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Old 04-17-2008, 12:55 PM
 
22 posts, read 63,298 times
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Hello,

My name is Shelly and I have been thinking of relocating to Va, and one of the places that I can transfer to is Fort Belvoir. Can any one tell me more about this area?

I've never been there so I am afraid of uprooting my family and taking them all the way across the states (we are in Ca) and putting them in a bad situation. That is we are leaving Ca so that we can find a safer, more peaceful place where we can afford to set up a home.

So I was wanting to know what is the surrounding areas around the Fort are like, people cost of living traffic, etc. It's a heavy deicsionto make blindly...but we are not surviving well out here on the West Coast, and need to go.

We would be looking for a home to purchase for a family of five...but not making much by way of income I can only afford upto 200,000 (very max). We don't mind commuting and perfer small towns as opposed to city living.

Can anyone help us out with this? Thank you. Shelly
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Old 04-17-2008, 12:59 PM
 
Location: -
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surrounding area, meaning Mt Vernon or Alexandria, is well, diverse.

if you know what I mean ;-)
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Old 04-17-2008, 02:31 PM
 
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Fairfax County as a whole is diverse let alone much of Northern Virginia and the DC metro in general. Coming from CA, Shelly should be familiar, perhaps even comfortable with that. Fort Belvoir is near the southern end of the Richmond Highway corridor aka Route 1. I lived just off Richmond Highway for over three years until recently. There are a lot of pluses: you will have most of your midscale needs for food and retail met from the area between Target to the north and Walmart to the south. The east side of Route 1 is generally more upscale than the west side, especially the closer you get to the riverfront. Although I haven't had the chance to walk through it, I hear Huntley Meadows Park is a nice stroll. If you decide to take a trip into DC, you will be relatively close to the Metrorail. Nearby Old Town Alexandria isn't a bad place to spend a day.

Concerning possible minuses: Route 1 proper is decidedly unglamorous looking albeit improving with the afrorementioned retail options. Also, while not nearly as dangerous as some areas in the DC metro, it does have a lingering negative reputation. Although the "worst" Fairfax County school is probably better than most in the rest of the country, some people feel the relatively high number of ESL students in some schools detract from the experience; others may embrace the opportunity to learn other cultures. That said, I'd recommend living in an neighborhood zoned for the Stratford Landing elementary school. I would also recommend renting a home before an apartment anywhere along Route 1 with the exception of the few just south of Huntington Avenue.

Alternately, if you want an area that is assured to be safer, if more sterile, then you will want to check out the Kingstowne area west of Fort Belvoir. Other nearby options include Lorton (pretty nice these days, from what I hear) and Woodbridge (cheaper but a long slog across the Occoquan River; mixed opinions on this forum as well).
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Old 04-17-2008, 03:10 PM
 
Location: TX
3,029 posts, read 10,658,303 times
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>200k is going to be your stumbling block.

Best bet for nicer areas and good schools for your price would be a TH and not SFH. Prices have come down ALOT in the past 18mo, but still not super great! It's an expensive area.

Lorton area, Lake ridge part of woodbridge (but might be a tough commute)
WEST springfield (not by the mall etc...)
Kingstowne
Burke
Alexandria would be the ideal commute since parts of it back to Belvoir, but for the better schools it will be pricey.

I too would suggest RENTING and then really scouting out the area so you can get a feel for the neighobrhoods commutes etc...

The nice thing is that MOST of the schools are very good and better than alot of schools in other parts of the US...Yes, there are handful of bad schools, but they are easy to avoid.

DO a search on this forum and you will find A TON of great info etc... it may take time to weed through the threads but well worth it.

GOOD luck
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Old 04-17-2008, 06:55 PM
 
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To be honest I don't think you will find anything suitable for a family of five for $200,000 that wouldn't be a miserable (and expensive) commute and leave you house-poor. What other areas would be possibilities for you?
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:00 PM
 
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Oh I did miss the detail about a $200K max for a house. I'm sorry to say that barring a foreclosure, you will be hard pressed to find a place that is convenient or large enough for a family of five. Woodbridge is a possibility but there are trade-offs, many opinions of which you'll find on this forum. Otherwise you'll be deep into Prince William or Spotsylvania Counties which would mean a long slog to work.
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC
48 posts, read 170,158 times
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Oh yeah. We're in the market right now, and you'll be hard pressed to find anything less than $200k, especially for five people. That might get you a one bedroom apartment or studio, even that far out. You might find some things around $300k, but it depends on how many bedrooms you need, and that'll likely be a townhouse close to Ft. Belvoir, and the neighborhood might not be great.

Our realtor and mortgage broker are advising to stay away from Woodbridge. Culturally, politically, and geographically it wouldn't work for us anyway, but they're both telling us plummeting values make it a less than desirable area.
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Old 04-18-2008, 07:49 AM
 
Location: -
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Woodbridge has commute from hell.

Even on the weekends, 95 is freaking slow.
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:38 AM
 
226 posts, read 680,262 times
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Are you active duty military? I went on Ft Belvoir yesterday to get a new retiree ID card and was absolutely blown away with the changes that have taken place on the base. I had not been there for over a year. They have torn down all the old base housing and built new houses. They are very impressive for base housing! I couldn't believe I was on a miitary base!! Kudos to the Army for providing really nice housing for it's troops! If you are active duty and plan to move to the area, I certainly would see if base housing is a possibility. A new hospital is being built on the base as well.
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Old 04-18-2008, 12:43 PM
 
162 posts, read 489,948 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LVMYDACH View Post
Are you active duty military? I went on Ft Belvoir yesterday to get a new retiree ID card and was absolutely blown away with the changes that have taken place on the base. I had not been there for over a year. They have torn down all the old base housing and built new houses. They are very impressive for base housing! I couldn't believe I was on a miitary base!! Kudos to the Army for providing really nice housing for it's troops! If you are active duty and plan to move to the area, I certainly would see if base housing is a possibility. A new hospital is being built on the base as well.
You beat me to it. I was getting ready to say the same thing. I fully agree. I am Active Duty Air Force myself and stayed a night there a couple of weeks ago. The base is nice with great living facilities for everyone (except billeting, my stay was horrible but that's a long story you not going to be interested in). We are moving to VA as well and have been looking around. After spending time there, I can also attest that $200k won't buy you much even south of Woodbridge. You'll do better down there, but I doubt you'll find much in that range. You'll need to get into the $300k range to find a small decent SFH or mid level condo/TH.

Good luck to you!
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