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Old 04-03-2012, 11:51 AM
 
11 posts, read 11,970 times
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Hey everyone. I'm new to the forums because I'm looking to buy a home with my wife. We currently rent in the hustle and bustle of Arlington and we enjoy it, but we know that we couldn't afford a home there so we are looking to move out to the 'burbs. I was really looking into West Springfield and Burke because of the affordability but after reading this thread, I'm starting to think it's a little too quiet for us. We plan on having kids in 3-4 years, but are looking to move sooner than that due to the interest rates now and the amount we are paying in rent is outrageous. We are looking to stay under 450k and are open to a townhome, but prefer a single family. What areas do you think are comparable when it comes to family friendliness (schools, safety, etc) with a little more choice of restaurants/shopping? Fair Lakes? Oakton/Vienna?
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:52 AM
 
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I lived in Fair Lakes for a couple of years and have worked here for six years. FL doesn't compare at all to Vienna. Restaurant choices are very limited in the immediate area and not many for ethnic type of variety. Fairfax Corner offers some nice choices as well as some shopping, but FL has shopping "centers" whereas Vienna is more of a town. Getting around FL is fairly simple, where Vienna can become gridlocked. Vienna can be walkable and FL not so much. All depends on what you're looking for.

I also lived in Oakton and the only plus is that it's close to Vienna and the metro if you're aim is "not so quiet"

Generally speaking I would say that Oakton and Vienna would edge out the schools in FL.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
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where do you work? Do you work downtown? If so, I would say Fair Lakes/Chantilly area really isn't for you. We live in a nice family friendly and walkable community out this way, but neither of us commute to downtown. We have basically everything we need within a couple miles of our house and are walkable to the most important amenities to us - all 3 levels of school, grocery store, a few chain restaurants (it isn't as if most families are going out fine dining often) and the library.

If I worked downtown, I would try to live somewhere close to a metro or VRE station. I think you might be able to find something in Vienna or Falls Church. You also might consider Reston since the metro will be extended there very soon. We lived in Reston for almost 8 years and really enjoyed it, even as a young couple without a child. We didn't go downtown much, but we had what we needed close to home there.

Think about your lifestyle and then decide. I think you have some good options.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:43 AM
 
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I currently work in Fair Lakes, but I could be searching for another job in the near future. My wife's job is moving to Anacostia, which really isn't convenient to anything, but the Springfield area is probably closest for her.

I've lived in Reston before and done the whole Toll Road commute and I told myself I would never subject myself to that ever again. Pay money to drive on one of the most congested highways in the area? No thanks.

I like Vienna, but in my search haven't really come across anything in my price range. I think there is a lack of townhouses there and the SFH are very expensive. I do like the fact that it is a little more walkable than Fair Lakes and has more of a town feeling.

How would you compare West Springfield/Burke to Vienna/Oakton?
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
1,449 posts, read 2,890,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steveski View Post

I've lived in Reston before and done the whole Toll Road commute and I told myself I would never subject myself to that ever again. Pay money to drive on one of the most congested highways in the area? No thanks.
Did you drive yourself? I did 4.5 years of using the Fairfax Connector service to WFC metro, and it made it a lot more bearable. Plus, if your employer offers Metrochek benefits, public transportation is a much more attractive option. Much less wear and tear on your car, less spent in gas and tolls. The only time I drove to work was when I was pregnant and sick as a dog - I didn't want to get sick on the bus or train and mess up everyone else's day.

Metro stations will be opening in that corridor in the not too distant future, too, so I don't think the toll road is a reason for everyone to rule out Reston.

However, if your wife works in Anacostia, I think Reston or Fair Lakes are definitely the wrong areas to look at. South of the city makes more sense. Where do you think your new job will be?
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:06 PM
 
5,087 posts, read 8,951,630 times
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You might want to look in the Greenway Downs and City Park Homes neighborhoods in Falls Church (Fairfax County). Not seeing much on the market there now, but you can find older, single-family homes in your price range occasionally, and you'd be centrally located, still close to Arlington/DC, and near both EFC Metro and plenty of good restaurants. The houses are small, but well-built.

The catch is that the schools (Falls Church or Stuart HS and their feeders) won't appeal to school snobs, but I think these neighborhoods are just going to get nicer as folks want shorter commutes and get priced out of North Arlington. The schools are similar to some of the schools in South Arlington, but with higher test scores.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:25 PM
 
11 posts, read 11,970 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
You might want to look in the Greenway Downs and City Park Homes neighborhoods in Falls Church (Fairfax County). Not seeing much on the market there now, but you can find older, single-family homes in your price range occasionally, and you'd be centrally located, still close to Arlington/DC, and near both EFC Metro and plenty of good restaurants. The houses are small, but well-built.

The catch is that the schools (Falls Church or Stuart HS and their feeders) won't appeal to school snobs, but I think these neighborhoods are just going to get nicer as folks want shorter commutes and get priced out of North Arlington. The schools are similar to some of the schools in South Arlington, but with higher test scores.
Unfortunately the schools are a big thing for me. The whole reason for moving is for having kids and providing a good life for them. I'd stay in an apartment/condo in Arlington if having kids and sending them to good schools wasn't my main priority.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:35 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,875 posts, read 11,156,191 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steveski View Post
Unfortunately the schools are a big thing for me. The whole reason for moving is for having kids and providing a good life for them. I'd stay in an apartment/condo in Arlington if having kids and sending them to good schools wasn't my main priority.

We have a friend, a divorced mom, who raised her kid in an apartment in Arlington. He was accepted to Harvard (and is currently doing a gap year)

"The things that pass for knowledge, I can't understand ....."
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:12 PM
 
2,462 posts, read 8,223,754 times
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You are about ten years from sending the first of your future children to kindergarten. High school is another decade down the road from that. What are the chances that you will still be in your first house 20 years from now?

You are looking for what most young families want -- reasonable commute, safe community, nice restaurants, good schools. You aren't going to find all of it for under $450K. At this point, you don't need to be in the top high school pyramid.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
1,449 posts, read 2,890,584 times
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what about something like this near dunn loring:

Listing of house in Dunn Loring Woods for $459,900

Last edited by FindingZen; 04-04-2012 at 03:01 PM.. Reason: can only use generic realtor sites; otherwise it is "free advertising"
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