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Old 11-27-2008, 10:49 AM
 
42 posts, read 105,969 times
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Thanks for all the replies. This gives me a much better picture of the housing and the commute. I was leaning toward living in NOVA because of the possibility of sending the kids to UVA at in state tuition. But I will take a closer look at Maryland.
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jandee View Post
We are planning on a move in few months and we are considering several possible job offers. One of the areas we are considering is NOVA. The job will be with American University. We can afford a house around 600k. But we want a newer home, safe family-friendly area, at least 3000 sq ft and with excellent high schools and be within commuting distance. Is this even possible? Can anybody suggest areas/neighborhoods which we should look at? As we are moving from a small town, I am just bewildered by the choices in the DC metro area and any pointers will be helpful.
The other posters are right about McLean. The only way you will find a house of that size for 600 K is if you snag a foreclosure.

I am thinking Great Falls might work. The high school is one of the best around and with the crash of the real estate market I believe you could actually find a big place in your price range. It's absolutely gorgeous there. As for time to get to AU, I don't know what it is like during rush hour but it is on the order of 15 miles or so and maybe there is a way to get there in less than an hour.

I don't recommend living in Montgomery County for the simple reason that I used to live there and the place drove me crazy with its off-the-wall liberalism. So I can't call myself objective ... I'm partial to NOVA. You will like the MoCo schools ... as long as you don't mind educators who think it's appropriate to do stuff like show 10th graders a video in which a young women teaches them how to use a condom by demonstrating on a cucumber. Last I heard there was a ruckus over a proposal to let boys use the girls room if they felt that was their gender identity.

Don't get me wrong the schools are VERY good. The place is just too liberal for me.

Why don't you check out a site like Trulia - Real Estate, Homes For Sale, Sold Properties, Real Estate Maps and see if you can find houses of the size you are looking for in McLean, Great Falls or other places recommended to you.

Any place where you pay 600K for a house is likely to be safe.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:06 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
993 posts, read 2,193,665 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jandee View Post
Thanks for all the replies. This gives me a much better picture of the housing and the commute. I was leaning toward living in NOVA because of the possibility of sending the kids to UVA at in state tuition. But I will take a closer look at Maryland.
UVA? Come on now.

James Madison University is best! Go Dukes


hahahah j/k
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:48 AM
 
42 posts, read 105,969 times
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We remain very confused and this in spite of having family in the area and having visited several times, before we intended to move. I will look into Falls church. Looking forward to hearing more suggestions.

The liberalism in Mo County schools don't turn me off but the higher tax rate does.

If we live in Chantilly, how long would the off peak commute be?
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:49 AM
 
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If you prefer Virginia over Maryland, I think that, in your situation, looking at Falls Church would be worth exploring. Though some may disagree, the schools in Falls Church city or the western part of Falls Church generally are considered stronger than the schools in the eastern part of the portion of Falls Church that lie in Fairfax County.

I also think that the suggestion to look at Great Falls (and McLean), in light of the declining house prices, makes sense. Personally, if I were a newcomer to the area, I would pick a smaller and older house with a reasonable commute to AU over a newer and/or larger house in an outer suburb such as Chantilly. I cannot imagine any time of the day when a commute from Chantilly to Tenleytown would be pleasant, and few times when it would be short.

If you do look at the Great Falls/McLean area, and again this is a personal view, I would look at McLean neighborhoods that feed into McLean High School, rather than Great Falls neighborhoods that feed into Langley. Both are excellent schools, but McLean is a bit more socially and economically diverse, whereas the school boundaries for Langley generally have been drawn to ensure that it serves very wealthy neighborhoods, where most of the houses are well over $800K.

And, if schools are a primary consideration, and you're not put off by the comparative liberalism of Montgomery County schools, I will point out that there are a larger number of very high-performing schools in Montgomery County (Whitman, Churchill, Wootton, Richard Montgomery, Bethesda-Chevy, Poolesville, and Walter Johnson) than is the case in Fairfax, where one school (Jefferson) is probably the top school in the county, and there are really only three other schools (Langley, McLean and Woodson) comparable to seven Montgomery County schools.

Best of luck.
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:52 AM
 
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From Chantilly, probably 50 minutes to an hour...unless off-peak is three in the morning. Then maybe 45 minutes. Most of the roads you'd need to use for that trip will be busy (though not jammed) during most of the day...

PS. Auto insurance in NoVa is lower than in MD also.
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:04 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,373,850 times
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Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
And, if schools are a primary consideration, and you're not put off by the comparative liberalism of Montgomery County schools, I will point out that there are a larger number of very high-performing schools in Montgomery County (Whitman, Churchill, Wootton, Richard Montgomery, Bethesda-Chevy, Poolesville, and Walter Johnson) than is the case in Fairfax, where one school (Jefferson) is probably the top school in the county, and there are really only three other schools (Langley, McLean and Woodson) comparable to seven Montgomery County schools.
No James Madison? No Oakton? Plus TJ probably shouldn't count, as it's as selective as the top private schools. Also it serves science and technology majors only, although the curriculum is much broader than just those...
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:40 AM
 
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Saganista - The tier of Fairfax schools right below the four mentioned (which includes Oakton, Marshall, Madison, Lake Braddock and Robinson) is indeed very strong, but only the test scores at Langley, McLean and Woodson are comparable to those at the seven Montgomery high schools identified.

To the extent prospective residents are seeking broad comparisons of the performance of Montgomery and Fairfax students on standardized tests (which should not, in any event, be the sole consideration), here's what you'd find:

1. Test scores are higher on average in Fairfax than Montgomery (around 30 points on the SATs).

2. In Fairfax, the performance of TJHSST students is off-the-charts.

3. There are more extremely high-performing high schools in Montgomery than in Fairfax, since TJ is, as intended, a magnet school that attracts the top achievers to a single location.

4. There are far more very good and solid high schools in Fairfax than Montgomery.

5. The lowest-performing school in Fairfax (Mount Vernon) still outperforms five or six Montgomery schools in the Kensington/Wheaton/Silver Spring areas.
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Old 12-04-2008, 02:17 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
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Yeah, I mean I never heard that Montgomery County schools were anything to get excited about, but I know Fairfax County has some great high schools. But I went to private school so no first hand accounts here.
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:02 PM
 
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Before there was a TJHSST, Walt Whitman in Bethesda was uniformly viewed as the top public high school in the entire DC area, and the Fairfax public school system as a whole tended to have an inferiority complex where the Montgomery schools were concerned.

Whitman, Churchill and several other Montgomery county high schools still have student bodies that perform extremely well on college entrance exams such as SATs. But, in general, the Fairfax schools seemed to have surpassed the Montgomery schools, which may be a product of the many skilled newcomers attracted to Fairfax due to the county's pro-business attitude. Except for health care and life sciences, Montgomery hasn't been as interested in attracting new business. For those with wealth and secure jobs, this may make parts of Montgomery an extremely pleasant place to live and raise families. The rest of the county, however, has suffered in comparison.
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