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Old 11-24-2011, 11:22 AM
 
57 posts, read 113,060 times
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I'm a single mom of a preschool-aged child working in Rosslyn. I would like to keep my commute to a minimum (though I do telecommute 1-2 times per week), but I'm seeking a townhouse in the $1600-$1800 range in a safe, family-oriented, walkable community, and I'm starting to think these are impossible criteria. I had been thinking Del Ray, but the only time I see postings that suit what I'm looking for, they are in Arlandria and this forum has scared me off of that option.

I'd like to live somewhere where kids come trick-or-treating at my door, and where it's possible for my kid to actually end up with a play date with the kid she hit it off with at the local playground. Would love to be able to walk to a highly used playground, and bonus points for a place suitable for jogging (either trails or safe sidewalks) and dog walking. It seems like I see a lot of homes (ramblers or townhouses) in west Alexandria/Annandale/Falls Church, but they do not seem to be walkable communities in the least (one Annandale father drew a blank when I asked him where the neighborhood playgrounds were). I have heard people suggest Fairlington, but I haven't seen anything under $2k there, and my impression is that the townhouses there are much tinier than average. In terms of school/preschool, I've been looking at ones in Annandale, Falls Church, Del Ray, the area close to Innova Alexandria, and Mt Vernon (have been looking at Montessori elementaries mainly, but also High Scope or play-based preschools, so hopefully school won't be a severely limiting factor just yet).

Wishing for the impossible? Time for me to expect less out of a neighborhood unless I win the lottery? Please adjust my perspective :-) Thanks!
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Old 11-24-2011, 12:59 PM
 
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I've seen SFH's in Fairfax for 1800, but not sure if they were in any proximity to playgrounds etc. Totally possible you may see something near a park.

Commute from that kind of an area to rosslyn is harder. Probably need to drive to the metro; not a horrible ride from there, but still a significant trip.
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Old 11-24-2011, 02:24 PM
 
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I would look at 22124. $1800 will be tough, but not impossible. There is a nice playground on Borge/Jermantown Rd as well as a dog park. Lots of people walking dogs, jogging, etc. It is very close to the Vienna metro and buses are available and a number of preschools.
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Old 11-24-2011, 10:52 PM
 
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Oakton? Fairfax? Walkable family communities full of outdoor amenities like playgrounds and trails? That just hasn't been my impression, and it would have to be a great community to justify the commute. Doesn't seem more affordable than Arlington/Alexandria/Falls Church.
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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Have you considered South Arlington? Once you get away from the metro stations, the prices drop off considerably. It would also help if you could get up to $2,000 per month.
Here's one in Glen Carlyn for $1995:
5712 2nd St S Arlington VA - Home for Rent - MLS #AR7727146 - Realtor.com®
This is where I live and we have a library, child care center, and play ground in the center of the the neighborhood; we are surrounded by a large park with a nature center.

Here's another home in Alcova Heights that next to their park for $1550:
5712 2nd St S Arlington VA - Home for Rent - MLS #AR7727146 - Realtor.com®
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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Glencarlyn sounds like a lovely neighborhood, and the one in Alcova Heights seems too good to be true. I'll definitely take a closer look at S. Arlington---I really don't need metro access. As for going up to $2k...ouch, I used to pay $1800 in mortgage (property taxes included) for a brand new end unit townhouse in Leesburg, it's hard to believe townhouse rentals on much older/smaller units closer in can be so high.

If I max out at $2k, the problem is that leaves me no wiggle room for the inevitable rent increases, and I'm maxed out for my grade as a fed so I won't be getting raises to keep up.
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Old 11-25-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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really? parks and trails are unheard of in Fairfax/Oakton? Parks and trails are only in Falls Church or closer in? I think you may need to take a drive. If you were considering Annandale, I didn't think of this as a stretch

Leesburg is not an easy commute to many of the areas where jobs are centered so yes, the rents will reflect that just as there are high rents near a metro stop and closer you get to DC or Tysons, etc. Rents are also reflective of the desirability of a neighborhood. I would research any area that is close in with a cheap rent
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Old 11-25-2011, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Reston, VA
2,005 posts, read 3,527,842 times
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Another option to consider is the South Lakes area of Reston. It won't keep your commuting to a minimum but meets all your other criteria.

The two links below are both in your price range and walking distance to a popular playground and Montessori elementary school. Reston has 54 miles of trails and in my opinion the best are in the South Lakes/Walker Nature Center/Glade Stream area. Great for jogging and dog walking.

The first link below is very walkable -South Lakes Shopping Center with Starbucks, Safeway, restaurants, and banks is right next store. The shopping center is about a mile from the second link.

As for commuting both are served by Fairfax Connector 551 bus and the first is also servered by the 553. Metro trip planner indicates that from this location to Rosslyn station will take 40 minutes via the bus and Metro from WFC.

11166 HARBOR CT #1166, RESTON, VA 20191 | Listing Information | HomesDatabase.com
2155 WHISPER WAY, RESTON, VA 20191 | Listing Information | HomesDatabase.com

Here is a photo tour of the area I did a few years ago.
Photo Tour: Reston - South Lakes
The first link is the 11th photo
The second link is the 6th photo
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:27 AM
 
57 posts, read 113,060 times
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I am not suggesting renting in Leesburg; I'm merely pointing out that there's a point at which rent becomes ridiculous if you can buy for the same price.

Oakton/Fairfax is a large area, so if you have a specific neighborhood in mind, it would be helpful to share. I have a friend who is a SAHM in Oakton, and in my experience when we get the kids together they play in the cul-de-sac. I haven't gotten a sense of community out of that experience---I haven't seen the walkability or the playgrounds, and she jogs on a treadmill not a trail. It just seems like a bedroom community to me. Maybe I was right around the corner from a great, affordable neighborhood and didn't even know it...that's why I'm posting here. Tossing in a zip code and suggesting I go for a drive is not terribly helpful.

I'm thinking I'll give the Rt 1 section of Arlandria a second look...seems like the forums here have plenty of hangover bias from when the area was really bad 5-10 years ago. If the "crime" issue is just nuisance crimes (and, gasp, immigrants), then that's no different than any area I'll be able to afford.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:47 AM
 
2,670 posts, read 4,520,203 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SentimentalDemon View Post
I am not suggesting renting in Leesburg; I'm merely pointing out that there's a point at which rent becomes ridiculous if you can buy for the same price.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding your comments, but it seems you are comparing the cost to buy a property in Leesburg with the cost to rent properties close-in. The costs of both buying and renting close-in are far higher than in Leesburg (which is by no means cheap). It would probably be impossible to buy a place in any part of So. Arlington that you would consider for $2K PITI, unless you had an enormous down payment.

You can check out neighborhoods' crime at this site:

http://www.spotcrime.com/
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