There are all sorts of things that should be taken into consideration before you embark on a move from one state to another. Some of the calculations are complex, some are easy, and some you just will have to wait and see.
Figuring out what your home is going to cost you is the first big calculation. Houses can be found from $ 160K to whatever you are willing to pay. Downsizing can help the math look better and get rid of a lot of stuff.
When moving to Carteret County there are a couple of things that really work to your favor. The first is property taxes. Our home here on the coast has a tax value of around $600K. Our property taxes are $1750 per year. We came from Roanoke, Virginia where our similarly valued home had property taxes of $6,100 per year.
That seems like a huge savings but a lot of it gets eaten up with higher insurance costs. Our Roanoke home had a premium of $1,100 a year for insurance. Our Carteret County home has a current insurance bill of $2,750 plus since we live on the water, we pay $600 in flood insurance annually. There is a good chance that coastal insurance will go up substantially in the near future.
We still save a couple of thousand dollars a year in total costs for taxes and insurance.
I do not have as clean a comparision on utilities costs since the houses are different in size and heat type.
However our electricity, heating and cooling bill for our approximately 2,400 sq ft home in Carteret County has averaged about $2,200 per year over the last two years. Our costs for May, June, and July have averaged $105 per month. Our most expensive month has been August at $240. These costs include the $300 per year that we pay for propane which runs our gas stove, gas fireplace, and outside grill.
I think we are saving about $1,850 per year in utilities costs because Roanoke is both colder in the winter and warmer in the summer. Living right on the water has some advantages.
In addition we pay $605 annual homeowners association fees to maintain the pool, clubhouse, dock, boat ramp, and keep our boat channel dredged. We did not have that expense in Virginia but for many years we were a member of a country club so I could swim. It was much more expensive.
We pay around $20 per month to have our trash picked up. It was in our taxes in Roanoke.
Car insurance is more expensive in North Carolina, but as we found out years ago Roanoke, Va has some of the lowest car and home insurance premiums around.
You will also pay some sales tax on cars you already own once you register them in North Carolina.
We find groceries very similar in price to the ones we are used to buying in Virginia. Gasoline is more expensive in North Carolina. Our current price for regular is about $2 per gallon. Dining out is a toss-up, it just depends on where you eat.
Fresh seafood is much more readily available, and farm fresh produce is easily found from April until early August on the coast. We also had good sources in Roanoke for fresh produce. We were not nearly as lucky with seafood.
One big plus for the coast is that I can once again grow tomatoes without the deer destroying them like they have been for the last several years in Roanoke. We eat a lot of tomatoes and have been able to enjoy them from June 1 through December some years on the coast. We had given up growing them in Roanoke.
It boils down to everyone doing their own math. Southwest Virginia is one of the lower cost places in the US to live. Carteret County is even less expensive, but your actual results might vary from mine.
If you are planning on moving from another state to North Carolina, try using this cost of living calculator.
In the end there are always trade offs. My dream was to live on the water so I could slide a kayak in the water and go for a paddle whenever I wanted. Being able to drop our skiff in the water and head for the Intracoastal is just another benefit to weigh along with the beaches and trails.
Moving to the coast is not right for everyone, but if it is burning in your soul and the numbers look favorable you owe it to yourself to give it a try.