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Old 02-11-2008, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Louisville/Vegas
482 posts, read 601,442 times
Reputation: 343
Default Things to Know Before Moving to Kentucky

Things to know about living in Kentucky, for those planning a move here.

We moved to Louisville about five months ago. What follows are some of the things that we learned about Kentucky after moving here from the perspective of an outsider. I am sharing them on this forum for the benefit of those considering a move here.

1. WEATHER - The weather here is awful. Itís been cold damp and raining most of the time. Whatís amazing is that even though the actual temperature may be in the thirties it feels much cooler. The humidity is very high and this makes it feel colder. In other words Ė the weather is miserable. Mold grows all over the place and any surface that doesnít receive direct sunlight will most likely have mold growth. This means sidewalks, the brick on your home, decks, etc. I have lived in Chicago, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, Germany, Spain and elsewhere never seeing anything like this.

2. TAXES Ė Kentucky has a state income tax with a maximum rate of 6%. This is not bad, BUT what I didnít learn prior to our move here was the Jefferson County occupational tax. If you work in Jefferson County, you must pay an additional tax. If you work and live in Jefferson County, the tax is higher. This is no small amount. Make sure you are aware of your taxes BEFORE moving here.

3. HOUSING Ė When you first drive around the Louisville area and into the near NE suburbs you will be impressed by the beautiful homes on large lots that are available for quite reasonable purchase prices. They are all unique and itís rare to find two alike, even in newer subdivisions Ė so you are purchasing a custom home for very little money. For those moving from states that have large builders like Lennar, Centex, Toll Bros, etc. this seems wonderful Ė no cookie cutter houses. Hereís the problem Ė family builders, who may be building only a couple homes a year, build many of these homes. The floor plans, heating/cooling capacity, energy efficiency have not been proven. When you buy a home from a large builder Ė the design has been proven. Here, itís a crapshoot. You may end up with an ill designed HVAC system, improper placement of vents, thermostats, poor drainage, etc. You may find too many windows, not enough, or it might be 85 degrees in the MBR and 60 degrees in the family room. Of course, you will have beautiful columns and dentil molding to admire. If thereís any problem with these homes, you really donít have much recourse from these family builders because most have one foot on a banana peel and the other edging toward bankruptcy court.

4. RADON GAS - A lot of the homes here have a radon problem. I donít know if this gas really causes lung cancer or not, but Iím not going to risk someone in my family getting sick years from now because I didnít get it taken care of properly. So if you buy a house here Ė have it tested for radon. If it tests higher that 4 Pico curies/liter you owe it to yourself to have a radon system installed to evacuate the gas prior to it entering the basement. This turned out to be just another unanticipated expense for us.

5. ROADS/TRAFFIC - The roads are inadequate for the traffic and the transportation department has not figured out how to set signals for efficient traffic flow. The red lights at some of the intersections are the longest I have ever experienced. You could almost get your oil changed while waiting at some of these lights. The highway on and off ramps can be dangerously close to one another. This can make merging on and exiting sometimes seem like a scene from a Mad Max movie. In addition, the drivers in Kentucky are without a doubt some of the worst I have ever come across. Drivers here run red lights and tailgate incessantly. I would hazard to guess that on any given day there are more accidents in the Louisville metro area than the Los Angeles metro area Ė and Iím not talking per capita. My auto insurance rates skyrocketed when I changed my address to Louisville.

The highway department in Kentucky sprays salt water on the roads and spreads salt, whenever there is a forecast of snow. I was told they used sand. This was not true. For those that havenít experienced this salt treatment, let me tell you it is very hard on your car. I have a two-year-old car that could not be told from new when I moved here. After three months in Kentucky, the aluminum wheels are beginning to pit and the engine looks like it was salvaged from Hurricane Katrina.

6. COST OF LIVING - The COL here for actual everyday purchases is high. Kroger has shockingly high food prices. Dry cleaning and car washes are outrageous compared to Southern California. Home services in general are pretty expensive. Things like lawn maintenance; painters, remodeling, etc. are much higher than I am normally accustomed. The costs for utilities are high. If you buy a large house, your LG&E tab can easily be upwards of $400 a month.

7. FRIENDLY PEOPLE Ė The people here do seem friendlier and in many cases a handshake sealed a deal for me. I find this refreshing and have not had any bad experiences.

8. FREEDOM Ė This is hard to quantify, but one example is gun ownership. In California, just purchasing and legally owning a gun is an arduous process. Here, itís just a matter of walking into the gun store and saying, ďIíll take that oneĒ. I also found out that it is legal to keep a loaded gun in your car as long as itís in the glove compartment. This would be a felony in several states. No sales taxes on liquor. I have never been to a state that didnít heavily tax booze and cigarettes. I donít smoke, but have been collecting sales tax free bottles along the bourbon trail. Kentucky is one of the few states where you can legally own a newer slot machine. In most states it has to be 25 years old. Iím sure there are other freedoms that I will find in future months.

9. NO LINES Ė This is great. No lines at the DMV, no lines at the urgent care, no lines in many stores. I love it.

10. SAFETY Ė I think it is quite safe in most areas. This is evidenced by the fact that most doors are glass and there are no double cylinder dead bolts. So anyone can walk through the front door with just a hammer and 2 seconds time. You also donít see too many of those community mailboxes that are found in many subdivisions in other states. So far no one has stolen any mail to my knowledge. Itís nice to go out to my old fashion mailbox and put up the flag.

Hope this short list gives you something to think about. Iíll probably stay here for a few more years and then move to a warmer climate. The weather was my biggest surprise. I really did think it would be more temperate and sunshine more often. Good luck all.
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Blankity-blank!
11,441 posts, read 8,467,249 times
Reputation: 6661
WEATHER: Cheer up! I moved to Louisville from Chicago six years ago. The weather here is not as bitter cold, but yes, cold is cold. One good thing is that only four weeks from today the grass should be green and temperatures will be in the 50s or even 60s. In Chicago the trees don't become green until the first week of May. I just hope Louisville's summer is not another another hellfire pizza offen like last year!
DRIVING. I've found the local drivers pretty much the same mixture of good and bad to outright awful as anywhere else. However, I do wish the traffic could be able to make left turns at large intersections without the aid of an arrow, especially at night and other times of less traffic. As for the way they run red lights in Louisville, don't do the same in Chicago. Moving from Chicago I was also surprised that my auto insurance went up in Louisville. The car must be washed more often in winter after snowfall. This can be done inexpensively at a self-car wash for about $3. I use the high pressure rinse to thoroughly wash around the wheels and suspension.
KROGER has the monopoly on Louisville and the store is expensive, but check out their house brands and watch for sales. A very good store with quality merchandise is ALDI (3 locations: Bardstown Road at Fegenbush; Dixie Highway in Valley Station; Preston Hwy just north of the Watterson Expway). Even people with expensive foreign cars shop at ALDI, which is about 30% (or more) less than Kroger even with a Kroger card.
GUNS are popular here, that's for sure. I don't own any and have no desire to own any. I never knew that a loaded gun in the glove compartment was acceptable in Kentucky.
Good luck!
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:57 AM
 
Location: Louisville KY Metro area
4,729 posts, read 7,428,976 times
Reputation: 1858
Croce, I am going to sound very extremely pitifully self-serving in this reply, but when you decided to come here, I remember that you mostly did it alone. Yes, you did look here at city-data, but... Your points were not off-base, but they were not fully fair either. The Home Builders Association of Louisville works terrifically hard to make certain its member-builders construct properties with the highest of quality appropriate to the value of the home. When buying a million dollar home, one can reasonably expect better quality than a 900,000 home.

I don't blame Croce for moving here unaware of the issues written about, but I feel I do a pretty through job of informing people of those issues to buyers moving here. I am sorry Croce didn't get to move here in mid-Spring to early Summer. I assure life would be much more enjoyable. The Ohio Valley is not the perfect place to live, but where is, really?
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Louisville/Vegas
482 posts, read 601,442 times
Reputation: 343
Tom, good memory! My home is in one of the better neighborhoods in Louisville and solidly built by a Louisville Home Builders Association Registered Builder. It was inspected by a certified building inspector that had also built homes in this area. I have no complaints about the quality of this home, workmanship, etc. I love this area and the home is a better one than I ever dreamed I'd own. I have been able to get out and jog around on the few days that it hasn't rained, snowed or been below freezing. My point was to let others know of the issues prevalent in some of these homes. In looking at many homes, I saw deficiencies you would not expect to see in homes of this caliber. These problems could have easily trapped buyers from other states that were dazzled by the fit, finish, brickwork, etc. of the home. All the more reason why I strongly endorse your services to provide expert advice to the typical buyer.

Visvaldis, thanks for the tip on the spray car wash. I wish I would have been spraying my engine compartment before all the aluminum parts corroded. Can't wait for spring! Hope it arrives early.

On another note, I am highly impressed with the BANKING here in Kentucky. Their service is outstanding and has exceeded anything I've been exposed to in other states. There are plenty of branches and no lines. In some states, it's hard to find a convenient bank that is NOT in a grocery store. After setting up an account, our bank assigned us a personal banker that takes care of everything for us. It's really a refreshing change.
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Old 02-12-2008, 01:56 PM
 
Location: (Rogers Park) Chicago, IL
16 posts, read 50,914 times
Reputation: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Visvaldis View Post
DRIVING. I've found the local drivers pretty much the same mixture of good and bad to outright awful as anywhere else. However, I do wish the traffic could be able to make left turns at large intersections without the aid of an arrow, especially at night and other times of less traffic. As for the way they run red lights in Louisville, don't do the same in Chicago. Moving from Chicago I was also surprised that my auto insurance went up in Louisville. The car must be washed more often in winter after snowfall. This can be done inexpensively at a self-car wash for about $3. I use the high pressure rinse to thoroughly wash around the wheels and suspension.
can someone explain all of the washing of the vehicles after snowfall?! that i don't get. we have had a crap ton of snow up in chicago this year and i hve not found a need to wash near the suspension nor under the hood?!

should i be in general or does l'ville have something different down there to be aware of?
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Old 02-12-2008, 02:12 PM
 
Location: (Rogers Park) Chicago, IL
16 posts, read 50,914 times
Reputation: 14
Default some thoughts/questions to everyone including croce

Quote:
Originally Posted by Croce View Post
Things to know about living in Kentucky, for those planning a move here.

We moved to Louisville about five months ago. What follows are some of the things that we learned about Kentucky after moving here from the perspective of an outsider. I am sharing them on this forum for the benefit of those considering a move here.

1. WEATHER - The weather here is awful. Itís been cold damp and raining most of the time. Whatís amazing is that even though the actual temperature may be in the thirties it feels much cooler. The humidity is very high and this makes it feel colder. In other words Ė the weather is miserable. Mold grows all over the place and any surface that doesnít receive direct sunlight will most likely have mold growth. This means sidewalks, the brick on your home, decks, etc. I have lived in Chicago, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, Germany, Spain and elsewhere never seeing anything like this.

How did the weather compare to that of Chicago? I know that we get hot as hell and really humid depending on the months...i would venture to guess that the mold issue could be quite similar?!

2. TAXES Ė Kentucky has a state income tax with a maximum rate of 6%. This is not bad, BUT what I didnít learn prior to our move here was the Jefferson County occupational tax. If you work in Jefferson County, you must pay an additional tax. If you work and live in Jefferson County, the tax is higher. This is no small amount. Make sure you are aware of your taxes BEFORE moving here.

taxes in cook county in Chicago are around 10% (maybe 11 now not sure). what is the maximum tax rate if you work and live in Jeff Co.?

3. HOUSING Ė When you first drive around the Louisville area and into the near NE suburbs you will be impressed by the beautiful homes on large lots that are available for quite reasonable purchase prices. They are all unique and itís rare to find two alike, even in newer subdivisions Ė so you are purchasing a custom home for very little money. For those moving from states that have large builders like Lennar, Centex, Toll Bros, etc. this seems wonderful Ė no cookie cutter houses. Hereís the problem Ė family builders, who may be building only a couple homes a year, build many of these homes. The floor plans, heating/cooling capacity, energy efficiency have not been proven. When you buy a home from a large builder Ė the design has been proven. Here, itís a crapshoot. You may end up with an ill designed HVAC system, improper placement of vents, thermostats, poor drainage, etc. You may find too many windows, not enough, or it might be 85 degrees in the MBR and 60 degrees in the family room. Of course, you will have beautiful columns and dentil molding to admire. If thereís any problem with these homes, you really donít have much recourse from these family builders because most have one foot on a banana peel and the other edging toward bankruptcy court.

I own a condo unit in Chicago (that "in chicago" statement is redundant at best sorry...) and i was speaking with my father about it recently. we live in a ground floor (below ground level) apt., and i have never experienced a place of this size that heated so unequally. we have no central air and it really is never a factor, but my long-story-short is that i think that some of the overall qualities of the people building, rehabbing and the like may not be as good as it used to be. This is in no way an insult to anyone who may be in the trades and correct me please if i am wrong. but there was a lot of shoddy work that was done in my condo and i think that it's not just in the Chicago rehabbing markets.

4. RADON GAS - A lot of the homes here have a radon problem. I donít know if this gas really causes lung cancer or not, but Iím not going to risk someone in my family getting sick years from now because I didnít get it taken care of properly. So if you buy a house here Ė have it tested for radon. If it tests higher that 4 Pico curies/liter you owe it to yourself to have a radon system installed to evacuate the gas prior to it entering the basement. This turned out to be just another unanticipated expense for us.

[B]will the gas company come out in general to do an inspection when you purchase the home? is this a problem in new or old homes? and how much/what is the radon system?[/b]

5. ROADS/TRAFFIC - The roads are inadequate for the traffic and the transportation department has not figured out how to set signals for efficient traffic flow. The red lights at some of the intersections are the longest I have ever experienced. You could almost get your oil changed while waiting at some of these lights. The highway on and off ramps can be dangerously close to one another. This can make merging on and exiting sometimes seem like a scene from a Mad Max movie. In addition, the drivers in Kentucky are without a doubt some of the worst I have ever come across. Drivers here run red lights and tailgate incessantly. I would hazard to guess that on any given day there are more accidents in the Louisville metro area than the Los Angeles metro area Ė and Iím not talking per capita. My auto insurance rates skyrocketed when I changed my address to Louisville.

The highway department in Kentucky sprays salt water on the roads and spreads salt, whenever there is a forecast of snow. I was told they used sand. This was not true. For those that havenít experienced this salt treatment, let me tell you it is very hard on your car. I have a two-year-old car that could not be told from new when I moved here. After three months in Kentucky, the aluminum wheels are beginning to pit and the engine looks like it was salvaged from Hurricane Katrina.

[B]So would possibly living in southern indiana be a better bet for some of these issues like the radon, taxes and auto insurance? is home owners insurance high as well?[/b]

6. COST OF LIVING - The COL here for actual everyday purchases is high. Kroger has shockingly high food prices. Dry cleaning and car washes are outrageous compared to Southern California. Home services in general are pretty expensive. Things like lawn maintenance; painters, remodeling, etc. are much higher than I am normally accustomed. The costs for utilities are high. If you buy a large house, your LG&E tab can easily be upwards of $400 a month.

7. FRIENDLY PEOPLE Ė The people here do seem friendlier and in many cases a handshake sealed a deal for me. I find this refreshing and have not had any bad experiences.

8. FREEDOM Ė This is hard to quantify, but one example is gun ownership. In California, just purchasing and legally owning a gun is an arduous process. Here, itís just a matter of walking into the gun store and saying, ďIíll take that oneĒ. I also found out that it is legal to keep a loaded gun in your car as long as itís in the glove compartment. This would be a felony in several states. No sales taxes on liquor. I have never been to a state that didnít heavily tax booze and cigarettes. I donít smoke, but have been collecting sales tax free bottles along the bourbon trail. Kentucky is one of the few states where you can legally own a newer slot machine. In most states it has to be 25 years old. Iím sure there are other freedoms that I will find in future months.

9. NO LINES Ė This is great. No lines at the DMV, no lines at the urgent care, no lines in many stores. I love it.

10. SAFETY Ė I think it is quite safe in most areas. This is evidenced by the fact that most doors are glass and there are no double cylinder dead bolts. So anyone can walk through the front door with just a hammer and 2 seconds time. You also donít see too many of those community mailboxes that are found in many subdivisions in other states. So far no one has stolen any mail to my knowledge. Itís nice to go out to my old fashion mailbox and put up the flag.

Hope this short list gives you something to think about. Iíll probably stay here for a few more years and then move to a warmer climate. The weather was my biggest surprise. I really did think it would be more temperate and sunshine more often. Good luck all.
i am sure that you have had to take the good with the bad...but as all things go, if i could make it in chicago i can make it many other places as well, i am still heading down there within the next two years, and i can't wait!

Last edited by mjbackus123; 02-12-2008 at 02:17 PM.. Reason: make my replys more obivous
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Old 02-12-2008, 02:35 PM
 
678 posts, read 1,982,073 times
Reputation: 247
Unfortunately, the radon issue is pretty common in many parts of the country:

(reds/pinks are highest levels)




A radon inspection is usually separate and optional from other home inspections but is sometimes paid by the seller at a buyer's request. Our last home in NE Ohio had dangerous levels of radon and we had to pay to have it mitigated, but it wasn't that bad. There is a definite link to lung cancer, so it is worth it to get the inspection whether you're buying a house or even in your current home.

And as for the salt - that did make me laugh because it shows the difference coming from SoCal vs the midwest and northeast! For us, we have been happy when we've lived in Louisville and Lexington because they tend to use liquid brine/de-icer a lot, which seems a lot easier on your car than the granulated salt. I think it is more expensive but because we don't get much snow here, they can afford the splurge. In Cleveland one year, they resorted to mixing salt and molasses to save money!!!! Talk about a mess on your car - the gooey salt mixture would just be stuck all over your paint and undercarriage!!!!

I know what you mean about the heating/vents and the floorplans. We are currently battling our builder (a local guy) over it (uneven heating, ineffecient cooling, high utility bills).
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:07 PM
 
Location: The Great State of Texas, Finally!
5,223 posts, read 7,306,749 times
Reputation: 2189
I think your experience in relocating is relative to where you're coming from. I grew up in Chicago and the liquid treatment they use on the streets here in the Pac NW for the few days when we do have snow (mostly ice) are a dream compared to all that salt. During the Chicago summers, you could really see the war wounds (rust holes) on all those cars after winters of curing in the salt!!. Also...in the Pac NW it rains "constant drizzle" for about 9 months out of the year. Last summer we had only 19 days of sunshine (yes in a 3 month period...pretty sad). So....the "moderate cold" they talk about is really wet and uncomfortable. And...talk about mold! We've got black mold, green mold, every kind of mold you can think of. Every place has its adjustments and there is no paradise.

BTW....good general info from the OP. My best to you and your new Kentucky home.
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Louisville/Vegas
482 posts, read 601,442 times
Reputation: 343
mj - Here's a quick answer to your question about taxes. If you live and work in Louisville Metro there is an additional 2.2% income tax. If you work in Louisville metro but live outside, it's an additional 1.45% Tack that onto the 6% state income tax and you are up to a state and local top income tax rate of 8.2%. So if you have a job most of your income will be taxed at 8.2%. That's because even though the state has a graduated income tax from 2 - 6%, the top rate kicks in on all income over $8001. As far as Illinois - the state income tax is a flat rate of 3% of federal AGI with a $2000 per person deduction. Now the property taxes are much higher in Illinois as are the sales taxes. Maybe that is what you are referring to when you mention 10 - 11 percent.
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:59 AM
 
884 posts, read 2,730,478 times
Reputation: 434
Thanks for posting your experiences.
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