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Old 05-26-2011, 05:51 AM
 
11 posts, read 68,210 times
Reputation: 15

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Hi Everyone,

I have been offered a job in the Reston area and we are really considering making the move. We have lived in the midwest(OKC and Tulsa, OK) for a long time now so NOVA is a long way from home.

I'm hoping that someone here can answer my questions.

1) The cost of living difference is pretty astounding, and I have yet to find a consistent number for average salary. Is a salary of 90-100K pretty standard? I just want to be able to comfortably support my family of 3.

2) We currently own a 4bd 3 bath home that we built. That kind of home in Reston costs around 600K in the Reston area. I guess we cannot expect to own a home like that in Nova with our salary. What do most families do? It seems to me that the only two options are A: get a condo/townhouse or B: be in an incredible amount of house debt

3) We have a 10 year old daughter who will be entering the 5th grade. From my research, it seems like the public schools in Reston are good. Can anyone here with young children in the school system vouch for that?

Any feedback/comments would be so helpful.

Thanks
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,579,167 times
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Quote:
1) The cost of living difference is pretty astounding, and I have yet to find a consistent number for average salary. Is a salary of 90-100K pretty standard? I just want to be able to comfortably support my family of 3.
Standard depends on your industry and experience. $90-100k is typical of someone in a big company doing IT consulting (where my husband and my experience is) with 6-8 years experience. For another industry, it's going to be completely different. You won't be wealthy on that salary, but you shouldn't be struggling.

Quote:
2) We currently own a 4bd 3 bath home that we built. That kind of home in Reston costs around 600K in the Reston area. I guess we cannot expect to own a home like that in Nova with our salary. What do most families do? It seems to me that the only two options are A: get a condo/townhouse or B: be in an incredible amount of house debt
Many families are two income families. Others choose townhouses or condos. A large number of families opt for longer commutes in order to have the bigger house they want. (It's not uncommon to find people commuting 1.5-2 hours each way here). Many people here have families later than other parts of the country, because it's such a career mecca for many. They spend their 20's building their career, and then have their kids in their 30's, at which point they can sell their first house(s) to put the equity towards a bigger home, or they've saved a lot to put towards a home because they didn't have major expenses before.

I would imagine that the average family here has a larger mortgage that most parts of the country, if measured by debt to income. It's a priority choice, though. As long as it's still a reasonable percent of your income (maybe 28% instead of 20%), many people choose to forgo eating out or other expenses to afford a house in the area they want to live.

Quote:
3) We have a 10 year old daughter who will be entering the 5th grade. From my research, it seems like the public schools in Reston are good. Can anyone here with young children in the school system vouch for that?
In general, Fairfax County schools are highly regarded. However, there is a wide variance in the environments of different schools within the county (and within Reston).
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:40 AM
 
11 posts, read 68,210 times
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Thanks CaliTerp, that is exactly the kind of information I am looking for!
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Reston, VA
2,005 posts, read 3,538,225 times
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I understand the sticker shock of houses in Reston - I moved from Atlanta several years ago and it took me a good amount of looking to find a nice house. I really like the area of Reston South of the Toll Road and East of Reston Parkway (especially in the South Lakes area: Lake Thoureau and Lake Audubon). Check out this house - price has just been reduced - from the photos it looks like it has not been updated, but it is in a nice neighborhood near great walking trails. I ended up buying a house near Lake Audubon, but almost bought another house of this same model on the same street.
http://www.homesdatabase.com/home-li...MRIS-FX7559848
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:18 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,376,156 times
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Very nice summary from <CaliTerp07>. To add a little decoration to it, the $90-100K in federal government terms would equate to about a GS-13. These would tend to be mid-30's-ish professionals, most with an advanced degree and all with established subject matter expertise.

The high income figures here (median household income in Fairfax and Loudoun counties is well above $100K) are, as pointed out, in part a function of the fact that two such earners comprise many of the households in the area, but also in part because many of the service workers who would ordinarily live in these counties don't. Due to the high housing costs, many have chosen to live to the south or west and commute into Fairfax or Loudoun to do their work. During a recent home renovation project for instance, the work schedule was 6:00 to 2:00. The crew had simply shifted the standard workday by three hours so as to be able to commute (mostly from Prince William County) before the AM and PM rush hours gobbled up their routes.

In any case, $90-100K should indded be as advertised above: not enough to make you wealthy, but certainly enough to keep you from struggling. Good luck.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:14 PM
 
504 posts, read 652,767 times
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The above posters have pretty much covered everything. The only thing I would add is that one advantage of working someplace like Reston instead of DC is that you could live in some of the neighborhoods in Loudoun county where your housing dollars will go a bit farther and still have a reasonable commute to Reston. You're still probably looking at $400k and up for a newer 3 to 4br house with good schools, or a nice townhouse for less.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:34 PM
 
Location: Reston
560 posts, read 1,109,301 times
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South Lakes High in Reston is ranked No. 32 in the Post (didn‘t see anything that rates the other schools)-

D.C. Area Schools - Ranking America's High Schools 2011 - The Washington Post

If you like the idea of living in the woods, then this is a cool house (might need some updating)-

11502 DROP FORGE LN, RESTON, VA 20191 - HomesDatabase

There's a paved trail behind the house that you can see in the bird's-eye view.

Also (just in case you haven't heard) they are extending the metro to Reston and the new station isn't that far away-

Dulles Metrorail - Wiehle Avenue (http://www.dullesmetro.com/stations/wiehle.cfm - broken link)
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Reston, VA
2,005 posts, read 3,538,225 times
Reputation: 1147
Here is a map of Reston that details the great trail system and shows where the swimming pools (they open this weekend - YEAH!), tennis courts, and playgrounds are located.
Reston Association - Interactive Map Guide

Here is the link to the general Reston website.
Welcome to Reston Association

Also the Reston Patch for local information.
Reston, VA Patch - News, Sports, Events, Businesses & Deals

Here are some photos of the South Lakes area that I posted.
Photo Tour: Reston - South Lakes
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