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Old 02-11-2011, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Fairfax Station, VA
621 posts, read 934,354 times
Reputation: 416

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Yes...I'm back again. As some of you know I currently reside in the Carlyle area of Alexandria (next to the Hoffman Center), and a couple of blocks from Old Town. However, much has changed in my life since I made this move some years back. My fiance and I are in the beginning stages of searching to buy a property. When I first considered buying a place (as a single childless woman) I had plans to stay in my current area, and to look into Old Town, Del Ray, and MAYBE Kingstowne (for the value). However, with an impending marriage and plans to start a family next year my priorities have shifted (although I will TRULY miss the convenience and charm of where I currently live). My fiance wants us to buy a "family" home, something we can grow in for years to come. However, I am finding a hard time reconciling "family home" to a "home of convenience". Obviously (but arguably) the prime areas for families are in Fairfax County and Loudoun County, however my fiance will be working at the new (and disastrous) Mark Center and I will either be in the Pentagon or somewhere in the heart of D.C, we are both currently in Crystal City until the summer. We qualify for $950K but don't want to spend more than $650K. My fiance really likes Ashburn, but I find it harder to commit to a location so far away from my job particularly since I rarely leave work on time and could end up waiting 45-minutes for the next VRE train. We also have no family or support system in the area so if we have a child and need to leave early for any reason, there is no one to call to get him/her for us. I've made this point to him because of the limited times the VRE runs, which would most likely be our main form of transportation.

Anyway, with that said, here are the areas we are considering and my thoughts on them. Now, I reiterate, while I'm very familiar with where I'm at in Alexandria I have limited knowledge of these areas, so I'm hoping you all can help fill in the gaps.

(1) Kingstowne - Probably the most convenient of all the locations we are looking at, but is VERY townhome driven which I can't see myself staying in for more than 5 years. Also, I question the practicality of 3 and 4 stories of living with a baby (babies) and toddlers. Not too sure about the schools in this area.

(2) Burke - Homes are older, but the area seems to have a good commuting selection (VRE, driving to the metro, buses). I hear the schools are great in this area, but I don't know too much about shopping (i.e. where would you do groceries, or go to Target, etc.), or the convenience of having to drop a child off to daycare and then drive to 'X' location (metro, VRE station, etc.) to get to work and vice versa.

(3) Vienna/Reston - Fiance is dead set against living anywhere by Route 7 (?), so I don't even know if this is an option.

(4) Ashburn - Can find the home we want for under $550K, good schools, close-by generic shopping areas, but would have the longest and most restricted commute. Ashburn would be a VERY different culture from what we are used to now.

(5) Springfield - I hear there are great areas in Springfield, but I don't know where they are, so any info would help.

Any areas I'm missing? We are on the fence about Prince William county (a la Woodbridge). Is this something we should consider?

Any/all thoughts would be greatly appreciate! Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:13 AM
 
4,536 posts, read 5,206,979 times
Reputation: 2092
You would be nuts, in my opinion, to look at Ashburn. If your fiance doesn't want to deal with Route 7, you don't want to be in Loudoun, period, if you have jobs in Alexandria/DC.

I honestly don't know why you don't focus on Alexandria itself in the first instance. It's close by, you know it, the schools may improve, and you can reassess in five years time whether you want something more suburban.
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:30 AM
 
5,753 posts, read 5,887,645 times
Reputation: 2346
I, too, think you would be nuts to move to Ashburn (not that Ashburn isn't nice). Many of my coworkers with young (and older) families have found Arlington to be quite family oriented. My cousin, newly married, no kids, just moved into her first home there to start/raise a family so I don't necessarily think a "family home" means moving way out.

I live in Woodbridge and moved here 16 years ago out of financial necessity. I don't mind it, it's fine, and I've fairly happy here but if I had more money at the time I moved I would have chosen something closer to the city. With a 650K mortgage, you would be looking at a VERY nice home in Woodbridge, very easy access to pubic transportation, but a not so great commute if you are working standard, height-of-the-rush commuting hours.

I wouldn't mind Kingstowne for the proximity but sometimes I ride through there and I don't like the look of it. It's just not pretty in some parts and seems to have "no soul". It could be all the power lines and the townhomes/condos rising like phoenixes (is that the correct plural for phoenix??) out of the ground!

I think Burke is very nice and family oriented but a little off the beaten path to get to I-95/I-495 but not awful. The thing about Burke is that there are little shopping areas scattered about and you almost don't know they are there.
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:38 AM
 
5,179 posts, read 3,508,204 times
Reputation: 2392
You know that if your fiance is with DoD, he'll be able to take a free shuttle bus from the King Street Metro station to the Mark Center? So I don't see why it's a disaster for him if it's not too much trouble to get from your residence to King St Metro.

Last edited by robbobobbo; 02-11-2011 at 11:53 AM..
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:42 AM
 
5,179 posts, read 3,508,204 times
Reputation: 2392
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalyzeThis View Post

Vienna/Reston - Fiance is dead set against living anywhere by Route 7 (?), so I don't even know if this is an option.
But he really, really wants to live in Ashburn?
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Fairfax Station, VA
621 posts, read 934,354 times
Reputation: 416
Thanks so far for your opinions/suggestions!

I should clarify, I think my fiance sees Ashburn as the place where we can get the larger, newer home in a great school district for much less than what we can get closer in. I also think that, although he knows Ashburn is far, he feels he can just take the VRE (I guess to King street?) and then take the shuttle to work from there. Versus with Vienna/Reston where we feels like he'll have to drive. Again, we both are only familiar with the area we are currently in, for the most part, so we are working off of assumptions right now, hence why we need to hear different perspectives to guide our search. Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:49 AM
 
388 posts, read 385,989 times
Reputation: 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
You would be nuts, in my opinion, to look at Ashburn. If your fiance doesn't want to deal with Route 7, you don't want to be in Loudoun, period, if you have jobs in Alexandria/DC.

I honestly don't know why you don't focus on Alexandria itself in the first instance. It's close by, you know it, the schools may improve, and you can reassess in five years time whether you want something more suburban.
I can't believe it, but I totally agree. Best of luck!
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:50 AM
 
1,158 posts, read 1,365,586 times
Reputation: 878
You may be able to reach a compromise if you can convince him to consider the West Springfield/Burke area or Arlington. Ashburn is nice, but the commute would be hellish.
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Maine
1,317 posts, read 1,611,548 times
Reputation: 1276
Given the location of your jobs, I would also consider Fairfax and parts of Annandale for reasonable commutes and good schools. Some very nice homes tucked in along Braddock Road--both inside the Beltway and farther west, off Wakefield Chapel and Guinea Roads.

Parts of West Springfield (off Carrleigh Parkway, and farther south off Gambrill Road) have beautiful homes that are convenient for commuters to the Pentagon or the Mark Center (bus and Metro nearby, as well as plenty of park and ride lots). Many of the prettier, "forever" homes here are not ones you see from the main arteries. They are surprise neighborhoods that we have discovered when we have a reason to break out of the routine here. Fairfax Station may be a little too far, but it has many beautiful homes.

If it were my family, Ashburn would be much too far for us. My husband works near the Mark Center right now (and used to work in the Pentagon). We rent a home in West Springfield (off Old Keene Mill Road). He can ride the bus, ride the Metro, or get picked up by a person wanting another passenger. This location has been very convenient for us.
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Maine
1,317 posts, read 1,611,548 times
Reputation: 1276
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalyzeThis View Post
Thanks so far for your opinions/suggestions!

I should clarify, I think my fiance sees Ashburn as the place where we can get the larger, newer home in a great school district for much less than what we can get closer in. I also think that, although he knows Ashburn is far, he feels he can just take the VRE (I guess to King street?) and then take the shuttle to work from there. Versus with Vienna/Reston where we feels like he'll have to drive. Again, we both are only familiar with the area we are currently in, for the most part, so we are working off of assumptions right now, hence why we need to hear different perspectives to guide our search. Thanks!
If your husband would like to use the VRE, then Burke would work well. Don't think the VRE is anywhere near Ashburn, but I could be mistaken.
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