How Much Do Good Schools Cost?

Question: How much of a difference do schools make in the value of homes in Arlington?

Answer: Nothing drives home values like schools and for most buyers around here, that is determined by the 10-point scale ratings on the all-powerful Let me be clear, this article is not meant to validate or contest the quality of GreatSchools ratings, rather an acknowledgement of the weight the website’s school ratings have on home purchase decisions and therefore, home values.

Quick Tips for Using Schools in Your Home Search

  • Families define a “good school” differently. Whether that’s test scores, socioeconomic diversity, language instruction, athletics, or a STEM focus think about what matters most to you and target schools that fit your values.
  • GreatSchools offers more than just a single rating, they offer component data as well. Dig deeper and look at the components of a school’s rating and review them based on what you value.
  • I have spoken to parents who have had both excellent and terrible experiences at top and low rated schools alike.  The GreatSchools rating is not everything.
  • There are excellent public resources available for research including the Virginia Dept of Education’s School Quality Profiles and information nights for each school where you can see a school and interact with teachers first-hand
  • There are numerous message boards with loads of information about school operations from disability support, to college readiness, to athletics
  • There are other private ratings websites like and US News and World Report that offer different perspectives and ways of ranking schools
  • Arlington County ranks as the #2 school district in Virginia, just behind the City of Falls Church, with an overall A+ grade. Loudoun County ranks # 5 and Fairfax County ranks #6 in Virginia with an overall A grades.

How Much Does Each GreatSchools Point Cost?

If you want to buy a detached house or townhouse within a top-rated school boundary, you’re going to pay a lot. However, if school ratings and budget are your top focuses, you can use the table below to figure out what the most efficient use of your budget is to maximize your GreatSchools rating per dollar spent.

The table is sorted by the average cost per point of the rating (GS rates schools on a 1-10 point scale) for each neighborhood school in Arlington with the most “cost-efficient” schools to buy a home in listed first.

The data uses sales since January 1 2021 of detached and townhouse homes with at least three bedrooms. Net sold price is the sold price less any seller credits. Only the neighborhood schools are included in this analysis, not the magnet/option schools. Fleet and Arlington Science Elementary and Hamm Middle are not currently rated on

  • The most cost-efficient elementary schools are Tuckahoe (9), Ashlawn (7), and Glebe (8)
  • The most cost-efficient middle school is Swanson (7)
  • The most-cost efficient high school is Wakefield (4)
  • The most expensive school to buy housing in on a total cost basis is Jamestown Elementary (9), but the most expensive per bedroom and per square foot is Innovation Elementary (6)
  • The least expensive school to buy housing in on a total cost and price per bedroom basis is Abingdon Elementary (3) and the least expensive per square foot is Carlin Spring Elementary (2)
  • The most difficult school to find a 3BR+ detached/townhouse home is Hoffman-Boston (5)
  • Barrett Elementary (3) is the only North Arlington school with an average price under $1M and Oakridge Elementary (4) is the only South Arlington school with an average price over $1M 
  • A purchase of a 3BR+ detached or townhouse home in the top rated school pyramid of Jamestown Elementary (9), Williamsburg Middle (9), and Yorktown High (6) averages nearly $1.45M and an average of $332k per bedroom

If you’d like some more personalized data run for you using home sales and GreatSchools ratings, you’re welcome to reach out to me at I’m happy to help.’

If you’d like to discuss buying, selling, investing, or renting, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to discuss buying, selling, renting, or investing, please send an email to To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Eli Residential channel.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with RLAH @properties, 4040 N Fairfax Dr #10C Arlington VA 22203. (703) 390-9460.

Where Is It? Columbia Forest is a small neighborhood on the western border of Arlington bounded by Columbia Pike to the north, Four Mile Run to the east, S George Mason Dr to the south and the Arlington-Falls Church border to the west.


It is largely considered the most affordable neighborhood in Arlington with detached homes in good condition selling in the $400s and 1BR-2BR condos in good condition selling in the mid $100s. There are also pockets of townhouses and duplexes available. The neighborhood is served by Claremont and Barcroft Elementary Schools, Gunston and Kenmore Middle Schools and Wakefield High School, which is walking distance from every home in the neighborhood.

About The Interviewees: Arthur works for a local University and had previously lived in DC since 1997. Lyz works for Walter Reed in Bethesda and had lived in Annapolis and Gaithersburg. When they moved in 2015, it was the first time either had lived in Arlington and they chose a duplex in Columbia Forest for its affordability and convenience.

Since moving in they’ve added a free library in front of their home (pictured), added a prized garden that keeps their neighbors and friends stuffed full of veggies and painted the exterior of the house. Both Lyz and Arthur are highly active in the civic association and neighborhood programing.


What Do You Love About Columbia Forest? The affordability of it was key and we actually have yard space, which is hard to find at a good price in Arlington. It’s an eclectic neighborhood with a sense of “live-and-let-live” that is difficult to come by elsewhere in Arlington. There’s no overreaching HOA and neighbors are accepting of untraditional landscaping, exterior paint and the individuality of each other.

It’s also a very safe place to live — during a civic association meeting, one of the police representatives said that it’s one of the safest neighborhoods in Arlington. It’s also an inviting community for families and children because there’s not a lot of traffic and plenty of space for kids to play in yards and the street.

Does Columbia Forest Have Its Own Identity? There’s a lot of community here that gives us a sense of belonging to a true neighborhood. We were shocked at how active it is on Halloween for local families and because so many of our neighbors have lived here for decades, there’s a welcoming social scene that we’ve enjoyed becoming a part of. You can tell people here truly care about one another.

We’ve also teamed up with other “West Pike” neighborhoods like Barcroft and Arlington Mill for programing and hosted our fifth annual food truck event in October with over 300 people (Lyz is highly active in this event). Note: check out one of the best neighborhood websites I’ve seen at

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Places Nearby? We’re a couple of minutes from Shirlington Village so we do most of our grocery shopping at the Harris Teeter there and love eating at Copperwood Tavern (note: this is the second or third interview I’ve done that Copperwood Tavern has been named as a favorite). There’s an incredible authentic taco truck, Pa’ Tacos El Papi, around the corner off Jefferson as well.

We spend a lot of time outdoors, so when we’re not gardening or working on a project around the house, we head to the WO&D and Four Mile Run trails. We also spend a lot of time at Barcroft Park, the western part might be one of the most underrated/underutilized spaces in Arlington. We’d love to see our local park, Bailey’s Branch Park, get some love from the County.

What Do You Envision For The Future Of Columbia Forest? It really depends where western Columbia Pike fits into the Arlington Economic Development plans. If we can find ways to encourage non-chain businesses to consider the area for its lower rent, easy access and ample parking we can create a really unique pocket of retail and residential in Arlington.

There is so much energy behind building community from the residents, that new businesses would find an impressive support system at their doorstep. If we can do this, with the support of Arlington leadership, Columbia Forest will thrive.

Thank you so much for your interview Arthur and Lyz! I’m sure this will help people considering a move into or within Arlington who would love to join a community like Columbia Forest.

Where is it?

Douglas Park is a large neighborhood in South Arlington bordered by Columbia Pike to the north, S. Four Mile Run Drive to the west, S. Walter Reed Drive to the east, and ends at the intersection of each of those roads to the south.

It hosts multiple parks and Randolph Elementary School, although households in the southern portion of the neighborhood go to Hoffman-Boston Elementary and students in the northwestern corner are districted to Barcroft Elementary School. The majority of households are districted to Jefferson Middle School, but the Barcroft Elementary households in the northwest corner end up at Kenmore Middle School. Every household in Douglas Park ends up at Wakefield High School.

Douglas Park is a blended neighborhood of mostly residential housing, ranging from affordable multi-family buildings for rent or purchase along the northern and eastern borders, a few pockets of town homes built in the 1960s and again in the 2000s, but mostly single family homes build in the early/mid-1900s many of which are cape cods and bungalows that are popular targets for renovations and expansions.

About the interviewee:

Anne and her husband, Horacio, met in Colombia (the country) and moved to Shirlington in early 2015 before buying their home, where they’re raising two young children. They weren’t in a hurry to move, but found a home with potential on a street they loved, and bought their Douglas Park Cape Cod in late 2015.

They spent about three months renovating the kitchen, refinishing floors, and giving the house new life while trying to maintain the original charm as much as possible. Just after moving in, they dealt with some pipe issues that required them to tear up a lot of their front yard, but turned a bad situation into a positive by introducing some beautiful landscaping and hardscaping out front.

What do you love about Douglas Park?

We’re part of an incredible community here. Being a bi-lingual family, we love living in a bi-lingual neighborhood. An added plus that we hadn’t thought to be so important before experiencing it, is the cross-generational interaction. The young families who just moved in hang out with neighbors who have lived here for decades.

It’s also very front-yard focused, so in the evenings and weekends, you’ll see most of the neighborhood out front, spending time together, not tucked away privately in their backyards (note: this was highlighted in the Claremont Neighborhood Spotlight and a trend in many South Arlington neighborhoods). It’s a beautiful, engaged, diverse community.

We also have great access to public transportation, despite not being near a Metro station. Whenever I can, I take the bus to work in Courthouse. Also, despite not having sidewalks, the streets are wide enough for kids to safely ride bikes and walk without being in danger.


What are some of your local favorites?

We’re so close to our favorite places in Shirlington and along Columbia Pike like Lost Dog, Thai Shirlington, Twisted Vines, Sugar Shack and Tacos & Tortas. We split grocery shopping between the Harris Teeter in Shirlington and Giant on Columbia Pike. We also spend a lot of time at Monroe and Douglas Parks because they are at either end of our street.

Do you have any experience with the school system?

Our kids are too young for APS still — they go to daycare, one in Douglas Park and another in Courthouse. We’re very happy with both. We are eager for when the kids can enter the public schools though.

Originally one of the reasons we moved to Arlington is because we were excited to send our kids to a bi-lingual elementary school, like Claremont or Key. Now that we’ve settled in Douglas Park, and can see Randolph Elementary from the front door, our kids will most likely go there.

We know that some of the schools in South Arlington rank lower than those to the north. My sister-in-law is a teacher in the APS and insists even the lowest ranking in Arlington is better than most of the schools in the country. Our neighbors who sent their kids through the neighborhood schools rave about the education as well.

Are there any neighborhood events?

The Fourth of July holiday is a lot of fun here. We have a parade, a big picnic, and a bunch of neighbors set off their own fireworks. There’s also a traveling potluck dinner that is well-attended and a fun way to meet new neighbors and hear our neighborhood historians tells stories about the families who have lived in each house.

What has your overall experience been?

We feel lucky to have ended up here, it’s better than we could have ever imagined. Everybody is so friendly and it’s been a huge help while raising two young kids, especially our energetic, social son (I can vouch for that!). The sense of community happened immediately and we look forward to being here for a very long time.

Thank you so much for your interview Anne and Horacio! I’m sure this will help people considering a move into or within Arlington who are looking for an affordable, family-friendly community like you described.

Where is it? Most people would consider Aurora Highlands to be Crystal City and Pentagon City because to the north, it contains the Pentagon City mall, borders S. Eads Street to the east, Virginia Highlands Park/S. Joyce Street to the west, and the southern tip of Arlington along S. Glebe Road to the south.

It’s a diverse neighborhood with everything from large apartment buildings to residential streets lined with cape cods and brand new Craftsman homes, mixed in with the mall, office space, dining and retail.

Unlike most neighborhoods with single family homes, Aurora Highlands has easy access to two Metro stations and you can’t live closer to Reagan National Airport! Students living in Aurora Highlands attend Oakridge Elementary, Gunston Middle and Wakefield High Schools.

About the interviewee: Lisa Curtin moved from the Chicago suburbs to her apartment at Crystal House in 2015 when she was relocated for her career in Student Tourism. Shortly after the move, she became the COO of an Accounting firm in Bethesda, but loves the neighborhood so much that she’d rather commute every day to Bethesda than move closer to work.

She picked Crystal House because she’d never lived in a city before, loved the larger, renovated apartments, and was located close to the Crystal City Underground. Lisa is strongly considering buying nearby once she’s done renting.

What do you love about Aurora Highlands?

Where do I start? The accessibility to the Metro and major roads for commuting and going out couldn’t be better; we’re a few quick stops to downtown D.C. Within a few blocks there are parks, family-owned bars and restaurants, shopping and trails.

Where do you shop, eat, and hang out?

I love Tortoise & Hare (have to try the loaded tater tots), Crystal City Sports Pub and Freddie’s Beach Bar. I do most of my grocery shopping at the Harris Teeter or Aldi and work out at the new Orange Theory.

I also walk on the Four Mile Run and Mount Vernon Trails, and hang out at Long Branch Park when the weather is nice. I suggest everybody check out Fridays at the Foundation(pictured), if they haven’t already.

Do you have any experience with the school system?

I don’t personally, but my neighbors considered sending their kids to private school and decided to stick with the local public schools and are very happy with their experience at Oakridge Elementary School. They intend for their kids to use the public school system serving our neighborhood through high school!

What sort of identity does Aurora Highlands have?

I don’t think most people understand that Aurora Highlands is its own neighborhood, adjacent to Crystal City and Pentagon City, so we’re doing a lot to identify ourselves with new signage and a strong Civic Association. It’s such a unique pocket of Arlington because it has traditional single family neighborhoods alongside condos, apartments, office space and retail.

It gives the neighborhood a vibrancy that’s hard to match and there’s a great mood walking around because people take care of themselves and the community. You get all of these city-like benefits but at a much more affordable price than other parts of Arlington and D.C.

Thank you so much for your interview Lisa! I’m sure this will help people considering a move into or within Arlington who are looking for the type of community you described.

Where is it? Clarendon is probably the most recognizable, well-known neighborhood in Arlington. Those outside of Arlington often refer to the entire Rosslyn-Ballston corridor as Clarendon.

Technically it is bound by Wilson Blvd to the north, 10th St N. to the south, Washington Blvd to the west, and N. Danville Street to the east (eastern border is based on the boundaries of the Clarendon Sector Plan).

Clarendon is known for its lively dining and retail scene, along with being host to a popular chains like an Apple Store and Whole Foods, where the parking line regularly overflows into the street.

From rooftop bars, numerous restaurants and high-end retail, Clarendon attracts people of all ages to its massive condo and apartment complexes, as well as droves of patrons from outside the neighborhood. Depending on your preference for entertainment, it’s either the place to be or the place to avoid on Saturday nights. The neighborhood is built around the Clarendon Metro station, which is located on the Orange and Silver lines.

About the interviewee: Tim Donaldson moved to Clarendon in 2014 after spending eight years in Los Angeles, and chose the area because it provides the walkability of a city, but he can hop in his truck any time and quickly be on the highway, which he can’t do from D.C.

He started as a renter in The Phoenix, a popular condo building at 1020 N. Highland Street, and loved it enough to buy a two-bedroom condo after one year. He loves the amenities, and chose to buy because of how well run it is due to the long tenure of its staff.

What do you love about Clarendon?

I love the balance of being able to walk to everything, but not having to fight through city traffic to get to a highway, which I do often for work and to fish. It’s a big city lifestyle, but more laid back. You also have the convenience and familiarity of successful chains like Whole Foods, Starbucks, Cheesecake Factory and Lululemon, but also some great non-chain places for music and craft beer/wine. I’m sad the record store closed!

Where do you shop, eat, and hang out?

My wife and I have a long list of favorites all within a few blocks. Green Pig Bistro is our date night spot, we’re regulars at Lyon Hall, I go to Fireworks for their great beer menu, Galaxy Hut for awesome music, Ambar’s all-you-can-eat is the best deal around, Texas Jacks BBQ is second to none (I agree), love the classics like Liberty Tavern and Bonchon, and the new Spirit of 76 is a cool, cozy bar! We love being able to walk to Whole Foods or Trader Joes for groceries.

Do you take advantage of nearby parks and trails?

I take weekly walks at Potomac Overlook and Zachary Taylor parks and love biking the WO&D, Four Mile Run, and Mount Vernon trails. I know there are parks closer by, but I love hiking and biking those areas.

How has your overall experience been in Clarendon?

Very positive! I’d love to be able to buy a single-family home in Lyon Park (adjacent neighborhood) so I can stay close to Clarendon. People mostly associate Clarendon with weekend partying, but it’s an incredible community with an art show, crafts fair, and bike race during the year. Most of the businesses put out water bowls for dogs in the summer and there’s always families out pushing kids in strollers, which gives the whole neighborhood a feel of closeness that I love being part of.

Thank you so much for your interview Tim! I’m sure this will help people considering a move into or within Arlington who are looking for a vibrant, walkable community like you described.

Where is it? Cherrydale is one of Arlington’s most sought-after neighborhoods, bounded by the intersection of Interstate 66 and Lee Highway to the east, N. Utah Street to the west, I-66 to the south, and Old Dominion Drive to the north, with an awkward configuration of boundaries just north of Old Dominion adding to it.

It is primarily served by Washington-Lee High School, with a small section north of Old Dominion districted to Yorktown High School. Cherrydale boasts a diverse housing selection, with a large number of single family homes dating back to the early 1900s mixed with homes from each decade, including new construction homes that have replaced smaller, aging homes.

In addition to single family homes, Cherrydale has some pockets of condos and townhomes. Most of Cherrydale is within a 15-minute walk of the Ballston or Virginia Square Metro stations.

About the interviewee: Jennifer Galloway and her husband moved to Cherrydale from a Ballston condo in 2016 to find community, more space and their target school district for their 10-month-old daughter. They moved into a beautifully renovated pop-up home that combined Jennifer’s love of older homes with her husband’s preference for new and were sold by the two beautiful magnolia trees in the backyard.

Hailing from Connecticut, Jennifer entered the D.C. scene working in politics and eventually leveraged her connections and fundraising experience to found the Wolcott Hill Group, a nonprofit consulting firm. Jennifer is a proud graduate of the 2016 Leadership Arlington cohort and 2016 “40 Under 40” winner.

What do you love about Cherrydale?

It’s such a close, supportive community. I think we’d met every one of our neighbors within the first month and everybody has been so helpful, which is invaluable for a young family like ours. We also love the generational mix in the community with everything from young families to retirees who have lived here for 40+ years.

My husband commutes into D.C. every day and I’m always going to appointments around the metropolitan area, so we both utilize the Metrobus system that runs through out the neighborhood and makes commuting easy.

Why did you move to Cherrydale?

We wanted to be in the Washington-Lee High School district and my husband needed a short commute into D.C., so we were focused on Cherrydale, Waverly Hills and Westover.

When we first started looking, we stopped by an open house in Cherrydale and ended up talking to the neighbor for a while. She told us they were considering a move, but loved the neighborhood so much that they invested in a major renovation/expansion of their home in order to stay in the neighborhood. That sold us.

What are some of your favorite places to go?

Our favorite restaurants are Cassats and Lebanese Taverna, which are both walkable. We spend a lot of time in nearby parks like Woodstock and Quincy Park and take walks along the Custis Trail. If you’ve never been to Arrow Wine, had pastries from Randolph’s, or empanadas from La Union Grocery, you have to go soon.

Are there any fun community events?

There’s a big July 4 block party every year at the top of N. Stafford Street with a George Washington impersonator who reads the Declaration of Independence. We also have an annual yard sale in the neighborhood that’s a lot of fun.

What do you think the next 10-15 years will bring for Cherrydale?

I’m sure we’ll continue seeing small, older homes replaced by larger new homes and a continuous flow of young families coming in. However, there are many families, like ours, who plan to raise their children in Cherrydale, so it will be exciting to see the community grow together over the years.

Thank you so much for your interview Jennifer! I’m sure this will help many families considering a move into or within Arlington who are looking for many of the same things your family wanted.

Our interviewee, Peter Zell, has spent the last 5+ years living in Courthouse (Colonial Village) and downtown Rosslyn (Normandy House), so we covered both neighborhoods during our interview.

Where is it? Rosslyn and Courthouse are the first neighborhoods along the Wilson Blvd/Clarendon Blvd corridor, also known as the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. Sitting on the eastern edge of Arlington, both offer views of the Potomac and Washington DC. Downtown Rosslyn is Arlington’s most expensive and sought-after business hub due to its proximity to DC and the only location in Virginia with three different metro lines (Silver, Blue, and Orange). Over the past 5 years and for the next 10 years, downtown Rosslyn is transforming itself from a government-centric business district to high-end Class A office, residential, and retail district. Just up the hill to the west is the more residential Courthouse, boasting many long-time Arlington residents and some of Arlington’s favorite bars, restaurants, and shops. It also plays host to the Arlington County offices, police station, and…the courthouse! If you’re walking, jogging, or biking from Rosslyn to Courthouse, be wary of the steep climb from metro to metro.

About the interviewee: Peter Zell represents the area well — a young professional, hailing from out-of-town (Ft. Myers Florida), and working as a contractor in the Pentagon. Peter spent most of the last 5+ years in Colonial Village, a sprawling campus of garden-style condos built from 1935-1940 that straddles Rosslyn and Courthouse. Recently Peter moved to Normandy House in downtown Rosslyn, enjoying great views of the Potomac, D.C. skyline, and National Mall from the rooftop.

What do you love about the neighborhood? The lifestyle here is fantastic. I’m minutes to my job at the Pentagon and get to enjoy being near all the benefits of D.C., but in a quieter, more relaxing environment. From where I live, I can walk into Georgetown, the National Mall, or hike Roosevelt Island in just a few minutes. I also take advantage of the great views from the many high-rise apartments in the area. When I lived in Colonial Village, I fell in love with the great sense of community I experienced. The way the neighborhood is laid out gives it a campus-like feel, with each building often hosting its own events through out the year. Unlike other areas of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, I think Colonial Village is less transient because I met a lot of people who have lived there for a long time. I think that the area has a reputation for being post-college Greek life, but I’ve always felt that the mature, professional crowd defines Rosslyn and Courthouse.

What are your favorite places to go for entertainment, dining, and groceries? I’m a huge soccer fan and Ireland Four Courts and Summers are two of the best soccer bars in the D.C. area, so I frequent both. I also play in a competitive soccer league that’s a quick trip into D.C. You can’t beat a weekend bagel at Brooklyn Bagel, coffee at Bayou Bakery, or a good steak from Rays the Steaks. I do most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joes in Clarendon, but head to the Lee Highway Giant for meats.

Is the area family and dog friendly? I wouldn’t consider Rosslyn to be very family-friendly, but as far as urban living goes, Courthouse is pretty family friendly. As with most of Arlington, it seems like half of Rosslyn and Courthouse residents have a dog and the variety of nearby trails and quiet neighborhood streets make it very dog friendly.

What are your favorite community events? There are constantly events in Rosslyn Gateway Park like the Jazzfest, Parkour festival, and summer outdoor movie nights. I also enjoy the weekly farmers market in Courthouse and there were constantly community potluck dinners in Colonial Village.

How has your overall experience been? Very positive. I’ve enjoyed a great social life, easy accessibility to D.C., a fast commute, have always felt safe, and when I was in Colonial Village I was pleasantly surprised at the sense of community.

What are you expectations for the future? It’ll be interesting to see if we’re getting close to a saturation point for new development and if the current trajectory will continue. I think that the development that has occurred to transform Rosslyn from a business district to a more welcoming location for residential and retail has substantially increased its appeal and a lot of people are considering it as a great alternative to living in D.C. while still having easy access to all of the benefits of D.C.

Peter, thank you very much for sharing your experience living in Rosslyn and Courthouse!

Where is it? In May, I covered one of the southern-most neighborhoods in Arlington, Claremont; so this month we’re taking a look at Arlington’s northern-most neighborhood, Arlingwood, located in the northern corner of Arlington bordered by N Glebe Rd to the south/southwest and the GW Parkway to the east and north, although some consider homes north of the parkway along the Potomac on Chain Bridge Rd to be the “Greater” Arlingwood neighborhood as well. It’s a fantastic location for active lifestyles and nature lovers, with quick access via walking/biking trails to the Potomac River (Potomac Heritage Trail on the Virginia side and Towpath/Capital Crescent Trail on the DC side) and Chain Bridge. Interestingly, the area is primarily made up of homes along N Richmond St and N Randolph St, which form a two-way loop around the neighborhood and seamlessly connect/transition into one another at the bottom of a big hill.

About the interviewee: Ronnie Precup raised three children in a 1956 ranch-style Arlingwood home, which she and her husband bought in December 1971 for $60,500(!). She recalls the location and access to North Arlington public schools were the primary reasons they decided on a home in Arlington, even though it was a bit more than they planned to spend at the time. Having recently retired as Editor-in-Chief for the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, she decided that she’ll remain in her home for a long time to come, so she’s made some beautiful updates throughout the home, including the kitchen, bedrooms, and basement!

Can you tell me a bit about your neighborhood? It’s so wonderful, I want to stay here forever! Although it’s car-dependent here, there are constantly joggers and serious bikers coming through the neighborhood to reach various trails nearby. Nearly everybody has pets, so neighbors are constantly out walking their dogs, providing a very friendly atmosphere. We also have a very active neighborhood website where people discuss local issues and exchange or sell household items, and kids offer their services to mow lawns, shovel driveways, etc. There are a lot of families here, but mostly with schooled-aged children; I don’t see a lot of strollers. The families love the annual Halloween party!

What’s changed in the last 40+ years? Increased density for sure as larger, new homes replace older homes like mine, and they’ve even cleared large wooded areas to add more new homes. I don’t blame them and like to see new families moving in, but I hope that the density increase is limited and they don’t remove any more trees to expand the neighborhood, although I could see them expanding to the west towards Chain Bridge Forest.

What’s been your experience with the public schools? Great! Our kids went to Jamestown Elementary and Williamsburg Middle School, although we decided to send them to Bishop O’Connell for high school. My granddaughter just graduated from Williamsburg this year and loved it!

What about public transportation for the neighborhood? It’s definitely a car-dependent area of the county, although there’s an ART bus stop just up the street that takes you to the metro.

Favorite restaurants? I love Peter Chang and Metro 29 Diner off of Lee Highway, of course Lost Dog Café, and I have a soft spot for Bon Chon! If you go to Metro 29 Diner, I highly recommend splitting the meals and saving room for dessert.

Anything else? I’m not sure how many people have noticed it, but I’ve always found it curious that there’s a plaque on a rock up the road by the Madison Community Center that references the Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression.” I notice it every time I walk by and wonder how it’s never been changed or removed.

Thank you very much for the great interview Ronnie! And for being an Arlingwood resident and ambassador for 45 years with no plans of moving any time soon.

Where is it? Bluemont is ideally located walking distance from the urban centers of Ballston and Clarendon, but with quieter residential streets filled with single family homes. It’s bordered by Glebe Rd/Ballston to the east, Four Mile Run/Bon Air & Bluemont Parks to the west, Rt 66 to the north (and a small section north to Washington Blvd), and N Carlin Springs Rd to the south. Bluemont hosts multiple parks, the popular Pupatella Italian restaurant, and Arlington Traditional Elementary School. Most homes in Bluemont were built between 1940 and the early 1950s, but the neighborhood is experiencing the replacement of older homes with large new homes, Arlington’s most popular housing trend.

About the interviewee: I had the pleasure of interviewing Don Kautter, a 12-year Bluemont resident, who was born in Arlington and grew up in Chantilly. Prior to moving to his “forever” home in Bluemont, Don lived in Fairfax and then Ballston’s Lexington Square condos. Don is a Microbiologist for the FDA in College Park, MD, with a grad degree from U of Maryland (Terps!). Since purchasing his home in 2004, he’s made quite a few updates including remodeling the bathrooms and adding a new roof and deck.

Why did you move to Bluemont? I loved the urban/suburban blend that it offered. I could walk to the metro, grocery store, parks, and restaurants but live in a single family home w/ a small yard for my dog. I commute to College Park, MD for work, so being close to major roads was important, but I can’t hear or see them. It’s walk, bike, car, and public transit friendly!

What are you favorite restaurants? I’m a regular at Layalina, a fantastic Syrian restaurant, just a few blocks away. It’s authentic, great food! I also love Cheestique in Ballston and, of course, the Italian Store in Westover.

Do you consider Bluemont an active community? Absolutely! Neighbors are always riding bikes, jogging, and walking dogs. I take my dog on a walk every day along the Custis Trail and through the Bon Air Park Rose Garden, her favorite spot. I belong to the nearby Planet Fitness and there are a ton of gyms and studios down the road in Ballston.

Do you use public transit? Yes, lots of people do. The Ballston Metro is a short walk and there are three ART buses and an Arlington Transit bus that run every 10-15 min. Arlington does a good job of putting non-metro public transit into residential neighborhoods.

What will the next 10-15 years bring? I expect small, old homes to continue being replaced by larger, new homes, which drives up home values, but we lose some of the cuteness/history that I enjoy. If done right, the Ballston (Mall) Quarter re-development will be transformational. I hope to see development continue west down Wilson Blvd, particularly improvements to the Safeway.

What’s the personality of the community? I’ve had an extremely positive experience here and there’s a long-range family feeling amongst the neighbors. Even though we’re in separate homes, you never feel like you’re alone. There’s constant outdoor activity, especially kids because parents feel safe letting them run around. My street has a block party every year. It’s like a little slice of America!

A quick look at some Bluemont housing stats:

Volume: An average of 45 homes sell each year

Growth: The average sold price price in 2014 = $720,000 Average sold price in 2015 = $754,000 and current 2016 average sold price = $771,000

Pace of Sales: Since 2011, the average days on market is 41 days, but the median days on market is only 11 days

Discounts: On average, there’s a 3.7% discount of the original list price

Three Bedrooms: 40% of homes sold have three bedrooms (about 25% across Arlington). Investors target them, but many are priced too high to turn a profit and great starter-home options.

Thank you for the interview Don!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

Claremont Neighborhood Profile

Where is it? Claremont is one of Arlington’s southern-most neighborhoods, conveniently located a mile from the intersection of Rt 7 and 395. Host toClaremont Immersion School (dual language), Wakefield High, and Barcroft Park, it’s made up of very well constructed cape cod and colonial homes built in the late 1940s and is a National Historic District.

About the interviewee: Merryl Burpoe, an energy consultant, moved to Claremont in 1988 where she and her husband raised three children (cute kids pictured are Merryl’s grandchildren). They purchased an original colonial home and like many families in Claremont, instead of moving away for more space, they expanded in place, including a beautiful wrap-around porch! They chose Claremont for the commute, school system, Barcroft Park, and affordability.

What makes Claremont unique? Our neighbors are so friendly, active, and diverse. It has a small town neighborhood feel with all of the benefits of being minutes from city amenities. It’s a “front-facing house” neighborhood; people spend time interacting from the front porch and kids play in the front yard/street. It’s incredible how many families choose to expand their home in order to stay here.

Where do you usually go out to eat? We usually go to the Village at Shirlington. I just hosted a girls’ weekend there and it was a blast! My favorite restaurants are Osteria Da Nino, Carlyle Grand Café, T.H.A.I., and Samuel Beckett’s for a drink!

Is it walkable/bike-friendly/family-friendly/dog-friendly? Yes, we regularly walk the park and to Shirlington. Yes, many neighbors commute to D.C. by bike. Yes, the biggest change in the neighborhood is the number of kids. The neighborhood hosts family-friendly events like a 4th of July and Halloween parade, chili cook-off, block parties, holiday lighting contest, and a garden club! The Claremont mini-park is very popular with kids. Oh my god yes, there are tons of dogs because of the lot sizes, nearby trails, and Shirlington Dog Park.

How do you feel about the local school system? South Arlington schools are very under-estimated. We had wonderful experiences with all three of our children and they felt the benefits of Arlington schools when they went to college.

What about public transportation? It’s great. Very easy access to bus stops, including theShirlington Bus Station, and I often use the Pentagon City metro for trips into D.C. You’re also about 10 minutes from the airport.

What’s been your overall experience? It was the perfect place to raise a family and continues to be a wonderful location for my husband and I. We love being so close to the Kennedy Center and Old Town Alexandria too! Claremont isn’t as well known as other Arlington neighborhoods, but people should really come see the community, they’ll love it.

A quick look at some Claremont housing statistics:

  • For Sale: There are currently two homes on the market in Claremont
  • 5 year history: Lowest sale = $335,500, Highest sale = $759,500 (beautiful blue, expanded cape cod), Average sale = $558,000, Average days on market = 21 days (fast!), Average floor plan = 4BR/2BA
  • Heating up: The average sold price from 2014-Today increased by $56,000 (over 10%) compared to the average sold price from 2011-2013
  • Low turnover: In the last 10 years, there have been only 4 months with more than two homes sold

This is my first Neighborhood Profile and I’d love to hear what you think. Is there any information you’d like to see in future profiles? Send me an email with feedback or if you’re interested in being interviewed about your neighborhood! You’re not required to include your name or a photo.