Great Neighborhoods without Great Schools in Fairfax County

Working with homebuyers, you hear all kinds of questions. I recently came across a couple that was looking to buy a single-family home with lots of yard space. A big house with a big yard is just about everyone’s dream, and that typically comes with a substantial price tag. Usually, in Fairfax County, the higher the home price, the better the schools. But these buyers were child-free and hoped that buying a house in a neighborhood zoned for schools with lower than average (read: bad by Fairfax County standards) ratings could get a detached home for less than in some other areas.

So, what are the best neighborhoods in Fairfax County if highly-rated schools aren’t a priority?



First, we have Reston, the biggest master-planned community in Fairfax County. Reston is known for its scenic lakes and top-notch community perks. On average, a detached house here costs about $989,000.

In Reston, detached family homes start around $500,000 but can reach up to $1.5 million.

However, you’ll find many single family homes for sale between $450,000 and $800,000. It’s one of the few places you can find an updated home at $700,000. That’s practically a steal in Fairfax County.

Reston has cool village centers—Hunter’s Woods, Lake Anne, North Point, Tall Oaks, and South Lakes—each with its own little neighborhoods. If you’re eyeing a place by the water, prepare to pay a premium compared to the rest of the Reston communities.

Education-wise, much of Reston falls under the South Lakes school pyramid, which has a 6/10 rating on Great Schools. That’s smack dab in the middle—not too shabby, but not quite up there with the neighboring pyramids of Langley and Madison.

For the architecture buffs among us, Reston is like hitting the jackpot. Many of the homes were built in the Mid-Century or 1970s Contemporary style and have stayed true to their original vibe since they were first built.

The community is crisscrossed with over 55 miles of paths and trails, including many parks and nature reserves. With 15 community pools, 52 tennis courts, and 1,350 acres of open space, there’s no shortage of ways to get out and enjoy the fresh air.

Reston is packed with playgrounds, soccer and basketball fields, parks, recreational spots, and places perfect for a picnic. The cherry on top of living here and being part of the master Homeowners Association (HOA) is getting access to all these fantastic amenities! For more details, check out the Reston Association website.



Alexandria is another area you may want to consider. Specifically Franconia, located in southeastern Fairfax County. This area in the 22310 zip code is part of Alexandria Fairfax County, not to be confused with the neighboring City of Alexandria.

Franconia’s charming combination of suburban tranquility and seamless accessibility makes it an attractive option for potential homeowners.

Franconia began as a suburban community in the 1950s. It has since grown into a collection of smaller subdivisions, which include a mix of detached homes, townhouses, and a handful of condos.

Prices for single-family homes in Franconia range from $400,000 to upwards of $1.7 million. However, most move-in ready homes start around the $600,000 price point.

On average, buying a house here will cost you about $770,000.

Looking for more wallet-friendly single-family homes? Check out spots like Rose Hill, Bush Hill, Brookland Estates, and Virginia Hills. Each offers single family homes at or below the average sales price.

Choosing Franconia means you might get more bang for your buck compared to other parts of Fairfax County, especially in terms of space. A lot of homes here sit on generous ¼ to ½ acre lots, sometimes even more.

The location is just perfect if you’re looking to zip around easily. It’s snugly situated just south of the 495, with Springfield Mall to the west and Kingstowne down south for all your shopping needs. Plus, there are three Fairfax County public parks right in Franconia – Monticello Woods, Franconia, and Franconia Forest Parks, making it easy to enjoy the great outdoors.

Franconia is in the Edison High School pyramid, which has a 4/10 rating on Great Schools. Many buyers consider schools a top priority and would weed out an area with this rating, which could mean less competition for buyers who don’t consider school ratings a priority.


Annandale shines as the go-to suburb for those craving a mix of suburban peace and urban convenience. Nestled near major roads like Route 236 and the Capital Beltway, it’s a breeze for residents to zip into Washington D.C. or surrounding areas, making it a prime spot for commuters.

Annandale isn’t just about location. It’s dotted with parks perfect for those looking to unwind outdoors or engage in some recreational fun.

Offering urban perks within the Beltway alongside a suburban calm, Annandale provides a respite from Northern Virginia’s fast pace.

Annandale’s housing market is largely made up of older single-family homes, many built between the late 1940s and the 1970s. These homes feature colonial and rambler styles. Spacious yards are the norm here, with quarter-acre lots common and many homes enjoying nearly half-acre expanses.

Home prices in Annandale range from $450,000 to over $2 million. However, more than half of them sell for under $800,000.

When it comes to schools, Annandale is a mixed bag. Some areas are zoned for Annandale High, known locally by parents for its less desirable rating. It has a 3/10 Great School rating. However, some areas in Annandale are zoned for Woodson High, a much more desirable school.

Parks like Mason District Park offer walking trails, picnic spots, a lake, and various recreational activities. Pimmit Run Stream Valley Park and Wakefield Park provide additional green spaces for outdoor adventures, sports, and relaxation.

With its ideal blend of accessibility, green spaces, and a strong community vibe, Annandale’s real estate market is an attractive choice for a wide range of homebuyers seeking diversity in housing and lifestyle options.

In Closing

Those are just a few of the areas you can find in Fairfax County where you can get more bang for your buck if school ratings aren’t a major concern. If you have any questions about the area, feel free to call/text me at 703-539-2053.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your home-buying journey, click here to schedule your Perfect Home Consultation.