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Thoughts on Rhode Island

Thoughts on Rhode Island

Old Feb 9th 2012, 2:39 pm
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Default Thoughts on Rhode Island

Hi everyone,

Must admit to lurking a fair bit over the last month or so - I've read as many old threads as possible as I know you must tire of the same old questions! Been really impressed with the detail in some of the responses here, and would really value your views on the following:

Seems like I'm going to take a secondment with my current company to our US offices in Rhode Island, and the HQ I'll be working out of is in Woonsocket, which I know is not the greatest of locales. :P However, this should give us some good flexibility on where to live as I'm not restricted to Providence - while Providence appears to be a great City, my wife and I would like to experience some NE town life for the 2 years we'll be in the States - I've heard good things of Cumberland - would you recommend, are there other similar towns to look at? What is the going rate of a 2/3 bed in a nice part of town - seems like c. $2,000?

In terms of cost of living, I'm on £70k, and will stay on my London package whilst there, so same salary, same holidays (!), company will cover car and private healthcare. Its just my wife and I and I was wondering whether we can have a good time given this salary without her working, or do you feel this is unreasonable given we'd like to travel around the East Coast as much as possible? Not sure on her ability to work over there, so this may be a deal breaker.

Car allowance works out to $400-$500 a month - will I be able to lease a reasonable 2nd hand SUV on this, or would I need to top up?

Appreciate any honest feedback.
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Old Feb 9th 2012, 4:09 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Rhode Island

Originally Posted by RI Newbie View Post
Not sure on her ability to work over there, so this may be a deal breaker.
Presumably as a secondment you would be entering the US on a L-1 visa, as such your wife would get an L-2, meaning should could apply for work authorisation (using Form I-765) which would take up to 90 days to process after arriving. Worth checking if it would be L-type visa with employer.
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Old Feb 9th 2012, 4:41 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Rhode Island

Woonsocket's pretty awful as you say. If I were in your position, I'd live in Massachusetts so I had better access to Boston. Taxes are presumably higher in MA though.
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Old Feb 9th 2012, 5:56 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Rhode Island

OH is from Rhode Island and she suggests look at Barrington, which she reckons is the nicest area close to Woonsocket.
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Old Feb 9th 2012, 8:13 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Rhode Island

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
Woonsocket's pretty awful as you say. If I were in your position, I'd live in Massachusetts so I had better access to Boston. Taxes are presumably higher in MA though.
Taxes in MA are ridiculous in comparison.....on the other hand, MA isn't shit, so there is that positive

Woonsocket is 10 mins from the MA border though....Bellingham isn't the best town, but it's a good starting point to look outwards from.

Wrentham is a shit hole, but it's the best shopping in the area, the outlet mall is superb.

Norfolk, Holliston, Walpole and area are worth looking into. A bit easterly to that would be North Attleborough, worth a look.

I-495 and then onto Rt 126 down to RI is a quick drive, as long as the Patriots aren't playing as it'll be a bottle neck. The roads are actually pretty decent and unlike chunks of Rt27, you won't end up knocking up the winter drive by about x4.

Don't know what the schools are like, Norfolk and Holliston aren't bad though.
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Old Feb 9th 2012, 9:51 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Rhode Island

Thanks for the comments thus far.

I'm under the impression i'll be on an L1, but at this stage HR stlll can't give me a definite answer re: wife's eligibility, at the same token I know times are tough over there and don't want her to be pressured to find work quickly - hence my question re: standard of living on my salary alone.

Will have a look into those other spots mentioned, cheers. Never really thought of staying in MA, food for thought.
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Old Feb 9th 2012, 10:35 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Rhode Island

Well what you'll be on is comparable to what I'm on in NYC and we're doing fine. We could live on my salary alone, so we can bank what OH brings home. That amount would go quite a lot further in RI, so unless you have very extravagant tastes, and it's just the two of you, you should be pretty comfortable.
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Old Feb 10th 2012, 1:24 am
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Default Re: Thoughts on Rhode Island

Originally Posted by RI Newbie View Post
Thanks for the comments thus far.

I'm under the impression i'll be on an L1, but at this stage HR stlll can't give me a definite answer re: wife's eligibility, at the same token I know times are tough over there and don't want her to be pressured to find work quickly - hence my question re: standard of living on my salary alone.

Will have a look into those other spots mentioned, cheers. Never really thought of staying in MA, food for thought.
If it's a company transfer, it'll be a L1 and the missus would need to get a EAD to be able to work. If it's a H1B, you won't be moving over till Oct and the missus won't be working.

As for the budget, $2K, it wouldn't get you shit in Boston, but in southern MA, in that area, you should be able to find decent 2-4 bed condos/apartments and in some towns actual homes.

You'll probably get better bang for housing in RI, but it's RI...I don't know how well the schools rate, but generally, in MA, they've very good. Pre-school is stupidly expensive here though, even out in the burbs.

Things to look into and ask about the rentals, especially if you're checking out via a realtor or even on craigslist to get ideas -

Snow removal - Included or not? If so, how often and when? If not, how much do you have to do, such as pavements in front or not?

Gardening - Grass cutting included or not? Leaf removal? It's a ballache, trust me.

Rubbish collection - Included? Do you need to get a town sticker and use the dump? Do they use town bags?

Cable? Comcast or FIOS? - FIOS is generally a better deal, but if you don't even get either of those, it'll be expensive and it will be shit.

Heating - If it's oil, run because it'll be crap your pants expensive. If it's gas, it'll be relatively cheap and electric will be in the middle.

Washer/Dryer - Included? Ground floor/basement? Or are they hook ups? If they're hook ups, make sure it isn't gas as gas appliances are much more expensive to buy and harder to shift if you move. Anything in the basement sucks arse, especially in the winter....doubly so if it's metered machines or shared facilities.

Parking - How many spots do you get? Is if off street? That'll save you insurance money, more so if it is covered parking, which is also a bonus from the heat/snow depending on the season. Guest parking? Will they have to park on the streets? What's the winter parking rules? Zoned parking on particular sides? No street parking? Do you need a town sticker or not etc.
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Old Feb 10th 2012, 7:55 am
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Default Re: Thoughts on Rhode Island

Originally Posted by rpjs View Post
That amount would go quite a lot further in RI, so unless you have very extravagant tastes, and it's just the two of you, you should be pretty comfortable.
The extent of my extravagance is drinking Becks rather than Carling, so hopefully we should be ok - thanks for the input.
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Old Feb 10th 2012, 7:59 am
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Default Re: Thoughts on Rhode Island

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Things to look into and ask about the rentals, especially if you're checking out via a realtor or even on craigslist to get ideas -

alot of detail edited
Just when I think I've done my research... thanks for all this detail Bob, more things to consider.

Is Craigslist reliable - I assume it varies - or is it worth paying the premium and going through a realtor [email protected]
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Old Feb 10th 2012, 1:26 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Rhode Island

Originally Posted by RI Newbie View Post
Just when I think I've done my research... thanks for all this detail Bob, more things to consider.

Is Craigslist reliable - I assume it varies - or is it worth paying the premium and going through a realtor [email protected]
Realtors are hit or miss...tbh, most of them are shit when it comes to rentals in the burbs, they're better in downtown Boston as it's quite a money earner as they can get anything up to 3 months rent as a fee as there's much more competition.

Out in the burbs, the fee is usually between half a month to a months rent in a fee, so as you can tell, they usually don't put the effort in and are crap.

If you do speak to one, which would probably be helpful to get info about schools and school catchments, just make sure that by speaking to them you aren't agreeing to a contract with them, or even if you do decide to sign a contract with one, that you aren't liable to pay them a fee if you find a place on your own or via another realtor.

Craigslist is pretty good. We've found most of our places via it and only a realtor for the last place. The thing with craigslist, got to be careful of the scams and also a lot of time wasters who don't get back to you. Also the same about realtors who advertise on it and who also don't get back to you. Email can be very slow going and if by phone, it isn't a US number then don't expect to hear anything.

The only problem I had with craigslist, there's a Boston section, metro west section and worcester section, which tend to list places all over those areas and people don't always post in the correct section, a lot post in Boston, because it gets far more eyeball traffic than the other sections, so it means you've got to look over more than just one region to be sure you're seeing everything on the market.

Houses, if you see them, you've got to be aggressively quick about them or they will go quickly. Apartments also, but condo's tend not to be so much from experience.

Your biggest problem will be no credit history, so you'll have to explain that and perhaps offer to put down a larger deposit. In this area, it's usually first/last months rent up front and usually one months deposit on top, going up to 3 months in Boston. Private rentals tend to be more flexible than the condos, so do speak to them about it.

Application fee, often the landlord will want to run a credit check on everyone over 18, but there's no point, so see if they will just do it against one of you. It'll cost anything from $20-50 per person. If you have had one done within 5 business days, they have to accept that credit check though and when you get one done the landlord has to provide you with the check if you ask for it, so do ask and use it. Also, ask how many applications the landlord has received and how many checks he is doing or when they will be done, as there's no point if the place already has 20 applications, it then just becomes a money scam for them to pocket the money as they won't bother doing the checks after the first few.
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Old Feb 10th 2012, 6:47 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Rhode Island

I wouldn't waste time with realtors; they're a waste of time for rental. I never even used my brokers fee allowance.

Best approach is to use Craiglist and other local forums or listservs and strike a private deal. To be successful I'd recommend having (a) copies of pasports (b) letter from US employer confirming salary (c) minimum 2 months rent in cash available and (d) knowledge of typical clauses in a US rental agreement and (e) a decisive mindset

If you're letting property back home whilst in the US, I'd probably recommend that you structure notice periods so they are back-to-back i.e. so that you're hedged for at least the firm minimum of your US tour
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