Moving from NYC to MD with 3 year old, want to be near family in Chevy Chase. Advice? (Silver Spring: real estate, apartment)
Washington, DC suburbs in MarylandCalvert County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County
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Moving from NYC to MD with 3 year old, want to be near family in Chevy Chase. Advice?
Hello -- I've been reading this forum for a while, and would appreciate any advice you all can give me. Thanks for reading.
My husband and I and our three year old are moving to the MD DC suburbs from NYC, sometime by June. I have been trying to do my online research, but before I go down to meet with a real estate agent, I was hoping to get your opinions on potential neighborhoods.
Timeline: We have an apartment in NYC to sell, so we are not in a huge giant rush. We are willing to rent (a house) before we buy (a house). We would like, however, to rent in the neighborhood in which we'd like to eventually buy, if that's possible. We'd like to be moved down to our rental or purchase by June, which may mean that I have to start my job and commute from NYC while staying in a temp spot. We'll cope.
Budget: We are looking to spend no more than $825,000 on a home. We need at least three bedrooms, and I would love 2.5 baths, if we can get it. We are open to all kinds of styles, but we want a house, not townhomes and/or condos. $825,000 is our absolute maximum -- we are so much more comfortable if we are closer to $700,000 - 750,000.
Metro: I will be working in DC, at 15th and I. It looks like the McPherson (blue/orange) stop is right by my office, but it's a stone's throw from Metro Center or Farrugut North (red line), as well. My husband is not certain if he will be working from home or in an office, so I don't have his potential commuting information, yet.
General feeling of the Dream Neighborhood: We currently live on the upper west side of Manhattan, and if we were going to move to a suburb of NYC, we'd move to Hastings on Hudson, if that gives any context. We'd like a neighborhood with a real sense of community. We are looking to meet people and make life long friends in our chosen new home, and that's the most important quality we would like to find. The other thing that's of primary importance is the schools, although it seems like we might be relatively fine if we stay in Montgomery County.
Proximity to family: My husband's sister (with whom we are close) and her children live in Chevy Chase, Section 3. (Although I may have that confused -- it could be Section 5). I think we may be priced out of that community, but when we visit them, we are always struck by how lovely and welcoming the neighbors and families are. Everyone seems to have young kids, and the kids all seem to play and get along. We want to be within driving distance of them, if not closer. It doesn't have to be on top of them, but I don't want to live in Virginia.
What we've considered: (1) From what I've read, Bethesda sounds like a good choice. It's near my sister in law, but it's not on top of her, and it sounds like it could be affordable. The kids would end up in the same high school, which would be awesome. But, I am having trouble figuring out what neighborhoods in Bethesda are good ones. (2) Silver Spring seems like it can have a sense of community, and Woodside Park seems like a lovely community. But that is far from family. (3) Takoma Park seems funky and fun, but it's farther than I'd hoped, and I hear mixed things about the schools. (4) Kensington: Seems to have newer, not as charming, but perfectly lovely homes. Not as close to family, but still driveable. No metro that I've found, which is a real problem. But affordable, with decent schools.
Can anyone help me narrow neighborhood choices? I would appreciate anything you might have to offer. Please let me know if you need any other information; after reading here, I tried to be as specific and tangible as possible.
Bethesda is a nice area to live with everything you'd want with the exception of the expensive housing. But with your budget, you might be able to find a good house around here.
However Chevy Chase is quite a bit more expensive (near to a $1mill avg) and less close to metro. I would suggest looking around the East Bethesda neighborhood and around where Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school is.
Another thing to consider is that Bethesda Chevy Chase High School serves parts of South Kensington and a tiny bit of Silver Spring. There are two other high schools serving Bethesda -- Walt Whitman (often considered "the best" at least in terms of highest test scores) and Walter Johnson (North Bethesda). I've heard it said that Whitman is less diverse than BCC. My guess is that BCC area would be most similar to the Upper West Side. In general the schools in Bethesda are all very good, and I think there are some homes in the 700-800 price range that could work for you. Good luck.
I went to BCC but know a handful of people from WW. From what I know from those people, WW is actualy less diverse culturally and economically than BCC but in terms of culture there are enough people from all cultures that your kids won't feel out of place.
If you do find an area around BCC you won't be too far from Chevy Chase. However, Pearl st and East-West hwy are quite congested during rush hr.
I wouldn't give up on Chevy Chase. I think you could find something. It will probably need some work or be small, or both. I would just find a realtor and tell them what you are interested in, they can help you look for neighborhoods and rentals. I would say that most areas of Town of Kensington are as close to the metro as most areas of Bethesda and Chevy Chase. It also depends on what you mean by close. Driving, walking, bus service.
Thanks for the replies, everyone. This has been helpful.
I have spoken with a broker, and we are scheduled to start looking in two weeks. I told them what I outlined in my email, and I haven't heard any laughing from them yet, so we'll see how it goes in person.
I didn't realize that Bethesda might be the same distance from the metro as Kensington might be. That's particularly good information to know.
It's also good to hear about the different schools and how far out the districts go. Interesting.
I'm going to concentrate on Maryland for a good long while, but everything I'm seeing is also pointing me to look at Arlington. I've never ever considered living in Virginia (and I realize that is for another forum), but it seems to have the price range and community feel that we want, EXCEPT it doesn't have proximity to family. And now I'm confused.
Yes, seeing a realtor (I assume that's what you mean) is a good step. See more than one if the first one isn't showing you what you want (be careful about signing an exclusive agreement). Note that Silver Spring is not an incorporated town, but a large,unincorporated area of Montgomery County. What is called "downtown Silver Spring" is south of the Beltway. I lived there for a while, in a small townhouse (there were some lovely homes nearby and just across the DC border). I later lived, with my wife, in a large single family dwelling a few miles north, in the Arden Hills area (but still Silver Spring). Not a long drive from CC but it sounds like it'd be too far from you if even Woodland Park is too far. I quite liked Garrett Park-- some lovely historic homes and a historic RR station-- but it sounds like you want to be quite close to, if not right in, Chevy Chase. That would probably also rule out Glen Echo.
Be sure to find in advance where Metro stations are, and if you see an add or MLS saying "close to Metro" or "walking distance to Metro" clarify if it means a Metro rail staion or a bus stop. We have friends in Bethesda and they would be a long, long walk from any Metro rail station.
My favorite listing, which I saw many years ago, had the line "Walking distance from the Beltway."
Don't know if you've considered DC itself. My daughter lives in a rowhouse in Glover Park and it is a great family-oriented, though urban, neighborhood. I love the vibe. Just north of Georgetown (walking distance). Great elementary schools, but not so good high schools, as I understand. Easy walk to Wisconsin Ave. and all the shops and restaurants. It's a short, easy drive to CC. Many young professional families and lots of kids. West of there, along the river, is another great neighborhood called Palisades, though I don't know if it's out of your price range. I'd consider those two before dealing with Arlington.
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