Author Topic: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?  (Read 2087 times)

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MommyPenguin

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Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« on: November 08, 2012, 08:29:01 PM »
So, my husband and I are looking for houses in NoVA, and it looks like there's a good chance that we might end up in Manassas, based on proximity to his work, housing prices, potential rental value if we keep it as a rental when we move in some years, etc.

Can anybody tell me anything about Manassas?  What the area is like, if there are "good parts" and "bad parts?"  The school system isn't really pertinent, as we homeschool, but other child-friendly stuff is useful to know.  Parks/playgrounds?  Great churches in the area?  Are there parts that you'd recommend avoiding, or types of houses that you'd avoid because of being less desirable in terms of future resale/rent?  Neighborhoods that have lots of kids, versus lots of childless people who would be more impatient with noise/activity?

CharlieBraun

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2012, 09:03:08 PM »
MommyPenguin, I grew up in Manassas.  And I say this with genuine concern.  I would not recommend living there. 

Like any other place in the world, there are good parts and there are bad parts.  However, Manassas is battling a number of problems that seem to be worsening: the housing crisis and resulting foreclosure epidemic was particuarly bad; infrastructure and roadways that are insufficent for the burden which increases each day; a highly sophisticated drug distribution network and resulting crime; and law enforcement stretched to the limit by a number of factors including anti-immigration laws. 

Is your husband with IBM?
"We ate the pies."

MommyPenguin

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2012, 09:31:51 PM »
Wow, thanks for the insight!  We'll definitely need to consider that.  We were looking at a number of places in the area, but Manassas had looked really good.  No, he's not with IBM.  He's in the military and will be working in the DC area for a while.

Hijinks

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 10:29:43 AM »
I grew up in Manassas too but I live across the country now.  Sad to hear it's going downhill :(

siamesecat2965

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2012, 11:06:03 AM »
Wow, thanks for the insight!  We'll definitely need to consider that.  We were looking at a number of places in the area, but Manassas had looked really good.  No, he's not with IBM.  He's in the military and will be working in the DC area for a while.

What about some of the areas in MD, west of DC? I have family there, in Germantown, and she works at the Pentagon.  yes, its a bit of a trip, but she's not that far from the metro station, and takes that in every day. 

Bexx27

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2012, 02:18:32 PM »
There are some decent areas if you're looking at larger lots in suburban developments far from downtown. Traffic is terrible, so that would be a serious drawback unless your DH's job is really close. I wouldn't want to live in Manassas and commute to Fairfax, for example, much less to DC. Where will he be working? I've lived in NOVA all my life and would be happy to give suggestions, and I know there are several other ehellions here as well.
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MommyPenguin

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2012, 03:03:45 PM »
I'm sure this sounds paranoid, but I don't like to get quite that specific when talking about locations online (as giving my DH's work location).  He's very aware of the commuting distance, because he likes to retain the option of biking to work, although he's willing to look at longer distances and commuting by car if need be.  When we do come up with a house or area, he looks at the distance based on bike routes as well as car routes.  And yes, we're aware of traffic (having lived in Maryland near DC and in a town near Boston), so we're being careful about that.  I know it's awful in the area, but it's kind of inevitable (and living in MD would be too far, based on where he's going).  Public transportation won't be an option.  :(

The places we've considered are Centreville, Chantilly, Manassas, Haymarket, and Sterling, to give you a general idea of the area we'd like to be in.  Like I mentioned, school district doesn't really matter, except to the extent that it affects the value of a house.  We don't mind a diverse neighborhood (living in the Midwest for 2 years has been a little eerie, everybody being white), but gangs/drugs would obviously be something we'd prefer to avoid.  :)  Ideally we'd like something that we'd live in for a few years, and then, when we get stationed elsewhere, that we would keep and rent out.  So we'd want an area that would be desirable on the rental market as well.  And I am tired of fixer-uppers, so I don't want any place that *requires* home improvement, except maybe really simple stuff like carpet/paint.  My husband is trying to convince me to get a ranch and let him add a second floor.   ::)

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2012, 05:30:18 PM »
I grew up in Haymarket, which is just outside Manassas. I loved Haymarket - I grew up in the country, on Bull Run Mountain, and while it wasn't the most social place, it was an amazing place to play. I spent half my childhood out reading in the woods, and it was so beautiful. It's getting awfully built up, though we have family jokes that Civilization has come to Haymarket, because there's are now two grocery stores and you can get pizza delivered from two different places. The local cops are terrible, and if you speed at all in Haymarket, may God have mercy on your pocketbook. But it's a beautiful area, and I've never regretted growing up there for an instant.

Manassas has it's good and bad areas, like anywhere else. Most of my closest friends live there now, and have stayed out of any mischief. The main area to avoid is Coverstone (known locally as the Coverstone ghetto - it's not that bad really, but there's a lot of meth, a lot of theft, and a lot of noise), and the most built up parts of Old Town (last I heard, the prostitutes hung out in the Sheetz. They may have been thrown out by now). I can ask my Dad if you'd like - he's retired military and an active real estate investor. He's lost two houses in Manassas, one when the gangs moved into the neighborhood and dropped the housing values like a rock, and the other when he rented it out to nightmare tenants who destroyed the entire thing. But the house in Haymarket has stayed fairly steady, except his is on a big plot of land that developers want, so they've been trying to tax them out for years.

Also, if you haven't looked into it, Reston is an absolutely gorgeous area.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2012, 07:05:47 PM »
I'm in MD, but I'm in NoVa a lot.  Haymarket is great and is only a little further up 66.  Also, what about Gainesville...they have a Wegmans :)  I have friends in both Sterling and Reston and they love it. 


JustCallMePat

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2012, 07:10:18 PM »
Avoid Manassas itself but look at areas immediately adjacent.  Gainesville has some nice properties as does Bristow and a bit further out in Haymarket.  Housing developments have sprung up along Linton Hall Rd (connects Gainesville and Bristow) like mushrooms and many offer beautiful homes at what are now fairly reasonable prices.

Kiara

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2012, 08:55:26 PM »
Bristow in the summer though becomes a mess from Jiffy Lube Live.  I always feel sorry for people who live there and are just trying to get home.

MommyPenguin

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2012, 11:03:19 PM »
What about the area between 28 and Lake Dr. (so just east of 28), just south of the splash park?  Roads like Leland, Rugby, Lafayette, and Birch?  Anybody know about those neighborhoods?  Yes, I know, still in Manassas.  Just wondering if it might happen to be an acceptable part of Manassas, as far as that goes, because there are some *really* nice-looking houses at a good price in there, and the neighborhood *looks* nice.

mikeylou

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2012, 12:28:57 AM »
We live in Centreville and we like it.  The kids love their schools and their teachers these past two years have been great.  The elementary school is an excellent Title I school.

The area we are in is densely populated - primarily town home communities.  It is also very diverse.  At one point I will get the courage to try the food at one of the many "Pho" restaurants. 

Traffic-wise...

If it's not something crucial, I refuse to drive down 28 to Manassas.  I may go as far as to take 7100, excuse me - 286 south, or drive out to 234 - just to bypass the slow crawl. 

Commuting downtown using mass transit from here typically takes 1.5hrs.  The condition of I66, train crowding, etc, will impact travel time.  When DH drives in, travel time depends...  on average, it takes him just as long to drive in/from work than it does to take Metro.  Sometimes less, sometimes more.   Sometimes he'll take the Dulles Toll Road, sometimes I-66 is doing well (but usually isn't).    We have a major traffic snarl at 28/66 and the backup on 28S often extends to Willard Road during rush.

Speaking of "the right side" and the "wrong side".  I was told by some friends that we have a right side and a wrong side here.  We supposedly live on the "right side", while most everyone else I know lives on the "wrong side".  The only thing I can really tell is that the homes are about 10 years older on that side.

Our neighborhood is very desirable.  Rentals and sales are snapped up very quickly.  One end unit sold almost before they had their first open house.  Three of the homes across from us are rentals and their signs went up, then went down within two weeks.  We live in a rental and our landlord likes us.  I can't speak for the other little developments around here, but I do know that a friend of mine sold their townhome in a matter of a few weeks over the summer (they moved to Winchester). 

I don't know if your husband's desire to cycle into work from out here is feasible.  There are some, but not many, bike paths.  At best, I'd say cycle to Vienna and stable his bike.  [And don't forget, the Silver Line Wiehle Avenue station opens in a year.]

Hijinks

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2012, 10:10:56 AM »
When my folks lived in Manassas and commuted to Reston and/or DC, it would take 2 hours one way.  I moved to Chantilly and went to Chantilly High School in the 80's/90's, and that was a nice area then.

JenJay

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Re: Can you tell me anything about Manassas?
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2012, 10:47:43 AM »
When DH and I are preparing for a move we use real estate websites and cross-reference with http://www.greatschools.org/ and http://www.bestplaces.net/city/default.aspx . It really helps figure out where the good school, low crime, affordable housing neighborhoods are.  :)