This past Monday marked the 1-year anniversary of Bobby and I’s move to Raleigh. We get asked all the time if we like it, so today I’m sharing some feedback on the overall moving process and if we like living in North Carolina.
Why did we decide to move to Raleigh?
Bobby and I had been talking about moving out of the DC area for several years. It was too much of a rat race for us and we wanted a slower, more enjoyable life. First, we looked at moving to Denver but the supply v. demand for jobs was crazy! I wasn’t getting any bites on my resume as a lot of employers wanted me to live in the state. Plus, the cost of living was about the same as Northern Virginia and we didn’t want to be bogged down with work to afford our lifestyle. Bobby suggested Raleigh, knowing that the tech industry was growing and cost of living was WAY less. I liked the idea of living near a smaller city, with options to go to the beach or mountains. Also, only being 5.5 hours away from family in Virginia was important for our first big move.
How did the move go?
Overall, everything went pretty smoothly. We had just moved out of our 3-bedroom apartment into a 1-bedroom apartment in Virginia (not expecting to get a job offer from Raleigh so quickly), so we practically lived out of boxes for 8 weeks. That in itself really sucked — not knowing if I should unpack or not…living out of boxes. It was miserable.
When we visited Raleigh for my interview, we were told by our apartment complex in Virginia that we could transfer our lease to a sister apartment complex in Raleigh. So we toured the apartment in Raleigh, signed the initial paperwork, and put down a deposit. About a week later, we were notified that we wouldn’t be allowed to transfer and that we had to pay to break our lease in Virginia. Long story short, we negotiated a lower “break fee” and since we weren’t contracted under the sister complex in Raleigh, we decided to sign a lease with another complex. One that was less expensive and closer to my office. The whole interview-to-move process was about 6 weeks, so we didn’t have any time to make another trip to Raleigh to look at apartments. As some of you know, I’m a planner. So signing a 13-month lease for an apartment that I had never seen was terrifying.
The drive to Raleigh went smoothly. We were lucky to convince my dad to ride with us and help unpack. When we arrived in Raleigh, we got the keys to our apartment and got to view it for the first time. It was nearly perfect! We really lucked out having never seen it in person. Unfortunately, it was on the 3rd floor and the stairwell was really tight so moving big items was a pain. We enlisted some help from Bobby’s aunt and uncle who live in Chapel Hill. They were definitely lifesavers that day!
Do you like living in Raleigh?
Absolutely! We are about 15 minutes from Durham, 25 minutes from Chapel Hill, and 10 minutes from downtown Raleigh. We’re right in the middle of 3 cities with LOTS to do! When we first moved down, we noticed a ton of mom-and-pop restaurants and boutiques. This was quite refreshing to get away from the chains in Northern Virginia. There are several state parks within 20 miles of our apartment so there’s a lot of outdoor activities to do. It seems like North Carolina really prides itself on its recreational activities and areas.
We are 2 hours from the beach and 3 hours from the mountains. This was something we really loved about Northern Virginia. Bobby and I love camping and spent a lot of time in Shenandoah National Park, so it was important to us to find a city that was near the mountains, but versatile for day trips to the beach.
As I mentioned above, the cost of living is much less in Raleigh. Our expenses are about 20% less expensive than in Virginia. We’re living in a less expensive apartment, a lower premium for utilities, and closer to the office (less fuel). And, we live on the more expensive side of Raleigh. We’ve been looking at houses lately and you can find a large amount of 3 beds / 3 baths, new single-family homes for less than $350k. Again, that’s in the more expensive suburbs of Raleigh.
Lastly, and most importantly, we have a better work-life balance. Traffic is nothing compared to DC, which allows people to spend more time at home versus sitting in traffic. Bobby and I currently live about 2-3 miles away from our employers, which means no more than a 10-minute commute thus allowing for more time in the evenings to be together.
What’s the worst part about moving out of state?
The absolute worst part is missing our family and friends. While we have some family and friends in the area, we don’t have the large support system like we had in Virginia. It’s been especially hard for me. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to make new friends as an adult. While I’ve made a few new acquaintances, they’re new and aren’t as solid as my 5+, 10+, or 15+ year friendships in Virginia.
Raleigh is about 5.5 hours away from our family in Virginia, which isn’t too far for a quick weekend visit. But it’s just that, a quick visit. If we leave Raleigh after work on Friday, we aren’t getting into Northern Virginia until 11 p.m. We have all day Saturday to split our time between my family, Bobby’s family, my friends, Bobby’s friends, and any commitments. Then, we like to leave around lunchtime on Sunday so we can get back and prepare for our work week. It’s really hard to squeeze everyone in. And most times, you can’t. We try to visit Virginia as much as we can, but at some point, we need to accept that we live in another state and there are other ways to stay connected. It’s just really hard to do.
In addition, Bobby and I have always been independent of our relationship. We’ve been able to have our own friends and hobbies and carry on our independent lives. Well, when we moved to Raleigh those friends and hobbies were left behind. We’re in a new city trying to find new friends and explore new hobbies. It’s required us to be dependent on each other…which is something we’ve never had to be. We’ve struggled a little bit to find our groove, but I think we’ve found it and are on the upswing.
Another negative side effect of moving out of state is having to use your GPS all the time. We’ve lived here for a year and we still have to use GPS to get places. I know how to get to a handful of locations outside of our 5-mile bubble without GPS, but it’s really frustrating to never know how far away you are or how long it will take you to get there. Especially now as we are looking at homes…we have no idea which neighborhoods are great/poor/etc. It all takes some getting used to. I just didn’t think it would take this long.
All in all, we love living in Raleigh! We definitely can see this being our forever home.
Do you have any questions about Raleigh or our move? Ask in the comments below!