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Old 03-20-2015, 02:58 PM
 
361 posts, read 366,674 times
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Hello! I need feedback from transplants from out of state. Preferably those who have moved from California to the green state that is Tennessee and the city at the foot of the mountains that is Knoxville.

Over the summer, we are planning to move to Knoxville to be closer to family. Currently we rent a nice, gated community, 1500 sq ft home 3 bd, 2.5 ba, 2 car garage which we pay $1525 per month excluding utilities. I make $68k as an accountant. Sometimes I think I must have lost my mind because we live in one of the safest communities in the US. Anyway... the things you do for family. I'm also a 4 seasons, hiking through the woods kind of person. Beaches here are too cold for me so, no I won't miss that.

We don't want to buy a hours outright because I'm going to be taking the summer off to study and take my CPA exams for my license as well so I won't be working. My MIL has a huge house that she is letting us stay in since it's just her living there now. When we finally do get our own place, we want to make sure we like the neighborhood we're going to live in and that it is an acceptable commute to work and social activities. Where are most of the jobs located at for white collar professionals like myself? Anyone in HR or accounting who can give me a perspective on the average pay?

I know that I won't make as much as I currently do which is fine but the rental market in Knox/Blount county seems very disappointing. We get that a place with a garage would cost more but some places cost as much as we pay here especially once we scale my wages down to the market. The only school district that seems to be on the same level as the one our daughter attends is either Farragut or Hardin.

We also see a lot of listings not accept pets even though Knox was named one of the most pet friendly cities. For as much as my aunts and uncles there deplore the evil people who are cruel to pets, they sure do have a lot of neighbors who don't want to accommodate these pets.

Am I deluding myself in the affordability of the rental market there? Is it just a seasonality thing where it's not making sense to me?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,562 posts, read 22,643,833 times
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I moved from So Cal in 94. I love it here. I do miss the Sierras though.

Farragut and Hardin Valley schools are part of Knox County Schools. While there are different testing scores throughout the County, its the same curriculum.

As far as rentals with pets go.... I am a pet lover. I own dogs. However, I do not allow pets in my rental properties. While my heart goes out to animal people, my pocketbook was taking the hit. The deposits never covered the stuff I had to do when someone moved out. Replacing carpet and vinyl flooring after less than 2 years was the last straw. It has nothing to do with pet loving or hating, its strictly economic.

White collar jobs are all over Knox County. There isn't a "white collar" district. My old CPA worked out of his home in Farragut. My current CPA (old one passed away) has a brick and mortar building in the Beardon area. It just depends on where you land a job.

Good luck with your move. You'll be fine.
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Old 03-20-2015, 11:28 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
29,360 posts, read 22,196,390 times
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I would wager you'll make $40k-$45k in Knoxville, with rents around $1000-$1300 for what you want, with more affluent areas possibly more expensive. It is likely you'll pay more in Farragut than you are currently paying in California.

Knoxville is a nice area from the perspective of the outdoors, but if you really utilize California fully, nothing in TN could really compete.

Pets are a mess in rentals. I am from Tennessee, but moved to Indiana because of the lousy job market in Tennessee. I rent in a "pet friendly" complex here in Indiana. It was obvious pets had urinated in my apartment and has taken me some time to get all that out of the carpet in my place. I also can't control my neighbors pets. I wish pets were prohibited in my apartment. It costs money to get things clean after animals live in a place. That's not really a Knoxville thing.

If you're happy in California, stay there. Given what you said, you're likely to be financially worse off in TN, as TN is a very poor state generally, though it doesn't hurt to explore.
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Old 03-21-2015, 04:19 PM
 
Location: The Conterminous United States
22,576 posts, read 49,518,517 times
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Here we go with the arbitrary info from a kid (I get to call you that, Emigrations, I have kids older than you) that's never lived in Knoxville. He lived in a town that was a fraction of the size of Knoxville in a very different part of Tennessee, with a different economy, etc. Further, he's never lived in California. I'm not even sure if he's ever visited. I do know that he acts like it's an all-you-can eat economic buffet to live in Boston, although he lived there for two weeks. I, on the other hand, lived in Massachusetts for 34 years.

So, having said that, let's talk facts.

Tennessee Accountant Salary - TN | CPA Accounting Salaries

California Accountant Salary - CA | CPA Accounting Salaries

For the lazy, this info has a lot of great details, but the upshot is the mean salary for an accountant in Riverside County, CA is $65,450. In Knoxville, it is $63,720. For the constant cranks, the median where she lives is $61,180 and in Knoxville it is $57,700.

Here's where it gets REALLY interesting. California's tax burden is 4th in the country. Tennessee's is 45th. This is according to 2011 info from the Tax Foundation.

State and Local Tax Burdens: All States, One Year, 1977 - 2011 | Tax Foundation

If we go by 2014 tax freedom data, California is 4th and Tennessee is 47th.

Tax Freedom Day® 2014 is April 21, Three Days Later Than Last Year | Tax Foundation

This is one of those times where the higher you are on the list, the worst you are off.

Granted, Tennessee has a very high sales tax. But I come from a state with insidious taxes. These are things that aren't spelled out until you get there. In fact, a lot of residents in those states are so used to paying them that they just assume that other people in other states pay the same things. Besides, they think (this is particularly prevalent in the northeast) we pay more but get more. And, of course, it isn't true. The high school that I graduated from doesn't hold a candle to the school that my daughter goes to in Knox County.

Which leads me to the comment about schools.

Murietta, CA

Murrieta Valley Unified School District | California | Best High Schools | US News

Knox County

Knox County | Tennessee | Best High Schools | US News

You have three good schools. We have four that are the same or better. However, as we all know - at least I hope so - testing really is a reflection of the socio-economic backgrounds of the students. In other words, as Barking Spider said, it's the same curriculum, same hiring practices.

Also, it appears that Knox County may have a better student-teacher ratio, although I'm not sure how accurate this site is, since I've never used it before.

High Schools in Murrieta, CA

High Schools in Knoxville, TN

I will say that my daughter attends a Knox County high school with an International Baccalaureate Programme and I am extremely pleased. My other children attended schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Regarding pets, I know that in Massachusetts, it was extremely difficult to find a place to rent if you had pets. In the past 20 years, that hasn't changed according to my friends and family. In Florida, it was a bit better. In Knoxville, well, I have a cat and a dog - and the dog is over 50 pounds - and I rent. And I rent in the Bearden area, part of West Knoxville. In other words, the more expensive part of Knoxville, along with Farragut, etc. I'm not saying it is like that everywhere in Knox County, but there are considerably more choices than in the other areas that I've lived in.

For the record, Portland, Oregon also touts itself as the pet friendliest city in the country. In fact, I was called out before on this. Someone on here told me that Portland was FAR pet friendlier than Knoxville.

Well, my MIL moved from Florida to Portland, last summer, and spent two months in a hotel because she couldn't find a place to rent that would accept dogs. Two months. She finally had to move to a fairly rural area near Salem. So take the moniker with a grain of salt.

17 Best U.S. Cities for Dogs | Estately Blog

Boston is number eight on the above list (chuckle, chuckle).

Portland: the Most Dog-Friendly City in the US! | Hannah the Pet Society

How can Portland and Knoxville call themselves most pet-friendly? Because of the amount of dog parks, dog fountains, businesses that leave water dishes out and allow pets on their patios. Heck, you can even get a pet dish of gelato at Knoxville's Coolato Gelato. But that has nothing to do with whether landlords do or don't want pets in their units.

Quick aside: I am fastidious about my floors. I have a very nice vacuum cleaner and a steam cleaner. Not that I have issues with my pets. I don't. But humans and pets alike often drag mud in, especially this time of year. And I would venture to say that my floors and carpeting is cleaner than most non-pet owner's.

By the way, Knox County is slightly ahead of Riverside County on this map of "hardest places to live," for what it's worth.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/up...abt=0002&abg=0

Here's another fun tool. Type in Riverside, CA in the box. It shows the annual income for typical, full-time worker as $26,888. However, adjust that for what things actually cost there and it feels more like $24,007. Now let's type in Knoxville, TN and our $28,857 actually feels like $29,873.

How Far Your Paycheck Goes, In 356 U.S. Cities : Planet Money : NPR

I really enjoy that one but there are numerous cost calculators. This is the one that is probably used the most. I used it when I moved from Florida to Knoxville during the housing boom, in 2005.

Cost of Living Calculator: Compare the Cost of Living in Two Cities - CNNMoney

If you made $70,000 in Riverside, CA, you would only need $52,651 in Knoxville due to groceries being 23% less, housing at 39% less, utilities 19% less, transportation 25% less and healthcare 15% less.

Regarding rentals, I did a very quick look and immediately found a Farragut Ranch, 1300 SF, 3 Bedrooms and 2 Bath and 2-car attached garage. The house was built in 1974 but, of course, it is a great neighborhood. The rent is $1,200. I suspect that the crime rate in Farragut is the same as Murietta but because it is considered part of Knox County, the rate is never broken out of the county number.

205 Duzane Drive, Knoxville, TN 37934 - HotPads

Here's another. Nicer and a bit more money, but not much. Great schools, including Bearden High. It's 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,100 SF, 2-car, large yard with trees, $1,400.

8905 Shoreham Circle, Knoxville, TN 37922 - HotPads

Perhaps you were thinking that salaries were crazy low and so is the housing. Knoxville, TN is often not what people think. When I was a real estate agent, I would often get asked where to find a home for $50,000 that was in good shape, near great jobs and schools. In fact, regarding prices, you won't see much lower than this, anywhere, unless you are looking at parts of the US that are rural and often undesirable (Think: high unemployment, very poor schools, and worse.)

This brings me to my opinion of the original post. I'm probably correct in thinking that you, One Tough Kitty, are of above intelligence and certainly good with numbers. I suspect you could have pulled up these stats on your own. And I'm sure you realized that the title "Pet-Friendly City" didn't mean that there was an ordinance that requires landlords to accept pets. Or that the pet gods smiled on Knoxville and, inexplicably, most rentals in the area accepted pets. (I still think a lot of them do, though.)

Phrases like "Sometimes I think I must have lost my mind because we live in one of the safest communities in the US" and "the things you do for family" jump out at me. It points to resentment.

I've been on this forum for a long time and I've found that people with initial complaints like this will find more and more things that irk them. Eventually, they blow and it comes out that they never wanted to move in the first place, wherever that is. You might want to really think about that.

Or maybe not. Maybe I'm wrong and you don't like change. Most people don't, including me.

In the meantime, I was glad to help or anyone else considering the area.
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:16 PM
 
15,859 posts, read 29,141,092 times
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You can live comfortably on that salary. The one thing I think that is an issue in the area though is the lack of good rentals at an affordable price. There is affordable housing to purchase but not many rentals available imho.

Other than that you are in for an easy transition. Good luck.
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Old 03-22-2015, 11:21 PM
 
361 posts, read 366,674 times
Reputation: 363
Thank you Barking Spider, funny, all the schools have the same curriculum here too but you know there are always those schools you don't want to deal with.

I'm not interested in working for an firm or on my own, not yet anyway. I hated audit and hope to never see it again. I was looking into Oak Ridge for jobs since it seems to have a lot of defense and tech jobs but if I can stay in healthcare that would be super. There is a company in Knox that does almost exactly what my current employer does so I'm going to check them out.

Thanks Beretta, yes! I noticed a lot of good homes for sale but we aren't ready for that yet. We have to wait until July to move because we're waiting for our daughter to finish 8th grade. Maybe the rental market will improve by then and there will be a bigger inventory.

I think that a few pet owners ruin it for everyone else. If you have that dog/cat that sprays every time it gets excited, then perhaps you need to reconsider renting I guess. When you have a dog that is very sheddy like mine, you grab that Kirby vac and work it. My kid would have made a larger mess than the dog because of the punch stain he left on the white carpet (yup, getting it replaced) but my goal is to leave this place as spotless as we received it.

I guess I need to stop worrying so much. I have been working since I was 14 and the idea of not having a job doesn't scare me. It's not having enough to pay the bills. I really do want my kids to be in a good school and a safe neighborhood. California is definitely overrated. You are paying a sunshine tax, seriously but everyone is running a rat race while pretending that they are living the high life until you're talking one to one and you see they bags around their eyes.

Hiknapster, thank you for the information Emi said. I didn't think it was as bad as I am super excited to be moving to Tennessee actually. I look forward to every moment we get to spend there but please understand, I have spent my entire life in California (despite having a military dad and husband) so if I sound a little apprehensive, it's just that I want to be prepared. I have a friend who cried for a straight month after they moved to NC. She loves it now but I'm of the mindset that the more information I get, the better.

I certainly would not compare Murrieta to Riverside County or LA for that matter. It's more in line with San Diego since a lot of folks are transplants from there, moving further north for cheaper housing.
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Old 03-26-2015, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
7,931 posts, read 6,296,251 times
Reputation: 27475
I moved from Placerville CA, foothills east of Sacramento, to an area of SW of Knoxville 2 years ago. Lived in CA just about all my life. We love it here. The climate will be a big change as they actually have all 4 seasons here. The people here are also infinitely more friendly and the traffic is ...well it's not traffic by CA standards. You don't have to keep up with the Joneses here if you don't want to, so kiss those under-eye-bags goodbye.

Please don't take what Emigrations says as being truth for the entire state of TN. He seems to want to warn everyone away because it was very difficult to find good-paying employment in the small rural town where he was raised. Knoxville is a growing city with many employers and lots of expansion and new businesses moving in. There is a lot of nice housing, many suburbs with varying price ranges, and plenty to do in the area. I can't speak to schools as I have no kids and don't pay attention to such things.
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:39 PM
 
18,173 posts, read 12,540,533 times
Reputation: 9235
Quote:
Originally Posted by onetoughkitty View Post
Hello! I need feedback from transplants from out of state. Preferably those who have moved from California to the green state that is Tennessee and the city at the foot of the mountains that is Knoxville.

Over the summer, we are planning to move to Knoxville to be closer to family. Currently we rent a nice, gated community, 1500 sq ft home 3 bd, 2.5 ba, 2 car garage which we pay $1525 per month excluding utilities. I make $68k as an accountant. Sometimes I think I must have lost my mind because we live in one of the safest communities in the US. Anyway... the things you do for family. I'm also a 4 seasons, hiking through the woods kind of person. Beaches here are too cold for me so, no I won't miss that.

We don't want to buy a hours outright because I'm going to be taking the summer off to study and take my CPA exams for my license as well so I won't be working. My MIL has a huge house that she is letting us stay in since it's just her living there now. When we finally do get our own place, we want to make sure we like the neighborhood we're going to live in and that it is an acceptable commute to work and social activities. Where are most of the jobs located at for white collar professionals like myself? Anyone in HR or accounting who can give me a perspective on the average pay?

I know that I won't make as much as I currently do which is fine but the rental market in Knox/Blount county seems very disappointing. We get that a place with a garage would cost more but some places cost as much as we pay here especially once we scale my wages down to the market. The only school district that seems to be on the same level as the one our daughter attends is either Farragut or Hardin.

We also see a lot of listings not accept pets even though Knox was named one of the most pet friendly cities. For as much as my aunts and uncles there deplore the evil people who are cruel to pets, they sure do have a lot of neighbors who don't want to accommodate these pets.

Am I deluding myself in the affordability of the rental market there? Is it just a seasonality thing where it's not making sense to me?

Thanks for your help.
My wife and I moved from Murrieta in 2009. We moved to Seymour which puts you close to Knoxville, Maryville and Sevierville, yet out of the traffic and much better taxes if you stay in Sevier County. Rent is good here and most places are 10 minutes away from all the stores you need regularly and 25 to 45 minutes away from several malls, yet no city as Seymour is a rural community. Close to the Mountains and worth a look.

A friend is a realtor and has rentals as well, so PM me if you need more info.
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Old 04-01-2015, 02:44 AM
 
361 posts, read 366,674 times
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Thanks Shadow, i'm looking forward to moving out that way too. I just realized that our move is about 3.5 months away now. Trying to focus on getting my work done so I have superb references when I leave

Hey ExpatCA, that's awesome. I may have to take you up on that offer. Anything you miss from CA that you can't get in Knox? Right now the only thing I seem to be kinda sad about is the loss of my Verizon Fios...
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
7,931 posts, read 6,296,251 times
Reputation: 27475
I miss Round Table Pizza. We have still not found pizza of the same quality here. The liquor laws are far different here and until 2016 you must buy wine and alcohol in separate wine/liquor stores which are few and far between for the most part. Prices for all alcohol here are much higher than in CA. All of that is not a big deal, but it takes some getting used to and, for us, requires a 15 to 20 minute drive EACH WAY to get a bottle of wine to have with supper.
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