Hi, I am Natasha and I’m a city girl. I love being in crowds, socializing, and meeting new people in Northern Virginia. I easily had that all..
It’s also all I know, so I could easily go on and on about all the things I love about Nova. It’s ironic how quickly time flies – My daughter was born in the same hospital I was born in Fairfax, Va. I could vividly remember childhood memories of how much fun my cousins, friends, and family always had barbecuing, going to the mall, and dinner parties. So, having these memories has made it difficult for me to move from my town. In fact; I remember there was a point where I would swear up and down and say I would never ever move outside of Vienna, and that I had to either rent or own no matter what, only and if only it were to always be in Vienna.
After I got married to my husband we now had to find a place to live. Being young, married, and obviously broke, my parents where so kind enough to allow us to so freely live with them for the next five years. PS My parents still live there, and it’s 25 min. drive down good old route I-66 from Gainesville… (Finally, there are plans on making the expressways. Read more about the intersection 66 expansion project here)
Then The Miracle Happened…
I found out I was pregnant and that was when we made the decision it’s time to start looking. We started looking all over because my family members all live within a 10-mile radius of Tysons Corner and we decided to look in Fairfax County and later coming to fine that we are not finding the home that takes our breath away. You are in an area that you love, but you’d either need to spend at least $600k+ on a move-in-ready home or buy a home that’s 50+ years old for $500k and spend at least $60k in upgrade and renovations.
Gainesville? Where is that?
I remember almost becoming hopeless and wanting to settle on a home which in my opinion was overpriced. Then one day my husband showed me a post, believe it or not on Facebook of these immaculate homes, stunning landscapes, brand new construction, and probably the greenest grass I’ve ever seen. Obviously, I asked, “Where is it? Let’s go see! “ He said, “it’s in Gainesville, right off I-66, a few exits passed Dulles Airport.” Quite frankly, I thought that I-66 ended after the airport exit and had no idea that anything passed that exit even existed. But the photos and the virtual tour was so appealing, that I willingly said, “Let’s just go take a look and see where it is, and how the community looks like.”
Love Is In The Air 🙂
Surprisingly, driving off the exit (#43-A from I-66), I come to see a massive shopping center, filled with parked cars, pedestrians crossing, a wide variety of restaurants, shopping centers, and I think that it was the biggest shopping center I had ever seen.
We arrive at the new construction site and walk into the model house. Words simply cannot describe the feeling I got when we walked into the model house for the first time. I remember the smell, of freshly brewed coffee, hardwood flooring, carpeting, and a fresh coat of paint like it was yesterday. Even better, for a turn-key ready home, it cost about half of what it would’ve cost to buy in Fairfax county.
New construction will always be new construction and could never be compared with resale – but it wasn’t even just the home that had me sold.
Walking around the neighborhood, and the community, seeing the wide variety of amenities was absolutely mind-blowing. And to think that I had no idea a place like this even existed 25 minutes away from my parent’s house is what I was more shocked about. The cost of living in Gainesville is far more affordable than living in Fairfax County, yet you’re still so close.
After doing loads of research, and obviously learning immensely from buying our first home, we got to choose every single upgrade, and completely design our house ourselves. Buying a home can be stressful, but designing your home, can be rather thrilling, overwhelming, and exciting all at the same time.
Now The Facts…
Another way to show you that living in Gainesville is more affordable compared to cities in Fairfax County is to use publicly available data and compare them to each other.
So, I created the table below with data from datausa.io and greatschools.org. You’ll notice that the median property value is 200k+ cheaper in Gainesville, but school ratings and median household income are similar to cities like Vienna.
|Year: 2016||Gainesville,VA||Vienna, VA|
|Median Household Income||$132,037.||$143, 276|
|Median Property Value||$442,400||$662,200|
|Demographics||59.6% White, 15.2% Asian, and 11.5% Hispanic. 25.1% of the people in Gainesville, VA speak a non-English language, and 96.3% are U.S. citizens.||71.1% White, 12.8% Asian, and 8.29% Hispanic. 26.3% of the people in Vienna, VA speak a non-English language, and 94.3% are U.S. citizens.|
|Average Commute Time||41.2 minutes||26.6 minutes|
|Average School Rating (Source: GreatSchools)||8/10||8/10|
Now Back To My Story…
Once we were under contract, we had to wait a couple of months for them to build our home, and being as excited as we were, we kept going to look each week to see how much they had progressed, and overall the different stages of our home, and our growing community. We visited the shopping centers, local restaurants, became more and more familiar with Gainesville. We also had to prepare and think that we’re growing and that it’s not just going to be 2 of us anymore.
That’s when I noticed one very particular and distinct feature about Gainesville. The one thing I noticed is that almost EVERY couple I saw, was either expecting to have their first baby, or they already had kids and were also expecting. First, I thought since I was pregnant maybe I’m just noticing more pregnant women around me…. but then I started to see a trend and noticed how Gainesville had so many growing families.
Naturally all humans, like one another of a kind. I love Fairfax county for all the reasons listed from A – Z. At that point in time, I remember thinking ahead, picturing what it would be like once my daughter is born, into this beautiful community filled with kids, and for her to have families just like ourselves in the same community was a picture worth painting worth living. As an only child growing up on the “city-side” Northern Virginia, I always had my cousins, and family members around me but wasn’t until I went to school when I saw kids my very own age.
All my neighbors were either my parent’s age with older kids or my grandparent’s age with kids off living their own life. Looking back now, I didn’t grow up in a community where there tot lots filled with family’s, and other kids kicking a soccer ball around their front lawn. With Fairfax County being within walking distance from the metro station and 15 min from DC, the people are either young businessmen who commute to and from DC, or the older folks, who have just lived there for a while, and are just getting ready to downsize.
Moving to Gainesville was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We live in a beautiful newly constructed community, and all our neighbors are our age, have kids my daughter’s age, and cannot stress enough about how nice the people are. So that’s honestly in a nutshell, the main reason why I personally fell head over heels not only for the new construction but the entire city of Gainesville as a whole.
Gainesville and Haymarket are officially the top upcoming communities in all of Northern Virginia. Fairfax County is well over established. Tysons Corner, 495, Arlington, Centreville, you will probably find some areas where there’s a lot of progression and regression going on especially in Vienna.
What I admire about Gainesville is not that it’s upcoming and that they’re still building, but that EVERYTHING is brand spanking new! You name it – from the town center to the massive shopping centers, and the list just keeps going on… in fact – now, 3 years later – dozens and dozens of my own clients, including friends and family have moved to Gainesville, Haymarket, and Bristow in Prince William County.
Reason 1: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
You’re still not far from DC – obviously, you’re not as close as you’d be if you live in Fairfax county, but you’re also not far either. Driving an extra 15-20 minutes is totally worth the commute for the comfortability of living you’d get here in Gainesville.
Other than if you’re visiting friends, or if you need to commute to work in DC, there’s really no need to leave Gainesville. They have thought of everything you’d possibly need – such as different activities and programs for kids, young adults, and seniors as well. There’s a variety of different health care providers, for all ages, 2 hospitals, I mean you name it and we’ve got it. I think the only times I leave Gainesville is if I’m out with a client showing them homes in Fairfax County, visiting parents, or if I’m in desperate need to go to Tysons Corner for a little shopping spree and stroll down memory lane.
Reason 2: The Schools
If you’re considering moving and your main concern is for your kids to go to a high school with a high rating, then Gainesville/Haymarket is the place for you.
In Gainesville, there is Patriot Highschool which is a 7 out of 10 stars rated high school with great academics, and terrific staff.
Towards Haymarket, you will also find Battlefield Highschool, which also has strong academics and a great reputation for their sports.
I’d strongly encourage you to use the advanced search option below. It gives you the ability to save time and narrow down your search criteria(s) down to specific schools and much more…
Reason 3: The People
Just a quick overview of the people who live in Gainesville and Haymarket. This is an opinionated comment I’d be making; however, I couldn’t resist not to share. Over the last 3 years of living here in Gainesville, Va – I have never met such well mannered, polite, considerate, and kind-hearted people before. It’s just different. Don’t get me wrong though, people in Fairfax County are nice, and also friendly, but the lady at the grocery store won’t stop to ask how you’re doing, ask you how your day’s been so far, and have an eye to eye conversation with you.
In Fairfax, everyone is so busy, and are always on the go – and I feel that the overall respect for one another has been extinct. People go to the grocery store, quickly grab the items they need, go to the self-check-out, and rush back to their car to go about their day. Which is totally fine, because I was living the same life once upon a time when I lived in Vienna.
However, it’s the little things in life that make a big difference in the way you feel and the decisions you make. When someone stops you as you’re walking by to compliment you on how much they like your outfit, or to say how cute your baby is, you feel the love that’s being spread in the community, and not only that – but you feel safe.
I remember the first time I went to Target in Virginia Gateway Center, and the older gentleman at the register asked me how I was doing, I kindly responded I’m doing well, thanks for asking, and throughout the time he was bagging my groceries, he still maintained to keep a valuable conversation going. The following week I go again to buy my daughter some formula, and I see the same older gentleman, and not only did he recognize me for the 2nd time but greeted me in the warmest way as if we had known each other for years.
He said “Hey there! Welcome back, it’s great to see you again. Please let me know if you need help finding anything at all and I’d be glad to show you. I look forward to seeing you next time, “and things that you’re probably not used to hearing a cashier say to you.
Now, he knows me by my name, he knows my daughter, all the staff members in most of the grocery stores know us by our name and are so kind. But my point being is, they don’t have to remember each single customer name that walks through and shops there – but the fact that they do and provide quality customer service means a lot to me. It shows me the loyalty and authenticity of the community. I mean think about it, I’m sure there are over thousands of people shopping every single day at target – but as I said, it’s the little things in life that makes a difference.
Reason 4: The Retirement Communities
The wide variety of condos, townhomes, and single-family homes are growing more and more each day. There are dozens of gated communities on Golf Courses, such as Piedmont Country Club, Piedmont Riding Club, Dominion Valley Country Club, and Lake Manassas Country Club.
Please take a look at my visual tours below if you want to learn more about the residential communities in the Gainesville area:
There are also some of the best 55+ communities in Virginia, right here in Gainesville. One of my favorites is Heritage Hunt. It’s a gated community in Gainesville and has the most beautiful landscaping and stunning homes. They have independent living and offer assistant living as well. Heritage Hunt is also a 2-time winner for best retirement communities in Northern Virginia and has a very high reputation with maintaining the community and meeting their resident’s expectations.
Another 55+ Community is Regency in Dominion Valley Country Club which is also in a gated community and is known for their “resort-style lifestyle.” They have an abundance of amenities, 2 tennis courts, 2 outdoor and 2 indoor swimming pools, 2 clubhouses, 4 tot lot playgrounds, restaurants, 2 golf courses, and is also in a gated community.
My absolute favorite community in Gainesville is Lake Manassas Country Club. It’s on a golf course, and in a gated community with 24-hour guard and surveillance. All the homes are custom-built homes, on premium lots, and the reason why it’s my personal favorite is that the homes have a little more privacy, and the overall built of their homes are well over builder grade and are top-notch grade material. The community has strikingly beautiful landscaping and is very clean. Lake Manassas also has an abundance of fabulous amenities – however driving through the neighborhood you’ll notice that each house is different. It’s not over saturated with homes on top of one another, and as mentioned before are premium built homes.
Finally, Piedmont is also another well-desired community which is split between Gainesville and Haymarket. It’s also in a gated community, on a golf course, with loads of amenities. This community is so big that there are multiple different entry points that are all staffed with 24-hour surveillance. This community is a family-friendly community, I’d say probably 8 out of 10 families in Piedmont have children and every time I drive through the community I see kids playing on their bikes, walking on the walking path, or swimming in the swimming pool enjoying their summer break.
I never thought I could ever imagine living anywhere outside of Fairfax County, but this was before I became familiar with Gainesville. Gainesville is great for growing families, those who are thinking of downsizing, or even younger couples who are thinking of starting a family. I always say, “It’s the closest you can get to DC without having to pay a fortune for a house.” As for the icing on the cake, the area is new and upcoming, they’re continuously building new developments, gyms, more shopping centers, schools, senior living communities, and the list goes on.
There is something for everyone in Gainesville. I will always be a city girl at heart and have a very special place for Fairfax in my heart. But Gainesville has opened the doors to a future I could’ve never imagined.
If you have any specific questions or concerns about Gainesville, Virginia or Haymarket, Virginia please don’t hesitate to ask, and I will gladly answer your questions promptly.