Author Topic: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?  (Read 4632 times)

marielle

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How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« on: January 17, 2017, 10:56:00 AM »
I work in the middle of nowhere. Literally. The town has less than 300 people. The closest towns with slim pickings of houses and apartments to rent are a 20 minute drive. I currently live in the nearest large city but it is a 36 mile commute each way. Living in a HCOL area to commute to a LCOL area seems stupid.

How do you handle relocation in an area like this? I checked Craigslist, Apartments.com, and HotPads, and all I see within a 10 mile radius is rent to own stuff. I am assuming this is a bad idea. I need a new place in 5.5 months so I may be jumping the gun, but I am prepared to sign a lease now to start in 5 months if that's what it takes for this area. Would a landlord even be able to do that?

I could buy a decent 3 bedroom house in the area for around $80k-$100k. If I wanted a fixer-upper maybe as cheap as $30k but very very unlikely I'd ever do that. In areas like this there are way more houses to buy than to rent sadly...

I still have student loans to pay off at <4% and $0 funded in my 2016 Roth so buying isn't really an option without PMI. I don't even have an emergency fund saved much less a down payment.

I might be able to find something that is an hour away by bike, but is that ridiculous? Would like an opinion from someone who's made that work. Or anyone who lives in the middle of nowhere--have you ever rented or did you immediately buy? I'm open to creative solutions to find housing. If I have to I'll rent a room from someone but I don't see ads on Craigslist for that either.

Fishindude

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2017, 11:14:07 AM »
36 Miles isn't a big deal.
Work on paying off your student loans and building an emergency fund before any drastic housing changes. 

Unless .... you can find a cheaper place to rent that is no further away from work.   Ask the locals around your work area or try a craigslist add for a different rental.  Note that you will still have to run to the bigger town occasionally for groceries, etc.

AZDude

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2017, 11:18:30 AM »
My wife did this when she first started teaching. About a 90 miles round trip drive from the city to a boomtown out in the middle of nowhere. It was a crazy time for car clown commuting since she worked there, and I worked downtown in the city, so we moved to a distant suburb, and each commuted an hour plus one way to work when we decided to move in together.

Eventually she found a job closer to home, and I found a job closer to home. Everyone was happier.

The question for you is whether you would enjoy living in some tiny town in the middle of nowhere, or if you should just look for work in the city? Cities usually have plenty of jobs. Towns of 300 people do not. How much do you love your job? If you like small town living and love your job, then just pull the trigger, buy that $80K home(even if it means PMI), and then save, save, save to get it below the 20% threshold.

If you are lukewarm or worse about the job or the community where you work, then don't bother. Just commute while you figure out your future.

marielle

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2017, 11:40:11 AM »
36 Miles isn't a big deal.
Work on paying off your student loans and building an emergency fund before any drastic housing changes. 

Unless .... you can find a cheaper place to rent that is no further away from work.   Ask the locals around your work area or try a craigslist add for a different rental.  Note that you will still have to run to the bigger town occasionally for groceries, etc.

It's 36 miles each way. I drive almost 20k miles a year JUST FOR WORK. The money isn't even that big of a deal, the commute itself is killing me. I've almost fallen asleep in the car--and I get plenty of sleep.

Renting close to work would be significantly cheaper. And I would have a bigger place.

If you are lukewarm or worse about the job or the community where you work, then don't bother. Just commute while you figure out your future.

I've only been at my job 5 months. This is literally my first job straight out of school. They're paying me a lot of money for easy but a lot of times boring work. I really can't complain to be honest other than being bored/not challenged enough. There is an upcoming possibility of me taking up another role soon where I get to actually design and use my degree more, with that I would not mind staying I think. It is very difficult to find talent in the area so I'm slowly becoming the expert and will probably be involved in everything. The company is growing a lot and they want me to become plant manager in the future. There is no one else to fill the plant manager's shoes right now.

But...getting another job isn't out of the question I guess. It would be hard right now with so little experience--I don't even know what to write on my resume yet since I haven't done anything that difficult or challenging yet. At minimum, I will stay until my debt is paid off this year and I have a bit more freedom with no payments hanging over my head. If I had an opportunity out of the state or country then I would take it in a heartbeat...I'd like to eventually get out of the south. Getting a job in the nearby big city doesn't really excite me enough to take that stress/uncertainty of a new job.

Edit: I don't mind too much living in the middle of nowhere, I don't go out to bars or anything like that. Even if I drive to the city twice a week, it's still less than half what I'm paying now and I would only do it on the weekend and take the boyfriend's fuel efficient car.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 11:42:54 AM by marielle »

NeonPegasus

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2017, 11:41:00 AM »
Given the size of the town, perhaps the issue is where you're looking rather than the availability of places to rent. Talk with people at work and see what they know. Maybe house rentals are a word of mouth type thing.

One thought I had was to see about purchasing a mobile home and renting it out if/when you decided to leave. Given the lack of available housing there, it should be easy and cheap enough to rent out in the future.

I would be very hesitant to buy anything bigger there because the lack of an economy around there makes it very susceptible to downturns.

marielle

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2017, 11:51:29 AM »
Do you mean buy a plot of land and put a mobile home on it? I see plots of land for $10k-$30k in the area. Or a mobile home park?

There is a realtor in the area that I'm going to speak to but 5 months prior to moving might be jumping the gun. She might be able to help find rentals. I really would prefer to rent and stay mobile, it would be much harder to get out of this area if I have an $80k mortgage over my head. I haven't been at my job long enough to really know if I want to stick it out or not.

NeonPegasus

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2017, 07:04:46 PM »
Do you mean buy a plot of land and put a mobile home on it? I see plots of land for $10k-$30k in the area. Or a mobile home park?

There is a realtor in the area that I'm going to speak to but 5 months prior to moving might be jumping the gun. She might be able to help find rentals. I really would prefer to rent and stay mobile, it would be much harder to get out of this area if I have an $80k mortgage over my head. I haven't been at my job long enough to really know if I want to stick it out or not.

Honestly, I don't know enough about mobile homes to say which. Probably buy the mobile home and rent a lot in a park. I hear some people do well renting them out and figured that would be a lower cost way to live in the area and later rent it out to make $.

Goldielocks

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2017, 07:27:45 PM »
Given the size of the town, perhaps the issue is where you're looking rather than the availability of places to rent. Talk with people at work and see what they know. Maybe house rentals are a word of mouth type thing.



This!

Also send a letter to everyone with a home available to buy, and ask if you can rent it for a 1 year lease instead.  Include a photo of you, say where you work, add a referral letter / quote from someone fairly well known in town, etc.

People are scared to too lazy to try to rent, but if you make it easy for them, something may come up.

Cpa Cat

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2017, 07:43:03 PM »
I vote that you ask around.

Who do you know at work who's local?

Is there a diner/shops? Walk into some and ask the people there how to find a place to rent. Maybe they know a landlord.

Inquire at the mobile home management office to see if there are any homes to rent in the park (not buy).

Ask the realtor.

Syonyk

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2017, 08:06:04 PM »
The internet is definitely not going to be the way to find things out in such an area.

Walk around, ask around, pay attention to the flyers on the boards at gas stations and the local grocery store, etc.

You can buy a single wide manufactured for about $30k new, so that might be an option.

cchrissyy

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2017, 08:27:31 PM »
you are only a few months into your first job after school, this is definitely not the time to buy a house anywhere. don't tie yourself down to this town, or commit too fully to this job, or tie down to owning a home anywhere at all. keep your options open and it will be clear someday later when the time and place is right. for now, rent and enjoy the freedom to move wherever the next job or relationship or school takes you.

MayDay

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2017, 04:09:45 AM »
My aunt lives in a town of 300.

I guarantee it is all word of mouth.

Also the rent to own places might be fine. At least in cities, rent to own generally just means renting forever, as no one ever gets their act together. So probably they will be happy to rent to you.

Cranky

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2017, 05:24:38 AM »
Ask around. Lots of people don't advertise rentals, especially in small towns.

marielle

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2017, 05:59:02 AM »
Given the size of the town, perhaps the issue is where you're looking rather than the availability of places to rent. Talk with people at work and see what they know. Maybe house rentals are a word of mouth type thing.



This!

Also send a letter to everyone with a home available to buy, and ask if you can rent it for a 1 year lease instead.  Include a photo of you, say where you work, add a referral letter / quote from someone fairly well known in town, etc.

People are scared to too lazy to try to rent, but if you make it easy for them, something may come up.

I'll have to try this! It can't hurt, worst case is they'll think I'm a weirdo.

Definitely leaning towards renting from all the reasons stated earlier. Most people at work just say that there isn't much or just tell me to go buy something. I'll have to go ask around gas stations or the local diner once it gets to be 2-3 months prior.

brian313313

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2017, 06:29:00 AM »
I was in a similar situation. The town was definitely larger than 300, but still pretty small. They had to import all the tech employees because there was no talent in the area. ...and no jobs either except for the one employer so I wouldn't buy there. It was a great situation for me, because I was making city wages with the low COL area. I was able to find a place to rent, but one of my co-workers had an RV that he would travel with. It was more mobile than a mobile home and in that rural of an area, there were plenty of RV parks to rent. Unfortunately, this requires a way to haul it although you can always rent a truck for a day.

Kl285528

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2017, 06:48:15 AM »
Sounds like a thin market to have to resell a house into if you move later as well. I would not buy there. I guarantee there has to be a room to be rented in someone's house. In a town that small, call the mayor or some prominent person and ask them who to ask about renting.

pbkmaine

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2017, 06:55:15 AM »
Definitely rent. Ask around at work. If there's a local church, ask its pastor.

Fishindude

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2017, 07:23:50 AM »
I'll stick by my statement that 36 miles one way isn't a big deal.
In my neighborhood just about everyone drives at least that far every day to work, if they want a decent job.  50 Miles is pretty routine.
Most will try to find someone to ride share with if that's an option.

katscratch

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2017, 07:43:23 AM »
I agree with everyone saying to put feelers out now by word of mouth that you're looking to rent in town.  All the smaller towns I've lived in operated on word of mouth.  I had no clue people used craigslist for anything besides selling kitchen and farm equipment until I moved to a city.

Regarding the bike commute- my commute by bike takes me just over an hour in the summer, and about 90 minutes in the winter.  If I think of it as commuting time it's kinda a bummer, but if I think of it as time and money I'd normally spend on a gym membership I love it :) 

marielle

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2017, 08:04:01 AM »
I'll stick by my statement that 36 miles one way isn't a big deal.
In my neighborhood just about everyone drives at least that far every day to work, if they want a decent job.  50 Miles is pretty routine.
Most will try to find someone to ride share with if that's an option.

Have you not read this article?
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/

There's no reason for me to commute from a high cost of living area to a low cost of living area. I don't want to pay $1000 for a small 800 sqft apartment either (right now I have to get a roommate to split). The living space doesn't really bother me but I need a bigger kitchen and pantry with how much I cook. If I want to rent a house in the same area, it's $1500 minimum, but typically $2000+. It's a rich area, tons of private schools, private golf courses, etc.

Worst case scenario, I'll commute 20 minutes from a nearby town and cut my commute in half. But if I can find a house in the area near my work I can rent a 3-4 bedroom for like $700--and maybe still get a roommate or two, boosting my savings rate to 70%+, not risking my life anymore from falling asleep in the car, not wasting my time anymore. During holidays I ended up driving as much as an hour and 15 minutes due to traffic...no thanks.

I'm the only one at work that commutes this far so no sharing options. Carpooling online hasn't come up with anything either, because I drive the opposite of most traffic (everyone is driving into the city in the morning, not out).

LadyMuMu

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2017, 02:05:40 PM »
Since this is your first job, I'll assume you're young. Imagine you're going back 30 years in a time machine. Used to be that you couldn't find apartments, rides, rentals, etc. on the internet. Heck, we didn't even HAVE internet back then! Check the local paper, ask around, drive around looking for "for rent" signs. If there is a bulletin board at work, put up a notice that you're in search of a local rental and put a phone number--not an email. Back in the day, the best rentals were never advertised--always pass down through word of mouth. Once you find a place, you can thank your lucky stars you now live in an era of internet!

marielle

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2017, 02:10:04 PM »
Since this is your first job, I'll assume you're young. Imagine you're going back 30 years in a time machine. Used to be that you couldn't find apartments, rides, rentals, etc. on the internet. Heck, we didn't even HAVE internet back then! Check the local paper, ask around, drive around looking for "for rent" signs. If there is a bulletin board at work, put up a notice that you're in search of a local rental and put a phone number--not an email. Back in the day, the best rentals were never advertised--always pass down through word of mouth. Once you find a place, you can thank your lucky stars you now live in an era of internet!

I'm 23. I completely forgot about trying the paper. I would have to check one for the nearby towns but it can't hurt. Bulletin board is a good idea too!

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2017, 03:41:25 PM »
Sounds like a thin market to have to resell a house into if you move later as well. I would not buy there. I guarantee there has to be a room to be rented in someone's house. In a town that small, call the mayor or some prominent person and ask them who to ask about renting.

If someone runs a B&B they might rent you a room month to month.

Retire-Canada

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2017, 05:33:17 PM »
Are you single? If so get a cheap travel van. Live in it near work. On the weekends go where ever you want. Save a shit ton of money.

Dicey

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2017, 05:52:18 PM »
Please do not buy anything in the small town. To be successful in real estate, you need an entry plan and an exit plan. I'm worried about the exit options.

I agree that word of mouth is the way to go. Start by asking everyone you work with. They're going to know or be related to someone who has just the thing for you.

If the climate is not miserably hot in the summer, consider an older RV that's mostly depreciated, but still has some life in it. Finding a cheap place to park it should be easy. There's always someone with land and utilities who could use a little extra folding money.

Finally, see this job for the goldmine of an opportunity that it is. Hunker down, keep your spending low and your saving high. Learn about investing over at jlcollinsnh.com and see how fast you can amass a nice nut. If you get bored, start a nice vacation fund and periodically travel to an exotic but cheap destination.

Finally, you don't mention dating, but be careful about who you date in the small town. It might stink to hook up with someone who never wants to leave their small town roots, or worse, someone who sees you as their ticket out. See: An Officer and A Gentleman.

This is a very interesting situation, I hope you will keep us apprised of your progress.

Cpa Cat

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2017, 07:25:35 PM »
Also the rent to own places might be fine. At least in cities, rent to own generally just means renting forever, as no one ever gets their act together. So probably they will be happy to rent to you.

This is a good point. Reach out to the rent-to-own landlords and say you want a traditional 1 year lease. Most will probably be happy to rent-to-not-own.

greengardens

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2017, 07:36:51 PM »
Word of mouth, newspaper, local facebook garage sale page. Though IME word of mouth will typically lead to the nicest rentals

marielle

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Re: How to relocate to the middle of nowhere?
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2017, 10:08:28 PM »
Finally, you don't mention dating, but be careful about who you date in the small town. It might stink to hook up with someone who never wants to leave their small town roots, or worse, someone who sees you as their ticket out. See: An Officer and A Gentleman.

This is hilarious and no, I'm in a 4 year relationship but we don't live together.

I'm in the south so an RV would be pretty miserable. I have entertained the idea but only after retirement so I could travel in it.  I think the money I save living in an RV would not offset the money I would have to spend on food in restaurants. Actually, come to think of it I literally would not be able to dine out in this area at all because of my diet (vegan). So a big kitchen is a necessity. Everything else can be tiny. People at work literally rent 4 bedroom houses for $700. Getting a roommate or two potentially (if allowed by landlord) would make my living expenses almost nothing and I don't even have to live in my car. Funny idea but doesn't make sense in a LCOL area.

I like the vacation idea, unfortunately I only get 8 days after working a year, 10 after 2nd year, and so on...