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Old 06-08-2009, 11:10 AM
 
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I've heard both places are good and relatively cheap compated to living in D.C., but which one of the two is the better, and cheapest to live in?

Which apartments are good apartments in both cities? I might have a good shot to land a job and I want to start looking for apartments now just in case. I would love to have one with a garage, but if not it's not a big deal.

Also, is the Metro available in both cities? And how far does it take to travel to NW D.C. via the Metro?

Alexandria or Arlington? Which one is the better place to live if you are commuting to D.C. to work?

Thanks for your answers!!!
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:38 AM
 
Location: DC
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Price-wise, it depends on the individual complex/neighborhood. In either you'll pay a premium to be near a metro station. As for which has better commuting options, that will also depend on where you work in DC. If you're on the west side (Foggy Bottom, Farragut, etc) then North Arlington is better, since you can just get on the orange line. If you'll be closer to the Mall, Penn Quarter, Chinatown, or L'Enfant, then look somewhere on the yellow line.
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:50 PM
 
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What is your budget and where are you working (i.e. which metro stop / street).
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Old 06-08-2009, 04:26 PM
 
47 posts, read 171,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PenguinSix View Post
What is your budget and where are you working (i.e. which metro stop / street).

Hello. I would rather not say the street, and I'm not sure which metro stop is. All I know that the job (if I were to get it) would be in North West D.C. I really would not mind having to travel a little bit.

My budget would be around $1200 a month. I just want something simple, but not a studio apartment. That would be way too small. I'm a single guy, so anything would do.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:41 AM
 
Location: DC
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NW DC is a pretty big place, so it would be in your benefit to find the nearest metro stop. Plug in the address on Metro's website to find out what stop it's near. If it's near the yellow line, aim for South Arlington or Alexandria. If it's near the orange line, aim for North Arlington. If it's on the red line, it probably really doesn't matter that much, but you could try looking in MD like Silver Spring.

$1200 for a non-studio is a little on the low side, but not undoable. As far as Alexandria v. Arlington, Arlington is a tad closer and typically has more 20-something nightlife, but it really might come down to what you can find in your budget. If you want to take the metro to work, find a place within your budget that is as close as possible to a metro stop. You might have to be on a bus line to get the 1-bedroom as opposed to a studio, so try to get a bus that goes somewhere like Rosslyn or the Pentagon for the best access. For reference, to be right by a metro stop a studio typically runs $12-1300/month, and parking is likely to be extra (~$150 in most VA complexes I looked at).

I don't know if they have a 1 bedroom in your budget, but try looking at the Park at Arlington Ridge. They have a shuttle to Pentagon City, free street parking, 1 included parking lot space, and you can pay for a garage space (or something like that, I don't quite remember).
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Rockville, MD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackBauer24 View Post
I've heard both places are good and relatively cheap compated to living in D.C.
That depends entirely upon where you're looking in each locale. Certain places in Alexandria and Arlington are cheaper than the desirable neighborhoods in DC, but most desirable neighborhoods in Alexandria and Arlington are very close or on par with DC prices. You can find places farther out in Alexandria and off the Metro line in Arlington that are more affordable, but I don't view either locale as a particularly better value than DC.
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:43 AM
 
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NW is the largest part of the city, so as was mentioned it can make quite a difference where you are working into what recommendation people would offer, given that different subway lines service different parts of the area. You should try to find out what metro you are near and then do some time estimates from the areas you are looking at in Virginia (wmata.org has a travel time estimate calculator)

But it's worth noting what was just said--don't think just because it is outside of DC it is cheaper. There may be some cheaper places in VA and there are certainly some just as expensive. By and large, along the metro lines, the inner suburbs like Arlington and Alexandria are rather expensive--comparable to living in the city. If money is really tight then you should factor in all the costs, such as the commuting cost daily (which can add up to a few hundred a month unless you get some subsidies from your employer), taxes, including property tax on your car, and other things to come up with a realistic savings amount.

DC's inner suburbs, i.e. those inside the Beltway, generally follow some similar cost patterns to those of neighborhoods in the city proper--places with big yards or good schools or along the subway lines with 'nightlife options' tend to be more expensive than those areas requiring a car or bus or with a certain level of safety concerns. Of course there are some cheaper places over the river, but don't think it is necessarily a significant savings vs. living within DC itself.
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Springfield VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PenguinSix View Post
NW is the largest part of the city, so as was mentioned it can make quite a difference where you are working into what recommendation people would offer, given that different subway lines service different parts of the area. You should try to find out what metro you are near and then do some time estimates from the areas you are looking at in Virginia (wmata.org has a travel time estimate calculator)

But it's worth noting what was just said--don't think just because it is outside of DC it is cheaper. There may be some cheaper places in VA and there are certainly some just as expensive. By and large, along the metro lines, the inner suburbs like Arlington and Alexandria are rather expensive--comparable to living in the city. If money is really tight then you should factor in all the costs, such as the commuting cost daily (which can add up to a few hundred a month unless you get some subsidies from your employer), taxes, including property tax on your car, and other things to come up with a realistic savings amount.

DC's inner suburbs, i.e. those inside the Beltway, generally follow some similar cost patterns to those of neighborhoods in the city proper--places with big yards or good schools or along the subway lines with 'nightlife options' tend to be more expensive than those areas requiring a car or bus or with a certain level of safety concerns. Of course there are some cheaper places over the river, but don't think it is necessarily a significant savings vs. living within DC itself.
See I agree but I also definitely disagre. On paper yes DC and inner beltway VA are the same price range wise. But then look at what one gets for the money in DC versus VA. Finding an apartment with the same amenities as a VA apartment for the same price in a neighborhood just as nice is tough. In other words to maintain the same standard of living in VA would cost more.

Transportation costs would be the same in DC or VA. The only difference would be the metro fare price and the price of a cab if needed; but the costs of maintaining a car in DC is, from my understanding, a little higher. I know insurance is higher in the city and well everyone has to pay taxes on their car. The only difference in VA is that they call a property tax where as other places just call it a fee to register your car.
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Springfield VA
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In the end it really does depend on where in DC you're working like someone else mentioned. Arlington is going to have you closer to the city than Alexandria. So in a word, the answer is Arlington. Living near the metro is considered a luxury though. So yes, consider living near a busline.

I can't say that I agree with the statement that DC is cheaper or the same price as VA. Well at least not completely.

The Pentagon City/Crystal City area is the biggest exception to the VA is cheaper rule. It is very expensive and understandably so everything that a person could need is within walking distance. The crime is low and of course has four metro stations when you count the airport and the Pentagon and plenty of buslines. Many of the apartments there are newer too. I knew a guy who would complain about how he couldn't afford to live in the city and hated having to live in Crystal City then told me how his apartment is $3K a month.

To be quite honest what you're asking for is kinda of all tall order. Living within walking distance to the metro will cost more than $1200 maybe if you're willing to do a studio. Now you might find something in Silver Spring, Maryland or perhaps near the Huntington metro in Alexandria. Even then it probably won't be the nicest apartment. Since you have a car and you're not going to be forced to walk a long distance or something, I'd get a place in North Arlington away from the metro. I looked on craigslist and there's a one bedroom for that much in Ballston like two miles from the metro. You could take the bus to the metro.

So basically you'll have to sacrifice something. Sacrifice a nice apartment for one not as nice or big. You could sacrifice living walking distance to the metro. You could up the price you're willing to pay. You could also live near a metro station that's a little further down the orange line like Dunn Loring or Vienna instead of Arlington but even those places are out of your current price range.

Another option is getting roommates. A $1200 one bedroom that isn't too cramped and near the metro in a nice neighborhood in VA is tough but finding a $2400 two bedroom is not.

There are a few apartments in Alexandria that have shuttles to the metro though. So that's an idea. It would be cheaper than living walking distance.

Usually you can expect to pay about $1400 or $1500 a month to live within walking distance of the metro. So basically if you want to live alone in a nice place with those amenities forget about living near the metro. Take the bus to the metro station or drive to work. If you don't want to take the bus get roommates.

Now you could perhaps maybe find a small basement apartment in the city in a less trendy neighborhood (no Georgetown or Dupont). I met a guy who lived near Howard University and he wasn't paying that much and it was a small basement but it was all his and he seemed happy.
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth, TX
9,397 posts, read 13,692,331 times
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Also keep in mind that there's the city of Alexandria proper and then parts of Fairfax County that have Alexandria mailing addresses but are even farther from DC.
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