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kellia
09-04-2008, 06:44 PM
It was suggested that dh apply for a position in Wash. DC. I am scared to death about what the cost of living would be out east, we currently are in Michigan. His salary would double, but I have no idea what houses, taxes, utilities, insurance, food, etc. would cost there. I have been shocked on some of these posts by how much others in the U.S. pay for things!

Also, he would be able to work at home quite a bit, so we could live farther away than if he had a daily commute. Any suggestions on where to look for houses?? MD or VA? I know that they have trains into the city, but have no clue where they start from or how long it would take. We currently live in a smaller town in just a regular 1960's ranch, wouldn't need much more as long as it was in a good area with good schools. Any help??

I also would have to get a new job, are those areas that are hiring? In Michigan the economy is horrible, but I am not sure which other areas of the US are doing better.

Any advice at all would be appreciated! :goodvibes We don't know the area at all, so don't even know where to begin. The thought of how much we are going to have to pay just to sell our house here sends me into a panic, I am worried about what we'd get into out there!

melcan
09-04-2008, 07:05 PM
I can tell you, Northern Virginia is a VERY expensive place to live. Google a cost of living calculator on the web, you can type in your salary for where you live and it will tell you how much you need to make in the other city.

I live in Southwestern Virginia, my house in Northern Virginia would be about 200% more. The farther you get out from the D.C. area the more affordable (if you can call it that) it gets.

tinytink
09-04-2008, 07:17 PM
I can tell you, Northern Virginia is a VERY expensive place to live. Google a cost of living calculator on the web, you can type in your salary for where you live and it will tell you how much you need to make in the other city.

I live in Southwestern Virginia, my house in Northern Virginia would be about 200% more. The farther you get out from the D.C. area the more affordable (if you can call it that) it gets.
I live in Northern VA (Fairfax County-www.fairfaxcounty.gov)about 12 miles away from DC and right now our housing market has cooled down and you should be able to find a decent home for a really good value right now. We use Metro as our train system and we also have Marc and VRE(virginia rail express). If your husband could carpool he could use the HOV(high occupancy vehicles) which on some roads are 2 or 3 persons to a vehicle.
Other neighboring counties are:
Arlington: http://www.co.arlington.va.us/ (very close to DC but more expensive to live in I grew up in this county and I love it)
Loudoun: http://www.loudoun.gov/ (majorly boomed in the past few years, much longer commute to DC)
Town of Herndon: http://www.herndon-va.gov/ (again much longer communte to DC but again close to the Loudoun Co which has expanded in housing, retail, and businesses)
Fauquier Co: http://www.co.fauquier.va.us/ (again further away but commutable)

each of those website could give you an idea of VA's taxes. I am not that familiar with MD so maybe someone else can help you with that state.

Good Luck

fireworks fan
09-04-2008, 07:24 PM
Hi-

I moved from Arlington, Va to Chicago 3 years ago, after 12 years in VA and DC. Housing is definitely more expensive there, but I have found that EVERYTHING ELSE is more expensive here. My insurance costs are much higher, my property taxes are more than tripled, the schools here are not that great-so I'm paying for private school (Arlington schools are some of the best in the country), gas is more, even accounting for the huge increase nationally, and food is more with less variety in the number and type of grocery stores. Then you have to add in all the free recreational activities in DC-all the museums, zoo, and tons of events on the Mall are all FREE! The only thing about even is the bad traffic :lmao:

Anyway, I loved Arlington. It was a great small community near a large city.

melcan
09-04-2008, 07:27 PM
Hey tiny, My best friend lives in Fairfax. I was just up there last weekend.

bdcp
09-04-2008, 07:43 PM
I have lived in both MD and VA and owned homes in both. MD has higher overall taxes due to county taxes tacked onto state taxes. Virginia has personal property taxes on vehicles, but even with new cars, we've found it cheaper than MD taxes. Property values tend to be better in VA. We are currently in Loudoun and home prices have dropped a lot. Good thing we're staying put for a while and we put 20% down on our house to begin with. We love Loudoun. We both work in Fairfax county though so the commute is like 10 miles. When you say Washington, DC, do you mean downtown Washington? There are other things to consider such as subway (Metro) or bus vs driving and which part of DC his job will be in. I worked in DC during college and commuted via bus and metro. Most of the communities with regular old '60's ranch homes aren't in the neighborhoods you'd want your kids going to school. The best schools are usually in the newest neighborhoods. Our boys both graduated HS in the town/area we live in now.

tinytink
09-04-2008, 08:11 PM
Hi-

I moved from Arlington, Va to Chicago 3 years ago, after 12 years in VA and DC. Housing is definitely more expensive there, but I have found that EVERYTHING ELSE is more expensive here. My insurance costs are much higher, my property taxes are more than tripled, the schools here are not that great-so I'm paying for private school (Arlington schools are some of the best in the country), gas is more, even accounting for the huge increase nationally, and food is more with less variety in the number and type of grocery stores. Then you have to add in all the free recreational activities in DC-all the museums, zoo, and tons of events on the Mall are all FREE! The only thing about even is the bad traffic :lmao:

Anyway, I loved Arlington. It was a great small community near a large city.
I personally love my choices in grocery stores, Wegmans, Harris Teeter, Giant, Safeway, Magruders, Costco, Sam's Club, BJ's and not to mention all the asian and latino ones that are popping up everywhere.

Arlington is great but it is expensive, I spent the majority of my life there and I would love to move back but we've settled in Fairfax and we are not planning on selling our house either because like many we purchased when the market was super hot and put down over 20 percent so we're staying put.

StephMK
09-04-2008, 09:53 PM
Where exactly he'd be working definitely makes a difference & if he has any flexibility in work hours. I grew up in Ffx Co & recommend many of the schools there too. Not sure how old your kids are, the high schools are pretty big around there. What type of activities are your kids involved in? What type of work do you do? Anything in particular you want to have close access to?

We moved away almost 2 yrs ago & I do NOT miss the traffic there! But we pay as much in NE as we did in VA for property tax-auto & home. Our home is 2x as big, cost 1/2 as much but taxed the same as in VA. We were told the cost of living would be so much cheaper in NE but it's really not. We pay more for medical care, groceries/gas maybe just a little less but most stuff is comparable to what we paid in VA. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to help. We looked at a lot of areas in & around Ffx Co over the years when moving around to diff. houses. Good luck!!

kellia
09-05-2008, 05:16 AM
Thanks for the replies!! He would work a couple of blocks away from the Mall. It is supposed to have flexible hours and telecommuting, though, or we wouldn't even be considering it.

Our dd is 13, boys are 5. We definately need good schools! Dd is on the swim team, boys aren't old enough to really be into anything yet. Any idea for how long the commute would be living farther out in some of the towns mentioned? We both currently commute over 50 miles each way to work, but it only takes us an hour to drive. I am sure it wouldn't be like that out there!

I work in IT, have a business degree.

Are there lots of parks with bike paths in the area? That is one thing we love doing as a family.

What are the summers like? Is it humid? Coming from Michigan, we don't do well in heat! ;) I really won't miss the winters, though.

Oh, can anyone give me a ballpark figure of what latchkey and summer daycare costs there?

holbear
09-05-2008, 06:19 AM
I live in Germantown, MD. It's about 15 miles NW of DC. If you are looking to take the metro, it is convenient but ends in Gaithersburg. Many will drive to the metro and park but the parking is tough. If you don't get there early enough there is no parking left. There is also a train that travels out to WV (MARC train). Many people do live that far out and commute. The train is strictly a commuter train which means it only travels for a block of time in the morning and evening (think 5-9 am and 4-7 pm, but I'm not sure of the hours). My DH does commute to DC and it takes him just about an hour. When we considered moving here we picked Germantown because it was about the furthest he wanted to consider commuting from.

The house market has dropped and you can find houses for much better then a couple years ago. It is still a pricey area. Taxes are high. Montgomery tax is a 60% piggyback tax on top of the state tax. We have been happy with the public school system and the resources for kids are outstanding (sports, libraries, ect) It is a crowded area all around and very ethnically and economically diverse.

Good luck with your decision.

PlutoPony
09-05-2008, 06:24 AM
Our dd is 13, boys are 5. We definately need good schools!
There are obviously good schools and less good schools within a district. IMO if you look along the I-66 corridor you should be OK. There are good schools going down I-95 but there seems to be a little more variance between schools that way. Keep in mind this is strictly my opinion and others may disagree :)
Dd is on the swim team,
No problem there. Many neighborhoods with a pool have summer swim teams and there are a LOT of kids doing year round programs. Don't know how the cost of that will compare to what you're used to however.... Otherwise you'll likely find all the sports here that you have in Michigan Hockey is not big here as what you're used to but it can be found...
Any idea for how long the commute would be living farther out in some of the towns mentioned?
It's not so much how far you are as much as how's traffic, accidents, weather, etc. It may be worthwhile to look at commuting via Metro (that goes out only as far as Vienna in the west and Springfield in the south) which still puts in in pretty expensive housing. Taking VRE (express train) would allow you to work out further since it goes much further into the suburbs both west and south. If you're driving IMO I wouldn't go further than Prince William County, and if you really like Fauquier thoroughly check out the commute - some parts don't add much time but others can add a lot. Driving from western Prince William is 40 minutes without traffic and maybe 60-90 (or more on a bad day) with traffic - but it's slow moving stop and go driving....They are constantly building roads here and it is getting better slowly. But the the commute can vary quite a bit day to day...

Are there lots of parks with bike paths in the area? That is one thing we love doing as a family.
Yes there are, that's something that's gotten much better since we've lived here. There are also the bike paths on the C & O Canal, and the WO&D Railroad paths.

What are the summers like? Is it humid? Coming from Michigan, we don't do well in heat! ;) I really won't miss the winters, though.

Summers are hot and humid (this year was cooler than normal :thumbsup2). Winters are all over the place. Not much snow, some ice. Be aware that schools close and roads are an absolute disaster when there's an inch of snow... that takes some getting used to. Most winters are very mild but we're due for a snowy one....

Housing costs may be a rude awakening for you. This is definitely a buyer's market but things are selling if priced right. For a house in a decent middle class neighborhood you might be able to get in under $400k now but you'd have to look hard (we're in western Prince William). These same houses were going for mid $500's two years ago so you see the prices have come down. Don't know about townhouses but I'd guess lower $300's if you want something in good neighborhood and condition. Generally housing prices go up as you go closer in. Also closer in houses tend to be older, much more new construction out in the 'burbs. There are bargains to be found in closer, those typically need quite a bit of work but may be worth it if you like that type of thing....

HTH - good luck!

Edit - am just giving VA info since that's what I'm most familiar with. Don't mean to imply that the MD suburbs wouldn't be a good place to live!

punkin
09-05-2008, 06:40 AM
I live in Montgomery County in MD. There are some very good schools here, but the prices of housing are fairly high (though much lower than a year ago). I like it better than VA mainly because the traffic seems to be much lighter (that's relative, mind you).

czycropper
09-05-2008, 07:54 AM
If my DH would have the option to live down there we would be there! :lmao:

I lived down there for many years. I started out in the MD suburbs and moved to NoVa and never regretted it for a minute. We loved Northern VA. We lived in McLean (rented) and Vienna (owned).

DH's office was in Downtown DC and most of the times he would drive in and leave really early in the morning. My office was in Reston so I was going opposite traffic and had no problems.

Summers were very humid but to be honest so are most summers up & down the East Coast (well, maybe not in New England but they sure are in New Jersey).

I miss living down there a lot but it looks like we're stuck here in New Jersey since this is where my DH's job is but at least he's being put in charge of the London Office in 2009 so we'll get to travel over there every quarter!

pbharris4
09-05-2008, 08:11 AM
We live in the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania County area which is about an hour south or 50 miles south of D.C. ther is alot of commuters down here, in fact, one neighbor works for House of Rep. at the Ford Bldg in D.C. another works at the Pentagon, another is a pilot in D.C., another at the Dept. of Agriculture, etc. alot of people have moved down here to have a bigger house or more land as it is cheaper to live here then closer to the city, but then you have to commute whether by train (VRE) or carpool, some telecommute.

What makes the Fredericksurg area unique is that we are smack dab in the middle between D.C. and Richmond (50 miles south) so you can work either place. Although the whole area compared to other places in the US (except NY, CA and some others)is still pretty high price wise. HOWEVER, this is a great time to buy a house..and get more house for your $$$.

You're in IT which is great. So is my DH and he used to say that D.C. is the Silicon Valley of the East. The 3 big defense contractors would be a good place to look for a job. Northrop Grumman is always looking for IT people. I'd get in touch with a realtor in the area. It all depends on how far you are willing to go and what you can afford as well.

And as others have stated...housing might be more in the D.C. area, but with everything else...there is more competition (i.e. groceries, clothing) so they can have lower prices. My parents in NE Penna. had lower house payments, but there were only 2 grocery stores and the cost of food was ridiculous.

If you do look in this area....the Chancellor district is the best in Spotsylvania County, IMO, but there are other nice areas too. Best Wishes in your new adventure!!

PrincessDadx2
09-05-2008, 09:43 AM
I have been in Fairfax County for 30 years and currently live in Centreville. Lots of change over the years, but still love the area.

Cost of living depends on your house. Besides housing you can buy anything you want for about as cheap as possible between Costco and the big box retailers, local immigrant shops, and online. We live in a late 1960's area and you can currently buy a SFH for less than $400,000. Don't know how long that will last. My house has gone from $560 to $400 in the last few years, but still significantly more than I paid. After the current election I expect things to stablize and then begin to move up again. Real estate here is about a 10 year boom bust cycle.

Our neighborhood is nice with trees, bike paths and great schools within walking distance. Many swim teams, but I think it was a lot more competative/intense 10-15 years ago. Commute time to DC is probably 1hr to 1 1/4 hr by metro bus - train if you are close to metro. Drive time is 40min to 2hr depending on time of day, accidents etc.

If you breathe and know IT you should be able to quickly get a job for $50,000+. If you have a security clearance or special skills easily 6 figures. Lot of contractors/homeland security work in western fairfax county with about a 20 min commute from my house.

Definitely a quicker pace of life with a lot of options. Many transient/busy people so you need to get involved with a Church or club or something to make friends. We have always known our neighbors though that is community dependent. Our neighborhood has block parties etc. and we are active in the PTA.

Summer is hot and humid, but no worse than WDW :thumbsup2

Don't need childcare, but I know our school has before and after care. I think that is one other cost that is probably higher than other areas.

Great location for doing things - 2 hours to the mountains 3 hours to the beach easy drive to Philly or NYC or Williamsburg or Downtown DC is mostly free, etc.

Don't know what your DH salary is, but I would want to have a household income of +100k to live here. People do it for less, but it is more enjoyable if you have the resources.

Fabinva
09-05-2008, 10:30 AM
I live in Bristow, VA and work in Wash DC (close to the mall). I commute daily by car and very early (6am) and it takes me an hour to get to work. I have the option to take the train (VRE) but found it is faster if I drive and I get free parking.
Bristow is west of Fairfax in Prince William County, it is a new area very and great place for families. We love our neighborhood and the schools.
Right now house prices had dropped a lot so you should be able to get a good deal.

clutter
09-05-2008, 11:45 AM
There are obviously good schools and less good schools within a district. IMO if you look along the I-66 corridor you should be OK. There are good schools going down I-95 but there seems to be a little more variance between schools that way. Keep in mind this is strictly my opinion and others may disagree :)

No problem there. Many neighborhoods with a pool have summer swim teams and there are a LOT of kids doing year round programs. Don't know how the cost of that will compare to what you're used to however.... Otherwise you'll likely find all the sports here that you have in Michigan Hockey is not big here as what you're used to but it can be found...

It's not so much how far you are as much as how's traffic, accidents, weather, etc. It may be worthwhile to look at commuting via Metro (that goes out only as far as Vienna in the west and Springfield in the south) which still puts in in pretty expensive housing. Taking VRE (express train) would allow you to work out further since it goes much further into the suburbs both west and south. If you're driving IMO I wouldn't go further than Prince William County, and if you really like Fauquier thoroughly check out the commute - some parts don't add much time but others can add a lot. Driving from western Prince William is 40 minutes without traffic and maybe 60-90 (or more on a bad day) with traffic - but it's slow moving stop and go driving....They are constantly building roads here and it is getting better slowly. But the the commute can vary quite a bit day to day...


Yes there are, that's something that's gotten much better since we've lived here. There are also the bike paths on the C & O Canal, and the WO&D Railroad paths.



Summers are hot and humid (this year was cooler than normal :thumbsup2). Winters are all over the place. Not much snow, some ice. Be aware that schools close and roads are an absolute disaster when there's an inch of snow... that takes some getting used to. Most winters are very mild but we're due for a snowy one....

Housing costs may be a rude awakening for you. This is definitely a buyer's market but things are selling if priced right. For a house in a decent middle class neighborhood you might be able to get in under $400k now but you'd have to look hard (we're in western Prince William). These same houses were going for mid $500's two years ago so you see the prices have come down. Don't know about townhouses but I'd guess lower $300's if you want something in good neighborhood and condition. Generally housing prices go up as you go closer in. Also closer in houses tend to be older, much more new construction out in the 'burbs. There are bargains to be found in closer, those typically need quite a bit of work but may be worth it if you like that type of thing....

HTH - good luck!

Edit - am just giving VA info since that's what I'm most familiar with. Don't mean to imply that the MD suburbs wouldn't be a good place to live!


I'm going to agree with most of this!

I'm a fairfax person, and many of the schools west of the beltway are great. Many nieghborhoods have swim clubs in the neighborhood, and they mostly have swim teams. I know some other kids that swim the rest of the year, but I'm not sure where. There are sports leagues covering the various areas of Fairfax that will have great opportunities for your boys to try a variety of sports as they grow. As an IT person, you can pretty much be assured of getting a job here. Summer camps can run a huge range of differences. If you can get into the school's programs, they can be inexpensive. After school is $275/month and summer was maybe $200/week or so. There are specialty camps that will run more in the summer, but there are tons to choose from. I love it here, except for the cost of housing.

lvanleer
09-05-2008, 12:46 PM
Well I've lived in Montgomery County Maryland all my life and love it....we have great schools and neighborhoods here....however another county that you might want to look into is Frederick County Maryland immediately north of my county....the MARC commuter train is convenient and the property costs are a little lower up there.....hope that helps.

punkin
09-05-2008, 03:11 PM
Don't know what your DH salary is, but I would want to have a household income of +100k to live here. People do it for less, but it is more enjoyable if you have the resources.

Absolutely. Housing, even with the current drops is astronomical compared to most of the country. If you want a good school district, prepare for a nice sized mortgage.

kellia
09-05-2008, 03:47 PM
Thanks again for the posts!! I checked out a couple of the Virgina county sites posted above, haven't gotten to MD yet. Property taxes there don't look too bad, it looked like it's a little over $1000/year per $100,000 your house costs, is that right? Actually, that would be less than what we pay now.

What is the personal property tax? You have to pay taxes every year on your car or just when you buy it? It looks like that is about 4%, so I have to pay $400/year if my car is worth $10,000?? Are there any other taxes?

One other thing, are there any additional taxes for working in DC or do you have to pay anything extra if you live outside the state the state you work in? DC is considered a state for taxes, isn't it?

soccerchick
09-05-2008, 04:24 PM
Thanks for the replies!! He would work a couple of blocks away from the Mall. It is supposed to have flexible hours and telecommuting, though, or we wouldn't even be considering it.

Our dd is 13, boys are 5. We definately need good schools! Dd is on the swim team, boys aren't old enough to really be into anything yet. Any idea for how long the commute would be living farther out in some of the towns mentioned? DBIL commutes from Leesburg to near verizon Center - takes car to Herndon, rides bus to Metro. Metro to office. 1.5 hours.
We both currently commute over 50 miles each way to work, but it only takes us an hour to drive. I am sure it wouldn't be like that out there!

I work in IT, have a business degree.

Are there lots of parks with bike paths in the area? That is one thing we love doing as a family. Some areas have more - Arlington BOS is very anti-car, so it seems like ther are more trails there, the W&OD trail goes through much of NoVa

What are the summers like? Is it humid? YES Coming from Michigan, we don't do well in heat! ;) I really won't miss the winters, though.

Oh, can anyone give me a ballpark figure of what latchkey and summer daycare costs there?


Parts of Arlington would be ideal for both commute and schools. Good and bad side of the housing market is that Arlington is one of the few places where prices have held steady in this economy, so it'll be expensive, but will likely hold resale value. Parts of Fairfax are nice. Most of Loudoun is nice (I live there!), but a commute downtown would be long. Property values have gone down, making it more affordable. The price slide seems to have leveled off, at least what I see in the towns around me.DH commutes to Arlington, but at off hours so it is good.

I would avoid Prince William Co. since you'd be stuck with I- 95.

PlutoPony
09-05-2008, 06:31 PM
I would avoid Prince William Co. since you'd be stuck with I- 95.
Double check your map :) I-66 goes thru a good chunk of northern PW County (that's the area we live in) as well as I-95.... It's a big county! I-66 is 8 lane out to the 234 bypass, and they're working on widening it out to Route 29 right now.

PlutoPony
09-05-2008, 06:35 PM
What is the personal property tax? You have to pay taxes every year on your car or just when you buy it?
Car tax (i.e. personal property) is paid every year and is actually due next month. I think your % number is right, haven't checked it lately - I just write the check and the amount is less each year (as the car depreciates) so I'm happy ;) . Can't think of any other odd taxes but there are probably some out there.

soccerchick
09-05-2008, 07:43 PM
Double check your map :) I-66 goes thru a good chunk of northern PW County (that's the area we live in) as well as I-95.... It's a big county! I-66 is 8 lane out to the 234 bypass, and they're working on widening it out to Route 29 right now.

Is that any better? 66 is the reason we didn't move to Centreville.

PlutoPony
09-05-2008, 08:02 PM
Is that any better? 66 is the reason we didn't move to Centreville.

IMO yes, much better. As I mentioned I-66 is 8 lane out to us, one lane is HOV during rush hours up to the Beltway. Plus western PW County has been on a road building kick for the past few years (thank goodness) so you can actually get around pretty well now. My husband's commute of 6 miles (in PWC but not on any interstates) started out at 15 minutes when we moved here 10 years ago, got up to 40 minutes :scared1: and is now back to 15 minutes or less.

bluesaturn
09-05-2008, 09:43 PM
If you are going to look into Maryland, try Calvert or Anne Arundel counties. They are about an hour commute into DC, which is relatively typical in the area. They are decent, safe areas with good schools, and the cost of living may be less shocking than NOVA. Unfortunately I can't fill you in on home prices because I don't own a home but hopefully a Marylander can jump in. And just so you know, you want to avoid Prince Georges county (which is right outside DC) as it's difficult to find a safe area and the schools are not good.

DisBride2007
09-05-2008, 09:48 PM
I can't offer any advice about DC (although I :lovestruc DC and would move there in a second if I could) but I just wanted to offer a suggestion about selling your house in Michigan. (I'm from there, and my parents just sold their house there, and it wasn't easy.) First, if your DH is getting transferred or recruited for a position, see if you can include their paying for any part of your selling process as part of the negotiation process. Sometimes companies will pay for your Realtor, or even buy your house from you (and then sell it themselves). Second, if you do put your house on the market, it's probably better to price it lower than the comps and sell it quickly, rather than have it sit on the market for months while prices continue to drop. :scared1:

Anyway good luck with your research!

StephMK
09-06-2008, 08:21 AM
I can't resist throwing out a recommendation for Burke Centre. I think it's burkecentre.org. 10 mins to the Beltway, good schools, great neighborhood for families. 5 pools, membership for the season is $100 incl. all of them, bike/walking trails all throughout the neighborhood, wooded, several ponds, tons of families & kids.

Burke Racquet & Swim is in the middle & has a competitive swim team. Lots of housing types, SFH, townhouses, condos, range of prices. 5 minutes from Burke Lake w/5 miles trail around it, mini golf, fishing. Mall is 20 min away w/lots of shopping there. Lots of sports for kids there and DH's cousin plays hockey as did his son so it's there somewhere.

It is a PUD so you can't change your house w/o getting it approved but at least you know your neighbor won't have a purple door and junker in the front yard.

mjkacmom
09-06-2008, 08:22 AM
I can't offer any advice about DC (although I :lovestruc DC and would move there in a second if I could) but I just wanted to offer a suggestion about selling your house in Michigan. (I'm from there, and my parents just sold their house there, and it wasn't easy.) First, if your DH is getting transferred or recruited for a position, see if you can include their paying for any part of your selling process as part of the negotiation process. Sometimes companies will pay for your Realtor, or even buy your house from you (and then sell it themselves). Second, if you do put your house on the market, it's probably better to price it lower than the comps and sell it quickly, rather than have it sit on the market for months while prices continue to drop. :scared1:

Anyway good luck with your research!

Totally agree here - my SIL moved from Michigan to Ohio a few years ago, and they're still renting out the Michigan house, because they can't sell it.

DVC Sadie
09-06-2008, 08:51 AM
I live in Montgomery County in MD. There are some very good schools here, but the prices of housing are fairly high (though much lower than a year ago). I like it better than VA mainly because the traffic seems to be much lighter (that's relative, mind you).

I have to agree with you punkin!

The traffic is definitely better going into the city from Montgomery County, especially when taking the metro. The traffic is horrible going into the city from Va.

clutter
09-06-2008, 09:02 AM
I have to agree with you punkin!

The traffic is definitely better going into the city from Montgomery County, especially when taking the metro. The traffic is horrible going into the city from Va.

;) Not if you live along I-66 and have a Prius!! :hippie:

My 24 mile commute takes 50 minutes (worst case except for an accident) in the morning, and as little as 25 minutes in the evening, if I can time it right. I can beat home some of the guys that live in the city.

Seriously, metro DC has high housing costs and tough (and expensive) commutes, but it has so many amenities that make it such a great place to live!!

DizkneeDenna
09-06-2008, 09:30 AM
I know alot of other Diser's will disagree with me, but I just thought you should have another opinion from someone who is trying VERY hard to get out of this area.

Hubby and I moved to Arlington 5 years ago....we do love it up here but it is just too expensive. We were under the wrong assumption that it was just housing that was off the charts, once you got somewhere to live then everything else would be normal. NOT....

Everything is move expensive in Northern Virginia....food, gas, movies, clothes, restaurants, taxes, insurance. Now this is just our perspective, but we only make just over 100K between the two of us. We both believe that you need TWO salary's in the 100K range to make it up here....to get ahead.

To be fair we were not in a position to live an hour away and commute, because of personal/health reasons that was not an option for us, so we had to move close in. So honestly I don't know what things are like out in the suburbs of DC....maybe they are cheaper but I don't think by much.

I will tell you about our AHAH moment....we were at DisneyWorld (one of the most expensive resorts in the world!) and we were paying for lunch....and said to each other oh that's not so bad....and then it hit us....we were living everyday in an area that had resort prices! That's when we agreed we need to get out of here! :)

So, I just wanted to give you another perspective, make sure you research all financial aspects of moving to the DC area. If you do decide that you can truly afford to live here I know you will love it!

Good Luck!

musical2
09-06-2008, 09:54 AM
I work in Washington DC and I live in Odenton, MD. This is a small community in Anne Arundel County. We have decent schools and from here you can either drive in or take the train. The MARC train stops in Odenton. We love it here. The home prices are decent. It is a relatively safe area. Also, if you are IT there are many opportunities in the Baltimore/Washington International Airport technology corridor. There are many IT companies here. Northrup Grumman and General Dynamics are a couple of the big names here. Many smaller companies.

punkin
09-06-2008, 09:57 AM
I know alot of other Diser's will disagree with me, but I just thought you should have another opinion from someone who is trying VERY hard to get out of this area.

Hubby and I moved to Arlington 5 years ago....we do love it up here but it is just too expensive. We were under the wrong assumption that it was just housing that was off the charts, once you got somewhere to live then everything else would be normal. NOT....

Everything is move expensive in Northern Virginia....food, gas, movies, clothes, restaurants, taxes, insurance. Now this is just our perspective, but we only make just over 100K between the two of us. We both believe that you need TWO salary's in the 100K range to make it up here....to get ahead.

To be fair we were not in a position to live an hour away and commute, because of personal/health reasons that was not an option for us, so we had to move close in. So honestly I don't know what things are like out in the suburbs of DC....maybe they are cheaper but I don't think by much.

I will tell you about our AHAH moment....we were at DisneyWorld (one of the most expensive resorts in the world!) and we were paying for lunch....and said to each other oh that's not so bad....and then it hit us....we were living everyday in an area that had resort prices! That's when we agreed we need to get out of here! :)

So, I just wanted to give you another perspective, make sure you research all financial aspects of moving to the DC area. If you do decide that you can truly afford to live here I know you will love it!

Good Luck!

It is rather an expensive area. I live just outside the beltway so we are very close in (DH's commute is less than half hour usually) and you are right about prices. However, there are ways to make do. There are cheap Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants; Korean grocery stores; other hole in the wall places (see Cheap Eats from Washingtonian magazine). As was mentioned by a pp, $100K household income is a bare minimum to be comfortable in this area. If you can afford WDW, then you are comfortable, right?

BTW, I don't like it much here either. I've wanted to go home for the entire 6 years we've been here.

mama2girls
09-06-2008, 10:13 AM
[QUOTE=PrincessDadx2;27374236]I have been in Fairfax County for 30 years and currently live in Centreville. Lots of change over the years, but still love the area.

Im in Centreville too!!! What a small world! Where is C'ville do you live? We are in Sully Station 2. Love seeing neighbors on here!!

PrincessDadx2
09-06-2008, 10:33 AM
Everything is move expensive in Northern Virginia....food, gas, movies, clothes, restaurants, taxes, insurance. Now this is just our perspective, but we only make just over 100K between the two of us. We both believe that you need TWO salary's in the 100K range to make it up here....to get ahead.

I will tell you about our AHAH moment....we were at DisneyWorld (one of the most expensive resorts in the world!) and we were paying for lunch....and said to each other oh that's not so bad....and then it hit us....we were living everyday in an area that had resort prices! That's when we agreed we need to get out of here! :)


You must have expensive taste in food ;) We rarely pay more than $60 including tip for sit down dinner for a family of 4 and usually in the $40-$50 range eating out on a weekly basis. In WDW we rarely pay less than $100 including tip with no alcohol.

For other things I believe it is truly cheaper than other large cities or you learn coping mechanisms.

Food - I buy mostly at Costco and sales at grocery stores. Lots of grocery competition and I have an extra freezer, refrig, and pantry to stock up on sales. Buy on sale and store and it is really cheap. I pay ~ $3.25 for a gallon of milk and am amazed by people who say they pay $4 or $5 per gallon in other places.

Gas - Gas in relatively cheap in VA due to lower taxes. Right now around my house is $3.53 a gallon and I can get .10 - .20 cheaper if I go to Prince William County. My dad is still paying ~ $4 in NY. Costco credit card gives another 3% discount :)

Movies - These are expensive so we only go 1 or 2x per year. You can buy bulk tickets at Costco for $6.50 a ticket.

Clothes - Extremely cheap. You can buy anything 50% + off at Potomac Mills. Also lots of great clothes at thrift stores, consignment stores, and yard sales. Outfitted all the kids in Gymboree clothes for ~ $1 an outfit. Lots of wealthy busy people = great yard sales.

Restaurants - Lots of good ethnic restaurants that are cheap cheap cheap.

Taxes - Va is consistently in the lower half of taxes for the country. Considering the services you get it is a bargain. We have top class schools, police, fire, etc. You do have to pay for trash. Only bad thing is roads which are a state expense :mad: NOVA pays out a lot more to the state than it receives from the state. My property tax is $4,000/yr for a $450,000 value and it would probably be 2-3x that in NY/NJ. There is the property/car tax, but currently there is 60% relief so the impact is limited unless you are always buying new cars.

Insurance - Maybe Arlington is higher due to the more urban environment. I pay $1,000 a year for full coverage on 2 cars which I think is reasonable. Homeowners is only $650 a year which is a bargain compared to places like Florida.

You also have to find the deals. I know a place in Hamilton that sells returns from Costco. Got a 42" Panasonic HDTV for $875 last year instead of $1,400 list. I must admit I am not the bargain hunter I was, but my salary is no longer $32,000 either :rotfl2: When I developed my habits my mortgage was 60% of my take home pay :eek: after my DW left the work force, so I learned to live cheap.

Halle
09-06-2008, 04:56 PM
Would love names of imexpemsive but nice restaurants in the Arlington area. Our DS and his bride live there ina teeny condo that cost them $460,000. They make about 100,000 between the two theem. We think they're crazy.

3DisneyGals&1Grumpy
09-06-2008, 05:53 PM
Oh, can anyone give me a ballpark figure of what latchkey and summer daycare costs there?


Hi! I am in FairFax County as well. I moved here a little over a year ago from Houston and it definitely was a huge budget adjustment for my family but we do love it here. The area has so much to offer and the schools are excellent.

There are a lot of good child care options here but they are very sought after. SAC which is FC Public School After School Care program fills up fast and ALWAYS has a waiting list. My neighbor got her daughter on the list in June before last year's school started and it was mid March before a slot opened. That seems to be the normal wait time at my school. They do have summer SAC which may not be at your school choice(they combine schools). I am not sure about the school year but the summer program was a sliding scale based on your salary. The highest price was around $93 dollars per child per week. They do not offer this program the last two weeks of summer before school starts.

Fairfax County REC Parks offer tons of different types of summer camps. The prices vary a little bit based on the activity. To give you an example, Art Camp from 9:00-3:00 was $250 for one week. Extended care is extra and fills up fast.

Babysitters are around $10 per hour ...more for college age kids

Hope this helps!

punkin
09-07-2008, 01:02 PM
Would love names of imexpemsive but nice restaurants in the Arlington area. Our DS and his bride live there ina teeny condo that cost them $460,000. They make about 100,000 between the two theem. We think they're crazy.

Take a look here. It is the entire DC are, not just Arlington, but elsewhere n the website they have a search by location feature too.

dcfromva
09-07-2008, 05:19 PM
Taxes, taxes, taxes....!
Personal property tax in Fairfax Co is 4.57% of vehicle assessed value minus 68.5% for car tax relief. It is an annual bill due Oct 5th of each year (unless the 5th is a Sat or Sun).

After they did all the math, mine came out to be about 1.43% of the assessed vehicle value.

I'm glad it is reduced, but it was one tax they said they were going to phase out and they could never quite bring themselves to do it. I always worry they will phase out the car tax relief, instead, and we will have to back to paying the full bill.

The vehicle registration is Passenger - 4,000 lbs or less $38.75 (per year)
Drivers' License $4.00 (per year-normally, your Virginia driver's license is valid for 8 years and expires on your birthday.)

Real Estate Tax (Fairfax Co)- $0.92 per $100 of assessed value

State income tax
2 percent on the first $3,000 of taxable income.
3 percent on taxable income between $3,001 and $5,000.
5 percent on taxable income between $5,001 and $17,000.
5.75 percent on taxable income of $17,001 and above.

sales tax:
The tax rate is generally 5% of the cost price (4% for VA and 1% for Fairfax co).
The rate on sales of food for home consumption is 2.5%.

Gasoline tax: Virginia's share - 2%--one of the solutions the legislature proposed for the road funding was increasing the gas tax. It wasn't well received--so nothing was decided.

Virginia sales tax holidays: One coming up on Oct 10-13 for Energy Star and WaterSense Qualified Products!
(http://www.tax.virginia.gov/site.cfm?alias=stholiday)

GabbyJacobsmom
09-07-2008, 06:26 PM
I second the Bristow, Manassas area down 66 towards Fauquier. I live in Manassas yes, it was were Lorena Bobbit went crazy - but Manassas/Prince William County is very large and our taxes are one of the lowest in the N.VA area. The housing is much, much cheaper. Restaurants galore for all of your tastes. Good luck on your search, but my vote is for Manassas City or Prince William County (bristow, gainesville area).

I know someone who bought a 3 level 2 car garage, full finished basement, 4 bedroom 4.5 bath for $360,000 last dec and housing has gone down even more - and that was a brand new house.

Good Luck!