Need a place to raise a family in Maryland (Baltimore: real estate, apartment)
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Hi there! I'm a PT from "the armpit of the universe." My husband was laid off 7 months ago and hasn't been able to find work here, which has been a blessing in disguise since he gets to stay home with our 9-month-old daughter. The honeymoon, however, is almost over. My husband needs work, and my daughter needs to grow up in a nice area. We were thinking of moving to Maryland and trying to live close to the DC area, hoping he'd be able to find work (he's got a JD).
Of primary importance is good schools and low crime. I'm hoping to find a place where the people are nice. I'd like someplace that offers diversity, arts, and opportunity, that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to live there. I don't mind living in a more country setting (prefer the quiet and the privacy), but I also don't want to have to drive more than 30 minutes to work. I've been doing some research and Ellicott City seems nice, but I'd really like an insider's opinion.
Please, please, please help me out, even if it's just to tell me where to avoid. I'm really frightened by the idea of pulling up stakes and moving away from my friends and family, but I just feel like I've got to take a chance or my family and I will be stuck in this dismal place forever. Thank you in advance, I really appreciate any help you can give me!
EC is closer to Baltimore than to DC, the commute would be much more than 1/2 hour. You might want to try Rockville or Bethesda. Your price range is essential because being close to DC with good schools doesn't come cheap (cheap and expensive are subject). You might want to try Odenton.
The problem with getting close to DC is the traffic. If you submit to the fact that you will spend a while in the car it opens your options up to other areas in which you can look for good housing, schools and children friendly neighborhood. We're actually leaving an area called Mount Airy (also spelled Mt. Airy) which is loaded with schools and kids. The cost of housing is pretty high in many areas in the DC metro area these days so expect to pay a pretty penny for whatever you get but there are deals to be had. As SmokeyLisa says you get what you pay for and the luxury of the good neighborhoods and good schools often translate into home values shooting through the roof. In our neighborhood we have homes from the mid 500s up to the model that's close to 750k available. It sounds like a lot coming from another state but you soon realize the high costs are the norm in most "good areas". Good luck in your search.
fjennell, where would you suggest I look? Right now PA's got no work, at least not for someone with a law degree. I thought DC would be the smart move for that kind of work. As a PT I can work pretty much anywhere, but we need to end up where he can get a job. He's tried applying out-of-state, but once they here he's not from the area, they lose interest.
Everyone thanks for your help. I would be willing to commute a lttle more to save money and get better schools. I can only depend on my salary for the moment, so >300 for a house just isn't feasible.
I value your opinions, and would like to hear more!!!
Hi knit-pixie. My husband and I relocated to Ellicott City from the NY area almost seven years ago, and my husband also has a JD. Is your husband licensed in Maryland? I ask because jobs for attorneys are pretty slim down here too. Your husband may have better luck finding a job if he waives into DC and takes the Maryland Bar in May (I think the February application is now closed). How many years experience does he have? Right now, most of the open positions are for attorneys with 5+ years experience. I don't want to discourage you, the legal opportunities here are definitely more diverse than those in NY/NJ area, it just depends on what area of law he practices and what salary requirements he has.
Ellicott City (Howard County) is a really nice area to raise a family and the public schools are mostly very good. If you are looking to spend >$300k you will probably be looking at townhouses, which can be very nice, some with small backyards, community playgrounds and a pool. Ellicott City is a good location because it is central to Baltimore, DC, and Annapolis, which are all possible places for employment for your husband. I hope this has helped, let me know if you have any more questions.
Thanks rbaby. To be honest, he'd just be happy with a job right now, even if it wasn't as an attorney, just something to be proud of and make ends meet. We've been kind of sheltered here in NEPA, I never realized how expensive things are everywhere else. Right now we have a house and family, and my salary pays the bills (barely). I'm not sure if moving is the right move, since it seems like if we do we'll only afford an apartment and no family or friends nearby.
*moment of despair*
To be honest with everyone, I'm looking for a fairy-tale place. The kind of place you read about in books or see in 50's TV shows: a place where the people are nice, the kids can play in the streets, and my husband can work 9-5 while I stay at home with the kids until they're old enough to go to school, then go back to work part-time until they marry and move out, and my husband and I sit in rocking chairs on out front porch in our retirement. Does a place like this even exist anymore?
Anyway, that's the dream. The reality is I'll go anywhere where I can make enough for a nice home with safe neighborhoods and good schools. Unfortunately it doesn't sound like that's affordable anywhere, but please keep leaving your suggestions and any encouragements you might have!
Try College Park. I know people will shudder to hear me suggest a city/town in PG county but honestly College park is a nice place and the surrounding areas arent that bad. I lived there for about 5 years and never had any issues. I was recently looking at real estate in the area and saw several nice homes for less than 200k. I saw one I was going to post here but it looks like it may have been sold already.
Overall PG County isnt really that great at all but the College Park/Riverdale Park/Berwyn Heights/Beltsville/University Park/Adelphi area really is not that bad. I was born and raised in PG County and I was robbed once at gunpoint but that was in Capitol Heights which might as well be an entire continent away. I went to Parkdale High School and while PG county schools in general are the worst in the state, I can honestly say that Parkdale was a school where students could achieve if they were so inclined. When your child goes to high school she will probably go to either Parkdale, Roosevelt or High Point and all of these are pretty good schools.
You will be right outside of DC, right outside of Montgomery county, about 15-20 minutes from Howard County, 20-30 minutes from Northern Va and about 25-30 minutes from Baltimore and all of these are great places to job hunt. Keep in mind these times I mentioned are in optimal driving conditions with little to no traffic and rush hour traffic around here can get very bad easily turning a 10-15 minute trip into a 45-60 minute one.
Anyway dont let the horror stories of PG county in general scare you. While parts of PG county should be avoided barring the most pressing of circumstances, its not all bad and certain parts are very nice. Once again the cities/towns you should check out are:
Anything other than this I cant really recommend. Others may have anecdotal evidence for why their part of PG isnt that bad and its certainly true that there are nice pockets in a lot of these places but I would say just dont bother.
Try www.usajobs.gov He can also set up for email alerts on the categories and/or agencies of job postings that he's interested in..
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