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Old 10-11-2014, 05:02 PM
 
16 posts, read 16,900 times
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First, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who posts and contributes to these boards. I have been searching the NOVA forum, but I wonder if folks might have a bit more insight to offer in my specific situation. My husband will be working in downtown DC and we are looking for housing in the VA 'burbs. We are currently in our 30s and moving from DC for more space/schools.

It seems like northern McLean is full of much wealthier, older homeowners. So, I was thinking that our prime target area should be Mclean/Falls Church south of Dolly Madison, east of 694, but no further east than the Potomac School area.... Is this a good area for us? Any other areas to consider? I am COMPLETELY new to Virginia, so this is just based on attending open houses, driving around, and reading these forums. Please tell me if I am way off base.

Our needs are:
-Prefer to be within walking distance of some kind of activity-- parks, coffee shops, library, etc.
-Require top rated and ranked public schools -- I realize this is somewhat arbitrary, but looking specifically at schools rated 9 or 10 from GreatSchools.
-Budget of 800-850K, looking for 4 bedroom house with a yard.
-Would love to be near other young families, so we can build new network of friends, kids can play together outside, etc.
-Need reasonable commute time (either by car or Metro) to downtown DC.

Also, can anyone comment generally on the current NOVA housing market? It seems like properties in the upper 700's/low 800's get snapped up within three weeks, but houses in the 800-900 range sit on the market and are price reduced by 10-20k every couple of weeks, and very few are bought at initial list price. Or has the market just slowed down?
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:30 PM
 
Location: McLean, VA
448 posts, read 739,697 times
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It just doesn't get better than McLean! Excellent schools, but not that walkable - unless you live in the heart of McLean. If you have the cash, do it! You can get an older home for your price range.

The market is a little slower this time of year. It will heat up as we get near the end of the school year. The higher priced homes sit on the market longer because there are less buyers as you go up in price. It is not unusual for a home in the $1-2 million range and above to sit on the market for well over a year.
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:43 PM
 
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An older home in Vienna might also suit your needs. (Vienna is great; you can search this forum for more specific threads devoted to living there.)
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:55 PM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,618,430 times
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I would also expand my search to the 22043 and 23046 zip codes in Falls Church, including the City of Falls Church. Not all of the schools in those zip codes are 9s and 10s on Great Schools, but they are all pretty good.

Just from reading your post, I get the impression you may have an exaggerated sense of the inventory of single-family houses in McLean with four or more bedrooms for $850K or lower, and the extent to which it's a buyer's market for such homes (as opposed to for more expensive properties, which do take longer to sell). Not saying there aren't such houses, but there may not necessarily be many with four bedrooms, and some may have features you don't like (close to major roads, odd additions, etc).

Vienna is also nice (lived there happily for over a decade), but you'll have an easier commute to DC if you're on the DC side of Tysons (Arlington, Falls Church, McLean).

Last edited by JD984; 10-11-2014 at 06:03 PM..
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Old 10-11-2014, 06:16 PM
 
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From what I heard, 800k in mclean buys you a tear down house for rebuilt purpose. Vienna and other areas are a little more affordable.
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:07 PM
 
16 posts, read 16,900 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I would also expand my search to the 22043 and 23046 zip codes in Falls Church, including the City of Falls Church. Not all of the schools in those zip codes are 9s and 10s on Great Schools, but they are all pretty good.

Just from reading your post, I get the impression you may have an exaggerated sense of the inventory of single-family houses in McLean with four or more bedrooms for $850K or lower, and the extent to which it's a buyer's market for such homes (as opposed to for more expensive properties, which do take longer to sell). Not saying there aren't such houses, but there may not necessarily be many with four bedrooms, and some may have features you don't like (close to major roads, odd additions, etc).

Vienna is also nice (lived there happily for over a decade), but you'll have an easier commute to DC if you're on the DC side of Tysons (Arlington, Falls Church, McLean).
Thanks, JEB and Old Monkey. I will look into Vienna as well. I see your point about the $850k price point. I think I'm ok with being close to a major road as long as it's not right on it and I do expect some odd design choices as well for that price. It seems like for a 4+ bedroom with nice, updated finishings will run $899k minimum. I'm hoping to get lucky and find something decent in good repair that we can upgrade in the future. Building up more cash while renting for a year or two might be another option, I suppose.

Darkseid - That's a good point about the school year and timing. I'm interested in the area just south of central McLean... Haha, I realize "walkable" is a relative term in the suburbs! I'm not looking for Arlington or Bethesda level walkable. I just need to be within 10-15 minutes of something other than houses.

Last edited by ExDCer; 10-11-2014 at 07:55 PM..
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:47 PM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,618,430 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newnewsmama View Post
From what I heard, 800k in mclean buys you a tear down house for rebuilt purpose. Vienna and other areas are a little more affordable.
It varies. Even within the same school pyramid, there could be a house marketed as a teardown that sells for over $900K and a split-level with 1700 SF and four bedrooms marketed as in move-in condition for $725K. It depends on the neighborhood and location.
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:19 PM
 
7 posts, read 8,006 times
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Cute home in a great walkable location near two metros. You could finish the basement for another bedroom. 10, 9, 9 for the school pyramid test scores. Tough to beat that.
MLS FA8479244 612 PARK AVE, FALLS CHURCH VA ~ Frankly.com in WOODLAND Home For Sale

Or, this Vienna home with 10, 10, 9 schools. But, not as walkable and a longer commute time.
MLS FX8340906 1518 TUBA CT, VIENNA VA ~ Frankly.com in BEAU RIDGE Home For Sale
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:24 PM
 
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I think there are a lot of families with your demographics and wish list in 22205 (Arlington).
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:55 PM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,738 posts, read 8,943,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACWhite View Post
I think there are a lot of families with your demographics and wish list in 22205 (Arlington).
We live in that zip, and I think the OP would like it. That budget will get the house she describes, but probably not with a garage. And one of the bedrooms may be small. The houses are mostly prewar, so if you're used to newer houses, you'll probably find the rooms and closets tiny. (The new construction goes for well over $1 million.)
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