You live and you learn or at least you're supposed to. Even though I've been on this earth longer than I care to admit, I can be slow on learning things. But, even with my limited abilities, there were 5 things I learned after my family moved back to Iowa.

If I mentioned every single thing I've learned over the last month, your finger would get tired from scrolling, so I'll limit this to 5 simple and admittedly kinda weird things.

1. If possible, wait to find a rental AFTER you arrive and not before

Out of respect to the property management people we worked with (and who were very polite), I won't mention names or specific locations, but we ended up renting a home from far away without checking it out in person first. Big no-no. I won't cross the sharing boundary and give too many specifics, but know that my family has nicknamed the home "Amityville" for a reason.

2. Rely on friends, family and/or future co-workers to help you scout the best areas to live in

Sure, you can read online reviews of Iowa towns and neighborhoods, but there's no replacement for opinions and advice from people who currently live there. We were fortunate to end up in one of the nicer (meaning friendlier) Iowa neighborhoods, but we realize now that we were fortunate.

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3. If you plan to buy a home after moving to Iowa, make sure you enlist the help of a real estate agent

We were interested in finding a home to buy shortly after landing in Iowa. We thought we could use websites like Zillow and Realtor to find a decent place. We were wrong. We learned the hard way that new homes get listed and seem to get offers and be pending within days if not hours of being available. Not trying to make this sound like a commercial for a real estate agent, but you really need the professional advice of someone who knows what homes are about to become available so you can be ready to strike if the right opportunity presents itself.

4. Get help unloading your moving truck

When we made up our mind to return to Iowa, I reserved a moving truck and planned to load and unload myself. Apparently, I thought I was Chuck Norris. This just in. I'm not. I forgot it had been years since we had moved and I got help back then. Trying to save money now was a big mistake. The money I didn't spend on moving help will now likely be spent on a chiropractor.

5. Don't make fun of Iowa State alumni

My wife went to the University of Iowa for several years so we're Hawkeyes in our home. That means you won't find Cyclone gear in our closets. That's fine, but it's not a good idea to say things on social media about how bad their football team will likely be this year since that move you're about to make back to the state may result in an Iowa State alum being your neighbor. Don't ask me how I know.

All things considered, Iowa has been very welcoming to our return. If you don't live here and are about to make this your home, maybe some of these tips will help you avoid the mistakes I made.

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LOOK: Here are the 25 best places to live in Iowa

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Iowa using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

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