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Old 04-08-2012, 06:39 AM
 
Location: Land of the Free*
166 posts, read 278,381 times
Reputation: 152

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Posted this in the VA forum and the members suggested I try this question here, since it's more targeted:

A family friend will be moving to the Fairfax area soon and has three kids, aged 3, 9, and 15. Their priority is education (for the children) so was wondering which area would be ideal for this situation. Their budget is between $2-2.5K per month and they are a family of 5.

I know that NoVa has great schools everywhere. So I'd really like to ask where the best schools are, but I guess first I'd need to find which area best matches their budget. I'd like to help them but I'm not too familiar with the area. Any thoughts?
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Old 04-08-2012, 07:20 AM
 
5,125 posts, read 10,088,046 times
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They'd have plenty of options. If they want a mid-size suburban house, Burke and West Springfield seem like good places to start. They could find something in Vienna, too, but it would be a smaller, older house or a townhouse. The schools will be fine. I'm not sure that you really want to start another thread about the "best" schools in the county.

Last edited by JD984; 04-08-2012 at 07:45 AM..
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Land of the Free*
166 posts, read 278,381 times
Reputation: 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
They'd have plenty of options. If they want a mid-size suburban house, Burke and West Springfield seem like good places to start. They could find something in Vienna, too, but it would be a smaller, older house or a townhouse. The schools will be fine. I'm not sure that you really want to start another thread about the "best" schools in the county.
Ok, thanks I don't want to start any arguments over what's the "best" but we all try to do the best we can for people we care about.

I don't know much about NoVa, but I thought for sure they'd price themselves out of areas like Vienna. Are Annandale and North Springfield out of their budget? If so, how would one go about choosing between areas like Burke and West Springfield? I mean, since all the schools are fine, and that's really the only big factor in my friend's decision, how else can one choose the perfect area?
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:43 AM
 
2,612 posts, read 5,584,557 times
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Since NOVA is so big and there are so many choices, the best thing to do would be to go to fcps.edu and look up the schools where they can afford to live. You can check things like test scores, special programs, and demographics. The less desirable schools generally have higher numbers of low-income ("free/reduced") students than others. However, in terms of facilities and curriculum they are all similar. Burke, Fairfax and West Springfield are all good places to start looking for affordable housing and decent schools.
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:54 AM
 
5,125 posts, read 10,088,046 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomadwood86 View Post
Ok, thanks I don't want to start any arguments over what's the "best" but we all try to do the best we can for people we care about.

I don't know much about NoVa, but I thought for sure they'd price themselves out of areas like Vienna. Are Annandale and North Springfield out of their budget? If so, how would one go about choosing between areas like Burke and West Springfield? I mean, since all the schools are fine, and that's really the only big factor in my friend's decision, how else can one choose the perfect area?
You can search for rentals on realtor.com now, and specify the price range. There's also an app that allows you to circle an area you are interested in on an IPad and see what pops up. That's what I surfed before responding to your OP.

There are rentals now in older houses in Town of Vienna for less than 2500. Very good schools, small houses. Schools in Burke/West Springfield and Fairfax will have somewhat lower test scores, but you can find larger, suburban houses mostly built in the 60s and 70s. That's where I would start. If your friend would be working in Western Fairfax, Chantilly is an option as well, as are Herndon and Reston. As between Burke and West Springfield, they are pretty similar. One consideration for some is whether they prefer sending their kids to separate middle and high schools, as in West Springfield, or to one large secondary school, as in Burke (Lake Braddock).

They are not priced out of Annandale or North Springfield. The top-ranked schools in Annandale are outside the Beltway and feed into Woodson HS. North Springfield feeds into Annandale HS, a more diverse school than Woodson (school boundaries include more low-income garden apartments) with lower scores, but still part of the same county-wide system. This isn't like other parts of the country where every town or borough has its own schools.

Last edited by JD984; 04-08-2012 at 09:12 AM..
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Suburbia
8,826 posts, read 15,314,403 times
Reputation: 4533
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomadwood86 View Post
Are Annandale and North Springfield out of their budget? If so, how would one go about choosing between areas like Burke and West Springfield? I mean, since all the schools are fine, and that's really the only big factor in my friend's decision, how else can one choose the perfect area?
Where will your friend be working? How will he prefer to get to work? No area will be perfect, but between Burke and W. Springfield for example, you can probably flip a coin on the schools. Honestly, it could even come down to the type/style of house.
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,129 posts, read 31,244,985 times
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I just looked on Craigslist and found very few home rentals in my area (Mount Vernon). Perhaps it's still early in the season. When will they be moving?
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Fairfax County
1,534 posts, read 3,724,599 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
Where will your friend be working? How will he prefer to get to work? No area will be perfect, but between Burke and W. Springfield for example, you can probably flip a coin on the schools. Honestly, it could even come down to the type/style of house.
I was going to ask the commute-focused questions as well. With a 9 and a 15 year-old (in particular), it may be important to your friend to have a short(er) commute to be able to get to sports practice, music lessons, and other extracurricular activities. Many of these things start early (sometimes as early as 5 pm) and when you have two or more kids going in two different directions, the ability to help out with carpool becomes important. (Plus some parents like to be part of the parent volunteers for the activity.)

As an example, if your friend is working out in Reston, W. Springfield may not be the ideal home location once the commute is factored in, and places in Vienna may be better options.
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