Is Virginia for me? (Hampton, Harrisonburg: real estate, homes, buying)
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Just to have a stab at this. East tenn. is beautiful but sevierville/knoxville area is radioactive. Knoxville has the worst acid rain in the country and is the #1 growing worst place in the country for what they say is the most deadly air days in the country. Atomic city is about 50 miles away (oak ridge, tn), this is where the worst nuclear waste spills and dumps are in the country. Oark ridge is also the first place to make nuclear bombs and the only one left in the country that builds and repairs and disposes of the waste.
so hey lets move our kids there. The cost of living is great there withno doubt. But look it up you will find that south of oak ridge they say do not drink the water of eat the fish. The goverment is doing a lot of clean up and omitts to wrong doings in disposal, but refuses to do all the clean up needed. they will remove 2 ft deep of dirt in some areas even when they say 10 ft deep of dirt is radio active. and they also say the plant is still omitting some radio active matierial into the air, but there looking into what to do aout it. The great smokey mountains trees are dying at a very fast rate.
I was very interested in the area, but now i'm not sure. this is why i'm thinking of moving closer to my home town like roanoke va
I have lived in the Hampton Roads area for almost 30 years. You usually will not find Hampton Roads on a map, but it includes the following cities: Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newport News. Those are the official 7 cities, but sometimes people include the city of Williamsburg. The 7 cities do not belong to a county as the rest of Virginia is divided up into. This area is highly transient due to the military, but many people come back after they get out of the service.
I'll start off with the politics of the area since they are so unique here. The 7 cities have always talked about merging into 1 large city, which would have a population of about 1.5 million. This idea has had no success because Virginia Beach usually goes against the other cities and has a tendency to do things on their own. The cities do combine on some things, but it is usually 7 cities doing their own thing. All in all this does not pose a major problem, just a little odd.
Chesapeake and Suffolk are the fastest growing areas because they have the most open land. Chesapeake however does not invest much into their infrastructure, and their local roads become highly congested due to over development. ie George Washington Highway in the Deep Creek section. They did invest in a Bypass to the outer banks. Chesapeake schools are also highly overcrowded. 30% of students are in portables at last count. The Virginia Beach population is older and the city has basically maxed out on the land it wants to develop. The school enrollment in Virginia Beach is actually declining. They also goto school 3 more days per year than the other school districts. Because of the tourist industry, school starts after labor day and runs into mid June. Virginia Beach is also the wealthiest of the cities and is trying hard to create a "downtown" area. Suffolk is a bit "country", but is developing rapidly. You can buy more house in Suffolk, than you can in the other cities. Suffolk does not follow the state SOL (Standards of Learning) at the current time, so they do not receive as much funding as the other schools. My understanding is that they do plan on meeting SOL requirements in the near future. I personally would not live in Norfolk, Hampton, or Portsmouth. There are some nice areas in those cities, but generally have too many "bad" areas. Norfolk is doing a great deal to update its downtown and put more residential units in it.
The traffic depends on how things are going in the tunnels and bridges. The area sits at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and the Elizabeth river cuts the area up into many little sections. That means many tunnels and bridges everywhere, and that means traffic during rush hour. Because of the military, rush periods usually start and end earlier than other cities. Traffic is usually lighter at 6pm than 3 or 4 pm. There is no efficient transit system in the area. They do try to run a bus service, but the area is just too spread out .
The weather here is highly effected by the water and is usually different than the rest of the state. The weather can be summed up in one word: humidity. The winters are not very cold and we get very little snow, but the humidity makes it seem colder than it is. It also makes summers seem hotter than the temp, but we do not go through long stretches of extreme weather. The coast line's shape does provide some protection against hurricanes, but the area does get hit once in a while. The spring and fall times are nice. It usually remains hot until early October. There is no real rainy season, the rain is basically spread out but the winters do receive a little more rainfall.
If you like the beach and water sports, then you will love the recreational opportunities here. There are no major league sports here. This is the largest TV market in the USA without a major league sports team. The only major college sports is provided by Old Dominion University, and they belong to a mid-major conference. Norfolk does has a minor league baseball team (AAA - for the Mets), and minor league hockey team ( For the Black hawks).
One odd thing about the area is it is late to get new companies and stores. Many companies and stores stop at Richmond and jump to Raleigh. Eventually they work their way back to this area.
Crime here is not bad, and usually occurs where you shouldn't be anyway.
That is about all I can think of at this time. Hope it helps.
There is a reason property is cheap in the country as I found out.No work.Some houses don't have indoor plumbing.Northern VA is good.Want's to break of from the country part of state.In the country there the winters aren't bad.BUT when it does snow schools close at first flake.My kids were out of school for 4 weeks for 2 inches of snow.The school bus drivers take the buses home and can't get them out of their driveways.Having grown up in Chicago I asked them if anyone heard of morton salt.
I'm surprised to hear people saying VA is expensive. I guess it all depends on where you're moving from. I am in NJ (near Philly) and I can sell my small colonial for $350,000 and buy a bigger home in Richmond, VA for $250,000. Like I said - guess it's just perspective.
I lived in Newport News for 18 months and left to return to New York. I can say I was not as happy as I thought I would be. First there is a personal property tax on your vehicle(s) which is in addition to the registration. Also every city has a sticker that must be affixed to your windshield and this is another fee. I did not know this when I moved there. It was crowded on the highways and the threat from hurricanes is real. Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach are military towns with a lot of young service members that for the most part are well behaved but can at times be noisy when they party which is anytime they get. I lived in a very nice apartment complex with a higher rent than most but didn't know that the Navy, Army contributes to some of these members rent and so I had very young people who drink a lot living next to me having parties all he time. I am a retired New York City Police Officer so I had the flexibility of leaving when I wanted. There were other factors that had me return to New York but Virginia was not for me. I was most upset with the personal property tax and taxes on things as small as a newspaper. The south is different than the north and it shows in people. Do your homework first and make your decision. I cannot comment on the schools because I did not come down with school age children but did see behavior that I thought I left behind in New York. Good luck,
yes we have a small tax on vehicles it wont hurt you unless you have 9 like i do ouch!! and a county or city sticker i think is 15 or 20 bucks a year, and no city taxes taken out of your paycheck so its 20 bucks city tax a year!!! we also have sunshine,mountains, the bay and an ocean, if you get bored in va you must have died!!
When I lived in indiana the city tax was about 600.00 a year while I lived in the county.
Then there is nevada no state tax, but it will cost you 150.00 to work every 5 years in nevada for a work card, then if you work with food it's another 30.00 every 2 years for as health card, and if they sell where you work alcohol it's another 30.00 every 4-5 years for a TAM card. This comes out to 52.50 dollars a year just to work, min. Then there is the higher gas tax, and pet tax on the city license tag. 100.00 dollars more a month on insurance. Taxes on guns, food,and what ever else they can charge for. It is seriously cheaper to live in arizona even if you work in nevada and pay the work fees.
Virginia is nothing when it comes to taxes and fees from what i hear.
I lived in Newport News for 18 months. I moved there to be near my daughter who was in the Navy and stationed at Norfolk Naval. What I did not know at the time was their tax on personal property, cars, boats, etc. It is a tax in addition to your vehicle registration. They also have a tax that each city collects yearly. You need to have a sticker on your windshield showing what city in VA your car is registered to so this in my opinion is another tax. Also items such as a newspaper are taxed. .50 cents becomes .52 so I was very unhappy with this and eventually moved. Do your homework first and stay away from personal property tax states because the money does add up over time.
the car tax is a pct of the retail value,and county sticker 15 or 20 bucks isnt to bad compared to paying a city tax from each pay check 52 times a year, unless you own several vehicles then it can become expensive. the yearly inspection sticker insures your car is safe to be on the streets, $16.00 for safety is worth it after living in the welfare wonderland where if it starts is all that matters ,well get it stopped some how! and we dont have epa checks in richmond which i think is another 20 bucks,, groceries are taxed which was hard to get used to, 20 yrs ago only 17 states taxed groceries .today????
I moved here from Northern California, and happily pay my $250 a year property tax on 2 2003 vehicles, and the $20 a year county sticker -- in exchange for the $600+ a year CA reg. fee and insurance that was $900 a year higher in CA! Not to mention the 4.5% sales tax in Richmond, compared to the 8% in my county in CA. The roads, schools, everything seems better fiscally managed here than my former CA home.
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