So You Want To Move To Las Vegas, Is It Right For You?

Who Should Move To Las Vegas? Las Vegas is once again pretty much a dirt cheap place to live. Home prices are at rock bottom with no recovery in sight as unemployment is up around 1.5% in the past three months. If you move here with a job, are an entrepreneur who can work from anywhere, or have your own nest egg or retirement income, now is a great time. If you are going to need a job, don’t fool yourself and say “I’m sure something will pop up in my field if I look hard enough”. Highly unlikely. With 1 out of every 5 Las Vegans unemployed or under-employed, employers don’t want to risk a new resident who is more likely do decide they don’t like it here and leave.

I’m Not Much Of A Casino Person, Can I Still Enjoy Living There? – This question came in a few weeks ago on the Living In Las Vegas podcast, and is a good one. It isn’t so much whether you are a casino person or not, but what kind of person you are? If you dislike setting foot inside casinos (probably not many of you among our readers, but we know that some of you may pass this page link on to others who are simply looking to relocate west), probably not the right place for you. Want to go to a movie? It will most likely be in a casino. Want to go bowling? Ditto. The gaming properties in the Las Vegas suburbs really are the local activity hubs.

Live And Let Live – If you are the kind of person who is up at 4:30 AM to do yoga, take a long bike ride, and commute to work in a hybrid with your organic lunch in a reusable bag, more power to you. Knock yourself out. BUT… keep in mind that your next door neighbor may very well work swing shift at a resort property, get off work at 3 AM, stop by the local bar for a French Dip sandwich and fries, have a couple pops of booze and a beer with his meal, then mow down a some cigarettes while he runs $20 through the bartop video poker machine before arriving home just about the time you come back from your bike ride. Which is perfectly acceptable and normal here. So if something like that is going to bother you, Las Vegas probably isn’t for you.

Sin City – If you do business nationwide (or worldwide), measure any possible side effects of being located here. West of the Rockies, Las Vegas is simply seen as another Western city. But many in other parts of the U.S. still have this notion that if you locate to (or are located in) Las Vegas, you must be crooked!

Politics – U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) has been in the national spotlight significantly. That along with Las Vegas’s “liberal” approach to morals leads many to believe that Nevada must be a politically progressive bastion. Um, not exactly. Nevada is very libertarian (with a small letter “l”, I’m not talking about a bunch of Ron Paul voters). Nevada’s junior U.S. Senate seat has been in conservative Republican hands for over a decade. Both of Nevada’s past two governors (current and previous) are fiscally conservative Republicans. 2/3 of our state’s U.S. congressional delegation is in GOP hands.

Democrats hold the edge of registered voters in this state and both the Nevada State House and Assembly are controlled by Democrats. Hence, I’m not suggesting this is the most red of red states. But even with the voter edge, Rory Reid (Harry’s son, also a Democrat) was soundly defeated in his run for governor this past election cycle. If you want a super-blue state, you need to keep going until you hit a state that borders the Pacific Ocean. Some of the most unhappy people I know living here are strong progressives as the state doesn’t seem to have the will to increase taxes to fund things like education, transportation and social services.

Three Other Cities To Look At – If interested in Las Vegas, let me suggest three other cities to check out:

  • Phoenix – If you are a big-city person, the Phoenix area has it all. Major league sports teams, light rail, arts and culture, acclaimed institutes of higher learning, and a real sense of community. Or, pretty much everything we don’t have in Las Vegas! Just brace for the heat as summers are 3-4 degrees hotter than Las Vegas and summer humidity generally higher.
  • Reno – If moving to Nevada for the tax benefits but you are more of a Northern California type of person and like a more medium-size town atmosphere (while still enjoying a major airport and college sports), Reno could be your cup of tea. It does not have the Sin City image of Las Vegas and lost that “Divorce Capital” moniker decades ago. Expect plenty of Nevada sunshine, four actual seasons, and brisk winters.
  • Albuquerque – If you took Las Vegas, shrank the population just a bit, made it a few degrees cooler year-round, and removed all the casinos, you’d pretty much end up with Albuquerque. Like Reno, it has a major airport and college sports teams. Like Phoenix, a strong sense of community plus serious arts and culture plus their Rail Runner train for day trips to Santa Fe. And the Mountain Time Zone makes it a bit easier to do business with the east coast.

Me? I’m closing in on 20 years here in Las Vegas, and you couldn’t pry me out of here. But I’ve also known far too many people who relocated here from a traditional culture-rich area and ended up hating it. Do your homework first.

If you’ve made the move or are contemplating it, feel free to comment below.

Ted Newkirk

11 thoughts on “So You Want To Move To Las Vegas, Is It Right For You?”

  1. I lived in Las Vegas 2000-01 and would like to live there again. I don’t recall ever hearing my upstairs neighbors, and miss being able to get pretty much anything anytime of day. It depends on where you live.

  2. Ted,
    Me and my best friend are thinking of possibly moving to Vegas in the next 6-8 months.Owning a place would be ideal, not rich at all, just steady income, like to gamble within reason and looking for place near the strip area possibly or if you have any other suggestions as far as area’s let me know. I really enjoy the M resort

    Thanks for your time

    P.S. What breakfast buffet would you say is the tops? We really enjoy treating ourselves at Wynn LV for breakfast Mon. thru Friday Also spa/gym treat on the strip or elsewhere that would be awesome Ted.

  3. whwn buying a rental property, How reliable are the managing agents to take care of everyday needs of tenants and collecting rents. Also how truthful are they when a major project like a new air condioner or a water leak has to be bought or fixed. I live in New Jersey hoping to buy multible renal units. thanks for your consideration on this matter

  4. @Brian Some people associate the word libertarian with the specific political party or people who vote the libertarian party. I needed to note the “live and let live” definition of the word.

    @Michael Kruger The areas around M Resort (both Anthem and Southern Highlands) are both very nice and new. Quick straight shot up the I-15 to The Strip and airport. $80k will get you a 2/2 (bed, bath) a mile from M in the 89183 zip. Keep in mind that you are on the border of Las Vegas and Henderson, so you’ll have to do separate searches online for 89183, 89141, 89044 and 89052.

  5. “So You Want To Move To Vegas”…..

    LOLOLOLOLOL If you like being unemployed – go for it. On the upside: you can buy a $300,000 house for $145,000. But don’t know if your unemployment would cover a mortgage payment.

  6. I have recently moved to Las Vegas ( 2 weeks ago ) from the Midwest. I can honestly say it’s just not for me. I had a contract job lined up thru a dear friend, so that was the easiest part for me. The housing market is full of scams that you really have to watch for ( hire a realtor ). I would suggest not buying a home as the market here is going to get much worse. For example the most common response about the rental market is ” check the clark county website for the house address for foreclosure during your entire rental period “….. Really ? I have not heard that anywhere else but here.

    The people ? Ignorant doesn’t begin to describe it. They are more inclined to fight your, stab you, or worse shoot you than they are to discuss any sort of solution. It’s a dreaded place to meet anyone nice. They’ll talk to you in the carwash, but guess what ? They want something. Whether it be to sell you drugs or you to help distribute their new rap album, you’ll hear a ton of garbage from just normal day activities ( True story ). People will come to you in an intersection at night and wipe your windshield with their vomit filled spat, and expect you to pay or else they will chastise you ( another true story ).

    Everyone is nearly broke. I have yet to meet anyone that is really off and running financially. Under my contract I do deal with a lot of sales oriented people, the people that earn high 6 figure incomes and they are BROKE !!! I know one gentleman that earns 10k a month ( honestly ) and he sleeps on the sofa at the office for the past 40 days. He does his laundry in a machine that washes dirty towels all day. It’s just a sad, depressed area. NO WAY would I bring my child here for visits. I’m outta here as soon as my contract is up.

    Weather: It’s just plain HOT !!! You get in your vehicle from a long days work and it’s 120 degrees inside, and your pet is suffering with slobber for the entire ride back home because your brand new vehicle cannot cool down fast enough ( 15 minutes ). This is coming into the end of summer so take that for what it’s worth as it was bad timing for me and my decision to move and attempt to get acclimated from the midwest 70 degree days to the deserts’ 117 record setting heat waves. I blame that on me and only me….. But it’s still unbelievably hot and makes ANY out door activities a dangerous risk in the day. Your dog parks are completely empty until late at night. And then they are so packed it’s not worth going into.

    I’m bitter a bit, because I choose this place over a nice job offer in Portland. Hopefully and yes I’m trying very hard to convince that company to allow me to still come. We shall see !

    Long and short, if you like to party and you have nothing to loose but your trust fund, come to Vegas and Enjoy…. You can get a cheap date rather easy in the casino’s because they will approach you a number of times, you can experience fine dining almost anywhere.You can buy a Lamborghini , grab a date and see the hoover dam in a few hours time.You can take a helicopter almost anywhere you would like to go i.e. Grand Canyon in 30 minutes ( roughly ), the top of trump’s place if you so choose to land, and after that fun fulfilled day you can enjoy the delightful scenes of the strip from the 51st floor of the Rio to grab your last drink of the night ( pretty cool actually ). But in the end of that night you wake up, realize ” Hey I just did that ” and wonder………. Now where ? That’s my story of Vegas. Tread lightly friends.

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