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Old 02-10-2013, 11:58 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,861,715 times
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Who makes enough in Tampa to actually enjoy a $400k house on one income (unless you bring in lots of equity from a higher-cost place?) I mean we're talking like $100k. And not many people that outside the high-cost areas.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:57 PM
 
2,462 posts, read 8,043,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novanwbie View Post
We chose to buy a cheaper house farther out, and it was a mistake. my husband drives fifty miles each way and averages 3-4 hours a day in the car. He misses most of our dinners and leaves before my family wakes up in the morning. Frankly, it sucks. We could be closer in, but we'd be renting an apartment or townhouse. And there are thousands more like us in NoVA.
Don't mean to criticize, but how did you NOT know what you were getting into by choosing to live FIFTY miles from your husband's workplace?
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,427,475 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novanwbie View Post
$600-700,000 for a dated four bedroom split-level is completely normal for Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, etc.
I repectfully beg to differ with this statement. There are plenty of parts of Fairfax county where $600k-$700k will get you quite a bit more than a dated split level home. I'm about to close on my first home purchase in Fairfax county that is about a 10 minute drive to the Franconia-Springfield Metro. It's not a split level (a colonial with close to 3,000 sq. ft. of living space), its not dated (actually, an investor flip with tons of updates, although the house itself is older), and it's right around the $500k mark. If all I wanted were an outdated split level, I probably could have found that for much closer to $400k-$450k.

Not saying housing in Fairfax isn't still expensive or that my home purchase is the most typical, but in my experience home shopping in Fairfax county, you can get all the house you need for around $500k. Yes, it will be an older home. It could be dated, but possibly not - just because a home is old doesn't mean the interior hasn't been updated and renovated in great ways. That said, you will pay premiums for certain areas of Fairfax county where I suppose $600k might only get you an outdated split level. I just don't think one's options are quite that limited in all of Fairfax county.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,570 posts, read 33,297,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
Don't mean to criticize, but how did you NOT know what you were getting into by choosing to live FIFTY miles from your husband's workplace?
I gotta agree with you here. It is not like a secret that traffic is bad here, never mind distance takes more time anyway. These days no way I'd live more than 25 miles from work here in the DC area. I'd explore every possible avenue to live as close to work as possible.

I took a job 42 miles from my mother's house where I was living at the time in Kentucky. However, I had no choice with the job market there. I hated spending 45 minutes in the car each way and having to fill up every two days but I still came out ahead by paying for gas vs rent. By the time I got tired of the commute I was in a position to jump on a cheap older apartment less than 10 minutes from my job.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:54 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,861,715 times
Reputation: 869
Quote:
Originally Posted by novanwbie View Post
We chose to buy a cheaper house farther out, and it was a mistake. my husband drives fifty miles each way and averages 3-4 hours a day in the car. He misses most of our dinners and leaves before my family wakes up in the morning. Frankly, it sucks. We could be closer in, but we'd be renting an apartment or townhouse. And there are thousands more like us in NoVA.
I guess having your hubby spend 3-4 hours in the car is a lesser evil than renting a townhouse.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:32 PM
 
Location: northern va
1,586 posts, read 2,123,686 times
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Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
I guess having your hubby spend 3-4 hours in the car is a lesser evil than renting a townhouse.
lol
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:27 PM
 
689 posts, read 1,371,724 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
Don't mean to criticize, but how did you NOT know what you were getting into by choosing to live FIFTY miles from your husband's workplace?
We didn't, he's since switched jobs, but we can't move b/c of the economic changes. Do you live in northern VA? It's truly a housing market unlike most others. There a ton of people commuting a lot more than that. You do what you have to do for your job. I was responding to someone else's concern, trying to prevent them from making the mistakes we did.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:02 AM
 
Location: Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
693 posts, read 957,089 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novanwbie View Post
NO! Sorry to be so blunt, but no, you'll not be able to cover the change in cost of living. We moved here from Richmond, very comparable to Raleigh, cost-wise, and it was a rude awakening. And the change to lifestyle can be a real negative, if you have a family. We thought we were making a great move for our family, and we had no idea that the increase in money would be completely negated by the much higher living costs and the frustrations of living in this highly congested area.

To the original poster: I would recommend you do a very thorough cost analysis. It sounds like you've already looked at housing and daycare; $600-700,000 for a dated four bedroom split-level is completely normal for Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, etc. If you're farther out, like Loudoun, you can reasonably look at the $500-600k range, but heck, let's step back for a minute, that's a lot of money! And daycare in Loudoun (as I recently looked into this) is easily $1400 a month. If you do decide to come to this area, base your living arrangement around your job. I'm not sure where your company is, but it sounds like family time is important, so minimize your commute. We chose to buy a cheaper house farther out, and it was a mistake. my husband drives fifty miles each way and averages 3-4 hours a day in the car. He misses most of our dinners and leaves before my family wakes up in the morning. Frankly, it sucks. We could be closer in, but we'd be renting an apartment or townhouse. And there are thousands more like us in NoVA.

As we have also been studying schools, I'll add this. Take all those rating sites with a HUGE grain of salt. Every school knows how to manipulate scores and testing by now. Look at the school district Web sites and see what they offer, see if the school pages are focused on students. Northern VA has great schools academically, but they can also be pressure cookers. There's a lot of "we have to be the best" up here, from kids sports to academics to the neighborhood you live in. And yes, other posters, I know not everyone is like that. We're not. But a lot of people are. If that's not your thing, look at Tampa. For sheer quality of life, if you can take the heat, I'd think it's got to be better. Ironically, we have been considering a move to Tampa ourselves, and there are some phenomenal houses (with things like pools or deep-water docks) for less than $400k. You won't get that up here. I'd think the relaxing, slower pace would be really nice. If you'd ever want to consider being a one-income family, too, that would not happen up here. It's just too costly. Our desire to move is 100 percent motivated by quality of life. Any income gain we achieved in coming here is sapped by the insane housing and commuting costs, and at this point in our lives, we'll gladly take a lower income for more family time.
Thank you for your post and insight as a family what your experience has been in NoVa. It echos many of the same comments I have gotten and read. My wife and I came to the decision together that DC/NoVA is not the ideal place where we want to raise our family and this community has helped me come to this decision. I think the cost of living will quickly gobble up the difference in pay and with pay being a large reason for my wanting to go to DC its hard to justify the move for the sacrifice of family and quantity of free time.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:40 AM
 
2,462 posts, read 8,043,542 times
Reputation: 995
Quote:
Originally Posted by novanwbie View Post
Do you live in northern VA? It's truly a housing market unlike most others. There a ton of people commuting a lot more than that. You do what you have to do for your job. I was responding to someone else's concern, trying to prevent them from making the mistakes we did.
We have since moved on, but spent more than two decades in northern Virginia. And the housing market is really no different than any other major metropolitan area -- buyers have to make tradeoffs between location and house size.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:11 AM
 
Location: St Pete
480 posts, read 804,376 times
Reputation: 561
I spent 2yrs living in Fairfax county and currently live in St. Pete. The 2 areas are polar opposites of each other. In Nova, most people are very driven and competitive. (basically all A types who only focus on wealth and status). St. Pete is a tourist / resort area. The pace of life is much slower and people are more laid back. White collar workers wearing flip flops and shorts at the office.
In Nova, I paid about 2k for a 900sq ft townhouse with a garage and had a commute of 60+ minutes each way to my jobs. In St. Pete, I got a 1550sq ft apt with a detached garage for $1100. My commute was 10min.
In Nova, you have the mountains and beautiful country (once you get an hour out of DC). It is 4hrs to get to the beach. In St. Pete, you are surrounded by water. I live 4 miles from the bay and 7 miles from the gulf. However Fl is flat and not scenic (other than the coasts).
Schools are better in Nova, howerver if you do your homework, you can find good schools in St. Pete.

Nova does have 4 seasons (including winter). St. Pete has 2 seasons, very hot and very warm. Right now, we are in the very warm season which means that it will be 78 today and drop down to about 65 tonight. If you are an outdoors person, you will enjoy having 70 degree days during dec, jan and feb. Although the heat can be oppresive, the St. Pete area is usually a few degrees cooler as are surrounded by water so we get cooling breezes from both the bay and the gulf. I get to ride my motorcycle (jacketless) year round.

Nova is much better if your main goals are career advancement. I left Atlanta to go to Nova and my salary doubled (close to tripled). Whenever I lost a job, I was able to get a new one in a few weeks. Nova did a lot for my resume. Fla is difficult to find a job (at least as an IT consultant). There are only a few large companies here. I was lucky as I signed on with a company that was based out of NY but had a big office in St. Pete. That means I made NY money while enjoying the Fla COL. The downside is now that the contract ended, I am having to leave St. Pete to find a new job.

If you do come to St. Pete to househunt, I suggest looking at areas that are waterfront or very near. The housing stock in St. Pete tends to not be very good. A lot of blockstyle, older smaller houses. However the Old NE, Kenwood areas are pretty good. Snell Isle and anything along the bay are very nice. Also, alot of nice condos on the Boga Ciega and the Gulf. There are areas of Tampa which have newer, nicer homes.

To wrap up, I enjoyed St. Pete much more than Nova, For the entire 2yrs we were there, my wife was angry and miserable. Once we got to St. Pete, she became a whole new person, one that was kicked back and happy. Nova did alot for my career so I do not regret spending time there as I can now take advantage of that career advancement. I am however at the point in life were quality of life is much more important that wealth, status or career.
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