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Thread summary:

Moving to Georgia: job market, bankruptcy filing, driving school, rental, traffic.

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Old 07-17-2007, 05:28 PM
 
32 posts, read 111,962 times
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Hi! I've spent days reading this forum, and I'm thrilled at how helpful people are! I've been researching a move to Roanoke, Va, but Georgia is on my list of states to learn more about before we move. We've visited before, and loved it! I hope the following information is helpful. Some is rather personal, but I want to be sure to include all pertinent information so hopefully someone can help me.

I'm currently living in Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, with my husband and 2 boys aged 8 and 12. I was laid off in April 2005. The job market up here is so fierce I've been unable to find any work except minimum wage. We were forced to file bankruptcy, so our credit is shot. My husband has worked for the same company for 17 years, but it has already been heavily implied that my husband will be receiving his pink slip soon. My husband begins CDL truck driving school on July 30th. He chose the profession because it will give us the freedom to move just about anywhere in the country and still retain his job. We simply can not afford to stay here. In essence, we're being forced to start over.

We're currently living in a tiny row home in the middle of a row home development with a postage stamp sized front yard 10 minutes away from a filthy city. Traffic is horrid and it literally takes 20 minutes to drive 2 miles. My gas has been siphoned out of my van more than once. I can't sit outside on my porch because of the noise and smell of dog feces from my next door neighbors. The list goes on and on. I'm claustrophobic, I can't breath, and I want OUT!

We love the outdoors, mountains, woods, lakes, fishing, hiking, etc, and would love to live within an easy commuting distance to mountains. We're looking to rent a clean 2-3 bedroom SFH, with grass all the way around it. I'm not picky. We have 2 small dogs (pugs) and 2 cats, and we need a landlord that will allow us to keep them! Due to our bankruptcy, we're willing to pay 6 months rent up front if need be. We're good quiet respectful people. I'd like my kids to have friends nearby. We won't be able to afford more than $800.00 a month in rent. As my husband will be gone for a week at a time, I'm looking for a decently populated area that has a low crime rate. I don't mind driving to a grocery store, department store, or restaurants. I DO mind being in an area so rural we could be alone for days before seeing another person. We're just looking for a nice semi-suburban neighborhood to rebuild our lives and let my children have the childhood they deserve. Any specific area's or towns and where I could find available rental property listings would be appreciated!

I'm in a position to wait until the boys are acclimated to the area before finding a job, but I will need one eventually. I'd prefer not to have to drive an hour to get there, lol. With my husband gone so much, I will need a job with hours during daycare availability. I've been an Inventory Control Manager for a warehouse, customer service, waitress, etc... I've got excellent references, motivated, willing to learn anything, and I'm not afraid of hard work.

My boys are entering 3rd and 6th grade. My youngest has ADHD. I'll need to know my kids are in a decent school, and are willing to work with parents. Also, my oldest son may not need daycare, but my youngest child most assuredly will. I was paying $195 a week for before / after school 2 years ago. I'm hoping it's less down there!

Due to my mother's southern upbringing, it takes me about three minutes to pick up a southern drawl. I joke around all the time and tell her I'm a misplaced Ozark baby, LOL. Every time my husband and I visit the south, we feel such peace and wonder at how beautiful it is, and how different it is from the North.We've been wanting to move south for years, and there's never been a better time that screams DO IT NOW! We're ready to embrace the southern way of life. I'm desperate for my children to spend the rest of their childhood in an area that embraces the true values I hold dear, and not the ghetto mentality that is so predominant where we live now.

Any and all suggestions and comments are appreciated. Thanks so much in advance!
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Old 07-17-2007, 06:10 PM
 
32 posts, read 111,962 times
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I forgot to mention that I'm planning to take my children on a three week tour of the South in August. The reason I'm looking for specific towns is so I can plan our itinerary. I want my kids to be with me and collectively fall in love with a place we'll be happy to call home!
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:24 PM
 
Location: BristolTN
2 posts, read 21,666 times
Reputation: 10
Hi Sarah,
I took a leap to move to Savannah, GA from PA. Jobs are hard to get here too. There is a high homeless rate here. Lots of homes are in decay. The rent is high...3 bedrooms (that's an all on a first floor unit) $1200 A MONTH + Utilities. Unless you have lots of $$$, it's not a great choice for those that are low income. There are lots of them here already, always walking the streets asking for money. I have been here 2 weeks + close to being attacked for saying that I had no money for the person. She didn't believe me and wanted to take my purse to see. I wouldn't raise more children here. There seems to be 3-4 dozen police cars always driving around. I am not sure this make me feel safe. Why are there so many? Savannah is also a 'college town'. I am here for a short term course at the Tech School.
I spent a month in Roanoke,VA(before this place I am in came available to me). It was much better than here. Homeless rate is high there too. They are mostly OK, there. None would ask you for money and do what the Savannah kids do. Keep looking,ask lots of Q?'s. YES, all areas are looking for new people to revitalize their community, so they will make it seem great. Get to the source. Everybody needs somebody for something.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Fayetteville, GA.
218 posts, read 1,100,634 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BristolTN View Post
Hi Sarah,
I took a leap to move to Savannah, GA from PA. Jobs are hard to get here too. There is a high homeless rate here. Lots of homes are in decay. The rent is high...3 bedrooms (that's an all on a first floor unit) $1200 A MONTH + Utilities. Unless you have lots of $$$, it's not a great choice for those that are low income. There are lots of them here already, always walking the streets asking for money. I have been here 2 weeks + close to being attacked for saying that I had no money for the person. She didn't believe me and wanted to take my purse to see. I wouldn't raise more children here. There seems to be 3-4 dozen police cars always driving around. I am not sure this make me feel safe. Why are there so many? Savannah is also a 'college town'. I am here for a short term course at the Tech School.
I spent a month in Roanoke,VA(before this place I am in came available to me). It was much better than here. Homeless rate is high there too. They are mostly OK, there. None would ask you for money and do what the Savannah kids do. Keep looking,ask lots of Q?'s. YES, all areas are looking for new people to revitalize their community, so they will make it seem great. Get to the source. Everybody needs somebody for something.
I hate to jump on the soap box, but, there are MANY places in Atlanta that are similar; the sad thing is, for the rent that you want to pay $800 for a two or three bedroom, you will find the area not so great. Honestly, for what you are desiring, you will have to sacrifice many things just to stay in your price range, ESPECIALLY if you do not have a job. Most people coming here usually already have a job in place and are transplanting. As for finding a job, you are pretty much in the same band wagon here as you would be elsewhere. I would STRONGLY recommend finding employment before coming down here or anywhere else for that matter because you will be in the same boat you are in PA. All the things you are asking for in your price range are near to impossible to find here.
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:56 AM
 
22 posts, read 81,198 times
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Hi Sarah,

I agree that you might have to lower some of your expectations. However, that said, think of staying AWAY from Atlanta or any of the BIG cities because of traffic and crime. My suggestion for you is to find a small city that has a lot of smaller towns near by. That way you could live in a smaller town, have a great environment for the kids and then you could commute for a job. The chances of finding a job are (obviously) greater in the smaller CITIES than in the small TOWNS, though it's not impossible to find jobs in small towns. Expect the pay to possibly be lower than you're used to, though a lot of costs can be lower.

In Mid-Georgia Piedmont areas a lot of the towns are pretty small and GREEN. Often the towns are surrounded by rural areas with small farms. So, it's often a matter of driving a block or two outside of the town limits to be in the REAL country. There is a website to check out Georgia schools, though I don't know what the address is, but it's an official website.
We live in the Piedmont area and I actually have to REMIND myself to lock the doors, though there is some crime in our area. If we hear a police car we stop everything and wonder, "what's up?" This was a big change from where we lived in the West where we had police sirens, ambulances, police helicopters and air evac helicopters 24/7 (and I'm not kidding).

As for crime, the main part of City-data is really good for looking at crime rates. However, remember that in really small areas even one murder can really raise the crime rate. Also, in terms of crime, if you're considering a particular town, it might be good to look at the local newspaper on line, to get the background on crime. One other thing about crime rates, the police in some of the smaller towns really go after crime, so their crime rates can appear higher than larger cities where there is SO much crime that only major crime is followed up and reported. Example, a few years ago we had an unauthorized charge on a credit card, I reported it to OUR police, even though the attempted theft was in L.A. Our local police then started an investigation, contacting the L.A. police (who were probably amused). Even though the potential thieves were not in our town, WE live in the town and the attempted theft was reported in OUR town's crime stats. See what I mean? Where we lived in a large Western city the police didn't even respond for burgulary (unless the burgular was in the house).
As for house rents, some of the smaller Piedmont towns have house rental such as 2BR/1BA for around $350, whereas a 4 BR/2BA might be as high as $1100. You mentioned CLEAN house. In areas where rentals go fast, it's not uncommon to find the rental NOT clean, so be prepared. Another thing to consider is that if you do decide to buy I've seen in smaller towns where private arrangements can often just be made with the owner. I mention this because of the credit problems you talked about. What I mean is that it's often possible to buy houses without any of the normal credit checks. Since all house sales in Georgia go through attorneys (by law), there is nothing unusual about these sales. Often such sales are made by people who have purchased spare houses to fix up (like historic homes) for sale or have family homes they want to sell. Almost everyone around us has a spare houses, such as their grandparents or parents home or even an aunt or uncle's home
So, if you are thinking of eventually buying a house, this might be something to consider.

The piedmont area is GREEN, with small farms that have cattle, buffalo, goats, even llamas and ostriches, so even driving around just outside town can be fun.

In small towns the people CAN be incredibly friendly. When we first moved to Georgia and were driving slowly down a street (looking at houses) a police car pulled up along side us and I wondered WHAT had we done. The officer just stopped to see if we needed any help because we had an out of state plate. This happened to us a number of times with just regular town folks as well.

If you're looking for some acerage such as a house on a small farm you can put an ad for free in the "Farmland Rent/Lease section of the (Georgia) Farmers & Consumers Market Bulletin. Subscriptions are free as well. You can reach them at 1-800-282-5852. If you move to Georgia it's great to get a subscription because they list a lot of orchards where you can get fruit and also different Farmer's markets in the little towns.

Also the City-data info on home starts is good. A lot of home starts means a LOT of influx and if you want a stable environment for kids, a lot of influx isn't the best.

Good luck. My suggestion is just find some small cities and draw circles around them and look for the small towns that surround them, then investigage those. If you get a chance to visit an area, drive slowly through the residential areas and see if people wave or stare at you...yep, a lot of folks still wave.
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Old 07-18-2007, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Atlanta/DC
563 posts, read 2,587,661 times
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I'm thinking...Carrroll County (Carrollton, Villa Rica) area?

There are a number of truck depots on the western edge of the Atlanta metro...a lot of truck drivers live in the western suburbs or even further out b/c it's relatively close to where they drop the truck off. Carroll County isn't too far from that area.

as far as housing...look on craigslist. You may not find a lot, but it's a start. Check out Carroll County's newspaper as well: Times-Georgian Online

I think you may find what you are looking for out there. Good luck!
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Old 07-19-2007, 06:25 AM
 
32 posts, read 111,962 times
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Thank you all so much for the suggestions and cautions. Within a year my husbands income will rise rather dramatically. The two main reasons we're looking for inexpensive rent, and I'm looking for a job, is to save as much as we can towards the purchase of a home in a year or two. It doesn't have to be much more than minimum wage. I'm not afraid to get dirty, or work hard, and will hire myself to do anything, as long as it's legal!

I am looking for a small town, and some of the ones you listed are well worth checking out. I am avoiding living in larger metro areas for the reasons you've all listed above! I do understand how some crime rates are more inflated than others from due diligence by the police. Crime is impossible to avoid! However, there's petty crime, and then there's violent and threatening crime. I'd prefer to avoid the latter...

I guess I should have clarified the 'clean' rental. By that I'm referring more to structurally sound, and not dilapidated and pest infested. We've scrubbed every place we've ever lived from top to bottom with disinfectant and such when we first moved in, and that'll never change, lol.

With my husbands career mobility we have the choice of living just about anywhere we chose. While it's great having that freedom, it also opens up a huge area to narrow down from, and it's hard! Having people as willing as you all to give suggestions and warnings for what might suit us is invaluable, and I thank you so much for giving me your time! I truly appreciate it!
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:29 AM
 
26 posts, read 99,494 times
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Default family of 4

You might want to consider South Georgia we have several trucking industries. Walmart has a distrubition center in Douglas and Dot Foods has a center in Vidalia. There is lots to do within 2-3 hour drive time such as malls, beaches or mountain.
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:26 AM
 
22 posts, read 81,198 times
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BTW Sarah, a couple of other things I wanted to mention. If you stay AWAY from college towns, then you're likely to find cheaper rentals because in college towns home owners can rent to 3 or 4 students at a time and therefore get more rent. As I'm sure you're aware (but am mentioning it anyway since it might not be on our front burner), it can be good to live in a town NEAR a college town (for the cheap plays, museums, and other amenities and a lot of them have special fun programs for children such as inexpensive trips to study oceans or science summer projects, even fun plays for children), but costs CAN be higher for rentals. Also, if you AVOID any place that is considered metro Atlanta -- and believe me METRO Atlanta runs to places you'd never imagine would be included, then you might find living costs cheaper. I've noticed that a lot of towns that are in "metro" Atlanta have MUCH higher prices for lots of things. Seems almost as if "they" peg prices to Atlanta.

Good luck
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:32 AM
 
Location: New York City
2,814 posts, read 6,189,035 times
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I wonder if Sarah and her family would like to live in Athens or around Athens.
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