Welcome to City-Data.com Forum!
2,500,000 members. Thank you!
U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Northern Virginia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-06-2011, 09:19 PM
 
Location: NW DC
26 posts, read 39,099 times
Reputation: 12

Advertisements

(Just posted a similar thread on the Maryland page, so pardon the copy/paste here)

So I'm a college student looking at DC suburbs as a place to settle down in the near future. My boyfriend and I want to start a family, but we are unsure where is best. We've visited a few places but need some input.

What we are looking for;
Walkable area. I'm from a small town where you could walk everywhere, and it was residential around a small downtown with a few shops. I couldn't live somewhere that sprawled out with strip malls and McMansion developments...

Good schools. I am well aware that Fairfax County public schools rank very highly but I am not concerned with having "the best" schools, I just want a solid education for my future kids (as in, planning for next 10-20 years).

Metro accessible. Blue/Orange line. But I don't want to be crazy far away!! Which leads into...

Short-ish commute. I know the DC commutes can be horrendous depending on where you live, but I'd prefer to stick close by. At most a 20-30 minute commute is acceptable. The commute from my town to Center City, Philly was only 10 minutes hahah I have high standards xD My current job is in Bethesda but things may change as this is temporary.

Good hospitals nearby.

I want a HOUSE, not a condo, penthouse, or whatever. I want a 3-4 bedroom, 1-2 bathroom with a front and back yard, sidewalks, and a park within walking distance. Maybe this is a lot to ask for but where I am from, this stuff is plentiful. Problem is, jobs aren't plentiful there

Honestly, just looking for a stable, safe-feeling, comfortable suburb that is walkable and has a 'small-town' feel. I keep hearing how no DC suburbs have that feel, but hey, I figured I'd put it out there.

Towns I have looked into; Arlington (Yorktown High School neighborhoods), East Falls Church, Reston (this is way out, but there is a potential job in East Falls Church I am interested in, and Reston has always interested me). Also the Del Ray area of Alexandria but I don't know much about it.

If it means anything my boyfriend is upper class while I am lower middle class, in regards to economic standpoints. We are both white, left-of-center politically standing, and non-religious.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-06-2011, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 10,889,664 times
Reputation: 3697
What's your budget? That's going to determine everything. Are you looking to buy or rent?

It's rare to find walkability in NoVA unless you have deep pockets to pay for it, especially if you're looking for a SFH and a short DC commute via metro. Sounds like you've found most of the walkable areas--just depends if you want to pay the money to live there.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-06-2011, 09:56 PM
 
Location: NW DC
26 posts, read 39,099 times
Reputation: 12
Definitely buy. I know at the cheapest, what I am looking for is around 600k. Our budget would ideally be about 500k-700k. I'm not looking for a big house but we are planning on 2-3 kids, so 3-4 bedrooms would be a must :/

My partner, however, comes from a fairly well-off background so I would not doubt if his family assisted us in our housing expenditures. (As opposed as I am to the idea of mooching, I am in no position to refuse a handout). I would prefer to stick to a middle-class area though.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-07-2011, 12:06 AM
 
518 posts, read 1,444,036 times
Reputation: 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseyborninDC View Post
Definitely buy. I know at the cheapest, what I am looking for is around 600k. Our budget would ideally be about 500k-700k. I'm not looking for a big house but we are planning on 2-3 kids, so 3-4 bedrooms would be a must :/
If you want to live close to DC, I'd recommend South Arlington for that budget. For 3-4 bedrooms, you might find a nice colonial revival or bungalow in Arlington Heights, Alcova Heights, Barcroft, or Aurora Highlands (within walking distance to Pentagon/Crystal City metro stations). Fairlington is another option; no single family homes, but beautiful 1930s-era townhomes that are on the national register of historic places. Wakefield High School is currently being rebuilt, and Columbia Pike (S. Arlington's "main street") is redeveloping and trending upscale at a rapid pace, particularly at the road's east end. Shirlington Village, a neighborhood of cafes, restaurants, movie theater, library, and a performing arts theater is also close by. There are many frequent buses to Metro (blue/yellow lines) from Columbia Pike and the Shirlington bus station. Streetcars (i.e. the "trolleys" in Philly) should be running on the Pike by about 2015. For elementary schools, there are many good magnet options (immersion, montessori, etc.) in addition to the neighborhood schools.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-07-2011, 01:31 AM
 
Location: NW DC
26 posts, read 39,099 times
Reputation: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by irvine View Post
If you want to live close to DC, I'd recommend South Arlington for that budget. For 3-4 bedrooms, you might find a nice colonial revival or bungalow in Arlington Heights, Alcova Heights, Barcroft, or Aurora Highlands (within walking distance to Pentagon/Crystal City metro stations). Fairlington is another option; no single family homes, but beautiful 1930s-era townhomes that are on the national register of historic places. Wakefield High School is currently being rebuilt, and Columbia Pike (S. Arlington's "main street") is redeveloping and trending upscale at a rapid pace, particularly at the road's east end. Shirlington Village, a neighborhood of cafes, restaurants, movie theater, library, and a performing arts theater is also close by. There are many frequent buses to Metro (blue/yellow lines) from Columbia Pike and the Shirlington bus station. Streetcars (i.e. the "trolleys" in Philly) should be running on the Pike by about 2015. For elementary schools, there are many good magnet options (immersion, montessori, etc.) in addition to the neighborhood schools.

I'm not too familiar with the Arlington area (I just recently discovered it is a city as well as the entire county, if that shows how much I lack in knowledge). So these are specific neighborhoods in South Arlington? The streetcars are pretty intriguing. Arlington Heights, Alcova Heights, Barcroft, Aurora Highlands; do you know what schools these kids get sent to?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-07-2011, 04:46 AM
 
Location: Springfield
2,765 posts, read 8,287,506 times
Reputation: 1112
If you're both working then you may want to consider the price of child care is hovering around $300/week for pre-school.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-07-2011, 05:16 AM
 
100 posts, read 217,673 times
Reputation: 45
Lyon Village, Lyon Park, Ashton Heights, or country club in North Arlington
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-07-2011, 06:52 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,759 posts, read 10,657,750 times
Reputation: 3951
All those areas are nice, but you may be in for sticker shock. (Especially in the areas Blanca mentioned.) The ones Irvine named are a little more reasonable but still pricey compared to other areas of the country. A small fixer-upper in S. Arlington will run you close to $500,000. Short sales are cheaper, but then the banks are asking for major money up front, and then they make you wait.

The small-townish pockets near DC are crazy expensive--and the actual small towns are out way out west (e.g., Purcelville, Waterford, Winchester) and a major haul of a commute--which you said you don't want.

If you're really set on living in the DC area, I'd focus on getting jobs here and then base any purchase or rental on your commute. And I'm normally a big advocate of buying--but when you first arrive, renting for a few months or even a year couldn't hurt.

Good luck!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-07-2011, 09:05 AM
 
4,039 posts, read 4,901,638 times
Reputation: 4772
My friend just bought a house in Arlington in the Yorktown High school district. It's 3 bedroom and it's a major fixer-upper. She paid more than 500K for it. She also has a 2.5 year old and she pays $350 a week for a nanny.

Do you guys have jobs here yet? That would be the first thing that I would look for and then the neighborhood.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-07-2011, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Saint Petersburg, FL
414 posts, read 902,935 times
Reputation: 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseyborninDC View Post
(Just posted a similar thread on the Maryland page, so pardon the copy/paste here)

So I'm a college student looking at DC suburbs as a place to settle down in the near future. My boyfriend and I want to start a family, but we are unsure where is best. We've visited a few places but need some input.

What we are looking for;
Walkable area. I'm from a small town where you could walk everywhere, and it was residential around a small downtown with a few shops. I couldn't live somewhere that sprawled out with strip malls and McMansion developments...

Good schools. I am well aware that Fairfax County public schools rank very highly but I am not concerned with having "the best" schools, I just want a solid education for my future kids (as in, planning for next 10-20 years).

Metro accessible. Blue/Orange line. But I don't want to be crazy far away!! Which leads into...

Short-ish commute. I know the DC commutes can be horrendous depending on where you live, but I'd prefer to stick close by. At most a 20-30 minute commute is acceptable. The commute from my town to Center City, Philly was only 10 minutes hahah I have high standards xD My current job is in Bethesda but things may change as this is temporary.

Good hospitals nearby.

I want a HOUSE, not a condo, penthouse, or whatever. I want a 3-4 bedroom, 1-2 bathroom with a front and back yard, sidewalks, and a park within walking distance. Maybe this is a lot to ask for but where I am from, this stuff is plentiful. Problem is, jobs aren't plentiful there

Honestly, just looking for a stable, safe-feeling, comfortable suburb that is walkable and has a 'small-town' feel. I keep hearing how no DC suburbs have that feel, but hey, I figured I'd put it out there.

Towns I have looked into; Arlington (Yorktown High School neighborhoods), East Falls Church, Reston (this is way out, but there is a potential job in East Falls Church I am interested in, and Reston has always interested me). Also the Del Ray area of Alexandria but I don't know much about it.

If it means anything my boyfriend is upper class while I am lower middle class, in regards to economic standpoints. We are both white, left-of-center politically standing, and non-religious.

You will probably find everything you are looking for and then some, in a neighborhood on the north end of Old Town Alexandria called "Del Ray". I lived there for 6 years up until several weeks ago and loved it.

It offers just about everything you are looking for, and a medium sized house the size you are looking for will be in about the price range you have to spend. It is a short commute to down town D.C. via Metro's Blue line from Braddock Road station, is VERY walkable, and has a "small town feel" to it as it has its own "main street", complete with many local mom and pop type shops, good restaurants, and a few neighborhood bars to boot. Its upper middle class, to upper class. Homes range from 400K for a duplex, on up to 1.5 MIL+ for large hold restored farm house type homes / small mansions. Most homes are the smaller to medium sized bungalow types and are priced 6-800K. Its not quite as eclectic as it once was, but still has some diversity, and is a very liberal minded area, with a few conservatives thrown in here and there for good measure. In the past 4 years it has rapidly become young family / mommie / stroller land, but has still some how managed to hang on to some of its eclectic diversity.

I really think this is the closest and best fit for what you are looking for. The commutes don't get much easier / shorter in the D.C. area unless you live right next to where you work, or choose to live in down town D.C.

I would offer up a few of the towns in Loudoun County as they too offer up much of what you are looking for, at considerably lower prices, but alas Metro is not yet out here. That said, Metro IS coming out here, but it will be a few years. The closest metro stop will be the Wiehle Ave stop in Reston. If you do not mind buses, Loudoun County offers up some of the best commuter buses in the D.C. area, especially the Tysons express buses. These are much nicer than Metro buses. (think big charter buses with big seats and bathrooms) If you are willing to venture further out places like Leesburg, and Purcellville come to mind. Walkability, and the unparalleled natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains very close by. But, your commute, while not awful, would be substantially longer, BUT, you would save LOTS of money. I'm not going to recommend places like Ashburn / Broadlands / Brambleton because, while "nice" are very sterile suburban developments with little to no walkability / smaller town feel to them. They are simply suburban sprawl over what once was beautiful rolling hills of VA countryside.

Be sure to let us know what you decide on. Its always nice when people dont just come here for info, but also keep us all updated on things they like / choose. This is a great place for information, but keep in mind it is also a community and communities only work when people also give back. Welcome to City-Data!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Northern Virginia
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2024, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top