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Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland Calvert County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County
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View Poll Results: Best place to start a family
Burke - Fairfax County West of I-95 3 23.08%
Alexandria - Fairfax County East of I-95 5 38.46%
Woodbridge - PW County 1 7.69%
Clinton area - PG County 3 23.08%
Waldorf - North Charles County 3 23.08%
La Plata - Other Areas of Charles County 3 23.08%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-19-2012, 12:55 PM
 
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So I am relocating to the area and was curious to get some feedback from others who live here. I have read on here a wide range of views the quality of life, commutes, demographics, schools, traffic congestion, etc... I am curious how things currently stand.

I am taking a position either in Springfield, VA or in Blue Plains, MD. From what I can gather houses are much cheaper in Maryland than they are in Virginia but the schools are not on the same level. In researching home prices the difference in what your $ buys you in say Waldorf, Clinton, Indian Head is staggeringly more than what you can get in Burke, Lorton, or Alexandria. So my question is - is it worth it?

What does the commute from Waldorf to Blue Plains or Springfield look like? Are the schools really horrible in Waldorf or are they just not top notch? Does renting a house in Burke for $3000 a month really come with a significant better quality of life than one in Waldorf for $2000 a month? Any suggestions or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:01 PM
 
Location: White Plains, Maryland
460 posts, read 957,967 times
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Depends on your priorities. What are your top priorities? How old are your children? How long do you plan on staying? Is having a really nice home important? Is a commute under a certain time important?

You will get a lot of different opinions based on what is important to the individual. It might help for people to provide advice or suggestions if they know some more details.

I know for me, my personal preference and priorities - before I have children, I want to get completely out of the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area God willing.
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:11 PM
 
7,067 posts, read 7,760,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lasershen111 View Post
Depends on your priorities. What are your top priorities? How old are your children? How long do you plan on staying? Is having a really nice home important? Is a commute under a certain time important?

You will get a lot of different opinions based on what is important to the individual. It might help for people to provide advice or suggestions if they know some more details.

I know for me, my personal preference and priorities - before I have children, I want to get completely out of the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area God willing.
I know that I would shy away from driving from Waldorf to Springfield. It can be done but it certainly would be a drag. If you think you'd like Waldorf then you'd like Indian Head and or Fort Washington. Much (very much) closer to virginia-Wilson Bridge- DC beltway-highway 295.

lasershen, I grew up in the DC area--Oxon Hill, lived in VA since the 80s. I'm selling my home in Va and was thinking of moving back to Maryland, specifically White Plains. Is it getting worse out that way?
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:13 PM
 
15 posts, read 28,564 times
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Currently no children, we are just starting out so schools are not an immediate issue. But I do not want to move somewhere that has a weak school system and end up having to live with poorly performing schools or unable to sell a home for that reason.

As far as a commute I would prefer as short a commute as possible - the traffic here is a nightmare. So I would not want more than 30 mintues, not sure how that translates to miles. If I took the position in Blue Plains I would lean towards something in Maryland. If I take the position in Springfield I would lean towards something in Virginia. The housing is driving which position I take.

For housing I would prefer a nicer home with a yard, and from what I could find there are plenty of options in the Waldorf area well within a rental price range of $2500 per month or a purchase price of $400k to $450k. But the same home is $700k in Burke or you go down to a townhouse size place.

Currently I am renting a house on about an acre in the Fairfax Station area for $3000 per month and it would sell for $750k - far more than I would ever pay for a house. I know there are less expensive options in the area, but going across the river to Maryland you see a significant drop in price and I can not figure out why.

Last edited by dougmangin; 06-19-2012 at 01:22 PM..
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:25 PM
 
7,067 posts, read 7,760,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougmangin View Post
Currently no children, we are just starting out so schools are not an immediate issue. But I do not want to move somewhere that has a weak school system and end up having to live with poorly performing schools or unable to sell a home for that reason.

As far as a commute I would prefer as short a commute as possible - the traffic here is a nightmare. So I would not want more than 30 mintues, not sure how that translates to miles.

For housing I would prefer a nicer home with a yard, and from what I could find there are plenty of options in the Waldorf area well within a rental price range of $2500 per month or a purchase price of $400k to $450k. But the same home is $700k in Burke or you go down to a townhouse size place.

Currently I am renting a house on about an acre in the Fairfax Station area for $3000 per month and it would sell for $750k - far more than I would ever pay for a house. I know there are less expensive options in the area, but going across the river to Maryland you see a significant drop in price and I can not figure out why.
Charles-PG Schools are not as good as in Fairfax, hands down. Crime rate is another issue too. Fairfax crime rate does not even compare to PG and Charles County. Now, don't get me wrong- in that- schools in those parts of Maryland may be better than the national average and even the crime rate for that matter, Fairfax, on the other hand is in close proximity and is exceptional in those areas.
Have you looked at Springfield homes?
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:32 PM
 
Location: DMV
10,136 posts, read 12,849,104 times
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Waldorf is a tough area because unless you have a job down there, like the other posters have said, your commute will be awful. Ditto to La Plata. Schools in Waldorf or a hit or miss. Charles County as a whole is a middle of the pack school system for the state of MD. Also has pockets of bad area, particularly near the St Charles Town Center and the St Charles Parkway.

Clinton is okay. Even though it may be cheaper, you will generally pay higher property taxes there than other places you are considering. It isn't particularly safe near the shopping centers or Cosca Park (Boniwood neighborhood) but other than that, it's a typical middle class town (not very diverse in population though). Schools are awful.

Woodbridge isn't a whole lot different traffic wise compared to Charles County, but here are the main differences commuter buses with access to HOV lanes, alternate roads to avoid back ups (Route 1, I-95, 123), better amenities, better schools (property holds up better) and not as isolated as Charles County (has nothing around it to really be worth a visit on a regular basis). Also please consider that there are 3 parts of Woodbridge: Lake Ridge (22192), Dale City (22193), and Woodbridge/Marumsco (22191). Lake Ridge is the safest and has the best schools but each parts have their pockets of good and bad areas with Lake Ridge having more good than bad. Traffic can be bad, especially if you travel during typical rush hour times even for a shorter commute like Springfield.

Burke is great, has a high quality of life and is relatively close to Springfield (I'm sure you know this being in Fairfax Station). The only thing with Burke is it is largely residential, so any shopping outside of grocery shopping/Walmart would probably take place in the city of Fairfax, Springfield or beyond. The schools are amongst the best in this region though. Very, very expensive. Probably not getting much of a place in Burke with that price range.

Alexandria in Fairfax is tricky because there are good and bad pockets. The general rule of thumb is the close to Route 1 you live, the worse it is, so if you can find a place off of Route 1 it can be a nice place but then it become very expensive, but your commute to either Blue Plains of Springfield would be decent. Schools are so-so, especially for the cost of living in that area. It's great for commute but quality of life isn't up to par of what other parts of Fairfax offers.

If I was in your shoes, I would give Alexandria a serious look. It's not the best option, but given what you are looking for, it fits best.
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:33 PM
 
Location: White Plains, Maryland
460 posts, read 957,967 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougmangin View Post
Currently no children, we are just starting out so schools are not an immediate issue. But I do not want to move somewhere that has a weak school system and end up having to live with poorly performing schools or unable to sell a home for that reason.

As far as a commute I would prefer as short a commute as possible - the traffic here is a nightmare. So I would not want more than 30 mintues, not sure how that translates to miles. If I took the position in Blue Plains I would lean towards something in Maryland. If I take the position in Springfield I would lean towards something in Virginia. The housing is driving which position I take.

For housing I would prefer a nicer home with a yard, and from what I could find there are plenty of options in the Waldorf area well within a rental price range of $2500 per month or a purchase price of $400k to $450k. But the same home is $700k in Burke or you go down to a townhouse size place.

Currently I am renting a house on about an acre in the Fairfax Station area for $3000 per month and it would sell for $750k - far more than I would ever pay for a house. I know there are less expensive options in the area, but going across the river to Maryland you see a significant drop in price and I can not figure out why.
You're right... in VA (most areas over there at least), you'll get better school systems, better commute (although traffic is still outrageous, it's only getting worse in Maryland as well.

I'm not familiar with Blue Ridge, is that up in Frederick?? I don't think Waldorf is smart commute wise for either potential job location.
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:36 PM
 
Location: White Plains, Maryland
460 posts, read 957,967 times
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Originally Posted by jmking View Post
I know that I would shy away from driving from Waldorf to Springfield. It can be done but it certainly would be a drag. If you think you'd like Waldorf then you'd like Indian Head and or Fort Washington. Much (very much) closer to virginia-Wilson Bridge- DC beltway-highway 295.

lasershen, I grew up in the DC area--Oxon Hill, lived in VA since the 80s. I'm selling my home in Va and was thinking of moving back to Maryland, specifically White Plains. Is it getting worse out that way?
Jmking,

Depends on what you mean by worse out that way? I've grown up in the area as well... some in NOVA, SMD, Annapolis, etc.

I personally enjoy White Plains and La Plata over Waldorf which I spent a lot of time in, and the schools in La Plata are better than those in Waldorf. The neighborhood we live in, in White Plains we really enjoy. Definitely have good opportunities for "bang for your buck" in certain areas over here.... but what specifically are you looking for as far as "getting worse"?
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:38 PM
 
Location: White Plains, Maryland
460 posts, read 957,967 times
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ohhh.. blue plains, in DC?
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:41 PM
 
7,067 posts, read 7,760,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lasershen111 View Post
You're right... in VA (most areas over there at least), you'll get better school systems, better commute (although traffic is still outrageous, it's only getting worse in Maryland as well.

I'm not familiar with Blue Ridge, is that up in Frederick?? I don't think Waldorf is smart commute wise for either potential job location.
The op stated "Blue Plains, MD". She could mean "Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant" in DC off 295?
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