Who can ell me about Ft. Belvoir?

Through a series of unfortunate events, I may very well end up finding my alter-ego working at Ft. Belvoir. I’m hoping the Teeming Dozens can help me out here:

  1. Where’s a good place to live close by, under $600,000 per home?
  2. How far are we talking to DC?
  3. Best to commute from MD or from VA?
  4. Fort itself - are we talking a total shit show or run-down or nice shape?

There are plenty of places to live; Fairfax is the county (I think there’s a couple of other dopers who live over that way, so I’ll defer to them as far as neighborhoods go). I think you can find reasonable apartments or houses right now given the real estate downtick, although it hasn’t been as bad around here as other places, so don’t expect too many fire sales.

It’s maybe a half hour when it’s not rush hour.

VA, MD or DC you’ll have to cross a bridge, which increases risk of being F.I.T. (F#$%ed In Traffic).

I don’t know that part.

You will want to live in Virginia since Maryland involves a crossing the Wilson Bridge which can be painful.

It is definitely cheaper to live in Prince William County which is south of Ft. Belvoir. The neighborhoods just south of Alexandria are still pretty expensive but 600k should buy you something decent if you know where to look.

What are you looking for in a neighborhood? I’ve heard good things about Waynewood which is a neighborhood in the Fairfax side of Alexandria. The homes are 50s style homes but well maintained and they often had additions put in.

The commute to DC is about 30 minutes depending on the time.

I live in DC and work in Alexandria and it takes me 30 minutes to get to the office in the morning.

I have not been paying attention to the housing market, but with the slowdown you’ll probably be able to find a place near Belvoir in your price range. Check out some home sales web sites, such as realtor.com . I have a friend who’s a realtor - PM me if you’re interested.

Belvoir itself is in Fairfax County - there are lots of residential communities nearby. Prince William County is the next one south. I expect it’s cheaper, but commuting can be longer, depending on where you end up.

I live near Belvoir, and it takes me 30-45 minute to drive to DC, outside of rush hour. During rush hour 45 minutes to never. Commuting in the DC area sucks like a galactic black hole, but without any interesting physics. OK, 45 minutes to the DC border is typical drive time in rush hour.

You are much, much, much better off staying on the VA side. A lot of people commute from MD across the Wilson Bridge into VA or DC - the traffic is terrible in that direction. Commuting from DC to Fort Belvoir might not be that bad - most of the traffic is the other way. Schools are better in Fairfax than DC.

I like what I’ve seen of the base. I’ve been to meetings at DLA HQ, and attended a couple of Boy Scout events there. There are lost of green areas on base - and not just the golf course. Most of the southern part of Belvoir is a nature preserve. The base housing was renovated recently by a private company and I’ve heard it’s very nice - as good as any other new housing development off base in Fairfax County.

Chiming in here - I too live near Belvoir obviously (as I’m married to Typo Knig). Our house was bought for 500K in 2002, we had one tax evaluation as high as 680K, but it’s down to just above 600K. This is in the Kingstowne subdivision, which is about a mile west of the western edge of Belvoir, in zip code 22315. A slightly larger house on our street just sold for something like 670K. Our subvision tends to be somewhat pricier than some surrounding areas, but you could find something lower-priced very near especially if you don’t want a McMansion. Also there are a lot of townhouses available, and you can get something pretty nice for less than 500K.

Look in zip codes 22315 and 22310. Also look around the Route 1 corridor and anywhere along Telegraph Road; also look in the Franconia area of the county; it’ll be listed as Alexandria for postal purposes, but is not Alexandria city. Also look in Lorton which has a lot of newer development. Some areas around route 1 aren’t necessarily the nicest - it’s strip-development hell - but you can go a few blocks off of 1 and get to some nice houses.

Second what others have said about not living on the Maryland side. Housing is a lot cheaper there, but it’s Prince George’s County. There are many nice areas of that county, but there are some bad ones, and it’s not a good commute. Only one reasonable way to get to Virginia from the MD side - the Wilson Bridge - and there are bad backups there pretty much every day.

The nicer areas are not near the Wilson bridge (well, going down route 210 you can get into some nicer areas, but there’s a horrible drive north bound to get to the beltway to get to VA). The schools aren’t as good, on average; if that’s not an immediate issue for you, it’s surely an issue if you’re hoping to resell at some point.

Feel free to PM either Typo or me; we may not be the closest Dopers to Belvoir, but we’re probably in the top 10.

Oh - and I concur, the base is actually not bad. It’s a pretty major one, with housing and all sorts of recreational activities for military families; I haven’t been on base much (most recently was with a Girl Scout event at a bowling alley there) but it looked pretty nice. Not Fort Monroe VA lovely, but not cinderblock barracks hell either.