Home Buying in Virginia>Question Details

Peggy, Home Buyer in Virginia

Neighborhoods in and around DC.

Asked by Peggy, Virginia Wed Feb 27, 2008

My husband and I will be relocating very soon to Northern VA. He has recently received a promotion and we need a home. Our price range is between 350 and 450000. We will be leaving a 2700sq foot home with a 1/2 acre of land and would like to buy something that is equally as nice. The neighborhoods we are looking in are Leesburg, Ashburn, Haymarket and Gainesville. What make one area better than the other?
Thank you!

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Hi Peggy! I use to be in your situation. The commutes are awful! We purchased a home at Bryce Golf and Ski Resort in Basye, VA. The commute to D.C. was 90 minutes, but no more than sitting in the suburb traffic and waiting. Plus, we had the lovely Bryce Mtn and privacy to go home to every evening and weekends. Check it out. Go to: http://www.bryceresort.com/ If you like it, I can recommend a very good agent to assist you. You are going to love it!!! Glenda Marks 980-322-2532
Web Reference: http://www.queencitygal.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 16, 2008
Loudoun is beautiful, but Route 7 and I-66 commutes can be a nightmare. As a 17 year law enforcement officer that lived and worked in Prince William County I can honestly say there are some wonderful communities/areas there. Your husband may want to consider using alternative means for commuting; such as VRE (Virginia Rail Express), the Metro, or van pooling. Many employers will reimburse employees for the cost of using mass transit. If your husband can set his own work schedule (flex time), he can cut his daily commute in half.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 7, 2008
All of those are nice areas but where you live will depend on how far out you want to be from work. Gainesville and Haymarket are in Prince William County, Leesburg and Ashburn are in Loudoun. Loudoun homes seem to be holding their value better right now, but there are some amazing buys in Prince William. Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 4, 2008
I do really appreciate all of you. I have gained valuable information on this board. Thanks again!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 29, 2008
As the others here have noted, the commute will be horrendous from some of the locations, such as Gainesville. And none of them offers a 1 hour commute to DC, if by commute you're talking about 7 am-9 am and/or 3 pm-7 pm. But they all have nice houses many people enjoy living there.

You also mentioned (in a follow-up) Prince William County. Your money absolutely will go farther there. However, some areas of Prince William have been very hard hit by the collapse of the subprime market--lots of foreclosures and short sales in some pockets of the county.

Your price range does limit you somewhat--sticker shock is not uncommon for people buying houses in Northern Virginia. I ran a search on the MRIS for all single family houses in Fairfax County under $475,000 (assuming there's some price flexibility on the seller's part), minimum of 4 beds/2 baths, built after 1985. (There are lots more if you go back a few more years.) There are 32 currently on the market.

Same search in Loudoun County came up with 159 listings. Same search in Prince William County came up with 766 listings. I tightened the parameters in Prince William to minimum 5 bed/2 bath, built after 1999, under $450,000, and came up with 84. I randomly looked at some, and the first 7 I checked were short sales or REOs. There were some nice ones there.

So, you really have to weigh nice neighborhood/horrendous commute (Loudoun County), better values/more selection/somewhat better commute (Prince William), or better commute/more expensive/less selection (Fairfax County).

If I can help you further, just let me know.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 29, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
I would highly recommend the Victory Lakes subdivision. I sold two homes there last year and both families love it. Lots of activities, large subdivision with lots of amenities. However, if you can get closer in to the metro line that would be better transportation-wise.
Web Reference: http://www.MovingToNova.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 29, 2008
Thank you so much to all of you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2008
Peggy - It all depends on your personal taste and what area "feels" better to you. I can't speak for Haymarket or Gainesville, but my specialty is in Loudoun County.

If you'd like information on Loudoun County, check out my real estate blogs - LoudounStats (dot com) and LoudounForeclosures (dot com). Check out the "Buyer Resources" category on the left hand side of Loudoun Stats (link below). There are links to neighborhood info, HOAs, school, crime and other information including sites and companies that provide demographics on the county. It may come in handy to you.

Welcome to the area and let me know if I can be of assistance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2008
I recently left Northern Virginia and moved further south to the Fredericksburg Area. Unfortunately, the market is expensive and time is money. The areas that you are looking at will give you more for your money but the commute will be brutal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2008
Thank you so much. My husband will be working in Vienna one day a week and the other days he will be traveling around the DC/Winchester area. I am leaning toward the Prince William area because it seems you get more bang for the buck, but I also want to be safe. My desires are a nice house, nice neighborhood within a 1 hour commute to DC.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2008
It is hard to know what YOU may consider better than other areas. The first thing I would ask is how long of a commute is your husband willing to take everyday? Depending on where he will be workiing and how long of a commute time he would prefer; may help to narrow down your search areas.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2008
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