Eboni Harris, 18, says that she is thrilled with the location of her apartment at Cascades Crossing in Loudoun County, and with the apartment itself.
The 320-unit, low-rise complex is a five-minute drive or 30-minute walk from the restaurant where she works as a waitress.
"I grew up in this area, so I knew Sterling," she said. "It's nice; very nice, beautiful apartments."
The complex is just off the Dulles Toll Road and Routes 7 and 28, making access easy for the many workplaces in the Northern Virginia high-tech corridor. Grocery stores and the post office are also close; Costco is across the street.
"It's very good, very accessible to places. . . . Dulles Town Center is right here," said Koby Poks, 29, who works in nearby Reston.
The complex, run by KSI Management Corp., was built with financing designed to produce affordable housing and has moderate rents and maximum income limits for tenants.
"Housing is in high demand," property manager Christine Smith said. "It is an expensive area to live in. This really makes it possible for people in that moderate income bracket to find housing that will work."
Harris said she had been watching apartment prices in the area and that she and her boyfriend jumped at the reasonable rent at Cascades Crossing, particularly considering the size of her two-bedroom unit.
Like every apartment in the complex, it has a full-size stackable washer/dryer. "The laundry room is very nice. It has a door, so you really don't see it," she said. She also likes having separate living and dining rooms.
Shaine Hobdy, 41, said his two-bedroom apartment also is spacious, well designed and -- especially important to a tech lover -- well wired. He has hook-ups for his computers and TiVos where he wants them. Residents can also install satellite dishes.
"When I first moved in here they had brand-new carpet and they painted," Hobdy said. "When I moved in here I thought I was moving into a brand-new community, but it's old." The complex opened about 10 years ago.
On-site amenities include a large pool, baby pool, tennis court, fitness center and car-care area, which Poks uses to clean his Honda. "I like the car-washing place," he said.
Harris said the community is reasonably quiet. "It's not too much. You have kids running around. You have kids come home from school, so they are rowdy, but on into the night it's quiet," she said. "This is kid country. You have a little playground."
Teon Bynum, 34, who has a 14-year-old son, said the community does right by children. "I think they have really good kid programs," he said. "St. Patrick's Day they will have a little fiesta or party where kids can get cookies. They always highlight the holidays for the kids."
Not everyone is a fan of the young people, though. Ferry Irawan, 32, and Lina Fnu, 27, said that the number of kids hanging out in the stairwell of their apartment building is annoying. Irawan finds it tedious to always have to say excuse me so that the kids will move out of his way.
Poks shares a two-bedroom first-floor apartment with a roommate who works a lot. For a while, he had a problem with noisy neighbors. "But I think they moved out," Poks said. "It's been quieter," since he took the problem to the community manager.
Smith said some noise is inevitable in an apartment complex, but that no one should have to live with unreasonable levels. "We ask people to put it in writing," she said, so complaints can be presented to the offender. "We won't disclose who gave the complaint. We do ask for it in writing just so we know it's a serious issue."
"They're very good. They're prompt," Poks said about how community management responds to concerns.
Irawan agreed. "If something is wrong, they fix it right away," he said. Maintenance workers are responsive, he said. "When he finishes, he looks around and asks if there is anything [else] you'd liked fixed."
Hobdy said responsive management is one reason he has decided to remain at Cascades Crossing for another year, rather than moving closer to his job in Washington. "I am anti-apartment community. This is got to be one of the nicest apartment communities. They are very attentive, very aware of what is going on in the apartment community. . . . They really do try to build a community here."