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Old 01-18-2011, 10:22 PM
3 posts, read 9,258 times
Reputation: 10


Due to the terrible economy in Detroit I am moving to Maryland shortly. I am 19 with retail and food service experience, planning on attending college this fall semester. When I move I am looking to move to an area that has easy access to both Baltimore and DC (no more then an hours drive to either) and is a city. Doesn't need to be filled with skyscrapers but I would prefer not to live in the country. Does any one have any recommendations of cities that would fill these requirements and also make for a good place to find a job? All input would be lovely.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:25 AM
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 10,729,908 times
Reputation: 3092
Baltimore and DC are the cities ... most everything else is suburbs.

Frederick MD is the only place that fits your description. It's an hour's drive to Baltimore and DC but that is only when there is no traffic. There is bad rush hour traffic to/from DC and less so to/from Baltimore, so unless you had the salary to substantiate it, I wouldn't count on working in either city.

Frederick is a very nice small city and there is plenty of retail and food service there. Don't know if the jobs are plentiful though.

Whether or not you'll be able to afford it is another story. You're going to find that anywhere within an hour of Baltimore and DC is a lot more expensive than Detroit.

Frederick's cost of living has gone up in the last decade due to its becoming a suburb for DC. Hagerstown, 20 miles west, is still cheap.
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:53 AM
54 posts, read 144,815 times
Reputation: 17
Columbia isn't really a city, but a "big" suburban town and there would be A LOT of employment opportunity for someone with your experience.
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:10 AM
Location: Cumberland
4,560 posts, read 7,621,816 times
Reputation: 2770
Living in the DC/Baltimore metro area in a decent area on a retail or food service salary will be very tough unless you have others to split rent with. Frederick and Annapolis are an options if you want a small city, but you may be priced out of there. Hagerstown is cheaper, and only about 70 miles from DC and Baltimore, but with traffic, the commute would be two hours during rush hour. It has a more country feel than places closer in the metro area.

You may have to settle for a suburb, like Columbia and find roommates to make it work.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:29 AM
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,474 posts, read 13,410,318 times
Reputation: 6404
I have advice:

1. Find a job BEFORE you relocate so that you can find an apartment. I got a couple of people in the same situation last year (out of state, no financial support) but I don't rent to people without documented income. If you can't find a job and you're desperate to move, find a room-mate. I actually don't understand why you are moving. You're 19 and I'm sure it's just as easy to go to school in Michigan...
If you're moving to MD for a retail/server job and you want to live in the City...there are many students already here competing for the same jobs and there is apparently an influx of transplants in your situation looking for the same jobs. Finding a server or retail position that pays enough to cover living expenses is going to be DIFFICULT.

2. "Planning" to go to school is also not helpful. Maryland is an education-oriented state and you will be quickly swept to the bottom of the barrel without a degree. Apply for and get into a university BEFORE you get here. Remember, you'll probably have to pay higher tuition until you establish residency. Debts are not ideal, but if you have no job and no prospects (as it seems to me from the post) and your parents are not going to support you, then get into a university. Then apply for financial aid, at least you will have a little money to help with living expenses until you find a decent job. If you don't have friends or relatives here, you'll need Money, because I personally do not rent to people without jobs, income or financially-stable cosigners and I doubt you'll find anyone who does. If you have significant savings, then that's another story.

3. Live someplace where you can walk or bike to work- Unless your parents are planning to support you and provide you with a car*. I found that several of the young transplants I interviewed not only had no job or prospects, , but their parents were unwilling/unable to cosign or provide financial support. I'd never seen that before in the 7 years I've been renting units...but I digress. Car insurance and vehicles in Maryland are Expensive. Living in Baltimore (our major city) can be dangerous for vehicles since in nice areas, car-breakins and petty theft are givens. But you can get an inexpensive used bike in the City, and there are bike lanes and lots of other bikers.

So, I think unless you have lots of money, renting in Baltimore or Washington DC are the best ideas:
1. No Need for a Car - A lot of people in Baltimore/DC who live in walkable areas or bike use the Zip Car rentals when they need a car. DC has better public transportation. Both cities have excellent universities and big student populations. I can recommend neighborhoods in NorthWest Washington DC and neighborhoods in Central and South Baltimore.

2. Stimulating Environment - Especially in Baltimore, there seem to be more car-breakins but I guess crime can be stimulating. If you live in any city, do not stop and talk to strangers on the street. Keep walking unless you know them. Ensure that the place where you live has adequate door and window locks and interior and exterior lighting. If not, buy these items yourself to avoid being a victim of crime. Other stimulating things are the variety of young and old people of various backgrounds, the variety of restaurants, the availability of art (bands, visual art, fairs and festivals etc), a variety of people for dating/romance etc.

As far as your student loans, I would try to stop using the loans after one year. Student loan debts add up QUICKLY. If you can find a job or internship after a year, work to pay for school and/or go part-time. Unless you study a lucrative field, you'll be better off not having 30-100 thousand of loans to repay after graduation. You may have to eat ramen and live with 5 roommates for a couple of years, but that's common. As an alternative, if you're handy, you can also try a professional/trade school. Plumbers, electricians etc in Maryland make a lot of money, and if you start your own business after some years, you can have flexible hours and probably pay for a college degree yourself if you still want one later in life.
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:56 AM
3 posts, read 9,258 times
Reputation: 10
Michigan has nothing for me and is no place that I want to stay. Reason why I'm moving. I also don't plan on living on my own but with roommates in a cheap place I can find. I am going to attend community college for a year before (hopefully) transferring somewhere. I also will have some form of financial support from my parents. Not entirely, but enough of a support that I will afford a place.

Thank you for the input all.
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:37 PM
Location: Columbia, MD
111 posts, read 76,679 times
Reputation: 64
There is no place in MD that is less than an hour from both DC and Baltimore. It can easily take over an hour to get from Gaithersburg or Rockville to DC with traffic. Those towns are both close to DC and over an hour from Baltimore each (assuming you're not driving 90 mph+ on I95). Rent in most places in the DC/Baltimore area is expensive (most are around $1,000 or more for one bedroom). If you want less, you can likely find it but you'll have to go the craigslist route and run the risk of dealing with crazy roomates and/or shady slumlords.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:39 PM
2 posts, read 2,779 times
Reputation: 10
Fact: Laurel, MD is about 21 miles from Baltimore, and about a 30 minute drive via I-95. It is also about 22 miles from DC, and about a 40 minute drive via I-295. It's also rather inexpensive, compared to the other prices in the DC Metro Area. But there's f*** all to do there. They have a little mall, and movie theater, plenty of chain restaurants, but that's about it.
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:35 AM
Location: Warner Robins, GA
905 posts, read 2,216,570 times
Reputation: 424
My personal experience is that MD is a bad place for young people trying to "make it"... I grew up here and moved out on my own when I was 18... I was fortunate to have a solid job as a software developer for a defense contractor but even so, you can only make so much money at 18-21...

I constantly felt like the high taxes and extreme cost of living were holding me back... Even after a few significant raises I was still struggling to get by... I was living with roommates and attending community college full-time at this time...

I ended up moving to Jacksonville, FL after getting a really good job offer at 21... The cost of living was so low there that I was able to live a good middle class life at a very young age... Moving to a place with a lower cost of living could really work to your benefit... MD is definitely not that place... I knew 3 people that shared a 3 BR townhouse in Jacksonville and they all worked at Panera bread and live a modest but very nice life... It cost them roughly $300 each... My 2 br 2 ba apartment in Jacksonville was $800/month, the same size apartment I have now in MD is $1400/month...

I ended up moving back to MD after receiving another good job offer... I am now 23 and I have nearly doubled my salary since I initially left MD and still feel the same way about this place... MD is for rich people and is really not the place for people trying to make it... It is my honest opinon that this place will inhibit you from reaching your goals... There are plenty of cities all over the US that have culture, good schools and are much more affordable... I suggest posting in a bunch of other forums on this site to get a better idea of what may be the best fit for you...

Best of luck to you
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