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Old 03-25-2012, 07:21 PM
 
31 posts, read 81,194 times
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My husband is being transferred from California (LA area) to Herndon VA. I work remotely at home for a company in the Detroit area, so I will not need to worry about my commute, or finding a new job. His current commute is 35 - 50 minutes, and he is willing to have a normal commute up to 60 minute (understanding that accidents/weather/road closures could increase the standard commute), but we would like his commute on a normal traffic day to be 60 minutes or less.

My husband typically leaves for work between 6:30 - 7am and leaves work between 6:30 - 7 pm.

We do not have children, nor are we planning to have children, therefore we would like to move closer to DC, and not further out in Loudon County somewhere. Schools will not be a factor in our decision. We plan to buy, and will consider a condo/TH/SFH, with the maximum we would like to spend being $600K. We are willing to sacrifice less space for location, but would like something with at least 2 bdrm/2 bath.

We would like an area with walkability to coffee shops restaurants, bars, shopping etc, plus a nearby metro stop we would be able to utilize to get into the city on the weekends.

We plan to look in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, McLean, Tysons Corner. Looking through the threads and research real estate on ling, it seems most of these areas would fit both in our budget and "normal" commute times, however would like a bit of information related to specific areas of these cities to help concentrate our efforts in the right spots of these areas.

I would like to know cross streets for these areas where we would find walkable areas. I know where Old Towne Alexandria and Shirlington are, however, I think both of those areas could be stretching the commute time - - please let me know if I am incorrect about that assumption.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated! Also if I am missing an area that would have what we are looking for, recommendations are also appreciated.

Thanks so much!
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:29 PM
 
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What lead you to Herndon...

Last edited by FindingZen; 03-26-2012 at 07:23 AM.. Reason: stereotypical and inaccurate
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:04 PM
 
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My husband is being transferred there. He works for Volkswagen whose North American HQ is located in Herndon.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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What about Reston? You should be able to afford a nice place close to the town center or other shopping, and the commute to Herndon would be a breeze. No metro (yet), but coming very shortly.

The commute from Alexandria will be nasty--I would avoid that. Arlington could give you what you want if you pay the price to be along the metro line, but I'm not sure how far your budget will go. I'd assume you could find a 2 br condo for that price, but I really don't know. The "walkable", trendy parts of Arlington near the metro are filled with tons of recent college grads (along with people of all ages, but the feeling is definitely young there).

McLean isn't really walkable. It's a very nice area, but I'd skip it. People pay tons of money to live there because the schools are great, which won't help you.

Tysons is currently mainly high rise offices. I wouldn't call it walkable (though I'm sure there are a few spots where you could walk to shopping or restaurants from)

Fairfax City is really quaint and walkable, albeit only maybe 3 blocks by 3 blocks It's super cute, and has a lot of small businesses and charm. The cute part is the intersection of 236/University and the surrounding blocks. That might be a place to look into, if your budget works there (again, not really sure what real estate there goes for). There is no metro there though. I think the closest one would be Dunn Loring, which is a bit of a trek.

To be perfectly honest, if you're going downtown on the weekends, metro isn't the best option most of the time. It costs more to metro than to park downtown, and the time to wait for a train can be loooooooong when they only come every 20 minutes and you have to transfer lines. Plus, all track work is done on weekends, so there are frequent outages. I almost exclusively drive downtown on weekends. Parking is usually easy to find, and traffic isn't too bad. Unless you are walking distance to a metro, I don't think you'll use it much (and you'll pay out the nose to be walking distance to a metro you'll use 2-3x a month!)

PS - "Welcome!" from a former () Californian!
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:50 AM
 
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CaliTerp07 - Thanks for the information. We are considering Reston too, although for whatever reason my husband has that as "last place" on the list. He said it feels like a manufactured city of sorts. That being said we haven't completely ruled it out. We will definitely check out the area of Fairfax you receommended. He will probably be required to be back and forth between CA & VA while he transitions to the new position and they hire someone to replace him here in CA, so he'll try to stay in some of the various cities to get a feel for the commute. Right now we are just trying to figure out how to narrow down the options. We want to start the real estate search in the next 30 - 45 days and are hoping to have narrowed our search considerably by that time.

We almost moved to the area about 4 years, but ended up out here in CA instead. We are somewhat familiar with the area from that false alarm. In addition my husband has traveled to the VA office relatively frequently which has provided him additional familiarity...unfortunately he always stays right near the office so has no real knowledge of the commute. Most of the people he will be working with live in Loudon County, so won't be much help from a commuting standpoint

We are originally from MI, and I am definitely not excited to go back to a 4 season climate...I will definitely miss the sun, sand, surf, and mountains of CA!
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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I'd go for Reston. Or, if you want to be closer to DC Falls Church might work for you. To be honest, though, Reston seems to have a little more in the way of interesting stores/restaurants to walk to. Also, the commute from Reston would make your husband a much, much happier person than a commute from Falls Church.

By the way, there are lots and lots of people from southern California here. We lived in Manhattan Beach for 20+ years and would be happy to make comparisons to areas in LA if that would be helpful to you.

Here are some photos of Reston and Falls Church to give you an idea of the area.

Reston-Town Center and Lake Anne

Reston-South Lakes

Falls Church

Herndon
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:12 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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the tradeoff is going to be price and length of reverse commute on the one hand, vs intensity of urban walkable experience on the other.

1 Herndon - bit of walkability (i havent been there in years so not sure) but more coming when silver line metro is finished, cheapest option that makes sense, and shortest commute.

2. Reston More walkable/urban than Herndon, fairly easy reverse commute. Slightly pricier. Walkability is all newish, some call it "disneyish"

3. North Arlington areas from Rosslyn to ballston - much pricier, somewhat longer reverse commute, intense walkability, strong "20 something" vibe. Urban density is mostly newish.

4. DC - probably not much more expensive than North Arlington, longer reverse commute, much more diverse (than the north arlington yuppie belt) and arguably "authentic" urban experience

Old town Alex is a charming place, and kind of unique, but unless you fall in love with it I don't think the time/price tradeoff makes sense if you work in Herndon. Shirlington has much to recommend it, but I also dont think it would make sense (compared to say Reston) from someone working in Herndon

Its too bad folks dislike reston for the manufactured aspect (I understand why of course) cause its more of an urban walkable experience than Old town Fairfax, or even Falls Church, and a much shorter commute to Herndon and points west.

If what you want is grittier urban, and a shorter commute than DC, you might look at the Columbia Pike corridor in South Arlington - luxury high rise buildings, but a much more diverse area (for now) than the Ross-ballston corridor.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:28 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,746 posts, read 10,656,837 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
Fairfax City is really quaint and walkable, albeit only maybe 3 blocks by 3 blocks It's super cute, and has a lot of small businesses and charm. The cute part is the intersection of 236/University and the surrounding blocks. That might be a place to look into, if your budget works there (again, not really sure what real estate there goes for). There is no metro there though. I think the closest one would be Dunn Loring, which is a bit of a trek.

Im pretty sure 600k could easily get a large condo, IF there are any on the market there. Or an older townhouse. Newer townhouses or SFHs might take more looking.

And I think the Vienna metro is actually closer than Dunn Loring.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:29 PM
 
7,908 posts, read 9,608,783 times
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Another option is Old Town Leesburg. Definately walkable - shopping, restaurants, bars right there. And it doesn't have that "planned community" feel. Lots of charm and unique properties.

Commute to Herndon (especially leaving at 6:30) would be a breeze on the Greenway (20 minutes?) and not too bad on 7 (about 40 minutes)

I know you wanted to move closer, and not out into Loudoun, but I think it is worth considering. I think you will find that you aren't really going into DC all that often (eating and shopping usually happen close to home, regardless of where you live); but if you do; it's really not a bad ride from Leesburg on the weekends.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:35 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,746 posts, read 10,656,837 times
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I'm not going to critique anyones lifestyle, but for DW and me going into the city is very important, and to us the difference between 20 minutes to get in, and 30 minutes, and an hour, is signficant. It won't matter so much for a full day trip, but if you are scooting in for an evening activity, or something like that, it will matter. I also suspect you will find more people who are more DC focused closer in than you will in Leesburg (but I don't know many people from Leesburg, so I can't say for sure).

edit

from Reston Town Center to VW HQ in Herndon, google says its an 18 minute bike ride (part of that on the W&OD trail - Im not sure how good the biking is on Herndon Parkway) Now how cool is that?

Last edited by brooklynborndad; 03-26-2012 at 12:43 PM..
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