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Old 09-09-2010, 11:02 AM
 
2 posts, read 10,367 times
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Hi everyone. I'm new here and would be so grateful for some advice. My husband, daughter and I are moving back to the DC area after being away for 5 years. When we lived there before, we were recently married and living in Ballston. Things have changed with our daughter and we want to rent a single family home, but I'm absolutely clueless about the area outside of the Arlington area (unfortunately we can't afford Arlington).

My husband will be working on Ft McNair in SW. I don't have a job yet but will likely be working in the Pentagon City area or DC. We would love commutes under an hour (of course less is always better, but probably not realistic). The areas we're considering are Annandale, Springfield (including North and West), Burke, McLean and Fort Hunt.

Thanks so much!
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:19 AM
 
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What is your preferred budget range for renting? Your considerations in order of likely highest expense would be: McLean, Fort Hunt, Annandale (outside the Beltway), Springfield, Annandale (inside the Beltway) and Burke. Some people on the forum have expressed concerns about the strip mall aesthetics and socioeconomic diversity of ITB Annandale; you can be your own judge of that. Burke is the least expensive because of its relative distance from the Metro although the VRE is right there.


Your husband should be able to get to work in less than an hour from any of those places - especially Fort Hunt although Burke might be pushing it - but a flexible work schedule wouldn't hurt if that's an option for him.

Last edited by FindingZen; 09-09-2010 at 12:21 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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We were in your shoes 3 years ago. We used to live in Arlington and had an easy commute into work and now we had a family and preferred to live in the suburbs. After much research, we chose to live near Burke. I am a stay-at-home mom now and love the area; however, it has been a bad commute for my husband. If you and your husband plan to take public transportation or have flexibility in your work hours, you might want to consider Burke or West Springfield. But if you have to drive during rush hour, there is no way you can count on a commute of less than an hour from here. The VRE is an option from these areas, but you have to work "regular business hours" to use it. GL.
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Old 09-09-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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Thanks so much for the comments so far. They are very helpful and I really appreciate it! My husband's work hours will be fairly fixed at 7:30-4:30 and I doubt there will be much flexibility involved, so the commute becomes the sticking point for us. We're willing to pay more for the convenience, but can't go above $3000/month.
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
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I'm West End Alexandria and commute to Pentagon City and Metro Ctr. - I walk a few blocks to catch a bus on Duke St. to King Street Metro, there it's a straight shot to either place.
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windy1025 View Post
Thanks so much for the comments so far. They are very helpful and I really appreciate it! My husband's work hours will be fairly fixed at 7:30-4:30 and I doubt there will be much flexibility involved, so the commute becomes the sticking point for us. We're willing to pay more for the convenience, but can't go above $3000/month.
His morning commute shouldn't be too bad but the evening ride would be somewhat of a bear. I don't know for sure, but it may be a stretch to find an SFH rental under $3000 in McLean and possibly Fort Hunt.

Speaking of Fort Hunt, you may like some nearby neighborhoods such as Hollin Hills, Waynewood and Stratford Landing.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:56 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,869,904 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windy1025 View Post
Hi everyone. I'm new here and would be so grateful for some advice. My husband, daughter and I are moving back to the DC area after being away for 5 years. When we lived there before, we were recently married and living in Ballston. Things have changed with our daughter and we want to rent a single family home, but I'm absolutely clueless about the area outside of the Arlington area (unfortunately we can't afford Arlington).

My husband will be working on Ft McNair in SW. I don't have a job yet but will likely be working in the Pentagon City area or DC. We would love commutes under an hour (of course less is always better, but probably not realistic). The areas we're considering are Annandale, Springfield (including North and West), Burke, McLean and Fort Hunt.

Thanks so much!
I assume that your husband's job is pretty stable -- as in he isn't looking to stay there for 3-5 years and then move on, or a BRAC happens, or a contract changes, etc., etc. But then again if you're renting for a couple years you will have a chance to adjust/change.

Check the Arlington ZIP codes anyway. I am seeing high single digits of SFH's with 3+ bedrooms and 2+ baths for under $3k/month on homesdatabase.com, even in 22207, some of which are zoned to Yorktown and Arlington's top-scoring ES and MS.

How fussy are you regarding schools? If you consider yourself very fussy you probably want to avoid Wakefield, Annandale, Lee, Edison, and West Potomac. Yorktown, McLean, Robinson, Woodson, and West Springfield are considered more fashionable. Could go either way on Washington-Lee though.

Of course even the first four are only bad by "Northern Virginia standards."

As for safety, Annandale and North Springfield have issues of the "don't leave stuff out in your car" variety but aren't even the worst in that regard. The other areas are safe even by Fairfax standards.
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