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Old 07-02-2012, 01:42 AM
 
11 posts, read 12,284 times
Reputation: 22

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I used to live in Herndon & Sterling roughly 2 years ago and needed to get back to NJ to help with my family. Now I'm ready to come back to the area. A few specs on myself. I'm a single mom, 29, one child (9 yo). My job transfer could be anywhere in NoVA, specifically, Reston, Fairfax, Tysons/Mc Lean, Arlington (Courthouse) or Alexandria. That's fine with me. Having stayed in Herdon and Sterling, I know this: I spent most of my time not there. I spent alot of time with friends in Reston and Fairfax. Who doesn't like hanging out in Arlington and I do like Alexandria during the day by the pier. I'm not a mall person so I only go to Tysons if I really need to. Herndon felt like I was on the outside looking in and being in Sterling just felt like to much of an effort to go anywhere once I got home. I just didn't like it but my office location was in Herndon along Rt 28 and who doesn't try to have an easy commute once in their lifetime?

I'm currently in TX, a mini purgatory and temporary insanity, and I want to buy a house now (nothing bigger than a townhouse). VA feels like home to me and has all the proximity to everything I like. And I'm just too excited that Metro is expanding. If ever there was a place to settle, this would be it.

I guess what I'm asking is what is a good area for someone like me? I'm single and professional. I'm active and I like to go out but I don't need to be all over the bar scene for obvious reasons. I like being near transit because that's how I grew up in NJ/NY but driving is not a big deal within reason. I want something that fits me and a young boy with a cool vibe but not too far away from action when I call my babysitter. I don't like isolated places or suburbs. I like walking and transit (that comes up alot) and access. I realize I don't know where my office is yet as my transfer isn't final but I'm more concerned about where my 1st home is going to be. I want it to be a place I'll love or grow to love. I can always transfer to a new office if the commute is too bad. I do like Reston, the Town Center is ok for happy hour and I know the area pretty well but I doubt I'll ever get a decent date there unless I try something online lol. Seriously, I'd like a life as a woman and as a mom. And I want my son to finally like where he's at with some friends. Good schools are important. Anyone got any ideas other than Reston? I know I kind of left this a bit broad in terms of a topic but I'm hoping to get a few diffent opinions and starting points. I would just rent somewhere but renting has become ridiculous in NoVA and my money is better served going towards a home even for just a few years. And my budget is only $360K. This is what a single working mom is working with.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:15 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,031,221 times
Reputation: 6824
Stumps me.
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Tysons Corner
2,772 posts, read 3,643,393 times
Reputation: 1495
Are you ok with getting a 1br and have your child have a converted den (shared bath)?

There are places in Alexandria for that price range.

You wont be getting a house, which is ok, 2 people for an entire house seems like overkill.

You could find a 2br, but it wont be in the heart of anywhere, it will be close in though. I think there are 2brs near Duke St region of alexandria which is really becoming nice on its own merits too. Theres Huntington also which again you could find a 2br for that range I believe. Kingstown is also nice. My list

1) Old Town/Arlington if you are ok with a 1br/den
2) Duke St Alexandria (2br)
3) Reston (2br)
4) Kingstown (2br possibly a smaller townhome)
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:51 PM
 
1,282 posts, read 1,729,472 times
Reputation: 877
I would look off Blake Lane/Jermantown Rd in Fairfax (22031). Close to Vienna metro, good commute to Tysons, right off 66 and not too far to the beltway.

Also saw 2bd 1 bath near Dunn Loring metro as well.
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:48 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,863,044 times
Reputation: 869
Alexandria City and good schools are not really synonymous.

If you can work in Reston/Herndon, you may want to try Leesburg out, as a TH within walking distance of downtown is easily within your budget. OTOH, I wouldn't recommend a Leesburg/Tysons commute if you have to work regular hours and I wouldn't recommend a Leesburg/DC commute at all. If you need more excitement, then Leesburg would be right out.

OTOH -- in about a week, you'll find out if Metro will be coming to Loudoun County in the 2016-17 timeframe. If it passes, you may even want to consider renting a place in Ashburn and "roughing it" until the condos near Metro open up.

You may want to try something in Falls Church City, as well. You'd be able to sneak into a 2BR or 1BR+den condo in Falls Church City, the McLean HS zone of Fairfax County, or North Arlington.

You can't go wrong there, it's near Metro, a good generic commute, high-achieving schools.

If your tolerance for schools is more than most, you'll find more space for your money in Alexandria City and Fairfax County inside the Beltway.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:55 PM
 
7,966 posts, read 18,051,686 times
Reputation: 2588
It's hard to recommend one specific place since, as you might recall from your previous stay, those potential work locations you refer to are pretty disparate from each other. I think the most important thing is finding out where the job is first as you could be potentially be faced with a long commute and not-inexpensive day care costs for your son.

If it were me, I'd cross my fingers that your job is as close to Reston as possible. The further west you go from Tysons, the lower the housing costs (usually). At least you would have the relative convenience and familiarity with Reston Town Center during the week and could venture further in on the weekends.

There is a school of thought (no pun intended) that there are no "bad" schools in Fairfax County, only schools where there may be an above-average % of lower-income or ESL (not necessarily Hispanic) students who draw attention from those who tend to come more prepared to learn. It may be a case where you choose between buying the "worst" house in the "best" neighborhood - which may often be above your preferred budget - or a good house in an "okay" neighborhood. Motivated parents and students will tend to succeed in any Fairfax County public school (not to mention Alexandria or Arlington).

EDIT: "Worst" case scenario, there are a lot of active Meetup.com groups here. You could find one that fits your interests that is possibly close to where you live. That may take the pressure off of meeting someone in an initial dating situation.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Mclean, Va; West Palm Beach, Fl
513 posts, read 804,540 times
Reputation: 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by MinxyB View Post
I used to live in Herndon & Sterling roughly 2 years ago and needed to get back to NJ to help with my family. Now I'm ready to come back to the area. A few specs on myself. I'm a single mom, 29, one child (9 yo). My job transfer could be anywhere in NoVA, specifically, Reston, Fairfax, Tysons/Mc Lean, Arlington (Courthouse) or Alexandria. That's fine with me. Having stayed in Herdon and Sterling, I know this: I spent most of my time not there. I spent alot of time with friends in Reston and Fairfax. Who doesn't like hanging out in Arlington and I do like Alexandria during the day by the pier. I'm not a mall person so I only go to Tysons if I really need to. Herndon felt like I was on the outside looking in and being in Sterling just felt like to much of an effort to go anywhere once I got home. I just didn't like it but my office location was in Herndon along Rt 28 and who doesn't try to have an easy commute once in their lifetime?

I'm currently in TX, a mini purgatory and temporary insanity, and I want to buy a house now (nothing bigger than a townhouse). VA feels like home to me and has all the proximity to everything I like. And I'm just too excited that Metro is expanding. If ever there was a place to settle, this would be it.

I guess what I'm asking is what is a good area for someone like me? I'm single and professional. I'm active and I like to go out but I don't need to be all over the bar scene for obvious reasons. I like being near transit because that's how I grew up in NJ/NY but driving is not a big deal within reason. I want something that fits me and a young boy with a cool vibe but not too far away from action when I call my babysitter. I don't like isolated places or suburbs. I like walking and transit (that comes up alot) and access. I realize I don't know where my office is yet as my transfer isn't final but I'm more concerned about where my 1st home is going to be. I want it to be a place I'll love or grow to love. I can always transfer to a new office if the commute is too bad. I do like Reston, the Town Center is ok for happy hour and I know the area pretty well but I doubt I'll ever get a decent date there unless I try something online lol. Seriously, I'd like a life as a woman and as a mom. And I want my son to finally like where he's at with some friends. Good schools are important. Anyone got any ideas other than Reston? I know I kind of left this a bit broad in terms of a topic but I'm hoping to get a few diffent opinions and starting points. I would just rent somewhere but renting has become ridiculous in NoVA and my money is better served going towards a home even for just a few years. And my budget is only $360K. This is what a single working mom is working with.
Look into buying at the Rotunda in Mclean. Great schools, excellent amenities. I have two condos there that I rent out. Whenever I list the properties they are rented out within two weeks. Plus price could go up with metro coming to tysons.
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Lorton, VA
17 posts, read 21,875 times
Reputation: 11
How about Chantilly? Good schools, parks, walking/bike trails, access to 50/66/28. How about Fairfax near Fair Lakes? There are some nice condo communities there. Townhomes might be a little bit out of that price range though. G'luck.
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:41 AM
 
2,462 posts, read 8,045,591 times
Reputation: 995
"I would just rent somewhere but renting has become ridiculous in NoVA and my money is better served going towards a home even for just a few years. And my budget is only $360K."

"Just renting" is not a bad option for someone in your position, especially because your job situation/location are not pinned down. Renting gives you the flexibility to pick up and move if your job location changes, or you discover that you're living in a community with few other single professional parents. Your son will be in middle school before you know it, and babysitters will be far less of an issue than getting him to his sports practices or musical rehearsals. If you're only going to live in the home "for a few years," buying makes even less sense, as you are very likely to LOSE money on the whole venture.

I agree with the previous poster who suggested the Falls Church area. Near two metro stops and the Beltway, good schools (especially in the City of Falls Church), and more diversity in household composition than you will find further out.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:25 AM
 
2,671 posts, read 4,523,397 times
Reputation: 2122
I think Tone's and Claremarie's advice is very good for your situation. Given the tight budget and how tough the tradeoffs will be, I would definitely wait to decide on a location until you know where your job will be. And housing prices will likely be stable here in most locations here over the next few years, with some bumpiness. Unless you know you are entering an area where prices are steadily increasing, it is a bad idea to buy a house, if there is a high probability that you will be there fewer than 5 years, due to high transaction costs and repair/maintenance/upgrades that all but the newest houses in this area typically require. Take it from me--I did it and I lost a bundle of time and money dealing with the house sale and couldn't buy a house here that would have been a good fit. It was a very costly bad decision.

I wish you the best in your move back. I think you will be very happy when you return and I believe it is an excellent area in which to raise a son. We just don't want you to be put in a financial vise.
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