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Old 06-26-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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We are casting a wide net in our home search. Schools are important, but not the be-all end-all because we are considering private school anyway. Commute is important - something not too hellish to downtown DC by metro or commuter rail. So far, we have considered Silver Spring, Rockville, Falls Church, Alexandria, somewhere in Fairfax....We're really all over the place with this search and are trying to narrow it down to a couple of areas. We are hoping to find a single family home (and actually prefer the older ramblers and split-levels to newer construction) but are open to condos or townhomes. We are looking for a place with a good sense of community, and a good place to raise a young family.

Are we overlooking anywhere? I saw a previous post with comments about Burke, Springfield and Annandale - we don't know much at all about those areas.

Any suggestions welcome!
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Old 06-26-2011, 07:42 PM
 
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Falls Church City would be a great choice. You're close to both the East and West Falls Church Metro stations, a great school system, plus there is St. James Catholic School, parks, trails, city sponsored kid's activities, plus enough shopping and restaurant variety to keep parents interested. I take a residential street through there on my way home from work and any day the weather is nice I'll notice so many young children playing and moms chatting with one another. It's a great place to raise a family. I also think you could find some older homes, particularly those small capes and some ramblers within your budget. Good luck with your transition.
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Old 06-26-2011, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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Springfield.
22152
22153
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Old 06-26-2011, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Orange Hunt Estates, W. Springfield
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I second Springfield area (West and Burke). Many homes for sale in nice neighborhoods for $500k-.
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Old 06-27-2011, 04:31 AM
 
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The City of Falls Church is very nice, but you will pay a premium to live there because of the excellent school system (separate from Fairfax County) and the proximity to Metro and DC. If you are seriously considering private schools no matter what the quality of the public school system, you might look at the areas in Fairfax County adjacent to the City (but which also carry a Falls Church mailing address). But I would second the Springfield and Burke suggestions. You will definitely get more house for your money, though the commute will be longer to downtown.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:06 AM
 
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There are quite a few nice, older inside-the-Beltway neighborhoods in Annandale that would generally fit your bill if you are not a public school snob, such as Sleepy Hollow Woods, Tall Oaks, Forest Hills and Columbia Pines. There's no Metro or commuter rail station in Annandale, though, as there are in Falls Church and other places.

The neighborhoods themselves are similar to those in places like Springfield or Burke, but a bit older. The main difference is that they are closer to more apartment/townhouse complexes with more lower-income Hispanic and Black residents than the neighborhoods in Springfield and Burke. As a result, the test scores at the local public schools are lower, and some parents worry that their own kids won't get enough attention at schools that serve large numbers of higher-needs children. However, what you generally find if you dig deeper is that the majority of schools in Fairfax County have many students who are supported by their parents, work hard and do well. If you're going private, these neighborhoods aren't far from some of the area's parochial schools, including St. Michael's in Annandale and the private high schools in Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria.

Last edited by JD984; 06-27-2011 at 06:49 AM..
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:22 AM
 
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Another area to consider would be Dunn Loring Woods -- north of I-66 between Gallows Road and Cedar Lane. Good schools, just below or just above $500K, 1960's construction (though in most cases updated), and most of the homes are within three-quarters of a mile to a mile-and-a-half of the Dunn Loring Metro station for nice-day walkable commuting into downtown DC. Less than 30 minutes to Metro Center. Well-kept neighborhood with lots of mature trees, easy walk to Stenwood ES, minutes to Tysons or downtown Vienna. The in-progress Mosaic District is right down the road as well.

Last edited by saganista; 06-27-2011 at 07:11 AM..
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:26 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,864,069 times
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Since you're going to private school anyway, I'd be looking for a TH in Old Town Alexandria/Falls Church City or a condo in Orange Line Arlington.

If you want a SFH, then I'd be looking around South Arlington, or if you want less crowded, south Falls Church (*) and Annandale.

It all depends on how important things like "having a Starbucks nearby" and "being able to walk easily to parks/church/school" are to you.

(*) Those more in the know can correct me if I'm wrong. But it seems most if not all the single-family home neighborhoods in South Falls Church/Bailey's Crossroads/Seven Corners/Annandale are safe (**), the crime in those areas seems to focus on the older garden condos/townhouse nabes.

(**) Well safe is relatively speaking. SFH nabes in those areas are less safe than SFH nabes in Vienna/Oakton. But they're probably still safer than their equals in other cities.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
(*) Those more in the know can correct me if I'm wrong. But it seems most if not all the single-family home neighborhoods in South Falls Church/Bailey's Crossroads/Seven Corners/Annandale are safe (**), the crime in those areas seems to focus on the older garden condos/townhouse nabes.

(**) Well safe is relatively speaking. SFH nabes in those areas are less safe than SFH nabes in Vienna/Oakton. But they're probably still safer than their equals in other cities.
I would not be concerned about crime in the residential, SFH neighbhoods in the Falls Church/Bailey's Crossroads area or inside-the-Beltway Annandale. Stated differently, I would feel every bit as safe in Lake Barcroft or Sleepy Hollow Woods as in Vienna or Dunn Loring Woods.

On the other hand, I would not really want to walk around some of the aging garden apartment complexes in Culmore in Falls Church or over near Annandale HS off Medford/Americana Drives late at night, either.
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:09 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,864,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I would not be concerned about crime in the residential, SFH neighbhoods in the Falls Church/Bailey's Crossroads area or inside-the-Beltway Annandale. Stated differently, I would feel every bit as safe in Lake Barcroft or Sleepy Hollow Woods as in Vienna or Dunn Loring Woods.

On the other hand, I would not really want to walk around some of the aging garden apartment complexes in Culmore in Falls Church or over near Annandale HS off Medford/Americana Drives late at night, either.
True, I was thinking some of the other areas that are SFH, that might have a higher number of 15 to a house places but are far from unsafe, like the back streets of North Springfield.

Lake Barcroft/Sleepy Hollow Woods are at the top of the SFH areas there in Annandale. OTOH, they're both out of OP's budget (at least Barcroft is, dunno about SHW).
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