• Sarah Lipkowitz

Moving To Maryland

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

If you are moving to Maryland, you may have some fears. After all, we are a mid-Atlantic state, which isn’t exactly a clearly defined category. What should you expect? Well…

A little bit of everything!

This is a breakdown of practical matters such as housing and employment interspersed with things to do and things to eat in The Old Line State. Hopefully, I can ease your nerves and get you excited about moving to Maryland!

Housing. If you’ve never bought a home in the state of Maryland, then you count as a first-time homebuyer and may well qualify for some of the Maryland Mortgage Program incentives. The Maryland Mortgage Program offers a number of incentives at different times throughout the year, including down payment assistance for buyers with student debt. I won’t lie. Maryland can be an expensive place to live. In Montgomery County, home values average $525,000. The good news is that the median home value for the state is about $284,000, which means you don’t need to be wealthy to live here. In fact, homes average $364,000 in Columbia, Maryland—which routinely ranks among the best places to live in the United States.

If you have the urge to invest in real estate, then you should know that Maryland also happens to be one of the best states for investors. Baltimore is a particularly good investment at present. The average flip takes about six months and the average ROI sits at 96.6%.

Outdoors. Shoreline to mountains and cities to farmland, Maryland offers a little bit of everything. Midwesterners—I know lakes are your thing. We have those too. Deep Creek Lake is a year-round resort town and you can rest assured that the winters here are mild and short with average temperatures in the 40s.

Maryland also has plenty of trails. Serious hikers may feel that hiking through the Appalachians doesn’t compare to some of the hiking you can do out west, but Maryland is truly beautiful in its own right. For those of you that would like to spend time on the water, but won’t be living on the coast, don’t fret. Many Marylanders own boats and keep them along the Chesapeake Bay.

Animal lovers will find that there are plenty of dog friendly spots to visit. Many of our historic towns are very dog friendly and make for excellent day trips and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Maryland is most definitely horse country. I mean…we even have wild ponies. Personally, I love how city, suburb, and horse country come together in our state. Many of my fellow riders live and work in Baltimore or D.C. and are able to get to barn every day.

Employment. The government is one of the biggest employers in Maryland, but large companies, such as Under Armour and GEICO, also call Maryland home. Many of our residents live along the Technology Corridor, which runs on I-270 from Bethesda to Germantown. Marylanders are also frequently employed in the District where the average wage is $74,540 per year (the highest average in the United States).

Food. Now for the important part…you can find just about any type of food around here, but let’s talk about Maryland-specific cuisine. First, Old Bay. A versatile seasoning made up of celery salt, black pepper, paprika, and crush red pepper flakes. We might not put it on everything, but it may feel that way if you’ve never encountered it before. Berger Cookies are also a staple here. Soft baked cookies topped with a thick layer of chocolate fudge. I am also a big believer in spreading the word about Sardi’s, a relatively new obsession of mine. Sardi’s Pollo A La Brasa is a small chain of Peruvian chicken restaurants that is often considered one of the best deals in the area. So good. So cheap.

Now, vegetarians—you may want to skip ahead to the next section because Marylanders pride themselves on their ability to brutalize crabs. Specifically, Chesapeake Blue Crabs. Seriously. Crab feasts are a big part of the summers here and we have long arguments about the best way to pick crab. Blue Crabs come from the Chesapeake and they are tasty. They are steamed and then, you guessed it, seasoned with Old Bay. Oh, and for conservation purposes, we only eat the males. HA! And crab cakes? Those need to be made from jumbo lump crab meat unless you enjoy biting into pieces of shell.

Vegetarians, you’re safe now.

Education. In Maryland, each county has its own school system. Counties are important in Maryland, more so than towns. So much so that you will hear people referring to the county they are from before the town. We are proud of our counties. Anyway, Howard County and Montgomery County typically rank as the best public school systems in the state, but Maryland as a whole ranks among the states with the best school systems.

Aside from the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins, and the Naval Academy, there are plenty of options and opportunities for teens and adults seeking higher education. In fact, many residents will qualify for a tuition-free education at Maryland community colleges starting in 2019.

Entertainment. Where to begin? Between Baltimore and D.C., we have plenty of sports teams to root for and every major music tour stops here. There are also plenty of fun day trips to take. Take a trip to our capital, Annapolis, to spend a day on the water, eat good food, and explore cool shops.

The Renaissance Festival runs September through October and is a popular annual event. We also have wineries, state parks, museums, the National Aquarium, battlefields, and the Harriet Tubman Byway. Again, we have a little bit of everything here.

Accessibility. Maryland is exceptionally accessible. Get where you need to go with Amtrak or using one of the three major airports nearby. Traffic can be heavy for those commuting around D.C. or Baltimore, but you don’t have to commute by car if you don’t want to. Check out the Metro (which includes buses and trains) and the MARC train to see if they might make your commute more bearable.

And because accessibility shouldn’t just be about getting from Point A to Point B, it is worth mentioning that, in addition to policies on education, Maryland also has legislation in the works to make healthcare more accessible. Maryland ranks in the top ten states for healthcare based on cost and quality. As of January 1, 2018, providers are also required to cover most forms of birth control with no out-of-pocket expenses for the patient. This includes vasectomies and Plan B, which makes it one of the broadest pieces of legislation regarding the coverage of contraceptives in the nation.

Now, I know some of you may still balk at the idea of moving to our little state. Our living expenses aren’t cheap and maybe you couldn’t care less about some of the things I mentioned above. However, I stand firm in my belief that there is something for everyone in Maryland and I sincerely hope you enjoy your time here.

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