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Old 02-04-2008, 01:14 AM
pem pem started this thread
 
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Hi,

This is my first post. We are thinking to move from California to DC area. Basically, I have two options: to work in DC downtown and Tyson's corner area. The jobs at the two places are basically the same with identical salary, would working at the Tyson's corner make a significant difference in terms of housing affordability and commute time? In other words, does working at Tyson's offer much more choices for housing given the conditions below?

Here are our basic parameters: family income would be around 200k per year and my wife will be working out of home so it does not matter to her where we live. We will have a baby soon and want to have another one in the near future.

We hope to have a SFH in a nice, safe area with at least good elementary schools that we don't have to struggle to maintain and I want to limit commute time to within 30 minutes each way, if at all possible. Of course, the larger and newer the house, the better.

I am asking the question is because the job in DC may offer a slight edge for my future career development but housing affordability and commute are my bigger concerns.

Thanks
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Old 02-04-2008, 05:26 AM
 
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Thirty minutes will not get you very far from DC, so if you stick to that number, and you're working in DC, you'll have to live either in DC itself, or in one of the close-in suburbs such as Arlington or Alexandria. These areas are expensive, and DC schools are awful.

A thirty minute commute from Tyson's won't get you very far, either, but it WILL get you farther from DC, which means lower housing costs. You could live in Vienna, which has excellent Fairfax County schools and, though it's not cheap by any means, there are SFH homes available from $500K up. Mostly up. The $500 K homes will be older and smaller and may require updating. Larger and newer usually means "more expensive and further than 30 minutes away." You could also live in the City of Falls Church (not to be confused with the faux Falls Church part of Fairfax County), which has its own small and highly-regarded school system, and SFH options beginning around $500K. Again, the $500K choices will be rather modest, most of the construction is at least 50 years old,and the only really "large" homes in Falls Church are new McMansions squeezed into older neighborhoods of ramblers and Cape Cods. Reston is another possibility -- it is one of the original "planned communities," with a variety of housing price points, including some low-income apartment and townhouse complexes. The existence of the latter means that test scores at some of the schools in Reston don't compare favorably to others, so if that's important to you, you'd need to choose your home carefully. If you really want "larger and newer," you might have to consider Great Falls or Oakton, which will be more than 30 minutes away.

Actually, if you were willing to stretch your commute by about 15-20 minutes, you could live in Falls Church and take Metro into DC. And you could drive to Tyson's in well under 30 minutes, so you could choose between the work sites. Many people prefer working in DC because it's much more pedestrian-oriented -- working in Tyson's shackles you to a car, usually even to get lunch or run errands.
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Old 02-04-2008, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,402 posts, read 28,970,587 times
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IMO, commuting into DC has become a real pain ever since 9/11. They are constantly closing roads for to provide extra security for one event or another. Parking is also a hassle. It's ok if you live in the city, but that's expensive and you start to have crime issues. A college kid or a young single person would probably find the city more appealing because it's very stimulating, but it doesn't strike me as a great place for a young family.

There are many nice neighborhoods near Tyson's Corner. It's good to live as close to work as possible--but if you want the lower taxes, good schools, and more affordable housing of Loudoun County it's a reasonable commute to Tysons. I live in Cascades, which is in the eastern part of Loudoun County. Many of my neighbors commute to Tysons. The drive at rush hour takes about 20-30 minutes. Falls Church and Reston are other good choices (although you have to pay the taxes of Fairfax--but for many people the shorter commute is well worth it).
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
1,123 posts, read 5,335,912 times
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There is a huge lifestyle difference between DC and Tysons. Personally, I wouldnt want to live in an apt with children in DC.

Commuting to DC is possible if you live in the suburbs - Metro is a clean safe choice of transportation and would keep you out of traffic (except for the traffic around the metro stations). You would need to decide which office to work for, then decide on your city. You can drive to work at Tysons, or take public transportation into the city.
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Old 02-04-2008, 10:26 AM
 
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Great point... what is the property tax in Fairfax County? And how about the tax in Loudoun County?
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Old 02-04-2008, 10:41 AM
 
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$.89 per $100 of assessed value in Fairfax for FY2008, same as last year. Loudon was also at $.89 last year, but has gone to $.96 cents for FY2008. Note the fiscal year for both counties runs through June 30...
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Old 02-04-2008, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,402 posts, read 28,970,587 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saganista View Post
$.89 per $100 of assessed value in Fairfax for FY2008, same as last year. Loudon was also at $.89 last year, but has gone to $.96 cents for FY2008. Note the fiscal year for both counties runs through June 30...
Taxes here are a little more complicated than this, however.

In 2002, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman, Gerry Connolly, announced that the county was reducing the real estate tax rate from $1.23 to 89 cents, a 38 percent decrease. They were able to do this because the average residential real estate assessment increased 177 percent (from $196,000 to $543,000), more than offsetting the token reduction in the real estate tax rate.

However, this was a little misleading because residents of Fairfax county were given a number of additional levies. Some of these include a levy of $0.001 per $100 of the valuation of real estate for pest control, levies for community centers, the Phase 1 Dulles Rail Transportation levy, and the Watershed Improvement levy of $0.0925 per $100 assessed value. The levies are tricky because you may or not have to pay certain levies depending on your particular situation. However, rest assured that you will pay a substantial number of levies in Fairfax County.

The current tax rate for personal property (cars, etc.) in Fairfax County is $4.57 for each $100 of assessed value.

You also have to pay city taxes in most areas of Fairfax.

In Loudoun, the Real Property Tax is $0.96 per $100. The Personal Property Tax Rate is $4.20 per $100. You do not have to pay city taxes in Eastern Loudoun County (east of Leesburg).

Last edited by normie; 02-04-2008 at 02:16 PM.. Reason: A fully detailed post was too long & too complicated. I cut it down to the main points.
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Old 02-04-2008, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Land of the Free
6,750 posts, read 6,750,220 times
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Falls Church City (and not the Fairfax County part of Falls Church) is convenient to both Tyson's Corner and DC, has great schools, and should fit your budget. It's also closer to cultural attractions than the outer suburbs. North Arlington also has good schools and easy access to interesting places, but less in your price range. If you go too far outside the Beltway, it's a strip mall/chain restaurant paradise. If you don't mind that, then there are plenty of good deals now.
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