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Old 04-20-2010, 04:08 PM
3 posts, read 3,810 times
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My wife and I are from Arizona and I am graduating in one month and received a job that starts at the end of June. We have never been to D.C. and are hoping for some help. We are tight on cash our monthly income is going to be a little more than 3,000 a month. We own a big dog, (70 pounds) and are looking to rent either in Northern VA or Maryland. Where are some places that are affordable. I would like not to commute for more than an hour, we have looked into places in Alexandria and Arlington but we are looking for an urban feel since we have always lived in suburbia our whole lives. Does anyone have any specific condos, apartments or know anyone who is renting out a basement. Thank you for your help.
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:24 PM
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Where will you be working (i.e. Tysons, Downtown DC)?
Georgetown DC is really nice and has that urban/vintage feel. There are lots of basement rentals in that area. But beware, that area is very expensive and you don't get a whole lot of footage for your $.
The Ballston area in VA is also nice - lots of young people live there and the night life is pretty decent, but not super. Ballston should be cheaper than Georgetown. Bethesda is also very nice - has lots of character (old and new buildings) and very safe. Lots of great shopping in the nearby Chevy Chase. But price-wise, Bethesda, MD is about as expensive as Georgetown in my opinion.
Last but not least, I do like the Fairfax/Vienna area. You could rent an apartment there within walking distance to the metro. Pretty good values. Also, there are lots of apartments there that accept large dogs. The area seems pretty safe and much much cheaper than G-town. Hope this helps!
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:52 PM
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I will be working downtown D.C. I will check out the Vienna area. Thanks for the quick reply. We are hoping to get into an urban feel area. Thanks
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:43 PM
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Georgetown is killer expensive. But there is a neighborhood near Georgetown called The Palisades (spelling?). You might find a townhouse in that area for a little less than you would in Georgetown.
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:03 AM
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With a monthly income of $3000, you cannot afford to live anywhere in DC itself. If you are looking for an urban feel, I would suggest South Arlington. It's very close to DC, and more affordable than other close-in communities because it has a somewhat larger concentration of garden apartments (many populated by immigrants) and smaller, older single-family houses. The schools have a mixed reputation, but you don't need to worry about that. It's not as "nice" as Clarendon/Ballston or Old Town Alexandria, but you will get more for your housing dollar.
You can also try the Falls Church section of Fairfax County (not the City of Falls Church, which will be beyond your price range) in communities such as Skyline and Culmore along routes 7 and 50. Again, not "nice," but more "urban" than Vienna and definitely more affordable.
Reston might also be an option, but it's decidedly more suburban, and the commute may be over an hour.
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Old 04-21-2010, 10:49 AM
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I would check out Silver Spring given your budget and urban preference
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Old 04-21-2010, 10:59 AM
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,126 posts, read 67,240,082 times
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Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
Reston might also be an option, but it's decidedly more suburban, and the commute may be over an hour.
Thank you for clarifying "it's decidedly more suburban." I was cringing to think of how many of Loudon County's finest on this forum would start to mislead this poor person into thinking Reston was anything other than generic suburbia. If you're looking for "urban", then Reston---even Reston Town Center---is NOT it, and I'm tiring of people suggesting otherwise and trying to say that the generally higher rent prices in Reston are accounted for by its "walkability" or "urbanity." DC is urban. Arlington is dense inner suburban. Reston is dense outlying suburban.

To the OP: If you strike out affordability-wise in DC proper or Arlington County I'd consider Vienna or Falls Church (the city proper---not the unincorporated part in Fairfax County). Both of these communities have traditional walkable downtown business districts (albeit both are unpleasant due to traffic congestion and surface parking lots everywhere) and are within very close proximity to Metrorail stations (Orange Line).

If you're open for specific apartment communities, then may I suggest The Horizons East & West in Arlington's Cherrydale neighborhood to you? I toured this high-rise and was really impressed. A 1-BR was about $1,325/month, so I'm assuming a 2-BR may have been in the $1,500/month range. The units had hardwood flooring, built-in bookshelves, galley kitchens, and plenty of natural light. One downside was the lack of in-unit washer & dryers, but there was a laundry room. Another downside is that I believe they only accept "small dogs" (not sure what the weight cut-off would be or if they'd be willing to make an exception for you). I was going to move here myself, but they had no availability for 1-BR units when I was looking (bummer!) Cherrydale is a 1-mile or so walk to the Ballston Metrorail station (Orange Line) and is a quiet tree-lined area with an easy "backroads" commute to Tysons Corner or to DC.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:36 AM
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After collecting these suggestions, maybe you and your wife should plan a visit at least a month in advance to arrange living space. Coming from Arizona and moving to DC, I would think your definition of urban might be completely different. Your sense of urban once placed in DC/MD/VA might be overcrowded and you'd be happier in say Reston for example.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:37 AM
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they stated 3000 per month income. 1200 would be 40%. DC prices are more than double Arizona's.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:40 AM
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,563,765 times
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I don't want to be debbie downer, but on a total income of $3000/month, it's going to be difficult to make it close in to the city...That's $36k/year, which actually looks like it qualifies for section 8 (low income) housing in Arlington.

Section 8 Housing : Human Services : Arlington, Virginia

Are you bringing a car? The more "urban" areas often charge for parking on top of rent, because spaces are a premium. I've seen parking spots cost up to $100/month in Arlington. You will also likely pay a pet fee at any corporate managed place (Deposit + $30+/month) Is your wife planning on working once you're here? That could help alleviate the financial strain.

I want to help, but I don't really know what to suggest at that price point I would start checking craigslist. You might get lucky and find a basement rental at a good price--sometimes I see offers of reduced rent in exchange for basic house maintenance (lawn car or babysitting) as well.
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