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Old 10-25-2010, 09:57 PM
5 posts, read 23,600 times
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My wife and I are looking to relocate to the DC metro area, and are thinking that the Alexandra/Arlington area would be the best place for us to look for housing. We're mid/late 20s, no kids yet, and not really into the club/bar scene. We're currently living in Ohio in a historic walkable neighborhood with lots of independent bars/restaurants nearby, and we would like to find something similar out there.

Our budget would be around $2000/month for a rental. The two main things that we'd be looking for are a fenced backyard for our dog, and something close to a metro line to make for an easy commute into DC (walking distance to a metro-line would be optimal, but being on a bus line would work too). We figuring we'll be looking for a 2 or 3 bedroom SFH or townhouse.

We'll likely be taking a trip out there soon to try to tie a place down, but can you guys provide me with any suggestions for what neighborhoods I should be looking in (or avoiding)? From what I've read Old Town Alexandria seems like it might be a good fit, but I'm not sure about finding a place we can afford with a yard.

Also - any suggestion on where to look for rental listings (besides craigslist) - or even a realtor to use?
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:34 AM
1,185 posts, read 2,355,135 times
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The first question people here will ask you..where are you going to work? You mentioned Metro, but where are you ending up? You could have to change line 2 times to get to some places. Commute is everything here. Old town is great. But $2k won't get you much, not a yard that is for sure.

I would recommend Kingstowne area (22315) as one of the places that you "might" find a place that meets your ideals. Close to the metro, plenty of walking trails, some places to eat. Not overly trendy, but I would save that for later after you have been here awhile and can sort out what you want.

I would suggest going to MilitarybyOwner.com - Real Estate near U.S. Military Bases. You don't have to be military to rent from it. Chose the state, then the base (Fort Belvoir or the Pentagon) then narrow down your $ etc. Great way to get an idea of what $2K will get you.
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:12 AM
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 8,780,427 times
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Alexandria & Arlington are both incredibly dog friendly. That said, they are pretty urban areas. A yard, especially a yard big enough for a dog, is a luxury. To compensate for that, the cities have some great alternatives. There are multiple dog parks in each city, dog friendly restaurant patios, dog friendly swimming areas, etc. If you're interested in dog activities like agility, flyball or competitive obedience, there are numerous clubs and training facilities around. Many, many people have dogs in apartments or condos in this area, because of affordability reasons.

If you really want a yard or SFH on $2000, you're probably going to have to step away from the metro. We were looking for the same thing, and ended up in 22151. Nowhere near the metro (well, a 10 minute drive), but we have a 1950's split level with a decent yard for just under $2000. Walking distance to the metro in our price range got us apartments, and we wanted a yard for our doggy
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:51 AM
5 posts, read 23,600 times
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Thanks everyone. The job would be off of Pennsylvania Ave NW near the Navy Memorial/Archives stop. I don't mind a transfer or walking from a further stop, so I think any of the lines going through NoVa would be ok.

Thanks for the pointer to Militarybyowner.com too... I've found what look like some decent properties on Craigslist, but I know from experience that reality can be different once I get out there.

CaliTerp07 - how did you end up finding your place?
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:58 AM
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 8,780,427 times
Reputation: 3624
We placed a "housing wanted" ad on craigslist, detailing what we were looking for and our price range as well as info about ourselves and our dog. (We made sure to note she was trained and offered proof of obedience and a reference from our former landlord that she was good). We got about 7 or 8 responses with housing, and of those 2-3 were viable options in areas we wanted to look. We checked out the first one and it was a done deal!
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:15 PM
5,287 posts, read 5,522,603 times
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Del Ray and Rosemont neighborhoods of Alexandria are going to have more yard than what you'll find in Old Town. Both are near Metrorail, although a lot of Del Ray is a pretty far walk to the Braddock Road station. Del Ray has a main street of shopping and dining, Rosemont does not but it is near Del Ray.

Both places have a mixture of older townhouses and SFH. $2,000/month rent will probably mean a 2 BR, as 3 BR homes are usually $2,400 and above. Lot sizes are typically around a tenth of an acre. Many are fenced. Many, many people have dogs, including larger breeds. Retrievers are popular, and I see some breeds even larger. And this is in homes with relatively small yards. The neighborhoods are very walkable, Old Town is nearby, and there are some dog parks. Alexandria is the most dog-friendly, dog-prevalent place I've ever lived.

Problem is, though, I don't think there are a lot of available homes in these neighborhoods for rent right now.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:39 AM
5 posts, read 23,600 times
Reputation: 11
Do any of you think I might have better success (in our price range) looking in any of the Maryland towns along the red line? Any recommendations there?
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Old 10-27-2010, 03:21 PM
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,705 posts, read 7,959,730 times
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I disagree that $2000 will not get you what you want near the Metro. My wife and I used to live in Cherrydale, an Arlington neighborhood north of the Ballston Metro stop. We temporarily moved away in 2007-2008 and rented out our 2BR/1BA house (with backyard) for $2100/month. OK, so that was 2 years ago--but I don't think prices could have risen that much since then.

I think there are probably similiar deals out there if you look hard enough. Basically any neighborhood in North Arlington (north of Route 50--everything along the Orange Line) is going to be pretty nice.

Living in Virginia vs. Maryland will mean a shorter commute to the downtown part of DC (where you work and where most of the jobs are), and there's also less crime in VA. (And better schools, but from what you've said, that's well in the future for you guys.)

But since you asked, Bethesa is very nice. Rockville is more industrial with more modest homes (lots of '50s clapboard houses with chain link fences)--and it's a long ride to get up there.

Your posting says you're not into clubs and bars, but yet you want to be close to independent bars and restaurants--so I'm not sure what that means. If you want bars, Clarendon/Courthouse is for you, but both are pricey and loud. You might try looking in the Westover area of Arlington.

Good luck!
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Old 10-27-2010, 03:22 PM
52 posts, read 158,458 times
Reputation: 63
Originally Posted by lilybugkd View Post
Do any of you think I might have better success (in our price range) looking in any of the Maryland towns along the red line? Any recommendations there?
I'm new to the area myself, so I can't answer the question. But you should post it here in the forum for the MD suburbs of DC -- http://www.city-data.com/forum/washi...urbs-maryland/
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Old 10-31-2010, 06:36 PM
2,530 posts, read 4,022,269 times
Reputation: 1918
The Aurora Highlands (Arlington) area might be good for you--yellow line - metro stops are nearby, and the yellow line is very convenient to your job. However, most of the apartments in the area are high rises; there aren't many townhouses; the homes for rent with yards may be more than $2000, though you may find a private owner who is flexible.
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