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Old 03-21-2013, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Oviedo, FL
4 posts, read 5,946 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi everyone!

My partner and I are looking to move from Orlando, FL to the Hampton Roads area in July. He has been accepted into a graduate program at Old Dominion. I will be graduating in May from UCF with a degree in civil engineering. We will be on a limited budget for housing due to his schooling and my not having a job when we first move. Our budget will be around $1,000 per month for housing. We also have cats and a dog, which I know will make finding a place to live a challenge. We are looking to rent either an apartment, townhome, condo, or house (ideal, but we are trying to be realistic).
I have looked through some of the more recent threads and noticed that Ghent seems to be the best area in Norfolk. My searching has left me with a few questions.

1) Ghent is a little out of our price range. Are there any other decent areas in Norfolk that are priced less? (I know this means getting closer to the bad areas of the city)

2) Neither of us mind commuting either to school (for him) or work (for me). Are there good areas in Chesapeake or Virginia Beach that are worth looking at? How bad does the commute get?

3) Any suggestions for finding decent housing (any known real estate companies or apartment complexes)? I have been doing google searches but that doesn't always give me the reputation of the community.

4) I have started looking for jobs, does anyone know of any civil/transportation engineering firms that may be hiring? I know it's probably a long shot, but I have to ask!

5) Are there any other areas I may have left out that we should consider looking in?

Thanks!
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Newport News, Virginia
368 posts, read 921,331 times
Reputation: 279
I'm not terribly familiar with the areas southside, but, since no one else is taking this, I'll give it a try. $1,000 a month seems low to me to get you into a quality area (and, although Hampton Roads can be a very nice place to live, please keep in mind that the bad areas can be really bad). In Norfolk, your best bet, by far, is Ghent. If you think you can't afford it and want to live in Norfolk, I would consider looking at your budget again and reevaluating how you might be able to swing it. At the very least, try to come to Hampton Roads and have a look around before settling on an area. Try to get a personal recommendation (from someone who actually lives here) before signing a lease.

As for the commute, as long as you stay south of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel you should be fine. Most people run into problems when they try to commute through the tunnel (which is prone to back-ups). As long as you stay southside, commute-wise, you should be fine.
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Portsmouth, VA
6,513 posts, read 7,264,673 times
Reputation: 3768
Quote:
Originally Posted by artistatheart View Post
I'm not terribly familiar with the areas southside, but, since no one else is taking this, I'll give it a try. $1,000 a month seems low to me to get you into a quality area (and, although Hampton Roads can be a very nice place to live, please keep in mind that the bad areas can be really bad). In Norfolk, your best bet, by far, is Ghent. If you think you can't afford it and want to live in Norfolk, I would consider looking at your budget again and reevaluating how you might be able to swing it. At the very least, try to come to Hampton Roads and have a look around before settling on an area. Try to get a personal recommendation (from someone who actually lives here) before signing a lease.

As for the commute, as long as you stay south of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel you should be fine. Most people run into problems when they try to commute through the tunnel (which is prone to back-ups). As long as you stay southside, commute-wise, you should be fine.
Good neighborhoods in Norfolk aren't quite as expensive as people like to say that they are.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:16 PM
 
3,848 posts, read 8,624,581 times
Reputation: 2012
The dog might be the problem factor.

This company,
Cavalier Land, Inc.

Has lots of apartments in Ghent. They are old but I find that they are reasonably priced. I know it says they accept cats in most buildings- not sure about dogs.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Newport News, Virginia
368 posts, read 921,331 times
Reputation: 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by goofy328 View Post
Good neighborhoods in Norfolk aren't quite as expensive as people like to say that they are.
Wow, you're right. I just looked at the above post from Coconut--plenty of reasonably-priced apts. in Ghent. I had the impression the area was much more expensive.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:11 PM
 
3,848 posts, read 8,624,581 times
Reputation: 2012
Keep in mind that those places are really really old, though! Don't expect new or modern conveniences like a washer/dryer in your apartment. There are new buildings both in Ghent and Downtown which are ridiculously priced (like $2K for a 2/2) and they are cheaply constructed.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Portsmouth, VA
6,513 posts, read 7,264,673 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artistatheart View Post
Wow, you're right. I just looked at the above post from Coconut--plenty of reasonably-priced apts. in Ghent. I had the impression the area was much more expensive.
Depends on where at in Ghent you want to live. Those are older, more mature places. Ghent is a very old neighborhood, and an eclectic, artistic type of place. If you want new construction on 21st in one of the mid-rise apartments you probably will pay a lot of money. Downtown is interesting, but I'm not sure what the situation is with schools in the area; what you'll get for say, $1,300, downtown might even be smaller than a comparable place in Town Center, Virginia Beach. Town Center is the closest thing Virginia Beach has to a downtown area. Other areas are being built up though, and will probably look a lot more like Ghent, but that is probably 5 to 10 years off. The Laskin Road Gateway project will be interesting.

It isn't that I dislike Virginia Beach as much as it is that the area doesn't seem very mature, and I question how the City will be able to infuse the type of eclectic vibe some of the older cities in HR take for granted in their neighborhoods. Not that I don't think it is possible, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Town Center just isn't big enough to get lost in, and I think the focus on skyscrapers is missing the point. People want a large area you can lose yourself in and discover new and interesting things. Virginia Beach has the land, but there isn't enough variety in the architecture as of yet and the construction is too sparse to really get that message across. If you can have superblocks and do things like they do in Manhattan that is fine, but if not one of the neighborhoods in Brooklyn, or Georgetown, is just as good. Not sure if the developers really get that sentiment.

On the other hand Virginia Beach is a lot more interesting than Chesapeake at this point, though Chesapeake does, on occasion, do something cool in Greenbrier. Mid-rises are the future of Hampton Roads, IMHO.
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Oviedo, FL
4 posts, read 5,946 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you everyone for the responses!

Coconut1, I checked that link and those places aren't too bad sounding. I will look more into that. We are not dead set on living in Norfolk.

I have been looking at the Town Center area as well. I just don't know where the lines are drawn as far as good neighborhoods and bad. I was thinking about trying to find a real-estate agent who might be able to recommend some good places. Does anyone know a good realtor in the area?
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Portsmouth, VA
6,513 posts, read 7,264,673 times
Reputation: 3768
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebologna374 View Post
Thank you everyone for the responses!

Coconut1, I checked that link and those places aren't too bad sounding. I will look more into that. We are not dead set on living in Norfolk.

I have been looking at the Town Center area as well. I just don't know where the lines are drawn as far as good neighborhoods and bad. I was thinking about trying to find a real-estate agent who might be able to recommend some good places. Does anyone know a good realtor in the area?
You don't have to worry about "good or bad" neighborhoods in Virginia Beach. There are some neighborhoods that are not "as good", but for the most part Virginia Beach is a safe area. Worst that could happen is getting property taken; there is the occasional homicide in Virginia Beach, but for a city its size the place is incredibly safe.

Virginia Beach is more of a suburb of Norfolk than anything, even though it is technically larger, with more people, it is not as dense and functions more as a suburb than anything else. Both areas have beaches, Virginia Beach has the actual Oceanfront area, with hotels and stuff Oceanview in Norfolk should have, but it doesn't. Norfolk's Oceanview was good back in the 50s though, but it is taking a while to come back around. Gentrification helped out a lot, but I doubt the area will ever see the type of gentrification we see in places like Brooklyn, Manhattan, or areas of Chicago or DC, for example. Socioeconomically, it is a mixed area.

But anyway you may encounter areas in Virginia Beach that are not as rich, or as middle class, as other areas. I would check out the area first, see what type of housing is there, what type of people you see walking around, and then make your decision from there. Anything above $200,000 I can't see where you would have any problems in Virginia Beach. There is housing cheaper than that, but Virginia Beach doesn't give you a lot of land and the properties are incredibly small in some of the neighborhoods. If you're closer to the Oceanfront, a few of those areas might be more prone to flooding than elsewhere.

Norfolk is a bit different in that there are neighborhoods with housing that is cheaper that do not have problems with crime, and the housing actually looks really good, with historic architecture with "character" etc. and other areas where the housing might be more expensive, because of older housing that was torn down due to the deterioration, etc. that aren't very safe areas at all. It really depends. A realtor could help you navigate through those issues well, unless there is a particular neighborhood one of us on here could tell you about. I've noticed the same thing in Chesapeake, sure you could rent in an area like South Norfolk, on a "new" (rebuilt) property but they might want $1,100 or more to stay there. and that is a sketchy area; I never had any problems there personally, but that doesn't really mean anything if anyone else did. But, you could get the same thing in a better neighborhood, say in Greenbrier, that doesn't look as nice cause its from the 70s, but you would be closer to amenities like grocery stores and shopping malls.
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Richmond
419 posts, read 813,768 times
Reputation: 336
Not sure how 'nice' a neighborhood has to be to attract you but there are areas in Norview, Greenhill Farms, and other 'pocket' neighborhoods that are not expensive and have decent olderish houses that you could rent. Many allow dogs and cats. A couple of caveats- one neighborhood could be fine but the one less than a 1/4 mile away (often over water) will be not safe. The other is the houses are older and you want to rent one that has been well maintained. I have found that those owned by Norfolk residents tend to be nicer Rather those owner d by folks outside of the city. My Mom lives in a little neighborhood between sewells point and Chesapeake that is decent and her little block is well kept as many houses are rented by the person living next door who owns both places. It is hard to find a place like these without knowing the area so if you can find someone who is knowledgeable to take you around that is good.
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