Moving to Raleigh – Are We Really Talking About This?

Chatter of a Raleigh move has actually been going on in our house for months. In fact, it’s been a topic that has been floating around for so long that I don’t even remember when it was first mentioned. I do remember, though, that it didn’t begin with, “Here’s an idea, let’s move to Raleigh!” Jason and I have always thought it might be exciting to live somewhere else for at least a few years. These discussions were mostly collective daydreaming – oh, wouldn’t it be cool to live in Europe for a few years and really experience another way of life? But then, talk began to happen that the company Jason consults for is trying to move some of its operations and employees down to Raleigh, NC to save money. An important person at the company who Jason works with took the plunge and moved his family down to Raleigh, and reported back that the area was great and that things were really cheap. “Hmm,” we thought. “Would we ever want to move to Raleigh?” The seed was planted at that point, but nothing more. 

I was especially skeptical about this possibility, but not for the reasons one might suspect. At the beginning of my third year of law school, I had determined that I would be moving back home to take the Florida Bar Exam after graduation. I had had enough of New York and was ready to get back to my family and friends. Well, you know what they say, “Man plans and God laughs.” Right before my last semester in law school, Jason and I started dating, and I think you can gather that any plans for leaving New York were instantly busted.

As I think you can also gather, I have been planning my escape from New York (if you have never seen “Escape from New York” with Kurt Russell, please do so ASAP) for quite some time. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great things about New York, but there are also a lot of things that I really do not enjoy and that grate on me more and more the longer I live here. A few years ago, Jason had another job opportunity crop up that would take us to Tampa, which is where I went to college and only an hour away from my parents. Jason had a pretty solid shot at getting the job and I was ecstatic. My mind went wild with all the possibilities – where we would live, where I could work, being close to my college friends again. Unfortunately, the opportunity did not come to fruition and I was pretty crushed.  And to be honest, I recognize that this was my own fault. I got so overly excited and jumped to the conclusion that everything was a done deal and I was finally escaping! To top it all off, I think we found out in the dead of winter that Jason didn’t get the job, so when I was expecting a move back to sunny Florida, all I could say to myself was, “@*#!, I still have to deal with this crap.”

Needless to say, when the potential for a move out of New York arose a second time, I was extremely cautious and guarded my thoughts carefully. This was pretty difficult, though. Below is an accurate account of a conversation Jason and I had:

Jason:  So, what do you think about Raleigh?
Joey Brain:  Raleigh?! Are you kidding?! YES, YES, YES, let’s get the heck out of here! Woooo!
Joey:  *calm, collected* Eh, I’m not sure. We’ll have to talk about it and see if it’s the right move for us.

But in all seriousness, it was good that I took a more guarded approach this time because, for one thing, the process has been very long. Even trying to take this calmer, more stand-offish approach, there were times when I felt like pulling my hair out because I just wanted to know what was going to happen. If I had been gung-ho from day one, I definitely would have lost my mind.

Things eventually did get more concrete. Whispers about moving to Raleigh became full blown discussions, both at Jason’s work and in our home. Numbers were tossed around about what kind of salary it would take for us to say “yes” to the move, considering I would likely not be working immediately. Jason, God bless him, starting making spreadsheets. (You will come to know that he loves spreadsheets.) And finally, Jason’s boss approached him with, “Hey, maybe you should go down to the area and check it out. See if it suits you and your wife.” With that, we bought some plane tickets and knew things were about to start getting real.  


3 Replies to “Moving to Raleigh – Are We Really Talking About This?”

  1. Appreciated this post – we’ve been trying to decide our next move, and have even considered the Durham-Raleigh area, but the academic job cycle keeps us in L.A. for now. Did you guys create a pro/con list with various cities? I’m applying all over the world, but it’s hard to tell where we’ll land because of my field.

    Please keep us updated on how you guys are enjoying the area because we’re very curious about it, and I trust your take 😉

    1. Hey! That is exciting that you guys are considering a move and looking into the Raleigh-Durham area as a possibility! We would love to have you here and I will keep you posted on how we are enjoying it. So far I have loved it and am now digging into writing so I can put up some posts about it soon.

      Also, while we always thought moving to another city for a few years might be fun, it wasn’t something we were actively pursuing until the Raleigh option came about, so I can’t say we made a pro/con list with various other cities. However, we definitely talked about the pros and cons of moving to Raleigh. One thing we did put pen to paper on, though, was comparing the cost of living in both places. We heard over and over again from many people that, “It’s so cheap down there!” Jason made some spreadsheets to crunch the numbers and see if this was actually true. In talking to people and checking out prices, we found that quite a lot of things were about the same – gas, food, clothes, general necessities like things you’d pick up at Target. But the areas we found that you could save money, you were saving a LOT of money. Rent was significantly cheaper. Car insurance was so cheap it was laughable compared to New York, not to mention no tolls (I was paying $25/day in tolls to get to work). Looking to the future, housing prices were half of what you’d pay in New York and property taxes are about 1/6. This definitely weighed heavy on the pro side for the move.

      1. Girl, YES! We looked at home costs in Los Angeles and the Greater Los Angeles area. On average, new home buyers can expect to fork over 1.1 million for a 2/1 that needs at least (about) $150k in renovations. Which means it takes most of our friends 10 or more years to buy their first home. In order to meet our life goals, we’ve decided L.A./NYC/SFO are simply unsustainable. Great to build a career in larger cities, but many quality of life draw backs. We will definitely keep you guys updated on what unfolds, and we’ll be following in the meantime 🙂

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