Stay or Go? Rent or Buy?
Do we try and make our living here in VA- where I have to spend 2.5ish hours of everyday away from home to drive back and forth between work and home because it's the only way we'll be able to afford a decent size house AND be able to save money? Or do we try and find anther place to continue our lives and eventually our family?
Once we've made that decision- do we rent in case we dont like the new place if we move and/or so that we can save more money (for a down payment etc) in both cases? Or do we go ahead and buy because a mortgage would be cheaper than a rental?
Buying would be tied to knowing we're going to stay in a certain location for a good period of time- long term commitment. So we're back to the first question/decision.
We LOVE VA. Its been my only home for 30 years (minus the 2ish months in DC before the robbery). M has been a bit more transient- OK, TX, VI, VA, PA, NY, MO, but has spent most of his life in VA. Needless to say he's more ok with moving, while I like to cling to the idea of staying here and being near both of our families- especially for once we have children.
BUT- other jobs outside of Northern VA dont pay nearly as well. And NoVA is expensive as crap.
For Example. The median house cost in NoVA (Alexandria): $477,100
in Fredericksburg- near where we live: 317,959
VA average: $243,100
in Huntsville AL: 156,100
And just for reference- What you can get for $150K in each of the above mentioned cities respectively.
So as you can see- buying a home is a bit cost restrictive. Mortgage payments would be approximately $2330, $1550, $1180 and $760 respectively- with NO down payment (which is technically only allowed in the last two... maybe the third- not sure- Thanks to the USDA Rural development program). Obviously a down payment would change these slightly- but it would be awhile before we could amass the necessary 20% to make any significant difference. We can technically afford the last three- we're currently paying $1500 in rent. But it makes it very difficult to save any money when you have to figure in other bills (car payments, gas, food, M's student loans, cell phones, etc etc etc.).
Back to the point here. Staying harms our potential to save.
Leaving maximizes our potential to save IF I can find a job making similar money.... which let me tell you- not really the easiest thing to do when youre leaving one of the most expensive places in the country to live. Obviously leaving has its own cons: my company has a terrific profit-sharing retirement program, we'd be far from all of our family and friends, we may have to live somewhere more suburban instead of rural b/c M needs interwebs for work. But pros too- Cheaper! Friendlier people if we go more south! Less traffic!! M maybe ok with public school for our future kiddos if we're not faced with so many liberals! (= more savings!).
Any advice about how to make these big decisions?
So of course- we start talking about this and the inevitable happens.... I come across something beyond perfect on the first glance at job listings. Higher salary- staying here and training at Quantico then being moved to Huntsville, Alabama (You knew I was going somewhere by including that in the list above!!). Job pays relocation and lets us ride out our lease terms. Theres a great Tridentine Catholic Church and even a monastery where we could attend Mass. I get to learn something new- the job is still in Molecular biology/ Genetics- but is a Forensic Examiner position! cool right!? I'd be like Abby on NCIS! LOL. pretty cool Pro list.
Then more Cons.
TORNADOES. Worst city in the US for tornado damage.
Oh Damn! I am beyond freaked out by tornadoes. Not about being hurt in one believe it or not. But about losing our stuff- pictures, photo albums, pets, BOOKS!, The house were talking about buying!
Im planning on applying, I told my husband it was a great opportunity and it really is. When i just knew they got Tornadoes I thought, it wasnt a big deal cause the likelihood of us getting hit was low in my mind. Til I saw that article in the link above. Now Im freaked, I dont even have the job- havent even sent in the application yet, and im going crazy.
Anyone have any advice about living around Tornadoes- besides the normal shelter, food, water prep kinda stuff? Or how to even keep your brain working beyond the immediate freak out!?