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Old 01-04-2016, 01:48 PM
 
1 posts, read 916 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello everyone....

I was seeking advice from those far more experienced than I regarding Northern Va. and what life might look like for a young family. I travel to the DC area around L'Enfant Plaza for government activities and received a decent job offer to move to the area and work daily in the DC area.

Can anyone provide insight and knowledge regarding the questions below?

1. I want to make sure my family above all is extremely happy and well taken care of. Is Northern Va. a good place for a young family?
2. Currently we live very modestly and want to make sure we can continue our modest lifestyle. What is considered decent money in Northern Va. given 2-3 kids with a wife that stays home?
3. Given the location I would imagine commuting using VRE is the most logical least stressful way of making it from house to work and back. I know some commute as far as Fredricksburg, Va which I assume is around 1.5 hours each direction?
4. I would like to find the best family oriented place to live that allows for a house with some yard/land for my kids. Is this unrealistic in Northern Va given our budget?

Thanks in advance for any assistance/advice given. I just really want to make sure my family is "centered" and all is well on the home front.

Additional Details:
- Job Offer: ~185k a year.
- Current Location: Johnson City, TN
- Work Hours: At my discretion (preferably home by 5:30-6)
- Current Salary: ~118k
- No debt with the exception of our current home <100k.
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:57 PM
 
Location: West Hollywood, CA from Arlington, VA
2,770 posts, read 2,685,249 times
Reputation: 1550
You can definitely make it and Northern VA is a very good area for a young family. I'm not sure how much land you can get -- you won't be able to get acres of land like you probably can in Tennessee.


Just keep in mind that while the train ride is 1.5 hours, you need to add about another 30 minutes of time it will take you to drive to the VRE/walk from the VRE to work, which means your commute would be about 2 hours each way.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:22 PM
 
2,185 posts, read 2,644,589 times
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1. Yes
2. I'd say 150k household income is decent income for this area for a family with kids. It really depends on personal circumstances and lifestyle, because two families could have very different ideas of what 'decent income' is based on their expenses. I'd say you're in pretty good shape and the fact you're doing it with only one working parents will help out since you don't have to spend as much on child care. Our household income is much higher than yours but we both work, so you may come out ahead if you don't have the crushing daycare bills we do.
3. I have no experience w VRE. I think the amount of stress your commute creates really depends how far away from work you live. A 1.5-2 hr commute on the VRE would create stress for me even if I spent most of it sitting comfortably on a train.
4. I have no idea what your home budget would be because it depends on more than just your income. Like how much mortgage are you comfortable taking on, what type of monthly payments can you handle, how much cash do you have for a downpayment. Home prices in the area are expensive, especially compared to a place like Tennessee. You can play around with redfin a little bit and see just how expensive they are.
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:36 PM
 
230 posts, read 186,464 times
Reputation: 183
You sound like middle to upper management? Get an employer paid for EZ pass (no reimbursements) if you can.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:00 PM
 
23 posts, read 19,388 times
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Wow! What do you do?
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,199,392 times
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Welcome in advance to Northern Virginia!

It is indeed a great place to raise a young family, as long as you are affluent (and with a nearly $200,000 salary offer, yes, you'd do just fine). I lived in Fairfax County from 2009-2010 and was absolutely miserable, but then again I was making a $40,000 salary in a community with a six-figure median household income, so I was barely able to keep my head above water financially. Now that I've had time to age and mature a bit I realize I should have just "paid my dues", suffered throughout my 20's living in poverty, and then enjoyed a comfortable salary in my 30's.

If I was in your shoes I'd be looking to buy a small townhouse with a small yard in Springfield. I know you probably envision "space to roam", but commuting 90+ minutes each way to work in order to provide that to your family is just unrealistic. If I was a child I'd MUCH rather have more time with my mommy or daddy than a big yard, with nobody to play catch with me because my father or mother was commuting three hours per day to give me that big yard.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:23 PM
 
7,926 posts, read 9,639,531 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityRising View Post
If I was a child I'd MUCH rather have more time with my mommy or daddy than a big yard, with nobody to play catch with me because my father or mother was commuting three hours per day to give me that big yard.
This is very sage advice! I am someone who does a 1.5 hour commute each way (and am usually not bothered by it), but I do not have children. I wouldn't even consider it if I did.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:29 PM
 
Location: northern va
1,584 posts, read 2,123,071 times
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You didn't mention what your comfort is for monthly mortgage/rent.. This will be the true deciding factor tbh. Tradeoff will be commute time. Closer to DC, less your dollar stretches. As previously mentioned, Springfield would be a great area, but might only afford a townhome. You would have the Metro as a viable commuting option there, which I prefer to VRE due to the longer operating hours.

Prince William County (namely Woodbridge/Dumfries) could land you a detached home in the same price range as a Springfield townhome, but you'll then either be driving to the Springfield Metro or taking the local VRE. If your work hours are truly flexible, VRE would be the way to go.

Stafford would afford you more land, or a newer home (for the same price as an older Springfield/Woodbridge home), but with the added commute. At that point, I'd be looking at the EZ pass option that was previously mentioned.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:40 PM
 
529 posts, read 541,888 times
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Welcome to NOVA.

This place has mixture of people settled here for decades, recent migration as well as from all ethnicity.

With your salary, you should be able to live a decent to very decent life, again depending on your lifestyle.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:57 PM
 
3,154 posts, read 3,045,117 times
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Somewhere near the Burke VRE station might be a good choice for you. It's not too far out, and a house there should be in your price range. You could try any of the Burke/Fairfax neighborhoods that surround the station. It's a nice area - very suburban, but with decent schools and things for kids.

I think you can do better than a townhouse in that area. Try a detached home from the 70-80s - they run 500-650 near the station.
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