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Old 11-30-2016, 02:23 PM
 
169 posts, read 136,976 times
Reputation: 90

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I've lived in big cities for a number of years and I'm getting to the age where I'm looking for a better quality of life. To better define that term: less traffic, not running a gauntlet of craziness to get groceries, minimizing my commute, not having everything cost an arm and a leg, having more free time, more space, etc.

We've yet to purchase a house even though we have good paying jobs and a nice savings. We rent in a really nice town outside the city. However, I often wonder if we're better off saving for a few more years in a metro area and then moving to a medium-size town somewhere where our savings would go much further.

As an example, in the NYC area a $500-600k house in the suburbs is fairly modest and could potentially come with $10-20k in annual property taxes, if you want to end up in a good school district. We could take a $150k downpayment to a nice medium-size town like Charlottesville, Va. or Asheville, NC and buy a $200-300k house with relatively low property taxes. Chances are the house would be much nicer than what we can get for $500-600k in the NYC area.

If we eliminated all debt prior to the move (excluding a potential mortgage), one of us could work at a modest income and probably still end up doing better than if we both burned ourselves out making comfortable incomes in the NYC area. The biggest advantage would be being able to spend more time with the kids.

Housing is a big aspect of course, but the cost of living spills into so many things, including groceries, car insurance, services, gas, etc. I can't help but wonder if escaping the bubble (albeit a well-paying bubble) is a smarter move.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experience in a similar situation?
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Old 11-30-2016, 04:14 PM
 
7,694 posts, read 4,551,558 times
Reputation: 8371
How much are you looking to spend on a home? Well Charlottesville is a lovely little town, you don't have to move to a metro that small to find affordable housing. If you're into city living, 400,000 goes a long way in cities like Philadelphia and Chicago. You'd do well in Pittsburgh. 300k will get you a nice house in a very nice suburb of Detroit or Cleveland.
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Old 11-30-2016, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis, East Side
1,167 posts, read 575,124 times
Reputation: 2947
I escaped from Denver to Indianapolis and love it here.

Just about anyplace is cheaper and more drivable than NYC--what else are you looking for?
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Old 11-30-2016, 06:14 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 11,424,886 times
Reputation: 12307
So you don't care about having an array of employment choices or advancement opportunities, Red/Blue State politics, the quality of schools, meeting similar types of friends to yourselves, cultural diversity, weather, arts/music/social institutions?

Seems you're over-focused on money and stress reduction.
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Old 11-30-2016, 06:26 PM
 
169 posts, read 136,976 times
Reputation: 90
I actually quite like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. I've actually contemplated Pittsburgh in the past. It seems like a city that has changed quite a bit over the years. I've heard good things about Indianapolis too. I think I've reached that point that I just don't want the day-to-day headache of urban areas though. The catch is it's much easier for me to find a job in the NYC area since I'm in media. But I've been doing it for 15 years and have really been feeling it lately. I haven't been too motivated to go out and do things because of traffic and crowds—it really wears me down after all these years.

As for the price of the home, it just depends on the area. In the NYC area, we could go between $550-600k. We would get approved for more, but I don't want to take on anymore than we need. If we lived somewhere like Pittsburgh, I would think more like $350-400k. I'm looking for a house with some privacy, maybe .5 to 1 acre in a wooded setting. Maybe a mile or two to a decent little downtown area with access to a few good restaurants and cafes. I don't need 20 or 30, just 3 or 4 good places to go to. An Indian and/or Thai restaurant would be a great bonus! A medium level of affordability when it comes to grocery shopping and basic services would be nice. I don't expect things to be cheap, but I really get gouged on just about everything in NY. A relatively short commute would be great too. I've done anywhere from 40 to 90 minute commutes and it's a grind after a certain period of time. A 10-15 minute commute seems like a dream!
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Old 11-30-2016, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
3,144 posts, read 2,824,419 times
Reputation: 2858
The salaries aren't the greatest here and the COL is high. Our gas tax is the highest in the nation. You will notice that there isn't much of a huge discount on moving to PA. If you work downtown in media, then the commute will be well over 15 min. With what you described, probably Mt. Lebanon might work. You can find a house with .5 acres of land for $300+K close to Indian and Thai restaurants. If you want less of a commute, then you will need to give up the amount of land that you want.
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Old 12-01-2016, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis, East Side
1,167 posts, read 575,124 times
Reputation: 2947
You might like Carmel, Indiana, on the north side of Indianapolis. It has woods, large lots, reasonable prices, and lots of Thai places (there's a large Asian population). I work in Carmel and most of my coworkers have ten-minute commutes. I think it was recently rated one of the best places to live in the US. However, I have no idea about media jobs there or in Indianapolis.
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:51 PM
 
56,511 posts, read 80,824,285 times
Reputation: 12480
What else are you looking for in a place to live? Would you consider something further Upstate? I only ask because there may actually be positions in your field and the areas fit more of what you are looking with a similar overall cost of living to the areas you mentioned. I'd watch the property taxes, but home prices are actually relatively low compared to most other Northeastern areas.

I was thinking of something like Baldwinsville or Camillus outside of Syracuse; Fairport, Webster or Victor outside of Rochester; Orchard Park or East Aurora outside of Buffalo or maybe northern Colonie or Scotia in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy area, but this will depend other factors as well. Most of these areas have a small, walkable village within them as well. It appears that Fairport has both restaurants within the Erie Canal village, which is in a good school district as well and you may find similar options in other areas as well.
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Old 12-03-2016, 08:28 AM
 
21,185 posts, read 30,343,833 times
Reputation: 19590
Quote:
Originally Posted by CT356 View Post
I've lived in big cities for a number of years and I'm getting to the age where I'm looking for a better quality of life. To better define that term: less traffic, not running a gauntlet of craziness to get groceries, minimizing my commute, not having everything cost an arm and a leg, having more free time, more space, etc.

We've yet to purchase a house even though we have good paying jobs and a nice savings. We rent in a really nice town outside the city. However, I often wonder if we're better off saving for a few more years in a metro area and then moving to a medium-size town somewhere where our savings would go much further.

Housing is a big aspect of course, but the cost of living spills into so many things, including groceries, car insurance, services, gas, etc. I can't help but wonder if escaping the bubble (albeit a well-paying bubble) is a smarter move.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experience in a similar situation?
Leaving one big city for another large city like Chicago or Philly doesn't make a lot of sense if wanting to truly leave behind the urban living you seemingly want out of due to it's hustle-bustle, crowded feel, traffic, higher prices on everything and lack of space/privacy. Not only would your savings go further but your lifestyle would improve in a medium sized city which does not entail going as far down in size as Charlottesville or Asheville. Cities like Nashville, Richmond, Columbus, Charlotte or Raleigh-Durham would provide nearly all the amenities you could want in a 400K price bracket along with the desired peace/quiet/space in close proximity.
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