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Old 08-13-2008, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
16 posts, read 22,742 times
Reputation: 17
Default Contemplating Moving From DC to Dallas/Houston

Hello y'all!
I'm 27, married with a kid on the way, thinking of moving to Dallas-Fort Worth or Houston because it seems like a pretty good place for a family with low rents/housing prices. I work as a financial analyst for a large management consulting firm in the Northern Virginia area where home prices and rents are pretty high! I make about $75k and pay about $1400 for a 2 bed apt - my wife is not currently working. Whatever time I have spent in the U.S., including college (George Washington Univ.) has been in the Washington DC area and we love it here - other than housing costs and having to pay car tax every year (VA)!
DC is gorgeous and very diverse with lots to do including the smithsonian museums, good/trendy restaurants and I guess it doesn't hurt to live in one of the richest counties (Fairfax) in the country. What we do not like are cold winters, blustery winds and ice storms!
From a job perspective I have an interest in the financial services industry as well as the energy industry which begs the question, which of these cities, if any, might be best for us? I know Houston is the energy capital of the US but what about the financial services industry? Can either of these cities be called a 'financial services hub'?
Your thoughts, comments, suggestions etc. would be much appreciated and feel free to ask questions if you like to understand my predicament better, if I have left anything out.
Thanks so much!
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:02 PM
 
4,608 posts, read 4,957,003 times
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Confused one, both Dallas and Houston have intense ties to financials as well as energy. The difference between the two might be yin and yang.

Houston has humidity comparable to that of DC, if not more so. And incredible thunderstorms.
Dallas has heat. It's hot. But only when it doesn't get below 85, even in the weee hours of the morning.

And to make you feel at home, they both will soon have former presidents. Both tied to financials and energy.

But you should visit both cities before choosing between the two.
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:58 PM
 
15,969 posts, read 25,409,286 times
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Dallas is traditionally more into financials and Houston more into energy - but each has a bit of the other. We are different cities completely, but we share the Texas spirit.
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
16 posts, read 22,742 times
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Thanks so much for your suggestions! I was wondering though is one safer than the other? The reason I ask is since Houston has no zoning is it more suceptible to having lost of bad neighborhood mixed in with nice ones?
Also, any ideas on how cost of living would compare to the Virginia suburbs of DC?
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:23 AM
 
430 posts, read 874,016 times
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Dallas is safer by far.

But it really depends on the suburb you live in.

In the Dallas area, I would look at Richarsdson/Plano/Frisco/Lewisville/McKinney or Fort Worth.

For Houston, The Woodlands would be the place to start.

COL would be less - no state income taxes and housing is cheaper.
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Old 08-18-2008, 11:09 AM
 
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Houston's 'no zoning' allows for growth or development most any where in the area. As far as safety, Houston is no less safe than any metro in the country. Most residential development is in subdivisions, usually homes, a club house and a pool. Subdivisions in the area have 'Home Owner Associations' and typically ban home businesses and RV's in the driveway. You can run your internet business from your bedroom but not a printing press from your kitchen. You will want to join yours and get on the board.

As far as the cost of living, yeah, no state income tax (and we did just have a tax free weekend) and housing is more affordable. Otherwise, things are priced about the same. The tax free weekend allows for buying those 'back to school' things without the burden of supporting the state. I don't think it includes TV's and cars.
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,310 posts, read 21,044,193 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinnetx View Post
Dallas is safer by far.

But it really depends on the suburb you live in.

In the Dallas area, I would look at Richarsdson/Plano/Frisco/Lewisville/McKinney or Fort Worth.

For Houston, The Woodlands would be the place to start.

COL would be less - no state income taxes and housing is cheaper.
In the event you decide to move to a real crime ridden slum like Houston, where apparently thieves, murderers and buggerers run amok and cause chaos completely unchecked, you need to understand that this city is ENORMOUS and commutes can be really miserable. You do not want to be living in Kingwood if you're working in Southwest Houston. Actually, unless you are working in Kingwood you probably don't want to live there. The worst thing that you can do, and a lot of people do this, is move to Houston, look at houses with a realtor for a week, decide "Yep! This is it, this is the place we will call home! SOLD!!" and buy a house willy-nilly. After a year of driving 1.5 hours to work everyday you will realize that you should have done your homework. Then, after having your house on the market for another year you will realize how bad that mistake really was.

There is a lot of affordable housing in Houston and it isn't going anywhere. There is no rush, take your time. Rent for six months to a year and get a feel for this town before you make a big commitment. You'll be kicking yourself if you do not.

As far as the OP's original question, there are lots of financial sector jobs here. Lots. A lot of them are with Oil & Gas or energy companies. Do you have a specialty?
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Hutto, Tx
8,629 posts, read 15,997,252 times
Reputation: 2318
Well, I lived in Houston too. I think jimboburnsy may be being facetious in that first paragraph somewhat. Crime run-amok...got a good laugh out of that one. Just like in any very big city, there are some neighborhoods you should stay away from, but for the most part it's a safe place to live. Many of the suburbs are great. The mom of a good friend of mine lives in Kingwood and commutes in to work (she's a cpa).

He's right about making sure you live close to where you work. Houston is really big and to drive from North of the city to South of the city can take up to an hour, but that is if you drive from Katy and work at Nasa down in Clear Lake. I drove from Clear Lake to the Memorial area for about a year before I was married and it took almost 45 minutes, and that was by the tollway.

Housing is affordable in Houston so not too many problems there.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
16 posts, read 22,742 times
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Thanks for the insight... I'm a sr. financial analyst at BearingPoint in their government finance and accounting team. My prior experience has been in mortgage banking and mortgage operations. So you could say my specialty is financial analysis and audit related. I do not have any experience in oil and gas but I am good with systems and data and have been successful in new, challenging environments.
I totally agree with your observation jimbo... it makes no sense to buy until you've gotten a feel for the area and established where you will be working... as far as the chaotic nature of the city i'll be sure to carry a stun gun and mace!
The one thing that has really surprised me is the amount of tax the city enforces on high rise condos and the enormous condo fees - reminds me of new york city.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,310 posts, read 21,044,193 times
Reputation: 6648
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConfusedInDC View Post
Thanks for the insight... I'm a sr. financial analyst at BearingPoint in their government finance and accounting team. My prior experience has been in mortgage banking and mortgage operations. So you could say my specialty is financial analysis and audit related. I do not have any experience in oil and gas but I am good with systems and data and have been successful in new, challenging environments.
I totally agree with your observation jimbo... it makes no sense to buy until you've gotten a feel for the area and established where you will be working... as far as the chaotic nature of the city i'll be sure to carry a stun gun and mace!
The one thing that has really surprised me is the amount of tax the city enforces on high rise condos and the enormous condo fees - reminds me of new york city.
Hmmm... I have a lot of friends who are financiers of one character or another with MBA's and I've noticed that once the blood alcohol level has risen above about 0.025% they want to unload their vast knowledge of the local, state and national economy for hours on end without taking a breath. They often go into great detail about derivatives and complex valuation equations. This practice sometimes makes me feel as though I actually know something about your industry, but I must confess that you lost me at "government finance" and I am completely unable to offer any insight into how your skillset may transfer to a place like Houston beyond the fact that I am confident that it will, in fact, transfer, particularly if you are open to the possibility of working in the oil & gas corporate finance arena.
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