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Old 11-26-2008, 10:51 AM
 
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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.
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:26 PM
 
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It is possible, but it depends how far you want to commute to DC and what you mean by newer home. If you are looking for something that was built after 2000 for example, you should have no problem finding something in the outer suburbs in Fairfax County such as Reston, Herndon, Lorton, Fairfax, maybe Falls Church, Springfield. However, it is likely that you will be priced out of the more sought-after areas such as McLean, Vienna, the "nicer" parts of Arlington County. Fairfax County and Arlington County have the repuation of the having the "better" school systems.
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:39 PM
 
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Thanks for the reply. I guess an acceptable commute would be something around 45 minutes. I was kind of hoping for a house built in the last 5 years but I can compromise if it is a great neighborhood with a nice communitey center, tennis court, pool etc. where teenagers can get together

Last edited by jandee; 11-26-2008 at 12:58 PM..
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Old 11-26-2008, 01:53 PM
 
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Than it sounds like a newer community development would be place for you that has the tennis courts, pool, etc. I think a place like Fairfax would offer that and probably be right at the 45 minute commute (although, I haven't done it during rush hour). Overall, I think your options will be wide opened based on your criteria. There is a great website www.greatschools.net which ranks schools, but public and private throughout the US. That may be a place to start to narrow cities to live in, but try all the ones I mentioned plus you may want to include Burke, Fairfax Station. Once you figure out which ones have the better schools based on your criteria, its just a matter of seeing which town is closer DC and has the best community center for teenagers.
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Old 11-26-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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Don't want to burst any bubbles, but half these places aren't within 45 minutes of Tysons, much less AU, in the morning rush. To be within 45 minutes, you'd need to be somewhere in North Arlington or McLean so that you have reasonably decent access to Chain Bridge. All of the schools in that area are just fine, but there aren't going to be any new, 3000-square foot homes in that area for $600K. Something is going to have to give...
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Old 11-26-2008, 02:49 PM
 
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Saganista is right about the commute. I just checked and it is a 50 minute commute from the Vienna metro to Tinnleytown (metro stop for AU). If you lived in Fairfax, for example, then you would have to add the commute to the vienna metro plus the walk to AU. However, if you are going to live in this area, you have to consider other commuting options, car pools, van pools, etc. I don't know how effective the HOV lane is on I-66, but off the 95 corridor that will significanlty reduce your travel time (assuming there isn't an accident on the HOV).
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Old 11-26-2008, 04:17 PM
 
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American University is not particularly easy to travel to from Northern Virginia, as it's in upper NW DC and is much closer to Maryland.

Commuting is such a big issue in the DC area and can definitely affect the overall quality of living for DC area residents. I'd urge you to consider areas in Montgomery County such as North Potomac. You can find a nice house (not new, but 20-30 years old) for around $600K, the public schools are very good, and the commute will be far more manageable.
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Old 11-26-2008, 06:37 PM
 
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You can easily get to AU from McLean or North Arlington in 45 minutes, but even in this market you won't find a 5 year old house in those communities for $600K. The houses in that price range in Arlington are 50 year old colonials with 2000 square feet, no garage or master bath, and a tiny lot. But the schools will be great.

Quite honestly, you'd have to double that price to get what you're looking for within a 45 minute commute.
And North Potomac would be quite a hike to AU -- down 270 to the Beltway and then crawling through the DC-bound traffic. At least an hour during peak commuting times.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
11,419 posts, read 20,266,606 times
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I have to wonder why you want such a new house? I personally think older homes are better built and built to last. May not have all the bells and whistles that you may want but the homes are sturdy.
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:13 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,640,279 times
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There are areas in North Potomac well within 45-60 minutes to
Tenleytown and there's no need to get on 270. Instead, you can take River Road all the way into the district. The houses may not be new, but you can get a nice suburban house for less than 800K and the school district will be excellent.

McLean and Arlington are also possibilities, but a comparable house in McLean will be smaller and more expensive, and Arlington (with the exception of some neighborhoods in North Arlington) generally is not considered as family-friendly a location, as Arlington has a much higher percentage of younger and transient residents.
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