fifty
fifty Reader
9/15/13 9:16 p.m.

Y'all!

We're in the DC area this week and looking for a house in the $600K range. We have 2 elementary aged kids, so neighborhood schools are an issue. There is nothing in DC in our price range (at least not with my garage requirement), so we are looking at Alexandria, VA and the Silver Springs , MD area.

The Adam's Rib will be commuting into the city, I'm a Physical Therapist so will be roosting closer to home.

Any suggestions / input?

Thanks, Iain

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UltraDork
9/15/13 9:51 p.m.

In reply to fifty:

We live in Fairfax right now and my wife loves it. The schools here are great, things are very convenient, you should be able to find a home close that price, seems like a very decent community. Lot's of dealerships and auto parts store near by, etc etc etc.

We had the same argument last year around this time. Both states have their pros and cons and both like taxes. Virginia does have a personal property tax on thigns like vehicles, atvs, watercraft, etc. State, county, and city taxes.

We are out of here soon and if we ever come back we would pick Fairfax again. Things just seem nicer in NOVA compared to Maryland. Driver's are horrible in the whole region though. Stay away from the Southeast region of DC near Bolling and Andrews AFB.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UberDork
9/16/13 7:40 a.m.

I feel sorry for you, but that's just me. Been through the area several times and the traffic would drive me insane. Is there somewhere you can live and catch commuter trains in?

I once did a job in Manassas. Beautiful area. Then in the afternon, I saw the worst traffic back up on US 29 I've ever seen right at the battlefield. Guess who was trying to do some siteseeing?

fifty
fifty Reader
9/16/13 7:50 a.m.

Thanks all! Yes, traffic is nuts. But, public transport is good.

petegossett
petegossett UberDork
9/16/13 8:51 a.m.

We visited friends who live in Alexandria this spring. It was the first time we'd ever been to DC, and honestly I didn't find the traffic to be that bad. We went sightseeing around the monuments & mall around 8:30 am, and the traffic heading into the middle of town wasn't bad at all compared to Chicago.

We went to Old Town Alexandria on Saturday around 9am, and traffic was nonexistent then, but it picked up by the time we left in the afternoon.

I'm not saying I'd want to live there, but we found it to be much nicer than the descriptions we'd heard.

mtn
mtn UltimaDork
9/16/13 9:39 a.m.
petegossett wrote: We visited friends who live in Alexandria this spring. It was the first time we'd ever been to DC, and honestly I didn't find the traffic to be that bad. We went sightseeing around the monuments & mall around 8:30 am, and the traffic heading into the middle of town wasn't bad at all compared to Chicago. We went to Old Town Alexandria on Saturday around 9am, and traffic was nonexistent then, but it picked up by the time we left in the afternoon. I'm not saying *I'd* want to live there, but we found it to be much nicer than the descriptions we'd heard.

Is DC like Chicago where you are in Chicago traffic for 50-60 miles in every direction outside of the city?

Chris_V
Chris_V UltraDork
9/16/13 10:06 a.m.
mtn wrote:
petegossett wrote: We visited friends who live in Alexandria this spring. It was the first time we'd ever been to DC, and honestly I didn't find the traffic to be that bad. We went sightseeing around the monuments & mall around 8:30 am, and the traffic heading into the middle of town wasn't bad at all compared to Chicago. We went to Old Town Alexandria on Saturday around 9am, and traffic was nonexistent then, but it picked up by the time we left in the afternoon. I'm not saying *I'd* want to live there, but we found it to be much nicer than the descriptions we'd heard.

Is DC like Chicago where you are in Chicago traffic for 50-60 miles in every direction outside of the city?

Close, as many people live in Baltimore and work in DC, 40 miles away. And then all along the Frederick/DC I270 corridor.

motomoron
motomoron Dork
9/16/13 2:08 p.m.

I've lived in MD in the DC metro area my entire 54 years. In Rockville from '59-'86, a couple shared houses in Bethesda from '87-'00, our first house in Bethesda a stones throw from the DC line from '00-'11, and house #2 in Chevy Chase/Silver Spring since then.

We love it here, and in your price range there's stuff available in great areas. What you won't find is a great sprawling tract of land with room for a detached 6 car+space to park a 42' stacker race hauler.

I've got a sizable detached and the house got an addition in the 70's, the basement of which is my machine shop.

I know the area very, very well, as well as the housing market, neighborhoods, and a few excellent real estate people.

Feel free to shoot me a message w/ your email - I'm happy to share what I know.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UltraDork
9/16/13 5:05 p.m.

I-66 is probably the worst road going into and out of DC. That's one thing I left out about NOVA. Even on a Sunday afternoon you'll find massive amounts of traffic - why:? Everyone has to stop and look at someone trying to put gas in their car on the side of the road + they are generally horrible at driving.

Other than that the 270 spur is miserable too. I was commuting from Bethesda to Lorton for a while when I was living with my brother. Leaving at 0600 not bad. Coming home at 1600 - nightmare.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 UberDork
9/16/13 6:25 p.m.

A friend of mine got a job right out of college in DC. He wisely chose to live in DC. Bought a fixer-upper and put a lot of work into it.

The traffic will drive you to drink. Or worse.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper PowerDork
9/16/13 7:11 p.m.

Northern Virginia traffic is worse than maryland in my experience. 66 or 95, both are awful.

Virginia has vicious traffic tickets. Legendary fines. Don't discount this if your "that" sort of driver.

Northern va has more traffic cops per square mile than anywhere else on the planet I've ever been.

Far better gun laws in Virginia than maryland (if you like guns that is). Though I'm not so sure of northern Virginia.

Either way, for commuting into dc, look closely at your ability to use metro.

nderwater
nderwater UberDork
9/16/13 11:08 p.m.

NOVA is very expensive, so my wife and I settled in Silver Spring for a year and a half when we first got married, then bought a townhouse up above Laurel.

I like DC, but had mixed feelings for Silver Spring and was pretty meh about the farther-out Maryland subburbs. If I was looking at schools, steer toward Western Montgomery County or the nicer areas of Annapolis.

As was stated already, traffic is terrible. Try to stick close to an interstate corridor, or (better) commuter train line, or (best) metro line. My wife both did the train to metro to work and back each day. It was expensive, but faster and sooo much less hassle than fighting traffic.

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
9/17/13 8:58 a.m.

Taxes are generally higher in Virginia. Maryland also has been consistently ranked highest in the country for their schools, especially in the more well-to-do places you'll be looking at.

The traffic is simply awful everywhere around there. If your daily commute isn't bad enough, just going 2 miles to the corner 7-11 for a can of Red Bull will take you upwards of half an hour or more.

fifty
fifty Reader
9/17/13 7:09 p.m.

Thanks all! Our time was limited, so we ended up concentrating on the Alexandria, VA area. This is not a knock at all on Maryland - we were starting to get option anxiety from all the great school districts and neighborhoods and wanted to narrow it down.

We have an offer in on a place semi-close to the Huntington Metro - I'm still reeling from the price, but hopefully the offer will be accepted and we can start our new life!

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