Tired of NY and want to move and start small. I think UT or CO, share your ideas.

21 Replies

I have been living in NYC since 2006 when I came to US. All this time my plan was to start a business and invest profits in real estate. This year I have closed my first business with some financial loss, but educational growth. Now, I'm in written financial budget and Ramsey fan.

All these lead me to thinking about moving to places where I can get more for my money as I do not make much and start over with smaller deals. I got data from multiple sources and combined with personal preferences, which gave me the 2 states to focus research. Utah and Colorado. I grow up close to mountains and love snowboarding. Also, both states in top 10 job growth since recession and good potential for long term growth. Has small cities with low cost of living and fun things to do.

I need more inside details to find out the difference and choose a city with jobs and close to markets where I can pick up rehab. I do not have any cash to invest and currently trying to pay off all stupid debts I got. I think me and my wife can get same $50-60k household income. I just finish 2 years of college. So no $100k salary here. Plan is paying off debt, saved up ~20K and start with buy live/fix property and rent out later.

Utah is a great place, at least I think so. Most people live along the I-15 between Provo and Ogden and there is steady growth throughout the state. As far as specifics I guess it depends where you can land a job. Best of luck!

I do not have very specific job skill that limit my choice of industry and town. I`m trying to find out what is difference in these states in living and real estate. If any one played Cashflow 101, I'm looking for small deals to start, as I have limited resources and experience.

From map view for me UT is on city from Ogden to Provo. 1-1:30 hour drive is nothing as I spend 2-3 hours now just to get to job and back. 

In Colorado it is I-25 Fort Collins, Denver and subs, Colorado springs, Pueblo. I can land in Denver as center point.

I may be a bit partial, and I cannot comment about Utah, but CO was my choice over 10 years ago, and I don't regret it one bit.

Any determined person can land a good paying job, and the real estate deals are there. Not as plentiful as they were 5-6 years ago, but they are still there.

If you come up with any specific questions, let me know, I'd love to help.

@Mike Berlay

I think you'll get a lot of support for CO on this forum. It seems there is a disproportionate majority of users from Denver and other parts of the state.

My sister and I grew up in NJ, just outside NYC. She now lives in Denver and I live in FL. Without making this post overly political, the super liberal states seem to be digging their own grave as their policies continue to push businesses to more capitalist-friendly states. Look at the job growth in TX, TN, FL and others and compare against MI, CT and NJ as examples of this trend.

I think you're wise to look at other options. The 50 states offer enough variety for anyone to find their own version of paradise. Good luck!

If it was only for real estate I would probably just go to Milwaukee, Wi. or  Chicago as I have friends there and even a company branch will help with work and than invest to Milwaukee, but there is no mountains around and average temperature is kind of cold.

Texas and Florida on opposite side.

I was thinking to rent 2 bedroom for $600-700 range, get some cash reserves and starts on 50-100k deals. Not sure if it is possible, it just what my gut says.

@Mike Berlay  I have lived within a few hours of Salt Lake, I have some friends that lived there for a few years and I currently live in Denver. For me the weather in Denver is about 10X better than Salt Lake. Salt Lake is in a geographic hole and gets socked in during the winter and has days on end of gloom. Of course it's just short trip to the mountains and you are out of it but if you can't get to the mountains, it's depressing. I don't mean to bust on Utah or SLC but that's my experience. I'm sure there's some stats like days of sunshine or something that can verify that claim. I know Denver is high up there on days of sunshine.

People complain about the lack of "deals" in Denver but with a rapidly appreciating market there are always deals. They just look different here than they do in the mid-west or Ohio valley. I read every week about people pulling their money out of Denver because everything is overpriced and at the same time read that people from the East and West Coast are buying here because prices are so cheap. Pick where you want to live, grow roots and prosper.

hey Mike I live in wheat Ridge Colorado just west of Denver.  I think you'll find that the cost of living in Utah is quite a bit cheaper than in the Denver metro area.  With that said though you can invest in the price range you're looking in Pueblo Colorado.  I don't think there's very much in the 50-100,000 range in the Denver and Fort Collins area. But if you go south to the springs and Pueblo I think you can do nicely in that range.  I don't speak from experience as I am yet to invest down there but I think if you search on here you'll find plenty of people that do have experience investing in the Pueblo market.  

As far as lifestyle between the two different states I think you'll find a lot of stuff very similar as far skiing snowboarding mountain biking hiking etc. However Utah is quite a bit cheaper to live. Also you will notice that the social climates between the two areas might be quite different. Utah is very conservative and I'm told has basically two societies one for Mormons and one for non-Mormons.   The Denver area is actually quite liberal.

The only drawback to CO is your available capital and your desire to start with smaller deals. The better markets just don't have much in the way of inexpensive starter deals right now. In the Denver metro area 2/1 houses in crappy areas are going for 100k and up. You can no doubt do better with direct marketing but there's a lot of competition. That said, it's a great place to live. And if you are working as a surveyor you will no doubt be able to find work, as there's a lot of development happening.

Thanks for input fellas @Jean Bolger @Todd Belanger @Bill S. @Brad Starling  

I'm not comfortable to limit myself to small city like Pueblo. Specially moving to unknown area is not smart. I think moving do Denver metro may work on safe size of opportunities and as a start point to explore area from there. 

Where I can get more recent data and what kind of metrics is important? City-data has last update 2009, Colorado Springs maybe a good size and price city. Have to dig deeper, but lacking of information. 

@Mike Berlay

No offense to those who live there but be ready for the major culture shock when leaving NYC or any big major metropolitan city for a more rural area. If that's what you want I wish you all the best

We've lived here in CO for 15 years now.  I've visited UT and NYC on business, so no experience living in either.  However, I will warn you that compared to NYC both CO and UT will be boring.  If you commonly go into Manhattan and run around and do stuff, even Denver and Boulder will be a BIG let down.  My last NYC trip, about a year ago, was the first one where I brought my wife and we had a chance to get out and see some things.  Contrary to my rural MO background's expectation that NYC was a scary place I found it exhilarating.  I can easily see where folks from there would get bored here.

That said, there's still plenty to do.  Last Friday was Barenaked Ladies.  Sunday was closing day at the Renaissance Festival with sad goodbyes to friends I probably won't see for 10 months.  Tuesday was a party with some of those friends.  Wednesday was Lady Gaga at the Pepsi Center.  Last night was club drag racing at Bandimere.  Tomorrow is Train at Red Rocks.  Fortunately I have a bit of a break coming up, whew!

Politically CO is more diverse than you might think from some of the recent happenings.  While weed did get legalized, and, yes, there are stores all over the place (the Denver Post has a map, if you're curious), several state legislators were recalled over their actions to restrict gun ownership.  Colorado Springs tends to be more conservative, Denver more liberal and Boulder more liberal still.

If you like beer, CO is a great place with lots of local brewers and brewpubs and the Great American Beer Festival.  UT has a lot of restrictions on liquor.

Both state are VERY empty, especially compared to NYC.  Most of the population is concentrated in a few areas, right along the mountains.

Skiing is good in both state.  The downside here is the traffic.  I get up at the crack of dawn and usually only go on Saturdays.  If I get there when the lifts open at 8:30 I usually try to leave by 2:00 at the latest.  If you leave Breckenridge at 4:00 that 90 minute drive back to Denver can easily be three hours.  More if there's any sort of hiccup.  Or CDOT is running one of their experiments to try to improve flow.  Which seem to always have the opposite effect.

We do get cold weather in winter.  Even so its often sunny and we rarely have snow on the ground any length of time.  Most of the snow comes in March and April and it often melts the next day.  Summers can be quite hot and are often dry, though we do get cloudbursts and hail.  Overall I think its really tough to beat the climate here.

I think investing right here now is tough.  Cash flow positive rentals are just about impossible.  I don't do fix and flips, but do have money invested with a hard money broker and I know the fix and flip market is very tough, too.  New development, though, is booming.  Especially near downtown denver, though in further out areas, too. 

It has been a while since I have been in Utah, but you had to buy any alcohol at a state liquor store and the beer they sold was basically watered down called 3 2 beer.  The Mormon culture abounds.  Complete opposite of micro brews in CO. LOL.

I do not go to Manhattan. Funny to say we were trying to escape city every time we had a chance, go to NJ do pick-you-own fruits and vegetables from farm and go to local beer brewery for round of samples. :) Princeton, NJ is our favorite spot. 

Last two years was financially hard with my startup business failed because of lack of sales and marketing knowledge.  Now I got 9-5 on W2 and at least know that I can cover bills, but not much more. And I have only basic bills, no car, no eat out, not even a health insurance. This is probably more emotional move, but I'm trying to find financial data to support it.


@Mike Berlay  just to throw another city in the mix - I'd check out Boise too. Seems to be a migration point for a lot of people from California. 

What sort of work would you be looking for, @Mike Berlay?  The job market seems pretty good here.  But I think its pretty good in Utah, too.

After 13 years in NYC, I followed a girl I was dating to northern Utah (in 2003).  Although I had no real estate experience in NY, we spent a lot of time looking at industrial spaces in Red Hook, Gowanus, Ft Greene, & Bed-Stuy.  I didn't have the guts or the sophistication to start with $2.5M projects.  (But now wish I had!)

We're in a MSA population 100K and the barriers to entry are MUCH lower.  I half joke, "What do you do in 2004 with no job and no money?  Start buying houses."  And that's what I did.  I made many mistakes, but we were dealing in $75K properties that were pretty easy to liquidate during the crash which hurt because of my leveraging more than local market movement.

I felt that NYC lost its edge when the Times left Times Square for Queens and was replaced by a Disney flagship store.  The massive gentrification of Manhattan made it great for tourists and ex-pat bankers, but all that was left for the locals was the expensive lifestyle and laundry day hassles.  Don't get me wrong, I still love New York and my closest friends are there, but I'm getting more and more attached to the mountain time zone.

Now to your question.  I see the Rocky Mountain states continuing to be a great market in general.  The continental divide also acts as an infrastructure hub bridging California and the mid-west ("back east" to many Utahns).  We see it in transportation & warehousing and now more and more in technology & broadband.  As @Bill S.  mentioned, the inversion (see AQI) in SLC and along the Wasatch front is a massive downer that won't disappear any time soon.  And water is--and will continue to be--a long-term issue in the high desert as populations grow.

@Mike Berlay  I think you are jumping the gun a bit by dismissing a place like Pueblo.  In Logan, UT we are about the same distance from SLC as Pueblo is from Denver.  Our advantages include lower crime, more stable neighborhoods and less sophisticated competition (and a university).  Here it is easy to look at 20 properties and see which is the best value without a lot of speculation on external factors.  And we are not competing against well heeled investors the same way we would in bigger markets.  I still am getting 25+% equity positions after rehab, but the inventory is smaller and the deals take work to find.  We maxed out our local inventory of good deals when we were buying 1-2 properties a month so started buying thinner deals instead of moving into a bigger market.  Big mistake.

But it is these satellite communities that might provide a great low-risk/low-barrier to entry live-and-fix while your discovering the region.  During this period you can network into bigger markets (particularly if you find a job in one) and develop a long-term plan.

Come out and tool around for a couple of weeks.  Visit some National Parks, do some boarding, and visit some of the seats of the metro MSA's (http://www.census.gov/population/metro/files/metro...) to get a sense of where you would like to be.

Give a holler if your coming through!


@William Hochstedler   Thank you for interesting opinion, there are good points here.

@Jon Holdman   My girl account payable/receivable and customer service in medical supply. I was in car accessories manufacturing everything from design, make, ship to sell, work with supply and stock. Currently working as inventory controller, but I worth more than they want to pay. I know more than average guy about two things, money and computers.

I love to think, analyze and learn new things. I did carrier test few weeks ago and it showed me software developer and system or financial analytic as top. 

I learned HMTL, php, mysql to edt my website. Also at current work IT department was busy to help me to implement bar code scanners so I found online book, learned python and wrote application for it. 3 weeks later I still cannot get spare old computer to setup and start to use it. oh, I'm a smart guy, but I cannot turn it into profit.

Unfortunately I don't think Pueblo can make the same claims a Logan.  Pueblo is a lot more like the cities in the northeast.  Its big industry was steel.  But those plants are largely shuttered.  So, it has a jobs problem and no easy way to replace those steel jobs.

@Mike Berlay   you might want to look at job prospects in both areas.  I don't know what it's really like in either place.

"The Economist" also commented on our diverse politics, calling Colorado "America's Liveliest State" in a piece about fracking in this week's issue.

ok, I am going to go out on a limb and disagree with Jon on Pueblo. Pueblo has never lost population from the start, 1800s. The difference being every single USA steel town, in the entire country, can't say the same. There is something going on here that is absent from being a one horse steel town. Btw the steel from Pueblo is considered the best in the world. And the most profitable steel company on planet is located in Pueblo, CO.



ps. I always listen to what Jon says as if he were my boss. 

Well, @Matt R. don't take anything I say as gospel.  I'm really just a dog in a human suit :-).   I'm going to dig a little deeper on Pueblo and see if I can convince myself one way or the other about opportunities there.   It further away than I would like to go to invest, but its closer than many alternatives.  And it does seem like there are some deals there.  I do agree its in better shape than some of the NE cities.

for sure Jon, I verify my gospels and you are like Noah:)



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