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Old 07-20-2010, 03:39 PM
 
3 posts, read 5,134 times
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Default Moving to the Northern Virginia area for work in DC.

My fiance and I are looking to move to the Northern Virginia area about a year and a half from now and are starting our beginning research of the area. He has never been to D.C. and I only have twice, so we have little knowledge of where to start.

I will most likely be working in DC, and he may also be, so commute would be a bit of a concern, however, we are willing to do an hour, perhaps more if the community and house really won us over.

At this point we are looking at buying a house, not renting. We have two large dogs (100lbs +) and a decent sized backyard is a must. We are thinking sometime in the future of starting a family, so school districts, crime level, etc are concerns.

We are looking between two and three bedroom homes and figuring about $2,000/month (give or take a couple hundred if need be) for a house payment. We both prefer a bit away from the hustle and bustle of a city, but still near enough to "head into town" for a nice dinner, shopping etc. A bit of extra land, or just nature around, is more important to us however.

We have begun looking at several places in Prince William County (i.e. Lake Ridge, Woodbridge, Dumfries) and are beginning in Loudoun County. Some of the areas around Quantico appear to be slightly more reasonable and more open land.

Any advice on where to start, what possible commutes may be, price ranges, crime, school etc would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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If you're working in DC, Loudoun county would be an awful commute. I'd go no further west than Falls Church.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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Agreed. To keep your commute at an hour or less into DC you are going to have to look in Arlington, Falls Church, Mclean...... those areas that are closer in. There is a lot of construction going on with the HOT lanes and the metrorail expansion and that is making traffic even worse right now. I know of people commuting from Vienna into DC who were taking 1.5 hours each way.....from Vienna!!
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:15 PM
 
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How much can you afford to spend on a house? (The house payment amount will depend upon your down payment and mortgage terms, so it's not particularly reliable for making neighborhood suggestions.)

You will have to decide how much of a commute you are willing to tolerate. It will take at least 45 minutes to get to a job in DC from the most convenient "inside the Beltway" communities (Arlington, Falls Church, Annandale, Alexandria) and you can expect to spend at least $500K for a house in a safe neighborhood (maybe as low as $400K if it needs serious renovation). An hour or more from the exurbs in Loudoun and Prince William Counties, but you will get more house for your money. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of densely populated suburbia (in addition to the "city"), you will pay for it in a longer commute.
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
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There is no telling how much homes will cost a year and a half from now - at the present, costs are low (relatively speaking) - but I don't understand why someone would be looking that far out as so many things change (sadly, pets die, couples break up, etc.)
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:49 PM
 
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As another person said, Loudoun County is too far to commute into DC, and you don't want to live in Woodbridge also known as "Hoodbridge" Its a ghetto craphole. Nice places to live with a shorter commute would be Great Falls and Mclean. There are nice houses in the woods with lots of land and its safe and near things. You have to to have a lot of money to live there though.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:59 PM
 
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Welcome!

Quantico to DC is an absolute nightmare because of traffic. It once took me nearly 3 hours to go from DC to Q on a Saturday morning. I hope you will scratch it off your list!

Claremarie said:
"You will have to decide how much of a commute you are willing to tolerate. It will take at least 45 minutes to get to a job in DC from the most convenient "inside the Beltway" communities (Arlington, Falls Church, Annandale, Alexandria) and you can expect to spend at least $500K for a house in a safe neighborhood (maybe as low as $400K if it needs serious renovation)."

This is true for some neighborhoods and at some times. But I commute from Crystal City to NW DC, and it is 20 minutes unless I go at the height of rush hour. Rosslyn to DC would be even shorter. You pay a heavy premium for this convenience--you will not likely find any single family home for which the mortgage, ins., taxes, etc. will be within your stated budget in that area. But if you have any flexibility in when you report to work, or if you can telecommute at least some of the time, your life will be much easier as you will have more choices within your stated commuting maximum time.

Real estate prices have fallen more in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County and farther out than in Arlington and Alexandria. So you may want to try some commutes and see how you would trade these things off. No one knows for sure whether prices will fall farther - this region of the country has a much more robust economy than do many others.

Currently, renting single family homes in many areas is still cheaper than buying them (per month). You may want to try that out until you are really familiar with the area.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACWhite View Post
But I commute from Crystal City to NW DC, and it is 20 minutes unless I go at the height of rush hour. Rosslyn to DC would be even shorter. You pay a heavy premium for this convenience--you will not likely find any single family home for which the mortgage, ins., taxes, etc. will be within your stated budget in that area.
And there are virtually no single-family homes in either of these communities, which are dominated by high-rise office, apartment, and condo buildings.
I do agree that renting for at least a year makes more sense than buying.
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Sterling, VA
1,043 posts, read 1,806,330 times
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A lot will depend on where in D.C. you will work. Maryland may be another option, you will have more flexibility if you don't have the bridges from VA into D.C. to consider. As far as renting, if you have 2 dogs, 100+ pounds each, you will probably have to rent a single family home or a townhouse. I don't know of any apartment or condo that will allow dogs that large.
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:31 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,141 posts, read 15,770,769 times
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I don't get the responses to her question. She said they want to buy an SFH with a $2K a month payment (a $300K home maybe?). Talking about Falls Church, Crystal City, etc. isn't very helpful. Sounds like she needs someone familiar with PW County as that's where the homes in decent neighborhoods in that price range are.
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