Moving to Indiana (long and semi-pointless)

I put this here in MPSIMS because it’s a bit mundane and pointless to most, but I think it’s a big deal and want to ask questions…If it gets moved, I figure I would understand…

This post is about what happens after I finish my BA and graduate from my small school in Ohio. I want to go to graduate school at Indiana University (Bloomington) for the Masters in Library Science program. Mrs. Small is almost halfway through her Masters in Criminology. She is doing a distance program from home through the University of Cincinnati. We don’t like the town we live in, but I like the university here. We are planning that once I finish, we will move to Indiana so I can go to school. So, I’m asking for any information about Indiana. I assume there are a few dopers from that land west of here, and I have some random questions.

In Indiana, do you have to have a degree in social work to attempt to become a LSW or would a related field work?

Is there a decent music scene in the Bloomington area? (They really should cover those things in the information on the college website, but since they don’t…) I know that with a decent drive I can get to different places that have good places for music, but I wonder if anyone has experience with the local setting there.

We plan on buying a house when we move. Should we use a local bank there? Should we use our regular bank? (National City as of right now) Should we look into a nationwide loan company?

We plan on visiting this spring, but is there anything else I should know about the area, state, or anything? I figure it’s not much different than here in Ohio, but I have noticed most anything for sale is a townhouse or condo, not full houses, but that isn’t a big deal. Basically, I am trying to get information from somewhere other than information available from the college before we go visit.


Hey Brendon…Welcome to the Hoosier State. I’m in Fort Wayne and well beyond my college years so I don’t have much to offer about the Bloomington area. Friends that have attended IU have all been pleased with the offerings and the campus is beautiful if that helps.

There are very few local banks anymore. I would recommend shopping for the best interest rate. In my experience, many mortgages are sold anyway so no matter who you pick today, you may be sending your payment to someone else tomorrow.

Climate is similar to Ohio so not much adjustment there. Maybe a little colder/snowier than southern Ohio.

I would suggest that you’re noticing more condos for sale than single-family-dwellings just due to the fact that this is a college town with a huge transient population. From what I understand, Indiana ranks among the lowest in housing prices in the nation so you should be able to get a good deal on real estate.

I know we have other Indiana Dopers on board so hopefully someone can come along and give more valuable advice.

Sorry that I can’t answer most of your questions. I spent one weekend in Bloomington and found it to be utterly charming! I am left with memories of all that beautiful Indiana granite, gorgeous spruce trees, and wonderful multi-cultural restaurants.

I believe the movie Breaking Away was set there.

I hope that you enjoy it. Think that I would!

I figure we will look for the lowest rate first and foremost, but I didn’t know about if we should look for a local bank there or here since I’ve never moved further than 2-3 hours in any direction at a time, so I always keep my bank. I wouldn’t mind getting rid of it though.

The town-houses we’ve seen information on are wonderful. Low-priced compared to the market here, but very nice inside and out. I have never lived in a townhouse-style (except for a week here at college, when I had to stay on campus for a short time) but I don’t think it would be too bad. I know my cousin does it and I’ve always loved his house.

Multi-cultural restaurants are great! I miss that about my old college. There was nothing there, but man, they had good food. Even on campus, it wasn’t bad. I think we’ll definitely be buying a house in that area though, instead of renting like we’re doing here.

Thanks so far! I appreciate all the answers so far (both of them!) and look forward to visiting the area in a few months…


Something very important to remember when you start living in Indiana. You are going to pay through the nose for your car registration. It is a tax based on how much your car is worth. You can find cars in towns an hour away from Ohio with Ohio plates because of the price difference.

Not a world shattering piece of information, but something to keep in mind when figuring your annual budget.

I actually live in Bloomington.
There is a music scene here, but it’s like any other college-town music scene: quite often there’s more heart than talent. But there are several smallish venues about that have shows on the weekends. Sometimes, some fairly biggish name people come through via the university: Bright Eyes, James Brown, Calexico (I’m kind of upset I missed that one).

Unfortunatley, I can’t help you out with the bank stuff; I rent. I will say that, for checking & savings accounts purposes, I’ve had good luck with the Indiana University Credit Union. They probably do home loans, so if you want to check that out…

Overall, Bloomington is an alright city. I’ve lived in better (Chicago), but I’ve lived in much worse (Orlando…shudder).

Ok, another question…how much tax is it for the car thing? Is it per year? I figure it wouldn’t kill us. I have a Hyundai and I’d like to get rid of it and go carless if I could get a job and live close enough to campus that I could use a scooter or bicycle. It’s hardly worth $1000 - 100k miles on a 5 year old car, base model, with power nothing, and it’s been wrecked twice. Mrs. Small has a 10 year old Nissan that she loves. If she does get rid of it, it’d be for a new vehicle though. I might have to make her wait until she finds a late 90’s car.

M. Meursault - Thank you so much for answering! I grew up near Ohio University in Athens, and their music scene is probably about the same. Of course, if Orlando was worse, Bloomington may be heaven. I do love Orlando.


Something else I was wondering about, M. Meursault, was the job market there. How do prospects look for college educated kids?

Recovering Hoosier checking in. I’m in North Carolina now.

Bloomington is very artsy-liberal. If you want music, it’s the best place to go. The second best is the Broad Ripple section of Indianapolis.

National City has a big presence in Indiana, so if you’re comfortable with them already, them maybe you should stick with them.

The downside to Bloomington is that it is a college town, so you have to deal with student crowding, plus they have some pretty strange zoning policies that drive up real estate prices. If you’re looking for a bargain, try Elletsville or Bedford. The downside to that is you’ll have to deal with redneck central.

RE: auto taxes, I can’t speak for Ohio, but Indiana’s taxes are no different than I’ve dealt with in Virginia or North Carolina, it’s just that Indiana collects them when you get license plates instead of the local taxing authority billing you separately.

We don’t pay any property taxes on cars in Ohio. Indiana and Virginia, and apparently North Carolina, do. Well, Indiana calls it an excise tax. So the bill is much higher when you have a new car in those states. Here it is like $35.00 a year to register, it doesn’t matter how new the car or what it costs.

berndon, for old cars it is not nearly as bad. A 10 year old Hyundai is about $12. It is the new cars that hurt. A friend in Huntington Indiana knew people on her street that registered their cars in Ohio. It is about an hour drive from anywhere in Ohio that can register cars to Huntington. Here is the Indiana BMV page, with a PDF of the excise taxes by cost and age of car.

VunderBob - artsy-liberal in a college town isn’t bad. I live in a town where the locals hate the college. They do everything they can to cause problems for the school (with expansion and funding) and sometimes refuse to hire people from the college for local jobs. I noticed this a while back, and I love the college here, but it’s annoying as hell.

Redneck central isn’t too big of a problem if it isn’t too bad. We both grew up in a town that had 1 stoplight, in a county that had 2 stoplights, and the most backwoods areas I’ve ever been to. People always joke about West Virginians and Kentucky-ans as being backwoods, and they refer to my area as redneck central.

Lok - Thanks for the link. It looks like we’ll only owe $24 if we keep our cars. If we got a new car, though, we could keep it registered in Ohio if we had to. My family actually does this for my cousin who lives in a state with an excise tax on cars.


I had a good time in Bloomington-- did my MA there. Coming from the Northwest it was a bit of a culture shock, but there were a couple of decent brewpubs (this is in 96-97, though. . . OMG that’s a long time ago.When did that happen?) I thought the music scene was delightful-- an earnest rockabilly and swing scene at the time (to the point of really eccentric) and there were some good spots (is the Bluebird still open? Bullwinkles? There were some good shows at the university (Smashing Pumpkins, for example) and other smaller shows (we went to the Reverend Horton Heat and Man or Astro-Man at small clubs-- that the kind of thing that pops into town). Is WFHB on the air still (a very odd community radio station that loves volunteers)? Good bakeries, some decent breakfasts, a good liquor store. Cheap, but that’s by coastal standards. Probably similar to S OH. B-ton itself is pretty liberal, but 20 minutes out of town it gets a tad. . . klannish (Martinsville?) although some of the towns to the east are charming-- Columbus and goofy places like Gnawbone, where there is (was?) a great huge swapmeet. Louisville is a reasonable drive away if Indy is too bleak of a city for you.

Be very careful if you try this. The state has had enough of people dodging auto excise taxes on vehicles that they made it a mandator part of the state income tax return that you have to report cars that you own and the state it’s registered in. If you lie, it’s perjury (and they prosecute gleefully), and if you answer truthfully about an out-of-state registration, you get a bill.

I see…

Looks like I’ll be paying my 24 dollars. I would rather pay that than risk getting in trouble when it’s not that big of a deal…

I was looking at the PDF on the DMV site, how do they do the excise on classic cars (I technically own a 75 MGB right now, but I am thinking of selling it) but do they do this the same way as insurance? (insure it for what it’s worth - so tax it on value but not by year)


That’s where you get a break. A 75 MGB is fully depreciated WRT taxes, no matter the condition and value, so you’ll get the minimum charge. I think it’s $25 (I’ve been out of state for a few years and I forget)

I may have to pull it out of my fathers garage and finish the restoration…hah…
That is probably a lot easier than keeping a car registered out of state…