While the oft-quoted axiom "no pain, no gain" is typically associated with pursuits of physical fitness, the spirit behind the phrase seemed to perfectly sum up Colleen Ganjian's desperate attempts several years ago to purchase her dream home, she said.
Ganjian, who along with her husband was raising a 3-year-old daughter, had her sights set on finding a single-family house, with a two-car garage, in the Vienna neighborhood of Shouse Village.
The only problem, she soon discovered, was that a lot of other buyers seemed to have the same idea, leaving relatively few real estate options in this sought-after section of Northern Virginia.
"Every night, I'd sit at my computer, eyes red and tired, and Google the neighborhood searching for a house," said Ganjian, who at the time had just sold her townhouse in Alexandria's Cameron Station and was living with her husband and daughter in her mother's basement.
"I did a ton of research and determined that Shouse Village would be the perfect place to move, but it was really difficult finding a home."
One night, while Ganjian searched for properties online, a house that fit her checklist popped up. Within 12 hours, she'd made a full-price offer and crossed her fingers, she said.
"We didn't get it and I was so upset. It was devastating."
She resumed her nightly searches and a few weeks later saw an ad on Craigslist for a house that would soon hit the market. She found an email address for the listing agent and sent a heartfelt pitch note.
Finally, Ganjian had found her new home.
"Honestly, the house was kind of a train wreck inside. We had to put in a fortune to renovate it, but the neighborhood is so great that we just couldn't ask for a better place," said Ganjian, who moved two years ago to a 2,900-square-foot, six-bedroom, four-bathroom Colonial.
Welcoming to families: Located near Tysons Corner and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Shouse Village, which was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and named after Wolf Trap founder Catherine Filene Shouse, offers a wide range of split-levels, Colonials and ramblers, said Paula Stewart, a real estate agent with Weichert Realtors.
Stewart, who lives in Shouse Village, said that buyers, especially those with children, are drawn to the community because they feel that it's a welcoming place for families.
"Our family feels very safe in the neighborhood, and you will often see residents walking or children biking on the sidewalk-lined streets," she said.
Ray Hwang, who moved to Shouse Village in January, said that his family has really taken to the neighborhood and has enjoyed themed parties in celebration of Valentine's Day, Easter and Halloween.
"Residents recognize new faces and are really welcoming," said Hwang, who lives in a four-bedroom, three-bathroom Colonial. "There are quite a bit of opportunities for new residents to move in and meet lots of friendly people."
Suzanne Keating, president of the Shouse Village Community Association and a 27-year resident, said that a healthy mix of newcomers easily combines with longtime residents to help maintain a shared sense of belonging.
"It is a community that you can age in, and I have," said Keating, who lives in a "decent-sized" five-bedroom, three-bathroom, split-level house on Towlston Road.
"People really look out for each other. If somebody needs help with their gutters or something else, we take care of each other."
Living there: Shouse Village is roughly bordered by the Dulles Access Road (Route 267) on the south, Shouse Drive and homes along Towlston Road up to Route 7 on the north, Towlston Road on the east, and the intersection of Tuba Court and Laurlin Court to the west.
In the past 12 months, eight properties have sold in Shouse Village, ranging from a 1,646-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom split-level house for $660,000 to a 2,800-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom Colonial for $868,000, said Stewart, the resident and real estate agent.
There are no homes on the market or under contract in Shouse Village, Stewart said.
Schools: Colvin Run Elementary, Longfellow Middle and McLean High.
Transit: Shouse Village is less than three miles from the Spring Hill Station on Metro's Silver Line. The community is also served by a Metrobus stop at the entrance of the community at Route 7 and Towlston Road.
Crime: In the past six months, there has been one report of an assault and one report of theft from a vehicle in the area that includes Shouse Village, according to Fairfax County Police.