We have many clients who debate between staying in DC and moving to VA in order to get some more space. One recent client provided such wonderful insights on her experience, we just had to share! I hope her story can provide some useful information to those of you going through the same decision. You can also check out our page on moving from DC to VA and my own experience crossing the river.
A Client’s Perspective: What We Love About Old Town
“At the time we were choosing between living in DC and Alexandria, we were in our early 30s and looking at Georgetown, 14th Street and similar areas downtown but decided to move to an industrial loft style condo in John Carlyle instead. We liked the area so much that four years later we sold the condo moved even closer to the heart of Old Town with our current home which is a historic 1800’s house that was renovated in 2008 just five blocks from King Street and four from the waterfront (you can take a look at it here). Alexandria is great because there is such a variety of architectural styles that you can find whatever you are looking for – a renovated historic home like our current one, fixer-upper, or modern loft like our John Carlyle place- all within a few blocks of each other.
We also love the ability to walk up to the metro or down to the water, and all of the restaurants and shops in between within 15 minutes or less. In fact, in both John Carlyle and in Old Town we have been able to walk just one block to great grocery shopping (Whole Foods in Carlyle and either Balducci’s or Safeway in Old Town). I use my car so infrequently in Old Town that I have to plug it into an outlet in my garage to keep the battery from dying in between trips!
We had a hard time finding many appealing houses in DC that had that same level of walk-ability to all the same features. Those that did tended to be more expensive and much smaller. We also compared income and property taxes and found that Virginia was more affordable than DC in that regard. Even if we took a cab or Uber into DC once a week to see a show or go out for dinner, we calculated that we would still save more money living here. So all around we realized for the access we wanted to economic, social and geographic features our dollar went much further in Old Town.
While we get our fair share of tourists, we also found that the crowds were more manageable here than in DC. There seem to be more local restaurants and bars – places know that they need to cater to the locals to survive here. We appreciate not having to wait for hours on a weekend to get into the latest “hot spot” for brunch or dinner, and that the waiters, bartenders and chefs at our local restaurants know us by name and know what we like. Further, the local government officials here are extremely accessible, responsive and care about building our area. There is a real sense of community here. Paired with lower crime rates, we felt the overall quality of life in this neighborhood beat what we could find in DC.
Now that we are moving out of state we realize this neighborhood’s combination of walk-ability, history, character, affordability (at least relative to DC!), water and public transportation access, and community is going to be almost impossible to find in any other city. We feel very fortunate to have been able to call Old Town our home and we know we are going to miss it.”
– Lori & Seth
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