My family currently lives in Michigan, so this would be a BIG change for us.
On top of that, I am currently 35 weeks preggo and the last thing on my mind right now is move across country and starting a fulltime position. BUT...The company did not seem concerned about waiting till September for me to start - to give me time to move and get my ducks in a row after DS2 arrives in June. They are offering to pay moving expenses and verbally offered me $60K or more.
Before I make such a huge commitment and move, however, I want to learn more about the area and whether this would be a good place for my family. I have a lot of questions, and if you have any answers for me please share them!
1) I would likely be the sole provider for a while, until DH can get a job. Is $60K a decent living wage for Richmond?
2) What is the housing market like? What would we expect to buy a house for? (We currently have $20K saved for a house, but we may have to spend some of that on getting our current house in the market to sell here in Michigan.)
3) What are the schools like IN Richmond and the surrounding burbs/counties? We prefer urban living (over the burbs) - so I really want to hear the scoop on Richmond schools. Or will we have to live outside the city to find decent schools. Also, DS1 has SPD and will likely require therapy. Is there support in the schools for this sort of thing?
4) How crunchy is Richmond? While I find many like-minded families here?
5) I am concerned about racism - not being from the south - how prevalent is it here? We currently live in a very ethnically, racially, and culturally diverse neighborhood in a city with pretty good diversity. I really don't want my boys growing up around racist people.
6) Tell me about your favorite things to do in the Richmond area and what you like about the city/region.
7) What DON'T you like about the Richmond area?
8) What is the cost of living like? What do you pay for utilities, food, gas, etc...?
That's all I can think of for now - my head is still reeling from the past two days and I am super tired after a late night flight. I might have more to add later...
TIA for your help!
I'm feeling a bit sick at the moment but I didn't want to leave you answer-less! So, pm me with any more questions. I'll try to answer yours in order now.
1) $60,000 is an okay living wage for Richmond...housing has gotten more expensive, though.
2) For renting, you can expect to pay about $1000 - $1200 a month for a house. I think the median housing price is around $200,000 if you want to buy.
3) For schools, I really recommend that you visit the schools before you buy and look up scores, socioeconomic makeup, etc. Richmond schools have struggled quite a bit, but there are some very good ones, like Mary Mumford Elementary. Henrico, Chesterfield, and Hanover counties are known for good schools, but also known for being VERY conservative.
4) Richmond is not very crunchy, but certainly you can find like-minded people here, particularly in the city.
5) Richmond is still pretty divided, but most people are not racist. My students, who are mostly illegal Latino immigrants, do tell me that they feel discriminated against, but I think that is country-wide.
6) We like to go into the city and stroll around, go to restaurants and cafes, movies, festivals, parks, and spend time with family and friends. The weather is great and the beach and mountains are not far. People are generally very friendly. And, I love my job and I have a great part-time babysitter.
7) I don't like it that the counties are so conservative and that the schools in the city are not great, because that is where I would far prefer to live.
8) We pay about $200 a week for food/diapers/formula (yuck). It depends on your heating system what you pay for heating. If you have a modern heating system, you will pay more in the summer for AC, if you use it-it gets HOT here, though. Gas hovers around $2.50 a gallon.
Mama to H (3/18/08) and A (8/25/09)
Richmond isn't very crunchy, but there are a lot of alternatives as far as fresh food, csa's, etc. The Children's Museum is great, as is the Science Museum, and we are about an hour north of Richmond and getting by on about the same single-earner salary.
Franklymls.com can help with house-hunting.
There are lots of lovely outdoor things to do (Maymont Park and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to name but two), great museums like the Children's Museum, the Science Museum, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and a growing local foods scene.
Feel free to ask here or PM me with more questions! I know my help might be limited since we don't live in the city, but we really like Richmond so very much!!
or maybe you mean crunchy in another way? (there is more than one type of crunchy)
Mom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one
1) my DH & i make a little over $60K (he's FT, i'm PT), and even though we have way too much debt (ugh), we are able to live pretty well off of that.
2) depends on what part of the metro area you are looking, and it also depends on whether you are OK with older houses/neighborhoods, or if you are looking for newer homes in planned communities. you can find some nice older homes for $150-200K, but if you want more of the planned community feel, that's usually closer to $300K.
3) i'm planning to HS, so i honestly don't know a whole lot about the local school systems. one thing about the city schools that i've heard is that there are some fantastic elementary schools there, but the middle/high schools stink. we are in henrico, and there is a lot of variation. i've heard chesterfield county is supposed to have pretty good schools though.
and my younger son does speech therapy through the schools though, so i do know they do have IEPs for students who have special requirements.
4) richmond has a lot of crunchy people, and NAP will help you find some of them. there are a lot of mainstreamers as well, but i think especially as the local food movement grows that a lot of people are waking up to alternatives.
5) there is some~ this is the capital of the confederacy after all. but i've not encountered blatant racism. diversity is also going to depend on where you live. you are much more likely to encounter it in the city than in the burbs. and honestly, i think the divisiveness in RVA is more geared to north of the river/south of the river and west end versus downtown than color of skin. but maybe i'm sheltered.
6) i love how close we are to the beach, the mountains and DC. we also have a lot of good museums (the art museum was just renovated) and parks, and of course, the river. lewis ginter botanical gardens is one of my favorite places (of course, i live about a minute away) to take the kids~ they love the sandbox, climbing the giant mulberry tree and the water play in summer. there is a good mix of paid/membership places and free places to go.
7) honestly, nothing. i love it here.
8) we do the budget billing for electricity, which is reviewed every 6 months... it usually averages out to around $175-200 because we have a heat pump, crappy insulation and no attic fan. :
for food, IDK... we have raw milk cow shares and a veggie CSA, but other than those, we spend maybe 400/mo? i'm terrible about budgeting, although we really need to (see #1! :P).
we don't have a landline phone, and we have regular DSL internet (about $20). water/trash is roughly $100 every other month. recycling pickup is free in henrico through CVWMA.
that's all i can think of...
hope some of that is helpful if you haven't made the move yet, and if you have~ welcome!
mama to Raenen (HB 9/04), Sevi (HWB 1/07) & Ani (HWB 10/10); ectopic (8/09)
Eating is an agricultural act. -Wendell Berry
Richmond has a lot of attractions. Neat parks, restaurants, festivals, etc. I'm sure there will be something exciting for everyone in your family once you move. There are also a lot of Virginia houses for sale in the Richmond and surrounding areas. Hope that helps!
hey dirty hippie girl! i visit my family in Smithfield from time to time and would LOVE another like-minded mom to hang out with with my 3 year old when i'm there. shall we have a playgroup perhaps? ive NEVER noticed any "crunchy" types in hampton/NN, but i only go there to go thrifting- good place for it by the way!
Hey! I'm a transplant from everywhere but I ended up in Richmond (glen allen) and I love it here. I work in Shockoe Slip and love it. I think Carytown has lots of crunch.
Income: $60k is good, depending on how many kids you have and expenses- you can definatly live on it comfy.
Schools: Henrico County is where we go- Echo Lake, Shady Grove, Nucklos, Deep Run, Godwin, Freeman HS are all great.
Racism, no not that I know of. Everyone of our schools seems very diverse so like Echo Lake is 1/2 and 1/2 and still rated a 10.
I'd love to meet up at a park sometime...
Thanks to all for this advice. I'm actually looking into some houses for sale in Virginia and Richmond seems like a great place to live. I do agree that 60k is an appropriate salary for the cost of living there. With what I've seen of the housing in this city, you'll actually be able to live in a very decent area. Best of luck with the move!
I am looking into the Richmond area as well. I'm coming from Utah, and it's so difficult to know which sections to avoid when I've never been to Richmond or the surrounding areas. When looking online at rental homes, I find ones that look cute for a very reasonable price, but I have no idea if it's in a section that everyone knows to avoid. For those of you who live there, are there any sections that someone not familiar with the area definitely wants to avoid?
I'm hoping to find something not in the heart of all the activity. My kids need space and backyard chickens. Where would you suggest that we look for a rental home like that??
I live in the Midlothian Virginia are which is the county of Chesterfield,this is a safe and beautiful area.Short pump is also a beautiful and safe area both areas are fifteen or twenty minutes to downtown Richmond.The houses market is pretty high depending on where you want to live. The wages are not that high around here for the cost of living but they want people to believe otherwise.They due have a few good paying jobs but not a lot.If you have been offered a good paying job you will be alright here.I love that it is centrally located to a lot of great things to do.The downside is taxes are to high here,Jobs pretty much get away with everything like 50 job duties and no increase pay and bosses treating you like crap.If you have a government job you will be ok.Private jobs do whatever they want. I grew up here but plan to move to Georgia.I didn't grow up in Midlothian area but close by. I hope this is some help to you.
Did she move? I dont see a response from the original 2010 post.....My family and I are in a similar situation and will be relocating this June. I have 3 areas to look at for us Midlothian, Chester and Chesterfield. I would love the same type of advice. We have a 1 year old and a 3 year old. We plan on renting a home for 2 years and want to be near places that are family friendly.