Arlington, Virginia has been a hot destination over the past few years, due largely to the city’s rapid growth and the announcement that Amazon will be opening their “HQ2” in Pentagon City, Arlington , as well as the emergence of a Ballston-Based tech startup Interos. For people curious about living in Arlington, Virginia (and those who live there already), this influx of new residents raises a lot of questions.
The biggest question that people ask us is about the Arlington housing market is how Amazon’s HQ2 will influence the area, but we also see many inquiries about whether or not now is the right time to buy a house.
Although it’s great to be well-informed about the real estate market and your home value, there’s a lot more that is important to know about the fascinating and swiftly-growing Northern Virginian city. Arlington has a vibrant, unique culture that leaves many residents and visitors completely enamored with the community — and if you want to get the most out of it, you need to be prepared with some basic information, first.
We want to help prepare you for the process of moving to Arlington, VA by making sure you have all the information that you need. So, here’s our top 8 things you need to know about living in Arlington:
#1 —Yes, the traffic is really that bad
Let’s not beat around the bush: the traffic in the Washington, DC area can be some of the worst in the nation. We’ve talked about this before, and while then the situation was bad, it has shown signs of improvement. Even with the slight change, the traffic still spills across the Potomac and affects the people living in Arlington, especially those who travel into the District for work. This means that you’ll need to budget your time wisely and plan for the worst when commuting. Take the chance to catch up on an audiobook or an informational podcast — you might be in your car for a while.
Luckily, there are some alternatives to spending your mornings stuck in traffic…
#2 — Arlington has good Public Transit
On the flip side of the horrific traffic, the DC area has a consistently high-ranking public transit system. Arlington itself is very walkable (depending on the neighborhood), and the Washington DC Metrorail stretches well into Arlington to ease the daily transit for Northern Virginia residents. In addition to the Metrorail system, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) runs through Arlington, stopping in the Crystal City neighborhood. The VRE connects the DC metro area to places further south in Virginia, running all the way down to Spotsylvania on the “Fredericksburg Line” and to Broad Run on the “Manassas Line.”
Whichever form of public transit you plan to take in Arlington (or anywhere in the DMV), make sure to be aware of the unspoken rules of etiquette — because when people tell you not to stand to the left, they mean it.
#3 — It’s a great place for biking, too
In addition to these public transit options, Arlington is very friendly to alternative forms of commuting. Bike lanes are common in Arlington’s streets, and the Capital Bikeshare service has several stations across the city.
The walkability of Arlington depends largely on the neighborhood — in many of the urban areas, such as Rosslyn and Clarendon, residents can accomplish all of their transit needs by foot and with public transit.
For a while now, DC has been recognized as a great place to be a cyclist, due to the expansive infrastructure designed to make cycling easier in the capital. However, Arlington is quickly improving and expanding its own cycling culture, and the local government is dedicated to creating a more convenient network of accessibility features for bikes.
So why is biking so popular for Arlington residents (besides traffic congestion)? Well, biking tends to be great exercise…and Arlingtonians are supremely dedicated to their health!
#4 — A Haven of Healthy Living
Like we said, cycling is popular in Arlington — but it isn’t just because of the DC traffic! Arlington is a very health-conscious area, having been ranked one of America’s Healthiest Communities by U.S. News & World Report. On top of cycling through the streets, Arlington residents can enjoy the fresh air in one of the city’s many parks, or explore new workout experiences at health-conscious startups like Bash Boxing – Arlington and Onelife Fitness.
Fitness foodies, rejoice! In addition to being a haven for gym nuts, Arlington is also full of great options for healthy dining. There are a ton of clean eating establishments that have blossomed in the area over the past several years, cementing themselves as mainstay dining options for Arlington living.
If you work in Arlington, it’s very likely that your job will offer some form of health benefits or incentives. At the Keri Shull Team, for instance, we are dedicated to making sure our teammates are empowered to live healthy. That’s why we put together our Health Wellness Program, which earned us a finalist position in the DC’s Healthiest Company Awards.
#5 — You’re right next to DC
It’s hard to talk about Arlington without also discussing Washington, DC. Though the cities are technically in different municipalities, they share a common transit system, populace, and history. Many of the monuments and attractions that people associate with DC are actually in Arlington. Some examples include the United State Marine Corps Memorial, the Pentagon, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and the Arlington National Cemetery.
That means that residents of Arlington have easy access to all that DC has to offer. Whether you are interested in free national attractions such as the Smithsonian Natural History Museum or sporting events like a ballgame at the beautiful Nationals Park, there is no shortage of fun to be had in the District.
Because of the close proximity between the major cities of the DC metro area, it’s important to research the things that matter to you before deciding to live in Arlington. Though many aspects of day-to-day life are similar no matter which city you live in, you’ll need to decide what you need in a home (and neighborhood) and choose accordingly.
#6 — Wide variety of Property Types
It can be hard to characterize Arlington, Virginia. Some people consider it a suburb of Washington, DC, but it has a bustling urban nature of its own. A major component of Arlington’s unique atmosphere is the sheer variety of home styles and property types. Even if you just look at homes for sale (excluding all rental properties), Arlington’s real estate market is quite diverse. In the neighborhoods along the Potomac river, condominium properties are very common, giving those areas a distinctly “big-city” feeling.
Besides these condominiums, people who want to live in Arlington can also find single-family homes or townhouses to purchase. However, the availability of each property type depends largely on the neighborhood.
So, what’s the best type of property to purchase in Arlington? Well, it depends almost entirely on personal preference! If you are determined to be close to a Metro stop, your home search will probably turn up a lot of condominiums — but if you and your family want to make sure you have a yard, you should turn your gaze towards a single-family home.
Does this sound complicated? Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone! If you work with neighborhood experts in your home search, they will make sure that you find the perfect home to meet all your requirements.
#7 — Competitive Real estate market
Here’s another reason to make sure you’re working with the right real estate agent: Arlington has one of the most competitive real estate markets in the entire United States. According to an analysis by Redfin, Arlington and Alexandria are the toughest places in the nation to win a home, based on the number of competing offers. This study suggests that the competition is so stiff due to the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2, as both cities offer convenient access to the Crystal City neighborhood of Northern Virginia.
Whatever the reason, it is impossible to deny that Arlington’s market is very fast and very competitive. Homes tend to sell quickly once they are listed, and a lot of home buyers find themselves in costly bidding wars once they actually put an offer on a property.
However, this is no reason to get discouraged, because there is a way to circumvent the fiercely competitive housing market in Arlington. If you work with an expert real estate agency, with a wide network of connections, you can get access to exclusive off-market homes. In the hands of a savvy agent, these off-market opportunities will save you a fortune on your new home, no matter how competitive or fast the housing market is. If you are interested in learning more about how you can save money and time by searching for off-market homes, click here to get Priority Access to our exclusive properties today!
Secret tips: Still worried about not being able to win your dream home? We can teach you How To Win a Bidding War!
#8 — Arlington: A city of scholars
The residents of Arlington take education very seriously. In fact, Arlington’s public schools have ranked as the #1 public school district in Virginia, due to high attendance rates, test scores, and graduation rates.
Arlington is also close to several well-respected universities, including Marymount University, which is located in Arlington itself. In addition to Marymount, residents are conveniently close to Georgetown University, which lies across the Francis Scott Key Bridge from the Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington.
This laser focus on high-quality education translates to a high population of college graduates in Arlington. According to the United States Census Bureau, 75% of adults living in Arlington, Virginia hold a Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree. For comparison, the national average for degree-holding adults is 31%.
For a lot of Arlington residents, education doesn’t stop after graduation. There are frequent educational opportunities in the Northern Virginian city, covering a myriad of topics. No matter what interests you, you are sure to find someone who can help you learn more about it in Arlington.
Can’t decide what to learn next? Check out the Keri Shull Team’s Home Buying or Home Selling Seminars! These free educational events are designed to help people buy or sell their home!
The seminars were created by the top-selling real estate team in the entire DC Metro Area, who have extensive expertise in the Arlington market. So if you are interested in living in Arlington, Virginia with confidence and financial security, make sure to attend the Keri Shull Team’s Home Buying Seminar!
Now that you know these 8 key pieces of information, you are ready to become an Arlingtonian! It has been amazing to watch this community grow and evolve over the years, becoming a center of innovative business without sacrificing its unique character.
We are excited for you to become part of Arlington, Virginia’s ongoing story, and we want to help you take the next steps to living in Arlington! So if you are ready to begin your home search in the Arlington area, contact the Keri Shull Team today! Our expert agents are standing by to help you find and win your dream home, so you can take save money, time, and stress — and just focus on getting excited for your new home!