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Old 03-18-2018, 12:51 AM
 
Location: West Des Moines, IA
392 posts, read 599,934 times
Reputation: 475

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I guess I can't speak specifically for "IT" as much as I can for software development, but they're somewhat related. Software developers can pretty much get a job in about a day in the DSM metro; it's that insane right now. Back when I moved here from San Antonio, sight-unseen, I had a job in less than a week, and have changed jobs since then pretty effortlessly. Non-development work could be different, obviously, but the economy in the metro is pretty strong.

I personally think it's pretty much impossible to find the housing/land combo you want anywhere near the metro for your price, unfortunately. Housing is a littler pricier here than I expected, and I have been stuck still renting since I moved here, though I'll eventually buy, once the market settles down a little bit.

Climate-wise, Des Moines is one of the colder places in the continental US, up there with Minneapolis, Milwaukee, places in the Dakotas, etc... The difference though with some other frigid places, is that it's kinda dry here, so it doesn't snow "a ton." You can get the first snow in late October, and see the last one in early April, BUT most snow events are on the light side. There's the occasional serious snow, but ehhhh it isn't like Great Lakes type of snow. I do feel that people here however seem to HATE winter and don't embrace it very well. I think someone whined EVERY TIME it snowed in my office this winter, which gets old. My wife and I as former Texans went out into the snow when we could, and did some ice skating outdoors, even a week or so ago. This is in a cold region of the country, as it obviously always has been, so oh well. Summer is short, but AMAZING here!

Politically, it depends on what county you're in, and Des Moines itself is far-left to the point of WTF for me. The city is only about a third of the metro though, and the rest of the areas seem to be kinda centrist and not that interested in talking about it. Folks seem turned off by political talk of any kind in general, and I think that's a Midwestern thing anyway, especially with people they aren't close to.

This leads me to culture, which is a shock for me, coming from Texas... People are pretty courteous and nice in public here, to the point I'd say they're probably 2nd to Texans on this, in my experience, which is still quite good. This is probably why they aren't big on getting into it about things like politics with outsiders in public. If you haven't heard of "Minnesota Nice," look it up, because it's well-known, and I believe it applies to Iowa too, to a lesser degree. I have no clue about the Northwest, but this area is a little harder to break into to make friends, because it's a little bit insular. I see no malice in it at all, because it's just different. Iowa is largely made up of multi-generational native Iowans that have all their friends and family right here, and so that, along with being a little bit reserved, will make it more difficult for an outsider to feel welcomed or part of the community. It's not a bash either; it's just a culture shock thing for some of us, and it may not be for you. It just takes time; people aren't mean or anything.

You actually might be better off since you have kids, because this place is ALL ABOUT families and kids. My wife and I don't have kids yet because of some personal challenges, and we get weird reactions sometimes for still being childless. It's not rude necessarily, but I think people are just sometimes surprised. That being said, there's a TON of family-oriented stuff to do here, and you can probably very easily get into some social groups that way and have your kids also make lots of friends.

One other thing here to look at are the taxes. Holy cow are they higher than I thought they'd be. The prices of things in general, like food, clothing, entertainment, etc. are pretty good, so it's "somewhat" balanced, but just take note.

I'm battling a bout of homesickness and a little culture shock at the moment, after having been here almost 2 years, but I still don't REALLY have anything truly negative to say about it; it's just different from home and far away from family for me. Iowa is still really a fantastic state. If you want a largely stable, quiet, cautiously-friendly (lol) but very courteous place with a good economy and surprisingly lots of stuff to do (for such a small population), Iowa can be right up your alley. It's also VERY safe and clean. Downtown Des Moines is pretty freakin' cool, IMO.
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Old 03-18-2018, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
4,981 posts, read 5,449,503 times
Reputation: 9212
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktulu7 View Post
I have no clue about the Northwest, but this area is a little harder to break into to make friends, because it's a little bit insular.
I had zero problems with this! On my first day at work, several ladies asked if I like bicycling, and I was soon joining them on the trails after work.

I did grow up in Michigan and understand that people are a little more reserved here than in other places. I knew not to ask highly personal questions or expect to be invited to anyone's house right away, but within two weeks, I met people who were happy to join me for coffee, exercise, or lunch.

The people who don't seem to make it here don't go to church or have any activities that they do regularly, like bird watching or riding bikes or whatever. You have to get out. Same with families. If they don't interact with other families, they won't get many invitations to do anything. It's not being mean: we just tend to mind our own business if we think others want to be left alone. And some do!

ktulu7, you might try going to more meet-ups or starting something yourself if you don't see your activity listed. While it's true that there are some small circles of "drinking buddies" that aren't interested in adding to their crowd, there's enough transfers and people who don't feel that way around the metro, but it does take some effort sometimes.
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Old 03-18-2018, 05:14 PM
 
Location: West Des Moines, IA
392 posts, read 599,934 times
Reputation: 475
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meemur View Post
ktulu7, you might try going to more meet-ups or starting something yourself if you don't see your activity listed. While it's true that there are some small circles of "drinking buddies" that aren't interested in adding to their crowd, there's enough transfers and people who don't feel that way around the metro, but it does take some effort sometimes.

Oh indeed, yeah I've joined some meetups recently, so I know what you're saying; you're right. It's relative to where I came from, and I've had my "differentness" pointed out a lot, so I felt it worth mentioning. It takes more time and effort, but a social circle can certainly be found here. I have nothing against the good folks of Iowa, either!
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Old 03-21-2018, 06:29 AM
 
Location: Calera, AL
1,066 posts, read 1,302,605 times
Reputation: 1404
While I do think that DSM does retain some of the cliqueish characteristics as described above, it's also gradually losing them as more and more people from other states and even immigrants relocate to the metro.

It may never be the melting pot that NYC or San Fran are, but there's enough flavor to satisfy most folks.
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:14 PM
 
72 posts, read 49,234 times
Reputation: 54
Ktulu7, I moved here almost exactly a year ago from Fort Bend Co (waaaay western suburbs of Houston) and could have written your post word for word, except that I have kids.

I didn't live in Texas hugely long but it was the closest to a home I've ever had and I still miss it a year later! We should hang.
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:26 AM
 
Location: West Des Moines, IA
392 posts, read 599,934 times
Reputation: 475
Quote:
Originally Posted by motorcycledoppelganger View Post
Ktulu7, I moved here almost exactly a year ago from Fort Bend Co (waaaay western suburbs of Houston) and could have written your post word for word, except that I have kids.

I didn't live in Texas hugely long but it was the closest to a home I've ever had and I still miss it a year later! We should hang.
Oh cool, a buddy of mine owns a house in Sugarland, and I lived in Houston some as a kid. There's a chance my wife and I could end up back in San Antonio for various reasons, none of which being "hating Iowa" or anything... Iowa's great, but Texas is certainly more "home" for me. We're always open to meeting some new folks, especially if from the homeland, haha! I've actually seen at least one Texas license plate every day now for the last few weeks in Des Moines, which is pretty odd... DM if you want to hang out.
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Old 05-28-2018, 08:16 PM
 
96 posts, read 44,599 times
Reputation: 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesInWa View Post
Good to know, thanks! I was originally looking into Minnesota but definitely WAY too cold for my blood I was originally hoping for a warmer climate but trying to balance between jobs, schools, good communities, weather, affordability, etc. etc. it's been a fairly painful search so far. It seems wherever the tech jobs are booming, the taxes and affordability are off the charts, the K-12 schools are horrible (like here), and crime and politics are way out of hand......
I lived in Des Moines or outside of it to the west for around a year. It can be cold like MN there obviously but the average yearly temperature is high enough the ground doesn't freeze too hard and snow doesn't last that long.

It's amazing what 5 degrees warmer in temperature means. Especially if that means the temperature doesn't drop below 32 at night and the thaw doesn't lose momentum at night.

There are some nice places west of Des Moines that are still pretty cheap. I happened to settle in Redfield but
anywhere around Adel, Stuart, Earlham etc. are good if you can handle 30 to 45 minute commute. Sounds long but it is pretty stress free as far as traffic. It's all what i call easy miles.

One thing I couldn't get over as a native Minnesotan is pretty much all the water and rivers in Iowa are filled with toxic chemicals. You aren't going to find a spot outdoors to take your kids swimming.

Iowa has the distinction of being the most altered environment out of any state in the entire USA. There is a dearth of public land, less than two percent. Iowa also leads America in the least amount of public land.

I chose the area around Redfield because of the Raccoon river valley. It has an adequate amount of greenery and some county parks and such. I liked it enough but after about 6 trips exploring that area I found that i had seen most the undiscovered gems and after that it can be quite a few miles to see anything new.

My husband is in tech and insurance and even then it wasn't that easy to line up a job. As far as I know Microsoft and Facebook have data centers that sound good but employ very few people. Apple will build one in Waukee soon and other than a handful of skilled people it will need some janitors.


As far as pay rates go I think anything above $70k would be okay but sort of difficult to find. If you can get $90k per year tat would put you pretty much on easy street in Iowa. The price of food is very low. We were looking for $90k but they want you to have all sorts of crazy things to get that. A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker needed today.

Look at what John Deere is offering. They have some tech jobs they are filling.


Houses in small towns and suburbs on large suburban lots are easy to find. If you want anything above an acre land is pretty much outrageously priced. Farm prices and development prices have made land that way IMO. God forbid you want pleasant land.

If you go west of West Des Moines take around $10,000 off the price of your house for every 5 minutes travelled.


I liked the area well enough but don't believe the silicone prairie hype. There are a handful of decent tech jobs for sure but they aren't begging people to come. We ended up accepting an offer in Pittsburgh.
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Old 05-31-2018, 01:13 PM
 
391 posts, read 200,192 times
Reputation: 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingaround12345 View Post
Houses in small towns and suburbs on large suburban lots are easy to find. If you want anything above an acre land is pretty much outrageously priced. Farm prices and development prices have made land that way IMO. God forbid you want pleasant land.

If you go west of West Des Moines take around $10,000 off the price of your house for every 5 minutes travelled.
I have to disagree with this, unless you consider a quarter acre a "large suburban lot." It's very difficult to find even a half acre in most of the DSM suburbs. Homes just aren't spread out that much -- the land is too valuable.

Also, I don't know about the $10K off for every 5 minutes traveled. We originally looked in the Cumming and Van Meter areas.... then realized we couldn't find much of anything without planning on a cool half million on average, so refocused our priorities and looked elsewhere, closer in to the city, to find more affordable options.
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Old 05-31-2018, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
4,981 posts, read 5,449,503 times
Reputation: 9212
Major problem: there are a lot of new 300K - 400K homes in outlying subdivisions (Waukee, for example) that I think the realtors are being paid to promote.

As soon as I started paying more attention to the "For Sale by Owner" (FBSO) market, I started seeing more homes around the 125K price point in Waukee and Adel.

The realtors greatly dislike the ever-growing FSBO market, but having already dealt with my share of bottom-feeding realtors (sincere apologies to the honest ones!) I can see why many buyers and sellers want to do their best to avoid dealing with realtors. Many realtors are only interested in making the most money with the least amount of work at the expense of helping clients find the right house.

I'll stop here on this topic because I easily fill several screens with a long rant.

My best advice: drive around the areas where you want to live. Go during the day, but also go back in the evening. If people are out working on their yards or sitting on the porch, stop a minute and chat with them. You'll often learn many things that won't appear online.
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:57 PM
 
72 posts, read 49,234 times
Reputation: 54
Can you share any links? We've been looking in Waukee / Adel / Van Meter and the cheapest we've seen (that's not in complete disrepair) is in the 225-250 range, and a few years out for us yet. Finding something for half that would be miraculous.
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