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Old 10-02-2012, 11:05 AM
4 posts, read 4,094 times
Reputation: 11


I'm guessing I'll be spending about 40% of my time in Manassas, 60% in Alexandria.

Public schools are fine, but we'd prefer a smaller elementary school. My son, while not special needs in the traditional sense, does have a need for extra attention.

We'd like a SFH with a yard, and preferably around other young families. Our current situation is an interesting mix of multi-generational (rural white working-class), hippie hold-overs from the 60s, well-to-do retirees, and young families seeking to escape the sprawl and find small-town life close to the city. Frankly, I worry about how we'll react to the density. Up until a year ago, we were living on an 8 acre farm in the woods where we had chickens and cows.

Last edited by FindingZen; 10-02-2012 at 12:33 PM.. Reason: Sorry, that term is considered offensive on this forum.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:23 AM
Location: DMV
10,136 posts, read 11,614,175 times
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Originally Posted by Oatbran View Post
Our budget is ~$2500 per month, but that's 1 part what we can afford and 2 parts what we think it would take to live in a nice enough area. That's double what we're paying here for our 3 bed/2 bath 1600 sf house, which is part of why I'm having a hard time finding where to live. Listening to people on this board, you get the impression that every place in Manassas or along Rt 1 is the "hood," high crime, don't walk around at night, and any nicer places are going to cost you an arm and a leg. Not to mention traffic.
You should have some options. Manassas isn't bad, but it has some seedy parts. You also have to distinguish that there is a county part (Prince William) and the city. The county part for the most part has better schools, but if you want to live in between, not pay a lot and still have good schools, Lake Ridge would be a good option but as Tone509 said, Alexandria will be a tough commute. Based on your budget it seems like you can afford Fairfax too so I would say you probably want to look at West Springfield, Burke and maybe even some parts of Lorton as a place in between.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:39 AM
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,555,817 times
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$2500 will get you a very nice townhouse just about anywhere in between the two areas (save for Alexandria City proper, which most people shy away from if they are looking for top public schools).

You may be able to find an older SFH in Burke/W. Springfield for that amount. You should be able to get most anywhere in Alexandria in 45 minutes from either of those places (less if it's the near side of either). Not sure what the commute to Manassas would be like. It's as family friendly as it gets around here though, and schools are top notch.

Yes, the area is dense. Yes, the traffic stinks. Yes, it's horribly expensive. But NoVA does a great job about neighborhood parks, open spaces, etc. I have a wooded area behind my neighborhood where you can't hear anything but the stream and the squirrels (and my dog prancing through leaves to get the squirrels ). It's not all bad.

I'd definitely recommend spending 3-4 days driving around the area if you can afford the time off. It will help get your bearings.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:18 AM
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,861,177 times
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If you want some land, I'd look at Stafford, take VRE or slug into work, and suck up the commute to Manassas.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:37 AM
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That's an interesting thought. Why Stafford as opposed to Nokesville or Warrenton?
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:09 PM
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I would give up trying to replicate the farm/chickens aspect of where you currently live. The tradeoff involved in the time/money it will cost to get that lifestyle is not realistic. There are tons of family friendly, kid fort building neighborhoods in the closer in suburbs and activities that are unique to living in the nations capitol. I think you might be pleasantly surprised once you drive around the area. I think Burke, West Springfield, etc is the area you should concentrate on. Given the parts of Alexandria you are commuting to, to me, this isn't awful for commuting to Alexandria and Manassas.
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