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Unread 07-23-2009, 11:10 AM
 
4 posts, read 9,261 times
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Default Renting Vs. Buying? Need Neighborhood Recs

I just joined this board, so please direct me to another thread if my questions have been answered elsewhere.

My husband and I are relocating to DC. I've lived there before (I rented in U Street & Adams Morgan). I loved these neighborhoods, but they are a bit too urban/crowded for my husband's tastes.

What neighborhoods (if any) will have stand-alone houses (2-3 BR, 1-2 BA) within a 30(ish) minute metro commute of the dupont area (my work)? We'd like to pay between $300k and $350k. Any hope?

Also, does anyone know what is going to happen to the first-time homebuyer credit of $8,000 after November 30th? I'd like to take advantage of that, but we may not be able to buy by then.

If house prices are going to continue to fall, perhaps missing the FHA credit and buying in 2010 will even out in the wash. Thoughts?
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Unread 07-23-2009, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Springfield VA
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I'm no expert so don't quote me. I honestly don't think you're going to find a house in that price in the city. You might want to look in the outer suburbs. Now what you could look into is maybe a condo or row house. Although I've seen row houses and condos for $400K in the city.

Capitol Hill is up and coming. Mt Pleasant is nice. Yeah I say the suburbs would be the only place where you can get a single family house for $350K your commute would probably be over an hour. The problem is living near the metro is expensive. If you're willing to live further away and up the commute time then you might find something in your price range.

Unfortunately you'll have to decide which is the bigger priority and sacrifice. Unfortunately living in the DC area whether it's the city or the suburbs seems to require a sacrifice unless you're super rich. So if owning is a priority along with a short commute by metro then I'd definitely say look into getting a condo. If living in the city the biggest priority then think about renting instead of buying since that's cheaper unless you come across a great foreclosure deal. Which leads to other problems since there are fewer foreclosures and the issues that come wtih them in the nicer parts of the city.

I don't foresee the prices around here going down too much further. I could be wrong but the local economy is doing so well compared to the rest of the country. So there's less incentive for lower prices since people can still afford to buy.

Either way good luck!
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Unread 07-23-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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Thanks for your reply. I think I could talk my husband into a rowhouse, if that is what fits in our budget. Any neighborhood suggestions?
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Unread 07-23-2009, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Springfield VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PADINKS View Post
Thanks for your reply. I think I could talk my husband into a rowhouse, if that is what fits in our budget. Any neighborhood suggestions?
Mt. Pleasant! One of my fav DC neighborhoods. It'll be a nice compromise. It's in the city but there are trees and it's next to Rock Creek Park but at the same time you're close to the metro and shopping in Columbia Heights. Don't know when you were last here but Columbia Heights has just everything one could want to buy there's Target, Best Buy, Marshalls, Giant, Harris Teeter and then there's restaurants too. The crime in Columbia Heights is definitely a concern but I think Mt. Plesant is away from the action so I imagine there's less crime.
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Unread 07-23-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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Do you know if there are rowhouses under $350k in Mt. Pleasant? That would be awesome...
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Unread 07-23-2009, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Springfield VA
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Originally Posted by PADINKS View Post
Do you know if there are rowhouses under $350k in Mt. Pleasant? That would be awesome...
No I don't think so. I'm sorry. I did a quick check the cheapest I saw was like $600K there's a condo on craigslist 2 bedroom for $380K but no rowhouses. Yeah in the city it might be wise to just rent. Arlington might have something that's a little cheaper. Silver Spring is an option too.
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Unread 07-23-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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350 isn't going to buy you much in DC, full stop. Condos maybe but most stand alone places are quite a bit above that.

Your best bet is a site like realtor.com and throwing in that number and seeing what might be available.
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Unread 07-23-2009, 09:07 PM
 
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I believe the $8K credit has been extended to 2010 sometime.
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Unread 07-24-2009, 06:44 AM
 
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We are buying a pretty much renovated townhouse in Petworth for 319,000. It is about .7 miles for the subway. I would think you could get something in this neighborhood for around your budget. There are some incredibly quiet parts of the neighborhood. I would look around Upshur to Allison from New Hampshire over to Rock Creek Church Road. There are also some stand alone houses around but those are typically closer to the 400+ range.

The area I mentioned is extremely quiet and has very nice homes that are well maintained. Plus it is a probably a 25-30 minute walk to Mount Pleasant and depending on where you are in Petworth (it is a really large neighborhood) then it is about a 20 minute walk or so to DCUSA in Columbia Heights. We walk over to Mount Pleasant quite a bit. Also, you are just 2 subway stops from U street.

I am not sure if you could get to Dupont Circle via public transport in less than 30 minutes it would really depend on where you ended up in the neighborhood.
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Unread 07-24-2009, 08:38 AM
 
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I second Petworth - quieter than Columbia Heights and arguably safer as well. You can find 3bdrm rowhouses in your price range, especially if you are willing to do some cosmetic updating yourself. Farther out, I think Takoma Park (DC) has some deals as well. The disadvantage is that you have more limited dining and retail options there, and a longer commute to the "hotspots" of DC. On the other hand, you get a quiet neighborhood and the possibility of a stand-alone bungalow with a big yard.

However I don't think you will find a rowhouse in livable condition in the more popular neighborhoods of DC (including Mt Pleasant, Columbia Heights, U Street, Shaw, etc).
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