U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Northern Virginia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-27-2015, 09:34 PM
 
28 posts, read 26,466 times
Reputation: 45

Advertisements

We will be relocating to NOVA in mid August. We start a house hunting trip in one week and will be in the area for 10 days to do our search. I have a realtor and we are very happy with their work. However, I know Realtors are bound by HMDA and other regulations and cannot steer, etc. Fortunately I have several people I know in the area, but they also live in different areas between PW and Fairfax. I've been taking in all of their pros and cons during conversations. So I decided today I would come here for some feedback from the city-data community.

We were staunchly looking in Fairfax County, particularly the Burke, Fairfax Station, Springfield areas. Recently my realtor suggested some areas in the Manassas (Prince William County) areas. I've learned in about 7 days that individuals seem to be staunchly either pro Fairfax and anti-Prince William, or vice versa. It has been interesting to see people seldom seem to be in favor of both. So here is my situation:

I will be working near L'Efant Plaza. If I understand it, the VRE from the Burke station is about 40-45 minutes and 60-65 minutes from the Manassas station. I may have an option later on, perhaps in a few years to be working in Fairfax, but at the time of my move I will be in DC working. Our budget is in the range of $400-500k, however, I am favoring not topping 450. We desire 4 bedrooms, and good neighborhoods. We really want to be close to amenities, family activities, parks, etc which does not seem to be a problem anywhere in NOVA. Most conversations revolve around the schools. We have a 4 and 2 year old. As of now, I do not know if my time in NOVA will be beyond 5 years, which would give us a 9 and 7 year old, so the high school conversation is not as important to me. If you have any advice, here our some of our inquiries:

1. What are some of the top areas of Prince William? I have been hearing a lot of positive feedback about Gainesville, though I know that might turn into a pretty hefty commute.
2. How does Gainesville compare to Manassas Park?
3. How does Manassas Park compare to the rest of Manassas?
4. How does Gainesville compare to Burke or Fairfax station?
5. Many transplants to the area seem to be pretty down on Manassas in general and say to avoid Manassas city. Interestingly I know three people who were born, raised and schooled in Fairfax County and they all now live in Prince William County and feel its standard of living is second to none. What are your thoughts?
6. I have not really found any negatives to Fairfax, nor heard any. I do not want to have rose colored glasses, and sometime I think others have them on when they speak of it. Please provide me some negatives of Fairfax just out of curiosity. But hey, if there are none then there are none.

Louden County seems to be too far out for me. I thought Manassas Park was going to be a nice alternative option to Burke or Fairfax Station, because of location but again, I've had several acquaintances poo poo Manassas Park. What are the downsides to Manassas park?

As of right now it seems Burke is #1, but Gainesville has crept up to #2 as far as recommendations to us. We look forward to your feedback!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-28-2015, 01:49 AM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,576 posts, read 10,883,663 times
Reputation: 5598
Manassas Park at one time, many years ago, would have been a definite no. It has improved big time and the east side of Euclid Ave is much newer and has some nice homes. This area is very close to VRE. Schools are an unknown but I hear good things from friends who use them for their kids.

I've been in Manassas City since 1979 and in NOVA since 73. Manassas City has some nice areas but the high number of immigrants, many illegal, have created many issues for the schools. My kids went through the school system from Pre-K to 12th grade and both came out with good educations. but in 7th grade my son started his first day in Science and a teacher (ESL) came in and took all but 7 kids with her for English language training.

Gainesville and Bristow are very nice areas and close to everything. You will certainly get more house in PWC/Manassas compared to Fairfax and as long as you have the VRE option I really don't see the commute as a big issue. Living in the western end of PWC puts you closer to the areas out west where you'll find the mountains, wineries and so on. Fairfax is closer to DC and even more shopping and so on but also much more traffic. Fairfax beats PWC regarding parks.

I would avoid Haymarket only because of the lack of VRE. Haymarket is a nice area but getting to VRE is a little tough frmo here.

I was a PWCPD officer for over 30 years if you have questions about any particular neighborhoods within PWC to include the cities and towns.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2015, 05:02 AM
 
10,607 posts, read 12,128,397 times
Reputation: 6498
Let me say that I am a PWC resident and have been for almost 21 years. I work in DC. I am going to first say that if you can afford Fairfax County that should be your #1 choice. Hands down. It was mine, but I could not afford it at the time. I am kicking myself every day that I didn't take a risk and go into some sort of debt for a few years to manage it. That said, I enjoy the area that I live in (Woodbridge believe it or not). I like what is here, I like my house, I like my neighborhood, etc. Now I'll try to answer some questions:

1. What are some of the top areas of Prince William? I have been hearing a lot of positive feedback about Gainesville, though I know that might turn into a pretty hefty commute.

ANSWER: Gainesville, Bristow areas are all the "newer areas" of PWC so construction is new, roads are pretty new, schools are new. Everything looks better. It's drawback is that you are pretty far out there with relatively tough access to major roads and the one that is closest is not a fun drive (I66). Of all my coworkers, those that live in Manassas and Gainesville have the worst/longest commutes. I have one person that sometimes commutes down I95, then cuts through Woodbridge to get to Manassas in order to avoid 66.

2. How does Gainesville compare to Manassas Park?

ANSWER: Newer and nicer all around.

3. How does Manassas Park compare to the rest of Manassas? Can't answer.

4. How does Gainesville compare to Burke or Fairfax station?

ANSWER: Much more rural but that won't last long. Much farther out from anything.

5. Many transplants to the area seem to be pretty down on Manassas in general and say to avoid Manassas city. Interestingly I know three people who were born, raised and schooled in Fairfax County and they all now live in Prince William County and feel its standard of living is second to none. What are your thoughts?

ANSWER: I will say that I am not a fan of Manassas. I go there often enough and I just don't enjoy the look or topography of it. I find much of it frustrating to drive through. Doesn't mean it's bad, just not for me. I know others that live there and it's fine. As I said above, I am fairly happy in PWC; however, I still think that overall Fairfax is just a better place (at least for me). DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the impact that commuting will have on your life. If I was in Fairfax, that part would be tons better for me. But, you will get a LOT more house and land for your money here. I feel the roads, even in Woodbridge, are less clogged. I'm always amazed when I got to Fairfax for dinner or something, there just seems like there are so many more people. It's noticeable to me. So, the standard of living is probably more affordable and if you don't work in town, I can see where it would be a smarter choice.

6. I have not really found any negatives to Fairfax, nor heard any. I do not want to have rose colored glasses, and sometime I think others have them on when they speak of it. Please provide me some negatives of Fairfax just out of curiosity. But hey, if there are none then there are none.

ANSWER: All I can think of is much higher prices and more people. But that is offset by being closer in, better schools, and more places to go. For instance I have to travel to Fairfax just to go to Trader Joe's. Drove up there last night because I wanted to eat at Cava Mezze Grille. We just don't seem to get ALL of the places they do, but eventually we do.

Louden County seems to be too far out for me. I thought Manassas Park was going to be a nice alternative option to Burke or Fairfax Station, because of location but again, I've had several acquaintances poo poo Manassas Park. What are the downsides to Manassas park?

ANSWER: I can't give you anything concrete. I just don't like it. I looked there many years ago. And while I live right off the horror of I95, I feel that I66 is worse. Plus it's just harder to get into DC, IMO.

As of right now it seems Burke is #1, but Gainesville has crept up to #2 as far as recommendations to us. We look forward to your feedback!

I'd stick with Burke!!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2015, 05:15 AM
 
4,338 posts, read 2,261,255 times
Reputation: 5588
Fairfax Negatives:

Taxes - car taxes are a bit higher than surrounding counties - probably RE too but you can check that online.
Police - large police force, not very busy and very money oriented; used to have road blocks to check vehicle tax stickers in Oct, will occasionally set up traps in a neighborhoods for things like rolling through stop signs.
Roads - Fairfax is generally underbuilt and has been that way for the 25 yrs I have been there; Loudoun and PW seem better to me in this regard
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2015, 06:24 AM
 
1,702 posts, read 1,362,594 times
Reputation: 1738
1. What are some of the top areas of Prince William? I have been hearing a lot of positive feedback about Gainesville, though I know that might turn into a pretty hefty commute.

Gainesville, Bristow, etc. Pretty much anywhere in western PWC, although I much prefer eastern PWC as western PWC is more rural and further from DC imo. Although if you work in Fairfax County it is a much easier commute.

2. How does Gainesville compare to Manassas Park?

Newer, nicer, better schools.

3. How does Manassas Park compare to the rest of Manassas?

I don't know too much about Manassas Park, I usually pass through getting to 28 but I've seen a lot of the newer developments they've built within the last couple years and it doesn't seem too bad but I don't know much about it.

4. How does Gainesville compare to Burke or Fairfax station?

Fairfax Station/Burke is probably best from a commuting perspective. But imo they're pretty much the same from a schools/family-oriented/low crime/traditional suburbs perspective.

5. Many transplants to the area seem to be pretty down on Manassas in general and say to avoid Manassas city. Interestingly I know three people who were born, raised and schooled in Fairfax County and they all now live in Prince William County and feel its standard of living is second to none. What are your thoughts?

You get a bigger bang for your buck in PWC and traffic, while bad, isn't awful. I have friends who LIVE and WORK in Fairfax County and it takes them over an hour to get home. That is how bad traffic within the county is. I mean, traffic in PWC isn't perfect but it's not as bad as Fairfax. Also, you should check out Manassas zip code 20112. A friend of mine recently bought a home in that part of Manassas and it's very nice, good schools. It's kind of confusing because it's not Manassas City or Manassas Park, it's Manassas the suburb IN PWC.

6. I have not really found any negatives to Fairfax, nor heard any. I do not want to have rose colored glasses, and sometime I think others have them on when they speak of it. Please provide me some negatives of Fairfax just out of curiosity. But hey, if there are none then there are none.

Fairfax is pretty good. If you can afford it, go for it. It's not bad at all but I wouldn't rule out PWC or Manassas as well.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2015, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Gainesville, VA
274 posts, read 261,965 times
Reputation: 107
I think you have two really good options for places between Burke and Gainesville. You will get much more house in Gainesville compared to Burke with the exchange of a longer commute. I personally live in Gainesville and love it. I have two children and the schools are great. Lots of activities for them, especially over the summer. The VA Gateway is building up very nicely with shops and restuarants. The VRE will possibly extend out to Gainesville within the next few years. Also they have the commuter buses that already come to Gainesville/Bristow.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2015, 09:02 AM
 
Location: West Hollywood, CA from Arlington, VA
2,770 posts, read 2,698,426 times
Reputation: 1554
Look at the Hastings Drive area of Manassas. Very nice neighborhood with good schools I think, and close to the VRE.

I personally hated every minute of Manassas because it was too far from the good restaurants in Centreville/Fairfax and DC but if youre mostly a homebody, it shouldnt be a problem.

Generally, when looking in Manassas, look to the west side of sudley road. There are a lot of nice homes and neighborhoods off of the west side of sudley manor dr but its further from VRE.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2015, 10:12 AM
 
10,607 posts, read 12,128,397 times
Reputation: 6498
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley Tauzier View Post
I think you have two really good options for places between Burke and Gainesville. You will get much more house in Gainesville compared to Burke with the exchange of a longer commute. I personally live in Gainesville and love it. I have two children and the schools are great. Lots of activities for them, especially over the summer. The VA Gateway is building up very nicely with shops and restuarants. The VRE will possibly extend out to Gainesville within the next few years. Also they have the commuter buses that already come to Gainesville/Bristow.
Ashley, just curious. How do find the commute into DC?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2015, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Gainesville, VA
274 posts, read 261,965 times
Reputation: 107
I'm a Realtor so I do not have your typical commute into DC. I drive at all different times of day. My husband works in Chantilly and just takes 29 in and doesn't think it is bad. I have several friends and neighbors that commute into DC though. One of my best friends husband takes the bus from manassas to the Pentagon daily. It takes him about 1.5 hours at most in total from house to Pentagon.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2015, 12:43 PM
 
Location: NOVA
4,521 posts, read 5,230,002 times
Reputation: 1927
There are some neighborhoods just to the east of the Manassas VRE station. The distance between Manassas and downtown vs Woodbridge and downtown is sizeable when comparing. From the Manassas Lowes, right at that I66 ramp, it's 33 miles to Crystal city but from Lake Ridge (Woodbridge) it's under 20 miles.

Cost of living is significant. Day Care in Crystal city is $2100 a month compared to Lake Ridge which is $1000. That adds up.

Burke also has some slugging opportunities that are commuting options (especially the nice lots right off the Fairfax Parkway but I'm unfamiliar with Manassas slugging options. I usually drive since I have free parking. From Lake Ridge, I can pick up slugs at the Pentagon and I'm dropping them off at either Horner or Tackets mill in under 30 minutes (with no tolls).

I used to live in West Springfield (near Burke) and my commutes to Crystal city were always an hour long but then I drove vs bus. The West Springfield $425,000 townhome with 200 sq foot backyard isn't the same as a $375,000 with 1/3 acre. Asking neighbors again to move their cars in your spot vs 2-car garage. Buying a nice, recently updated house in Burke for under $500k might prove challenging.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Northern Virginia
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top