Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   United States (
-   -   relocating to.... (

Selah Jun 21st, 2006 11:11 AM

relocating to....
My husband, 3 children (middle and early high school) and I are looking to relocate to an area of the country where we can afford to buy a single family 4 BR 2 bath house for around 250K or below. Currently we live in a DC suburb and can only afford to rent due to some past financial difficulties that are now resolved. We feel like we will never be able to buy a single family house here and are interested in relocating to a lower cost of living area. He is a mechanical engineer and I am a nurse. Can anybody recommend to us areas of the country where people are friendly and welcoming to newcomers that would have employment possibilities and enable us to finally buy a home!!! Prefer a more moderate climate, not huge extremes either way. Thanks.

No_name Jun 21st, 2006 11:18 AM

Mid florida is very affordable and many of the hospitals ae in desperate need of nurses.

ewt Jun 21st, 2006 11:23 AM

If you move soon, the Raleigh/Durham area would be a good option. You are only 4 hours away from DC if you want to visit friends or old haunts. Plus, its a nice area for families. Again, you would have to get in now because costs are rising a bit, but I see things on the home buyers channel all the time for under 250K. Some of them are even brand new.

travel_addict Jun 21st, 2006 12:15 PM

Hi Selah,

Have you considered western Michigan? We have four seasons like DC, but it hasn't been too bad in the winters here lately (I think maybe some of the credit for that should go to global warming though, at the risk of sounding too Al Goreish!) The reason I suggest it is because Grand Rapids is becoming quite a medical hot spot. We have a place downtown that is being called 'Medical Hill' and also two very large hospitals with 1-2 smaller ones. Your husband would have an easy time finding a job here too - lots of engineering, furniture & manufacturing companies.

You could also get a pretty decent house here for less than $250k. Northview, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids & Rockford are all very good school districts too.

West Michigan is very friendly, and Lake Michigan is beautiful. Plus, from Grand Rapids, you're only a few hours away from Chicago and places like Traverse City & Mackinac Island.

Let me know if you want more info...


Brookside Jun 21st, 2006 12:20 PM

Allow me to pitch my current hometown of Tulsa, OK.

1. Extremely low cost of living. You can *easily* find a lovely 4brm, 2bath home in a good school district for around 250K.

2. Very scenic - Really! Eastern Oklahoma is known as Green Country - heavilly wooded, with rolling hills and small mountains. Also -- very close to *wonderful* camping and outdoor activities in Arkansas.

3. Large demand for experienced professionals - because so many of them move away (more about that later). Especially in nursing and mech. engineering, you will have no problem securing comfortable employment.

3. *Very* family oriented - lots of activities: one of the best zoos in the nation, a first-rate aquarium, tons of city parks. Tons of opportunity for kid sports; churches of every denomination. Lots of restaurants and shopping, too.

4. Very *arts* oriented -- Several *first-rate* museums; outstanding ballet. Most travelling Broadway shows come to town (Lion King just finishing up a month-long engagement). Great live music scene.

5. Good education - Like most cities, suburban schools are your best bet. First-rate higher ed opportunities -- branches of OU, OSU, plus University of Tulsa and a good community college.

Drawbacks? Veeeeerrrrryyyy conservative. This is the bible belt. Lots of evangelicals who are not shy about proselytizing -- on a street corner, at the grocery store, at the PTA. The question people asked us most often when we first moved here was, "Have you found a church home yet?" It bothered us a lot in the beginning -- but we shrugged it off, and now it's not even a factor. And for what its worth -- it is changing, slowly.

The economy has been a question mark. Quite a few large employers have closed up shop or downsized dramatically. However, the healthcare sector is very strong here. Manufacturing seems to be making a resurgence, and there are several large aircraft companies headquartered here, as well as braches of major companies like Boeing and Raytheon. Oil and energy are on the upswing, too -- so I think there would be plenty of opportunites for your husband.

Salaries are lower - which is why we tend to lose a lot of young, college educated professionals to Dallas and Kansas City. However, the low cost of living tends to balance everything out.

Finally -- the climate can be harsh on occasion. We have four seasons -- winters are cold, though snowfall is low-to-moderate. Springs are beautifull, but can be viciouslly stormy (which I'm sure you've heard - but the tornado thing has been waaaayy over-hyped. It's not that bad.) Summer is usually brutally hot and a bit humid since we're near two rivers and several lakes. Fall is magnificent and my favorite time -- cool, dry and lots of brilliant, coloful foliage.

Probably more info than you need! I hope its helpful.

Best of luck!

Selah Jun 21st, 2006 12:43 PM

This is great! Actually, both Raleigh and Tulsa came up when I took the quiz at find your spot. We are actually a pretty conservative Catholic family. I had never thought of western Michigan before because I pictured long, cold winters or middle Florida because I pictured long hot summers. Raleigh has the benefit of being still close enough to drive to see family and friends. But these other places definitely are interesting. About Tulsa, being it is the Bible belt, would a Catholic family be accepted?

SAnParis Jun 21st, 2006 01:14 PM

My friends who left Charlotte for DC have just moved back...How about Charlotte ? BTW, there are a number of moving to the Carolinas threads on here if you do a search.

Bobmrg Jun 21st, 2006 01:18 PM

A note about Florida and its need for nurses...two friends, both nurses, recently relocated from Seattle to Tampa, thinking that it would be a year-round vacation. It may well turn out to be (they've only been gone a few months), but they were shocked by the disparity in pay considering their experience level. Both took a real hit.

travel_addict Jun 21st, 2006 01:19 PM

Well, heck, if you're a conservative Catholic family, definitely come on over to Grand Rapids! We have been called the city of churches before. I would say 75% of the people around here are either conservative Catholics or Christians, and the other 25% (i fall somewhere in this category) are any number of other religions or atheist, and more liberal.

Michigan, as a whole, is a Blue state but that's because of our 'liberal black sheep' cities like Ann Arbor, Detroit & Traverse City. Grand Rapids is very Red. (unfortunately for me!)

We have 2 very large Catholic high schools here too if that's something you're interested in.

Brookside Jun 21st, 2006 01:25 PM

Selah --

Catholic community is *very* strong here and you will find yourself very comfortable and welcomed. We used to joke (only half-kidding) that it actually helps to be catholic here, as many of the "old guard" families within the city's power structure are catholic. Lots of *excellent* catholic schools, too, if that's a consideration.

Brookside Jun 21st, 2006 01:27 PM


Two very acclaimed catholic high schools, 4 or 5 middle schools, and (I think) 8 catholic elementary schools.

ncgrrl Jun 21st, 2006 02:05 PM

Raleigh is averaging 1,000 new people a month. Several Catholic elementary schools (maybe through 8th grade, I'm not sure), but only one Catholic high school, and that has to serve several counties.

You should be able to afford something in your price range, maybe not the newest, but w/in 10 years of construction date.

With 1,000 new people a month, Raleigh/Wake County is having a hard time keeping up with schools. Might be forced to go year-round and they won't guarantee your kids will be on the same schedule. And plan on them attending a different school each year because of redistricting because of new schools and many thousands of new kids each year.

As a nurse you shouldn't have trouble finding a job. Your husband might because there have been layoffs from companies leaving some tech/engineers/telecom people looking.

How about Hawaii? Moderate climate without huge extreemes :) Lots of people will visit.

diann Jun 21st, 2006 02:25 PM

I have some friends who were in your situtation and they moved to Atlanta Georgia. They bought a beautiful home for $305,000 3500 sq. ft. a great school system and are very happy.

Rosedale Jun 21st, 2006 02:28 PM

Try, Princeton/Evasville Indiana. There is the Toyota plant and several other industries in the area, as well as several hospitals & clinics from Vincennes to Evansville. Several good schools particularly 9-12 school near Newburg called Castle. They have won numerous awards for outstanding accademics and sports. You'll find living expenses much, much cheaper. You get a variety of climate, being in southern Indiana it is less extreme than some of the midwest. I relocated from Portland Oregon to Vincennes Indiana and love the season changes. Something different about every 3 months. They have a saying here"if you don't like the weather, hang around it will be different tomorrow". Well it's not quite like that, but does have variety. Good luck.

JJ5 Jun 21st, 2006 02:39 PM

I second travel addict's suggestion but would move it just a bit to Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo has something called the "Kalamazoo Promise" which if you moved now, would entitle all three of your kids for absolutely free college tuition in any Michigan state college/university including the one at Ann Arbor.

As long as you get into the system before Jr. year of high school, it is 100% free. No small thing to consider. And there are so many pluses including the medical ones that travel addict already posted.

Mechanical engineers will find work as well.

dsquared Jun 21st, 2006 03:24 PM

You've received lots of great possibilities!

Here's another option: Consider east Central Florida - Brevard County is home to a division of Northrop Grumman and to Harris Corp. both of which hire LOTS of engineers. NASA is locatd here as well. Housing prices are in your range, and there are excellent Catholic schools here. A nurse would have no trouble finding a good job as the population continues to grow in this area. The climate? Well, if you're used to a Washington DC summer, I'm sure you'd be fine in a Florida summer (and our winters are much nicer ;-) )

Good luck with your search.

Selah Jun 21st, 2006 05:26 PM

D.C.'s humidity is pretty bad. People around here joke about D.C. summers. Sometimes it's hard to go outside, it's so bad. How about some of these other areas. I know Florida summers will be humid, but how about the other areas people have so kindly suggested.

Selah Jun 21st, 2006 07:49 PM

bumping up

Brookside Jun 21st, 2006 09:08 PM

Tulsa humidity isn't the worst. I was in NYC last July, and it was wretched -- much worse than here. I could hardly stand to be outside. Ditto Chicago. (I've never been to DC/VA in the summer, so can't compare).

Actually we're having an OK summer (no pun intended). Highs in the lower 90s, but breezy enough to keep things bearable.

Oh yeah -- that whole "...where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain" thing is kinda true -- it can get breezey here. But I wouldn't consider it a deal breaker by any means.

Selah -- do you have a timeline for moving? How do your kids feel about it?

vegasnative Jun 21st, 2006 10:28 PM

Well housing is a little more expensive here in Vegas not too bad right now, can get 2000 sq ft in nice area for about $300-$350....BUT, we really need nurses and they pay VERY well, and with Nellis and the test site nearby there are many civilans that work here for government contracted companies in need of engineers, they also pay VERY well.
Something closer to where you are, Tennessee. We have friends in Knoxville and you can get something very nice for $250 and under.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:55 PM.