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Buying a house and commuting to Tysons-- any advice appreciated


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We recently have been approved for a mortgage and are excited to start the house hunt. Our situation is a little sticky. The commute does not effect me because Im a firefighter/medic for Prince William County. She is a CPA for a firm in Tysons Corner. Traffic is her worst nightmare, and is her hanging point in buying a place. The problem is I cant figure out ANYWHERE in this area where traffic into Tysons wont be a grizzly. I definetly do not want to pay 300k for a condo in Alexandria, nor do I want to have this nice place in a place like Lake Ridge where she hates life driving 1.5 hours each way. Does anyone on here work in Tysons, if so, where do you work from? Tell me about your commute and if youve gotten used to it or if its made life miserable. Thanks in advance for any help

---------- Post added June-19th-2011 at 06:56 PM ----------

Also, any recommendations for areas, neighborhoods on main vessels into Tysons would help as well.

---------- Post added June-19th-2011 at 06:57 PM ----------

Were going to start looking in three areas. Lake Ridge (the farthest shed commute), Centreville/Chantilly, Herndon

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Lake Ridge to Tysons would be an absolute nightmare of a daily commute... although you're kind of screwed going towards Tyson's from any direction during rush hour. What's the rough limit on what you're willing to spend for property? That'll rule out quite a few spots pretty quickly.

EA, most days she doesnt leave until 930.... as rush hour is dying down. Is 123 up to Tysons hellacious? Ive never made the drive. Were mainly looking for townhomes topped out at 300k. Thats as high as wed like to go for a starter home. Just dont really know where to start. Is there ANYWHERE where the drive in to Tysons is atleast managable? Centreville? Chantilly?

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EA, most days she doesnt leave until 930.... as rush hour is dying down. Is 123 up to Tysons hellacious? Ive never made the drive. Were mainly looking for townhomes topped out at 300k. Thats as high as wed like to go for a starter home. Just dont really know where to start. Is there ANYWHERE where the drive in to Tysons is atleast managable? Centreville? Chantilly?

Great Falls, McLean, Arlington, and Alexandria are completely out of your price range. Vienna and Falls Church are pretty much ideal for the commute and possible under your budget but you'd have to get a little lucky or up your investment to closer to $400k. Beyond that I'd look to Herndon/Reston and Fairfax. The trip down 7 and 123, respectively, is going to be slow but both areas are close enough that it shouldn't be a major problem. I wouldn't be looking for places much further out than that, though.

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We just built our house in Brambleton (Ashburn) and I work in Tysons. It's not that bad of a commute depending on what time she has to be at work.... 45 minutes on a bad day an 20 minutes without traffic.

Maximus,

Can you please tell me what route you take? If you take the toll road, can you tell me if it moves?

---------- Post added June-19th-2011 at 09:48 PM ----------

I work a 24 hour shift 8-9 times a month, so it really does not matter to me where we live. She would not mind 45 mins. Maybe we can see whats out there, it appears I can get a nice townhouse for our range. This first time home buying thing is stressful!

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You can look for neighborhoods along Gallows Rd., or along Rte. 7. McLean, Falls Church, Vienna, Merrifield.

Of course your budget may be a factor. There can be some expensive housing in those areas. Cheaper housing near Tyson's is in Pimmit Hills.

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I take the toll road, after 9 am it's wide open (most of the time) and if it's backed up I take hunter mill road to other back roads to Tysons which is almost as fast as the toll road without traffic. There are nice town homes being built in Brambleton that might be in your budget from 300k to 400k.

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look for houses in "pimmit hills". it is <2 miles from tysons and starter size houses still exist

They will be overpriced for size, of course... but you can get a small (tiny) single unit home with a decent sized yard for low 300k there now, i believe.

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I haven't commuted that way in a while, but your morning commute from Centreville/Chantilly should be 45 minutes to an hour during that time. I remember I-66 being a parking lot before 9 AM, and marginally better afterwards.

I think Vienna would be better, but know nothing about the real estate around there - I'm not sure you could do better than a townhome.

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I commute from Fredericksburg to Tysons everyday. It's awful most days. The only thing saving my sanity is my Prius which allows me to drive in the HOV lanes from Dumries to Springfield. Vienna would work well if you can find something in your range. And coming in from Reston or Ashburn would be much better. Try to avoid Centreville or Manassas because 66 is no picnic either. I've been doing this commute for 23 years and I'm still alive to tell about it -- but if I could change things, I would pay a bit more to move closer in. You will save money in gas and car repairs/upkeep as well as saving a lot of time running the roads and dealing with the awful traffic in this area.

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I have gone from Vienna to Tysons and Arlington to Tysons. Both were easy. Vienna i took back roads (Courthouse) and Arlington you are going the opposite way as traffic down 66, so it wasnt bad.

I have also gone Sterling to Tysons. That was a 45 minute trip up route 7. Sterling is way cheaper to buy a house than Arlington or Vienna. That was 8 years ago though.

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