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Old 08-09-2011, 03:35 PM
 
52 posts, read 71,286 times
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I'm nearly clueless on this area of the US. I've accepted a position near the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington off of S. Georgia Mason Drive. I'm relocating from a high cost area, but I pay $1000 for a 2-bedroom/1 bath apartment and my commute is 5 minutes. I have done some in-depth research on the area and I believe northern VA will suit my family best.

My details:
-We're a young couple with a child in middle school (oh-- and not to forget my uppity canine).
-Good schools are a priority.
-My ideal rent would be $1200/1300 ( I know I'm low-balling) for a 2 bedroom/2 bath, but will go up to $1800.
-We currently live in an area of little to no crime, so I'd like to live in a safe area vs. one that is prone to crime.
- I want to be close to the transit system so that I can utilize public transportation. Ideally I want to talk to a train station and end up near the job within an hour.
-We like diversity and are flexible on the areas.

My job does participate in the DoD NCR Mass Transit Program, so I have no problem living further out from Arlington if it means lower rent (I know the further away from the Capitol the more money will afford me). Bus stop 22A is closest to my job.

So basically...is staying in Arlington my best choice?
I was looking at Springfield but the prices didn't seem much better! How is Vienna or Fairfax?

Any and all input is welcome!
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:14 PM
 
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bumpity bump....anyone? lol
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:45 AM
 
Location: Novastan
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I do think Arlington is your best option due to the commute and excellent schools. However, I don't know if you will be able to find an apartment in that price range. The rents are astronomical.

Alexandria is a nice place to live, however, there is a lot of debate about the school quality. The rents are also quite high. Old Town, Del Ray, and the Eisenhower area neighborhood has pretty accessible public transportation. Alexandria also has alot of dog parks.

I have relatives that live in the Kingstowne section of Fairfax and they like the schools and commute to DC. They drive to Springfield metro and hop on the train there.

Have you looked at the Metrorail map to estimate your commute? Do you want to live on the orange or blue line?
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:20 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
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South Arlington. Particularly just to the south of Route 50--OK schools (not the best but not bad either) and not that much crime, as long as you lock your doors and don't walk around at night. Living near 50 would allow you to jump on the bus and then get off at George Mason, to walk to the Readiness Center. (The only train station is Ballston Metro, and it's about a 20-minute walk.) I would look at renting a small house. Having a dog is going to be a barrier at a lot of apartment complexes, especially if he's/she's a larger dog.

One idea: Diagnonally across GM on the north side of Route 50 is a large white condo complex called the Chatham (4501 Arlington Blvd 22203). We used to live there. Many owners rent out their units--and dogs of all sizes are allowed. There's a bulletin board in the back of the lobby and a front-desk person. There are two-bedroom units there, so you might get lucky--in which case you'd have a super-easy commute and North Arlington schools. (I'm guessing that a 2BR there would go for at least $1800.)

And of course, look on Craigslist if you haven't already.

Good luck.
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:45 AM
 
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Thank you for the info. So living further out like Annandale or Fairfax wouldn't be advantageous?
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:53 AM
 
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Depends on how long of a commute you want/tolerate
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:11 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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there is no metrorail station that I am aware of within walking distance of the for serv institute on George Mason, unless its closer to the Orange line than I think. If it IS close to the Orange line, Vienna would be an option (not sure what you could rent in that range within walking distance of the metro, but probably something)

Annandale to there would mean driving. It would be well under an hour I think. (you could take several busses, or the 402/401 bus to the Dunn Loring metro, but I cant see either option being competitive with driving, unless for some reason you really, really can't drive to work)

Annandale is a "diverse" nabe - asians (a mix of origins - its only the commerce that is mostly korean) hispanics, older whites, a few younger whites, and a few african americans, africans, and middle easterners. Crime is not a big problem, though near CERTAIN apt complexes nuisance crime is an issue. The Annandale HS school pyramid has lowish test scores but some of kids do well there (AHS is an IB school) and some parents really like it. Annandale outside the beltway (towards FFX city) is mostly in the Woodson pyramid, a high test score "desirable" pyramid - with higher RE prices, and less diversity of housing types than inside the beltway Annandale (and of course somewhat less convenient for getting to most places, either by car or by transit)

edit: ah, you said middle school. That would be Poe in inner annandale, or Frost in outer. DD attended Frost for one year - its a high test score school - the teachers were a mixed bag. We homeschooled her in 8th for a variety of reasons, one being the middle school hours - but they are just as bad everywhere in the county, IIUC.
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:32 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,619,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
Annandale is a "diverse" nabe - asians (a mix of origins - its only the commerce that is mostly korean) hispanics, older whites, a few younger whites, and a few african americans, africans, and middle easterners. Crime is not a big problem, though near CERTAIN apt complexes nuisance crime is an issue. The Annandale HS school pyramid has lowish test scores but some of kids do well there (AHS is an IB school) and some parents really like it. Annandale outside the beltway (towards FFX city) is mostly in the Woodson pyramid, a high test score "desirable" pyramid - with higher RE prices, and less diversity of housing types than inside the beltway Annandale (and of course somewhat less convenient for getting to most places, either by car or by transit)

edit: ah, you said middle school. That would be Poe in inner annandale, or Frost in outer. DD attended Frost for one year - its a high test score school - the teachers were a mixed bag. We homeschooled her in 8th for a variety of reasons, one being the middle school hours - but they are just as bad everywhere in the county, IIUC.
In addition to Poe and Frost, some kids who live in the Annandale zip code (22003) attend Holmes MS, Jackson MS or Glasgow MS. The overall demographics of these three schools are closer to Poe than to Frost, but Jackson and Glasgow also have GT/AAP programs like Frost. In addition, they may attend Falls Church or Stuart HS, rather than Annandale or Woodson.
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:45 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
there is no metrorail station that I am aware of within walking distance of the for serv institute on George Mason, unless its closer to the Orange line than I think.
It is. I used to live there. I could get to Ballston in 15 minutes, but that was before they built some new townhouses with a giant wall behind them, replacing the old fence behind Harris-Teeter that I used to cut through via a big gap. But still, it's no more than a 25-minute walk from the National Guard Ceter/FSI (or as it's now named, NFATC, or "Fatsy").
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:09 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
It is. I used to live there. I could get to Ballston in 15 minutes, but that was before they built some new townhouses with a giant wall behind them, replacing the old fence behind Harris-Teeter that I used to cut through via a big gap. But still, it's no more than a 25-minute walk from the National Guard Ceter/FSI (or as it's now named, NFATC, or "Fatsy").

okay, I wasnt sure. still annandale to Ballston by transit is a ways - 401/402 bus to Dunn Loring then 3 stops on the Orange line to Ballston beast the express bus to the pentago to the blue line to rosslyn to the orange line, I guess. If there is any way a car is feasible, I would think its way easier and faster.
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