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Old 09-18-2012, 10:40 AM
4 posts, read 5,468 times
Reputation: 10


Hi everyone! I've been lurking on this forum for a while. I am planning to move to Pittsburgh early next year, preferably before April. I've done a lot of research and have decided that Pittsburgh is definitely the place for me. The relatively low cost of living, the beautiful location, the climate (yes, I know it's often cloudy - I like that), the friendliness of the people, the uniqueness, etc. I find everything about it to be charming. I currently live with my mother and have two part-time jobs (retail and library) that I'm not able to support myself on here in the expensive place I live. I've been looking to move out anyway, and Pittsburgh seems like the place for me.

I would very much appreciate any advice on finding an apartment and employment, meeting people/making friends, and finding things to do. I'm female, single, and will be 27 when I move. I don't know anyone in the Pittsburgh area. I'm not into drinking and partying, and I don't really care about nightlife. Maybe every once in a while, but it certainly isn't essential. I love books, movies, art, music, cooking, going for walks/hiking, traveling, and visiting historical/cultural sites.

I'm going to visit Pittsburgh for a week in mid-January to search for apartments and jobs. I know that realistically I probably won't find a job, being out of state and not being in a high position in a specialized field, but it never hurts to try. I have a bachelor's degree in a field some may consider "useless," but I can make it work for a variety of jobs. Do you think it would be worth it to visit temp agencies, or would they dismiss me for being out of state? I'm more than willing to take a retail job just to make some money while I search for something better. As for the apartment, I'm sure that will be somewhat difficult too, not having a job. I will have over $10,000 saved by then. I have no children and no debt, and I have good credit. However, I've never rented before. Do you think landlords will give me a chance? I know that I should avoid big companies and aim for individuals. I've also read that it's best to go around looking for "for rent" signs rather than craigslist or other websites. What about Pittsburgh newspapers? I'd prefer not to live in a big apartment complex. I also would really like to avoid having a roommate, if possible. A studio or 1-bedroom apartment is fine and I'd like it to be under $700.

I would also appreciate any advice on neighborhoods. So far Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Regent Square, Greenfield, Friendship, and Bloomfield sound good to me. Definitely not Oakland because I wouldn't like to live near rowdy college students. I'm interested in walkable neighborhoods with at least a grocery store nearby, since I would prefer not to have a car. I have one now, but it's old and it definitely wouldn't survive the drive to Pittsburgh (I'm currently on the west coast), and I don't think it'd be worth the money to get it over there. I've also heard scary things about driving in Pittsburgh. However, if it turns out I absolutely need a car, I'd be willing to get one as soon as I find a solid job. I'm not averse to public transportation, and while I've heard that Pittsburgh's isn't the best, it's still much better than what's available where I live now (and I used to use it to get to school/work) so I'm sure I won't mind it.

Is there anything else you think I should do during my trip? I'm mostly going to find employment and housing, but I certainly plan on doing a few "fun" things like going to museums too.

Thanks in advance for any advice! And if you just want to say hi, that would be nice too! I'd love to have some friends from the area.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:06 AM
Location: Pittsburgh PA
1,127 posts, read 1,967,893 times
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Hi, I am glad that you are looking into moving to Pittsburgh. First off, with $10,000 in savings I don't foresee a huge problem with renting an apartment, although you might need to set something up with the landlord such as paying x number of months rent up front. I would say it never hurts to check into the temp agencies to see what they can do, and if they are unable to help much until you move, then so be it (hold off handing in your resume and singing up until you move and then they can help you.) From what you said about desiring to live car free, I would personally pick Sq. Hill as it has the most amenities within walking distance of much of the neighborhood, although living without a car could limit where you find work at. My suggestion would be to purchase a cheap car and just use it to commute to and from work, but that is just me thinking out loud. I wouldn't say avoid craigslist and there are private landlords that advertise in it as well, which you can usually tell by there being no management company logo on the page. If you were to only have time for one event, my suggestion would be to take the incline from the south side up to the top of Mt. Washington at night. The view is absolutely breathtaking. I am confident that other posters will be around shortly to assist you as well due to this sub-forum being one of the most helpful on the website. Best of luck with everything and please feel free to keep us updated
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:39 AM
1,974 posts, read 2,725,789 times
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I absolutely agree with escilade18: Pittsburgh posters are some of the most helpful on this website, if not THE most helpful.

As for where to live: did you check out the thread "how to safely find a safe place to live"? It's full of good info, plus has a link to a rental company that owns a lot of apartment complexes in Pittsburgh. The rental prices range from very inexpensive to very expensive (at least for me). I found the thread very helpful. (I forgot to tell you I don't live in Pittsburgh yet either. LOL)

I really admire you for picking up and moving across The US. A big move like that, especially to someplace where we know no one, can be very 'daunting', to say the least, no matter what age we are. BUT -- when I retired, I left California, where I had spent almost all my adult life. Although I miss the ocean -- I will always miss the ocean -- there are a lot of things I don't miss, like the state income taxes, the high cost of living, and the total inability to live without a car. Leaving CA was one of the best things I ever did.

As for meeting new people, you might check out Pittsburgh's Meetup groups.

And I wish you the very best!!
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:53 AM
632 posts, read 926,820 times
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I've lived here for a year now. I just finished my search for a new residence upon my lease expiration - exclusively used Craigslist and found an awesome place in Bloomfield. It can be done, just learn how to weed out the crummy ones and the scams.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:41 PM
Location: Franklin Park
34 posts, read 35,311 times
Reputation: 20
Originally Posted by escilade18 View Post
From what you said about desiring to live car free, I would personally pick Sq. Hill as it has the most amenities within walking distance of much of the neighborhood, although living without a car could limit where you find work at.
With public transportation going backwards in Pittsburgh this is a tough one for sure. Your living arrangements may need to revolve around place of employment. All the places you listed have pluses and minuses. If you live in any of those locations and work anywhere outside of that community or downtown, you will have challenges.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:17 PM
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,436 posts, read 11,937,287 times
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Generally speaking, if you're planning on car-free living, you better hope for one of the following in terms of jobs.

1. Getting a job downtown
2. Getting a job in Oakland
3. Getting a job close enough to your home that you can walk if need be.

As for your initial choices, I would say yes to Bloomfield, Shadyside, and Friendship. They are all ideal because they have access to a number of different bus lines heading into both Downtown and Oakland. The latter two have access to the East Busway as well. I'd also consider Polish Hill for similar reasons.

As for your other choices, they are fine, but not what I would call ideal for car-free living. Greenfield feels very suburban in nature, and would be difficult to manage without a car. The bus ride from Regent Square to get to downtown is fairly long, and AFAIK there is no bus to Oakland. Squirrel Hill is nice and walkable in places, but it's not an incredibly quick commute if you want to get to Downtown.
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Old 09-18-2012, 03:02 PM
1,454 posts, read 1,231,082 times
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There is a bus from Regent Square to Oakland and it runs every :15 during rush hour if memory serves. Incidentally, I think Friendship might be slightly iffy if you want to avoid the student ghetto; you walk by one of those old Victorians and you can see where the house has been split up into eight units (count the water meters or mailboxes). Someone who has lived there could give you a better answer though. Oakland does have better bus connections than just about anywhere.

I find that meetup.com is useful for finding groups of like-minded people, there is a group in Pittsburgh for just about all of the interests you mentioned. And if you like old or foreign movies, I will put in a plug for Regent Square for that reason alone; the "arthouse film" meetup group spends a lot of time in the Regent Square theatre.
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:24 PM
4 posts, read 5,468 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you all so much for the replies! A few of you raised a very good point about access to downtown, which is where I'm assuming I'll have the most job options (the store at which I currently work is located there, so I may be able to transfer or at least have a good shot at getting hired). I would like to have access to downtown anyway, so that's good to know.

I will definitely check meetup and not rule out craigslist for apartments.

Thanks again! I'm glad to find out that Pittsburghers are as friendly as I'd thought.
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:11 PM
5,959 posts, read 6,861,418 times
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Friendship has a decent number of students, but it's no student ghetto. If anything those apartments are mostly grad students and 20-somethings. There's no nightly ruckus and morning filth like there is in South Oakland.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:06 PM
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,221 posts, read 67,365,623 times
Reputation: 15855
I'm going to provide a second plug for my own neighborhood of Polish Hill. While it seems to me as if just about everyone here owns a vehicle, judging by the scarcity of on-street parking, I believe I actually read somewhere last year that roughly 1/3 of Polish Hill residents live sans car. That's quite impressive to me. I primarily work in Oakland and walk back-and-forth daily via Bigelow Boulevard. The walk isn't the most scenic or the most pleasant, but it's great exercise and only takes me a half-hour. You can similarly walk Downtown in about 35 minutes. The East Busway has a Polish Hill stop at Herron Avenue. While we are literally spitting distance from one of the city's most dangerous ghettos I feel very secure here. A wide very busy highway (Bigelow Boulevard) along with a steep hillside separates us from that area. On the flip-side is that while this neighborhood is still a bargain for the East End the lack of available housing options is creating a housing bubble within the neighborhood itself. The last time I checked there were only two real estate listings in the neighborhood, and both were in the high-$200k range. My rent has gone from $550/month when I moved here in 2010 to $700/month now, and I suspect that will rise in 2013 to $800/month. So while Pittsburgh is still "cheap" by national standards it's no longer "dirt cheap".

P.S. Just today we learned that our rowhome is being considered to be featured in the pilot of a new FOX television series. We forwarded our landlady's phone number to the location scouts. Stay tuned! If Hollywood thinks Polish Hill has potential, then certainly you'd be in good company considering our neighborhood, too!
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