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Old 06-13-2013, 08:55 AM
 
7 posts, read 23,170 times
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We currently live in a TH in Fairfax County. Honestly it's a pretty great community, but we don't think it will remain great as our kids get older and we want to upgrade to a SFH. My husband works in Fairfax and we know our budget quite well and have tried the commutes. After looking at several houses, we are looking at being able to afford/commute to either something pretty new and nice (late 90's early 00's) in the part of Dale City closer to Hoadly Road or something older (70s or MAYBE 80s), smaller, but in good repair in Lake Ridge. I am very much torn between these two areas and see pros and cons of both. We are tired of working on our townhouse all the time (from 1973). We have two preschool children and so obviously we care about safety a lot and having a neighborhood with other little ones around.

I figured it might help us to decide what we really want if we get some input from others. What would you choose? Oh, also there is a dark horse in the competition. The ruralish area between Westridge and Manassas appeals to us also and there are occasionally homes in our price range there, but I am concerned about feeling too isolated.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:07 AM
 
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We lived in a townhouse in Lake Ridge and considered staying in Woodbridge when we were first SFH-hunting. We would have stayed in the Lake Ridge area. Generally speaking, the Lake Ridge area public elementary schools are rated higher (of course, check the school for the specific home you're looking at), and we always felt safe there. I was working in Merrifield and liked being closer to 123; I intentionally avoided ever taking 95 to work because of the traffic. Not that you couldn't do that from Dale City still, but you'd be adding a bit more time to the commute.

Your "dark horse" area definitely has tons of newer homes, and I like the area overall, but we found it more expensive and lacking in the privacy we were seeking in a SFH since those nice new homes typically come on tiny lots where you can practically reach out your window and touch your neighbor's house, so it depends on your personal preferences and priorities for a home.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:08 AM
 
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Could you give addresses of particular locations/neighborhoods within Lake Ridge that you are considering? Given that Lake Ridge as a community grew up over 25 years and has over 7000 homes total in the HOA (and many more not part of the official HOA community but still with a Lake Ridge-22192 zip), there could be notable differences in the quality of the neighborhood.

Also, how would your husband get to his job (e.g., Old Bridge to 123, PW Parkway to Manassas and up 29)? Do you work? If so, where? Again, commutes from Lake Ridge to X location can vary by 15-20 minutes depending on where in Lake Ridge you live and how many side streets and stoplights you have. The same can be true in Dale City.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:26 AM
 
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I work from home. He works in two main locations in Fairfax Cty -- the government center and the South County building on Rt. 1. One home we are considering making an offer on is by the intersection of Antietam and Cotton Mill Dr. It's built in 1979. Very nicely updated, but pretty much the same total size as our current townhouse--just one additional bedroom and very little storage. It has a very nice yard with great landscaping and some beautiful trees (that we;d have to watch closely) and there were several kids playing in the culdesac when we got there to look at it (which I took as a very good sign).

I'm basically comparing that place to one in Dale City on Rhode Island Dr. built in 2000, also completely updated but with much less character. Nice flat lawn, no trees. I would guess there are kids around but it didn't have the same homey community feel. Much more storage and larger rooms.

It may not come down to these two places, but probably to these two areas.
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:13 PM
 
Location: DMV
10,136 posts, read 11,647,252 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emjay6000 View Post
I work from home. He works in two main locations in Fairfax Cty -- the government center and the South County building on Rt. 1. One home we are considering making an offer on is by the intersection of Antietam and Cotton Mill Dr. It's built in 1979. Very nicely updated, but pretty much the same total size as our current townhouse--just one additional bedroom and very little storage. It has a very nice yard with great landscaping and some beautiful trees (that we;d have to watch closely) and there were several kids playing in the culdesac when we got there to look at it (which I took as a very good sign).

I'm basically comparing that place to one in Dale City on Rhode Island Dr. built in 2000, also completely updated but with much less character. Nice flat lawn, no trees. I would guess there are kids around but it didn't have the same homey community feel. Much more storage and larger rooms.

It may not come down to these two places, but probably to these two areas.
My wife and I moved to Lake Ridge a few months ago (renting) and we love it. One thing that I think is a plus for having young kids, is there are a lot of activities to do in Lake Ridge. They have a preschool, pools, plenty of playgrounds and activities that are family oriented. It's tough because we really like Westridge Elementary (which is not in the Lake Ridge subdivision) for our kids to go to when we buy a house next year, but we love the community feel here in Lake Ridge. I can't speak for Dale City, but the environment, the way people take care of their homes and just the overall sense of community in Lake Ridge is difficult to overlook when you have two kids (we have two young kids too) and you are looking for a quality place to raise them.
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Old 06-13-2013, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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Lake Ridge. The commute from LR will be easier than from Dale City.

Plus, speaking as a resident of LR - it's a very nice community.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:28 PM
 
Location: Censorshipville...
2,711 posts, read 6,265,139 times
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Originally Posted by HokieFan View Post
Lake Ridge. The commute from LR will be easier than from Dale .
I agree with the above. The less time you spend on Old Bridge the better commute you'll have.
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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Originally Posted by oneasterisk View Post
I agree with the above. The less time you spend on Old Bridge the better commute you'll have.
Agreed. Although, I find that the morning rush commute on Old Bridge is not too bad if you can avoid the school traffic. It's the afternoon rush (4:30pm - 6:00pm) that is frustratingly slow.
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:41 AM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
14,734 posts, read 10,627,366 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emjay6000 View Post
The ruralish area between Westridge and Manassas appeals to us also and there are occasionally homes in our price range there, but I am concerned about feeling too isolated.
It isn't too isolated and everything is easily accessible just by getting on PW parkway. I live in Westridge, which has a great elementary school and we love it! It is a great place for families.
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:23 PM
 
7 posts, read 23,170 times
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Thanks for the feedback. By the way, the husband is going to take back roads from Fairfax through Clifton if we decide to move to Dale City (no time on Old Bridge Rd) so I think the commute will only be worse on the one day a week he comes from his other location close to Ft Belvoir. So, commute aside, any other opinions?

In the meantime, we are going to look at a place in Lake Ridge tomorrow on the far Occoquan side in pretty much the oldest section, address 2210 Dockside Ct. Anybody know about this area?
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