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Relocation visit
Old 04-26-2015, 05:10 PM   #1
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Relocation visit

DH and I want to relocate to an area which is 2000 miles away from where we currently live. We have no family or friends that live in the area so we don't have that source of information. We are planning a trip to visit a town in this area which seems to be a good choice for us. Although we have never spent an extended period of time in this area, its general characteristics, access to outdoor recreation, climate, and reasonable cost-of-living work for us.

We want to get the most out of this trip. Does anyone have any suggestions for what type of questions/places we should explore during our visit? Has anyone ever done this type of relocation?
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:12 PM   #2
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I'm working on a similar relocation and have used the City Data forums extensively to ask questions and get recommendations.
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:03 PM   #3
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DH and I want to relocate to an area which is 2000 miles away from where we currently live. We have no family or friends that live in the area so we don't have that source of information. We are planning a trip to visit a town in this area which seems to be a good choice for us. Although we have never spent an extended period of time in this area, its general characteristics, access to outdoor recreation, climate, and reasonable cost-of-living work for us.

We want to get the most out of this trip. Does anyone have any suggestions for what type of questions/places we should explore during our visit? Has anyone ever done this type of relocation?
When we were thinking of moving to Springfield, we went on numerous trips up there. Here are my ideas although I am far from expert in this.

What seemed really helpful for us, was to do everyday things.

He got a haircut, even though he could have got it at home before we left. He learned a lot just from chatting with other men at the barber shop.

Even though we were eating all meals out, due to not having a kitchen, I went to the grocery store and looked at prices of the brands I normally buy.

We went to the Nature Center, which a park just south of town, to see what the walking trails were like.

We are "gym nuts" so we went to local gyms and got tours of them, to find out what was available.

At the time, we were planning on not moving any furniture due to the expense. So, we went to local antique stores to see what they had, and to local furniture stores too, just to get an idea of what was available and what the prices might be.

We went to Open Houses, even though we weren't ready to buy yet, just to see what was available for what price and we learned a lot chatting with some of the realtors.

We went to their huge Bass Pro Shop, and also to Hobby Lobby, since we were not retired yet and were unsure of what we would be doing all day long after moving there. We drove to nearby lakes to see how long it would take to get to a fishing spot.

If you are religious (we're not), maybe check out a church on Sunday morning?

Good luck! And have fun.
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:17 PM   #4
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Read the local newspaper online . You can learn a lot about an area that way .
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Old 04-26-2015, 10:29 PM   #5
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Exactly what W2R says. Treat the trip like you're living there, not vacationing there. Try to see if the people seem to be on your wavelength, and the pace is right, and the things you like to do meet your expectations.

To add to her list of ideas, you might visit the library, walk around a shopping center and sit in a food court, go to a diner where you might be able to eavesdrop on the locals, go to a high school sporting event and sit in the stands around others, go to garage sales, or a farmers market. If either or both of you are golfers or tennis players, definitely go to a course and try to get paired up with others. See if you can find a bridge club if you play, or a book club. Go to the dock or a bait shop if you fish. Sit on a bench downtown. If you run, many running clubs or shoe stores have group runs where you can both find trails and meet other runners. Nature organizations might have group hikes you can do. Likewise with any other hobbies you have, try to find a meeting or event for while you are there.

Assuming kids aren't involved in the move since you didn't mention it, but that would bring in a bunch of other things.
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Old 04-27-2015, 12:17 AM   #6
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Stop in and talk to a local realtor as they can advise you on areas to look at and areas to stay clear of. When we were looking to relocate to Phoenix Az area we were looking at Scottsdale area but kinda pricey. A realtor there said you should check out a place called Ahwatukee. Very nice place without the Scottsdale prices. We went and fell in love with the area immediately. Been here for 10 years now. Had we not stopped in the realty office we would probably never known about our current little paradise...
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:22 AM   #7
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following this thread because this is exactly what I plan on doing. I've got some cities in the south that I think I would like but I don't have relatives or friends in the area.
One is Charleston SC. I'm going for a visit this summer and plan on spending some time there.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:47 AM   #8
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Did this in 2006 to a huge metro from a mid-size metro...

In addition to others posts...

1). Test drive the commute...I stayed in the burbs and took the train into town during rush hour...also did the drive. Learned a lot about scheduling, parking, etc.

2). Decide your priorities on locale. We were moving to a much higher COL area and ultimately made an explicit decision to trade down to a smaller house in order to get a good school district with a manageable commute and mortgage. Other people made opposite choices. No right/wrong answer, but when moving to a new area you will probably be faced with a range of choices on all fronts. Knowing priorities will help you narrow in more quickly.

3). Unless you need to get kids right into school, rent rather than buy. Removed the time pressure and gives you a more relaxed look at inventory.

4). Visit target neighborhoods in the evening. Stop the car, roll down the window and listen. Walk the neighborhood. Do it again in the morning. What is the tone/noise level like? Does the "quaint neighborhood near the train stop" become less quaint when the 709 express comes ripping thru at 50 mph?

Good luck. Our move turned out great and I'm sure yours will as well.
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:48 AM   #9
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You don't say how long this visit will be. If it's more then a few days, I suggest you look on VRBO or a similar site and rent a condo or house. If it's more then 2 weeks, it suggest you rent a couple different properties.

Living in a real home, instead of a hotel would be very helpful and you would possibly have a chance to interact with more "locals".
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:53 AM   #10
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You could visit a local library, where you could check out how well resourced the library system is and find out about lots of community events and groups.
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:37 AM   #11
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4 years ago we relocated 1800 miles and didn't know a soul here - now we know a bunch of people
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:40 AM   #12
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In 2002, I wanted to buy a snowbird place. After several hundred hours of online research, I picked Arizona as the destination. Sedona, Anthem, or Scottsdale. I drove there, visited all 3 places and stayed in Scottsdale for a week. During this week, I lived as I live in Illinois. Hiking, exploring, dining out, movies, going to library, sporting events, etc. Once I settled on the northeast valley of Phoenix, I called a realtor, visited several places and bought one.

Like others have said, visit a place and "live" there to see if you and the area are compatible.
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Old 04-27-2015, 10:07 AM   #13
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I wouldn't over think it - take a visit and do the stuff you normally do - check out some open houses like a previous poster mentioned though.


Joining a country club helps, a lot, regarding making new friends. Go check out some private clubs - if they are looking for members you may get a free round of golf and a meal out of it.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:07 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ivinsfan View Post
You don't say how long this visit will be. If it's more then a few days, I suggest you look on VRBO or a similar site and rent a condo or house. If it's more then 2 weeks, it suggest you rent a couple different properties.

Living in a real home, instead of a hotel would be very helpful and you would possibly have a chance to interact with more "locals".
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:31 AM   #15
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Extended visits when relocating is very smart IMO. We will probably even go so far as to rent a place for 6-12 months when we relocate before buying a house just to be sure.

I can't top W2R's advice either, do all the things that you'd normally want to do if you lived there (weather, culture, shopping, dining, sports, health care, etc. - whatever is important to YOU). It should give you more insight than if you treat it like a (splurge) vacation or go without some thinking/pre-planning.

The only thing I'd add is think of everything you think you WON'T like about the new location, and expose yourself to them.
  • If it's climate, visit during the worst time of the year from your POV, summer heat & humidity or winter cold/ice/snow.
  • If it's an area with significant population fluctuations (students, tourists, seasonal industry), go when it's most crowded or most sparsely populated if either are a concern for you.
  • And probably not an issue in most large cities, but I lived in a rural area (population 90K in the "Bible Belt") where religion was a big barrier for large numbers of locals. The first thing most everyone we met asked us is what church we went to? If we gave the "wrong" answer, even wrong Christian denomination (much less another religion or non-churchgoing), we were pretty much outcasts - I don't care to live in a place like that, though it appeals to some.
Just some examples, but I'd try to confront whatever seasons/conditions you're apprehensive about. The better seasons/conditions should exceed your expectations.

Best of luck...
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:36 AM   #16
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Extended visits when relocating is very smart IMO. We will probably even go so far as to rent a place for 6-12 months when we relocate before buying a house just to be sure..........
Renting is also part of my plan. I'm still wondering how one gets a variable lease while looking for a house, as most nicer rentals seem to insist on a yearly lease agreement.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:40 AM   #17
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Renting is also part of my plan. I'm still wondering how one gets a variable lease while looking for a house, as most nicer rentals seem to insist on a yearly lease agreement.
There are some places that offer 6-9 month leases, but we'd commit to 12 months vs taking a chance on buying a house without knowing a) we like the area (climate, culture, etc.) and b) what neighborhood(s) we really want to live in.

If I was willing to commit after a few months (I'm not), I'd probably do a few months in an extended stay place.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:55 AM   #18
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There are some places that offer 6-9 month leases, but we'd commit to 12 months vs taking a chance on buying a house without knowing a) we like the area (climate, culture, etc.) and b) what neighborhood(s) we really want to live in.

If I was willing to commit after a few months (I'm not), I'd probably do a few months in an extended stay place.
Here again, VRBO can be your friend, in most areas once you rent for over 30 days there is no lodging or sales tax,be sure to ask about that so you don't pay unnecessarily, we have been really surprised by the discounts you can get once you commit to a monthly or longer rental. Our last 2 bedroom condo for 30 plus days cost us about 47 bucks a day, including high-speed internet, cable and all utilities. And of course it is completely furnished as well.
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Old 04-27-2015, 12:04 PM   #19
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Here again, VRBO can be your friend, in most areas once you rent for over 30 days there is no lodging or sales tax,be sure to ask about that so you don't pay unnecessarily, we have been really surprised by the discounts you can get once you commit to a monthly or longer rental. .................
Is there a way to sort properties on VRBO to find long term rental opportunities?
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:01 PM   #20
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Is there a way to sort properties on VRBO to find long term rental opportunities?
Yes, pull up the town you are interested in and you can put a date range in and it will pull up properties that are open for that time.

But quite a few owners just say call for availability, so you just need to put in the time and go thru a lot of listings for the best results..you might see a weekly price and even a monthly price listed. But I always contact the owner and use that number as a starting point. I always get at least some discount off the monthly price. Looking for a good deal on a monthly rental is pretty time consuming and can take a lot of owner contacts, but we always find something that works for us. Of course if you are in an area with limited rentals you might not get lucky, but it works for us.
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