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Old 10-04-2019, 09:09 PM
Location: Santa Clarita, California
28 posts, read 12,245 times
Reputation: 28


Hi everyone! Just kind of looking for general advice and opinions. We are a family of four living in LA county. We've lived here most of our lives. I'm in healthcare (ultrasound) and my husband does IT. We have a combined income of over $200,000 but we are still struggling with a high mortgage, daycare, car payments ECT. We are considering moving our family to an area that has a lower cost of living, specifically Raleigh, NC. I feel like I have a really good job but somehow it doesn't pay the bills. They have affordable housing, lots of jobs and a two-hour trip to the beach. But it would mean taking a definite pay cut, leaving family behind and having to rent out our house (which seems very stressful to me). Has anyone had any experience picking up and leaving CA for a lower cost of living? There's plenty of reasons to move and plenty of reasons not to move.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:15 PM
Location: Santa Clarita, California
28 posts, read 12,245 times
Reputation: 28
And also, has anyone had any experience renting their house out to make a big move? Thanks!
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:47 PM
8,003 posts, read 4,267,830 times
Reputation: 17182
We rented our house out for 2 years when we first retired. We owned the house outright; otherwise it would not have been financially feasible. We had a management, company handle everything which worked OK. The did tell us, however, not to rent it out if we planned on moving back in.
After 2 years they notified us that they could not guarantee that they could secure a satisfactory renter, so we put it on the market. After renting, the house was dirty and smelled bad, but nothing was broken. They didn't water the yard enough so it was in rough shape. The management company recommended some professional cleaners who did a fantastic job of cleaning the house from top to bottom before we listed it.
I wouldn't do it again, and definitely not if I still had a mortgage on the house that would require the rent to pay. Renters leave, and you can't rent the house again until you get it back in shape.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:49 PM
Location: Santa Clarita, California
28 posts, read 12,245 times
Reputation: 28
Thank you Harpaint. It is definitely a huge risk
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:57 PM
Location: San Diego
1,140 posts, read 788,540 times
Reputation: 1418
First, check out jobs and see how beneficial it will be to move. I think you will take a pretty big pay cut so you might be right back where you started.
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:17 PM
405 posts, read 572,874 times
Reputation: 760
You'll have a definite pay-cut just about anywhere when moving out of California, however what you need to look at is the cost of living difference. State tax, income tax, gas tax, property tax, the differences in cost of utilities- water, sewer, garbage, gas, electrical. Vehicle registration, smog testing, how far you have to drive to get to work, the list just goes on and on.

We did a cost-of-living analysis comparing California to Montana, and while our pay would be quite a bit less in Montana the differences in cost of living just about made up for that difference in pay.

Then you have to ask yourself how much is it worth for you to live in a less smoggy, less crowded, less homeless filled area? That's worth a lot to me.

Regarding being long distance landlords, personally, we are going to sell our house once we move out of state. We want the money to be able to put a large down payment on a house, thus lowering our mortgage, and perhaps most importantly for us, we don't want to deal with the headaches of being landlords. People suck.All the credit checks and references in the world don't mean anything when somebody decides to destroy your house for whatever reason. Plus we want that money to put to good use with investments and home upgrades.
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:12 AM
Location: Majestic Wyoming
978 posts, read 463,342 times
Reputation: 2738
We left California and moved to Wyoming almost three years ago. Hubby secured a job in Wyoming that actually paid more than he was making in California. The cost of living is lower in Wyoming, so it really was a win-win situation. We moved here without knowing a single person, and we left all of our family behind. We have zero regrets. We live where we live, we have made great friends, hubby loves his new job and continues to get raises yearly, and we have no state income tax here so we get to keep so much more of our money. I can't say we miss much about California except for our family.

How we did the move was hubby went up to Wyoming without us and rented for a month or two while I stayed back in California with our kids and put our home up for sale, and sold it within a month. Then once we got a solid offer hubby started searching for housing for us in Wyoming and he put an offer in on a house up here that was contingent upon our selling our California home. Everything worked out perfectly, we closed on selling our home in October, and we closed on buying our Wyoming home in early November. The kids and I moved to Wyoming the weekend after Thanksgiving.

We did not want to hassle with renting out our California house when we were going to live over 1,000 miles away. You can't check on the renters to make sure they are not trashing the place, or if there's issues you're so far away I think it's harder to handle things. It was just easier to sell the house.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:23 AM
Location: Silicon Valley
18,596 posts, read 24,269,411 times
Reputation: 36933
I would not advise hiring a management company to deal with renting out your house in CA unless you're willing to lose money on it. That can work for some people, if you need a tax cut, etc. But, management companies only make money when there are problems - they never only cost the 10% of the rent they say their fees will cost. Look long and hard at their contracts. I was a property manager, so I'm speaking from knowledge. Never believe anyone when they say anything is just standard, or not to worry about fees listed for worst case scenarios, etc. Expect that you will be charged the worst case scenario under the contract and if you're still okay with it, then fine.

Also, be sure they can't just charge anything against your account if it's under a certain amount like $250. What happened to my daughter is they kept having lots and lots of reasons to charge her $249 until her reserve account was depleted in around 2 months - for insane reasons.

And this is not uncommon.

You'd be better off to just sell it - unless you need the tax write-offs and they were worth it.
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Old 10-05-2019, 02:40 AM
Location: Santa Maria, CA
765 posts, read 1,435,930 times
Reputation: 651
You'll do better overall in just about any other area of the country but NYC even with the pay cuts. If you like Raleigh, NC then go there -- you'll do fine. Sell the house ASAP. Don't get into the remote renting game. Rent a house in Raleigh for the first year rather than purchasing if you can. The only downside I see for you is the moving away from family. You're going to be leaving most of your support system behind.

The only other thing that I'd warn against is if you're a typical California liberal -- don't expect everybody in Raleigh to embrace your views because it's not a one-party state like here. You're escaping the oppression of this state so don't be complaining about stuff you miss in LA since it won't go over well at all there. Embrace the great things you'll find there instead.
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Old 10-05-2019, 06:11 AM
3,188 posts, read 1,919,325 times
Reputation: 3886
If you can get out of debt you’d be surprised at how much money you have even in expensive California. And if you think you don’t have enough money to start paying down debt, start looking at what you spend during a month. I had a friend that was spending $100 a month at Starbucks.

I’ve lived a few places around the country. If you move, don’t start telling people how much better things are in California. For example, don’t tell the natives that Mexican food is so much better in California. I’ve seen people do things like that and it’s the fastest way to get them to hate you.

Good luck!
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