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Blog :: 01-2011

Retirement in Reston, VA?

Retire in Reston or move to a 55+ Community?

Retire in Reston

Retire in Reston

A few days ago I received an email from a newly retired person who was trying to decide where to settle.

He is 72, ready to move out of the larger single family home in Alexandria and move into something that will be less work.  His question to me was simple. "What does Reston have to offer to a person that is entering into this phase of life?" It's an interesting question and, as it turns out Reston has a lot to offer.

First and foremost being that Reston's original design principles called for people to be able to stay put, meaning people should be able to change housing type as their needs change but not have to leave the community. From a real estate perspective Reston has everything to offer from townhouses to condos to smaller ranch style single family homes that allow you to do the vast majority of your living on one level.

One natural outgrowth of the design principle that gave us such diversity in housing types is that our amenities have grown and expanded to serve the needs of our evolving population. Reston Association and Reston Community Center have a variety of programs from classes and activities to performing arts that serve the entirety of our population. Reston is also home to an Osher Life Long Learning Institute group that meets at Lake Anne Plaza.

Kayaking to the Concert on Lake Anne

Another defining characteristic of Reston is that it has always has been a community of active participation--there is always something to do or to be done. We live in clusters and condos that all have Boards. There's GRACE, the greater Reston Arts Center,  and the Historic Trust, and Reston Association. There are committees for any number of community events that need active support. You can be as involved as you want to be.

So I think the answer is yes, Reston would be a great place to retire to--I don't know how many of our Seniors came here expressly to retire. I would suspect that most started as younger people that have lived and worked here and are now retiring here.

We are a community that values our long relationships, but we will welcome new ones as well.


  1. Valasie August on

    Interesting topic especially for me as this will be my 37th year living in Reston. People look to retire out of the town they have lived in most of their life and that has not been my thinking process being a Reston resident. I have to say that is probably because Reston is just not like most other places to live. It really does have something for everyone at each stage of life. And it never has been stagnant. It continues to grow in ways that are relevant. Never thought I would stay in VA having come here from the Northeast. But can't imagine now being anywhere else! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Reston and Retirement...V

    Reston VA Real Estate High~Low

    Reston, VA Real Estate The High~Low Game

    So let me come clean here and admit that the the title this post isn't original. In fact I've, err, um, well lets just say I've borrowed it from another blogger, our own local mystery man (I assume man) blogger, Restonian.

    Of course when he writes about the high and the low of Reston real estate he's full of witticisms that I will not be able to replicate. However I love the idea and would like to offer some insights into the high/low and in between real estate in Reston.

    Reston Town Center

    Reston Town Center - Image by Matthew and Tracie via Flickr

    We are fortunate to have so much diversity in our real estate market. There are 115 properties in between the high and the low--which is a painfully small number of properties On the low end we have a 2 bedroom 2 bath condo listed at $102,500.00, it's a short sale over in South Reston. At the other end of the spectrum is single family home with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and 2 fire places also in South Reston listed at $1,399,000.

    The inventory in Reston, (yes, inventory is what we real estate agents call your home once we've put it on the market), has been low for the past 18 months. While this lack of inventory usually creates pent up demand, the market is still very price sensitive, leaving properties listed above market value languishing unsold, while appropriately priced properties sell fairly quickly. The average price of these 115 properties is $461,000.00. The housing types include 26 single family home, 47 townhouses and 42 condominiums.

    What does this mean for you?

    If you're a buyer it may seem there's not a lot to choose from, but doing a little home work could make all the difference. Consider focusing on properties that have been on the market for more than 90 days. Have your agent pull comparable listings and make your offer based on the data. Most important: when you find the home you want, don't wait! If it's priced right it won't last. If you feel it's priced too high still-- make your best offer. There's nothing worse than losing "the one" because of inactivity.

    If you are a seller low inventory suggests that the market is in your favor and it is... At least, it could be... If you've cleared away the clutter (including your husband's college beer can collection), put fresh neutral paint on the walls and priced it within spitting distance of the comparable properties in your area. Then you are in good shape and can expect a sale within a fairly short period of time. However, if you add an extra 10 or 15 thousand to the number your agent recommends so that you'll have some "room to negotiate" it's going to be a long winter.

    Bottom line -- when inventory is tight, and the market competitive, all sides are best served by coming well prepared to the high/low real estate game.

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    1. Kate T on

      I am considering downsizing from my single family home to a condo. I'm debating trying to get my house listed ASAP to take advantage of the small pool of houses for sell vs. waiting for the Spring market. Do you think there will be strong increases in property values? I'm in Reston.
      • Eve Thompson LastName on

        Hi Kate, I think I would focus on making sure that your house is really ready to sell; meaning super clean, de-cluttered, painted if needed, plus current on any miscellaneous repairs or maintenance. My experience is that this takes longer than you imagine. My recommendation to sellers is to go through the house as if you were getting ready to pack it up-- so clean out closets, get rid of old paint cans, the whole nine yards. Today is January 20, 2011 it's 59 days until the first day of Spring, so chances are you will be ready just as we are entering into the Spring market. Unless of course you are one of those rare super organized types. If that's the case I would go ahead and list it now--you might lose on a little bit of appreciation but that will also be true on the property you purchase. The market tends to rise together across property types. Please call me if I can help! Good luck.

        Get Ready To Buy in 2011

        News that the Northern Virginia housing market continues to improve with several areas seeing appreciation as high as 8% can only be viewed as positive. The carnage of the ruptured housing bubble that was so clearly visible in many neighborhoods is receding.

        Trickier to assess is the damage to the credit of former home owners who for whatever reason lost their homes to short sale or foreclosure. Living without enough financial cushion, a lost job, a sick child; things that in the normal course of a life might cause one to decide they should sell their home and live smaller until they were back on their feet, when combined with plummeting home values created a quagmire that dragged many people down the foreclosure/short sale path.

        Home Ownership Dream

        Careful management can make it happen for you.

        In speaking with my lender colleagues the news is not all doom and gloom for a buyer that has a foreclosure/short sale on their credit record. Depending on factors in place at the time of the foreclosure or short sale FHA Loans may still be a viable option. All buyers need to be super mindful of paying their creditors on time, even a few late pays can make a huge impact on your credit score.

        Like most things in life--time will heal the wounds of housing market and the fall out of a short sale or foreclosure on your credit. Being mindful of due dates and credit balances and saving a reserve fund can help put you in a position to buy in 2011.

        Waterfront like along a lake