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Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland Calvert County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:25 PM
5 posts, read 16,448 times
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Hello all,

Ill be relocating to DC metro area for my first job out of school and will be renting rather than owning a home. I know these threads come up a lot but from my searches, I feel most threads involve home ownership which I'm not planning on anytime soon. From a renter's perspective, would my money go farther in MD, NoVA, or DC?

My top prospects right now are Arlington and Silver Spring. I only ask about DC because my friends are pushing for me to rent in Foggy Bottom or Dupont, hence I entertain the idea but am quite sure I won't be able to afford it.

I'll be working at medical center between Howard Univ and Catholic Univ. Commute wise, I guess Silver Spring might be best but I'm trying to get an overall idea of cost of living to see if that might balance it out.

As a renter, my questions are...between MD, VA, and DC:
1) How do taxes compare? Income tax, random misc. taxes?
2) Car insurance? I heard MD's is higher but VA requires a car tax, so what is your opinion of this?
3) Utilities?
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Old 09-25-2010, 09:15 PM
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I've lived in DC and NoVa off and on for many years, and I think getting a good answer to your question will require a more detailed information on your part. For example:

What kind of income do you expect to have (If you're going to be at a relatively low income level, the differences in tax levels between VA, MD, and DC won't be all that significant).

Are you willing to share an apartment or house? If so, that will lower your costs substantially in any of the three areas.

Are you willing to live without a car? It typically costs more to live near metro and in good walking neighborhoods, but eliminating the costs of car payments, insurance, and depreciation will counterbalance that.

Would you feel safe being an "urban pioneer" in a not-entirely gentrified neighborhood? If so, this would open up a lot of interesting choices, but you shouldn't take risks you're not comfortable with.

What kind of social life do you want? If you want to walk to restaurants and clubs, that generally implies higher rents.

Are your friends pushing you toward Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle in your income bracket? If they're making it in those neighborhoods, maybe you can, too. Keep in mind that those are both relatively high-priced neighborhoods and not recommendations you would typically give to someone trying to save money. BTW, between Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle, I would pick Dupont Circle every time, but DC has plenty of great neighborhoods that would cost you less and be just as accessible to your work (maybe more). In Arlington, you might want to look at Ballston and Clarendon, but at the end of the day, I don't think it would cost you less to live there than in DC. Someone else can give you better info about MD than I can.

Good luck!
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Old 09-25-2010, 09:26 PM
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Excellence advice! Thank you!
My income will be between 50-60k. I would be willing share a place, just a matter of finding roommates I'd be comfortable with. I will like to have my car around but figured I will be using the metro mostly due to traffic. And I would like to be within walking distance of restaurants/clubs although it wouldn't really be a priority in my decision since I hope to not go out that often. At the moment, I'm just hoping to work as much as I can while saving as much as I can. I wouldn't mind an up-and coming neighborhood that someone else already pioneered but I'd rather not be the first pioneer. =] Safety would be a priority as I like to take walks outside and go for an occasional run outside.

Thanks again for your advice!
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Old 09-25-2010, 09:45 PM
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50 - 60 K is a good starting salary in the DC area and should be enough to let you live in a nice neighborhood, especially since you're willing to share. Start talking to your friends in DC. Group houses always have openings pop up. Does your employer provide any support for your move? Do they have a bulletin board for roommates? Craigs List can also be a resource for house and apartment shares (but with caveats about moving in with strangers.) If I were you, I'd be looking for a house or apartment share in a DC neighborhood close to metro and in walking distance of shopping. You will have a lot of options, to include Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, Cleveland Park, Woodley Park, Chinatown/Penn Quarter, U Street corridor, parts of Soutwest Waterfront, Capitol Hill, and more. These are all generally accepted as "nice" places, but you're probably more likely to be mugged on U Street or Waterfront than you are in Dupont Circle. You'll need to exercise some common sense concerning security everywhere and know your specific circumstances in your neighborhood. If I lived in one of these neighborhoods, I would skip the car. My second choice would be the Blue and Orange lines in Virginia, especially Ballston, Clarendon, and Courthouse. You could probably live there without a car pretty easily as well as long as you are in walking distance of metro. I like Old Town Alexandria a lot, but it can be a long walk to metro and I don't have the sense that there are as many group houses as there are in Arlington.
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:31 AM
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RamblingMan has listed very good information above. just add one more thing, Joni89, you might want to check RiverPlace at Rosslyn, or River House at Pengaton City. I think you can easily find roommates at those two apartments. Many students or young professionals share houses there. Both places are highly walkable, within walking distance to restaurants, supermarkets, and malls.
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:55 AM
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Awesome! Thank you!
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:45 PM
Location: Metro Washington DC
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Why suggest Orange or Blue lines when he works closer to Green or Red lines?
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:41 AM
Location: among the clustered spires
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Originally Posted by dkf747 View Post
Why suggest Orange or Blue lines when he works closer to Green or Red lines?

OP, if you have friends in Dupont Circle and can tolerate a roommate, that sounds like the "safe" choice.

Are the areas around Howard or Catholic particularly bad? I have heard middling things aboot Brookland and Shaw, certainly not as dangerous as areas east of the river, but not west of the park either.

One area that seems nice on paper (quiet but still Metro-accessible) would be Takoma and Shepherd Park -- when I looked @ spotcrime it seemed that there was plenty in Silver Spring, and plenty in DC south of Missouri, but not as much in the pointy tip of DC.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:55 PM
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If your work is on the Red Line, do yourself a favor and live in DC or MD. I lived in Alexandria and worked in DC in Chinatown/Penn Quarter (on the Red Line). My commute took over an hour each way. Finally I moved to Silver Spring and my commute took me thirty minutes. Trust me, it will make all the difference in the world.

If you can make Dupont Circle work financially, that would be a great choice. Woodley Park is also really nice. Adams Morgan is a fun nightlife spot for young people, but truthfully it can get really crazy and loud at night. I would stay away from the area around Rhode Island Ave. or Catholic U. metro stops completely.

If you can't swing the DC neighborhoods, then I would recommend Silver Spring. Try the downtown area near the metro or the area in Takoma Park (near Washington Adventist). A lot of Takoma Park places aren't advertised online. You need to drive around and look at the "For Rent" signs, but you can get some cheap places and there are a lot of students there.
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:34 PM
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hey theres a nice aparment (possibly) in logan circle for 659 rent and its furnished. check it out at zillow.com, that may be a sweet place for you to live. 1452 Corcoran St NW, Washington, DC 20009 - Zillow

there may be a catch, like its haunted or something. i would call and inquire just in case.
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