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Old 07-16-2011, 07:57 PM
 
504 posts, read 651,712 times
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Welcome to the area. Here are a few thoughts. Hope this helps!

Quote:
Originally Posted by csoell View Post
I am looking a buying up to $450,000 - and rent up to about $3000.
If you can afford $3000/mo in rent, you will be able to afford to buy quite a bit more than $450k here. Of course, you may choose not to.

You will get a much nicer place around here for $3000/mo rent than you will buying in the $450k range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csoell View Post
I would love Falls Church or Vienna if I can do it. (I think Vienna is out of the question though)

Honestly - I am not finding any rentals that even look appealing. (not that the houses I am seeing are too great either)
For the rent range you gave, you should have some options in Vienna.

It's a big change from Texas here. Homes here tend to be much more expensive, older, and smaller. To find something similar to the newer large planned communities in the Houston area, you'd need to look at some of the areas further out such as Brambleton or South Riding. Those planned communities are more affordable than say Vienna and have some walkable areas, but the trade off is a longer commute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csoell View Post
Annandale has some possibilities - but the schools make me nervous (from all that I have read on the posts)
As far as schools in Annandale, the ones that feed in to Woodson High School are generally well regarded. Woodson is one of the top high schools in the area and serves part of Annandale and part of Fairfax.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csoell View Post
I will need to find a Mother's Day Out / Preschool for my 2 year old. 2 days a week in the mornings. Are there any good suggestions for church related programs or schools?
I don't have any specific suggestions for 2 year old preschool, but given traffic patterns around here it might be best to find where you will be living first and then see which places nearly have openings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csoell View Post
I also need a Community Center or YMCA / Gym to join. Any thoughts on the Golds Gym in the area of Falls Church and their daycare?
There aren't many YMCAs around here. I've worked out at the Gold's Gym in Merrifield (close to the Exxon campus) and it was fine. They do have a child center and I am sure you could call to get the hours and fees. There are a number of other gyms in the area with different features and price points, so I would wait until I knew where I was living and then check out a few gyms to see which one worked the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csoell View Post
Since I will have 2 by the time we move - an 8 week old and 2 year old, I would really love a home close to a park.

Am I nuts to think I can get all this in Falls Church or Fairfax and still get a decent elementary school for my little girl?
I think you can get this for $2500 - $3000/mo rent. It may take some looking but is very achievable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csoell View Post
I haven't ruled out Burke yet - but I won't be able to go on the house hunting trip either because I am due in 6.5 weeks. I will have to send my husband alone. The only thing (from reading the posts) that scares me about Burke is that you don't have the downtown quaintness of Falls Church. Fairfax City looks pretty neat - but all the homes I am finding that I like feed into Fairfax High School and that isn't rated as one of the best.
I wouldn't worry too much about Fairfax High. From what I understand, it only looks mediocre because some of the nearby high schools are among the best in the country. Of course, everyone has their own comfort zone and knows what will work for their family.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:25 PM
 
11 posts, read 21,358 times
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How cool is Fairfax City? There are a couple of options there... Would this be a little more fun than living in Burke? I really really would love something instead of a boring suburb with nothing but Targets and Walmarts -- if that is all I can afford though - I guess I will take it.

I am back looking into Alexandria - maybe Kingstowne or the Beverly Hills area? Seems like I need about 50k more though to get a townhouse there.

Tyler Park and Sleepy Hollow were the areas I liked houses in in Falls Church - but no one will give me a straight answer as to if they are good places or not. I have heard they are "areas of transition"...

Is the school pyramid in Fairfax City that bad? Daniels Run Elementary and Fairfax HS were two of the three I can remember.
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,556 posts, read 12,638,406 times
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Downtown Fairfax City is a bit more exciting than a suburb. There are some walkable places - some restaurants, a few bars, some stores, a library, and other places. That is only true though of downtown Fairfax City. The rest of "Fairfax" is typical suburbs. The schools are fine.
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:59 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,624,346 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csoell View Post
Tyler Park and Sleepy Hollow were the areas I liked houses in in Falls Church - but no one will give me a straight answer as to if they are good places or not. I have heard they are "areas of transition"...
Tyler Park is mostly small Cape Cods and ramblers built in the 50s. It appeals to some folks who like older houses and are priced out of North Arlington or the City of Falls Church. It also has some houses that haven't been well-maintained, where there are multiple cars in the driveways, no one has paid any obvious attention to the lawns, etc. It's hard for me to think it would appeal to someone moving from The Woodlands, but that's probably because I have an image of The Woodlands as a very manicured suburb similar to places out in Loudoun County like Ashburn.

"Sleepy Hollow" isn't a single community, but is generally understood to refer to the neighborhoods to the east and west of Sleepy Hollow Road (which runs between Columbia Pike and Seven Corners). The areas east of Sleepy Hollow Road (Ravenswood, Malbrook, Lake Barcroft, Barcroft Woods) and to the immediate west are very stable communities that are more expensive than Tyler Park. As you get closer to Annandale Road, it starts to look a bit older and tattered, with smaller homes that may need repairs, multiple cars in some driveways, etc.

I will echo the prior comments that you should not worry about the schools in the City of Fairfax like Daniels Run ES, Lanier MS and Fairfax HS.
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Home is Vienna, Hokieland for School
8 posts, read 15,736 times
Reputation: 12
csoell, I was just about to suggest Kingstowne/suburban Alexandria to you. It should be a 25-35 minute commute with traffic (20 mins without traffic). You're probably already familiar that it's a suburban area, but it's quite walkable to the Town Center, one of the three elementary schools and the three community centers (whichever one you're closest to). It's a large HOA with about 12,000 residents, and there's an interesting mix of young families, young professionals, and empty nesters. I have relatives that live there in one of the townhouses with a garage and they love it. You should be able to find a decent townhouse for sale in from around $410k to about $480k (the ones without garages are in the lower 400s and the ones with garages are in the higher 400s). All the elementary schools, in order from best reputation to least (Hayfield, Island Creek and Lane) are quite good, and you don't have to worry about the middle or high school (Hayfield Secondary) since you won't be here for too long. Here are a few listings (zillow doesn't seem to count basements as square footage because these are all closer to 2000 sq ft with finished basements for the most part):

without garages:
7242 Cherwell Ln, Alexandria, VA 22315 MLS# fx7632668 - Zillow
7024 Darby Towne Ct, Alexandria, VA 22315 MLS# fx7530393 - Zillow
7006 Darby Towne Ct, Alexandria, VA 22315 MLS# fx7579591 - Zillow
5908 Wescott Hills Way, Alexandria, VA 22315 MLS# fx7582126 - Zillow

with garages:
5946 Norham Dr, Alexandria, VA 22315 MLS# fx7583867 - Zillow
6954 Banchory Ct, Alexandria, VA 22315 MLS# fx7640617 - Zillow
7027 Chesley Search Way, Alexandria, VA 22315 MLS# fx7595395 - Zillow

rentals (I think the second one is, it says it's for sale, but it's pricing definitely seems like a monthly rental rate):
5321 Buxton Ct, Alexandria, VA 22315 - Zillow (without garage)
5806 Appleford Dr, Alexandria, VA 22315 MLS# fx7545826 - Zillow (with garage)
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:46 PM
 
11 posts, read 21,358 times
Reputation: 10
WOW - Startsomewhere... You are awesome !!! THANK YOU SO MUCH. I really really do appreciate it!
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:15 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,864,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michgc View Post
Downtown Fairfax City is a bit more exciting than a suburb. There are some walkable places - some restaurants, a few bars, some stores, a library, and other places. That is only true though of downtown Fairfax City. The rest of "Fairfax" is typical suburbs. The schools are fine.
I agree with this, and would include the town of Vienna as well.

Basically, anything that was settled before 1960 (plus Reston, which was designed to be a new urban village or something like that) will tend to be more exciting than places built out since then.

If your or your hubby's commute permits, I would look around the towns of Loudoun County.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:56 PM
 
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Reputation: 10
What does anyone know about the Westmore neighborhood of Fairfax City? Or even Fairfax City overall? Would you say it is better then Tyler Park / Sleep Hollow areas of Falls Church? The schools seem to have a higher rating.

It looks like a cute neighborhood with smaller houses.
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:09 PM
 
1,282 posts, read 1,730,427 times
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I used to walk through this neighborhood during my lunch hour. Small is the operative word, very, very small. The immediate surrounding area is no great shakes, small strip centers and not very attractive. It is close to the center of Fairfax City though.

I think you'll get lots of opinions comparing the two, but it's one of those things you need to see/judge for yourself. I would say from a commuting perspective, this is far worse commute. Route 50 during rush hour is a pain.
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