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Old 09-16-2009, 11:44 PM
 
30 posts, read 65,021 times
Reputation: 11

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Hey everyone -- we're excited to be moving to Northern Virginia (for my job), but is there a family friendly place where we can afford to buy a house?



Here are our details:
  • Married with 3 young children.
  • Originally from small town Michigan, but currently living in suburban Indianapolis.
  • Will be working in a territory that includes all of Virginia and Maryland (but am partial to Virginia since I attended UVA many years ago).
  • Since much of my business will be in the D.C. metro area, we would like to be within 75 miles of D.C.
  • Ideally would like a 4 BR, 2.5 BA house with a nice yard, but our budget is only about $320k.
  • Priorities: safe, very good schools, family friendly (and reasonable access to a major highway)
QUESTION: Where is the best place for us to live?
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:35 AM
 
Location: Woodbridge, VA
63 posts, read 199,159 times
Reputation: 35
Be careful with limiting yourself to miles in DC. For example, I came from Nashville originally and you could live 30, 40 miles from town and count on getting to work in less than an hours time.

Going 75 miles out of the city will exponentially lead to more time in commuting. Which is fine if you don't mind spending a couple of hours in the car or on a train. Remember though, gas prices can and will inevidibly go up again.

For example, a former coworker of mine lived right across the border in West Virginia, about 75 miles. He was able to get a huge house, land, etc for half the cost of something around the beltway. However, he spends 2 1/2 hours going to work, and 2 1/2 hours going home (worked in Arlington, VA). He seemd to be happy with that and would nap, read, etc on the commute (took the MARC rail). But 5 hours a day, that's valuable family time to me.

If you are looking for homes in the area, I would head to HomesDatabase - Home for Sale and Rent in DC, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. You can search in the various counties of NoVa, MD, etc. When me and my wife was shopping for a home, I was my own real estate agent and used the website to find what we were looking for.

I live in Prince William County (Woodbridge), and know for your budget, you can possibly get a foreclosed SFH for that price with a small yard, so that would put you 25 miles from DC, but you will have to roll up your sleves on the weekends to fix up the home. Commuter buses would get you to work in around 45 minutes, or you can slug in and use the HOV lanes and cut your commute down to around 30 minutes. Heading further south of Woodbridge would land you in Fredricksburg, about 70 miles from DC give or take. Your commute time would be an hour and a half to two hours, depending on method of getting to and from work.

If you are looking, make sure you check out where you life in reference to major interstates, any type of available public transportation such as trains or buses (VRE, MARC rail, etc). I choose Woodbridge because of the VRE, PRTC commuter buses, slugging on I-95, and driving to Springfield and metoring in. I wanted all the options for commuting.

Only you can really decide the best place to live. Do you want rural, do you want a 'burb, country, metropolis, etc?
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:43 AM
 
10,593 posts, read 12,076,421 times
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In the DC area, I would hesitate choose a 75 mile circle. That is too far for the traffic in this area and your need to get to places in the metro area. If you told me you worked from home 3 days a week and only had to drive in two days a week, I would say it would be okay. If you have to work and drive daily, a 75 mile commute would probably make you nuts. I would draw the line at a 35 mile radius. Ibecowtippin has some good points about Woodbridge with the public commuter options. It's really the best. I think you can get a house for that much. In my neighborhood (which is 30 miles door-to-door to my office), the smallest home in the neighborhood sells right now for about $325,000. I think that is going up. I have a 1/2 acre lot and 4 bedrooms and 2500 square feet not counting my basement. I am closer to a neighborhood called Montclair so I'm in the southern part of Woodbridge. Homes in Montclair are affordable. While I consider it Woodbridge, they do have a Dumfries mailing address/zip code and that might account for the lower price. You might check there. Any closer in and I don't think you are gonig to get a home for your price range.
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:44 AM
 
2,462 posts, read 8,040,320 times
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Maybe Front Royal?
But keep in mind that 75 miles out in Virginia puts you at least two hours from most parts of Maryland. You will not be able to find what you are looking for in the close-in suburbs of DC (where most of the best school systems are located). If you haven't started looking at metro DC real estate prices, you are in for a shock. Figure on double what you're paying now in the midwest.
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:31 AM
 
Location: Jefferson County
380 posts, read 998,601 times
Reputation: 103
Default not in VA, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChewyCarmel View Post
Hey everyone -- we're excited to be moving to Northern Virginia (for my job), but is there a family friendly place where we can afford to buy a house?






Here are our details:
  • Married with 3 young children.
  • Originally from small town Michigan, but currently living in suburban Indianapolis.
  • Will be working in a territory that includes all of Virginia and Maryland (but am partial to Virginia since I attended UVA many years ago).
  • Since much of my business will be in the D.C. metro area, we would like to be within 75 miles of D.C.
  • Ideally would like a 4 BR, 2.5 BA house with a nice yard, but our budget is only about $320k.
  • Priorities: safe, very good schools, family friendly (and reasonable access to a major highway)
QUESTION: Where is the best place for us to live?
Check out Jefferson County WV. I just DM'd you some info. It may fit what you are looking for.
Clint

PS. and I do agree with cowtippin on the daily commute to DC issure from here (right at 2hrs on the train but much less by car if you can avoid rush hour traffic, 1hr30m all the way or just over 1hr to the metro stop @ Derwood.)But if you aren't going in daily, as you seem to indicate, you may want to be at some distance from the city to make your travel to the rest of your territory easier.

Last edited by clintsullivan; 09-17-2009 at 07:38 AM..
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Old 09-17-2009, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
2,306 posts, read 1,352,613 times
Reputation: 949
I live in Ashburn and really like it. Housing prices have come down but seem to be inching back up. My guess would be a townhome for that price in Ashburn. There are a few single families that you could possibly snatch up... We have good schools, and the area is very family friendly.
South Riding is also very nice. Not sure about the prices there but the area is good for kids.
Leesburg could be another choice...I don't know if you want to go much further out than Leesburg to get to D.C. You are already looking at at least an hour commute from Ashburn. (My neighbor does it and with traffic it is more like 1 1/2 hours commute)
Purcellville is even further from Leesburg but housing is a lot more affordable.
You could find something in Sterling I would think. The home would be on the smaller side for that budget but areas like Countryside in Sterling are very cute and looks great for families. (we would have bought there is the home I liked had a basement!)
Good luck!
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:18 AM
 
7 posts, read 18,018 times
Reputation: 12
The first thing that popped into my head was Gainesville in Virginia (Manassas too although you get a little less bang for the buck). I think you will be able to find something in your price range out there.

If you graduated from UVA a while ago you will not believe the construction that has gone on in that area. Its very suburban now, although obviously close to more rural areas and Shenendoah National Park. Everything is nice (in a gentrified kind of way) because everything is new. Easy access to 66 and 29, and close to 81. Charlottesville is a straight shot down 29. Most areas of NOVA are reasonably accessible from out there (not too hard to get to 66, the Toll Road, and Fairfax County Parkway). You can take the VRE into DC from Manassas or even drive to the Vienna Metro. Getting to a lot of places in Maryland would be a nightmare, but there is nowhere you can get to everywhere in MD and VA during rush hour easily. You can actually shoot up 15 over the Potomac in Loudon County and go around DC traffic, depending on where you're going in Maryland. One downside is all the Nissian related traffic during the summer, but they are widening 66 out there and I think that is suppose to help.

And they have a Wegmans!
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:35 PM
 
476 posts, read 1,083,914 times
Reputation: 522
For a family friendly neighborhood with good schools I'd recommend looking in Ashburn. Most of Ashburn is pretty pricey but with the housing prices coming down, there are single family homes in your price range. Some neighborhoods that come to mind are Ashburn Village and Ashburn Farm. If you'd like to be a little closer in to DC, the Cascades and Countryside areas of Sterling are also nice.

Because most of your business will be in the DC metro area, I highly recommend keeping your home search to within 35 miles outside of DC - not 75. 75 miles is a very large area here. You'd be in traffic much of the time. With a 35 mile commute, you could probably keep your driving time to within an hour. If you were driving from the Ashburn area, you could get to Arlington or Bethesda on 267 (dulles toll road) in 45 minutes to an hour. If this is too long of a commute, you may want to move closer in and downsize, ie look for a townhome or expand your options for a single family home. Another thing to consider is the traffic on the major highway you'll need to use. The traffic on 95, 395 and 66 can be really tough. I always found traffic on the toll road to be easier to deal with.

homesdatabase.com is a great site for searching homes in the DC area
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Old 09-17-2009, 07:50 PM
 
30 posts, read 65,021 times
Reputation: 11
ibecowtippin -
Thank you for the advice -- that website looks like it could be very useful.
Regarding the "commute time" issue, please keep in mind that I will not be commuting. I'll be working from home and driving to appointments throughout VA/MD, but just want to be within 75 miles of D.C. because a majority of my appointments will be in the D.C. metro area. I have flexibility to live just about anywhere, but just want advice on the location you think would be safest, best schools, and most affordable (and convenient to a major highway). If that changes your recommendations at all, please let me know.
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:40 PM
 
30 posts, read 65,021 times
Reputation: 11
claremarie -
Front Royal looks like a nice town -- I like the name -- but do they have good schools there?
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