U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
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 08-08-2013, 08:01 PM
 
294 posts, read 327,229 times
Reputation: 349

Advertisements

This is rambly, so you can read the long version or skip to my questions at the end!

Hi all! I've recently accepted a job paying in the low 60's that is in the Tysons Corner/McLean area. (Are there places with McLean addresses that are part of the physical Tysons Corner area? It looks that way on the map!)

Anyway, I have tried to do my due diligence on reading threads ahead of time and not just trying to ask you all to do the work for me. Some conclusions:

1. Moving to NoVa (do people call Northern Virginia this generally, or is it a dead giveaway that I am new? haha) from the wide-open Midwest means dealing with a behemoth of traffic headaches that I do not want to even start consider.

2. I should live as close to work as possible and let the rest work itself out!

I am single, no kids or anything. I am also, fortunate, to have no debt. I did the math on taking out taxes and the max for a Roth IRA and 401k that my employer will match (yes, I am a nerd). On the amount remaining, I feel comfortable spending up to no more than $1500 a month toward rent as that leaves me another $1500 and some change to cover everything else (car and renter's insurance, food, gas, entertainment, etc...).

First off, does $1500 for "everything else" seem reasonable to you all? Where I live now, I can easily pay for EVERYTHING with that (including rent!), so it is hard for me to get a feel for out there.

I am in my late 20's, but am definitely past the partying/drinking nightly phase. That is part of why I think McLean/Tysons Corner would work for me. I have a few months to get settled/get my bearings, and then when the metro stops open, I can explore DC on the weekends.

A lot of threads seem sort of outdated now because of all the changes upcoming do to changing metro and bus routes.

One apartment I really liked the looks of so far is The Commons of McLean. Does anyone have recent info on this place? It is less than 5 miles to work and shows a ~10 minute drive (though it is almost 9 in the evening and I have no idea how crazy 123/Dolley Madison is in the morning). That seems pretty amazing for the area. It also even has a grocery store on the premises (though I don't have a Safeway where I live and don't know if it is a "good" place to shop or not) and a library fairly close (I said I was a nerd).

If you have no input on that, does anyone have any suggestions of other apartments to look at in the area? I looked at the Dolley Madison Apartments on Wilson Lane, but I am unsure of them. Their website looks very dated. They have a "summer sizzling sale" now that is well within my range. But it is over $200 off the regular price, and some old reviews said they had a HUGE roach infestation problem. So, something tells me to steer clear of them, haha.

Basically, I want to live as close as possible. I feel like having the shortest commute I can afford and letting everything else work itself out seems like my best bet. So that is why I am thinking living further out in a place like Reston may not be worth it. Do you all think I should reconsider since my money would go a bit further? It is just hard for me to figure out the cost-benefit of extra commute time versus cheaper rent.

Here are a summary of the questions for those that don't want to read the rambly mess (I don't blame you!):
1. Ignoring rent, savings, and taxes, is $1500 enough to live in McLean/Tysons Corner in terms of paying for everything else? Food, entertainment, gas, insurance, incidentals, etc...
2. Any thoughts on The Commons at McLean or Dolley Madison Apartments?
3. Any other housing options/apartments to consider in the same general area for $1500 or less a month?
4. Is looking further afield at places like Reston, Vienna, or Falls Church worth it considering the potential lower rent versus the longer commute?
5. Is Safeway a quality grocery store? Or at least good enough to do all my regular shopping at? (odd question, I know. But it is a quality of life situation!)

Oh, and one question. I find the layout of apartment complexes out there to be much different than anywhere else I have ever lived. What is up with the variable price on apartments? For example, if you search for a 1 bedroom/1 bathroom apartment at The Commons, it has a price range of $1,431-$1,587 for their smallest A1 unit. Is that to be understood like it is $1,431 monthly for a year long lease and a bit more for each month I knock off so it'd be $1,587 if I only did one month?

Thanks, everyone!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 08-08-2013, 08:28 PM
 
8,898 posts, read 11,257,844 times
Reputation: 17240
Welcome to NoVa (yes, we call it that)! I'll let others answer if your budget for "the rest" is doable, but I'll comment on the Commons. These are older units, but an extremely nice area. I used to work right next to them, and still drive by occasionally and always think, "this would be a nice place to live if I was renting". And, the Metro will be within close walking distance, so I'm sure prices will rise.

Regarding the Safeway, the brand is probably considered one of the lesser grocery stores chains in the area. That being said, this is a brand new Safeway, and it's quite nice. We are extremely lucky in this area, as we have excellent grocery stores, just like out schools. So, while it might not be the "best", you will find good prices, and fresh meats and vegetables. And, you can always take a trip and experience Wegmans (Sterling or Fairfax would be the closest) on a weekend.

Based on your description of lifestyle, I'd go for the Commons, or any other McLean/Tysons community you find that meets your needs. You are right, it's best to stay close to work.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2013, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Tysons Corner
2,772 posts, read 3,880,225 times
Reputation: 1502
Whew ok! So much to respond to.

Firstly, I'm Tysons Engineer, the resident 20-something welcome party for Tysons Corner :P

Tysons is a fairly new designation as an area. The area has been around for a while and actually became nationally known as an edge city back in the late 90s (noted in several books). Its basically the job center of Fairfax which intern is the job center of Northern Virginia.

So a bit of history. Prior to about 3 years ago, Tysons was a mess... frankly it's still a mess. That's when the new metro system got approved, and now the area (now being called a future city by Fairfax County) is booming with a lot of new high rise developments, restaurants (we get a new one each week it seems like), and businesses. Its still growing out of its suburban past, but its starting to come out of that old funk.

To your questions

I have had a few friends live in Commons of McLean. Its a very safe neighborhood, it has shuttles to West Falls Church metro if you ever need to commute to DC, its a 3 minute bus ride from a lot of stuff in Tysons like the mall and some of the restaurants. Its a good bargain for someone starting off in the area. They do have variable lease options (month by month vs full year), though Im not sure if that is the sole impetus for the price variability you noted.

Living at the Commons is possible without a car if your job is in Tysons. There are a lot of ways to get from there to Northeast Tysons (to Westpark Transit Center) via bus; and in 5 months you'll be able to take the rail there. Living in Reston means you'll need a car. So if you are looking to save some money, that is definitely one way that closer in might be better than further out (if you can live without a car).

For a 1 br, you really aren't going to see a huge price reduction anywhere in Fairfax. All 1brs range between 1100 and 1700 for the most part. So if you are looking for a way to go without a car, I would highly suggest sticking to Tysons and using bus until 5 months from now when the rail opens. You can also look into the Avalon Crescent (gotta say they are a sponsor of my website about Tysons); and Post both of which I have heard are good deals and also closer to where your job is (within walking distance) and closer to the malls and some restaurants etc.

For your cost of living. It completely depends on your life style; if your job includes health insurance, etc. If you are covered on health insurance, I think 1500 should be more than enough to live well in Tysons. Especially if you go without car cause your gas will be 0 and your car insurance will be 0. For transit anticipate a cost of $4 bucks per day on average (about $100 per month as opposed to far more with car). Between my standard bills like cable/water/etc, food and drink, and entertainment I only spend about 1000 per month (and I like good food atleast twice a week).

The safeway on Anderson recently got renovated its pretty solid, and next door is a nice beer market called Lost Dog which has good sandwiches too. I live in North Tysons near the Avalon Crescent where we have a Harris Teeter, which I prefer.

Even though the Dolley Madison Apartments look closer to town, it makes no difference, because of 495 you'll need to take a bus no matter what if you live on that side of Tysons. So thats why I suggested the ones I did above.

If you are dead set on having a car even if you dont need one, then I would suggest looking in Vienna or Falls Church. There are a few apartments there, within a 10 minute commute, that are in the 1300 range.

DM me if you have any questions, I write a blog about the area so I know it pretty well. Good luck in your hunt
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2013, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Tysons Corner
2,772 posts, read 3,880,225 times
Reputation: 1502
Quote:
Originally Posted by spencgr View Post
Regarding the Safeway, the brand is probably considered one of the lesser grocery stores chains in the area. That being said, this is a brand new Safeway, and it's quite nice. We are extremely lucky in this area, as we have excellent grocery stores, just like out schools. So, while it might not be the "best", you will find good prices, and fresh meats and vegetables. And, you can always take a trip and experience Wegmans (Sterling or Fairfax would be the closest) on a weekend.
In 18 months there is a possibility there will be a Wegmans near the Commons actually. They want to be part of the Scotts Run development that is starting up soon.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2013, 08:40 PM
 
8,898 posts, read 11,257,844 times
Reputation: 17240
Quote:
Originally Posted by tysonsengineer View Post

The safeway on Anderson recently got renovated its pretty solid, and next door is a nice beer market called Lost Dog which has good sandwiches too.
Thanks, TE, I meant to mention this, too. Lost Dog Cafe has excellent sandwiches as well as a very deep craft beer selection (tap and bottles). (And if you are a pet lover, they give a substantial portion of their profits to their dog rescue.)

OP, it's a very nice area to live in. As long as you aren't looking for many cafes and clubs outside your doorstep, you'll be happy here. (But you won't need too go far at all, as McLean, Tysons, and Vienna all have good restaurants.)

Last edited by spencgr; 08-08-2013 at 08:57 PM..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2013, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Tysons Corner
2,772 posts, read 3,880,225 times
Reputation: 1502
Quote:
Originally Posted by spencgr View Post
Thanks, TE, I meant to mention this, too. Lost Dog Cafe has excellent sandwiches as well as a very deep craft beer selection (tap and bottles). (And if you are a pet lover, they give a substantial portion of their profits to their dog rescue.)

OP, it's a very nice area to live in. As long as you aren't looking for many cafes and clubs outside your doorstep, you'll be happy here. (But you won't need to go far to at well, as McLean, Tysons, and Vienna all have good restaurants.)
True. Its one of those things where, if you arent a bar goer every night though, its a quick 10 minute train ride to Arlington and 20 minutes to DC where there are far more bars. So its not like you are disconnected from that opportunity.

Its a good place to start off, and see if you like living closer in or further out (or who knows it could be the goldielocks spot for you like I feel it is for me)
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2013, 08:57 PM
 
294 posts, read 327,229 times
Reputation: 349
@spencgr
I am glad to know the Commons are in a nice area!

Thanks for the input on Safeway as well I just lived in an area once a long time ago where the only place nearby to eat was....well, not a happy place, haha.

I definitely am more of a "work hard during the week and play hard on the weekends type" so that is why I care less about having the trendiest bars and such right nearby. I don't mind having to go a bit further for those places on the weekend Plus I think my first few months there will be weekends spent just exploring all the touristy stuff in D.C., anyway.

@tysonsengineer
Thanks for the thorough rundown! I do appreciate the history lesson as well. It is interesting to know the background of why a place is the way it is now.

I definitely will need a car for my job. My workplace is actually a bit closer to "McLean proper" as it looks on the map than it is to Tysons Corner. I did not want to say too much since it is an online forum, but there is not really much else to reference it by according to the map I have of the area, lol. Ridgemont Montessori School is it. I guess being more precise is more helpful for both of us.

I do apologize for not specifying that I will need have a car for certain before you typed out all the bus info. But that is still appreciated as well!

I will look into Avalon Crescent and Post and see if either have anything below $1500

My job does include health insurance. So I think I should be good to go with regard to that.

I've lived without cable for about half a decade. But that did remind me of two other questions. Are there many internet providers in that area? I'm lucky in my current spot to have really good service from a local "regional" company. Not sure if that is even a thing out there, haha. Also, I have Sprint. I checked their maps, but their coverage maps in the past have steered me wrong. Any idea on if I should be fine with Sprint out that way?

Thank you also for your general rundown on about what your budget is! That makes me feel like $1500 is definitely plausible for me.

Harris Teeter? What an interesting name for a grocery store, haha.

Knowing that I will definitely have a car, but that my actual workplace is a little more to the Northeast than originally indicated, would you still recommend Vienna and Falls Church? Or any other cities to consider knowing I am up closer to the 123/193 connection?

Thanks again! I may send you a DM eventually. But I think that when people such as you two are kind enough to type out advice, it is also good to have it be searchable for others! Thanks again for the input so far
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2013, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Tysons Corner
2,772 posts, read 3,880,225 times
Reputation: 1502
@kiplingif

When you started saying its more towards McLean proper I started to think you work at that secret place we all see from the road you actually work right next to it.

For what its worth you can take the 15L to within a half mile (though its not a great walk out there)

Knowing where you work now, I would say don't do Falls Church. Vienna is still doable, you can take the back way in via Lewinsville Road (same thing with living in North Tysons at Crescent or Post).

You could look into Arlington, but thats usually reserved for the just outta college crowd who wants to do happy hours every night. You pay a premium for it because its closer to DC and is a trendy location. From the sound of it you have out grown that phase, but you should still look into it just so you know what its like. It'd be about the same distance as Vienna would be as far as a commute.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2013, 09:11 PM
 
8,898 posts, read 11,257,844 times
Reputation: 17240
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiplingif View Post
@spencgr
My workplace is actually a bit closer to "McLean proper" as it looks on the map than it is to Tysons Corner. I did not want to say too much since it is an online forum, but there is not really much else to reference it by according to the map I have of the area, lol. Ridgemont Montessori School is it. I guess being more precise is more helpful for both of us.
You aren't getting more north east in Tysons than The Commons. Unless you are working at the CIA (not considered Tysons at all), there aren't any businesses more east or north than The Commons area other than Homeland Security. And if that is your workplace, all I need to say is that you will have a 5-10 minute commute, only depending on if you hit the light on 123. And, if that is your commute, and you live in Tysons Corner, you will be the envy of millions of people in this region.

(Seriously, if you hit all of the lights right, The Commons to HS could be 3 minutes.)
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-08-2013, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Tysons Corner
2,772 posts, read 3,880,225 times
Reputation: 1502
Quote:
Originally Posted by spencgr View Post
You aren't getting more north east in Tysons than The Commons. Unless you are working at the CIA (not considered Tysons at all), there aren't any businesses more east or north than The Commons area other than Homeland Security. And if that is your workplace, all I need to say is that you will have a 5-10 minute commute, only depending on if you hit the light on 123. And, if that is your commute, and you live in Tysons Corner, you will be the envy of millions of people in this region.
Yea 123 in the morning the last couple years has gotten worse, not in Tysons, but the intx of Great Falls and 123. Theres now no way to get past that light without one cycle. Its still only a 10 minute commute max though; 5 minutes if you leave before 6:30 though doesn't sound like the OP would be.
Rate this post positively 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. The time now is 06:15 PM.

© 2005-2021, 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