U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Hampton Roads area
 [Register]
Hampton Roads area Chesapeake - Hampton - Newport News - Norfolk - Portsmouth - Suffolk - Virginia Beach
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-30-2008, 01:00 PM
 
Location: IL
7 posts, read 9,158 times
Reputation: 10

Advertisements

Hi Everyone

My husband and I are planning to move to Virginia Beach within the next 12 months. Although we've moved on our own, we haven't done the whole selling house, relocating to a brand new place.

We want to move because of the harsh weather here in Chicago and climbing house tax prices as well as better schools for our growing 15 mo old.
He's an electrician (non-union) and I am a credit collector. I have many questions, but mostly I am looking for some encouragement from newly settled people from other states to VB and any specific advise, what to do or not to do, say. Please send me your personal feedback.

I am very worried that the $ wages are so low for office workers in VB area from what I was able to research the last 3 months. Any information is much appreciated. Thank you
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-30-2008, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
98 posts, read 730,973 times
Reputation: 61
Hi BusiBee, we moved from St. Louis 18 months ago and I am just finally feeling settled, but more importantly, really enjoying it here! The weather is truly an improvement from the midwest and the beach is very, very close!

We rented, first in Chesapeake and then in Virginia Beach. Had the re-lo person been in charge of our housing choice, she would have had us living in Chesapeake, but fortunately we moved to VB and won't move out!!! You will find people either LOVE or HATE Virginia Beach. There are also other cities to look at- Suffolk, Norfolk, and cities on the Peninsula. I am not sure what area you are thinking about.
Therefore, I will tell you what I know about Chesapeake and Virginia Beach!

The area is a bit pricey for what you get, or what you don't get. That goes for housing, shopping, culture and school choice (private). Compared to Chicago though, you may find this area a bargain. The property taxes are pretty low, but the assessed values are on the high side. What price range are you thinking?

As for jobs, I can't be of help there for suggestions.

As for schools, if you choose public, look for VB to offer more public schools with great test scores. Chesapeake has some good districts too (search for High Schools- Hickory, Great Bridge and Grassfield in Chesapeake). In VB search for homes under the High Schools of Cox, First Colonial (high priced homes), Princess Anne and Kellam. These are the top rated high schools. Kempsville and Ocean Lakes are not bad, but they are usually not ranked as high as Cox and FC. Even with the good public school system in VB, we chose parochial school for our youngest.

This area is friendly and I doubt you will have trouble making friends. It is easy to get around and unless you travel in a tunnel, the traffic is not mind numbing!

There are many things to do with kids- more so during nice weather but there are plenty of nice indoor places too (Nauticus, the Aquarium, many indoor bounce houses, art museum, children's museum and the Air and Space Museum). And of course there are lots of things to do in the Williamsburg area (Busch Gardens, Old Colonial Williamsburg, Great Wolf Lodge, Water Country and more.....)

It took me about 6 months to accept this place as home and now that it has been 18 months, it's easy to call VB home.

There are some people on this board that will also give you some good suggestions.

Good luck with the move and settling in. Let us know if you have more questions!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-30-2008, 05:54 PM
 
440 posts, read 1,630,677 times
Reputation: 186
You should rent first before buying. This way you can get a feel for the area before making your permanent mark. Jobs here are on the low paying side. As said before, home prices are high for what you get. But you will mainly be paying for the neighborhood you are staying in.

This is a very family oriented city, so your little one is going to grow up in a great place.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-31-2008, 06:28 PM
 
Location: IL
7 posts, read 9,158 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for responding to my questions. Anybody else please pitch in your ideas on any advise to new comers to Virginia Beach is appreciated.Can't wait to smell the ocean
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-01-2008, 08:53 AM
 
1,673 posts, read 5,534,257 times
Reputation: 733
If you are seeking collections work you might consider HSBC which has sites both in Va Beach and nearby Chesapeake. Good luck!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-01-2008, 02:28 PM
 
239 posts, read 554,991 times
Reputation: 72
Hi BusiBee, a lot of whether you like Hampton Roads depends on what you are used to and what you are looking for in a city. I know many people that love this area and wouldn't move for anything. I also know those who can't wait to get out.

I will say the following about Hampton Roads:

1. The cost of living is very high in this area for the income level. Any type of office worker wage is probably around $30K a year or less. Not sure what electricians in this area make, am sure it is decent but still probably lower than other areas. I would expect to spend over $300K for a home in a decent neighborhood/school district. Probably more like $350K-$500K for a nicer place. There are cheaper ones out there, but be careful about their location.

2. The seven cities that make up the Hampton Roads area do offer a varierty of activities, you have the beach, downtown Norfolk, museums, etc., but for an area with 1.7 million people the area pales in comparison to what other big cities offer. Population stats probably vary based on what outlying areas included, but with 1.7 million people, Hampton Roads would rank about 5th in overall population in the United States. However, since we are divided up into 7 cities, we don't get the major things like pro sports teams. We do have minor league teams, but they aren't that big in this area and we don't even have a college football team to route for (Old Dominion University just got a football team but it will probably be a few years before they are an established program). I guess what I am saying is that for an area with this population (and all the negatives associated with a big city such as crime, traffic, etc.), there is not a lot of big city activities to choose from.

3. This area is very military oriented, think there is something like 57 bases that call Hampton Roads home. I am not saying this is a bad thing, but unless you are in the military you sometimes feel like an outsider, maybe that is just me . Since there is so many military personnel here, people are coming and going all the time. The good thing about that is you get people from all different regions of the country so coming from another city you will fit in among other people from other areas. For the most part, people are friendly here and don't have that bias against outsiders. The bad thing is that with a transient population it is harder to make long lasting friendships and sometimes those who know they will only be here for a few years don't think of this place as home as opposed to a temporary stop, so the area as a whole has less of a home town feel.

4. I currently live in Chesapeake so can't speak as much to the other cities in the region. However, Chesapeake is a "new" area and sometimes lacks any type of real character. There is no downtown or city center type area. You seem to either find neighborhoods of 1950s/1960s style brick ranches or newer McMansion style homes on 1/4 acre with no trees. In between neighborhoods, you will find the typical clusters of shopping centers. I think there is a law here that every new shopping center has to have a GameStop, nail salon, hair salon, chinese restaurant/sushi place, or pizza place. Seriously, they have built three of them in my area in the past year and all of them have the same stuff. There is not a lot of variety in restaurants, but you will find multiple ones everywhere. I can think of about 4 different Wendy's in a 3 mile radius from us. Maybe this is just common in newer areas and I used to think I liked the more modern neighborhoods, but after living here I sometimes miss the older unique sections of a town. Also, there are few nice parks or recreational activities in Chesapeake, at least I should say safe parks or recreation areas. The only decent one I have found is the Chesapeake Park, but both times I went there to play basketball the cops showed up for some incident or another. There is the Northwest River park which is more in the woods and pretty nice. And if you want to travel there is always the beach and Williamsburg is a pretty area. Virginia Beach probably does have more stuff to do, including the beach itself. However, during the summer months it is crowded with tourists, parking is a nightmare, and everything from food to stores is very expensive. Due to that reason I have not been to the beach in about 2 years.

5. When you move here, be careful about what area you settle down in. As mentioned above, I would rent for a year or two to get familar with the area and know what place are safe and which are not. Plus I think houses have a ways to drop so this way you can take your time and be selective about a home. There are not a lot of good school districts in Hampton Roads, but there are some. Like was mentioned above, Great Bridge, Hickory, and Grassfield are probably the best in Chesapeake. The rest I would think very hard about sending my kids too.

6. Crime and traffic are both subjective things. If you grew up in a small town, you probably think crime and traffic are awful here. Coming from Chicago, you probably won't think it is too bad. I will say that to me traffic is pretty bad here, especially in the tunnels, heading to the beach, and during rush hour. Crime seems high in certain areas, but if you pick the right neighborhood it probably will not be as much of an issue. And again, it is all relative, if you go to DC, I hear it is far, far worse.

7. The weather will probably be a big plus here compared to Chicago. I grew up in the Northeast and know how bad winters can be. We may get a dusting in January, but it usually melts the next day and the winters are very mild. It does get very hot in the summer (think next Sunday it is supposed to be 97 , and we don't seem to get very many months of the in between 70s type weather. But it does beat multiple feet of snow and temps in the teens and twenties .

So those are just some heads-up things on this area, more on the negative side. I am not trying to scare you out of this area, just giving you my opinions and personal experience. I have lived here about 6 years and this area has never felt like home. For me, it doesn't have the real excitement or appeal of a "big" city and doesn't have the tight night community feel of a small town either. Will you be happy if you move to this area? It is really dependant on what you make of things. There are many, many areas far worse and I don't think you will "hate" it here or be miserable. However, unless you are moving here for a job or to be close to family, there are better cities out there and I would explore those as options as well, visit each one and then decide.

Just out of curiosity, what made you choose Virginia Beach? Have you ever been here before or do you know people here? I would definitely visit this area first, maybe a few times, drive around and really get a feel for what things are like. You may love it here, but I would hate for you to choose this area without really knowing it and regret it later. Especially if you can truly move anywhere you want.

Feel free to post any additional questions on this board. There are a lot of nice people here and they give good advice and probably more positive than me . Just wanted to give you a balanced view so you can make the best decision. Good luck!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-01-2008, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Va Beach
3,508 posts, read 11,912,080 times
Reputation: 1011
I don't come from a big city. Grew up in a town of 12,000 and everyone knew everyone. I don't like big cities, I travel to them alot and feel like the people all act like robots going nowhere in a hurry with no personality. Here, we do have people from all over. I am ex military and still work with the military. I don't think the cost of living is as high as others claim it to be. My only complaint is the personal property tax. I think money can be raised other ways than paying taxes on a vehicle you need for your job to pay other taxes. But from what I understand, the New England states are the same. I like the strip malls. Little family owned businesses and coffee shops that aren't franchises. Gives it a little bit of down home vice all the hype.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-02-2008, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Virginia
136 posts, read 468,296 times
Reputation: 51
Hello. We are very happy with Virginia Beach and the schools are fantastic. We live in the Kempsville area. We moved here from Pennyslvania two years ago and are happy about our move. We did rent first and looked for a place once we learned about the area and could find a decent neighborhood. I recommend renting at first. There are plenty of apartments and you can look them up online. Good luck!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-02-2008, 01:37 PM
 
Location: IL
7 posts, read 9,158 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by chesapeakesim View Post
Hi BusiBee, a lot of whether you like Hampton Roads depends on what you are used to and what you are looking for in a city. I know many people that love this area and wouldn't move for anything. I also know those who can't wait to get out.

I will say the following about Hampton Roads:

1. The cost of living is very high in this area for the income level. Any type of office worker wage is probably around $30K a year or less. Not sure what electricians in this area make, am sure it is decent but still probably lower than other areas. I would expect to spend over $300K for a home in a decent neighborhood/school district. Probably more like $350K-$500K for a nicer place. There are cheaper ones out there, but be careful about their location.

2. The seven cities that make up the Hampton Roads area do offer a varierty of activities, you have the beach, downtown Norfolk, museums, etc., but for an area with 1.7 million people the area pales in comparison to what other big cities offer. Population stats probably vary based on what outlying areas included, but with 1.7 million people, Hampton Roads would rank about 5th in overall population in the United States. However, since we are divided up into 7 cities, we don't get the major things like pro sports teams. We do have minor league teams, but they aren't that big in this area and we don't even have a college football team to route for (Old Dominion University just got a football team but it will probably be a few years before they are an established program). I guess what I am saying is that for an area with this population (and all the negatives associated with a big city such as crime, traffic, etc.), there is not a lot of big city activities to choose from.

3. This area is very military oriented, think there is something like 57 bases that call Hampton Roads home. I am not saying this is a bad thing, but unless you are in the military you sometimes feel like an outsider, maybe that is just me . Since there is so many military personnel here, people are coming and going all the time. The good thing about that is you get people from all different regions of the country so coming from another city you will fit in among other people from other areas. For the most part, people are friendly here and don't have that bias against outsiders. The bad thing is that with a transient population it is harder to make long lasting friendships and sometimes those who know they will only be here for a few years don't think of this place as home as opposed to a temporary stop, so the area as a whole has less of a home town feel.

4. I currently live in Chesapeake so can't speak as much to the other cities in the region. However, Chesapeake is a "new" area and sometimes lacks any type of real character. There is no downtown or city center type area. You seem to either find neighborhoods of 1950s/1960s style brick ranches or newer McMansion style homes on 1/4 acre with no trees. In between neighborhoods, you will find the typical clusters of shopping centers. I think there is a law here that every new shopping center has to have a GameStop, nail salon, hair salon, chinese restaurant/sushi place, or pizza place. Seriously, they have built three of them in my area in the past year and all of them have the same stuff. There is not a lot of variety in restaurants, but you will find multiple ones everywhere. I can think of about 4 different Wendy's in a 3 mile radius from us. Maybe this is just common in newer areas and I used to think I liked the more modern neighborhoods, but after living here I sometimes miss the older unique sections of a town. Also, there are few nice parks or recreational activities in Chesapeake, at least I should say safe parks or recreation areas. The only decent one I have found is the Chesapeake Park, but both times I went there to play basketball the cops showed up for some incident or another. There is the Northwest River park which is more in the woods and pretty nice. And if you want to travel there is always the beach and Williamsburg is a pretty area. Virginia Beach probably does have more stuff to do, including the beach itself. However, during the summer months it is crowded with tourists, parking is a nightmare, and everything from food to stores is very expensive. Due to that reason I have not been to the beach in about 2 years.

5. When you move here, be careful about what area you settle down in. As mentioned above, I would rent for a year or two to get familar with the area and know what place are safe and which are not. Plus I think houses have a ways to drop so this way you can take your time and be selective about a home. There are not a lot of good school districts in Hampton Roads, but there are some. Like was mentioned above, Great Bridge, Hickory, and Grassfield are probably the best in Chesapeake. The rest I would think very hard about sending my kids too.

6. Crime and traffic are both subjective things. If you grew up in a small town, you probably think crime and traffic are awful here. Coming from Chicago, you probably won't think it is too bad. I will say that to me traffic is pretty bad here, especially in the tunnels, heading to the beach, and during rush hour. Crime seems high in certain areas, but if you pick the right neighborhood it probably will not be as much of an issue. And again, it is all relative, if you go to DC, I hear it is far, far worse.

7. The weather will probably be a big plus here compared to Chicago. I grew up in the Northeast and know how bad winters can be. We may get a dusting in January, but it usually melts the next day and the winters are very mild. It does get very hot in the summer (think next Sunday it is supposed to be 97 , and we don't seem to get very many months of the in between 70s type weather. But it does beat multiple feet of snow and temps in the teens and twenties .

So those are just some heads-up things on this area, more on the negative side. I am not trying to scare you out of this area, just giving you my opinions and personal experience. I have lived here about 6 years and this area has never felt like home. For me, it doesn't have the real excitement or appeal of a "big" city and doesn't have the tight night community feel of a small town either. Will you be happy if you move to this area? It is really dependant on what you make of things. There are many, many areas far worse and I don't think you will "hate" it here or be miserable. However, unless you are moving here for a job or to be close to family, there are better cities out there and I would explore those as options as well, visit each one and then decide.

Just out of curiosity, what made you choose Virginia Beach? Have you ever been here before or do you know people here? I would definitely visit this area first, maybe a few times, drive around and really get a feel for what things are like. You may love it here, but I would hate for you to choose this area without really knowing it and regret it later. Especially if you can truly move anywhere you want.

Feel free to post any additional questions on this board. There are a lot of nice people here and they give good advice and probably more positive than me . Just wanted to give you a balanced view so you can make the best decision. Good luck!
Thank you all for your feedback. I moved from eastern Europe when I was 16 and I have lived in IL since 1993. After 15 years I am used to it, but can't say that I will miss it if I leave. I need a change of scenery and change of weather. I can't bear to see anymore snow or windy rain, the mosquitoes destroy every sense of the word summer so we are still stuck inside our house. I hate this climate.

I live in a smaller town north of Chicago so I don't mind the small town. I have never liked Chicago and big crowded cities are not my preference. Taxes were just raised in Cook county and the sales tax is almost 10%. Gas is 4.20 unleaded, even with the decent income we make now we are using credit cards to buy daily things.

To answer your question, my husband was in grade school in VB twice while his dad was stationed there. It was either FL CA impossible to afford or VB. We are going out this August to visit and decide if it's a place we can live in, anyway there is no going back since I am retiring my shovel for good.
Thanks ALL and keep pouring in your comments. I appreciate your detailed responses and it makes me feel better that nice people like you answer those posts.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-02-2008, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Va Beach
3,508 posts, read 11,912,080 times
Reputation: 1011
Busibee....Gurnee, Illinois?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Hampton Roads area
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top