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Old 12-17-2012, 11:04 AM
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,651 posts, read 33,462,505 times
Reputation: 32369


Originally Posted by AHomeSeller View Post
After the house sells we are going to rent for awhile in Northern VA. Both my wife and I are childless and work near Metro Center in Down Town DC We have two choices for a rental, which would YOU choose if you had a job in DC?

OPTION 1: A 2000 square foot rental single family home with a lawn and trees in a pretty pleasant 1980s era neighborhood in Fairfax, ten minutes drive to the Vienna Metro. We would drive to the Metro, park and then take the Orange Line all the way to Metro Center and then walk the two-three blocks to our jobs. (We work 100 yards away from each other but get out at the same Metro Station.) Rent $2500 a month plus the costs of yard care, trash, utilities, etc. Total time to work about one hour)

OPTION 2: An apartment walking distance to one of the Metro Stations (Most likely Virginia Square) that costs about $2900 a month but is smaller (1200 square feet but fancy inside with lots of extras like party room, swimming pool, exercise facility, etc) While the rent is $400 more we can save lots of money on things like METRO, parking at METRO, gasoline, yard care, garbage, some utilities, etc) Total time to work about 20 minutes.

We have been looking and discussing it for weeks and those are our final two options. Your thoughts?
Option 2 in a heartbeat. I think there is a premium that I am willing to pay to have a shorter commute time. I can personally vouch for the VA Square metro area since I work in the area. VA Square would probably not have the noise concerns that you would have with a Ballston or Clarendon since it does not have much in the way of bars or restaurants.
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Old 12-17-2012, 12:09 PM
110 posts, read 233,729 times
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Originally Posted by AHomeSeller View Post
Our main concern about apartment living is noise. We have lived in a super quiet location for so long without even any dogs barking. I have become a light sleeper. But of course with the easier commute I will have less stress and can sleep longer in the morning if the neighbors have not woke me up! The noise of apartment living, that is the wild card!
If your main concern about apartment living is noise, I would think very carefully about renting at one of the apartments near VA Square Metro. Dissenter is right that there is likely less of an issue near VA Square than Ballston or Clarendon, but there are still a lot of group townhouses and condos/apartments near VA Square Metro, with a lot of just out of college folks living there (it is not that far from Ballston or Clarendon). I'm not saying noise will be an issue in all apartments, but I would consider that carefully if it's a major concern to you and do your homework. We had issues both with adjoining neighbor walls (one neighbor's apartment was clearly the pre going out to bars party place on the weekends), and with group parties outside lasting til the weee hours of the morning (not so much of an issue in the winter). And, yes, it's a wildcard as far as hearing footsteps from above, dogs barking, etc. It really just depends on your neighbors, and that's hard to know before moving in (and no guarantee they won't change).
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Old 12-17-2012, 01:20 PM
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I'd opt for the apartment. I'm a big fan of spending as little time as possible commuting. Without kids or even pets, why bother with having to do lawn maintenance, clean/maintain 2000 square feet, etc.? No kids, no pets, little to no socializing/entertaining...what would you need so much space for? And at the cost of an additional nearly 7 hours of commuting time per week? Wouldn't be worth it to me.
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:47 PM
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It can be hard to trade the space and privacy of a SFH for more cramped and possibly noisier quarters in an apartment. But the only way to know for sure is to try it. You can always opt out of apartment living after your experimental year, maybe renting a townhouse as a less noisy and more spacious compromise.
Keep in mind that your potential savings with the apartment may vanish if you end up spending more time and money at the restaurants, shops, and other entertainment destinations that are suddenly easier to get to....
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:30 PM
223 posts, read 430,997 times
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Originally Posted by FC Merrifield View Post
This would be a no-brainer for me: option 2. Not only do you have to pay for parking with option 1, you have to worry about getting there early enough to find parking or paying extra for reserved parking (which is what I do). Without kids, I wouldn't miss the extra space at all. Plus, you'll be within walking distance to more restaurants, stores, etc. BTW, for $3,000 a month, you can rent an apartment near metro center and walk to work. If you're only going to be in the area for a year, it might be nice to use that time living in the city.
exactly......option #2, but why take Metro at all, if you can just walk or bike to work? 1200 sf is a lot of space for two working adults. I just sold my house that I have been in for two years, without a car. I walk to the Light Rail, and pay a guy 20 to do a Home Depot run. Rehabbed the whole house, by myself. The biggest reason not to live in DC is DCPS......but that wouldn't seem to affect you. There are certain parts of DC, that I would rather go to, than any part of FFX or Arlington, and I won't even mention PWC in the same breadth.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:18 AM
46 posts, read 121,320 times
Reputation: 16
Well. I like to choose the apartment. It has lots of convenience when it comes to accessibility and your daily life may it be a student or a working one it always an advantage when you are near the place. However a home is best it will be the place may be it is enough to go home once or twice a week.
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:54 AM
Location: NoVa
18,433 posts, read 29,510,999 times
Reputation: 19626
I used to live in an apartment and the noise from upstairs was just awful. I know all tenants couldn't have stomped around like elephants as they did but.....

I am in a SFH now and the outside noise is worse that the outside noise at the apartment. I am able to sleep at night, however.

The apartment sounds the best but I would try and get something on the top floor if you could.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:24 PM
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option 2
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:50 PM
Location: Fairfax County
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Option 2. Absolutely no question.
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:43 PM
2,675 posts, read 4,539,555 times
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I know you've tried to narrow this down to 2 options, but given the concerns you have about noise, I'm not sure you will be happy in an apartment. What about a third option - rent a small house with a small yard in Addison Heights or somewhere else close to a metro? My guess is that you could probably find something for the same price as your deluxe condo (without the extras like the gym, and maybe not as many updates, of course) that would give you the same short commute time.
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