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Old 11-19-2007, 03:06 PM
31 posts, read 81,399 times
Reputation: 17


We were in VA over the weekend trying to get a feel for the area to try to determine where we may want to live should we end up relocating. We pretty much looked from Leesburg down to Falls Church and many places in between - AShburn, Reston, Herndon, Vienna...I was pretty surprised by the lack of charm many of these places had (strip mall after strip mall). With the exception of Leesburg (which is too far out for us) none of these towns really had much of a historic district or a downtown. I know Herndon has a historic district, but I have read some undersirable comments about Herndon on this forum. I had such a different picture in my mind of what to expect to find so close to DC.

If we moved my husband would work in Herndon, we are not sure where I would end up, but my guess tells me Tysons Corner area. The realtor we were with said that many of the towns in Fairfax County bulldozed alot of the historic buildings and put up strip malls. I know Falls Church has a bit of a downtown area, it was just a little disappointing to me.

Are there any other towns in the area we should look at. If one can be found, we would really like someplace with a charming historic downtown area. Are there any parts of Vienna, Falls Church, or Reston that we should avoid? We looked in one neighborhood in Falls Church that we were unsure of - it seemed like it could be a little sketchy (half the street looked well kept, the other half a bit disshevled - couldn't tell if it was up and coming or on the downslide). I know people usually say you can tell by the home price, however this was a bank owned home we looked at (not sure the zip or street name - we saw so many places) listed for $435K and would need to be completely gutted, so I don't think that could provide a very good gauge. We are looking at TH or SFH (understanding SFH would most likely would be a huge fixer upper if found) under $500k. How much are SFH (needing only minor updates) in Vienna and Falls Church running for these days (typical 1600-2000 home) so I can have something to compare to if looking at a bank owned property needing alot of work. We currently do not have children, however don't want to be in an area where schools would be a concern for resale value.

Sorry for the long post - I wanted to give as much info as possible. Any additional insight to be had would be great!!
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Old 11-19-2007, 04:43 PM
847 posts, read 3,240,447 times
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Well, I grew up in Vienna and loved it. You are right, there is not a historic downtown so to speak but you are really not going to find that in any of the places you said. Vienna has a nice small town feel, but I would probably say that you would see that more if you had kids, for example, great youth leagues, parades, festivals, etc. The cost of homes in Vienna is high, probably the highest of any of the places you are looking. There are some older homes in Vienna, off of Park street, that are being refurbished and might be in your price range especially in this market. That area, when I was growing up was not the best but younger families are moving in and revitalizing the area. I lived off of Beulah Road and there are some great neighborhoods there but most might be SFH over $500,000. I am not sure what they are going for these days but there are TH near the Vienna metro that are very nice, again, might be usually more than $500,000 but in this market, maybe not. The schools in Vienna, all excellent, no problem there. That would be your best place for schools.
Also consider the Tysons Corner area, may have an address of Vienna or McLean, a fun area to live in for a couple without kids, dining, shopping, etc.
As for Falls Church, a lot of up and coming areas and I would say a lot of younger families moving in and buying fixer-uppers. If you live in Falls Church City, you will have George Mason High School which is excellent, other areas might lead you to Marshall High School-pretty good or Falls Church High School-not as good, not desirable, might affect the resale.
As for Reston, some great areas for TH. There are some areas to avoid but you will know them when you see them. The area by Reston Town Center is a fun place to live, especially if you do not have kids, good dining and shopping, would even be fun to live close and walk. The problem with Reston is the schools, South Lakes High to be specific, not good. The elementary and middle school options may be better but the high school option might be a concern for resale however, if you are buying in a TH community, the buyers may be more singles or couples without kids.
If you are looking for historic downtown, you might want to consider Fairfax, they do have a downtown, I am not wild about it but it is a downtown.
Let me know if you have any more questions. I grew up in the area and have lived there as an adult as well. I do not live there currently and some people that do live there currently might have better information and more specific information about neighborhoods.
Good luck!
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Old 11-19-2007, 05:08 PM
1,727 posts, read 1,450,920 times
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Off the top of my head, I wonder if you would like ...

North Arlington (the area I specifically know seems to be zip 22207), or

Bethesda/Chevy Chase (actually, close to McLean despite being in another state)

These areas both have charming older, established colonials and cape cods. I always found my friends living in these areas to be "real" people, if you know what I mean.

Both seem to start at 600K and get interesting at 650K, etc.
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Old 11-19-2007, 05:32 PM
Location: Alexandria, VA
11,419 posts, read 20,279,418 times
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If you want a charming historical area, Alexandria would be it in my opinion.
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Old 11-19-2007, 05:49 PM
Location: Arlington, VA
349 posts, read 1,293,357 times
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Alexandria tends to be a bit of a drive to Herndon, but definitely check out Arlington. It has a lot more charm to it than most of Fairfax, but your $500k limit does limit your choices for THs and SFHs.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:44 PM
19 posts, read 57,937 times
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Commuting to Herndon from Alexandria will be painful. Count on 1-1.5 hours each way if you aren't leaving by 6am. Another option might be McLean. Yes, it is quite pricey, but has an excellent location with lots of parks, little downtown, and 20-25 minutes from Herndon, DC, Bethesda. Great central location. However, you'll be parting with $500k for a small rambler or small TH. Vienna, Falls Church, Fairfax - you will spend at least $500-600k for a "fixer upper". There's bargains out there, but you'll have to look hard.

Bethesda is wonderful, but the commute wouldn't be fun at all. And prices START at $600k for junk.

Tyson's Corner is really hectic most days. Probably not good with kids. Arlington will feel much more "city-ish"

Herndon is sketch. Think MS-13. Stay away.

Reston is OK...the town center is a nice yuppy hangout and overpriced. It's newer and growing, but traffic can be bad and it's soulless at times.

If you really have a choice, just don't move here. Traffic sucks. Prices are insane. People are egomaniacs. You'll make a good salary, but will probably get worked to death. You're only 3 hours from the beach, unless there's bad traffic. Which there usually is. There's some nice mountains an hour away.

The schools in the area are really good for the most part. You just have to trade in your soul when you arrive.
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:00 PM
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,830,715 times
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LOL, actually Lake Anne Plaza in reston is a nationally registered historic district-- but you would never guess. The important historic event that is commerorated happened in the mid 1960's.

Herndon has a very small restored section. Otherwise, all the towns in that part of Virginia were built in the 1970's or even just in the last few years.

Falls Church gets my vote.
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Old 11-30-2007, 05:14 PM
1,727 posts, read 1,450,920 times
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Well, I know there are parts of Herndon that people don't like, and for various reasons, the name itself brings up a bad image (why? I know someone said it has to do with the work centers; maybe it's just one of those stupid names).

But ... I know it has some lovely, interesting, charming parts. I would look for those ...

I'm not from Herndon, but have driven through some parts that are very nice! Also, I know someone who sold a 1.3 million house in "Herndon" (this address used to be Reston, not sure what happened) despite horrendous timing.
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Old 11-30-2007, 05:41 PM
Location: Fairfax County, VA
16 posts, read 53,609 times
Reputation: 15
Arlington may give you what you are looking for - a combination of old and new, still lots of green, real neighborhoods as opposed to what you have described so far. I am in Fairfax, love the area but it took a while getting used to. Fairfax has a LOT to offer. Good luck with your search. Let us know what you decided to go with!
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