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Old 10-02-2008, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,107 posts, read 12,633,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PalmettoGuy View Post
Thanks for all the replies; they've been helpful. So far, it sounds like people think $85K is doable for us. We're not really opposed to a TH, so that is an option. And we would definitely prefer to keep the commute as short as possible. The main concern is to have a safe, family-friendly place to live.

As far as target rent goes . . . we currently live in a relatively small town in NE Ohio. Here, housing is cheap and we pay about 21% of gross income on rent. In NOVA, if we upped the percentage to 33% that would put us at $2300-2500 per month.
If you are willing to look at townhomes, that might be able to get you a bit closer and save a bit on the commute.

Also, don't be "afraid" of most of the schools.
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Old 10-02-2008, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
11,345 posts, read 20,119,971 times
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I agree with the comment by tgbwc, don't be afraid of the schools - I don't have children, so no flaming please - but I think learning begins at home, parents can't and shouldn't expect the schools to do the job that they should, i.e. manners, learning habits, knowing right from wrong, etc.

Anyway, I like our area - 22304, lots of kids of all nationalities and races are always out playing together and that's nice to see (this is a SFH neighborhood) but there are nearby townhomes, condos, duplexes, etc., you really should consider commuting time, today for instance: (I'm off work because of an injury) - it took almost 45 minutes to go 3 miles because of construction and that was very frustrating, this was around 1:00 in the afternoon. The closer in you can find I think the better off you'll be, and certainly try to be in a Metro accessible location.
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:02 PM
 
163 posts, read 594,785 times
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Looking at it again, $2300-2500 per month would probably be a stretch for us. $1700-2100 per month would be more ideal.
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:15 PM
 
1,261 posts, read 5,604,099 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PalmettoGuy View Post
Looking at it again, $2300-2500 per month would probably be a stretch for us. $1700-2100 per month would be more ideal.
I think you have options. Take a look at rental properties on MilitarybyOwner.com - Real Estate near U.S. Military Bases . That will give you an idea of what's available in that price range. As a federal employee, you are eligible to get a transportation subsidy (I believe it is up to $110/month). Ideally you find a place close to the metro. Otherwise, you might want to look at places accessible to the VRE. The downside with the latter is that the schedule is limited so if you work irregular hours, it's not a good option.
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:54 AM
 
Location: Fairfax County
1,534 posts, read 3,313,098 times
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You could find a single family house to rent for $2100 a month inside/just outside the Beltway without a problem. I would look in the North Springfield/Burke/Annandale area, especially since you are homeschooling. There is a very active/thriving homeschooling community in that area.
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:37 AM
 
734 posts, read 1,726,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlv311 View Post
As a federal employee, you are eligible to get a transportation subsidy (I believe it is up to $110/month). Ideally you find a place close to the metro. Otherwise, you might want to look at places accessible to the VRE. The downside with the latter is that the schedule is limited so if you work irregular hours, it's not a good option.
The transportation subsidy for 2008 is up to $115/month (tax-free), and will increase to at least $120 in 2009 due to inflation. That's a nice $1400 take-home salary bump.

FYI, I would definitely stick with your lower housing budget. Groceries are a lot more expensive here than in central IL, which I would expect to be closer to NE Ohio in cost of living than NoVA. (Is there any place in Woodbridge/Lorton where you can find good, cheap produce?)

Also, I do agree that minimizing commute time is important. I would recommend including commuting options as part of your housing research, wherever you look. (That's how I can reliably slug and use the Metro to get from Woodbridge to DC and out to W. Arlington in 45 minutes in the morning and return in 1 hr. in the afternoon). Oftentimes the longest part of a commute is getting from your home to the transit hubs, both inside and outside the beltway.
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:39 AM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,947,441 times
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You could get a townhouse in the Kingstowne area (zip code 22315) within your budget. Like some of the other areas suggested, that would be near the Franconia-Springfield Metro.

To help your budget calculations, the rush-hour fare from there to the downtown DC stations is $4.25 each way. Parking is $4.50 a day. So that would be $13.00 a day, part of which would be covered by your transit subsidy (be sure to ask about that in your interview). If you lived close enough and your wife could drive you then you wouldn't have to pay for parking (and might not need a second car). Your commute would be what's considered by most people a reasonable length for this area.

That's just an example of how you need to look at commuting cost, distance, and time factors (traffic) when deciding where to live and what the cost will be.
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:53 AM
 
Location: TX
3,029 posts, read 10,634,644 times
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you've gotten great advice here and since you are willing to get into a TH you will be able to get closer in. I think you will be surprised at the size and quality of TH in the NOVA area.
I too would concentrate on the Kingstowne, Burke, and WEST springfiled areas. Good schools and good location to take the metro or VRE in. Also LOTS of young families and community activites etc...

I too say STICK with your lower housing budget $2000 should get you a nice TH. Then you will have more disposable income to get out and enjoy all that DC and the surrounding area has to offer.
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Old 10-04-2008, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Northern VA
798 posts, read 2,477,736 times
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I think you will find plenty of options in your price range in the Springfield, Alexandria (FairFax County) or Burke areas. I would check proximity to metro stations (Franconia Springfield or Van Dorn metro for blue line or Vienna or Dunn Loring for orange line) and use the trip planner on the metro site I posted above to give you some ideas of your commute in time and cost.
There is so many family things to do in the area that you don't want to be too exhausted on the weekends to take advantage of .
Sorry, missed the post with the advice on the cost above but you can still compare options on the trip planner..
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:18 AM
 
163 posts, read 594,785 times
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Thanks again for all the replies. Well, it sounds like the consensus is that we can make it on that salary. That is encouraging. I won't have to pick out housing for a while, because even if I get the job, I wouldn't start until fall of next year (but I would have to accept an offer pretty much immediately -- this month). So, housing costs and availability could still change significantly by the time we're ready to buy or rent.

I just wanted to get a feel for whether we could plan to live reasonably comfortably on that salary. So if I'm hearing you guys, we can find safe, family-friendly housing in our price range even within the beltway, with a reasonable commute.
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