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Old 01-04-2012, 04:22 PM
 
5 posts, read 5,059 times
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I commute around the beltway-Falls Church, Springfield, Alexandria and at times into PG county just over the bridge. My wife teleworks 2-3 and sometimes 4 days a week, and then also drives into McLean from time to time. We have been looking to buy up to $500K. I can do a 1.5 hr+commute. We have 2 kids in daycare, so the ability for one of us to pick up at 6:30 PM is necessary. We currently live in Fairfax/Fair Lakes area. We had our sights set on City of Ffx, Chantilly, etc. Looking for a neighborhood with character that is not run down. It has been very difficult-slim pickings in our price range for a 3+ BR SFH.
My newest thought is the Haymarket or Gainesville area. I know the traffic is horrendous-I do jump on I-66 every now and then, but not all the way to 495. If I were to leave the house in Haymarket/G'ville around 7 AM, would I get to work by 830-9 AM?
Also, when would I need to leave, say the Annandale area, to get to Haymarket by 615 PM?
It seems crazy to consider Haymarket, but I have seen how much more you can get for your money, and there are a couple of neighborhoods that, while new, seem to have some nice people enjoying life, and the pace is a bit slower out that way.
Thanks for any advice-I'll be looking to buy in the next year.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:00 PM
 
1,974 posts, read 2,890,078 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iso_new home View Post
I commute around the beltway-Falls Church, Springfield, Alexandria and at times into PG county just over the bridge. My wife teleworks 2-3 and sometimes 4 days a week, and then also drives into McLean from time to time. We have been looking to buy up to $500K. I can do a 1.5 hr+commute. We have 2 kids in daycare, so the ability for one of us to pick up at 6:30 PM is necessary. We currently live in Fairfax/Fair Lakes area. We had our sights set on City of Ffx, Chantilly, etc. Looking for a neighborhood with character that is not run down. It has been very difficult-slim pickings in our price range for a 3+ BR SFH.
My newest thought is the Haymarket or Gainesville area. I know the traffic is horrendous-I do jump on I-66 every now and then, but not all the way to 495. If I were to leave the house in Haymarket/G'ville around 7 AM, would I get to work by 830-9 AM?
Also, when would I need to leave, say the Annandale area, to get to Haymarket by 615 PM?
It seems crazy to consider Haymarket, but I have seen how much more you can get for your money, and there are a couple of neighborhoods that, while new, seem to have some nice people enjoying life, and the pace is a bit slower out that way.
Thanks for any advice-I'll be looking to buy in the next year.
New home and your price range may take you quite a bit further west. Plus neighborhood with character may not be there in a new development. Have you looked at Greenbriar, near where you are already? Homes are in your price range, or less and yes, they are older homes, but good size rooms, some good size lots and it is a neighborhood that is pretty well kept up. I don't consider it run down at all. Hilsmom (think I got that right) just moved in last summer and can speak to what it's like as a new comer. Me, I've lived here over 30 years so am of course biased.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:26 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 4,094,846 times
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What sort of square footage are you wanting? There's some 30-50 year old homes in your price range in Fairfax and Chantilly, the Chantilly places will be 1970s but bigger.

If your wife might go to McLean 1-2 days a week and you'd go to (random area close to the Beltway), I'd suggest that Ashburn/Leesburg would be better for that than Haymarket.
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:42 AM
 
2,462 posts, read 8,312,684 times
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There is a reason that you get more for your money in Haymarket. Is it really worth spending 3+ hours in the car every day for that new-house smell?
With your workplace locations and price range, I would look in Burke.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:03 AM
 
5,109 posts, read 9,114,810 times
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In addition to Burke, I'd look in Annandale (22003). The homes will be older but some will have decent updates and you're close to the Beltway. Everyone weighs these house/commute trade-offs differently, but commuting to eastern Fairfax or Maryland from Haymarket on even a semi-regular basis poses its challenges. It's not just the length of the commute, but also the unpredictability. And, while people who live there and work nearby may enjoy newer homes and a slower pace of life, will you be in the same position to do so if you're trying to manage a commute to places around the Beltway?

You can do a few "test runs" at different times of the day to see if the commute from further out seems acceptable, but even then you should factor in what conditions may be like later if more homes are built and the infrastructure doesn't keep pace. I guess that's the commuter version of what we say about summer weather here ("It's not just the heat, it's the humidity").

Last edited by JD984; 01-05-2012 at 09:19 AM..
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
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We're pretty happy with Greenbriar, and houses are selling for less than we even paid last summer. (Boo for us, but yeah for newcomers) Where in McLean does your wife commute to? I know several people who commute to Tysons area and it takes about 45 minutes, I think.

Your situation is complicated with your work location switching so much. If you have to go into PG County, you probably don't want to go any further around the beltway or further west than the fairfax/chantilly area.

You could definitely look in Burke or Annandale, but I just don't think moving further west is worth it. We know lots of people who have moved or are moving to Brambleton, and it just is NOT for us. Even at 2 days a week (I work a lot of my hours from home), commuting for me would be misery.

If the Fair Lakes area works for you currently, I'd stick as closeby as you can. We really did our best to plant ourselves halfway between our offices (his in Ashburn, mine in Lorton). We're happy with our space, the schools are right down the street, and we're within a couple miles of just about everything we could possibly need in life.

The only other location that might work for you is southern fairfax (alexandria and lorton), but I don't know how much of a hassle that would be to get to mclean. I have friends who live in alexandria city and work at langley. They don't seem to mind their commutes - I think they were at maybe 30 minutes?

Good luck!
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:25 PM
 
1,334 posts, read 1,882,690 times
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I live in Bristow and would not recommend you buy in Haymarket. I truly think you would regret this decision especially since you have two young kids. I work in Fair Lakes so my commute is usually 45 minutes leaving at the height of rush hour. There have been periods where it takes 1 hr. I have friends in the area that commute to Tysons leaving at 6:30 am and they say it generally takes 1.5.

My sister lives in Annandale off Wakefield Chapel and I love that neighborhood and it has great schools. I think if you increase the budget a little bit it would more than offset the cost of gas and wear/tear on your car if you stayed closer to the beltway. I saw a listing on Braeburn that looked nice.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:09 PM
 
372 posts, read 786,384 times
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I live in Haymarket and we really like it here; however, I leave the house at 5:40 to get to my work in alexandria by 6:30. Getting in early, I am able to leave at 3:00 PM. I am able to work at home about 2 days a week and my wife is a stay at home mom. If I was in a job that I needed to be into work around 8:30-9:00 I would have moved somewhere much closer, probably Burke or Annandale. With that said, everyone's tolerance for traffic is different. Mine is much higher than mosts on here, but not that high. If you are seriously considering it, I would recommend either staying a night in a hotel in Gainesville or Manassas right off the interstate and seeing how you like the commute both in the afternoon and morning or at least making the drive a few afternoons after work. Since I leave so early, I made the commute several times before I moved out here in the afternoon, figuring that almost always, the traffic is much worse in the afternoon than the morning. Although with your morning time, I couldn't tell you whether or not that is true or not.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:47 PM
 
2,633 posts, read 3,225,537 times
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Another vote for Burke/Springfield/Annandale. When you came up with your $500,000 cap, did you factor in commuting costs? Even if you save money on your home by living further out, will your additional transportation costs eat it up (or even negate it)?
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:05 PM
 
372 posts, read 786,384 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoke_Jaguar4 View Post
Another vote for Burke/Springfield/Annandale. When you came up with your $500,000 cap, did you factor in commuting costs? Even if you save money on your home by living further out, will your additional transportation costs eat it up (or even negate it)?
If you bought a house for 400-500K in Haymarket would be 700-800K in Burke. It is definately cheaper to get the same house farther out west even accounting for increased commuting costs. The real balance is whether you wanted a newer bigger house and have a bigger commute or a smaller older house and less of a commute.
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