25 AM »
Hukou for Chinese nationals tells where their kids can go to school.  If you live in Beijing but your hukou is in guandong, you have to pay for private school, and usually you have to test in, or pay alot.
Lucky for me, my daughter passed the 7 part examination, including teamwork, for First Grade, so I only pay a modest tuition for elementary school. There may be some other legal implications of the hukou, but public school seems the most obvious.

jordanread

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #79 on: October 17, 2016, 01:35:30 PM »
Lhamo also knows quite a bit about this. She lived in Beijing for some time.
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hoping2retire35

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #80 on: October 20, 2016, 08:49:03 AM »
Nawhite-thanks for the tip on rain barrels. I was somewhat familiar about western water rights but was always curious about if you just put a damn on you property or whatever for a garden etc.

PLEASE REVIEW

JONESBORO, AR(SURROUNDING TOWN/SMALL CITY TOO, CLOSE TO OZARKS)
SANTA FE, NM
ALBUQUERQUE, NM

ANCHORAGE, AK
JUNEAU, AK
KETCHIKAN, AK
ANYWHERE, AK
-I get that it is cold cloudy and dark, but i would guess these three are all a little different. When is the best time to visit, September(decent sun, not too much, not too cold, not much rain?)

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #81 on: October 20, 2016, 01:43:20 PM »
Stupid ordinances/laws:
...
- Rain barrels and grey water recycling isn't allowed (though there has been a bit of movement on this in the past year). The reason is that technically all water in all waterways in the state is owned by someone, so technically the water that falls on your property is owned by someone's water right. So if you use it on your property instead, you are stealing from the real owner.
I think your information on grey water recycling and rain barrels is outdated:
Grey water is ok since 2013: http://collegian.com/2013/05/gov-hickenlooper-signs-graywater-bill-into-colorado-law/
Rain barrels are ok since August: http://www.denverpost.com/2016/08/05/colorado-household-rain-barrel-law-takes-effect-tuesday/

Not sure if local laws can/do override those, though.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #82 on: October 21, 2016, 08:57:44 AM »
City, State, Country:Charleston, SC, USA
If a suburb, distance from city: Isle of Palms(12mi~20min drive) Mt Pleasant (6mi, 12 min)

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy):Highly variable. Multi-million dollar mansions are south of Broad street, 1 mile up are rooms for $500 a month(basically forget buying). Isle of Palms will be expensive in the summer, unless you can really find a deal probably starting off paying $400,000 for 2bd, $500 for a 1 room rental, condo rental $1000+(price is non-summertime), Mt Pleasant you can find 2bd condos for under $200k and perhaps some decent deals if you look, renting is about the same as IOP.IOP price is non summer months*

Indoor Hobbies: Go outside, downtown is where it is at, museums, house tours, Aquarium, boat tours(sorta inside), nightlife, shopping(window shopping; lots of expensive stuff)

Outdoor Hobbies: The beach, walking downtown staring at rich people houses and old stuff, boat tours/rides, fishing, Francis Marion NF is ~30 minutes away, waves aren't big enough to surf so you boogie board, look for seashells and critters, The Market(its outside), beer festivals, mountains are 4hrs away.

Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun)
:Its hot and humid, I go running at 3 in the afternoon in July, you will learn to deal properly with it. It will freeze in the winter but usually not in the teens. It can be really windy just about all the time near the ocean. 4 full seasons but we went swimming Christmas day last year...Hurricanes happen late summer/fall, mostly just tropical storms though; have a contingency plan.

Favorite things:The beach, food, saltwater fishing, want to do more boating soon, downtown walking around, has a more worldly(?) feel than other cities I have been too. First historical district in the country (world?). letting kids just run carefree on the beach is the best

Least favorite things:The housing prices with very few exceptions, humidity, its a city and I am a country person.

'Must Try': she crab soup, the beach after labor day(read; no crowds! literally awesome), go to some house and area plantation tours

Stupid ordinances/laws:Never lived there just visited a lot so not too familiar. Some of our states beer laws(not unlike other states) are antiquated and progressive but seems to be changing for the better. We are one of 5 states that does not allow open carry, just seems odd to me (TX, NY, Ca, ILL are the others).

Words of wisdom/Advice:imagine the hottest day you have ever experienced, its like that for 6-8 weeks so stay in the shade, drink water and go to the beach with sun screen

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): Electricity is really cheap so solar just doesn't make sense, financially, but in any case the state does not offer any rebates, but if you just want to do it knock yourself out. It is right in between tropic and temperate zones so you can grow just about anything if you can find the gardening space. Land is really cheap as you leave the coast.Downtown, Mt Pleasant, IOP, and other areas are all pretty bikable individually, at least getting to grocery stores etc, having sidewalks but getting in between them can be more of a hassle, just a long ride over a tall exposed bridge

Jordanread, if a long time resident does a write up feel free to link theirs instead of mine, I think I covered it all thoroughly but they will have deeper knowledge than myself.

EDITS
« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 02:48:10 PM by hoping2retire35 »

TrulyStashin

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #83 on: October 27, 2016, 02:07:38 PM »
City, State, Country: Richmond, VA USA  ("RVA")  Metro area population about 1.5 M
If a suburb, distance from city: I'm in a historic RVA neighborhood but used to live in a suburb - 15 miles to downtown, 18 minutes.  That's typical unless you're way out.

Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): A nice SFH in a good school district will run you in the low to mid $200's.  We bought our city condo for $135k.  Average rent on a 1 BR apartment is $1,000 - $1,200/ mo. 

Indoor Hobbies: the Museum of Fine Arts is outstanding -- one of the best on the east coast.  We're the state capital so other museums abound.  The music scene here is robust so concerts at local venues are easy to find and cheap.  We have two theater venues for national productions ("Broadway in Richmond") but also local, professional theater that is wonderful.  The craft beer scene is outrageous -- more craft breweries than anywhere else on the eastern seaboard according to a recent article.  Lots of Meet Ups for every interest.

Outdoor Hobbies:
The James River runs right through downtown and long ago the City created the James River Park system (http://www.jamesriverpark.org/) which put both north and south banks of the river under conversation.  There are extensive natural amenities: hiking trails, mountain bike trails, white water rafting, paddle boarding, sun bathing on big flat rocks.  We also have the Capital Trail (Richmond to Jamestown, dedicated bike-walk path 50 miles long) that starts in downtown and runs along the James River and eventually to Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in N. America.  There are historical attractions of every kind from battlefields to historic homes to quaint towns -- colonial era, Revolutionary War, antebellum, Civil War, WW I & II.  If that's not enough for you, DC is a day trip away.  Charlottesville (Monticello/ Thomas Jefferson) is an hour to the west.  We are increasingly bike friendly thanks to having hosted the UCI World Championship cycling race last fall (http://richmond2015.com/) which led to bike-fever taking hold in RVA.  We will soon open a "bike highway" on Floyd Avenue connecting the west end of the city to downtown.  Bike lanes are springing up everywhere.  My BF and I frequently bike through the city, to the James River Park trails, then to a brewery for a beer, than home.  Did that yesterday, in fact.  We are two hours from the beach; two hours from the Blue Ridge Mountains; and two hours from DC (or 6, or 8, depending on traffic/ mode of transport).

Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun):
Spring and fall are absolutely wonderful with low humidity, weather in the 70's to 80's and absolutely beautiful forests and blooming plants.  Summers are hot and humid (mid-June to mid-Sept) with 95 degree days common.  Winters tend to be pretty brief (mid-December to mid-March, maybe late March) and we typically get one or two good snowfalls a year but otherwise temps are in the 30's and 40's.  Bundle up and you can still do all the fun outside stuff.

Favorite things:  Biking or hiking the James River Park system or the Capital Trail or to breweries.  Oh, and the food scene here is amazing!  Twice a year we have restaurant week with a three-course meal priced at $29.16 (proceeds to charity).  RVA has had multiple articles recently on our food/ restaurant scene (Esquire, Conde Nast Traveler, Southern Living, USA Today).  There is some kind of festival going on almost every weekend and they're usually free -- you will not be able to keep up with them all.  Irish Fest, Bourbon and Bacon Fest,  Folk Festival (music), River Rock (extreme sports), Watermelon Festival, Tomato Festival, Hogtober (beer, music, BBQ), Greek Festival.  That's just off the top of my head.

Least favorite things:   Hmmm..... That's tough.  I've lived here since 1998 and have grown increasingly proud of my city as it has morphed from a stuffy place (old motto:  "Tradition, unhampered by progress") to a vibrant, artsy, forward-looking city.  I guess my least favorite thing is that we still have a minority of people who cling to our Confederate history (we were the capital of the CSA).  But in the 18 years I've lived here, I've seen that wane considerably.  Thanks to Va Commonwealth University (40,000 students, campus in the heart of the city) and its young, hip, artistic, tattooed influence  the Confederate voice is significantly lessened. 

'Must Try': Hiking the James River Park trails at dawn.  Or dusk.  Taking a bottle of wine out onto the flat rocks at Texas Beach and drinking it while the sun sets.  Biking from Belle Isle to Reedy Creek to Riverside Drive.  Wasting a day at Hardywood brewery, drinking beer and throwing corn hole.  Any one of our hundreds of outdoor/ patio restaurants -- oh, Legends' deck overlooking downtown and the James River (our original craft brewery, c. 1993). 

Stupid ordinances/laws:  Not aware of any.

Words of wisdom/Advice:  Everyone here is very friendly.  People will smile and talk to you while you're standing in line at the grocery store.  But if you've somehow transgressed our cultural norms, the smile will get tight and a bit frozen.  If anyone smiles and says "bless your heart" then you've just been tagged as the village idiot.  Separate issue -- if you're LGBT, no worries. With the exception of the Old Richmond crowd at the Country Club of Virginia (you won't be hanging with them anyway) no one cares.

Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): As was said about Charleston, SC, it's true for us too:  "Electricity is really cheap so solar just doesn't make sense, financially, but in any case the state does not offer any rebates, but if you just want to do it knock yourself out. It is right in between tropic and temperate zones so you can grow just about anything if you can find the gardening space. Land is really cheap as you leave" downtown.  The urban garden movement is strong here (Google Tricycle Gardens).  As I mentioned, biking is growing quickly.  We're building a bus rapid transit system and the long-term plan includes high-speed rail to DC.  We have a bus system but its lame.  The city is very walkable and bikeable with lots of affordable housing options and neighborhoods with their own distinct sense of place and personality.
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TrulyStashin

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #84 on: October 27, 2016, 02:10:48 PM »
I currently live in NE OH, (originally from Long Island) and my wife and I would like to get back to the East coast.  Our current guess of a great place to live would be in the Raleigh North Carolina area, or maybe a suburb of Charlotte.  Can anyone provide some advice on these areas?  I've only been to Charlotte for work and my wife has only heard that its a great place to live from others.  We are planning on vacationing there later this year but have no idea where to go... Any help would be appreciated!

Basically, we want to get to warmer weather and live near a nice city to go into as well as having outdoor options (hiking, biking, camping, etc.)

Check our Richmond, VA.  See my post, above.  PM me is you have questions.  It's an awesome place to live.  Very high quality of life with low cost of living.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

Singularity

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #85 on: November 09, 2016, 03:17:19 PM »

Anyone have experience in the Aberdeen, MD / Havre de Grace, MD?
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waltworks

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #86 on: November 11, 2016, 08:29:11 PM »

PLEASE REVIEW
SANTA FE, NM
ALBUQUERQUE, NM

I have lots of experience with both, here's a quick summary (feel free to drop me a line in person if you want more detail)

Santa Fe:

Positives: High elevation desert (7k') with a TON of outdoor (skiing, mountain bike, hike, rock climb, kayak/raft, etc) activities and a vibrant art/music scene. Relatively cheap housing ($250k for a 3/2 in a safe neighborhood) and fantastic weather with 4 (including "real" winter with accumulating snow) seasons. Decent bike path network but basically no useful public transit. Lots of interesting local food options and of course NM green chile!

Negatives: Terrible public schools (as in, "my kid might get stabbed") due to odd demographics (wealthier residents are mostly older/don't have school age children) and NM's very poor public school funding. Houses in desirable locations near the plaza/capital are much more expensive ($500k+ even for pretty crappy structures) and most of those areas are also "historic" which means it can be impossible to remodel/add to an older house. Relatively isolated (1 hour to Albuquerque airport which only has flights to a few hub airports).

Albuquerque:

Positives: Great high desert (5.5k') weather, inexpensive housing, great NM cuisine. Lots of outdoor activities (though less so than Santa Fe). Not very cold in winter, not very snowy (if you don't like cold/snowy, that's good!) Minor league baseball team named for the Springfield Isotopes! Airport right in town, though you'll probably have to fly to a hub to get anywhere you want to go.

Negatives: Super, super, mega sprawl. Car required to go anywhere, and lousy bike path/trail system - you have to be brave and resourceful to get around on a bike. Negligible culture/art. Public schools generally crappy. Sometimes has polluted air due to the Sandia mountains trapping emissions from the city. A fair amount of crime. A lot of big city problems without big city benefits, in short.

I would live in Santa Fe in a hot second if I didn't have kids (or wanted to homeschool). I would live in Albuquerque if I had to, but I wouldn't be very excited about it.

-W

Kenoryn

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #87 on: November 17, 2016, 06:57:33 PM »
  • City, State, Country:Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

  • If a suburb, distance from city: Peterborough is a city of about 80,000 people. It is about 1.5 hours east of Toronto.
  • Average housing cost (specify rent or buy):Reasonable houses are between $200-300K in the city. Houses that need work are below that and fancy houses above. Prices are going up quickly recently.

  • Indoor Hobbies:Fantastic arts and culture scene for a city its size. Lots of live music and theatre, a great symphony, huge variety of local artists and artisans, lots of local groups you can join. Is a member of the Transition Town movement. Good local lacrosse and hockey teams. Several art galleries and the Canadian Canoe Museum.

  • Outdoor Hobbies:Really beautiful conservation areas nearby for hiking/snowshoeing etc, including Warsaw Caves which is pretty cool and Petroglyphs Provincial Park (which as you might guess features petroglyphs, also cool). An hour from Kawartha Highlands PP which is gorgeous, and 2.5 hours from Algonquin PP which is an interior camper/canoe tripper's paradise. A ski hill about 20 minutes outside the city. Great mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking trails in the Ganaraska Forest. Lots of hockey of course. Lots of canoeing and boating opportunties on the Trent-Severn Waterway which runs through town. Skating on the Canal in winter. Two great farmer's markets on Wednesday and Saturday every week.

  • Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun):Well, it's Canada. Ranges from -35 to +35, which Google tells me is -31 to 95 F.
  • Favorite things:Free outdoor concert series every Wednesday and Saturday all summer. Really great restaurants and pubs with regular live music. 4th Line Theatre outdoor theatre series. Lovely downtown waterfront with trails and gardens and a cute cafe on the water called the Silver Bean. Nice vibrant downtown that the city has really invested in in recent years. City is also investing a lot now in expanding cycling routes in the city. Also, just a really beautiful city.
  • Least favorite things:It's very white here. Our minority population is growing, and we've had many groups enthusiastically supporting Syrian refugees, but still not a lot of diversity. We do have at least one mosque and synagogue and there is a huge buddhist temple being built outside of town.
  • ':Must Try'The local craft beer, seeing Sheesham and Lotus perform, hiking Warsaw Caves in fall, the Canoe Museum, having a coffee or tea at the Silver Bean on a lovely summer day.
  • Stupid ordinances/laws:Stupid ordinances/laws:Can't think of any. They thought about banning backyard chickens last year but backtracked when there was a big outcry.
  • Words of wisdom/Advice:
    Live in the downtown area. Houses are fairly cheap, you can walk everywhere, and there are big backyards you can grow food in.
  • Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc):
    Ontario offers a great program called the MicroFIT (feed-in tariff) program where you can produce solar, wind or microhydro energy and sell it back to the grid with a 20-year contract at a fixed price higher than the purchase price of electricity, thus making renewable energy a great investment or, alternatively, free money, as there are companies who will install solar on your house or in your yard for free, they own the equipment but they pay you a portion of the proceeds.

    Growing season is short but still very much viable. Lots of places outside the city for larger-scale gardening, and lots of CSAs and small organic farms if you want to buy sustainably produced food that someone else grew.

    Peterborough has a great environmental non-profit called Green-up which has a store that sells local and sustainable things, a nursery of sorts offering native plants at reasonable prices, and all kinds of good local programs.

    Library is being renovated right now and will soon have lots more space and activities!

SouthLand

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #88 on: November 25, 2016, 03:04:25 PM »
I'm applying for a job in San Mateo, CA. I'd love a mustachian's input on the city if anyone's from around that area.

Dicey

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #89 on: November 27, 2016, 12:44:27 AM »
For dumb laws in Oakland, you could at least add Propositions 13 and 65. 65 doesn't affect much, but 13 adds to the problems of home scarcity and high prices in CA.
Um, no. Prop 13 caps property taxes at 1.25% of the purchase price and strictly limits the amount they can go up each year. If I want to pay fewer taxes, I can buy a smaller house. Not sure how it contributes to scarcity in any significant way. Pretty sure high prices are caused by a myriad of factors, of which these props are miniscule in comparison to say, bitchin' weather and majestic scenery.  FWIW, these props are in effect state-wide, therefore not unique to Oakland. Low property taxes are one thing CA does right, IMHO.
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stoaX

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #90 on: November 28, 2016, 10:10:01 AM »
For dumb laws in Oakland, you could at least add Propositions 13 and 65. 65 doesn't affect much, but 13 adds to the problems of home scarcity and high prices in CA.
Um, no. Prop 13 caps property taxes at 1.25% of the purchase price and strictly limits the amount they can go up each year. If I want to pay fewer taxes, I can buy a smaller house. Not sure how it contributes to scarcity in any significant way. Pretty sure high prices are caused by a myriad of factors, of which these props are miniscule in comparison to say, bitchin' weather and majestic scenery.  FWIW, these props are in effect state-wide, therefore not unique to Oakland. Low property taxes are one thing CA does right, IMHO.

I agree Diane C.  Other states I have lived in have had lower property taxes as a % of the purchase price (with good schools to boot!).  Also, many houses that you buy have additional property taxes on them (known as "mello - roos" taxes) that make the total property tax more than the 1.25%.

Add on high sales taxes, income taxes and a myriad of fees and one can conclude that California governments are not starved for tax money. 


MichaelB

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  • FIRE goal: April 2032
Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #91 on: November 28, 2016, 01:52:12 PM »
  • City, State, Country: Charlotte, NC, USA
  • Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): I have a 1400 sq foot house in a pretty burb-y part of the city with a tax value of $122k. If you get into the heart of uptown (and don't you DARE call it downtown), renting can be as much as $1200 per month for a studio. Otherwise, a smaller 3 bedroom house like mine goes for about $1200ish per month if you're renting. Apartments, you could go as low as $900ish for a 2 bedroom and still be in a reasonable part of town.
  • Indoor Hobbies: I mean, are indoor hobbies really all that different from city to city?
  • Outdoor Hobbies: Plenty of hiking in the area. Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake are close. There are a few greenway bike trails.
  • Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun): You get all 4 seasons. Summer is typically high 80s, low 90s, and humid. Winter is pretty mild--typically highs are 40s/50s, lows 20s/30s. (Fahrenheit, of course. This is the US we're talking about.) Snow usually happens once per winter, and it frequently is just an inch or two that melts in a day.
  • Favorite things: There's an exploding craft brewing scene in North Carolina, and Charlotte in particular. NoDa Brewing, The Olde Meck, Triple C, the list goes on. There are plenty of job opportunities--Charlotte is the second largest banking center in the US, outside of NYC. And North Carolina is just a fantastic state, geographically--Charlotte is only 2 hours from the highest mountains in the Eastern US, and only 4 from the Atlantic. Spring and fall in Charlotte are amazing. There are a lot of trees in Charlotte, compared with other large cities. And the uptown area is remarkably clean, for being the center of a city.
  • Least favorite things: This is a car-centric city, like most cities that didn't get big until the 20th century. Few bikes lines outside of a couple neighborhoods. They're building a light rail line but it just goes northeast and southwest--literally, at this point it's just a straight line. Most of the city is not bike friendly. (This was really driven home to me when I was in Vermont a few months ago--even without bike lanes, the road lanes were so wide you could basically just touch the yellow line and get around the bikers. Here the lanes are much narrower; you have to go halfway into the lane of oncoming traffic to get around bikers.) Mostly not pedestrian-friendly either, outside of the immediate uptown area.
  • 'Must Try': The Olde Meck Brewery. Cabo Fish Taco. Midwood Smokehouse. Price's Chicken Coop. (Or so I'm told--I've never actually been. It's a Charlotte landmark though.) If you're a shootyhoops fan, Charlotte Hornets tickets are pretty cheap, relative to other NBA teams.
  • Stupid ordinances/laws: Being in North Carolina, a mention of HB2 feels obligatory here. But I don't know about regs that would affect the everyday life of most Mustachians (i.e. ordinances about renting, owning chickens, etc.).
  • Words of wisdom/Advice: Charlotte's personality is very different from the rest of the state. There are a lot of transplants who've come into town to work at the banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo). You can see this a lot when teams from New York or Pittsburgh come to play. The surrounding counties are much more "real" North Carolina. Not a good or bad thing--it just kind of is.
  • Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): This is a good climate for gardening--you typically will get your last frost in April, and won't get another one until at least October. Don't know much about solar, but the electricity is pretty affordable.

compulsivereader

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #92 on: November 28, 2016, 03:14:20 PM »
City, State, Country: Austin, TX, USA
If a suburb, distance from city: N/A. I live approximately six miles north of downtown in a neighborhood called Crestview. It was considered far north Austin 20 years ago but is now considered north-central Austin. Drive time to downtown is ~20 minutes with normal traffic. Bicycle time is ~40 minutes. Bus time is ~50 minutes.
Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): When I moved to Austin in 2009, I rented a 750SF house for $1,075 a month and shared it with a housemate. The same house now rents for ~$1,300 a month. Houses in my neighborhood were selling for $200K (1950s era, 750SF) seven years ago; now, the same house might go for $300K to a developer who would tear it down and replace it with a 2,500SF house to sell for $600K. Housing prices in the city are rising rapidly, and that has become a hot button political issue. Many old neighborhoods (including mine) are gentrifying, and older retired folks, artists/musicians, and other lower/fixed income groups are getting priced out by rising rents and taxes. Our total tax bill for this year was approximately 2% of the appraised value of our home. FEMA maps were just updated, which is requiring some homeowners to purchase flood insurance.
Indoor Hobbies: Board and card games, home brewing, cooking, bowling, writing, crafting. You'll find a club or interest group for most activities you can think of. My local coffee shop hosts groups for: knitting, writing, bible study, language exchanges, etc.
Outdoor Hobbies:Town Lake/Ladybird Lake/ Colorado River (name depends on how long the person you ask has lived in Austin) has a great walking/bicycling trail and kayak, canoe, stand up paddle boat, and sail boat rental spots. It's illegal to swim in the lake, but the public park system has a number of good pools. Look up Deep Eddy and Barton Springs. There are good hiking spots around the edges of the city that are easily accessed by car and with effort by bicycle. There are also a number of beautiful state parks for hiking/camping within a 2-3 hour drive of the city.
Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun): Summer is hot and fairly humid. Most folks only do voluntary active outdoors activities before 10am or after 5pm between May and September. Expect most days at 90F+ degrees and at least a dozen days above 100F. Fall and Spring are both pleasant, mostly in the mid 70s to high 80s. The city wakes up for both seasons, and there are lots of outdoor performances and events, the outdoor seating at restaurants fills up, etc. Winter usually resembles the fall in more northern climes, although it has been very unpredictable over the last seven years. We have had a few winters with several weeks in a row falling below freezing and a couple of winters where it only froze a handful of times. If memory serves, it has snowed twice. 
Favorite things: Friendly people, good (and getting better) food, easy walk/bicycle/short car ride from my neighborhood to anything I need, the Long Center for the Arts, Zach Theater, UT-Austin (for courses and some facilities open to the public), Austin Community College (good courses at cheap prices), ok art galleries, lots of live music, and a plethora of festivals. The city is very dog friendly, and a number of bars and coffee shops have outdoor seating where dogs are allowed.
Least favorite things: 1) The traffic on the four primary freeways (U.S. 183, U.S. 290, I-35, and Mopac (SH 1)) is bad and getting worse. I-35 and Mopac seem to have partial shutdowns due to wrecks almost every day. Evening rush hour started around 4:30pm seven years ago. Now, it starts around 3:30pm. 2) There is a racial and financial divide between east Austin and west Austin. 3) The city lacks the culture and diversity of more sophisticated large cities (e.g. Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, NYC); although there are good asian and greek markets in my area and various festivals celebrating different ethnicities and cultures. There are no world-class museums. The arboretum is nice but not particularly impressive. I have not heard anything particularly good about the zoo or aquarium.
'Must Try': Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, breakfast tacos, rowing on Ladybird Lake, Kite festival
Stupid ordinances/laws: I can't think of any that are truly egregious. Building codes are strict, and that brings both good and bad.
Words of wisdom/Advice: Live on the same side of the river as where you work and expect to make friends and spend most of your time on that side. The best real estate deals are east of I-35, but those neighborhoods are gentrifying. If you plan to rent, expect your rent to go up each year. Check the floodplain maps before you buy a house. Even the suburbs are getting expensive, so the best situation is to live close to work.
Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): Solar panels are subsidized through Austin Energy, but the ROI is still going to be 5-8 years depending on which install company you go with. The utility has a list of approved installers that is updated annually. As of now, the city will rebate 50% of the cost of rainwater collection tanks. Gardening is very feasible, but soil conditions vary by what part of the city you are in. Austin is at the confluence of five eco regions. There are very active gardening clubs, community gardens, and a number of farmers markets and co-ops.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 03:18:09 PM by compulsivereader »

SouthLand

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #93 on: December 19, 2016, 02:32:19 PM »
I'd be interested in hearing about Las Vegas from a Mustachian. I'm interested in a position there, but with its reputation as all the worst tourist traps thrown together, I'm wondering if it's worth it.

jordanread

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #94 on: December 19, 2016, 02:34:29 PM »
I'd be interested in hearing about Las Vegas from a Mustachian. I'm interested in a position there, but with its reputation as all the worst tourist traps thrown together, I'm wondering if it's worth it.

I'll add it to the list. Our one and only arebelspy lived there pre-FIRE. It's surprisingly cheap, so long as one avoids the tourist stuff. The temperature makes it shitty for biking though.
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aoedae

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #95 on: January 06, 2017, 04:10:38 PM »
(Review in progress)

  • City, State, Country: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
  • If a suburb, distance from city:N/A
    The entire city is within walking or biking distance, and there is significant investment to enable cycling. If you're sans bike, then there's the bus system and local trains to some of the farther-flung outlying villages (e.g. Waterbeach)
  • Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): Average rent - £900 for a 1 bed apartment; £430,000 for average house price
    The cost of living here in terms of housing is frankly insane. Just run a google search and there'll be articles popping up telling you how the cost has increased 75% in the last decade. This is partly due to an influx of tech and pharmaceutical companies with accompanying higher paid jobs and dual-wage families, along with university subsidy of accommodation purchases, but also probably due to a good dose of NIMBYISM (not in my back yard!) in terms of new housing builds - not to mention the fast Kings Cross line into London, which brings with it a whole hell of commuters on London salaries. It is possible rent a one-bedroom house share for as little as £450 (inc. bills and council tax) in reasonably popular central and northern areas like Mill Road and Arbury, and of course there's always Cherry Hinton and Fen Ditton for cheap house-shares. It's the second-highest cost of housing outside London, and I would caution anyone thinking about buying here to think very, very seriously about affordability.
  • Indoor Hobbies:
    Anything under the sun. With two universities, there's a proliferation of almost any society you could think of, which are often open to external membership. I'm personally part of a rather lovely boardgames group, as well as being a volunteer for a local community non-profit DIY biology group [complete with fully functioning tissue culture, microbiology and molecular biology labs and confocal microscopy suite.] There's also a lot of start-up and networking culture around here. The problem is fitting in the time to do it all.
  • Outdoor Hobbies:
    Rowing and kayaking on the river; nearest way to get to a decent port for sailing is Ipswich, which the local yacht clubs often run trips from; several local hillwalking societies, ramblers groups, cyclists, orienteering groups, martial arts academies... you name it, it's probably here. You may have to pay a price for access to some of these things, but often they are quite well subsidised (especially if associated with the universities).
  • Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun):
    Dry weather - rain is quite a rarity here compared to the region I grew up in (South Hampshire). Often foggy, can be icy cold and damp in the winters. You will notice the chilly wind that comes in over the flat fenland, especially when cycling! [speaking of which: there are no hills in Cambridge. Apart from Castle Hill. Which really doesn't count because it's tiny.]
  • Favorite things:
    REPLACE ME WITH CONTENT
  • Least favorite things:
    REPLACE ME WITH CONTENT
  • 'Must Try':
    REPLACE ME WITH CONTENT
  • Stupid ordinances/laws:
    Anything to do with local planning. Nothing else that I've run into thus far - the local police have been really quite helpful with all complaints/crimes I've reported in the last 5 years.
  • Words of wisdom/Advice:
    REPLACE ME WITH CONTENT
  • Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc):
    REPLACE ME WITH CONTENT
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 04:09:51 PM by aoedae »

sw1tch

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #96 on: January 10, 2017, 07:54:58 AM »
I'd like to request reviews of the following:

- Fairfax, VA (also Falls Church, Vienna, etc)
- Washington DC
- Virginia Beach
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SuperMex

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #97 on: January 12, 2017, 03:51:35 AM »
•   City, State, Country: Chetumal, Mexico
South of Cancun as far South as you can go in Mexico right on the Belize border
•   If a suburb, distance from city: Chetumal is the capital of the state of Quintana Roo
it has a population of about 170,000. There are many American big name stores there including Walmart, Home depot, Chili’s, and Sam’s Club.
•   Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): I will include base, middle class, & luxury
Base Rent for a 500 Sf 1/1 or 2/1 apartment or home $50-100 a month, no AC. Purchase $35-50K
Middle Class 750-1500 Sf 2/1 to 4/2 home $125 – 200 a month. Could have AC in bedrooms. Purchase $50-80K
Luxury 2000 Sf and up, 3/2 and up, $500 -700 a month. Luxury finishing’s, in a gated community, AC in all rooms. Purchase $100-200K
•   Indoor Hobbies: Movies nice theater $3-5, Martial Arts, Music & Dance, language lessons, gym.

•   Outdoor Hobbies: Fishing, boating/canoeing, running, crappy man made beach, awesome bike lane along the ocean, every evening there are outdoor aerobic classes in a park on the bay. Seems to always be a festival of some sort in the plaza.

•   Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun): Two seasons hot and really hot. From Nov-Feb the average temperature is 70-83, Mar & Oct is 72-85, and Apr-Sep is 76-88. Keep in mind these are average highs and lows. You will have a few days that hit the lower 60’s and a few that hit the upper 90’s. There is a constant breeze about 22 hours a day.

•   Favorite things: Fruit and vegetables are very cheap in the market, there are so many exotic fruits and everything is fresh from local villages. People are generally friendly and not pushy like in tourist areas of Mexico. Cabs are so cheap driving is not necessary ($1-2 anywhere in the city, the bus or collective is 25-50 cent). The culture of Chetumal is very different as there is a blend of Belizeans, Asians, Lebanese, and Mexicans. There are almost no tourists or expats here who tend to distort the economy.

•   Least favorite things: Lack of cleanliness, no recycling, treatment of animals, and some poverty.

•   'Must Try': Mayan museum, Corozal free zone, perusing the market, lake bacalar, day trips to Xcalax and Ambergris Caye.

•   Stupid ordinances/laws: Self-defense is basically not an option, firearms are illegal to own, only criminals and the police have them. 

•   Words of wisdom/Advice: Don’t ruin the economy by paying above market prices for everything. Know what Mexicans pay for things and learn to barter. Don’t expect others to conform to your 1st world way of doing things. Don’t get loud or verbally abusive with people they tend to be very quiet and submissive but aren’t afraid to throw down if you run your mouth too much.

•   Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): Solar water heaters are readily available and viable year around. Most homes have a rain water collection system that can easily provide the entire water supply for the home 9-10 months out of the year. The ground is very fertile and you can grow fruit and vegetables year around.

The attached pictures are of one of my homes. The ground floor is a 2/1 apartment (1000 Sf) I rent it for $125 a month. The top two floors are a 4/2 (2500 Sf) with it's own entrance I rent it for $200 a month. These are typical Mexican prices.


« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 03:54:02 AM by SuperMex »

jordanread

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #98 on: January 12, 2017, 07:15:05 AM »
I've got the requests added, and Cambridge and Chetumal added to the review list. Thanks again for your participation.
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"Mustachians rarely sit back and let things happen to them. Mustachians go out and happen to things."

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sw1tch

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Re: Mustachian Relocation Guide
« Reply #99 on: January 12, 2017, 07:21:38 AM »
•   City, State, Country: Chetumal, Mexico
South of Cancun as far South as you can go in Mexico right on the Belize border
•   If a suburb, distance from city: Chetumal is the capital of the state of Quintana Roo
it has a population of about 170,000. There are many American big name stores there including Walmart, Home depot, Chili’s, and Sam’s Club.
•   Average housing cost (specify rent or buy): I will include base, middle class, & luxury
Base Rent for a 500 Sf 1/1 or 2/1 apartment or home $50-100 a month, no AC. Purchase $35-50K
Middle Class 750-1500 Sf 2/1 to 4/2 home $125 – 200 a month. Could have AC in bedrooms. Purchase $50-80K
Luxury 2000 Sf and up, 3/2 and up, $500 -700 a month. Luxury finishing’s, in a gated community, AC in all rooms. Purchase $100-200K
•   Indoor Hobbies: Movies nice theater $3-5, Martial Arts, Music & Dance, language lessons, gym.

•   Outdoor Hobbies: Fishing, boating/canoeing, running, crappy man made beach, awesome bike lane along the ocean, every evening there are outdoor aerobic classes in a park on the bay. Seems to always be a festival of some sort in the plaza.

•   Weather (High Temps, Low Temps, Seasons, Sun): Two seasons hot and really hot. From Nov-Feb the average temperature is 70-83, Mar & Oct is 72-85, and Apr-Sep is 76-88. Keep in mind these are average highs and lows. You will have a few days that hit the lower 60’s and a few that hit the upper 90’s. There is a constant breeze about 22 hours a day.

•   Favorite things: Fruit and vegetables are very cheap in the market, there are so many exotic fruits and everything is fresh from local villages. People are generally friendly and not pushy like in tourist areas of Mexico. Cabs are so cheap driving is not necessary ($1-2 anywhere in the city, the bus or collective is 25-50 cent). The culture of Chetumal is very different as there is a blend of Belizeans, Asians, Lebanese, and Mexicans. There are almost no tourists or expats here who tend to distort the economy.

•   Least favorite things: Lack of cleanliness, no recycling, treatment of animals, and some poverty.

•   'Must Try': Mayan museum, Corozal free zone, perusing the market, lake bacalar, day trips to Xcalax and Ambergris Caye.

•   Stupid ordinances/laws: Self-defense is basically not an option, firearms are illegal to own, only criminals and the police have them. 

•   Words of wisdom/Advice: Don’t ruin the economy by paying above market prices for everything. Know what Mexicans pay for things and learn to barter. Don’t expect others to conform to your 1st world way of doing things. Don’t get loud or verbally abusive with people they tend to be very quiet and submissive but aren’t afraid to throw down if you run your mouth too much.

•   Sustainability options (gardening, solar, etc): Solar water heaters are readily available and viable year around. Most homes have a rain water collection system that can easily provide the entire water supply for the home 9-10 months out of the year. The ground is very fertile and you can grow fruit and vegetables year around.

The attached pictures are of one of my homes. The ground floor is a 2/1 apartment (1000 Sf) I rent it for $125 a month. The top two floors are a 4/2 (2500 Sf) with it's own entrance I rent it for $200 a month. These are typical Mexican prices.

Awesome post and great info!!  If only I were more fluent in Spanish.
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