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Old 02-13-2016, 07:52 AM
 
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We are currently in Los Angeles and looking to relocate. I may have a job opportunity in Silver Spring. I lived in worked in Northern Va./DC area a few years ago but not as familiar with the MD side.

1. Housing. It looks like there are single family homes available in $350k range on Zillow etc. Is that realistic? Where I am now a starter 2 bed house is around $600-700k. And if I want to commute about 90 minutes each way I could get a 3 bedroom in the $400k range. Job would be downtown Silver Spring. Are there realistically decent 3 bed houses under $400k around Silver Spring or within reasonable commute (preferably by train)

2. Allergies. My wife has debilitating allergies so this is a concern with anywhere we decide to move. In L.A. her allergies are bad and this isn't even a really bad area for allergy sufferers. Research says DC/Baltimore are slightly better than L.A. for allergy sufferers but if anyone has personal experience I'd love to hear it.

3. Cycling/hiking etc. These are our main recreation. Is there access to decent hiking trails in the area for day hikes? Where is the closest true wilderness areas for more serious backpacking/camping? Is there active road cyclist communities around that area. Is it safe to ride, are there group rides etc?
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Old 02-13-2016, 05:54 PM
 
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None of these things will be a problem.

90 minutes is a long commute. You can get to Baltimore in 45 minutes. So if you're willing to drive 90 minutes twice a day for work, then your housing options are unlimited.
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanms3030 View Post
We are currently in Los Angeles and looking to relocate. I may have a job opportunity in Silver Spring. I lived in worked in Northern Va./DC area a few years ago but not as familiar with the MD side.

1. Housing. It looks like there are single family homes available in $350k range on Zillow etc. Is that realistic? Where I am now a starter 2 bed house is around $600-700k. And if I want to commute about 90 minutes each way I could get a 3 bedroom in the $400k range. Job would be downtown Silver Spring. Are there realistically decent 3 bed houses under $400k around Silver Spring or within reasonable commute (preferably by train)

2. Allergies. My wife has debilitating allergies so this is a concern with anywhere we decide to move. In L.A. her allergies are bad and this isn't even a really bad area for allergy sufferers. Research says DC/Baltimore are slightly better than L.A. for allergy sufferers but if anyone has personal experience I'd love to hear it.

3. Cycling/hiking etc. These are our main recreation. Is there access to decent hiking trails in the area for day hikes? Where is the closest true wilderness areas for more serious backpacking/camping? Is there active road cyclist communities around that area. Is it safe to ride, are there group rides etc?
"Silver Spring" is a vast postal address that covers over 250K people - there's no doubt you could find a SFH for $350K if that's what you're defining as "Silver Spring," as those 250K people include neighborhoods that range from quite wealthy to relatively low-income.

What most people refer to as Silver Spring is actually just the downtown area where you job is - roughly zip code 20910. You won't find a SFH for under $400K in that zip, unfortunately. There are other adjacent neighborhoods were $400K is likely enough for a solid home. I'd recommend Forrest Glen, Four Corners, and Kemp Mill as places to start looking.

There are tons of nice hiking/cycling options in the DMV region. Close to downtown Silver Spring you have Rock Creek Park, Sligo Creek, Northwest Branch Trail. The sky's the limit if you're willing to travel 45min-2 hours w/dozens of hiking and camping options - Shenandoah being the obvious crown jewel.

Can't speak to allergies - sorry.
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:25 PM
 
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Awesome. Thanks for the info.
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
10,786 posts, read 15,647,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanms3030 View Post
2. Allergies. My wife has debilitating allergies so this is a concern with anywhere we decide to move. In L.A. her allergies are bad and this isn't even a really bad area for allergy sufferers. Research says DC/Baltimore are slightly better than L.A. for allergy sufferers but if anyone has personal experience I'd love to hear it.
The DC area has lots of pollen from grass and trees. I'd recommend that your wife get treatment for what she will be allergic to there.

I have been in LA when the air is brown, so I understand that anywhere else probably has better air quality.
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:48 PM
 
Location: DC
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The DC area is bad for allergies in the spring, but that's it. It also depends on what your wife is allergic too.

You will likely be able to find something in your budget in PG county nearby, or eastern montgomery county. You are completely priced out of downtown silver spring, as houses there go for over $500k. But you will likely be able to find something in wheaton, glenmont, or someplace else in eastern montgomery county that maybe called silver spring, but is really just an arbitrary usps designation, as supposed to the census designated place. You may be able to swing a place in wheaton walking distance to the metro, and only be two metro stop away from silver spring. Likewise there are buses from wheaton to downtown silver spring. It will open up your options other than driving.

You will be able to find biking/cycling/campling not to far north in Maryland and west virginia. Maybe 90 minutes away. True wilderness.
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Old 02-14-2016, 08:35 AM
 
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Thanks for advice so far. That gives me some areas to target to research. We would probably rent for the first year regardless. I probably should asked about schools too. We have child that is still a couple of years off from school but that is one of the main reasons we want to move out of L.A. Public schools are basically not an option here and most people have to do private school or be lucky enough to live in one of the few areas with good schools. Do the areas around Silver Spring that we would be considering have good public schools? Any areas to avoid ?
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
10,786 posts, read 15,647,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanms3030 View Post
Do the areas around Silver Spring that we would be considering have good public schools? Any areas to avoid ?
The schools in Silver Spring/Wheaton are probably better than in Los Angeles. However, they are experiencing the same challenges with large numbers of kids from minority and non-English-speaking families. Nevertheless, there are some elementary schools with above-average ratings such as Forest Knolls in the Four Corners area. There is also an excellent high school there: Montgomery Blair. Your budget would get you into the lower-priced housing in the Four Corners area. But, honestly, you are priced out of the "best" schools in Montgomery County such as in Bethesda.

I normally recommend using Greatschools.org or schooldigger.com for school ratings, and then search real estate with redfin.com using the desired school zone. For example, check what is available around Forest Knolls. There are numerous older houses under $400K: https://www.redfin.com/school/38576/...ol/real-estate

Last edited by goldenage1; 02-15-2016 at 07:44 AM..
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Old 02-15-2016, 11:26 AM
 
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Neighborhood options near Silver Spring -- especially with as far as you're willing to commute -- are very wide-ranging. What do you want in a community? Walkability? Racial diversity? Tight-knit community? Older residents in more-established homes? Newer residents in a sub-division with on-site recreation facilities? A "prestige" neighborhood? Easy access to public transportation? There's a neighborhood for everyone, but it helps to know what you want that meets your family's needs and priorities.
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Old 02-15-2016, 02:12 PM
 
Location: DC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeltsvilleBeth View Post
Neighborhood options near Silver Spring -- especially with as far as you're willing to commute -- are very wide-ranging. What do you want in a community? Walkability? Racial diversity? Tight-knit community? Older residents in more-established homes? Newer residents in a sub-division with on-site recreation facilities? A "prestige" neighborhood? Easy access to public transportation? There's a neighborhood for everyone, but it helps to know what you want that meets your family's needs and priorities.
Based on his stated budget, he is priced out of the area of DT silver spring area and the better schools there, same goes for much of western Montgomery county. Truth be told he is likely priced out of inside beltway portion of Montgomery county entirely. Again the schools for the DT silver spring area are actually pretty good for the most part, but it's not in his budget. Like I said, houses start from $500k+.

If schools comes into the pictures this changes quite a bit. This is an area where one has far less flexibility if they have a kid and want to go to a decent school. The more elite schools are completely out of his budget. Getting a good school in Montgomery County is possible, it will just pull him further out though. Truth be told, considering his commuting time, Howard and Anne Arundel counties may not be a bad choice either.


With regards to great schools, their criteria is arbitrary and is based more on politics than actual metrics. So they are not necessarily reliable source. It would be better to look at college admissions and high school drop out rates for the HS associated with the other schools. I just do not think GS is reliable, I have seen too many arbitrary score changes from GS to see it as a reliable source. You can look at their test scores though, as supposed to their top line score.
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