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Old 01-28-2011, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Austin, Texas
152 posts, read 173,941 times
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Another question, which websites do your recommend for finding rentals. I know about craigslist, apartments.com and the washington post. Anything else?
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,569 posts, read 12,686,899 times
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Reading your post and where you live, makes me want to ask you more questions. Have you lived in Montana your whole life? Or do you move around a lot and this is just another stop? I ask because life on the East Coast and here in Northern Virginia is very, very different than in Montana. What you consider to be "bad" neighborhoods would probably be different than what someone from NYC would consider to be bad neighborhoods.

I imagine there would be parts of Herndon or Sterling that might fit your bill as far as rent. But there would probably be some lower-income residents living nearby. It would be very diverse in that there would be white people, Asian people, Hispanic people, Indian people, etc. Many might be recent immigrants. This might be eye-opening for someone who has only live in Montana her whole life - again not sure if that applies to you. But looking at the demographics for Montana on C-D, it says that 85% is white + 4% American (not sure what that means?) and 6% Hispanic. And less than 1% Asian or black. (To compare, Herndon is 53% white, 21% Hispanic, 12% Aisan, and 12% black.)

Oftentimes, recent immigrants are lower income because of their situation, not because they are bad people. But an area like this to someone coming from a place that is very majority white might seem unsafe, when in reality, it's not. There are just a lot of people of color here, and some people (not saying you do) associate that with low-income. Although, again, it's partially a matter of perspective.

My second thought is that $60K is not a whole heck of a lot to live in this part of the country for a family of 5. Can it be done? Yes, I'm sure it can with a lot of creativity, sacrifice, and hopefully not any or much debt on the part of the resident. With an $800 mortgage + $1400 in rent, though, you are already looking at $26K going toward housing expenses, leaving not a whole lot for everything else. It is expensive to live here.

Those are my thoughts reading your post. Hopefully, the job offer will be for more than $60K.
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Austin, Texas
152 posts, read 173,941 times
Reputation: 41
Thanks. I actually am from Northern Minnesota originally but my husband is from Romania. I've lived in Minnesota (23 years), Romania (5 months) and Montana (since April 09.) Romania being the worst place I've ever lived though I didn't hate it. Just wouldn't want to spend my life there. I have no problems with minorities at all. I love diversity.
When I say safe - I mean - minimum in robberies and violent crimes. I can take a walk with my kids at least during the day with no problems. And I can take my kids out to the car at night to go somewhere without being afraid.

I have lived in low income apartments before in what is considered the bad neighborhood of my old little city in Northern MN but I'm sure it's not comparable to a bad neighborhood there. I had drunks knock on the door and stuff when I lived on the bottom floor and there were cops there at least monthly but I wasn't afraid for our lives or anything.

I know it is spendy there. I am not really sure what they will offer for pay yet. But, I found online that the position typically makes $63-71 K at that company. I am definitely fine with sacrifices. We'd do our best to sell the house ASAP here. I think it's a good house, so if he gets the job, here's hoping we sell it quickly. But, I know it depends. So, do you think it is even possible to consider this? We're really trying to move somewhat closer to some good friends.

Thanks!

EDIT:
Wanted to add that we have lived on $29,500 with $735 rent and $31,000 with a family of 4 with a 2 bedroom apt. and $750 rent before and for a little while with an $800 mortgage.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
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Thanks for the additional info. I don't think there is any area of Northern Virginia that is truly unsafe. And I cannot imagine any place here where I would feel unsafe walking around during the day with three children (and I say that as a mom to a 9, 5, and 3 year old). Similarly, there are no places I would feel unsafe driving around at night in Northern Virginia.

There ARE places in Washington, DC proper that I would feel that way, but not in NoVA. Sterling Park is considered by some to be a bit cheaper, more lower-income than other places in NoVA, and I take my kids there on a regular basis to go shopping at Big Lots (the only one in the area) or play in a playground that we like. Herndon is similar. We have friends who live there in the downtown area, and we have never felt unsafe walking around with our children.

Violent crimes are minimal around here, and most are probably domestic in nature. There are burglaries, but they are mostly of the "GPS stolen from the car" kind. With common sense, you should be able to avoid crime. Hopefully, the offer will be more than you are thinking. It is a great area to live with lots of cultural amenities nearby. And despite the white stuff currently covering the ground, the winters are much, much milder than Northern MN or Billings, MT. (That's a plus in my mind, anyway.)

I think there's a site called militarybyowner.com that people on here seem to like for rentals.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:11 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,875,669 times
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OP, don't rule out Leesburg in your searches, you might find better deals there than Ashburn since Ashburn is mostly new construction. If you are OK with diversity also look at Sterling, I'd let those in Sterling make the call as to where you want/where to avoid.

GL
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:12 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,875,669 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michgc View Post
Violent crimes are minimal around here, and most are probably domestic in nature. There are burglaries, but they are mostly of the "GPS stolen from the car" kind.
Do car-mounted GPS systems have any purpose other than getting stolen?
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Austin, Texas
152 posts, read 173,941 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michgc View Post
Violent crimes are minimal around here, and most are probably domestic in nature. There are burglaries, but they are mostly of the "GPS stolen from the car" kind. With common sense, you should be able to avoid crime. Hopefully, the offer will be more than you are thinking. It is a great area to live with lots of cultural amenities nearby. And despite the white stuff currently covering the ground, the winters are much, much milder than Northern MN or Billings, MT. (That's a plus in my mind, anyway.)
How much do you think that the offer would need to be realistically? I don't want him to accept an offer we really can't take.

What percent of income can be logically spent for housing?

I would definitely be excited for the milder weather there!

Thanks so much for the info on the area. It's very helpful.


And to anyone else - I haven't ruled out anywhere yet as long as it is within a reasonable distance to Chantilly.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:26 AM
 
5,121 posts, read 5,567,763 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
Do car-mounted GPS systems have any purpose other than getting stolen?
I used mine a lot on Tuesday night just to see how far I didn't go.

OP, Centreville is a good area and it's an easy commute to Chantilly, maybe about 20-30 minutes depending where in Chantilly your husband will be working. Lee Overlook has three-bedroom units as does Bent Tree. Both are in good areas (but I don't know about the quality of actual apartments). They are both complexes I am considering when I am in between houses (I am selling mine and will be buying another).

Lee Overlook is $1350 for a three bedroom and $1175 for a two bedroom.

Bent Tree is around $1575-$1730 for a three bedroom and $1330-$1550 for a two bedroom (they have different floor plans).

There is a place further out, I think Ashburn, that has a big homeschool community. That would be cheaper still. But I only overheard that on a train, so I am not 100% sure.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Austin, Texas
152 posts, read 173,941 times
Reputation: 41
So here's a comparison
All based on gross income:

Montana location: (35352 per year)
2946 per month
800 mortgage
2146 toward other expenses

Chantilly location: (63000 per year - educated guess)
5250 per month
2100-2200 mortgage + rent (rent around 1300-1400 and mortgage 800)
3050-3150 toward other expenses

Thoughts?
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:49 PM
 
1,287 posts, read 1,738,439 times
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A basic rule of thumb is that your rent/mortgage should not exceed 25% of wages. This number has been pushed by mortgage companies and rental offices to as high as 35%, but IMO that isn't realistic for most families. If you had to pay the mortgage and rent on that salary, you would be at 41%. Too me, that is a recipe for financial disaster.
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