Buying a property to combine an investment with downsizing. Location is the key. Considering McLean-undecided about Home-TH or condo?

Asked by Semi-retired, Fairfax, VA Thu Jun 16, 2011

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Peg Bell, Agent, Arlington, VA
Fri Jun 17, 2011
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To address your second set of questions, yes, McLean is spread over a fairly wide and geographically diverse area. Even so, resale value throughout the community--whether downtown "old" McLean, Tysons near the shopping centers and corporate offices, or elsewhere-- is strong. Assuming a property is in good resale condition and appropriately priced for market conditions, it will sell. Buyers searching for detached homes are drawn to McLean for its top-rated public schools, proximity to D.C., & relatively larger square footage and lot sizes (vs., say, Arlington). Townhomes are popular in downtown McLean among many downsizers like yourself, as most offer very easy access to shopping, restaurants, etc., and they sell quite easily. For condos in McLean, the majority are located in the Tysons area where the Silver Metro line is being built. Without question, ease of resale and property value increases the closer a property is to a metro station--we see proof of this throughout the D.C. area. And ALL of the three property types are quite rent-able in McLean. In balancing your home & lifestyle preferences with investor and resale concerns, the question really comes back to your budget, as how much you want to spend will likely dictate where you land.

If you'd like to see recent market data and statistics for McLean real estate sales, please send me an email and I'd be happy to forward to you separately.
Web Reference:  http://www.pegbell.com
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Glen Baird, Agent, Fairfax, VA
Thu Jun 16, 2011
That's great news. Everyone should own at least one investment property. My two cents: 1. Location should be near home. Late night or weekend maintenance, showings, or an occasional drive-by are much easier when close to home. 2. I'm not a big fan of condos. Low maintenance but can have runaway fees. 3. Detached homes have slightly higher maintenance but have more stable tenants and often long term ones. 4. Townhomes are a happy median between the others. I have bought, sold, renovated and flipped all of the above. Feel free to contact me to chat about your goals.
Web Reference:  http://www.virginiamls.com
1 vote
Melissa Bark…, Agent, Washington, DC
Sat Jun 18, 2011
There are many good responses here that cover a lot. It depends on what works for you and what you think is the best investment for yourself in the long-term. Location is important, as others have mentioned the silver line is going thru Tysons but not "downtown McLean". Yes people will purchase smaller homes, tear them down and build larger homes on the lot, that is not uncommon in the metro region.
Web Reference:  http://www.wdcmetroagent.com
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Semi-retired, Home Buyer, Fairfax, VA
Sat Jun 18, 2011
Again, great answers to my question. Yoiur comments about location are very interesting, it comes down to access to the Metro and good schools but we have good schools in the area no matter where, correct?
The budget: it is the same for all three types of properties.
Investment means that I would live there for at least 4-5 years and then will consider moving to the final place... for retirement. it also means investing money in real estate at a time when interest rates are so low.
This is supposed to be a conservative investment with minimum risk involved. I hope.
What I see is that the prices are a bit high for what one gets: old properties and very small at million dollar price range?
You all have given such great advice I really apprecited it!!!
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Glen Baird, Agent, Fairfax, VA
Fri Jun 17, 2011
Keep in mind your transaction expenses. Transaction Costs to: sell your current home, buy the investment home, sell the investment home, buy the next home. Like the Realtor commercial states "For every two homes sold, a job is created. That is 2.5 million American jobs created from new home ownership every year." Selling expenses create jobs.
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David Burnham, , Washington, DC
Fri Jun 17, 2011
Semi-retired,
You may want to look into Lillian Court at 1645 International Drive. This is a condo complex with a few buildings just located next to Tysons 2. The great thing about this is that the front of the buildings are lines with small town homes (like 1200 sq feet).

I actually lived there about 8 years ago and found it was the perfect mix of town home and condo. You have the private entrance and two level home that you would normally get in a townhouse, but you still get some of the benefits of low maintenance with the condo association. It is just across the street from Tyson's Galleria, so you can walk to some shopping and dining.

I loved living there, but once I got married, the commute did not work for my wife. Let me know if you want more details. I would love to share my experience.
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Amrish Pinto, Agent, Tysons, VA
Fri Jun 17, 2011
For an easier rent out experience, because the Silver line is coming to Tysons and only condos will be within walking distance, and because they are typically the least expensive of the other options: Consider buying a condo within walking distance of the Silver line currently being built.
Web Reference:  http://nvacondos.com/
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Erik Weissko…, Agent, fairfax, VA
Fri Jun 17, 2011
For investment..in a location like you speak of..Single Family always proves best followed by Townhome then condo. As for ease of ownership..Townhome is the most popular rental. The "walkable" area is higher density..so a townhome conceivably would be the best choice. There are some nice choices available as well.

If I can provide greater assistance..feel free to contact me.

Kind Regards,

Erik J. Weisskopf, ABR,CDPE,CRS,GRI
Erik@AskMeAboutHomes.com
703.216.1222
0 votes
Semi-retired, Home Buyer, Fairfax, VA
Fri Jun 17, 2011
Thanks to all that answered my question. I would clarify. the following: Investment to me means that I would live in it and sell it later the possibility of renting it should be second choice. I included in my question a house vs a TH or a condo.

All of your points are very true and well taken. I have never live in a TH or condo but I have known enough people that lived in those properties and I am aware of the pros and cons of daily life or the maintenance costs associated with. My question is more related to resale. ???? and specifically to McLean as the location.
I know that McLean is very large and divided in different areas. The walkable area of Dolly Madison and Old Dominion or Evermay etc...
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Vicky Chrisn…, Agent, Purcellvile, VA
Fri Jun 17, 2011
Hi there, Semi-retired. Previous posters have offered some great insights. Do you plan to live in the home full time? For how long?

As I approach the part of my life where I would describe myself as "semi retired" and talk about "downsizing" I suspect I am going to be looking for a place where I can age in place. (I don't like to move frequently) In other words, I don't want stairs and I recognize that my abilities will change as I age.... I don't want to deal with maintenance issues.... I may not be able to drive, so public transportation options or the ability to walk to shopping may be important.... That kind of thing. Condos might start sounding more appealing.

(NO! I am not calling you old! I just don't like to move.... and I never want to HAVE to move because of changing physical abilities. That definitively would mess with my "investment" plan. So it's just something to think about.)

There are many aspects to this idea. Please contact an agent, and discuss your situation individually. We all offer our best advice with more information. I'd be glad to help you, if you'd like. I am at 703-669-3142/VChrisner@kw.com
Web Reference:  http://www.vickychrisner.com
0 votes
Melissa Bark…, Agent, Washington, DC
Fri Jun 17, 2011
Congrats. It really depends on what you are looking for? Location is also important, do you want to be close to shopping, restaurants, etc or do you want to have to drive a little bit to everything? In McLean, it depends on where you are as to how the traffic might be as well.

The vast majority of condos are on one-level, offer common areas such as the lobby, elevators, some offer such amenities as pools, fitness rooms, club-rooms, libraries, some include utilities in the monthly fee, some green spaces that you don't have to maintain. A TH, typically will be a little larger, garage typically located on the lower level, kitchen and living room on the main and bedrooms on the top floors. It really depends on layout and what you are looking for. THs are typically priced higher than condos and have lower monthly fees (but not in all cases), so you need to look at a budget, think about what you really want and go from there.

Good luck and please let me know if you need any assistance.

Melissa
mbarkalow@comcast.net
Web Reference:  http://www.wdcmetroagent.com
0 votes
Peg Bell, Agent, Arlington, VA
Thu Jun 16, 2011
If you've established a budget, the answer to that will lead at least halfway to the best decision for you, as most townhomes are priced higher than many condos. From a lifestyle standpoint, a townhome typically offers a bit more living space and considerably more privacy. A condo often offers more amenities, like swimming pool, fitness room, clubhouse, on-site management, etc., and not to mention, little maintenance. That low maintenance comes with monthly fees, however, as you incur costs associated with common area & exterior maintenance -- for things like lawn/landscaping, roofs, siding, garages, elevators, liability insurance, etc. Ultimately, some people are well-suited for condo living; others, not so much. Keep in mind, most TH communities will also have monthly association fees, though typically much less than in condo communities, as fewer amenities may be offered and fewer maintenance costs are shared with your neighbors.

I own property in this area myself, and would be happy to assist and guide you with your decision and search. Hope this helps!
Web Reference:  http://www.pegbell.com
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