Fairfax County Real Estate Prices: What does $500K buy where?

This time, inspired by the fabulous Washingtonian Magazine, we’ve drilled down on their article on “House Prices Now: What Your Money Buys Where”, and we’ve come up with our own list exclusively focused on Fairfax County Real Estate.

House Prices: What your money buys where

House Prices Now: What Your Money Buys Where

What’s the average Fairfax County Real Estate price?

First, we determined the average home price in all of Fairfax County for the previous month. Based on MLS statistics, the average Fairfax County Real Estate sold price for August 2012 was $520,511*.  To simplify our search, we selected “around $500,000”. Continue Reading…

The Beltway: to HOV or not to HOV?

As you may have heard, the DC metro area has its share of traffic issues. In Northern Virginia, a couple of the most travelled highways are: the famous I-66, which goes from East to West, and the Capital Beltway (or I-495), which encircles the city of Washington DC.

Carpooling around the Beltway can be a blast

Carpooling around the Beltway can be a blast

If you live in the western side of Fairfax County and drive into Washington DC, you will find that Route 66 might be the most direct route into it.  But you’ll have to time your drive just right because a big part of Route 66 is only open to carpoolers.

Carpooling helps Continue Reading…

My friend D won the lottery!

As D’s Mom scrambles to buy school supplies on the day before school starts, she’s feeling flustered among the throngs of last-minute shoppers at the office supply store… but among all the commotion, she’s happy that things turned out as she hoped for: her daughter had won the lottery.

D’s family found out that D had won the lottery

D got into language immersion

Congrats to D who got into Language Immersion!

Even though it’s not the lottery where you win lots of money, for D’s family, it’s a better lottery: It’s where D won the opportunity to attend an elementary school outside of her attendance area.

See, D’s attendance area dictated that she go to her neighborhood elementary school (i.e. her base school).  And her base school is a great school, but D’s family was hoping for her to attend another school that had a language immersion program not available at her base school.

How did D get on the list for this language immersion program?

D’s family put her name into the language immersion lottery at the new school many months in advance.  And they waited, and waited… and waited. When they didn’t hear from Fairfax County Schools up until the end of August, D’s Mom went out and bought the school supplies requested by D’s base elementary school.

But, almost at the last minute, on Saturday afternoon before school started, they were notified that there was a spot for D in the language immersion program!  And they were all very excited.  But there are downsides to winning the lottery…

There are some downsides to winning the lottery

One of them is that there is no bus transportation available for kids who live outside of the school boundary, so D will have to be driven back and forth to school.

Another downside is scrambling at the last minute to buy supplies for the new school.  As D’s Mom wondered: “Why did they wait to let them know at the last minute?”

There could be many reasons for the wait, but one that I can think of, is that the language immersion program must be available to all the children who live within its elementary school boundary.  Only when there are available spots, they can be given to children from outside the boundary.  Sometimes, it’s not clear until the last minute who will be attending the program, since some parents are also waiting on other placement decisions.

The good news is that winning this lottery is a very big opportunity for D to enrich her education starting now and affecting the rest of her life.

Congratulations, my Dear D!

And Happy New School Year, Everyone! May you learn lots this year and, above all, enjoy your journey. :)

Photo by atoach on flickr.com/photos/atoach/7604370836/

Reston VA ranks #7 in Best Places to Live

Extra!  Extra!  Money magazine has come up with their 2012 list of Best Places to Live.  This year, Money Magazine ranked Reston, VA # 7 in their Top 100 list of best small cities.

Money's America's Best Places to Live

Best Places to Live

What made Money rank Reston so high up on their Top 100 list?

Like last year, I presume that a computer sifted through census designated places and figured out which of these places had highly desirable qualities.   Last year, their computer algorithm ranked a community just next door to Reston, Oakton VA, in the #36 spot.

Fast forwarding to this year, Money’s 2012 #7 pick, Reston, is an award-winning planned community in the northern part of Fairfax County, VA.

Reston VA is in the northern part of Fairfax County

Reston VA is in the northern part of Fairfax County

Money selected Reston based on its many amenities, diversity of housing choices, and its accessibility to major employment centers (Tysons Corner, Washington, DC, the Dulles Technology Hub, and Reston itself).

Perhaps Money read our blog post from a few months back, when we featured Reston in our article: “5 Reasons to Love Reston VA”.  Well, maybe they didn’t read it, but it does feel good when our opinion from within the trenches gets validated by a sophisticated computer algorithm.  :)

Our 5 reasons for loving Reston are:

  1. Diverse housing options
  2. Extensive recreational opportunities: nature, parks, shopping
  3. Generous Job opportunities
  4. Strong Transportation infrastructure
  5. Good Public Schools

We wrote all about these 5 reasons on our previous article: 5 Reasons to Love Reston VA.  Click through to find out more.

Homeowners Association Documents (HOA Docs) & Your Peace of Mind

Before you adopt a puppy, you must follow the rules

To adopt a puppy, you must follow the rules

If you have ever adopted a puppy, you know that you must abide by rules from the adoption agency.  Some rules have to do with making sure that you have a safe environment for your new puppy, and other rules are about fees you must pay prior to adopting the puppy.

If you are not comfortable with those rules, you might choose to find a different adoption agency with different rules.

Buying a home is similar to adopting a puppy

When buying a home that belongs to a Property Owners Association (POA); either a Condo Owners Association (COA), or a Homeowners Association (HOA); you’ll find that if you were to live in the community, you’ll have to abide by its rules. And if you are not comfortable with the rules of the association, you might want to re-consider buying that home. Continue Reading…

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