Going into the NoVa real estate market, you should have a realistic sense of what your money will purchase. A budget of about $100K will snag a 500-square foot studio in Arlington, along the busy stretch of Four Mile Run, with central air conditioning and the minor inconvenience of street parking. Someone looking for a more mature community could explore buying an efficiency apartment in Reston, where the appeal of a quiet neighborhood and a bucolic rooftop might be balanced with the drawback of second-generation carpet.
If you’ve been saving for a few years, and are looking to make a preliminary investment in the market, $200K will give you access to one-bedroom or two-bedroom condominiums in ever-growing towns such as Vienna and Herndon—convenient to the Dulles Toll Road, Interstate 66, and other commuter routes. Though construction may be slightly dated, you should hold out for engaging details such as crown molding, high ceilings, open kitchens, and balconies.
For many 30-somethings, $300-400K is their first major purchase as a homeowner in the area. $300K secures a chance to live along the new Silver Line in McLean or Tysons Corner. Big, new complexes are offering contemporary one-bedrooms and building-wide amenities such as a gym and swimming pool. Two-bedroom condominiums in Falls Church, with fenced patios and backyards, are equally affordable and a useful segue to living in a standalone house. Being able to pay up to $400K means that you can migrate that townhouse lifestyle to suburban Alexandria, add an office space to a two-bedroom, and count on neighborhood perks. The Cameron Station neighborhood, for example, offers not only immediate fitness amenities, but shuttle service to the Van Dorn Street’s Blue Line metro.
A financially secure professional, solo (or with a pet) but tired of living in cramped studios should consider investing in a Clarendon condominium. $500K buys a two-bedroom option with square footage of 800-1,000 feet, laundry in-unit, in a building that typically has exercise front desk service and reserved parking. Alternately, if you are prioritizing number of bedrooms and a good school system, you might be ready for Falls Church or Annandale, where $500K will buy a 3-4 bedroom, 2-3 bathroom house with a garage in a cozy neighborhood.
At $750K, you’re looking for a statement address, something with distinct styling and location. One option is Alexandria’s Old Town, where you could be within walking distance of vibrant storefronts while enjoying a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium with an open floor plan, hardwood floors, a gourmet kitchen, and a fireplace or balcony. Further out, particularly if you love the “horse, hunt, and hound” scene, you might choose a sunny three-story home in Great Falls that overlooks a rolling half-acre property.
For those with a two-income partnership, ready to expand their family, it’s important to know that million-dollar addresses are in reach. Consider older areas of McLean (near main thoroughfares such as Old Dominion or Chain Bridge Road) for four-bedroom, 3.5-bath options, with flexible space that includes a finished basement and eligibility for some of the best schools in the county. Or check out Vienna’s Vienna Woods, where new homes feature hardwood floors, gas service to kitchens and fireplaces, and elegant dual-vanity bathrooms.
When working with upper-echelon means of $1.5M and beyond, buyers can tour NoVa’s architectural gems nestled in Great Falls. There one will find manicured lawns with fountains; five or six bedrooms is standard, and highlights may include an extensive patio or high-tech wine cellar. Alternately, some may gravitate to the primetime of Alexandria’s waterfront, where space considerations will be sacrificed (consider 2,500 square feet as a reasonable maximum) in return for a historic, lavish setting with balcony river views.