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Posted: 10/21/2004 8:00:18 AM EST
I was contacted by a construction company that does alot of work in the DC metro area in response to a monster.com ad. I know that it is a good company (one of the top 50 in the country) so I'm not too worried about that. I don't want to waste these people's time or mine, so I'm curious as to what life is like in that area. It's my understanding that nobody really lives in DC itself, and everyone lives in VA or other areas and commutes in. What kind of commute are we talking about here? What's the cost of living like up there? I don't want to move making the same money and find out I can't afford to buy a 1 bedroom condo.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 8:16:18 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 8:17:18 AM EST by gplg]
the commute sucks if you are driving, depending on where you are headed. I live in Alexandria, but work in Fairfax, so I miss most of the rushhour because Im going to opposite direction. DC Metro traffic is rated 3rd or 5th(i forget) worst in the nation. 1 Br condos near DC avg around 800-$1000+ a mo depending on where you are. the further from DC, the cheaper....but then you have to battle traffic. Depending on how much you are gonna make decides if it's worth it or not.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 8:37:59 AM EST
It's even getting expensive to live 50+ miles out. Homes in stafford county are getting up there too. 2 years ago when I moved there houses in 1 development were selling from the 280's, now, they're starting in the 500's. That's crazy! They don't even use sheathing, it's some kind of gray plastic board about 1/8" thick. Traffic is a major headache, and personally, I find it to be boring as hell. DC has some of the highest murder rates in the nation but the surrounding area is better. My advice though, keep the mags loaded. If you want country type living then try king george county or culpeper. Although it's a LOOOOONG commute from either of those two, you might like it better. MJD
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 11:36:06 AM EST
Norman-

Feel free to PM me.

Have you heard that Travis B is leaving Cummings/Perini?



Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:25:44 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 12:26:29 PM EST by SHIVAN]
Nice, 2 bedroom condos in nice neighborhoods are around $250K, in NoVA about 10 miles from DC. Which translates to a 15 minute drive without any traffic.

Traffic is a bitch a lot of times but completely bearable other times.....

I can almost guarantee that even though you may make a lateral move in salary to go from there to here your upper end will be MUCH higher here....

There are very few exceptions to that rule.

Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:29:40 PM EST
Shivan-
What do you mean by "upper end"?

I'm not going to leave my current job for any less than a $10k raise, regardless of if that move is up there or down here. Construction companies are all so different that you can never really be entirely sure what you're getting into.

I found a cost of living calculator that said I'd need to make $20k more in Fairfax than I do here just to break even. I'm not sure this company would be willing to pay that.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:44:44 PM EST
Sorry but I won't be current. I worked in Wash DC from 1970 to 1978. That was a long time ago. I lived in Woodbridge, VA then Dale City, VA just south of the city. It sucked then and when I pass through to visit my family in NJ it sucks worse now.

But......................the city is hopping, lots of culture, Government buildings, restruants, nightlife, clubs, I like that part of it when I was a young single guy. Got married and took my family to NC. Now I'm just a country boy............
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:38:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 1:39:04 PM EST by LadyLiberty]
It's expensive as shit and the traffic is horrendous. We live 22 miles from DC in Fairfax County. Where we live used to be considered the sticks, now we're downright central. Our neighborhood (older townhomes) has gone from $170K to $400K in 4 years. Across the street, they're building $800,000 townhomes. I commute 12 miles and it takes me 45 min. to 1 hour at rush time. To get downtown is well over an hour.

You will not live well here on a construction worker's salary. We are just getting by on an engineer's salary and a PR Director's salary (even less now that the PR Director, aka yours truly, has gone part-time). Either you will have to live in Culpeper or Front Royal and commute 70-90 miles each way (4+ hours roundtrip) or you will live in a small apartment in a crowded suburb and give up your guns.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:43:26 PM EST
Working construction you might have weird hours so your commute could be a breeze. I travel 25 miles from NOVA to DC daily and leaving around 6am I arrive in DC by 6:40. Maybe a little longer some days. Leave 4pm and home by 4:45 so traffic isn't that bad.

Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:45:26 PM EST
Just to be clear, I'm not the guy with the hammer, I'm the guy with the clipboard laptop.

(above cliche updated for '04)
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:56:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 1:56:53 PM EST by M4arc]
Norman, I happen to love this area BUT I only work here. I live in Virginia Beach so take my advice with a grain of salt. The NOVA area is very nice and growing like crazy. In your industry, it has to be a gold mine because there is so much construction (comm & res) going on here it's unbelievable. You'll also find a great group of arfcomers up here; GotM4, 9x19, Shivan, long-rifle-tactical, NoVaGator, Mjohn3006 to name a few (sorry all, I couldn't list everyone).

Traffic is a bitch and the cost of houses is nutz but everything else is fine. I actually think traffic is worst in Hampton Roads than it is up here. I may be making a move up here in about a year if all things go well.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 2:53:46 PM EST
Robert,
Can't add much to what the rest of the guys here have said. 7 (another Robert LOL) has a point though. I live in loudoun County and work downtown - around 27miles or so. I leave at 630 - i am at work before 730A. I leave my office at 5pm and seldom do i get home past 6pm. Granted, my office is in G-town which is just a couple of lights away from the Key Bridge.
With construction schedules of 630am to 300pm +/- - it's not too bad - BUT - since you are the one with the laptop - in the jobsites i work at in my line of work (interior architecture/design), seldom do the laptop guys bail out of there at that time. They are usually the last to leave, stuck with the dreaded paper work.
Construction has been booming for many years now with no end in sight as everybody has said. Your long hair woud just be fine with BennyFranklin and others here

DD
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 3:00:43 PM EST
Well, I don't know where you got the idea that I have long hair, I usually wear a #6 on top and a #2 on the sides.

Unfortunately you are right about the paperwork guys staying later. On my jobsites the supers usually show up early (6:30 or 7) and leave early (3:30 or so) while us laptop guys have official hours of 8-5 that tend to get stretched out in both directions. I tried getting in early like the supers, thiking I'd get to leave with them, but shit always comes up that keeps me until 5 or 6 anyway. Hell, the evenings when everyone has left are the only times I actually get any work done.

Sounds like I'll have to get more information from this cat about where I'll be expected to work and report back. Generally construction companies hire someone iwth a particular project in mind.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 3:15:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By norman74:
Well, I don't know where you got the idea that I have long hair, I usually wear a #6 on top and a #2 on the sides.

Unfortunately you are right about the paperwork guys staying later. On my jobsites the supers usually show up early (6:30 or 7) and leave early (3:30 or so) while us laptop guys have official hours of 8-5 that tend to get stretched out in both directions. I tried getting in early like the supers, thiking I'd get to leave with them, but shit always comes up that keeps me until 5 or 6 anyway. Hell, the evenings when everyone has left are the only times I actually get any work done.

Sounds like I'll have to get more information from this cat about where I'll be expected to work and report back. Generally construction companies hire someone iwth a particular project in mind.



Rush hour starts at 6am and ends at 7pm up here. My commute from Leesburg to Tysons Corner takes anywhere from 30min to 1hr15min depending in when I get out of the house. I have to be out the door by 6:40 to have a decent commute. Coming home usually blows no matter what.

I personally wouldn't consider living in the District or Maryland.... Stick with us here in the Free Country, good ole VA. Best of Luck.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 3:26:21 PM EST

Originally Posted By norman74:
Shivan-
What do you mean by "upper end"?

I'm not going to leave my current job for any less than a $10k raise, regardless of if that move is up there or down here. Construction companies are all so different that you can never really be entirely sure what you're getting into.

I found a cost of living calculator that said I'd need to make $20k more in Fairfax than I do here just to break even. I'm not sure this company would be willing to pay that.



Your theoretical max salary is almost guaranteed to be higher here, no matter what is said elsewhere....there are very few markets that pay higher than us for construction.

You may not make $20K out of the gate, but a few quick moves and I'd be willing to bet you would have recovered the delta easily.....


FWIW.....YMMV.....
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 6:08:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 6:09:41 PM EST by Hydguy]
Norman, when I worked as an electrician, all of the sups lived a LONG way away from the metro ares.
Some drove more than an hour BEFORE rush hour traffic to be on site at 6 AM.

I would leave at 5 to get from FAlls Church to Reston by 6, and had to leave at 4:30 to be in MD by 6.

If you want to live in a quiet place, then upper MD is the place to live.

The cost of living is lower in upper MD, but the gun laws are shitty.

Living out by Warrenton, which is about 35-40 min without traffic, is getting expensive.
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 2:42:31 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 3:00:16 AM EST
AVOID THIS WHOLE ARE AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!!!!!! WITH THE COST OF LIVING AND OTHER BS UP HERE< YOU WOULD BE BETTER OFF GET A DOOR GREETER JOB AT WALMART IN FLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 3:06:13 AM EST
Find out exactly where the job site is. Given the growth rates and patterns, the "DC Metro Area" means anything from the WV Panhandle east to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (and some would argue the eastern shore should be included), north to Baltimore, and south to Fredericksburg.

If you're working in Loudoun or Stafford then the cost of living, while growing quickly, isn't as high as areas closer to DC... which is why they're growing!

I'd recommend living in VA over MD or DC. WE have lower taxes, lower crime rates, better schools, and better gun laws.

FWIW I live in Sterling and work in Rosslyn, just across the Potomac from DC and Georgetown. I car-pool, leave the house at 6:30, and am at work at 7:15 in the mornings. Afternoon traffic is worse for some reason, and the commute can be over an hour. Of course, if there's an accident or the least bit of problem with the weather, that changes in a hurry...
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 7:16:27 AM EST
I have worked in the construction business here in the DC area for about 8 years now. Here's what I can tell you about housing prices. In the Arlington and the DC city area, expect to pay around $500 to $600 per sf. Thats the going rate these days, rents in the area for a 1 bedroom are about $1500-$2000 per month minimum. If you go out a bit then you will pay less, I live outside the beltway and my neighborhood consists of +30year old townhouses, and the going rate for them are $450,000. The newer houses go for over $800,000 in my area. Also, I really dont think it matters much where you live because after your first job, you will get assigned another job that is probably on the opposite side of town. $10K more a year sounds very low, the average assistant PM, right out of college, gets around $45,000 per year with PM's getting around $80,000 plus bonuses. A senior superintendent will get around $100,000 plus bonuses here. IM me and I'll give you the low down on all the GC's here since I ve worked with them at some point.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 4:54:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/23/2004 4:57:29 PM EST by nvcdl]
The DC / Northern Virginia area has a steady economy compared to most areas. OTOH they are a lot of high earning two income couples which tends to cause real estate prices to be very high comapared to other areas. Traffic is also getting very bad - especially in Northern Virginia. Even on weekends we have traffic jams.

A friend of mine is a supervisor for a construction company in Florida. I suspect he gets paid almost as much as someone in same job in the DC area but in Florida he can afford a 3000sf new home in a nice area, send his kid to a good daycare facility, etc. In DC area same home would cost twice as much - daycare costs would be higher also.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 5:35:00 PM EST

Originally Posted By MCM:
Here's what I can tell you about housing prices.....Thats the going rate these days, rents in the area for a 1 bedroom are about $1500-$2000 per month minimum. If you go out a bit then you will pay less, I live outside the beltway and my neighborhood consists of +30year old townhouses, and the going rate for them are $450,000. The newer houses go for over $800,000 in my area.





Great Falls and McLean are the only two places where this seems to fit. Where are you, roughly?

Townhouses in my neighborhood are going for $390-$550....3-12 years old....single families are going for $600-$800+....real estate here is one of the most sought after in the area as we are about 10 miles from the 14th St. bridge.......

I believe that average rate for single family home rental in Fairfax County is $1400-$1700....

Link Posted: 10/23/2004 8:16:53 PM EST
Rents and new home prices I was specifically talking about the Arlington and DC areas. There are several condo projects out there that are selling 1 bedrooms starting at $450K and 2 bedrooms starting at $600K. I live in the Vienna/Oakton area, and all the new single family homes are a minimum of $800K here. New townhouses are about $600k-$700K. Im not saying you can't find cheaper housing, but these are the prices my company sells to people everyday.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 9:07:20 AM EST

There's no F'n way I would live in Metro - under any circumstances...

YMMV

Link Posted: 10/24/2004 9:22:41 AM EST

Originally Posted By SHIVAN:

Originally Posted By MCM:
Here's what I can tell you about housing prices.....Thats the going rate these days, rents in the area for a 1 bedroom are about $1500-$2000 per month minimum. If you go out a bit then you will pay less, I live outside the beltway and my neighborhood consists of +30year old townhouses, and the going rate for them are $450,000. The newer houses go for over $800,000 in my area.





Great Falls and McLean are the only two places where this seems to fit. Where are you, roughly?

Townhouses in my neighborhood are going for $390-$550....3-12 years old....single families are going for $600-$800+....real estate here is one of the most sought after in the area as we are about 10 miles from the 14th St. bridge.......

I believe that average rate for single family home rental in Fairfax County is $1400-$1700....




You are correct sir...I just spoke to a neighbor down the street who is moving to GA and he is renting his place out for $1500.
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