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Old 05-12-2018, 11:09 AM
 
111 posts, read 72,113 times
Reputation: 39

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I’ve been researching locations for a southern relocation for myself and my husband. I’ve narrowed the areas I’m very interested in down to a few parts of Tennessee, but also the SW area of VA. This section of the forum is the closest part I could find for this area. A large attraction for me is that our dogs won’t be discriminated against per VA law, granted I know renting with two medium sized (50-65lb) pittbulls May still be difficult to find. Could anyone provide me with additional information about SWVA? I’m looking at areas between Lynchburg over to Abington. I understand this may be a vast area to cover, however, my key concentrations are dog friendly areas, quiet neighborhoods, Comcast/Xfinity service area (my husband is a technician and we would like to transfer his job), within a reasonable distance to “things to do” (we’re in our early 30’s extremely responsible so we’re not really into clubbing or that “scene”). I welcome detailed replies! THANK YOU AHEAD OF TIME🙂🙂🙂

When are you moving? HOPING for summer-fall of 2019
Where are you coming from? North East Pennsylvania
Why are you moving? Warmer weather, better outdoor activities, better economy, more thriving state
Where will you be working? I work from home, my husband works for Comcast/Xfinity. We are hoping to be able to transfer his job to the local area
Have you been here ? No, hoping to visit this summer sometime July-Aug.

Will you buy or rent? Will rent while we look for the area/house to buy. Will need a rental that accepts medium sized dogs less than 65 lbs. They are mixes we rescued, but they are our kids as we don't have children.

If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? How much can you spend? Preferably a nice house under 200-250k.
If renting, are you looking for an apartment, a townhouse or loft? How much can you spend? Would prefer to rent a house, ok with an apartment that is dog friendly.
Do you prefer hi-rise or walk up? Not familiar with these terms, but I think a walk up

Are you married or single? Married
Do you have children? no
Do you prefer public or private schools? N/A
Do you have pets? Yes, 2 mixed breed medium sized dogs. 5-6 yrs old
Do you want or need a yard? Preferably, yes.
Are you keeping a car? Yes
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? Calm and quiet, but within a reasonable distance to the bustle ql

What do you want to be closest to?
Work
Shopping
Basic services (supermarket, drugstore, etc.)
Nightlife
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,316 posts, read 21,234,539 times
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Comcast does have a service center in Abingdon, VA. Abingdon is closer to the Tri-Cities. Southwest VA is a big place. It is about 2.5 hrs from Bristol to Roanoke, and farther still to Lynchburg.

First, I would ignore anything north and west of I-81 and I-77 going north past Wytheville. That is mostly coal country, and the counties in southwest Virginia close to the Kentucky line are among the poorest in the entire country. There are virtually no jobs there, those counties see virtually no transplants and are not welcoming to newcomers. I worked in Russell County, VA for two years as my first job after college. It is an immensely beautiful area, but outside the city limits of Lebanon, you didn't have city water, cable internet, or even cell phone service, and this was in 2012.

Abingdon (about 15-20 miles from TN line), Damascus (east of Abingdon), and Marion are all nice small towns, with quaint downtown areas. Marion is farther up the interstate, and is basically the edge of the Tri-Cities media market. Abingdon is a little more affluent, has an "old money" feel in spots, and has made some lists for "best small towns" type of things. Damascus is smaller and more tourism oriented.

Keep in mind that once you leave the Tri-Cities area, there really isn't much in southwest VA until you hit Christiansburg and the Roanoke metro. Most of the towns are under 10,000 people. It's a beautiful drive, but there isn't much in the way of jobs there, or even basic services in some locations. Honestly, you will probably be limited to Bristol's metro and Roanoke for jobs.

I went to Roanoke for a Saturday a few months back, and did some hiking and sightseeing. I was surprised at how beautiful it was - it has a very "in the mountains" feel like Asheville. Abingdon and the towns along I-81 don't really have that IMO. The downtown area is nice and I had a very good meal at some Cajun restaurant there. VA also has a really great craft beer/wine scene, and there's a good bit of that in Roanoke.

With that said, I was fairly unimpressed otherwise. I don't know if I expected something bigger or what, but it didn't feel that much different than Johnson City to me. The mall (Tanglewood) didn't seem to have much left in it. I kind of expected to find things that were a bit higher end than Johnson City, but really didn't. I went to a nearby Kroger, and selection seemed kind of thin. There just wasn't as much there as I thought.
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:01 AM
 
111 posts, read 72,113 times
Reputation: 39
SC, thank you VERY MUCH for your detailed reply! This is exactly what I’m lookin for. Right now we are considering VA because of our dogs and the laws, but still looking at eastern TN as well. Just trying to find the best fit for work/housing/dogs.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,316 posts, read 21,234,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDKreidler View Post
SC, thank you VERY MUCH for your detailed reply! This is exactly what I’m lookin for. Right now we are considering VA because of our dogs and the laws, but still looking at eastern TN as well. Just trying to find the best fit for work/housing/dogs.
One thing to consider is that VA has much higher taxes. You'll pay for an annual vehicle inspection. VA has a personal property tax. VA has a state income tax. Property tax rates are generally a bit higher than Tennessee. TN has a much higher sales tax than VA, but I often do my Sam's and Walmart shopping in Virginia anyway.

VA also seems to be much more aggressive regarding things like traffic enforcement. 81/70 in VA is reckless driving, and instead of a speeding ticket, it can be prosecuted as a class A misdemeanor like a DUI. My dad was stopped by a Virginia cop last week at 2:00 AM as he was leaving work for no reason. I've been stopped for no reason in VA, and was never issued a ticket.

Roanoke was scenic and had a lot of pretty views, but out of the cities you're posting about, I think Knoxville is probably the most livable and will have the best job opportunities.
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:42 PM
 
111 posts, read 72,113 times
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That seems to be what I am finding as well. I’m trying to make a (WELL) informed decision. If we didn’t have pittbulls this would be a much easier situation , however, I don’t think I’m ready to give up my babies. The prospects of lower taxes, lower cost of living, slower pace of life, beautiful scenery, and warmer climate are SO appealing and exactly what we’re looking for!
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Old 05-20-2018, 04:37 AM
 
Location: Roanoke, VA
1,805 posts, read 3,543,218 times
Reputation: 1117
TN has a high sales tax. I believe the state rate is 7%. It has been dropped to 4% on food.
But in some areas, the state rate combined with the local rate can pop it up to 9.75%.


SDKreidler, how are TN dog laws in comparison to VA's?


Re malls in Roanoke, Tanglewood Mall is not a "financially healthy" mall from what I have seen. I have read stuff online about plans to tear it down and put up something else. Valley View Mall is the better place to shop. You can go online and compare the tenant lists for the two malls.



Roanoke is big enough to have some fun stuff, but small enough you can usually get across town in a short time period. It is a dog friendly town.



Good luck!
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:48 AM
 
Location: Roanoke, VA
1,805 posts, read 3,543,218 times
Reputation: 1117
I'll add a bit more. I wanted to move to Bristol, VA or Abingdon. Children objected about us being so far away. And our youngest attends a college about an hour north of Roanoke. Our cost of living would have been less in Abingdon/Bristol. Our real estate taxes would be about half, personal property taxes on vehicles would be less, Abingdon has a lovely gym/rec center that would be a lot less than our YMCA monthly dues that my husband insists on having despite him rarely going there. What we spent on a house in Roanoke would have gotten us a nicer home there.



Virginia's personal property tax on things you register --- cars, trucks, trailers, RVs, boats --is something Virginians complain about. The tax rate varies by location. It can be very low or outrageously high. If you live in an independent city, you owe taxes only to that city. If you live in an incorporated town, you owe taxes to both the county and that town. Usually town taxes are a fraction of the county's taxes, but there are some town with such high personal property tax rates that when combined with the county pushes them to 10% or more -- Covington and Buena Vista come to mind.


Virginia has enacted tax relief on personal use vehicles that reduces the tax considerably. But it's still going to hurt if you must drive an expensive, new car. We have three older cars. Here's the tax on two of them for 2018: 2010 Volkswagen Jetta $167.12 (tax relief was $129.98, the value the city used was $7,800 so the full tax would have been $269.10, plus a license tax of $28); 2006 Saab 9 3 $59.33 (tax relief $29.58, value used: $1,775, full tax: $61.24, plus the license tax of $28). This gives you some idea. For vehicles, the tax rate in the City of Roanoke is $3.50 per hundred.



Again, good luck!
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:00 PM
 
111 posts, read 72,113 times
Reputation: 39
TNLily, thank you very much for the examples on the personal tax. Virginia’s dog laws would protect our dogs better than the TN laws at this time, however, my dogs may end up being registered as ESA dogs as I have a medical condition that I recently found out qualifies. The TN sales tax and the Virginia taxes both seem pretty high, however, in PA we are taxed for everything. Our sales tax here is 6%, while we have income tax, property taxes which are quite high, garbage tax for the yr is $270 if paid in full before the end of May, and we have the highest gas tax in the nation.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Boydton, VA
3,066 posts, read 3,721,251 times
Reputation: 6054
Property Tax, by county: link.

Regards
Gemstone1
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Roanoke, VA
1,805 posts, read 3,543,218 times
Reputation: 1117
Be cautious with the ESA certification and do your research. There is a big problem with fake service animals. Too many outfits, for a fee, will register your animal as an ESA and send you a service dog vest.



Here's one report:


https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Re...Fraud-AVMA.pdf


HUD and DOJ have issued statements on this issue. Many states are cracking down on this with laws. Here's the section from the Virginia Code:


§ 51.5-44.1. Fraudulent representation of a service dog or hearing dog; penalty

Any person who knowingly and willfully fits a dog with a harness, collar, vest, or sign, or uses an identification card commonly used by a person with a disability, in order to represent that the dog is a service dog or hearing dog to fraudulently gain public access for such dog pursuant to provisions in § 51.5-44 is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
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