AVOID NORTHERN VIRGINIA! Unless you can handle these things

Whats up everyone! 

In today’s video, were going to go through the worst things about living in Northern Virgina. Don’t get me wrong, Virgina is a beautiful state with many great reasons to live there but there are cons to every state, so this video is going to focus on them so you know what you’re in for if you choose to live in Virginia.

If you are new to my channel, my name is Caryn Gardiner and I am a local real estate agent here in Northern VA, Montgomery County, MD and Washington DC. We talk about everything DMV related on this channel so if this is of interest to you, go ahead and subscribe so you don’t miss any future videos.


The first con about living in Northern Virginia is definitely the cost of living. According to US News and World Report, 4 out of the top 15 richest counties in the country are in Northern Virginia! Loudoun County, VA is the richest county in America by median household. 2nd is Falls Church, VA, 5th is Fairfax County, VA and 7th is Arlington County, VA.

In addition, California.com cites Loudoun County, VA as the most affluent county in the U.S. since 2008 with a median household income of around $140,000.

So, just how much does it cost to live in Virginia?

If you look at the whole state, it doesn’t look too bad. Check out Best places dot net’s chart with the breakdown of the cost of living. They give it a 104.2 index compared to the US average of 100. So, not too bad.

But then look where I work in Northern Virginia.

Heres a chart that looks at Mclean, VA which is in Fairfax county, right across the border of Washington DC. 

They gave Mclean a 201 index compared to the US average of 100 and Virginia average of 104.2. 

And the biggest culprit- my specialty – Housing. Every other category is not too bad. Sure, transportation is expensive and groceries cost more than other places, but housing got a 391.7 index with a median home cost of $1,142,500.

If I do a quick search on our local MLS for Fairfax county active single family homes today in November 2022, take a look at the top 50 that come up starting at 45 million and at number 50, 4.3 million.

And if I scroll down to the 250th home that comes up, it is still $1,755,000! 

Just for kicks, let’s see what the cheapest active single family home is today in Fairfax county.

It looks like $425,000 with 989 sq ft and 0 beds and 0 baths?? No pics so we can’t check out the inside but it says USE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN SHOWING THIS PROPERTY so not sure what that means but I’ll pass.

 So, I think you get the gist of it- Northern VA is very expensive as far as real estate.


The other thing that is expensive about living there is the many tolls you have to pay to drive into Washington DC or come over to MD or even just going from one place in VA to the next.

There are so many toll roads in Northern VA and they change according to demand and volume of traffic. 

In fact, Virginia itself has 10 toll road facilities and northern va has 5 of them. It can cost up to $20 just commuting to DC depending on what time you go to and from work.

And if you have to commute several times a day like I do, well, you can imagine how expensive that can be.

Now, there are many great jobs in Virginia. Amazon recently relocated to Northern VA so there is a lot of opportunity here to make some good money to pay for the expensive cost of living.


Next up is the traffic.

Besides dealing with tolls, you also have to deal with congested traffic. 

 According to our local news channel here, Northern VA is home to the single worst traffic hotspot in the US which is the stretch of southbound Interstate 95 from the Fairfax County Parkway to Fredericksburg.

And if you’re commuting into Washington DC, you not only need to deal with the tolls but you have to cross a bridge to get into the city which can really stall things.  There’s just no way around it and if there is an accident or any type of weather delay- you could sit in your car for hours.

Traffic is just really bad here and your commute time can take a long time depending on what time you leave for work and home.

Fortunately a lot of people are able to work from home these days but I’ve noticed lately that traffic is back to being super bad.


And since we’re talking about cars, let’s touch on Virginia’s car tax. Virginia is a personal property tax state where owners of vehicles and leased vehicles are subject to an annual tax based on the value of the vehicle on January 1.

Virgina has the highest car tax in the county out of the 27 states that have a car tax. 

Every year, you have to pay a vehicle personal property tax in Virginia. The current tax rate for most all vehicles is $4.20 per $100 of assessed value. 

So if your car is assed at $30k, they apply the 80% assessment ration so $30,00x 80% = $24,000.

Then $4.20 tax rate: ($4.20 / 100) x $24,000 = $1,008

And to be honest, most cars in Northern VA are super expensive so the tax would be even higher.

There is some personal property relief on the 1st 20k of value so definitely talk to your accountant about that.


Next reason you may want to avoid northern VA is the weather!

It gets super hot here in the summers and very humid. It’s not unusual for the weather to be in the 90’s but “FEELS like” 104 or 105 due to the humidity and air quality.

In the winters, we get some snow. We used to get a lot more when I was young but now we still will get a couple of snow Storms a year which is fun but if you have small children, be prepared for schools to close even if there is a change of snow or ice. Fun for the kids… not so much if the parents have to work.

It’s also very unpredictable. Right now in November, its 75 degrees which is fine except its November and I’m ready to use my fireplace and get cozy.

One of the reasons I love living in the DMV is the 4 seasons so when the weather gets hot like this in the winter months it really throws things off.

And with the changing seasons, you do have allergies here in the spring and early summer months and the mosquitoes are really bad in the summer.

If you can’t tell by now, I’m not a fan of summers here. A lot of us try and get to the beaches – I prefer the Delaware beaches but  MD and VA have nice beaches too.


And finally, we need to talk about deer and ticks.

 We have a LOT of deer here in northern va and with deer come tics.

According to US News and world report, Virgina ranks #9 for Tick- borne disease cases. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in the state, but residents are also at risk of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis.

The worst months for ticks are during spring and summer but in Virginia where the average winter lows are only in the mid-20s, ticks don’t die – rather they go dormant or inactive.

So be prepared because VA has amazing parks, hikes and trails so cover up to protect yourself from ticks.

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