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Old 02-24-2011, 07:59 PM
 
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We are a young family of four who currently reside in NYC (Staten Island). The cost of living has become ridiculous here so we have decided to move south asap. We have family in central Florida so we have considered moving there but with the unemployment rate at nearly 12 % on top of the heat almost all year round we are torn between Raleigh, NC and Richmond, VA. We know that there is pros and cons to everywhere and that jobs are not as abundant as they used to be. To pinpoint it we are looking for a better quality of life that is affordable. We currently rent from a family friend (luckily) a 2 bedroom 700 sq foot apartment and pay $1100. So we are looking to rent a smaller home with 3 bedrooms for around that price or hopefully less in a family friendly area with good elementary schools. I myself have my A.S in human services/criminal justice and would ultimately be seeking a civil service job (IE: Police/Fire). I have years of experience running my own small delivery service in NYC so driving and moving are also comfortable positions for me. I have pondered going for my EMT certification as that should give me a foot in the door as a Firefighter. My wife is finishing here degree in business administration. She is very good at sales and is considering getting her Real Estate License. The area seems suitable for that (Well atleast from an outsider looking in point of view). Our children are 2 and 5 years of age so a good/affordable daycare for our youngest would be ideal. We have visited the Richmond area many times and love it but are open to other areas as well. Any local information on the job market, housing, etc would be great. Since vacationing and living somewhere are two diffrent things. Thank You in advance!
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Roanoke VA
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Virginia: Employment Commission, your first stop for employment related services in the Commonwealth of VA

For my 2cents worth of advice, I would not move to VA unless you already have a job lined up. In my area of Roanoke, there have been announcements in the past 2 weeks of over 400 new job openings hiring in healthcare, railroad, etc. I believe Richmond was hard hit by the recession due to financial/state govt jobs. Roanoke was not as badly hit so employment here has been a bit more positive. Avoid the no Va area as costs there are very high. Check out
NC also! Good Luck!!
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:31 AM
 
Location: The Ranch in Olam Haba
23,709 posts, read 30,620,560 times
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Yes its cheaper to live down here. But if you dont have a portable job you will have issues. NY payrates are nearly triple compared to here. In your situation, I would try to join the VA State Police. Firefighters & EMTs are moslty volunteer down here. As to affordable housing look at Chesterfield. For $1100 you can get an entire ranch home with a yard. As to your wife, RE is pretty dead down here. Numerous realtors have closed up or combined with others. IMO she should direct her degree towards medical admin which is in a growth stage here.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:05 AM
 
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Thank You both for the info. I would definitely not move anywhere without a job lined up first. I did apply for the Chesterfield PD and was invited to take the PO exam next month so that is for sure an option. I was gearing more towards going into the Fire field so being that they are volunteer sure puts a damp on that option for me. I've never been to Roanoke so maybe that could be another option. I have heard some good things about Christiansburg/Blacksburg. What are your opinions on them? Thanks Again!
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:16 AM
 
Location: The Ranch in Olam Haba
23,709 posts, read 30,620,560 times
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Quote:
I've never been to Roanoke so maybe that could be another option. I have heard some good things about Christiansburg/Blacksburg
From a NYr point of view way its too boring (unless you like living in Greenbelt). Drive upstate to the Bear Mountain area, its basically the same thing.

I don't know if you are a true SI'r (born there before the gank plank was put in) but Chesterfield is like SI was in the 80's when all the transplants moved in into the breadboxes.

Virginians are very different then NYrs. They go from one extreme to another. Mondays and Fridays they are all on Expresso IV's. Tuesday thru Thurday they are on Xanax. During the weekend it depends on which direction the wind is going.

To give you a visual from your point of view. Think about the exit to the Belt from the VZ into Bklyn.
NY'rs adjust their speed to safely make it thru the offramp. A VAr will either drop to Grandpa Moses speed or try to take it at 80. I've seen cars parked upside down sitting up in trees. Most accidents here are one car. At one of my past lives I worked as an EMT (Trauma unit) in NY. I had highway detail. I could easily figure out an accident scene in NY. Here (nearly 20 yrs) I scratch my head and go WTF.
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:43 PM
 
20 posts, read 40,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilVA View Post
From a NYr point of view way its too boring (unless you like living in Greenbelt). Drive upstate to the Bear Mountain area, its basically the same thing.

I don't know if you are a true SI'r (born there before the gank plank was put in) but Chesterfield is like SI was in the 80's when all the transplants moved in into the breadboxes.

Virginians are very different then NYrs. They go from one extreme to another. Mondays and Fridays they are all on Expresso IV's. Tuesday thru Thurday they are on Xanax. During the weekend it depends on which direction the wind is going.

To give you a visual from your point of view. Think about the exit to the Belt from the VZ into Bklyn.
NY'rs adjust their speed to safely make it thru the offramp. A VAr will either drop to Grandpa Moses speed or try to take it at 80. I've seen cars parked upside down sitting up in trees. Most accidents here are one car. At one of my past lives I worked as an EMT (Trauma unit) in NY. I had highway detail. I could easily figure out an accident scene in NY. Here (nearly 20 yrs) I scratch my head and go WTF.
Wow Xanax junkies is one of the reasons we are running away from Staten Island. There is a huge pescription pill problem here that has gotten out of hand lately. I am not an original SIer actually from Queens. We have lived on the island for a few years now since it was the closest thing to the burbs in NYC or so we thought. We are looking to get out of here asap. Also, The driving problem is definitely scary as my wife will be driving with my little ones daily. Hmmm .. Alot to ponder. We may end up down south in FL in the long run being we have lots of family there as well as easy driving for the most part. Thank You for the great advice.
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Central Virginia
834 posts, read 2,271,315 times
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Quote:
Virginians are very different then NYrs. They go from one extreme to another. Mondays and Fridays they are all on Expresso IV's. Tuesday thru Thurday they are on Xanax. During the weekend it depends on which direction the wind is going.
Please don't think I'm being rude, but I honestly don't know what this means. People do drink coffee in Richmond and go to Starbucks, yes.
I can't say I saw people hyped up on espresso more in Richmond? Xanax and other meds have infiltrated every single town/city in the US. I've lived in 4 states in multiples places in each state and I honestly can't say that people seemed like they popped meds more if at all. So it's possible this just went over my head but I'm not "getting" it, lol.


To the OP, I'm originally from NJ and now live in CT and frequently drive into the city. Let me tell you, people in Virginia, specifically Richmond, drive like freaking angels compared to what you are used to. Up here, people will cut you off and give you the finger at the same time. I cannot say I found the Richmond area to be any "type" of driver. Before Richmond I lived in Florida-the land of the senior, incoherent driver who should have lost their license years ago. So between living with the aggressive, fast drivers up north and the slow/stupid drivers in Florida, Richmond was a breeze. Of course there is the occasional A-hole driver but you get that anywhere.

Now I didn't live in the city of Richmond itself. The city is like any other city. Good parts/bad parts. But to me, the good parts of Richmond's city are much more beautiful than the good parts of other cities. Lots of history and architecture.
I lived northwest, and west of the city in western Henrico and Hanover county. Can't say enough good about it. We are looking into moving back.

Let me tell you compared to the northeast-

Housing is CHEAP!!!!
property taxes- dirt cheap
housing stock is so much newer and nicer. You can find a gorgeous house under 250k that isn't a grandma looking 1970's nightmare
all insurance- car/health/homeowner's much cheaper than the northeast
food-cheaper. Not much but cheaper
Shopping is fantastic if you are into that. I read once that Richmond had more shopping per capita than any other city. And stores are new and beautiful. Not outdated like so many stores are up north

You'll get a beautiful 4 seasons. I actually loved winter in VA where I'm totally sick of it up here.

Really visit the city and give it a chance. Especially if you are coming from here. Honestly, Citydata can be helpful but you really have to see something for yourself. I've found that the board tends to attract a lot of people (like myself) looking to move from where they are. So you will generally hear more negative than positive.
Richmond, while does have southern roots and you will feel them, to me is a beautiful blend of the north and the south. If you head south of where you are now, Richmond is the first city you will hit that you will see that lower cost of living really well. Then you'll hit Raleigh, Charlotte where yes it's cheaper than Queens but imo, not as nice as Richmond. I can't help but compare the city to where I am now all the time. I'm living in a beautiful part of Connecticut but there is nothing in this town that I didn't see in Richmond for a fraction of the price. The more I've moved around, the more I appreciate a city like Richmond. Perfect? No. But when you see how cheap things are compared to where you are now, you'll put up with little annoyances here and there.
I honestly think the city gets a bad rap from this board a lot. I'm not sure why.

I've found that people can project a lot of their personal life onto where they are and I think that's normal but can be misleading to a newcomer. Maybe they just got a divorce or are frustrated with dating so now "all Richmond people suck." or they are a 20 year old college kid who has lived here their whole life so "Richmond is sooo boring!" When really both statements aren't true at all. I'm going to say that MOST people I met in Richmond loved it there. Every person I met from up north loved it. I can tell you that for sure. I never met anyone who moved from the tri state area who didn't like it. They missed aspects of the north, mostly family but they agreed they made a good move. The people I met who didn't like it there, were either born and raised there and wanted to see something different. Then I met a few people who moved from the deeper south like Georgia or Mississippi who said it was way too cold for them. My inlaws from Florida visited in early winter and hated it because they hate anything under 70 degrees. Only you know what you'll like though.

Definitely spend a week visiting any area you want to move to as though it's a vacation. I think when people attempt to buy a house within a weekend of a visit, they end up disappointed.
But best of luck wherever you decide to go.

Last edited by Yankeerose00; 02-25-2011 at 07:20 PM..
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:14 PM
 
Location: The Ranch in Olam Haba
23,709 posts, read 30,620,560 times
Reputation: 9985
Quote:
Wow Xanax junkies
It was meant as old NY sarcasm. Its just some days, mostly in the Far West End a majority just disconnect with their surroundings. Except for Downtown, Richmond is a driving city. Its like Red light runners. In NY they gun the car to get through the intersection. In Richmond they just flow through as if it was never there in the first place. Its like tourist mode in Manhattan. I'm amazed each time I get my auto insurance bill. My drive around car here is a GX470 and my unbrella coverage is about $400/yr. When I lived in Bklyn 20ish years ago I drove a Delta 98 and paid around $1200/yr. When I moved down here I traded it for a Maxima and my insurance dropped to $300/yr.
Quote:
The driving problem is definitely scary as my wife will be driving with my little ones daily.
There are very few multicar accidents here. Safety is not an issue. Stupidity is. As I said before, most accidents are one car. Even when we have the ice/snow storms down here. There were very few accidents that contain two or more cars. But during in our storm last December I must've passed over 200 cars on the way home ditched/flipped/sitting in yards. Yet the drive was trafficless and moved at a good speed. To give you an example: I had a car fly by me during that evening. He was driving as if it were a sunny afternoon. As the road banked left, I watched his tail lights bank right. It didnt effect traffic so I didnt think much of it until 5 minutes later. He had flown off the road straight into a forest. His tire tracks were perfectly straight and I saw his face. I could see in his face of not understanding how he ended up where he ended up.

As to coffee mode. For awhile there you couldn't drive a few blocks in any direction w/o seeing a starbucks. The norm is to see people driving with a celly in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. This is not a busy city. I've never sat in dead stop traffic here. Their dead slow traffic during rush hour lasts maybe 10 minutes.

There are numerous more pluses here compared to NY. I would never move back to NY. In the line of work I do, I get numerous job offers from head hunters in NY. If money were #1 on my list, I still wouldn't move back. Instead I fly up and down in the same day about twice a month.

I live in the rural part of ther metro area amongst white collar southern baptists. Most people around me have 10 or acres of land around their homes. What I paid for the house and 10 acres 20sh yrs ago was nearly nothing. Last year I bought 45 acres for my next home (it has a farm house sitting on it). I paid under $300k for it. It is within 30 minutes driving distance to a Nordstroms.

For the most part Yankeerose is correct. Just be prepared for a little culture shock and some lack of common sense that we take for granted in NY.

As to FL, The east coast from Ft. Lauderdale down IMO sucks. In FL I would take the west coast from Tampa and down. When I'm in FL I feel like I'm driving from one prison to another. The gated communities just went overboard. To me FL looks like a desert with crisscrossing roads. They've destroyed as much green as possible.

So all said, if you do decide to move down here view everything here without the conceptions of NY reality. If you want a better idea of the people, drive to Center Moriches on the Island during a summer afternoon and just walk around with an open mind.
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Old 02-26-2011, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Central Virginia
834 posts, read 2,271,315 times
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Okay, I understand what you're saying. Yes I agree that there is sometimes a slight, errr, backwardness in some places. lol. I mean, I see what you mean. I'm from Jersey. I never speed BUT I'm in a rush to go everywhere. I get impatient when people are in tourist mode, as you say. But really, Richmond was a good middle of the road place for me. I had too many years in Florida with the worst drivers. Not aggressive or fast drivers. Just bad. So Richmond felt like a nice change of pace

Quote:
Their dead slow traffic during rush hour lasts maybe 10 minutes.
Very true! I loved that. I remember reading once that in Richmond, bad traffic means it's going to take you 15 minutes longer or something like that. When people complain about Short Pump being crowded and too much traffic, they strike me as a townie who has never left. They can only compare the city to what it was 10 or 20 years ago. Really, traffic is nothing! Again, I could only compare it to NJ and Florida where traffic is hideous.

Lots of Starbucks, which was fine with me. I'm think I'm responsible for 50% of their sales anyway. lol.

Overall, I loved my time in Richmond. We are seriously looking into moving back.

Oh and to the OP, two fantastic places that I miss like crazy:

Tony's Italian restaurant on Cox and Three Chopt Rd in the west end. The owner is from Italy, then lived in NJ then moved to Richmond. Awesome Italian food! As good as any place you could find in NY.

Cuppertino's deli in the west end. Awesome deli and bagels that could rival anything in the tri-state area. The owners are from Long Island and they know how to make a bagel.

I hope both of those places are still there. I really loved them both.
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:44 AM
 
Location: The Ranch in Olam Haba
23,709 posts, read 30,620,560 times
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Quote:
When people complain about Short Pump being crowded and too much traffic......
Its gotten much worse now. Its bumper to bumper from Cox to Pouncy Tract for about an hour. We thought a new 64 exit was going in off of N Gayton. Instead they are extending N gayton over 64 (an overpass is being built) to nowhere. There is nothing but hundreds of acres of farmland. Which knowing Henrico they will re-class from agricultural land to residential land. For some reason Henrico doesn't like to put in highway ramps that would alliviate traffic but have no problem creating (and redirecting some) new roads in order to create more subdivisions (look up John Rolfe Pkwy).
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