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Old 01-02-2011, 06:22 PM
 
16 posts, read 24,638 times
Reputation: 11

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I currently live in Michigan with my wife and we have both lived here all our lives. We are looking for a place to live short-term, possibly long-term. Short-term being that we are looking for a good graduate school to attend for a few years; long-term being if after we graduate and we like the area then we may plan to stay.

We are in our late 20s/early 30s, have 2 dogs (boxers), and no children (currently, but planning to have them soon) and are both special education teachers. I personally dont mind the snow or colder winters, but my wife hates them. After living in one place for 30 years I wouldnt mind a change of pace, even a drastic one at that.

Cost of living how is it in the area?

Crime Ive lived in some areas with higher crime rates. Im also licensed in my state to carry a pistol, very aware of my surroundings, and try not to put myself in situations where Im likely to be a victim. Im a little more concerned for my wifes safety than anything. So how is the crime?

Gun Laws Being a proud gun owner, Id like to live somewhere that is gun friendly; meaning that the state/city doesnt prevent its law abiding citizens from carrying a firearm for the purpose of self defense, or have a bunch of regulations in place. Im licensed in Michigan to carry concealed, and you may also open carry in the state with/without a license. How are the gun laws/regulations there? Is there any state/national/federal land nearby where you can target shoot/hunt?

Activities/Events/Things to do Id like to live somewhere where there is always something to do/see.

Kid friendly Even though we dont have children at the moment, we will in the future. If we stay Id like to raise them somewhere that has a good school system and is relatively drug free (at least as possible I realize drugs are everywhere). Also, is there plenty for kids to do? Lots of parks?

Dog friendly We have 2 (bigger) dogs. Any breed restrictions? Are there any dog parks where the dogs can run off leash?

Teaching Jobs/Pay How is the availability of teacher jobs (particularly in special education)? How is the pay for a first year teacher?

Schools How are the schools? Not just to teach in, but also be a student in?

Tourism Is it a touristy area? If so, when?

Traffic How is the traffic? If its bad, when/where?

People/Locals Are the locals friendly? What is the population mostly made up of?

Weather Whats the truth about the weather?

Housing market/good areas to live Hows the housing market currently? Buyers or sellers market? What does an average house cost? Where are the more desirable areas to live (nothing fancy, but Id like to live around less crime)?

Taxes What are the taxes like in the state?

Insurance Anything we should be aware of? I know some areas of the country have higher insurance rates.

Pests/Bugs/Animals Since Im used to have cold winters kill off various forms of life, the pests/bugs animals arent that bad. We really dont have to worry about anything too deadly. While we do have rattle snakes, you rarely come across them (same with black widows or brown recluse). Of course in the more northern areas we have bear, cougars, coyote (which seem to be spreading to more cities),etc. We also have freshwater so we dont have to worry about sharks or jellyfish; overall not that bad. Anything I should be aware of? If so, where and when?

Last edited by TDubbbs; 01-02-2011 at 06:33 PM..

 
Old 01-02-2011, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Wilmington, NC
412 posts, read 1,110,518 times
Reputation: 297
I'll try to answer at least some of your questions. I grew up in Ohio (Toledo area) so I'm familiar with the transition. I am 35 - moved here when I was 17. I still have family in the Ann Arbor area so I visit Michigan often.

Housing is more expensive here than Michigan, yet wages are lower b/c so many people move here (more demand for fewer jobs). Because of the housing market crash it is much more affordable here than say 3 or 4 years ago though assuming you can get a job. The median house price is around $170-$180K, but you can get a 3/2 in a decent neighborhood for less than that.

Property taxes are lower here, but sales tax is higher - 8% on most goods, 2% on food.

The schools are decent here, but not as good as Ohio/Michigan. Here is a link to the NC report cards:
NC School Report Cards
Just search for New Hanover County to compare the schools to each other.

Traffic will be an adjustment. People here are MUCH slower on the roads. It can be very frustrating when you are used to a faster driving environment. In the summer the roads get congested with tourists.

Overall people are very friendly here and the weather is wonderful if you like hot weather. It rarely snows and when it does there isn't much more than a dusting. It does get very hot & humid in the summer - the heat index can get up to 100.

The biggest downside of the area is the job situation. Jobs are scarce and pay is lower than other states. This is a bad time to look for a teaching position as the state is facing huge budget cuts. Here is a link to NC public school vacancies:
NHCS - Human Resources Department (http://www.nhcs.net/humanresources/employment.htm - broken link)
 
Old 01-02-2011, 07:35 PM
 
16 posts, read 24,638 times
Reputation: 11
Thank you for your help! We are also originally from the Ann Arbor area, though we bought a home in Jackson about 4 years.
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