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Old 01-27-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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I would second Denver. I visited there for the first time this summer. Its a beautiful state. It was HOT when we were there. They do get snow but apparently it gets over 300+ days of sunshine and the locals told me the snow is typically dry and light. In other words its a dry climate. The food and beer were fantastic. I'd probably have no problems living there. I didn't think it was exactly dirt-cheap though. Seemed like most houses were in and around $300,000.

I am originally from the South and if you're unaccustomed to hot humid weather, it would take getting used to. I currently live in California and came and visited last summer for the first time in years. It was so humid that by 10:00 AM my shirt was soaked in sweat. Oh- and there are LOTS of bugs. Doesn't really bother me as I grew up with them but at night you'd be amazed at just how loud they are. But... the South is currently one of the better deals in the country. Last time I was home I looked at a few older classic homes in a cute old neighborhood. Most were well under $150,000. Amazing.

As far as California, well all of the coastal areas are going to be akin to Vancouver- as in ridiculously overpriced. $500,000 seems to still be about average for a starter home. Expect to pay a lot more for anything considered nice. Its also extremely crowded. We're probably moving away from here in a few years, mainly due to costs.

Anyway- good luck.
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Old 01-27-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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Thank you for all the replies - what a great forum!

It's not the bugs per-say that I'm terrified of. It's the thought of living with them in my home. I read a thread on here somewhere about bugs in Arizona, and someone was talking about finding cockroaches in her dishwasher. I would have nightmares for weeks, I think. If they stick to outside, and aren't big enough to see the details of their faces, I'm usually okay with them (although I realize in the warmer states, I'm sure there are many that size...). Here's a question a bit off topic: Here I can let my boys play outside in the back yard by themselves (it's fenced), and not worry at all about them getting bitten or stung *most of the time* (there are some years that the wasps get out of hand, and you need to watch them). If we were living in say, California, do you really have to watch just in case they turn over a big rock, and there's weird stinging/biting things living under there? Or snakes wandering through the yard? I'm getting the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. With that said though, I'm sure I would get used to them given some time, so I wouldn't rule out a place completely based on the fact that there are bugs.

I will continue to research different places based on what you guys have mentioned here, and feel free to keep the suggestions coming! It's so hard to know what to look at as far as housing prices. I've already mentioned that we're not *seriously* looking just yet, but googling houses can be tricky because depending on the location, the prices can be insanely cheap. But I'm not sure if it's in the bad part of town, or if the entire city is known to the locals to be not such a great area or what not... I hear you on the coast being expensive too. The general COL is pretty high here, no matter where you live (unless you're in the northern territories), so that's one of the reasons for us wanting a change. We could sell our house for about $400-$450, and it's not overly large. It's just the market right now. It appears that we could move to certain parts of California, and the COL is pretty well the same as it is here. BUT I think the salaries are slightly lower there as well, so we just have to find a balance. That being said though, some of the homes in San Diego I've looked at were LARGE compared to the house we're in now, and at about the same price. So that would be an upgrade.

To the poster who questioned why we would move to America. Simply for a change of lifestyle. If we're going to do a "big" move (and by big, I mean out of the city we're currently in), we want a complete change of scenery. We wouldn't necessarily move to America to live somewhere that's just about the same as where we are now weather-wise, people-wise, or anything else really. It's about different life experiences for us, and our children. As someone else mentioned, there is good and bad no matter where you live. But I've lived in the same city my entire life and I don't really know anything different, so I'd love to see for myself if living somewhere warmer, with different people, under a different government would be a better fit for our family.
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Manhattan
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I think your best best would be California if you want a warm climate, since a lot of other areas of the US with warm climates have the Texas type heat that is definitely difficult to deal with.

San Diego is a great option, but housing costs are very high there. Sacramento could be a great option though. Although neither team have an NHL team, nearby Los Angeles and San Jose have teams so you would be close enough to go to games whenever you want to.

Both San Diego and Sacramento have a very high quality a living, and would definitely be a major change of lifestyle from Canada.
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:12 PM
 
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Here's a different idea altogether: renting. Seems to me that you don't know much about the US and are throwing darts at the map. If that's the case, moving to a random city is merely a guess as far as what you think might work. I'm in my mid 30's and have lived on both coasts of the US and grew up in the South. I've rented the entire time. I live in the SF Bay Area ( San Francisco) A "starter" home here is $500,000 and upwards of a million for anything decent. On the other hand I'm renting a 4 bedroom house for a fraction of what it would cost to pay on a mortgage. The wages are higher here but the cost of housing is also a major expense thus this difference in wage is a wash because your money doesn't go far here at all. But in the meantime we've saved up enough to probably move out of the state and buy elsewhere. If you rented you would have the ability to quickly pick up and move if you decided the area you chose wasn't to your liking.

Perhaps you all need to make plans for a road trip or something and spend some time touring the US. Get to know it a bit better. You're right- its a VERY diverse country. There are deserts, temperate rain forests, mountains, coastal areas, plains, Bayous, and so on. I've driven across the country several times. There is A LOT to see.

Stepping back for a bit there's a few more key things to consider. First of all, the job situation is not that great in the US. I was laid-off about a year and a half ago. I consider myself a senior professional in my field. Used to take me a few interviews to land a new job. This last time it took me almost 6 months and 200+ resumes. I tried to get a job in TX. Most turned me down due to being out of state. Thus if you're going to move- you probably should get a job before you do so. California in particular has a high unemployment rate and that includes a lot of highly skilled labor as well.

I would repeat what I and others have already mentioned: California is EXPENSIVE. Trust me- I've lived here for 12 years. Looking online at homes versus being here are two totally different things. The bottom line is that the homes in areas that most people want to live are significantly more expensive. Otherwise you might have one hell of an awful commute or be living out in the heat. Get 15-20 miles outside of any California coastal metro and you're looking at HOT summers. Are there bugs here? Not as bad as other states but they definitely exist here. There are also rattlesnakes. That said- it comes with the territory. I personally wouldn't worry about that. I've seen probably 5-6 rattlers since living here and they're always in a hurry to get out of your way. They won't mess with you unless you harass them.
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:12 PM
 
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Thanks! Is Sacremento relatively safe? Anyone know what the school system is like there? Again, private schools may be an option, I haven't looked too much at the prices down there. Here private school is quite expensive - about $1000 per month (for the lower grades).

I'm looking at some houses in Sacremento, and I just can't believe how much you can buy there for $100 000. Here the same house would run you at least twice that much. We do need to keep our options open though, as far as my husband finding a job though.
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Both San Diego and Sacramento have a very high quality a living, and would definitely be a major change of lifestyle from Canada.
Ehhh... Not sure I'd agree about Sacramento. It gets HOTTT there. In fact, I was at the Calexpo ( California State fair) this summer and the temps got up to 107 degrees. I've never been anywhere that got that hot. That and downtown Sacramento doesn't really have anything going on. Its more like a Midwestern town that somehow wound up in California.
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:24 PM
 
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Thanks for the post, Silverbox. It appears that we were posting at the same time.

We will DEFINITELY plan trips to places that we are *thinking* might work for us, as well as find work there first. Which is part of the reason that I've stated a few times that we're in the very early stages of looking and thinking about relocating. There is no way we'd just pick up and move to a different country.

What does Sacramento being hot have to do with having a high quality of living?
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:34 PM
 
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What does Sacramento being hot have to do with having a high quality of living?
Its got a fairly high unemployment level, the housing bust was particularly bad there since the local economy in no way supported the prices, the entire area basically sits on a huge floodplain, and its also about an hour and a half from the coast. Its an inland city- not at all anything like the coastal cities mentioned previously.

Perhaps its best attribute is that its about 30-40 minutes from the Sierra Nevada foothills and there's a lot of really nice old gold rush era towns all up in through there. We usually drive straight through Sacramento and head to the mountains. There is also a river delta in Sacramento which gives it sort of unique attribute by California standards. But again- the heat starting in June and lasting sometimes to September can be oppressive. I lived in Massachusetts for a few years so I know what absolute frigid, cold weather is like. I'm not sure if 100+ degrees is an improvement.

If you're considering Sacramento then you might as well consider cities like San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and other hot cities because Sacramento is in many ways similar. The bottom line is that it costs a lot of money to live in perfect weather in the US. If you're flexible you'll get a lot more bang for your buck. My Wife and I are planning to move to Austin TX, mainly because it has a higher standard of living and costs a lot less than California. Its hot there, but that's ok with me.

Last edited by sliverbox; 01-27-2011 at 03:48 PM..
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
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There's nothing wrong with wanting a change. Living your entire life in one city can be pretty boring.

Avoid Minnesota. It's almost identical to Canada, right down to the frigid winters, friendly people and love of hockey and curling.
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:27 PM
 
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I know I sound like a real downer here, but a lot of this is really a moot point in this job market, especially if you're talking about California -- there are just SO many highly qualified people looking for jobs. It's tough enough for people who are citizens or who can legally work; it's going to that much harder if you're coming from another country. That's not to say you shouldn't try it or shouldn't dream big, just that I'd focus in first on learning as much as you can about the immigration process as your top priority.

When looking at houses in California check out the school district; you'll pay a LOT more for a good district. If you can find a good enough deal and can go private then that might not matter, but it's something to consider.

I second the suggestion of renting, not buying. In many California cities that's perfectly normal, even for families (not sure what it's like where you live, but here in Minneapolis people definitely tend to buy, not rent. It was very different when we lived in LA and in SF). We rented a wonderful, although small, home in a great area of LA with excellent schools, and our rent was far, far less than we would have paid for a mortgage. For what it's worth on the bug issue, at least in LA: we had a lizard in our yard, but never saw any snakes or other scary creatures out there. We did see a rattlesnake when hiking near our home, but not in our yard. They have black widow spiders, too, but I never thought about them (maybe I should have, but didn't!). Our son was still young enough that he was supervised in the yard, but we let him crawl around without worrying about it while we gardened or did other work, and the neighbor kids ran around without incident.

I don't know much about Sacramento, other than it's known for having a relatively low cost of living. I know people who live around there and love it; not sure about the school situation, though. Like any city, I think there are both good and bad neighborhoods. There are also other nearby areas worth considering; Davis, for one, home to UC Davis. That would put you in commuting distance to Sacramento, and it's not that far from San Francisco for day trips. I agree that Sacramento itself has kind of a Midwestern vibe to it. It feels very different from the coastal CA cities. And, as noted, it gets much hotter, too. On the plus side, there isn't the oppressive humidity that you find in some parts of the country.
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