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Old 02-28-2009, 06:31 AM
37 posts, read 129,625 times
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I'm currently living in Dubai, UAE (middle east) and have taken an offer with my company back in the US sitting in Norfolk. Starting to do some research on the area and get a better idea of where to search for housing. I'll be put up for a month or two in corporate housing to aid my search, but it is still nice to have an idea of where to look before I arrive.

It is just my wife and I, no kids yet but plans for such; both in our late 20's. At a minimum looking for a 2-bedroom house or townhome, I prefer something with a garage and am not willing to living in an apartment building/complex. Our office is located in Norfolk close to the Waterside center I believe. Commute wise I'd say anything under 45 minutes is fine (though closer is always nice), however I'm guessing compared to Dubai traffic can't be that bad.

I've read through here a bit and heard about the nicer area of Norfolk; how about parts of VA Beach, Chesapeake, or even Northhampton county (or is that a bit too much of a drive). Community wise we would like the usual, easy access to daily needs, a variety of restaurants, a walkable community, low crimerate etc. I've been using craiglist and the multiple listing service (hrmls.com) to get a better idea of rent prices and housing styles. The budget I have in my head currently is ~1300/month, but am fairly flexible, does this sound like a reasonable figure or should I make some adjustments here?

Any tips to help of focus in on some areas or where we should avoid at all costs would be appreciated. Looking forward to the move and change of scenery in the coming months (camels and sand mixed in with 160 floor skyscrapers isn't as interesting as its cracked up to be ).
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:12 AM
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Hello hcaleman, Congrats on your decision to move back to the states. I live on the Eastern Shore (Northampton County, Virginia), and can tell you for sure you wouldn't want to incur the daily round trip Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel toll of $17. Or, perhaps you were referring to Northampton County, North Carolina?? Transplant here from Los Angeles so when I say this other locals here may be "alarmed" but, in my opionion, the commutes to downtown Norfolk from Va. Beach or Chesapeake are doable without much headache. And I would think both would provide low crime, good restaurants and the night life you are looking for. Good luck to you. And, if it can be arranged, I'd be gald to mail you any local periodicals on real estate ads and the like for the asking.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:23 AM
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Thanks for the info. I've been browsing pilotonline, the local MLS sites and craigslist. I'm guessing that is giving me a decent cross section of the market. All indications are we will be hitting VA sometime in May and have two months to look around for a place and get settled in. Are their neighborhoods in va beach that are walkable communities? Something with small local shops and restaurants interspersed with residential areas. Along the lines of Winter Park in Orlando, many small towns in Morris County (north Jersey) or Key West? I'm told Ghent is somewhat like that, but haven't heard about a similar setup in Va beach.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:28 AM
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The only walkable communities would be near Town Center or the Oceanfront in VB. The Town Center probably offers the most nearby having plenty of restaurants (though chains), Pembroke Mall, Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, Regal theater and such. Very few in the way of independently owned retail though. The Oceanfront has restaurants and maybe some retail though it is more spread out and not as much.
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:27 AM
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I second the Oceanfront on walkability, but Ghent would be my first choice.
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:12 PM
Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
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If you are only looking to rent first - which is really the best move when you come to a new area - you do not have to consider schools yet. 45 min drive time will allow you to live almost anywhere except the Peninsula (Newport News/Williamsburg).

We have minimal TH's in this area, although some builders are doing more TH these days. For that rent range, you should be able to find a nice apt (many newer apts have parking garages) or a SFH. It really depends on your lifestyle - do you WANT yardwork or do you prefer to let someone else do it?

There are nice areas in Norfolk. I know there are a larger number of new apts being built in Hampton Roads - several in Norfolk. They may be ready by the time you get here. Do your research before you come. Then spend your free time driving around. There are alot of strong opinions on this site, which have their place. Once you find neighborhoods you like, come back to us and we give additional advice on those specific neighborhoods. Many people are down on one particular city based on hearsay. I live in one of those 'bad' cities - however I do NOT live in the bad part of town and it is very peaceful in my neighborhood. You can tell just by driving around if a neighborhood has a good feel to it.
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