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When scouting out an area for potential relocation...


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My dh and I are planning on taking a trip to Oregon to look at several different areas in the state for potential relocation (we are from northern Nevada). We are hoping to take a good two weeks to tour some areas, but the projected cost is....wow. We might need to trim it down to 10 days (the majority of jobs in his field are in the Portland area, a few in Salem, and some in Eugene). With that, can anyone share with me some helpful tips for taking such a trip, (such as how long to stay in each city to get an adequate feel, well, as good as you can get from a single trip, what to do other than drive around and enjoy local eateries, etc.)?

We "toured" the state a few years ago, and are hoping to a more focused trip this time around.

TIA for any help anyone can offer. :-)
D

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We relocated to CO from PA three years ago. We had only vacationed here. When my dh had the opportunity to transfer we did everything online. I just did extensive and intensive research on different areas online and had some serious faith :) I also researched and actually inquired on the boards for an excellent realtor, who could scout around for me and be honest about different locations and houses. I also called and talked to the person in crime statistics at the police station in the different areas I narrowed down to be sure about all the various crime info.

So, I would say one of your top priorities should be finding the best realtor that you trust and are very comfortable with. This made all the difference in the world for us. I know my info was not very helpful in terms of your questions, but I didn't want to spend the money flying out and looking around when I knew we would have all the moving expenses etc.

Good luck!

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We live in a major metro area and people relocate here fairly regularly. I know 3 families who bought houses remotely, moved in and then just realized they were too far out from the city for their own taste. I know someone else who bought a house in the city, and wasn't thrilled with the neighbor hood they chose, but loved some other urban neighborhoods and moved to one a couple years later. If you have the opportunity to rent for a few months in the area first so you can get an actual feel before selecting a neighborhood, I would highly recommend that.

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For a move we ended up not making, I did as the pp did, researched online. I looked at commuting areas and size of homes within reasonable (for us) commutes. I called school districts and asked about programs. Even if you plan to homeschool you might want to do this. The district in the area I thought we would land flat out told me they didn't have anything for my oldest based on what he was studying at the time. They were helpful and gave me the names of a different district and two charter schools.

I thought about the things my kids liked and researched whether various communities could support those things. I researched in state college options. One of my kids will not be self supporting so my research included adult support/job training for person's with disabilities.

If you are in any groups including this one throw out questions about towns to the group. The group could be related yo homeschool, a disability support group, a college alumni group, ect.) just put out feelers in your network.
I had things pretty well narrowed down to towns and neighborhoods before we would have gone on a trip to make final decisions.

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This has less to do about long distance moves and more about scouting areas.

DH and I were scouting properties to buy for investment purposes. When looking at neighborhoods we looked at several things: 1. call local non-emergency # and ask about crime in that area, 2. Drive through at random times: late nights, early am, Sat afternoon, etc. and 3. check out the local stores (big box, strip mall).

#2 can alert you to any issues with regards to a particular property or complex (loud neighbors, party houses, etc.). We avoided several "oopsies" with regards to rentals by doing this.

#3 can give you "the vibe" of the neighbor hood. Local stores are where locals shop. If the local Ross/TJMazz/Target is trashed and worn down, I move on. One area we looked at , stores were trashed. I mean clothes all over, toys torn out of boxes, no one cared and it was obvious. This was in an area that was popular to rent and DH wanted to move to as it was centrally located. We tried it for 1 year, then moved. I couldn't take it. I frequently went out of the area to grocery shop, find activities for the kids, etc.

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I wanted to add, if you are thinking about buying, rent first. My friend did a cross country move two years ago. She did heavy research first and then rented in the neighborhood she found. It turned out well and she bought a house as soon as her lease was up across the street. If it had not worked out she already geographically positioned to find a better place.

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One other thing to consider if you're going to be in metro areas. If you have the time, attempt to make your commute during the hours you'd need to make it. Here, it is common to need to double your mileage (or more) in terms of time during the busiest road hours. That would be like 7-9:30 am and 3:30 - 6 pm or so. So during rush hour a 15 mile drive would easily take 30 minutes and possibly more depending on where you're going. I think so many people think, oh 20 miles from the office is such a breeze. And that drive easily will take 45 minutes during the times they really want to be moving.

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I don't have the personality who can tour an area w/ a plan to move there. When I tried it once I kept thinking, "nope, nope and nope." And where we were looking was perfectly nice. But I couldn't "picture" myself there. I had to move sight unseen and it worked. That's just me. Your way is much better.

 

I wanted to encourage you to use CityData.com for info. on the various areas from locals.

 

Eugene is smallish and adorable. We really liked it. The whole one night we were there.

 

Good luck!

 

Alley

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[quote name="Alicia64" post="5562826" timestamp="1396225596"]

I don't have the personality who can tour an area w/ a plan to move there. When I tried it once I kept thinking, "nope, nope and nope." And where we were looking was perfectly nice. But I couldn't "picture" myself there. I had to move sight unseen and it worked. That's just me. Your way is much better.

See....this is how I fear I'm going to be when looking at the areas through these relocation lenses. :-). Ironically the one area we didn't stop at on our last trip is the one hubby and I want to potentially focus on (Salem) for job search.

Thank you to all for these suggestions! Though I want to skip the renting step, I know it isn't feasible nor wise. Doing some research prior to renting is a great idea like pp suggested. Renting near party central...no thanks. Those years are long gone. :-)

CityData is my new time-sucking friend. ;-)

Driving the potential commute would be helpful for us as well. Being on "vacation", we would have purposely avoided it. However I think both hubby and I need to at least get a feel for what is meant by "traffic" and "long commute". :-) We experienced a taste of it in Portland on the last trip and...well...dh wants nothing of it to say the least. But that is where public transportation comes in says I....but that's another thread. Ha!

Good tip for checking out the stores as well. You're right- they do sometimes tend to reflect the surrounding area.

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Well, what is the commute time that dh would be good with? That will give you a circle around Portland, Salem, and Eugene.

 

Next, what type of place. Do you want urban, right in the city. Or a burb? Portlandia type, hip neighborhood, or nice single house's, tree lined streets and cul du sacs?

 

Are schools important or will you homeschool throughout?

 

What price bracket of house?

 

Sherwood is a wonderful community. They are about 30 minutes out from Portland. I think it was voted the 6th best small town in America. A lot of people commute both to Portland and Salem from there. 

 

The SW side of Portland is nice, and the side of Portland on the way to Salem. Wilsonville is an interesting town that has good public transit options both to Portland and Salem. It has some really decent restaurants as well.

 

West Linn and Lake Oswego are the more affluent burbs. Both have good school districts. Lake Oswego's is it's own district, but West Linn/Wilsonville is a joint school district. Constantly top in the state. So, you can live more middle class, while still benefiting from the taxes of West Linn.

 

Closer in you have SW Portland and Multnomah Village. Good parks and rec, etc....

 

Milwaukie is on the other side of the river. The Max line is about to connect up to it, houses are a little cheaper. Lots of stuff out there, a lot of strip malls etc...

 

Give me some more info and I can help out. This is my stomping ground.

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Wow! Thanks for the offer Dolphin!
Well, lets see here....

Dh would prefer a commute of 30 min. or less (I think he may have to up this figure, but then again I'm not the one doing the commuting. I do think he would consider increasing his desired commute time if it were public transit)

I intend to homeschool all throughout, though you never know what life throws at ya. I have 3 kiddos, 8,10,12

We would like to have enough land to have a hobby farm. Dogs, chickens, garden...... 1/2 -1 acre or so???
3-400 grand for price range
Conservative Christian family
Suburbs with tree lined streets with older homes oozing with character. :-)
Dh is in the tech field
So, yeah....I want it all. :-)
I need a steep dose of reality....

Oh! Trees. I need trees. Yes, I know it's Oregon. But I am drawn to all of the homes online that are surrounded by trees on or nearby the property. Some good thrift shops nearby would be awesome too......

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Ok, if you want land you are going to need to be SW and commute. You might be able to find a place like that in Sherwood. Everything but the thrift shops, you might need to drive for that. You would need to look on the Newberg side of Sherwood most likely (40 min commute). You can also look across the river at Canby. Oregon City is also an option. Those are places you can get 1/2-1acre in the price range. 1/2 acre closer in will run more in the 600+ range. 

 

http://www.equitygroup.com/p/9/13478854

 

http://www.equitygroup.com/p/19/672052

 

http://www.equitygroup.com/p/9/14324954

 

http://www.equitygroup.com/p/9/13388930

 

Just to give you a few ideas. You can mapquest the addresses to downtown Portland to give you drive times.

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Dolphin these are wonderful! Will you be my agent? Lol!
I'll share these with my husband as well as focus our search to those areas. I LOVE the charm and character of these homes and the surrounding area.
Thank you a million times over!!

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