May 09, 2010,
J.P. asks from Waipahu, HI on May 08, 2010
Relocation to Dc/va/md Area...
We are going to be transferred to Washington DC in about 9 months. We are looking to buy a home around 150k. Im trying to find a nice, family oriented neighborhood with lots of kids ( i have a 3 and 1 y.o) Im looking for at most a 1 hour commute to D.C (white house area). Looking some where in Virginia or Maryland suburbs. Not very big on hectic city life. Also looking for an area with a great elementary school as both my boys will be going at some point. Please any suggestions would be great as too what neighborhoods, schools to look into. Im not from the area at all so have no idea where to start. thank you
So What Happened?™
Thank you every one for all your suggestions and useful info about the area. Im starting to get an idea of what to expect. we have decided to raise our budget for a house and possibly rent for a few months if we can find a month to month lease to get to know the area much better personally. Please keep the suggestions and info coming! I have alot to do over the next few months to prepare for this move and its helping alot. We wont be able to make a previsit to dc as ticket from honolulu, Hi are just to exspensive to make a trip. Every little bit of info helps to find where we want to go. Thanks again and keep The info coming.!!
K.H. answers from Washington DC on May 08, 2010
I am living in Vienna VA , we are close by to buses that go to the metro stations to get into DC , around an hour commute , sometimes less depending on the time of day. Like all the previous posters said , you are not going to be able to buy for 150K , you would be better off renting if you want to be in a family oriented area with good schools. From what I have heard all Fairfax county schools are good , but like all schools some are more sought after than others , we are in the area for Louise Archer ES , other close by are Flint Hill ES , Vienna ES , Wolftrap ES , Westbriar ES , Stenwood ES , Marshall Rd ES to name a few. I look at realtor sites just to be nosey and see what is around , and I have to say I have not seen hoses in and around Vienna for under 500K , these are more than often like what we are renting , split entry , 4 bed , 2 bath , nothing spectacular and the rent is $3000/month , large spectacular homes with land are 750K+. You can go further out , to areas such as Sterling , Herndon , Chantily , even Manassas but then you are not on a public transport route to DC and are looking at a commute of 2 hrs at least during peak times of the day.
I just want to add about cost of rent , a friend of mine rent an apartment across the street from Vienna metro station , 2 bed and not very big at all (it's just her and her daughter , no good for a family) and she pays $2000/month.
I hope this helps
M.K. answers from Stationed Overseas on May 09, 2010
I grew up in Falls Church, VA and lived in the DC area for most of my life. Like other people said no way are you going to find a place for 150k, not even a nice studio condo. I am a bit biased and would never live in Maryland even though I have lots of friends who live there and like it. I would love to live in DC but there is no way I could afford it. I loved growing up in Falls Church city and loved the school system. The town is only 2.5 square miles, has one HS, one MS and two elementary schools. The personal attention the kids get is great. But living there is crazy and home prices are outrageous.
Personally I like the Dunn Loring, Vienna, Fairfax, VA area but you will need to take into account how much time you want to spend commuting and how you are going to commute. Do you want to spend 2hrs in a car/train going one way? Or do you want to be able to hop on the subway and be there in 20minutes? Do you want a house or is an apartment/condo doable? Arlington is nice, super close to DC and a good school system. The same with the Farifax just a bit farther out. Both are on the metro line but once you get past Vienna no more metro and you would have to either drive into DC with major traffic or drive into a metro station and pray you find a parking spot. Good luck and prepare yourself for it being a bit crazy and hectic!
V.T. answers from Dallas on May 08, 2010
There are parts of West Virginia you maybe able to get into for $150K, but I don't know of anywhere in the DC area. By train, the commute to DC is about 2 hours. In October we just sold our 1BR/1BA condo in Falls Church, VA (Fairfax County), about 10 miles from DC for $265,000. I worked in DC and by Metro, my commute was about 45 minutes and my drive was 1 hour or more in rush hour.
C.L. answers from San Luis Obispo on May 09, 2010
I lived in Potomac for Junior High and High School. Potomac, Rockville, and Gaithersburg are nice areas with an okay commute to DC. However, they may be too expensive. They have good schools. Good luck.
C.M. answers from Los Angeles on May 08, 2010
we are actually moving there this fall from CA! We will be renting. There is NO way at all that we could buy a home. We are looking into Farifax, or Woodbridge or Alexandria area. We have been able to find homes/townhomes for rent for about $1400 a month for 3 bedrooms. But, I was curious to see how much homes cost over there and there is no way you will find one for less than $300K in a decent area. Fairfax VA has the best schools and is a very nice area to live. Lots to do around there. Some area's of Maryland is nice (Bethesda) but my mother in law lives in Brentwood MD and I don't even feel safe going outside by myself. So, just do a lot of research and if you can, even visit before you move there. Good luck!!
L.C. answers from Raleigh on May 08, 2010
We used to live in Ashburn, VA...25 min out of DC without traffic. I love that area. However we rented , it was a 500.000 townhome and we payed $2100/month. I asked my husband if you want less than a hour commute (going into the city 7-9am and going out 3:30-6.00pm) you can not look further than 15 miles out(Arlington at best). My hubby worked from home but anytime he had to go into the city during those times it took him 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. When we considered moving closer to the city we found that : you can rent a 2000sq feet basement in one of those rich areas with sunlight/2brs/huge living room/some will let you use back yard/ with your own enterance for 1200-1500 with utiliteis included. We wished we would've done that. Our rent and utilites broke us and we had to move back to NC:(
C.W. answers from Washington DC on May 08, 2010
Um not to be rude or anything, but i have lived in that area and double your number or lower your standards. Shacks in the ghetto parts of pg county cost more then 150k.
oh i just contacted a friend of mine who is a realtor in that area and she said foreclosure in northern charles county md townhome about 160 is doable. if it wade elementary you are talking a great school- at least it was when my daughter went. top 100 school.
L.C. answers from Washington DC on May 08, 2010
We live over an hour from DC in VA and housing is still in the $350 - $400k range for 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, in a neighborhood...
If you find something for $150, jump on it, but don't expect 4 bedrooms, 2 bath, and move in ready...
I'd go with Mom2LilC and rent...
M.M. answers from Jacksonville on May 08, 2010
Fancy that, we are moving into the area next month.
We are moving into Spotylvania County, VA. THe schools are excellent in both Spotsy and Stafford Counties. We moved out of there 4 years ago, my husband just retired from the Marines, so back up we go.
Get a good realtor. If you want names you can private message me. ALso hit Realtor.com and militarybyowner.com, just google them.
Fredericksburg, Stafford, Falmouth and Spotsy will take over an hour at times. But the big city life isnt' there and it is still grass.
YOu can go to the commuter lots and be a "slug" to get into DC or pick up slugs. THat way you or whomever you ride with can get on the HOV lanes. There has to be three people in the car and the cops have been out lately.
My hubby is driving in from Stafford, exit 148, to the Pentagon and it took him over two hours on Thursday, he didn't have anyone riding with him though. Slugs are people who are just waiting for rides into the city.
Foreclosures and shortsales are very high at the momtent. Your chance of getting a good deal is good.
Any of the neighborhoods in Sposty and Stafford County will have HOA's that will cost up to $2000 a year. Most have pools with summer swim teams. Ours in Salem Fields, Fredericksburg was $650+ a year.
It does snow in the beltway so this winter you will need to buy winter coats. It also gets really hot and humid in the summer.
THe more north you go the more concrete you will be living on. THen after you pass the city Maryland has some good areas. I am not as familiar with MD though
C.C. answers from Washington DC on May 08, 2010
I grew up in Charles County, MD and have lived in Montgomery County, MD and Frederick County, MD. The post from Cora is correct. The number you want to buy a house for is very low for the area. I would recommend you rent in the area to learn where you want to live. The areas in VA and MD around DC are very large and it would be hard to know what you would like without first living here and learning the area. I would hate to see you buy something in the price you can afford and learning later it was nothing that it looked like "during the day". Good luck!
R.H. answers from Colorado Springs on May 08, 2010
We're a military family; we live in CO Springs now but we lived in the D.C. area (Arlington, and then Loudoun County) for four years.
I can tell you that at the time we lived in Loudoun and were interested in buying, we had a budget of 300,000. We worked with a realtor for two year and could not find not. ONE. single family house in the entire county for that price range. And because of traffic, Loudoun was definitely would be over an hour's commute time into D.C. because it would take about an hour just to get to Arlington.
If you wanted to greatly stretch your commute time, you can certainly look much further out and have better luck to find something more cost-effective but you will be looking at commute times of two hours easily due to traffic.
I personally enjoyed living in Loudoun County. We lived in the South Riding subdivision with was extremely family friendly....about 30% of SAHMs, lots of young families and a lot of family friendly activities in the immediate area (four community pools in South Riding, a great brand new community center 10 minutes away, a brand new library 5 minutes away, a weekly live music time in a coffee shop about 15 minutes away, a family farm with kid's activities etc. etc.). Schools in that area are some of the best in the country. However, the rent on our three bedroom townhome was 1800 a month, and our rent for our four bedroom detached home was 2100 a month.
And as an FYI, living in that part of VA is expensive, period. Cost of living for activities, groceries, utilities and pretty much everything is elevated. We lost over 16,000 dollars in income when we left VA for Colorado Springs, but we actually gained about 200 dollars a month in spendable income due to the drop in cost of living expenditures.
When we first moved to the area, we actually lived in Arlington, VA across the street from the court house metro station. Believe it or not, while I otherwise totally prefer space and grass, I greatly enjoyed living in Arlington because I never had to use my car and traffic in the D.C. greater area is so bad. I literally used my vehicle three times the entire year and a half we lived there. I was within a 10 minute walk to three grocery stores, a barnes and noble, over forty different shops, two community parks. The movie theater was literally across the street, as was the CVS. We walked to church. Anything else we wanted to do was a few metro stops away--- we took the metro to the mall, metro the doctor's office, metro into D.C. to the spend days at the Smithsonians, metro to watch the Capitals play--- and we never had to worry about traffic or where we would be able to park our car.
Ironically, my husband's job was in Loudoun County, and even doing the reverse commute it took him 45 minutes at peak travel times to get out there and back. We hated the additional family time we lost to the commute and that is why we moved. If he had worked in D.C. or Arlington, we would have done everything we could to keep living in Arlington. So, you need to decide what is most important to you--- family time together or more space (and no judgment, it's a personal decision). But it is definitely more expensive in Arlington--- we spent 2200 dollars on our 2 bedroom apartment (with pool and community room). To rent a house would have easily been in the three thousand dollar range. We could literally see the metro station about 50 steps away from the front door of our apartment complex however, which added greatly to price. But the convenience could not be beat.