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Old 09-19-2013, 09:48 AM
 
Location: southern California
8 posts, read 15,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA-KB View Post
Agreed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by williamj67 View Post
You make very valid points, mortgage wise, I found the things to be cheaper here are houses and property taxes. But with cheaper property taxes comes less services, we are spending about $1,700 a year for my son to partake in marching band and winter percussion at his high school (he's a drummer) that might be something to keep in mind.
is a part of that $1700 private lessons? I was under the assumption that NC schools had the fundraisers and decent county / municipal budget funds to cover most costs of these types of activities for students. This is one of the reasons I opened my op with what is life really like in NC 'reality vs fantasy'.

Our schools here are primarily pta driven and rely heavily on fundraisers for any extra curricular activity. CA is broke, and so is our school district, so we are a bit concerned about how the schools run over there after hearing your experience. so are you saying after school activities; ie 'services / lessons' (dance, music lessons, piano, gymnastics etc) are going to be a bit higher in regards to what is average cost?
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nodramamamaoffour View Post
thank you for clarifying this for us! what a relief to hear it's funny you should mention the 'nuts being from Cali' comment. Both hubby and I are so cal natives, but could not feel farther from the 'norm' around here. we look at everyone else we know and love and think 'they themselves are NUTS'. the pace they keep up is exhausting.




hubby has essentially 2 jobs. one we work from home running a small family business hubby inherited. this business is slowly phasing out and will last us an income for another 6 years or so unless the other partners agree to renegotiate the contracts / terms. so it's very fluid and something we know we cannot rely on in the long term. His 'real job' (where he commuted daily) he works as an office/warehouse manager for the manufacturing arm of a larger global company. NC has more to offer within the company in terms of opportunity. I work from 'home' doing daycare and 'creative gigs' when they come up, ie, jewelry making / photography etc. so that i can be the sahm my heart yearns for, and besides that the cost of daycare in my area would eat up every last penny i earned should i work outside the home, since we have 2 small girls who would need watching over. i was consistently bringing in enough to cover gas and food and that has recently diminished. we are living off of savings for that now. thus the 'push' to seriously open the discussion for our relocation to NC.



so you first felt 'culture shock' and then hated it, and then learned to love it after pushing through and making adjustments, right? we keep hearing about the culture shock - and i could be all wrong in what i am going to say here, but nothing nothing nothing brings a smile to my face when i think about the slower pace and quiet country life.

i have to say here in ca, i love the convenience of driving 10 minutes to any where (trader joes, the mall, the movies, etc) love the D-land and knotts berry farm (we can afford about every 5 years or so) i love all the beauty, but we just cannot afford it. i would gladly give this all up for a less stressful life in the 'country'. and from what I have researched, my 'country life' idea is the 'faster paced' idea of what NC could offer.

our primary goal is to be mortgage free NOW. not in 27 years from now. we are hard workers, but with that said, the pace we are keeping up is killing us. we are living for a mortgage. and we are sick of it.

i said i wanted to bake cookies all day and i mean it! give me a night i can lay my head on my pillow and look forward to the next day where money stress and the rat race is behind us. we have a plan...and that involves selling our home, and with the equity, paying cash for a home (it's amazing what you get in NC vs here). hubby has a few opportunities with his Company there, and some contacts if that falls through. we have enough to live very simply for a year or so after buying a home cash.

i know nothing is perfect. but we are willing to reach for our dreams rather then die dreaming in a land of stress and being nothing but house 'poor'

please, keep the convo going! i am in love with NC people...truly i am!
Ok, your post scares me a bit...you have an unrealistic dream. Many folks move to NC because they think it is "waving a magic wand" to fix their problems. NC has its own issues, but likely very different from those you encounter in SoCal...for example...

Rural NC....is basically a pit. Why? There is virtually no rules. Farmers are in control of the land and the counties and they want no rules...so unless you are the landowner, you are fairly low income and the landscape is littered with mobile homes and other substandard or dilapidated housing. And NC tries to boast about its small towns...in reality they are dying. The only ones that are nice are right next to the large cities or on the coast (Beaufort, Southport, Manteo, etc...) where there are lots of retiree's.

The place to be in NC is in or near the largest cities, and its where any jobs are. My advice would be if you move from SoCal to NC to take advantage of the lower housing cost/tax cost, and slower pace of life, you ONLY do it with a good secure job in place for your husband and preferably a plan for you to generate income. And you ditch the idea of the rural life, unless you are taking a big leap and buying a significant sized farm where you can control your neighbors.

I live in Wilmington and I am 10-15 minutes from Trader Joe's, the mall, another large regional shopping center, downtown and 2 different beach communities. But I have a job and my wife does too and we have a mortgage. We live where we do rather than in a rural setting because the schools and standards are infinitely better than the rural locales. We love the rural setting as well and could move there and have no mortgage, but we couldn't raise our kids there without all kinds of different issues coming into play.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:58 AM
 
1,964 posts, read 2,551,809 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Native 1 View Post
No, it is not. I am from NC and I can tell you that you will not find a more welcoming group of people with open hearts. Here in Charlotte there are nothing but transplants. Most of my close friends are from other parts of the country. Don't listen to the ignorance of a few posters on this board. Even though it is NC we are not all related and we do not hate yankees or people from Cali. Now, the true southern locals from Eastern NC might think you are a little nuts being from Cali so you will just have to reassure that you are quite sane.

Quote:
Originally Posted by williamj67 View Post
The reasons I hated it were, lack of things to do on weekends, the real southern charm (smile to your face, twist a knife in your back) and the endless gossiping and back biting by the neighbors against each other. That was our personal experience yours may be different.
Juxtaposing these two posts creates a rather revealing impression... I lived in Eastern NC / Piedmont for 24 years and I think I know those folks!

Having said that, I did find Charlotte people to have a little more open attitude. Primarily because it's a banking center with many transplants and their exposure to outside ideas and cultures was a little greater.

OP, you never mentioned in what part of SoCal you were living..
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:03 AM
 
22,769 posts, read 26,205,362 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nodramamamaoffour View Post
i will be happy to live in a nice little quiet neighborhood with a good school. stay at home and bake cookies. no stress type of life. we don't need fancy. don't like traffic or the city unless we choose to go to a nice dinner out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HP91 View Post
Rural NC....is basically a pit. Why? There is virtually no rules. Farmers are in control of the land and the counties and they want no rules...so unless you are the landowner, you are fairly low income and the landscape is littered with mobile homes and other substandard or dilapidated housing.

The place to be in NC is in or near the largest cities, and its where any jobs are.

And you ditch the idea of the rural life, unless you are taking a big leap and buying a significant sized farm where you can control your neighbors.

I live in Wilmington and I am 10-15 minutes from Trader Joe's, the mall, another large regional shopping center, downtown and 2 different beach communities.
i think y'all are talking past one another.

as far as i can see, OP never suggested she wanted to move out to a rural area. based on what she's saying they want -- a neighborhood with good schools -- many areas within wilmington, or just on its outskirts, would be suitable.

i guess the confusion comes in when op says "we don't like the city", which (at least in the context of Wilmington) basically implies you want to be living in a corn field or a swamp in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:45 PM
 
Location: southern California
8 posts, read 15,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HP91 View Post
Ok, your post scares me a bit...you have an unrealistic dream. Many folks move to NC because they think it is "waving a magic wand" to fix their problems. NC has its own issues, but likely very different from those you encounter in SoCal...for example...

Rural NC....is basically a pit. Why? There is virtually no rules. Farmers are in control of the land and the counties and they want no rules...so unless you are the landowner, you are fairly low income and the landscape is littered with mobile homes and other substandard or dilapidated housing. And NC tries to boast about its small towns...in reality they are dying. The only ones that are nice are right next to the large cities or on the coast (Beaufort, Southport, Manteo, etc...) where there are lots of retiree's.

The place to be in NC is in or near the largest cities, and its where any jobs are. My advice would be if you move from SoCal to NC to take advantage of the lower housing cost/tax cost, and slower pace of life, you ONLY do it with a good secure job in place for your husband and preferably a plan for you to generate income. And you ditch the idea of the rural life, unless you are taking a big leap and buying a significant sized farm where you can control your neighbors.

I live in Wilmington and I am 10-15 minutes from Trader Joe's, the mall, another large regional shopping center, downtown and 2 different beach communities. But I have a job and my wife does too and we have a mortgage. We live where we do rather than in a rural setting because the schools and standards are infinitely better than the rural locales. We love the rural setting as well and could move there and have no mortgage, but we couldn't raise our kids there without all kinds of different issues coming into play.

I take it you have never lived in So cal. You think 'farmers' and 'no rules' are an issue to deal with? try dealing with elitist-thinking, self-important, radical progressives who micro-manage every detail of your life, right down to where your dog can poop or not poop. seems us californians have absolutely no common sense. Gawd forbid we will all kill each other, or for GAWDS sakes, not pick up after our dog....

farmers? no rules? try living in a state that thinks it's a GREAT idea to pass bills enabling gender confused boys to hang out in the locker room with your 7th grade daughter while she is dressing for PE. or hey, have your son come home from 5th grade crying because a girl decided she felt more comfortable peeing in the boys bathroom. meanwhile, he's probably scarred for life since he was standing at the urinal with his entire manhood in his little hands for all to see.

great idea California. the fun is just beginning!

well, i had to laugh at your comment that implies we have 'problems to fix'. just so you know - we are grown ups - and have lived a life (one with quite a few knocks we might add). we are not looking for utopia -- although, that would be nice wouldn't it?.

Perhaps my 'day of baking cookies' is simply a metaphor that implys we want to 'slow life down'....etc etc. we want to live amongst a majority of a people that still hold onto some shred of family values that jive with our own (in comparison to CA). or hey, talk to my husband who sits in traffic for over an hour and a half ONE WAY every morning and afternoon. (we live about 35 miles from his office). that's what you get even on the weekends...any hour of any given day. it's just congested and full of rude people, full of road rage.

so you want to talk 'rules'? where do we even start when you are talking california my friend? kids can't ride their skate boards or their bikes on the side walk in MOST cities. you can't walk your dog in most master planned communities. you can't leave your trash barrels sitting on your own damn property without being fined (and this is the day of trash collection). most hoa's here do not 'allow' you to work on your own car whilst it's sitting in your own driveway. fined fined fined. yup. thats what you get in CA. fines for anything and everything. and do you know why ? because we are broke broke broke.

funtimes here in CA. oh hey forgot to mention my new favorite rule, you can't wear flip flops in two city parks just a mere 15 miles from the pacific. gotta LOVE that one! rules rules rules. we have a rule to micro manage just about every area of life here in CA.

so yeah, farmers? i think we can handle farmers...at least they are honest, decent people making an honest decent living. which btw - CA can't appreciate. they are making farming obsolete by rules and more rules about water use and every which way you can shake a stick at!

you say 'no rules' there in NC? music to my ears my friend.

So our desire to get out of CA is not a half cocked idea - it's one we have saved tooth and nail for over 11 years...and finally we have the savings to do it.

do we think NC is the answer to all of life's problems? no.

have we researched the places that feel more like 'home' for people like us? of course we have. don't get my op confused. My rose colored glasses are sitting on a jaded nose. i get it.

i just don't think most people posting in this thread have any real clue of what it's like living in NC vs living So cal.

so yeah....i'll take the farmers anyday
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:11 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
4,009 posts, read 5,509,130 times
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Heya

I used to live in Coastal NC and moved back to the Midwest with my DH in Dec 2012 when he got out of the military. Like you, factors which dictated the move included: lower cost of living, being able to live mortgage free, a nice neighborhood, the ability for me to be a stay at home mum and 'stay home and bake cookies' as you put it We have ended up in a town outside of St. Louis and I couldn't be happier- I have access to all of the cultural amenities St. Louis has to offer in an easy 25 minute drive, but also have the advantages of a super tight knit community and small town spirit.

Obviously the Midwest won't work for you since your DH needs to be near the coast- and that is perfectly fine. I will however clue you in on some observations that I made while living in Coastal NC (I lived in Jacksonville) which may be relevant to you.

Personally, I always found the locals to be fine- although that's primarily because a lot of people in the Coastal NC region are transplants themselves. However, I often found some of the 'Southern Hospitality' to be fake and a bit of a front, although 'Southern Hospitality' in Coastal NC isn't as prominent as it is elsewhere in the South- again, mainly due to the number of transplants. So overall, I think that if you do choose Coastal NC you'll be fine when it comes to fitting in.

As far as the 'no rules' thing goes that HP91 was talking about- I think it's possible that you may have misconstrued it a bit. I agree that prohibitive HOA's etc are negative, however, some city and town ordinances are necessary- it's all about finding a happy medium.

The problem with the lack of rules governing what people can/can't do on their property in Coastal NC (I'm not sure if there are rules, if there are, they're not enforced very well at all) is the fact that it leads to blight... a lot of it. Outside city limits (and even within city limits in some municipalities) oftentimes, a lot of properties just look an all out mess. Hundreds of dilapidated trailers, rusting cars that have been up on blocks for decades, knee high grass, trash, you name it. I'm honestly not exaggerating about the hundreds of dilapidated trailers, either. Overall, it lends itself to a very negative, depressing aesthetic.

Additionally, the topography of Coastal NC just isn't attractive. The beaches are beautiful, but the second you step away from the beach, the area for the most part is marshy, flat, swampy and unattractive. Shove a few burnt out trailers on that marshy, flat, swampy land and you've got some pretty depressing scenery.

With that said though, downtown Wilmington is great- and Wilmington itself has some adorable architecture- but by living in the city limits again you'd be faced with at least some rules enforced regarding property maintenance. It's all about a happy medium, like I said. Too many rules (as you've described that CA has) is a bad thing, but no rules or no enforced rules can lead to a depressing environment also.

To answer your other questions- DH & I rented an 800 square foot house (so smaller than what you'll be getting- our baby hadn't been born yet at that stage!) and Electric was about $100 in Winter and up to $150 in Summer per month. The Water / Trash / Sewer bill usually came in at around $80 or so. Groceries cost us anywhere between $500 and $600 a month for the two of us, inclusive of hygiene and cleaning products. As others have said though, although the costs may be lower than CA, the wages are lower as well, so it's all relative.

However, if you're able to buy a home mortgage free, that is a HUGE benefit of moving and will significantly help your budget.

I do have to ask though, have you contemplated other areas in the South such as SC? If for whatever reason my DH wanted to stay on the East Coast after getting out of the Marine Corps, I think I would have pushed for a move to SC. It's always seemed more affordable to me than NC, and I've always found it more pleasant and aesthetically pleasing.

Good luck! It sounds like you only want the best for your family, but make sure you do look at things as realistically as possible Have you and your family ventured out to NC in person, btw?

Additionally- I agree with the advice to not move without a job for your DH lined up. The job market can be slim pickings and highly competitive in Coastal NC.

Best of luck again!
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:23 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,251 posts, read 19,773,666 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glamatomic View Post
The problem with the lack of rules governing what people can/can't do on their property in Coastal NC (I'm not sure if there are rules, if there are, they're not enforced very well at all) is the fact that it leads to blight... a lot of it.
I live in a community with an HOA, and I agree some rules are necessary. I also agree there are many unattractive trailers and homes owned by poor folks who don't care.

A couple of other realism points. Open burning is allowed. The developer near us currently has piles of pine brush after they clear-cut the lot. They are burning it, and you can smell the smoke. Because most counties charge you per bag of trash, they are abandoned lots where people leave their trash. It is also considered cool to throw bottles and cans along the roadside. The prison crews pick them up periodically.

If you husband need the best surfing, I'd suggest Dare County which includes part of the Outer Banks. The schools are good, and if you go inland, you can find more reasonable housing.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:02 AM
 
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Glad I started that dialogue...and wasn't trying to imply anything about the OP...as I stated in my post "NC has its own issues, likely very different from what you encounter in SoCal"...and as for the problems to fix, that's a generalization based on what many on this board say in their posts. They are tired of where they are and they are looking for something better. Many move and then complain about the problems that exist....problems that don't get fixed overnight.

I try to give out my opinion to best reflect what the area is. I originally came from somewhere else but after living a long time here and becoming ingrained and understanding the culture of all of eastern NC, I feel I can offer insight.

Wilmington is not replicated, it is Wilmington. It can be a coastal city with beautiful people and beautiful beaches, it can be a historic city, it can be a thriving downtown riverfront, it can be a water based (boats, fishing, etc...) community, it can be a great place to raise kids, it can be a great place to retire, it can be a ghetto with too much public housing, it can be a traffic headache, it can be a college town, it can be a gated community, it can be a low cost place to live and it can be a high cost place to live...it depends on what you want it to be.

I just want folks to understand what they are getting into when moving because when you move to Wilmington you HAVE to embrace it. The nearest major city is a few hours away. IMO, that's just an all out rat race. The biggest problem I see is folks coming to Wilmington that are running from their problems though...I talk to folks everyday when I ask them why they moved. Getting away from family, taxes are too high, couldn't find a job...that kind of stuff. Weather and the coast are big time reasons to move to Wilmington as is having a good job. Creating opportunities? Meh. You can do that anywhere (unless its a coastal based business), too many folks come to Wilmington to do that. They buy a franchise and then open it in Wilmington, they start their own business...and some are successful, but many times not as successful as if they would have done it somewhere else where there is less per capita competition.

Good rant though OP...love the insight into the reason for moving from SoCal....there certainly needs to be a happy medium in terms of rules. FWIW, I wear my flip flops everywhere except work :-)
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:23 AM
LLN
 
Location: Upstairs closet
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I have lived in SOCAL, NOCAL and lots of places. I am a NC native, growing up in the middle of the state. I now live near but not on the coast.

After reading these boards for years, I cannot tell you how many people have been bitterly disappointed after moving to NC for the "low cost of living." Even though you know it, you probably do not know what this really means. For starters it means less pay at jobs and much much less amenities provided by local government.

I loved SOCAL, I was there in my 20s, lived on Mission Bay, surrounded by UCSD coeds....but I digress.

I think there is a HUGE gulf between NC and SOCAL. We are not better or worse, but different. Don't think we are a bunch of ignorant rednecks either, though we do have our share.

NC and the south in general is more family/friends centric rather than the North's "go to bar scene" or the SOCAL go hang out scene. Again, not better or worse, but different. Many times the south's society comes across as "closed." It is not closed if you are in the circle, but if you are not, it is closed. It takes time to gain and nurture friendships.

The lifestyle is slower, I remember a quote for a 1971 issue of Rolling Stone, "The difference between laid back and boring is a million dollars." That, on so many levels, sums it up. The Eastern NC economy is terrible, and bad, even in the good times. There are good schools, but not everywhere. Shopping can be found, but not everywhere.

Oh, I have surfed in HI and SOCAL. NC surfing, 90% of the time, is riding your board, out past breakers, trying to look cool. Nada, zip, zilch. I could not believe it after doing the real thing, watching the yahoos ride their boards for literally hours. Yes, every now and then , with the conditions right, surfing is ok.


So...if you really want to bake cookies at home, with a slow pace and have a kid in a good school, you are ok. Surfer dude my struggle. Remember, though, you are leaving both the best and the worst of SOCAL behind.

Good Luck

OH, to answer some of your questions.

We live in New Bern. It is an electric city which, back in the day signed up for some idiotic electrical deal. WE pay a fortune for electricity to cool and warm our historic home...about $400 a month, on average.

Gas flucuates wildly. Today it was 3:26, but has been in the very high 3's recently. Another New Bern distribution monopoly or something.

Families are generally water or outdoor focused. Fishing, beach, kayaking is big right now.

We go to Harris Teeter, the upscale grocery store, we used to spend near 800-900/month for four of us, but we eat well.

Homeowners insurance and wind and hail insurance if pretty expensive, something, you don't think about but you should.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by LLN; 09-25-2013 at 09:33 AM..
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Old 09-25-2013, 03:28 PM
 
Location: southern California
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Originally Posted by HP91 View Post
Good rant though OP...love the insight into the reason for moving from SoCal....there certainly needs to be a happy medium in terms of rules. FWIW, I wear my flip flops everywhere except work :-)
Life is always better in flip flops right?


thank YOU for allowing me my little soap box moment and for sharing your insights!
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