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Building Your New Life
Choosing a Town
This blog post will help as you consider location, housing cost, schools, politics and more when choosing where to live in New Hampshire.
Understanding Town Property Taxes
Property taxes vary greatly by town in New Hampshire, and tax rates don’t tell the whole story. According to Porcupine Real Estate:
While a high tax rate may be undesirable, a particular property may have a low assessed rate. The assessed rate (determined by the town and not by the list price of the home) determines the total tax burden: Property taxes = tax rate x assessed value. A high tax rate shouldn’t necessarily disqualify a particular town from your list.
So while you may consult this town the tax rates map or spreadsheet, you may also want to consider the town’s median tax amounts (which take into account assessed value) and home prices. Read more in Understanding Property Taxes in New Hampshire and Taxes and Regulations.
2017 Median Rents
This readily available data comes from the more heavily populated areas of the state via Porcupine Real Estate. It will give you an idea of what to expect.
- Manchester: 1 bedroom: $962 – 2 bedroom: $1280 – 3 bedroom: $1300
- Nashua: 1 bedroom: $1195 – 2 bedroom: $1559 – 3 bedroom: $1522
- Concord: 1 bedroom: $994 – 2 bedroom: $1211 -3 bedroom: $1494
- Portsmouth: 1 bedroom: $1218 – 2 bedroom: $1522 – 3 bedroom: $1672
- Rochester: 1 bedroom: $896 – 2 bedroom: $1101 – 3 bedroom: $1394
- Dover: 1 bedroom: $1121 – 2 bedroom: $1217 – 3 bedroom: $1479
Immigrating to New Hampshire from Overseas
While moving generally involves a series of headaches for anyone, our fellow libertarians born overseas face an additional set of obstacles. Millions of people – including some Free Staters – have gone through the immigration process and are now American citizens. So, check out this article to start climbing that bureaucratic mountain!
Some areas of New Hampshire have spotty or limited mobile service. The Verizon network offers the best coverage overall, but not everywhere. Double check coverage maps before moving and consider switching phone service ahead of time. If you plan a visit, an inexpensive prepaid phone on the Verizon network may be worth looking into. Cable and internet services are reliable in most areas.
Setting Up Utilities
When you call to schedule the shutdown of utilities in your current state, consider requesting a letter of reference from each company. This will help you avoid deposit fees from new utilities. Many companies have an option for this letter to be ordered on their websites.
A few weeks before your move, call utilities in NH and set up your start dates and appointments for installations. Oftentimes you will attain excellent customer service with local, family owned companies, rather than large corporations.
Many New Hampshire towns don’t provide garbage pick-up. Residents either make trips to the dump or find a company that picks up garbage and/or recycling for a fee. Many a mover has connected with neighbors over trash (or at the dump!). You might also find this information in the local town paper.
All vehicles must be registered within 60 days of residency. To register your vehicles, submit title and proof of residency, as well as a picture ID to the Town Clerk. Here is the link to Town Clerk Offices. Registration is paid yearly and renews in the month you were born. In 2013, the fee for a new title is $25, the fee for plates is $8. The registration fee is based on the original price of the car, the current age, and gross vehicle weight. They can’t tell you ahead of time what this fee will be. Check out the New Resident of New Hampshire/Division of Motor Vehicles page for more information.
After registration is complete, you have 10 days to have your vehicle inspected. Here is a link to a list of Official Motor Vehicle Inspection Requirements. In order to get a NH Driver’s License, you need to visit a DMV office. It is important to note that you need specific IDs for the DMV.
Proof of residency is required to vote, to get a New Hampshire ID or driver’s license, and to file most government forms. For your average middle-class family this is fairly simple:
- Rent or purchase a house.
- Set up local utilities.
- Use your first utility bill as proof of residency.
Singles who rent rooms in most town can obtain a “letter of residency” from the town clerk. However, those in Manchester who rent a room with utilities included will need to get a letter notarized from someone they are living with, whether that’s a landlord or a roommate. This letter must include the following:
- The name of the landlord, roommate, etc. who is writing the letter for you
- The date
- Your full name
- The address of the residence
- That you are living there
- Their signature, signed in front of a public notary
- The public notary’s signature and stamp
- An example letter is as follows, made for Bob Mover by Rebecca Couchspace:
October 20th, 2007 To whom it may concern: Bob Mover is a resident of my household at 1776 Revolutionary Drive apt. 4 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Rebecca Couchspace Notary signature/stamp
One of the greatest challenges of making the move to New Hampshire is starting over without friends and family nearby. Those who move and stay for the long haul often report that their connections within the community have made it their home, and they can’t imagine living anywhere else. So consider plugging into the group of porcupines in your area as soon as you can to start building your life.
Children and Schools
There are many ways to learn about school options and connect with homeschool groups in your area.
- Children’s Scholarship Fund offers scholarships to allow low- and moderate-income families to choose the schools that best fit their children’s needs. They can also talk with you about meeting your family’s specific educational needs.
- Granite State Home Educators provides support and information for homeschoolers (also on Facebook).
- Porc Family Connection and Porcupine Homeschoolers on Facebook will are great places to ask questions.
New Hampshire does not require a license to openly carry guns, and permits for concealed handguns are optional, but not required. Here are some resources:
Getting Involved in Politics
The open, transparent and representative nature of politics in New Hampshire is one of the many attractive aspects of the state. The general requirement is that one has to be in state for two years before being elected as a state representative. However, there is generally no time requirement for local elections like planning board, school board, budget committee and city council.
Running for a local election can be as simple as just putting your name on the ballot. Many positions go unfilled; there is always a need for candidates. Even if you miss the election cycle, you might be appointed to fill a vacancy. See this article for more information.
In New Hampshire, most people will need a reputable vendor for propane (often for ranges) and/or oil (often for furnaces). In many locations there are competing fuel providers, so ask around or do some online research. Fuel companies offer plans that can save money and offer peace of mind, including pre-pay plans and automatic deliveries. It can pay to talk with a representative and ask about all of your options – also mention the competing companies you’re considering. Most people will benefit from setting up automatic deliveries so that heat is guaranteed in all weather, especially if you don’t have a backup heat source (fireplaces and pellet stoves are common).
Health and Wellness in the Winter
Natives will tell you that the key to enjoying winter is to find an outdoor sport or hobby to enjoy…it’s the easiest way to embrace life! Skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating are popular choices. With the right protective clothing and gear, almost any temperature feels comfortable for sports.
Unfortunately, a number of health conditions are aggravated by the cold. If you imagine yourself staying inside to keep warm and reduce pain, invest in some home exercise equipment. Exercise is proven to lift mood and overall well-being, which will improve your experience in New Hampshire!
It can help to plan a trip to see family or friends in a warmer climate sometime from January to March. The combination of seeing faraway loved-ones, enjoying a change of scenery, and basking in the warmer weather can be a great boost.