Reston Condos

Ivy Oak Cluster

Ivy Oak Cluster

Ivy Oak cluster is close to Reston Town Center, Lake Anne, pools, paths, and the new metro!

Want the ease of condo living, without living in a traditional condominium high rise? Ivy Oak is the place for you. This condominium community is truly a gem, especially for families with young children (they will love the large playground!). And, Ivy Oak is about a ten minute walk to Reston Town Center, close to both Whole Foods and Harris Teeter, and has easy access to the new Wiehle metro station.

Ivy Oak Cluster was built in 1970/71 and consists of 96 2-story, 3 or 4 bedroom townhomes.  Each has a nice backyard space, many of which are fenced. The neighborhood also has a large common space with a wonderful playground. Ivy Oak is located off North Shore Drive, close to Temporary Road.

Ivy Oak Cluster

There is plenty of space for children to play in Ivy Oak Cluster

For me, the nice thing about condo living in Reston is that all of the exterior maintenance is covered in your condo fee. That means you won't have to replace your roof, or any other major exterior repair. Now that is peace of mind for the busy professional or family.

There are no current listings in Ivy Oak Square but this past year 9 properties sold with an average price of $355,700 (maximum $384,900; minimum $323,000) and an average days on market of just 12.

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Northgate Condominiums in Reston, VA

Northgate, Reston, VACondominiums are a great option for people who want a nice home, but not the responsibility of maintaining a yard or exterior. Reston has many options for condo seekers, but one of my favorites is Northgate. Located at on North Shore Drive and  Wiehle Avenue (near Baron Cameron), Northgate is one of the largest condo neighborhoods in Reston with spacious, quiet units. Mature trees offer shade and privacy, and Reston Association walking paths make it easy to set off on adventures around town. In fact, Northgate is just a short walk to Lake Anne and to the Reston dog park.

The complex has more than 400 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom condos. All of the buildings have brick facades, and most are three stories. The 1 bedroom units have a single bath and the 3 bedroom units offer 2 baths. A few of the 2 bedroom units have 2 baths, although most of them have 1. The condos were originally rental units, but in the 1980s they were remodeled and converted to condos--most of them are updated with modern fixtures and appliances. The complex has its own central heating and cooling plant, so the Northgate Condominium Association fees include coverage for heating, cooling and electricity in addition to water and sewer.

Northgate is a 5-minute walk from two metro bus routes, and about a 5-minute drive to Reston Town Center, multiple grocery stores, and the Wiehle Ave. toll road entrance.

If condominium living is what you're looking for, come explore Northgate. You'll find the combination of well-designed units and fantastic location a winning one!


Lake Anne Condo - What it is and what it can be - Buying Potential

I have a great new listing located in Heron House on Lake Anne in Reston's  first Village Center. It's a great little unit with a ton of potential. The unit is completely livable as it is but it's ready for a redo.

Lake Anne, Reston

Lake Anne, Reston

This unit has what we call "great bones." It's on the 11th floor so it has amazing expansive views just above the tree line. This floor plan is a rarity because on the first 4 floors of the building it has been divided into 2 efficiencies; so there are only 10 of this particular floor plan. Foremost among its charms is a 30+ foot long balcony that goes across the entire unit.

Below is a link to the unit that is for sale, and a link to same floor plan that has been remodeled.

For sale 11400 Washington Plaza W #1101 $275,000.00

Same floor plan remodeled.

A great opportunity to create something unique in a stunning setting and wonderful environment.

1970's Reston Apartment Conversions - More Than Meets the Eye

Plain Jane or Surprise Inside?

In Reston we have a number of apartments that were built in the 1970's that converted to condominiums in the late 1980's. Vantage Hill, Parkcrest Circle, and Ivy Oak are just a few of them.

Ivy Oak Condomiums

Ivy Oak Condominiums

As a Realtor, I always find them interesting. They are mostly tan brick with the ever present Reston Brown trim. They tend to be a little on the boxy side, a little on the plain side; but most of them are set on large beautiful land parcels. Some are set in the woods, others have open park like areas but they all have way more of open space than your typical condominium community.

Vantage Hill sits on 15 beautifully wooded acres that have been designated a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. That's 15 acres for 152 units or, more than 4000 square feet per unit. I don't know where else you'd find anything approaching that amount of open space in a more recently built condominium. The other surprise is on the inside. By today's standards these units are large. Ivy Oak units range from 1760 - 1875 square feet. Ivy Oak is also unique because they are townhouse style condominiums; they are on 2 levels so no one is living above you. The floor plan on the main level is very open and many have wood burning fireplaces.

When you look at the money for the space and then add the physical setting of these communities, they stack up pretty well against their more contemporary counterparts.

We all know the old adage of not judging a book by its cover- the same is true for property. You do yourself a disservice when you refuse to view a property based solely on your response to the outside. Take a look, and then decide.

Prices on these units range from around $140,000 for a one bedroom in Vantage Hill  to about $325,000 for a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath in Ivy Oak.

Vantage Hill, Parkcrest, and Ivy Oak owners, tell us what you love about your neighborhood.

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

    Metro in Reston

    Metro Construction in Reston

    Metro Construction

    For those of us who thought the Metro would never get here it is pretty amazing to watch  the construction unfolding like some kind of enormous Lego set on the median of the Dulles Toll road at Wiehle Avenue. The Metro's arrival in Reston will undoubtedly bring a mixed bag of changes. Property owners closer in to the Metro should see better than average rates of appreciation in home values.

    One Mile Radius of Wiehle Ave Metro

    Metro Construction

    In general a property within a mile of the Metro is considered walkable. Of course the  theory is that you could leave the car at home, walk to the Metro and catch the train to wherever you're going--we'll see if this is what actually happens, but there is no doubt that proximity to Metro is a huge, huge selling feature.

    Within one mile of the new Metro we have some very diverse housing options. They range from fairly modest like the Chestnut Grove Condominiums in the low $150,000 range for a one bedroom, to large single family homes on Lake Thoreau for well over a $1,000,000.00.

    For some of these little condominium communities the Metro represents a kind of location upgrade. Parkcrest Condominiums off of North Shore Drive is a perfect example; they have always had great floor plans, nice space, and a pretty setting, but the location might be considered bland when compared to others. They are now poised to reap huge benefits by virtue of their proximity to the new Metro. Some of these neighborhoods were hit by significant price adjustments when the housing bubble burst. The Metro may be an opportunity for those owners to make up some lost value.

    Reston Town House Living - The Good and the Great

    I don't know if the large number of townhomes in Reston is unique to our area or not. or not; I've only lived in a few places over my life so I don't have a good basis for comparison. Clearly it is a part of Reston living with close to a 140 separate townhouse clusters. These clusters are wildly varied from the comfortable and modest to over-the-top luxurious. Of course the one feature that they all have in common is the proximity an owner shares with their neighbor. For those of you who haven't lived in a townhouse the proximity issue isn't necessarily about hearing things through common walls so much as it is about the general feeling of others being close by--not a bad thing for many.

    Townhomes in Reston VA

    The perfect size yard

    What does Reston offer?

    What Reston townhouses do offer is a wide range of housing options for almost every price point. There are currently 109 townhouses for sale in Reston ranging in price from 150,000 - 990,000. My husband and I moved to a townhouse as a part of our downsizing. The kids were gone the house was more than we wanted to care for;so we moved to a three level townhouse with a beautiful postage stamp sized yard on Lake Anne.  We loved it.  Not only was there a lot less to care for, we loved the since of community that comes when you live in such close proximity to others.

    We enjoyed the frequent sidewalk chats with neighbors and the feeling that we kept an eye out for one another; it's a nice way to live.  We've since moved to a condo where that feeling of community is even more pronounced.  Last years' snow storms gave rise to several spontaneous pot luck dinners, board game parties and neighbors helping to dig out one another's cars.

    If you've never considered a townhouse or condo in Reston because you've worried about living in such close proximity, maybe you should reconsider, there is a lot of upside to this housing style.

    Is your pooch welcome in your new Reston condo?

    It seems like such a simple thing. The phone rings, you answer. The person on the other end says they found you on the internet and are interested in working with a Reston specialist. "That's me! How can I help you?"

    The Devil's in the Details...

    Long story short, the buyers wanted a one or two bedroom condo in the Reston Town Center area for under $400,000 This was to be a kind of pied-à-terre that they would use during the week while in town for business. Great, I can do this, I can find them a great place. We continue to talk about what they liked and what they were hoping for and then comes the deal changer--dogs, not one but two and they're large dogs, over 50 pounds of loving fun.


    Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of dogs, my husband and I share our condo with two French Bulldogs. We started with Scout and then a few months later decided to add Boo. Because I'm active in my condo I knew that we had a pet policy that called for one pet per household and that in order to get an exception I would have to make a case to the Board of Directors before we added the second pup.

    Condo Living does mean Rules


    Before I took my pooch loving buyers out I started making calls to the Town Center properties. Every condominium had slightly different rules regarding pet ownership. It ranged from a strict 1 pet per unit, to 1 dog and 1 cat or 2 cats, to 2 pets no weight restrictions. Some properties have breed restrictions. I was so glad that I took the time to make the calls before showing property, it would have been disastrous to find the perfect property only to realize that "Rover" wasn't welcome.

    Home Owner's Associations, Townhouse Clusters and Condo living does mean more rules. They can be anything from not being allowed to park your boat or RV on the street to not being able to own any pets--get the scoop up front to save from being disappointed later.

    Reston Condo Living, Part Three: Are my condo fees too low??

    Coleson Cluster Townhouses Reston VA Lake Anne Area NeighborhoodColeson Cluster Townhouses Reston VA Lake Anne Area NeighborhoodIf you live in a condo where the fees haven't gone up for years, or if you are looking to buy a condo where they are advertising a low condo fee as a "feature" take a closer look. It's likely that the costs of goods and services have not gone down. Try to determine if something isn't happening that should be happening?

    When evaluating the financial position of a condominium there are some cost-of-ownership items that don't apply in single-family home ownership. One glaring item is the cost of delinquencies. In today's world of upside down mortgages and foreclosures many condominiums are struggling with a loss of operating revenue (monthly condo fees), due to delinquent condo fee accounts.

    Well-managed condos will actually provide an allowance for some percentage of delinquent accounts to insure that they have adequate operating cushion. When looking at a condominium's resale package be sure to look at the dollar amount of delinquent accounts and ask what that number represents as a percentage of the whole.

    So what's the upside of condo ownership? In a well-run, well-managed condominium where the Board of Directors takes its responsibility seriously, property values are protected through active maintenance and enhancement of the property. You not only get to enjoy a well maintained property while you live there and you can feel confident about the condition of your property when you go to sell.

    Reston Condo Living, Part Two: What are my condo fees paying for anyway?

    In a condominium, the fees fund two categories: operating expense and reserve funds. The operating expenses are the monthly costs required for trash, grounds maintenance, and snow removal, administration and condo management.

    The reserve funds represent the anticipated cost of replacing and repairing common elements of the property like roofs, sidewalks, and elevators. The amount of money needed in the reserve fund is determined by a study which by law, is undertaken at least every 5 years for the purpose of determining how much money is needed to repair, replace and restore the capital components of the property. Every year condominiums (in Virginia) are required to review their study results and confirm that they are reserving enough money to repair, replace and maintain the property.

    Before you choose this form own ownership consider:

    • Condo life involves a lot of governance
    • Well-run condos always include an active membership
    • Some leadership decisions might be unpopular, but ultimately protect the membership from unplanned assessments by insuring that reserves are adequate to meet the expected and unexpected repairs

    When looking at condominium ownership, you will have a chance to review a  Resale Package that will include the condominium bylaws, rules and regulations, current financial reports, and audited financial reports. Review these carefully looking for potential problems.Questions to ask should include:

    • What do the audited financial statements say about the reserve funds? Are they adequate?
    • What major projects/repairs are anticipated for the upcoming year?
    • What projects were completed in the prior year?

    The other thing to consider is what type of condo environment are you looking at? Is there a Doorman, a Concierge? The cost of people always go up, so if you are looking at a condo with these types of amenities you should expect a slow steady rise in condo fees.

    Next week: Are you condo fees too low?