What to Consider Before Buying a Home

Budget

A house on moneyHow much you can afford is very important to consider when buying a new home.  As a rule of thumb, some experts suggest paying 25% of your salary towards your mortgage. Fortunately, for people living in Northern Virginia, there are several job centers like the Mark Center, Inova Hospitals, USPTO, NOVA Community College, Fort Belvoir and Reston Town Center in the area which offer high paying salaries.

Size

Would you like to have roommates? Do you have a wife and plan to start a family? These are questions to consider before taking the step towards home ownership. Depending on your circumstances you might prefer a 2 bedroom condo in Courthouse, instead of a 1,000,000 home in Mount Vernon.

Location and Atmosphere

Northern Virginia has a vast array of neighborhoods. For example, Arlington has a bustling metropolitan scene that is just a few metro stops away from DC. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is Woodbridge, which is a quieter small town type of area, which attracts commuters. Alexandria is a nice middle ground in between the two aforementioned neighborhoods. Alexandria has plenty of nightlife, restaurants, and shopping in a variety of neighborhoods like Old Town, West End, and Fairfax County.

Type

Condo? Townhome? Single family home? Each of these homes has their own advantages and disadvantages. Condos are nice because some include amenities, like a pool, fitness center, or dry cleaner, all conveniently located in the condo community. Some may prefer a home, because there aren’t any condominium fees.

 Commitment

Nesbitt Realty office
The Consultation Room at Nesbitt Realty

A mortgage is a long term commitment.  It is important to factor in job security when preparing to purchase a home. For those who end up having to leave the area, whether it is temporary or permanent, there is the option of hiring a property manager so that you can rent out your home and collect rent on it while you’re gone.

 Credit Score

To be considered a serious buyer, the first step to buying a home is to get pre approved. Getting pre approved can speed up the home buying process. One way to improve your credit score is to always pay your bills on time. Another way to build your credit is to open a credit card and use it monthly and pay it on time.

What are Some Advantages to Living in Old Town Alexandria?

Transportation: Walk, Bike, Metro, Bus, Train, Plane, Drive

According to walkscore.com, Old Town has a walk score of 86 and is the second most walkable neighborhood in Alexandria. Additionally, there are several walking and bike trails that promote a healthy life style in the Old Town neighborhood. Lots of homes in Old Town have reserved

King Street Metro real estate agents.
Nesbitt Realty can help you buy and sell real estate near King Street Metro.

parking spaces for residents, which can be very convenient.
For those considering a green or minimalistic lifestyle, public transit is an excellent option. On the Blue and Yellow line, there is the King Street Metro Station which provides access to other stations in the Northern Virginia DC and Maryland areas. Just two stations up there is Ronald Reagan National Airport, for those looking to fly elsewhere. Just behind the King St Metro Station, in front of the George Washington Masonic Memorial, there is an Amtrak Station.

History, Art and Culture

Old Town Alexandria is filled with history, art, and culture. History buffs will enjoy the plethora of museums in Old Town, like Gadsby’s Tavern, Carlyle House, Ramsay House (the ghost tours here are a ton of fun), etc. For those looking for art, there is a variety of options, like Paint This! (Great for dropping in and painting ceramics), Torpedo Factory (lots of local talent and also there are classes here through the nonprofit, the Art League), the Principle Gallery (tasteful artisan creations for sale), etc.

Restaurants and Nightlife

With over a hundred restaurants in Old Town, there are plenty of options to choose from. Countless cuisines, tons of

O'Connell's is a popular restaurant in Old Town Alexandria
O’Connell’s is a popular restaurant in Old Town Alexandria

atmosphere’s and a lot are within walking distance of each other. Old Town’s nightlife has a lot of variety, from live music at O’Connell’s, to mellow crowds and craft beer at Overwood, to lively karaoke at the basement of the Flying Fish, to Irish folk songs at Murphy’s or Irish Walk, to shuffle board games at Light Horse, there is something for everyone here.

Diverse Home Options

Looking for a high rise condominium? You might like Alexandria House, or Port Royal. Looking for a townhouse community? You might like Cameron Mews. Looking for a garden style condo, closer to Arlington? You might like Canal Place condominiums. There are a wide variety of homes in the various neighborhoods in Old Town Alexandria.

Waterfront

For boaters, there is prime real estate at the Alexandria City Marina. Boating can be a very fun past time, especially if you’re thinking about making a trip out

Old Town Alexandria has water taxi's to Washington DC
Old Town Alexandria has water taxi’s to Washington DC

to Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant. The waterfront is also a great spot to fish, or just to admire the view. A popular hangout in Old Town is on the waterfront behind the Torpedo Factory.

Parks and Courts

Old Town has a ton of well-maintained parks and courts. Whether you’re looking for a nice dog park to socialize at, somewhere to picnic at in the summer, a kickball field or ultimate Frisbee field, a pickup tennis game, a pick up volleyball game, a pickup basketball game, there are plenty of choices in Old Town.

The field stretches several blocks
Old Town is popular because of it’s cultural attractions, shops and numerous restaurants.

Ideal Location

Being located in the in the heart of the City of Alexandria is amazing due to the aforementioned reasons. Also, Old Town is close to Arlington and Fairfax County. Old Town has lots of great aspects to it and is a great place to live in Northern Virginia. Additionally, Old Town Alexandria has a very nice school system, with the high school for the area being the famous T.C. Williams High School.

 

Reasons to Relocate to Arlington Virginia

The Benefits of DC without the Disadvantages of DC

Some people want what DC has to offer (i.e. jobs, nightlife, culture), but don’t want all of the extra things that come with it, like higher sales tax, or confusing, traffic filled non gridline roads. DC is easy to get to, from either the Orange line of the metro, the Key Bridge or the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge. The nice thing about commuting on the metro is that you won’t have to worry about finding a parking space in DC. Additionally, some DC employers will reimburse their Arlington employees for travel expenses.

Virginia Restaurants & Shopping

Advantages to Arlington include the shopping centers and malls, like Pentagon City Mall, Ballston Common Mall, Crystal City Shops, Rosslyn Metro Mall, and Clarendon’s Market Commons Mall, just to name a few. A nice quality about shopping in some of the luxury stores in Arlington, like Nordstrom for example, is the superior quality of goods.

Throughout Arlington there are lots of great bars and restaurants. There is a lot of variety ranging from different ethnic foods to different style settings. For example, there is Cava Mezze in Clarendon, which serves authentic Greek food, there is Carpool in Courthouse, which has pool tables and games, and there is Legal Seafood’s in Crystal City which has great oysters.

Neighborhood and Home Variety

There are plenty of different neighborhoods to choose from in Arlington. You’ll find that each neighborhood and home has a unique atmosphere, which sets it apart from the rest. For example, if you like a middle-class walkable residential neighborhood, with an indie movie theater, you might like to live in a two bedroom condo in Shirlington. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a 3 bedroom townhouse, built in the 1980’s, with a balcony, an assigned parking space, and a nearby metro stop with lots of surrounding businesses, you might like something in Clarendon.

Active, Affluent, and Awesome

Arlington has a rich economy that is supported by a constant infusion of people new to the area, as well as Northern Virginia locals. One thing you’ll find in common with these transplants and natives, is a shared educational background which is usually a bachelor’s degree, at the minimum. Also, for people teaching or working on their education, there is Marymount University in Arlington.
Many people come to the area because of the vast amount of jobs hiring. When they get here, they are very active. The dead of winter won’t stop some joggers and bicyclists from getting their work out in. Happy hours at Whitlow’s in Clarendon are hip and happening all year round. For some of the older crowd, you might like to have a glass of wine at Eat Bar.

Properties in Arlington