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Old 03-16-2018, 10:47 AM
 
8 posts, read 6,930 times
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My wife and I are thinking about permanently moving to Iowa - We currently live in Washington State but with kids and the way things are around here now, we don't want to raise a family in this area. We've been researching states for quite a while and Iowa seems like it might be the best choice for us. We're hoping to get a lot of information so we can make sure this move is right for us as this is a big decision.

- Jobs -
Obviously we want to make sure we can afford everything once we make our move. My wife is an RN which, as I understand it, doesn't pay much over there.

It looks like we're stuck with the Des Moines area since I'm currently rebooting my IT career. I've been working IT for about 25 years but decided to change my career path so I'm about to graduate with an AAS in network security / systems administration and plan on obtaining my CCNA before we move. I'm wondering what the IT job market looks like over there now. I'm not looking to make 6 figures, I just want to make sure there are stable jobs so I can support my family.

- Areas - (2 different ones)
Were currently preparing to sell our house so will most likely move into an apartment and then, once this house sell, buy one over there. For the initial move, were wondering what the best areas/apartments are in Des Moines. Are there areas to avoid?

Our house is expected to sell fast and once that happens, we are hoping to find a house outside the city for around 2-250k. We prefer quiet and are hoping to find a house on at least an acre that we can let the kids run around without worrying about being in a bad neighborhood, start a large garden, raise some chickens, etc. but still be close enough that we don't need to worry about being able to make it to work in the middle of winter.

- Crime and Community -
Although we'd prefer a small town/community, we don't have a lot of options since I work in the Tech market. Were hoping to get some input on the community/lifestyle over there. Is crime a big problem? etc.

Not sure where else to start so feel free to ask questions and I'll fill in any information I can. We are hoping to move by late/summer fall but this is a pretty big move for us and I want to make sure were making the right choice. (Personally, I was hoping for a bit of a warmer climate since I grew up in Washington but I'd rather sacrifice climate to have our kids grow up in a decent area).

Thanks in advance!


James
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Old 03-16-2018, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
4,981 posts, read 5,449,503 times
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You really ought to come out and visit for a week before you get any further. There is enough of a cultural difference between Des Moines and the West that it may or may not work for you.

I'm hedging because I'm tried of hearing co-workers who've transferred from OR or WA complaining about our lack of culture, no decent coffee, too much wind, lack of scenery, and backward political policies. I think those are the top complaints. Geez! Maybe they should've spent more time here before moving. It is really family friendly and affordable, but -- yes -- it's not the West, LOL!

Next, you'll be further ahead securing your job before you move. Then you will have a much better idea of where to live. I've been recommending that couples with young families settle in Ankeny (north of Des Moines), especially if they have work there. But that's not a good commute if you are going to work downtown or at Microsoft or out in Altoona at Facebook. I-80 can have large pile ups on icy days. It's better to live close to work.

So grab a cheap flight and come out and spend a long weekend. Drive around! Visit grocery stores! it's not that big of an area. You can get a really good feel for what it's like to live here (or Iowa City) fairly quickly.
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Old 03-16-2018, 05:37 PM
 
8 posts, read 6,930 times
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We're hoping to make it out there but I have a ton going on right now with finishing up my last week of college and then cramming for the CCNA.

I've seen a lot of the talk from people that have relocated from here and honestly, it's the people from the west coast were looking to get away from. The politics over here have gotten insane all up and down the coast. The wife and I are looking for the quiet life where we can just raise our kids in a country environment where there's a community we can interact with and be a part of. Over here, you can live in the same place for years and never really meet your neighbors, everyone just seems to stay isolated unless you're part of the ultra-liberal crowd, which we aren't.

As for company's, I'm hoping to find some smaller tech or even non-tech to work for. I couldn't handle places like Microsoft and Facebook, I don't believe in them and I can't stand the high corporate environments. I prefer the smaller companies but of course, once they become successful they sell out and you find yourself in another corporate environment.

For now we're just doing as much research online as we can until we can free up some time.
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Old 03-16-2018, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
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You might keep in mind Des Moines is a FIRE area (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate). We don't have a lot of small tech companies here. A lot of the IT people I know work in banks in Des Moines and over in Iowa City, at the University of Iowa.

For small tech companies, you might want to look a little harder at the Minneapolis area. Warning! The temperatures are brutal, but there are some nice schools (Bloomington is good) and plenty of hospitals and clinics. In fact, they tend to be more wired there than they are here, and you and your wife might be able to get jobs in the same hospital. Yes, it's larger than a small tech firm, but the right hospital system can be a great place to work in IT.
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Old 03-16-2018, 06:38 PM
 
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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......
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Old 03-16-2018, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
4,981 posts, read 5,449,503 times
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I totally understand!

I'm nearing retirement and have been looking at warmer places myself, but as my friend in Duluth says, "Forty below keeps the riff-raff out!"

I PM'd you a link to an article about tech companies.
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Old 03-16-2018, 09:56 PM
 
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haha!! I'll have to keep that in mind! Even growing up in Washington I never got used to winter but yes, everywhere we looked down south was just too much on crime, drama and trees I'm 49 this year and my wife is 39 so were definitely looking for a permanent place to call home without it going to the dregs a few years later. So much drama around now I'm regretting working in technology, it really limits the choices.....
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Old 03-16-2018, 10:02 PM
 
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I can't speak much to the "tech" industry -- although it's growing here, it's limited compared to where I lived before. However, IT is a broad field and there are likely opportunities here, but, like any long-distance applicant, you'll need to find ways to stand out from the locals.

Sounds like you'd like the people. Iowans are pretty live-and-let-live, and nice overall. K-12 schools are also pretty great, although there are probably a few in some of the more economically challenged parts of Des Moines that are not quite as desirable as others. Crime levels are always relative to where you're coming from. Petty theft/opportunistic stealing from automobiles, etc. seems a little more prevalent in a few parts of Des Moines than what I've been used to, but I think that doesn't happen nearly as much in the suburbs. If you're worried about gang-related shootings, I hear the worst part of town for that is right near Drake University. However, going by there in the daylight, it doesn't seem that bad at all. I don't tend to walk around outdoors in any place, much less a place with a reputation like that, after dark, so I can't speak to what it's like then. But just driving around and living in the DSM metro feels very safe to me.

The one thing I wanted to caution you on is possibly the property at the price point you're looking at. First of all, a full acre is pretty rare in Des Moines or any of its immediate suburbs. I'd say the chances of finding something like that, at that price point, might be better in one of the eastern suburbs like Altoona or Pleasant Hill, or even a little further out, or a location south like Indianola. Land is not cheap here in general, even though housing is much, much more reasonable than a place like Seattle. Also, the metro area is just built more densely than some other places in which acre lots were common until recently. Finding a decent house for 200-250K shouldn't be hard. Finding a decent house on an acre lot for that price will be difficult, just because they are going to be rare or need a ton of work one way or another. So you might just need to adjust your expectations a bit. Unless you're looking for a huge house, you could probably find a relatively private lot of .25 or .33 acres at that price. Also be aware that the topography here involves a lot more hills than people realize, so walkout basements are very common (which also means a sloping backyard, which could limit extensive gardening plans).

Hope this helps! I can't imagine moving anywhere sight unseen, but I do understand the need to research new possibilities for one's family.
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Old 03-17-2018, 01:27 PM
 
5,799 posts, read 4,812,198 times
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Take a look at the Sioux Falls, SD area. There are tech jobs in the health care and banking and credit card industries, and I think you would like the type of community it is. Also taxes are lower than in Iowa, and you COULD buy an acreage within a commuting distance to the city. Look at Avera and Sanford and Xigent websites and the state and other job websites to see if the kind of technology work you are looking for can be found in Sioux Falls.
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Old 03-17-2018, 10:54 PM
 
511 posts, read 767,319 times
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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 found the society adapted to the cold well. I was actually more comfortable in Fargo, (the society is cut from the same cloth) than I was in Des Moines.

You will find that Des Moines is a much smaller city than the Twin Cities and while there can be bad traffic in Des Moines, Minneapolis is standard full on big city USA traffic.

You will find pay and cost of living higher in Minneapolis. 240k is on the hairy edge of the cheapest new house you can get in Des Moines, and that may be wishful thinking. I think 240 is not enough for land and home in Minneapolis. On the other hand, you don't want the land that far north. The snow shoveling will kill you. Des Moines generally, generally, doesn't get that much so clearing drive ways and side walks won't be that bad there.

Have you considered Rochester MN?

They have the Mayo Clinic.

Just a thought.

Cheers
Qazulight
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