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Old 12-09-2007, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Springfield
21 posts, read 68,734 times
Reputation: 13

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Here is yet another thread about moving to the area. My husband is being relocated to the area. He will be going to Georgetown for a year and then working at the Pentagon for the next 2. We have two kids (ages 3 and 6) so a good elementary school is very important. We are probably looking in the 400k - 500k range and would like 4BR 2+ bath in a nice, safe, neighborhood. We do have dogs if that is a consideration. I don't have a job yet but it will be necessary (if we are to afford the house). I currently live in Belgium and my goal is to get a job offer before I get out there but if not, I will be there in February, hitting the pavement (I'm a web/software developer/project manager).

What are the best elementary schools in the area? For where my husband will work, is the commute easier from MD or Nova? Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-09-2007, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC
65 posts, read 270,578 times
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Your husband's commute, especially to the Pentagon will be much easier from the Virginia side. Fairfax County Schools are known for their great reputation, so you can't really go wrong there. I'd recommend Alexandria or Arlington.
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Old 12-09-2007, 09:17 PM
 
2,720 posts, read 4,874,034 times
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Welcome (in advance)! Unfortunately, you will not find nice single family homes of that size in the price range you want, in the better parts of Alexandria or Arlington; you're going to have to pay a lot more even if it's a fixer. You may want to check out HomesDatabase to get an idea of what's available.
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:22 AM
 
Location: Springfield
21 posts, read 68,734 times
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Thanks for the replies so far! ACWhite, I went to realtor.com as well as the listings in the Washington Post and from what I saw it seemed like there were houses around the area within that price range. neither of us mind a commute of 30min but obviously living closer to public transportation (metro) will be ideal.

There are so many towns that make up NoVa, it's hard to know what is good and what is bad, etc. Thanks again for any advice you have!
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Old 12-10-2007, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 26,767,451 times
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In VA the commutes get tiresome. Try to live as close to your job as possible. BTW, it is easier to get to the Pentagon from the west side. George Washington Parkway is very pretty, but the turn for the Pentagon is tricky. It's something you'll want to master during a weekend before you try it in rush hour.
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:26 AM
 
2,720 posts, read 4,874,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ses5909 View Post
Thanks for the replies so far! ACWhite, I went to realtor.com as well as the listings in the Washington Post and from what I saw it seemed like there were houses around the area within that price range. neither of us mind a commute of 30min but obviously living closer to public transportation (metro) will be ideal.

There are so many towns that make up NoVa, it's hard to know what is good and what is bad, etc. Thanks again for any advice you have!
Hi, here are a couple of things to bear in mind - and you'll know a lot more once you arrive and can look at some houses that interest you:

--There are huge variations by zip code and neighborhood within Arlington (I'll focus on Arl. because I am more familiar with it). Generally, a house in the 22204 or 22206 zip codes will sell for MUCH less than a comparable house in most parts of 22201 or 22207 (except the Highview Park neighborhood, which is also less desirable and less pricey). Several reasons for this: access to Metro, quality of schools, population diversity, crime, variation in the maintenance of the neighborhood, distance from DC, etc. Since you mentioned you wanted good schools and safety, you're probably not going to be interested in the lower priced neighborhoods.
--Many "4 bedroom 2 bath" homes in Arlington mean: 2 or 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom above the ground level, and 1 or 2 bedrooms and 1 bath in the basement. This means that they may be only about 1500 square feet above ground (and if a Cape Cod, feel even smaller due to the sloped ceilings), because the owners are counting the basement rooms, but the county doesn't count them in the above ground square footage. Many people who move here are coming from communities where there are 4 bedrooms and 2 or more baths above ground and more than 2000 square feet, which they find more desirable, and these are much different houses from the Arlington ones I described.
--Some houses with the size you want are going to be in bad condition and badly out of date and need a minimum of $100K of repairs (mine has required >$200K and that does not include luxury bathrooms or a kitchen).

If you look at homedatabase, you can get a little indication of the house age and location (click mapping), and most of the houses have photos so you can get an idea of size and condition.

Hope this makes more sense.
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:49 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 29,412,124 times
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NOVA is an easier commute to Georgetown than MD. Assuming that mass transit is what you want, take the Metro to Rosslyn, then catch the GUTS Shuttle (free for students and employees) over the Potomac to the campus. The shuttles run frequently and all day long (5:00 am to midnight). NOVA is also an easier commute to the Pentagon. Metro to Rosslyn, then grab the Blue Line to...the Pentagon. The station is in the basement. Because of the Metro station, the Pentagon is also a major bus hub. If you don't mind busses, they can be an effective option. You can get a lot of info on Metrorail and Metrobus from the Metro Website. Commute times from the places mentioned are maybe 45 minutes to an hour, depending on various factors. Commuting in DC is hard. It will pay to research it well so as to keep it within reason.

Schools-wise, those in North Arlington (north of Route-50) are very good to excellent. Those in the City of Falls Church are all excellent. But be careful, since a lot of what is called Falls Church isn't actually a part of the City. Schools in Fairfax County are mostly excellent with some very good's and maybe a good or two thrown in. By and large, if you threw a dart at a map of the area, you'd have to have pretty bad luck not to hit a quality school district.

For $400-500K, you're not likely to find an SFH that fits your needs. Townhouse, very probably. Even with the real estate market sagging, homes are expensive in this area, and particularly the ones we've been talking about.

Last edited by saganista; 12-10-2007 at 03:58 PM..
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:46 PM
 
Location: Springfield
21 posts, read 68,734 times
Reputation: 13
Thank you everyone for the info. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me. So #1 is finding that job!
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Old 09-08-2008, 06:02 PM
 
Location: Nova, D.C.,
1,220 posts, read 3,550,640 times
Reputation: 741
Quote:
Originally Posted by ses5909 View Post
Here is yet another thread about moving to the area. My husband is being relocated to the area. He will be going to Georgetown for a year and then working at the Pentagon for the next 2. We have two kids (ages 3 and 6) so a good elementary school is very important. We are probably looking in the 400k - 500k range and would like 4BR 2+ bath in a nice, safe, neighborhood. We do have dogs if that is a consideration. I don't have a job yet but it will be necessary (if we are to afford the house). I currently live in Belgium and my goal is to get a job offer before I get out there but if not, I will be there in February, hitting the pavement (I'm a web/software developer/project manager).

What are the best elementary schools in the area? For where my husband will work, is the commute easier from MD or Nova? Thanks in advance!
Fairfax County Schools are some of the best in the U.S., seriously. Maryland, not so good.
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Old 09-08-2008, 07:41 PM
 
8,257 posts, read 18,971,719 times
Reputation: 3093
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artsywoman View Post
Fairfax County Schools are some of the best in the U.S., seriously. Maryland, not so good.
Not to promote the "distinguished competition" across the river but the anecdotal information I've read here and elsewhere has led me to believe that Montgomery County schools hold their own against Fairfax. Howard County may fare higher than average as well. Prince Georges County... maybe not so much.

But getting back to the point of this revived thread... it would be simple enough to get to Georgetown in the short term - and ultimately easier to get to the Pentagon - by living on the VA side.

Last edited by FindingZen; 09-09-2008 at 07:34 AM..
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