Seaching for a House near a Metro in Northern Virginia

If you are searching for a house near a metro, you’re probably not finding them all.  And it’s not your fault.  It’s the listing agent’s fault.

Photo by laffy4k

Photo by laffy4k

Agents who list houses within walking distance of Metro Stations are NOT including that in their listings.  So when you search for them, you’re not finding them.

(You’ve GOT to be thinking…come on Jeff…there might be a few agents who don’t include that…but 99% of breathing agents know that people buy houses near Metros…and that you have to not only say it’s near a metro, but you also HAVE to put that as the title of the free Craigslist ad).  Uh huh.  Let’s look at some sample numbers.

The Typical Metro Search:  52% of houses for sale within a mile of the Pentagon City Metro have been entered so they won’t come up in a typical search. As I write this today, there are 63 houses for sale within 1 mile of the Pentagon City Metro Station.  The proper way to enter a listing into the MLS system that is within a mile of a Metro stop is to check a box that says “1-mile subway.”  So when buyer’s agents search for listing they can check the same box on their search and find those houses.  This is how most agents search for houses for buyers that want to live near a metro.  So how many of those 63 houses for sale have this box checked on their listing?  30.  48% of the listings were entered so buyers searching for metro would find them.

The Advanced Metro Search:  33% of houses for sale within a mile of the Pentagon City Metro have been entered so they won’t come up in even an advaced search. There are some agents who also search the remarks for words like Metro or Subway or Public Transportation (you get a lot of bus routes if you search for the last one).  The only one of these remarks that is used often is “Metro.”  Of the 63 homes for sale near Pentagon City Metro Station, 42 use the word “Metro” in their remarks.  This is a little better number, but still not great.  And most agents don’t even search this way.

By the way, a total of 53 used one or the other, so about 16% failed to mention it in anyway.

If you are looking for a house around that metro station, you are missing more than half of the properties for sale.

And Pentagon City Metro might be one of the GOOD ones…lets look at Vienna/Fairfax–GMU

Houses for sale within one mile of Vienna/Fairfax Metro:  72
Of those that have “1-mile subway” checked:  17  (24% correct)–again, this is the most common way to search
Of the 72 that mention “metro” in remarks:  56  (77% correct for advanced searchers)
Of the 72 that do one or the other: 59  (82%) –pretty good actually, only 18% failed to mention it in anyway.

As an aside, and to get you to go search on our super-cool, super-fast FranklyMLS search site…when you type in Metro there it searches for Metro in the remarks, and for the 1-mile subway checkbox.  This is good, but it’s still a garbage-in-garbage-out situation.  It would pick up 82% of the homes near Vienna/Fairfax Metro and 84% near Pentagon City, which is better than the 26% and 48%  respectively of listings that most agents are picking up. You can give that a try, but there’s a better way—->>>>>

Geographic Search:  This is close to 100% accurate

Geographic search is simple, so I’ll be short about it.  You draw a circle a mile in radius on a map around a metro stop and look at all the houses within that circle.  Then you can see every home that you can truly walk to a metro stop from.  One difference in this type of search is that you see only the houses for that particular metro.

And Geographic Search will save you money.  People pay a premium to live near a Metro.  The people who are looking for houses near a metro are only seeing 50-75% of them, depending on how they search.  The houses that are not listed as being near a metro will get less traffic, and therefore sell for less.  Look at poorly listed houses (this is also true about houses with no photos and houses without schools listed…geographic searches are great for school districts) because you can buy them for less.

So below are geographic searches for each metro stop.  All of these properties are within a mile of the given Metro.  Some properties are on more than one list because they are walking distance to more than one metro.

December 29, 2010 Update:  The links below will expire after some time.  I updated them today so they should work for the next several months.  If you see that they expire I’d appreciate you dropping me a line at jeff@ourfairfax.com so I can keep this tool fresh for everyone to use.  Feel free to use this with whatever agent you are working with, but if you need an agent to show you the properties and help you buy one give me a call (571-482-7817) or email (jeff@ourfairfax.com)

Orange Line:

Rosslyn Metro
Court House Metro
Clarendon Metro
Virginia Square–GMU Metro
Ballston–MU Metro
East Falls Church Metro
West Falls Church–VT/UVA Metro
Dunn Loring–Merrifield Metro
Vienna/Fairfax–GMU Metro

Blue and Yellow Lines

Rosslyn Metro
Arlington Cemetary Metro
Pentagon Metro
Pentagon City Metro
Crystal City Metro
National Airport Metro
Braddock Road Metro
King Street Metro
Van Dorn Street Metro
Franconia–Springfield Metro
Eisenhower Avenue Metro
Huntington Metro

Very Good Interactive Metro Map

Also, check out my similar post on the new Sliver Line Metro, opening in 2014 (and Phase 2 in 2018).

Please report typos, or if any of the above links are incorrect and I’ll fix them.  If you are reading this on a site other than OurFairfax, then the site you are reading is stealing content.

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Written by Jeff Royce, an Associate Broker with Frankly Real Estate, Inc. in Fairfax, VA,  703-585-5663.  He can be found on Twitter and .

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  • Cara

    Sweet! So, are these constantly updating links, such that they return current results?

    Can I ask the favor for 1.5 and 2 mile radii searches as well? Long walks are built in exercise, and may not sustain your property value, but would be a good option for some (i.e. me) as a trade-off in price versus convenience.

  • Jeff Royce

    Cara…these links should be constantly updating…let me know if you see any of them not working.

    I’m not going to set up searches for 1.5 miles and 2 miles for everything, but if you let me know which stations you are interested in following, I’ll set them up for those.

  • Cara

    Franconia-Springfield is where I’m looking

    The VRE stations in Burke are also a back-up option for us, but I’m not seriously considering them yet.


  • Jeff Royce

    I’m going to get a post out by next week that has all the Geographic searches for the VRE Stations also. Either subscribe to the blog or come back next week to see those.

  • CJ

    Thanks for doing all the virtual leg work (I was trying to look along Orange Line). A HUGE time saver.

  • Jonathan

    I must say it’s nice to see intelligent realtors using technology to help people. I’ve had this idea for a couple years now and I’m pretty disapointed that you can’t search on trulia or any of the other real estate engines for a house x distance from a metro or your work or whatever. It can’t be that hard to calculate and I have to believe it’s a common desire.

  • Sue


    I have received two offers, one in Reston, VA and one in DC. I want to buy a house in such a location that going to DC or working in Reston in future will not be a problem. What’s the best place for me to look for houses? It is critical that I don’t spend more than an hour (pref.45 mins) on my commute.

    Any help is appreciated.

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  • linda

    this is really smart site. It will definitely save my time in searching house close to metro. I just hope it also includes MD and DC.

    Thanks a lot.

  • J

    Thanks Jeff, This is amazing.

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