Author Topic: Where to live?  (Read 3765 times)

Beckyemerson

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 66
Where to live?
« on: September 05, 2014, 11:09:05 AM »
Is it better to live in Dallas area where housing and general cost of living is cheap, but pay is lower (50,000-60,000). Or Washington DC metro area where housing and general cost of living is fairly high, but pay is higher (80,000+). We have children so we must have a house and I am not willing to live in a neighborhood with a high crime rate. So a comparable house would be about 150,000-200,000 versus 300,00-400,000.

What would you do?

DeepEllumStache

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3920
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Hiding under my desk
  • I came, I saw, I made it awkward
Re: Where to live?
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2014, 12:04:33 PM »
A lot of it depends on your individual situation.  I spent a few years up in NJ before moving to Dallas.  DC has a higher COL but that is a large difference in salary. 

- Job: Are you looking at job offers or making estimates based on what job postings are out there?  What are the markets and opportunities like in each area (for your next position if you already have the job offers in hand)?

- Transportation: DC provides a greater opportunity to live without a car, is that an option?  For your price range in either location, are you going to require a huge commute that would increase costs?  Your housing estimate in Dallas sounds like prices in the suburbs.  Would that require you to commute an hour+ each way to get to downtown?

- Taxes: Texas doesn't have state income taxes but does have slightly higher sales tax and property tax rates. 

- Clothing/weather: DC has a much colder winter than Texas.  Do you already have that kind of clothing to avoid that cost?

- Family/friends: Would you have friends and family in one area versus another or would there be possibly higher travel costs?


frugaliknowit

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1611
Re: Where to live?
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2014, 12:43:07 PM »
You don't say where your family is now, so the question arises:

Do you like hot weather?  I mean HOT where you can fry an egg on the hood of your car in the summer?  Yes, winters are great, but there's the summer...and the cost of running and repairing the A/C and driving, driving, driving, freagin everywhere...If not, choose DC.

Do you HATE the winter?  DC's is not that bad, but Dallas's is better!

Do you have a strong political affiliation?  If you are on the liberal end, you might get aggravated a lot and not enjoy your neighbors much in Texas.  If you are on the conservative end, the opposite.  We like to think it won't matter, but it is a factor in our happiness, especially if it is a strong affiliation.  I received a great job offer in the deep south and just couldn't do it...

Is one of your family goals to become financially independent ASAP?  If so, with higher salaries, it can usually be achieved more quickly (percentage of income of, say $90k versus $50K..."everything else being equal") in a high income state.

If square footage is the priority, then it's an easy choice (Dallas)!

Tetsuya Hondo

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
  • Location: 1960's Tokyo on the Bad Side of Town
Re: Where to live?
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2014, 01:07:12 PM »
If square footage is the priority, then it's an easy choice (Dallas)!

This is really key here. What are your requirements for a house? Is a fixer upper ok?

Do you need a yard? Close proximity to public transportation? Urban? Suburban? Walkable? Would your job be in DC itself or in the burbs?

$300-400 can get you a nice efficiency or one bedroom in decent parts of the city or a fixer upper townhouse in a transitional neighborhood. It can also get you a townhouse outside the Beltway or single family home with an ugly commute outside of it.

According to the CNNMoney cost of living calculator, DC housing prices are 231% higher than Dallas.

MandalayVA

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1578
  • Location: Orlando FL
Re: Where to live?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2014, 01:31:01 PM »
You don't say where your family is now, so the question arises:

Do you like hot weather?  I mean HOT where you can fry an egg on the hood of your car in the summer?  Yes, winters are great, but there's the summer...and the cost of running and repairing the A/C and driving, driving, driving, freagin everywhere...If not, choose DC.

Do you HATE the winter?  DC's is not that bad, but Dallas's is better!

Do you have a strong political affiliation?  If you are on the liberal end, you might get aggravated a lot and not enjoy your neighbors much in Texas.  If you are on the conservative end, the opposite.  We like to think it won't matter, but it is a factor in our happiness, especially if it is a strong affiliation.  I received a great job offer in the deep south and just couldn't do it...

Is one of your family goals to become financially independent ASAP?  If so, with higher salaries, it can usually be achieved more quickly (percentage of income of, say $90k versus $50K..."everything else being equal") in a high income state.

If square footage is the priority, then it's an easy choice (Dallas)!

DC summers are BRUTAL.  Heat AND humidity.  At least with Dallas you'll get mild winters.  I live in Richmond, and every winter I watch as storms coming from the south will go right up the Blue Ridge Mountains and hit DC full force.  Add in incredibly expensive ... well, everything and since you're insistent that you need a house, go to Dallas.  Correct me if I'm wrong--doesn't Dallas have a light rail system now?

Beric01

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1156
  • Age: 28
  • Location: SF Bay Area
  • Law-abiding cyclist
Re: Where to live?
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2014, 02:33:04 PM »
Is one of your family goals to become financially independent ASAP?  If so, with higher salaries, it can usually be achieved more quickly (percentage of income of, say $90k versus $50K..."everything else being equal") in a high income state.

Pretty much this. It's the entire reason I'm in Silicon Valley. You CAN save more in high COL areas, assuming your income also increases, as Mustachians won't increase their spending with their income, and will find frugal ways to live cheaper than average.

But if one of your major goals is not FIRE, then you might be considering other factors in where you're living than just salary/COL.

DeepEllumStache

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3920
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Hiding under my desk
  • I came, I saw, I made it awkward
Re: Where to live?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2014, 03:35:20 PM »

 Correct me if I'm wrong--doesn't Dallas have a light rail system now?

Dallas has the DART... it's not as robust as the metro.  Lately there have been some awesome improvements (service to the airport), so it is getting better.  But going sans car in Dallas is still tough.


arlcova

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Where to live?
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2014, 07:06:57 PM »
For $300-$400k, you won't find a house inside the DC beltway that meets your requirements unless you are talking major fixer upper - and those usually end up with developers as tear downs.  That means likely Fairfax (VA) or northern Montgomery (MD) county.  Both fine places, good schools, safe, potential bus/metro options to downtown if necessary for work. 

If this is purely financial, I would guess you would pay 2-3x more in taxes + housing living in DC.  That being said, future income growth is likely if you are starting from $80k. 

Also, with so many families being double income there is a huge demand for day care.  If you are a SAHM, then open up an in-home daycare, charge $300/wk per kid, and now you have $25k+ extra per year. 



 

HawkeyeNFO

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 290
  • Location: Moose Scrotum, Alberta
  • Retired at 44.....back to work at 45
Re: Where to live?
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2014, 07:49:18 PM »
DC area resident here....... 

$300-400K won't put you in a safe neighborhood anywhere close to DC.  The areas of Fairfax and Montgomery County discussed above are not going to be the desirable areas, and you are probably looking at a townhouse with at least a 45 minute commute to the District.  Yep, it's expensive here, but you can also make a lot of money as well. 

Public transportation is pretty good here, but Metrorail doesn't serve the areas where you would be able to get a house on your stated budget and expectations.  And, Metrorail has become expensive.  From the end of the new silver line in Reston, Virginia to the Pentagon is $6.90 each way during rush hour. 

Many folks talk about living here for several years to build up their stache and their resume, then moving to a lower COL area of the country. 

That being said, I like the area because of everything it offers, and we plan to stay here for a long time, even after FIRE.  Buying real estate inside the Beltway has historically been a very lucrative endeavor, generally much more than it would be in Dallas.  Even just a few miles outside the Beltway, this isn't quite so true.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 08:05:43 PM by HawkeyeNFO »

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2853
Re: Where to live?
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2014, 08:39:11 PM »

There
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 12:05:37 PM by mozar »

Doaner19

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 30
Re: Where to live?
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2014, 04:59:42 PM »
If your job is in DC it would be a long commute from Dallas & vice versa. 

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2853
Re: Where to live?
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2014, 06:57:11 PM »
Actually there was a guy who did a study and determined that it was cheaper (including commuting costs) to live in Spain and fly to work in London everyday.