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Old 08-27-2009, 05:51 AM
 
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Love contemporary or charming homes. Realize the area is more expensive - willing to identify an older home in good condition allowing me to remodel. Neighborhood is really important. Like tucked away neighborhoods near woods, trails etc. that is not too congested or over populated.

Children are honor students and very athletic. Need some diversity in the school given we are african american as well as a sound academic and sports program. Would also be nice to have a school focused on fine arts but I know I am asking for a bit much. Use to live in Maryland. Familiar somewhat with Virginia. We will deal with commuting. Don't want to pay over $500K or so.

Also - want a good school but not one that is exhausting academically.

Thank you.
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:19 AM
 
Location: Jefferson County
380 posts, read 999,276 times
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Where is your work location and what is your acceptable commute time?

What type of home are you looking for?
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:59 AM
 
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"Don't want to pay over $500K or so."

More than any of the other factors you listed, this will drive your decision. If you want "tucked away" neighborhoods with charming homes rather than 4 BR colonials, ramblers or splits; near woods rather than other houses, shopping centers, busy streets, etc.; but with solid and diverse public schools, then you will almost certainly be looking well outside the Beltway in this price range in northern Virginia.
Have you considered areas in Maryland such as Takoma Park or the Sligo Creek area? University Park, in College Park, is an absolutely lovely area, although it's essentially an enclave surrounded by not-so-nice strip malls and Route 1. All of the folks we've known there raved about the elementary school, but moved or went private beyond that.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:36 AM
 
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Hollin Hills in Alexandria (West Potomac HS district) and Lake Barcroft in Falls Church (Stuart HS district) are two neighborhoods with older "contemporary" homes (homes built in the 1950s and 1960s in what was then considered "contemporary" design). Most properties go for over $500K but if you are patient and able to remodel yourself, you might find a house in your price range or a bit above it that needs some work, but otherwise fits what you're seeking.

The schools in these neighborhoods aren't considered the "top schools" in Fairfax when measured by test scores, but plenty of people will attest that they provide a fine education to motivated students with supportive parents. Both are in diverse areas of the county (with more AA families in the Alexandria area and more Hispanic families in the Falls Church neighborhoods near Lake Barcroft). I don't think there are a lot of AA families in Lake Barcroft, but (historical tidbit) it's where Justice Thurgood Marshall and his family lived when he was on the Supreme Court.

Last edited by JD984; 08-27-2009 at 12:14 PM..
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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I agree that finding a SFH for $500K using traditional methods (i.e. not a foreclosure) will be difficult in Alexandria/Arlington/Fairfax County where most of the job centers are. You'll have better luck in Prince William and Loudoun Counties, the former perhaps having more AA's... but that could come at a cost of a difficult commute in the likelihood that work is out-of-county.

If work is in DC, I also agree that Prince Georges County in MD may be a better choice. As you've spent time in MD, you're probably familiar with its negative reputation for crime in some of the towns bordering DC as well as its many upscale AA communities further out. This quixotic combination would seem to make finding a $500K SFH in reasonably good shape to be a realistic goal.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,752,398 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
University Park, in College Park, is an absolutely lovely area, although it's essentially an enclave surrounded by not-so-nice strip malls and Route 1. All of the folks we've known there raved about the elementary school, but moved or went private beyond that.
Yes, University Park is lovely. I was amazed the first time I stumbled across it just beyond very-not-lovely Route 1.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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Nowadays you can find big, nice, older but renovated homes in Fairfax/Burke area for about $400 - all with great schools. Prices hare dropped dramatically. I am talking huge - 5 bedroom, 3 bath homes with 2 car garages and big lots.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:28 PM
 
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For around 500k there are a few options in South Arlington, look at Douglas Park, just south of Columbia Pike, and west of Glebe Rd. Many homes back up to parkland just west of S Quincy St. There are plenty of attractive cape cods and bungalows. The community is very family oriented and diverse (African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Anglos, etc). close to the W&OD bike path.

Claremont is a culturally diverse area of modest, but attractive, colonials next to Wakefield HS. (my previous post in another thread describes Wakefield in some detail). The elementary is Claremont ES, which is the Spanish immersion magnet for the western portions of Arlington. The non-magnet school neighborhood option is Abingdon, I believe. This neighborhood has just been designated as a county historic district, and it also backs to parkland. It is very close to the four mile run and W&OD bike paths. It is also close to the Shirlington Village cafes and shops. A popular Busboys & Poets location opened a few months ago (the other location is on U St. in DC).

Also, consider Fairlington, a designated National Historic District of "colonial" rowhouses/townhomes. This is one of South Arlington's most attractive residential areas. It is within walking distance of the Shirlington or Fairlington shops.

There are also quite a few historically Black churches in the area. The African American communities in South Arlington predate the Civil War.
Here's some info on the Nauck Community:
Site: Nauck Community - African American Heritage VA

If your kids are academically self motived, they will do very well in South Arlington schools. In terms of athletics Wakefield is best known for its basketball program.

The public schools all have excellent fine arts programs, and the public schools' Career Center has many fine arts classes for kids in the summer or weekends during the school year.
Wakefield HS often teams up with Signature Theater for performing arts programs.

some other arts/rec programs here:
http://www.arlingtonva.us/department...gramGuide.aspx

The Arlington Arts Center also has arts programs/camps for kids.
http://www.arlingtonartscenter.org/

Last edited by irvine; 08-27-2009 at 01:39 PM..
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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Arlington is rather expensive, and I don't think of its neighborhoods as particularly "tucked away," but I always admire Irvine's advocacy on behalf of the county. If you're interested in exploring, here's what's available in the Wakefield district below $600K. If you're looking for "contemporary" homes, I don't think you'll find many SFHs in South Arlington that fit the bill, but some of the Cape Cods in South Arlington are "charming."

FranklyMLS.com Virginia & DC MLS via Keyword Search & Wiki. Homes for Sale+
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:52 PM
 
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"Arlington is rather expensive, and I don't think of its neighborhoods as particularly "tucked away," "

There are some very nice woodsy areas off Glebe and Military Road, and in the Cherrydale neighborhood, to name two off the top of my head. But these are among the most expensive parts of Arlington, and well beyond the $500K limit.
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