Moving from California to Nevada: Expert Tips & Advice
It’s no longer a surprise to fall in and then out of love with the Golden state of California. The positives might convince you to stay, but the downsides like work-life imbalance, the fast paced grind, high taxes, crowd and lack of affordable housing can eventually add up and outweigh the pros for some.
It might be a shocker to know this, but there’s thousands of people who are currently also having a similar love-hate relationship with the state. If you’re among them, you’d figuratively and literally look the other way and find that Nevada might be a good option for a fresh start. But before you take that leap, let’s look at what this decision would have in store for you.
Factors To Consider Before Moving From CA to NV
The state of California is idolized for its year-round temperate climate and abundance of sunny days. On the other hand, with Nevada you get a mixed bag and a variation of all four seasons. You’d have moderate winters, summers, spring and fall.
Dealing with the winters particularly might be new and something to look forward to in Nevada. There’s a striking difference in temperatures in both states.
Here’s the difference in temperatures that you can expect during peak winter months:
- Nevada in January – the average low temperatures fall in the 9°F (-12.8°C) to 43°F (6.1°C) zone.
- California in January – the average low temperatures fall in the 38°F (3.3°C) to 48°F (8.9°C) zone.
On an average, the high temperatures fall in the 50s to 60s Fahrenheit range. This being the case, it’s safe to say that you would definitely find use for some heavy winter coats and other winter gear in Nevada. You would also need to prepare to deal with a fair amount of snowfall (between 3 to 12 inches) if you live in the north and central portions of the state.
Do note that the northern mountainous parts of Nevada would always receive cooler temperatures and much more snow than the southern or central parts. So, you have the advantage of heading to the north to take advantage of winter activities like skiing, ice skating or sledding.
In terms of summer, it is going to be slightly hotter, mainly because there’s lots of parts in Nevada that’s just desert. That’s why it could be hot for extended periods with temperatures crossing the 100 F mark regularly. The heat is something that you’ll probably need to take your time getting used to.
Here’s the difference in temperatures that you can expect during peak summer months:
- Nevada in July – the average high temperatures fall in the 85°F (29.4°C) to 110°F (43.3°C) zone.
- California in July – the average high temperatures fall in the 80°F (26.7°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) zone.
Just a heads up on certain things:
- The northern and southern parts of Nevada experience completely different climates. The summers can be way more brutal in the south, but it’s always much cooler in the north. So, do keep this in mind while house hunting.
- Summers mostly have clear skies, but you have to watch out for occasional thunderstorms and lightning. It can also rain sporadically during spring.
- Overall, Spring and Fall are when you can expect comfortable temperatures. It’s considered to be the most pleasant months because there’s no extremes in weather conditions.
Cost of Living
If you just start to observe the affordability of living in Nevada, you might just begin to feel like you’ve always been ripped off or made to deal with premium prices in California. There are various elements that make Nevada much more affordable for a California resident, but the fact that it lacks income tax is the biggest influencer.
In addition to that, you’d also save a good amount on housing, gas, entertainment, and groceries. This leads to you getting decent value for the dollar put down, and after all, this could mean that you get to hold onto a better quality of life.
To give you a perspective on just how much you would save on housing, see below:
- Median value of homes in California (according to Zillow) – $609,757
- Median value of homes in Nevada (according to Zillow) – $327,714
As you can see, there’s a roughly 50% difference in costs for real estate. So, if you’ve also wanted to live in a bigger apartment and that’s been one of the dreams of the move, there’s a high chance that it would be coming true in Nevada.
On another note, we’d just like to give you a heads up that utility bills is one area where Nevada is rather expensive. But this completely depends on your usage.
The state of Nevada possesses a job market that’s nowhere near a mediocre one, but isn’t exactly en par with where California stands. California is home to multiple Fortune 500 companies, tech giants, thousands of financial firms and notable multinational companies. The job market is competitive, cosmopolitan and active like an outstanding student.
In the case of Nevada, things are on the same tangent but on a smaller scale. The job market is progressive in nature, growing with a steady number of opportunities. Few of the top performing sectors that maintain the vital health of the economy are tied to:
- Health care
- Information Technology
- Tourism and Hospitality
Overall, the economy of Nevada is experiencing several changes and there’s been an influx of companies with its growing population. You’ll be happy to know that the state is also dotted with headquarters of some big names that get recognized globally such as:
- Tesla Gigafactory
- Microsoft Corporation
- MGM Resorts International
Unfortunately, in terms of income, there’s a high chance you’d need to take a pay cut. See below to understand the margin in median annual income:
- Median annual income in California (according to Niche) – $77,228
- Median annual income in Nevada (according to Niche) – $57,598
The pay cut might not really be a downside because the cost of living in Nevada is fairly reasonable too. For all you know, you would probably gain a great cost of living to income ratio. But keep in mind that the suggested figure to aim for that ratio is 45k to 50k for a single person. This is just an average figure to live comfortably in Nevada and will vary from person to person based on personal spending habits.
Public transportation isn’t one of Nevada’s strongest points. It is considered that the pros of having a car always outweighs the decision of not having one to commute within the state. In terms of practicality, your options are limited to the local buses that have good coverage but may not be the best when it comes to frequency.
Moreover, if you choose to take public transit like the bus, you’d have to spend immense time planning your schedule and route so that things are feasible. This is why we suggest having a car as it can save all the time you’d put into forethought and help you reach your destination in time. Overall, the state is pretty car-friendly in nature. Reno, Las Vegas, Carson City are the few cities where you’d have easy access to either a bus, bicycle lane, car share program or the rail for intra city travel.
If you’re thinking of bringing your car along, we suggest getting familiar with all the formalities on how to get your license address changed and car registered at a DMV in Nevada. We’ve covered all the nitty gritties for you in the article below.
Nevada’s Strong Points
- Lacks income state tax
- World class centers for entertainment
- Well connected to big cities in neighboring states
- Lots of events and lively nightlife
- Best of summer and winter climate
- Low cost of living
- Ample number of airports and good frequency of flights
- Growing economy
Top Cities To Move To In Nevada
Henderson lies 16 miles away from the downtown Las Vegas area and is arguably the best place to live in Nevada. It’s a great place if you love greenery and staying outdoors. The city boasts of being peaceful and cut off from the hustle, crowd and noise in Las Vegas. So, if you’re looking for an area that isn’t too touristy and has a nice ambience for families, then Henderson is your best bet. You would have walkable areas, inviting communities and plenty of well maintained parks in this area of the state.
Median value of homes sold – $293,500
Median rent – $1,226
The city of Reno is an exceptional place for outdoor activities and job opportunities. It helps residents maintain that balance of work and play. You have Lake Tahoe which is just 1 hour drive away and a couple of mountain ranges to explore. It is centrally located to other points of interest and you also have quick access to an international airport here. Various notable companies also have their eyes on the business friendly state of Reno. Which is why it is presently home to companies such as Amazon, Tesla, Panasonic, Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Overall, the city is compact and filled with modern amenities and popularly referred to as the “Biggest Little City”.
Median value of homes sold – $299,700
Median rent – $967
3. Carson City
Carson city lies 30 minutes away from the city of Reno and is a quaint town giving tough competition to the big metropolitan hubs of Nevada. It’s a beautiful city to hike, bicycle or walk. Residents here get to enjoy the close proximity to the incredible Lake Tahoe, off the grid beaches and state parks. It’s an ideal location if you wish to have a blend of the countryside and city like atmosphere. It’s easy to find close-knit communities and the pace of living here is much slower, so you’d probably enjoy it if you wish to slow down from the chaos of big cities.
Median value of homes sold – $242,200
Median rent – $895
The greatest advantage of living in Sparks is that you get access to excellent school systems and it holds a residential profile. It is away from active towns that have a lot of live events and activities catered towards tourists. But that’s not to say that Sparks is a dull town. It is a good spot if you’re looking for a small town that’s more relaxed but also has its share of entertainment options. The blend and balance of the two is what makes Sparks an ideal place to live. The city is also not overly crowded and has a good number of shopping outlets and areas for dining out too.
Median value of homes sold – $275,100
Median rent – $1,057
5. Las Vegas
The names of New York and Los Angeles ring a bell for people all over the world. Similarly, the city of Las Vegas also has quite a global reputation for itself. There are many cliche ideas of what it’s like to live in Las Vegas, but the city can take you by surprise. Apart from the countless touristy things, it is easy to step into newly developed neighborhoods with world class amenities in the iconic entertainment capital. And just like New York, you get to live in a 24 hour city that never sleeps and enjoys great diversity.
Median value of homes sold – $234,700
Median rent – $1,158
Things To Take Care Of When You’re Moving From California To Nevada
- Analyse the number of items you’d be taking along and ask yourself if you have the time to manage things independently or would like professional help.
- Ask yourself if you’d like to drive to your prospective new home or would you prefer taking a flight? It is necessary to take care of booking flights in advance in order to get a good discount.
- We also suggest spending time reading moving customer testimonials on Google Reviews and Better Business Bureau so that you’re able to gauge the credibility of the company.
- Be ruthless and minimize the stuff you’ll take along. Donate, sell and purge as much as you can to save space, energy, time and money for the move.
- Take at least 3 in-person quotes before confirming a moving company. Also, take references from family and friends of reputable companies.
- Ensure that the quote you get is based on weight and not cubic square feet of the moving truck.
- Consider the time frame within which your belongings will reach your new home and plan your schedule around that date accordingly.
See also: 5 Best Places to Live in Nevada
California to Nevada Moving Costs
The average costs of hiring full-service movers from California to Nevada falls roughly in the range of $2500 to $3500. Depending on the number of moving tasks you handle independently, you can expect costs to come down drastically. For instance, if you choose to take care of the loading, unloading and packing yourself and opt for a rental truck, then costs would drop down to approximately $800 to $1,200. This surely works in favour of keeping things budget friendly. However, it would also require you to chalk out time to put in the extra amount of work.
Do note that the quote would also fluctuate based on smaller things like an extra flight of stairs or number of bulky items like a couch, bed or wardrobe. The quote provided to you could also fall in the higher average during the summer months, so we recommend moving during the winter or fall time to save on costs.
FAQs about Moving from California to Nevada
Do you pay California state taxes if you live in Nevada?
You have to pay state taxes if you live in California as stated by the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB). However, if you are working or earning in Nevada and have a residence or house in California, you still have to pay personal income taxes because you hold a residency in that state. If at all you are a non resident but earning a living in California, you have to file the California income tax return. Certain exemptions to pay state taxes would be for military personnel, people with low income or native Americans.
What state are most Californians moving to?
The average median price of houses in California according to Zillow is around $609,757 which is very high because of the state’s popularity and tourist attraction. Therefore most Californians are moving to Texas as there is no state income tax and the average median price of houses is around $300,000 which is half the price for houses in California. WalletHub has awarded Texas as the 12th best state in terms of economic growth and hence Californians are moving to Texas because of affordable housing along with job opportunities and culture.
What is the most dangerous city in Nevada?
Although Las Vegas is one of the most popular tourist spots because of the exotic resorts and casinos, it is considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in Nevada. According to roadsnacks, it has approximately 531 violent crimes per 100k and around 2,771 property crimes per 100k. Last Vegas has also been reported to have highest murder, rape and theft rates making it the most dangerous place to live in.
Are groceries cheaper in Nevada than California?
The Cost of Living Index (COL) in Las Vegas, Nevada is around 102.3 and that of California is around 104.1. Therefore in terms of food and groceries, the cost of food and groceries is 1.8% more in California. Nevada also has affordable housing and the essential utilities are around 8.7% less compared to California.
What is the cheapest city to live in Nevada?
The city of Ely can be considered to have the lowest cost of living. The average median house cost is around $126,300 whereas the average rent for a house would be around $698 per month. This housing rate is relatively less compared to other cities in the state, making it quite the affordable city to live in Nevada. At the same time, Ely has a daily low population and you will enjoy the renaissance village with museums and historic state parks to explore.
How long must you live in Nevada to be a resident?
In order to be a resident of Nevada, you have to live there at least for a period of 12 months. After that if you are looking to own a residence, you need to do the following things:
i) Get your residential address and zip code.
ii) Issue for a driver’s license which will cost you around $42.45 and get your vehicle registered.
iii) Check for your income tax to be paid to the state.
Can you avoid California taxes by moving?
If you live in California for more than 9 months, you are considered a resident. If at all you are a domiciled resident in California and are living in some other state because of work, you still are considered as a resident of California. If you live outside of California for around 19 months, you are no longer considered a resident. If you intend to escape from paying the state tax by moving, because of your domicile, voter registration, vehicle registration, investments and insurances, business, etc. you can be trolled by the tax agents with extra bills and penalties.
Can California tax my pension if I move out of state?
No, California will not tax your pension if you move out of state. According to the Source Tax Law, if you have earned your pension in California but you leave the state, your funds will not be charged any taxes.
Is it cheaper to live in Nevada or Florida?
The average rent for a house in Nevada is around $1,769 which is relatively lower than the average rent for a house in Florida which is around $2,690. In terms of median housing costs, utilities and income tax, both places have somewhat similar cost of living. Nevada and Florida can both be considered cheap when it comes to cost of living in these two states.
See also: List of Cheap States to Move to
Is it better to live in Nevada or Arizona?
In terms of median house cost, the average median house cost in Arizona is around $239,400 which is relatively lesser than the median house cost of $326,900 in Nevada. Both the places have similar climates which are dry and sunny most of the time. While Arizona has popular metropolitan areas like Phoenix and Prescott, Nevada has the most popular tourist attraction which is Last Vegas that is known for the casinos, resorts, entertainment in Spring Valley and more. Both the places are somewhat similar in terms of cost of living, but Nevada is better in terms of entertainment and festivals.
What part of Las Vegas is ghetto?
The crime rate of Downtown East is around 98% higher than the average crime rate in Vegas. A rough estimate of the violent crime rate in Downtown is around 774 per 100k people, whereas the property crime is around 4,037 per 100k people. Because of the high number of crime rates, Downtown East can be considered as a ghetto in Las Vegas.
What is the best town to live in Nevada?
Henderson is one of the best places in Nevada and is situated in the southeast of Vegas having a population of around 300,116 people on average. The average median house cost is around $318,800 which makes it the second best in terms of housing. Henderson also has the 4th lowest crime rate making it a safe place to live. The Slon Canyon, Cowabunga Bay Waterpark and Lion Habitat Ranch are some of the most popular places in Henderson.
Where is the best place to live in Nevada for retirees?
Mesquite has a very low population of around 18,446 people and therefore is the best place for retirees who want to move from overpopulated or crowded places. The average median house cost is around $216,000, whereas the average house median rent is around $879 which is quite affordable to stay after retirement. If you are a retiree, you can move to Mesquite and enjoy the beautiful desert scenery.
See also: Best States to Retire
Do seniors pay property taxes in Nevada?
The senior citizens are not exempted from paying the property taxes. However, there are certain exemptions for two categories of people. The first category is that of veterans who have served the state during the war period and the second category is of veterans who are disabled with benefits of not less than 60% of service connected disability.
The state of Nevada enjoys a low cost of living and is in possession of both small towns and big bustling cities. Even after we’ve covered all the practical information about why Nevada may or may not be a good place to live, we believe that it comes down to your personal preferences and the lifestyle you see for yourself. We suggest clubbing all the pieces beyond the preconceived notions like we’ve done to gauge if you could one day call Nevada home.