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Old 03-10-2012, 08:17 PM
2 posts, read 4,270 times
Reputation: 10


Hi Group:
I am looking for opinions on my situation. Good job prospects in Rockville, MD and Plano, TX. 2 kids 10 and 5 (boys). Currently live in a nice suburb in wisconsin. Long term move. My husband and I are both healthcare practitioners.
I am looking to get opinions on what is a better place to move for the long term.
Plano, Texas: I like the growth in the area, schools, low cost of living, no tax and diversity. I am not so thrilled with the flat landscape, not too much to do within driving distance, hot summers.
Rockville, Maryland: I like the proximity to DC, good schools, diversity, city seems to have good culture, great colleges in the area. My concerns area high cost of living, not sure how much this place will grow in the coming years, high tax state.

I shall look forward to hearing from the group. My housing budget is between 300-500K. Schools-currently my kids are in private school but i would like them to go to public when we move.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:34 PM
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,555 posts, read 20,774,491 times
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For me there would be no question that the better life would be in Rockville, but nobody on the board can decide for you. For me the deciding factors would be the better schools and the more progressive culture of Montgomery County. Secondarily, the more moderate summers.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:42 PM
Location: DFW Metroplex. Not TX-born but never leaving.
302 posts, read 489,996 times
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I've lived in Montgomery County MD a few years ago and now live near and work in Plano, TX. If you can handle possibly really hot summers and not being close to the mountains or the ocean then in my opinion TX is better. Cost of living is better especially housing. As a whole people are friendlier in my experience. Plano ISD schools are overall very good. I do occasionally miss being able to go up to the mountains and see the leaves changing.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:48 AM
396 posts, read 987,620 times
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Originally Posted by goldenage1 View Post
For me there would be no question that the better life would be in Rockville..
Hmm, I had the exact opposite thought!

We are looking in the Rockville area for 300-500K houses, and the selection is not too great--unless you want a townhouse or an older SFH which needs lots of work. A 300k house may not be in a great neighborhood, as I have discovered; you would really need to look at crime report maps. You might be able to afford to live in a better school district in TX and save more money for the long term.

It's great to be near DC and all the cultural events, but the traffic is so bad (and the Metro is so broken down now) that I find getting around can be somewhat difficult. I enjoyed being a tourist in the DC area more than actually living here!

Agree with goldenage on this--ultimately, no one on the board can decide for you.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:38 AM
1,109 posts, read 2,411,471 times
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Since I like the fact I can drive to the ocean and the mountains, Rockville, I would choose Rockville. But as the others mentioned, we can't decide for you.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:30 AM
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,555 posts, read 20,774,491 times
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Originally Posted by amy16815 View Post
Good job prospects in Rockville, MD and Plano, TX.
Are you more comfortable in a blue state or a red state?
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:01 AM
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Your housing budget will be your biggest roadblock in Rockville if $500K is your upper limit. You could look in the surrounding areas, but $500K is about the minimum you can expect in areas where the schools are highly rated.
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:08 AM
23,837 posts, read 20,470,382 times
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Also, you should consider how much "progressivism" you can tolerate. Maryland...and Montgomery Country in particular....is a thoroughly liberal bastion, which means you can expect increased taxation to be the first and only option for balancing local budgets. Cutting expenditures is not even a topic of conversation in most cases. Maryland is not a good state to live if you find progressive taxation to be a thorn in your side.

You might want to Google the current push by the MD legislature to force counties to fund teacher pensions (instead of state gov't funding)....which is being fought by the localities because of their inability to pay. Counties have already said that services will be cut and property taxes will have to increae if the state succeeds in pushing teacher pensions on localities.

With that being said, the Rockville area is a pleasant place to live in my opinion. But you should definitely do your homework. I can't imagine that Plano and Rockville are on an even playing field in any way.
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:42 AM
766 posts, read 1,421,491 times
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I lived in Howard County for 3 years and am now in the Dallas area.

There is no question in my mind that Rockville would be the place for my family. From an educational perspective, not much can compare to the "school field trips" to the Air & Space Museum, Fords Theater, Mount Vernon, etc. Weekends spent wandering around the mall and through the "free" museums. All of the family musical events at the Kennedy Center. Yes, Dallas has museums and theater as well, but they just don't compare and everything is so spread out. (I try to take advantage of the governments use of my tax dollars. If I'm paying for the library and the Smithsonian, it's sure nice to use it, as well as the government subsidized Metro around DC.)

Also, depending on where you stand, Maryland has bought into the national standards for education, whereas Texas has their own standards. Of course your children will get a good education in Montogomery county and in Plano (they have tons of national merit scholars) - the socio economics of the two are quite similar as are the education backgrounds most of the population. Also, Texas has it's share of budget cuts for Education just like every other state in the union (maybe not NoDak), so don't come to Texas thinking their schools are well funded. Google the $4 billion cut in education that was made last year, it hasn't completely rippled through the schools yet. However, comparing school funding isn't productive as the dollars spend per student does not equal the quality of education they receive.

So back to Plano - they have grades 9-10 attend a high school and grades 11-12 attend a senior high and the school are absolutely huge IMO (as are most of north Dallas schools). Enrollment as of Sept. 2011 (from the Texas UIL enrollment numbers - this is what they base their sports/academic competitions on, 5A, 4A, 3A, etc.)
Plano 5240
Plano East 6171
Plano West 4190

Montogomery County has 26 high schools ranging from 1700 to 2800 students in each school, so it's a bigger district.

"Plano East's graduating classes are among the largest for high schools in the United States. Plano East's Class of 2005, with 1220 graduates, was the largest high school graduating class in the U.S. that year." (Wiki site). Yes, they have lots of national merit scholars, but your children will graduate with over 1000 other kids. Depending on your own educational background this may not bother you (my husband when to HS in SoCal and graduated with 800, I was in ND and had 250 in my class and this was in 1990). A large school does have the benefit of numerous clubs and programs, different languages offered, etc. Keep in mind that the school districts in Dallas don't follow the city boundaries, one school district can include 2+ different cities.

You state this is a long term move, so your housing budget could change in the future as you get settled. While the cost of living in Plano is cheaper, Dallas isn't as dirt cheap as one would think - especially if you're living in an middle/upper class suburb. Yes, gas and groceries are cheaper, but your water and electric bills would be way more expensive (trying to cool the house to 78 degrees on consistant 95+ days isn't easy.) For the taxes, real estate taxes are 'relatively' high in Texas (we pay $13,500 on $550k). This was about the same as our income tax in Maryland, and we payed an additional $8k in real estate tax on $650k home in MD. So we are really "only" saving $8k in taxes per year (which is paying for the higher bills and gas as we drive a lot more here).

The traffic is relatively bad either place in general, but if you can find something close to work in either case you won't spend more than an 30 min to an hour in the car.

Thinking about your weekends. In 2 hours you're barely out of Texas to the north and east. Austin is 3+ hours away and San Antonio about 5 hours (not sure why anyone would want to go to Houston except to visit relatives.) In Rockville, 90 minutes will get you to the Shenandoah National Park, 3 hours and you'll be in Williamsburg or Philly. In 5 hours you can be in NYC. Texas lakes are dammed rivers with mud bottoms, not the nice blue water you have in WI. It never bothers the kids, but it's really weird if you grew up with the water so clear you can see your toes (and the fish).

Also, Dallas is about as "red" as western Maryland (or as "blue" as western Maryland, however you wish to look at it). If you go out into the country in Texas you swing way right, if you go into the big cities in Maryland, you swing way left. (The same could be said for Washington State vs. Seattle, Georgia vs. Atlanta, etc.) We had more hunters in our neighborhood in Howard County than we do here oddly enough.

Last edited by carroll4628; 03-13-2012 at 06:07 AM..
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:30 PM
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We are moving back to Plano from Florida. The comparison is very different, but we personally really miss DFW and Plano. However, that said, for us the choice was DFW or Pinellas County, FL...not DC.

What I STRONGLY, STRONGLY, STRONGLY suggest is that you invest the time and money to take your family for visits to both places, at a minimum of 1 week each, but longer if you can afford it.

Do not move somewhere before you scout the area. There is NO way to accurately "get" a place through pictures, home prices, even statistics or forums, until you are physically there, driving around, walking around, and seeing it.

Trust me on this one. It is worth your time and money to scout the areas first. You will come away knowing, as a family, which place is the right fit.

Good luck!
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