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Old 04-01-2012, 09:13 PM
 
56 posts, read 95,478 times
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AC White,

Thanks for the posting. We are leaving Ohio because my husband electively left a senior engineering position with a very reputable company. His job required extensive travel and extremely high pressures on a daily basis. I was born and raised in NH and I was looking forward to getting a little closer to home. This transition has ben very difficult, as we have been searching for areas to reside in since September. I have not yet found a location that comes close to the low crime,city ammenities, and costs of living perks we were experiencing here in Ohio. I have been continously reading various blogs and it seems that most people who are relocating in from various areas choose Northern VA as their top choice. Our experience has been that PA has some nice towns and boroughs, yet so few recreation activities to offer younger children. If I had to pick and choose an area on housing costs, what state would you recommend, Southern PA,Northern VA,or Northern MD? It seems that the housing taxes in PA and MD are higher than VA........but I could be erroneous in thinking so.........
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:37 PM
 
7,966 posts, read 18,041,228 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gahr1family View Post
AC White,

Thanks for the posting. We are leaving Ohio because my husband electively left a senior engineering position with a very reputable company. His job required extensive travel and extremely high pressures on a daily basis. I was born and raised in NH and I was looking forward to getting a little closer to home. This transition has ben very difficult, as we have been searching for areas to reside in since September. I have not yet found a location that comes close to the low crime,city ammenities, and costs of living perks we were experiencing here in Ohio. I have been continously reading various blogs and it seems that most people who are relocating in from various areas choose Northern VA as their top choice. Our experience has been that PA has some nice towns and boroughs, yet so few recreation activities to offer younger children. If I had to pick and choose an area on housing costs, what state would you recommend, Southern PA,Northern VA,or Northern MD? It seems that the housing taxes in PA and MD are higher than VA........but I could be erroneous in thinking so.........
Southern PA is more an extreme exurb for households commuting to Montgomery County MD or the Baltimore area. I would think DC-bound commuters are rare so your husband is to be commended for his resilience.

Beyond paying a car property tax (based on your vehicle's blue book value), your overall tax burden will be less in VA than in the other two states when comparing apples to apples.

Northern Virginia is the most expensive part of the state because of its proximity to DC as well as having two job centers (Tysons Corner, Dulles Tech Corridor) towards the western end of Fairfax County. In fact, in terms of average household income, Loudoun and Fairfax are #1 and #2 in the country, respectively, at over $100K each. That pushes up housing prices among other aspects of the cost of living.

No place is "perfect" but NOVA as a whole experiences low crime and your budget should allow you to choose among the more sought-after communities, particularly in Loudoun and Prince William Counties.

I anticipate that you will ask about schools: Fairfax County Public Schools as a whole are (inter)nationally renowned. Loudoun County schools more than hold their own. Forum members living in the Prince William communities I previously mentioned seem pretty happy with their schools; on that note, I should probably add the Lake Ridge community of Woodbridge as an option to consider.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:45 PM
 
56 posts, read 95,478 times
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Thank you for the excellent advice regarding the cross comparison of the three states I mentioned. I am going to send my children to a private school. I have read that Leesburg is #4 overall for raising a family, however, the taxes in Loudon county are far higher than Clark,Frederick, or Shoendoah counties. Of the three counties a-for-mentioned, what quaint towns would be suggested that would offer a great sense of community,a nice downtown,etc.? What activities and areas outside of DC should I take my children to (ages 5 and 9)? Again, i really appreciate everyone's time,advice,and feedback.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:58 PM
 
3,164 posts, read 6,118,809 times
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Have you visited Shepherdstown WV? It has a great little downtown area with lots of arts, music, etc.

I would not recommend Reston to anyone who self identifies as a conservative. It is one of the liberal places in NOVA.

I would also recommend Leesburg and Purcellville.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:00 PM
 
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You are correct, Loudoun has the highest property taxes in all of Virginia and the entire south. But housing is cheaper than Fairfax so you would still pay less and your money would go much farther.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:19 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,013,351 times
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Isn't this concern over property taxes irrational? Just about any economist or realtor would tell you that home prices compensate for the property tax burden. Given buyers of a certain income level, home prices will be higher in areas with lower taxes and lower in those with higher taxes, by the amount that results in total monthly payments being equal. There are no free lunches when it comes to housing costs. Also any "savings" you may realize in property taxes will likely be eaten up by $4/gallon gas.

Seems odd to put your husband through commute hell just so the kiddies have a park to go to and you can go to a fancy mall. No way I'd agree to that deal.

Last edited by CAVA1990; 04-02-2012 at 02:49 AM..
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:09 AM
 
Location: Fairfax County
1,534 posts, read 3,315,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gahr1family View Post
I am going to send my children to a private school.
If you already know that you are sending your children to a private school, I am guessing you know which private school you would be sending them to. If you would indicate what state/locality that may be located in, that might help in locating a good place to live. (As an example, I used to work with someone who attended a private Christian academy located in Chambersburg and he lived just outside of Harrisburg.)
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:49 AM
 
56 posts, read 95,478 times
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CAVA 1990, i read your posting and wanted to share with you that my husband and I are in concurrence that Northern VA is considerably more enticing than Southern PA. He was actually the person who suggested Northern VA as a viable option. He drove over an hour for 15 years to his place of employment in Ohio. It takes him 1 hour to commute from PA to Winchester and because he has a highly fuel efficient car, the gas costs are not too much of a concern at 48 miles per gallon. I understand that housing fluctuations and property taxes go hand in hand, however, in VA, there seems to be a large disparity in taxes paid relative to the housing value especially in
smaller counties outside of Loudon. In the area I live in Ohio, you can expect to pay up to 2 1/2 percent per every $1,000 off your home value. What quaint towns other than Leesburg, Purceville, or Winchester would anyone suggest I look into?

Last edited by gahr1family; 04-02-2012 at 06:03 AM..
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,555 posts, read 12,619,006 times
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I still think it would be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad commute from NoVA to Shippensburg, PA on a daily basis. While I think Leesburg and Purcellville are very nice towns, your husband would be looking at a nearly 2-hour commute EACH WAY from those towns. And while they might be "better" than towns like Gettysburg, Chambersburg, Hagerstown, or Frederick, I don't think that they are THAT MUCH better to warrant a 4-hour commute each day. Furthermore, you will find the areas in south central, PA and north central Maryland to be more Conservative and more religious than in Northern Virginia. But if you are insistent on living in NoVa, and you've already ruled out Winchester, then Leesburg or Purcellville are probably good bets.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:12 AM
 
857 posts, read 1,000,764 times
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I agree that the concern over property taxes is inconsequential. Northern Virginia is pretty expensive and even though the taxes may be less, you'll make up for that in higher housing costs (AND GAS PRICES).

I'd definitely consider Hagerstown, MD if you're really pressed to not live in PA. I'd totally strike Northern Virginia way off your list. Your budget of 800k is a nice sum to work with, but if you move to Northern Virginia, send your kids to private school AND have your husband commute over 2 hours to work (because let's face it, NOTHING in this area really takes as long as google maps says it will), you will be spending a TON of money.

So my advice, save your money, live in Hagerstown!
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