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Old 12-17-2012, 06:46 AM
 
132 posts, read 252,710 times
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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?
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Well I'd probably rather live in DC and have a much shorter commute but out of your two options i'd definitely take number 2. You've likely already had the house in the burbs experience so it would probably be an interesting change to live a little more urban.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:00 AM
 
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For me personally it would depend. You said you were going to rent for a while but how long do you think? If I was doing a year or less then the apartment makes more sense. However, I wouldn't be happy in an apartment longer than that and would prefer the SFH but I'm sure lots of people would like it the other way around too. Lots of perspectives on this. (I'm the kind of guy who, if it was possible, would live "out in the middle of nowhere" but I have to work and provide for a family so that's never gonna happen.)

BTW - is it going to be a problem to have less space? For example, would you have to place some of your stuff in storage, thus incurring more cost? Or, do you have a lot of guests visiting frequently? Apartment could get old fast if so. Also does the apt have parking included? I often avoid visiting my friends who live in such places because I can never find a place to park.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:08 AM
 
132 posts, read 252,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottfs View Post
For me personally it would depend. You said you were going to rent for a while but how long do you think? If I was doing a year or less then the apartment makes more sense. However, I wouldn't be happy in an apartment longer than that and would prefer the SFH but I'm sure lots of people would like it the other way around too. Lots of perspectives on this. (I'm the kind of guy who, if it was possible, would live "out in the middle of nowhere" but I have to work and provide for a family so that's never gonna happen.)

BTW - is it going to be a problem to have less space? For example, would you have to place some of your stuff in storage, thus incurring more cost? Or, do you have a lot of guests visiting frequently? Apartment could get old fast if so. Also does the apt have parking included? I often avoid visiting my friends who live in such places because I can never find a place to park.
Answers to your questions: We don't socialize much in our home or have over night visitors. No kids either. We would expect to rent for a year, then maybe buy again but hopefully outside of the DC area. We have a 5 by 10 storage unit for $95 we would continue to use while we rent and eventually get rid of the stuff. Yes, the places we looked at have parking for two cars, but we only have one car.

Last edited by AHomeSeller; 12-17-2012 at 07:26 AM..
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:20 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,860,633 times
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You'd probably want to rent closer to your work and presumably some of the stuff you want to do in the evenings.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:27 AM
 
564 posts, read 1,274,125 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHomeSeller View Post
Answers to your questions: We don't socialize much in our home or have over night visitors. No kids either. We would expect to rent for a year, then maybe buy again but hopefully outside of the DC area. We have a 5 by 10 storage unit for $95 we would continue to use while we rent and eventually get rid of the stuff. Yes, the places we looked at have parking for two cars, but we only have one car.
Hmm, sounds like a pretty strong case for the Apartment then. Even I'd probably do the apartment in that scenario.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:31 AM
 
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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.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:50 AM
 
132 posts, read 252,710 times
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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!
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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Not sure where the apartment is exactly or what the neighborhood is like, but I would almost always prefer a place that has some walkability. My husband and I lived in Old Town before we had kids and we really loved being able to walk to everything, including metro. It just simplifies life so much. We moved into that apartment from a large townhome in the suburbs, and out of it for a large SFH in the suburbs, and we still agree that the little apartment in town was the best place we ever lived.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,555 posts, read 12,619,006 times
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I'd do option 2 for a change and for the shorter commute. You might love it or might hate it, but you will have a short commute for a year and experience a different type of living. I don't find apartments to be that noisy once I'm inside - especially the older ones. You can always work around it if you find out it is too loud.
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