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Old 10-17-2010, 11:06 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,650 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi there - I have a job offer for about $65k from a company in Bethesda. Currently, my husband and I (late 20s) make about $50k together in rural Minnesota. No kids, no plans for kids, and no interest in home ownership. We want to ditch the car completely and rely on public transportation.

We're both excited to try out city living, loved DC when we visited a few weeks ago, and at the suggestion of some friends living in the area are now looking at places in Woodley/Cleveland Park. Studios seem to run about $1300 monthly, which is okay when it comes to the oft-mentioned tip to "avoid spending more than 30% of your income on housing". I swore I'd never return to group housing after college, but if need be, it's an option. That said, getting out of Podunk, Midwest USA is worth living like a student. Plus, we love finding free stuff to do and there's no end of free/cheap activities to check out.

So, questions!

1. If we're coming in from out of state and want to sign a lease, what might the landlord require? Obviously since it's a new job I won't have current pay stubs yet, and rental references from landlords 1,000 miles away might be pointless.

2. Would $65k be doable if we wanted to live comfortably in the city proper? The only regular splurges we foresee involve grocery shopping - we eat pretty cleanly and as a result spend somewhat more on food than the average Wal-mart shopper where we live now.

3. If $65k is questionable, any suggestions on where to live? Trendy isn't as important to us as is relatively safe, located near the red line and a grocery store and near some semblance of nightlife (really, one good hole-in-the-wall bar to frequent is all we'd need to be happy).

4. The job market sucks everywhere, but I keep reading that DC is slightly better. How easy would you suppose it's going to be for my husband to find something? College-educated and teaching-certified with five years of customer service and administrative work under his belt might put him slightly above a recent grad. He's going to check on some of the bigger employers in the area once we've got a permanent address nailed down.

Even after plenty of research I feel a little herp-derp about the whole relocation thing since I've never done it before, so I appreciate any help you all can provide.
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Old 10-18-2010, 12:22 AM
 
17 posts, read 69,436 times
Reputation: 16
Just a few of my own thoughts:

1. Honestly, it depends on the landlord. Some landlords will be happy to take you in as long as you can pay the deposit fee. Otherwise, I'd go ahead keep your rental references in Minnesota, and get in contact with a reference at your D.C. place of employment who can verify that you are employed. If you're looking to rent from a basement studio in a house, versus an apartment owned by a corporation, this may be particularly helpful; renting in D.C. can be a competitive process, so it helps to show the landlord you've taken some initiative.

2. It depends on what you consider "comfortable" in D.C. I'm single, 22, and make $52K. Granted, I split a 1 bedroom apartment, chose not to bring a car to the city, and only eat out/go to a bar roughly once a week. Just like yourself, my splurges always manifest themselves in my grocery bill. Yet, even with health insurance and any other expenses, I've been able to save a pretty significant amount of my income. Enough so that I could probably support another body in the apartment. So, I imagine you'll be fine. Of course, I've only lived here 3 months now and I'm known to be a pretty thrifty guy, so I may not have the best frame of reference. And, on a side note: I'm from the Deep South, and I don't know if the sticker shock from rental prices will ever wear off.

3. In D.C. directly, you can find some cheaper rental stock in basement studios pretty much anywhere. The trick is making sure you live in a safer part of the neighborhood. For instance, Columbia Heights, U Street, and Capitol Hill tend to be cheaper than the trendy areas (Adams Morgan, Dupont, etc.), but certain blocks of these neighborhoods are known for being safe or unsafe. Definitely do some diligent research. Otherwise, if you don't mind living slightly farther away and taking the Metro line, there's plenty of areas in Maryland (Silver Spring, etc.) and Arlington (Crystal City, etc.) that would be affordable by D.C. standards.

4. Honestly, it's just timing and luck when it comes to finding a job in any area, though I'm sure the chances are relatively higher in D.C. But, a happy anecdote: My roommate came to D.C. with no prior connections to the area and was employed within 2 weeks. In her favor, she's noticeably smart, comes from a top notch school, etc. Given your husband's credentials (and more importantly, the fact that he has past work experience), I think he's got a great shot.
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