Thanks for the info. I agree with your suggesting about renting first. If I do take the job, I plan to rent for 6-12 months before committing to a home purchase.
While that salary may seem low"in California, it is high for NC so it is tempting from that stand point.
Ultimately I think my decision will be based on the culture so I'll try to negotiate with my boss to see if he'll let me work from the Charlotte office for a few weeks as sort of a test drive before accepting the job.
Charlotte isn't too bad. Beaches close by and you can drive out to the mountains in western NC (hiking, kayaking, etc.). Cost of living is quite low. Has a few professional sport franchises to enjoy (or despair over). Industry is heavily bank/finance which is probably why you got the offer out there.
Since you're from NY I'll mention politics. I taught in NC years after going to law school there so I'd say that if you're liberal, it's not the best city to live in (it's not Chapel Hill for example) and some of the commentary I heard out there is ear-scratching. But if your politics lean conservative or you don't really care then that's a non-factor.
112K in NC will stretch quite a bit. While Charlotte weather isn't going to be San Diego-you could always do worse and end up like me -in the mid-west for a couple of years. At least you will have the ocean.
It depends mostly. I am at the phase where I want to settle down and have kids and so really looking at CA in a different light- mainly because of this mini boom in real estate prices. I love the weather, the scenery, but don't really care for 600-800k mortgage.
I also have friends and relatives in CA,TX, IL, VA, MS and WA state. So am actually looking again to possibly move for a lower priced state. Maybe the years I spent in the mid-west, just can't bring myself to take on 600-800k mortgage for a decent house and question why I should go live in a townhouse or an apt??
Southern CA weather is superb, but I got used to the mid-west-well except the cold winters. But honestly wouldn't mind TX . I don't know much about Charlotte, but spent a while in the sub-urbs of Atlanta for a project. Nice place-took a few driving trips to South Carolina , Alabama and Louisiana. But ok.
It is not going to be CA-the humidity and the bugs are nasty. But it is not going to be a mid-west winter. I find I miss the mountains and the ocean the most. I am actually considering Oregon and WA too- from what I hear the weather sucks, with 9 months of cloudy skies-but at least the mountains will be close by. The only reason I am looking outwards of CA is the real estate prices-I just don't want to plunk so much down on a mortgage and not enjoy life.
By the way, as you probably know W2 or C2C is pretty good, especially when you have a lot of overtime! 1099 and C2C with expenses, you can lower quite a bit. Only thing is you have no vacation and no paid holidays or sick days or any day. But whatever suits you in this time of life-you can always come back!!
Agree-all things being equal, that would be my first choice as a place to settle down. In terms of weather, people, culture, just about everything-but the house prices. Now they seem to be going up again.
Since you're 34, I'd say go for it. Maybe you'll love it and get rooted there, or maybe you won't like it and come back to CA. The older you get the harder it is to change anything. The time to try a big move like that is now.
Regarding making big changes, I second Patrick's comment. I lived overseas for 15 years when I was younger and loved all of it -- big moves like that get much harder with the years.
Regarding moving to NC, I live now in NorCal and was just offered a transfer with my company to western NC -- we took a trip out to suss out the place. Short story is that the town itself was very nice, but it was (from our point of view) the only 'nice' place within 800 miles. It (Asheville) is quite liberal and we would have felt at home there, but ONLY there.
Asheville punches far above its weight in terms of restaurants, music scene etc., and after asking lots of people we met there (all of whom were new arrivals from somewhere else....) why, they said it is sustained by massive tourism from other parts of the south. Basically, it is surrounded by 10 million people within 3 hours drive (Charlotte is included in that radius) who hate where they live, and Asheville is the weekend escape of choice. When we asked people there where they go when they want to escape Asheville, they stumbled and in the end said 'get on a plane to NY' (out of my budget).
At which point I started reflecting on what is within 3-4 hours drive from where I live now, and the list includes: Tahoe, SF, Napa/Sonoma, Mendocino coast, Big Sur, Lassen/Shasta. There you have it. Some of the most stunningly beautiful parts of the U.S. combined with a fine, not too large city. That is why CA (particularly NorCal, imo) continues to be hard to beat.
More to your question about Charlotte, we flew out of Charlotte, and our impression of it was that it is the south, with all that implies. To me (and my wife) it felt like a foreign country.