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Topic: Reston, Virginia  (Read 329 times)

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Reston, Virginia
« on: January 13, 2020, 04:30:24 PM »
Is there anyone posting here who is familiar with the Reston/Fairfax areas of Virginia? Good place to live? Or....?


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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2020, 07:03:23 PM »
Yes, I have a family member who lives in Reston. She likes it a lot and has a young daughter (just started school) and is very happy there. It is very suburban but if you are ok with that, then it seems good. DC is not far away and I believe the subway extends into Reston as well (though you definitely still need a car.) Whenever I visit, people there rave about Reston and how much they like it. It definitely has a newer feel and doesn't have a ton of personality but seems to have a lot going for it in terms of livability. Lots of cute condos, etc.


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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2020, 10:07:00 AM »
Cool, thanks. :D


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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2020, 12:53:29 PM »
Next question about the area - should I assume it gets hotter than blazes there in the summer? (Humidity or no humidity do not matter, it's actual temperatures.) If so, I would assume that as a newer area everything is well air-conditioned?


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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2020, 01:33:56 PM »
I've lived in Fairfax/Alexandria a few different times, and liked it a lot. As Lala says, it's all a gigantic modern suburb of Washington DC. I'd be very surprised to find a place there without air conditioning.


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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2020, 04:32:20 PM »
Thanks. The rents are reasonable, VA doesn't tax social security and will exempt  a good chunk of my pension from taxes. There should be plenty of work in the area for the Daughter. It also appears that if we go northwest a little ways, up into the hills, it gets cooler. Which is always good. It's one of the "Plan B" options if she doesn't get an offer from one of the universities. She's applied to three, we are just waiting to hear. Should know by the end of March, if all goes well.

If not, it's NY State, VA, or back to CA at the end of the summer. Unless a job comes through elsewhere for her. She's just applied for one in her field in San Francisco, that comes with on-site housing. THAT would be cool.  ;)

I hadn't realized, but most "senior" communities will allow an adult child to live with the senior. At least it'd be quiet for her, in one of those!


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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2020, 05:42:54 PM »
I hope you guys land somewhere you love :) good luck


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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2020, 10:34:00 AM »
Bear in mind that once you establish "domicile" in VA, they try to hold onto you FOREVER for state tax. We lived there for 10 years before moving back to the UK, and it took us over a year and a huge pile of paperwork to prove we had broken all ties, and never intended to return.

It is HOT in the summer, and the humidity will drive you to seek shelter anywhere with AC to avoid melting. Northern VA is a generally a decent part of the state, with lots to do, but compared to the rest of VA it is expensive, as is all of the metro DC area. Rents are high, but generally affordable w/r/t income, as DC metro wages are also high. Traffic is horrid , and the bumper to bumper on the Interstate system extends for miles in/out of DC, plus State Roads like Route 7. When snow hits, it's panic stations.

On the positive side, you have every shopping venue known to man, and employment opportunities are generally good. Personally, if I wanted to live in the DC area, I would consider Maryland. Montgomery County is pricey, but the suburbs are nice. Prince George County has some dicey areas, but also some nice areas further outside the Beltway. It's a crap shoot either way; pluses and minuses  with all the suburban areas. I lived in the Richmond area of VA, but did a lot of work in the DC suburban counties, and still know the area pretty well.
Married December 1992 (my 'old flame' whom I first met in the mid-70s)
1st move to UK - 1993 (Letter of Consent granted at British Embassy in Washington DC)
ILR - 1994 (1 year later - no fee way back then!)
Back to US in 2000
Returned to UK July 2011 (Spousal Visa/KOL endorsement)
ILR - September 2011
Application for naturalization submitted July 2014
Approval received 15-10-14; ceremony scheduled for 10 November!
Passport arrived 25 November 2014. Finally done!


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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2020, 05:58:47 PM »
Thanks, this is helpful info. Especially about the residency issues. The prices for rental apartments we were seeing looked decent. (Comparing with SoCalif rates.) We don't plan to buy in the area unless we get there and just love it (and can afford to do so). Not too sure I like the bit about the traffic, though. That would be a large negative. I used to spend an hour and a half to two hours each way every day when we lived in SoCal and it is definitely not a perk.... ::)

« Last Edit: January 16, 2020, 12:35:08 AM by Nan D. »


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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2020, 08:08:12 AM »
When you look at rentals, make sure you are looking at market rate, not income restricted. The metro area has a lot of Sec. 42 housing (also know as LIHTC). The upper income limit (total household income) for most is 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), which for the DC area is quite high. This is NOT the same as Section 8 housing where rents are based on income, and eligibility is typically restricted to 30% AMI or 50% AMI. LIHTC properties look like market rate; full amenities, and even a pool in many cases, and they tend to advertise alongside market rate.

This is my area of knowledge - I did feasibility studies for LIHTC developments for over 25 years. :-)

Having said all that, rents may well be less than southern California. The only work I did in California was in Blythe,  almost at the Arizona border, so I know nothing about rental trends in the SoCal area.

The commuter belt for DC extends well into VA in all directions. In the I-95 corridor, it's as far south as Fredericksburg; going west it's darn close to the WV border. If you are lucky enough to find a place within walking distance of a Metro station, expect to pay a premium. The Metro is wonderful, but parking is an issue, especially closer in. But, if your daughter goes to one of the universities in the 'burbs, that might not be such a huge issue. When I worked in the DC area, I knew a lot of ways to theoretically avoid Beltway traffic; unfortunately, so did everyone else. Metro and train lines notwithstanding, it's a car-oriented area, so heavy traffic at all times of the day.
Married December 1992 (my 'old flame' whom I first met in the mid-70s)
1st move to UK - 1993 (Letter of Consent granted at British Embassy in Washington DC)
ILR - 1994 (1 year later - no fee way back then!)
Back to US in 2000
Returned to UK July 2011 (Spousal Visa/KOL endorsement)
ILR - September 2011
Application for naturalization submitted July 2014
Approval received 15-10-14; ceremony scheduled for 10 November!
Passport arrived 25 November 2014. Finally done!


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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2020, 11:34:01 PM »
OMG Nan D. I grew up in Reston and lived most of my life there!  We moved there when I was four, when it was new. I moved away for law school but my parents were still there. It is wonderful. There are loads of bike paths, lakes, close to Washington and it’s beautiful. I also lived in Arlington and Alexandria as an adult. But I loved Reston. It was a wonderful place to grow up and if there was a reason to go back to the US and the Washington area, I’d live there again.

In terms of weather, the whole Washington metro area gets hot and humid but it depends on what you’re used to. Compared to CA or dry areas you will notice it. It’s not as bad as Mississippi or South Carolina though. It’s not crazy heat or unmanageable. Air con in summer is necessary.

Sometimes I think growing up there made it difficult to live in other places. Because it was a planned community, it’s aesthetically really nice. So moving to other areas in my life has been an adjustment.

I still have friends from high school who are there. They went away to uni and then came back to raise families.

In terms of cost, the whole Washington area is generally upmarket. But so is CA, which is probably more so (San Francisco definitely is. I suspect San Fran is worse than London!).

Feel free to pm me if you like and best of luck wherever you all wind up!



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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2020, 12:22:14 AM »
Thanks! You make it sound lovely. I kinda like the "planned" part of the equation.

Dry heat, wet heat, it's the same to us. A/C is a definite must. We rarely needed it in SoCal, but when we did we REALLY did. And we were pretty much captive to it when it was hot. (Thankfully, it worked well.) The longer we lived there, though, the more truly unbearably hot days there were. I remember one morning in April when it was over 110F at 10:00am in the morning. That was freakish, but it did happen and that kind of heat is literally life-threatening. And then there were the Santa Annas. Not any letup, like having an oven door open 24 hours a day in your face. So, a good central A/C is on my "must have" list for any place that ever goes over 85F.  ;D

In reference to another post, if we went back to SoCal we'd have to pony up from $2,500 to in the low $3ks to get a  two-bedroom apartment, maybe 800sq.ft., plus bills. So that's kind of our benchmark to measure against. I'd prefer something cheaper, so the Daughter can stash away her money for a rainy day. I've got a reliable income, but she'll still be at the whim of the market, so best she gets a cushion built up quickly. Besides, if the landlords are like they are in SoCal, they'll want me to prove I "earn" three times the rent, per month. Which isn't going to happen if the rent is $3,000+.

I am assuming we will be a one-car household. Either she'd take the car to work/school, or I'd drop her off at whatever transit was to be used. Given my 'druthers, I'd rather be able to walk to the shops and not have to have a car, but I know America, so....  ;D  Thankfully I have time to do my homework. Again, thanks for the insights!
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 12:39:30 AM by Nan D. »


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Re: Reston, Virginia
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2020, 12:09:14 PM »
It sounds like you would adapt to everything really well. The last time I rented (in Alexandria), $2500 to $3000 would fit what you’re looking for. And Reston is further out, so you might get more for your bucks. Good thing you’re from CA and used to those prices. When I moved back to NoVA from Pittsburgh, I was shocked that my rent for a one bedroom apartment was double the mortgage on my large five bedroom Pittsburgh house. I wondered how in hell I’d lived there before. Oh yeah, first mom and dad and then roommates!  :D  Reston was also originally designed so people could walk and cycle on the numerous bike paths to get to work and shop in the local area. Naturally, everyone uses cars to commute elsewhere. Although in high school, I had a friend who lived on one of the lakes and we would canoe over to the local Safeway, load up on sweets and other junk and row back, lol.

The metro silver line goes to Reston now and will eventually go out to Dulles airport. So that is good for commuting, depending on where your daughter needs to go.

I really miss it sometimes, even though I haven’t lived there in years.


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