Home Buying in McLean>Question Details

Oliverdg, Home Buyer in McLean, VA

My husband was just transferred to work in DC and we are going to have to make a quick move to that area. I know nothing about the best

Asked by Oliverdg, McLean, VA Mon Sep 7, 2009

places/neighborhoods for schools for our daughter who is 5 years old. McClean and Fairfax were recommended on another forum, but I am desperate for suggestions. I will likely search for work in Virginia. We need a minimum of 3000 sq ft and we have a budget of about 1.1 million. TIA for any suggestions!

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Realtors can rarely provide advice on "best" places to live/neighborhoods for liability purposes. And what is great for one person, may not be good enough for another. What I do for my clients is provide them links to websites that might help them narrow down areas. Here is that list.

http://www.greatschools.net (information on schools)
http://www.city-data.com (you will get great information from people in the area and what they think)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local-explorer/ (crime statistics)
http://www.psk12.com/rating/USindexphp/STATE_VA.html (ranks schools)

Once you have narrowed it down to a school district and/or neighborhood, then we can do a geographic search taking into account your other requirements. I would start with the crime and school websites to come up with a list and they will allow you to cross reference crime statistics with schools that get pretty good rankings. I would then run that list through city-data.com and see what people in the area have to say about it.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any more assistance.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 7, 2009
love to hear from you!

Kind Regards,

Erik J. Weisskopf, ABR,CRS,GRI
(C) 703.216.1222
Erik@AskMeAboutHomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 24, 2009
Thought I'd post a quick update: the relocation folks at my husband's company (General Motors) referred him to someone from Vienna. She is not licensed to show us anything in Maryland (thanks for the information several of you posted I was prepared for that). She took him to several properties in Vienna (good public schools according to her, I have to check into that) and was suggesting that our budget was too low for anything in McLean. We now have to find someone who can help us in Maryland (Bethesda and Potomac areas specifically) so we can keep this process moving. We will be contacting some of you from this message board since you have been so helpful. Thank you again for all the great suggestions!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 24, 2009
Again, the answers posted have been terrific and I commend my colleagues! If you are indeed going to look in MD and VA...please be sure the agent actually DOES BUSINESS in both states and is not merely licensed. Many agents have licenses all over just for the rare occasion they need them. I have been licensed and doing business in both states since 1988.

Also, as for the relocation...many times the relo company lines you up with an agent here..who many times in not as competent as you picking your own. This is all about money. EX: XYZ relo company is aligned with PDQ real estate company here in VA..who in turn assigns you an agent here. Commission works like this..agent who gets the buyer pays the relo company 25-40% off the top...then splits the remainder of the commission 50/50 with the Real Estate company. In other words an agent who may be on a 80/20 split..say on a 100k house..instead of getting $2400 gross pay (100k x 3% x80%) would get $900 (100k -40% relo x 3% x 50%) as you can see...it's a substantial cut. This is the reason many seasoned agents doing good business may refuse the assignment and it goes to someone say..not doing so much.

However...if you say..pick your agent here and they pay the relocation company directly...then they keep their own split..the agent makes more..the buyer gets a better agent..and the relo. company still gets their cut..though many times they are not keen on it because they lose some control. This scenario (though hypothetical) is many times exactly what happens.

Having negotiated these deals many times..from clients who are being transferred out (most recently a John Deere client) and clients moving in (Exxon Mobil) it is doable as long as the client chooses such. Typically the client (Yourself) has more leverage with a mandatory move vs. a voluntary move.

Lastly..please check the http://www.money.com website to do a zip code cost of living comparison. This can put real dollars in your pocket is you have not finished negotiation of your "relocation package". Some companies will bonus you, increase your income, pay points to buy down the loan etc. to provide incentive when you move to an area with a higher cost of living. Again, more leverage with a mandatory vs. voluntary move. I hope this information not only helps you get better service..but saves you a few dollars.

Should you need further explanation or need more assistance in working through your relo package..or just want some listings forwarded to you by e-mail..etc. feel free to contact me directly. Thanks and best of luck!

Erik J. Weisskopf, ABR,CRS,GRI
(C) 703.216.1222
Erik@AskMeAboutHomes.com
http://www.AskMeAboutHomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 13, 2009
If you're going to look for work in Virginia, then I'd suggest you look for properties in Virginia, rather than Maryland. There are some really nice areas in Maryland you'd probably like--Bethesda's been mentioned, for instance--but the commute and logistics would be more difficult.

As others note, we really can't comment on schools (or crime rates, to cite another item). However, keep in mind that the Washington metro area has some excellent private schools. They're very pricey, but that might be a solution to finding a close-in home and addressing the school needs at the same time.

However, as you get out a way--into Fairfax County in particular--you may find that the public schools meet your needs. The GreatSchools website mentioned earlier is a good resource, and there are plenty of others. Let me just say that, as a parent of a child who just graduated from a Fairfax County secondary school, the quality of education in Fairfax County can be excellent.

There tends to be limited inventory in Falls Church City, but the city anecdotally has a good educational reputation (again, not a recommendation; check it out for yourself), and it's very close to McLean. Going outside the Beltway, there are plenty of neighborhoods within a 5-7 mile swath stretching around from 66 past Routes 50 and 236 to Braddock Road.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 12, 2009
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
MVP'08
Contact
Hi again,

Luisa is correct about an agents ability to show properties in both states. Bethesda is a lovely area as well, and the Montgomery County (where Bethesda is) school system is also an excellent system. Bethesda is a bit pricey, but you should check it out just to satisfy yourselves that you've covered all of your options.

My partner and I work VA & MD and when the times comes, we would love to interview for the opportunity to work with you. Aside from regular sales, we also do a lot with foreclosures and short sales. Based on your need to move fast, I don't recommend that you pursue short sales, but buying a foreclosure can be done quickly.

I hope to hear from you when the time is right for you.

Once again, my contact information is:
email: ajkrumholz@yahoo.com
cell: (703) 599-4755

Regards,
Andy Krumholz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 10, 2009
Diane,

You need to have a MD license to show properties in MD. A lot of agents have both MD and VA licenses so they will be able to help you in both states. However, some agents may be only licensed in VA--so make sure you ask the question when you do interview agents.

Good luck!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 10, 2009
One more quick question -- several people we know have also suggested we look in Bethesda, MD because the schools there are good, and there are some nice neighborhoods there. Can agents in VA also show properties in MD? The areas are so close together, but I'm not sure how things work in the different states. Thanks!!!

Diane
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 10, 2009
The websites you have posted in response to my request are VERY helpful - I'm going to spend the weekend going through them in more detail. Since we have to buy something with little time to see anything (we may have only a weekend or two to actually come to town to view properties as a family), I'd like to narrow down the search as best I can. I really appreciate all of these responses, thank you so much.

It is my understanding that my husband's company has a relocation branch that connects us with an agent in the area. I think we can work with anyone who has a contract with his employer (and that contract may influence their commission on the sale since it is a guaranteed deal - but that part I'm not as sure on). I'll have him to check to see about interviewing several to pick one that we connect with. I didn't realize that I may have a choice about that (again, thanks for that suggestion!). We have some pretty clear ideas about the kind/style of house we would like, and the specific parameters that we are working with as far as size and price. I'll post again when I have more news. You all have been great!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 10, 2009
Yes. You need a buyer's agent to help you. Send me an email. I will get a buyer's agent to help you. I know how important schools are. I have a three year old and an eight year old. I'd be happy to find an agent in that area to contact you.
Web Reference: http://www.reneehaser.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 10, 2009
Oliverdg,
I have personally experienced the stress and anxieties that come with moving to a new area, from my 22 years of military service and you are welcomed to contact me with any questions and I will assist in making this a smooth transition for you and your family. I also have a nice home listed in Burke VA, that is 3600 sq ft. You can contact me at gastong1@aol.com and you can search all available homes listed in the MLS for this area on my website below. Thanks Garry Gaston
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 10, 2009
The suggestions made by my colleagues are indeed true and good resources have already been provided. If you want to take it one step further..I am happy to provide you with names/numbers of some of my past clients who can openly and without liability...speak to you about why they chose..McLean or which ever area may be of interest.

If you wish to contact me directly..

Erik J. Weisskopf, ABR,CRS,GRI
(C) 703.216.1222
Erik@AskMeAboutHomes.com
http://www.AskMeAboutHomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 8, 2009
Good Morning Oliverdg,

In our website we have under buyer resources a link the Virginia schools; this will give you a choice for public and private schools. I also have a link to Diplomatic connections there you will find some excellent schools as well.

Leslie Woods-Hulse
Web Reference: http://www.nvexit.info
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 8, 2009
Good Morning Oliverdg,

Luisa is correct below when she says that as Realtors we can't tell you which are the best schools, but we can show you all of the resources you need in order to make that determination. Having said that, depending on where you work and what your tolerance for your commute are, there are many places in Northern Virginia (NOVA) that should work well for you. NOVA has some of the finest school systems in the country, so you'll have plenty of good choices. Based on your budget and the size of home you're looking for, you'll have more difficulty weeding out choices, then finding enough to look at.

My recommendation to you is to interview a few Realtors in person, to see who you are most comfortable with. Knowledge of the area and of real estate in general are very important, but you can't underestimate the chemistry and ease of communication that you have with the person you select. Since you need to move quickly, it's critical that you have an agent that you feel in sync with.

If I can help you in any way, my contact information is:
email: ajkrumholz@yahoo.com
cell: (703) 599-4755

Regards,
Andy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 8, 2009
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