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Old 09-02-2017, 08:02 PM
1,189 posts, read 1,820,706 times
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The metro is absolutely horrendous outside of rush hour...if you aren't using it to commute to work I would scratch proximity to it completely off your list and find a nice place to live focusing more on schools.

If going to DC you can easily park in Pentagon City (or some other station with free parking) or just drive. If you don't want to drive Uber...seriously anything is better than waiting 20+ minutes for trains on the weekends.
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Old 09-02-2017, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Hal Roach View Post
It is mind boggling. I didn't like the local school in Phoenix getting a "3," and I paid 18,000 for a SFH in 2010. My parents' local school in Manassas is a "2," and their taxes were 4800, until they sold for 350K within two days. It is basically organized crime, but apparently they aren't very organized. One word: Westspringfield. You give up the Metro, but let's face it, Metro sucks. Rush hours are uncivilized, fares are high, and if you get there early enough for parking, you could have already been to the Pentagon via the HOV lanes. Look around the Springfield CC...Mostly 1960s houses...you often won't get a two car garage, but you won't get a vinyl siding monstrosity, either. There is also the area of Fairfax Station, that used to be known as Lorton...and they go to South County...which might be decent.
I'm only using the metro in my free time at this point and not during peak hours - so have not encountered any issues using it and really enjoy the freedom it provides. We love to explore. I hear you on the big/new houses, I'm much more interested in a unique quirky house and understand they are generally smaller and without a garage.

Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
I agree with the above.

You aren't going to get everything you want. The biggest "tough" factor is the 1 mile or less to Metro with all the other requirements.

Springfield, overall, will meet your needs but their aren't any great neighborhoods butted up so close to a Metro station in the suburbs.
Springfield is very close to my work, but I haven't really found the area very interesting architecturally or culturally.

Originally Posted by spencgr View Post
Whose rating system are you putting so much faith in?
Greatschools and word of mouth from people who grew up here. Appreciate any other sources you can provide on school ratings.

Originally Posted by sixtus View Post
Then go for Truro. You get Wakefield Forest Elementary, Frost Middle and Woodson High - all three highly rated consistently in the span of last 30 years. You will get a great well maintained neighborhood, modern/contemporary house, Mosaic district for shopping 10 min drive away.

Another option would be North Arlington, somewhere close to Metro - except the tiny, crappy Cape Cod fixer upper will cost you anywhere from 690 000 - 750 000 and those houses need another 100 000 work.
We're going to drive around N. Arlington tomorrow. Hoping to come across at least an area to keep an eye on for homes that come up for sale. Our strategy right now, is to take the metro to stops, get off, walk around and feel out the area. See what is for sale nearby, if the area feels right to us. I think the schools near all of the stops in N. Arlington are pretty good.

Originally Posted by Hal Roach View Post
Living in Arlington or Vienna, when you work on the edge of Springfield would be taking defeat from the jaws of victory.
What do you mean? The commute to Fort Belvoir from here is excellent. Tops, I spend 35 minutes each way. Plus, if I were to work somewhere other than Fort Belvoir someday, we would be very centrally located.. but if we bought near Fort Belvoir and I got a job somewhere more near DC, it would almost require a move, or sinking 2hrs per day in driving, which I wouldn't do.

Originally Posted by Fern435 View Post
Your post provided useful information about your needs and preferences, so you will get plenty of helpful suggestions here.

One key item: Hollin Hills is served by Fairfax County Public Schools (West Potomac HS, Sandburg Middle School, Hollin Meadows Elementary) because it is in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County (but it is not City of Alexandria). City of Alexandria has an entirely separate school system from FCPS. It is rather confusing at first. We lived just south of Hollin Hills along the Parkway and later moved over to West Springfield.

If you liked Truro (and it was one of my favorite neighborhoods while we lived in the area), then perhaps you might look at Truro again? It is really important to be happy in one's home and community.
Thank for you for that information on Hollin Hills - though West Potomac is a 4/10 and "test scores at this school fall below the state average and this suggests that most students at this school may not be performing at grade level", per Greatschools. Truro is still definitely a consideration. Great community.

Originally Posted by Middlin View Post
I'm confused on the 1 mile requirement to metro if you don't use it to commute, or am I missing something? Given that schools are the most important, I would go with Truro. My BIL grew up in Hollin Hills and his parents moved a couple of years ago. I used to go the Christmas neighborhood party where everyone gathered a tree in the community they decorated. Sang carols at the tree and went from neighbor house to neighbor house. Very charming neighborhood.
We will probably reconsider Truro, but are also going to check out N. Arlington and also keep a close eye on the houses here in Falls Church City.

Originally Posted by gomason View Post
Get a house close to a major thoroughfare and you can be a 5 minute bus ride away from Metro. West Springfield or Kingstowne would only be a 10 minute bus ride to Metro. Theres also free parking at Metro stations on the weekend FYI.
The free parking is excellent. I just really wanted to experience the walk around type city life - we moved here for the schools, number one, but for the adventure and culture, a close second. Believe it or not, Alabama has corporal punishment in their schools. There was absolutely no way we were putting our children in that environment. We don't hit our children, and there's no way someone else was going to! Alabama has more than earned it's reputation, is all I need to say. I met plenty of "successful" people in the area, whose mindsets were just totally unacceptable - so it wasn't an education thing, it was like group think - and you live there, and your kids run with those kids - and that's how it happens. We got up and out of there before our first child began school. Happy to be here!
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Old 09-02-2017, 09:07 PM
16 posts, read 17,620 times
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I currently live in Truro and before that we rented an apartment near Seven Corners. If you want some info about Truro you can pm me, in the meanwhile these are some random thoughts:
1- We love it here. Very nice neighborhood with a strong sense of community.
2- you are about 10 minutes to the Dunn Loring metro station (by car).
3- when either my wife or I travel to DC for work, we take the metro. However, each time we go in family to DC to "explore", we always drive. We did the metro "thing" once or twice, but we found it way more convenient (and even cheaper) to drive. During weekends there's no traffic and on the other hand your may get stuck waiting for a train for 20 minutes). You can be downtown in less than 25 minutes by car.
4- your commute to Fort Belvoir should be shorter from Annandale.
5- very quick access to 495.
6- Schools are very good.

Hopefully this helps.
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Old 09-03-2017, 03:03 AM
1,966 posts, read 1,169,237 times
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People that commute from Springfield to DC have an easier commute than most in the area, especially if you require three bedrooms and good schools. Nova is relatively new, and most of it was sparsely populated pre WW II. Sears homes in Arlington are one of the architectural highlights. My cousin paid 120k in Lyon Park in 1984...it sold for 990k three years ago, and if the lot had been a thousand sf bigger, it would have been big enough for two houses and fetched 1.4. A Craftsman with an addition on the back that might as well have been a car wash.
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Old 09-03-2017, 04:18 AM
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I echo everyone else's sentiments about Metro. Metro used to be a great thing. Over the past 3 years, it's had some serious issues and it's going to make many more years to rectify.

Unless Metro was my sole means of commuting, a very close proximity requirement to a station would not factor into what may otherwise be fabulous attributes of a house/neighborhood you've found.

I work in DC, used to take Metro religiously. My daughter lives in DC now and uses it for her primary means to get around, but even she's grown tired of it's unreliability and has taken up biking to work (something I thought she'd NEVER do!!).

Anyway, going to DC on the weekends by car is liberating. Very little to no traffic, cheaper, and much more convenient.

That's not to say Metro is bad and I can see you are enjoying it. But it's not worth giving up a gem of a home for.
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:34 AM
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Our first house was in a neighborhood called Sycamore Gardens in North Arlington (22213), near Bishop O'Connell High School. Less than a mile to the East Falls Church metro. There are homes in your price range there, the schools are terrific (Tuckahoe/Williamsburg/Yorktown) and it's an easy hop onto 66 and the Beltway. There are two small shopping areas within easy walking distance. Also within a few miles of the Overlee swim club, a wonderful playground on Harrison Street, a branch of the Arlington Public library, and the W&OD bike path.

However, most of the homes are cookie-cutter 3 BR 1.5 BA Colonials on small lots without garages, and some of the streets are cut-through. When we first moved there, our family and friends often pulled into the wrong driveway because all of the houses looked exactly the same. People move there for the schools and commuting convenience, but quirkiness and charm are in short supply. Many of the homes in this general area have been expanded and upgraded, but that usually puts them beyond your price range.

If walking distance to Metro is a deal-breaker, then, as others have mentioned, you will have to make sacrifices on other dimensions.
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:54 AM
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You also asked about the school rankings. In northern Virginia, the Greatschool ratings will almost always reflect the socioeconomic demographics of the school population rather than the quality of the teachers, amenities, or curriculum. If the school attendance area includes neighborhoods with significantly less expensive housing (such as apartments or older townhomes), then the ratings will be lower than schools that serve only neighborhoods with single family homes in your price range. Those lower-rated schools have more students who are low-income or limited-English. Rather than relying too much on school rankings, you can look up the demographic information on schools you are considering, then make your own decisions.

There aren't any secret enclaves of charming homes on quiet streets with top-rated schools and within walking distance of Metro under $800K. Only you can decide which factors are most important for your family.
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Old 09-05-2017, 08:38 AM
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,555 posts, read 12,630,938 times
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Someone mentioned Vienna so if you want to pursue that path, you can look at homes off Marshall Road, Kingsley, Ware St, all in SW (the town is broken into 4 quadrants). The schools are Marshall Road Elem, Thoreau Middle, and Madison High. The latter two are definitely rated 8-10 on Great Schools, while Marshall Road may be a 6-7 but still a very good school. I haven't checked lately since I moved away 5 years ago. It's a great community, very family friendly, kids biking, swim club, lots of town events throughout the year. You can find a house within 1 mile from Vienna Metro (side that is north of I-66), if you stick around those roads mentioned above. Housing will be older - 50s ranch or 60s split most likely. I absolutely loved living in Vienna and would move back in a split second if given the chance. Great town!
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:55 PM
4 posts, read 4,205 times
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This group is awesome - thank you all so much for the insightful and detailed responses. You have really helped me through this process. Just a bit of backstory, we took 9 months looking for a house in Alabama before buying.. we spent an enormous amount of time in the search, but it paid off, as we spent our entire nearly 9 years in that house, and would have been happy to stay in it indefinitely. We want the same thing here, so really doing our diligence, as this house could definitely see us through the next 20 years. We drove to Arlington the other day to see a house, which upon arriving, learned had sold that morning (so no open house).. we walked up to Rocky Run park, hung out in the area, etc.. which is lively and beautiful, but we learned that the area just a bit too busy for us to feel comfortable trying to raise our two young kids. We want a neighborhood we can ride our bikes down the street, walk our kids to school, etc..

We were completely charmed by Truro and everything it is. The community, the people you see out enjoying life, the beautiful homes - the fact that we can walk our children to school from Kindergarten through 6th grade, the walking/bike trails, the pool/community center. It's the place for us, most definitely is. We are buying the house in Truro!!

So excited! Thanks again for all of your help!!
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:38 PM
1,282 posts, read 1,729,139 times
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Congrats! I don't you will regret the choice.
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