Sarah Jarvis, Broker
One South Realty
It's great that you have gotten so much response for your question. That's what this site is about. I am a native of Richmond and a Real Estate Agent. I will give you a tour of Richmond without my real estate hat on. I would like for you to see the city yourself and be informed of all of the great areas you have to chose from. Also, I have a blog, http://www.richmondhomeownersdepot.com that has resources that you might find useful about Richmond....including crime. I will be adding a tour of the city on my blog in the future and you will be able to view the areas in the comfort of your own home.
Renting is probably a good idea. You'll find out soon enough that you'll get more house for the money south of the river - but there's a reason for that - it's because it's better to live north of the James! hehe! Some people try to sell the Far West End around Short Pump. Unless you work in Goochland or have random cravings to browse pottery barn I would avoid it. There's little character or diversity and the commute adds to the premium cost. Hope this helps.
I relocated to the Richmond area when I was 10yrs old(from Texas). So I consider myself a Richmond-er and a great resource for you and your family. I would be happy to help with any question that you may have regarding homes in the area. Many of my clients have also recently re-located from other parts of the country to our area. I would be happy to put you in touch with them as well! They would be a great resource for you. Two couples in particular come to mind, and I think they would be able to give you an un-biased opinion on what to expect with the transition. Call me or email me, and I would be happy to help!
Don't give up on the Fox or Munford areas. There is today, 22 houses with a minimum of 3 bedrooms for sale in those areas that are between $170,000 and $250,000. If you do not have a buyers agent you should get one. Of course I would be happy to help. I can email the list to you and show you those that you are interested in. I work at the Long and Foster Office on Nuckols Road so feel free to call me at 935-5936.
It is great living in this areas...where you can walk to stores and be around people that are walking, jogging, riding bikes etc. Good luck with your search
Best of Luck, Wythe