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Old 01-18-2013, 01:52 PM
 
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I'm just starting to look for houses within a 30 minute drive of the City of Alexandria in the 500k price range. Most of what I've seen is 1950s-1960s construction, but I prefer the styles and construction materials of pre-WWII homes. Are there any neighborhoods with this type of housing stock in my price range?
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:33 PM
 
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Well, there are some. If you go to www.redfin.com, you can limit your search to Fairfax County, VA. Set your top price limit at $500K and the latest year built at 1940. It appears there are 18 of them currently on the market.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:48 PM
 
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In Falls Church (Fairfax County), some neighborhoods with pre-1950s homes include Lee Boulevard Heights, Greenway Downs and City Park Homes. Some, but not all, might be in your price range, and there may not be many on the market now.

It largely goes without saying that there are more homes from that era in Alexandria, Arlington and older parts of Montgomery County like Silver Spring than in Fairfax County.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:33 PM
 
Location: annandale, va & slidell, la
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You won't find any single family homes for that price in the areas that still have such neighborhoods. They naturally were build around old town centers when populations were in the hundreds of residents. In Falls Church you might find a tear-down for $500K. Older homes are getting scarce, mainly because they aren't large enough nor have floor plans that are workable.
It's quicker and cheaper to demolish and start over. And of course reuse any interesting materials recovered from the old structure if that's your desire.
I've been in the building trades for decades, and though the thought of an old house might be romantic to some, they weren't built as well as they are now.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finalmove View Post
You won't find any single family homes for that price in the areas that still have such neighborhoods. They naturally were build around old town centers when populations were in the hundreds of residents. In Falls Church you might find a tear-down for $500K. Older homes are getting scarce, mainly because they aren't large enough nor have floor plans that are workable.
It's quicker and cheaper to demolish and start over. And of course reuse any interesting materials recovered from the old structure if that's your desire.
I've been in the building trades for decades, and though the thought of an old house might be romantic to some, they weren't built as well as they are now.
It depends on the contractor. Many new houses often have a laundry list of problems, some structural, mold related, etc., while others are very well built.

Some of the old homes in DC and the suburbs were built with structural terra cotta, old growth pine, and they stand the test of time. The old neighborhoods in Arlington and Alexandria built in the early 1900s are among the most beautiful around DC. Why demo homes in a beautiful neighborhood of similar colonial revivals, craftsmans, or victorians? There are exceptions, but most people don't buy in those neighborhoods to tear down homes. Retrofitting them is more sensible.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:25 PM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
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Originally Posted by finalmove View Post
I've been in the building trades for decades, and though the thought of an old house might be romantic to some, they weren't built as well as they are now.
I have to refute this assertion.

Old houses: Plaster walls, slate or terra cota roofs, copper pipes, solid brick or stone outer walls, actual single-cut boards for roof sheathing (instead of OSB pressboard), hardwood floors (our oak floorseven have figuring, like tiger maple), heavy heartwood timber for the framing.

New houses: drywall (not bad, just not as solid), asphalt shingles (acceptable but inferior to the above), soft pine framing, and lots of OSB (wood chips and glue).

The only thing new houses have on the old is the electrical wiring and larger closets.

And then there are the aesthetics. I would much rather live in this:


Than this:
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:06 PM
 
Location: annandale, va & slidell, la
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Originally Posted by irvine View Post
It depends on the contractor. Many new houses often have a laundry list of problems, some structural, mold related, etc., while others are very well built.

Some of the old homes in DC and the suburbs were built with structural terra cotta, old growth pine, and they stand the test of time. The old neighborhoods in Arlington and Alexandria built in the early 1900s are among the most beautiful around DC. Why demo homes in a beautiful neighborhood of similar colonial revivals, craftsmans, or victorians? There are exceptions, but most people don't buy in those neighborhoods to tear down homes. Retrofitting them is more sensible.
Sorry, I was comparing apples to apples. Most homes built in the neighborhoods you describe were one-off custom built. Never were they spec homes like we see today. Before a home was built, it had an owner already. So 1942 custom vs 2013 custom, the new one is indeed better built.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by finalmove View Post
I've been in the building trades for decades, and though the thought of an old house might be romantic to some, they weren't built as well as they are now.
interesting. When I went through the home inspection on my 1930 house, all the inspector did was sing the praises of the outstanding original craftsmanship of the house. He was particularly impresses with the structural engineering.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:47 PM
 
Location: Fairfax County
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencgr View Post
interesting. When I went through the home inspection on my 1930 house, all the inspector did was sing the praises of the outstanding original craftsmanship of the house. He was particularly impresses with the structural engineering.
Our inspector (who has been in the business for decades) made similar comments about our circa 1940 house.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:00 PM
 
2,728 posts, read 5,055,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencgr View Post
interesting. When I went through the home inspection on my 1930 house, all the inspector did was sing the praises of the outstanding original craftsmanship of the house. He was particularly impresses with the structural engineering.
Same experience with our old house. Contractors who have worked on it since then have said the same thing.

The biggest advantage of new houses is that they tend to have better floor plans.
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