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Old 10-18-2012, 09:06 AM
 
25 posts, read 54,113 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello!

I have a possible job op in Arlington. I would be moving from Philly. Personally, I've always liked visiting Virginia (really like the landscape), so living there is another story, obviously. So I come here for some tips/advice.

I understand most people commute, and I'm good with a long commute (being in Philly, mine is about 45 minutes with some traffic), so I'm looking for a diverse neighborhood that has good schools (two kids with one on the way). I'm ok being outside of a metro area (having lived in one all my life, I'm good without being there for a while), but affordability is also a question (with regards to Philly).

I'm sure I'll be coming back to this with more Qs, and I am kinda excited, so any help would be appreciated.

Thank you!
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,569 posts, read 12,688,681 times
Reputation: 8334
If you can give us price range and what you are looking for regarding size of a home, that would help. Also, what part of Philly are you from? There are a few of us on this board who are Philly natives and could probably give some comparisons. Overall, this area is a bit more congested, so you have to live closer-in to have a 45-minute commute, than you would in Philly. Also, real estate is more expensive. There are great things to do here, but because of the transient nature of the area, there is less of a community feel, in my opinion.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:47 AM
 
25 posts, read 54,113 times
Reputation: 10
Cool, I'll add more info:

- Living in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, which is about 15 minutes away from Center City.
- Looking at a price range of about $250k for a 3 (maybe 4?) BR. I know that's a bit of a stretch, given what I've seen from the area, initially.
- I've very OK with commuting, wither by car or public transit.

Are the taxes and such less than in Philly? At least I know the sales tax isn't as high as the .07 (or is it .08?) that's here now.

I'm kinda ok with the less community feel - get that from Philly at times in spades.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:54 AM
 
303 posts, read 809,859 times
Reputation: 117
Welcome! Some of what you want will be a given: the whole area is diverse, though some pockets less so than others. Anything within 45 minutes of Arlington will be considered "metro area," though it probably will be suburban rather than urban. Also, almost anything within 45 minutes of Arlington is going to have good schools. You can debate the finer points of some being more good than others, and many on this board are happy to do so at great length, but as a broad generalization, they're mostly good within that time spread.

However, as michgc points out, "45 minutes of Arlington" does not buy you very many miles. You refer to "some" traffic in Philly; there will be TONS of traffic here, and huge volumes of it go through Arlington every day. As a rough estimate, I would say that 45 minutes buys you less than 10 miles, and the fewer the better. YMMV based on the exact roads, time of day, driving vs. public transportation, whether you can use HOV, etc.

Cost of housing will be higher here, but it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. There are a lot more single-family houses in this area than in, say, Center City, and people seem to prefer living in them rather than in townhouses. To echo michgc, price and size are going to be your big determinants.

When I moved here, of my three requirements, price, type of house, and location, I was told I could choose two. It proved to be very good advice.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
1,449 posts, read 2,810,594 times
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Wow, that is going to be VERY difficult. Any chance you can up your limit a little? I don't think there is a chance of even a TH of that size in Fairfax County for $250K. My tiny 2 BR TH in Reston (which is an HOUR commute to Arlington) sold for $311K last year.

My only thought is maybe somewhere on the VRE line in Prince William or Stafford County? I don't know commute times from that area OR much about schools, but it seems your only reasonable option, unless you are willing to go more than 45 minutes on commute (possibly up to 90 minutes)

Unless you want to buy out in Front Royal and leave for work at 4 am - someone in my Arlington office did that, but I do NOT recommend this. Not when gas hovers at $4/gallon.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
5,104 posts, read 5,410,081 times
Reputation: 12622
Quote:
Originally Posted by AvidGamer View Post
- Looking at a price range of about $250k for a 3 (maybe 4?) BR. I know that's a bit of a stretch, given what I've seen from the area, initially.
This is going to be more than a bit of a stretch. For that budget, you'll be looking at short-sales and/or fixer uppers....and more than 45 minutes out.

Like Hilsmom suggested, you could get a townhouse for around $250k in the Lake Ridge section of Woodbridge - but you would be looking at a 60 - 75 minute commute if you're driving and not able to use the HOV lanes.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:36 AM
 
303 posts, read 809,859 times
Reputation: 117
I see you and I were typing at the same time, so I didn't see your further info. I think what you want is do-able but will require some patience and diligence to find the right situation. You'll have the most choice in 3-bedroom, 2-bath townhomes and condos, and not even much of that.

I just ran a quick search (because there are other things I ought to be doing!) and I'm mostly seeing townhouses in Alexandria, Springfield, Chantilly, Centreville, Herndon, and Reston. There are also some in Fairfax, Falls Church, or Annandale (all of which are a lot closer). Some are short sales. You will see many choices in Manassas, Woodbridge, Stafford, Warrenton, Gainesville, and Culpeper. Don't even consider them. They are way too far away (though some people might disagree with me on the first two.)

Here's what I think is the best of the bunch:

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
5,104 posts, read 5,410,081 times
Reputation: 12622
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppelganger69 View Post
I see you and I were typing at the same time, so I didn't see your further info. I think what you want is do-able but will require some patience and diligence to find the right situation. You'll have the most choice in 3-bedroom, 2-bath townhomes and condos, and not even much of that.

I just ran a quick search (because there are other things I ought to be doing!) and I'm mostly seeing townhouses in Alexandria, Springfield, Chantilly, Centreville, Herndon, and Reston. There are also some in Fairfax, Falls Church, or Annandale (all of which are a lot closer). Some are short sales. You will see many choices in Manassas, Woodbridge, Stafford, Warrenton, Gainesville, and Culpeper. Don't even consider them. They are way too far away (though some people might disagree with me on the first two.)

Here's what I think is the best of the bunch:

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate

Real Estate
These are good examples of what you can get in the area for $250k. Just be aware of those $500+ monthly condo/hoa fees.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,569 posts, read 12,688,681 times
Reputation: 8334
Yes, to echo others' comments - $250K is quite low for this area. The notable difference in taxes will be your car insurance (much lower here - maybe even half) and no Philly Wage Tax. Sales tax is 5%. There is, however, property tax on cars/boats/RVs. For a $30K 2011 minivan, I pay about $800 per year. For a $2500 2002 car, I pay less than $100. It's based on worth of your car.

I'd think long and hard about moving to this area if $250k is all you can afford, unless you are currently unemployed and this is your only option. Any chance you'd rent? If so, what would your limit be? You might do better going that route.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:58 AM
 
367 posts, read 764,264 times
Reputation: 167
Sterling, VA would be something to check out, he could get a townhome for the price and drive an hour.
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