Possible relo to northern VA. What are the costs?

Todd Hochard

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I'm considering a relocation/promotion at my job to northern VA- specifically the Manassas area (for example, I think there's a Micron semiconductor plant there.
).

I'm curious to the costs. I should probably have a decent idea, as I'm from near Cumberland, MD, and lived in Norfolk for several years, but I don't.

Most of the relo calculators online show that required salaries (for standard of living) are close to equal for Orlando vs. Manassas. My thought is "yeah, right." I know Fairfax county is world-renowned for its high home prices. I'm thinking I'd probably look west- up the I-66 corridor, perhaps as far as Warrenton.

How about taxes? My property taxes are not quite 1% of market value (not assessed, but actual market value). State income tax? Personal property tax? How much, and for what? I was in the military in Norfolk, so I was exempt, and never dealt with it.

What else? Schools are undoubtedly better. How about "stuff" to do for my wife (stay-at-home-mom) and two small kids?

Anything that can help me make a more informed decision would be great.
 

SethH

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Manassas is right on the edge of the burbs right now. It's in the process of being eaten by the DC area. One side of it has lots of farm-land type area, but most is really grown up. Cost of living is pretty expensive in my mind, but I'm not sure what things are like in Orlando, so I don't know how to compare. If you've got any money to put in real estate thought the Manassas area is incredible. You could honestly probably double your investment in 5-10 years up there with no problem.

As for the schools they are pretty good. Fairfax county has one of those "look at how many awards we've won" type systems, which I don't really like. They tend to have a high rate of turn-over for teachers, but statistically speaking they have a great school system.

DISCLAIMER: I lived in Centreville (10 minutes from Manassas) two years ago, and things change quickly up there, so I may not be entirely correct on everything.
 

VinhT

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I spent 6 years in the Fairfax County Public School system and I can say that it is superb. The educational contrast between FCPS students and those less fortunate is shocking at times.

The cost of living is extremely high. I think townhouses are $200K+ and regular homes are $500K+. This perspective comes from someone that lives in Burke (near Springfield). I don't think Manassas would be too much cheaper.
 

Philip Hamm

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Fairfax county is the place to live and the schools are first rate. PW and Loudoun have very uncertain futures since they do not have (and never will have) enough commercial development to pay for schools and services long term.

Link with lots of great information.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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I could only dream of someday living where housing prices are so cheap .
 

LDfan

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homes used to be in that price range. Fairfax now has townhomes starting in the 400-500 range for large ones and single family homes for 600k and up. When you add in the real estate taxes plus the car tax you can end up with a 10k tax refund in a hurry which is kinda nice, depending on your monthly mortgage payment.

Jeff
 

Shane Martin

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Look in Oklahoma
3000 sq ft for $200k at the most and maybe and acre or 2 of land...

Back on topic,
I've heard about their pricing and schools thru a few folks. I didn't realize they were at those levels.
 

Scott L

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From Florida to Northern Virginia? What are you nuts!?

 

Todd Hochard

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Puh-LEEEZE! Try going the other way, and see how it works.

The more I think on this, the more it seems a bad idea- in spite of the 30% pay raise. I cannot fathom how I will afford this, and at least maintain my current lifestyle. I cannot go from a new 3/2/2 that I've lived in for 10 years, with a joke of a mortgage payment, to a townhome. I don't want my wife going back to work and putting the kids in day care to afford a decent home. It just doesn't fit.

Unless I'm missing something?

Philip- do you live in Warrenton? It was something I considered, since I'll have a bit of leeway in selecting an office location to set up.
 

GordonL

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If you want to get an idea on house prices, use the Real Estate Classified listings at The Washington Post
I think it's possible to find something decent in the $300k range in Prince William County (where Manassas is located). You might have a tougher time finding something decent for that amount in Fairfax County though.
 

Philip Hamm

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No, I don't live quite that far out, but close. It's a nice area, but in order to be able to afford it you have to both work and scrape by to afford a townhouse. I hate it here.

Look at www.homesdatabase.com for an idea of what things cost. It's fucking ridiculous and it's going to crash when interest rates rise.
 

Kirk Gunn

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I live in Maryland opposite DC from Manassas (~25 miles east instead of west). I drive to downtown Baltimore which has it's own traffic issues, but nothing like Northern Virginia.

If I was offered a 30% raise to work/move to Northern VA, I'm not sure I would take it..... I drove to Phillip's old townhouse to buy a rack and traffic was pretty bad even on a Saturday !

Your best bet would be to have your company fly you up for a week and rent a car. Drive the area during all times of the day and evening. Try to include a weekend day or two. That will allow you to get the feel for the area.

Good Luck, it's a tough decision.
 

Todd Hochard

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Perhaps my worst fear- getting caught in a high-cost area, with negative equity in a home that felt was overpriced when I bought it.

You guys aren't blowing my skirt up. I may have to ask for more $$$, but they're not likely to bump me over the six figure mark.

And, my wife, a FL girl through and through (despite being a Chicago native), is NOT excited about this possibility at all. She very much likes our life here.

So, how many of you would pass up good money, career advancement, and risk possible unemployment to stay in an area you liked, for your family? I'm seriously considering it. Decisions, decisions.

Philip- given the hate, what keeps you there?

Todd
 

Scott L

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If you couldn't tell from my first post I'd gladly stay in sunny Florida rather than the armpit of DC. Even if I had to live with an X1 rather than a Z12.
 

Philip Hamm

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Just starting to forumlate an exit strategy at this point.

The nearby mountains and countryside are wonderful. Little towns like Leesburg (which is fast becoming a suburban disaster) and Middleburg are quaint and nice.
 

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