Nevada is famous for casinos, elaborate stage shows, and having no income tax. In recent years it has also become famous as a victim of the real estate bust of 2008. The state is slowly recovering along with the rest of the economy and, as such, more people are considering relocating to the Las Vegas area.
The state is much larger than Vegas. There are other cities, historic towns, and agricultural and mining communities across the state that attract not just tourists, but also year-round residents. However, most people who talk about moving to Nevada aren’t heading to Lake Tahoe, Sparks, Pahrump, Groom Lake, Reno or even the state capital, Carson City. They are relocating to Vegas — whether to seek fame and fortune, to help those who seek fame and fortune, to work for the government or various industries in the area, or simply to take advantage of the climate and natural beauty of the state.
Las Vegas Metro Area
Outside of Nevada, the world thinks of Las Vegas as a giant entertainment city. It is really a metropolis composed of several cities and suburbs.
Las Vegas proper is home to over 600,000 residents, many of whom work in tourism or retail in support of the many casinos, resort hotels, malls, and convention centers that make the city a hotspot for tourists and conventions. There are also a large number of government employees working mainly for Clark County or the IRS. The city has numerous parks, museums, galleries, and, of course, unparalleled nightlife from world class restaurants to nightclubs and concerts, theater, etc.
North Las Vegas –this municipality is actually the 3rd largest city in Nevada, with over 200,000 residents. The real estate crash hit this area hard, which translates to lower real estate and living costs within easy commute of jobs in Las Vegas and Paradise.
Paradise — Many of the things that people associate with Las Vegas are located in this unincorporated town adjacent to Las Vegas. Paradise has around 223,000 residents and is home to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, McCarran International Airport, and a large portion of the famous Las Vegas Strip. Resorts like Caesar’s Palace and the MGM Grand are in Paradise. Also here are the Atomic Testing Museum, the Liberace Museum and countless shopping, dining, and entertainment venues that make it a mecca for tourism.
Other notable cities and suburbs that make up the Las Vegas metro area include Spring Valley, Henderson, and Sunrise Manor. Many offer tourism and entertainment employment as well as government and retail jobs of their own. They also provide lovely neighborhoods and easy commutes to other parts of the larger Las Vegas area. View all of our Las Vegas area storage locations.
Affording the Nevada Life
It is not a good idea to move to Las Vegas without a job lined up unless you are very young and resilient or are retiring with a large nest egg. The state has a cost of living that is nearly 7% higher than the national average. While unemployment is falling, it is still higher than much of the country.
The state does not have personal income tax, which lures many people to relocate to protect personal assets. The state does, however, have many, many levels of property taxes. Add them all together and buying a home or other property can quickly eat into those income tax savings.
Commutes are also a factor in the family budget. The average family spends more than $250 on gas and travel — and the state does not have any toll roads! – every month. The average commute time is over 23 minutes state-wide. There is public transportation available to help with that expense, but new residents need to make strategic choices about their commute.
Other factors that can affect the family budget include a higher than average cost for food and beverages, especially for anyone who eats out at all, entertainment costs, including clubs and bar bills, from taking advantage of the rampant nightlife, and insurance costs from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Las Vegas is situated in a desert, much like Phoenix, AZ, and temperatures do rise above 100 degrees on a regular basis in the summer months. The upside is that this is only lasts for four-five months. The rest of the year the area enjoys a mild climate, with the lack of humidity making outdoor activities a joy and giving residents plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the state’s many parks and lakes.
Nevada is the driest state in the US, with an average of only 7 inches of annual rainfall in a good year. The recent drought years have been even drier. On average there are only 70 days a year that the temperature reaches above 100 in Vegas and only 19 days when the low falls below freezing. The average daily high is 80 degrees with a low of 59. In 2013 there were over 250 days that were classified as “fair” or “partly cloudy” making Vegas something of a desert paradise.
New residents will have to adjust to water restrictions brought on by the drought and learn some common sense rules about living safely in the summer months. They will also need to recognize that Vegas has a high risk of child drowning incidents in the summer, as many homes and apartment complexes have pools to help combat the heat. Those are small adjustments to make to have access to the many great things in the state. And residents can always escape up north on weekends and vacations, to enjoy the gorgeous, and cooler, mountain areas of Nevada.
Planning a Move
Moving is Moving. There are certain things you have to do when you relocate. Find a place to live. Hire a moving company or get a moving truck. Arrange for utilities in your new home. Get a drivers license. Enroll your kids in school. Reserve a storage unit. The list goes on and on.
Moving companies are usually very busy in the summer, but Vegas is the reverse. With the Las Vegas tourist season and the influx of UNLV students and faculty in the fall, late spring and early summer are the best times to get a good deal not just on moving, but on vacant apartments and rental homes in good neighborhoods. This applies to renting a truck to drive yourself as well as hiring a company to do it all. Plan to move mid-month and, if possible, in the middle of the week when there is less demand. Reserve your company or truck four to six weeks ahead of time to ensure you will get the dates you want.
In the heat of the summer it is also a good idea to plan to arrive and unpack early in the morning. This may mean scheduling a drop off with the movers before noon or after nightfall. If you are driving a rental truck, you may want to arrive the night before, stay in a hotel, and then get up early and unpack before the temperature gets too hot. This is important so that you and your family don’t get heat sick and so that your belongings don’t get overheated or even melt in the truck or while waiting in the driveway or parking lot to be moved inside.
Check out these links for information on setting up services, etc., for when you arrive:
- Electricity — www.nvenergy.com
- Gas — www.swgas.com
- Water — www.lvvwd.com
- Trash Removal — www.republicservicesvegas.com
- Cable & Internet — www.cox.com
- Drivers License & Vehicle Registration – http://www.dmvnv.com/newresident.htm
- Pet License (all pets over 4 months old must be licensed) — http://www.lasvegasnevada.gov/Apply/licenses.htm
- Schools — http://www.greatschools.org/nevada/las-vegas/
Moving with the Heat
If you find yourself moving between April and August, you need to take the heat into account. Children and senior citizens may be more susceptible to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration, but even healthy adults need to think about the affect the sun and high temperatures can have.
Here are a few things to remember:
- Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and other sun protection. This might include a hat or other head covering.
- Drink lots of water. This goes double for children or older travelers.
- Eat light meals at regular intervals. Avoid too much fat and sugar.
- Wear sturdy shoes. Sandals may seem like good warm weather footwear, but not if you drop a box on your foot or have the thin soles overheat on the hot pavement.
- Use gloves to unload items. The temperature inside the moving truck will be much higher than outside, making that metal lamp or even a leather sofa too warm for bare hands.
- Take special care in transporting pets. Keep them in the car with you rather than the moving truck (where it can be 200 degrees in the summer). Make sure they get plenty of water and keep them off the hot pavement in the hottest hours of the day.
- Be aware of the contents of your moving boxes. Candles can melt if left too long in a hot truck. Electronics are also sensitive to both heat and direct sunlight.
Enjoy Your New Life
Nevada has countless natural wonders, historical sites, and outdoor activities to make life enjoyable. It is a prime destination for retirees due to the climate and tax laws. Whether you are young and single, raising a family, or retired, there are neighborhoods and communities to fit your specific lifestyle. Once you adjust to the dryness and the summer heat, you will have no trouble living a rich, happy life.
Nevada has a lot to offer to residents as well as tourists, as seen in this video:
Photo credits: Las Vegas Sign by AD Teasdale, Vegas Strip at night by Marc Majcher, Nevada desert by O Palsson, Heat warning sign by Jonathan Molina.