Author Topic: Another "help me move" post... but... Please? :)  (Read 1966 times)

JanetJackson

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Another "help me move" post... but... Please? :)
« on: March 13, 2018, 07:59:00 AM »
Sorry to add to the 500 posts that are already just like this... But I do think everyone's situation is different, so I'd like some advice.

I'm about a year out from finishing school, and I plan to seek a job I can work either partly or fully remote, even if it pays a bit less.  My commute to my current job stresses me out to the point of hives, and I want to spend more time with my aging dog (and future dogs) and minimize my need for my car.
That being said, around that year mark, I'd also like to look into moving.  I am currently in Richmond, VA and I do not like it here.  I spend my free time on Zillow and talking to friends about moving and what they like/dislike about places they've lived.
Here's my background:

I have lived in:

Ohio: Born and raised. Not keen on going back unless it's very southern Ohio where there's no Lake Effect snow.  My parents are still there, but I do not anticipate long term care needs that would *need* to remain in Ohio.  I have a sibling who lives an hour from them, or their house which they bought for 25k can sell for ~80k if they need to move nearer to me.  They're both in their early 60's current and in good health.

Florida: I lived in Gainesville.  I loved the small town and the bike-ability of it.  Summer is ROUGH and nature is trying to consume everything down there, but I do still have very close friends in the area.

Virginia: I live in the Richmond area.  The city is too spread out and not bike-able.  The city is very segregated and the areas that seem to be *trying* to desegregate are really just gentrifying.  The traffic makes me unhappy, and it snows too much here for me.

Wants:
> A very small home to own.  Less than 1000sq ft with some land for chickens. Less than 100K (my house in FL was 59k)
> Genuine Bike-ability.
> A relitively small town (thinking less than a 30 minute drive from end-to-end)
> Very little snow.  I'm in central VA and it snowed 5-6x this year.  That's too much, at least in a town that has very poor handling of snow.  I might not mind this as much if I work from home, but I feel like there are way more power outages here for different weather than there ever were in Florida (land of the hurricanes).
> Social capital.  There need to be things going on that are less than an hours drive, that don't cost $25 at the door.  Farmers markets, Crossfit gym-ish type stuff/November Project groups (yes, this costs a lot, but it's social capital), Donation-Based yoga in the park, Hiking, etc.
> Outdoor opportunities:  I enjoy moderate hiking, moderate gardening, bonfires, kayaking, cooking- the slow life/that kind of stuff.  Florida had *some* of these perks, but a lot of bugs for outdoor yoga, a lot of snakes and gators for hiking, etc.
> LCOL.  I have a degree in Psych. with an Operational/Industrial focus and post grad certificate in Non-Profit Management and credentials to use the QMHP (qualified mental health professional) after my name.  I've never made over 50k.


Any suggestions?
  Me and Zillow have been keen on looking at 30k houses in Indiana/Texas/Tennessee, and other Small-Town-USA type areas, but I'm not quite sure and just kind of tossing ideas around.  As I mentioned I have a while to choose/plan.


Note: I've slowly realized that I do want to be a home owner vs. renter.  I grew up in the same house for 18 years (my parents still live there, it was built in 1890) and when I left for FL at 18, I moved around 10+ times until I bought my home where I lived the last three years there and I had such a sense of peace coming HOME (if that makes sense) each day.  In VA I have moved nearly a dozen times, always chasing the next best place for cheaper.  I've never paid over $500 here for rent, but I'm EXHAUSTED from moving every year or really every 6-ish months.  I recently moved to a MIL Apartment on a small farm outside of the city and within a week of living there was like "oh... I love this (besides having to share the land/space)... I want to be away from the city (I had been in the city for most of my moves).

Edited to add: Single, no partner, no kids, no plans for either.  No ties to current town.

« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 08:11:14 AM by JanetJackson »

Trifele

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Re: Another "help me move" post... but... Please? :)
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2018, 09:55:37 AM »
Based on your stated weather preferences (don't want too much snow, but would rather not have it unbearably hot and muggy in the summer), I'm thinking maybe northern Georgia/southern Tennessee might be your sweet spot.  Have you been to Chattanooga?  I think it would tick most of your boxes.  Some other ideas pulled out of my rear end -- northern Alabama/Huntsville area, or -- depending how far west you want to go -- Northwest Arkansas maybe? 

startingsmall

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Re: Another "help me move" post... but... Please? :)
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2018, 10:20:31 AM »
Well, I would have suggested Gainesville for you.... but I see that's already on on your list. I loved Gainesville.

If you're looking for a small town with stuff like farmer's markets, yoga, CrossFit, etc., it seems that would pretty much limit you to college towns. I live in a small town in rural NC (smaller than you're looking for, though - about 10k people) and the culture leans more towards football and cheerleading than yoga and CrossFit.

I really miss the easy access to the outdoors/hiking/etc in Gainesville.... I spent most of my weekend days biking at Payne's Prairie or hiking with my dog at San Felasco, not to mention all of the cool outdoorsy daytrips in the area (crabbing in Cedar Key, trail biking at some park I'm totally blanking on that's out towards Cedar Key, O'Leno State Park, Wekiwa Springs, etc.).  When I moved to NC, I assumed that there would be even more outdoorsy opportunities because, hey, it's North Carolina and I'm right at the foot of the mountains! It turns out, though, that North Carolina isn't as big on state parks and land preservation as Florida.... so although I'm surrounded by woods, it's all private property that I can't set foot on. I can drive 20 minutes to a really short 1 mile rail-trail, I can drive over an hour to the nearest 3+ mile greenway for biking, or I can drive about 1.5 hours for the nearest hike-worthy park. That was a big surprise to me.... and something I didn't even think to consider. Might be worth keeping in mind. Just go to Google maps, zoom down to some random area, and see how many areas show up green. I just did.... and it turns out that I could have pretty easily verified the lack of outdoorsiness in my area without ever even moving here. (Gainesville? Surrounded by SO MUCH park land!!)

I've heard Athens may be similar to Gainesville in some ways... maybe that's worth looking into, if you're trying to stay south but avoid gators? I've never been there, but people seem to love it.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 10:32:50 AM by startingsmall »

Sibley

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Re: Another "help me move" post... but... Please? :)
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2018, 03:24:20 PM »
OP, find a job FIRST, then move. Because just because you want to find a remote job doesn't mean you will. Then when you do move, recommend you rent for a year so you can learn the area before you consider buying. And even if you want to buy, make sure that you're ok with the requirements of buying a house (repairs & maintenance, etc), and that it makes sense financially (NYT rent vs. buy calculator) and can comfortably afford it.

Be careful with potential flooding. If you move to Florida and 5 years later the area is regularly flooded in every storm, you're not going to be happy about it.

wenchsenior

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Re: Another "help me move" post... but... Please? :)
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2018, 08:06:25 AM »
If you are looking for out door opportunities on parks and public land, Texas is probably not your best bet.  The state is almost entirely private land, it's one of the things I hate most about it (having lived in WI and AZ, both of which have orders of magnitude more public land available).  The hill country has a higher concentration of parks, but also the most people and the HCOL, so available parks there are extremely busy unless you can tailor your schedule to access them at unusual times/days.  The coastal areas might be a decent tradeoff between cost and available recreation, mostly because of the added element of water.

JanetJackson

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Re: Another "help me move" post... but... Please? :)
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2018, 06:05:29 AM »
Thanks everyone for the input!
It seems like Gainesville might just always have my heart-but I do feel a bit strange not having explored anything but the east coast.

OP, find a job FIRST, then move. Because just because you want to find a remote job doesn't mean you will. Then when you do move, recommend you rent for a year so you can learn the area before you consider buying. And even if you want to buy, make sure that you're ok with the requirements of buying a house (repairs & maintenance, etc), and that it makes sense financially (NYT rent vs. buy calculator) and can comfortably afford it.

Be careful with potential flooding. If you move to Florida and 5 years later the area is regularly flooded in every storm, you're not going to be happy about it.

Thanks for the input.  My plan is to find a job FIRST, and then move.  I have my COL low enough that I'm willing and able to take a paycut in order to have remote work.  That's the good thing about saving and living frugally, I get to direct my life now (at least a little bit) rather than just being a slave to what HAS to be done.  The freedom I am slowly beginning to feel by having a high savings rate is invaluable.
I will certainly weight the option of rent vs. buy.  I owned a home in Gainesville for just a bit under ten years (I lived in it for two years and then rented it out for ~7-8 years, so I am familiar with the flood zones there, the insurance costs, etc.  Luckily Gainesville is very northern Florida and quite a bit inland, so the flood zones aren't too bad.

JanetJackson

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Re: Another "help me move" post... but... Please? :)
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2018, 06:07:08 AM »
Well, I would have suggested Gainesville for you.... but I see that's already on on your list. I loved Gainesville.

If you're looking for a small town with stuff like farmer's markets, yoga, CrossFit, etc., it seems that would pretty much limit you to college towns. I live in a small town in rural NC (smaller than you're looking for, though - about 10k people) and the culture leans more towards football and cheerleading than yoga and CrossFit.

I really miss the easy access to the outdoors/hiking/etc in Gainesville.... I spent most of my weekend days biking at Payne's Prairie or hiking with my dog at San Felasco, not to mention all of the cool outdoorsy daytrips in the area (crabbing in Cedar Key, trail biking at some park I'm totally blanking on that's out towards Cedar Key, O'Leno State Park, Wekiwa Springs, etc.).  When I moved to NC, I assumed that there would be even more outdoorsy opportunities because, hey, it's North Carolina and I'm right at the foot of the mountains! It turns out, though, that North Carolina isn't as big on state parks and land preservation as Florida.... so although I'm surrounded by woods, it's all private property that I can't set foot on. I can drive 20 minutes to a really short 1 mile rail-trail, I can drive over an hour to the nearest 3+ mile greenway for biking, or I can drive about 1.5 hours for the nearest hike-worthy park. That was a big surprise to me.... and something I didn't even think to consider. Might be worth keeping in mind. Just go to Google maps, zoom down to some random area, and see how many areas show up green. I just did.... and it turns out that I could have pretty easily verified the lack of outdoorsiness in my area without ever even moving here. (Gainesville? Surrounded by SO MUCH park land!!)

I've heard Athens may be similar to Gainesville in some ways... maybe that's worth looking into, if you're trying to stay south but avoid gators? I've never been there, but people seem to love it.

Good tip for using Google Maps! I'll have to do that!
Athens...Ohio?  That's the only Athens that I know and that might still be too close to where I grew up, ha.  I grew up in northern Ohio.

wenchsenior

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Re: Another "help me move" post... but... Please? :)
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2018, 08:03:58 AM »
Well, I would have suggested Gainesville for you.... but I see that's already on on your list. I loved Gainesville.



I've heard Athens may be similar to Gainesville in some ways... maybe that's worth looking into, if you're trying to stay south but avoid gators? I've never been there, but people seem to love it.

Good tip for using Google Maps! I'll have to do that!
Athens...Ohio?  That's the only Athens that I know and that might still be too close to where I grew up, ha.  I grew up in northern Ohio.

Suspect the poster meant Athens, Georgia.

startingsmall

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Re: Another "help me move" post... but... Please? :)
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2018, 12:06:25 PM »
Well, I would have suggested Gainesville for you.... but I see that's already on on your list. I loved Gainesville.



I've heard Athens may be similar to Gainesville in some ways... maybe that's worth looking into, if you're trying to stay south but avoid gators? I've never been there, but people seem to love it.

Good tip for using Google Maps! I'll have to do that!
Athens...Ohio?  That's the only Athens that I know and that might still be too close to where I grew up, ha.  I grew up in northern Ohio.

Suspect the poster meant Athens, Georgia.

Oops.... Yes - Athens, GA!

JanetJackson

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Re: Another "help me move" post... but... Please? :)
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2018, 06:04:01 PM »
Thanks!! I didn't know there was such a place- I'll have to check it out! :)

Well, I would have suggested Gainesville for you.... but I see that's already on on your list. I loved Gainesville.



I've heard Athens may be similar to Gainesville in some ways... maybe that's worth looking into, if you're trying to stay south but avoid gators? I've never been there, but people seem to love it.

Good tip for using Google Maps! I'll have to do that!
Athens...Ohio?  That's the only Athens that I know and that might still be too close to where I grew up, ha.  I grew up in northern Ohio.

Suspect the poster meant Athens, Georgia.

Oops.... Yes - Athens, GA!