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Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

Old Oct 14th 2011, 3:32 pm
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Default Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

I am in the process of moving from the UK (I was born in the UK) to the US as I have been offered a job recently. I can be based anywhere in the US and whilst my extended family and network of friends are based mostly in California, there is a pull towards that part of the US. However since cost and standard of living is important, this doesn't necessarily make CA a no-brainer.

I have a 5 year old and a 16 month old so my key factors for location selection are:

(1) Quality of schools (definitely elementary and high school)
(2) Cost of living
(3) Standard of living
(4) Scale of facilities (i.e. the preference is definitely near cities rather than the middle of nowhere...a trade off with (2) and (3) above)
(5) Family and friends

This is not necessarily the order of priority except for standard of schooling which is definitely #1.

I am doing my research at the moment but can anyone recommend:

(a) Locations that they may know could fit this criteria and why
(b) Good sources of information about US schools (i.e. the equivalent of UK OFSTED reports, articles etc).

Thank you in advance for your input.
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 3:45 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

Everyone is probably wondering what sort of job it is.
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

I am internally transferring from my IT consulting role in the UK to the same role in the US within the same company. It is a US company by origin.
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 3:50 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

I think you'll have to narrow down your area first before anyone can help you much and define what you can afford rent wise etc.
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 3:58 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

Originally Posted by nethead View Post
I think you'll have to narrow down your area first before anyone can help you much and define what you can afford rent wise etc.
Yes it's a huge question.

Some info on California budget cuts which affect schools/standard of living:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/0..._n_915371.html
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

Understood Nethead...

Well my relatives and in-laws are based in Irvine, CA which I have visited a few times and it is a lovely place and certainly ticks all the boxes. However I have not done the maths fully but I hear around there you could be paying up to $2500+ / month in rent or mortgage.

Whereas a lot of people have recommended Austin, TX for schools, facilities and you get better "value for money" in terms of housing costs. I cannot verify this because I have never been to Austin. I have been to Houston where I have family but I hated the place.

I also have family in Long Island, NY and whilst some of the top schools are there, it is also relatively expensive in Long Island (I know the other boroughs are comparatively cheaper). I am not keen on NY though for a number of factors. I have been there many times.

So as you can see my knowledge is superficial because I have only been there on vacations and I have worked on IT projects for a couple of weeks at a time. This is a totally different proposition to factors determinign where you should live (as I am constantly told).

I am open to people's insights merely to start to consider other locations as well. I don't want to just make a decision based on what little I know.
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 4:09 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

Thanks Sally.

This article together with the relative daily cost of living makes me think what real financial benefits I will realise if I set up in CA - despite a lot of relatives being in and around LA / Irvine / San Jose.

I appreciate I am asking a very broad question...but the key prioirity is the quality of schooling. I send my 5 year old to a very good private school in the UK (with that comes a very high set of term fees) so if I cannot get that level of schooling in a state / grammer school in CA (to cover for accommodation costs), then I have to look at private schools in more affordable real estate areas.
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

What's your budget? $3K/m won't get you much in Manhattan, but $1K would get you the world in Maine for instance.

What's your tolerance for a commute? 10 mins, 2 hours, something on public transport?

What kind of housing are you looking for? House, apartment, something with a garden and a pool?

city-data.com is a good starting point as are the various school review sites, there's a good list in the wiki to look over, including cost of living calculators and sites like glassdoor and salary.com would help out too.

What might make the biggest difference is the medical insurance, how much is covered and costs.

Boston and the burbs might hit your tick boxes, all depends on the answers to the above though. The schools in general are often very good and there's decent public transport in Boston, but it's expensive, though moving a few miles out to the burbs becomes cheaper and better value, but the public transport quickly gets shit.

Also the summers can be humid and the winters long and the piles of snow can be a bit of a chore, especially if you get a house that doesn't include snow ploughing and even worse, you live in a town that doesn't have town rubbish pick up and the rent doesn't include private pick up...going to the dump is a chore in the winter.
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 4:17 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

Thanks Bob,

I will certainly look through your listed sources.

To answer your questions, my monthly accommodation budget is around $2.5k / month.

I will not have an office as such to commute to so commuting costs and timings are irrelevant because my remit will be flying to US customer client sites to deliver IT projects.

I want to start with a 2-3 bedroom apartment and then eventually get to a 4 bedroom house (which is what I have in the UK at present).
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 4:33 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

Originally Posted by SamiZ View Post
Thanks Bob,

I will certainly look through your listed sources.

To answer your questions, my monthly accommodation budget is around $2.5k / month.

I will not have an office as such to commute to so commuting costs and timings are irrelevant because my remit will be flying to US customer client sites to deliver IT projects.

I want to start with a 2-3 bedroom apartment and then eventually get to a 4 bedroom house (which is what I have in the UK at present).
So you'll want to be based near a reasonably large airport with straightforward connections to many regions of the country. Are there any particular client sites which tend to pop up as travel destinations more often than others?

Also, bear in mind that if you base yourself in certain northern areas of the country (such as Chicago) there will be times in the winter where it's an absolute nightmare to try to fly out of/into them. Ditto using them as a connection.
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 4:50 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

The client sites that I travel to could be anywhere in the US so this is not known and I can't plan around that. I don't mind being up to an hour away from an airport but anymore than that could get tedious.
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

Originally Posted by SamiZ View Post
Thanks Sally.

This article together with the relative daily cost of living makes me think what real financial benefits I will realise if I set up in CA - despite a lot of relatives being in and around LA / Irvine / San Jose.

I appreciate I am asking a very broad question...but the key prioirity is the quality of schooling. I send my 5 year old to a very good private school in the UK (with that comes a very high set of term fees) so if I cannot get that level of schooling in a state / grammer school in CA (to cover for accommodation costs), then I have to look at private schools in more affordable real estate areas.
Tricky.

It's expensive here, and the economy is really bad, but relatives could count for a lot when you're starting afresh. Unfortunately I'm not familiar with Irvine although I think it came up in another thread recently, might be worth using the search feature?
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 5:26 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

Originally Posted by SamiZ View Post

To answer your questions, my monthly accommodation budget is around $2.5k / month.

I will not have an office as such to commute to so commuting costs and timings are irrelevant because my remit will be flying to US customer client sites to deliver IT projects.

I want to start with a 2-3 bedroom apartment and then eventually get to a 4 bedroom house (which is what I have in the UK at present).
That $2.5K going to include utilities or those on top?

Somewhere like Austin, the AC bill will be pretty huge in the summer, especially for a house, whilst the heating cost in winter in somewhere like Maine would be huge, especially on oil heat, compared to something newer with gas heat.

You'll want to be near a decent area, so cost of flights and parking might make a difference.

Boston, well you'd have Logan airport on your doorstep, but then parking can be $50 a day...an alternative might be Rhode Island as a flying hub, much cheaper and still a close shot away from Boston.

You could easily find a 4 bed sized house in Worcester on your budget but you wouldn't stand a chance in Boston. Worcester is shit btw, for the most part.
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

Originally Posted by SamiZ View Post
Thanks Bob,

I will certainly look through your listed sources.

To answer your questions, my monthly accommodation budget is around $2.5k / month.

I will not have an office as such to commute to so commuting costs and timings are irrelevant because my remit will be flying to US customer client sites to deliver IT projects.

I want to start with a 2-3 bedroom apartment and then eventually get to a 4 bedroom house (which is what I have in the UK at present).
There are loads of rental properties in Irvine within $2,500, a quick search on Craigslist came up with loads of options, there seems to be lots of townhouses, and community houses like this below.

http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/apa/2642481317.html
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Old Oct 14th 2011, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: Moving to the US...need to determine best location!

If you're flying a lot you might want to go for central, because coast to coast is a long flight, e.g. from LA it's six or seven hours to NY, five to Florida. Also this list of hub airports might be useful, because if you live near a smaller one and have to change all the time, that adds on hours:

http://www.airportcodes.us/large-hubs.htm

If it were me I'd start somewhere relatively near family. There's a lot new when you first move here and you'd probably appreciate having people you know and trust around. You could always move in a few years if you didn't like it.
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