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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/28/2005 9:18:20 AM EDT
My GF has been offered a job at the US Patent and trade office located in Alexandria Va. She really wants to take it. The starting pay is decent but there should be lots of opportunity for advancement. The job starts off at 56k which is actually really good here in rural upstate NY but our cost of living is pretty low.

So, worst case senario is that she makes 56k and I sit home. Realistically even if I can't find a great job, lets say we have a household income of $75k. Can you buy a decent house on this income in the surrounding area? Looking around on the web it seems to me that Alexandria Va. is like looking for homes around NYC or Boston.

I have grown up a country boy in a rural and depressed part of NY. We bought our current three family home with 2.5 acres for $35k. It was/is a fixxer upper but you can buy a decent house around here for between 80-150k and undeveloped land is about $1000 - $1500 per acre. So right now Alexandria sounds cool but I don't want to go from being a homeowner to living in an apartment facility. Is it reasonable to make a commute up to 45 min and get out into the country a bit?

I am starting some reseach on the web, can you give me some names of areas that I could commute to so I can google them? Any other advise for me? Anyone know anything about working for the PTO?

Remember that even though I am in the country in NY I am still a prisoner of the laws that NYC brings on us. I am looking forward to some freedom that Va. can offer, even if it comes at a price.

Thanks in advance.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:33:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 9:54:36 AM EDT by RSF45]
A couple things to start:
1. You can't buy a condo in Alexandria for less $200K unless int's in the 'hood.
2. Traffic SUCKS in NoVa in general.

The firearms laws here are very owner friendly. There is no waiting period, a $2 charge for a backgound check,you can get a CCW and if you have it you can by more than 1 handgun a month.
It's a nice place to live, especially with the NRA Range 20 miutes away.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:44:29 AM EDT
Ditto. Two things to REALLY consider in NoVa are the housing market and the traffic. But everyone around here believes the housing bubble will burst soon, so people are beginning to debate whether to sell/buy now or later.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:45:43 AM EDT
What about public transit? Are there suburbs of Alexandria that make use of public transit? The PTO offers up to $105 transportation subsidy.

How far can we really get from Alexandria and still commute?

I am hoping to take a trip there soon to check out the lay of the land.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:56:29 AM EDT
There is plenty of public transit.
There is Metro, which has both buses and subway, not sure if Alexandria has their own buses for local routes.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:59:56 AM EDT
The USPTO is down the street from where I lived up until May. Very urban, very expensive, as mentioned above horrible traffic and forget about buying something in Alexandria that isn't crap for less than $300K (being brutally honest there). I moved to Woodbridge which is about 25 minutes south and bought a townhouse/condo in March for 240K and they go in the 290's now. You can ride the metro, or the Virginia Railway Express (VRE). Just search for VRE on google. The USPTO was built in the part of town they are trying to "revitalize" and I hoenstly think they are doing a good job. Lots of new stuff around there, it is just outside of Old Town Alexandria. I know a few people that work there. A couple like it, a couple hate it. If you enjoy repetitive work it's right up your alley. I personally think reviewing patents would be worse than watching paint dry. Most people who take that job leave within three years, but they won't tell you that. That's where the advancement comes.

I know that's a bit of a ramble, but feel free to IM me if you have any questions.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 12:21:42 PM EDT
The condo upstairs from me was purchased 4 years ago for $200k and just SOLD for $430k-

just under 800 ft2.

The town is great (old town) but...forget about buying anything, unless you're wealthy. For now.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 1:31:30 PM EDT
IM sent....

$56k will be an OK starting salary. The freedom of VA is pretty priceless.

Your housing cost depends on how you live now I suppose.

Figure on rent being $900+ for a nice place, in a nice place. Figure $700+ for a nice place, in a marginal place.

45 minute commutes are likely about 15 miles away from Alexandria. 15 miles won't get you to the country.

You could do Front Royal, Winchester, etc....those commutes are in the 1+ hour range, but cost is a little lower and you get a little more land.

If she is pulling $56k, $75k will be EASY to make for a household of two. You can make $10/hour as a cashier at Home Depot.

Just remember that H&K, Leitner-Wise and NRA are all HQ'ed here. I'm sure you can find a niche somewhere.

Quantico Arms just bought another location, and I bet they could use some EXPERIENCED Armalite/AR10/firearms industry help.

I am convinced that from an opportunity standpoint, NoVA is about as good as it gets in the country.

HTH.....



Link Posted: 9/28/2005 2:43:38 PM EDT
Guys, thanks for all the help.

It just seems so mind blowing to me. I look at the real estate listings online and see dinky little 1 or 2 bedroom houses selling for 200K, hell you could have 3 or 4 bedrooms and 15 acres here for that. I mean don't you have regular people there like waitresses and register clerks? Do people just assume they will live in a shitty apartment until the day they die?

Anyway its not you guys that are wierd, its us in Upstate NY. I have looked other places (like New Hampshire) and seen similar prices. So I guess the depressed economy, lack of jobs, high taxes, expensive utilities, and oppresive laws are the price we pay for cheap housing. Freedom doesn't come free

If she accepts the offer she will start around the first of the year. Thanks again for the help.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 5:35:49 PM EDT
Rents aren't too bad in NoVa - I wouldn't buy now as market seems to be flattening. Rent for awhile and see if you like area. Alexandria is a nice city.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 1:10:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SHIVAN:
Just remember that H&K ..... are all HQ'ed here.



Rumored to be moving...
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 3:44:11 AM EDT
I live 2 miles outside of Old Town and my wife and I are looking at buying a house. To buy much of a house takes two salaries (or one phenomenal salary) unless you are willing to accept a big commute. We are not big fans of a long commute because it really does extend your work-day 20-30%, which SUCKS. My commute is 5 minutes (new job), and Mrs. Shooter220 drives about 20-25, which is really good for this area.

If you want to live in the area immediately surrounding Old Town look south, it is much cheaper than Arlington County or the City of Alexandria.

shooter

p.s. Many of the support positions (cashiers, waiters) are filled by students who live at home or have financial help or people who live in houses with 14 others.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 5:12:21 AM EDT
My GF bought a condo last year in Alexandria (although it's technically Fairfax Co.) for $325K...she had to pay $40K OVER the asking price, and almost all housing sales around here are "as is". Similar units in her complex are selling for $415K now...9 months later. With all of the jobs moving from Arlington to Alexandria over the next few years, look for prices there to go absolutely crazy. You stand to make some good coin in pretty short order if you find a nice place now.

Now, the good news is she has a very nice condo...2 bedrooms, 3 baths, cathedral ceilings, etc. It's in a nice neighborhood, though traffic around there is pretty crazy. Bad news is condo fees are high, and Co. (or city, depending on where you are) are usurious...about $3.5K a year on her place.

You're dead on with your comparison of house prices here to NYC...it's just plain nuts around here.

I'm gonna have to move in the spring...just can't afford it anymore.

Link Posted: 9/29/2005 5:21:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By nvcdl:
Rents aren't too bad in NoVa - I wouldn't buy now as market seems to be flattening. Rent for awhile and see if you like area. Alexandria is a nice city.



Yes, it's flattening...you only get 5 offers on your house now instead of 10, and it now takes 2 weeks to sell a house instead of 1, and you might only see your house appreciate $50K this year instead of $100K lol.

In most places around here, there is no more land to build new housing on...or, if they find a patch, they put up 4 McMansions right next to each other, and sell 'em for $1.2 mil...which is outside of most folks' budget.

With the high coprorate, military, and .gov salaries around here, the constant influx of new people making good $$, and the lack of land to build on, I don't know that the term "bubble" is applicable to Arlington/Fairfax/Alexandria.

I'm no real estate expert, but the situation here is different from other areas. Now, if Uncle Sugar packs up the whole lot and moves out of the area, yeah, then the bubble will burst.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 5:45:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Fenian:

I'm no real estate expert, but the situation here is different from other areas. Now, if Uncle Sugar packs up the whole lot and moves out of the area, yeah, then the bubble will burst.



I'll put on my former real estate expert hat and agree with you.

It's a basic supply/demand issue. They're not making any new land, and the federal government is not getting any smaller.

People that live out in the Leesburg/South Riding/Dale City areas might see some "softness" but the closer-in areas will be stable.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 6:18:05 AM EDT
I have a condo in Ashburn, which we'll be putting on the market here shortly. The going rate seems
to be right around $325K.

Depending on what time that she goes into work would all depend on how traffic is also. If I get my
butt out of bed on time, the commute takes me about 45 minutes. If not, then it can easily almost
double, depending on how the idiots are driving on the Toll Road, or whether the tractor-trailer drove
over somebody on 66, etc.....
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 8:49:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/2/2005 9:30:05 AM EDT by hardcorps1775]
.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 10:26:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hardcorps1775:
you can move all the way south to fredericksburg....



....

At the risk of offending those who live further south than Lorton/end of Fairfax County...

You couldn't PAY ME to live farther south than Fairfax County and still work in Alexandria/Springfield/DC/Arlington.

Well, ok, but you would actually have to give me a $1M house for free, then I might think about it.

There is nothing more important to me than time NOT SPENT in "rush hour" traffic. The easiest guarantee is that there will be traffic on I-95S at 3:30pm-7pm EVERY DAY...

No thanks.
Link Posted: 9/30/2005 3:40:20 AM EDT
If you want to know more than you ever wanted about traffic in the DC metro area, check out the message boards at the DC "Slug Lines" web site.
Link Posted: 9/30/2005 7:52:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By CounterStrike:
Anyway its not you guys that are wierd, its us in Upstate NY. I have looked other places (like New Hampshire) and seen similar prices. So I guess the depressed economy, lack of jobs, high taxes, expensive utilities, and oppresive laws are the price we pay for cheap housing. Freedom doesn't come free



Hey Phil, don't forget Chuck and Hitlery. NY has a lot to offer
Link Posted: 9/30/2005 9:30:03 AM EDT
frankly, most of the country is as crappy as upstate NY.

Link Posted: 9/30/2005 10:08:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NoVaGator:
frankly, most of the country is as crappy as upstate NY.




"Upstate" is mostly crappy due to liberal laws dreamed up by liberal NYC "downstate" politicians. The area where counterstrike and I live is really quite scenic and not heavily populated (by northern state standards).
Link Posted: 9/30/2005 1:45:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SHIVAN:

Originally Posted By hardcorps1775:
you can move all the way south to fredericksburg....



....

At the risk of offending those who live further south than Lorton/end of Fairfax County...

You couldn't PAY ME to live farther south than Fairfax County and still work in Alexandria/Springfield/DC/Arlington.

Well, ok, but you would actually have to give me a $1M house for free, then I might think about it.

There is nothing more important to me than time NOT SPENT in "rush hour" traffic. The easiest guarantee is that there will be traffic on I-95S at 3:30pm-7pm EVERY DAY...

No thanks.



You're preaching to the choir here, 'bro. I haven't had to cross a bridge for a job in this area for over 20 years. My commute now is 22205 to 22202. 6.9 miles door to door. That's the reason I'm moving out of the area when the time comes...no way in hell I could live in Manassas and go into Crystal City every day...you'd be hearing about me on the national news by Thursday of the first week hehe.
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 11:33:02 AM EDT
I don't expect prices to drop much but the current rate of appreciation is unsustainable. Of course I felt that way a few years ago also :-)

Problem is once prices stop appreciating it does not make a lot of sense to pay twice as much to own a house as it would to rent one.

Another factor that could come into play in the region is that govenment is just starting to use telecommuting - once the infrastructure is in place it will make it possoble for contractors to bid on govt. jobs and use people outside the DC area to do the work.


Originally Posted By Fenian:

Originally Posted By nvcdl:
Rents aren't too bad in NoVa - I wouldn't buy now as market seems to be flattening. Rent for awhile and see if you like area. Alexandria is a nice city.



Yes, it's flattening...you only get 5 offers on your house now instead of 10, and it now takes 2 weeks to sell a house instead of 1, and you might only see your house appreciate $50K this year instead of $100K lol.

In most places around here, there is no more land to build new housing on...or, if they find a patch, they put up 4 McMansions right next to each other, and sell 'em for $1.2 mil...which is outside of most folks' budget.

With the high coprorate, military, and .gov salaries around here, the constant influx of new people making good $$, and the lack of land to build on, I don't know that the term "bubble" is applicable to Arlington/Fairfax/Alexandria.

I'm no real estate expert, but the situation here is different from other areas. Now, if Uncle Sugar packs up the whole lot and moves out of the area, yeah, then the bubble will burst.

Link Posted: 10/2/2005 2:22:10 PM EDT
Hey you could buy my sister's town house.........she just put it on the market for 489,000 right in the middle of Alexandria.

It is a nice house but I can't imagine paying that for a dinky little townhouse!!
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