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Old 10-18-2011, 07:21 PM
 
Location: NYC
3 posts, read 2,116 times
Reputation: 12
Default NoVa Rental Advice For NYC Transplant

Hi Everyone. My family is looking to re-locate from Manhattan to the DC area in early 2012. We plan to rent for the first year at least (need to make sure new job is stable, etc), then plan to purchase a SFH. We don't know the area well other than what we've read online and would appreciate feedback on areas to search.

Our criteria are: Excellent school district for our daughter, a driving commute of 30 minutes or less (husband works crazy hours and hope this commute is even possible), 2 bedroom for max budget of $3K.

Also, what is the best way to go about renting a place? In Manhattan we use brokers or Craigslist. What are the best sources for rentals in the DC area?

Thanks!
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:17 AM
 
100 posts, read 82,999 times
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need details on where the commute is going to
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 5,265,997 times
Reputation: 3504
Where is his job? What does "crazy hours" mean? (weird hours, late nights, weekends, etc?) Are you looking for a condo/townhome/SFH? Anything you want to be near/types of environments you like? (i.e. are you looking for pseudo urban, suburban, etc?)
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Taxmanistan
4,032 posts, read 3,621,081 times
Reputation: 1939
No brokers here, thank God. I'd suggest CL all the way for rentals.

Hard to suggest locations without knowing where the job is and how you plan to get there (driving/Metrorail/Metrobus). Do you want to rent a house (with lawn-maintenance duties) or an apartment?
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:45 AM
Status: "40cal per mile beats 40MPG" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: You want kimchi with that?
8,479 posts, read 5,758,082 times
Reputation: 2177
define SFH.

When I grew up in NYC, SFH meant a house occupied by one family, with or without common walls. Here a SFH means a "detached house" and an attached house is a "town house"

There are not many 2BR SFHs around here. If you are open to a 2BR TH, your options will be much wider.

For a rental, close to DC, solid school district, 3k rental budget, not needing more than 2BR, and open to THs or even apts, I think North Arlington would be a place to start looking.
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:27 PM
 
Location: NYC
3 posts, read 2,116 times
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Thanks everyone for the feedback thus far. Here are a few more details... my husband's commute will be to the capitol hill area and by crazy hours, I mean 9am - 3am many nights. He wants as short of a commute as possible (either driving or metro - needs to be 30 mins door to door) so that on the days he is able to come home earlier, he can maximize his family time.

We are open to apartments and townhouses. I don't think we're quite ready for a detached house yet. That would be on down the road when we are ready to buy.

North Arlington seems to be a great area based on recommendations and initial research. We definitely prefer an area that is family-friendly. We are currently on the Upper West Side and while I know it will be impossible to find a neighborhood exactly like this in the D.C. area, I would love to find something similar -- family friendly and down to earth (for the most part!) people. While also taking into consideration our other criteria.

Any thoughts on the pentagon/crystal city area? Is it safe (low crime rate) and would it make sense for a young family who is renting for a few years?

Thanks to all!
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 5,265,997 times
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If he's really working that late at night regularly, metro won't be a feasible option. It stops running at midnight during the week (goes until 2 or 3 on Friday/Saturday nights).

Your budget should allow you to live just about anywhere. To get the good schools a shortish commute, N. Arlington is probably your best bet.

Pentagon/Crystal City is great--I lived there my first year out of college and loved being able to walk to everything. I don't know that I'd call it "family friendly" though. There's a tiny library and a little park, but that's about it. It's not the type of place you'd regularly see strollers or tons of kids (except in Pentagon City mall!)
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Taxmanistan
4,032 posts, read 3,621,081 times
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Hey, welcome to DC! My wife and I lived in Manhattan for about a year. Glad to be back, the absence of bialys and lamb gyros notwithstanding. OK, here's my take on your situation:

Option 1: Look for someplace on Capitol Hill. Main advantage: Easy commute. At 3AM, I don't think the Metro even runs. (Could be wrong.) If it does, he will have to wait at least 20 minutes for a train, and there will be all kinds of scumbags loitering about the station. Disadvantage: If you're renting, there really aren't many disadvantages other than high rent. Cap Hill has some crime (I believe mostly late-night car break-ins and the like), but it's gotten so much nicer in the last 10 years. I lived there 10 years ago (6th and E St NE), and even then it was OK. You have to get north of H Street for it to get creepy. (And even there it's gentrifying.) The rowhouses near the Capitol are all full of Hill staffers.

Schools in DC overall are iffy, but they have some convoluted lottery system whereby parents who are annoying enough can get their kids into the better elementary schools, even if they don't live in that zone. Cap Hill probably has a great elementary school, though. Elems are based on the immediate neighborhood, so you don't have to worry about hoodlum larvae until middle school or high school.

Option 2: Rent a house in Arlington, somewhere near a highway into DC.
Driving from N. Arl. at 9AM will suck, unless someone is riding with him, which would allow him to take I-66 (which is HOV during both rush-hour periods). If he can take 66, the entrance is at N. Glebe Road. So the closest option would be Waverly Hills (where we used to live) or Cherrydale.

More likely, he'd be on 395 or 50, both of which would be awful at that hour--but brief. That means Lyon Park (near 395 and 50), Lyon Village (N. Kirkwood to GW Parkway to TR Bridge to Constitution), or Arlington Ridge/Aurora Hills (near 395/Columbia Pike).

We live in N. Arl., but I don't know much about Crystal City. A lot of it is tall office buildings, but there is a quaint neighborhood just west of those, which I think is Pentagon City; it might all be considered Aurora Hills. If you want a vaguely Manhattany experience, this might be a good bet. Pretty quick commute by car or by train, pretty safe, and schools in Arlington are good. (Except that Wakefield HS--which all of S. Arlington is zoned for--has the lowest test scores of the four high schools in Arlington. Make of that what you will. It's debatable. Some will say it's just because a bunch of Central American kids drag the scores down. Others will say that very fact means less attention for the ubernerdery. I don't know what to think. And frankly, I don't care.)

In summary: You really can't go wrong as long as you stay out of Maryland. I love parts of Maryland, but the closest MD communities (e.g., Silver Spring) are still farther from Cap Hill than Arlington and much less safe, and with higher taxes and elementary schools full of 15-year-old juvie criminals.

If I had to choose one for you: Capitol Hill in DC, within half a mile of the Capitol building. You're moving from Manhattan, so you'll appreciate the slightly greater level of street activity there. And I'm guessing your kids are young, so the scary DC high schools won't affect you. And you're renting, so scary DC property taxes won't affect you. And at 3AM, the Male Matrimonial Unit will be grateful he doesn't have to operate a vehicle or wait for a train. Go over there on Saturday and check out Lincoln Park, just east of the Capitol. Lots of moms and doggies. Just what you're looking for.

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 10-19-2011 at 05:24 PM..
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Old 10-19-2011, 07:10 PM
 
1,990 posts, read 2,235,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
If he's really working that late at night regularly, metro won't be a feasible option. It stops running at midnight during the week (goes until 2 or 3 on Friday/Saturday nights).

Your budget should allow you to live just about anywhere. To get the good schools a shortish commute, N. Arlington is probably your best bet.

Pentagon/Crystal City is great--I lived there my first year out of college and loved being able to walk to everything. I don't know that I'd call it "family friendly" though. There's a tiny library and a little park, but that's about it. It's not the type of place you'd regularly see strollers or tons of kids (except in Pentagon City mall!)
Au contraire--you will definitely see them south of 18th St. and west of rte. 1. However if OP doesn't want to rent a detached house, there will be fewer kids nearby, because there are primarily high rises and not many THs north of 18th.

The location is perfect for a capital Hill commute; the major issue for families is that test scores are lower than in N Arl because the schools are more diverse, drawing kids from 22204 and 22206.
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Old 10-19-2011, 07:14 PM
 
Location: NYC
3 posts, read 2,116 times
Reputation: 12
Awesome, this is really helping us narrow down our choices.

@Carlingtonian - thanks for the detailed advice and sense of humor! Perhaps Lincoln Park will become our new Central Park.
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