From 2013-2017 my partner and I rented a small apartment in Boston as our company “office” and went there very day with our employees. We were still very hands on and we were most productive together. It was a scrappy time where we really accomplished a lot to set us up for the success we enjoy now.
I switched over to full time self storage development / management in 2017 and have been doing that ever since.
My businesses are now largely location independent. I manage the self storage facility completely remotely and do the majority of my construction related tasks off site and visit each project monthly or bi-monthly.
So when I had my first child and my wife and I got tired of living in a crappy 2 bedroom upstairs apartment with slanted floors and broken down appliances littering the property for $2,000 a month + utilities we started shopping for homes in the Boston area.
Extremely pricey. Not enough homes. Foreign money coming in and buying property to sit empty. We’re talking 50 year old homes 45 minutes from downtown Boston without a garage for $750k + $10k a year in property taxes. Crazy stuff and a horrible shopping experience that lasted all of about 2 days before we had an all hands meeting and my partner and I decided to take the company remote.
He wanted to head to Chicago. A lot going on there for a single guy in his 20s and a lot of hometown connections for him.
So where did we want to move? We had no idea. My wife and I were both from small towns (Watkins Glen NY and Leopold IN) so we didn’t want to go back home.
The only thing really limiting us was that I needed to be on central or eastern time and near a major airport.
So we approached the decision analytically. Here was the criteria:
- East of the Mississippi River
- Within 1-1.5 hours of a major airport
- Vibrant downtown (preferably a college town that isn’t too small and only college)
- Warm weather / mild winters
- A new build home with 4 bedrooms less than 15 minutes from the downtown scene for under $300k.
My wife loves food, live music, hiking, yoga and she wanted to be able to meet some other couples with young kids. I love craft breweries, college athletics, cycling, fishing, outdoor activities and nightlife when my friends visit.
So there were a lot of cities that fit the bill for the first 4 criteria. It was the last one that took basically all but one out of the equation. We went on a winter tour in January of 2018 and visited Raleigh NC and Athens GA.
Raleigh was too pricey. A home in a decent neighborhood 15 minutes from downtown was going to run $450k+.
So Athens it was. We didn’t know anyone within 5 hours and we were going to be 8 hours from my hometown and 14 hours from my wife’s.
We bought a 4 bedroom brand new house for $289k 12 minutes from the vibrant downtown area. The taxes are low. The people are super nice. We already have some GREAT friends with a 2 year old as well that we get together with spontaneously all the time.
We’re an hour and twenty minutes from the largest airport in the world with round trip straight flights to my work destinations for cheap cheap.
My son’s first words were “Go Dawgs”. We had a raging company retreat when Auburn played UGA in Athens. Basketball games are electric. The baseball team is #2 in the country right now.
There are 5 craft breweries in town making delicious beer. There are 3 local coffee roasters. 90 bars and restaurants downtown with things going on every night of the week. A great music scene.
Its a pro cycling hub and a lot of amateurs also race so I quickly fit in well and actually founded a cycling team with a friend sponsored by Storage Squad of course.
Our friends and family have been visiting us a ton. My wife’s uncle ended up loving athens and actually moved here and her parents are currently shopping for a retirement home here before baby #2 comes in August.
We’re 10 minutes from a great bass fishing lake where I take my Hobie Kayak once every few weeks. We’re 40 minutes from Lake Hartwell.
Almost a year later my wife and I both love it here and we’re very happy with our decision!
If you are ever in the neighborhood give me a shout and we’ll meet up for a beer if its after 10am or a coffee if its before!