Moving to Richmond

Many make the move to Richmond, Virginia, to escape the traffic and housing costs of larger cities. The good news is that even though Richmond is on the smaller side, it’s filled to the brim with history, culture, arts, and amazing restaurants. Pair that combination with proximity to Virginia Beach, Washington, D.C., Williamsburg, and Charlottesville, then you realize Richmond is a fine place to grow some roots.

Most people think of Civil War museums when they think of Virginia’s capital city, but modern Richmond isn’t living in the past. The foodie scene has recently taken off, and you can find anything from Italian and traditional Southern cuisine to authentic West African and Caribbean fare. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Richmond boasts bike trails, the world-class Maymont Park, and recreation along the beautiful James River. With so much to offer, Richmond is an excellent place to call home.

Find Richmond Movers

Living in Richmond, VA: What to Know Before Moving to Richmond

With an estimated population of 223,000, Richmond is a great mid-sized city with a rich and diverse cultural scene. Whether you’re a foodie, history buff, or nature lover, you’ll find your fix in Richmond while avoiding sky-high rent and the traffic problems that plague larger cities.

Pros and Cons of Living in Richmond

When considering moving to any new city, it’s always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons. Here’s an idea of what Richmond gets right and what it gets wrong:

Pros

  • Less traffic compared to large cities
  • Access to history and nature
  • Affordable housing
  • Proximity to Washington D.C., Charlottesville, Williamsburg, and Virginia Beach

Cons

  • Lack of direct flights out of Richmond International Airport
  • Must travel to Washington, D.C. or Virginia Beach for major concerts or shows
  • No professional sports teams, aside from a minor league baseball team
  • Hot, humid summers

Tax Rates

  • State income tax: While you won’t avoid income taxes living in Virginia, the rate of 5.75% is on the lower end of the spectrum.
  • Property tax: The average property tax rate in Richmond is 1.1% with the average homeowner paying $2,753 annually. This rate is slightly lower than the national average, which is $3,023 a year.
  • Sales tax: The Virginia sales tax rate is 4.3%, and the city of Richmond tacks on another 1% for a combined sales tax rate of 5.3% for purchases within city limits.

Housing Market

The Richmond housing market is currently (July 2019) on fire with homes going under contract within hours of hitting the market in highly desirable neighborhoods—and often for higher than list price. The median home price is $214,800, but you can still snag a house for under $100,000 in up-and-coming neighborhoods within city limits or if you’re willing to live a little farther out into the suburbs. Home prices have appreciated 13.44% over the past ten years, and a whopping 8.8% in just the last 12 months. The average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,061, which is lower than the state average of $1,209 and the national average of $1,148.

Cost of Living

Richmond fares well when we compare the cost of living to the national average. In the transportation, utilities, healthcare, and groceries categories, Richmond comes in just below the national average. However, in the housing category, which compares the cost of owning and renting, Richmond is 10% higher.

If you take a look at the average annual cost of living in the Richmond metro area versus the nearby metro areas of Charlotte and Raleigh, you can get by in Richmond with an annual income of seven percent less. When compared to the metro area of Washington D.C., located only 110 miles north of Richmond, an annual household income of $105,539 is needed to maintain a moderate standard of living for a family of four. By comparison, the same family only needs $83,370 to get by in Richmond.

Weather and Natural Disasters

If you’re a fan of all four seasons, you won’t be disappointed with the weather in Richmond. People often joke that you can experience summer one day and winter the next because the weather can fluctuate so quickly.

In autumn the average daytime temperatures are in the 60 to 70 degree Fahrenheit range but don’t be surprised if you have an 80-degree day well into November. The average highs in the winter months are in the 40s and 50s. Each year is different, but you can almost always count on a few snow days in the winter months. During spring, the average temperatures will mimic fall, bringing a return of the 60s and 70s. Summer gets toasty with temperatures in the high 80s and 90s. Summers can also be a bit uncomfortable due to high humidity levels.

While natural disasters are not a major concern in Virginia, hurricanes, flash flooding, and tornadoes do occasionally occur. Because Richmond is about 115 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, most hurricanes have downgraded to major storms before they reach the capital city. Although tornadoes and flash flooding are rare, they can accompany major thunderstorms.

Economy & Job Market

Overall, Richmond has a healthy economy and job market. The unemployment rate is only 3.6% while the national average is 3.9%. The average salary is slightly lower than the national average. Richmond is a hub for lawyers, lobbyists, and legislators since it’s the capital of the commonwealth. Healthcare, food & accommodations, and administrative support are the top three industries of employment.

Richmond is national headquarters for several Fortune 500 companies, including Altria, Carmax, Dominion Resources, WestRock, Performance Food Group, Owens & Minor, and Genworth Financial. Other major employers are Capital One, VCU Health Systems, HCA Inc, Bon Secours, SunTrust, Bank of America, and Anthem.

If you’re looking for hourly employment, check out job listings at Snagajob which was founded in Richmond and is currently in Innsbrook, an office park located west of the city near Short Pump. It’s also the #1 hourly marketplace in the country. If an hourly position doesn’t do, sites like ZipRecruiter and Indeed may be better suited for you.

Traffic and Transportation

Richmond is conveniently on Interstate 95 which runs north to south, and Interstate 64 which runs east to west. Interstate 195 and the Downtown Expressway make their way through the very heart of the city, easing transportation to and from Richmond’s busiest parts of town.

Traffic isn’t a major problem in the city, although rush hour on I-95, I-64, and I-195 can become congested. Interstate 295 and Interstate 288 are available to divert traffic around the city to the east and west respectively during times of heavy traffic.

The Greater Richmond Transit System (GRTC) manages the bus system in the city and neighboring counties of Chesterfield and Henrico. In the summer of 2018 services also began on a rapid transit system called Pulse which services a seven-mile stretch of Broad Street from Rocket’s Landing in the city’s East End to Willow Lawn in the West End of Henrico County. This major improvement to the city’s public transportation system provides easier access to healthcare, education, shopping, and restaurants for many of the area’s residents.

Richmond’s Walk and Bike Score are both 51/100, which means there are areas where you can easily get around on foot or cycle. However, as you move farther from downtown, homes and amenities become more spread out, and a car is a necessity.

Things To Do

  • History: If you’re a history buff, it doesn’t get much better than Richmond. Visiting Historic St. John’s Church in Church Hill where Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death” speech and watching a reenactment of that event is certainly a highlight. There are two Civil War museums in town, one at Tredegar and one at the White House of the Confederacy. There’s also The Poe Museum, where you can learn all about Edgar Allen Poe’s life and hang at one of their monthly Unhappy Hours.
  • Sports Teams: Unfortunately, Richmond isn’t well-known for its professional sports. The only professional sport you’ll find is the Flying Squirrels, the city’s AA baseball team. If you’re a college sports fan, however, the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Rams and the University of Richmond Spiders often have competitive basketball teams, and you can catch a great college football game on the Spiders’ campus.
  • Entertainment: While Richmond doesn’t host many major musical artists (you will have to drive to Virginia Beach or Washington, D.C. to see the big guys), the city certainly makes up for it with its restaurant and brewery scene. Richmond was recently named America’s Next Great Restaurant-Obsessed Town by Bon Appetit magazine. Richmond is home to over 30 craft breweries with more popping up each day. Vinepair named Richmond the number one beer destination in the world in 2018. Breweries like Hardywood, Ardent Craft Ales, and Legend’s Brewing Company are great spots to spend a lazy Sunday with a tasty brew and your closest pals.
  • Nature: If you love the great outdoors, Maymont Park, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, and the James River are at your disposal. Experience the James River at its finest with the water rapids and walking trails in Pony Pasture Park and Belle Isle. Biking along the 52-mile paved Virginia Capital Trail, which connects Richmond to Williamsburg, is another great way to draw you outside.
  • Day Trips: Another great feature of Richmond is its proximity to some amazing day trips. Drive an hour west to Charlottesville and explore Monticello and The University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson’s old stomping grounds. Drive two hours north (or take the train) and you can explore Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital. Drive 1-2 hours east, and you’re in Williamsburg, Jamestown, or Virginia Beach for more history or a day at the oceanfront.

Schools and Universities

The quality of Richmond City Public Schools varies greatly based on the neighborhood in which you reside. Fox and Mary Munford Elementary Schools have fabulous reputations, and the city also boasts Maggie Walker Governor’s School, a magnet high school drawing from 13 of the surrounding jurisdictions. Maggie Walker, which focuses on government and international studies, routinely ranks in the top 15 public high schools in the country.

Many people choose to live in the surrounding counties of Henrico, Hanover, and Chesterfield for better public school options. Cosby, Midlothian, James River, Deep Run, Hanover, Mills Godwin, and Douglas Freeman High Schools all boast high test scores and excellent college placement.

There are also over 60 independent school options in the Richmond metro area, each with its specialty. There are faith-based schools, single-gender schools, schools for children with learning differences such as autism and dyslexia, Montessori schools, and even home school academies. A few of the most popular schools are Collegiate, St. Christopher’s School, St. Catherine’s School, Trinity Episcopal School, St. Michael’s Episcopal School, Veritas, St. Bridget’s, Benedictine, and St. Gertrude.

Several four-year colleges and universities exist in and around Richmond. Virginia Commonwealth University is in Downtown Richmond, and the University of Richmond is located just to the west of the city. Virginia Union University, a private historically black university, is in the Northside neighborhood. Finally, Randolph Macon College, a small private liberal arts school, is just to the north in the neighboring city of Ashland.

Crime

When the occurrence of violent and property crimes is analyzed per 100,000 residents, Richmond earns a score of 5.9/10, revealing a higher crime rate than other comparable metro areas. Its crime rate is also slightly higher than the national average. While certain neighborhoods have a reputation for being a hotbed of crime in the city, there are other neighborhoods where safety is hardly a concern, just like any city in the US. Moving to the suburbs of Chesterfield, Henrico, or Hanover County will certainly improve your chances of avoiding a run-in with a crime.

Utility Providers

Before you make your move, you should always transfer utilities into your name 1-2 weeks before. It can sometimes take a few days to get on the city’s or a local provider’s schedule and moving into a home without air conditioning in the summer or heat in the winter is no fun.

Dominion Power services the entire Richmond metro area. Call 1-866-366-4357 to setup power to your new home or rental. Verizon (1-800-837-4966) and Comcast (1-800-934-6489) are the two main internet and cable providers.

Gas, water, and trash collection are handled slightly differently in Richmond and its surrounding counties. Here’s a list of the respective providers with their contact information:

Richmond
Henrico
Hanover
Chesterfield

Move Easy. Move Happy. Move with Great Guys.

Compare Movers Now

Best Neighborhoods in Richmond, VA

Scott’s Addition

Once known as an industrial pocket, Scott’s Addition is now one of Richmond’s fastest-growing residential neighborhoods attracting young singles, newlyweds, and even empty nesters. At their disposal are more than a dozen breweries and cideries, over twenty restaurants, a rooftop bar, an upscale bowling alley, and a shuffleboard bar.

Residents inhabit industrial buildings turned modern lofts and apartments. There are also a handful of brick colonials and row houses. While this neighborhood isn’t the most desirable for families, if you’re young or an active senior and enjoy nightlife and walkability, Scott’s addition may be the perfect place to settle.

  • Home Price – Median home value of $275,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,300 median monthly rental
  • Public Schools – Carver Elementary School, Binford Middle School, Thomas Jefferson High School

Something to try: Grab some wings and a Tangtini at Tang & Biscuit, a neighborhood shuffleboard venue.

Westover Hills

Westover Hills is within the city, just south of the James River. Most of the homes were built in the 1920s -1940s with styles ranging from Cape Cods to Arts and Crafts, Tudors, and Spanish Colonials. Westover Hills is a great option for singles, couples, and families who want to live in a beautiful, older home and have proximity to the city but without the price tag of the Near West End and The Fan.

Westover Hills has an active neighborhood association which plans events ranging from a Fourth of July picnic to an annual yard sale and home tour. Residents are close-knit, and you will find families and dog walkers out and about in the mornings and evenings. The sense of community in Westover Hills is a breath of fresh air, and homeowners take pride in making Westover Hills a great place to live and work.

  • Home Price – Median home value of $385,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,500 median monthly rental
  • Public Schools – Westover Hills Elementary School, Elkhart Middle School, Huguenot High School

Something to try: Enjoy a bike ride and a picnic lunch at Forest Hill Park.

Forest Hill

This neighborhood started as a trolley car suburb of downtown Richmond. It’s designated as one of Richmond’s historic districts and is adjacent to the neighborhood mentioned above of Westover Hills. Located in the part of town known as the Southside, Forest Hill is another desirable neighborhood where you can still find a decent deal on a home.

Restaurants like Little Nickel and Laura Lee’s have turned Forest Hill into a dining destination. You can access downtown in only 7-8 minutes and be on the river in even less time. Residents of Forest Hill are eclectic, ranging from blue-collar workers to young professionals and families.

  • Home Price – Median home value of $340,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,450 median monthly rental
  • Public Schools – Westover Hills Elementary School, Thompson Middle School, Wythe High School

Something to try: Stroll the Reedy Creek Trail to enjoy all the beauty and sights along the James River.

Church Hill

Church Hill is the oldest neighborhood in RVA and is centered around historic St. John’s Church, the site of Virginia’s second revolutionary convention where, in 1775, Patrick Henry gave his famous speech “Give me liberty or give me death.” Church Hill is a mixed-income neighborhood which has been undergoing a gentrification process that has contributed to lower rates of crime and new restaurants and businesses setting up shop.

A stroll through Church Hill will reveal gas lanterns, wrought-iron fences, cobblestone streets, colorful front doors, green parks, and front porch-sitters. Notable restaurants include Dutch & Company, The Hill Café, Metzgers Bar and Butchery, The Roosevelt, and Proper Pie Co.

  • Home Price – Median home value of $375,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,250 median monthly rental
  • Public Schools – George Mason Elementary School, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, Armstrong High School

Something to try: See a reenactment of Patrick Henry’s famous revolutionary speech at historic St. John’s Church.

Ginter Park

Similar to Forest Hill in the Southside, Ginter Park is another early trolley car neighborhood located in the Northside part of town and is one of the original Downtown Richmond suburbs. Founded in 1909, Ginter Park is home to approximately 1,200 households. Today you’ll see tree-lined streets and many different types of architecture. There aren’t many places to walk to for dining or coffee in Ginter Park, but Dot’s Back Inn, The Mill on MacArthur, and Stir Crazy Café are local favorites.

The neighborhood association is very active and plans several events, including wine tastings, progressive dinners, and home and garden tours. Veritas School, a classical Christian school, is becoming an anchoring point of the neighboring having breathed new life into Union Theological Seminary.

  • Home Price – Median home value of $378,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,300 median monthly rental
  • Public Schools – Holton Elementary School, Henderson Middle School, John Marshall High School

Something to try: Take a stroll through Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.

The Fan

The Fan neighborhood gets its name because of the way the streets fan out as they head west, away from downtown Richmond. While Broad Street forms its northern border, 195 makes up its southern border. Many cafes and restaurants are based here, as well as the controversial Monument Avenue which is home to several Civil War Confederate general monuments as well as the monument of Arthur Ashe, local African-American tennis legend.

The Fan is made up of tightly packed late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century buildings and offers an urban feel. Here, you can find an eclectic mix of young professionals, singles, and retirees, and the mix of renters and owners is fairly equal. There’s a strong artistic community as the neighborhood is close to Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The proximity of the houses means you won’t see a lot of grass around, but the colorful small gardens and occasional park keep this neighborhood looking beautiful.

  • Home Price – Median home value $569,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,450 median monthly rental
  • Public Schools – Fox Elementary School, Albert Hill Middle School, Thomas Jefferson High School

Something to try: Catch a movie at the historic Byrd Theater in nearby Carytown.

Near West End

Richmond’s Near West End is one of the most desirable places to live within city limits. It borders Henrico County to the west, but an Uber ride downtown will still be under $15. Everything from modest starter homes to multi-million-dollar mansions is within proximity to each other.

Home construction started at the turn of the century with most building completed by the 1950s, so you’ll have to be comfortable with an older home if you live in this part of town. There’s a posh area of town called Libbie and Grove where you’ll find a handful of swanky boutiques, gourmet sandwich shops, and even a local market.

While Richmond’s Near West End is still close to downtown and the freeway, people choose this location for the quaint homes, yards with mature trees, and proximity to restaurants, parks, and shopping. The Near West End is also home to a few of Richmond’s finest private schools, St. Catherine’s and St. Christopher’s.

  • Home Price – Median home value of $575,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,600 median monthly rental
  • Public Schools – Mary Munford Elementary School, Albert Hill Middle School, Thomas Jefferson High School

Something to try: See a Shakespeare play at Agecroft Hall in Windsor Farms.

Westham

The Westham neighborhood is located just outside city limits to the west in neighboring Henrico County. Westham is nestled next to The Country Club of Virginia and the University of Richmond, making it another highly desirable and very expensive neighborhood. Residents move to Westham for larger homes, bigger yards, and award-winning public schools.

While you won’t be able to walk to many places, if any, there are a handful of shops and a few local restaurants in this neighborhood. The drive to downtown takes 15 minutes or so, depending on traffic, and it will take seven to eight minutes to get to I-64 or I-195. Westham is a very established neighborhood with beautiful mature trees; you’ll see mostly families and established professionals settling here.

Westham

  • Home Price – Median home value of $685,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,800 median monthly rental
  • Public Schools – Tuckahoe Elementary School, Tuckahoe Middle School, Douglas Freeman High School

Something to try: Grab a custom milkshake at Coco and Hazel.

***

At Great Guys Long Distance Movers, our goal is to connect you with the best licensed and insured moving companies. We want you to have a smooth, stress-free move to Richmond. To get started, request your free moving quote today!

Get Started

Movers you can trust. Pricing you can afford.

Get Started Now