Last April of 2016, Jeff and I had just put in an offer to purchase a home in Las Vegas. We were living in California still and I just got back from being away in the Philippines with the kids for close to two months. We had a lot going on, there was about to be a huge change for the entire family.
So how did we do it? It’s one thing to move to another home, or even city. It’s another to change states. I wrote about the reasons for moving last year on this blog, but now I want to let you know how the process went.
Where does one start? Now that you know why* we had to leave California, here is how the search began.
We wrote down our needs, location-wise. The list went something like:
- Close enough to G-ma and G-pa. I’m really close to my parents, I have to see them at least 5 times a year or I get kinda sad. The relationship the kids have formed with them over the years means more to me than anything, especially now. They are in the most fun stage of their lives, I can leave them with their grandparents for weeks at a time if we wanted to, and know that they are not only safe and provided for, but that they are having the best time. To those who have witnessed the bond between Sebastian and his grandpa, you’ll know what I mean. My folks are in the Bay area, so the drive from San Diego was always 8 hours, now from Vegas it’s still 8 hours by car, 90 mins by plane.
- Close enough to San Diego for work. My weddings in California haven’t stopped. I booked a few in Vegas but I will save Vegas clients vs California clients for another blog post.. let’s just say I still prefer Cali brides. So my flight time is only 45 mins, and when I drive it’s only 4 hours. Not bad. I’m always going against traffic. I’ll leave Vegas on a Friday when everyone seems to be coming IN to Vegas, and I come back on Sunday to a clear commute, while the other side of the 15 going south is bumper-to-bumper… and I thank God I don’t have to sit through that!
- A place that friends would come and visit. I know that if Jeff and I moved to middle America or Texas (which was an option to keep our kiddos free from medical tyranny, as they, along with Nevada, will still honor personal belief or religious belief forms), that we might as well say adios to our friends and family. Las Vegas is still one of the #1 destinations, you get the cheapest flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays… seriously $39 Southwest?!…and everyone seems to visit at least* once or twice a year. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway, or just to catch up, friends have been able to come out and visit, and it’s never that* far.
- We needed it to be family-friendly. The strip is no place to live or raise children, I get it. But you should see the hundreds of developments and gated communities off the strip. The only place I would suggest not* looking in to is North LV, but for family communities and great schools you can settle in on Henderson, Summerlin, and even the Mountain’s Edge area/South West LV.
The state on it’s own provided more freedoms and between Jeff and I, some high fives. 😉 *No income tax. Do you realize how much more you can save? Every time someone puts a quarter in that slot machine, that’s the bread and butter of the state. We don’t have to charge our Cali clients sales tax, since we are not a residents of California. Do you know how many hundreds they* are saving by having us shoot their weddings?
So! How did we start?
We began looking up rentals online. Spent a few nights just browsing, around Oct/Nov of 2015. I have a couple 2nd cousins who live out in Las Vegas so once Jeff and I narrowed down about 6 rentals to see, I made a call. Our cousin Nick and his wife Es graciously offered their home to us while we house-hunted. We were fine with staying in a hotel, you can get a great deal mid-week, but we happily stayed with family while looking. The first weekend we met with a realtor who was willing to show us rentals throughout the best neighborhoods. We fell in love with a community out here, I won’t list the name online but it was gated, included armed-guards, on a golf course, had a rec center that looked like a resort… and we just couldn’t stop thinking about this amazing place. We were shocked at the prices out this way for 4-5 bedroom homes. Kept thinking, “if that’s what rent is… what’s a mortgage?” A few weeks later we made another trip… looked up rentals again but still felt like we would be willing to buy. If you are with a company right now and would be willing to transfer, see how that works, put in for that transfer and see how easily you could be approved. Thankfully, our business can be run from anywhere, so it was now time to look good on paper. We found a home we wanted to rent, and we knew that with the plethora of options out in Las Vegas, we could easily get in to a home.
It was mostly on faith, but we packed up our home in Oceanside, gave our landlord the notice, and threw everything in to storage. I was going to be out of the country for a couple months anyway, and while I was gone, Jeff and my father made a couple more trips. I arrived back to California and Jeff had several properties lined up for us to visit. It was another long weekend in Las Vegas, we must’ve seen 15 homes. Selected 4, and put in offers.
All of them accepted. Now to narrow down the house that felt like we could make it a home. Escrow took 30 days, and we were given the keys mid-May. I’m not going to sugar-coat the anxiety and moving process. It took about 2 months to get everything settled in and get all the proper paperwork finished. **Note to all… California is an a-hole who steals whatever they can. Do NOT pay your vehicle registration and move a month later… we made that mistake and lost about $900 since we had to do it all over again in Nevada. That was a mistake on our part. You won’t* get that money back, so… you’re welcome for that tip! 😉
Amelia was enrolled in a new school, we got the kids cleared to be able to go* to schools out in Nevada.
So much of it has been through prayer. I am between shifting careers a little bit, although I still love shooting weddings, I am trying to figure out how to cut that amount to half and do other things that keep me more local, especially now that we are getting the kids signed up for things like ballet and karate. We want to be around, we want to experience all of that with them without constantly hustling like we were doing in California to pay for the roof over our heads. This move has been the biggest blessing, and it shows in that doors are constantly being opened for us, so we know that God’s hand is at work, even if we’ve had many moments of “what now…?” 🙂
Friends of mine who are considering a move out of California, whether the reasons are similar to ours or different, you are welcome to come and stay with us while you hunt around. Extending that same courtesy that was bestowed on us. I’ll even take you on some free wine tastings. 😉
Below are some recent pics from the Easter Sunday that just passed. We did the usual: church, strolled around the neighborhood for a bit, decorated eggs, napped… pretty much the perfect Sunday. <3
**Because who said adults can’t have Easter baskets as well?^^
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