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Old 02-24-2009, 03:58 PM
57 posts, read 108,164 times
Reputation: 37


We are moving to NoVa in a couple of months. We are deciding whether to buy or rent. We will lose money on our current house. We can afford to buy, but we really do not want to lose even more money. We plan to move to Oakton or Vienna, and we are looking at houses up to $800 - $900K (will gladly pay less :-).

Where does it look like the market is going? Our realtor say Vienna prices are much more stable than Loudoun, or other areas (of course he wants us to buy).

Thoughts...is the market close to bottom (so we should buy), or is Vienna ready to drop...(and we should rent)??
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:45 PM
Location: Washington DC
380 posts, read 953,109 times
Reputation: 254
Fairfax County like many places is in an economic slowdown, but Vienna is a nice area of the county and having lived in this region for over 30 years, i can tell you buying a nice home in Vienna is always going to be a good investment. The Fort Belvior base realignment, along with the federal government being close by is a good insurance toward your purchasing a home in Fairfax County. Why rent, when what you can likely buy a nice home for under the cost the same place would have sold for 5 years ago. The prices will go back up in 3-5years.
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:59 PM
1,261 posts, read 5,615,017 times
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While I think Vienna and Oakton are good places to live, I would consider renting before buying. You can always find a short-term rental. Get familiar with the neighborhood and your commute before choosing your permanent home. GL with your relocation.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:22 PM
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,755,814 times
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I tend to agree with mlv311.

Your Realtor is absolutely right about the relative stability of areas like Vienna. Traffic is so bad around here that people will pay big, big bucks to buy a home relatively close to where they work. Unless the Traffic Fairy comes down and makes that problem go away, close-in housing with retain its value better than places that have a long commute. Plus, Vienna has a lot going for it aside from the commute. Great schools, walkable shopping areas, tons of trails for walking/bike riding, lots of parks for the kids, etc. etc. All of these things will keep prices higher.

However, with all that said, you really don't know the commute until you've lived it day in and day out. $800K is a boatload to spend to find out you would have been better off in another area, even if your home does maintain it's value, you know? And even though Vienna is more stable than some other places, it's not totally immune to the market, either. I've lived near Vienna since July and can anecdotally think of a good half dozen houses I pass on a regular basis that have been for sale the entire time I've lived here. A lot of sellers in the area will leave their properties on the market indefinitely rather than sell for substantially less than their dream price. That makes the situation look a little deceptive, because those prices would be dropping if the sellers weren't being unrealistic.

It's a pain in the butt to move twice in a year (trust me, I know, I've moved 5 times since 2006), but there really is no better way to learn where you want to be than to live here for a while before writing a big check...
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:03 PM
3,504 posts, read 7,942,290 times
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I say rent - and I do think Vienna is a more stable area to hold its price - but still - homes are still dropping in value - so many foreclosures - they even have a problem with squatters in Manassas because it is so bad - you see these beautiful, huge new homes vacant and falling apart.

Also - I think parts of Oakton went through a school redistricting which will in turn make values plummet in some areas.
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:30 PM
Location: Bettendorf, IA
446 posts, read 1,225,157 times
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Vienna and Oakton are very nice. And, since they are cloer in than other communities the price declines of homes there will be less than others. I would still rent though as I believe that prices will still decline a bit even in close-in neighborhoods. If you are losing money on your house where you're at I would think it would be kind of difficult to buy something again to lose more money. Rent for a couple of more years and buy your house here for less than what you would have paid for it today.
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:05 PM
446 posts, read 1,488,411 times
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In an area as large as here, I really would rent first. That way when you do buy, you'll know exactly what you want.

That being said, I find I could really only live three places in Nova: Arlington (where I am now), Old Town Alexandria or Vienna. However, my reason for this is simply (not so simply to me...lol) that I cannot stand living in a cookie-cutter, no town center kind of place. So my point is, if you did go ahead and buy, it would be hard to lose with Vienna.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:50 PM
23 posts, read 65,133 times
Reputation: 30
Default Rent and try out neighborhood before buying

I am on the rent-first boat. You get to try out the neighborhood to see if everything (commute, schools, stores, house of worship, noise, etc.) works for you, before making a $800K decision. Plus $800K houses are not going to move that fast in this market, so you can afford to wait and decide.

I just moved here from SoCal, and am renting first. Just within weeks I already confirmed a few things (commute, schools, nearby stores, etc.). Only you, not realtors, can decide what works for you. So go with what you feel best.
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:40 PM
57 posts, read 108,164 times
Reputation: 37
Thanks for all your thoughts. We have actually lost money on our last two houses....we had planned to stay west much longer, but the economy is bringing us east. Unfortunately, we missed out on any bubble gains; we lived in one place without a bubble, and then another just as that bubble started to deflate. I hate to rent, and then buy as our kids will have to change schools again. They just did that 2 years ago. Hopefully, if we rent, we can find a place to buy in the same area.

My spouse's job is farther out -- a back road commute to the Reston area. I am hoping is not too many surprises with that commute....but thanks for the warning. We would like to stay close in so I can find a job easier without another huge commute. We lived in the farther out suburbs once, and though it was nice to have a newer house, we missed a real town, and the uniqueness of more established communities.

Any more thoughts are helpful. Have Vienna's prices decreased at all?

Last edited by Movingwesttoeast; 02-25-2009 at 12:39 AM..
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:50 AM
134 posts, read 163,511 times
Reputation: 70
where are you moving from? If far & you aren't that familiar with the different neighboorhoods, I would say rent a house for a year or so and if you like the area, then buy.
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