Post Content

Ask McEnearney: How do I narrow down neighborhoods for my home search?

This week’s Q&A column is written by Sallie Seiy of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Sallie at 703-798-4666 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns

Question: I feel like I could live in a few neighborhoods. How do I narrow it down?

Answer: We’re fortunate that we live in an area with three jurisdictions to pick from! But it can be overwhelming when you can envision yourself in a lot of different areas. There are lots of things to consider when picking your next home — not only the home itself, but where that home lies.

Here are a few ideas to help you focus in on the areas that really match what you’re looking for.

First start with the type of environment. Do you favor walkability to attractions or transportation? Would you like to be right in the middle of the city? Do you prefer a smaller pocket neighborhood? Are you looking for a more suburban, tree-lined street? Would a rural property serve you and your needs better? What should the neighborhood sound like — calm or clamorous? What type of property best suits you — detached, condominium, or townhouse?

Next, I recommend focusing on accessibility to things that matter to you. Whether it’s in the middle of the city or suburbia, we all have favorite places and things to do that we’d like to be somewhat near the place we call home. A big way to direct your focus on this question is to think about where you live now. What do you wish your current neighborhood had? Or what would you change?

  • How long do you want your commute to be? Are you needing public transportation (bus or Metro)? Do you need to be walking distance to transit or are you ok with driving to it? Does a commute not even matter anymore because you work from home?
  • Do you have other places you frequently have to get to? School, airport?
  • What about accessibility to restaurants or nightlife?
  • Think of those everyday tasks: doctor’s office, vet, grocery store, pharmacy, post office, gas stations.
  • Do you have a dog that needs a dog park? Or maybe a yard would be better for your timid pooch?

If you have children or plan to have kids, school districts may be something to consider. Reaching out to the school districts themselves or finding a PTA group on Facebook can be helpful when deciding.

Another factor you may not be immediately thinking of — taxes! There are varying tax rates across the three jurisdictions: state income taxes, property tax rates, car tax in Virginia, etc.

Once you have those lists narrowed down, spend time in those top neighborhoods at all different hours. Go on a Saturday morning walk. Do a date night on a Tuesday evening. Talk to people/neighbors.

Most importantly, think of your daily routine. Go through a day in your life, starting and ending in the neighborhood.

Finally, a lot of what it comes down to is your gut. Does this place feel like home?

If you are looking to start your home search, please give me a call!

As a fifth generation Realtor and the granddaughter of an architect and builder, Sallie has deep roots in real estate. She is passionate for the charm, history, and architecture of Alexandria and its surrounding communities. If you would like more information on selling or buying in today’s complex market, contact Sallie today at 703-798-4666 or visit her website

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

Recent Stories

While it’s been a busy week in Alexandria, what’s likely the biggest story of the week dropped this afternoon as WMATA announced that the Potomac Yard Metro station has been…

(Updated 2:15 p.m.) The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced that the Potomac Yard Metro station’s opening will be delayed yet again. WMATA said in a statement that the…

Open houses in Alexandria this weekend

Open Houses includes a 3 BD/2.5 BA home with a wood burning fireplace, built-in bookcases and heart pine wood floors.

Just Listed in Alexandria

A 2 BD/3 BA brick townhome with 4 levels, wood burning fireplace and private patio is included in Just Listed.

Are you tired of going to the gym? It might be the crowds, the locker room, waiting on equipment or the time it takes to commute to the gym.

Having a personal trainer come to your home will keep you accountable, save you time and allow you to workout in the comfort of your own home.

Skip the hassle of the gym and try our in-home personal training service.

Our services are reasonably priced, convenient, effective and are risk free.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

At Nova Fencing Club, the beginner fencing classes are designed for students of all levels – including students who have never fenced before.

If you’re looking for a fun physical activity that improves your fitness, critical thinking and rapid decision making skills then come join us!

There’s no better time than now to give us a try – and take part in one of the fastest growing sports. Our highly educated, professional coaching staff includes Virginia’s only Maitre d’Armes, a member of USA Fencing’s coaching team, former members of the USA National Team, and our Head Coach, who has produced national champions.

Register for either our Youth Beginner Fencing Classes (7-12) or our Teen & Adult Beginner Fencing Classes (13 to Adult) and become a part of the club that champions call home.

Submit your own Community Post here.

Think BIG! About the Future of Movement

Join the City of Alexandria and Arlington County’s Initiative to Rethink Energy at our first ever electric vehicle (EV) and sustainable technologies showcase! Get inspired by seeing a variety of electric cars, scooters, bikes, motorcycles, police cars, buses, trucks and

Between Home and the Front: Book Talk and Signing

Join the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum on Zoom or in person at the museum for a special book talk with the curators behind Between Home and the Front: Civil War Letters of the Walters Family. A book signing will be


Subscribe to our mailing list