What Neighborhood Should I Live In?
Whether you’re new to the Arlington area or you’ve lived here for a long time, it’s often hard to decide on a particular neighborhood or area of Arlington to make your home. You have things like North or South, near a metro or not, condo/townhouse/detached home, etc. etc. to complicate things even more. I wanted to give you some tips and points to consider when picking a neighborhood, but first….
Many people don’t know that as a Realtor(R) I can’t actually tell you where you should live. I can’t tell you what neighborhood is better than another – often times this can be interpreted as Steering, and it’s illegal. I can tell you what I know – average age of the HOME, number of parks, community center, proximity to transportation, school district, average home sale price and/or how the neighborhood has sustained pricing levels over the past years, but I can’t tell you who lives there, average resident age, demographics, etc. So that’s up to you to research.
Food For Thought:
1. Start with schools, if this applies. Once you decide which schools you’d like to target (or ones you’d like to avoid, if any), you’ll automatically rule out certain neighborhoods. Start with the Arlington Public Schools Overview.
2. Do your research. I’ve done detailed posts on every condo and townhouse community in Arlington, and I’ve started onto the suburban neighborhoods. I’ll continue to update them, but you can also find Census Data, Arlington’s Urban Villages, Neighborhood Scout, and of course Arlington Economic Development website.
3. Consider proximity to public transportation, if you need it.
4. Consider sales prices. Where will you get the most bang for your buck? Want to spend $600,000 but don’t care where? Once you decide on the type of property you want – condo, townhouse, single family home – you can start to compare properties in different neighborhoods. Or if you know you want one area, start comparing different buildings or types of properties to see what’s more space for your cash.
5. Intangibles. This is the tricky one…do you want parks? Dog parks? Bars? Restaurants? Shopping? Obviously if you live near one of the metro stations: Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, VA Square, Ballston, East Falls Church, Pentagon City, or Crystal City, you’ll be near shopping, restaurants, and more urban living. More people, more chaos, more noise. If you choose to live in one of the neighborhoods: Country Club, Lyon Park, Tara, Oakcrest, Arlington Ridge etc. you’ll have more of a suburban/green trees/grass/neighbors feel. Decide what appeals to you more and dig deeper.
In addition to the ones listed above, here are some more resources: