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Old 06-21-2011, 02:58 PM
49 posts, read 71,908 times
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Okay, so I guess it's my turn

We are currently renting and want to go ahead and start narrowing down areas to purchase next spring so we can begin to get the feel for some of the neighborhoods. My husband's office will be moving to Tyson's Corner and we want to move somewhere closer to there where his commute won't be too awful.

We would like:

1) A home under 850,000. Preferably something newish? In a neighborhood with a pool, etc. (hoping here)

2) Good schools. We planning on staying there forever! Okay at least until the kids are grown and off to college.

He likes the Great Falls area, but it seems a little isolated to me. I like to be near "shopping"..Target, Whole Foods, etc. I'm not very good at planning things, so I'm often making 'quick trips' to pick up things. My son has multiple food allergies so being close to Whole Foods or a health food store is important.

I've been studying Google Maps quite a bit and just poking around..., but it's been hard for me to determine just how far/long his work will to get to and from. He would likely be traveling b/w 7am-8am in the morning and 4-6 in the evening depending on the day.

Are there any family friendly neighborhoods with SFH in the Tysons area itself? I've seen a few homes on Redfin, but I don't know if they are mostly 'executive' type neighborhoods.

Mclean seems to be out of the picture altogether. Too expensive.

I like what I've read about Vienna, but the homes their seem to be pretty pricey for an older home.

Oakton seems like it wouldn't be too far from his work, but I'm not sure what shopping and things are nearby.

Does looking towards Arlington even make sense? Would that be a reverse type commute?

I don't know much about Falls Church. It seems that there are good areas and not so great, but I don't know how to tell the difference.

Annandale also seems not too far..

Lastly, how long would a commute from Brambleton/Ashburn type areas be?

Sorry if I've rambled a bit, I'm all over the place with this!

Last edited by FindingZen; 06-22-2011 at 05:22 PM.. Reason: sorry; referencing thatrealtor-driven site is considered real estate advertising per the TOS.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:24 PM
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Forget about Arlington and Falls Church, where you will be paying for proximity to Metro and DC that you don't need, and the housing stock is older. Vienna, Oakton, and even parts of McLean would all work if you were willing to consider an older home. Top schools, lots of community pools, easy access to all kinds of shopping, and a short commute. Annandale is less convenient to Tyson's, but Woodson is a top-rated high school and you would get more house for your money than in Vienna or McLean.

If you want "new-ish" at under $850K, and you don't want a townhouse, you'll have to look further out, giving your husband a longer commute.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:34 PM
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,771 posts, read 10,668,545 times
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Originally Posted by AppleJacks View Post
Okay, so I guess it's my turn
Annandale also seems not too far..
Annandale is NOT too far from Tysons - right now the beltway is very congested at rush hour, that should improve when the HOT lanes are finished, but even with congestion its pretty close. At your price point you will should be able to get a newish home there, though there arent too many newish homes in this older nabe. Its convenient to regular supermarkets, a kmart, and misc stuff - theres a trader joes not far away, but the nearest whole foods are kind of far.

The schools in the area, though not "terrible" are not the kind that folks paying that price and with a big focus on kids schools, would usually pick. I think despite Annandale's advantages, you will be happier looking towards Oakton, or maybe Fair Oaks.

edit: I was thinking inner annandale, which is in the Annandale HS district. Outside the beltway annandale, mostly in the Woodson district, could work for you. Still not handly to a whole foods though.

note this does NOT mean that I think a kid cant get a good education at Annandale high (which has an IB center) or that things are always hunky dory at Woodson - but the convential choice, higher test scores, more upper middle class student body, etc, is Woodson.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:39 PM
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If you keep your eyes open, you can find some newer homes in Falls Church (mid-90s or later) on relatively small lots in the 22043 zip code for $850K or less. School pyramid would probably be Shrevewood/Kilmer/Marshall - all good schools. Some of these neighborhoods are a bit isolated, and perhaps not ideal for those who place a premium on "walkability," but they are good locations for a Tysons commute.

Otherwise, if you'd prefer a bit more land, and a somewhat older house (one built in the 1970s or 1980s) is OK, I'd look at Oakton (22124 zip code) or the 22181 and 22182 zip codes in Vienna (Fairfax County outside the Town of Vienna). There are plenty of properties in your price range in each of those zip codes. 22182 is closest to Tysons. You could also look in the Town of Vienna itself (within the 22180 zip code), although homes there generally tend to be either less expensive, older homes under $650K or newer homes over $1M, without as many properties in the $700-950K range as you'd find in the 22181, 22182 or 22124 zip codes.

Neither McLean nor Arlington is outside of your price range, but why pay the extra money to compete with people who are paying for a shorter commute to DC? The Woodson HS area is also nice, but I personally don't think you get that much more for your money compared to Oakton/Vienna to justify the extra commuting time. Keep in mind that Tysons and the Beltway are going to remain under construction for some time.

Last edited by JD984; 06-21-2011 at 03:56 PM..
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:53 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
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I would pick Vienna or Oakton if I were you. The homes won't be newish, but you could find a decent 1970s or 1980s 4 BR 2 1/2 bath home for that price. There are several neighborhoods off Beulah and Lawyers Road that fit the bill. Some of the developments I'm thinking of are Lawyers North, Abbottsford, Balmoral (off Kedge off Lawyers). Or off Beulah, there's Eudora and Abbey Oaks, Creek Crossing. Tons of nice homes in the $800K range. The good ones go fast, though.

Also, farther out toward Oakton is a develoment called Lakevale that I love that has a clubhouse and swimming pool. There are also some developments off Courthouse Road west of Nutley Street that has newer homes (built in the 90s) that would be in that range. There are probably many more in Oakton that I am not as familiar with. I think Miller Heights has homes in that range (not exactly sure of cost). And there are other developments off Vale and Hunters Mill that would probably fit the bill.

All of Vienna and Oakton are family-friendly. Schools are good. One item on your list that we don't have is a Target nearby. There's one in Reston or Fair Lakes, although neither is extremely close unless you live far up on Lawyers or Beulah close to Reston. They are building a Target off Gallows that should be pretty easy to get to. I think it will be ready in 2012.

We live in Vienna with 3 kids and love it here.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:54 PM
Location: Brambleton, VA
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Originally Posted by AppleJacks View Post
Lastly, how long would a commute from Brambleton/Ashburn type areas be?
I know a lot of folks who live in Brambleton and work in Tysons. Many of them take the Tysons Express (http://www.loudoun.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=3061 - broken link) bus which leaves from Broadlands, and takes about 30-45 minutes depending on where you get off in Tysons. Driving, it's probably a little longer during peak rush hour, especially because of the Metro construction / HOT lanes construction which is causing backups well in advance of the Dulles Toll Road main toll plaza. The bus is $3.50 cash ($3.00 with SmarTrip card), which is cheaper than the the Greenway tolls from here, not to mention gas, wear & tear, and general stress from driving. Most resale SFHs in Brambleton are going for $550K-$700K.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:46 PM
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Check out Ridgelea Hills in the city of Fairfax. It's a gorgeous neighborhood, in your price range, and the Woodson school pyramid. Lots of shopping nearby.
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:13 PM
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I don't think it's actually in the City of Fairfax, but that whole Mantua block between Pickett and Prosperity, and 236 and 50 is a nice area. Eakin Park is a sizable chunk of it, so that helps. Very pleasant (except maybe for right next door to the tank farm) and close to everything.
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:29 PM
Location: among the clustered spires
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Anywhere that's under a 30 minute commute or Tysons will either be (1) relatively isolated (that rural-ish stretch where Vienna, Reston, and Oakton meet up), (2) have older housing stock, and/or (3) be out of your range.

As for shopping -- I wasn't clear -- do you want walkable shopping, or is just being a 5 minute drive from various options acceptable? If the former, that really takes a lot of places off your list.

If you could up it to a million, or work with a builder for a smaller, say 2500 square foot, custom home in Vienna/Falls Church/Fairfax, that might work as well. A good agent would be able to hook you up with someone; I can get you the contact for the agent that's listing my place (which is under contract to a builder.)

Rule of thumb with Falls Church: the city itself is good, as are the areas close to the city itself that zone to Marshall or McLean HS.

The further south you go, the worse the area and the worse-scoring the schools will be, although Lake Barcroft tells me there's exceptions to even that rule of thumb.

If hubby is truly a road warrior, can work 1-2 days from home, or can tolerate a 75-90 minute commute by mass transit, you may as well add Leesburg to your list of options.

But finally: Is having a new (post-2000) house worth making your hubby drive another 40-60 minutes each day? (I'm guessing you're a SAHM, since you didn't mention your own commute; if you do work outside the home, you don't want to ignore your commute.)
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:53 PM
49 posts, read 71,908 times
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Wow, thank you everyone for your responses. I'm taking notes and will be researching these areas more in the coming weeks.

Dh really doesn't want a long commute and I don't want him to have one either as I know it can really wear on you after a while. I'm a SAHM, but proximity to soccer, swimming and gymnastics for my kids and a good gym with childcare for me are a definitely a plus.

I would love to be able to do a custom build, I'm just not sure how to go about it. It seems like it would have to me a tear down and rebuild type since everything close to Tyson's is already built up. I need to do more research on this.

I'm sorry I wasn't clear about the shopping. I don't need walkable shopping, but a quick drive is ideal.

We are currently in the Centreville part of Clifton and I love the convenience to everything. I wish his job would just stay put!

BrooklynBornDad, you mentioned possibly Fair Oaks which is very close to where we are now. Is the commute not to bad from this area? I just thought it would be since it seems like 66 is so congested.

Thanks again everyone!
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